It is a delight to be the spouse of a hard working, joy-filled, dedicated man.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

New Pens!

I have found my new favorite pen!


It has been years, zillions of years, since I have had a favorite pen! This is a huge find! No simple little, "oh, I found a new pen I really like".

Mostly all I have run into are pens that are adequate. Or pens I really dislike and would like to..., oh I don't know, what do you do to a pen to hurt it?

But now I have found my ultimate pen.

What do I need for a pen to be ultimate?

Easy to read ink. This is why I don't like pencil, especially #2. They fade. And on a bad day, when I don't want to work hard at reading what I wrote, I can't see lead, uhmm, graphite, very well. It makes me work too hard. Remember, my full nickname is Lazy Lanny.

Colored gel pens, besides inconsistency, we'll get to that in a bit, come under this criteria also, or I guess I should say, more often than not miss this criteria. And besides that, except for blogging, e-mails and greeting cards, any other colored ink, besides black for important written stuff and blue for cordial letters or signatures, any other color of ink is just disrespectful, to the writer and the reader, a lot like hearts above the stick of the letter i, where a simple dot should be.

Oh, red ink? Ya, that is just plain brutality and saved for mom's correcting your spelling and grammar or for when you have spent too much money. Red ink is for noting a problem in a chart, or noting something that needs changing on the plans. Basically, it indicates wrongness. Ouch.

So I immediately toss pencils and gel pens from my hand when I ask for something to write with. Those are for sketching, or playing with artsy stuff.

Back to real pens:

Nice easy smooth flow of ink. Well that's fairly easy to find.

Consistent flow of ink. Ahhh, there begins the rub, toss those Bic stick pens, blue or black. They used to write consistently, they use to be my new favorite pen in the eighties and nineties when it became apparent that I could not hold onto an expensive pen, we'll get to that in another moment.

In fact, I used to have a plethora of Bic stick pens hanging around the house that were actually taped together, a black and a red or a blue and a red. That was when I would write all the time (on paper) or draw up plans all the time. I would need the red pen handy to make my own corrections or to show that the hydrangea was in the wrong spot in the yard and needed to be moved to this new spot over here.

But now when ever I pick up a Bic pen I have to spend a half hour getting the nasty little thing to write and then once it begins to write and I start wailin' away on what I was thinking about... it dies. Right in mid-thought-stream. I have come to despise those stinking Bic pens, I now toss them before even trying them, although first I try to make sure it was my pen to throw away.

Easy fit in the hand, a nice uncumbersome feel between the digits. That tosses out all those grossly fat things that write nice until you need an energy drink just to continue to hold on to the bugger.

Or so thin your hand finally dies in a spasmodic cramp before your last words can be formulated. (This is a recent occurrence in my life, I wonder what it means, my hand cramping around a small pen that is.)

Inexpensive. I don't even look at the high priced pens that would fit all my needs, because a pen should last longer than a week.

Well it should last longer than a week for me. I'm sure the person that picks up my expensive pen from off of the store counter where I last laid it, finds that those spendy ones can last nearly a lifetime. Unfortunately, I will never know that bit of information personally.

I'm a looser, I loose things. Except for those sentimental yet ugly cumbersome dusty weird things, those things I never loose. But a good pen, especially if it costs a good pile of pennies, those don't last a week even.

That just about covers it, oh wait, no. There is one more thing! The really important thing. The one thing I had a dickens of a time finding in a pen and actually became so jaded against ever finding, coupled with the aforementioned needs, that I stopped trying to find my idea of a good pen, and just went with those pens I would find lying around or in cups on the counter at Tacoma Electric Supply.


I'm an outside person, I live in Washington and much of my need-to-note things happen out-of-doors in the mist or outright rain. When I write on my note pad that I planted Shandong garlic in the second bed and Idaho Silver in the fourth bed from the end of the barn, I need to be able to see what I wrote later that day when I go inside.

I used to have waterproof pens and waterproof paper, both rather expensively obtained items and only in specialty stores. But I loved 'em,and I took care of them, they were much a part of my daily ritual. That was before I was a complete looser, back when I could actually hold on to pens and note pads. That would have been sometime prior to about 1981 and definitely before 1987.

Its been a while.

Since then and still today, I've totally dismissed the need for the waterproof note pad, although I know they still exist. Because if the paper gets all crinkly from being wet, as long as the ink stays put it is still readable. Certainly not nice and tidy and presentable, but readable.

But if the ink runs... . Uh ya, I can't make heads or tails out of what I planted in the first bed on the right. Or how deep. Or which seed company the seed... I'm sure it was seed, pretty sure it was spinach, if I remember correctly it was Olympia spinach but... .
Yeah, ink running ruins note taking for this random, untidy, forgetful, spontaneous combusting looser.

But enter Happy Day!

All the above mentioned difficulties have been solved! Each and every point that I need in a pen has been found!

I won't even think about how long this pen has called to me from the shelves at Costco. And how long I ignored it in my cynicism towards its claims of waterproof-ness.

