Monday, April 30, 2012

No lazy Sunday...

Sunday morning, it really was freezing here. I checked the thermometer and it was right on 32 degrees in Redford at 6:00 AM. In the surrounding cities, it was even colder (they said it was 23 degrees in Port Huron). I suppose I should inject some “funny” comment about what a short summer we had in March, here, but it’s not that funny anymore!

But, it’s supposed to be sunny and 59 degrees today, so the situation will improve.

I posted the Blog entry and then refilled my pill box, took my morning pills, ate breakfast and did my tests.

Sitting on the bed, I started on the bird house project again. This time I tied fishing line to the hooks on the two hanging birdhouses and, after leaving a foot of line, to a snap thing (I forget the name, but it’s NOT a swivel snap as I don’t want them to revolve) you use when fishing to quickly attach your lures. I put them on the snap thing so I can easily take them down during the winter.

I used the only fishing knot I know: the improved clinch knot. You do this by inserting the fishing line through the hole in the fish hook (or in this case, the eyebolt on top the birdhouse) and then wrapping the line around itself six times (sounds easy, but its difficult with fat fingers, lol). Then you put the end through the loop of line at the eyebolt and the eyebolt itself. Finally, you pull it tight as you can (this is the really hard part) and cut off the tag end or remaining line (but not too short! I like to leave about an inch).

I had to do this on the bed, fighting with Caley, who wanted to play with the fishing line. When both birdhouses were done, I got my revenge by kicking the cats off the bed, stripping it and putting the bedding in the wash. It was only after starting the wash machine that I realized I would have to put my shower on hold to avoid drops in the water pressure (I can’t easily move out of the way of a sudden burst of hotter water, you see).

So, I washed the stovetop instead. I checked the outside thermometer at 10:00 AM and the sun was doing its work. It was already almost 50 degrees F.

Then I shaved and showered after tossing the bedding in the dryer. I got dressed and got to work on the birdhouse project. I put in the eyebolts and hung the two birdhouses. I put the other two on the rail (I need to figure out a way to secure them from a strong wind, but they are pretty protected right now by the house.) I took some pictures to show you the results.

Then I went to Home Depot and bought six bags of garden soil, to mix with the potting soil. While I was there, I got a hanging planter and a hanger that I will replace the falling apart (again) tree box planter. I’m a little unsure how it will hold up in the wind, but we’ll see.

Back home and unloaded, I dug out all the potting soil from the rail planter and put it in the wheel barrow. I mixed in a bag of garden soil and then refilled it.

Then I demoed the falling apart tree box planter (I can’t believe I spent the money to get cedar and it fell apart in one year). Next I had some figuring to do to find out how high I needed the wolmanized two-by-four I want to screw the hanger to. But I got it installed and the hanging basket hung and then filled it with the garden soil/potting soil mixture.

I trimmed the bush and then put down the last bag of mulch I had. It looked nice, but will look better when the two-by-four weathers, I think.

It took a lot of stretching to get everything installed and I could really feel it in my back. So, I had to take a break at 3:30 PM (and I hadn’t even gotten to the main project for the day). I took off my brace, took a pain pill and went to lie on the bed to recuperate (at least enough to grill – the sweet corn is soaking and the steaks are coming up to room temperature).

Oh, yeah, the bedding hasn’t been put back on, either...

Well, bedding or not, I needed to lie down. So, I did. I rested until about 5:30 PM, when it was time to start the charcoal. I figured I had enough time before the coals were hot to drill the four holes I need under the kitchen window. I bought a self-watering window box you see and I need to hang the brackets to install it.

Since I know that the original house was cement block and they put siding over it, I bought the Tapcon screws (they also give you the correct-sized concrete drill bit). So, I took my measurements and tapped four holes in the siding with my awl.

That’s when things went horribly wrong. The drill bit couldn’t get through whatever is at least two inches behind the siding (there’s siding, foam insulation, a space and then “something” that’s about another inch back and really, really hard. So, the 1 3/4 inch screws I bought are officially way too short, even if I had succeeded in drilling the holes. The drill bit got red hot, but never went in, even a little.

But, the coals were ready and it was time to stop. I put everything in the back room (brackets, drill motor, extension cords, etc.) and am now left with four holes in my siding!

I gotta figure this one out!

But, instead, I put the corn on the grill. While it was roasting, I made the bed. When the corn was ready, I pulled it off, shucked it and took it in the house wrapped in tinfoil to keep warm. Then I oiled the grate and threw on the steaks, seasoned with just salt and pepper.

While the first side was cooking, I walked back to look at that branch that fell. Sure enough, it’s too big for me to handle. My neighbor wasn’t outside, so I couldn’t ask for help. So, I just left it. Hopefully the guys cutting the grass will move it.

When the steaks were done, I took them inside and put a pat of butter on top of each one. Then I made a plate for my dinner of one steak and two ears of corn. The steak was excellent, if I may say. The corn certainly wasn’t as big or taste as fresh and sweet as August’s pure Michigan corn, just picked, but I knew it wouldn’t. But, it was definitely great to be eating roasted corn on the cob again.

My daughter Melissa called just after I finished eating to check up on me. She’s got finals this week and a research paper to write, but other than that, everything is fine.

I watched a little TV after I put away the other steak and the rest of the sweet corn and was asleep by 10:00 PM.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

The end of the tree box planter!
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Bird house project - North
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Bird house project - South
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More office space
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Saturday Story

I woke up Saturday morning, sore as hell. Apparently disassembling the bed wasn’t the brightest idea I ever had (but it did keep me awake, lol).

I spent a long time pulling the pills off the comforter while watching some Rifleman episodes. I noticed something, BTW. The television show The Rifleman was directed by Sam Peckinpah, best known in the Western genre for The Wild Bunch (1969).

Then I folded the comforter, the sheets and the pillow cases and put them in a trash bag for Judy.

Now that the car is finished being detailed, I can’t find the car charger for the cell phone. I bought it when I bought the belt holder and I put it in a “safe” place in the house until after the car was cleaned. Apparently it was safer than I thought.

I left and got my hair cut. It didn’t take long, so I had time to stop at Target and pick up a few things. If you remember, I had to buy a new bathroom rug and I got it at Target. It has memory foam inside and I really like it. So, I bought another one for next to my bed (to replace the little rag rug that now lines Caley’s Cat-o-matic bed). While I was there, I also found and bought a bicycle bell for my walker. I keep going around blind corners at work and running into people. But, now I can warn them I’m a-comin’.

Judy and her friend with a truck came about 10:30 AM, and, in no time at all, everything was put on the truck and they were gone. She was really appreciative and offered to come over and give me some help if I needed it. But I really appreciate them freeing up the office for the rocking chair!

After they left, I rearranged the office into what I thought was a good first try at the new layout. We’ll see. I took off a ton of pads and backs (you can see them all on the photo I posted when I got it) and put them in a garbage bag. Now all that’s left is the chair. I set it in the office.

Then I left again. First I went to Home Depot and bought some Polyurethane spray, two screw eye bolts, a box of Tapcon screws (the kind you screw into concrete) and two bags of Miracle-Gro potting soil.

[Sidebar: After my trip to Home depot, while watching a DIY show, I learned that the proper mixture for planters is one bag of potting soil to two bags of garden soil. So, I probably should take out the pure potting soil I put rail planter on the front porch.]

