Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Yeah, THIS was probably a foregone outcome

I could not WAIT to take my coffee break this morning, so that I could light into the Snickers bar I cadged from the goodie pile last night.  (Goodie bag production update:  60 down, many more to go.  How many more days until Halloween?)

I don't normally eat candy bars.  Mainly, because the calorie content in one lousy candy bar is approximately nine kabillion, and if I'm going to gratuitously squander calories, I'd rather save them for my personal kryptonite, white cake with white frosting.

I KNOW.  White cake with white frosting is basically pure sugar.  I had might just as well open up the sugar canister and grab a spoon, but I cannot help myself.  When I was a little kid, Freihofer's made birthday cakes, and I used to BEG my mom to buy me one, whether it was anywhere near my birthday or not, just to get that white cake with white frosting fix.  How I don't weigh a million pounds, I will never know. 

So, long story short, basically the only time of year I have candy bars in the house is at Halloween.  And I know myself well enough to know that every. single. candy bar that isn't scarfed up by trick-or-treaters will be scarfed up by me.  Eventually.  I have been known to stretch out Halloween leftovers until Christmas, for Pete's sake, at which time rescue group bake sale fundraisers will pick up the slack, thereby putting my one true love, white cake with white frosting, onto the back burner until ... oh ... February or so.

How about you?  Any ridiculous relationships with sugar?

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

I ... I don't know what's come over me

So!  Halloween!  I used to just lame-ass it with some Dollar Tree candy and a couple of plastic pumpkins, but ever since I bought the giant rats a couple of years ago, I've become more ... enthusiastic.

The vampire bats have been hung. This year I took a bunch of plastic pumpkins and hung them from the tree branches out front to make pumpkin trees.  When a neighbor said that there was no such thing as pumpkin trees, I told him, "There is now."

Instead of doing Dollar Tree candy, I've stocked up on Snickers and Milky Ways for the trick-or-treaters.  Hey, if I'm gonna end up with leftover candy, it's gotta be quality, dammit.  I ordered fortune-telling fish from Oriental Trading, and I've got a bunch of spider rings and skull erasers and the whole nine yards.  I think ... I think I'm gonna do goodie bags. *gasp*.

Dudes ... what is happening to me?  Has the ghost of Martha Stewart taken over?  Because I am the ANTI-Martha.  I have never even LOOKED at Pinterest.  I don't DO that sh*t.

It's like I don't even know myself anymore.

If I start posting recipes for zombie punch or something, hold an intervention, okay?  I would appreciate it.


Monday, October 28, 2013

Oh, well, who ISN'T?!

My neighbor L. came over last night, to collect the mail I had been gathering for her and B. while they were out of town, and she got to chatting.

"B. sure does like to talk, lately!" she said.  "He's driving me crazy!  It's because he's bipolar, you know."

Okay, (a), TMI, and (b), who ISN'T?!

I swear to God, isn't everybody, these days?  If they're not bipolar (back in my day, it was called manic-depressive, but I guess that phrase must have been offensive to somebody sometime, because now it's called bipolar), they're "on the spectrum".  Or they've got Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.  Or adult ADD. Or the motherload of pull-out-your-(insert disease here)-card, Fibro-my-freaking-algia.

If I ever get cancer, I'm gonna be PISSED at all these a**holes trotting out their medical diagnoses like they deserve some kind of flippin' AWARD. 

Disease is not cool.  Disease is not fun.  No, it's nothing to be ashamed of, of course, but it's also not some f*cking flag for you to fly over your damn house.  It's not something for your wife (or husband, or whoever) to bring up in casual flipping conversation with the NEIGHBORS. 

Whoo boy.  I dunno.  I just get tired of people trotting out their speshul preshuss disease like a show pony.

If you want to be proud of something, be proud of the kick-a** muffins you make.  Be proud of the incredibly complicated spreadsheet you created for your job.  Be proud that you made someone smile today.

But don't be proud of being sick.  That's just ... odd.  Deal with your illness as best you can, but don't let it define you.  Don't let it become you.

Because then?  Then it's won.

