A Skunk isn't a good roommate

My Son is successfully adulting far away in Los Angles, Ca. I miss him with a fury that wounds me sometimes, but he’s happy and thats whats supposed to happen.

He rents a house with a roommate and Doug, the roommates cat. Doug is a tubby load of indolent aggravation. Living with a cat has brought interesting wildlife problems into my Son’s life, via the Cat Door. Quick example: wandering into the kitchen in the middle of the night for a glass of water and tripping over a raccoon helping himself to Dougs food. No one was happy.

There has been an ongoing battle with a skunk that has successfully moved under the foundation of the house and had blithely wandered around the back yard at night. Mr. Skunk and Doug have been peacefully coexisting. The whole point of Doug, as far as I can tell, is to make sure the wildlife gets fed.

Evan called the other day with quite a story to tell.  He'd spent a long weekend camping and was smelling pretty ripe once he got home.  SO he unloaded all his camping equipment and enjoyed his shower, brushed his teeth and was generally pleased with life.  

Then, he stepped out of the bathroom and there was the skunk, standing at the opposite end of the hall, obv came through the cat door for Doug’s leftovers.  Evan said he let out a little EEEP and the skunk scuttled into the living room, under his couch!

So there stood Evan in his boxers, wondering What To Do when suddenly Doug came rocketing by.  Doug is 35 lbs of fat cat, so rocketing is a relative term, but his ears were flat to his head.

Evan realized that while Doug doesn't seem to mind sharing his kibble or backyard occasionally, the couch is an insult not to be tolerated.  ANYWAY, Evan grabbed Doug, which did not make Doug happy & made Evan wish he had a shirt on.

Evan kicked open the back door, zipped out of the house in his underwear with Doug objecting loudly and clawing with all four feet.  Evan ran around the side of the house, shouting and scaring the neighbors. He rocketed to the front yard, opened the front door and was rewarded for his panic with the sight of the skunk marching out to the back yard.  

Doors were slammed, cat was decanted to the roommates room and Evan went back into the shower to wash off cat hair, flop sweat and blood.  Lots more wildlife at home than at Joshua Tree.

The Cat in the Hat

I haven’t been around in a long time. Too much happening, decidedly mixed between a little fun and a lot of aggravation.

I’d characterize this time in my life as The Crone Years. Not as much fun as my previous life, but still worth having (mostly). I think I’m going to start writing again. I hope.
I think it would be good for me to share, sometimes.

ANYWAY - hi everyone! I’ve suddenly missed writing about my life. I’m hoping I can get back to it.


I had a crabby Thanksgiving. Mr. W and I were alone in Decatur, plus Mr. W had to make a trip on T’giving Saturday and did not get back till Tuesday morning. It made for a long lonely time when I was already homesick for - I guess my previous life? At least homesick for the past when Thanksgiving meant family and friends around.

Tuesday morning rolled around. I’m picking Mr. Wonderful up from the Atlanta airport. This meant that I had to be up, dressed and have enough coffee in me to be able to think and drive by 8am. I am not a morning person. I like to guzzle coffee and then go to the gym and not talk to anyone. Then I drink more coffee, can see in color and am not in danger of biting random people who happen to cross my path. I don’t think well until I’ve had a gallon of coffee. Atlanta traffic is the pits.

I’m driving down the road almost to my exit when Mr. W texts me. I miss my exit wondering where my phone is, skidded around the airport back roads while my phone went ping, ping, ping, ping. EGADS! By the time I finally got back to the daily parking garage, I had learned that Tom’s plane landed, he was walking, he was at baggage claim, he would meet me in the parking garage. I was ready to eat his fingers with my second cup of coffee.

But then there he was, walking towards me and I was so glad to see him. We turned around and headed to our parked car. A van had mushed in next to us and Thing 1 was vigorously batting her van door into the side of our car as she unloaded stuff from the back seat and passed it to Thing 1. Tom and I stood there gaping - I mean, the red wigs and Thing 1 & 2 signs made me laugh. Instead of bitching about door slamming my car.

