Monday, December 20, 2010

This is NOT man-bashing...honest....

Answer me this: Are all men stubborn, or is it just the one that comes with me?

We've done some remodeling in our cellar/family room. We added a bathroom, a laundry room and made a delineated area for my art stuff and Larry's wood working shop. It looks great. We have a great contractor who puts up with my whining and complaining when I tell him what I want done. I know better than to think that we, Larry and I, could possibly do the work which needs to be done to get a room looking like a room.

Many years ago we did some remodeling by ourselves and it nearly ended in divorce court. Since that time, we know to hire outside help. Yes, I know it's more costly, but when you consider the cost for lawyers and courts, it's the less costly way to go about the remodeling.

This time we decided to add the bathroom 10 days before a party. For some unknown reason we felt everything would be done in plenty of time to hold the party in the family room with the new bathroom at the ready for all the guests.

Believe it or not, the contractor finished the last of the remodel at 12:00pm the day of the party. We went downstairs immediately to clean, clear and set up for that evenings festivities. We did a great job too, together. We had so much to do there was no time to bicker, sneer or complain to each other. The party came off pretty well. Just one time I had to brush off my friends tush to get the sheet rock dust removed. Not bad, considering the way it looked when we started the cleaning.

However, when the remodel was completed we realized the walls of the existing family room looked bad, I mean really bad. We're talking 1960's maple paneling...(I's coming back in style...but honest, there is no way this stuff will ever be on the H&G network as a "new and improved" look for your house....It's said that "everything old is new again" but that phrase wouldn't cut it for this paneling....My gosh, when we bought it, it was $3.49 a sheet [that's 4' X 8' sheets we're talking...] ). Anyway, the paneling needed work, of some kind. The best thing would've been to remove it and do something different on the wall, but Larry thought better of that idea.

Up we went to our neighborhood big box home improvement place. We were looking for something called, "coverall". It's a kind of wallpaper made to be painted, or not. It covers a mass of sins on existing walls, paneling being one of those sins.

We found some and bought it. This would be a "GREAT" project stated Larry. (I think he'd had a couple of beers before we went to the store. He was in a very "project" minded mood. It was either the beers, or it was the fact he was so excited about the bathroom in his "man-cave" that he morphed into some alien being....I'm still not sure).

So the party was over, a success I might add, but we had two more parties that week. I thought the wallpaper project would be done after all the parties...How dumb am I? No, Larry (or the new alien being I'm living with...still to be determined...) decides he's going to "just try a strip or two".

Larry is not the one who does wall covering in the house as a general rule, that's my bailiwick. Larry decided to go ahead and do it while I was getting ready for party number two.

Anyone who has had experience doing wall covering knows there are certain instructions that cannot be skipped. Oh, you can try to skip them, but it will take more time in the long run and the process will be so bad you'll be looking for a bunch of baby ducks to peck you to death. However, what do I know? I had to leave the family room because I started to kibitz and started to see the fire coming out of his ears.....I knew my retreat from the family room should be post haste.

After quite a while he came up and said, "something is wrong.....". I looked up from the umpteenth crystal glass I was polishing and said, "Why, whatever do you mean???" He looked at me and said, in all sincerity, "I think I should have done more prep work before hanging the paper". "Oh, reeeeally?" said I.

I followed him downstairs to the family room. We opened the door, directly opposite from the doorway where we were standing was the wall covering rolling down the wall, falling into a puddle on the rug....I just turned around and went back up the stairs, as Larry uttered, "Thanks for all your help...". ARRRGGGGHHHH!!!!!!

To be continued...

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Just one of those days....

I sure most people can relate to this.

I'm a person who likes to make lists of things I have to get done in a certain time. I don't leave things up in the air, because I know full well if it isn't written down by my own hand, not typed on the computer, it's not going to gain any priority in my brain. As a matter of fact, it won't take up any space in my brain what so ever...This is a true fact, from years of experience.

Armed with my list this morning, I promptly started to complete some of the tasks listed for Sunday, November 21. Since the Thanksgiving feast will be at my house, I have this big honking turkey in my refrigerator in some stage, I hope, of defrosting. I know from past experience it's better to turn over the turkey at intervals. With that thought it mind, I opened the refrigerator door, pushed up the shelf that was resting on the top of the turkey, and proceeded to pull the big beast off the shelf. With a tug and a heave ho, the beast came out of the fridge and promptly fell on my big toe, the one that has had some pretty bad hits of late...

At the same time as I was trying to remove the turkey, things that were apparently wedged behind the behemoth decided to explode open. Not too bad a problem really, I had some containers of oatmeal on the bottom shelf (why oatmeal in the refrigerator, you ask? Don't ask).

The oatmeal had a mind of it's own and sprayed, literally, all over the bottom of the fridge, into the seal of the freezer (my freezer in on the bottom-the most common sense place for refrigerator freezers in my opinion), and all over the floor in front of the fridge. The turkey, still on my foot, had a sprinkling of oatmeal on top.

The oatmeal somehow managed to get into the two veggies bins and when I opened the bins, I noticed they were in dire need of wiping down. Veggies make a mess sometimes and this was one of those time.

I looked down at my turkey covered toes and noticed blood, not turkey blood either. My blood was pooling next to the toe that took the direct hit. At that time, I realized maybe the list thing I had on the table should be revised. I probably should have added, "Make time to take a trip to the hospital", but of course that wasn't on the list.

Larry wandered into the kitchen after hearing some strange, strangled, suffering sounds. He took one look at the turkey, toe, shelf, bins and burst out laughing. This was probably NOT the best thing for him to do, but honestly if I was faced with the same scene I'm not sure I'd be able to do anything else either. I gave him a pass on that reaction.

Everything eventually was cleaned, including the blood off the toe, and I crumpled up the list and went to bed...To Hell with the list...

