Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Busy day

Well, I finally know when the exterminator is coming. He's coming tomorrow. And of course, I am not ready. And of course, now that I know when he is coming and should ask my husband for help moving things away from the walls and such, he is going out of town.

And while I am not ready with the cleaning and such, my husband has made no attempt at cleaning and making things neat at all. So this room hasn't had anything done to it at all. There's just stuff piled on top of more stuff. So I guess if the exterminator comes in the house he'll just have to spray the stuff instead of spraying around the stuff.

I can't do anything about this room, because I have other rooms to straighten, and there is major work to be done in the kitchen. I had given up on the exterminator coming, or thought maybe he had already sprayed outside the house and that would be the end of it. So Sunday I had started a little project, which involved pulling out everything from under the sink. And so today I must finish up with that project (or, finish up enough of it so that I'm at a good place to stop for a bit) and then put everything back where it was. And this of course is in addition to having to wash a rather large stack of dishes and do laundry and the usual stuff. So I will have a very busy day today.

And I'm still just not sure that the exterminator is coming in the house. They never have in the past ten years that I've lived here and in the apartment (or else they came on a day that I was out of town and I just didn't know about it). So the plan for Wednesday is to go outside every ten minutes or so to look for him, and if he is not going inside houses that I should have to stop him and ask him to come in for a moment.

And of course all of this is going to happen when my husband is out of town, and there will be no one here except for me, and I'll be the only one asking questions. And so probably I will forget what to ask when the guy gets here. Hopefully he will just see the problem and tell me what to do about it.

So I am a nervous wreck, but at least it is going to be over soon and I will know one way or another what is going to happen.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Adventures in Eyewear

Okay, so I should get my eyes checked and my teeth checked and all of that at least once a year. About the only medical thing that I manage to get done once a year is the check-up at Planned Parenthood, or else they would not give me my birth-control pills, and I am not a happy camper without my hormones.

And it isn't that I don't know better. I had annual eye exams for years, which usually resulted in getting new glasses. So I've gone from a ten-year-old whose eyes could use a little help, to a forty-something blind bat. And I've gone through a lot of glasses, though the last few years I don't have as many pair as you would think, as I have often skipped that annual exam.

My husband did not grow up having to wear glasses, and very rarely had an eye exam. It just isn't on his list of things to do. And his list of things to do is mostly stuff like going to Disneyland and buying toys. It doesn't occur to him that things like going to the eye doctor and the dentist should come first.

So, most of the time that I have been married, the eye exams and such have not been every year, or even every other year, unless I have had a job to pay for them myself. As now, most of the time I have either not had a job at all, or it has been some silly part-time thing that doesn't pay much (or doesn't pay on a regular basis), and sometimes I have been his assistant (which may or may not be a paying job). So over the last twenty years or so, there should have been twenty eye exams and dental check-ups, but I'm guessing there have only been maybe six each, and I've paid for half of them myself when I had my own regular job.

So when I don't have my own regular job, the exams come either when a). one of us is having a serious problem, or b). we have just had a serious fight during which I bring up the fact that I can't see very well due to the fact that I'm wearing glasses that are four years old while he's bugging me about going to Disneyland.

Okay, this time it wasn't Disneyland, but you get the idea. And the serious fight was two weeks ago.

Anyway, he isn't getting any younger himself, and he needs to have an eye exam too, which he probably hasn't had in like twenty-five years.

So he had off this week and we made appointments for later to see a dentist, and while we were at Walmart asking about an eye exam they had time to squeeze both of us in Monday. So we got the eye exams over with and both got prescriptions for bifocals.

I've never worn bifocals before, and I'm worried that I won't like them and that they will distract me too much while I'm driving.

Okay, so I usually get the one pair if the new pair isn't that different from the old pair. Or, if the new pair is very different and/or there is a sale, I might get two new pair so that I'll have a spare. Having a spare (or an old pair that isn't that different) is really important if you are as blind as I am. Usually, the spare is nowhere to be found when I need them, but still, I have to have them.