Then I went on a wild goose chase of sorts. My barber (a life-long resident) had said when I was getting my haircut that there was an antique restoration place on Farmington and 7 Mile between the corner and Joe’s Produce. So, I drove up there to get an estimate on returning the rocking chair bottom to a cane “porch weave” pattern. But, I couldn’t find it. I finally stopped at a resale shop in the area to ask if they knew where it was (and I also asked if they had any antique apothecary jars, but they didn’t). The owner said she thought there was one off of Farmington on 8 Mile. So, I drove up there, but couldn’t find it either, so I gave up.

Speaking of things Lake Orion, I need a picture of it, preferably taken from that beach at the bend of the road, so you can see the dock and the whole side of the cottage. It doesn't matter if it's black and white or color. I've seen a million of them over the years, but I don't seem to have one. If you do, please email it to me.

Next I went to Kroger for some groceries. They had been advertising rib eye steak and Florida sweet corn on sale this week and I thought a Sunday barbecue would be great. But, the sweet corn sucked and the rib eyes were boneless! I did buy a steak, but passed on the corn. I got the rest of the items on my list, although they only had one jug of Mott’s natural apple juice left and I wanted at least two. I switch between apple juice, V8 juice and buttermilk for my nightly alternative to water, you see.

As I headed home around 2:00 PM, I noticed I was hungry. So, I stopped at that Leda Coney Island. I had a patty melt, onion rings with coffee (for a change; I was chilled). It had started to sprinkle when I walked out.

Since it was on the way home anyway, I stopped into Westborn to see if they had any sweet corn (chasing the dream, man; just chasing the dream) and they did. So, I bought six ears. Man, it’s been a long, long time since I was there! I walked around inside, just looking at stuff…

Back home, I treated the cats, unloaded everything and unpacked the groceries.

I thought I’d try and take a nap. I didn’t fall asleep but had an enjoyable hour or so with that damn brace off.

Then it was back to little projects. I had washed all my wooden spoons yesterday, so now that they were dry, I rubbed them with food grade mineral oil. This helps to keep them in good shape.

Then it was onto reclaiming the couch (it was full of birdhouses and signs if you remember). I finally have an idea for using the bird houses that won't look too cutesy. I started by setting a square of plywood on the front porch rail and coverinf the coffee table (or whatever it’s called) with cardboard.

The first order of business was to convert the one that was made to be a feeder (it had a removable top). Some Elmer’s glue and a few finishing nails and the top was secured.

I put all but one of the birdhouses (that one’s too big and too ugly) on the plywood outside and gave them a light coat of Polyurethane on all sides and the top. I set the timer for 1/2 hour and when it went off, I went out and recoated them. It was only 50 degrees and cloudy outside, so they wouldn't dry right out there. So, I set the timer for another 45 minutes (they were still tacky after the first half hour). When that timer went off, I went out in the gathering gloom and carefully carried each one inside and set them on the cardboard to properly dry. I closed the pocket door to keep the cats out of the living room overnight.

I went back out to fetch the plywood and then remembered the mail, so I walked out and got it. It was the usual junk, but there was also a book from Amazon! Huh? So, I opened it up and it was a book called “When will Jesus bring the pork chops” by George Carlin (one of my heroes). There was a note inside saying it was a gift from Jake! I just skimmed it and was already laughing my ass off. Thanks, buddy!!!

I was running out of steam big-time by then, so I officially quit at 7:40 PM when B___ called. We caught each other up on our various doings and then made our goodbyes. I popped yet another chicken pot pie in the microwave for dinner. And, I popped the clothes I’d been wearing and my jacket in the washer. So, I ate dinner wearing my brace-less bathrobe, watching TV.

I watched another old movie, "The Third Man." It was a murder mystery set in post-war Vienna starring Joseph Cotton and Orson Welles. It ended at 10:00 PM and so did I.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Late Night Friday

It was freezing Friday morning. Nothing wrong with the furnace, it was freezing outside according to the weatherman. I checked and my outside thermometer said 33 degrees F., though. But, it’s supposed to be sunny, although only a high of 54 degrees later today. Here’s the kicker, though: They are predicting a “wintry mix” on Saturday around noon! Read that as a rain/snow mix at the end of April!!

I wanted to go to Lowe’s at lunch to check out something, so I stopped at a nearby restaurant that will remain nameless (I don’t want Max or Erma mad at me). But, I waited for my menu, waited for some water and finally, the guy took my order. I asked him to bring me the bill immediately as I was pressed for time. I couldn’t figure out what was taking so long as he only had three other people in his area! By the time I actually got my food, I only had time to choke down the sandwich. The accompanying seasoned fries were left untouched. So, no Lowe’s today. I barely made it back to work on time. And, for the first time in a long time, I didn’t leave the Bozo a tip!

Back at work, Michelle from Facilities had me go over to our Building 28 (across the street) and try a chair they are buying for new installs. It has a web back and she thought it might work. And, while it wasn’t perfect, it didn’t hurt nearly as much as any of the others. She said I could “borrow” it as long as I needed it or until her boss found out she brought it over to me. She had asked him about it and he said the company doesn’t supply chairs for people with special needs and I should buy my own. Nice...

One thing you gotta say about the company I work for: They really know how to make an employee feel warm and fuzzy!

But, then it was 5:00 PM and I was banging that drum. I poured myself a glass of apple juice and started to list things I needed to do and groceries I needed to buy this weekend.

I started my dinner while watching the NBC Nightly News. This time I’m trying another Marie Callender entrĂ©e, Three Meat and Four Cheese Lasagna. Takes a while and it’s a bit fussy (five minutes on high after slitting the plastic cover, then removing the cover and cooking it nine more minutes on medium heat in the microwave and then letting it sit for five minutes more) but it was really, really good! I like most of their products (although Carl claims they’re bad for you).

Jyl's sister Judy called about the daybed around 8:30 PM (I had just about given up on her) and said she had a neighbor who had a truck and was going to come and disassemble it and haul it away. I told her I would be gone for a haircut for about an hour, but other than that, I’d be here all day. She wasn’t sure if he wanted to come early or later, but would let him know when I wouldn’t be home. I gave her my cell number just in case.

Then I sprang into action. I started a washer load with just the comforter (it's fat and puffy) and then while it was in the dryer, I washed the sheets, the sham and the pillow case. I’m giving her those as well as, without the bed, what would I need them for?

I knew I had to stay awake (something that’s a bit iffy when I’m lying down all snuggley warm watching TV), so I started looking at the daybed (did you ever really look at your daybed?) I decided that if I sat in the office chair, I “probably” could take it apart, so I did. I put the bolts and nuts and screws in a baggy, along with a picture of the daybed when it was put together and the ratchet and socket I used (she’ll have to provide her own Phillips head screw driver). I figure she can give the ratchet and socket back to Jyl and it will eventually get back to me. It’s not like I’m going to be wrenching on any engines any time soon.

Oh, I also put in the coaster-like plastic things I bought to go under the legs to protect my hardwood floor. I’m not sure what kind of floor she’s putting it on, but they couldn’t hurt.

It was 10:30 PM and the comforter was still in the dryer, so I wrote out the post for today and then posted it and a photo. I’m not sure how early, early might be, you see. When the comforter comes out and the sheets go into the dryer, I’ll go to bed.
My handicap chair
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It had rained overnight when I woke up on Thursday. The prediction is for possible occasional showers ending before noon then getting colder and windier.

I went to work and in the afternoon, Michelle from Facilities brought over some very old, very beat up chairs for me to try (she couldn’t find “exactly” the chair I had described to her). They looked like death traps to me (one didn’t even have the back secured), but I did appreciate the effort. I took a picture to show you (and for any possible lawsuits if I actually try them, lol).

