Monday, October 5, 2015

No Respect

Have you ever felt like Rodney Dangerfield because life is giving you no respect?  Here are a few “priceless moments” that fit that description for me.

     I have enjoyed playing trombone and singing with the Keota Brass Band over the past ten years.  The Brass Band includes Roger Richardson playing trumpet, Gary McCurdy playing tuba, Stan Knipfer playing guitar and I play trombone.  Most often our group performs at assisted living facilities and nursing homes; playing songs from the 20’s, 30’s and 40’s in jazz style (you probably won’t hear these tunes on the top ten radio show).  We, on occasion, also play at the local farmers market in Keota to help entertain folks while they come to town buying produce and baked goods.  One evening last year, a dad brought his young son to set up a vendor stand next to the band.  To start the evening entertainment, the band played one of the local crowd favorite tunes “Yes Sir, That’s My Baby”.  After the song ended, the band members could hear the young boy say to his father, “It’s going to be a long night, dad”.  The boy evidently hasn’t heard our tunes on the radio yet.

      Twelve years ago, I needed a triple-bypass open heart surgery to get my health back on track.  Since then, my heart doctor has come to know me on a first name basis.  Not only has he taken care of me, but as luck would have it, he has been the doctor for my oldest sister and my mother.  The first time my mother was introduced to my heart doctor (at that time mom was in her mid 70’s) she was being checked out for knee surgery.  The doctor already knew that my sister Berna and I were children of his new patient, so he took the opportunity to quiz my mother.  The doctor asked “Mrs. Hahn, are you related to Berna Waterhouse and Tom Hahn?”  My mother answered, “Yes, I have three children, my oldest daughter is Berna Waterhouse, the next oldest is my daughter, Dana Peck, and my youngest child is my son, Tom Hahn.”  To that, the doctor asked my mother “When you were having children, do you think you would have been ahead if you had quit after having just two?”  I think my mother should have looked for a different doctor, but she didn’t. 

      Last summer when Libertyville Savings Bank purchased Farmers Savings Bank, it was a quick reminder that I have been in a banking career for the past 38 years.  Seemed like the perfect time to request the opportunity to work half days as a way to continue working and also get a sample of what retirement life might be like.  I have been given the chance to enjoy both worlds, working with fun co-workers and customers in the mornings, and then having time to experience fun with family and friends in the afternoons.  After working the past few months at the new schedule, I explained to a customer that I have only been working half days, and his response was “I hadn’t noticed”.   (I hope the boss doesn’t read this blog).

      Rodney gets more respect.

Friday, September 25, 2015

This Old House

Approximately 5 years ago I moved back to the family farm to a house that had not been inhabited for about 15 years.  Amazingly, everything was in fairly good shape, but like any old house the windows needed replaced and some of the plaster needed repaired.  The house is 99 years old.  Even us humans need a little work after that long! First task was to strip the wall paper in the living room, dining room and stairway.  A friend was unemployed at the time and offered to help, Thank the Lord.  After much hard work, approximately three months time and some help from other family members we were ready to paint.  One project done!  Now to the kitchen which was last remodeled in the early 70’s.  Yep, you guessed it, paneling throughout, and a suspended ceiling which made you feel claustrophobic.  So my friend and I decided to get rid of the suspended ceiling. My friend had remodeled and gutted three houses, so she was a pro.  I’m another story, a rookie, a virgin, crazy were names you could call me.   We were very careful on what wires to cut or loosen so that the whole thing wouldn’t fall all at once.   We strategically went around the room loosening the wires and taking the track down, until…..BOOM!.. it all came at once.  No one was hurt, nothing was scratched, so all was well. Having your heart race every once in a while is good for you, right?   I painted the kitchen, bathroom and laundry room.  Whew! I think I was burnt out because I didn’t want to start any more projects.  I hired someone to replace all the windows on the first floor.  What a difference that makes!  Once you get started, you just don’t know where to stop, but stop I did for a few years.

Then a few weeks ago, my son noticed the ceiling in the bathroom looked like it was sagging. I laid in bed one night and thought it looked funny, but it hadn’t been leaking and with all the rain we have had there were no stains on the ceiling tile.  I decided I better check out the attic and make sure something hadn’t shifted or moved and was putting pressure on the ceiling.  Nothing wrong upstairs, so I talked with a contractor cousin and he said possibly the wires had broken on the suspended ceiling or plaster was falling off the walls.   I got the step ladder and decided I better lift up a ceiling tile and just see exactly what was going on.  I’ve been going to fitness class, but I couldn’t get the ceiling tile to budge.  I tried another one, I got it to move a little, then one more and BOOM!  Once again the ceiling fell along with the track and all the plaster that had been piling up and weighting it down.  This “boom” was a little more traumatic for me as I was by myself.  The light fixture was dangling in the air attached to the suspended metal ceiling track… which I was holding onto hoping not to get electrocuted.  What to do?  I need to call for help but couldn’t drop the part of the ceiling that I was still trying to hold up.   Finally, I got it lodged and balanced on the shower stall and called THE friend.  She and her husband rushed right out and rescued me.  Sooo, I guess my next project is the bathroom.  Dena’s Renovations is open for business again.  Too bad I couldn’t get a TV show. L

Monday, August 31, 2015

Our State Fair is a Great State Fair!


