Nothing Much Archive

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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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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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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General update

Posted September 26, 2016 By Ruth

We came within a couple degrees of a frost over the weekend, but got lucky, so the garden still grows.

Since I’ve already got 15 quarts of tomato sauce stored away I decided to smoke half the tomatoes to go into the next batch, I figure if we hate it we’ll still have plenty left of the normal kind.  I’ve basically stopped picking tomatoes, there’s going to be a million volunteer plants next year, but I managed to totally overwhelm myself with tomatoes this year…..

Hot peppers are still going strong.  The Buena Mulatas would make a very pretty decorative landscaping plant if anyone was so inclined.

I picked a total of 5 pumpkins this year.  I haven’t had a chance to process any of them yet, but a couple are pretty big.

My supervisor at work is on her way out, I forget when she said her last day is, but its only a couple weeks.  Now the wait to see who they put in her place.  I know who I’d like to see in the position, but only time will tell.

Arty has managed to get into something he’s allergic too, he’s got a nasty raw itchy spot on his belly.  I noticed a week or so ago that he was itchy, and gave him a bath.  Extra itchy isn’t unusual for him this time of year, he goes through a shed period now, but I was keeping an eye on him just in case.  The bath seemed to help a little, but not as much as I’d hoped.  Then yesterday he was rolling in something (dammit dog, do you want another bath!!) when I noticed the raw spot on his belly.  So we’re off to the vets in a bit to make sure its not bacterial or something.

Otherwise there’s not much going on here right now, normal fall-winter prep stuff.  We’ve managed to not have to kick on the furnace yet, but I’m not sure that’s going to last much longer.

RSS feed/blogroll updates

Posted August 31, 2016 By Ruth

When I originally put together this page I hacked together a makeshift set of blogroll pages rather than have the list taking up space in the side bars. It worked surprisingly well considering that my PHP knowledge is basically nonexistent. But it’s always had some issues. Among other things, it’ll randomly decide to just not load this or that feed. And when that happens that entire webpage disappears from the blogroll.  Since this leaves me with no way to tell what the problem is (did a link change?  is the RSS down? ) its not cool.

I’ve wanted, for a while, to find a better way to do it, but none of the WordPress blogroll plugins seemed to do what I wanted. Then yesterday I found a plugin by the name of YARSS (Yet Another RSS plugin). Had a minor spot of trouble getting it going, but the guy who programmed it in the first place included his email in the readme and was kind enough to respond to my emails and help me figure out the coding problem. Thanks Alex!

So I’ll be switching those blogroll pages over to the new format over the week or so.  Not sure if anyone besides me actually uses them, if so, be patient with me as I fiddle.

And if anyone reading this is looking to build an RSS feed, either as a page, or as a widget, I can recommend YARSS.  Although you can customize quite a bit by fiddling with the code, you don’t have to in order to use it.

Doctors

Posted August 21, 2016 By Ruth

Speaking of my hands, as I was last post, reminded me that I hadn’t updated.

So, first off, the symptoms in my hands: General joint soreness and stiffness in basically every joint of the hand and wrist.  Stabbing burning pains in the thumb knuckle closest to the palm of the hand (technically the middle joint of the thumb).  This is the same for BOTH hands, though my left is worse, possibly because the pain is worse when I’m attempting to do things requiring either fine motor control and/or extended hand-strength grip and I tend to be right handed and so hold things with my left.  I’ve recently noticed some issues with extension of the pointer finger (right hand), notably when I’m typing.  Its really obvious when I’m typing and I’m constantly struggling to hit certain keys anyway.

So, I have now seen a total of four doctors (besides my primary care doc) in an attempt to figure out whats going on with my hands.

The first was a hand & nerve reconstruction specialist, back in 2009, who told me it wasn’t ligament or tendon damage, and since my bloodwork was normal it wasn’t rheumatoid.  He said it was probably the sort of thing that happens when you abuse your joints the way I have.  Basically mild arthritis.

The second doctor was the first rheumatologist (2015).  Who decided that even though my bloodwork was normal, once they compared xrays to the 2009 ones he decided that there was signs of bone erosion (which means rheumatoid) in most of the joints of both hands.  But then declined to discuss it.

The second rheumatologist did more bloodwork, said there’s no way its rheumatoid, your blood work is to normal.  It’s probably the sort of thing that happens when you abuse your joints.  I’ll send you to an ortho hand specialist, maybe he can find something that’ll help you.

The ortho specialist looked at everything, poked at my hands in various spots, asked me more questions.  He said there’s some mild arthritis buildup in the joint at the base of the thumb (this joint is basically at the wrist, in case you were curious), but nothing that would explain my symptoms.  But gosh, it sure sounds like rheumatoid, are they SURE you’re not rheumatoid?  After some additional discussion he prescribed some braces that support the thumb joints on the theory that it wouldn’t hurt and might help.

