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Winter is here

Posted November 20, 2016 By Ruth

In true Upstate NY fashion we’ve had a few flurries of snow prior to today, but nothing really stuck (luckily, since it wouldn’t be out of normal for it to have done so).

Yesterday it hit 70 degrees by noon, and I was running around at work in short sleeves and sweating.

By 3:30 in the afternoon the sky had gone dark, winds came blasting through, and the temp dropped by 20 degrees in half an hour.  Freezing rain by the time I was driving home.  Sleet by the time Husband was driving home.

Woke up this morning to white grass, though it’s not otherwise sticking…..yet.

The prediction is that tonight it’ll really start accumulating, 6″ to over a foot depending on exactly where you are (which keeps changing every time I look at it).  Last predicted accumulation map I saw put us in the 6-12″ category.  We’ll see what we actually get.

Of course, this was predicted by Thursday, with the Winter Weather Warnings going out on Friday.  Saturday at work I personally sold 4 snow-blowers, one co-worker sold 3 before I even got there, and another co-worker sold another 3 while I was helping other customers.

Plus snow shovels, ice melt, ice scrapers, and wood pellets.

I think last winter made the area lazy…….

 

Edited: Monday morning, 8am, looks like 6″ or so.  Hard to tell with the wind causing drifting, but I doubt its more than that, so far anyway.  They’re saying another 6″ to 12″ today……

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Parvo Outbreak in AZ

Posted November 19, 2016 By Ruth

Now those of you dog owners who pay attention know that parvo outbreaks happen not infrequently, and unless it’s local to you most of us don’t pay a lot of attention any more.  As long as your dog is vaccinated you’re not likely to have problems.

Unfortunately this outbreak in AZ might be different.

At least one veterinarian is reporting that they’re seeing VACCINATED dogs sick with parvo.

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Now before everyone completely panics, the dog in the picture is being held by a rescue, and so it’s entirely possible that this dog had only been vaccinated shortly before actually getting sick (many rescues vaccinate on intake since they don’t know the dog’s history prior).  Which means that the vaccine wouldn’t have had time to convince the immune system how to work.  However there’s no way to be sure from the posted information.  And they’re saying that they’ve seen multiple vaccinated dogs sick.

If you’re in the AZ area, or traveling through the AZ area, please take extra precautions.  Even if you’re not a dog owner, if you have friends or family who do have dogs consider taking a minute to dip the soles of your shoes in bleach water.  Parvo is a nasty disease with a high fatality rate.

Oh, and if your dog has diarrhea don’t take him to the dog park.  Just…..don’t.

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Grump Grumble…..

Posted November 18, 2016 By Ruth

I shared a “both candidates suck so I don’t care who you voted for, lets go get drunk together” meme on Facebook a couple days ago.  For the record, I don’t drink alcohol, but this election had me considering it.

A couple liberal FB friends decided that what that really meant was that I loved Trump and therefore needed to be yelled at.  The discussion didn’t go well and I’m now short (at least) two FB friends.  Or maybe that should read: The discussion went pretty well and now I don’t have to watch at least two folks whine about Trump any more.

For the record: I’m pretty sure Trump will suck as Prez and I’m just hoping he manages to do something to curb the trend to send out stuff to China, but I’m not holding my breath on that either.  However I’m really not worried about him deciding to round up minorities for re-education training either.  We didn’t get registration and concentration camps after 9/11 (when the general public might have been amenable) we’re certainly not going to get them now.  Nor am I especially worried that he’s going to start removing rights from minorities either.  Among other things the large majority of those laws are at the state level and I figure Trump’s ability to convince states as a whole to do that is pretty much non-existent.  Since most of the folks I  know who voted for Trump did so while figuratively holding their noses and with the understanding that he was going to require some close watching, yah, the fact that he won so many states doesn’t change that figuring.  I’ll also note that for all of the media’s uproar over Trump’s treatment of women the worst they could find about Trump and gays was that a guy who used to work at a business Trump owns is suing because he feels he was treated badly by his co-workers after coming out as gay.  There’s zero evidence that Trump had anything to do with it except for owning the company, and since that’s the only such suit I can find it also doesn’t exactly show that such was normal for Trump owned businesses.

Nor am I overly worried about Pence.  One, he’s the VP, and two, he’s not Cheney.  Stop wishing harm on Trump and you aren’t likely to have to deal with Pence.  Now Bannon…..but Bannon isn’t signing laws into being either, so that’s a different worry anyway.