Tom said to me “How about I drive home so you can sip your cold coffee and hate life?” He really gets me. He started up the car, drove towards the exit and The Cat in the Hat stepped right in front of us. Tom slammed on the brakes and I just started laughing.

For once in my life, something great happened before my second cup of coffee.


This past Wednesday Mr. Wonderful and I had a massively fun experience that has been YEARS in the making. We went to the premier of the Oscar worthy movie HAPPY DEATH DAY 2.

It should be noted that we have been happily anticipating this event since last November when we first heard of it, but really, we’ve been waiting almost five years for this.

You see, Dear Reader - Our SON was listed in the movie credits: Graphic Artist EVAN BENTZ. Here is a screen cap!

To get this credit, my Son developed and rendered the special effect time machine which is a huge plot point in the movie. The time machine has almost as many scenes as the Blonde!

It was so much fun to sit there with my hubby, cheering every time a computer, television, phone screen or the time machine appeared on screen. The other 6 people enjoying this EPIC were puzzled, but our Son had done all of those 200 shots and we were mighty damn excited. Number Only Son is happily adulting in California with a great job and MOVIE SCREEN CREDITS!! He's known what he wanted to do with his life by the time he was 14, and now he’s out there - happily working in his chosen field, having fun and making his Parents proud.

Its really fun to savor the wins. It seems like its been a long time since I felt like cheering.

Fa la la la la - la la la la

We wish you a Muller Christmas
We wish you a Muller Christmas
We wish you a Muller Christmas
and Impeachment next year

Indictments we bring, to you and your kin. Indictments for Christmas and Impeachment next year.

We wish you a Muller Christmas
We wish you a Muller Christmas
We wish you a Muller Christmas
and Impeachment next year

One last outing

I was dinking around in my email looking for Important Stuff and found this account of my last outing with my Dad. It was pretty funny....
Broke Dad out of rehab for a visit to the urologist. He's been scaned/diagnosed with retaining 400 (some measurement of urine in the bladder, very bad). The answer is to self catheter mornings and evenings. SO I sent Dad off (and Mom, because she would NEVER leave him alone to cope) with the nurse for his demonstration/training.

So there I was, flipping through People magazine, when suddenly the fire alarm started whoop whoop whooping and saying EVACUATE IMMEDIATELY. DO NOT USE ELEVATORS. I continued reading, figuring it would take a while for Dad to untube and get his pants up. A semi hysterical nurse shrieked at me to 'Get out immediately."

"Well," I told her, "I'm not going anywhere without my Dad and his walker and my Mom and her cane." SO that's how I ended up carrying a walker, cane, two raincoats and two purses down five flight of steps along with my Mom and Dad. A cute young teenager helped us, but boy howdy did we hold up traffic!

We were decanted out the building between two malodorous dumpsters in the hosing rain. I got rain coats on my seniors and managed to get them down 3 crumbling steps to street level. Then I held up the goddamn fire truck while my Parents putted across the road to the parking lot. THAT WAS ME, giving the firefighters the finger and saying BACK OFF, WE ARE MOVING AS FAST AS WE CAN, EVERYONE HAS PLACES TO BE.

Notes from a Life. I love my Dad

I knew things had taken a dire turn when I got an email from Mom and realized that she had figured out how to use the talk-to-text function on her mobile phone. I couldn't leave Decatur till the following day, because Mr. W had a pre surgical appt that we had already canceled once due to the fact that his Mom had died 10 days earlier. It was quite the month in Empresspattiland.

I called my Daughter at work and asked her to head to the hospital. I booked the earliest flight I could get post Dr visit. That night and the next morning were truly hellish. The pre surgical visit included imaging and a long wait at the pharmacy.

Then, Tom & I had a very tense drive through dense Atlanta traffic with the hope that I could catch an earlier flight to Maryland.

I was standing at a gate, begging to be allowed onto a flight, when the call came. Leslie spoke calmly and said, “I need you to sit down. Grandpa just died peacefully. Gma is with him and so are Aunt Fay, Uncle John and the the cousins.”

