Rants Archive

Garden update, and a small outburst…..

Posted August 28, 2015 By Ruth

Another $3 or so of tomatoes

Say another $6 of hot peppers

Another two cantaloupes

Another Early Moon Watermelon

Two more Charentais

A million (only slightly an exaggeration) Rattail Radishes

 

 

Oh  yah.  If/when you do home additions, major repairs, deck building etc, I don’t care how far out in the middle of nowhere you are.  Please check building codes.  They’re there for a reason.  Even if enforcement doesn’t care about your area its very likely that the folks who live in your house after you will care ALOT when they discover stuff that’s not up to code.

And while we’re at it, nails are not appropriate for attaching a deck to a house (regardless of what your code says).  And if the deck is supposed to be “only temporary” then damn well reveal that fact to the folks buying the house.

We’re all fine, but the bank account is taking another hit.  And it could have been ever so bad.  So please.  Please.  Please.  Check building codes!  (and get permits, if only so that the folks after you can tell if you put in proper footers under that slab without having to break it up cause you didn’t follow code with anything else so why should we expect footers??)

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Frustrated

Posted August 10, 2015 By Ruth

I’ve held off posting about this, cause it made me so frustrated…..

When we bought our house there was approx 20ft of mature daylilies growing on our side of the road side ditch.  A question to the seller confirmed that although the town mowed the ditch here they didn’t care about our side of it, even though legally they could.

Over the last couple years I’ve been adding to that line of daylilies.  That area is a pain to keep trimmed and the mature lilies do an awesome job at keeping down the weeds on the ditch-side.  Resulting in about 40ft of daylilies on my side of the roadside ditch.

A week ago, last Monday, I came home from work to discover that the town had been through and mowed the ditch.  Which was fine and normal.  Except that this time they’d also used an extended arm mower to mow the first 2-3feet on my side of the ditch.

KIMG0191 KIMG0197 KIMG0198

 

To say I was peeved would be putting it mildly.  But I took a deep breath and reminded myself that they have the legal right to do it.

Tuesday morning I called up the town’s Highway Dept Supervisor to ask if they were supposed to be mowing on my side of the ditch?  The answer is apparently no!  They’re only supposed to be mowing on that side of the ditch if its a visibility problem, such as at an intersection.  So I advised the supervisor of what had happened, and that in addition to taking down my daylilies they’d also taken the cap off of the water shut-off.  He promised to have a word with the mower driver, and that the town would be out to replace the cap on the shut-off.  Though they haven’t been out yet and I may need to call him again.

On my way to work that Tuesday I paid extra attention to the roadside of the rest of the road.  I’m hoping the supervisor got a few more phone calls.  There are daylilies missing in several places along the property owners’ side of the ditch.  And in one case, one homeowner had planted daylilies to edge his driveway and the first 3 feet of daylilies along both sides of the driveway are now stubs.  I’m thinking that someone doesn’t know what daylilies are……

The good news is that, at least on my property, the mower was mostly a couple inches above the dirt level, and so there’s a couple inches stub of at least some of the daylily plants, and so all of those plants should survive the experience.  However there are several places where the mower clearly hit dirt.  Plus I can’t find stubs for many of the newer plantings (he even mowed down the metal stakes I was using the mark them!), so I’m not sure how they’ll do.  Regardless though they likely won’t come back as full as they were, as it takes time for that sort of growth to appear.

A week later and the whole strip like still looks murdered and dead.  Though I’m sure the weeds will be shortly taking advantage *sigh*……..

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Arista Power-review in progress

Posted July 30, 2015 By Ruth

I’m a little frustrated so bear with me.

Back in 2012 we had solar panels installed.  Arista Power, out of Rochester NY, was the installer.  Admittedly likely not who we’d have chosen had we done the picking, solely due to the fact that there are closer installers, but we were getting the panels done via a Solarize program and weren’t given a choice.  Despite that fact the install was done smoothly and we were quite happy with the whole process and the installing company.  Everyone was professional, great to work with, courteous of us and our dogs, and the equipment has functioned perfectly since.

I had a brief contact with Arista’s Installation Coordinator a year ago (March 2014), a check up on the system and to find out how much power it had produced.

Monday, July 20th, 2015, Monday of last week, I received a letter from NY state advising us that we were being audited for claiming the solar system on our taxes.  Not a particularly huge surprise, the system had resulted in a huge refund for us that year.  But frustrating since it was 3yrs after the fact.  Especially since I’d swear I included all of the requested paperwork with our taxes.  But I sat down and started digging through files to find stuff.  Found most of it, but came up short on a couple pieces, one of which turned out to be mis-filed and I eventually found it.  The other piece I needed is proof of how much we paid the installers.  A phone call to the auditor’s office confirmed that an invoice from the installer showing that we paid X amount on X date would be sufficient.