But wait.  Am I missing the boat?  Isn't "owning" a disease supposed to be some kind of empowering tool?  But, I mean, it's good, of course, to acknowledge your diagnoses, and not to be weirded out by what's wrong with you, but are we really supposed to be bragging about it, now?

Help me out, here, guys.  What do you think about illness-as-empowerment?

Personally, I'd rather be healthy.  Or be sick and just deal with it, and not ask everybody including the check-out dude at Walmart to deal with it along with me.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Forever Young

Do you guys remember the Spectacular Six?  The six kittens I fostered this past summer?  You know, THESE guys:

Remember little Boots?

He of the Glamour Shots poses?

WELL.  Look who done went and got himself all grown up:

Just LOOK at him!  

When you foster kittens, and send them off to their new homes all small and smoochable, you tend to forget that they do, indeed, grow up.  Surprise!

Don't worry, Bootsie.  I'll always remember you as a leeetle ball of marshmallow floof.

You're always a baby to me.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Saga of Table Rock Ridge

So!  Table Rock Ridge is a local geographical formation featuring big rocks.  It used to be accessible via the French Tract, but then a sportsmen's group bought up the land and started restricting access.  I had actually hiked some of the French Tract trails before, looking for Table Rock, but the last time I was up there, an old dude on a four-wheeler had some stern words for me.  He agreed to let me continue hiking as long as it was just me, "and don't go bringing any of those damn hiking clubs up here!", but hey, I don't wanna be where I'm not wanted.  If there is one thing hiking does, it teaches you to respect boundaries.  That, and stay away from drunk guys with guns.

Then!  A while back, I heard that you could access the ridge via Aqua-Terra Park.  By this time, Table Rock Ridge had achieved mythical status in my mind.  It was a local hiking landmark, and I couldn't find it!  Clearly, this could not stand.

The side of Aqua-Terra from which you could gain access to Table Rock Ridge is basically a swamp most of the year.  A wet, boggy, boot-sucking swamp.  But a couple of weekends ago, the weather had been fairly dry, and armed with some rudimentary, hand-drawn maps I had gleaned of the area, I was off!  To find Table Rock Ridge!

Yeah!  As in, "no"!  I tramped around and tramped around and bushwhacked and swore and could not find Table Rock Ridge.  None of the trails were marked, and lots of them petered off into nothing.  Chastened, I headed back home.

Yesterday, it was time for another shot.  Now that I had a better idea of the existing trail system, such as it was, I was ready to give it another try.  It was a nice day for a walk, if awfully chilly.

Here we go ...

After about a half an hour of flailing around, I caught a glimpse of a rock formation a ways off a trail.  Could it be ... Table Rock?  More bushwhacking (and swearing) ensued.

Eureka! There it was!

Oh, Table Rock Ridge.  You were there all the time.  I just had to find you!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Table! Rock! Riiiiiiiiiiiidge!

Story to follow.

It's Table Rock Ridge, b*tch!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Yeah, that's feckin' bullsh*t

"Everything happens for a reason!," I heard somebody chirp today, and man, I must be gettin' my postal on, because it just about made me livid.

NOTHING happens for a reason.  Everything is random, and planes drop from the sky, and sometimes it snows in May, and maybe you fall ridiculously, madly in love with someone whom by all rights you never should have met, and none of it happens to provide some "reason" for something else to occur.


Let's see ... other platitudes I do not like, but have been known to spout at random if I think it will make someone else feel better:

"What doesn't kill you makes you stronger."  Nope.  Sometimes it just reduces you to a shell of your former self for the rest of your days.

"When a door closes, somewhere a window opens."  Nope.  Sometimes your options just got reduced by one.

"It's always darkest before the dawn."  Except when dawn never comes at all, of course.

Oh, man, I could go on.  Oddly, thinking of this kind of thing actually cheers me up.

How about you?  Got any hated platitudes?  Let's be grumpy together.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Recently Read

As usual, skip it if you wanna.

1.  Rennie's Way by Verna Mae Slone - Semi-autobiographical novel about a woman growing up in the Appalachians in the twenties.  Very good.