Thursday, November 11, 2010

It's that time of year again....ho hum...

Yep, here it is, another November screaming out from all the calendars. Usually the months change on the calendar without much fanfare, that is until you get to November. November is one of those months when you're either going to get euphoric because you can't wait until all the hoopla gets into full swing OR you're going to turn the calendar page over, look at the name of the month and turn to the kitchen to find a sharp knife to cut out your gizzard. Tearing out the gizzard MUST be better than what's in store for all of us these next two months.

I've gotten numb to the stores pushing the Winter holidays down my throat in August. I figure they need to get as much money as they can, as early as they can for a couple of reasons: Someone has to pay for the crap the merchandiser and buyers have bought, and they need to keep the employees doing something, because for sure, the employees are not killing themselves to help out customers . How many times have you walked into a store and IF you see an employee, they're either on a phone or walking quickly in the opposite direction from you. The employers understand that and to get something for the salary they're paying, they make the employees continually stock shelves.

November is that time of year when people start to think about the upcoming feast day....Thanksgiving. Now, I'm not going to blast the holiday by moaning about the excesses we all do on that day, nor am I going to get all pious and religious about why we should be thankful at this time in our lives. I am going to talk about how the holiday seems to start a frenzy of thoughts about the Christmas season. By the time the feast day arrives we all seem to have forgotten about that day, in anticipation for the frenzied thoughts of the upcoming days. It's like wham, bam, thank you ma'am and on to the next. Not breathing, no collecting $200 fir passing go, just slurp down the food, burp, and on to the next. What is it with us collectively? Are we just gluttons? Do we forget what these holidays are for? This is nuts.

I guess we have.....I'm going to continue this another day....I'm getting crazy.....

Friday, October 1, 2010

Having Company? Rip apart something just before they arrive....

If this didn't happen almost every time we have company I wouldn't wonder about it, but it does. If we are expecting folks to visit, for dinner or dessert, whatever, if seems like a switch turns to the "on" position for husband to do some radical "rehab" work.

This weekend we're having some folks over for dinner. During the next week we're having a friend stay with us for a couple of days. What does he decide to do? He decides to find out why there's a mildew smell in our bathroom we can't seem to locate.

In the last week we've pulled apart the baseboards, the fan, the cabinets, changed all the fixtures in the bathroom, and done everything possible to find out where this smell is coming from. I mean tearing apart everything and anything. We've looked high and low for anything that possibly would emit that smell.

The bathroom needs to be updated. The last time it was done was in 1990. When it was rehabbed at that time there was evidence that the sub-flooring had been wet and caused some damage. It had to be replaced. Can it be that this is where the smell is wafting from now? I'm betting it is... The bathroom needs to be gutted and redone. Larry is resisting like crazy.

Why he insists on ripping apart the fan in the ceiling at 1:00am during a torrential rain storm is beyond my comprehension, but he did it last night. I woke up with the sounds of hammers and other similar noises (as well as Oh@#$%, f%$# that, Mother%$#^ thing). Apparently something wasn't going his way at 1:00am when normal people are sleeping...LIKE ME!

For some ungodly reason he decided that the smell was coming from the attic and every time we entered the bathroom the smell would descend down the fan and into the bathroom. It should be noted that the fan pipe was dripping water from the rain coming down so hard there are flood warnings in our area (we live in an area where if it flooded we should all be building arks...we're high above sea level-so this is not your average rain fall). Would a normal, sane person fool around with a pipe that goes to the roof during a wicked rain storm? I think not, but then they're not my husband.

We've been at 100% humidity levels around here for the last three days and anything that was remotely damp is wet again and probably molding, hence the wet mildew smell. I say we should dry everything the best we can, get some light in the bathroom, maybe fans and try to dry it out until we can get the thing gutted and find out where the wet something is. Larry wants to rip apart, the day before company comes (in the only bathroom in the house mind you). And of course a couple of days before our company comes. I'm all for camouflage with candles and Lysol until we can figure out what's what. Am I wrong? Apparently Larry thinks so.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

LIfe has to be lived while we're here

I'm getting to that age where reading the daily newspaper is becoming a challenge... I know I need to look at the obits because I usually recognize a bunch of names, but honestly, sometimes I wish the obits were an option in the paper, like the TV guides that have become some special option in all the papers around here. I'd gladly give up the obits to have the TV guide back...

At present I have several friends on the pathway to the end. I don't like to think about it, but it's inevitable for all of us, but for these friends they're on a fast moving walkway going like the wind to get to the end.

With that in mind, I've given some thought to the things I want to accomplish in the near future. The way I figure it, I'm on the moving walkway as well, but it hasn't been turned on yet, so I have some time to do some things.

I'm just about at the point where I'm going to say "to Hell with everything" and do what I damned well please, no regrets...well, not any I'm ready to admit to anyway. I have things that I want to do in the next few months and I've decided not to put them off. I guess it's sort of my own personal "Bucket List".

Here's the rub though... I have a significant other that doesn't see things quite the same way. I understand where he's coming from, we do have to remember we might need some of this money I'm about to blow in the future, but what if there is no future? What a quandary...

Maybe I'll rethink a bit and do some of the things and not all of them...then again maybe not....

LIfe has to be lived while we

Friday, July 30, 2010

Home DIY

If you ask me to check your oil, change your antifreeze, bleed your brakes, rotate your tires, change plugs and points (if you can still get to them), or any other car related stuff, I'm there.

Ask me to chain saw some limbs from trees, water cut tile, spread cement, build a stone retaining wall, or grow from seeds some weird plants, I'm there. But, ask me to do something in my house that takes a measuring device, level, drill, screw drivers or hammers and you may as well ask me to swim the English Channel. I'm not good at the handi-person (got to be politically correct these days-I get noise about that) house accessorizing things.

