Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Christmas is cancelled

Okay, not really. Just toned down a bit. Maybe more than I would like.

I'll get back to that later.

In the last post I mentioned being worried about my husband's job. Really worried. But now all seems back to normal, or at least, as normal as it has been for the past few months. The middle management of the old company went to a meeting with the new company, and we all sort of thought that these managers would be told that most of them would no longer be needed. But instead they went to this meeting and mostly heard "welcome to the family" type stuff. The week after that my husband went to a meeting of the new company, which was run by the managers of the old company, and he didn't meet anyone from the new company that wasn't already working for the old one. So he signed the papers and such, and then went back to work as usual the next day.

We're still being told that nothing will change until 2012. We believe that, as there is only a few weeks left of 2011.

There is now a rumour that major changes are coming in March or April. We will see.

Anyway, while I was getting out cookbooks wondering what I could make with beans and rice and such as that, everything seems to be back to normal, and we have mostly returned to our previous spending habits.

While I was in the stage of really worrying about money, I asked to be less involved in gift exchanges than I was last year. This seemed to upset my mom a bit, but everyone else seemed okay with it.

In fact, my friends went so far as to say that we shouldn't exchange gifts at all, which was not what I was trying to do. I wanted to limit the gifts to small things, hopefully small things that I had bought earlier. Or maybe I would knit them all hats, or make them soap or baked goods. The person I thought would be most in favor of the soap or baked goods plan wasn't there for the discussion. The person who is most into the whole Christmas exchange thing wasn't there either. That left a couple who only wants to exchange cards, a guy who said he was going to be out of town the weekend we normally exchange gifts, and a girl who says she'd rather do the cards this year just because she's running out of ideas of what to get people.

So the gift exchange that I usually enjoy the most has become a card exchange, which wasn't what I meant to do at all. I hope that the other guy speaks up and says that he's already got something for me, so I would at least exchange gifts with one of them.

I've said that I would not do the charity thing this year. And I probably won't, even if the money situation is better. I'm just not that into it.

And that leaves my family, and my mom doesn't seem as upset as she did. We usually draw names and get one person something that's about thirty dollars. And then we also bring a five dollar gift for something that is usually called the Chinese gift exchange. (That's when someone opens a gift, and then maybe someone else "steals" it, and then the first person opens another gift.) The "stealing" bit is a lot of fun, but there are only six of us. My brother and I think that instead of drawing names for the thirty dollar gifts, we should each bring two of the five dollar gifts for the "stealing" bit. So that would save us all about twenty-five dollars and be more fun anyway. My brother thinks that we are all adults, and we don't really need the thirty dollars gifts, cause if those are things we really want we've probably already got them.

I think that he's right.

Anyway, when Black Friday came, I didn't have as much money as I would have liked to spend, but I didn't think that I had as much to buy either. I was only spending twenty or so on my family, and almost none on my friends, and none on the charity.

Still, for the past few years, I've been going to Walmart early on Black Friday to buy jeans (two or three three for myself), a small appliance (for myself), and several DVDs (some for the charity, some for friends and family, and some for myself). Except for the DVDs, there usually isn't that much on my Christmas list that is worth getting out at four or five in the morning for. But I've long had the tradition of buying stuff I needed for myself, like underwear and a crock pot.

Except for the toys, I wonder if anyone is actually buying the Black Friday stuff for other people. I mean, who gives away giant TVs for Christmas? And, if your family has enough money to give away giant TVs, is saving a hundred dollars or so worth standing in that really long line, possibly all night?

I do not have enough money for a giant TV, and on Black Friday I always wait at least an hour for the really crazy people to get done shopping. But if I ever did have the money for a giant TV and cared enough about it to wait in that long line to get it, the giant TV is going in my living room, and it's going to stay in my living room. I'm certainly not buying three or four TVs to give to friends and family.

Anyway, this year, I went to Walmart at five or so in the morning and found a mostly empty parking lot. I didn't need a small appliance, I couldn't find the jeans I wanted, so that only left looking through the DVDs.

I wish I'd had the money. I hadn't seen anything that interesting in the ad, but once I got there I found complete seasons of Supernatural, Stargate Atlantis, Stargate Universe, Fringe, and The Big Bang Theory. If I had bought everything I wanted, that would have been about two hundred dollars, and that's before buying extras for friends. I didn't have two hundred dollars. I ended up spending about twenty, and I haven't yet decided if I will keep them or give them away.

Next I stood in line at Half Price Books, not quite an hour early, so that I could get a five dollar gift card and have a chance at getting $100. I didn't get the $100, but with the $5 and a coupon I got one of the Chinese exchange gifts.

Next, I bought calendars with coupons in them, a few dollar DVDs at Best Buy, and then headed to another Walmart. I found the jeans there and bought two. Again I looked at the DVDs, but didn't buy more. I had a bit of money left, but I just couldn't decide how to spend it. Which season of Supernatural is the best? Season two maybe? Is that better than any seasons of Stargate Atlantis? Or Fringe? I just couldn't choose.

I think that might be it for the Christmas shopping, except for one or two more Chinese exchange gifts, a gift card, some candy and other food, and maybe some yarn if I knit a few more things. I think I'm done.

This year is probably going to be dull.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Two paychecks from being homeless

It has been a while since I posted anything. There were a couple of things I wanted to write about that turned out to be very long projects, and somehow, I just never got around to writing them. And then I missed blogging about a couple of trips I took (and a few trips that I wanted to go on but missed). And then there were a few more things that I meant to write but somehow didn't.

I guess this just isn't my routine anymore. Sometimes I wake up in the morning and actually have something to do. Or, sometimes, I manage to get back to sleep for another hour or so. Or, maybe, I wake up early and watch whatever it was that I missed on TV the night before.

Mostly, not being obsessed with the blog is a good thing. Last month I actually had time to both get the house clean before the bug guy came and put up about half of the Halloween stuff. And I wasn't even home all of the time, having gone on a trip to middle of nowhere Texas and attempted to go to the Texas Renaissance Festival.

Still, I have forgotten to blog about a few things, and I regret that. It's good that right now I don't feel the need to bitch about every little thing that happens to me, but I like to look back and see what I did the year before and other things that I would like to look up, but I can't do that now, cause I didn't bother to write anything down.

Okay, so the big thing that I have to write down now is not our little trip to Houston, but I will talk about that for a bit. Earlier there was a planned trip to Houston, which was scheduled and then unscheduled and then rescheduled, but I got sick and didn't get to go. I really wanted to go. We had paid for a room in Webster, a bit south of Houston, about half an hours drive from Galveston, and if I had gone there would have been many trips to the beach and probably long soaks in a hot tub. But I didn't get to go then, and this trip didn't seem to be as good, being on the north side of Houston and much to far away for morning trips to the beach. But we could at least spend Sunday afternoon in Galveston, and I always have this thought that I shouldn't turn down any trips to places I like, no matter how dull I expect most of the trip to be, it might be my last chance to go for a while.

And I think maybe this is it, no more trips, even mostly boring ones.

The big news this week is that the company my husband works for was bought by another company. The second company is one that my husband has worked for before, two or three times, so we already know what to expect. More work, less pay, and no insurance.

The holiday season is already a tough time for us, not only because of the extra expenses that most people have, but also because of the expected two or three weeks off with no pay. But most years we have thought that if we didn't do anything too stupid that it would all be okay again by February. This year we don't think that it will all be okay again, and that if he even still has a job it will be with a much smaller paycheck.

So half of the time my husband talks of gloom and doom, and half the time he acts as if things are really good, and we go out and spend too much on lunch. I rather think that we should start getting used to peanut butter sandwiches, but I don't argue with him, and we go out and eat seafood or barbecue instead.

The new company is saying that no one should worry, and that there will be no major changes until 2012.

Like we can't all look at the calendar and figure out how soon 2012 will be here.

So I don't know what we are going to do. It will be a while before we learn anything useful.

A few weeks ago I was happy that we had been able to pay off one of the cars a few months early. And then we had to pay for some car repairs. And now this.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Are there any real people who work at eBay?

I don't think so. If there are, they are a bit dim. And how do you get to talk to a real person at eBay?

Okay, so I've already written about buying a bootleg Star Trek Voyager dvd from a seller I don't believe knew that it was bootleg. And I was going to give the seller neutral feedback, but after talking to a few people it was decided that positive feedback was okay, as long as I still said that item was not as described and probably bootleg.

Here's what I wrote:
probably BOOTLEG, probably NOT seller's fault, offered refund, early shipping

It's hard to write what I'm trying to say in the limited less than one hundred characters we are given to write feedback, but I think that I got it all in this time, and still managed to say something nice about seller and that it really was supposed to be positive feedback.

