I’m beginning to think I don’t ever want to retire. Seriously. Life may be more enjoyable — and safer — if I keep working.
I’m heading back to work Monday, and none too soon. This vacation has been anything but relaxing.
It began peaceful enough. At least, for the first seven hours. That ended with a sales call I knew I shouldn’t have answered. But when it’s shortly after dawn and you are still groggy from sleep, you don’t always make the right decision … like picking up the phone.
Oh, well. That got me up and moving. I actually got a few inside chores done that day and the next while trying to limit outside activities to cooler times of the day … or, night, when temperatures dropped to the mid- to high 90s.
But then things began to happen.
Early on day three, I decided to do some trimming outside along the fence and around the walk and driveway. It only took a couple of hours. But that afternoon, whether due to the heat or some bug I picked up, I began feeling bad. And it got worse, and worse.
By nightfall, I was unable to stay up any length of time. Lying or sitting down with glass of iced tea and a good fan was my favorite activity.
That carried into the next day, when I could only get out of bed long enough to get a drink of water or head to the restroom.
Next came a plumbing problem, necessitating a trip to the hardware store to get a new flush kit. Meanwhile, the lid on the toilet tank fell onto the floor and shattered into about five large pieces, with several chips and shards, of course.
We had talked about possibly using some of my time off to visit family, maybe even those in Kansas City. But the high temperatures have been making life miserable there, too. Plus, I’m a firm believer in not spreading your sickness to those you care about.
Scratch one trip.
The next day, while feeling a bit better, I tried to move a couple of things in the garage and strained my back. One of those strains that makes you sick to your stomach, which I already was. Oh, joy.
I gave it until the following day, when I felt like I finally might get a break. I did — a break in the windshield on my pickup. Apparently, it took a small rock that hit it just hard enough to start a crack.
I tried to arrange for a service job, but could do no better than two days later. Time to park it and wait. I wasn’t exactly feeling like going anywhere anyway.
Trying to take it easy and not do anything to cause more problems, I figured a short trip to the store wouldn’t cause any more damage … other than to the bank account.
As we were checking out, my little finger got caught in the metal basket on the grocery cart.
On my last day off, the service man came out to look at the windshield and hopefully stop the crack from advancing. His verdict? Nope. Couldn’t fix it. The crack was now too long. A windshield replacement is ahead.
So, with sore back and stomach, a cracked windshield, a topless toilet tank and a discolored little finger, I’m ending this vacation. I need to get back to work to get some rest.
There’s more to our “know it” communities than news about Edmond, Midwest City, Norman, Oklahoma City and Yukon, and there’s an open invitation to you to become part of it.
Each of these communities has other cities and towns nearby. Sometimes, it’s hard to distinguish where one ends and another begins, and.or there is overlap. We set up the online communities to include them.
“Why didn’t you just use north, south, east and west?” a reader once asked me.
We needed a focal point, a center for each coverage area. Problem was, we still had some equally (or nearly as) large cities close enough in some areas that it almost required a double-emphasis name. For instance, Edmond and Guthrie; Midwest City and Del City; Norman and Moore; or Yukon and Mustang.
There also are those who believe that Bricktown is almost a city within itself … and within Oklahoma City.
So why didn’t we put together separate “know it” communities for each of them? For now, it’s more manageable, more functional to do it this way. Will that change in the future? We’ll see. Just about anything is possible.
We do have a “play position,” or key story on the page for each community. That allows us to emphasize a story from any of the cities and towns in that area. You might have a big event occurring in Guthrie or Piedmont in the lead position in “know it: Edmond.” Or, it might be a critical city council meeting in Moore that leads “know it: Norman.” The top story for “know it: Yukon” might be something big in Mustang.
You see how it works.
But there’s more. You can contribute to the coverage for your area.
If you’re looking for a way to get the news out about an upcoming event, deliver a word of praise, or perhaps an update or follow-up is needed to those in your community. Here’s a possibility for you. Our “know it” geographical communities can help.
Need some help getting the word out about your upcoming event? Maybe you want to say “thanks” to an individual or group. Or, it could be that you need to send an update or reminder about a community happening.
Our “know it” geographical communities can help.
Readers can use Twitter feeds to get their messages out in the five “know it” online communities — Edmond, Mid-Del, Norman, Oklahoma City and Yukon. These include the surrounding area for each city.
Each community has a specific hashtag, similar to other web tags, that helps add personal messages, or “tweets,” to a category. Hashtags have the “hash” or “pound” sign preceding them.
The specific hashtags for the “know it” communities are:
- Edmond area — #knowedmond
- Mid-Del area — #knowmwc
- Norman area — #knownorman
- Oklahoma City area — #knowokc
- Yukon area — #knowyukon
The tags also can be added to other hash tags, such as #NewsOK or #okpreps.
