Curt's Crazy Tales

You Didn't Really Do That, Did You?

July 14, 2017
by Curt Swisher
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My Tongue Got Stuck—Really? You Didn’t Do That, Did You?

When I worked as a camp superintendent, my responsibilities were quite varied. One of which was maintaining the camp swimming pool.

Now I am a decent swimmer, when on the surface that is. But I have no leg strength for diving. My strength was with my arms. I could swim fairly long distances, several laps up and down the swimming pool, with not much effort, but don’t ask me to dive to the bottom of a swimming pool. That would be a huge problem.

So, when a bunch of leaves piled up at the bottom of the deep end, I was in trouble. How could I get those leaves out of the pool? I did not have a long handled dipper that I could use to scoop up the leaves.

I tried several times to swim to the bottom and scoop up the leaves. Every time I reached the bottom, and I stopped using my hand to get there, so I could grab the leaves, I would immediately bob right back to the surface. My legs were just not strong enough to keep me down there.

Being the “creative” person I am, I decided to tie a rope onto a concrete block, and throw it to the bottom of the deep end. That way, I reasoned, I could swim to the bottom, hold onto the rope with one hand and gather the leaves with the other hand. Sounds good doesn’t it?

However, when I got to the bottom and started trying to scoop up the leaves, I ran short of breath, and had to surface. So I tried taking several deep breaths before trying again, hoping that I could then hold my breath longer. Didn’t work. Not one to give up, I tried various ways with no success.

Finally, I decided that I needed a way to breathe while down there. I never had been snorkeling before, but it seemed like that might be the solution.

So I gathered up one of the garden hoses that I had plenty of, and brought it to the pool. I tied one end onto the fence surrounding the pool and stuck the other end in my mouth, and practiced breathing through the hose. GREAT, it works, so now it’s just a matter of swimming to the bottom, with a hose in my mouth.

I jumped into the pool, and put the hose in my mouth and proceeded to dive to the bottom. Immediately after going under the surface, my tongue “jumped into the hose” and stuck there. I had to surface again.

Confused, I thought I just needed to control my tongue better. Surely with a little effort, I could keep my tongue in my mouth, and out of the hose. Made sense to me,

So I tried again, jumped into the pool, put the hose in my mouth, and CONCENTRATED on not allowing my tongue to stick into the hose. Down I went, and immediately my tongue “jumped into the hose” and stuck there.

Finally it dawned on me that the pressure on my body a short distance under the water was more than the air pressure about water, and there was no way I was going to be able to overcome that difference in pressure. There was no way to keep my tongue from getting stuck in the hose. Now I know the difference between snorkeling, and diving with air tanks.

That really did happen.

I don’t remember how I finally got the leaves out of the pool, but it was not by me going to the bottom to remove them.

July 7, 2017
by Curt Swisher
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Fixing a Meal for My Kids—You Didn’t Really Do That, Did You?

When my wife left for a weekend conference, with our baby in tow, I was left home to baby sit for our oldest three children. A two year old, a four year old, and a five year old.

I wanted to make sure that they had an enjoyable time, which included lots of fun games etc. But when it came to meal time, I was really wondering what I would fix them that they all would like.

I love to cook, and I am a very creative cook. Most of the time, my meals that I create are “more normal.” But occasionally I get a wild idea.

This was one of the times I had a wild idea.

When asked what I was going to make them, my response was—it’s a surprise.

So what was in my surprise? Well here is the recipe. Maybe you will want to try it. HaHa!

Step one: Boil some elbow macaroni.

Step two: Add some stewed tomatoes.

Step three: Spit some hotdogs almost all the way through.

Step four: Stuff the hotdogs with peanut butter.

Step five: Mix altogether, and simmer awhile until the tomatoes etc . are hot.

Step six: Make a bowl of popcorn, and dump it all on top of the Macaroni, stewed tomato, and hotdog/peanut butter mixture.

When the meal is ready and your kids ask what you made them,

 –tell them it’s called POPCORN SURPRISE.

They loved it.

When my wife came home and asked them what they had to eat, they all chimed in and said Popcorn Surprise. When she asked what was in it, they told her. I don’t think she really believed what they were telling her, as she turned to me and asked, what was REALLY in it. I told her, “exactly what they described” She couldn’t believe it.