2.  Nora, Nora by Anne Rivers Siddons - Novel about a girl coming of age in the South  in the sixties, and about her free-wheeling cousin who arrives and shakes the town up.  Good.

3.  One Thousand White Women by Jim Fergus - Novel about a (fictional) governmental program in the 1870s to send "unfit" women to be Native American brides.  Preposterous set-up, but the story, written as journal entries of one of the women, is interesting, and the ending (spoiler alert) is absolutely heartbreaking.  I sat in the backyard in a lawn chair on a bright sunny summer day and absolutely sobbed as I read.  Very good.

4.  The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen - Novel about an unhappy woman who finds another woman living in her closet.  Chick lit, but not in bad way.  A quick read, if not as interesting as Allen's "Garden Spells".  It'd make a good Lifetime movie.

5.  Stormy Weather by Paulette Jiles - Novel about a family of women in depression-era Texas.  Fascinating storyline and beautifully written.   I really, really liked this one.  The author has a true gift with words and phrases.  Highly recommended.

6.  The Quilter's Apprentice by Jennifer Chiaverini - I read her book "The Quilter's Homecoming" and enjoyed it, but this one was just a tad too ... there wasn't any there there, if that makes any sense.  The plot wasn't interesting enough to keep me going.  I didn't finish this one.

7.  Strange Fruit by Lillian Smith - Novel about race relations in the South in the 1920s.  Almost a hundred years later, I'm not sure how much has changed.

8.  Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin - Novel about the child who posed for Alice in Wonderland.  Set in Victorian England, a setting for which I have no patience ("and then his hand brushed against her forearm, and she felt a chill pass through her" type of thing - meh.)  Didn't finish.

9.  Horns by Joe Hill - Novel about a guy who wakes up after a night of partying to discover that he's grown horns.  Interesting, and lots of plot twists, and a book I kept thinking about even when I wasn't reading it.

10.  The Ice Master by Jennifer Niven - Account of a doomed 1913 Arctic exploration.  Well-written, but depressing.  I got about ninety pages in and decided that I didn't want to stick around to find out who made it and who didn't.

11.  A Cure for Dreams by Kaye Gibbons - Short novel about a woman during the Depression.  I loved Ms. Gibbons' "Charms for the Easy Life", and this one is good as well.

12.  Movie review time!  "Ted", with Mark Wahlberg and a talking bear.  Jury's still out as to which one was the worse actor.

14.  Saving Grace by Lee Smith - I find Ms. Smith's books kind of hit-or-miss,  but this one, about an Appalachian woman who is the daughter of a snake handler and becomes the wife of a preacher, was good.

15.  Reba by Reba McEntire with Tom Carter - Autobiography.  I really like Reba, but this book was just ...boring.  Dry.  "First I did this,  then I sang this, then I married this guy ... "  Meh.

16.  Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty - Novel about high-schoolers circa 2001.  The problem is, the author was so determined to jam in every current pop culture reference possible, that reading the book twelve years later just makes it seem impossibly dated.  Didn't finish.

Okay, so that's what I've been reading lately. You?

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

844 out of 869

I should be proud, but oddly, I'm just disappointed that it wasn't perfect.  Coming up 25 points shy is KILLING me.

What can I say - I'm an aspiring overachiever.

 Anybody out there with a perfect score?

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Monday, October 14, 2013

How to make a thousand dollars with one quick phone call

So!  I called Cinnamon this morning, after doing some research this weekend.  I explained that they were coming in over book on the Hyundai, and I gave her some examples of dealerships semi-locally (within a hundred miles) who were selling the car cheaper.  I told her that I knew hers was a "no-haggle" dealership, but surely they could either come down on the price of the Hyundai or come up on the Kia trade-in.

She said she had to run it by her managers (yeah, yeah), and a little while ago, Dino, the trade-in appraiser, gave me a call.

They're gonna give me $6150 for the Kia, instead of $5150.


Ain't life grand?

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Decisions, Decisions

So!  Yesterday was my fateful meeting with Cinnamon at the dealership.