But apparently telling people that they need to spend more effort actually learning how the government works is “name calling” and telling them not to get their panties in a twist is “offensive” and telling them that offending further their friends and neighbors who are their local home support is a really bad idea is “making fun” of them.

And the fear-mongering has really got to stop.  Yesterday I saw a headline that stated “If Trump forces Muslims to register then Jews ought to register with them cause Jews know what its like!!”.  I didn’t read the article.  But yah, thats helpfull for actually getting things done…….

In other news my work got in their first delivery of live Christmas Trees on Tuesday.  I came home from work covered in pine sap, pine needles, and swearing about my new dept head (its not going well, but I finally remembered him from my previous time of employment with the company, short form, I’m now carrying solely purple and pink pens on the sales floor and it’ll be interesting to see how long it’ll take him to notice).  Along that note: I know that the big box store with the orange aprons advertises that they carry fresh cut Christmas trees that are delivered regularly.  But the reality is (at least here in Upstate NY) that they get a couple deliveries the week before Thanksgiving and that’s it.  By the time you’re buying that live tree a week or so before Christmas that tree has been cut for over a month……

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The aftermath

Posted November 10, 2016 By Ruth

My FB feed is full of people FREAKING OUT, cause Trump won and that means that the racists bigots EVIL won and we’re going to all get put in concentration camps and DIE.

Many of these are the same folks who posted meme’s to the effect of “if you’re voting for Trump just unfriend me now” and “only racists vote for Trump” and so on.

People, just stop freaking out.  Spend some time learning just what exactly the President can and can’t do, legally.  Spend some time taking a closer look at your friends and co-workers, Trump didn’t win out of a vacuum.  It is extremely likely that a noticeable percentage of people you know voted for him.  Were they racists or bigots before they voted for him?  Did they sympathize and support you while you struggled with something?  Why do you think they’re going to be different now?

When you were 5 years old, and you called someone a poopyhead and threatened to not be their friend anymore, did it fix the problem?  So why do you think calling people names and placing labels now, and threatening to not have anything further to do with them, now that you’re an adult, is going to change things now?  Infact, stop and think for a minute what your response tends to be when someone calls you names.  I managed to not say that on FB in response to some of those memes, the restraint was hard to come by.

I’ve posted several links on here detailing why such a large percentage of the US was going to end up voting for Trump.  And the reality is that racism, bigotry, and his stupidity about women, didn’t really have much to do with it.

And really, if it’s wrong to vote for Trump solely because he’s a male going up against a female, then it was wrong to vote for Hillary solely because she’s a female going up against a male.  And telling me that I should have voted for her because I’m female and she’s female and “FEMALE PRESIDENT!!!!!” isn’t going to change my mind on that either.

I have to admit that a large portion of my feelings on the matter follow along this line:

I’m also seeing a lot of liberals this morning talking about how now is the time for reconciliation and “reaching across the aisle”. Ha! Remember when Obama got in, and “Elections have consequences”, and he had a “mandate” and you shoved Obamacare down America’s throats even though a lot of us didn’t want it? Yeah… It is probably going to be like that……..

All that stuff I’ve heard over the last few years about the OBSRUCTIONIST republicans blocking your sainted president from doing what he wanted? No shit. That’s how our government works. Now that the shoe is on the other foot, and there is a president who wants to do stuff you don’t like, you’re going to expect the people you voted for to try and stop him. And then Trump will probably still cram through some Executive Orders you don’t like. Yep. We know exactly how that feels.

On that note, this is why if the idea of an executive power in the hands of That Other Asshole terrifies you, maybe then the executive shouldn’t have that power at all. Because eventually The Other Asshole Team is going to win, and do to you, what you did to them.

So liberals, remember laughing off and excusing things like Fast & Furious or the IRS targeting political opponents? Oh, silly republicans, the president has a phone and a pen and shut up! Uh huh… That kind of behavior seems terrifying now that somebody like Trump has it, doesn’t it?

Serves you right.

But all of us need to remember this:

This is not the end of political or electoral history. To put Trump’s victory in context, reflect for a moment how often you’ve been told that some election result shows a sea change in American politics. 1994 was the “year of the angry white man,” touted as a new wave of white conservative power thwarting Democratic choices. Ask Bob Dole how that turned out. 2000 and 2004 were the years of “permanent Republican majority,” sold as another end to Democratic chances. That lasted into Obama’s victory in 2008, sold to us as the crest of a demographic wave that would crush the Republican party. Apparently not.

“This is the hugest change ever” is popular with media and pundits. It gets clicks. It hasn’t been true so far…….