By the way, they asked for her to make it many times over the next year or so. I don’t think they have ever forgotten about Dad making them Popcorn Surprise.

July 1, 2017
by Curt Swisher
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Packing For a Move–Did You Forget Anything?

Now I am sure anyone reading this can relate to how much effort goes into packing your belongings up to move to a new home. It’s not an easy process. Making sure you have not missed something is very important.

I have become somewhat of an “expert” in packing for a move. My wife and I moved a total of 16 times in our first 15 years of marriage. That is an average of more than one move per year.

Our first move (to our very first home) was simple. We just stuffed everything in the car. It was only a temporary home at a camp ground, where I knew that at the end of the summer we would move again. So we even had a few items that we left behind, to retrieve at the end of the summer, when we moved again.

By the time we made that “end of the summer move”, we used a small pull behind trailer, (U-Haul style.)

Most of our moves involved renting a large truck, and towing our car behind. Only one time did we use professional movers; my company paid for that move.

One move from a small town, to a rural location just a few miles outside of town, was done by friends from our church, using their farm trucks. My wife was teaching high school at the time. Knowing that our friends would do all the work, we did not do “any” advanced packing. She left for school in the morning, from one home, and arrived at our new home that evening.  No packing, meant “no” plan, as to where things would wind up in the new home. That was a very interesting move, trying to find things after the move.

Finally after 16 moves in 15 years, we settled in to stay, at least temporarily. We told our kids, this would only be a temporary home, as we were going to move again as soon as we found a more appropriate home. We stayed “temporarily” in that home for eleven years.

Finally, as our last daughter went off to college, we packed another truck and moved again. Our oldest daughter came home from college, and seeing the moving truck, made the comment “you really are moving this time”, since we had be saying we would, for eleven years.

By the time we made our last move, to our current home (the 20th one) we again hired a moving company. Even after getting rid of as much “stuff” as we could, we still used two full sized moving trucks.

So like I said in the first paragraph, I have become rather an expert on packing for a move. However, here is where you might ask the question “You didn’t really do that, did you?”

This move was from Aurora, Colorado, a suburb of Denver, to our new home in Oak Grove, Missouri—a  little over 600 miles. This move was because my boss was transferring me to a different office. We had the largest U-Haul truck we could get, chained a couple items on the back end of the truck, and stuffed our car, and towed it behind the truck. By that time our four kids were 14, 12, 10, and 8. All four of them and both of us traveled the entire trip inside the cab of that U-Haul.

If we forgot anything, there was no going back. So I was extra careful to not forget anything. In those days, if you are going to tow a vehicle, you had to disconnect the drive shaft. I crawled under the car, un-hooked the drive shaft, and using baling wire, tied it up to make the 600 plus mile trip.

Just before we arrived at our new home, I made a stop at my company’s office, to let my boss know we had arrived—only 10 miles to go to our new home.

The first words from his mouth were, “Did You FORGET something?” Puzzled, I asked, what did I forget? He informed me that my wife’s aunt, who lived directly across the street from us in Aurora, had found the drive shaft of my car laying on the street where I had carefully tied it up under the car—so much for double checking before we pulled away from that home. He loaned me his car, while we had to wait another day or so for the drive shaft to arrive by UPS.

How EMBARRASSING, for an “expert” packer.

Stay tuned for more Crazy Tales of those 20 moves, you will laugh out loud at them.

 

 

June 23, 2017
by Curt Swisher
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When You Bargain With God–You Didn’t Do That, Did You?

This blog is a little different than the others. It’s not one of those “rolling in laughter” ones, but it definitely has a point, and fits into the category of “You Didn’t Do That, Did You.”

My guess is that most of you can recall a time in your life when you bargained with God. I would venture to say it didn’t turn out very well. In fact, for me I don’t think I have ever come out on top when I tried to bargain with God.

If you read my “about” page, you will know that I was saved in college. Within a year, God had clearly called me into ministry. I did like I was told by others in ministry (not always the best advice). They told me to start out supplying in pulpits, then become a youth minister, and then become a Pastor. That was not what God had in mind for me. I did spend a few years supplying pulpits.

Several years later, through a series of events in my church, God was clearing telling me He wanted me to go to Seminary. I was more than willing to do so, as I do believe in obeying when God directs you to do something.

However—here is the rest of the story.