You may have noticed that my Brother Carl commented that he sent me pictures of the rocking chair seat, but I never got them. So I emailed him that on Wednesday and he resent. Well, he called Thursday night to see if I ever got them (no). So, we didn’t know whose computer was screwing up. He sent them to Facebook and I saw them and he sent a link from something called Snapfish, and I saw them. He was getting my emails, but I wasn’t getting any from his email address.

Finally, I checked and one of the spam emails I had blocked (you can’t do it in Modzilla Thunderbird, but you can do it by going to Roadrunner online) had at the end. So, after several trial and errors of him sending emails (I had to laugh as the message in one simply said “This is getting tedious!”) and phone calls back and forth, I put his address in the “Allow” box and his mail finally was coming through again.

I can only hope the authorities never find out that I blocked a handicapped brother. There’s probably some ADA law against that!

While all this was going on, I was slaking my thirst with buttermilk and doing the work clothes wash. I noticed the expiration date on the bottle was today and that got me wondering: How would you know if buttermilk went bad?

The wind really had picked up and, when I glanced out back, I saw a large limb had come down from the cottonwood in next door lot and was now lying in my yard back by the compost heap. When the weather’s better, I’ll walk out and see if I can deal with it or if have to ask the neighbor to move it for me.

I got the clothes hug up or folded and put away.

I wasn’t all that hungry, so I just made a peanut butter and blackberry jam sandwich for dinner. I watched a fascinating show called “The Somme,” the World War One battle which resulted in the largest defeat ever in British history. It was told from first hand accounts from ordinary soldiers in both the British and German armies. But, I guess it wasn’t riveting enough because I fell asleep before it ended at 10:00 PM. I taped it as well, so no problem.
The picture (finally) of the original Orion rocker seats!
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My current work chair options
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Thursday, April 26, 2012

A Day of Disappointments

It promised to be a great day, with a high of 62 degrees F., lots of sun and little wind. Then I got in the shower. I was about halfway done when the connector from the hose to the wand split! Water was spraying all over the place, so I had to adapt to using the broken coupling spray to rinse the soap off.

I left early, then, to stop at Meijer’s (where I bought it). I took the old hose with me, hoping to just buy a new one. Of course, they don’t sell just the hoses! Of course not…... I ended up buying another, “better” one, hoping this one doesn’t break. I’m starting to think I should have gone to Lowe’s or Home Depot and spent big money for a more rugged one.

I couldn’t remember exactly when my appointment with the spine doctor was while at work (it’s on the fridge at home). I thought it was either May 1st or May 5th. So, I called their office to check. According to them, it’s not until May 29th! So, I asked the nurse to ask the doctor if I could take off this damn brace. She said she would, but it might not be until late today when she would have an answer. I said I understood.

Meanwhile, I gave up on sitting in my chair and was sitting on the walker seat. It was too high and the handles got in the way of typing, but at least it wasn’t pressing the brace into my back. I called Michelle in Facilities and she’s going to look for a chair without a full back.

The doctor’s office did call back around 10:30 AM. The guy who called relayed a message from my doctor. Under NO circumstances should I take the brace off unless I am lying down, at least until they see me again. Sh*t!!!

I made the mistake of trying to go to the Goodwill at lunch and drop some things off from the closet cleaning. Plymouth road is all torn up, with construction barrels everywhere and big trucks and backhoes moving around. Since I made it that far (it’s by Farmington Road), I went across the street to the Big Boy and ate my favorite Big Boy meal: Veal Parmesan with spaghetti as the side dish and a Caesar salad.

The afternoon passed slowly, but it passed. Sitting on my walker was making my butt sore, but not hurting my back for a change!

On the way home, I once again experienced a downside of having your car detailed. As you probably know, my car is leather inside and whatever they sprayed on the interior (Armor-all?) made everything slippery. So, my right arm kept sliding off the center arm rest and my left off of the door’s armrest. Weird!

The first thing I did was to look at that appointment card on my fridge. It did say 10:15 AM, but it says May 1! (Come on, people! I may still be on drugs, but I gave up drinking last September, so you can't trick me that easy!)

It had gotten cloudy, but was still warm with just a light breeze, so I went out back and dug a hole in the rear garden. There was a big spot without any plants in the southwest corner (my guess is that the hosta that was there died over the winter). So, I divided a day lily from the front garden around the old tree and replanted it in the back. I filled in both holes with some dirt, watered both with my little bucket and put mulch back on top the dirt. I also watered the transplanted tarragon, which was looking a little bedraggled.

Back inside, I took off my shoes and proceeded to take down the old shower unit and put up the new one. This time I bought one that had both a regular shower head and the wand. It went pretty easy, but everything is still just plastic (like the one that failed). I checked for leaks and had none, so I called it good.

My daughter Melissa called to tell me she and Dave are coming up for a short visit in mid-May and she would like to come over on a Saturday if I didn’t have anything planned. I told her even if I did, I’d change it to see her.

So, we hung up and I finally changed out of my work clothes. I stuck a pot pie into the microwave and took my evening pills. When the pot pie was done, I plated it and went into the bedroom. I took off my brace for the night (ahhh) and laid down on the bed to eat supper and watch some TV.

B___ called to check in and I told him about the shower problem (after all, he put in the first one). He said if it happens again, he'd suggest going to Bed, Bath & Beyond, rather than Home Depot or Lowe's. He said they have a much bigger selection of better quality shower heads and, of course, we all get those 20% off coupons.

I watched TV until 10:00 PM and then shut every down and went to bed.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Quote of the Day

“ Sex after marriage is like buying a Civil War chess set through the mail. You get a piece every 4-6 weeks. You never know what shape its gonna be in but you still have to pay shipping and handling.”

~ Bill Engvall

American Teen Ingenuity

Don 't let anyone tell you our teenager's aren't smart! I just watched a news segment urging parents to use hand sanitizer in foam only, as teens have discovered a way to distill the 129 proof alcohol in the hand sanitizer gel type and are drinking it!

Strange Days

Tuesday was a repeat of Monday, weather-wise. It was a strange day in many ways.

If you remember, I unfortunately lost my bridge in the hospital. So, since I never much trusted the dentist I chose when I moved here, I joined Angie’s List to find a better one to recreate my bridge after I healed a bit.

But then came that immunity problem and I was afraid to go to the dentist (especially after they said I probably got the infection on my spine from a dental cleaning. Your mouth is a sewer, it seems).

But, good old Angie’s List kept sending me specials to consider. One that caught my eye was for auto detailing, either at your home or work. Hmmm... My car was looking pretty bad from the winter months and neglect as there is no way I can clean it out. So I signed up.

When I called to make the appointment, the guy said there had been so much response to the ad, he was way behind. But, I’m on the list and I should be patient. Of course, he charged my credit card right away!

And I was, for about three weeks. Then I called back, a little annoyed. He said they could come out to where I work, but only if there was an electrical outlet nearby as their generator had broken. I said, “No, it’s a parking lot!”

So, he said maybe they’d come after work to the house, if I could lend them an extension cord. I said sure. He said he’d get back to me with a day and time. Meanwhile, Angie’s List emailed me for a report on how I liked their service. I thought about replying, but I bit my tongue and didn’t.

After another week or so, I called back, more annoyed. We settled on today at 2:00 PM. So, I told my boss I’d be taking a late lunch (as they said it took about an hour).