My Dad died surrounded by people that loved him best. Except me, who was torn between love of Mr. Wonderful and his surgical needs and love of my Dad and my desire to hold his hand as he went. I wanted to be there to comfort my Mom.

Life did not allow me that opportunity or privilege. I sat in the Atlanta airport with my head down, trying not to howl in public.

But Still: I had 63 years with a great Father. He died surrounded by people that loved and honored him. The last words I said to him were ‘I love you.” As my Dad used to say about just about everything - “It doesn’t get any better than this.”

It didn’t get any better than my Dad.


Notes on a Life, from Leslie

My Dad and my Daughter took one look at each other 31 years ago and that was that. They were a mutual admiration society of two. At one point, during the long vigil she and my Mom shared that last night, she texted me and said "Gma just admitted that I'M THE FAVORITE." It made me laugh during the worst time of my life. Leslie was the last speaker at my Dads funeral and I thought her words were beautiful.


I’m Leslie, Harvey’s granddaughter.

But I would imagine everyone here knows that, because my entire life I’ve known what it’s like to be famous.

The dentist, the checkout woman at the pharmacy, everyone in church, all our neighbors – if you knew my Grandfather, you knew about me.

I always thought this was so sweet and a little embarrassing at times, but I also always thought it was totally normal until a few years ago, when I introduced a friend to my Grandfather at a party. Grandpa was so excited to meet them and launched into his usual speech - “I’m so happy to meet a friend of Leslie’s. You must be pretty great to be a friend of my granddaughter! She’s the love of my life; she’s so special!”

He gave a hug and walked away, and my friend turned to me in amazement and said “Wow, imagine what you can accomplish in life with someone telling you that you are that amazing all the time!” I was so surprised – doesn’t everyone have a Grandfather that hypes them up to total strangers?

Doesn’t every Grandpa tell the dentist his granddaughter Leslie probably is going to have the most perfect teeth you’ve ever seen in all your years of practice, so get ready to be really impressed? (My dentist, upon meeting me, said that yes I had very nice teeth . . . and a Grandfather that really loved me. But he didn’t know if they were the best EVER.)

I went through my entire life like this, in a protective bubble of love and support from Grandpa. My husband laments that Grandpa completely distorted my view of reality. Every time I ask Greg to do something he feels is particularly absurd he says “Do I look like your Grandpa? Absolutely not.”

I have a wonderful memory from when I was about 10 years old. I was in an opera on opening night, and it was the final curtain call. I stood on stage with the cast as people clapped and cheered in the Kennedy Center. I was so excited to be on stage while all the divas took their great bows.

The crowd was just a blur of dark shapes, but then as I looked out, I saw him. My Grandfather, on the first balcony, standing up and waiving his hands high in the air so I would see him (the people behind him were appalled). In a room of hundreds and hundreds of people, all clapping and cheering for the group, the most enthusiastic person in the room was the one clapping for me.

Everyone felt that special when they were with my Grandfather; he radiated kindness, love, and generosity. If he knew you, he loved you. And it was impossible not to love him back.

In the past few months, as his health became more tenuous, I’ve thought a lot about legacy. What kind of mark do you leave on the world that extends beyond your life?

Born in his Grandmother’s house in Wisconsin in 1929 at the start of the Great Depression, his own parents didn’t finish middle school. During his summers in Wisconsin as a child, he worked as a field hand for his uncles on their dairy farms, earning 25 cents a day. He was the first in his family to attend high school and college.

He was particularly proud that both of his children and all four of his grandchildren went on to graduate from college.

In his prime he fixed houses, remodeled kitchens, built bookshelves and cabinets, tables, benches. Old age was hard for him to accept. For most of his life he was such a strong man, when I would look at him as a child he seemed like a giant, with great big hands and a booming voice, fixing anything that needed it and occasionally “fixing” something so well that it never really worked again.

As he aged and was less able to physically provide for the people he loved, he made sure to provide in other ways.

What a legacy indeed, to work so hard for the sole purpose of giving the people you love more than you had. To constantly find new ways to look out for them. To accomplish with the sole purpose of providing for the people you love.