At that stage in life I was married, and had a one year old, three year old, and five year old, and we planned to have a fourth child within the year; and I had a “decent” job that paid reasonably good. But, being a “responsible” parent, I did not think I could afford to go to seminary, and provide for my family on the income I had.

So I put in my request to God. Actually it was me trying to bargain with God. I TOLD him that I would go to seminary IF he provided me with a new job that paid TWICE what I was earning. I thought at the time, that was a “reasonable” demand.

It was in the late spring, and I figured I would start seminary with the fall semester. I figured that would give adequate time for God to provide a job that paid twice what I was making. I proceeded to look for jobs, the normal way, with no luck. As the deadline was approaching that I would need to enroll, I still had no idea what job would be instore for me. I was getting frustrated, as I knew God wanted me to go to seminary, which I was agreeing to do, only on my terms. NOT a good way to approach things.

Finally, it was the Friday before class was to start, and I had a “heart to heart” talk with God. It was clear to me that I needed to TRUST God that he would supply my needs, not my wants, and go to seminary now. So that is what I did. I informed my boss (who knew I was thinking about seminary) that, that day would be my last, as I was starting seminary on Monday.

Since I had been waiting for God to provide my idea of a “perfect” job, before I made a commitment, I had not saved any money back. Not a responsible thing to do. I know, but that’s what I did. Monday morning I drove the 50 miles to seminary, finished enrolling, somehow was able to buy the books with no money, and started class.

Approximately two weeks passed as I went the 100 mile round trip each day to class, still wondering what job I would find. I had applied multiple places, but had heard nothing from any of them.

So finally I was virtually out of funds. I went to seminary that day, with not enough gas in the tank to make the round trip back home. I can remember praying in between classes each hour, asking God if this was going to be my last day in seminary. There was no bargaining this time—just me asking God how I was going to be able to continue, if that is what he wanted me to do. I was truly at the end of my “human” rope. The only thing left to do was trust God that He would supply.

Just before my last class of the day, I heard the Public Address announcement telling me I needed to call home. I found a phone (before cell phones) and made the call. My wife informed me that I had a job interview, and that I would have just enough time to get there, if I left immediately after my last class. I was so excited.

After class I hopped into the car and started out another 50 miles, but not in the direction of home. Then I looked down at my gas gauge, and it said “empty.” As a side note, my gas gauge always worked perfectly, so if it said empty, it was truly right on empty. There was no time to go back and ask someone for some money for gas, so I did what I “should” do when I have a need—I prayed that God would stretch the gas out to allow me to get to that interview.

As I drove, the gas gauge literally started rising off of empty. I do believe in miracles, and I was seeing one right then. I made it to the job interview in time, and before it was over, I was offered a job that would be full time, and at a time that I would be able to go to seminary full time. God does provide.

But I still had another 35 miles to go to get home. Looked at my gas gauge and sure enough there was enough gas to make it. So by the time I got home, I had traveled a total of 75 miles on an “empty” gas tank.

When I arrived home, my wife told me that our church had brought a bag of groceries to us that would tide us over a couple weeks and enough cash to fill my gas tank. My first pay check would be in two weeks.

Isn’t God amazing? And oh—by the way, the job I got, paid me exactly TWICE what I had been making.

The point of my story—NEVER bargain with God—you will not win. However, trust God, He WILL supply your needs, and if He asks you to do something, OBEY without strings. You will not regret it.

 

 

June 20, 2017
by Curt Swisher
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Collecting Geodes–How to Not Use Your Brain

My wife and I love rocks. We used to collect rocks. Since both of us love science, we collected rocks that had some scientific significance (at least to us.)

Throughout our married life, we loved tent camping. Every year for our vacation, we would go tent camping. I don’t think we ever stayed in a motel while on vacation.

One year, when our four kids were in the age range of 8 to 14, as I remember, we decided to go to Geode State Park at Keokuk, Iowa, just across the border from both Missouri and Illinois.

Geode State Park was named after the fact that there was an abundance of geodes in the state park, at least when the park was named. Over the years so many had collected the geodes, that you no longer could find a geode in the state park and it was then illegal to take one from there, if you actually found one.