Cinnamon was very nice and helpful, and I feel bad now for thinking of her as a stripper.  Well, not really, but you know what I mean.

Three hours at a car dealership is not exactly my idea of a good time, but I test-drove lots of cars, and at least found out what I DIDN'T want.

I need a hatchback, because of the hauling  I do for the rescues.  I started with a Chevy Aveo, which was waaaay too small.  Next up was the Chevy Sonic, which was too rattle-y.  And there was some weird vibration in the engine, and the check engine light was on when I got in the car, which ... no.

Cinnamon actually steered me away from the Dodge Caliber SXT - she said in her experience, they're kind of spotty, repair-wise.

The Mazda2 Sport was too small,  and the Nissan Versa had too many miles for the price.

And then we got to the Hyundai Elantra Touring GLS.  This is a wagon, very similar to my  Kia Rondo.  The one they have on hand is a 2012, and here's the kicker:  It only has 15,000 miles on it.  It's practically a new car.

Cons?  It's more than I want to spend.  I was looking in  the 12K range, and this one comes in at 16K.  I may have some wiggle room, there, because the book  value on it is between 14.5 and 15.5, so I might be able to talk the dealer down on the price a little.  Either that, or get them to come up on the trade-in on my Kia.  They're offering 5,150, which is a little on the low end.  Then again, I knew not replacing the timing belt would come back to bite me in  the butt. 

Let's see, we're doing  cons.  Because I still owe 1,800 on the Kia, that's gonna cut into my trade-in.  Instead of having $118 monthly payments for the next eighteen months, I'd go up to $225 monthly payments for the next five years, depending on how much cash I  bring in.

On the other hand,  I really doubt that the Kia is going to make in another eighteen  months.  It's only five years old, 79,000 miles, but I've had  an ongoing problem with the heating system, the car clunks like a motherf*cker (that's normal for this car, the garage told me.  "It's probably a loose strut plate."), and now it stalls out and the check  engine light comes on every time I put gas in it.  BIG PROBLEM, and the computer is  coding with an emissions problem, which could be nothing, or it could be several hundred dollars.  If I hang onto this thing, I'm gonna have to dump some serious money into it.  So we're looking a possibly spending a grand or so (and that's not including the pending timing belt), to hang onto the car and those $118 payments. 

Pros?  With the Hyundai, I'll have a large chunk of the three-year, 36,000 mile warranty to play with.  I don't put a whole lot of miles on my cars, so even five years from now, when the car is six years old, it'll only have 65,000 miles or so on it. And it'll be paid off then.  It gets better mileage than my Kia, but then again, that's partly because it's only a four-cylinder, versus six on the Kia.

Oh, but another con is going to be the same problem I had with the Kia - It's an import, so there's gonna be a three-day wait for any repair parts.  

I dunno.  I'm looking at substantially increasing my monthly payment, in order to get out of a bad car and into a newer car.  Can I afford it?  Well, sure, I can, but a question is whether I WANT to spend that money on  a car.

Dear reader, what is your advice?  Have you ever owned a Hyundai?  Do you regret your car payments?  Enquiring minds want to know.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Well, what about this?

Okay, so, first off, scroll down to the last post, where I express my potential distrust of a car salesperson named Cinnamon.

Okay.  Here we go.  What if she was named Karen, and when I showed up for my appointment in the morning, she came out dressed in a lion costume?

Is that still okay?  Am I still supposed  to take her seriously?

Or, what if, say, she came out dressed in a sixties op-art maxi dress and platform shoes? 

Look.  I like to wear "fun" clothes, too.  But fun clothes are not professional attire.  They're just not.

And a name like "Cinnamon" is not a professional name.  Oh, sure, she may have a lot of knowledge in her field (or not), and she may be an excellent salesperson (or not), but unless and until she opts for a different name in her professional life, she's gonna have a hard row to hoe.


