Thursday, November 30, 2006

Redneck Remedies




We have lots of stuff here around the home that needs fixin' at any given time. We've managed to come up with some pretty creative solutions to save a buck or two.
When the retaining bars in the refrigerator door broke, my husband used some wood scraps and plastic zipper ties to make some new ones. They work great and have a unique rustic look to boot.
When my oven door stopped closing all the way, I came up with the idea to put industrial magnets between the seal and the door. Keeps it shut and only cost $2.00.

Oh man, I dread when it's time to sell this joint.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Turn it down

I sometimes think I'm hyper-sensitive to noise. I experience a lot of sounds almost like a physical assault on my senses. Today was bad. Started out as usual with the dump trucks down the road. They make a sound as if a giant had picked up the truck and was bashing it against the ground repeatedly.
Once I got to work, the used car lot across the street (3 lanes away and on a hill) broadcasted some tinny radio station so loud that I could hear it at the front desk of the store.
Kids pulled up to the music store next door all day long vibrating the windows and pounding on my brain with their absurdly over-amped cars.

My co-worker has been making his way through a stack of vinyl as he packages the mail. This week I've been treated to The Who, Cat Stevens, The entire Woodstock collection, and Bob Seeger. It clashes with whatever music is playing on the main floor and tangles in my head.

My husband came by to take me out to lunch and the restaurant we chose was broadcasting a soft-rock station going way too far with a series of really awful pop-star Christmas remakes. Then an employee starts vacuuming with a really loud whiny vacuum cleaner for nearly the whole meal. When he approached our table, we asked him to wait until we were done, but he just said "Just one minute" and proceeded to vacuum under our feet and all around our table for like five minutes. Who does that?

Nice to be home now with my chosen noises; washing machine, animals puttering around the house, House M.D. with muted commercials.

A weird side note though. I cannot hear people on the phone at work. Our phones have a bit of a whine or buzz, but I seem to be the only person there who can't understand what people are saying on the phone. Especially when my husband calls. I have to ask him to repeat everything and I still wonder how much of the conversation I missed. Is it me or the phones?

Monday, November 20, 2006

Weeelll Doggies!

I've always had pretty unconventional Hollywood crushes. When I was really young it was Soupy Sales. Then later, Mac Davis. There was even an inexplicable brief interest in John Lithgow.
When I was offered a choice between the blonde and the brunette, I'd always pick the brunette; Luke Duke, Ponch, Parker Stevenson, Kate Jackson. I have a trend of rooting for the underdog.
Although most of these crushes burned out in the course of a grade-school year, one has persisted. Buddy Epsen. He's dead now but all it takes is an episode of The Beverly Hillbillies to reignite my affection. I guess it's the character of Jed Clampett that I'm attached to. He's honest, practical, and excercises unfailing common sense. He's laid back, unpretentious and kind. The kind of person I'd enjoy knowing in real life.
I wrote him a fan letter once, asking for a signed photo, but my letter was returned.
Maybe Buddy was an ass in real life, who knows? But I love my Jed.

One dollar, Bob

I'm sitting here this morning (my day off), cataloging books and watching The Price is Right. There's something really comforting about TPIR. It reminds me of being out of school for the summer, eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and drinking milk. My sister and I would watch it every afternoon while my mom puttered around in the kitchen. We marveled that anyone could get excited over a new refrigerator or bbq grill. We were all about the jukeboxes, pool tables and cars. Of course, now I'm all about the refrigerators and living room furniture.
She and I would tear up when an old person got on stage and we'd debate who between us would show more stage excitement. It would be her of course. Every time.
I'd have been the most boring contestant ever. I think I took some kind of stubborn pride in that.
I still don't get some of the prizes. Full-size popcorn vending cart?

Friday, November 17, 2006

Sucking it up

So I mentioned that I have some soffit panels hanging. We have a problem with a herd of raccoons. They're climbing up a little ornamental tree, up on top of the outdoor cat enclosure and peeling off our siding. Jerks.