Our values endure: Our values do not die just because you might interpret an election as rejecting them (more on that later). You don’t hold on to your values because they’re popular, you hold onto them because they’re right and just and they make you who you are. America’s history is full of popular fidelity to our stated values ebbing and flowing, and of Americans stubbornly holding on to those ideas in the dark times…….

We must be prepared to fight against policies that conflict with our values. But that requires, first, some soul-searching about what those values are, whether we have already compromised them, and whether we have been effective and credible advocates for them. The rule of law, the equality of all people (feeble or powerful) before that law, freedom of thought and speech and worship, strict limits on the power of the state over the individual — those are a few I care about. I’ve been arguing for a while that neither major American party is a reliable friend to those values. It may be a little late to speak out for them if we stood by while “our team” demeaned them. But as I believe in grace and redemption, I believe in the possibility of a renewed commitment to values and a new fight for them……

Third, it might be a good time to reflect on how we talk about race, gender, and sexuality. Trump struck a chord by fighting “political correctness.” I’ve argued that blasting political correctness often involves whinging that we can’t act like a dick without being called a dick any more. But it would be foolish not to inquire why Trump’s message resonated. The steadily growing social consensus against bigotry is a good thing. But people are flawed — okay, people are assholes — and the consensus gets twisted and distorted and expressed in foolish, counter-productive ways. Some of America’s admirable opposition to bigotry has been filtered through human frailty to become obnoxious, counter-productive, petty, and sanctimonious, an obsession with form over substance. I’m not saying you shouldn’t explain what pronouns you prefer. I’m suggesting that maybe the way you convey the message might have an impact on your audience’s receptiveness to other messages. It’s just possible that “we’ll grind these bigots under our heel until they talk right” is ineffective and might actually be more about our character flaws than winning. I’m saying there may be a better way.

Go read both.  Take the time to read the links out, especially the ones from Popehat.  Stop freaking out.  Stop calling people names.  Stop it.  If you don’t like it, then fix it.  Screaming about how “the other side is going to kill us” isn’t going to do it.

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New kitchen floor

Posted November 9, 2016 By Ruth

Yesterday we spent the day with the TV off, and ignoring social media as best I could.  Today, once I’ve finished my morning rounds, I’ll be doing the same.  And I expect to do the same for the rest of the week at least.  America, you did this to yourself, and that’s without even taking into account the media bias in the reporting.  Add in the media bias, and yup, America you did this to yourself.  I have zero interest in watching the world go up in virtual, mental, and likely real, flames as the media believing sheep (on both sides) prove themselves unable to cope.

Last winter we had to replace the vinyl at the front entry way after Arty shredded it in a fit of separation anxiety.  Looking back it looks like I never posted about that, ooops.

Old vinyl:

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New peel and stick tiles:

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We decided that it was so easy to put down, and looked so much better than the old, that we ought to redo the kitchen and back entryway in it.

I managed to get the back entry and laundry area done back in February or so, but then life intervened and we’ve been living with vinyl in the kitchen that had been shredded at one edge and wasn’t in good shape to begin with.

With my parents due out to visit the week after Thanksgiving I decided I needed to finish the kitchen floor.  So yesterday, after a trip out to vote, we got busy.

Old:

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And new:

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I still have to finish the trim of course.  And unlike the smaller areas I had some issues with tile creep.  I didn’t notice till I was done, but even though I was trying hard to keep the tiles well butted against each other, some fairly noticeable gaps have formed between tiles in several spots.  A bit of research says that there’s a couple options for filling these gaps, next time I work I’ll look at the options and decide which one will work better for me.

Overall I’m happy with it though.  It looks WAY better than what was there.  And unlike sheet vinyl, if an area is damaged I can just pull up the damaged tile or tiles and replace them.  AND I have two full extra cases of tile for exactly that reason, AND it was on clearance so it was 50% off when I bought it.

By the way, the trick to pulling up the old vinyl easily and quickly?  Heat!  The recommended form is either a heat gun or a wallpaper steamer, but I improvised.  A couple old towels folded into quarter sized, with not quite boiling water poured over them.  If you pre-score the vinyl into sizes just a hair smaller than the folded towel, then lay the hot towel on the area for a minute or so, flip the towel to the next area, and the heated spot will pull up with almost no fuss and bother.  I had a couple stubborn spots I had to scrape, but by using heat I had the entire kitchen floor bare in about an hour.  Just keep your towel less than dripping wet so you don’t damage your subfloor, alternate between towels, when one starts to cool down to much toss it in the dryer to suck out the extra moisture till you need it again.