So, I'm giving in and getting a prescription for bifocals, but I'm not really sure that I actually want to wear the bifocals. So this gets me to thinking that I might want to have separate glasses for distance and for reading. Or I might want one pair for distance and one pair of bifocals. Or I might want three pairs, one for distance, one for reading, and one of bifocals.

Then there is the really silly thought of getting one pair for distance, one pair for reading, a pair of bifocals and a spare of the bifocals.

I'm looking on the Internet for sales. There were some good ones that we just missed. Whatever. There will be other sales.

Anyway, we are at the Walmart and we get our prescriptions, and my husband's thought is to get this over with as soon as possible. That is not my plan. Even when you have regular eye exams and get a different pair of glasses every year, you have to put some thought into them, as you will be stuck with them for a whole year. And the way things have been, it's more like I'll be stuck with them for about four years. So I am not buying the first thing that I see, unless I'm just really in love with them and they are on sale.

So, there's a sale at Walmart for single-vision, scratch-resistant glasses for $38. Of course, there's a limited number of frames at that price, usually not so new and fashionable. But, as it usually takes me a while (if ever) to like new fashions, this is usually not a problem for me. Still, I look at the ones pointed out as the $38 options, and I don't like any of them. They are all plastic frames, and mostly right now I like wire. After asking again, a few wire frames are pointed out. They are okay. I'm not in love with any of them, but they are okay.

My husband finds a pair that he's okay with, and we ask how much more they are for bifocals. Like a hundred and thirty-five dollars for the lenses, plus the frames. And that's for the regular bifocals, cause the no-line lenses are nearly twice that much.

Now, I know that someone must be having a sale and that we should go look somewhere else, but my husband wants to get it over with and pays $145 for the first pair he looks at. I look again and find some wire frames that are okay, but not worth $145 (much less twice that for no-line lenses), and I get them for the distance pair that I will use to drive with if I decide that the bifocals are too distracting. They are a little bigger than my last pair, and the frames are almost pink. We are told that they will be ready in nine or tens days, but Thursday we get a call that mine are ready, and by the time we go to pick them up on Friday they have his ready too.

They don't feel right. And I can't tell the girl how they feel wrong for her to adjust them properly. And always when I get a new prescription, the floor looks farther away than it did. They will take a while to get used to. I am already wearing shoes that make me almost two inches taller, so now with the glasses I feel six inches taller.

My husband, whose new glasses have almost no distance prescription in them, is having trouble getting used to them and frequently takes them off. But I'm sure that he will appreciate them later when he's trying to read something.

Right, so I'm off to look at more glasses.

Since I have never worn bifocals before, I am thinking that I need some really big glasses to fit in both the distance and the reading parts of the lenses. I used to wear really big glasses when I was a teenager, but that was the eighties, and I don't really want to wear those same frames now. So I'm out looking for big glasses that don't look like what I wore in eighth grade. And I know that there are a couple of places that have no-lines on sale, so I go and look at Optical Clinic and Eyemasters.

Some eyeglass sales you get what you think that you're getting, and others are more like bait-and-switch. I guess most are somewhere in between, where you can buy almost what you want at the sale price, but wouldn't you like to add a thing or two?

So I'm at the Optical Clinic, and I look at the limited selection of the sale items, and I find a couple that I think might work. I'm not in love with them, but I like them much better than anything that was going to cost twice as much at Walmart. I turn around to ask my husband which one he likes better, only he isn't there, he's on the other side of the store reading a magazine. I'm supposed to be a grown-up who is able to pick out her own glasses. Well, I know that, but I would have liked a second opinion. Anyway, we leave the store without him seeing me try anything on, and I figure that I'll probably be back next week.