All I wanted to do was add a towel bar in my bathroom. With all the remodeling we've been doing we decided to remove our old glass shower doors and replace it with a curtain and one of those cool shower curtain rods that give you more room in the shower. They're kind of curved to pull the curtain out and around. No problem right?

Got the tools to do the job, sat down to read the directions, that made no sense at all, but knowing how inept I am at these house DYI's I figured I better take the time to read the directions. That was my first mistake.

Directions are written in pseudo English these days. Thank God someone somewhere had the foresight to add pictures... Larry got in on this one as well, so I thought we'd be good.

We followed the directions to a "T". The curtain rod rotated and looked like an elongated "U". That didn't seem right, so we started anew. This time we read the directions out loud and s-l-o-w-l-y. I put the last piece in and the rod was still looking like a "U".

We both started to laugh because we questioned the directions a few times but figured we were wrong and they were right. We were wrong....about them being right.

We finally did what was logical and the thing went up fine. We learned that we knew many words that should not be used in polite company however. Well, at least we learned something.

OK, now, because we no longer have the shower doors, we lost our towel racks and the ability to throw wet towels and other things over the top of the doors. I was getting pretty sick of the towels on the floor and over the bathtub, plus the bathroom smelled damp. It was time to do something about this problem.

The first thing I did was to buy a curtain hook, you know the kind of thing that holds curtains back to the side. I saw someone use one of those in the bathroom to hold a hand towel by the sink. This was a project I was sure I could do and I did it with little difficulty. Because I was so successful at that minor job, I thought, I'll do a towel rod. No problem.

It took me some time to find the one I wanted, but I finally found one. It's not elaborate but it had to be a certain size to fit where I needed it. At the same time I bought a couple of other hook type devices to match, figuring I could use all the hooks I could get and I was so accomplished at these hook installations, how hard could it be? Ha!!

According to the directions the job should have taken 8 minutes. Knowing what I know about myself I always multiply the figure by 20. So 20 times 8 minutes, the job should take me about 160 minutes. On top of that figure I add another 60 minutes or so to give me the time to find all the tools I'll need. Don't laugh, it's true. Every tool is in the house and someone thinks he knows where they are, but guess what? we have a gremlin that lives with us who loves to put things away in places they don't belong. The result is, we have to search. We go to the place the tool is supposed to be and start doing searches by 1 foot radius'. I've thought about using a system to square off the cellar like they do on archaeological sites to find things.

Sure enough, it took me 90 minutes to find the tools to do this 8 minute project. Again, I haven't learned lessons correctly, I sat down to read the directions. Not good.

I'm sure some Chinese people are laughing their heads off right now, knowing full well that some American is reading their convoluted directions to put up this towel rod.

I did everything according to the directions. I drilled the holes the way they asked me to. I put the little anchors into the drilled holes (the size the Chinese told me to make) and the little anchors went into the wall, through the sheet rock and down into the hinterlands of the wall...

My vocabulary is now peppered with expletives that I won't repeat here. Suffice to say I was pissed. Luckily I have an assortment of different kinds of anchor and mollie bolts so the wall was saved from my foot being slammed through it.

After some other feeble attempts at using the directions, I threw them away and put the damned thing up. It's not perfect, but then what is?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Social networks

I belong to one of the many social networks. I added myself to this network because many of my friends and family were already on one and I thought it would be cool to be in the "in crowd' for a change. You can see from those words how old I am. I don't think the "in crowd" is used any longer, but I still use it on occasion.

What I didn't realize about social networks is how many people lead boring lives. I thought everyone's life was full of fun and activity. Now, I find out they're just as boring as I am at times. For that matter, I think my life is more adventurous than many of the folks on the social network.

OK, it's nice to see some of the pictures of people and the things they're doing, but it's not much better than seeing pictures of someone else's vacation. And, who are all those people in the photos? Do I know them? Of course not. They're people that other folks on the social network know, not me. So I just click through some and go on my merry way.

However, once in a while, in the private lives of others, I see something that makes me smile . I think they forget that everyone is reading their viewpoints and little mini life tales. I've been guilty of it myself. I forget at times that I'm writing things to the world and not just to the friend I thought I was writing to.

My young friends and family definitely forget that everyone is reading their tales. I'm sure they wouldn't volunteer some of the things they talk about with their elders and certainly not their parents. Even when they use text-talk, I get it....and I bet their parents do too. It's funny to read some of the musings of the kids. Kids never change. All their pet peeves have been the pet peeves through the ages.

I venture to guess in ??BCE there was a kid complaining that he/she didn't have the freedom they wanted and their parents didn't understand them...That, of course, is assuming they had time to think about anything other than where to get food, sleep and shelter.

I used to think old folks were nuts complaining about the state of the youth of today, but now I understand. I'm one of those old geezers and I can see why the aged look at the youth and shake their heads. In my day (gees, I really am old) our concerns were the same but we didn't have the opportunities these kids have to get into more trouble. Most of us didn't have the access to vehicles that these young people have today, so we didn't have the vehicle accidents as these kids have. If you were a girl, our big worry was "SEX". You knew if you had "SEX" your life as you knew it would be gone.

  • Your reputation would be "ruined". "Ruined!!" I say, irreparable damage for LIFE.
  • You'd, for sure, get "pg'd" (that's the "text" term in those days for (whispered) pregnant..ooooo.....
  • When you got preggers, no one would talk to you. You think the Amish can shun...let me tell you, 60's high school kids could shun the Amish to shame. The girls were a nonentity if someone knew you were pregnant. Usually the pregnant girls had to go "away". Funny thing though, the boy that made the girl pregnant went on with his life as a hero.
  • If "it" happened many of the girls I knew dropped out of school, never to return and I never saw them again. Of course the boys kept on living their lives....
  • If the girl kept the baby, her life was over, period. She lived with her relatives pretty much in isolation. The parents of her old friends wouldn't let them see her. For some reason the girl was now tainted for life as a result of something that took two to do.

