Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The cabbage soup diet

I am writing this just after lunch on Tuesday. Before that, I had not eaten any meat since lunch on Saturday.

I guess that everyone has seen the magazine headlines for odd diets that promise to shed so many pounds or so many inches. Some of them sound good, some of them sound awful, and I guess that I just don't believe what most of them say anyway. The cabbage soup diet is supposed to help you lose up to ten pounds if you do it for a week.

The diets all say "up to" some amount. Losing zero pounds would be included in the "up to" ten pounds, right? So that would probably be what I would get for my efforts. Zero weight loss. Or maybe like two pounds of weight loss that I would put back on the next week.

And cabbage soup just sounded awful anyway.

A while back, my husband made some cabbage soup. Not a diet cabbage soup, just a soup that happened to have cabbage in it. It was pretty good. I thought maybe I had misjudged cabbage.

I was thinking that I should start eating better. Well, I am always thinking that, and never doing it. My husband was going out of town for a few days. It is easier to eat better when he isn't here. And, if I were ever going to try one of these stupid sounding diets, that would probably be easier to do when he isn't here.

So, I had pretty much decided to do this silly cabbage diet for a week, just to see what would happen. Ten pounds of weight loss sounded unreasonable. Maybe would it be five pounds. Five pounds would be worth the effort, right?

And then my husband's trip out of town got cancelled, but I decided to do some of it anyway. Maybe starting Sunday. Saturday we had lunch at Whataburger, and I had a fish sandwich. Fish isn't bad for you, but the ton of mostly mayonnaise sauce probably isn't too good for you.

Saturday night I went out with friends, and somehow we ended up at a Greek place instead of the restaurant we had agreed on earlier. It was more expensive than places I normally go to. I spent thirteen dollars on a vegetarian plate. It wasn't quite the cheapest thing on the menu, but it was the cheapest thing that I didn't have to pay extra for a side of hummus, and I like hummus. I had some fun talking to my friends, and I took half of the food home with me. It was good, just maybe not thirteen dollars plus tax and tip good.

Okay, now it is Sunday, and I'm supposed to start this diet, and I make some soup. Only then I remember that I have these leftovers from the Greek restaurant, and I have to eat them for lunch or the food will go to waste. And I'm not going to waste food that cost me thirteen dollars plus tax and tip. Besides, I like hummus. So the diet could not officially start on Sunday, so I also ate a couple of cookies and some nuts, but mostly I ate leftovers and a bowl of soup.

Okay, so then it was Monday, and I'm officially going to try this diet, sort of. I made this soup. I'm surprised that there's all this other stuff in the soup and only half a head of cabbage. I am missing a few things that were supposed to be in the soup, like a bell pepper and mushrooms and I didn't quite have enough tomatoes. And I didn't have Lipton's onion soup mix, so I substituted a ramen noodle seasoning packet. Close enough, right? The idea is to eat a soup that has no meat or added fat and just has a lot of veggies. I did that.

Well, even with only half a head of cabbage and all of this other stuff in the soup, the soup mainly tastes like cabbage. And it is nothing like the soup my husband made. For one thing, my husband's soup had potatoes and lots of this fancy bacon stuff. This soup doesn't have either of those. And when my husband made the soup, he didn't add the cabbage until right before serving. So I should have made the rest of the soup and then just added the cabbage right before reheating, but I forgot, so the first bowl of soup had nice fresh crisp cabbage, and all of the rest had regular mushy cabbage that I don't care for.

On the cabbage soup diet, you make this soup, and you eat as much soup as you want, and then you eat this other stuff, depending on what day it is. So on the first day, you eat soup and you drink water, and you eat all the fruit you want except you can't have any bananas. Okay, so on Monday I ate some of the soup and some pineapple and an apple. By Monday night I really hate the soup, even though I've only had about three bowls of it.

I am thinking that the point of the cabbage soup diet isn't really about however much you might lose that week, but how much you would appreciate other foods after you get done eating this awful soup. You would be just so happy to eat skinless chicken breasts and broccoli and fat-free salads and anything else you're supposed to eat as long as it isn't this cabbage soup.

I think that I am there already. I don't need to torture myself for the rest of the week. Boring skinless chicken breasts and broccoli sound really good.

Still, I spent money on this stupid idea, and I'm not going to waste the food. I'm going to eat the rest of this soup. I didn't make that much of it, and what I did make I have eaten half of it. I will eat the rest and try to make something better tasting with the rest of the veggies. I will try to eat the rest of the cabbage too, maybe if I remember not to overcook it.

The second day of the diet you are supposed to drink plenty of water, eat as much soup as you want, and eat as much veggies as you want but not have any fruit. And as far as veggies go you are supposed to stay away from beans and peas and corn. Avocados aren't mentioned, but I'm assuming that you stay away from them during the whole diet.

I remember that a friend mentioned getting a free sandwich from Jack-In-The-Box on Thursday. Maybe I can do this diet thing until Thursday.

I look on the computer and find out that the free sandwich thing is today, Tuesday, not Thursday. Happy to have an excuse, I go to lunch with my husband and get a free sandwich after buying a giant soda. I wonder how many calories were in the sandwich? I think that I drank about two hundred calories of soda, and then I put the rest in a bottle and into the fridge for later. Drinking the whole soda was probably close to eight hundred calories. I don't need it. Not today.

Okay, diet experiment over. Bad idea. I will force myself to eat the last of the soup later today, and tomorrow I might think about eating only veggies tomorrow. But then after that I'm going to eat a nice sensible low fat chicken. And I've already bought the chicken, so there's no way that I'm not going to eat it.

A trip to the library to find The Road

If you have been reading a while you know that I used to read a lot of books, but now, not so much. Most of the time, I don't have the attention span required to enjoy reading books, and my eyesight isn't so good either. So I don't read that many books now.

Which isn't to say that I don't go to the library a lot. Most weeks we go at least twice, as there are several libraries to choose from, and we are nearly always near one. He still reads plenty of books, and he gets audio books for long trips. And I get the occasional book to read, and a few books that I don't read so much as flip through and look at the pictures (cookbooks, how-to books, etc...), and once in a great while I look at a magazine.

And I get a lot of DVDs. I check out tons of DVDs. I very rarely go to a video store unless I am really wanting to see a particular movie. The newly discovered Redbox has only been used about five times. But I tend to get a minimum of three DVDs per week at the library.

So while I am often at the library, I don't use the library catalog as much as I used to. Which is a good thing, since I don't like the newer programs as much.

The first program we used was just like the card catalog. You selected author, subject, or title, and then typed in something, and you were taken to what you had typed, or the closest thing to it. If you typed in Asimov, you were taken to lists of books written by people named Asimov, and you would scroll down a bit til you found Isaac, and then you would scroll down more to find the particular title you wanted. If you did not spell Asimov correctly or otherwise made a typing error, you would be taken to the nearest thing that the computer could find, and then maybe you would notice your error and correct it. If you still couldn't find what you were looking for, maybe you would have to get help from a librarian.

