Nothing Much Archive

Neighbors

Posted July 20, 2016 By Ruth

We’ve not gotten to know most of our neighbors well.  We have non-standard schedules, especially in comparison to most of our neighbors who work more traditional 9-5 type schedules.  Plus we’re both introverts.  Add in the large lot size that means that actually interacting with someone means going out of your way, and we mostly know our neighbors well enough to wave at, and thats about it.

The one exception is the couple in the property on our north side.  Older than my parents (I never asked ages, but they both retired a couple years after we bought the house, and I’m pretty sure they were past retirement age at that point and had been working part time to keep busy), but when we moved in, back in 2010, I’d have not called them elderly.  That has changed unfortunately.  One has had both knees replaced, the other both hips.  He’s had heart problems, and back problems, and kidney problems.  This summer their daughter has been doing most of the yard work for them, and roundly telling off her dad when she catches him doing something to strenuous.  Neither moves very well any more.

Sunday their house was quiet.  Not unusual, they have a trailer at a camp a few hours away and frequently go there for weekends, and the occasional weeks.

Monday it was still quiet, I wasn’t overly worried, though she usually lets me know when they’re going to be gone for a longer period so we can keep an eye on the house for them.

But Tuesday the driveway was full of cars, all day.

The kids’ cars.  All three of them.

Though all three kids, and families, are by frequently, having more than one on a weekday is unusual.  Combined with the oddly quiet house the day before I started to worry.  I hadn’t seen an ambulance, but that could just mean they hadn’t used sirens……

Tuesday evening she called me.

Saturday evening he’d been admitted to the hospital, for fluid in his lungs and kidney shut down, plus some additional symptoms.

Monday he’d had a massive stroke that basically destroyed his brain.

The funeral is Friday.

 

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We have a new neighborhood cat

Posted July 16, 2016 By Ruth

Got home from work yesterday, after stopping at the grocery store, and as I unpacked the car I left the back hatch open for easy access to the groceries.  This is pretty normal for me.  About the only thing I usually have to worry about is mosquitos.

After all the groceries were in the house I took a minute to unpack the cold stuff and get it into the fridge so that I could then take my little collapsable cooler back out to the car where I leave it.

Tossed the cooler into the trunk area, and slammed the hatch.

And immediately something started ping-ponging against the insides of the doors.  It was moving so fast I couldn’t even get a solid look at it and my first thought was that a squirrel had climbed into the car.

It finally stopped moving long enough for me to get a good look and I realized I was looking at a dark blue and white patterned cat.  Husband saw it wandering through the back yard a few days ago, but neither of us had seen it up close.

It was so freaked out that there was no way I was catching it.  I opened the back driver side door and it completely ignored the door to continue to ping-pong off every other surface.

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I eventually had to open BOTH back doors and the hatch before the completely freaked out cat could find an exit.

Looks reasonably well cared for.

I really wish the local folks would stop it with the “outdoor kitty” thing.  I’ve had to listen to more than one cat scream as its killed by the local wildlife.  Its really not my idea of fun.  We rarely see these outdoor cats for more than a couple months.  Then they disappear and we stop seeing them.  Not only do we have a fairly large amount of traffic in the area, we also have outdoor dogs in various yards, not to mention giant coyotes, foxes, fisher cats, mink, all of whom are capable of taking down your average cat.  These aren’t barn cats, who generally stay pretty close to their home turf.  These are someone’s pet who’s allowed to roam, and I really wish my neighbors would stop, essentially, feeding them to the coyotes.

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This heat is killing me

Posted July 6, 2016 By Ruth

Ok, not quite literally, but it’s definitely taking its toll.

Back over Memorial Day weekend I came way too close to heat stroke while working.  I’d been put on watering detail, and the sun beating on my head all day during the 90+ degree heat, for not quite 8hrs turned out to be too much for my system.  Despite me drinking water constantly.  I also picked up a nasty heat rash that took forever to go away.

I picked up a wide brimmed hat to stuff in my locker for when I’m put on watering duty, but I can’t find a hat that will actually stay on my head properly while I’m doing my normal job stuff, that also fits dress code, that offers enough protection from the sun.  A large portion of the problem is, admittedly, my hair, which I put up for work (not optional either, it IS getting worn up for work).  Any hat I can find that accommodates my hair doesn’t give me enough shade from the sun (and/or doesn’t fit dress code, which requires no logos other than the company’s).

I’ve mostly coped by trying to stay out of the sun for extended periods as much as possible, but sometimes that doesn’t help enough.

