2013-01-24 / Columns

From the Heartland

By Allan Burke

After a very cold start, the week’s temperatures should improve somewhat. Highs will be in the 8- to 28-degree range with lows between -11 and 17 degrees. Snow is mentioned for later in the week. With the frequent dustings of snow and sub-zero lows, the Snow Birds are looking smarter all the time.

Chronic whiner

As of press time this week, I’m still working from home where I am dealing with the aftermath of pneumonia. One day I feel fairly good, and the next day I’m back to mild aching and a low-grade temperature. I don’t think 99 to 99.5 degrees is considered a fever.

Last week’s trip to the clinic was my fourth since being in the hospital. The number of tests was increased this time, and the blood work even included vitamin deficiencies and thyroid problems. I am big on self-diagnosis through the miracle of Google on the computer. So far, I’ve been wrong every time.

Reviewing my test results, the doc said, “You look great on paper.” I guess the only thing I’m testing positive for is Old Age.

On the bike

In between whining, I’ve been riding the exercise bike for 30 minutes every morning. The cordless earphones we acquired work great, so I can watch TV without disturbing my bride who gets up much later than me.

On week day mornings, I watch the early British Broadcasting News since the BBC reporters seem to me to be less biased, especially on foreign affairs. For Saturday and Sunday, the history shows help me pedal away the time.

It feels good to get some exercise, and it will get me into shape for bicycle riding next spring and summer.

Pressing matters

The South Central Threshing Association has approved the acquisition of the historic Walter Scott Pony Press that has long been in storage in Bottineau. It will be a mammoth undertaking to get the two-ton press out of the basement of the former newspaper building.

The press sits about 30 feet from the outside entrance to the basement, and it will have to be coaxed across the floor on steel rollers, a few inches at a time.

It will take some doing to make room for the behemoth, so, after it warms up, we’ll be puttering in the printing museum to get ready for the addition to the family of relics.

In the meantime, I have my eye on a small, table-top Army Press in St. Louis Park, Minn. That one I plan to buy personally, if I can convince my bride that it is a Valentine’s Day gift for her.

Eucalyptus therapy

Friends Spencer and June dropped off a small bottle of eucalyptus oil to help me get my lungs back in shape. It was a home remedy in June’s family, and I can recall my grandmother advocating its virtues.

The vaporizer we use at night has a spot to put a few drops of the oil, and we have been using the elixir. It has improved my breathing at night, and I take a few whiffs of the stuff throughout the day.

Actually, the modern users of aromatics say that eucalyptus relieves stress and promotes clear thinking. Obviously, I needed it long before I came down with pneumonia.

Meatloaf sandwich

Since I’ve been working from home, I have tried to earn my keep by making lunch for my bride when there are ingredients I can handle. She made a great meatloaf for supper one day last week, so I decided to show off the next noon by having meatloaf sandwiches ready when she came home for lunch.

After cutting the loaf, arranging the pieces of bread for two sandwiches on plates and placing the meat delicacy on the bread, I left my creation to answer an e-mail.

“I Should Have Known Better” should be my middle name instead of Charles.

Before I got back to the kitchen, Leah had arrived.

“Our lunch is on the counter,” I announced proudly from the computer chair in the living room.

“What lunch?” she inquired. “The plates are empty.”

As the words rolled off her tongue, I had a sinking feeling that Bertram G. “Bert” Retriever might have been the Grinch Who Stole the Sandwiches.

Yup. He was hanging his head, acknowledging he was in trouble. He was sent to his kennel in Fred’s room, and the bedroom door was shut.

Disciplining a Golden Retriever for stealing food is like spanking a canary for being yellow.

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