Then we have some errands to run, and at the end of them we go to the mall and look at Eyemasters. They have a sale, two pair of no-lines for $150, if you like anything in the limited selection of frames, which I do. I think that there is also a sale for one pair for $99, and I ask about it, and they say it is supposed to be over now, but if it is still in the computer we can do that. But, again, there is a limited selection of frames, but somehow this is a totally different selection of frames, and these are just the opposite of what I am looking for. These are mostly little rectangular plastic frames that look like what the computer girl on Criminal Minds wears. I hate them, and they won't do at all for the large lenses that I imagine I'll need for the bifocals.

So I'm back to looking at the $69 frames, thinking that this is a really good deal, but do I really need two pair of bifocals in addition to the distance pair I'm wearing? So I ask my husband if he wants another pair, cause sometimes with the sale you can get two different prescriptions. But he says something like he doesn't even want the pair he already has, why would he want another one? So that's fine. I pick out the really big pair and a small one that I like better. And I ask if two are $150, how much would one be? Cause I know that it isn't going to be anything as simple as $75. So she takes my prescription and goes to the back of the store and gets a calculator and comes back with a figure of $142. So for eight extra dollars I'll get two pair? I'll take the two that are on sale.

Then she tells me that the $142 pair is a sale price for polycarbonate lenses. Normally, it would be twice that much. But I'm not into sports, and I really don't care anything about getting polycarbonate lenses, just so long as they are scratch resistant.

Scratch resistant coating has been around for so long, I forget that some places still charge extra for it. There was not an extra charge for the $38 pair I just bought at Walmart. Okay, I'm thinking an extra twenty dollars or so, but it turns out to be an extra fifty dollars. Each.


So I'm looking at my husband, and he really has no opinion, cause I'm supposed to be a grown-up who can pick out her own glasses.

Well, I can pick out my own glasses, I'm just having a little trouble deciding about the money. He would know more about that than I do. And I've gone from thinking that I'm going to get what I want for either $79 or $99 to thinking that I'm going to get two pair for $150, and now I have to decide between getting two for $250 or one with extras I don't care about for $142. And he didn't see the glasses at the other store and he can't give me an opinion on those, if he has an opinion anyway.

Okay, as much as I think that I want that other pair, I can't see spending an extra hundred and eight dollars for them, and I can't see buying glasses without the scratch resistant coating. So I pick the $142 polycarbonate lenses in the big frames.

Okay, now she mentions an extra thirty dollars for some protection plan in case I have to have them replaced in the next year. I have only one other time bought the protection plan, and I wished that I had not, because I also paid for some other stuff that when I needed I couldn't have because the store had either moved or gone out of business. But this Eyemasters has been here a long time, and I don't picture that happening again. Besides, if like the glasses and something happens to them, it will cost almost three hundred dollars to have them replaced if I don't get the protection plan.

So I'm looking at my husband, and again he has no opinion. And yes I know that I am supposed to be a grown-up who can pick out her own glasses, but sometimes I would like some input. If he is thinking that we might have trouble paying for the dentist later and he would really appreciate it if I went back to the other store and got something for nearly a hundred dollars less, then I would like to hear about it. But he doesn't say anything. Earlier he said that I could have anything that I wanted except the five hundred dollar designer stuff, unless that was what I really wanted, in which case I could have them anyway.

Okay, so we are at Eyemasters, thinking of paying $172 for one pair of no-line bifocals, when we originally came in looking at two pair for $150. And then I remember that this is one of those hour places, and we might have this whole business done with by the time we were done eating dinner. So we agree to the amount and make plans to eat at Chipotle's and come back.

Unfortunately, after consulting with someone in the lab, the lenses (that are the special polycarbonate things that I didn't especially want anyway) will have to be special ordered, and we will have to come back on the 26th.


We pay for the glasses. The girl gives me the receipt and goes over it again, what I've bought, what a good deal I'm getting with the polycarbonate lenses that have UV protection.

Crap. UV protection. I forgot about that. I don't like it. I knew that there was something I didn't like about the polycarbonate lenses (in addition to them being more expensive and having to wait two weeks). They have a greenish tint to them. Not that everything looks green, but if you have your picture taken you get this green reflection on your glasses. I'm sure it is good for my health, but I don't like it.

