ANOTHER DAY SHOT TO HELL – Marilyn Armstrong

Not so much a bad day as one of those days where you don’t get to stop. Didn’t get to comments. Haven’t opened my email. Haven’t taken any pictures. Other than the one I wrote early this morning, I haven’t written anything today.

Because? First, there were the phone calls. I didn’t make them yesterday and absolutely had to make today. A long conversation with our trash collectors, leading to my piece on garbage and a “senior rate” for collection. A discussion about bears because they have been sighted in the woods. Wondering about the price of bear-proof trash bins.

The current big plastic bins cost more than $100 each and that’s for the company to buy en masse. Bears are powerful animals who love trash. A 96-gallon bin that locks them out $671 on Amazon, but Jet.com sells the same bin for $377. I don’t know how good these are, either. An interesting price differential, too.

I have nothing against bears, but they are big and powerful and I don’t know if I’m ready to deal with them. The coyotes are enough of an issue, not to mention the skunk and wildcats and raccoons. Are we ready for bear?

Then Owen was here and off we went to buy groceries. Which was followed by unpacking and stowing all that stuff.

A glitch in Garry’s baseball channel that went on for hours entailed a prolonged wait on hold for tech support. To learn, as we suspected, they were having the problem, not us.

I needed to fix Garry’s broken email which wasn’t difficult but took a long time. Warning! Delete your old emails! If you don’t, eventually your email server stops serving and goes on strike.

Portrait of the man and dog

The family dropped by. And then, it was dinner time.

I made dinner. Steak, corn, and yellow summer squash. I’m not enthusiastic about zucchini, but I love big yellow squashes. Deliveries from Amazon: 20 lbs of dog food! No hungry kids in our family.

Realized I forgot to buy lunch meat and never found the lens cleansers, though I looked. Really. I looked. Garry says they are way up on the top shelf. I am short so my eyes never got there.

Home again

There’s a bad bearing on the front left wheel of the Jeep and I had to make sure it got fixed. Bad bearings get worse. We have a lot of driving to do this month and next.

The hospital’s automated equipment called twice more to remind us of our appointment with the doctor on Monday. They have called every day this week.

None of this sounds like a big deal and it wasn’t a big deal, but each thing took time. With the washing of the dishes, the day is done and I feel like it never entirely started. I knew this month was going to get weird.

I was right. At least it was better than yesterday. On my agenda for tomorrow? Other than housekeeping and vacuuming? Explaining to the doctor that Garry’s out of hydrochlorothiazide because Duke ate the container.

Duke

We aren’t sure what happened to the pills, but since Duke is fine, I have to assume he didn’t eat them.

BEING BUSY: WORK AND OTHERWISE – Marilyn Armstrong

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Busy or People Working


First, I was absolutely sure I didn’t have anything for this challenge. There had been some men working in town, but I didn’t catch them on the way in and they were gone on the way out.

Then I reread what Cee wrote and realized she’d left a lot of room for me to decide what “busy” really meant. So I started scrolling through the pictures to see what I had.

It turns out, there are a lot of types of busy. It may not be work or may not be the kind of work we do, but it’s definitely busy!

Setting up
Unloading
Snow busy!
Busy at the Registry of Motor Vehicles
Busy watching!
Busy clipping

MONEY CHURNING

One of the financial meanings of “churning” is to stir up money so that it looks like you are making money, but actually, you aren’t.

All you are really doing is “stirring the waters” and making it look like there’s a lot of business to lure prospective victims, er, I mean investors. You can do this in real estate by flipping houses without really making a profit — or even losing money. And it’s very easy to do with stocks and bonds and buying and selling often, to no particular effect. The point is to look like there’s business in progress which to most people, presumes that money is being made.

Beware of churning, by the way. It is a frequently used “tool” by dishonest brokers.

Right now, on a personal level, it means I have to come up with money I don’t have to do a bunch of things I have no choice about. Routing out the bugs and mice. Fixing at least as much of the dry rot, collapsed window, and finishing the bathroom. Tearing down the old outdoor shower we haven’t used in more than a decade. Tearing down the rotting old shed that’s probably full of carpenter ants — and who knows what else.