This morning, my brother Joe called at work and left a message. He said he had to be in Royal Oak today, and wanted to go the Hiller’s Market, so could he drop off my stuff from Orion at lunch. I called back and told his wife Kathy it would be fine, except I would be home at 2:00 PM, not noon.

When I got home, nobody was there. But, there was a big box on the porch. Let me give you some background first: I had a half bag of mulch in the back. Since I had the whole back mulched, I thought I’d move it to the front (where it really needed it). So, I put it in the wheelbarrow, thinking it wasn’t much different than my walker, right? Wrong! It immediately took off from me and I darn near fell over.

So, when I saw this all-terrain landscaper’s wagon, I knew that was the answer to a disabled gardener’s prayer. It’s got pneumatic tires that will roll over bumpy ground and can carry 550 pounds. The bed is just 11 inches off the ground and all the sides fold down to minimize lifting. It’s made of heavy duty steel mesh, but it also comes with a liner so you can move dirt, etc., in it too.

I ordered it a couple weeks ago and it came today. The box was over 50 pounds, but the delivery man set it up on one end. So, I sort of walked it into the garage for assembly at a later date. I’ll take a photo when its not in pieces.

The detailer called and said they were running late and would be there about 2:30 PM (my boss will love this one).

So, my Brother Joe showed up first and unloaded one of the porch rockers, a box filled with glass things (an oil lamp, some small containers and an glass oil jar that probably held a gallon of lamp oil) and finally, all the bird houses that my daughters had decorated the cottage with back in the day. BTW, I am 63 years old and never have seen these glass items, so they must have been stashed somewhere safe.

The detail guys pulled in, not in a truck as I expected, but in a little car! How the hell do you wash a car with no water supply? Joe left after explaining about the bottom of the rocker. It seems the first two that Jim got had the seats badly worn (the seats were wicker, or rush or caned or something). Joe said he hoped the one Carl took was in better shape. But, when he went to check on mine (under all these pillows), the original seat was gone and someone had replaced it with the webbing for a lawn chair! I never even noticed that before!

He also had a couple of envelopes with old stuff in them I can’t wait to go through (the first one that caught my eye was a heating oil ration card dated 1945 with stamps you could redeem for heating oil in the second world war!)

The detail guys were unloading “stuff” from that little car (and eating lunch, too) and then they pulled out to let Joe leave. They fired up something (a power washer, perhaps) and started in on the car. I checked on them now and then through the living room windows. At one point, one was scrubbing the tires and rims and the other working on the inside.

Finally (they took almost two hours), it was finished, and I drove back to work, wondering all the while where you could get a rocking chair seat rewoven with whatever the heck that was that was once on it. (Carl, do you know what it’s called?)

So, I got back to work at 4:30 PM and apologized to my boss. He shrugged it off and asked how the car looked. I have to admit, they did do a heck of a job, both inside and out. About the only thing they couldn’t get “like new” were the two front floor mats (you can still see some of the white from the winter salt).

I did stay later than usual (feeling guilty) and left about 5:30 PM.

Back home, I unloaded my treasures and took some pictures for you. I gotta tell you, my back was killing me, so the first thing I did was to take off the brace and take a pain pill. I am supposed to see the spine doctor in early May and I hope to hell he says I can ditch this damn brace.

I lay down and ate the last of the pizza, cold. It wasn’t enough to make up for no lunch (I did drink an Ensure at noon, though) and be dinner too. So, I ate some cottage cheese as well.

My brother Carl called and we talked for a while. He tried weeding one of his gardens over the weekend while sitting down (no BLT) but still can hardly walk today. I completely forgot to ask him about the chair bottom!

I quit everything after that and watched a little TV until I started getting sleepy. Then I went to bed.
My house is going to the birds!
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Orion Glass Items and Envelope
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My Orion Porch Chair
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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Right Back At cha!

Or, “What goes around, comes around”

In cleaning out the closet, I found a pretty funny card from Jake and Jeremy. I’m not sure of the date or the occasion, but the back of it says it was “designed especially for you by Jake and Jeremy” and that it was “Created at Meijer Chesterfield MI.” so it was obviously before they had eCards on computers. I thought I’d post it to give them both some fond memories… in so many different ways…

P.S. You'll need to click on it to really appreciate the humour

A Card I found from Jake and Jeremy, back in the day...

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Monday Moanin’

I hurried through the morning routines and left early for work on Monday morning. Why? Well, I had some things in the trunk that the garbage men won’t take (like that metal chair I used for showering when I had the rotator cuff surgery – I don’t need it now since they made me buy a real shower chair after my spine fusion). I have unwritten privileges from Facilities to use the dumpster behind Building 7 when I need it as long as I’m not “obvious” about it.

I also had that box of old papers I mentioned, with mortgage papers for old homes, old tax returns, etc., that need to be shredded, but well beyond the capability of my little shredder (it’s so old it chokes if you put in three pages at once). So, that went into the locked shredder container in my building. Almost every building has one, and when its full, the service comes and shreds the contents right on site, so there are no security concerns.

I probably whined about it before, but my back was still killing me. It’s funny, because I never was impressed with the morphine until after I stopped taking it. So, I spent the day trying not to lean against the back of my chair, walking around a lot, etc.

The weather was as predicted, cool and with a sharp northwest wind. Even though I had my winter coat on, I was wishing I’d worn a hat and gloves! So, between the hurting back and the miserable weather conditions, the only outside thing I did after work was to get the trash out to the road. I used the car like I always do, but there were three bags this time (due to the closet cleaning) so it took two trips. Oh, I did go out back and take a picture of the transplanted day lily for Anonymous, too.

Jyl had emailed me that her sister Judy would be interested in the day bed, but needed measurements so she could see if she could fit it in her car. So, I measured it and called Judy. I just got her voicemail, but I left the information and my phone number.

My daughter Melissa called which was weird because I had planned on calling her tonight. While I was talking with her, Judy called back and left her voicemail, so I called her back after Melissa and I were finished. She’s going to try and locate somebody with a truck (she thought it was a futon) and hopefully pick it up this weekend. It sounded like she really needs it, so that made me feel good.

I made a sandwich for my dinner and ate that with some leftover macaroni and cheese. Speaking of the macaroni and cheese, Michelle and Vicky at work asked me why I didn’t use something like Velveta instead of the cheddar if I knew it would taste gritty. Well, I didn’t “know” it would taste gritty, but now I think I might make it again, only using grated American cheese instead.

Grating Velveta as is would be challenging, but I think if I put it in the freezer for a while, it might harden up enough to grate easier.

I spent the rest of the evening in bed, trying to find a position that didn’t hurt and watching an old (1949) western called “Ambush” on the Turner Classic Movie channel.

Monday, April 23, 2012

New home of the day lily that was in the herb garden
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Sunday Supper

I slept in on Sunday until 6:30 AM! This time I put the coffee on first, before anything else. I got a cup and posted my pictures and the Blog I had written throughout the day yesterday. I watched the morning news and Joel Osteen (that preacher show) while eating breakfast, refilling the pill case for the week and doing my usual routine.

I weighed and then cooked eight ounces of elbow macaroni to use for tonight’s dinner. Then I went in and, using Norton Ghost, set up the My Book to automatically back up the computer every Sunday. I had crawled under the desk and behind the computer to put its USB connection permanently in place.