Well, I'm not a model, and I'm probably not getting my picture taken anytime soon anyway.

We go eat at Chipotle's and then go and watch three hours of stuff recorded on the SyFy Channel. I'm not giving the glasses anymore thought until the 26th.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Dallas Zoo Dollar Day

It was yesterday, and we went. We had gone before, but it must have been many years ago. I remember it being crowded, but not this crowded.

I wonder what the difference was? Like maybe last time I went, not so many people used the Internet on a regular basis. Or, maybe last time there weren't all these Hispanic people who don't speak English, and this time there were many ads for the event in Spanish. Or, maybe last time I went it was so long ago that there wasn't a DART station.

I don't know, but something must have been different.

Anyway, I knew that the zoo opened an hour earlier, and I wanted to get there earlier, but maybe not that early. We stopped for frozen drinks and left at about ten after eight. I think if I ever do this again, I'd have to leave maybe ten after seven. The cops were out directing traffic, or we'd never have gotten to our parking space. We were in the overflow parking, but at least we got an actual parking space. Other people who came later were directed to park on the grass. And I'm sure that they still had to pay seven dollars even for that.

And it was hot. It was really, really hot. I have been to many zoos before, and I knew to bring bottled water. I knew not to bring any drinks with a straw or a plastic lid that might become trash that ends up in an animal's cage. Still, with my bottle of water with no straw and a tightly screwed on cap, they would not let me into some of the exhibits. Leave your drink here, and you can collect it on your way out. Right. There's a zillion bottles of water, mostly the same size, mostly with blue labels. If there's nothing special about your bottle of water, how are you supposed to find yours. You'll get someone else's by mistake and catch whatever germs they have.

I ended up finding some other hiding place for my water bottle and going in a bit later.

And we road the monorail thing, which we rarely do. It was an extra three dollar ticket, which I think is at least half of what it normally is. I'm not sure how long the wait was, but it was about three times as long as what I thought. I looked at the line and thought, that's long, but not too bad. But of course that wasn't the whole line, and there was another bridge or something that you wait in line past where I was looking, and still a bit more of a line past that. But, after you wait in line that long already, you keep waiting. I think it takes about a hundred people at a time, and there were at least two trains going, so we did eventually get on.

A bit after our ride, there was an announcement that due to the high temperatures and high humidity, they would close the ride at 1:30. It was nearly that time when they made the announcement. And the announcement made no sense. What did the temperature and the humidity have to do with the operation of the monorail? It made standing line very unpleasant, and it would have been nice of them to warn people how long they would be in line, but closing the thing because it's hot seemed a bit silly. It is hot all summer. What does that have to do with anything.

We did wonder if maybe they had sold so many tickets that they just couldn't sell anymore. But then why didn't they just announce that they were sold out?


There was the regular overpriced zoo food, and then there was special dollar day food: dollar hot dogs, dollar sodas, dollar chips, dollar cotton candy (the kind that is made ahead of time and sold in a tub), dollar popcorn, etc.... We decided not to stand in line for the hot dogs or spend that much money on other stuff. We were tired and ready to leave soon anyway. We decided to look at a few more things and then head to Chili's for soup and salad and chips and salsa.

I just really wanted to see the giraffes. They have it set up now that you can get up close to them and pay to feed them. But while the zoo in Abilene sells some animal food for a dollar or two, this place sold lettuce for five dollars. That would have been ten dollars for the both of us (after already spending two dollars to get in, seven to park, and six for the monorail), and there were already plenty of people feeding the giraffes, so we decided against it.

Well, I'm not sorry that I went, but I think it will be a while before I want to go back.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Monday Morons--Company Shirts

So my husband and his coworkers have mostly been working extra hours for less pay--when they are actually working. The new plan that was supposed to help everyone make a little more money and have steady work has not actually resulted in steady work. So while there have been a few good paychecks, we are now about to be back on unemployment for a bit. Last week he worked four days, this week he isn't scheduled to work at all, and next week he's scheduled to work one day (in Oklahoma, which will actually take up three days of his time--the day before to drive there, the day he actually works, and the day after to drive home). We don't know yet if he will work the week after next.