If you don’t know what a geode is, it is a rock, kind of a very ugly rock, which on the surface is so plain that no one would want it. Except that when you break one open, you find a beautiful set of crystals lining the hollow interior. I’m sure you seen these in museums, rock shops, and other specialty shops that sell items that most people would love to display prominently. Not all geodes form beautiful interiors. Some just barely have a hollow area, but you must collect and open a lot, to find the very pretty ones.

Since we could not legally collect geodes from the park, we decided to go to the back roads near the park and look for old dry creek beds, full of rocks, to hunt for some. I was also a Boy Scout leader and had a very nice back pack with the full frame used for hiking with all your equipment on you back. Not the simple little back packs used for book bags these days.

So we set off down an old creek bed, with all four kids and my wife, each collecting rocks. Now here is where the BRAIN did not kick into gear. As soon as we set out, one of the kids grabbed a rock and put it in my empty back pack. Then another, and another, and many more as we walked the old creek bed.

When my back pack was full to the brim, I realized that we had made an HUGE mistake. We should have walked in the approximately mile and a half that we had gone. THEN started collecting rocks on our way back. But NO, we didn’t do it that way. As near as I can estimate, when the return hike back to the beginning was done, I had well over 100 pounds of rocks in my back pack. Talk about being exhausted.

Moral of the story—if you are going to collect rocks on a hike. Don’t start collecting until you have gone as far as you intend on going. THEN start collecting on your return trip.

When we were done, and had opened the geodes, we did find some very pretty ones that I still have on display. NOTE: Over the years we have moved a lot and every time we moved, our friends that helped us always wanted to know why we had so many boxes labeled “rocks.” They always asked if there were really rocks in those boxes, and we had to say, yes they are really full of rocks.

 

June 13, 2017
by Curt Swisher
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Attacked by Aliens

Do you ever have nightmares? I had severe nightmares from the time I was a fifth grader, on through college, and for several years after I was married.

When I have a nightmare, I don’t just scream—no I take action. I get involved in the nightmare.

When in college, this drove my roommates crazy. They never knew what to expect, or what to do when I had a nightmare. For those who only heard about my nightmares, they never really could understood what happened to me or anything around me, when I had a nightmare.

So here is one of my college nightmare stories. I lived in a rooming house on the second floor, with one roommate. I had a bed that was next to a window. One particular night, I had a nightmare about aliens. There really is no way to describe what the aliens looked like. However, I will try to describe the aliens I saw that night. No, they weren’t green. But they had a metallic look to them. They did have little antennas on their heads. There were several of them, not just one. They were flying through the air outside of my window. I didn’t see any flying saucer or such. Their shape was similar to some of the modern day robots like R2D2, but there was also an aspect of their shape that reminds you of ET of the movie ET Phone Home.

On this particular night, I was very concerned that they would come through the window into my room, and I prepared myself for that potentiality. Well it happened—They came through the window. They didn’t break the glass. They didn’t lift the window to open it. They just came through the window.

And I took action. I got in a fight with them. As far as I’m concerned, I won, because they left, back through the same window, and I went back to sleep. The nightmare was over.

The next morning my roommate, who had been absent that night, returned and observed our furniture scattered around the room, but also noted the black eye I was sporting. “How did you get that black eye” he asked?

Well, I told him, the aliens were attacking me and I fought back. Apparently the chair that was upside down, nowhere near where it belonged, was what I attacked. Although I won, in my opinion, because the aliens left; in reality the chair won, because when I attacked the alien (actually the chair) I got the black eye.

It’s very difficult to explain to others that I got a black eye from attacking aliens that came into my room. You try explaining it sometime—I dare you.

June 7, 2017
by Curt Swisher
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How Often Does Your Phone Ring at Inappropriate Times?

After graduating with a Master of Religious Education degree from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, I went to work for them as a Supervisor of Building Maintenance.

The arrangement of the rooms in our maintenance building was as follows:

  • When you came in the main door, there was a hallway.
  • On the left side a door led to the shop area.
  • On the right side were three offices.
  • Directly down the hall, at the end, was a single shared restroom.

The three offices were as follows:

  • First was the director’s office,
  • then the receptionists office in the middle,
  • and finally a supervisor’s office, which was shared by both the Supervisor of Custodial Services, and myself as the Supervisor of Building Maintenance.

In the supervisor’s office, the two of us each had our own desk and phone.