So that was the old program, which was very useful to people already used to the old card catalog, if you could type. It was fast. It wasn't very pretty, as it was yellow letters on a black screen. No pictures. But you could see about twenty-five titles per screen before you had to scroll down.

Then the bigger libraries got some new programs, which I found to be a bit of a headache.

These programs showed pictures of the books. But, in return for that added feature, you could only see about three titles at a time instead of twenty-five. And it took time to load all of those pictures. When they first got the new program, they didn't yet have the new computers, and it seemed to take a long time to find anything. They soon got new faster computers and all was well.

Except that if you misspelled or otherwise incorrectly typed Asimov, it didn't take you to the nearest thing. You just get a message that says no entry found. Since it is inconceivable that there are no books in the library by Isaac Asimov, you must have made a mistake. Try again. But when you are not looking for Isaac Asimov, when you are looking for a lesser known author with maybe only one or two books, then maybe you have misspelled something, or maybe the library just doesn't have any of the books you want. There is no way to know.

You have to go and bug the librarian.

Now that we have computers, we can list things under more than author, subject, and title. We can also add things like series. You can look up a list of all the Star Trek titles the library has.

The computer can now search through everything in the library with something called general keyword, which would have just been impossible with the paper card catalog. Like, if someone recommended a book to you, but you didn't write down the name, and you think that it had the word roses in it. Under general keyword, you can type in roses, and then you will get a list of everything the library has that roses in the title, and if you are patient enough, you might find your book.

Okay, so yesterday we went to the main branch of our little library. Our little library has three branches now, though one of the branches is so small that I have only been there once. And I don't use the catalog much anymore, unless I am looking for a particular title, cause I already know where the DVDs are and where the cookbooks are and so forth. I just walk around and see if anything gets my attention.

Recently, we had seen the movie The Road. The Road is a pretty depressing movie, which makes you want to go out and see a nice happy movie, like The Book of Eli. But someone had said that the book was better, and that it had a more uplifting ending, and I should read it. And I like to read books after I have seen the movie, and I like post apocalyptic stuff, so I thought that I would check out The Road, only I forgot who wrote it.

Okay, so I go to the computer and type in The Road. Only the thing seems to be stuck on general keyword search. In alphabetical order it listed six hundred and something entries with the word road. The Road, which probably would have been the first entry in a title search, was on page 35 of the general keyword search.

But I do eventually find it, and I find out the name of the author is Cormac McCarthy, which is what I need to go and look for the book on the shelf. And I see that the library has two copies, and that one is checked out and that one is checked in.

Also, it is on the adult fiction shelf instead of the science fiction shelf, but we won't get into that.

Anyway, I go and look, and I can't find it on the shelf.

Time to bug the librarian.

Maybe the second copy is in paperback or something, and I will have to look somewhere else. Or maybe it is on display. Or maybe it is still in shelving.

So the librarian tells me that their copy is checked out, but I say that I thought there were two copies and that the other one was checked in. She says that the other copy is at a different branch. But then she tells me to wait, that she'll look for one in the large print section.

For some reason, it hadn't occurred to me to look for things in the large print section. I guess that I hadn't even noticed that this particular library had a large print section. The bigger libraries have one, but rarely got anything from there. I left those books for the old people who needed them.

The librarian said that the large print edition was checked in and pointed me in the right direction. I found the book.

I read the book yesterday. I can read the book without taking off my glasses and putting my nose an inch away from the paper. I might have to start reading again on a regular basis.

The Road the book is not much different from the movie. You still don't know for sure what the catastrophe was, though you can still assume that it was a nuclear war or a big meteor. As for the supposed uplifting ending, it is the same except that the woman talks about God in the next to last paragraph.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Monday Morons-- how's that going to help anything?

Okay, I said that the problems with my husband's job deserved its own post, so here it is.

My husband got this job about three and a half years ago. It was much like other jobs he has had in the last fifteen years or so, just this was a different company. Some jobs he does his part, and then weeks later a salesperson will follow. Other jobs he has been paired with a salesperson and they work at the same place at the same time. (Once I was the salesperson, but I wasn't very good at it.) At this company he has been working with two salespeople. Most of the jobs he gets paid at least some commission. If a good salesperson is assigned to work with him, this is good. If a bad salesperson is assigned to work with him, this is bad.

At this company, when he gets to work with two good salespeople, this is really good.

So, for a time, my husband made a lot of money at this company. Okay, maybe not a lot of money, but almost twice as much as he was making before. That year, we both bought new cars.

And then this whole economy thing happened. People lost their jobs and had no money to spend. Other people who didn't lose their jobs were afraid that they might lose their jobs later, and they didn't want to spend much money either.

So, my husband still has a job, but not really steady work. And when he does work, people don't spend as much as they did, so he doesn't make as much money.

So, when he has a bad day, he makes about fifty dollars. When he has a good day, he makes about three hundred dollars. There are now a lot more bad days than good days. And then there are a lot of days that he just doesn't work at all.

The company has decided to change things around so that instead of working in groups of three, people will work in pairs. To make up for the change, my husband is supposed to get a slightly higher percentage commission. After doing some math, they have decided that the new plan will raise the current average pay of one hundred and seventy nine dollars per day to one hundred and ninety dollars per day.

This still doesn't get them anywhere near the previous three hundred dollars per day that he got used to getting paid on a regular basis.

And, everyone will usually have to work an extra hour per day and do a lot more work in general. Not really worth an extra eleven dollars a day, even if the plan works.

Okay, so they now have three people working together, and they don't have enough assignments for everyone they have already hired to work on a regular basis. Now they are going to change everything around so that people work in pairs. So either they will have to fire half of the sales staff, or they will have to hire more people who do my husband's job.

Now, if they fired half of the sales staff, and they manage to fire the half that doesn't make much money anyway, this might work out okay. If they just go out and hire more people, that will mean that my husband will only work about half the time that he has been, and he isn't working that often now anyway.

I have never heard of this company actually firing anybody. They just give people bad shifts and wait for them to quit. Some of them just don't quit, though I don't understand why.

Those are the salespeople my husband will probably get stuck with.

None of it really makes any sense. But they just refuse to deal with things the way they really are. They don't want to get rid of salespeople who aren't selling much and they don't want to cut back on the schedule so that they only work at sites where people actually want to buy stuff. They want to mostly keep doing things the way they have always been done. They want to try to bully people into buying stuff, even though the people just don't have money to spend on stuff.
Now, if they really want to improve things, they should maybe get rid of some of the people who schedule the accounts. They obviously don't care if the account makes any money or not. That isn't their problem. They don't get paid by how much money an account makes, just how many accounts they can schedule and how many customers they can lure in, even if the customers don't spend any money. So they should get rid of these people, or at least change the way that they get paid, so that they don't waste everybody's time working a site where there is no money.
So, they should get rid of some of those people, and get rid of some of the salespeople (those who aren't making much money anyway), and then see how many people are needed to work with them that do generate some business. Instead they are either going to hire or fire people based on this silly idea of having all the workers pair off.