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General updates

Posted October 27, 2016 By Ruth

I may be, finally, done with the whole sinus infection thing for the season.  Cross your fingers for me!

Work…..well, the Department Supervisor I was previously griping about has moved along.  Which is cool.  But it meant they had to find a new one.  Three people within the company applied, two from my store and a 3rd from another nearby store.  1-guy with previous department head experience, ran the receiving dept like a champ, doesn’t take shit, GETS THINGS DONE, but also can be abrasive to deal with as a fellow employee (though every customer interaction I’ve seen him deal with he was always polite).  2-woman currently working in the paint department, has previously worked in the garden department, zero department head experience, occasionally a bit of a flake.  3-current MET team member from a nearby store (not going to try to explain that, but it means he hasn’t actually worked in an actual store department in 8 or 9 years but technically has some department head “privileges”), previous garden department experience from before he joined MET, no actual department head experience.  My vote was candidate 1.  They hired candidate 3.  On first impression he seems like a nice enough guy……and if he makes it TO next summer, much less THROUGH next summer, I’ll be very surprised.  Yay.

In addition, one of the full time employees in the department is having some personal issues that have devolved into legal issues, and I knew from personal conversation with her that it was coming to a head this week and that management had approved her taking the week off on short notice.  I don’t have a problem with that and I’m crossing my fingers for luck and doing my best to offer friend support during the whole mess.  However as a department employee I’d expect management to have done SOMETHING to inform the department (at bare minimum our new department head) that we’re going to be short a person all week.  They don’t have to explain anything, “personal emergency” covers it just fine.  I had forgotten that her whole mess was this week, till Monday afternoon at work when I couldn’t find her, and the dept head didn’t know if she’d come in, and I paged her, and got a call back from management telling me that “she’s out sick”.  I asked said manager if she’d let the dept know we were short a person?  “Well no, but she was sick…..”(no she wasn’t, but really? can’t you at least take the 30 seconds to call the dept and let us know we’re going to be short a person?? Arg.  I managed to not actually SAY that…..).  This particular assistant manager is new to this store (as of this summer) but this sort of thing is standard to most of the managers in this store.  Only one is good about letting the department know that she just took a call out call.

Yesterday at work I was having a bit of day myself.  On top of being short a body in the department I managed to whack my head on a ladder about an hour into my shift.  I’m fine, and knew I was fine then, but went in search of an ice pack in hopes of stemming the goose bump.  The Store Manager caught me with it and freaked out cause I’d hit my head at work.  I managed to convince her I was fine, but promised to not drive the forklifts for the day (not that I’d planned to, having the forks in the air and discovering I was dizzy after all would have been a bad thing).  On an interesting note, the fact that I’d bumped my head and therefor might not be 100% managed to circulate through-out every member of management and dept head in the store within the hour.  Unlike when someone calls out…..

Have I mentioned that working retail sucks?

We finally got cold enough that the garden is done except for the broccoli that I tried to plant in the spring and just bolted instead due to the heat.  I’m leaving it alone for the moment, I want to see how tall it gets.  I actually got potatoes, I wasn’t sure I would since the plants almost all blighted fairly early in the season.  Course, most of them are tiny, and the ones that aren’t are either buggy or sprouting already…..I need to finish digging them up, and then I might just replant the sprouting ones to see what happens.

I found a hair dye that advertises to dye brunette hair purple (or blue depending on which box you buy) without needing to bleach first.  Its supposed to be a more subtle color, of course, than if you bleach first, but I’ve always  kinda wanted to dye my hair blue or purple……a check of the dress code at work shows that it doesn’t actually mention hair color…..I might have to see if I can get them to freak at me…….

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via Cracked.com

I’ll admit I’m a bit of a Cracked fan anyway, they’re usually vulgar, often funny, and not infrequently on point when it comes to their topic of choice.

I debated trying to post this on my Facebook page, I have A LOT of FB friends who are incredibly anti-Trump, to the extreme of posting (regularly) those memes that basically state that “if you’re voting for Trump, just unfriend me now”.  And this is by far one of the best explanations for why I see people voting for Trump (yes, there’s more to it than this, but as a basic explanation?  It’s pretty darn good.).  But in the end, I’m not sure it’s worth the effort, and I’ve put a lot of work into keeping my FB feed non-political.  Other than the occasional anti-both party meme’s I don’t post ANYTHING political.  Among other things I was raised to believe that screaming arguments over politics in public are impolite.  And this election in particular has brought out the screaming arguments!