One of our receptionists had a fairly loud voice which could easily be heard in our offices. One of the things that seemed to happen to her frequently, was when she would head to the restroom, the phone would ring. We heard her “complaints” many, many times that the stupid phone always rang when she headed to the restroom. This was often enough, that we used to tease her about it, which annoyed her immensely.

One night I had been working late, when I got a “brilliant” idea. I drilled a small hole in the baseboard of my office, directly thru to the inside of the restroom.

Then I fed my phone cord thru the hole, and took my phone and connected it to the cord, placing it directly under the commode. Since the light was usually off in the restroom, it was not easy to spot (especially since no one would expect a phone to be there), until you were settled onto the commode.

The next day, I patiently waited until our receptionist headed to the restroom. Waited a short amount of time, and then used the other phone in my office, to dial my number.

From the restroom, you could hear my phone ringing, multiple times. Shortly you also heard “I’m Going To Kill Whoever Did This.”

Yes I did that—I’m just a practical joker by nature.

June 3, 2017
by Curt Swisher
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Showing Rabbits at a Middle School Carnival

My wife and I both grew up on a farm, and when we raised our kids, we wanted them to learn the responsibilities involved in raising animals. Since most of our adult life we lived in town, we chose rabbits.  They can be raised in town, and they are relatively cheap to raise.

We were also in 4H, and I was the rabbit chairman and leader for the entire county. We raised our rabbits , both 4H shows and the regular rabbit show circuit.

Showing rabbits take a lot of work. There is a lot of grooming and training involved. You would think that you wouldn’t have to train a rabbit, but you do.

Training involves posing the rabbit in the “perfect” position for show, and spending enough time doing so, that they stay put for a long enough time for the Judge to look them over. And they have to stay put through all kinds of distraction around them. When you show a rabbit you place them on a carpet square, pose them, and then set back and wait for the judge to make a decision.

One year, we were invited to bring our rabbits to a middle school carnival (inside) to show the students. We brought several different breeds.  We were there to answer questions about rabbits, which was a very fun thing for me to do.

I set up two carpet squares. On one I posed a Florida White rabbit—pure white, small, and very cute.

On the second carpet square, I posed a Dutch Rabbit—one of those that are white with a black band around their body and some on their face.

Both of these rabbits were used to being posed for the judges. I got the Florida White in perfect position and then turned to the Dutch.

Dutch have a very unique characteristic about them. If you turn them on their back with their feet sticking straight up in the air, they will stay in that position for a long time. The more comfortable they are being showed (the normal way) the longer they will stay in the upside down position.

After posing them I just waited. One boy I’m guessing 5th/6th grade range, came over and looked at the two rabbits. A minute or two later he came back and looked at them again. I noticed that every little bit he would look over at them and see if they were still posed that way.

Eventually, he came back over and asked me “how did you get them to stay that way?”

I just couldn’t resist—I said “Velcro.”  He just said “Oh” and walked away. I’m sure to this day, he really thought I had Velcroed those rabbits. I know—me bad. LOL

May 11, 2017
by Curt Swisher
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About My Crazy Tales: You Didn’t Really Do That–Did You?

There are several definitions of the word “Memoir.”

“Autobiography” is one of those definitions for memoir. Usually when you hear someone wrote their autobiography, you might think that the person writing it was someone noteworthy, like a famous author, politician, scientist, etc. That brings us to a second definition for memoir–meaning “an account of something noteworthy.”

Who am I to write “My Memoir?” Well to tell the truth, my life has meaning, and purpose, and is noteworthy. You do not have to be famous to write your memoir.

Often, especially at Christmas time, my Grand kids  asked me to tell some of my “Crazy Tales.” We always have a ball when I recount them. Others, like former bosses and co-workers, often asked to hear those “Crazy Tales.”

A treasured book of mine, is a collection of memories of my Great Grandfather Jerome Bonaparte Swisher. This collection of memories, submitted by many relatives, was put together by my cousin Emily Bogan Swisher, and called “A Time To Laugh, A Time To Cry.”

Realizing how much I enjoy reading about those memories of my Great Grandfather, and his descendants, and realizing that my Grand kids (and others) really do want to hear my stories, my “Crazy Tales,” I have decided to write “My Memoirs.” I will try to write them on a regular basis (about every other week,) so stay tuned. I think you will like some of my “Crazy Tales.” I’m sure many of them will cause you to “LOL.”