Yes, our lives were different than the kids I see today. I'm not in support of unrestricted sex, or unwed parenting, mainly because it takes more than on to make the baby and it should be more than one that raises the baby. I do like the way having a baby in high school is looked at differently. Let me qualify that statement. You hope that kids don't get pregnant in high school today, but they do, at least today the girl is not ostracized and shunned like in my day. There are programs and support available for the girl and she doesn't have to feel alone and "dirty" like the girls did when I was in high school.

Kids grow up too fast these days and that I don't like. It's fun to be a kid and do stupid things that you look back on and laugh. As long as you're not hurting yourself or others, what's the big deal? Why sweat the small stuff, there's plenty of time in your life to worry about things which you have no control over. Have a good time.

I wish I could go back and tell myself that. I had a great childhood, but I would have had a better one if I hadn't been so worried about the way someone else thought. What right did I have to question what was in someone else's head? Those were the thoughts of others, not mine. What a wasted of valuable time.....I could have been doing something stupid and having fun with the time I wasted...Oh well, I'll make up for it now. I can too, because now I'm old and if I do something stupid younger people just look and think, "well, what do you expect, she' s just an old geezer"....You know what, I'm not any different than when I was a kid....I'm still thinking about other peoples thoughts...It's none of MY damned business...

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Decadent Salaries

Can someone please tell me how you can justify giving a CEO of a company multiple millions of dollars annually while laying off the workers of said company? I don't get it.

This was a story in the newspaper today regarding a not for profit hospital and the fact they were laying off nurses, but the CEO still received his multimillion dollar salary for that year. I read the article twice because I couldn't get over the fact that author of the article wrote it with such nonchalance.

If the CEO left the employ of that hospital I think it would run very well, but if all the nurses left the hospital would have to close their tents (and to be honest, some of the rooms in that hospital are not much better than fact some of the newer tents I've seen rival some good hotel rooms I've seen lately, so maybe the hospital should look into the cost cutting venture of buying the newer

The article got me thinking, (a dangerous thing these days...I'm getting older and far more cynical than ever) what if all the upper management of these companies were to make a pledge together that they would not skim off the top of these companies? I know, it wouldn't happen until Hell froze over, but let's just speculate. I wonder how the companies would fair? Some people will think, if the execs aren't given their perks and wages they've come to expect they will work less. That's a joke, I don't think they work all that much now. I understand the need for supervision, but not for 7 layers of supervisors. All of them make far more than the ones they're supervising. Ok I'll accept that they should get more because they're shouldering more responsibility, but is that really true? Take for example a chemist in a pharmaceutical company.

That chemist has to be precise in his/her measurements for safety of all concerned with that drug. The responsibility for him is huge. If he puts the wrong chemicals together a life could be lost or changed drastically forever. Doesn't it seem that he should be paid more than someone who doesn't have that responsibility on them like the upper management.

I know there has to be management, I get it. But I don't think it needs to be paid into the stratosphere.

I have a friend who makes tons of money. His bonus's are more than twice my annual income. He has a job that makes money for a company and he's compensated by percentage of the money he brings into the company. He's been lucky, (and honestly it is luck for some to be in the positions of great wealth, not much else) and he' s made a nice niche for himself. I don't begrudge him at all, but I wonder if it's justified he makes all this money while some of the administrative assistants he works with are losing their jobs because the companies profit margins weren't as great as they had been in the past?

There is a great disparity of wealth in this country and I think it's going to be the downfall of us all. Where I live is pretty insulated from the poor and starving, but I have eyes and ears, I can see things happening around me and I find it disturbing, to say the least. Life isn't fair, ok, I get it, but for some it's more unfair than for others. I know some folks could pull themselves up by the boot straps and change their lot in life, but sometimes when you're constantly being beaten down, it's kind of hard to find those boot straps...I think they need some help, for a time....

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Revenge of the forest

Over 41 years ago we bought this house. Actually it was a lot, which we planned to build on. I was pregnant with my first child and this was a big deal. We would have a new baby, new house and we had a new car.

The house was to be built in Suburbia. I didn't want to raise my baby in the city. It didn't matter to me that Larry would have to drive 45 minutes every day to work. I wanted to live in the country where the air was clean and the baby, when it arrived, would get to see nature right outside our window.

It was a great idea and one that has continued to be a great idea. We were smart, not on purpose mind you, we lucked out. We bought in an area that is still holding it's own in this financial market. The baby grew up. We had another baby. We were living the American dream. We were happy.

What we didn't give a thought to was what was happening to the other living things who lived here before we, and all our neighbors, moved in. This place was teeming with all kinds of wild life. It was nothing to see the deer in the back yard along with the foxes and myriad other little living things.

Most of us didn't give much thought to what we were doing to their "homes" as we built our homes. If they didn't get out of the way...too bad...they were gone. Honest, I don't think any of us around here thought about the other living things except maybe to swear at them when something got into the garbage cans, or ate out of our carefully landscaped yards. Rabbits got a short shift if they were caught in our new gardens. It was us or them, and we were bigger.

Life went on, we took over. The little animals fled from the area to be seen on occasion, but usually splatted on the road. No one cared. We just went on our merry way.

We thought we were the strong ones, we would prevail, and for the most part we did. Then slowly, ever so slowly, we started seeing things happen in our little area we cultivated to be our homes. The trees got bigger, and the animals found new homes. Our homes were being invaded by things from outside. Some of us got cats...that helped for a time, but the little living things got smarter.

Here we are 43 years later and I find myself embroiled in a war. "War", you say. I say, "Yes, all out war". My enemies are cute little brown chipmunks. You know, "Chip and Dale", except they aren't Chip and Dale. They're more like, "The rodents that ate the world" or at least they're trying to eat the world.