Everyone here knows I’m a bookworm. The poem Ulysses by Lord Tennyson is a particular favorite of mine, and in the past few months I’ve reread it several times, as it reminds me so much of my grandfather.

Tennyson wrote it during a period of grief in his own life, having lost dear friend. In the poem Ulysses is an old man and having returned home in his old age, finds himself restless. Towards the end of the poem he longs for the time when he was in his prime; having worked so hard to strike out on his own and see the world, he longs for one final adventure.

you and I are old;
Old age hath yet his honour and his toil;
Death closes all: but something ere the end,
Some work of noble note, may yet be done,
Not unbecoming men that strove with Gods.

The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks:
The long day wanes: the slow moon climbs: the deep
Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends,
'T is not too late to seek a newer world.

Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.

It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.

Tho' much is taken, much abides; and tho'
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

The people gathered here today may have very different views of what happens after we die. I will leave theology to the experts, but one thing I know for certain on which we can all agree - the love and security provided by Harvey Kloehn to us, the people he loved, is in every one of us. His positive impact lives on in each of us, has made us all into better people, made us all feel loved and safe. It extends beyond his own life. Through his love and generosity, he lives on forever.

Notes on a life, from Mr. Wonderful

Tom had College Professor Parents and two well behaved sisters. He married into the Loud and Tall Tribe. It is not for the faint of heart. All family gatherings are LOUD, with a lot of laughter and nonsense. Your ears will ring the day after.

I grew up with my Parents, and a younger brother. My Aunt, Uncle and 3 younger boy cousins lived right around the corner. I always say I was raised with two sets of parents and four younger brothers. Tom waded right in and never looked back. We'd host family gatherings and the mix of his short, well mannered tribe and my family of tall, loud jokers was always strange and wonderful. Tom's tribute to my Dad touched me greatly.

It is only fitting and proper that in the same Church which played such an large role in his life that we say goodbye to Harvey Glen Kloehn.

More than thirty three years ago in this very room, I forever joined the Kloehn Family.

He proudly wore many titles in his life time Devoted Husband, Encouraging Father, Doting Grandpa, supportive and Loyal Friend. His passing leaves countless gaps in our daily lives that will be hard to fill.

Who will say grace at the dinner table when the entire family is gathered round for a holiday?

Who will stand out above everyone else in a crowded airport to wave you a welcome home? Remember the people that had to dodge the cane he was waving?

Who will give you rib crushing hugs just to say good night?

Who will bait countless fish hooks for grandkids? 

Who will be the first to the emergency room to remove a fish hook from his calf? 

Who will repair anything that needs repairing with duck tape and super glue and a fear inducing “WHOOP”!

Who will repair our broken hearts?

Collectively, we will all have to help each other to do that. We must see past the sorrow and smile remembering all that he was, all that he taught us. We must honor his memory by striving to be as kind, generous, and loving a person that Harvey was every day of his life.

Notes on a Life, from David

My Brother wrote a beautiful eulogy for our Dad.
Good morning everyone, thank you for coming to my Fathers memorial service

When I was young, my dad called me Big Dave, which was funny because I was a pretty small, runty kid. Sometimes people in the neighborhood would call me that to make fun of me, but my dad never meant it that way

But Dad was huge. He was so tall that when he picked me up and held me up over his head, it was like taking a high speed elevator.. I would go up and up... It made me dizzy

Dad was a big man, and I'd be tempted to say my Dad was a great man, but I think I'd be more accurate to say my dad was just a regular guy. My Dad did a lot of pretty impressive, even great things in his life I'm sure, but he didn't aspire to riches or greatness or have huge ambitions. He was just a normal guy, who above all valued family and friends.

Of course there were no strangers in my Dads life. Dad would always embarrass me by talking to absolutely everybody, and anybody, everywhere. He was definitely that guy. He would talk a strangers ear off if they let him.

And he was kind of a braggart, truth be told, he would certainly work his grandchildren into every conversation. But Dad seemed to make friends everywhere he went.