From a homeowner’s point of view, this really isn’t huge, but from a retired person’s point of view, it’s a lot.

I knew the ants would be back today because it’s warm. It will be (maybe) in the 60s — even 70s — today. The pest control people called to warn us about tomorrow. We have to get the dogs out of the house — us too — for four hours and no matter what Garry said, we can’t keep us and three lunatic dogs in the car for four hours. We would be gibbering idiots before the days end.

Our regular groomer had no room. Slammed. It’s spring and everyone is getting their dogs cleaned up. Our old groomer went out of business. The dog day care folks have a waiting list months — years? — long.

I called the vet. Gibbs need his annual checkup anyway, but I also need to warehouse the dogs for half a day tomorrow. They said  fine but please bring in Gibbs today because he needs his checkup and probably his other (not rabies) vaccines … and we need to talk about ticks (I loathe ticks).  So we have to take Gibbs to the vet this afternoon. Tomorrow we’ll board them. They have never been boarded, but they actually like the vet — so do we — so I’m not anticipating any issues.

Lord only knows what this is going to cost, but at this point I give up. Whatever it is I will deal with it. Somehow. Not like there’s a choice.

Speaking of ticks, last year and the year before, I used the Soresto collars which were great. But when we got Duke, he thinks that collars are fun toys and he just pulled them off both Bonnie and Gibbs. It was the end of the season, so it wasn’t a big deal — but those collars are expensive. At $60 a whack, that’s a pretty pricey chew toy — and it won’t keep the ticks away if Duke removes them. So we have to have a chat about tick, flea and mosquito repellent. I’m feeling dizzy with all the stuff going on at the same time.

Just this side of gibbering am I. It’s lovely we are escaping for the weekend! We need a few days to regain sanity. And a sense of balance!

Meanwhile, I spent $75 yesterday to discover Garry’s computer is broken and I can’t afford to fix it. I have no idea what today and tomorrow’s trip to the vet will cost, but it will be what it will be. Sometimes, there’s just no way to negotiate your way out of the stuff going on.

On the up side, stuff is getting done. I don’t know how, but it’s happening. I found a collar that fits Bonnie. She had a beautiful new one with a matching leash, too, but Duke pulled it off her and we never found it again. He thinks it is hilarious to haul her around by the collar. I think it is less hilarious because you would not believe what they charge for dog collars today. I swear they didn’t used to cost this much money.

I scrubbed the floor with Fabuloso (that floor cleaning stuff works very well). Then I redid the whole kitchen a second time with vinegar and water. Sprinkled Comet across the doorway. Killed any bugs I could find. Went downstairs and realized that the few mice we thought we had have exploded into a frenzy of mice — sort of like you saw in old black and white cartoons where the mice are chasing the farmer and his wife around the table while one of them wields a weapon? I never really understood those cartoons until today.

Welcome spring. Glad you are bringing life to our home. Personally, I was hoping for flowers, but instead we have ants, mice, and dry rot. Be careful what you wish for. Be VERY specific when you make those wishes!

The red buds are the buds for the maple leaves … which you won’t see until the beginning or middle of May. But they are ready.

I’m going to give up on comments, writing, and reading today. There’s just so much else I need to do, I can’t fit it all in. So — again — I apologize, but I’m a trifle overwhelmed and then we’ll be away until Tuesday while Owen minds the pups.

At least the house is clean!

LEGEND OF A BLOGGER

Legendarily speaking, I’m a nonstop blogger who always has something to say. This is a great idea and flattering, too … but this is one of those days when it isn’t working out. And this is going to be just one of a whole bunch of such days coming right up to a theater near you.

Today we are taking Gibbs for a full winter cleanup. We also need to hit CVS for prescriptions and I need wrapping paper. And then, there are a few groceries. Owen is bringing over the new replacement vacuum cleaner because the lightweight one seems to have bitten the big one. Yes, I know, cheap is cheap and when you spend a little, you don’t get much, but the lightweight machines tend to be inexpensive and they don’t last a really long time. Like a year or two and then they pack it in. This one bit it.