This is a message that I got from eBay yesterday, after I had already told the seller that I would keep the item, and after I'd already left positive feedback.


MC015 Security notice: eBay listing removed
From: eBay
Sent: Jul-04-11 01:56 PM



eBay sent this message to (buyer).
Your registered name is included to show this message originated from eBay. Learn more.
MC015 Security notice: eBay listing removed




Hello buyer,

We're writing to let you know that this listing for an item you won or bid on is no longer available:

150621737804 - STAR TREK VOYAGER COMPLETE DVD SEASONS 1-7 NEW

We understand this may be disappointing, but occasionally we need to remove listings. In some cases, the item itself is fine, but was listed in a way that didn't follow eBay's guidelines.

Here's what you can do next:

-- If you already paid, received your item, and you're satisfied, please disregard this notice.
-- If you won the item but haven't paid, don't pay. Since eBay removed the listing, you're no longer obligated to go through with the transaction.
-- If you already paid for this item through eBay, and it's past the estimated delivery time, you can open a case in our Resolution Center. Click the link below, and select the "I haven't received it yet" option. This will guide you through the process of opening a case.
http://resolutioncenter.ebay.com

If the seller offers you the item outside of eBay, we strongly discourage you from accepting the offer. These types of transactions are extremely risky and aren't covered by eBay buyer protection programs.

If you didn't pay through eBay or PayPal, and:
-- You paid by Western Union or MoneyGram, contact the company directly (Western Union 800-325-6000 or MoneyGram 800- 926-9400).
-- You paid by check, contact your bank to stop payment.

Thanks,

eBay


To learn more about eBay Buyer Protection, please visit:
http://pages.ebay.com/help/policies/buyer-protection.html



I can only guess that I set some automated thing in motion when I checked a box that said counterfeit item, or whatever it was. But shouldn't there be some real person somewhere reading the feedback before sending out this stuff?

Wonder if I should write seller an apology?

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Great Minds Think Alike

On Buddy's first birthday, I was invited to a party. They made a big deal of it. He was surrounded by just about everyone he knew as the traditional picture of trying to eat cake was taken. He was presented with every age appropriate toy on the market.

The following Christmas, there seemed no point in getting him anything, as he received just about everything I could think of already for his birthday. Still, his grandparents managed to find a few toys that he didn't already have. I don't remember getting him anything.

For his second birthday, I don't remember them doing much of anything, and I don't remember getting him anything. As it turns out, his birthday was celebrated in combination with some other event, to which I was not invited. So that explains why I don't remember it.

The following Christmas, I didn't think that he needed anymore toys, even if I could have found something not already given to him by one of his grandparents. I knit hats for both him and his little sister. I was surprised that he seemed happy with it and wore it the rest of the day in the house.

For his third birthday, I did not expect to be invited to a party, but I thought that I would get him something anyway, if I found something I thought that he'd like. While shopping on eBay, I found just the thing. Benji. I used to like that movie when I was younger. And I found a dvd with three other stories that I don't remember seeing. It sounded like a good deal, and I ordered it.

The week before Buddy's birthday, while I was waiting for the dvd to come in the mail, I get invited to a party put together at the last minute. It isn't going to be the big deal that the first one was, and I would have to miss out on something else that I'd already planned. But, I decided not to miss Buddy's birthday. He doesn't speak a lot of complete sentences, but he does know everyone's name, and he knows who is missing and asks about them. It is usually men who are missing, and we usually tell him "he's at work." I have no such excuse.

The day before the party, the dvd had not yet appeared, and might still not come in the mail for another week. That didn't matter before, when he either wasn't having a party, or wasn't celebrating with a bunch of adults. I'd just give him the gift later.

But now that there was a party, I'd rather be there with something for him to unwrap. And it was too late for me to go in with someone else and buy something nice. Not that I'd know what that should be anyway. He sort of has five grandparents, and they buy him a lot of stuff.

While at a nearby store buying groceries, I found a slip and slide. Okay, not really a slip and slide, some rival company, but you get the idea. Also there were small blow-up pools made to look like turtles and such. I called his mother, and she said that she did not really want a pool that looked like a turtle. They already had something similar, and they didn't use it much because it was such a hassle to empty the pool later, and you can't leave even a small pool with water unattended. But the slip and slide sounded like a good idea.

So I gave him a slip and slide. Just after that was all wrapped up and ready to go, the Benji dvd arrived in the mail. Oh, well. Benji can be a Christmas present.

Yesterday, we all went to dinner. I asked if Buddy'd had a chance to try out the slip and slide.

Out comes his dad's phone, with pictures. "He ended up with two of them, but we decided to keep them both. Everything breaks eventually, and he'll already have a spare."

Okay.

"It's broke," Buddy said.

"Yes," his dad said. "He gets stuff handed down from cousins who don't need it anymore. Both the other kids used stuff for years, but he gets it and it's broke a week or two later."

Okay.

His mother then tells me that the thought of the Benji dvd was appreciated, but it turns out that they already have that one. His Aunt K already got it for him.

I think Aunt K must have also got him the other slip and slide. She wasn't at the party, and they were planning to see her somewhere else the next day.

I hope that Aunt K doesn't knit.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Moral dilemmas on eBay

Okay, if you've been reading, you know that I've spent too much money on eBay in the past two or three months, and you know I've had some problems with plants being shipping too late in the season, or just being shipped bad plants, or whatever.

Okay, I'm having another problem and would like to hear opinions from others. I bid on Star Trek Voyager seasons 1 and 7. Not seasons 1 thru 7, but just the first one and the last one. I thought that was an odd combination to have in an auction, but I bid on it anyway. I stopped bidding at seventeen dollars, and someone else won.

I guess the someone else didn't really want it, and I got a second chance offer. So I bought two seasons of Voyager for seventeen dollars plus three dollars shipping. And it arrived two or three days later, sooner than I expected.

The package was smaller than I expected. I've seen Voyager seasons before, and they are in plastic things that take up space. These were in cardboard boxes that had the same artwork.

So that was odd. Either I got really nice looking bootlegs, or there's some sort of new "green" packaging that I wasn't aware of.

I asked the seller about it. Seller didn't know.

I did stuff like Google--Star Trek Voyager cardboard box. I found a lot of unhappy people talking about bootleg copies of Voyager. Not bootleg copies in general, bootleg copies of Voyager in particular, mostly on Amazon. Like, most, if not all, Voyager for sale on Amazon turn out to be fake.

I thought at first I had somehow lucked out and either got a really good fake, or maybe the real disks in a fake box? The first disk was just fine.

Only the second disk, not so much.

Third, fourth, and fifth disks also have problems.

But, I have this used divx player, and I can still watch most of them.

So now I have to decide what to do about feedback on eBay.

Now, I don't really think that this particular seller is a crook. I don't think that seller has boxes and boxes of fake dvds to sell. I haven't seen anything else like this in the past month or so, and I didn't find anything like that listed now. Also, seller would refund my money (shipping was not discussed).

I don't really think that I'll take the refund. Someone, probably me or the seller, is going to get stuck with this copy. I don't think that either of us deserves to be out money, much less any more money for return postage. I at least have the divx player so that I can watch most of the disks.

Still, I think that I should report the bootleg dvds, at least in feedback. I think, just in case I'm wrong and seller has more bootleg Voyager to sell later, I should warn buyers. I don't want to leave negative feedback for someone who a.) probably didn't do this on purpose, and b.) would offer a refund. But I'm also thinking that no one reads the positive feedback, except the seller. Buyers just look at the number of positive feedback and then go read the negative and maybe the neutral.

I'm thinking of leaving neutral feedback, saying it is bootleg, but then giving seller high marks and a nice comment about the shipping.

What do you think I should do?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

More drama about the trees

Okay, I've now cut down most of two trees and a large bush. To finish cutting down the two trees I either need a chain saw or an axe. I have access to a chain saw, but I'm afraid to use it, and I do not have the clothing made to protect myself from accidentally sawing through an arm or a leg, and I'm not sure that there is proper safety equipment for protecting fingers. So I think that the chain saw is out, and I should acquire a big axe. Or, at least, a normal sized axe, as opposed to the current small axe with the twelve inch handle.

I'm getting warnings that I should not be much safer with an axe, but I would feel safer. My plan is to first try to borrow one, but if that doesn't work by next week I will probably end up buying one.

But I'm not really that worried about those trees now. Most of the current hassles are about the little fruit trees I bought on eBay.

As I have mentioned earlier, I saw a five-in-one pear on eBay. After I won that bid, I also bought two Stella cherries and a five-in-one apple from the same seller, to make good use of the combined shipping discount. So I ended up spending about thirty-five dollars on the plants themselves, plus shipping, which then came to about fifty-two dollars.