Dad set examples for me all my life. Dad always was working on things, and fixing things, and he showed me that you could figure out how things worked simply by looking at them carefully and thinking for awhile. I learned that the toilet, the garbage disposal, the water pump, all those things can be fixed, and it always takes at least two or three trips to the hardware store to do it.

But I learned from dad that you certainly shouldn't be intimidated by those things. An engineer could figure it out.

So frequently I learned by example.

Of course, I also sometimes learned what NOT to do by example. At the end of his career Dad was the technical director responsible for essentially everything that was powered by electricity in the US Navy, but that man did not seem to know what a torque wrench was.

Some of you know that every nut and bolt on an aircraft carrier or a car has a specification for how tight they should be. A torque wrench is a special tool that helps you set the tightness just right. I'm pretty sure dad knew this, but Dad would tighten every bolt to what could only be called 'Wisconsin tight'... It was always... Just a little.. tighter... Wham! Slipped wrench, round bolt heads, stripped threads, bloody knuckles... He never seemed to learn.

I have several torque wrenches. And a tap and die set. And some busted knuckles of my own

But the greater things that I learned from watching my Father were honesty, integrity, work ethic, friendship, devotion

My Dad really had great friends. I realized when I was young that people really liked my Dad. He had something in him that people liked, maybe even admired.

My mom notified Dads relatives in Wisconsin of his death and within hours got a call from Dick Olson, who has been friends with my Dad since kindergarten. They still kept in touch.

Dad kept in touch with his friends from Marshfield, and from Marquette, and from the Navy department all his life.

We used to joke about it, but when we used to travel on vacations back in my childhood we could literally be anywhere in the world, a national park, a train station in Europe, any airport, and we would inevitably hear someone shout "Hey Harv"

My Mom and Dad have been blessed with lifelong, devoted friendships with so many people from this church. This church had been the center of life for my Dad and my Mom, and I've always been so impressed with and envious of how strong these friendships have been. The Junghans, the Ryans, the Schnackenbergs, the Boehnes, the Davises. I can't list them all, but it was everyone.

I look back and frankly, I'm not that impressed by who I was when I was a teenager. But one thing I realized during those years, when I was thinking what a square, dud my dad was... He sure has a lot of really great, really devoted friends.

I realized back then that said a lot about what kind of a person my Dad really was. He certainly wasn't the coolest guy, or the funniest guy, but the funniest guys, and the coolest guys obviously liked him just fine.

Finally, my Dad certainly showed me the example of devotion.

35 plus years of service to the US Navy as an officer and then as a civil servant.

60 years of membership at Calvary Lutheran Church, including being an Elder, President of the School Board, President of the Congregation.

And my Dad loved the Wednesday morning Bible study.

And of course, the biggest thing in my Dad's life was 65 years of devotion to my Mother.

Dad showed me
how to be faithful,
how to serve,
how to be an employee,
how to be a friend,
how to be a son in law,
how to be a brother in law,
how to be a brother,
how to be a husband,
how to be a father,
how to be a man

I am certainly not saying that either of us have done all those things perfectly, not at all.

But i can say it's been a lot to live up to.

Dad was just a regular guy, but he was a extraordinary man


Notes from a life, from Pat

My Dad died May 31st. He was an extraordinary man. We are a very close & loving family. I've always lived near my Parents and been able to share all my life with them. Tom and I, our kids and my folks have always been the core unit of a happy life. I'm so glad of all those years of holidays, birthdays, Mother & Fathers day and celebrations of every silly thing that happened.

For my Dad's 80th birthday, Mom and I threw a big party. This is my contribution to the book of letters his family & friends wrote to memorialize the occasion.


When I was a little kid, I thought my Dad was Superman. He was tall and strong and he could do anything. No one was more fun than MY Dad. He read me the funny pages, dragged kids around by their big toes in the pool and wouldn't let the snowplow on the hill where we were sledding.

Dad was my protector. He always stayed with me when I was sick and had to go to the hospital. I remember him refusing to leave me when I had my tonsils out. He told a nun she had a "dirty mind" when she protested him staying my my hospital room at night. I also remember him throwing rocks at a barking, snarling dog in Canada so I could get to the bratwurst stand on the side of the road. We really wanted bratwurst. That dog was no match for my Dad protecting me.