I took a nice long shower. BTW, I’m not sure if I mentioned this before, but that handheld shower head I (well, B___) installed has several settings. I usually only have it set for “full” (or what ever it’s called) which is like a smaller version of my old rain shower head. But, I noticed a while back that the “massage” setting does seem to help when directed at my spine. Unfortunately, I only have time for it on the weekends. I am reminded how envious I am of my Brother Carl and his walk-in tub with the Jacuzzi jets!

I got dressed and left for the Town Square Market (Joy and Beech-Daly). All I needed was a little more shredded sharp cheddar cheese (I have some, just not enough). It’s a small grocery store, been there since 1970 and probably hasn’t changed since. But, it’s never crowded so, for one or two items, it’s a quick, close solution.

Back home, I had what I thought was a brilliant idea. It’s still too damn cold to do much outside and the wind is worse today. So, two things struck me: I was stuck in the house for a long while, maybe all day and, in the past when it was free, most large items I set out to the road were picked up by folks long before the Township ever came.

You see, I want to lose that day bed from the office (I need the space) but it would cost me $120.00 for the Township to haul it away and I couldn’t carry it to the road, anyway. I bought the mattress when we first moved here, but since very few people ever slept on it, it’s like brand new. So, I made up a sign (see photos) and stapled it to the mailbox post and waited for the people to come and get the free bed and mattress. I waited… and waited… and waited…

I worked on little stuff while waiting, like starting the last load of laundry (my clothes for work) and setting the Norton Ghost to back up my computer every Sunday. Sadie called and I talked with her for a bit and with Lu for a while longer.

When the My Book started filling up from the backup, I started my Sunday dinner.

I’m trying something new: Crockpot Macaroni and Cheese! So I sprayed the round slow cooker with canola oil and mixed in the cooked macaroni, one 12 ounce can of evaporated milk, 1 1/2 cups of whole milk, 1/4 cup of melted butter a teaspoon of salt and a pinch of black pepper, two large beaten eggs and about 4 1/2 cups of shredded sharp cheddar cheese.

When I had it thoroughly mixed, I added about 1/2 cup more shredded Cheddar cheese to the top and sprinkled that with paprika. I turned the slow cooker on low and set the timer for 3 hours and 15 minutes.

It occurred to me that I didn’t want the hordes of people who would be coming in to see my computer on, so I shut it off (I already had the TV off and the bedroom and bathroom doors closed).

It finally dawned on me around 4:00 PM that NOBODY was coming. So, I opened everything up and turned on the computer. And the computer froze during booting! I tried it several times with the same result before I sent a text to Jake. He suggested unplugging it, rather than just turning it off) and leaving it set for 20-30 minutes.

So, I did that and then plugged it back in. Nope! Jake said I might have to buy a new mother board (groan).

To forget about it, I went out front and took down the sign for the daybed. Then I went out back and moved the tarragon from the old spot (next to the grille) to a new spot between the chives and the oregano (see pictures).

Back inside, it (finally) dawned on me the computer acted the same way when I left the Norton Ghost disc in the drive. So, I unplugged the USB connection to the My Book and it started right up! Whew!

It also dawned on me that, had I explained to Jake everything I’d been doing with the computer (backing it up to the My Book) he would have figured it out right away.

When Jake comes up, I’ll have him change the setting so it boots from the hard drive first. But for now, at least I could finally get the pictures out of my camera and post them. And now I know I can’t leave other drives plugged in.

About an hour before the mac & cheese would be finished, I started on the other part of Sunday dinner.

I changed this one a bit because it called for boneless, skinless chicken breast and I was using skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs. Anyway, I put 1/4 cup of melted butter and six cloves of crushed garlic in one of my breading station pans (the recipes suggested melting the putter in a saucepan and adding the garlic to it). I dipped each thigh in the melted butter mixture and then coated it with seasoned bread crumbs in the other breading station pan. I put them in a lightly greased Pyrex baking dish and sprinkled the remaining butter/garlic and bread crumbs over top of them. Then I popped the baking dish into a 375 degree F. preheated oven for an hour.

I cleaned up my mess while the rest of the cooking was taking place and then checked the TV listings to see if anything looked good. Hmmm... not really.

The timer went off and I went and made a plate for my dinner. Results? Well, the chicken was very moist with a nice buttery, garlicky flavor. I can see how the butter, garlic and breadcrumbs would work well on skinless chicken breasts.

The macaroni taste was spot on. High marks for taste! But, without making the roux, the cheddar cheese had that gritty texture you get with cheddar. So, while its easy to make, I don’t think I’ll make it again.

I gave up TV at 9:00 PM and switched to reading until I fell asleep.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Tarragon, before
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Mulch moved and tarragon dug out
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Tarragon, transplanted
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This did NOT work!
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A little better photo of the tulips
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Reflecting Pool with fake lilies (don't laugh, Carl!)
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Short Poem I Just Heard

Procrastination is my weakness
It only brings me sorrow
I know I should give it up
In fact, I will, tomorrow...

~ Author Unknown

The Saturday Story

I got up early (4:30 AM) Saturday morning, tired of lying in bed and aching. I was cold (but I’ve been cold ever since I got out of the hospital) so I cranked the thermostat up two degrees. I sat on the couch, wrapped in a blanket and reading.

At 6:00, I went back to bedroom to watch the morning news. The rain was over, but it is supposed be partly cloudy, windy and cool all weekend. Sigh…

The cats abandoned the bed sometime after I did, so I seized my chance and stripped it. I put the bedding in the washer. Then I ate breakfast, took my pills, did my tests, blah, blah, blah.

I had trouble with the new Administration page as I posted earlier so it was after 8:00 AM, before I got away from the computer. I put on a pot of coffee (I should have thought of that earlier!)

After I had a cup, I started on my first “inside” project (I thought I’d hold off on “outside” ones until it was warmer and the sun had come out!). So, I started to clean out my main bedroom closet (I had already cleaned out the little one in my bedroom when I was stuck at home after the hospital). I got a trash bag and got to work.

I had saved boxes from things I bought and some of those things I don’t even have any more. I had old documents from house purchases and then subsequent sales, slippers and old shoes I don’t even wear, old photos in a basket, etc., etc., etc. The closet was usable, but the floor and shelves were a mess!

That basket with the photos also had my canvas Redford Township Library bag (I always wondered where that went) in it on top the pictures and both the bag and the basket were covered with Caley cat hair. That gave me an idea. So, the Library bag went into the washer with the load of towels and I cleaned off all the cat hair from the basket (I’ll sort through the photos later).

I found blueprints for a Dutch mini-barn, a solar greenhouse and a ladder planter I got from Rodale Press more than 20 years ago. There was also a plan for a birdhouse and a kite, still in the package. It was like an adventure!

I threw away tons of stuff. I was fearless! I was brutal! I used Jake’s philosophy from back when we were cleaning out the River Road house: When in doubt, throw it out (preferably in a 40 yard dumpster!) I just had trash bags this time, but you get the idea.

Finally I put six cedar rings I bought a while back on hangers in all the closets in the house (I’ve never had any problems with moths, but they say this year is going to be the worst ever for all kinds of insects because of the warm winter).

By noon, I had it done and room to put my shoes on the closet floor again! I took a photo of “after” (I was too ashamed for you to see the “before,” lol!)