The first thing they tried to eat was a tarp in our shed. Apparently "tarp" is not one of their dietary needs, so the little thing died in the shed. We knew that in the Spring when opening the shed for the first time we were almost decked by the smell of death pouring out of the shed. It was not pleasant. Larry thought he could camouflage the smell with mothballs....not. Then he tried cedar shavings....not. Then he called in the big guns, me.

I opened the shed doors and told him something was definitely dead within the confines of the shed. I told him it smelled like all the dead mice which were in my old office. No amount of camouflage smell would take care of this stench. We had to remove everything (no small task) from the shed and find the offending "thing".

I was elected to go up the ladder and clear out the loft. The minute I went up one step I thought, "Man, this has got to be a big "thing" the smell was really putrid. Larry, the brave one, was standing far away from the shed yelling advice from his lofty position. Why in God's name I was the one elected for this was beyond me, but I was on the ladder, like a fool, pulling and pushing things out of the way to grab what I could, and get it out into the light of day. Larry's job was to search all the stuff as it came out.

He stood over all the scraps of material with a big stick. Slowly he would pick up a piece and use his foot to open up the material checking for vermin. Each time the material fell back down he'd jump back with a squeal... For a minute there, I thought he morphed into a little girl, listening to the noises he was making.

I finally got the loft cleared out, finding nothing when I heard an unearthly howl. Larry had found the "thing" tangled in the middle of a tarp. We saw where the little thing (we weren't sure what kind of "thing" it was at this point) had eaten part of the tarp and obviously it hadn't agreed with him/her.

He pushed the critter out of it's unholy coffin and determined it was a chipmunk. Good, now we knew what was causing the smell, life was good again, or so we thought.

A couple of weeks later Larry noticed some leaves under his car. We have a Mini Cooper. We've had it for years. He loves his Mini. He couldn't figure out where the leaves came from. He opened the hood of the car to investigate. There were more leaves. As he searched in the little engine he kept finding more leaves and straw like stuff. He cleared it out and closed the hood.

The next day he looked outside and saw a chipmunk coming out from under his car. He didn't think much of it at the time because we seemed to have an inordinate number of chipmunks all over the yard, up in the gutters, running from the roof, down the gutters, into the car port. We figured they were having a great time enjoying life like cute little Chip and Dale.

Hmm...what we didn't realize that these chipmunks were probably the progeny of the ones we displaced 43 years ago and they were back to avenge their ancestors. Sure, they were cute and little. They would run over my feet when I stood at my gardeners bench in the carport. How much could little chipmunks do for heavens sake? Hah!

Larry decided to change the air cleaner in the Mini because the air conditioner seemed to be struggling. When he opened the area of the cleaner, it was packed tight with straw, grass and leaves. There seemed to be a little indentation, like a Papasan chair in the middle of the leaves. Obviously someones house...

It took half of a garbage can to clear out the engine area and air cleaner area of leaves and other debris. Larry decided he better put some sort of covering over the hole something was getting into. He had some nylon screening that seemed to be the ticket. He measured and taped the mesh to the hole. Ahh...for sure it would be good now.

The next day he looked under the hood. Lo, and behold, the mesh was chewed completely through, and the little house of leaves and debris was back intact. This was serious. Twice Larry had to clear out some sort of nest. He was getting pissed. This wasn't an easy task, to remove this stuff, it was packed into the smallest areas (the poor little thing probably didn't want to get a draft in his house).

I decided to get involved. I made a mixture of hot peppers, hot sauce vinegar and salt and poured it around the area where Larry had seen the chipmunks walk.

The next day the chipmunks chewed through the asphalt near the garage. They didn't liek my concoction I guess. They had tunnels all over. We found chipmunk holes all around the garage and carport.

Inside the Mini the nest was back, only worse. Now there were gnaw marks on the area where they entered. They were clearly pissed at us. This was getting serious. We needed to bring in heavy artillery.

We did our research. We checked with Environmental folks who suggested some kinds of traps, you know, the "humane" way to rid yourself of Mother Nature's little friends (they're sure not MY friends by this time).

We spent time trying all the humane things. The chipmunks watched us and laughed. Finally, when the chipmunks started to throw things at us (ok, ok I'm exaggerating.. but I swear if they could have they'd have flung something at us when we went outside) we had enough.

I went to the hardware store and bought the dreaded, "Rodent Trap", no odor, no blood, it said. I bought some organic peanut butter, figuring if this was to be their last meal I'd give them something nutritious. I set the trap, the way the instructions said to do it and placed it against the wall. All the time thinking, "I don't' want to do this but you've left me no choice".

Two days went by and there was nothing trapped. I was kind of glad about that. I didn't care that I spent $10 on this plastic trap that didn't work. It was almost like giving them a fighting chance.

The next day, I slowly walked out to the carport. I peeked around the potting bench, hoping the trap was still set...The trap was closed on top of the head of a chipmunk...dead. As I was standing there wondering what to do with the thing, feeling all kinds of remorse for doing this awful deed, a chipmunk ran over my foot. I screamed and said, "THAT'S IT, YOU ALL DIE!!"

That's how it happened. I became a murderer. I still think they're taking out revenge against us for displacing them so many years ago... So the war rages on and I'm on the front lines. If they would move away I'd leave them alone, but until they's "The Jaws of Death" for them....

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

It's been a while since I've written anything on this thing, for several reasons. The first being I didn't have anything to say. The second, because I didn't feel like doing anything remotely linked with the word, work.

Today however I had a thought about something a friend spoke about. So here I am thinking on screen as opposed to on paper or in my mind. Sometimes I think it's good to see your words in print. For some reason it makes them seem real and worthy of the attention of yourself, and maybe others.