I just spent three straight days at the Iowa State Fair with my wife and my three youngest kids. The kids were showing their Boer goats in the 4-H show. We’d never shown any livestock at the State Fair before and I have to admit, I was a bit apprehensive about the whole deal. How would our stock compare to the competition? How would we ever get everything unloaded and loaded back up again with all the traffic and the people? Well, as with most things I worry about, I shouldn’t have wasted my time worrying at all!

The Fair organizers are great. After all, this is not their first rodeo so any problems we might have encountered had already been ironed out years earlier. We had a packet of instructions two weeks in advance. It included all of the check in dates and times along with the appropriate gate assignments and parking stickers. We had everything unloaded and penned up within an hour of our arrival! There was plenty of helpful staff on horseback who kept the traffic moving and the congestion at a minimum. I didn’t see one problem or hear one horn honked in frustration. I wouldn’t call the process relaxing but it was far from the stressful event I’d anticipated.

Once we were settled in, I had a chance to observe some of the staff in action. I’d never been on the fairgrounds at 5:30 a.m. before. It’s a beehive of activity! Garbage trucks cleaning up after 100,000 people, skid loaders hauling off manure from hundreds of head of livestock and vendors dropping off food and beverages for the day. Everyone has their time slot to do their thing and they follow it to the letter.

The livestock show went smoothly too. When they say first show at 8:00 a.m., they mean it! All the judges and support staff were in place well in advance and the shows went off without a hitch. The livestock judges are some of the best in the nation and the 4-H staff is second to none when it comes to running a show. It’s always a pleasure to see professionals and volunteers come together like a well oiled machine.

When we were all done, loaded up and headed home, the conversation turned to next year. What animals would we bring? When should we breed our animals to maximize the number of animals we could show? Should we make some changes to our program based on the judge’s comments on our animals? There were lots of ideas and food for thought. At any rate, it’s a sure thing we’ll be back again next year with a new group of animals. One thing is for certain, we’ll be able to count on the capable State Fair staff for another well run Fair!
Blain Smith
VP Ag Lending

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

LSB Pistol Packing Professionals

A couple of years ago my husband, Randy, thought I should take the class to get my Permit to Carry. Working at the bank, he thought it would be good information even if I never carry. The kids and I went to the class one evening. It was very informative.  I learned a lot and enjoyed it. He was right. Don’t ever tell him that I admitted that.

Between us gals at work, Sarah and I have had our permits for a while. Dena recently went and got hers.  Dena decided she needed to take a shooting class. So she came over to borrow a pistol from me. She picked the revolver. It was the second pistol Randy had purchased for me. The first one that Randy got me I didn’t have enough strength to use. Now that one is his. Hmmm, may have been the plan. The second one was a revolver and was much easier to use.

Dena got to her class and got to the target shooting session. She gets ready to shoot and she doesn’t have enough strength to pull the trigger, so she uses one of the trainer’s guns instead. She had trouble hitting the target. She blamed it on her contacts. She has decided maybe she could just beat the bad guys with the gun instead of shooting at them.  I really can’t say much. I have trouble hitting the pop can but I can hit the five gallon bucket. I guess my bad guy better be an extra large one.  Sarah has a lot more practice.  She has shot her gun many times.  If you know Sarah, she’s going to shoot first and ask questions later. And then there is Toni.  She doesn’t have her permit or a gun. She can take on anything. She has raised twin sons.
Yesterday we were discussing our shooting talents when the local undertaker came in at the bank. He was concerned that maybe The Eldon LSB Pistol Packing Professionals may be sending business his way. He wondered if he needed to leave his phone number.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Poor Linus

Due to a fight with a raccoon, a scratch on Linus’ face quickly turned into an infected mess.   After 2 trips to the vet, with the 2nd trip requiring an over night stay, Linus came home wearing a cone.  We have owned dogs for years and I am grateful that this was our first cone experience, and hopefully our last.  When my husband said Linus had to wear the cone for 3 weeks, I thought...impossible.  There is no arguing the simplicity and effectiveness of the cone; it keeps animals from reaching parts of their body they are to leave alone.  That is easily said if you are not the one wearing it.  Linus is a 3 year old, very energetic 100 pound golden retriever.  Linus’ peripheral vision was affected, as was his hearing.  Heat built inside cone. During an adventure to the cattle lot on a rainy day, water built up inside the cone then ran slowly down his neck.  It took days for his neck to dry out since there was limited air hitting his neck.  He had to learn to eat and drink differently.  He loves to play ball and chew on his deer antler, which was very challenging while wearing the cone.  Wow...what a difference a piece of plastic can make. 

We sprung him out of his cone 1 week early; without a set back in the healing process...success!  I don’t know who was happier...Linus or I?