Monday, July 4th, I spent the afternoon outside (thankfully mostly in the shade) helping straighten and clean up and restock the gravel aisle.  And I just couldn’t manage to drink enough to stay properly hydrated.  By about 4:30 I had a serious headache, and by the time I left at 6pm I came home and essentially collapsed.

Yesterday, Tuesday the 5th, by the time I’d been at work for a couple hours (a large portion of which was outside and in the sun) my head was pounding and I was dragging.  I KNOW I wasn’t functioning on all cylinders, in retrospect I was making several (potentially major) mistakes.  By 1:30 or so I realized how bad it was and informed management that I was going home.

Today my head is still not happy, and just taking the dogs out for a quick potty run is enough to make me feel like I’ve been beaten and dragging.

I don’t normally struggle so much in the summer, but we also don’t normally get this kind of heat so constantly till later in the summer.  I just can’t seem to get adapted this year……

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Meant to post this yesterday

Posted July 5, 2016 By Ruth

But I worked a full, and busy, shift and came home and crashed.

So, anyway, here’s one of my favorite renditions of our national anthem:

 

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Dealing with Deer Flies

Posted July 3, 2016 By Ruth

For those of you who’ve never had to deal with deer flies, they’re bigger than your average house fly, and are nasty blood sucking insects.  They HAVE TO have a blood meal in order to reproduce.  And their bites seriously hurt.  Closely related to the horse fly, but unlike horse flies, deer flies will buzz your head and shoulders instead of legs and body.  They suck.  Fly predators don’t work on them.  Fly strips don’t work on them.  As far as I can tell their only natural predator is some of the flying insect eating birds.  Most insect repellents don’t do a damn thing to them.

We’ve always had at least a few of them buzzing the property, but this year has been especially bad.  Walk out a door and instantly attract at least a couple.  Wearing a hat, and saturating yourself with a horse & rider horse fly repellent reduces it, but only by some.  It had become very difficult to work in the garden, or even do any yard work due to dealing with them.

So I started digging.  Found THIS, and THIS, and THIS.  And decided I was going to try building a Deer Fly Trap.

We still had the tops that we’d cut off the rain barrels, they’re bright blue.  I can get Tanglefoot easily enough.  So on the 29th I put this up:

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The only thing I had to buy was the Tanglefoot, totally worth trying.

Half an hour later, I stepped out my back door…..and didn’t get buzzed by a deer fly?  Wow, it can’t have started working that quickly, can it?

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Damn, maybe it can……

Picture taken on July 1st:

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They’re definitely only hitting the top of the trap.  Even the few caught on the sides are on the top half.  In addition the trap has only caught a couple non-deer-fly insects, and none of those are bees or other recognizable pollinators, which was my big concern with the concept.  Since putting out the trap the worst we’ve had to deal with is the occasional persistent deer fly.

So yesterday I picked up some bright blue spray paint (maybe a shade darker than the barrel, but it was the closest I could find), and sprayed an orange HD bucket blue.  Today I coated the bottom (now the top of the trap) with Tanglefoot, along with the top several inches of the sides, and put it out.

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A couple hours later and its already collected a good number of deer flies!

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Heat (rash)

Posted June 4, 2016 By Ruth

TMI warning…..

A week ago I almost collapsed from the heat.  Steps have been taken, not only by me but also by my work, as I wasn’t the only one to have issues (for the record, they were taking steps to prevent it prior too, but the insanity that is the Memorial Day weekend sales resulted in alot of distracted folks).

I spent a couple days not feeling right after that, but by this time I’m back to normal.  Well, mostly.

I also picked up a case of heat rash that day.  In the fold of the hip between hip and crotch.  I’ve had it there before (not frequently, but if I’m going to get heat rash thats the spot), so I picked up a bottle of baby powder on the way home and reminded myself to use it regularly.

A week later and the heat rash is still here.  And I’m not a happy camper.  Even if I manage to stay inside for the majority of my workday I still sweat quite a bit at work.  Its the nature of the job.  And the rash has turned outright painfull.

Yesterday I finally gave in and picked up a package of boyshort style undies to wear for a while.  I dislike the style immensely, but any underwear with an elastic band around the hip is irritating the rash further.  I may actually have to see a doctor for this one……

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……but I don’t think I’m quite up to capturing my own swarm yet!

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In a baby pine just over the line onto my neighbor’s property.  Who is, of course, out of town this weekend.  If the swarm is still there tomorrow I’ll try her cell phone and get permission to call a bee-keeper to remove it!