Friday, February 19, 2010

I have been lazy

I guess that is nothing new. But I can't seem to get much done, and I get even less done when my husband is around, which is pretty much all of the time now.

The people who run the company my husband works for are about to do something that most of us think is pretty stupid. I won't get into it much here, because it deserves its own post, but let's just say that they are going to change things in such a way that either they will have to have to fire half of the sales people or hire a bunch of other people so that everybody can work in pairs instead of how they work now. If they fire half of the salespeople (the half that never make any money anyway) that would be good for my husband. But they rarely fire anyone, they just make things annoying so that people will want to quit. So that probably means that they will hire a bunch of extra people, and as it is they don't have enough work for the employees that they already have.

So this is bad.

I will have jury duty next month, and I have to schedule a few things so that they don't interfere if I get picked to be on a jury. Not that I expect to get picked, cause I never have been picked before, but I think that I should try to be ready just in case. I should set deadlines for myself, so that I have a lot of stuff done by the middle of next month. It would be nice if I didn't have anything major to do in April. I keep talking about all that I need to do, but I never get started with it. Something always comes up.

In the few moments that I did feel like I could get something done, I started painting that scrap lumber I bought recently. I have a few pieces left to do, but I'll probably finish with that today. Other than that I managed to finish the pilot's Christmas gift attempt number three, which looks nothing like the other two, but he made a suggestion for something he would like and that gave me an idea for something else. So hopefully I will show it to him on Saturday and see if it meets with his approval.

And while I was briefly doing useful stuff, I thought that I would go through a couple of boxes of stuff, thinking that I would take three or four things out of the box and want to get rid of the rest of it. And it turned out to be the other way around, with my getting rid of three or four things and then putting the box back where it was.

There is this theory that if you put something in a box and don't use it for a year that you don't need or want it and that you should get rid of it. Except that I can't seem to get that to work for me. For one thing, seasonal stuff goes in boxes that don't get opened except for once a year, and if you are busy during that season the boxes don't get opened that year at all. But that doesn't mean that the stuff in the box is unwanted, just that you didn't feel up to the whole seasonal decorating thing that year. The decorations will still be good for next year. I can't see any reason for getting rid of the decorations, unless maybe a person has suffered a crippling injury and will never be able to put up the decorations in the future, or maybe if the person becomes Mr. Scrooge and doesn't like holidays anymore. So I have just stacks and stacks of those boxes, and I have no intention of getting rid of them.

Same with the craft stuff. Just cause I didn't do ceramics this year is no reason to get rid of the stuff. Soon I'll be old and I'll join the senior center and do ceramics there.

Okay, the senior center is still years away. Just not as many years away as before. Anyway, the craft stuff stays.

It is the other boxes of odd things that bother me. I would think that stuff should be gotten rid of if I haven't used it in a year. Except that it turns out the main reason I didn't use it all year is that I forgot where I put it. Now that I've found it, getting rid of it doesn't seem like such a good idea.

Like I found one of those cookie sheets that I misplaced. Not that it was in this box, but still, I found a cookie sheet. Maybe I will get back to the whole cookie making thing soon.

Anyway, so I went through this box of stuff, thinking that I was going to get rid of most of a box of stuff, and I just ended up with a slightly lighter box of stuff. And then I also went through a box of paperback books, thinking that I would want to get rid of most of them since I don't read much anymore, but of course the box contained those few books that I would actually want to re-read if my eyes felt better. In fact, I've pulled out a few to re-read anyway. So I still have most of a box of books, though I did find that I had two copies of a certain book, and I have decided that I probably won't re-read the Joy Adamson stuff, and I don't think I will be re-reading this Blake 7 book. Watching Blake 7 is one thing, but taking the time to read it is something else entirely. And how many years has it been since I've given any thought to Blake 7 anyway?

Saturday, I will try to find good homes for these six paperbacks, otherwise they can go in another box that will eventually end up going to Half-Price Books. The rest of the books went back in the box.

But it isn't really the stuff in boxes that bothers me, it is all this other stuff. I have boxes of stuff, and I have books and art on the shelves, and then there is all this other stuff. If it doesn't go on the shelves and it isn't a book and it doesn't go in a seasonal box and it doesn't go in a craft box, where is it supposed to go?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

I was just about to head out the door

And then I noticed that the bathroom light was on. It hadn't been on a minute ago. We were expecting the power to be out for the full eight hours.

Okay, it didn't actually say that the power would be out for eight full hours. It said that the power would be out for up to eight hours. But I still thought that it would be close to eight hours. And the power outage was supposed to start at 7:30, which did not happen, so I started to think that maybe they were wrong and it had been postponed yet again. But no, the power went out, though it was closer to 8:00 than it was to 7:30.

Still, I expected eight hours, so eight hours started at 8:00 would end at 4:00, or close to that. Having the thing over at just after 12:00 was a pleasant surprise.

Having done what I was told for a change, I now had to go around the house and turn on the heater and plug in the computer stuff and plug in the TV stuff. And then there was a bit of a wait while the computer did its thing, and I had to fiddle with four remotes to get the TV and the VCR and the two boxes to all talk to each other again.

All done now, four hours ahead of schedule.

So, I am glad that I did not head out the door a minute sooner, as I was about to waste a dollar and five hours or so at the dollar theater, on a crowded half-price Tuesday, watching movies that I don't really care about, since the two movies I want to see will not be there until Friday.

Okay, so what am I doing now? Nothing. I had planned on this being a totally wasted day, and I guess that it will still mostly be a wasted day. Just that I won't be wasting it at the crowded half-price Tuesday dollar theater watching movies I don't really care that much for. I can stay home and save my dollar and save my gas and just maybe read a book and do a little bit of knitting (when I am not already watching TV or doing something on the computer).

Later, I will probably go to the grocery store and buy milk and eggs and tomatoes and whatever else I've been trying not to buy for the past two weeks cause I knew at some point they were going to turn off the power for a bit and everything in the fridge was going to spoil.

Okay, I think that some of this stuff still needs to be thrown out. But I think that some of it just needed to be thrown out anyway. But the freezer full of stuff that I was afraid of losing looks just fine.

I think that I will go rent The Transformers or some other DVD that my husband cares nothing about seeing.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The snow is melting.

I think the official snowfall for the area was 12.5 inches, with the previous record for the area being 12.1 inches in 1964. I don't think that there was actually that much snow in my yard, but there was a lot.