The trees were all supposed to be dormant. They weren't. The cherries were dormant. The cherries were thin little twigs that arrived dormant and have now grown into healthy little plants. I think that they are to small to be of much help to me, and after next winter they may decide that Texas is not to their liking and not bloom and never have fruit. If they do fruit it will be years and years from now, as they are just too small, and not a season or two away from having fruit as in the plant description. But I really have no serious complaints about the cherries. For an extra five bucks and two dollar shipping, I thought that it was worth trying.

The other two trees were different. It's odd to get such different quality stuff from the same seller. Again, the trees were smaller than I expected. Not really smaller than described, but the smaller than I had pictures in my head from buying bare root trees in local stores. They were just thinner than I had imagined, and I wonder how you can have a healthy graft on something as small as the pear. The pear had leaves all up and down the plant, in about twelve places. It didn't look like I'd expected a five-in-one pear to look like. I wondered if I got a single variety pear by mistake. And plants that already have leaves usually don't like being sent in the mail, and they especially don't like it in May or June in Texas, it's just too hot. So the plant looked quite limp and sick. The apple looked a bit better, but it only had three sets of leaves at the top. Again, not the dormant plant described, and not what I expected a five-in-one apple tree to look like. And while the roots of the cherries were still moist, the apple and pear were maybe just a bit damp.

I gave all the plants water, and having almost no planting instructions (other than to plant with the burlap on), I kept the trees inside for three days, thinking that water and air-conditioning would help the plants recover, as I'd been instructed to do that with some other plants I'd bought from someone else.

In three days the cherries were starting to grow, and you could tell that they were in fact dormant trees instead of dead sticks. The apple looked about the same. The pear had lost leaves and the remaining leaves were turning black.

I suspected that in it's weakened condition the pear had caught fire blight. I wasn't sure if there was anything wrong with the apple, just that it wasn't thriving like the cherries. I put all four trees outside in part shade. I worried that it might be too hot for them, but I knew that other plants I've kept inside for more than three days suffer.

The cherries immediately improved and started to grow leaves. The pear turned even more black. The apple did not appear to change at all.

I gave up after a few days of this and complained to the seller. The seller said this was all normal, and that the leaves would grow back.

Another week went by, and the pear was totally leafless and black. The apple was starting to dry out. Again I sent a message to the seller, who again said this was normal and that the leaves would be replaced. If I would do a scratch test I'd be able to see that the plants were still alive.

Okay, the plants were still a bit green on the inside. But I still think that they are dying, and that if they don't actually die at least parts of the plants I wanted are probably dead. The rootstock might still be alive, it might grow more leaves at some point, but the leaves weren't going to grow back where they had been. The grafted parts were probably dead, and I'd never get five kinds of pears or five kinds of apples.

I sent another message to the seller, asking that I not be required to mail back dead plants for my refund. Proof of death could be provided with photographs. I just wanted my money back, and if I got it that day or the next day I'd still leave positive feedback. I thought if I worded it just right, that I'd get my money (except for the cherries, which were still small but healthy), and that would be the end of it. Otherwise I'd file a complaint.

Instead I got an offer of new plants. According to the seller, the new plants had been kept in a cooler and were just starting to have buds. And I would get them soon, possibly Tuesday.

Okay.

I did not get the plants Tuesday, and I did not get the plants Wednesday, but they did arrive Thursday. And they came in a big tube, and I imagined that they had sent me bigger plants to make up for the hassle.

The apple was about the same as the first one, only this one has four sets of leaves. Leaves. Not dormant, not just budding out, leaves.

The pear was just budding out, and it was a bit larger than the first pear, but it already had blight, right there in the tube. At least, I think it is fire blight, cause it's a pear. My husband thinks that it is freezer-burn, cause it's been in a cooler. Whatever it is, it's making the leaves black and curled up.

I sent the seller another message, and again the seller says this is normal. Trees just look like that when they start to bud out.

Well, that has not been my experience before. My experience is that if it looks like blight then it's probably blight.

Anyway, on my eBay account I noticed something about the deadline for dispute resolution being on the twenty-seventh. There's no way that I'd have healthy plants by then. I've thinking that I should complain, just to get an extension. So I started doing that, though I'm supposed to be checking little boxes, and the little boxes don't really fit my situation. I finally settle for "item not as described" as I think that is the main problem, that the seller didn't originally send dormant plants, and now it is just too late and too hot to have healthy plants sent in the mail. And I would never have started this whole thing if the ad wasn't for dormant plants.

Then there are more boxes, and a place to describe the problem in more detail, and at the end you are asked if you want a full refund, if you want a replacement item, or other. I check other, and write that I want a refund if the plants die.

To be on the safe side I send two complaints, one for the pear and one for the apple. And eBay says someone will contact me by July 2. And I figure that will be good, because that will give me another week to see if the plants are going to die, and then I can say for sure that I want a refund, or maybe they really will get better and I'll just keep them.

Except I guess that at least part of this process is automatic, and the seller says I can have a refund if I send the plants back by the June 28. Only now I have to send back four plants instead of two. And while I just found it annoying and an unnecessary expense to ship back dead plants, sending back live plants is a problem for me. This will probably kill the plants. I don't really like to kill plants.

On the other hand, if I pack them well enough and they don't die, I'm now thinking they'll probably be sold to someone else.

This sucks that I'm supposed to do this by the 28th. I was thinking that I'd complain and get an extension. From the 27th to the 28th isn't much of an extension.

But most of the time I think that mailing the plants back and getting some of my money would be better than keeping these two plants, as I can't imagine that either one would actually grow into five-in-one fruit trees, and one of them has fire blight or something that looks like fire blight.

I just feel bad.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Wasting my time for mom

My mother called last Saturday and asked for a favor. I don't mind doing my mom a favor. I just don't see that I should have to waste the whole day to do it.

My day went something like this:

I get out of bed and do the usual stuff while I wait for my husband to get out of bed. This doesn't take as long as usual, because on Saturday he has to work earlier than most other days. So I read the "news" on Yahoo while he takes a shower. I don't have a bath right then, there isn't time, but that's okay, cause I had a bath just before going to bed the night before. I brush my teeth and get dressed.

He is soon dressed and such, and we go get a McSomething for breakfast. We then come back home, make sure that he has everything he needs for the day, pack his lunch, etc.... He leaves at about 8.

I water the plants and look at a few things on eBay. At almost 9 I still haven't had a bath. I figure that I should get a few more things done outside before I do that. I'm still trying to remove two trees from the backyard, and I've cut down a large bush in the front yard, so I have this almost daily chore of cutting branches down into smaller pieces and tying them up for removal. There's not much point in taking a bath before I get this done, as I would just need another bath after.

I'm thinking that before I do any really hard work (and getting really sweaty and really needing that bath) I should go to Home Depot. In my head I start organizing my day. I'll go to Home Depot first, while I'm still clean, and buy string and check for clearance paint and lumber in the scrap pile. If I find lumber, that will be a lot of work, work results in sweat, things that result in sweat should be done before taking a bath. So Home Depot first. Then the rest of the outdoor work. Then the bath. Then lunch. Then indoor work that will probably not result in sweat. Then at some point I'll probably go to my brother's place. Then after all of that I might need another bath before bed, just because it's June and it's Texas and it's hot, even if you don't do that much stuff that usually results in sweat.

So at just about 9 I have a mental schedule of my day in my head, and I'm getting my keys out so I can go, and just before I leave the phone rings.

My mother doesn't feel well. She hasn't felt well all week and should probably have gone to the doctor earlier. But she didn't do that, she waits till Saturday to decide she needs a doctor, and she can't see her regular doctor on Saturday so she'll have to go to the minor emergency clinic type place.

Seeing someone other than her regular doctor probably isn't going to do much good, but she has decided that she really needs to go, and she has insurance that will pay, so she's going. She wants me to drive her to the clinic.

The clinic is right next to the Home Depot. Not only do I not mind doing my mother a favor, this happens to be where I'm going anyway. And I now feel better about the plan to go there, as earlier I'd wondered if it was a waste of gas just to go looking for clearance stuff. I could probably get the string someplace else.

My mother doesn't want to leave right away. She wants to take a bath first.

My mother is one of those people who always takes a bath first, even before going to the doctor. The is because a.) having a bath almost always feels good, and b.) my mother is one of those people who thinks that when you feel bad you should get up anyway and do all the stuff that you would have done if you felt good, and maybe while you're doing that you'll sort of forget that you feel bad. So maybe having a bath would really make her feel better, and maybe she'd stop feeling bad and not even need to go to the clinic.