And actually, though the point of the article was Trump, this does a pretty good explanation of why Hillary is as popular as she is too……

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General update

Posted October 12, 2016 By Ruth

I’ve spent the last few weeks dealing with sinus infections.  The first one wasn’t bad, I never even had to call out of work, and the antibiotic seemed to the job right quick.  Except I was constantly stuffy.  Which I didn’t immediately worry about, I do have allergies, then last week, wednesday, I suddenly had a bad sore throat.  Back to the doctor, on Thursday, by which time I had massive post nasal drip, sinus pain, and an elevated temperature not quite high enough to call a fever.  I’ve been calling out of work since.  Well, Monday I tried to go into work, I didn’t even make it through two hours before giving up.  Trying again today, wish me luck.

Monday night they were predicting a full frost, and infact we had freeze warnings for us and surrounding counties, so after a nap (after coming home from my aborted attempt to work) I went out and picked the large majority of hot peppers.

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There was just one or two.  That’s 99% of the remaining Jalapenos, and probably 90% each of the Habaneros and the Hungarian Hot Wax peppers.  I only picked the ripest of the Buena Mulatas though.  I had to then take one more of the garden before the frost hit:

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And one to document one more time the giant heights the Chocolate Habanero plants hit:

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I was also amused to discover that the watermelon plants were trying to revive themselves and even had a couple fist sized fruit on them.  I debated pulling out the frost blankets and trying to save them, but I doubt we REALLY have enough time left in the season to get those fruit grown and ripe, so I didn’t bother.

And we did indeed get a solid frost:

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At 8am, when that picture was taken, it hadn’t even burned off in the sunny spots.  The tomatoes and the watermelon did indeed not survive it.  However the hot peppers are all still going strong.  I’ve found that for what’s supposed to be a hot climate plant hot peppers in general have an incredible frost resistance.

I did find two more hibiscus plants (which I forgot to take a picture of, my excuse is I’ve been sick), both with flowers that are solid dark pink.  I planted them right with the planting of two of the bi-color hibiscus I planted previously.  The solid pink ought to set off the bi-color nicely.

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Clowns

Posted October 6, 2016 By Ruth

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Dog law in Montreal Canada, more than BSL

Posted September 29, 2016 By Ruth

Montreal Canada has just passed a new dog law that is getting a fair amount of attention in the dog world.

The large majority of the attention is due to the Breed Specific Legislation portions of the law.  And don’t get me wrong, BSL is fucking stupid.  And before someone trots out the “but pit bulls cause the most dog bites!!” trope do some serious fact checking.  What’s actually true is that the MEDIA says that pit bulls cause the most dog bites.  Which is like saying that the media says that all mass shootings are done with AK-47s.  And BSL is like trying to ban evil black guns cause of it.  Just like with every other breed and mix of dog (and “pit bull” isn’t a breed anyway) there are good dogs and bad dogs and dogs who attack other dogs and dogs who attack humans.  And thats without taking into account the number of dogs who are mis-identified as “pit bulls” under such laws.

Anyway, back on topic.

What’s getting overlooked in the fuss over the BSL is the rest of the law and how it’ll affect the rest of the dog owners in the area.  In a way I’m glad the folks who fight BSL were pay attention to this law cause otherwise it probably would have flown under the radar.

Text of the law.

But a quick summary of the rest of the law:

Authorities can enter your property without a warrant to seize your dog.  If you can’t fix whatever the problem was (and it looks like “fixing” means “paying lots of money to fines”) within 72 hours they’ll euthanize your dog.

If your dog kills an animal on their list (which includes rabbits, rodents, frogs, and toads) your dog can be euthanized.

If your dog is over 20kg in weight you have to walk your dog using either a harness or a head halter, you cannot walk your dog using only a collar.

Dogs cannot be walked by someone under the age of 18.

You cannot walk more than two dogs at one time without a special license, and you must have that license on you to be provided to authorities at their request any time you are out with the dogs.

You cannot OWN more than two dogs without a special license, and then the max limit is 3 dogs.

You cannot OWN more than 4 animals within a single household period.

You cannot allow your dog to drink or swim in public fountains or ponds.

The law requires mandatory sterilization of all cats and dogs.

The law requires mandatory microchipping of all cats and dogs.

Your dog or cat can be convicted of being a nuisance (and then euthanized) for barking or meowing at all.

If your dog gets into the trash (and the law does NOT specify that this is only in public, so in theory if your dog gets into your household trash this would apply) its considered a nuisance.

Feeding your dog, or playing with your dog with a toy (even a stick) in a public dog run while another dog is present is illegal (yes, its a bad idea, but that doesn’t mean that dogs should be euthanized for it).