My friend saw a news story about some young people who were arrested for vandalism in her community. One of the folks arrested was a student from our Alma Mater. She asked if I thought she should contact the young woman, since she is a student at our college. My immediate reaction was, "Sure". But then thought better of that.

After reflection, I decided to read the news article and watch the surveillance video of the alleged event. My gut was saying one thing, but I wasn't sure if I was correct or not. My gut has a habit of putting the cabash on things, and it's usually correct.

The article spoke about the amount of damage done to businesses and vehicles parked along the sides of the down town area. There were 11 arrests. Most of the charges were misdemeanors but there were 3 pending felony charges. I don't know if the felony charges will hold, but who knows in this day and age.

The video clearly shows the group traveling through the down town area, throwing things through windows and generally wrecking things in their wake. Supposedly they were yelling unintelligible things as well, but there was no sound on the video.

This was supposed to be some sort of action for May Day. Although, I'm not sure what was being protested, nor, did it seem, did anyone else know.

What I did see was a bunch of people, dressed in black, under cover of darkness doing some stupid things to the property of others. If I had been a person in the vicinity of this "mob" I would have been frightened.

My question is this, if you want to protest something, why not do it when people are around and the sun is shining so everyone can see and hear your protest. Why do you have to be "Ninja Protesters" if that's what you're doing?

These weren't kids either. Most were college students in their 20's. I protested things when I was a college student as well, but not in the dark, wearing dark clothes so no one could see me. I also carried signs that explained my position and it was in the daytime so people could read what I was pissed about.

My friend wanted to reach out and contact this young woman who was a student of our former Alma Mater. She felt she wanted her to know there were friends in the area. I did not agree after viewing the video and reading the article. I think the girl was part and parcel of a bunch of rich kids without enough to do. I don't give them anything but disgust at their behavior.

As I stated before, if you want to protest something, do it in the daytime. This is vandalism and vandalism alone. There was nothing to protest by them, but there sure was a lot to protest from the folks who's property they damaged. Let's get things into perspective.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Let's Make a Deal

Have you purchased a new mattress lately? I haven't, but I have to get a new one now. I think it's time. I'm getting tired of wrapping the broken spring that's sticking out of the side of the mattress with duct tape. Now don't get me wrong, the duct tape works, and it sort of matches the duvet cover I have on the bed...However, this morning I scraped along the side of the bed and felt my skin tear as I hit the broken spring. I looked down and sure enough there was blood...It's time to do something about it...

Whenever I buy something new I do research to find out about the purchase I'm about to buy. Mattresses used to be pretty east to buy. You went into a furniture store and the salesman showed you two or three sets, you laid on top of them and said, "OK I'll take this one". You gave him your money and the thing was delivered in a couple of days. There weren't many kinds to choose from. There was usually the manufacturer, Sealy and some unknown name. The Sealy was more expensive, but then they also had the word, "Posturpedic" attached to the name. There were no choices of color, style or any other of the myriad things there seems to be today. Who knew you had to get a PhD in "mattress-ology" to purchase one today, but it seems you do.

I had an idea of what I felt was a fair price. I knew I needed a firm mattress and I thought it would be a piece of cake to get a mattress that would fit my needs. Not that easy, I found out...

Armed with my notebook, pens, sticky notes and an assortment of flyer's, I walked into the first "mattress store". Walking into a store that specialized in mattresses only was my first mistake. I almost fainted when I saw the prices on the mattresses in the front of the store. I first one I saw had a "sale" price of $2,600.00. That was just the mattress. That price did not include the box spring, sorry, I meant to say, "foundation". (apparently I showed my ignorance by calling the box thing that goes under the mattress something that only idiots call by the name of "box spring". So shoot me?!?)

Honestly, I had a rough time speaking to this guy, my eyes were still glued to the price on the sticker. I had to ask the guy what could possibly make this mattress worth so much money. He laughed as he "educated" me in the finer points of mattresses...

Little did I know that mattresses were based on the number of "coils", whether or not the "coils" were wrapped or not, the "loft" of the fabric, and the foam content. That was just the beginning of the education. Who knew? I thought my research was pretty complete when I walked into the store, but I was sorely mistaken.

The gentleman was very patient with me as I asked questions I thought were pertinent to the purchase of this big rectangular thing made of cotton, foam and metal springs. I mean honestly, the bottom line is they're all made with the same materials, it's just how they're put together and what name is one the top that makes the price. Oh, and of course, how much money the company has spent on marketing the product. I think the reality is, that's why some are so much more expensive, they are marketed to the hilt, so someone has to pay the advertising costs.

By the time I left the stores that first adventure into "mattress-land", I was thoroughly discouraged. I had laid on about 25 mattresses, fell asleep on 1 of them, (the salesman let me rest to see how I liked it. He came back a few minutes later to wake me up, I was snoring so loud the other sales man couldn't hear his customer on the phone. I think that's the mattress I should have bought that day, but true to my way of shopping I had to check a few other places).

I went home with enough paperwork, flyer's and salesman's business cards to wallpaper my bathroom. I arranged all the paperwork and by process of elimination I narrowed my choices down to two sets, from the same store.

A couple of weeks went by, it was time to jump in and buy the mattress. I went to the store, grabbed the salesman, said, "I was here a couple weeks ago. You gave me some information, I'm now here to buy this mattress". He looked at me and said, "Oh right, the lady who fell asleep..." . I sort of wished he'd have remembered my red hair or some thing other than the fact that I snored so loud I had the whole freaking store laughing....but alas, it was not to be. He did remember me, I guess that was what counted.

Of course the mattress I wanted was out of stock now, so I was back to square one. The salesman was really cool about it. He found a similar mattress gave me a "Breathe-Rite Strip" ( you know the things you put on your nose to stop you from snoring?) and said he's come back to see how I liked this one.

I wasn't sure if I should be offended or not. I did think it was thoughtful he had one of the no-snore strips, but on the other hand I wondered if I had set some kind of precedent in the store....