I suppose "Cinnamon Girl" jokes will be out of the question

Okay, so, the Kia's been sh*tting the bed on me lately.  It's been acting more like a ten-year-old car than a five-year-old car, and frankly,  I'm getting tired of it.  Just this morning, the check engine light came on.  Again.  Motherf*cker.

So I'm thinking I'll trade it in.  I've spent the last few days snooping around on line and checking out my options.  I still owe a couple of grand on the Kia, and I hate to trade in when I'm in the hole, but frankly, I think this car would end up in the junkyard before I ever paid it off, so I'm thinking cut my losses, while the thing still has some Blue Book value.

ANYhow.  I LOVE car shopping on line, because the pressure's off, and you can make some rational choices.  And it turns out, the same dealership I bought the Kia from has some cars I'm interested in.  No, I don't hold it against them from selling me the Kia; I bought a cheap car and that's what I got.  And yes, I did ask if the salesperson who sold me the Kia is still around; the dude treated me fairly and I'd use him again, but it turns out he got bumped up the food chain in the organization and is no longer on the floor.

So!  I've got several choices to start with, car-wise, and I'm in a good position to bargain.  I'm  ready to start with test-drives.

With Cinnamon.

I set up an appointment for Saturday, and the salesperson assigned to my cranky butt that day is Cinnamon.

I ... you know?  Am I just old?  I almost emailed and asked to be given someone else, because I cannot take seriously someone named Cinnamon, and I cannot trust someone named Cinnamon to negotiate this process without someone else above her pulling her strings, and I think she probably won't  know anything about engine sizes and the advisability (or not) of  traction control, and I cannot believe that she'll be working for the organization very long anyway, because let's face it, her true career is either stripper or Hooters employee, because with a name like Cinnamon?

She's obviously not too damn smart.

Does that make me an a**hole?  Yes it does.  Is that how I feel?  Yes it is. 

And I don't really know how to elevate myself to a higher plane where a name like Diamond or Starr or Cinnamon doesn't automatically call to mind "dipsh*t".   And it's not just women's names, either; I would be equally disinclined to take seriously a man named ... I don't know ... "Starship".  Or "Canoe".  I CAN'T HELP IT.

Anybody want  to help me out, here?  I KNOW it's not rational.  How can I get past this?

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Here comes the bride ... get out your taser

From a local paper:

Bride and groom arrested on wedding night for bar fight

— A Cazenovia couple spent their wedding night in jail last week after being involved in a bar fight at Henneberg Tavern and then resisting arrest when Cazenovia Village Police and Madison County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to the disturbance.

According to police reports, village and county law enforcement officers responded to a call of a large fight in progress at Henneberg Tavern between a group of white males and females and a group of black males, apparently as the result of racial slurs. While village police and county sheriff’s deputies attempted to arrest Richard J. Bradley, 24, of Cazenovia, who had just been married that night, the new bride, Ashley P. Stowell, 23, of Cazenovia, interfered with the arrest and yelled at the officers. Stowell was warned by police to stop her actions, and, when she did not stop, handcuffed and placed in the back of a patrol car. Stowell continued to yell and began kicking the car window and door. When she refused to stop, a sheriff’s deputy had to use pepper spray on her to keep her from breaking the window, according to the police report.

Stowell and Bradley both refused medical treatment at the scene once CAVAC arrived. They were brought to the Cazenovia police station where Stowell was arraigned before Village Judge Timothy Moore, ordered held on $500 bail and transported to the Madison County Jail.

Bradley was held at the Cazenovia station before being charged by the sheriff’s department with one count of disorderly conduct. While Bradley was in the Cazenovia station holding cell, however, he urinated on the wall. A criminal charge for that action will most likely be brought against him by the Cazenovia Police Department, said Chief Michael Hayes."

I give it either six months or sixty years. The marriage, that is, not the prison sentences.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

xoJane: It Happened To Me

... My neighbor asked to fertilize my lawn.

First off, are any of you familiar with the ridiculousness of the "It Happened To Me" column at xoJane?  If you ever need to kill a few hours being amazed at the cluelessness of people, head over there.  It's kind of like Dear Abby, except without an Abby, and the comments are priceless.  It's like where the Dur brigade gathers.