Our bigger machine is too heavy for me, but I need something light that will move dirt. It’s a hard combo to get. We used to have an expensive machine to do that, but it was forever breaking down and mostly, it was more broken than not. Now, it is now abandoned, somewhere in the basement. Bye bye Oreck.

This January, it’s (again) my time to be a judge for the Audie awards. I do this every year. I no longer do the first round where I have hundreds of hours of reading. I do only the finals where I have a manageable number of books. But it is coming beginning of January and it will eat the month. This is not something I can dodge and to be honest, I don’t want to dodge it. I enjoy it. It’s fun. Reading a lot of new books is nothing to scoff at.

It does mean I won’t be doing a lot of writing. I won’t do nothing, but daily? Probably not.

In other news, many people I have enjoyed and with whom I’ve become friends are sliding out of blogging. Some are just tired. Others are angry and frustrated with the political mess and can’t find the energy keep going. I understand, but it hurts. People I lose from blogging aren’t just virtual contacts.

They are friends and I care. I hope they feel the same way. All I ask is if you are leaving, please don’t go without at least a good-bye — and maybe your email address?Also, I think this is exactly when our voices are most important.

I’m not dropping out, but I have stuff to do. Right now, with the awfulness of our political system in a tailspin, this is when those of us who have a voice and a platform — and have something worth saying — should be saying it. We need to speak up and keep speaking up. Maybe we aren’t going to change a lot of minds, but who knows? The internet is a funny place. You never know how much of an impact you are having on your world. Every once in a while I discover I’ve made someone think about something differently, see an old concept in a new light and I feel proud. Maybe it’s a small thing, but it feels good.

Meanwhile, for at least the next month, until I’m done reading for the Audies, I’m a bit busy. In case you don’t know what the Audies are, they’re the awards for Audiobooks. This means that unlike words-on-pages books, you can’t “read faster.” Audio unfolds at its own speed, so if a book is 32 hours long, that’s it. In theory, you can speed it up, but listening to an audiobook at 1.5 times normal speaking rate is downright weird. Makes your brain do flip-flops.

I really love blogging but this legend has be less legendary because I can’t fit 34 hours of work into a 24 hour day and it isn’t because I have not tried. It simply doesn’t work.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

FLYING TIME, FLYING BY

December is going to be a complicated month. It usually is. It’s not that we have a lot of holiday stuff going on here. Other than putting up our little tree and a few other decorations … and generally cooking something interesting on Christmas Eve for whatever family drops by … mostly, we watch old movies. Especially “It’s A Wonderful Life” which I never can see enough.

And yet, it still gets complicated. A visit for a couple of days. Two Christmas parties, invitations accepted. Doctor appointments. His. Mine. Ours. And then … there’s the email.

I’m really good about answering email, but we were out most of the day. Garry had two long appointments, the first with an audiologist and the next with an otolaryngologist, a title that means “a doctor specializing in ears,” and which I cannot pronounce. I keep trying, though. It won’t come out of my mouth. It just sits there like a giant, verbal lump. There will be more about this subject pretty soon, I’m sure.

Regardless, by the time we got home, it was dinner time for the dogs. It was also dinner time for us and we’d missed lunch, so dinner was no small thing. And, of course, there was mail (the snail kind), bags and packages and unpacking and by the time I was done, it was no longer afternoon. Or early evening. Full night, which I grant you comes earlier this time of year than it ought.

I’m tired. I opened the computer and the mail I hadn’t had time to answer this morning? There was triple that amount. I gave up and deleted almost all of it. If I couldn’t do it today, there would be twice as much of it tomorrow. By Sunday, I’d be virtually buried. To one and all, sorry. I was uber-whelmed.

I believe we have more outside-the-house stuff to do this month than we typically do during a multi-month interval.

It always happens like this, doesn’t it?  You’ve got weeks … sometimes months. Nothing much going on. But don’t worry. Life arrives in waves. A little dull right now? Next month, you’ll be buried. I guarantee it.