But I'm thinking that she's sick and that she really does mean she's just going to take a bath first. I know that on a normal day (when she is not sick and asking for something other than a ride to the doctor) that the delay is going to be two or even three hours, and that I should say no, or that I should agree to whatever she's asking only if we have a set time later in the day and I can get my work done first. Usually, if she wants to do something at 9 she won't really want to go anywhere til 11 or 12. But I'm thinking that she's sick and that she's not going to be putting on makeup and doing her hair and such, or whatever it is that she does for those two or three hours. I'm thinking that she's literally going to take a bath and brush her teeth and get dressed and comb her hair, and that she'll be calling me back at about 9:30.

So I agree. My mother is sick, and I'll do her a favor, but it is early in the day and I'll probably still have time to do some of the stuff I'd planned to do before lunch.

I don't take a bath myself. All of the earlier reasoning and plans still apply, I'm just delaying for half and hour or so. And I don't even know if it's going to take that long. She's sick, she might be in a hurry, and she might call back very soon.

I watch TV for about half an hour.

I remember that there's stuff in the car that can't be in the car if I'm to have a passenger. The bag of clothes that I keep intending to drop off at Goodwill is still in the front seat. The stuff I bought at the garage sale two weeks ago is still in the back seat. Other stuff is in the floor. I've totally forgotten about it. I never have passengers. I just don't think about it anymore.

I run outside and look at the mess. A lot of it is junk that I don't really know what to do with. Some it is actual trash that needs to be thrown away. But I don't have time to sort it out. My mom needs me, and she'll be calling soon. I get a container, shovel everything in that I can, dump everything on the living room floor, and take the container back to the car and shovel in more stuff.

I find some glasses of the prescription before this one. I had wondered where those were. And here they were in a hard case in the front seat of my car, most days inches away from me, unseen. But I don't have time to do anything other than notice what they were and shovel them into the container. Then I take the container into the house and put it on the living room floor.

Okay, that was work. Not a lot of work, but it was starting to get warm outside. So the result of working outside when it is warm is--sweat. I don't like it. It isn't much sweat, but I don't like it. I haven't planned to have a bath this early, but now I want one. I decide that I can't have one, there isn't time. I have a Coke and watch more TV. The sweat dries up and probably isn't noticed by anyone but me. I don't think that I smell bad or anything. I remember to check the answering machine just in case my mom called in those few minutes that I was outside making sweat. Nothing. I go back to watching TV.

Sometime later I notice that it is about 11. I am sort of halfway mad at my mom and halfway wondering if her guts exploded and she's bleeding to death on the bathroom floor. Maybe I should call her.

But, she does finally call me. She is ready. She wanted to call and make sure I was still at home before she called the clinic.

Okay.

She calls back. There's about a two hour wait at the clinic. But, she has heard that before, and she knows that she can "sign in" online, and that she can wait at home for the clinic to call just before it is her turn.

Okay, so I've just wasted two hours of my day because I thought she was really sick and needed to go to the clinic. But she wasn't that sick or she would have wanted to go at 9 or 9:30. And now I find out that she can do something online to reduce the time in the waiting room, but she didn't think that it was important enough to do that earlier, so there's probably going to be another two hours of waiting.

I don't ask her why she didn't do this online thing as soon as she got out of the tub, but that is what I'm wondering.

She says that she'll call back.

I still haven't had that bath. I still haven't done any work, other than getting all that stuff out of my car. And I can't either do my outside work or have a bath, because she thinks that it might be a while before she calls, but she doesn't really know that for sure. And I really don't want to start anything else that I would have to stop in the middle and/or put things away if she called.

I'm thinking that I should eat something. In my earlier mental schedule of the day, I either got things done well before lunch, or if I had taken mom to the clinic when I imagined she might have got done right about lunch time and we might have had lunch together. But now if I have lunch with mom it will be after noon, or even after 1, or even later than that. So I have some soup, and that way I won't starve, but I can still have lunch later with mom if she wants to do that.

While I'm heating up the soup she calls back, and says that she feels better. She still wants to go to the clinic, but she thinks that she feels up to driving by herself. She suggested that I go on and do whatever it was that I was going to do, and then if I get done in time I can drive her after, but if I don't get done in time she'll go by herself.

No, either I am driving her or I'm not. I'm not going to drive to Home Depot, buy stuff, take it home, pick up my mother, drive back to the Home Depot, and then wait for a hour or so. If she isn't sure she can drive, I will just wait some more.

She's sure. I go and eat my soup.

Before I finish my soup, she has changed her mind and calls back to ask if I can still drive her to the clinic. Since I haven't left yet, that's okay.

I go back to watching TV. I can't see getting anything useful done while I'm waiting for her to call. And I still haven't had a bath, cause I don't know for sure when she's going to need me. It will probably be still another hour, but it might not be.

She calls back and asks if I could come to her house and wait with her. Sure.

It is about 1 when I get to her house. The clinic calls not long after that. I drive my mom to the clinic. I know where I'm going, but she complains that I'm taking the wrong street. I'm driving. This is the street I'm driving on. This is the way I drive to Home Depot. The clinic is right next to the Home Depot. They have the same parking lot and everything.

Mother is still explaining how her way is faster when we get to the clinic. I am distracted a bit. Someone else doesn't stop at the four-way stop sign. He didn't hit us. Clearly his fault if he did, but I rather not be hit just the same. And I'd rather not have someone in the passenger seat talking about directions, especially to a place we're already at.

My mom gets out of the car, and I drive a bit closer to Home Depot before parking.

I decide against the scrap lumber and the clearance paint. I wonder if there had been more stuff available at 9.

I wander around the store looking at odd things I have no intention of buying anytime soon. I just need to kill some time while the doctor is talking to mom.

I think an hour passed. That's long enough I think. I head to the clinic.

Mom isn't anywhere I can see. I sit down. Someone puts in The Blind Side dvd. After a while mom calls my cell phone. She's waiting on an X-ray or something. I watch about half of the movie while I wait.

At about 3 my mom is done with her doctor visit. I think that it was a waste of time. She has a stack of papers of tests she should have in the future and such. I don't think that they did anything to make her feel better that day, except to tell her to take some over the counter meds that she already had at home. She does get sick like this a lot. Probably these suggested tests are things that have been done in the past. They probably aren't going to learn anything this time that they didn't already know from last time.

Whatever.

But now that's she's seen a doctor, and they did not rush her to the hospital to have some test that's supposed to be done on an empty stomach, and they told her it was okay to eat something if she felt like it, I thought we'd be either rushing to someplace for lunch or at least rushing to the grocery store. But she doesn't seem in a hurry to do either. There were coupons at the clinic for Chick-fil-A, cause there is one in the same shopping center, so she decides to go there.

After we order our food she remembers that she should take some tablet before eating, and she can't find any in her purse. They sell them at Target, also in the shopping center, and if she'd thought of it she could have bought some earlier. It isn't that far, and I volunteer to go get some.

So I walk to Target and buy her some pills. When I get back she's going on about how she didn't think that I meant to walk. But it isn't that far, and it's less trouble than moving the car again.

So she thanks me and pays for my lunch and I take her home. It is nearly 4 now. There's no point in doing anything before going to my brother's place. Except when I got home I did finally have a bath.

I said something like she couldn't have really been that sick if she felt like waiting two hours to do her hair. She disagreed. Or, she should have at least signed in online before she did her hair. Again, she disagreed.

She just doesn't seem to get it.

When I got home I found that I had dropped the missing glasses and they were on the side of the street. I had run over them. The case is ruined, but it seems like the glasses themselves might be fixed. I think that they just need some adjusting.




Thursday, June 09, 2011

The Wicked Witch is dead

Okay, not really. Nobody died. I'm just happy that the election is over, and S didn't win. Not even close.

I ended up voting for A, R, and M. The winners were A, R, and J. J got 69 votes. M only got 26. D, who didn't send me a flyer (or anyone else that I spoke to) got just 7 votes. I can't remember what the others got, but S got less than 50, and I think the other two got about as many. I should check on that later. Of the people who voted, 85 chose A, and 88 wanted R.

I was worried about choosing between J and M. It was hard, and I was afraid that the votes split between them would allow S to remain. J ran last year, and it seems like he got more votes last year when he didn't win, but I guess more people in general voted last year.

M can run again next year, if he wants to. I was surprised that of all the people who didn't win last year, only T and J ran again this year.

Of course, the person I most want gone runs again next year. Or, at least, next year is when his term is up, and I assume that he will run again.