Oh, the basket idea? Well, Caley often sleeps on the little rug next to my bed when she’s not on the bed itself (Scruffy is strictly “bed” only, of course). This often results in a stomped cat when I get up in the dark to go to the bathroom. So, to keep her out of the closet (its time she came out of the closet, lol) and away from my feet, I washed the little rug with the second load (towels) and, when it was clean and dry, put it in the basket. The basket went into the corner next to the dresser and the bedroom wall. Hopefully, she’d get the hint and sleep there instead of underfoot. She did, right away, and I took a picture of that, too.

I noticed the sun had finally come out, BTW. I checked the temp on the outside thermometer, but it was just barely 50 degrees F. So, I thought I’d stick with the indoor projects for a while longer. I did walk out to check on the mail (nothing) and got another lilac bloom, as the first one was fading as fast as its perfume.

Next, for the first time since I hung them up, I took down the tab drapes in the bedroom. I threw them in the washer, hoping (against hope) to get all the cat hair off them. They might just disintegrate and I knew from experience in the living room they would shrink some and I’d probably have to iron them, but it was way past time.

I remade the bed and folded the second load of laundry. Just then the phone rang and I had the nicest, longest conversation with Carla I think I ever had! Thanks for the call!!

By the time we said our goodbyes, it was almost 3:00 PM and I was bushed, so I thought I’d take a nap. But, even though I didn’t sleep worth a sh*t last night, I couldn’t slip into the land of nod. I just lay there, thinking of all the stuff I should be doing instead. I gave it an hour and then gave up.

I set up the ironing board and started working on the bedroom drapes. Because of the new handicap parking place of the kitty litter box I couldn’t set up the ironing board in its usual location. The kitty litter box used to be under the counter, next to the wash tub, but even before I went to the hospital, my back hurt so bad I could no longer pull it out to scoop the poop, so I had moved it out into the room (and right where the ironing board goes). It took some trial and error, but I eventually set the ironing board up in the kitchen. I put the thick wood cutting board on the table to set the hot iron on.

I was doing three things at once, BTW. I was using the cat hair remover brush and my fingers to get off any cat hair that survived the washer and dryer and dropping it behind me on the floor. Then I was ironing one area of the drape, and finally used the electric sweeper to pick up the cat hair from the floor before moving to the next area. It was a slow process but I wasn’t anal enough (yet) to time how long each panel took.

As each panel was done, I put it immediately on the wooden rod and spread it all the way out to air dry. Since I was using the cotton setting on the iron with the steam, they were getting damp. But, by the time the next panel was finished, they were dry.

I only had one scary moment, when the wooden rod behind the TV came completely away from the wall at one end. I thought I’d snapped it off, but it just slipped from the screw that holds it to the wall. I was done just before 6:00 PM. All that reaching up (I told you about that before) took a toll on my shoulders and back muscles. I hurt like hell. But, since the sun was shining, there was one more thing yet to do.

The two-shelf unit in the downstairs room next to the kitty litter box (under the wooden shelf) where I store all the winter statues and lately have been dragging bags of kitty litter across was filthy.

So, I took it outside in the grass, hosed it down and let it soak while I filled the small bucket with screaming hot water and Pine Sol. I got the scrub brush I had attached to a broom handle out of the garage and went out back. I scrubbed it down all over, paying particular attention to the shelf tops. Then I rinsed it off and set it on the patio with one end up on a footstool to drip dry in the remaining sunshine (forget about the heat drying it because it was still pretty cool outside).

Inside, while it was drying, I scrubbed the floor area where it had been sitting and then mopped it with rinse water. Then I went in to the bedroom, took off the brace that was killing me by now, ate a pain pill and lay on the bed, hoping the shelving unit dried before the sun set. Otherwise, I’d have to leave it outside overnight.

When the sun started going down, I went out and checked the shelf. I decided it was dry enough and, since it sits right next to the register, the furnace would take care of any lingering dampness. So, I put it back inside and locked everything up for the night.

I warmed up two slices of the pizza and ate them, with some green olives as a palate cleanser, for my dinner. I took my evening pills and went in to watch what turned out to be an excellent, if somewhat disturbing movie called “From Hell.” Johnny Depp was a London detective, trying to solve the murders committed by Jack the Ripper. In spite of being weary and sore, I stayed awake through it all (and I’ll probably dream about it; I told you it was disturbing). It ended at 10:30 PM and I went to sleep, thinking I didn’t get that many items checked on my weekend ToDo list.
Caley's Craft-o-matic
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The straightened out closet
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Saturday, April 21, 2012

Philosophical Quote of the Day

"When in doubt, always take the magic beans and trade the cow!"

~ Author Unknown

Song Snippet

[Story of my life, lol!]

I pulled into Nazareth, was feelin' about half past dead;
I just need some place where I can lay my head.
"Hey, mister, can you tell me where a man might find a bed?"
He just grinned and shook my hand, and "No!", was all he said.

` "The Weight" by The Band

Sorry 'bout that!

I apologize for the lateness of this morning's entry. I faced a new administration page when I went to put it up and it posted as one big paragraph! It took me quite a while to figure out how to get line breaks and make paragraphs, so you could read it right.


The end...

I had a lousy night, again. But, it was just after eating breakfast, when I was taking my pills, that I discovered a possible reason. I noticed that I had forgotten to take my pills last night!

At work, I finally finished a Purchase request that I had been working on since Thursday morning. It was 39 lines long and extremely complicated. I worked on that sucker for a total of 11 ½ man-hours!

I went out at lunchtime to get something at Lowe’s and, in spite of the predicted rain and cold front coming, it was sunny and warm. I stopped at the Newburgh Grill and had a bowl of clam chowder first. Then I went to the store and picked up some herbicide. I need to get ahead of those pesky picker bushes in the far back garden.

When I was waiting in line to checkout in the Garden Center, I saw some silk water lilies that you can float in your pond. So, I bought them. I used to have a water lily in the reflecting pool, but it only flowered one year. And the pain of taking it out and storing it for the winter, then replacing it, etc., just wasn’t worth it. But, now the little Shaolin monk will have something to contemplate again!

The afternoon started to drag after 3:00 PM, but it was finally time to go home, banging that drum! It was still warm, but the clouds had rolled it and it started to sprinkle on the way home. It put the brakes on trying that photo trick with the tulips for tonight, at least.

I did the usual after-work putzing while listening to the news. I checked my voicemail and found my brother Jim had called just after 5:00 PM and just before I got home. So, I called him back. He said that the closing was today and the cottage is officially sold. Speaking purely from emotion, that is so sad. But, that was my Mom’s wish. And, think about it: it stayed in the family for over 100 years. Not many folks can say that!

The fourth and decisive hockey playoff game was tonight (I’m pretty sure its over, but Fred at work says the Red Wings will come back). So, in true American male fashion, I dug a Digiorno Thin Crust Supreme Pizza out of the chest freezer and turned the oven on. I did add a bit more shredded mozzarella cheese and some red pepper flakes to the pizza. It struck me as odd as I thought they were round, but this one was square (been a while since I had one, I guess).

Anyway, I watched the game and ate pizza, but it didn’t help. We lost again and our playoff season is over. Again, it was close, but losing is losing.It’s like winning the silver medal in the Olympics: “Congratulations! You’re the best loser in the race!”

I switched to reading until bedtime, although it was difficult. The damn book is as thick as a brick! It makes War and Peace look like a short story. Curious, I measured the thickness and its two inches wide (820 pages)!! Try opening that, lying facedown on a bed!

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Weight

I heard today that Levon Helm, formerly of the Band, died yesterday from cancer. I first became aware of the Band back in the day when they backed up Bob Dylan in his early effort to use electric guitars.

