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Rule of Thumb

by Valerie Nusbaum

Last week, our friend, Diana, stopped by. Randy and I spent some time catching up with her, laughing about old times. Diana mentioned that she enjoys reading my column every month, and she said that she especially enjoys reading about Randy’s antics. I regretfully replied that Randy hasn’t been doing anything “column-worthy” lately, and I’ve been at a loss for material.  Then, yesterday happened.

It was Monday, and Randy was off from work. We had planned to do my mom’s grocery shopping, pick up her prescriptions, and do odd jobs at her house. Mom wanted us to have lunch together as an early celebration for Randy’s and my 27th wedding anniversary. It sounded like a good, albeit busy, day. 

Randy realized that he needed to run down to the hospital to have his blood drawn in preparation for a doctor’s appointment next week, so he hurried out and took care of that first thing in the morning. The lab, of course, was backed up, and Hubby ended up having to wait quite a while. He said that he caused a ruckus at the lab. The techs there assign every patient a number.  Randy’s number was L28. You know how it works: The tech comes out and calls out a number, and the appropriate patient goes back to be poked and prodded. Randy heard a whole list of numbers being called:  L16, M33, P72, etc. He thought it would be funny to yell out “Bingo.”  That was met with frowns from the staff, and several of the waiting patients were outraged because they hadn’t been offered playing cards.  Luckily, L28 was called and Randy got away safely.

After the lab experience, we headed to Brunswick and the grocery store, which, in and of itself, is always an adventure. Groceries in hand, we arrived at Mom’s on time and proceeded to have a nice celebratory lunch, complete with cake and presents. Randy and I did our chores and errands and headed back to Thurmont.

I was tired, but I still had things to do, so I headed to the treadmill to walk off that big lunch, and I started doing some work in my office.  Randy advised that he’d be out in his woodshop if I needed him. I walked, worked, and decided to take an early bath. I was in the bathroom undressing when I heard footsteps on the stairs and Hubby’s voice outside the door.

“Don’t be mad. I need to go to the doctor,” Randy said.

My first thought was that he was having chest pains or other scary symptoms. I grabbed for my clothes and went out in the hall, asking what was wrong. By that time, Randy was in his own bathroom, and I could hear water running.

“I cut my hand,” he said. This is not an unusual occurrence, but Randy doesn’t usually require a doctor’s visit, so I was a little scared to see what was going on in the bathroom. I peeked around the corner and saw Randy’s hand wrapped in paper towels and blood everywhere.

“It’s my thumb,” he sort of moaned. “Deep. Might need stitches.  Can’t stop the bleeding.”

I grabbed my shoes and purse and said, “Let’s go.” He was in some pain, and the blood was still seeping through the towels. I got out some gauze pads and taped his thumb as best I could, and we rushed out the door. Being stubborn and manly, Randy wanted to drive himself to the emergency room, so I didn’t argue too much. I figured that driving might distract him, and I’d be in the truck in case it got dicey. I suggested we try an urgent care facility instead of the ER, as it might be quicker. So, I started looking for the one closest to the hospital, just in case. At that point, I really had no idea how bad it was, but what I could see was nasty.

It was evening rush hour around Frederick, so we took the first exit and sneaked in the back way to the urgent care facility. I offered to go inside with him, but Randy thought I should stay in the truck in the parking lot so that I could call the appropriate people and garner him some sympathy. I knew that he really didn’t want me with him because I can be demanding and pushy. So, I stayed out of it and let him go in alone. I say alone, but he texted me the entire time he was inside, updating his progress every ten minutes. “Still waiting.” “Waiting for nurse.” “Waiting. Bleeding has stopped. I can just leave.” Ummm…no. That was not an option after we’d made the trip down there.

Finally, after an hour and a half, Randy came back. He’d gotten a tetanus booster, and his thumb was cleaned, glued, and bandaged. He could have gotten stitches, but the consensus was that it would be easier for him if he opted not to. He felt better about things until I asked what he wanted for dinner, suggesting that he choose something he could eat with nine fingers.

This morning, Randy and his bandaged thumb went off to work.  I think he was anxious to get away from me after I told him that his rapper name is now 9-Digits. I even wrote a song about it.

Happy Thanksgiving!

by Valerie Nusbaum

When people are going through a major ordeal, one would hope that the fates would be kind and not pile on more trials and tribulations.  Such has not been the case for us recently.

Does anyone remember that terrible wind storm we had back at the beginning of March? Yes, I know that March is supposed to come in like a lion, but did we really need a whole pride? I remember it, vividly. It was a Friday, and Randy was in the hospital in Towson. I had been staying down there in the family housing, but I came home on Thursday evening because I had an appointment on Friday.  Randy called me early on Friday morning and said that his surgeon was releasing him, and he needed me to pick him up. No problem. I had to drive to Brunswick for my appointment and to check on my mom, and I’d head to Towson after that. I went down to the basement to get some bottled water and happened to feel a draft. I was none too happy to discover that the wind had blown our storm door off the frame and had knocked out the glass panel. The interior door was nearly shoved inward, too. I did the best I could to shore things up, but I had to leave it and head out.