I caved, I finally ran out of semi-working pens at home. I didn't have a trip planned to the bank where I could pick up another pen if I talked to one of the important people who sit at a desk where the free pens are. (I don't mind if give away or found pens don't meet any of my criteria, hey, they're free. Granted, the better the pen the more I like the business that gave it away, but I don't expect awesomeness from free, close, I've been close to finding awesomeness for free but never total awesomeness.)

But there I was at Costco yesterday when I caved. Thinking about picking up a pack of pens, a bunch of them, quite a few black ones and three blue ones, I love blue (I love signing my name in blue). I'm pretty sure the pack was about eleven bucks, so somewhere right around a buck a pen.

So standing there once again, feeling slightly more desperate for pens than previous I-should-pick-up-pens trips, I said to myself, "Okay, I'll bite, I'll try 'em, they'll be nice pens, Dirt will appreciate being able to find a pen in the house, but I won't expect them to really be able to hold up to rain."

I got home, I ripped open the pack, well actually I think Bet ripped it open and handed me a pen. I wrote on the back of the envelope, "Farmer Lanny".

"Here," I said to Bet handing her the envelope. "Run this under water."

She walked into the kitchen and I heard what sounded like a good solid Pacific Northwest downpour hit the envelope.

"Okay," she calls from the kitchen, "I've soaked it and it's not running. It is showing on the backside of the envelope a bit."

Hmmm, I wonder what that means. Rats, I knew the ink would bleed. I shouldn't have gotten my hopes up. Pooh, well at least I liked writing with it and it does have nice ink and a good grip. Dirt needs to have pens in the house, reliable...

"I'm dabbing it," she continues to give her blow by blow on the test in her loud over-household-noises voice.

"Hey," she says, quieter now as she is entering the dining room where I am sitting logging in my fuchsias starts I purchased earlier that day, "I think it will be okay."

I looked up, in utter disbelief but pure joy. There it was, complete, readable and on solid white, unspotted yet soaking wet paper: "Farmer Lanny"

Yahoo, I can go back to writing outside!

And inside! On the couch, in my bed, at the table. And in the store while I'm shopping, and in the car when an important thought comes to me... . Ohhh wait, I don't write while I drive. That would be unsafe. That is what I have a digital voice recorder for, it's here in my bag somewhere, I can find it, let me show you.....


A. Joy said...

Completely agree with you about the pens! Except at our house they ALL belonged to my dad. Every time we'd grab any old pen he'd show up and say " Hey - that's my good pen! " He still does that.
FYI: Reservation window has opened up for Iron creek! We're hoping for a hot September. =)

Lisa @ Life with 4! said...

Only you, Lanny! Only you can write a blog post (& a long one at that) about pens and the qualities of pens. And the weird thing is, I think I totally understand what your saying! ha ha

I usually find my favorite pens in my husbands pockets when I'm doing laundry. Out there, where he works, they provide some really nice pens. Smooth flow, readability, easy to hold.... all the criteria is there.
Inside I actually get a bit giddy when he leaves a pen in his work jeans. It's a new-pen day!!

LindaSueBuhl said...

So Lanny - what is the NAME of this wonderful pen? you write a long and entertaining post about finding the perfect pen - and leave us hanging - what KIND of pen is this miracle of writing instruments????

Mrs. Mike said...

So I thought at first you were talkin' animal confinment. Whatever.
Boss-man: bic med. blk
Mamacita: gel, easy flow, med point

This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

Lanny: I have to admit this is the first lament to the pen I have ever seen written. The funny thing is you did not name the pen that worked. Does that mean that since it is your favorite pen we can't use it? I think that pen will fade into an after life saying "If only Lanny had shared my name".

Flower said...

You could tell us the name of the pen..after all that! :)) I'm a pen person, as well.....a good pen is a find!! It even changes the quality of my penmenship. A "good" gel pen is just plain fun! Keep writing!

Ralph said...

This made me laugh so hard. I thought I was the only one in the whole world that was picky about pens! I am glad I am not.
I good pen, the one that is right for you, is truly hard to find.
Great post!

Daisy said...

Lanny you made me laugh again. Great post! I hate hate hate writing with a pencil. I refuse to do it. I only like certain pens, but I don't require mine to be waterproof. I don't do any writing in the rain. HA! So glad you found ones you like. :)

Kanani said...

When I was just out of high school, someone game me a Mark Cross pen. It was a much treasured item --that is, until someone swiped it.

I like gel pens, but only certain ones. I can never remember the name, and always have to rummage through all the brands before I find it.

jen said...

*lol-ing*! I am so glad to have found kindred pen spirits! I LOVE pens! I have tons of them, and I use them for all different sorts of fun stuff... doodles, notes, keeping track of stuff--you know, important stuff--like when the goats come in heat or when that young pullet lays her first egg. ;) or where you planted the garlic.... At work, I have my favorite pen, and NO one is to use it.. not even clients! haha.
Have a great day. :)

Far Side of Fifty said...

I used to be in love with pens..then I became a pencil convert..sad isn't it. I used to carry around a spiral bound bunch of index cards..and about two I could make many notations..I had the worst problem with drops of sweat..pouring off my brow onto the paper. I will join with the throng of readers that want to know the name of your miracle pen:)