Later on, of course, the Band became famous in its own right with such songs as “The Weight,” “Up on Cripple Creek” and “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.”

Levon left the Band and continued his own career, both in music and in acting. I will miss his voice.

I Feel Like a Damn Fool!

Let me set the scene for you. A week or so after I returned to work I ran into Michelle from Facilities and started teasing her. I said, “Well, I can see that at some point, you guys took that ADA seriously and cut out the front sidewalk on the south side of the building and put in a nice slope from the parking lot. So, how come the only Handicap parking spaces I can find are on the north side, in the overflow lot for the building across the street? Since we’re friends, I though I’d ask before the lawsuit.”

She laughed and said it was so I could get some exercise. The other folks in the office laughed as well and I thought that was the end of it.

But, today (Thursday) she stopped by, wearing her hard hat (don’t laugh; I still have the one I was given when I worked in Facilities although she looks better in hers than I do in mine). She said, “Well, you got your wish!” I said, “Huh?” She said, “We’re putting in a Handicap parking space for you just outside the door next to the ramp!” I said, “Don’t you dare! Everybody will think I asked you for it!” She said, “Too late! Look outside.”

Sure enough, a maintenance guy was taking down the Customer Parking sign and replacing it with a Handicap Parking sign. And, they had already painted a blue line on the pavement!

Oh, God...

So, I immediately tried to find Paul, the Building Manager, and talk to him, but he was out for the morning.

So, I left for lunch. I went to Barnes and Noble to get that book I couldn’t get at the library. Since Applebee’s was right across the parking lot (this is the northwest corner of Haggerty and 6-Mile Road we are talking about), I walked over and ate lunch there. I had one of their combination lunches and picked French onion soup and half of a grilled roast beef and bacon sandwich. The sandwich was greasy but good and the soup was excellent!

Back at work, I parked in the Handicap spot. Well, now I had to. Nobody else in the building can and why should I take another spot from somebody else? But, I got a lot of teasing, either about using pity to get the best spot or because I’m friends with Facilities (and Michelle in particular). My pleas of innocence were ignored.

Paul finally did come in, so Cindy let me know (I had told her I wanted to see him as soon as he was there). Now, I’ve know Paul since my old company was bought by this one in 1996 (or so), so I explained the situation and told him I did NOT ask for this to happen. He assured me that it was okay, it just never dawned on him the building didn’t have a Handicap spot. I apologized for taking up one of his Customer Parking spots and he said not to worry, it was fine. He said he has a bad back and if he ever needed to, he wouldn’t want to try and walk in from where I’d been parking.

I finally gave up and left, but I still felt stupid (and still do!) Dammit!

Back home and still in a foul mood, I checked those tulips and decided it was time. It was only after I’d posted the pictures that I realized I need to read the camera manual again. I need more contrast in those shots. I picked a lilac bloom (they are almost in full blossom) for the bedroom while I was at it

I drank a big glass of V8 juice, and then started the Wednesday wash and the dishwasher for good measure. Next, I mopped the kitchen floor and locked myself in the bedroom, office and the main bath area. I suppose I could step over the kitchen floor into the living room if I wanted to, though.

B___ called to check up and ask about weekend plans (I wish I had weekend plans worth talking about!) I told him the parking story and he laughed so hard he choked (its not funny!). He also gave me a tip about the camera I’ll try on Friday. He said it’s a flaw in the auto-focus. We’ll see...

The floor was dry by the time the wash machine shut off, so I got the clothes in the dryer. I was hungry, so I popped in a chicken pot pie in the microwave for my dinner. I ate dinner watching Jeopardy. I checked the TV listing and nothing popped out at me, so I started to read my book. I was interrupted by hanging and folding clothes, but went back to the book afterward.

The room was filled with the lilac scent and reminded me once again of my childhood. You couldn’t escape the smell of lilacs in the spring back on the farm where I grew up. My Mother had planted every variety everywhere.

I wasn’t as tired today so I managed to stay up past 10:00 PM (what a party animal!)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Tulips #1
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Tulips #2
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Hump Day

Today was more or less a carbon copy of yesterday, weather-wise (oh, I got through the night without any alerts, BTW).

At lunchtime, I went to GFS to pick up some stuff I needed. Since I was already on 6-Mile, I went over to the library to see if I could get a book I wanted. I checked on their computers, but it was checked out and two people had already put a hold on it. Which means I wouldn’t be able get it for at least a month. Forget it!

I stopped in at the house to drop off the frozen food I bought at GFS and then headed back to work. The cats got an early treat, but no eating lunch for me, today! Instead, I chugged a bottle of that Endure crap back at work.

Finally it was five o’clock and I headed home. I checked on those tulips, but they’re not ready yet. Inside, I treated the cats and changed my clothes.

I wrote out a bill and balanced my check register (always fun). Then I watched the rest of the evening news.

When it was over, I went to work on getting the My Book (the external hard drive) set up on the desk. I originally was going to back up everything and then stick the drive in the fire safe (so I could get everything back in case of a catastrophe). But, I got to thinking about weekly backups, etc., and decided I was being to paranoid. I thought I’d put it between the printer and the wall (where the cats can’t knock it over) instead. So, that’s what I did.

It was very hairy to get behind that desk (and I mean that literally)!

I ordered a couple more things from that I think I need. We’ll see...

I warmed up the last of the shrimp scampi for my dinner. I wasn’t feeling all that perky, so when TV started to bore me around 9:00 PM, I just went to bed.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

My new NOAA weather radio
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Here's a shot of the back of my brace...
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Oatmeal Update and Other Things

Well, I did try the low-sugar oatmeal and trail mix without the wheat germ. It tasted better, but not as good as the regular maple and brown sugar stuff. And, the sad part is that I bought four boxes of the stuff because it was on sale. So, I am stuck with eating so-so breakfasts for the next 39 days. I may as well just add the dumb wheat germ!

I left work so I could get to ABD Warehouse at 10:00. Why? So I could get my NOAA All Hazards Alert Radio. Every year, our local Channel 4 teams up with ABC warehouse to offer them at a special price ($10.00 off the usual $39.00 price). And, every year I miss the damn sale. But, not this year!

And, why, you might ask, do I want one? Well, because it not only can function as regular local weather radio any time you want (and, as you know, I am a weather junkie) or act as an alarm clock with snooze, but, it interrupts everything when an alert comes in for your county. It’s programmed by county, BTW.

In addition to important weather announcements such as a tornado, severe weather, etc., it will also receive other emergency announcements such as: Child Abduction Emergency (Amber Alert), Nuclear Power Plant Warning, Biological Hazard Warning, Civil Emergency Message, Fire Warning and Landslide Warning (and who doesn’t want to know about an impending landslide?)

Seriously, though, it can just sit there, on and quiet until and unless an alert comes through (which is probably how I’ll use it) and then it gives an ungodly noise that would wake the dead. The alert can be read on the screen or listened to via the radio. It also has a battery backup in case the power in your house goes out from a storm. It’s freakin’ cool and could be a life-saver.

As I said, I’ve missed the sale in the past, but I’ve seen the lines at the store on TV and they remind you to get there early before they are sold out. So, I went right at 10:00 AM, when ABC opens. Sure enough, there were already 10-15 folks in front of me in line. But, I had to laugh, because by the time I got up there and bought the radio and the batteries (you have to have the batteries so they can program it) everyone else was gone and there was nobody behind me! I was there over 40 minutes, so If I’d come at, say 11:00 AM, I probably could have just walked in and out. I think the crowded shots they show on TV are just at the store where the Channel 4 weather folks put in an appearance.