Ok, so I called the folks that originally put on my new gutters two years ago; Goddard Guttering. I asked for someone to come out and give me an estimate on repairs.
I get a call from one of their guys while I'm at work. He's standing in my yard, yakking all country-boy friendly with me and once he assesses the damage, he tells me that his company has a minimum 250.00 service call fee just for the gutter problem. We're talking about a gutter they put on only two years ago that is pulling away from the house. 250.00 miminum to come out and do some stuff to it.
He then tells me that the soffits will be another visit altogether and will be even more. Five panels that just need popping back in.
I told him no. I'd find another way.

So if I have this right, Goddard just told me that it would cost me around 600.00 just to have some guys come out with some ladders, hammers and nails and put my newish stuff back together again.
That is so screwed up.

I got a newspaper and found a few people in the Service Pages that are going to give me their estimates in a few days. One of the two told me his service charge was 55.00. I can deal with that. I understand the 55.00 will be subtracted from the final repair bill.

I also have to have a pecan tree taken down that's threatening my and my neighbor's house. It's going down next week for 1250.00. Sounds high, but it's cheap compared to having your house smushed. Or your neighbor's house smushed.

I'm presently in the market for a skilled all round handyman. I have a long list of stuff that needs attending to. I tried one guy, and he did a passable job on a few things, but his work was kind of shoddy in my opinion.

My best friend is a highly skilled woodworker and I've been really blessed to have his help on some home improvement projects. He helped me put on a new roof a few years ago, he built me a screened in porch and he built my cat enclosure (the roof of which that fat-ass racoon fell through last week. Jerk.) But he works full time and can't afford to travel to TN everytime I have a request. He spoiled me though. I know things can be done well. And I know how just how little a good job really costs. I just have to suck it up now and get some work done.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Additives or addiction?

I went and got a prescription for Zyban a month ago to help me quit smoking, but I'm too scared to take it. Everytime I read those lists of "Do Not Take If's" and "Possible Side Effects", I get squeamish. I mean come on, siezures?

Monday, November 13, 2006

Viva la Tick!

My husband's going live in the next few days with several computer applications he wrote over the last two months. Pretty big stuff. I am so constantly impressed with his abilities. He is the most patient person I've ever met when it comes to learning something new. Whereas I might throw a book across the room and break out in tears, he pours a cup of coffee and digs in for days on end until he figures it out.
I just adore my man.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Dirt

So this afternoon, I was watching a show called Kitchen Crimes. The premise is good, although they dress the show up with silly crime-fighting schtick. At any rate, they go out to someone's house and look for germ and hazard issues. Most of the houses featured have pets. They test dishrags, food prep areas etc.. for bacteria. Well, needless to say, after watching two episodes, I spent the next few hours scouring the kitchen.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Practical Joke

Here's an easy computer prank:

Go to the victim's computer control panel. Open "Accesibility options".
Under the tab labeled "Keyboard" check the box in the "Filter Keys" portion.

Sit back and laugh your ass off.

Take a load off

Ok, that last post was a little manic. It went fine, although I spent the whole ride to work trying to figure out how to turn off the windshield wipers.

Tonight I noticed for the first time that almost every woman who works at the grocery store near my house (with only two exceptions) has gigantic boobage. The kind of breasts that cause women to seek chiropractors or reduction surgery. Is that a reflection on management's hiring preferences or just a strange coincidence? And why would all these women choose to work on their feet behind a register all day? They have to be miserable.

Reluctance

I had to have my car towed to the mechanic yesterday. It's doing weird stuff. Today I have to drive my husband's new car to work. I've resisted driving it so far. I'm scared of screwing it up. I have to get over this I know. One of the reasons we made sure it was automatic is so that I could drive it too. I should be excited, but I'm filled with dread. I just hate being responsible for stuff that's important to other people. Ok, here goes. Fingers crossed.