Saturday, March 6, 2010


This is a plea to ask folks if it's just me, or am I one of thousands?

Right now I'm fit to be tied. My stomach is in knots and I took a "happy" pill to calm my nerves....I think I'm an intelligent woman but I just don't understand men. I've lived with one most of my life, between my Dad and now my husband of 43 years.....I should know all about the species, but I don't.

What I'm alluding to is the fact that the one I'm married to won't stand up and say something if anyone if he's unhappy about something. Oh...he'll say something to me about it, but confrontation between him and the person he should be talking to doesn't happen.....Instead he acts as though everything is fine and life is great...With a little laugh and a smile.

What's that all about? Now, if I was analyzing this, I would have to say this is a man who has kept his true feelings inside all his life. I would point out that life for him is in two houses. One house has the man who everyone sees, good natured, happy, friendly, an all round good guy. He doesn 't make any waves as he goes about his daily business. Never would anyone think he was anything but what his facade shows.

Now, in the other house lives a man who is angry. He's angry at everything and anything. He sits in his chair yelling at the TV. He slams papers down in frustration. He looks at the neighbors houses and says they're all a bunch of idiots and wishes they would die. Just their presence in the neighborhood makes him angry. He loves movies but won't go to them because he hates all the people that attend the movie. He finds something wrong in the house, usually something that has been remodeled or changed in some way, and he seethes on the problem until he can't speak about it at all. He badgers me to "call those people and get them here to fix this". When I do, and they come, he won't come out of his room to speak to them. When I ask if he wants to talk to them he says, "Why, I can't say anything that you haven't already said." He then calls me and tells me to ask questions of the guys repairing the stuff. I tell him he should ask the questions himself and he gives me looks that would melt glaciers.

When the repair guys leave, he's all over the repairs, usually not happy about the repairs. Then the yelling starts about, "Today's shoddy workmanship, the young workers who don't know jack shit (by the way, what's "jackshit?")" and the fact that he feels he's been personally screwed.

When I read Dennis the Menace in the newspapers I think Mr. Wilson and my husband have much in common. I've taken on the role of the ever understanding Mrs. Wilson who tolerates the miserable curmudgeon Mr. Wilson with a smile and a "yes, Dear".

If I understand this behavior correctly, I think it's just a way to express emotions. It's not to be taken with great seriousness. I think my job is to nod my head up and down and say, "Yes, Dear", then go on my way smiling.

I've learned over the years not to take on the attitude and moods of others, so I don't. The problem with that is, I get told I'm unfeeling and cold. So be it.

I come from a long line of folks who call a spade a spade. We don't gloss over things and try to make people "like us" by saying what they want to hear. I tell it as I see it, for better or worse.

Most of the time what I see from this man is a person who will not confront anyone mildly. His idea of confrontation must take on the form of fighting, arguing, anger and frustration. He loses his temper because he stuffs his feelings in all the time, then explodes. No one but me sees that side. Although, lately others have seen cracks in the veneer, so they know he's not all sugar and smiles.

We'll see what's to happen in the next year or so....things are not pretty right now and I'm getting very tired.......

Oh well...just another bother.....

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Snake Oil and Charms

If you're alive, a woman, and of a certain age you've been to a craft fair....The ones that are supposed to be the best are the ones advertised as, "Juried" shows. Down here in "God's Waiting Room" (Gulf Coast of Florida) there are tons of these shows. Most of them are the same vendors going from city to city with their little tents and canopies selling their wares to the same people that have seen the same ^%$# before at the other fairs they've gone to down here...But...sometimes you get a bit surprised, that happened today.

The town we stay in was blown off the face of the Earth several years ago with Hurricane Charlie. You can still see signs of damage and the place isn't back to normal yet. The damage was extensive and they lost many of the tourist trap places that brought folks to the area each winter. Consequently, they try all sorts of things to promote the City. There are art shows, wine tastings, evening walk abouts, Arts and culture events (not much art and the culture? well I'm sure they're trying.....). This is the second year they've sponsored a "juried" arts and crafts fair.

Everything here starts in the morning. I guess the old folks like to go and get home before lunch so they can eat, take their naps, have some cocktails, eat dinner, go to bed, then do the same thing again the next day...that is if they haven't gotten killed in a car wreck in the meantime....

I decided to see what this thing was all about. I went alone, because Larry would rather watch paint dry than walk around looking at crafty things. The weather down here has been windy and cold, I knew the place would be quiet. It was. I was the only "live" shopper at the time I arrived. Oh, there were other people there, but I'm not sure they were really "alive".

There were the usual things to see, but there were some very different things as well. A pleasant surprise. I was approached by a woman who dragged me to her booth to look at her wares. She was selling, selling hard mind you, some kind of lotions she guaranteed I would look 20 years younger if I used them...hmmm...snake oil??hmmm...

I let her go through her speech and watched as she smoothed on this lotion stuff on the back on one hand. She spoke to me the whole time she massaged my hand. After about 5 minuted I looked at my hand and it was devoid of all wrinkles and spots....The other hand looked like my grandmother's hand...What could I do? I had to buy the stuff so both my hands looked as thought they came on the same person.....I spent $25.00 on this stuff and ran like Hell away from her before she could get me into her spell again.....

I ran from "snake oil lady" directly into "gadget man". This guy had me mesmerized in 10 seconds flat....He was pushing some kind of grater-scraper thing and a bunch of other "must have" gadgets. Luckily he wasn't as persuasive as "snake oil lady" I only bought one thing from him.....

By that time I was lighter by about $60. and figured I had to make a bee line to my car before I started to turn out my pockets and give them lint....One last person got hold of me and sold me a tee shirt, that said "Group Therapy" it had pictures of my favorite cocktails on the front and a tiny little Martini glass on the back..How could I walk away from that?