It was nice and sunny, with little wind, but the temperature is only supposed to get up into the lower 60’s today.

I was going to skip lunch (because I’d already taken up a lot of time on the radio business) but I was hungry. So, I ran up to the Newburgh Grille and got a bowl of the bean and ham soup. I was back at work in about 25 minutes, so I didn’t feel too bad.

I made the mistake of stopping at the Post Office after work. I was puzzled by all the traffic cones, people directing traffic, postal worker outside with bins, etc. Then it dawned on me (admittedly a little late) that it was tax day and everybody’s trying to get that postmark on their returns.

It wasn’t near as crazy inside, so I took care of business and left. Outside, I had to wait for a postal guy to take pity on me and stop the traffic flow long enough that I could pull out of my parking space. Geesh! Haven’t you folks ever heard of eFiling?

Back home, I checked out my new NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) radio and set it up in my bedroom. I read the manual and went to the Midland Radio website to watch a video on programming the sucker (even though they program it in the store). I did change one thing. The lady in the store had programmed it for “single” and just put in the S.A.M.E. (Specific Area Message Encoding) code for Wayne County. But, the video suggested using “multiple” to add in counties to the West South-West of your location (because that’s the direction weather usually comes from). You can program up to 25 counties in the “multiple” setting. So, I put in Washtenaw, Monroe and Lenawee counties in addition to Wayne. Now no stinking tornado’s gonna get me while I’m sleeping!

I took a walk while the sun was still up to check out the grass cutting today (yes, they did come). I checked out the front yard and saw a yellow tulip in bloom. I was going to take a photo, but I noticed there was a white tulip just behind it that was “almost” in bloom. So, I thought I’d wait and try and get them both open.

I stepped over to smell the lilac that’s also beginning to bloom when I noticed all the trash that big wind blew into my northeast corner of the fence. That’s where the arbor is and the morning glory seeds I just planted!

So, I grabbed a plastic grocery bag and went out back to pick that stuff up and let the morning glories sprout. One of the things I picked up was a nice clean dollar bill! Weird!! I walked the north fence all the way to the back before the bag was filled and my back and I were tired of bending over. I got a lot more trash, but no more money.

Back inside, it was after 7:00 PM, so I had missed all the news. I finally changed clothes and took my evening pills. I didn’t feel like eating more Shrimp Scampi tonight. As a matter of fact, I didn’t feel much like eating. So, I just munched down a few oatmeal cookies (I buy the cheap Kroger kind) so I wouldn’t get sick.

I alternated between watching the Red Wing’s playoff game and reading. I watched the game until the bitter end (and it was bitter) and then went to bed.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Wind and Software/Hardware Issues

I was hoping to tell you how great my breakfast was, but I can’t. And, because I changed two variables, instead of just one like anyone conducting an experiment should do, I can’t tell you why. You see, I bought the low sugar variety (I just saw they carried it yesterday) and I also added the wheat germ. One or the other would have been fine. But, whichever it was, I didn’t really like the taste all that well (the texture and the trail mix was excellent, though). So, I’ll try it without the wheat germ tomorrow and get back to you.

It was overcast, and windy, but warm when I left the house for work Monday morning. It’s supposed to get even warmer and even windier this afternoon (we are under a “Severe Weather” alert for the winds until 8:00 PM tonight).

I had to run out just before lunch to pick up a fan for a broken computer, so I went to lunch afterwards. I headed for Lowe’s and, at the intersection just before it (Warren and Newburgh), there is a fruit and vegetable market with a big nursery called Randazzo’s. I glanced over while waiting for the light to turn and saw that every, EVERY, tree they had out (and they have a lot of all different-sized trees) was blown over and lying down, with the bucket or root ball sticking up.

I darn near blew away when I got out of the car (and my walker did! I had to chase it down!!) I did find the smaller retaining wall blocks I needed (I knew they had to have come from either Home Depot or Lowe’s) and stacked six of them on the walker seat. Now the wind won’t blow it away. I could barely push it, LOL!

I also got a tool I’ll need for the next “No BLT Gardening” project, so I checked out and rolled to the car. Loading the blocks in the car was easy. Figuring out how to fit the tool in wasn’t – it’s 78 inches long.

Then I drove back to work and the afternoon seemed to go by quickly for a change. But, my back was killing me (either from overdoing it on the weekend or lack of morphine, who knows? Who cares? It hurt!)

I did call the landscaping company and Amber, the receptionist (or “sales associate” as she calls herself) checked and found she was wrong. I am not on the Friday schedule; I’m on the Tuesday schedule. Since they had just cut it the Friday before, they didn’t come back last Tuesday (which I can understand and my wallet appreciates). But, now at least I know I’m on a schedule.

Five o’clock came and I almost drove down onto the expressway, but at the last minute, the guy in front of me swerved off the ramp and back on the service drive. Now I could see the expressway and everyone was stopped DEAD! So, I swerved too. I remembered before I got to Farmington Road that anyone who could would be getting off the expressway and the service drive has no light, just a yield sign meaning we'd all be waiting forever. So, I turned onto Stark Road and took that to Plymouth Road, where there is a light. Then I drove home.

I was prepared to see the higher profile vehicles (larger SUVs and trucks) swerving all over their lanes. But I was surprised at how much my own low-profile car was buffeted, even when just stopped at the lights. I got home about 10 minutes later than usual.

I stopped at the mailbox, opened the trunk and put the course of six retaining wall blocks on. They look odd from my yard side as they are a deep red (as were the ones I had when they were new) but now the old ones have faded and are more a reddish brown. And, having the second course on clearly showed that the original row was not even close to being level. When it’s not so windy and I am dressed for outdoor work, I’ll try and fix that.

I spent a LOT of time trying to remember how I got that first photo of my coffee cup at work off the camera and onto my computer. But, I finally figured it out (it was so stupidly simple I’m embarrassed to say) and posted a picture of me in my brace I asked Michelle at work to take for you. I don’t think that many people have seen me in it.

I remembered the trash in time to get it out to the road before dark. I switched out the kitty litter so, while it still was windy, I wasn’t worry about the bag blowing away!

Then, I started installing the My Book (the external drive) which was simple. So simple in fact that they don’t give you an instruction book, just a leaflet with three pictures! Next I installed the Norton Ghost, which was not a simple. First of all, because I only use it once every couple of years, the CD/DVD drive wouldn’t open. I finally had to do it manually with a bent paper clip. Then I installed the program, but didn’t take the disc back out of the drive. So, when I restarted the computer (it asked me to), the restart stalled (I think it was trying to reboot from the CD/DVD drive). I ended up unplugging the computer (it was the only way to shut it off), restarting it and immediately opening the drive and taking out the disk.

It went smoothly after that. I set the Ghost program to back up my whole system (files, programs, everything, at least according to the software information) and 38 minutes later, it was done. I didn’t get around to scheduling routine backups or anything (by that time it was almost 9:30 PM), but I got the computer all backed up once!

One thing I did think I will check later is how much space is now used on the external drive compared to the C:\ drive. If there’s a little more on the external drive (it does come with its own backup software) I’m guessing I should be good to go.

I quit screwing around with computers and ate some warmed up leftover shrimp scampi for my late night dinner. I took my evening pills and went straight to bed.

Monday, April 16, 2012

For those of you who have never seen it, this is me and my brace (photo courtesy of Michelle)
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