Each “know it” community features a special area titled “NEWS SUBMITTED BY YOU,” where information such as news releases can be added.
To use that area, the reader creates an e-mail with a document or photo attached, then sends it to the address for the particular community:
Here are some tips for using this feature:
- Add the e-mail address to your list of those who normally receive your news. (The other e-mail addresses will not appear online.)
- Send your information and/or photos as a SINGLE ATTACHMENT to your e-mail. (PLEASE NOTE: Text from the e-mail will not appear online. An attachment may be a WORD document [.doc], a text file [.txt], a portable document [.pdf], or a jpeg picture [.jpg].)
- The subject line will be your headline, so be specific about what is most important that you want to emphasize. Example: Cross Timbers Elementary plans open house on Tuesday.
- Avoid punctuation and ALL CAPS in your subject line, but do capitalize the first letter of the first word and all formal titles.
- Remember to tell others about this service!
All sites can be accessed by going to http://knowit.newsok.com.
Editors and reporters consider information submitted for possible use in other sections.
Each community link is a “window” into that city and area, its offerings, its people. These are living, growing communities online, just as they are in real life. We continuously look for new information to add to them, in addition to the items that flow there from The Oklahoman reports.
The design is such that readers can glean a wealth of information about their community, quickly and efficiently, by simply clicking on the topic, ranging from stories to facts and figures on people, services and locations.
It’s all here for you.
A photo, a name, a memory. I looked at the group again on the computer screen.
In all, there were 24 young, smiling faces. They were shown as soon-to-be high school graduates, with hopes and dreams of successes and happiness ahead of them.
Some had big plans and often talked about them. I remember one who was planning on eventually taking over his father’s business, a successful construction operation. Another also was in line to inherit the family store. One was intent on following his parents, brothers and sisters into agricultural enterprises.
There were others who were planning to attend college, then venture into business or scientific endeavors. Some were inclined to use strong backs and minds to build homes or highways. Others were just hoping to have happy families and live normal lives, staying relatively close to the home where they grew up.
Now, some 40 years after those photos were made, every member of that group is gone. But they won’t be forgotten. In fact, those attending the high school reunion this weekend in Ponca City will honor their memory.
They were members of a class of more than 500 (555. as I recall). Not everyone was close friends with everyone else. It would be rare for that to happen in a class of that size, even though many schools today have much larger groups. But, all things considered, I remember there was a feeling of unity because we saw or interacted with most of our class during any given week, particularly during the school year.
Losing 24 of 555 in four decades might not seem like that high a number (4 percent, by my figures) to most people. But these were individuals we knew well, people we shared many experiences with, dated, or had as teammates.
As I glanced again at the screen, I thought about what the photos didn’t show, but that some — many — of us knew. Some of those classmates already were facing major challenges when those photos were taken. For example, at least two were fighting serious health issues and both eventually died of their illnesses.
At least two others faced life issues they could not overcome. Some were lost to accidents, some were victims of violence. There are others I have no idea about, yet.
The group included athletes, dancers, singers. There were those who were skilled with their hands, those who were skilled with their minds.
I can remember some thing, some event relating to most all of them. Some were close friends; some were just friends. But all were our classmates.
We will remember them.
We’re well into the tornado season, that time of year when superstorms, often producing tornadoes, strike. Even with the most advanced forecast and warning systems, cities and communities experience death and destruction when these monsters form.
There are those who believe that some day in may be possible for man to have more control over weather. But for now, it’s best to respect it and be aware of its potential. Learn how to survive it.
The damage resulting from Sunday’s tornado in southwest Missouri and the surrounding area resembles a war zone, a common description when an area sustains such a hit from a powerful storm. The death toll continues to rise as rescue and other emergency personnel find victims under the debris left by the tornado. Local officials estimate as much as 40 percent of the city of 50,000 had damage.
It wasn’t that there was no warning. The Joplin city manager said storm sirens sounded at least 20 minutes before the twister touched down on the west side, then tore a six-mile-long, half-mile-wide slice through the center of town. Among the buildings in its direct path: a hospital.
Some witnesses have said the Joplin tornado was “wrapped in rain” and hard to see. This is not unusual. It’s also not unusual that a tornado can be almost transparent until it picks up debris.
Tornadoes can have winds of up to 300 mph and can destroy everything in their path for 50 miles or so. They strike quickly, sometimes with little warning. So how can you prepare to survive one?
Have a plan, don’t panic.
If the sky is dark, often greenish; if there is large hail; if you see a large, dark, low-lying cloudy; and if you hear a loud roar (often described as similar to a freight train), you are witnessing conditions that may accompany a tornado.
Though a house of any kind rarely can withstand a direct hit from a severe tornado, good construction can help if your home is on the edge of the tornado’s path. A home can get a little extra protection with impact-resistant window; at least three hinges on doors and a deadbolt with a bolt at last an inch long.