The snow in my yard is already starting to melt, while most of my neighbors still have a solid blanket of white outside. We think that is has something to do with our having green plants (weeds), while most everyone else has dormant grass. We have seen a few other places with green grass next to otherwise solid white areas. And there is a snowman at the corner, and another one on the next street over. The snowmen are a bit odd looking. Obviously none of us know how to make one.

My husband seems quite obsessed with the fallen tree branch in our front yard. Someone helped him mostly pull it out of the street when we first found it. That was not to his liking, and he has twice moved it a bit more by himself. He keeps wanting to go to the office to get someone to cut it up or haul it away. I wanted to stay in, and I think that they were busy doing other things anyway. Yesterday he wanted to go to the office again. Yesterday was Saturday, and there's no one in the office on Saturday. It can wait til Monday. In fact, now that it is out of the street, it can wait indefinitely. What is the big deal about a tree branch? Other people around here have to deal with having no power, or leaking roofs, or broken windows, or damage to their cars. Leave the branch alone. Either the maintenance people will come and deal with it next week, or it can just stay there for a while. It isn't even touching the house. It isn't a problem.

Well, he worked on Tuesday as scheduled, had Wednesday off because as usual there isn't enough work to go around, had Thursday's job cancelled because of the snow, had Friday's job cancelled because of the snow, ended up working at a different place on Friday cause someone else got stuck in the snow, got to come home early on Friday cause even though that particular job wasn't cancelled on Friday most of the customers decided to cancel anyway, and then he didn't go to work on Saturday cause even though the roads were now mostly okay to drive on the job had already been cancelled. This week should be almost back to normal, and he is scheduled to work four days.

I am still wondering if they will postpone that scheduled power outage yet again. I will do a lot of cooking on Monday, just in case it is still on. I have heard that most of the stuff in the freezer will be okay, but I'll have to throw out a lot of stuff from the fridge. Of course, it is about time to clean out the fridge anyway.

I have received a jury summons. Contrary to popular belief, I do not have the answer to getting out of jury duty. Not that I'm going to try this time, I think that it is one of those that pays forty dollars a day, and I might as well get it over with next month. I'm a little concerned with the instructions I received. It says something about no electronic devices. That doesn't mean cell phones, does it? Surely they don't expect us to find our way to the courthouse and such without our cell phones.

Saturday we went out to lunch at Cheddars. After all the giggling we did when we were on the road and heard about people waiting hours to get into the place cause it was new, we actually like the one here, though it does not take hours to get in. Having been mostly stuck in the house for days, we decided just to go where we wanted to go instead of looking for coupons and such. We will call it an early Valentine's Day dinner.

I bought some more scrap lumber. So now I have quite a stack of it, though it looks like it will be a while before I can paint it and otherwise do anything with it.

Sunday we went out again. My whole front yard is now melted except for a couple of snowballs. Other people still have a lot of snow or not. And there are a lot of places that only have snow where someone tried to make a snowman or an igloo or something. Big mounds of snow here and there on an otherwise melted yard or field.

After having the nice lunch on Saturday, Sunday evening we just went to Whataburger for some buy one buy one free deal available only to people who had nothing better to do than go to Whataburger for dinner on Valentine's Day. After that we went to the grocery store, and then mostly couldn't remember what we were going to buy since we were trying not to buy anything that needed to be put in the fridge. Then we got a couple of DVDs from Redbox and went home.

Okay, not very exciting. It was just good to get out for a bit.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Still snowed in

Oh, I guess it wouldn't be that bad if I really needed to get out, but I don't need to. It mostly looks like snow, not ice, though I am really not used to seeing the snow this deep.

A big branch fell off of our tree and into the street. It wasn't quite as big as the one that fell earlier, and my husband and someone who came to check on a neighbor pulled the branch out of the street. Also, the tree in the picture from the previous post was damaged, though not as bad as ours.

And it isn't like I really care about this tree anyway. I just don't want parts of it to fall on the house or the car.

It is just now getting above freezing, so snow is falling in big clumps from the trees and the roof. It will probably be very bad tomorrow when the snow melts and then freezes on the streets. But I guess the snow will still be here for a while.

Doesn't matter much. I have no place that I need to go.

After all the talk about planned power outages, my mother's electricity went off. It was not planned. And she doesn't have gas, so she'll have to wait to have a bath or cook anything. She hasn't called yet to say if it is back on. But yesterday she said that she was okay and didn't need anything.

We will just sit around the house and watch movies and make soup.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

It is snowing here

And it never snows here. Or at least, it rarely snows here, and most of the time when it does it isn't enough to stick. But the snow is here, several inches of it, and it will stick for a while.
Here's a tree in my neighbor's yard.
It's a good thing that they postponed that whole power outage thing, or it would have been tomorrow. It has been planned again, for the third time, for next week. I wonder if they will have to postpone it again?
My husband's work called and cancelled. This is the first time that he has worked his regular job in weeks, and so of course this happened on the second day. Tomorrow and the next day are probably cancelled too, but that won't officially happen until tomorrow and the next day are here.
We should be doing something useful, but we are mostly either on the computer or watching television in between short periods of going to look out at the snow. We're not much for actually getting out in the snow. That lost most of it's appeal after I turned twelve.
I think that the driving looks bad, but it is just mostly the way it looks. Tomorrow there will probably be more in the way of solid ice that is really bad to drive on.
A couple of weeks ago, I was all ready to get out the rakes and shovels and other garden tools and get to it. Now I can't even see where the garden beds are. There's that much snow on the ground.
Still, I expect that it will all be gone by Monday.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

What smells like beer?

Before I get too much into the boring details, let me say that I mostly had a good weekend.

And if you were planning to eat your spaghetti dinner while watching the latest episode of Being Human, alter your plans a little bit.

A couple of weeks ago I decided to make some cookies. I don't think that I have made any cookies from scratch since I have lived here, but I thought that it might be a good idea after I found this recipe online, and I remembered that I would have three things coming up that would require me to bring food.

So I took the new mixer out of the box and I went and spent five bucks on a new cookie sheet (cause it had been so long since I made any cookies I couldn't find the old ones) and I got together the ingredients that I already had and went out and bought what was missing. The new cookie recipe was not that great, but now that I had this new cookie sheet and all the ingredients for making cookies, I decided to try making an old recipe except to substitute whole wheat flour. That wasn't great either, so I went and bought some regular flour and tried again.

The cookies weren't bad, just not like I remembered. They are sort of tall and fluffy. I don't know what I did wrong. Also, I don't taste the baking soda. Chocolate chip cookies have baking soda, and I am quite sure that I put in the baking soda, but I can't taste it. Does baking soda get old or go flat or something?