Okay!  So!  I'm out puttering around in the yard last night after work, when I notice that my neighbor B. is lawn-stalking me.  This is actually kind of oddly adorable; whenever B. wants to talk to me, instead of just coming over and ringing my doorbell, he'll wait until he notices me out in my yard, and then he'll come out himself and kind of ... shadow me until he sees a conversational opening.  Last night, first I was cleaning out the car (miracles do happen), and I noticed that he was sitting on his front steps with a cocktail and a cigar.  Then, I headed out back to pick up some branches, and sure enough, there was B., out back by his picnic table.  FINALLY, he wandered over, started to chat, and then said,

"Rocky?  Can I ask you a favor?"

"You can ask me anything you want, B.," I replied.

"Welllll," he said.  "You know I use a lawn service, right?"

"Well, sure, B.,"  I said.  "They come and do the fertilizing, right?"  And I can only WISH that they did his mowing, too, because this is the neighbor who grass-scalps my back yard.  This is ALSO the neighbor who parks in my driveway for months at a time, but, whatever, bygones.

"Right!," he said.  "Now, you see this grass here?," he asked.  We were standing pretty close to the shared property line, where it is obvious that he chemicals the sh*t out of his lawn and I do not, because my lawn is grass and crabgrass and creeping charlie and god knows what, while his lawn is ... grass.

"Yep!," I said, laughing.  "You sure can tell the difference, right?"

Look.  To me, a lawn is a lawn.  From a distance, you really CAN'T tell the difference between his lawn and mine, and frankly, I don't care if it's crabgrass or creeping charlie or spray paint, green is green.  But I understand that some people take great pride in their lawns, and hey, whatever floats your boat.

"Yep, you really can tell!," B. said.  "So I was wondering ... this little patch here ... between your garage and the property line ... would it be okay if I fertilized that? I'll pay for it, of course."


"Um ... sure!," I said.  "I'm not really a big fan of the chemical stuff, pet-wise, but my cats already run all over your grass after you've fertilized THAT, so ... go for it!"

"Okay!," B. said, obviously relieved.  I'll bet he's been stewing over this for weeks.  "The next time the TruGreen guys come, I'll tell them to go ahead and do that area."

"Okay, B.," I said.  "Good talkin' to ya!"

I ... we're talking about MAYBE fifty square feet of lawn, here.  In between my garage, and the property line.  On that side of HIS house are the bedrooms, and they keep the blinds drawn, and the only VIEW out of those bedroom windows is the side of my garage so ... it's not like they're looking out on that grass all the time or anything.  I ... am baffled. 

But if B. wants to fertilize that little scrap of lawn, well, he can be my guest.  Now if he'd just send his plow guys over in the winter ...

Monday, October 07, 2013

... and tonight, the sky ...

Like Bob Dylan says ...

So, Tinks was out all night last night, which is not all that unusual, but it worried me a little, but the weather was so warm I figured he was out getting his hurrahs on while he could.

Soda is my bed cat - Unless it is uncomfortably warm in the house, he will curl up next to me and sleep all night long.  At night, I'll be watching TV and he'll be sleeping on the coffee table (no, I don't know why), and I'll get up and shut the TV off and get ready for bed and then go back out into the living room and shut off the light, at which point he'll wake up and hop off the table and follow me into the bedroom and jump on the bed and wait until I get settled and then curl up next to me, and we're really just like an old married couple except one of us is a cat.

And Pony?  Since he got shut out of his favorite sleeping spot, a cat bed in the foster room (he could still go in there at night but he won't because pesky KITTENS), he has taken to sleeping in the pet bed underneath the kitchen table.  (I don't know WHY they choose these places; I really have no idea.)

But Tinks?  He's an outdoor boy at heart.  Born outdoors, raised outdoors until he was taken into rescue, he prefers to be outside at night, or at least out in the garage, where he sleeps on top of the dryer.  (I told you; I don't KNOW.)  I keep some beach towels folded up there for him.  I think he likes it because it's by the back door, and he can monitor nighttime comings and goings.  He usually comes in at some point in the night, hopping up on the bed and then right back down again.  I think he's checking up on me.