There's a story going around that S was not a good loser, and almost had to be carried away from the voting area. I was in the general area, and I would have thought if there was anything interesting like that going on that I would have heard it a couple of doors down, but I did not. So I don't know if it's true. But it wasn't even close, and a recount wasn't going to help, so I don't know what it was that she supposedly hung around to complain about.

Next year should be interesting.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Confusion and Disappointment

Before anybody gets really excited, this post is mainly about eBay purchases, and mainly purchases of plants.

And to answer an earlier question, the seller in Michigan was not the Michigan Bulb Company. This was someone on eBay, I'm guessing that they only or mainly sell from eBay. They have high positive marks, and have been in business for a while, though I've learned this doesn't always mean what it seems, as sellers can buy their high positive marks and such from someone else.

I don't know why that was such a surprise to me. People can buy and sell eBay businesses. Just as people buy and sell regular businesses.

Anyway, I have no reason to suspect that the business has been sold, and that I didn't buy my plants from the same person who actually received the high marks, just that it is possible.

Okay, so I ordered two Stella cherry trees, a 5-in-1 pear tree, and a 5-in-1 apple tree. I have always wanted a 5-in-1 pear tree, and when I saw one on eBay that no one else was bidding on, I bought it, maybe without really thinking it through. Having bought that tree, I thought I'd take advantage of the discounted postage and also buy the cherry trees (at the time I noticed them no one else was bidding, but I ended up paying five dollars), and then I noticed the 5-in-1 apple tree (people were bidding on them, so it took three tries and about twenty dollars for that). So instead of the one tree for ten dollars plus about twelve dollar postage, I bought four trees for about thirty-five dollars and another sixteen in postage.

Now, I have bought plants online before, mostly recent purchases from eBay, and they arrive in different conditions, mostly I think depending on the type of plant more than care given by the seller. I have had great success with daylilies from three different sellers, but I've had trouble with about half of the other plants I bought this year, mostly from the same people who sold me the daylilies. So I think that it's just that daylilies and other bulbs don't mind the shipping process and other non-bulb type flowers and such aren't too happy about it.

So I think that bare-root trees are one of the things that don't mind being sent through the mail, if it is the right time of year. But May and June probably aren't the right time of year, at least it doesn't sound like a good idea to ship something from here, as we should all be done with most of our planting here and a lot of the plants left in the stores are on clearance. But the seller was from Michigan, and I know that things start growing a lot later in the season there. So the seller claimed that the trees were sent still dormant, and I thought that it might be true, and if so it was probably okay for them to keep sending plants.

I also know that dormant bare root trees pretty much look like dead sticks. This has always been a bit of a problem for me. How do you know if you've bought a healthy plant or a dead stick, if they all equally look like dead sticks? For example, asparagus really looks dead right out of the package, but if you buy it at the right time it rarely is. Usually you follow the directions and plant them at the right time, and they emerge, though this is weeks or even months later. However, this year I bought two packages, maybe a bit too late (though not late enough that they were on clearance), and one package was fine and more than half of the other package was dead. I have no idea if they were dead when I bought them or if I did something wrong when planting or what. They all looked the same.

So the description says that what I will get in the mail will be dormant, and that it will look like a stick, but not to worry because it will sprout leaves after planting and will probably have fruit in two or three years. So I have a picture in my mind that I will be getting four sticks in the mail, and that maybe they will have some greenish buds on them, or that they might really look dead, or that they might have leaves already and that would probably be bad. And I thought that two of the sticks would be five-pronged at the top, because they were supposed to be grafted with five different varieties.

Well, I got a mixed bag (or rather the products in the box were mixed), and nothing was quite what I expected. They came Thursday afternoon, a day later than the predicted "between May 25 and June 1." Not sure why those dates were predicted, since I bought the items on May 17th, but they weren't sent out till May 28th. Obviously the package cannot be delivered on the 25th if it isn't sent out before then.

I was expecting the trees to be one or two feet long, which they were. I just didn't expect them to be so thin. The apple is the thickest, and almost what I expected, but not quite. The pear is much thinner than I expected, and the cherries are just little twigs.

However, the cherry twigs did arrive mostly dormant, and now that I've put them in pots one of them is starting to show signs of life. Or maybe it is just my imagination.

The apple tree has leaves coming out of the top of the tree in three places. Not five places like I would think. I suppose other leaves could appear later, as there are bumps lower where there could be growth, but I wouldn't think so, not if all five varieties are supposed to bloom together to cross-pollinate. I'm wondering if I got a 3-in-1 tree by mistake, but I didn't see any of those advertised.

The pear tree is just the opposite. Unfortunately, it has leaves growing almost the entire length of the tree, in about thirteen places. Not at all the five-pronged stick I was expecting. I suppose each variety could have been tiny little grafts two or three places each, but my first thought is that I got a single variety by mistake. If so I've paid way too much, and I don't even know what variety it is. And of course the leaves are dying, though I don't think the whole thing is dying, maybe just the leaves.

I've got all four in small pots in the living room, thinking that it is too hot for the poor trees to go outside after their traumatic trip.

Well, I don't quite know what to do. First, I think that I've spent my money unwisely. With shipping and everything, I spent less than fifty-five dollars, but I'm thinking I could have done better with it. I might have found something around here on clearance. Or, I might have saved the money til next year and ordered trees in March or something. I am worried that the pear tree was a bad idea. Half of the varieties are good for this area, but the other half will probably get blight. I don't know if the blight will just kill half of the pears or kill the whole tree. And that's if I actually have a 5-in-1 pear tree and not just a mystery one variety tree. The cherry trees are just tiny twigs, and I might have been better off buying one larger tree. And I didn't really need an apple tree, I hadn't originally planned on it, but it just suddenly seemed like a good idea after buying the other stuff and qualifying for the discounted shipping.

So I might just be having some regular buyer's remorse, and not really have a reason to complain. I don't want to complain. I don't want to give someone bad marks if they don't actually deserve bad marks. But I was supposed to get dormant 5-in-1 trees, and they were not dormant, and it now occurs to me that it will be years before I have any idea if they are actually 5-in-1 trees.

Anyway, I haven't yet contacted the seller, and I haven't yet left feedback.

In other news about eBay, I lucked into some dvds, and I'm now looking into buying more. No one was bidding on Surface, which wasn't my favorite show, but no one bidding and the starting bid was two dollars and the shipping was a reasonable three dollars. No one bid against me, so I paid a total of five dollars. After that, I decided to look at other dvds. While looking for Invasion of the Body Snatchers, I found Invasion the series (again not my favorite show, but a good deal) and the same seller had Invasion: Earth, which I did really like when I saw it the first time and I wouldn't mind seeing it again. The dvds were Buy Now under four dollars each, reasonable shipping, with discounts for multiple purchases. So I bought both for just under twelve dollars.

All three are coming media mail, which means that I might have to wait a while, but I noticed that both sellers sent the packages the next day, and there are tracking numbers. I am now worried that Surface is lost. Yesterday it said out for delivery, which could not have been possible, from Missouri. Today is says status not updated. I'm wondering if this is just what happens with media mail, or if maybe the shipping label was lost. If my address is lost and the seller's address is still readable, they should just send the package back to the seller to try again, and it should all be okay. If both addresses are missing, I don't know what happens. Should I try to contact the post office in Missouri, or should I ask the seller to do that, or is just hopeless? I have bought from this seller before, and I'm sure they would do something, but I think they'd just do the easy thing and refund some of my money, if not all. But I don't want the five dollars back (and I certainly don't want just the two dollars back), I want the dvds.

Anyway, is it stupid to think about doing anything so soon?

My other dvds are now being sorting in Greensboro and are probably fine.

Today is the day of our little election. We had some discussions about absentee voting, and we were told that we could not do that. There's an exception for the disabled, sort of, but the disabled still have to be in their homes at the time of the election. I'm told that we cannot have absentee voting because of a by-law that says you cannot vote by proxy or by email, though in some cases if the member is out of town a spouse can vote for him or her if the election officers are told in advance.

I am thinking that does not totally cancel out the possibility of absentee voting, and if arrangements are being made for the disabled a similar arrangement cold be made for other people who are going to be out of town. For the disabled person(s), a form is taken to the home and filled out, and the ballot is placed in a sealed envelope and taken by an office employee to the election officer and put in the ballot box. So it isn't a proxy, and it wasn't by US mail, and technically the disabled person wasn't absent on the day of the election, just unable to leave the home.

I would think that the same sort of thing could be done for people going out of town. Prior to the election, they could go to the office, vote, place the ballot in a sealed envelope, put the envelope in the locked ballot box, and put the ballot box in the safe. And that would not be a proxy or a ballot delivered by mail, and we could have absentee voting without changing the by-laws.