Again, the cookies aren't bad, and in fact I am starting to like them, though I sort of doubt that anyone else will. I just can't figure out why they are different. Anyway, I took some of the whole wheat ones to the annual meeting, cause I had to take something, and most of them did not get eaten, which is okay cause that left more for me. I took the regular flour ones to the party, and again not many were eaten, so again I have leftover cookies for me, which I am not complaining about. But I think that I will give up on making the cookies for anyone other than me, and I will figure out something else to take to the last thing, and in fact there is no reason that I have to take anything to that at all if I don't want to. But I'm thinking that I will just purchase some candy instead.

All day Friday and Saturday, I had been very careful to read any emails from the group, in case it had something to do with the party that I would need to know about. Not that there was much, just people asking other people if they were going, and what are you bringing, and once in a while what are you wearing, etc.... And there was this new guy that hasn't been to a regular meeting yet, though he's already officially a member of a club, just that most of us hadn't met him yet and didn't know who he was. And he was asking about the party, and no one else answered him, and I didn't quite know what to tell him. But I thought that somebody had to say something. It wasn't an official club function, just that someone had invited pretty much everyone in the club. If he had joined a few weeks earlier, he would have officially been invited already. I didn't think that it would be a problem if he came, but I really couldn't invite someone I didn't know, and I thought that he should talk to the couple giving the party, though by that time it was too late. He already knew where the party was, so I told him the time and a little more info, hoping that someone else would chime in and say whether he was or was not officially invited, but again no one else said anything.

So after all this wondering what I should take to the party and what I should wear to the party, I have bought a black blouse and this sort of black thing that is not really a shawl and yet another black dress, and then I decided that it was too cold to wear any of that and just gave up and decided to wear what I wore last year. Except that I couldn't find what I wore last year. So I ended up wearing some really dark blue stuff and black boots and this black thing that used to be part of a Masonic costume.

I was getting ready to leave early, cause I hate driving in the dark, when I realized that I forgot to charge my phone. So I wait a little while to put some life into the phone, and then I head out, and as I am just nearly there I realize that with moving things from one bag to another and getting my keys sorted out and everything that I have somehow not transferred my wallet and do not have my driver's license or any money or a debit card or anything. Not that I expect to need any money or anything, but it would be very upsetting if something happened and I needed to show my driver's license. I didn't expect that would happen, and I was nearly there anyway, so I kept going, and nothing bad happened. But it was still very annoying.

So I got there at about the same time as a couple of friends, and we were all about twenty minutes later than we had intended, but we were still the first there from our group, and the parking lot was mostly empty. And I have been to this place several times before, but I am always surprised by the layout when I get there. There is this sign that says something like "Lake Ahead", and literally, the lake is right there after the sign. Not that the parking lot I'm looking for is ahead, but the lake is ahead. By the time I read this sign I have already missed where I meant to go, and I have to turn around and go back a little bit.

So we go in and see all empty tables, as everyone who is already there is in the back helping our hostess. So we are relieved that we are not late.

More people come in and bring food, and I am surprised how many of them are not wearing black. A few more of my friends show up, and some of us sit down and eat. And then this guy comes in by himself, and I think that's probably our new guy, and then I restrain myself from blurting out something like "Are you the new guy?" and he looks around a bit and goes to the back of the room. So maybe he isn't our new guy. But a bit after that someone brings him over and says something like these are some of the people in your group. And then there is a discussion between the four guys about steampunk stuff, and then the new guy and the other guy wander off to meet other people.

I get up to get some more food, and I'm wondering what smells like beer?

Probably beer.

I don't drink alcohol, but I do like several things that are made with alcohol, mainly beer bread and beer chili and beer cheese soup. But there was none of that, just beer.

So there was a lot of talking to people I don't really know and whose names I can't even remember. And I talked to the new guy some more. And I talked to M.

This is not M my friend the Klingon, this is the other one, and I see him once in a while, and I have finally decided that it isn't weird and running into him a couple times a year is not a problem. So that's what I thought, so I kept talking to him. I was wrong.

I had a few items of clothing that I decided I needed to part with, though I would rather give them to someone I knew would appreciate them and make costumes from them, so I brought them to the party. I gave a t-shirt to my host, who thought it was such a cool picture that it didn't bother him that it was started to tear. And I looked around the room for women who might fit into the dresses, and I asked a few if they were interested, and they said no. And then I noticed a certain person I did not want to have any of my things, so I did not make an announcement like I had planned. But then another friend arrived, and she said that she wanted the whole bag, so that worked out. I'm glad I thought of it instead of just dumping the stuff at Goodwill with the rest of the clothes I got rid of.

I talked to the new guy some more, and it is always nice when someone attractive is paying attention to you. He made suggestions, and though he said upfront that it would not be a date, I'm afraid that he didn't really mean that so I declined. It seems like the guys that I have known for a while who suggest something that is "not a date" really mean that and totally get that it is not a date and is not going to lead to anything resembling a date, but guys that I have just met are thinking that the "not a date" will either somehow become a date or at least end with me agreeing to a date later. So no more "not a date" type things with anybody I don't already know. I will be happy enough to talk to you when we just happen to be at the same place at the same time, which is probably going to happen a couple of times later in the month anyway.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, M has reached a whole other level of stupid. And it is hard to believe that anyone is really that stupid, so he must just enjoy making other people uncomfortable. I am thinking that if I have anymore trouble from him, I will start a new blog totally devoted to answering the question, is M really that stupid?

The party ended a bit after that, and I waited for certain people to get their things together so that I could walk out with them and not be around either M or the new guy, even though the new guy was being totally nice.

I managed to drive home without anybody finding out that I didn't have my license in my purse.

Sunday we ate at Taco Bell, after my husband saw a commercial for something he wanted but they hadn't had for a while. And then there was the Superbowl, which he watched, and I watched commercials in between Googling stuff.

Yesterday we went to various thrift stores, but I didn't buy much, and it got cold and rained and we came home earlier than we might have and watched Caprica and Being Human.

And then we got some bad news about this job he was applying for. He had read somewhere what the pay was, but then he couldn't find where he had read that, so he sent another email. And we can only hope that they misunderstood the question. Surely no one gets paid that little. We were only thinking about the job because he read that it was a lot of money, and we wanted some clarification on if that was the most you could make or if that was an average or what. And on top of that you had to provide your own transportation to the interview, which was out of the state and would require either plane tickets and cab fare, or would require driving a lot and get a couple of motel rooms. And then you had to provide some of your equipment and buy somewhat of a uniform, plus nicer clothing was sometimes required.

Anyway, that is the end of that. We would have serious problems with paying to get to the interview even if we thought it would mean a good paying job. There is no reason to even waste the time if it is really such a low paying job. It was about half or less of what we have read about similar jobs, and even those do not seem to pay enough. So that was disappointing, but at least that particular discussion is over.

Monday, February 08, 2010

The video contest

I sort of want to label this a Monday Moron post, except that I'm not really sure who is the moron in the story, unless maybe it is me, and I was the moron last time.