Dad has always been the one who would go on the historical tour with me when everyone else was headed to the Christmas store. We've had great hikes - at Zion, Devils Tower, Arcadia. Our family cheerfully camped in the rain about a million times. My Dad always said "what a revolting development" as we folded up the fulboat or the camper in the lightening and driving rain.

No matter where we go, Dad knows someone. He worked with my neighbor's father, runs into friends around the world and always treated everyone like family. He has the original warm and generous heart.

Once, driving across the country when I was 12 and my brother was 6, Dad said to us "I love your Mother as much as I know how. I love you all as much as I know how." Those words have been my anchor and inspiration ever since. I love him as much as I know how.

My Dad sets the standard for how to treat people with consideration and respect. He listens with empathy and kindness. He laughs with me and shares my joys and sorrows. He lives right up the street and I see him every day. My greatest blessing is the family that we share.

Every once in a while, I see something I really do not want to see. Now might be the time to mention driving by his house and catching him walking across the roof carrying a fully extended ladder. It was the start of some really unpleasant conversations, also the start of some really unpleasant consequences. Only my Dad would insist that the ambulance turn off its siren as it went by our house because he knew he'd get in trouble with me.

Hopefully his ladder and roof dancing days are over.

My Dad is FUN. I'm talking big time FUN, howl with laughter fun, and end up in the emergency room fun. He was always the first one to water ski, sail a little boat, ride a tandem bike, sled down a dangerous hill, ride a moped or catch the lawn on fire. This has resulted in him leaving most of his butt on roadside gravel, getting fishing lures dug out of various body parts and cracking his ribs numerous times. I don't know where we were, but I have a vivid memory of going down a white water rapid with Dad, riding an air mattress.

We have chased tents through thunderstorms, camped for days in force gale winds, played in in the surf and gotten our bathing suits full of sand. Tom once watched him get oil in his ear while tuning up the lawnmower. Remember when he drove over Mom's nice ring? Its a brooch now!

He is still convinced that we turned Uncle Gordon's lawn sprinklers on him, but really, we were just sitting there crying with laughter at his bad timing. No one in my family will ever forget sitting on the metro in Milan when the safety pin holding his money belt to his underpants came undone and poked him for the entire ride. An nicer family would have felt sorry for him, but we just howled because who wears their money in their underwear, anyway?

His love of travel has deeply influenced me. By the time I was in high school we had camped just about everywhere in the US. He and Mom encouraged me to go backpacking through Europe after college using an Eurail pass. "Go everywhere," he told me, "you don't have to settle down yet." What great advice!

He saw me off that first European trip shouting, "Have fun! I'm only a collect call away anywhere in the world." I was embarrassed because everyone was looking at us and laughing, but I was reassured because I knew that if something happened, my Dad would come and get me. Mom says it gives us roots and wings. I've tried very hard to pass that love of adventure to my kids.

I can't even begin to list all the times Dad has had fun with a caulking gun, but suffice to say, the caulk explosion while standing on the roof of the camper might have been the best one ever. The very air turned blue with Dad's cussing. I have many fond memories of Dad and home improvement projects. He has drunk turpentine, drilled through exterior walls and glued phones to kitchen tile. He has a hat that says: "If it ain't broke, I haven't worked on it yet." Mike Fink has the regular rate and the Uncle Harvey rate.

We tease him, but no big project has ever been undertaken by anyone in the extended family that Dad hasn't helped out. I am the beneficiary of two beautiful kitchens myself.

When I look back at the course of my life, my Dad stands at the most loving center. He and Mom have been the central pillar and heart of a long and loving history of family, friends, faith and laughter.

Happy Birthday Dad. I love you very much. You are my hero.


This Father's Day is going to be a heartbreaker for me, because its the first, after he's gone. I had 63 great years with my Dad and I'm the luckiest daughter ever. Happy Fathers Day Dad, you are missed.