On my way to Brunswick, a light came on in my car, telling me that my tire pressure was low. I hoped it was due to the cold weather, but decided to stop at the garage to check since I had a long drive ahead of me and the wind was trying to shove me off the road. The first mechanic refused to put air in my tires, but he did point out that I needed new ones. Dry rot. At this point, I was ready to sit in a corner and cry, but I still had to see my doctor, get a shot, check on Mom, and pick up Randy. By the time I got to Mom’s, I was a mess, and she suggested going back to the garage to get air in my tires. The lady (and I use that term loosely) at the garage desk was downright hostile, but I had taken my mommy with me and she set her straight. Mom’s friend, Mike, put some air in the tires for me. He also pointed out that I needed new ones. The good news was that Randy was coming home and all the hassles were worth it to get him here, and even though I’m old, and she’s older, my mother still goes to battle for me.

We had some roof damage from the wind storm, too, so we decided to file an insurance claim for the roof and basement doors. The adjuster who worked our case wasn’t happy that we went ahead and had the roof fixed by our own contactor, but we were glad we did because the roofers did the repairs the day before we had the blizzard. Randy and the adjuster went a few rounds, and our claim was eventually denied. Our insurance agent got involved, and we’re waiting for a new claim. I imagine we’ll be waiting a long time. We had our contractors replace the basement doors anyway. It had to be done, and the doors are really nice ones.

The dryer hose managed to separate itself from the dryer and blew lint all over the laundry room.  We’re lucky we didn’t have a fire. I had been telling Randy that the hose needed to be cleaned, so now that’s done. The laundry room is clean and shiny, too, and I’m looking at new dryers.

While our yard was being mowed and trimmed, a rock hit our front storm door glass and shattered it into 10,000 little pieces.  I discovered it when I opened the interior door and a sucking, whooshing sound let me know that something bad was about to happen.  I was able to shove the interior door closed just in time to keep the glass shards from cascading down on me. I had never liked the storm door because it was so heavy. Now we have a much lighter one, and it’s easier for me to get in and out when my hands are full.

We discovered ants in our pantry.  The pantry got a good cleaning, all opened food is now stored in containers and plastic bags, and we have an exterminator on retainer.

I got four new tires and found out that I need new brakes, and that was just after Randy had a flat tire on the way home. He was lucky he wasn’t on the highway. It happened right in front of our house.

My toilet isn’t working, Mom’s oven caught fire, and the last two times I’ve tried to meet my cousin Tricia for lunch, I’ve had to cut it short and go to a funeral.

Honest, I’m doing my best to be positive and focus on the good things. I found eight cents in the parking lot the other day, and never mind that the clerk inside the store was horribly rude to me. What I’m trying to say is that life is all about how we look at it. I’m trying.  Really, I am.

P.S.  Thank you, Barb Barbe!

The Optimist Club of Frederick held its eighth annual Fish with a Cop program on Saturday, June 3, 2017, at the Camp Airy pond in Thurmont.  There were twenty-seven boys and girls from across Frederick County who took part in the program. Officers from the Sheriff’s Department, Maryland State, Frederick City, Brunswick, Thurmont, and the Department of Natural Resources Police participated in the program.

The officers picked up the children from their homes and transported them to the pond. They were then given a Zebco combo rod and reel, along with tackle from the Optimist Club. The officers and club members worked with the kids to help them develop or to further their fishing skills. When the fishing was done, the Optimist Club held a cookout and fish fry for the children and the officers. Following the cookout, the officers took the children back home.

The following sponsors contributed to this wonderful program: Safeway Foods, Food Lion, Wegman’s, Weis, The Brotherhood of the Jungle Cock for stocking the pond with trout, Camp Airy for use of their pond, Camp Airy Director Tim Olson for all his assistance, Zebco for the fishing equipment, and Frederick County elementary schools. Because of these sponsors and policemen who volunteered their time, the children had a very memorable experience. The Optimist Club would like to extend a huge “thank you” to all who helped with this program.