Anyway, several months ago (I think it was September, though it might even have been August), I found out about a certain contest. The idea was to video a bit about what you could do with a certain amount of money, and then you post your video on YouTube and this other site, and then people would leave comments about the videos and vote on the videos, though the contest was supposed to be decided not by the public votes but by a panel of judges.

I had never made a video before, but I had a few ideas, and I noticed that there were not very many entries. There wasn't a big money prize either, but I thought that I might as well give it a try. First place was five hundred dollars, second place was three hundred dollars, and third place was a hundred dollars. With less than a dozen entries, the odds were good.

Now if I could just find a video recorder.

First, I thought that I would borrow my brother's. Now, he didn't have a problem loaning me the camera, he just said that it was old now and didn't have an easy way to convert to digital, which is what I would need to get the video on YouTube, so I decided to look elsewhere.

Dmarks pointed out that I probably already had a video recorder on my husband's digital camera. I didn't think so, but it turns out that Dmarks was right. Making videos with the camera was not recommended and did not produce videos of high quality, but it would probably be good enough for making short videos for YouTube.

My husband and I made the first one together and uploaded it on his account, cause I forgot the password for my account, and then I thought of a few more videos that I could make on my own. We put up two more videos on my account, though these were not as good as the first. Then we waited to see if we won anything.

The deadline for the contest ending was pushed back several weeks, cause there just weren't many videos. This upset me a little bit, because at the time the public vote had our first video in third place, and if the panel of judges agreed with the public we would have won a hundred dollars. At the time, I really wanted that hundred dollars. I planned to buy Christmas presents with it. If the entry deadline was postponed, there might be a new video that was better than mine.

But, there was nothing that I could do about that. I re-edited the two videos that I made myself and added a third one. The entry limit was five, but I couldn't think of another one. And I emailed the people having the contest, explaining that my husband and I had worked on the first one together, so that I really had four entries, though probably we could have gotten away with making five videos each and entering ten videos. I asked for some clarification on that and some of the other rules, but I received no reply. We both got a few automated responses for stuff like the entry deadline being pushed back.

There were more videos posted, but there still weren't a lot. Our first video stayed in third place. The second deadline passed, and we waited to hear if we won anything. This was in October.

And for about a week, nothing happened. And then my husband got an email saying that we had won third place. I sent an email thanking them and sent our address and phone number and such, and waited for our prize money to show up in the mail.

Another week went by, and nothing happened.

I then received an email thanking me for the three videos that did not win. Actually, I got three emails, one for each video, though all the emails were the same. I was told that I would receive a small prize for participating. I wondered if I would receive one prize or one for each video. I emailed back, again with our address and phone number, again explained how my husband and I had worked on the first video together and I had done the three others by myself, and I didn't want anyone to think that we had in some way cheated, cause the limit was five videos, and this only gave me a total of four videos. And I asked if I would still get the consolation prize since I had already won third place, or would my husband get third place and I would get one consolation prize, or would my husband get third place and I would get one consolation prize for each of the other three videos?

And I waited, and I didn't hear anything for another week. Finally, my husband received an email saying that he would receive the third place prize after he filled out some forms, and there was a fax number where to send the forms. And I received an email that said I would receive a consolation prize for each of the three videos that did not win, again after I filled out some forms and faxed them. One of the forms needed my our social security numbers, which I really didn't want to send if it wasn't necessary (which they said that it was needed for tax purposes), and if it was necessary did it have to be sent by fax? Both forms had the wrong amount, and I asked that they be changed, and then I saw that I could change the amount myself and did so, and I emailed about the change and that I would rather not send a fax, and I filled out the forms and waited for an email confirming that I could send the forms by regular mail.

I waited about a week, and nothing happened.

Okay, fax it is. I think that there is a fax on this printer, but I couldn't figure out how to work it. But, we had a new printer (sort of a spare, which we had put back in the box after printing one or two things with it), and that seemed easier to use, and I sent the fax.

And I waited about a week, and nothing happened. It is now November.

I was about to send yet another email to complain, when it occurred to me that the mistake might have been mine. So I again took the new printer out of the box and tried to send the fax. This time I see that it doesn't work, that the line is busy. I figure that they are just busy, that it is a Monday morning, and they probably just get a lot of faxes on Monday morning. I try again later in the day, but I get the same message. And I try again several times later in the week, but the same thing happens regardless of the day of the week or the time of day. Line busy, line busy, line busy.

I decide that the problem is on my end and give up trying to fax with that machine. I will have to pay someone to fax this thing, which I don't want to do. We aren't talking about a lot of prize money, and I can't even think of who does that sort of thing, other than hotels and maybe Kinko's and the places that rent mailboxes and such. Those places were not near my house, they were near school, and while I used to make that drive everyday when I was in school, I didn't want to waste an hour doing that when I had no other reason to drive there.

My husband had a few out of town trips, so I thought maybe I would use the motel fax. Except that most of the trips were to the middle of nowhere and he stayed at cheap mom and pop motels where mom usually doesn't speak much English, and I don't think that they had fax machines for us to use. But there was one trip in a city at a nicer motel, and I just assumed that I would send the fax from there, but I was told that they did not have a business center.

It is now December. I figure that I will find something while I am out Christmas shopping. I get busy with other things. I forget about the whole fax thing.

After New Year's I was in the grocery store getting some lottery tickets, and I notice a sign that says the fax machine is being repaired. I didn't know that they still had a fax machine. They used to offer fax service, and bill paying services, and copying services, but the copier has been gone for a long time, and they had stopped doing a lot of the bill paying services, so I had thought that that whole service thing had been done away with because most of us could do the same thing ourselves on our home computers. Not so. The copy machine was gone because it was just too big and they needed the space for something else. The bill paying stuff was mostly canceled, not by the store, but by the companies they were forwarding payments to. The fax machine was still there, just it wasn't used much.

I went back the next week after the machine had been repaired and paid to have the fax sent. And I got the little printout that says the fax was successfully sent, instead of "line busy" like I kept getting when I tried to send it myself.

I went home and sent an email explaining about the delay but that I had sent the fax.

While I was looking for the email address, I found an unopened email confirming that I could send the forms by regular mail and confirming the mailing address and such. I wanted to send the forms regular mail from the beginning, I just didn't want to do that without them confirming a mailing address, and here it was. The email just didn't show up on the day that it was sent. By the time I got it, I had a bunch of other emails that I hadn't deleted, so I couldn't see the email a few days later, cause the way the email is listed it appears in the order that it was sent instead of in the order that it was received.


Okay, but that doesn't matter, cause I've already spent money to have someone send the forms by fax.

