2003.12.24 On my knees, staring at dirt

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

I’M ON my knees, begging you please to come clean. That’s my plea to the kitchen floor.

Getting ready for Christmas means cleaning house. That’s how it is for busy people. Really busy people. They don’t get enough done in the maintenance phase of life. Then when the crunch time of impending visitors arrives, everything shifts into top gear for preparation.

I don’t know how my wife handles the overnight shift, but that’s when she often accomplishes the most. You know the name of her column that often appears on page 2: Midnight Musings. Last night, once again, it went far beyond midnight. We’re close to running three shifts, with no overtime.

For me, it’s the early shift. I’ve been on my hands and knees getting to know the kitchen floor. For some reason, the kitchen floor has long been mostly my domain. Even when we lived in the Observer apartment, I remember tackling that yellowish linoleum, scrubbing and scrubbing the patches of tar from the roof in back. The roof was our verandah and it led to our clothesline. Unfortunately, we sometimes tracked in roof tar on hot days.

I FOUND no tar this morning in our kitchen, but I did encounter some odd substances. The bright blue spots were the most puzzling, but they were easily removed.

The most annoying were the black smudges of unknown origin and unknown molecular structure. It smears to the right, then it smears to the left, but it doesn’t leave the floor. Hmmm, it’s almost like tar.

When I tackle the kitchen floor, I wear an old pair of knee pads, also of unknown origin. They might be a daughter’s old volleyball equipment, but they look pretty basic and they have the name “Grid” at the top. The mud stains suggest they’ve seen some late-season football duty when I’m on my knees taking pictures in the snow.

The lesson in this “Christmas story” is to never assign janitorial duties to busy people. Look at the Observer, but please don’t look too closely. We get an award for our clean newspaper design most every year in the contest, but fortunately, we’re never judged on the condition of the office where the paper is produced.

I SHOULD be turning out a well-crafted Christmas column for this Dec. 24 newspaper. Instead, I’m rushing from floor duty to column duty and then, I hope, onward toward getting some news written before our company arrives.

This Christmas season is a little extra busy at the Observer, because I’m training someone to take over for Felicia, who has handled ad design, photo tweaking and more for the last four years.

Felicia has taken on a job as cheerleading coach for a gymnastics organization and she’s also busy with her new baking business. Now, I’m training Deanna Gillen. She’s catching on, but of course it will take a while. My double duty eats into my writing time.

For example, here it is near the end of December and I’ve never closed up the girls’ basketball season. Did you know Kylene Spiegel became the school’s first thousand-point scorer? Of course not, I still haven’t written it.

But this is no way to end a Christmas column, so let me repeat the oft’ told tale of a dog named Sam. He was my sister’s dog back in the 1960s. I think the date painted over the door of his dog house read 1965.

Sam’s name should have been Bad Boy. Fleas, vomit, horrible odors, night barking, day barking. I would not want to live in a neighborhood like Sam’s, with one exception. I’m glad Sam was part of our family the year he ate a few silvery strands of tinsel.

Through the normal digestive process, the tinsel later appeared suspended from the back end of Sam and it was such a joy to watch him run off into the sunshine, with tinsel sparkling behind him. Now that was a memorable Christmas, and I hope all of you are left with pleasant memories at your house tomorrow.

    – Dec. 24. 2003 
  • Play Practice
    DRAMA—Fayette schools, in conjunction with the Opera House Theater program, will present two plays Friday night at the Fayette Opera House. From the left is Autumn Black, Wyatt Mitchell, Elizabeth Myers, Jonah Perdue, Sam Myers (in the back) and Lauren Dale. Other cast members are Brynn Balmer, Mason Maginn, Ashtyn Dominique, Stephanie Munguia and Sierra Munguia. Jason Stuckey serves as the technician and Trinity Leady is the backstage manager. The plays will be performed during the day Friday for students and for the public at 7 p.m. Friday.
  • Front.F.school
    PROGRESS continues on the agriculture classroom addition at Fayette High School. The project will add 2,900 square feet of space and include an overhead door that would allow equipment to be driven inside. The building should be ready for the start of school in August. Work on ball fields and a running track is also underway.
  • Front.rover
    CLEARING THE WAY—Road crossings in the area on the construction route of the Rover natural gas pipeline are marked with poles and flags as preliminary work nears. Ditches and field entry points are covered with thick planks in many areas to support equipment for tree clearing operations. Actual pipeline construction is progressing across Ohio toward a collecting station near Defiance. That segment of the project is expected to wrap up in July. The 42-inch line through Michigan and into Ontario is scheduled for completion in November. The line is projected to transport 3.25 billion cubic feet of natural gas every day.
  • Front.geese
    ON THE MOVE—Six goslings head out on manuevers with their parents in an area lake. Baby waterfowl are showing up in lakes and ponds throughout the area.
  • Accident
    FAYETTE resident Patricia Stambaugh, 64, was declared dead on the scene of a single-vehicle accident Friday morning south of Morenci. Rescue units were called around 9 a.m., but as of Tuesday, law enforcement officers had not yet determined the time of the accident. According to Ohio State Highway Patrol, Stambaugh was driving west on U.S. 20 when her Chevrolet Malibu traveled off the north side of the road and down a steep embankment, coming to rest in Bean Creek (Tiffin River).
  • Front.teacher Leading
    PRESCHOOL MUSIC—Fayette band director Jeffrey Dunford spends the last half hour of the day leading the full-day preschool class in musical activities. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Face Paint
    FUN NIGHT FUN—Savanna Miles sits patiently while Abbie White works on a face paint design Friday during the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Gracie Snead watches the progress after having spent time in the chair. Abbie was one of several volunteer painters, each creating their own unique look. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.

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