But no one listens to me now, and I doubt that my health is up to being on the board on top of dealing with my personal situation. Besides which, I never know when I might get the chance to go out of town, and would not like to take into account meetings and other board obligations when I go on trips.

I have received flyers from all nominees except D, one strange letter of general complaints about board members and nominees and pizza and too many kids at our one meeting which kids are invited to, and one additional flyer begging people to go out and vote (though the author neglected to mention if he or/she was for any particular nominees). Off the top of my head, I'm saying yes to A, will probably vote for R, and my third vote will probably go to that other guy's son, cause he did later come around and campaign for himself. My brother suggested the third vote go to the other R, who did later send out a small flyer (and with very small print to keep costs down, but at least it was sent out), because he was the least liked person mentioned in the complaint letter, and we don't agree with much said in the complaint letter.

We had a similar complaint letter last year, but we are not sure it was the same author (both were anonymous), because most of the complaints were about different people (unless maybe the author has switched sides?).

So voting for A, probably R, probably the other guy's son, or maybe J. Not D because he didn't send a flyer and I don't know him. Definitely not S, cause she needs to mind her own business. And definitely not T. Even if I liked T, it would probably be a wasted vote. She is odd, and I doubt she will get enough votes to be a serious threat to anyone else.

Really, I wish I could just somehow vote against S three times without having to think too hard about who to vote for.

Next year we get to vote again M.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

More problems, not just the plants

I am still waiting on that package of live plants. It is an eBay purchase. When I started bidding on them several weeks ago, it seemed like a good idea. It is really too late in the season to plant such things around here, but the seller is from Michigan, and there the trees I ordered were supposedly still dormant, so I thought that would be okay. And at the time we were having unusually cool weather here too. It sounded like a good idea at the time.

The package was supposed to arrive between the twenty-fifth of last month and the first of this month. They all say stuff like that, but my experience before this has been really good, and the sellers usually either send the stuff the next day after payment, or at the latest maybe Monday of the following week.

Anyway, the first has now past, and I don't have my package. It was supposedly sent on the twenty-eighth. Well, there's a tracking number for the twenty-eighth, but there's no info after the tracking number. It doesn't even say that the package has been picked up yet, much less that it's been moving through the system anywhere.

Anyway, I'm about to miss another short trip, and this one I would have liked to go. I usually go to this place. Not that we do anything really special anymore, but I like the motel where we stay, and we sit in the hot tub and such. And I would have left this morning and got back Sunday. Four days is a bit long to leave the plants already in the ground, but I might have given everything a good soak and tried it anyway. At this point I'm not having trouble with anything already in the ground, just worrying about plants still in transit.

There's another reason that I won't be going out of town this weekend.

It is that time of year again for electing our board of directors. Eight people are running for three seats. The election is Saturday, and Saturday only. We used to have nearly a week to vote, but now it's just the one day. And yesterday I learned that there is no absentee voting.

I suspected as much, but I went and asked for an absentee ballot yesterday. Just in case the package came last night or early this morning, I wanted to be ready to go. No luck either way.

Anyway, I have three votes, and I'm not quite sure who they should go to.

The term is for three years, so my buddy B who was elected last year is not running this year, he's still on the board for another two years. Also, I am starting to wonder if that wasn't a mistake voting for him last time anyway. He is maybe getting too friendly with the dreadful M, and S, and I'm not liking S much now either. S is threatening people who don't paint their sheds white. There's no rule that they should paint their sheds a particular color, just that the sheds be painted and kept up. There is, however, a rule that sheds only be made of wood or metal, and that the size of the shed be limited. I haven't gone to look, but I hear that S has a shed that is too large. So S with her over-sized shed is threatening people who have sheds she doesn't like or that according to her are not the right color.

S is running for re-election. Not that she was ever elected to start with, she was appointed after someone else had to quit. Anyway, S has got to go. I don't quite know who to vote for, just that I don't want S to win.

A is running this year. A is already on the board, and my brother likes him, so I'll vote for him. A has sent out flyers and such. I rarely vote for anyone who does not send out flyers. If they don't care enough to send out a flyer, why should I think that they care enough to show up for meetings or do anything else they are supposed to do as board members.

Other than A, R has also sent me a flyer and gone around shaking hands and such last weekend. So probably R will get my vote.

It is the third vote that I still don't know about.

It might go to J. I think that J has been on the board before. He ran last year, but did not win. Last year he sent out flyers, but I have not received one this year.

Also, someone's son is running for the board this year. I don't know him. Everyone knows his dad, but I don't know him. He hasn't sent me a flyer, yet. I can't vote for someone just because everyone knows his dad. He has to get out and do the work himself, send out flyers and such.

S has sent out flyers, but again I'm not voting for her.

The only other person who has sent me a flyer was T. I am not voting for T. When she moved in across the street, I heard that she went door to door introducing herself as a bitch. Well, we will take her at her word and not vote for her. There is more to that story, but it is too long to get into right now. Just without a damned good reason I'll not be voting for T.

Okay, so that's yes for A, probably for R, and maybes for J and the other guy's son, and no for S and T. That leaves another R and D who I don't know, haven't heard anything about, and haven't sent me a flyer.

I guess that they've got two more days to get my vote.

Anyway, a bit sad that I won't be going anywhere this weekend, but it's probably for the best.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Plant problems

My husband went out of town yesterday. I didn't go with him. It would have been nice, but I'm probably stuck here until further notice, because of the plants.

This week (and probably some of next week too) in particular I am stuck here because I'm waiting on another package of live plants. I worry even about going to the grocery store, that I'm going to be gone too long and I'll miss the package, and that extra time being in a box without enough water will damage or kill the plants. Being gone for two or three days is obviously out of the question.

And it's not like I really needed to go out of town, but originally it was just for the one day, and it would have been nice, just to get away for a bit.

And then some really annoying things happened.

He'd thought that he was going to a suburb of Oklahoma City. Suburbs of Oklahoma City were hit by tornadoes, so we wondered if the job would be cancelled. Turns out that the job wasn't where he thought it was, and he had to leave the day before. So we went to lunch, and he left right after that.

Turns out that we'd been to this place before, but I don't remember it. After a while, you forget a lot of places. But I guess when we were there before, we'd noticed a few things that we wanted to do if we were ever in the area again and had more time. Like, now would have been a good time, if I weren't stuck at home, mostly because of waiting on this package.

Well, he probably won't want to do any of that stuff without me, so he'll be coming home tomorrow.

And now about the battles with tree limbs.

Well, it would have been nice to finish up with the garden and such for the year. It just gets too hot, and I don't like to work on it much after April, and so I had planned to stop all of the major work the first week of May. And then the weather changed, so that it seemed very cool again, even though it wasn't raining as much as I had expected. So, I thought, as long as the weather permits, I should do more work.

After having tried a couple of times to cut down two trees growing too close to the back fence, the trees grew back at odd angles, and some branches grew through the fence and did some minor damage. That is one of the reasons I bought a reciprocating saw last year, so that I could cut the limbs that start growing too close to the fence. So I had some work to do just for that, and a few weeks ago I decided to get started on it.
I had tried the saw last year, but I didn't really use it much. It's not bad. I just have trouble with physical work in general, and after using tools I need a rest. My hands ache. I have to shake it off, literally. So after sawing off the small limbs that would have caused us trouble later, I gave the saw and myself a rest.

After going back into the house and putting the saw away, I noticed that my right hand was swelling up. I did not quite look like young Captain Kirk having an allergic reaction to a vaccination, but one hand was noticeably larger than the other for a bit. Odd. I don't remember having that reaction using the saw last year, but I didn't use it much last year.

Anyway, the problem went away, and I decided to try it again the next day. Again my hands and arms hurt, but more what I had expected, and I didn't notice that much swelling.

After getting done with what absolutely had to be done I cut down some dead branches. And after that went well, I decided to keep going and just cut down the whole tree. I was planning on doing that at some point anyway, so I might as well get started now. And then at a certain point, it does seem like a lot of work, but it's better to keep going that to stop and have half a tree.

So I've cut all the branches off of the first tree, leaving the main trunk, which is really going to be a lot of work with my little saw. But, it will have to be my little saw, or combination of the saw and a small axe, because I'm afraid of chain saws. Or else, I will just have to leave it the way it is, checking once in a while to remove new growth.

I tied up some of the smaller pieces for trash removal, and then I went on to cut down the second tree. This mostly went well, until the last of the main branches, which was too big to get in one cut, and also slightly leaning in the wrong direction, and would possibly get caught in power lines or phone lines or whatever they are.