And I wait a week, and nothing happens. And because I have to think that this is mostly my fault and that they are not trying to cheat me, I wait another week. I still don't have my money. But I now have a confirmed mailing address, so I will send the forms yet again, this time by snail mail, which is what I wanted to do in the first place.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

The job hunt

Okay, well not so much my job hunt, it is more about my husband's job hunt. In order to get unemployment, you have to be looking for a job and so forth. And you can't turn down any offer of a job, cause that would mean that you aren't seriously looking, and then you would lose your benefits.

So don't apply for a job at McDonald's if you don't actually want to work there.

Anyway, at first he was concerned about this, cause there are only so many jobs out there in his field, and most of them are about up there with working at McDonald's as far as the pay goes. So he really didn't want to apply for them, cause if they offered him a job he wouldn't take it, but then if he turned down a job he'd lose his unemployment. He has a job, just the job doesn't have enough work for him right now. If he takes another job, they won't have any work for him. If he doesn't apply for other jobs, he can't get unemployment during the weeks that they don't have work for him.

I thought the solution to this problem was pretty simple. Only apply for jobs that you know you won't get. There is nothing in the rules about it being a practical job search, or even a job search in your same field, just that you apply for several jobs each week that you get unemployment benefits.

As for jobs in his field that he might actually get, he should only apply for those that are as good or better than the job he already has. There aren't many of those out there, but there are some. He should only apply for those that he would actually want to accept if offered.

So he hasn't applied for many jobs in his field, but he has applied for some. When there's been a really slow period he'll apply for a job that looks just as good as the one he has now. But none of those have offered him a job. In fact, so far no one has even sounded interested in him at all.

So this week, he didn't quite get a job offer, but they did at least respond by email, saying that they might have an opening, and that they would be interviewing in a couple of weeks.

Still, this is not a job offer. In fact, at this point they haven't even scheduled an interview. They're just telling him when the interview would be if they did interview him, so that way he can clear some time in his schedule.

So now there is the big decision to be made, whether or not to go forward with the application process. I have mixed feelings about it. I suppose that if he applies for the job I hope that he gets it and that he actually does make a lot of money and so forth. And I hope that it isn't a terrible job and that he enjoys it. I hope that all works out.

But in addition to my thoughts about him actually taking the job and what that would mean, I am just worried about continuing with the application process. I'm a bit worried if he tries to get the job and he either doesn't get it or he gets it and it doesn't work out. I'm a bit worried what will happen at his current job when they find out he's seriously trying to get another job and not just doing the minimum job search required to get unemployment benefits. And then I'm really worried what will happen if he gets the new job and then it doesn't work out. Would he be able to get his current job back, and would they have even less work for him then?

Maybe they'll cut his hours as soon as they find out he's trying to get this other job. And of course they will have to be told, cause he won't be able to go on this interview without asking for a day off, which usually means that he won't work for the whole week.

On my end, I haven't done much to get my own job. I keep waiting for things to be normal, whatever "normal" means anymore. But I think dealing with my own situation would be easier after his job situation is settled.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Just some stuff that might get annoying

Well, the no electricity thing has been postponed, as they say that the new date will be drier and warmer. It does look like it might be drier, which I am sure is very important when dealing with electricity, but I do not think that it is going to be warmer. Looking at the predictions, it might be just a little bit colder during the day, but at night it will be much colder, and instead of we might or might not have a freeze the night before we will now have five or ten degrees below that the night before and possibly the night after.

So this will not be good for those of us who do not have a permit and such to heat the house with gas (and I am one of those people who does not have this ability), and it will really be bad for us if for some reason they do not get the power back on at the scheduled time. The upside to the change is that there might be different movies at the dollar theater, and we now have four more days to eat what is in the freezer.

Tomorrow is the party, and I still haven't decided what to wear or what to bring.

No matter how many times that I go to the store, no matter what lists I write, there is always something that I forget to do or something that I forget to buy. Often the thing that I forget is something essential, like cooking spray or tissue paper. Yesterday I did manage to get the tissue paper, but now I've run out of cooking spray.

I still haven't finished the pilot's scarf.

I don't think that I have done anything particularly useful in weeks.

Sometimes I would just like to get rid of my stuff, get on a bus, and see where I end up.

Only I don't think that I want to take any long bus rides in February.

The first week of February is almost over. Three more to go.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

No electricity

Okay, so I live in this place that is old, and sometimes the power will go out for a bit, usually just a minute or two, just long enough to be annoying. And then you have to go around and reset the clocks and wait for the computer to reboot and fiddle with the TV and VCR and those converter boxes and all four of their remotes. But usually that is all that happens. And then there are other times that the power goes out, and it is long enough to make you stop what you are doing and figure out something else to do.

Not that this doesn't happen to other people who don't live in old places. My mother has had worse, sometimes having to go without power for days. That once got so bad that she checked into a motel for a day, cause she couldn't get to sleep without the air conditioner, and then in the morning she couldn't have a bath cause the hot water heater was electric.

I have gas, so if I had to do without electricity for a really long time I would still be able to take a bath. And I would still be able to cook, though not anything really good, cause without electricity I couldn't use the fridge. Unfortunately, they no longer allow us to heat our houses with gas, unless we have a special permit and such, which I do not have, so heating the house would be limited to whatever heat I could have in the kitchen area by leaving the stove on. And there would just be nothing I could do about cooling the place in the summer.

So even though I live in this old place with the electricity that will sometimes just flick on and off and be annoying, I haven't had it as bad as other people, and I haven't even been as unlucky with it as my mom.

When the electricity goes off for more than a few minutes, I don't quite know what to do with myself. All the things that I would normally do, when I have nothing better to do, require electricity. You can't watch TV without electricity. You can't use the computer without electricity. And for the most part, reading or knitting or most anything else I would do I wouldn't have enough light for if I didn't have electricity, so that stuff is out too.

Anyway, you normally don't know when this is going to happen, only during a storm you know that it might happen, but really, it could happen at any time. But I've been told that there is a planned power outage next week, and I've been told a date and a time, though not for certain how long, and that it would have to be moved to a different date and time if it rains much.

So I can't watch TV or use the computer. If I stay in the house I can't read or knit. And if I need anything from the fridge, I can't cook. And before then I can't buy groceries, at least not the kind that goes in the fridge, cause I might have to throw out all that stuff after the power outage if it goes too long.

And then I was thinking if I should move any of the food that I don't want to throw out into a cooler. But then I remembered that we got rid of the big ice chest after we bought the electric one, so that won't work either.

So I'm trying to think what to do ahead of time, but I will probably still forget and open the fridge and such. I'm afraid that the best thing to do would be to spend the day out shopping or something, which I am trying not to do anyway. I should go to the dollar theater, except that there doesn't seem to be that much that I would want to see there now. Maybe I'll go to a restaurant for a bit. Maybe I'll take something to read. Maybe I'll go to the library and read. Not that any of that is really bad, but trying to plan a whole day of it when I don't have money to burn is a bit of a chore.