Friday, November 10, 2006

No more Newport

Sad news.
My husband and I have been officially banned from his parent's family gatherings.
As if atheism was contagious.
I'm not an atheist, but I am anti organized religion. I'm not at all vocal about it. It's just the way I feel.
My husband is vocal about his beliefs. And there it is and here we are.
His parents are lovely people by the way. I adore his mother and have a good relationship with her. His dad doesn't talk much, but we get along.
It's gonna be weird now.
Guess I'll be halving that recipe for broccoli casserole.

Perils of the past

When I was a kid, it seemed that much of the children's programming on t.v. depicted scenes of ethnically-diverse gritty urban landscapes. Everyone knew spanish, wore hip turtlenecks and played hoops after school.

I was fascinated by their city lives. It was nothing like my own landscape.

I remember one public safety commercial that haunted me back then. It showed some kids playing in a junkyard and finding an abandoned refrigerator. They climb in, become trapped and supposedly die. I didn't understand. How could a refrigerator be so menacing? And where did these kids live that refrigerators were looming in every alley, beckoning to children; "that's it, just a little closer...".

I understand now that it was during the transition from the old latch mechanism to the new magnetic seals. Kids were dying.
Seems weird now to think that that was once a problem.

Of course, it's even weirder that online sexual predators and guns in school are the new threat. And not just in the big city.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Correction

I'm getting sloppy tonight. Forgetting titles, double-posting at other people's blogs.
I just wanted to clarify that I did not pull that exquisite graph out of my *ss. Some super smart folks somewhere created a site that makes it easy for the likes of us to graph our websites.
Go Play
Big Blog Love

This is the bouquet that emerged when I graphed the website of a fellow blogger. It might look like tinkertoys or flowers, but it's actually a representation of the avalanche of love that's been poring into his site since his young wife was hospitalized on October 30th.
Isn't that beautiful?

Go visit and give their family a hug.

Atomic Tumor

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Happy Day

This is gonna be one of those "where were you when" days. Where were you when your faith in our voting system was restored? Where were you when Rumsfeld stepped down? Where were you when you could finally breathe a great sigh of relief?

I'm not saying I have a great deal of faith in the Democratic Party, but I have more faith in them than the present Republican Party. I'm looking forward to answers, accountability, reversals of insane policies.

I'm looking forward to the last gasp of this grasp that fundamentalists have in our political system. I am so sick of the word 'values'.

My husband at this moment is having a heated discussion with his evangelical mother. He tries, bless his heart, to present his parents with alternate perspectives. To educate them about how they're being jerked around. They aren't listening yet.

Many of us are finally listening though. Enough of us so that we can once again protect those that choose not to think for themselves.

I smell just like.....

I enjoy wearing a little perfume, but I've had a hard time finding one that I really really like. Sometimes I catch great scents from some of my customers and I'll ask them what they're wearing, only to find out it's a fragrance I've already tried and dismissed.

One night before bed, I had put on some lotion and when my husband kissed me, he declared, "You smell just like Sunflowers by Elizabeth Arden".

"Sunflowers by Elizabeth Arden". Who says that? Like a commercial.

It was so damned cute. Turns out, it's the only perfume he knows in that full sentence way. I think he bought it as a gift once for a girlfriend in grade school. But he loves it, and now I love it too.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Stay tuned for the next episode of.....




Coming across Megan's note has reminded me that I owe her a chapter. She and I have an arrangement in which one of us begins a story and hands off the next chapter to the other.
She particularly enjoys stories that feature my pets as main characters.
Our latest yarn features my girl dog falling overboard on a routine fishing expedition and my husband's dog (a Merdog in this case) rescues her and takes her to his underwater city.
There's lots of sobbing and confusion from the characters of my husband and me. But bashful sparks are flying between the dogs.

Awww

I was cleaning out the catch-all bowl on my nightstand when I came across this handwritten note from my niece:

Dear Family,

I have ran away to a movie called Heidi.

You will find me at Adolf Kramer's cottage.
17 Street, The Alps.

Love,
Megan

Stepping Up the Game

Today I go and apply for my first business license. My husband and I want to install a credit card processer onto my website, so that customers have more payment options. To make that happen I first need the license so that I can open the DBA account at the bank that the merchant account folks require.
I'm told it's all pretty simple and straightforward.

