Thursday, February 27, 2014

Farewell, Bob

I am very saddened to report that last Friday, White Trash Bob lost his battle with cancer.

His obituary recounts who he was to the rest of the world:

Robert James Eckhoff, 66, of Lexington, MO, passed away February 21, 2014 at his home. 
He was born in St. Louis, MO, in 1947, and graduated from William Chrisman High School in Independence, MO, in 1965. After being honorably discharged from the United States Air Force, he worked for many years in the automotive and insurance industries, retiring from The Hartford in 2012. Bob was well known for his sense of humor, his storytelling, and his devotion to living history. He spent many years educating the public on the Civil War with the Third Missouri Confederate Infantry and cofounded the Friends of the Anderson House in 1998.

He is survived by his wife, Sherri (Layden); his son, Shannon, and daughter-in-law, Amy; and his daughter, Heather (Eckhoff) Surber, and son-in-law, James. He was preceded in death by his mother, Elsie (Kolster), and father, Robert. 

Visitation will be held at Walker Nadler Fuller on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 from 6 to 8 pm. A Celebration of Life service will be held at Walker Nadler Fuller on Wednesday, February 26 at 11:00 am. The family would like to give special thanks to Bob's dedicated caregivers and friends, Harold Bonanomi, Tom Emerson, and Pat and Gary Worth, as well as the many friends who gave their love and support. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Friends of the Friendless animal rescue group at fofanimalrescue.org, P.O. Box 411, Lexington, MO, 64067.

But to us, he was White Trash Bob.  Forever dependable, always quick with a hug and a smile, maddeningly stubborn, and hilarious.  There was never a time in the four short years I knew him that WTB failed to help me when I asked--and more importantly, when I did not ask but he could see that I needed the help. I met Bob when I first began tearing the shingles off my house in 2009 and he walked up the sidewalk and said, "May I ask what the hell you're doing?"  Classic WTB right there.  He built my picket fence, loaned me tools at least a thousand times (and gave me my prized possession, a blue wrecker bar), brought me BLTs when I was working on the house like a madwoman and didn't stop even to eat, taught me basic wiring, debated politics (a subject we never, ever agreed upon) on our walks, gave me a bouquet of peacock feathers for my birthday once, and convinced me to play hooky and go on rides with him on his beloved Triumph motorcycle.  I will miss those times most of all, those days of perfect weather when we took off with no destination in mind and just headed down whatever road looked good.  He always picked a roadside flower for me on those rides.  

Farewell, Bob.  

Friday, February 21, 2014

Just Call Me Rocky

Today I climbed a ladder for the first time since my injury.

It pretty much felt like this:



I even wore black Chucks, just like Rocky Balboa.

And in case anyone's wondering, the spindles on my side porch spandrel are on 7" centers.

Friday, February 7, 2014

What I Learned

They say you learn something new every day.  Well, this week that old adage has proven itself.  In spades.

Monday I learned that if you have a programmable thermostat which has batteries and you let said batteries go dead, the thermostat won't work anymore and your house will be really cold when you get home after being gone for 14 hours.  When I say "really cold", I mean that I put new batteries in the thing and watched the digital readout zoom down like an elevator in a highrise: 67, 66, 65, 64, 63, 62...all the way down to 49, 48, 47...at which point I stopped looking, put on long johns under my jammies, and went to bed.  After I heated up my bed with a blowdryer.  

Tuesday I learned that if there's a Winter Weather Advisory that includes the phrases "treacherous travel" and "near whiteout conditions" that my usual 40-minute commute to work takes 80 minutes.  I got there 15 minutes before shift change, which I consider my greatest accomplishment so far this winter.

Wednesday I learned that although the Brave Little Toaster (my Kia Soul) can make it through terrible driving conditions including black ice and drifts of snow on the highway, it cannot get through bumper-deep snow in the alley behind my house, despite my best efforts.  After nearly an hour of trying various things to get my car unstuck, I abandoned it at the edge of the alley jack-knifed in front of my neighbors' SUV.  I'm glad they didn't want to go anywhere.

Thursday I learned that on the coldest day of the year when there's a Wind Chill Warning in effect, people who clear snow can charge top dollar for their services.  I paid a guy 40 bucks to dig out the Toaster by hand and make a path from the alley to my carport, and I consider this money well spent.

I can hardly wait to see what new learning experiences I have next week.