2013-03-07 / Columns

From the Heartland

By Allan Burke

Normal March weather is in the forecast with highs ranging from 31 to 40 degrees and lows from 19 to 28 degrees. We had a snowy start this week, but no precipitation is mentioned for the coming week.

Avalanche insurance

Working at home is not bad, and my coworkers would probably say I appear to be more productive and meet deadlines more frequently. They probably won’t blurt out the truth: they don’t miss my tirades that can be triggered by anything from a missing comma to the quality of printing of the paper to an avalanche of paper falling from my desk to the floor to ice on the back step.

Amazingly, my small computer desk at home is quite uncluttered, and, so far, I have not seen the need to purchase avalanche insurance for the living room where the desk and computer reside. We do have avalanche insurance for the basement, garage and back shed, however.

The experience has taught me something. The smaller the work space, the less paper that can accumulate. Yup. My problem at the office is that my work space is too big with too many flat surfaces. Maybe I can put some of it into CRP.

More tests

Last week ended with medical tests in Bismarck, and this week started off with a nuclear stress test to check out my cardiovascular system. While none of the many tests I’ve had since the beginning of December has showed anything significant after the pneumonia, my malady has not gone away. I don’t feel much worse, and I don’t feel much better.

I’m at that time in life where just complaining about carrying around extra pounds (in my case, 75 of them) is not good enough, so I have embarked on a new effort to cope with my compulsive overeating. It’s been working for over three weeks, and the scale is ever so slowly coming up with a smaller number.

When the weather warms up, I intend to re-join Leah and Bertram G. “Bert” Retriever on their late afternoon walks at the park, and when I feel up to it I will try to pedal the stationary bicycle for 30 minutes while wearing earphones to hear the TV.

The late Pat Bennett, a friend and long-time insurance agent at Selby, S.D., had a thermometer in his office window that showed the same temperature year-round. I think it was 72. I’m going to shop for a bathroom scale that shows 175 all the time.

Where’s the dog

Two people stopped at the house last week on business. In both cases, after sitting down in the living room and exchanging pleasantries, they asked, “Where’s the dog?”

When we know someone is coming, we put Bert in Fred’s bedroom where he is the most content, although he usually raises a ruckus when someone comes to the front door.

The guests wanted to see Bert, so I let him out of his room. He greeted them with great enthusiasm and positioned himself to receive maximum petting. Then, he reposed on the floor close by, ready for more petting if the guests showed an interest.

When I’m working at home at the computer, Bert lies about three feet behind my chair. About once an hour he comes over to be petted and then settles back down on the floor. Every afternoon, he leaves the living room to take a nap in his kennel in Fred’s room. He feels the most secure and prefers to do his deeper sleeping there.

Yup. Bert likes visitors who like dogs, and he is always willing to accept attention. His motto is, “All hands on Bert.”

The big launch

This week we are launching the new website for the Emmons County Record and in another week or so we will introduce the new Prairie Pioneer website. Check out the Record’s site at www.ecrecord.com. The Prairie Pioneer’s site will be configured similarly.

It has taken more hours than I want to count to get all of the information to the company that is designing the site, but I think it will be worth it.

The new site will be free to everyone for two weeks, and then a subscription will be required to see the complete stories from each week’s paper. Everyone will be able to see the headlines and will have access to classified ads, general advertising, public notices, calendar, church schedule, links to other sites and our store where books and other items will be available for purchase.

We’re excited that the site will be accessible by smartphones and tablets, as well as computers, and we would like to hear your comments and suggestions.

Yup. There is always change in the newspaper business.

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