Homebuilders may recommend installing permanent wood or metal stiffeners on garage doors. Some temporary supports are available that you can attach and remove easily when weather threatens. It isn’t my preference, but anything might be beneficial.
Weather officials say that if weather conditions are right for a tornado in your area, take precations.
If a tornado warning is issued, get everyone to shelter. If you have a basement, move everyone there. Otherwise, find a closet, a small room or a hallway away from windows. The more walls between you and the outside, the better.
Lean a mattress against the wall of the room you’re in, don’t open windows (you want the wind and rain to stay outside). If you can, turn off your utilities.
If you live in a mobile home, find shelter elsewhere.
Some other tips:
* If you are in a vehicle and a tornado is approaching, get out and try to find shelter inside a sturdy building. If there is nothing nearby, a ditch can provide shelter. Obviously, don’t lie down in water, however.
* Don’t make the mistake of taking shelter under a bridge or overpass. These structures may be destroyed. They also offer very little protection from debris.
If a tornado watch is issued rather than a warning, you should have time to move anything in your yard that may become flying debris inside your house or garage. But if a thunderstorm is in progress, with lightning especially, don’t go out in it.
Have emergency supplies at the ready (flashlights, cell phones, snacks, clean water, blankets … those things that can be used immediately).
Listen to weather reports and be prepared to act.
For more stormy weather safety information, go to http://knowit.newsok.com/severe-weather-oklahoma.
Have you ever thought about how much different things would be if we didn’t have cell phones?
I’m from a generation that can remember how it was before we did. Surprisingly, we made it just fine. I hear that generations before mine handled things just as well.
Of course, those of those eras didn’t know what they were missing, because it hadn’t been invented.
Don’t get me wrong. Technology is a wonderful thing. Development, inovation and invention can make life much easier. They also can entertain us.
Cell phones are among the best technological advancements. They enable us to make contact with others faster and more efficiently than many other forms of communication. The uses of cell phones are increasing daily (if not sooner), as is the number of those using them.
If you want to see just how great cell phone usage is, do as I did.
While sitting inside my vehicle in a pharmacy parking lot, waiting on a family member, I decided to count of vehicles that passed by in which the driver or a passenger was using a cell phone.
With a traffic signal at a major intersection only half a block away, it wasn’t difficult to see them because the vehicles were slowing down for the light, or to turn.
I missed those driving by in the first five minutes or so because I hadn’t intended to count cars. But in the 20 minutes I DID count, there were 27 of 63 vehicles with a cell phone in use inside. Of those, 14 vehicles were being driven by someone using a phone. And four appeared to be texting.
I based that on thumbs moving around the phone that was not near the ear or mouth as it would be if it were a phone conversation.
In three vehicles, both the driver and someone else inside were talking on the phone, presumably not to each other.
Of the “texters,” two were able to proceed on their way without hampering the flow of traffic, but one sat at a dead stop as the signal light turned green, and one changed lanes in front of a pickup and got a reminder horn honk.
Got my attention, for sure, just as it had the pickup driver.
Somehow, I don’t think he was impressed with new technology. I could almost count on that.
“Everything is more expensive now.”
I remember hearing that from family and other adults when I was (much) younger.
Then, it was my turn.
“Everything costs so much more now,” I remember telling our son, over and over.
Now, it’s his turn.
He’s trying to teach two teenagers and a soon-to-be about cost.
The cycle continues … and so do the cost increases.
Fairly regularly, I get emails, letters, or calls from someone that include “remember whens.”
“Remember when a Coke cost a nickel?”
No, but I remember when it was a dime.
“Remember when a comic book was 10 cents?”
“Remember when you could get a cheeseburger for a quarter?”
Actually, I remember some for 15 cents.
“Remember when gas was 38 cents a gallon?”
You might not believe this, but I remember gas wars when it got below 20 cents a gallon.”
“Remember when you could get a 45 record for a buck”
Had several of those. Records, that is.
“Remember when the Tooth Fairy left a quarter?”
Now there’s one I hadn’t thought of for a while. So I asked a few people I know, all with small children, what the kind fairy was leaving under the pillow these days. The average was $1, but sometimes she gave as little as 50 cents and sometimes as much as $5.
Sounded like a little pork barrel issue to me … playing favorites.
Then, I thought about it. So how far will $1 get you these days?
Unless you go to one of those stores specializing in $1 items, not much. And remember, you still have to pay tax on your purchase.
Maybe you should just get a small bottle of water, drive to a park, and enjoy the fresh air.
Or, on second thought, sit out on the porch with a glass of water and just think.
If you want some advice on how to save money, how to manage money, or what you can do to spend money wisely, take a look at http://knowit.newsok.com/money-oklahoma and see what the experts, as well as other wage-earners like you, have to say.