The downside is that this once again changes the way I pay taxes. Filing my taxes was so easy and consistent for the first 12 years or so of my adult life. Then I started having to account for inventory and cost of goods sold, then I bought a house, then I got married etc...
Everytime I think I have it down, I have to learn something new.
With the business license, I'll be filing quarterly reports. Different reports for the county and city. And I'm not sure how I factor this into my federal return at the end of the year. I'll make sure I get the lowdown.

It boggles my mind to think of how many times a single item is taxed. The materials to produce the item, the employees who make the item, the import or export of the item, the wholesale of the item, the purchase by a retailer, the sale to a customer, and in our case, the same item sold over and over is repeatedly taxed.

Our government takes in a huge huge amount of money. Which is great theoretically. A lot of necessary things can be accomplished with a big budget. But it's so insanely mismanaged. I have a mental image of one of those glass telephone booths filled with wind-blown cash, and all our politicians just grabbing what they can in the limited time they have in the booth. It's not about thoughtful long-term planning for the people; it's about who's the most aggressive.

This overly simplistic assessment of America's tax system has been brought to you by Firstimpressionist.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Crazy Folk

We've all known at least one. Sometimes they can be fun, albeit tiresome, add some spice to your life, let you see the world from a kooky perspective:

"You're kidding. The driveway is radioactive again? Ok, ok, I'll wear the ziploc baggies on my shoes. I don't want you having to drink bleach again."

With others however, you'd do well to stay far far away.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Birth Control

When I met my husband, I wasn't on birth control of any kind. The last time I had been on the pill, I was in my 20's and don't remember having any problems with it. But now as a 30-something smoker, I was really reluctant to subject myself to the long list of dangerous side-effects. (Yeah, don't say it, I know....smoking has a list of its own.)

I asked my doctor what my options were and they suggested an IUD. It's just a tiny T-shaped piece of copper and filament placed in the uterus. It costs only 250.00 and lasts for 10-12 years. No side-effects. Nothing to remember to do. And it can be taken out at any time in the event the woman wants to conceive.

With this option, why on earth do women put themselves at risk with hormone options?
If I hadn't asked my gynecologist, I wouldn't have even known the IUD was an option.
It's the perfect solution and over time, much more cost-effective than the pill or patch. I get the feeling that this safer option isn't being advertised more aggressively because no one is making any serious money from it.

I was reminded again why I'm glad I'm not on the pill when I read this:

Women Sue Over Patch

Company

Something tore three soffit panels off our house last night and crawled into the attic.
Yay.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Short comment on Galludet

I've been loosely following the Galludet protest in which the student body achieved their goal of ousting the new university president. One of the main reasons cited was that she had been raised a lip-reader and didn't actually learn sign language until she was an adult.

I got a small taste of how political and self-protective the deaf community can be when I was in college and dated a deaf person for a couple of years.

There are two types of sign language in America. One is ASL, which is the older and more primary language, and the other is ESL, (signed english). My boyfriend, for reasons I forget now, had been raised to speak ESL and so that's what I learned.

Signed english is much more verbatim than ASL and relies less on exaggerated expressions and context to communicate the thought. Whereas in ASL, one sign might represent 5 similar ideas, in ESL, the "listener" knows exactly which word you intended.

ESL is also much easier for a speaking person to learn than ASL.
But the fact is that most deaf people speak ASL and have very strong views about the culture and tradition it signifies. As my boyfriend hadn't been brought up in the traditional deaf community, I wasn't exposed to much of it.

I do remember attending a few deaf parties though, and found it unexpectedly difficult to communicate, even though I was fluent at that point. Those evenings, I would be subjected to gentle ridicule from the traditional ASL signers. It was their world, and I was not wholly welcome in it. More than one deaf person walked away from me when they realized I used signed english.
So it's interesting to me to see that this "ridicule" even extends to one of their own.
I also read that she's a bitch, so maybe I don't have the whole story.