Anyway, I woke up at five this morning and realized that he hadn't done his usual bed check, and I got up and flipped on the light to the garage and he wasn't there either, so I was a little worried.  As long as I was up, I fed the other two, who become restless right around that time anyway, and checked on the fosters, and went back to sleep, or at least back to bed; I was still worried about Tinks and making up all the ridiculous scenarios that one does when someone is not where they are supposed to be.

Of course, about a half an hour later, in he came, and then pretty soon it was time to get up for real, and then SOMEone brought in a mouse, which Tinks disposed of in about three big gulps, and when I left for work, they were talking on the radio about storms today, but it wasn't until after I GOT to work that they started talking about high winds and tornado watches and heavy downpours and a severe drop in temps and it was right about then that I realized that I'd left just about every window in the house open to catch the last of the warm weather.

So at lunchtime I headed back home to close some windows, and then the rainstorm came, and I was up on Windy Hill when the wind started, because I am not the brightest of people, and when I made it home there was an inch and a half of rain in the rain gauge, and two out of the three cats were in the house but soaking wet, meaning they got caught out just like I did, and I shut all the windows and wiped up the water and shut the pet door so they couldn't get back out into the maelstrom and headed back to the office, which took twice as long as usual because there were downed power lines and flooded streets and oh my goodness I am tired of driving in wild storms, which seem to come more and more often, and

that is my Monday.  So far.


When I was up at State Park the other weekend, it must have been Homecoming Weekend for the caterpillars, because they were all on the move.

There were woolly bear caterpillars:

And white caterpillars:

(and let me tell you, that white dude was beatin' feet.  He was one speedy guy.)

And yellow caterpillars:

Oh!  And let's not forget the turtle!

As soon as he saw me, he tucked in, but once I walked a little ways away, he started moving again.

And there was a green heron, hunting frogs:

See him, there on the branch?

Everybody's on the move!

Friday, October 04, 2013

Would you?

At State Park, there is a device for taking people over the river.  I'm not sure why, exactly, as there are several bridges in the area.  I'm guessing this is for some kind of emergency evacuation?  Maybe?  I don't know.

ANYway, here is the basket:

And here is the zip line!

Would you?

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

I shoulda named him "Ticks", instead

I have pulled three ticks offa this guy in the last two days.

I guess when you've got fur that floofy, you're prime real estate for ticks.

Poor Tinks. Instead of a chick magnet, he's a tick magnet.  *sigh*

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Do not ever, ever, EVER ...

... jump-start somebody else's car.

A lesson I am learning the hard way.

Yesterday, I gave my boss a jump-start, because the dipsh*t left his fog lights on.  After I jumped him (Ewwwww ... you know what I mean), I ran some errands, and MY car started refusing to start..  I knew that my battery was due for replacement, so I figured that jumping his car had killed it, and stopped at the parts store and had the battery replaced.

This morning I was out running work errands and the check engine light came on.  I popped into the garage around the corner from the office, explained to the dude there what was going on, and the first thing he said was,

"Do not ever, ever, EVER jump-start someone's car."

He explained that it was fine with the older cars, but with newer cars, the computer-controlled system can get f*cked UP by giving someone a jump.  It sends a charge through the system that, well, screws the pooch.

So he ran the computer on it, and all kinds of codes popped up, and who KNOWS how much this is gonna cost me.  The only thing I'm trying to figure out right now is how much of this is going to be an "office expense", because you'd better believe I'm gonna pro-rate some of this cost to my boss.

So if someone asks you for a jump?  Tell 'em to call AAA.  If they don't have AAA? Tell 'em to call Allstate Roadside Assistance.  They don't have to be a member, and they don't have to have Allstate Insurance, they just have to call Allstate Roadside Assistance and a truck will come out to help.  It's fifty bucks for a jump.

Lesson learned.  The hard way.

(And no, I am not being compensated by Allstate in any way, shape or form for this post.  I just think they are providing a super service.)