Update: swarm has been removed, I took a video, but its a HUGE file…..not sure uploading it is going to happen!

Healing nicely

Posted May 22, 2016 By Ruth

See here for a description of the incident.

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The Nexcare bandages worked awesome.  Except that the 2nd day (Friday) of wearing one, two hours after putting it on, I had to pull it back off because it was causing my arm to itch unbearably.  That day I wore one of the Curad bandages for the remaining couple hours of my shift with no obvious problems.  They might not be technically waterproof, but they did a perfectly fine job at sticking to my skin and keeping things clean.  The 2nd day (Saturday) I wore the Curad bandages however things didn’t go quite as smoothly.  I made it through the 8hr shift with it on, but the above picture is what my arm looked like after pulling it off.  This morning that irritated red area has evolved into rash bumps.

*sigh*

So basically either bandage is fine for short term use, but once again for any situation where I’ll need to keep a wound covered for an extended period of time I’ll have to come up with another solution.  Dammit.

At least I don’t work again till Tuesday, so I can leave it bare for a while and hopefully the rash will be gone by then…..

Did you know drill bits are sharp?

Posted May 19, 2016 By Ruth

I KNEW, but somehow I’d never put that into context with human skin.

Ooops.

Yesterday I was attempting to drill out the holes for the hose hookup and over-flows in my new rain barrels.  Discovered that the 3/4″ bit was just a bit too small, and the 7/8″ bit was just a bit too big.  But in the process had a bit of a error……

In the process of drilling I had apparently not tightened the drill down to hold the 7/8″ bit properly and when I went to pull it out of the hole, I apparently did so at a slight angle, and the bit got stuck in the hole and came free from the drill.

Muttering rude words at myself I braced myself with my right hand and yanked the drill bit with my left.

I spare you a picture of the un-bandaged cut, but I promise no stitches were required, luckily.

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Basically I managed to take off a nice layer of skin for close to three inches down the inside of my lower arm.  Missed, or didn’t go deep enough to hit, everything important there.  And yes, I’m up to date on my tetanus shot.

Washed it out, slathered on antibiotic cream, and Band-aids (yes, brand name ones, I have horrid reactions to the adhesives commonly used in such and the brand name ones are usually marginally less likely to cause me to break out in a rash).  And remembered that I was scheduled to work a full shift at work on Thursday (today as I’m typing).

See, big box stores like the one I work for try really really hard to be as clean as physically possible, but in reality are actually really dirty places.  ESPECIALLY when you have saws of all sorts running, and carry dirt and chemicals and all sorts of other things for sale.  Never mind the occasional bird in the rafters.  Which, btw, means bird shit on (and occasionally in) boxes.  Trying to keep everything spotless in a situation like that would require a literal army of cleaners who were willing to climb into the stacks, 20ft up, and wipe down everything almost daily.

Its hard enough trying to keep your average papercut from getting infected in that sort of environment.  Something like this?  Crap.  Digging through the first-aid kit I discovered a rather major failing.  I have regular Band-aids in all sorts of sizes and shapes.  I have telfa pads, gauze, medical tape, and vet wrap.  But I didn’t have any big bandages of an appropriate size to cover this sort of scratch without having to wrap my whole arm.  And since I’d rather NOT go into work looking like an attempted-suicide survivor the whole gauze and vet-wrap option wasn’t my first choice.

So I got in the car and drove to the local pharmacy to look at bandaging options.  Discovered that “x-large” does NOT mean the same thing from brand to brand.  While the over-all bandage sizes were all within 1/2″ of each other, the actual portion that covers the injury varies by AT LEAST that much in size.  My little scratch there was long enough that I had to pick and choose to find something that’d cover it all the way.  The Band-aid brand ones weren’t going to work.  Crap.

Nexcare’s waterproof bandages in xlarge were big enough, and sealed all the way around so that hopefully I’ll be less likely to get grime into it.

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And maybe, just maybe, I won’t have to explain to everyone that, no, actually, I wasn’t trying to commit suicide with a drill bit…..

But just in case I also bought a box of Curad’s Performance Series xlarge bandages in “assorted colors”.  Maybe a bright purple bandage will freak people out less.

 

*all products mentioned in this post were bought by me for me

Snake

Posted May 3, 2016 By Ruth

I keep forgetting to post this.  Apollo found  this fellow for me a couple weeks ago.  I have been assured that it really is a garter snake despite the lack of stripes.  Not sure I’ve seen one this strikingly marked before.

 

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