I guess that I will figure it out.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

The annual meeting

Sunday was our annual meeting of something that is like a homeowner's association but really isn't. Anyway, it was the annual meeting where I live, which is proceeded by lunch and then followed by the quarterly business meeting. I try to make the annual meeting unless I am out of town, but the quarterly meetings I usually skip, except for this one, since I am already there anyway I might as well stay and hear what is going on.

We have a new accountant. And we are now without an auditor. We have a new manager and a new president of the board. And we had a constable hired for the occasion, to keep the peace, as last year things got ugly and there was nearly a fight. Like a real fight. Like several guys got up and stood between people who were yelling at each other to stop them from hitting each other.

For future reference, baking cookies the morning before the meeting is a bad idea.

The usual suspects said the usual stuff. Somebody got upset and ripped up the by-laws. Since we actually had enough people to vote on something, a vote was called. I had mixed feelings on the subject, so I didn't vote either way. Not that my vote would have changed anything. The vote was pretty one-sided.

I get the point of it, but to get enough people to sway the vote, you have to tell people the plan before the meeting, and I wasn't told.

Anyway, what I heard during the meeting was that someone was being evicted, not because of not paying her bills, but because she didn't have all of her i's dotted and her t's crossed. And I don't know the woman being evicted, and this is the first I had heard of it. The board refused to discuss it, under legal advice. I asked the girl who brought it up to tell me about it after the meeting, but she was upset and left before I got a chance to talk to her. I would really like to know what is going on, cause she isn't the only one who doesn't have all her i's dotted and her t's crossed, but that is probably the last I will hear about it.

Then there was the usual stuff about roofs being fixed and lights and such. And then someone went on a bit about safety. Not that safety isn't a topic that deserves more than three minutes, but just most of it was about how she didn't feel safe anymore and her children weren't safe anymore and so forth, and not much was said on what she wanted to do about it. And of course there isn't much to be done about it except a.) get everyone seriously involved in the neighborhood watch type thing, which might or might not happen and might or might not help anyway, or b.) spend money trying to do something, which definitely will not happen, as the reason we are all here is that we either don't have any money or that we have decided to spend our money on other things. I get it, something bad almost happened to the woman's children and she is scared, but a.) if she has money and it would make her feel better she should move somewhere else, and b.) it isn't like anyplace else is really safe now either.

Let's do some math. There are 24 hours in a day, and seven days a week, or 168 hours in a week. If you could divide that up between four guards at 42 two hours each with ten dollars an hour for the first forty hours and fifteen dollars an hour for the last two, that would be 1720 dollars a week, or 89440 a year, and that doesn't include anything but their time. There would be all kinds of extra expenses, like I don't know how much insurance costs and I don't know about things such as workman's comp and unemployment, and then we would probably have to buy them one of those little golf cart things to drive around and those need gas and maintenance, or we might just have them drive their own cars but those will also need gas and maintenance. And of course these guys will call in sick once in a while, or want to go on vacation once in a while, and otherwise need a few days off here and there to go to funerals and such like anybody else, and a temp would have to be hired once in a while to cover that, and that would be at least twenty an hour, probably a lot more. Anyway, I don't know how much it would actually cost to hire four guys to do the job, but just the nine thousand or so a year that I can figure out would add about twenty-five dollars a month to what we pay now, and I'm thinking that after all that other stuff is figured in it might be double that. People already bitch and moan if they have to pay an extra ten because of the electric bill going up, so I can't imagine everyone agreeing to an extra twenty-five to fifty dollars. And that's what it would cost for having one guard here all the time, which really wouldn't make things that much safer.

And then there is always someone who wants to make this a gated community, and that somehow that would solve the problem. Someone always brings this up, and I wonder if they have ever even looked at a map of the place. For one thing, the place just isn't set up so that we could have the whole place fenced in with one or two gates. If we wanted that, we would have to make new streets and knock over at least six houses and a bunch of trees and such. So I don't know how much that would cost, plus I don't think that the people who live in those houses would be very happy about the idea. And I'm not even sure it would be limited to six houses, it might be a dozen or more. And then I don't know how much all that would cost, and then of course if you are going to have these gates you need guards watching the gates, plus more guards inside the gates, and I've already figured out that it would cost at least twenty-five dollars a month for just the one guard (probably up to twice that much), and for the gated community thing to feel safe I think that I would need at least three guards at all times. And that is if we could have the fenced in area with just the two gates. The place wasn't designed for that. We would need a gate on every street. I think that would be about twelve gates. And we are too close to the main street for that. People would just have to stop and block traffic while we waited for the gates to open. There would probably accidents.

And of course fences only work if people don't climb over them, and people currently climb over the fences that we already have. So unless we hire even more guards to watch along these fences, it still wouldn't do much good.

Still, someone will bring up the idea again next year.

This year someone brought up how much a person may ask for improvements when they leave. This discussion left me totally baffled, as it was my understanding that you couldn't ask for very much, and that ten years after the improvement you couldn't ask for anything at all. But by that time everyone else just wanted to go home, and so her question was hurriedly answered, and I didn't get to ask for anyone to explain what was said, as someone else asked for the meeting to be adjourned and most everyone else agreed and I didn't want to make a fuss and suggest that we stay.

I think that a bunch of people might sue each other. But at least the constable didn't have to break up any fights.

Monday, February 01, 2010

February is here

Today is the beginning of the month that I like the least. It is cold and sometimes dark. The days are short and the nights are long and all of that. It is often cloudy. If there is going to be some awful weather, a freeze that keeps us indoors for days, it is most likely to happen either at the end of January or in February.

I suppose that everything has its good points and its bad points, and while I can think of plenty of bad points, I have trouble coming up with anything good about February. There is Valentine's Day, but as don't have a new boyfriend, and I am no longer a child who likes cutting out paper and decorating boxes and such, the holiday is not any big deal to me. And there used to be someone's birthday in February, but that person isn't here anymore.

In the past few years, the only thing that I might have to look forward to in February is that we might go far away on business. We would cross our fingers for southern California, but ended up in Phoenix or Tuscon (and Tuscon would not be a bad place to be in winter, except for that damned rock show). I think that our one day in Las Vegas was in February, and the only time I remember being in Florida was in a February. In our own State we probably spent some time in Corpus Christi and South Padre Island.

Of course not all of the business travel in February has been pleasant, just when we went someplace south. There was also a snow covered trip to Kansas, and we found out that some places in northern Arizona are rather dangerous in winter.

Business has not been good lately, and I expect no grand travel, and if there is travel it would probably be north.

This year will be just a little bit different, as a party has been added, and if it is a success it will become an annual event. And there is the chocolate contest at the club, but I rarely participate in that, and this year's attempt at cookie making wasn't so good, so I probably won't be attempting anything grand this year either.
I think that the best thing about February is when it is over. It is rather like Wednesday being hump day, like once you get past it you believe that everything will probably get better.