So, while the employees have more work and less money, you would think that maybe the company would do something to make life a little more pleasant. Like maybe they wouldn't be so strict with the dress code. Like it's bad enough getting laid off for weeks at a time and then when you do work you work extra hours for less pay, and on a bad day the pay ends up being close to minimum wage (even less than that when you figure in the hours of drive time that you are not paid for), but it really sucks that you have to dress up and wear a tie and such. Can't you maybe just wear a polo shirt instead?


So someone at the office got the brilliant idea that the employees should be able to just wear polo shirts instead of dress shirts and ties. Only, it can't be any polo shirt, it has to be a certain color. And it can't just be a polo shirt of a certain color, it has to have the company logo on it. Not a shirt with a company logo pin stuck on it, but a shirt that has the logo embroidered on it. So, to get that polo shirt that is the certain color with the embroidered logo on it, you have to order it from the company for twenty-five dollars plus tax and shipping.

So, in addition to being laid off for days and weeks at a time, and when you do work you get paid less for working extra hours, now the company is trying to get some of your paycheck back by selling polo shirts.

Isn't that nice?

What do you think they should do with their twenty-five dollar embroidered shirts?

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Rain lilies

I found a rain lily in my backyard. I didn't know that they bloomed in July. But this one did, probably because it has been raining off and on since Monday of last week. I don't have that many rain lilies myself, but when they start blooming there are usually quite a few in the field, so I'll have to go and take a look.

Other wildflower developments are not as good. Even before it started raining, I noticed a few sprouts, and they turned out to be bluebonnets. Bluebonnets are not supposed to sprout in June. I had bought a few bluebonnet transplants in the spring, not enough to make a nice display, but I thought that they would make seeds and that next spring bluebonnets would magically appear in the places I wanted them to be. To be on the safe side, I collected some of the seeds, and I planted some of the seeds, thinking that they would not be able to sprout until much later. But there they are.

So after looking on the web, I see that this does happen sometimes. Unfortunately, the early sprouted seeds don't usually produce plants that survive the summer. From what I have read, this is usually not a big deal, as there are usually plenty of seeds left to sprout later at the appropriate time. But I don't think so. I think that most of the seeds I planted sprouted, and I don't know if the ones I left to nature where planted or eaten or blown away. Of the sprouts I saw, there are three tiny plants remaining. They will get terribly hot once this rain stops.

Aside from the wonderful free water, I have the usual complaints about the garden. The rain cools things down a bit, so I could work in the mornings, except that I can't work in the actual mud like I have now. And it is going to rain for a bit more, and by the time it stops raining and the ground dries out enough for me to do any work, it will probably be a hundred degrees again and too hot to get much of anything done. In the middle of summer, there are no tomatoes or peppers to speak of, you just try and keep the plants alive and hope that you get some in the fall. The squash still have not produced a damned thing. There are bean plants, but no beans on them yet. The soybeans just refuse to sprout, and the bugs tend to get more of the other bean plants than I do. The popcorn is doing well, but it will still be months before I can harvest any of it. The sweet potatoes look okay, but again that is something that gets left alone until fall. There are pumpkin sprouts, but I think that I waited too long on those. I have two luffa plants, but one is still very small, while the other is just now starting to really take over the thing it was meant to grow on.

So, that leaves me cucumbers and herbs. To be honest, I don't really cook with the herbs much, I just like the way that they smell and the way that they look, and I like that many of them are perennial plants.

I might be going to Oklahoma for two or three days next week. I don't know. There's nothing really good to do there, and we aren't going to be close enough to Tulsa to stay at my favorite place, it would just be an excuse to get out of the house. I won't be able to go, because of the plants, unless it is still raining, and I can't really believe that it will go on that long. And of course, there's always something more useful that I should be doing. Not that I'll actually get it done, just that I should be doing it.