For more information, contact Pat or Craig Taliaferro at 301-663-8116 or

Pictured from left are: (top row) Tr. 1st Class Nick Farioli, Ofc. Tim Duhan, Master Trooper Matthew Crouse, Lt. Mike Lee, Alexis Gray, Ofc. Sara Evans, Aux, Ofc. Dylan Owens, X’Zavier Rollins, Detective Jeff Putman, Ofc. Mike Conover, Sgt. Angela Waechter, Ofc. Joe Constanine; (second row) Patricia Taliaferro (chair of Fish with a Cop), Malachi Prather, Haven Miesner, Logan Heims, Jared Clair, Jack Wilkins, Luis Barrera, Allen, Jorydn Brown, Juan Duran, Brigido Reyes, Dunique Allen, Brandon Hoalim, Braydon Bagent, Deon Melvin, Earl Gamber President, Tony Martin Optimist member; (third row) Cpl. Christopher Handler, Ofc. Laura Albrecht, Cpl. Brad Lowe, Cpl. Jerimy Tindal, Cpl. Josh White, Tr. Adam Oleyar, Sgt. Paul Schur, Tr. Kyle Knowles, Major Tim Clark, Cpl. Dan McDowell; (front row) Albri Teran, Allen Lane, Wayne Jenkins, Dylan Baker, Lacie Hughes, Will LeGore, Alexandria Geiger, Vincent Napoli, Dustin Thomas, Austin Zembroski, Joseph Fritz, and Jaffet Palacios.

The Dirt on Minerals

by Bob Warden

I hope your hunting season went well, and your freezer is full of venison and your mind full of memories. My season was successful and I have plenty of bologna, chip, and hot dogs to get us through the year.

Now we start the real work to help our deer herd make it through the winter and into the spring, antler growing and fawning seasons. As soon as possible, if you are on private land, you need to start replenishing what the deer have lost through the breeding season and the cold winter months. By this, I mean helping them replenish fat reserves, vitamins, and minerals. I am big on deer nutrition for the health of the herd and for antler growth.

Through the winter, where it is legal, I use a grain-based product, Maxi-1 (15 percent protein) by WYLD Mineral products. Please do not use just corn. Deer need a variety of things, and only feeding them corn does not give them the protein they need. Corn is just a carbohydrate, and too much corn can actually change a deer’s digestive process. They can starve with a full stomach of corn. If you research it on the Internet, you will see what I mean.

As you can tell by my nickname, “Mineral Bob,” my big thing is getting the right minerals in my deer. You can do this year round but it is highly important from March through September. During these months, as things green-up, deer eat a lot of vegetation that is high in water and potassium, which will make them urinate more and in the process, they lose high amounts of salt, calcium, and phosphorus. By just putting out a salt block, the deer will be attracted to it, but will miss the two main minerals they need: calcium and phosphorus. These minerals will help in milk and fawn production, muscle development, and antler growth. So, use the salt as the attractant (this time of year deer crave salt) to get the deer to take in the other essential minerals for overall health.

Look at the labels on the product you use, choose as close to 30 percent total calcium and phosphorus as possible, with calcium being close to twice the amount of phosphorus. The amount of salt in your product is a well-debated topic. I use WYLD Minerals Orchard blend, which is 47 percent salt, 15 percent calcium, and 9.5 percent phosphorus, along with other trace minerals.

One thing to remember is that the closer you are to the ocean, the less salt the deer need.

Emmitsburg’s Green Efforts Paying Off

James Rada, Jr.

The Town of Emmitsburg recently replaced its street lights with LED lights. The result is that the cost to run those lights has dropped by nearly two-thirds.

This is just one of the ways that the town’s efforts to go green—while reducing costs and maintaining the quality of life in town—have paid off.

Last year, the town signed a resolution to participate in the Sustainable Maryland Certified Municipal program.

“It’s a state program with the University of Maryland Environmental Center that puts together a series of tasks or projects that lead toward the better use of community resources,” said Jerry Muir, who is coordinating the town’s certification efforts.

To become certified “Sustainable,” a municipality must accrue 150 points from a project list. According to a memo to the town from Muir, “These include, in general groupings, Local Food initiatives such as the Farmers Market; Energy Efficiency such as establishing a carbon footprint; Community Wellness programs; Green Business recognition; Land Use Planning and Conservation; Pet Waste disposal and education programs; Environmental Conservation Programs such as Tree City, Watershed Protection, etc.” There are dozens of projects a town can choose from to accumulate enough points.  

Emmitsburg had already been doing some of the potential tasks, such as having a farmer’s market and community gardens. Seeking the certification has pushed the town to look for new ways to become green. One such innovation was that the town built a solar energy field to provide it with 100-percent renewable energy.

“The long-term benefit is a better use of resources, and the town becomes a lot more environmentally aware,” Muir said.

He also added that should environmental grants become available in the future, the certification will help in winning them.

In Frederick County, Frederick City is already certified and Brunswick is working towards that goal.

“In the next few months, we should have enough points to be certified,” Muir said.

The last thing that Muir expects to be needed to accumulate enough points for certification is for the town to send out an energy survey. Once that is complete and the points added to Emmitsburg’s tally, certification can be made.

“The Mayor and Town Council have made an environmental commitment to become as environmentally efficient as can be,” Muir said.