All the stuff is in my suitcase...Larry will never know...

The Waiting Room

I'm down here in "God's Waiting Room" on the west coast of Florida. I swear each year when I come down here I think it'll be the last...Not that I'm planning on kicking off, but I'm sure I'm going to be killed by some old, really old, shouldn't be driving old, person behind the wheel of a car they can barely see over.....honest.

Coming down here gets us out of the worst part of the winter in the north, but this year I think we brought it with us.... We've seen some pretty odd get-ups on the folks walking around trying to stay warm. The folks at the Goodwill have people coming in there asking if they can "rent" warm clothing. They don't want to buy, just rent....

One lady walking around the Farmer's Market in Punta Gorda had on a ?fur? coat...Now I have to tell you, if I was to guess as to what kind of fur it was I'd have to say, something that should have kept it's coat because it was really bad looking. I followed her around, not so she'd think I was a stalker but long enough to see that the thing she had on her body was a cloth coat (with moth holes) and a fur thing over the top of the coat...It was a black background and the fur stuff was white, gray and black.

As she walked she left a wake of fur balls and strands of something that didn't look natural. Now honestly I'm not being catty, there were other folks looking at her as well. When I got closer to her I noticed she was very old. I'm thinking the coat thing was probably something she got as a present....when she was living in an Igloo in Iceland.

Most of the folks are smart enough to wear layers of clothing and understand the weather is a bit erratic this year. Other folk though, I'm sure they have no idea what they look like when they leave their homes.....

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Anger Management

The title is "Anger Management". That's what this blog is about, anger management. Thank God I have somewhere to vent, yell and generally rant about things that are getting to me....

Again, it's the news. I stopped watching the news when I found myself yelling like Archie Bunker at the anchors who were reading the news articles. I intellectually understand that they are the mouths of the writers, but it's kill the messenger as far as I'm concerned.

Tonight was a prime example of why I don't purposely watch the (expletive deleted) news......As I walked by the TV I heard another story that immediately sent my blood to boiling levels. It seems that someone has defaulted on their home mortgage payments and the bank is trying to foreclose. However, some financial blood sucker has given the homeowners perhaps a round about way to get some of the money they owe from the Feds...(that's you and me...if you didn't realize it....)(not that these folks were ever really the homeowners -the bank gave them the money to live in the house with a contract that clearly stated..."I promise to pay the money back with the interest you are asking for" it?).

Here's the deal....The people that bought something that ended up being more than they could pay for, can try to get the Feds to go to bat for them to get the bank to reduce the principal on the mortgage. Then the bank can refinance the new amount to reduce the mortgage payment. The bank can then file for some kind of payment from the Feds (you and me....) to get some, if not all, of the loss they are taking by allowing the principal to be reduced. The bank won't be out so much money, the original mortgagee gets a reduction and we (the tax payer) get the shaft.

What really gets to me about this kind of thing is, some people think this is a great solution to the ongoing mortgage defaulting problem. How is it great? Someone has to pay, and so many folks think the Feds will be paying for this, and they're right....but the Feds need money to do that and guess who gets the tab??? Better start looking around for a second or third job, you need to find some extra money to give to the Feds so they have enough to give to the banks. Oh wait, I have a better idea....

Here's what we all have to do.....Starting tomorrow, all of us need to open a bank account and put money in it....I don't care if you have to sell your blood to get the money....or maybe a kidney...whatever it takes....Then people that can't afford to pay for their house, even though they agreed contractually to pay for it, can forget the middle man and call you or me up and tell us to send them the money we put in the account....Just think how much easier that would be for everyone....

Here's another idea....since social security is not giving seniors a cost of living increase for this year (or next, for that matter) but the Congress got a small raise (hmmm...sounds a bit skewed...or is it just me.....) there must be masses of money sitting in a "slush fund" down there in Washington waiting for someone to ask for "help" to pay the bill they "contracted" to pay....

Don't be telling me that there are masses of Greedy Geezers out there just waiting for a handout from the Feds. I see more of the type that need every dollar they get from the Feds in the form of monthly social security payments to stay alive.

For that matter, I'd be satisfied if the Congress got the same retirement bennies that most of us not in politics get. I want them on Social Security, Medicare, and all the other fantastic, "make us wealthy" (not) systems that most of us are on right now. Yes, I know there are some Seniors out here that are making money from their investments and don't need the benefits from the Feds that everyone else clearly needs, but the system doesn't, and never did, exclude people because they made too much money.

I get angry with this kind of thing I hear on the news because we live in a house that we own. We started out with nothing, worked like horses, saved money on things and didn't live above our means. We paid the mortgage off early because we made sacrifices that I don't see people today willing to make. Our kids learned what it meant to earn money to have things they wanted. They weren't given things, we all earned what we had. We didn't have credit cards, consequently we didn't have an over abundance of "stuff".

The folks in the news report were living in a house that I'd love to have, but I can't afford that kind of house, nor could I ever afford that kind of house. The reality is, if you can't afford to pay for something, you shouldn't have it.

I remember when I was a kid thinking, "If ever I get to the end of the week and there's $20 left in my wallet, then I'll know I'm wealthy". Now, I'd have to say there has to be a bunch of $100's. The problem is, I don't have any cash in my wallet, I have credit cards...but I pay them off every month.....

I know there are lots of folks out there that must use the credit cards to get through to the next paycheck, but I wonder how many of those same folks would be willing to write down every cent they spend every day for two weeks, to see where they could tighten up a bit. It's way too easy to use the plastic, and it becomes a habit for all of us.

I now know I'm old...I'm talking like my parents did and other older folks I listened to as a kid growing up. I used to think they were nuts and didn't know what it was like to live in the "real world", but now I realize that it was me who didn't know what the real world was, and didn't find out until I was old, like them.

oh well......