It took a while, but I got a lot of the second tree cut down, until there was just the main branch left. And it was leaning slightly in the direction of a power line, or a phone line, or cable or something. Anyway, instead of making a straight cut, I made this sort of V cut pointing away from the direction I would rather the branch fell, thinking that if that works with trunks that are straight, maybe a really big V cut would still work on this branch that wasn't quite straight.
But after a lot of work making cuts on the branch, I figure out that my plan isn't going to work. So I'm thinking if I make an even bigger V and get some rope or something and pull in the direction I want the thing to fall, maybe that would work. I've cut almost halfway through, but it doesn't want to budge, so I go back in the house to look for the some rope and get my husband to help. He says he's about to take a shower and will help right after that.

I hear a noise.

I go back outside, and that branch that would budge earlier is now starting to lean over, and not in a good direction.

I yell for my husband to skip the shower.

My husband comes out and looks at the branch which is breaking and now leaning on the line of whatever it is. Other branches I cut did the same thing, but they were much smaller and came loose without too much trouble. This branch is heavy, even though I cut it far away from the rest of the tree, about level with my head. My husband climbs a bit of the tree to get a better look, and tells me to cut where the branch splits off into smaller branches.

Like, if I could have reached that high, I would have done that to start with.

So he's telling me to hand him the saw and he'll do it.

He's never used this saw at all, and just doesn't get how that's a bad idea. The thing shakes a lot, even with both your feet planted firmly on the ground. You can't use the thing at an odd angle while you're trying to balance on a tree.
If I had to do this over again, I would get the step ladder and stand on top of that while I had someone holding onto my legs and I would cut the smaller branches first. But at the time that looked like a silly thing to do and it would have taken a long time.

So I tell him to get off of the tree, and I'll just keep cutting the branch the way it is. Maybe he can stand under it and push it away as it falls?

So that's what we do, and it sort of works the way I pictured it in my head. Only when the branch comes loose it just seems to fall really fast, and I'm thinking, that was dumb, I just told my husband to stand under a falling tree. But he says he isn't hurt, and the branch is free and we get it off of the line pretty quick.

So I didn't quite get that last one right, and into the lines it went, but nothing broke, and I can't tell that anything is wrong because of it. I don't know what the line is for, but the power is still on, the phone still works, and the Internet still works. After getting the branches off of the lines, that one line hangs very low. It might cause me problems later.

Working on another outdoor project now. Since I don't have money for a storage shed, but I do have this cement slab where one used to be, I built this thing to hold up an 8x4 piece of plastic lattice. To one side of that is a fence that used to have plants that blocked view, behind it is the original wall of the house, and to the other side a bit farther away is a wall to the added on room of the house. So the junk on the slab used to mostly be blocked from view, because of the vines on the fence, which aren't thick enough now for that. So I'm building another thing to which I will add lattice next week when I get more money. So that's what I was building today. Forgot about the low line, didn't see it, and while hammering some boards together got caught on it. Again, didn't seem to do any damage to anything, and the power is still on, phone still works, etc....

Anyway, when I get that done, the junk will be mostly blocked from view except on one side, and you can only see that from a certain angle if you are in my yard or my next door neighbor's yard, or in the alley just behind them. In other words, after I put the lattice up and put all the junk back on the cement slab, most people won't see the majority of the junk unless they are out looking for it.

And I suppose that I could spend another thirty or forty dollars and build a third wall. But that is not planned for now.

Anyway, the backyard is full of branches, as I have now cut down most of two trees. My hands hurt from using the saw, so I am mostly resting now. But I will have to cut the branches into smaller pieces, and then I will put them out a little at a time for the trash collection. I would rather do something else, as it seems a waste, but I haven't had any better ideas. I would think that some people who do ren faires would maybe like walking sticks or wizard staffs, but I don't have any way of getting the branches to them, and I can't have an open invitation for them to come here either. So I think that it will be a month or so of slowly getting rid of these branches by putting a few at a time out for regular trash collection.

Glad most of the hard part is over.

Still can't do anything interesting. I'm still waiting on that package of live plants.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Where is the Tardis? Where are our Klingsons?

Okay, so I was answering someone's email, telling a long tale of battles with tree limbs and such, and I lost it. And it was several paragraphs long when I lost it, and I haven't the patience for typing it again just now, so it will probably be in a later blog post.

On another important matter, there is the Tardis.

Not my Tardis exactly, but one made by some friends of mine. There's a contest of making a Tardis and then taking interesting pictures of it. Here's the link to my friends entry www.wheresthetardis.com/entry/100407 and the rest of the contest is at www.wheresthetardis.com.

I'm a bit disappointed. My friends probably deserve to win, but probably there are not going to now. There are some really great pictures, but I don't think that people are going to see most of them. The team worked really hard on this. The entry was supposed to say something about the club, and they entered before the deadline and received confirmation, but a week later there were still no pictures on the site. So they tried again on another computer, and nothing. The deadline was extended a bit due to receiving many more entries than they had expected, so my friends went to another house and tried a third time on yet a different computer, this time not using the club's name in the title, so the entry is called All American Tardis. Boring name, and many other entries were also called American Tardis. So if you are looking for my friends pictures, they are a little hard to find.

Also, the first picture, the only one a lot of people will see, is rather dull. They are on page three. There's the Tardis. No big deal. They took a zillion pictures and this all most people will see, cause most people won't click to continue looking at the construction and so forth. And even that page doesn't have the more interesting pictures. For that you have to go here http://ussjoshua.org/2011_TARDIS_Project/All-American_TARDIS.pdf , but it doesn't show up as a link at the Where's the Tardis site, so you have to type all of that in. From there you have to click on other links, a few of which do not work advertising the places that allowed them to take pictures.

has pictures of The Doctor, a younger version of The Doctor, The Master, a guy from UNIT, a Federation captain, a Klingon, some actual space stuff, and the yellow brick road and a munchkin.
http://ussjoshua.org/2011_TARDIS_Project/TARDIS_Halloween/index.html has pictures from the Halloween party, including another Doctor, and a couple of girls in Dalek dresses.
http://www.ussjoshua.org/2011_TARDIS_Project/Construction_Photos/ has pictures of the team putting the thing together.

There are more links to even more pictures, but I've had trouble with copy and paste stuff on Blogger, and I'm tired of typing all this stuff in twice.
Anyway, it is all very cool stuff, but I don't think that many people are going to see it.
Part of the contest involves getting votes from the public. But in order to vote, you have to be on Facebook. I think that I've already had a rant about Facebook, so I won't repeat it now, but let's just say that the Facebook thing is also causing some problems.
Anyway, if you're on Facebook, please go to page three of the contest and vote for the All American Tardis and maybe look at some of the other entries. It is a bit fun.
Now I want a Tardis. In my backyard. Maybe I could put my lawnmower in it.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Hail

And hell, and all of that too.

It did finally start raining, instead of being just cloudy and dark. And we watched the weather reports a bit before watching other things and then going to sleep. I had to take few pills before nodding off, and then there was this noise. And I can't quite identify the noise, as it isn't something I'm used to hearing. It wasn't quite rain, though there was finally some of that, and most of it seemed to be coming from another room. It rather sounded like someone was tossing pebbles at an air-conditioner. And then it sounded like pebbles being tossed at the other air-conditioners as well. And then the roof, though that hasn't quite the same loud sound as something hitting the metal of the air-conditioners. And then as it slowly dawns on me what that noise is, it really started coming down and was loud. My husband woke up and turned on the television. Seems like that storm we watched on the news that was just going to miss us was the first of several, and we were in the middle of one of the others, in places having golf ball sized hail. I don't think that we got anything that big, but I could be wrong. I picked up two pieces that fell just by the front door. They were a bit more than pea sized, but not by much. There seemed to be a few slightly bigger pieces, but I didn't want to venture out to get them.

The noise died down and it went back to just raining, and we went back to sleep.

I haven't been out to inspect the garden damage, or to see if there's any real damage anywhere else, as it is still raining, and raining a lot at the moment. It's probably going to rain all day, so I might get a short look later, but probably won't get a good look at everything until tomorrow.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Gardening and other stuff

Note to self, yesterday was annoying, in spite of finding plenty of on sale chocolate still at Target.

Well, a while back I had a cough and was a bit sick for a little while, but nothing major. Still, the cough has not quite gone away, and it is starting to cause me some problems. So yesterday I had planned to dig a big hole in the ground in the front yard, cause I'm thinking that anything major done in the front yard is best done on the weekends, and hopefully finished on the same weekend, as this would prevent any complaints to the office from being noticed until after the work was done. But I got up yesterday and realized that I just wasn't up to it. So I drove off to run a few errands instead.

