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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Bless This House……BUT, Follow These Rules!

By Homer B. Hirt

Last Tuesday, February 17, was the third anniversary of my wife Theresa’s passing. Four and a half years ago the doctor found that she had terminal cancer, but his treatment allowed us to have some quality time together. And this was good. She wanted to live to vote for George W. Bush and to celebrate Christmas, her "time of year", and she made both goals.
After she left me, I decided to live alone and in the house where we had raised our three children. It was not too difficult. I had our very extensive Civil War library, something over 400 volumes, and a lot of good John Wayne movies. What more could a man ask for?
Well, the question was soon answered.
My three children, all grown and living elsewhere, would come to visit, and, after a couple of minutes, would begin; "Dad, why don’t you…….." or "Did you know that the………". Folks my age can fill in the blanks with items from lists of things that need repairing, replacing or thrown out. After hearing these complaints, I decided to correct this, Navy style, but in a "nice" way that would offend no one. Hence evolved the following instruction sheet:
Welcome to 2054 Dairy Road.
Here are some simple suggestions that may not make your stay more enjoyable, but if followed will keep the present occupant in a decent, if not jovial, mood.
1. The number one resident, H. B. Hirt, Lieutenant Commander, United States Naval Reserve, Retired, hereinafter referred to as "The Commander", realizes that there are faults in the repair and upkeep of the premises. He would like to assure you that these will be taken care of some day, or not. Included are the bathrooms, the pool, the deck and floors in need of carpeting.
2. It is understood that there are papers, records, and books strewn about. These may not seem valuable to you, but should remain in place, or if moved, put back. By following this procedure it will lessen the labor of whoever writes the Commander’s biography.
3. There are two cats in residence, also. They have peculiar habits. Please recognize these for what they are, and accommodate their wishes, as unimportant as they may seem to you. Cats are warm and fuzzy, and keep your feet comfortable at night. At the present, that is all I ask for. This may change in the future.
4. The yard, pool, deck, fence and patio are in need of repairs. If you wish to assist, do not inform the commander of what should be done. He is fully cognizant of the needs. You may, however, man a rake, a shovel, a pressure washer or a pump, all available on the premises, and fall to and clean these up. This will make it easier for the skilled workers that will follow to achieve the repairs.
5. Inside rules are simple. (1) Doors are to be opened and closed promptly. The cats are not accustomed to the outside or to dogs that lurk there. (2) Towels can be used more than once, so they should be hung properly in their place. (3) If you snack, put the milk, sandwich materials and other foodstuffs back. (4) Dirty dishes should be stacked on the counter. It seems that the Commander is the only person capable of placing them in the washer so that they will come out clean. (5) Do not put your feet on the display table in the family room. (6) And, yes, it is realized that the cats have clawed the leather couch.
6. The thermostat is set at 72 degrees. It is preferred that you adjust your own comfort level by adding to or removing items of personal clothing. Thongs alone, however, are not appropriate unless you are a female under 50 visiting the Commander for some R and R, and are no closer kin than second cousin once removed.
7. Personal clothing is your responsibility, to be kept in the room to which you are assigned until the time of your departure. Then take them with you. The Commander is skilled at stowing cargos in barges, ships, rail cars and trucks. I can assist you if need be in placing them in your suitcases.
If you have other questions, feel free to ask for an appointment, in writing, going through the chain of command. Thank you for visiting!
I am proud to report that so far these rules have worked. It is true that the pool does need cleaning, the patio still requires pressure washing and the deck could stand some hammer and nail work, but what the H----, nothing’s perfect!
And visitors leave me and the cats alone.

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