So thats where things currently stand.  Two votes for “the sort of thing that happens when you abuse your joints” and two votes for “are they sure you’re not rheumatoid?”.  Sigh.  I’ve got an appointment to see the rheumatologist in another 6 months, just to make sure nothing changes.  The braces do seem to help, at least a little, with the pain in my thumb joint, so I guess thats not a waste.  It’d probably help if I wore them more, but I’m still getting used to them.

As for my ankles.  The orthotics, once I got used to them, made a significant difference in the amount of pain I was in.  I’m not going to say I was pain free (cause I wasn’t) but the difference was night and day.  For the first two months.  Three months after getting the orthotics I realized the pain in my ankles was increasing again.  Three months is an awfully short period of time to have worn out the orthotics, especially since I’m rotating between two pairs.  In addition I started having issues with my left knee (which is the weak one anyway due to prior issues).  When I started wearing a support brace on that knee, stabilizing it, I found myself rolling my left foot/ankle outwards.  All of which makes me suspect that I need higher arch supports.  I have an appointment this week with the ankle specialist, so we’ll see what he says.

We’ve had a painfully hot and dry summer this year.  The region (a lot of it technically a flood zone and/or with high water table) has been pushing drought.  Water restrictions have been popping up, and at least one area announced that if we didn’t get rain soon they were going to run out of water in their reservoir.

Normally we have a soaking wet spring, that only marginally dries out for the early summer.  I might have to start watering in July, and almost definitely will by mid-August, but rarely earlier than that.  Last summer was a bit screwy that way too, but not this bad.

This year?  If it wasn’t for the rain barrels and the soaker hoses my garden would either be D-E-D dead or we’d have one hell of a water bill from all the running of the sprinkler.

So now it’s mid-August.  EVERYONE I talked to said they figured our chances of serious rain in August is pretty darn small.  Maybe in September.

But apparently mother nature isn’t done screwing with us.

Saturday evening a line of thunderstorms roared through.  No actual tornadoes that I’m aware of, but plenty of damage without them.  Plus at least an inch of rain.

Here’s today’s radar weather map as of 8:30am:

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We’ve had a nice little sprinkle of rain this morning.  But they’re talking violent thunderstorms and even possibly tornadoes for later today.

We lost power here Saturday evening for a couple hours, but were lucky and got power back before bedtime.  An awful lot of folks didn’t.

Looking at this and I’m seriously considering telling Husband we’re buying a generator today, my work has a bunch……..

(yes, we need a generator regardless, but for various reasons we’ve let it sink down the “really ought to buy now” list……)

Pools and hot tubs and choices

Posted August 9, 2016 By Ruth

When we bought our house Husband was delighted that it came with an (above ground) pool.  He used to love swimming as a kid and was delighted at the prospect of being able to do so at home.  Personally I’ve never been much of a swimmer.  I can keep my head above water and work my way from point A to B, but thats about all I can claim.  And I’ve never been much for floating around on a pool floaty either.

Reality of course quickly turned into him swimming a few times in the summer and that was it.  Its not a heated pool so its not useable once winter sets in.

Lack of maintenance on our part has resulted in the pool not being useable these last couple years.  The pool needs a new liner (the old one is so far beyond repairable its not funny), Husband says he’s not sure the filter’s 100%, and with us not getting the liner repaired right, the more I look at the whole thing the more I think its going to take more work just to get the new liner in than he thinks.

Course, getting everything fixed is likely to be several hundred $.  And money, while not tight, hasn’t been plentiful either.  What we have had to spare has been going to far more important projects (like the whole deck problem last fall).

This past year (as I’ve griped on more than a few occasions) has seen an increase in my joint problems.  Heat application helps with quite a bit of the pain and stiffness.

Enter my Inlaws.  Several years ago they got lucky in a lottery draw done by a local pool & spa place and won a 6 person hot tub.  It was installed in their front porch, used several times by the entire family during that first year.  And is now just gathering dust and piles of stuff without having been used since.

I’ve been trying to convince Husband that what we really need to do is pull down the remains of the pool, pour a slab, and convince his parents to give us the hot tub (not likely to be an issue, when taken into consideration with some other things).

Course, getting it from there to here, and then properly installed here, might be a bit interesting.  But I don’t see how it could be THAT much more costly than fixing the pool.  We could toss a tent of some kind over it for the first winter, and next  year I could build my ideal greenhouse on the slab, surrounding the hot tub, to make it better for winter use AND a place to grow my seedlings in the spring.  Perfect!

Husband, of course, isn’t quite convinced……..

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.