I have just this week found my missing debit card. Or rather, my husband just found it and gave it to me. The way I remember it is this: I noticed that the envelope had come in the mail, and perhaps I had even seen the card itself when the envelope was opened, but I never actually had the card in my possession, and I certainly never had it in my wallet or went out and bought anything with it. My husband would then complain whenever I would ask him to get money out of the ATM for me, as I should be able to do it myself, as he had given me a card. And I'm sure that he meant to give me a card, and I think maybe he even said something like the card came in the mail and it's on the desk, but he did not ever actually put the card in my hands, and I didn't have the card. So after months of this, he goes to the bank and says something like please give my wife a new card, and they say something like we can't give you a card for your wife (even though it is the same joint account that he already has a card for) your wife will have to come in and get it herself. And somehow this doesn't get done right away, as I would think that we would both have to go to the bank at the same time to do this, as it would speed things along if one of us had a card so that they didn't spend a lot of time looking for the information and so forth. And then before we went to do that he found the card stuck some odd place in the desk where I would never have looked for it or anything else.

So now that I had my debit card, I went to get clearance Easter candy and some sand and other things that I needed for the garden, and as long as I was at the Home Depot and have money I might as well buy a few more stepping stones. And I think that I should just do that whenever I happen to be out and have money, buy a few more stepping stones or a few more cinder blocks or whatever I feel up to dealing with at the time.

It is annoying that in the garden a.) I seem to be running out of usable space while at the same time b.) there still seems to be way too much grass to deal with. The cheapest way to totally cover up the grass is cement, which is a hassle. Stone or blocks are easier and usually look better to begin with, but then later grass grows through and or they look uneven. To prevent grass growing through and to make the ground nice and level, you are supposed to spread sand under and then put more sand on top so that it settles into the gaps between. But that makes it more expensive, and more work, and if you really want it to look nice you buy this really super expensive special sand that blocks water, which wouldn't be a good thing at all in a garden and around trees and such. So once in a great while I'll deal with the cement (when it's not right under a tree or someplace that needs water), but most of the time I'll probably be using blocks, and the cheapest blocks are the ones that are 4 x 8 inches, and not very attractive.

Anyway, I'm running out of space, sort of. There are raised beds that are not permanent, and in fact some still have plastic under them, which will not do at all. Of the permanent beds I have dug, one is 3 x 12 feet and currently has tomatoes, peppers, and squash (not yet producing anything). And it will also have cucumbers, but right now I'm having a problem with the trellis failing over and I've removed it until I can figure out how to prevent that. On one side of that bed is the asparagus. I'm always kicking myself for putting the asparagus there, right in the middle of the yard, as the asparagus plants are not that attractive and tend to fall over a bit, and I think that I need a fence around it. This year I lengthened the bed, because I found purple asparagus at Walmart. On one half of the new asparagus area all eight plants have emerged, but on the other half I only see three, and those three are very small and struggling. I had even worried that the whole package was dead, but then seeing three emerge I hoped it would all be okay. I haven't given up yet, and I'm thinking that the other side just didn't get a long enough soak before I planted them, so maybe a lot of water would help. Anyway, I haven't yet given up on the purple asparagus, I'm just saying that half of the new area is disappointing and might have to be finished next year, and might even have to be finished with regular green asparagus.

Anyway, with the new asparagus, the asparagus bed is now four feet wide and twelve feet long. On the other side of the asparagus bed is an herb bed. Last year it had some herbs and a lot of cucumbers, but the trellis there was old and part of it rusted and fell apart. After having to remove the trellis, there didn't seem to be any reason for the cucumbers to be there, so I added more herbs and one of the artichokes. Oregano has taken over much of that bed, and I'm hoping that it and the thyme will cover all the spaces between the piquin peppers and the artichoke and the other herbs. And just past the herb I have dug a space for a Navaho thornless blackberry. I have to dig a bit more for it to make that area twelve feet long to match the asparagus and the bed on the other side of the asparagus, but I plan to do that soon enough.

On the other side of the herb bed is the most recent permanent bed, and I guess that I will call this the short bed, as it is only about four feet by nine or ten feet. And while I suppose I could dig more and make this one a bit longer to match the others, I'm not planning to, as I want a wider walking space on that side, so that one doesn't have to make turns and noticeably walk around things getting from the front gate to the back gate. And then there's going to be room for a bed between that walking space and the fence, which this year will probably be a temporary bed with pumpkins. The short bed has popcorn, soybeans, spaghetti squash, another artichoke, a few peppers, and a few herbs, so nothing producing yet.

And that's about it for the vegetables. You might have noticed all the vegetables that I didn't mention, like lettuce, spinach, and other salad greens, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, radishes, beets, carrots, potatoes, regular corn, green beans, peas, melons, etc.... I don't seem to have room for those at the moment. I know that most people who garden have a little of all those things in half of the space I mentioned, but they probably don't have a quarter of that space taken up by asparagus, another quarter taken up by herbs, they tend to grow regular corn instead of popcorn, and they grow peas and some other kind of beans rather than soybeans, and they don't have near as many pepper plants as I do. So it isn't entirely a problem of space, just that I've done different things with it than most people.

I know I've made it sound like my backyard is about 15 or 20 x 12. It isn't, it's bigger than that, though off the top of my head I'm not sure how big it is. There are paths between the beds that are about two feet wide, and there's a bit of space closer to the house and there's space under trees and such. There are six more beds (four of them still need serious work), but these are smaller (three are 4 x4, two are about 3x5, and one is about 4x4) and mostly have flowers in them. There is room for one more 4x4, which will probably have herbs in it, and that's nearly all the room I have left that isn't either reserved for a fruit tree, or too close to the house or else in too much shade to be useful. And these areas either have grass growing in them now or else will have soon if I don't do something about it, and all the areas in between other areas also either have grass or need something to prevent grass. And in these areas I need to either a.) do a lot of work and/or b. ) spend money on cement or pebbles or blocks or sand or something.

So at the same time, my yard seems too big to deal with and too small to have the plants I want. When I am digging and weeding and buying blocks it seems too big, and when I'm planting and harvesting it seems too small.

It is cold today. Not really cold, but it feels cold, and it is cold for May (only a high of sixty something degrees) and it is cloudy and dark but not yet really raining, and it is windy. I turned on the heater in the car this morning, and I still feel cold most places other than the house because I'd put away most of my sweaters and can't easily get to the stuff I wish I had put on. Other than being cold it's been a pretty good day, as I found some pumpkin seeds I'd been looking for, had a nice lunch, and watched the Adjustment Bureau.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

I might be out of contact for a bit

My main computer seems to be dead. I'm not sure what happened or if it can be fixed or if I'll be getting a new one. I suppose now it is actually time for a new one, just the money situation isn't that great. Anyway, I won't be on the computer that much for a while, whatever happens, won't be checking my email as often, won't be posting much, won't be chatting, etc.... Just thought I should say something about it. I'm not dead. Yet.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Note to self

Today I went to Bonham, just to get out of the house for the day. I probably should have stayed at home. There's a lot of work to do at home, but I got a lot done Saturday and even a bit on Sunday. Monday I took a break and went to see Source Code.

Today I am bored, and I hate my life.

Maybe tomorrow will be nice.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The weather sucks

It is nearly the end of March, and we've had point zero something of rain. That's for the whole month. Some of that was yesterday, making this the second driest March on record, instead of the driest, which it looked like it was going to be. It's just sort of cold and damp all week, and not much actual rain. Looking online, I thought that it was going to rain from eleven in the morning til hours after dark, but that isn't what happened at all. It just rained a tiny bit, a sprinkle here and there, and then after not much it would stop and then maybe sprinkle again later. So you would go inside and then come outside and see that things had gotten just a bit wet, but not enough to water the plants or anything like that. I suppose that there's a chance of a tiny bit more rain today, it isn't as likely as it was yesterday, so we probably won't get much, if we get any at all. The good news is that without rain to interrupt me, I got a new asparagus bed dug. The bad news is that I think it was too late for those particular plants, that the roots might have been to dry, or the weather too hot, or whatever. So I might have wasted ten bucks on the plants, in which case I'll have a bed already dug for trying again next year. I'm about to give up on waiting for rain and just give all the plants a really good soak with the hose. I haven't even taken the foam thing off of the faucet. I don't expect a frost in April, but you never can tell. And I'm thinking that's one of Murphy's laws or something, that after you get everything in the ground there will be a late freeze. Anyway, whenever I take the foam thing off we get some near record late freeze, so I tend to leave it on for a very long time. So it's going to be cold and yucky for another day or two. I've had enough of it. Cold and yucky when it comes with beneficial rain is one thing, but this is just a waste. But I suppose in a couple of days it will be dry enough to dig again. Might as well get started on where the fruit trees will go next year.