In the week and a half since then I have emailed Arista, both via the individual email address I had from when the install was done, and via the “contact us” on their web page.  I’ve left three voicemails, one on the voicemail of each of the two people I had contact with as part of the install and one on in the general mailbox.  I tracked down the names of their executive team and sent emails to what should be their email address (one of which bounced, but the others appear to have gone through no problem).  

I have received zero response.

This morning I filled out the “I want a quote” form, we’ll see if that nets me anything.

I realize this is their busy season, but in this day and age email and voicemail can be checked from any location (and I know from chatting with both the sales guy and the install guy that they DO check them from anywhere).  Even if they don’t have a secretary to man the front desk and handle basics in the office, and I can’t imagine they don’t have someone in the office to handle that sort of stuff.

My next step is to send a signature required return receipt letter to them, to see what that nets me.  And I’m seriously considering driving out there.

In the mean time we’re making progress on tracking down proof of payment ourselves.  Turns out part of the problem is that we had a different bank account then, which has since been closed.  I think we can track down the info ourselves just fine.

But this whole process is not giving me warm fuzzies about what’ll happen if we ever need repair work done.  Or if we have to replace the roof/shingles on the house for that matter, which will happen eventually, we’d need the installer to come out and remove the panels, and then put them back on after the roof is done.  And though I’m sure that any decent solar installer could manage the process I’d certainly prefer to have the original folks handling it.

Edit: The CEO finally contacted me Friday July 31st.  Now to see if they can produce the paperwork I need!

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Computer problems-Update

Posted July 26, 2015 By Ruth

Windows Defender was the cause of the problem.  I don’t even remember turning it ON, and I’d have sworn I turned it off.  So I’m pretty pissed.

So here’s your headsup.  If you’re having trouble connecting USB devices, or SD cards, etc, to your computer, disable Windows Defender completely!

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I’m having one of “those” weeks…..

Posted July 22, 2015 By Ruth

It could be ever so much worse, but still.

The last 5 days in a row we were predicted to get rain, potentially a lot of it.  We got a sprinkle once.  Looking at the weather map it looks like there were actually storms, but they ended up going around my immediate area somehow.  For 5 days in a row.  Now don’t get me wrong.  I’m thrilled that the yard has finally dried up enough for me to mow completely.  But it also means that I’m having to water the garden…..

Monday in particular was extra “interesting”. 

Monday we received a notice from the state that we were being audited due to our claim of getting solar panels put up in 2012.  We have 30 days to provide them with the paperwork to prove the claim or they’ll cancel the refund.  Never mind that I included copies of almost everything they’re requiring with the tax paperwork……So now we’re digging through files and muttering rude words as we discover that this or that piece of paper didn’t get filed properly.  We’ve got it all, but it’s still frustrating as heck.

After spending an hour digging through files and getting frustrated I went out to go spend an hour or so in the garden since I find that generally calming.  Keeping the volunteer clover from taking over is pretty much a constant chore anyway, and after the discovery of the giant zucchini hiding under the clover in that tire I’ve been trying to work my way around the various beds to at least thin the clover enough to be sure I don’t have to many other surprises waiting for me.  Everything was going smoothly till I grabbed a specific clump of clover in one of the cantaloupe tires.

There are yellow jackets nesting in that particular tire.  Under that specific clump of clover.  Immediately adjacent to a ripening pumpkin and a still growing cantaloupe.

And yup, I got stung.

Today’s Wednesday and I’m still swallowing the max dose of benadryl in order to keep the swelling down and itching from driving me crazy.

I hate using general insecticides in the garden.  I have, after much work, finally managed to have enough pollinators in the yard to ensure proper pollination of everything.  And the last thing I want to do is kill them.  But I’m not going to try to work around a nest of stinging insects either, even if we didn’t have family who’re allergic.  ESPECIALLY when the nest is immediately adjacent to two growing fruits that will have to be picked before TO much longer.  I picked up a bottle of concentrated permethrin, and have already treated the nest area once.  I’m being extra careful to ensure it doesn’t get onto any flowers or the like, but I’m still not happy about it.

I’m just hoping the rest of the week goes a bit smoother…….

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New York is seriously considering a minimum wage hike, to $15/hour, specific to fast food workers.  

The theory is that if minimum wage is raised for one portion of the employed people in the state, the rest of the minimum wage paying businesses will be forced to follow.

*pounds head into wall*

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Dogs in Cars

Posted July 16, 2015 By Ruth

Yes, dogs die in hot cars.  And yes, there are climates where, for most of the year, even parking in the shade with the windows for just a few minutes down may not be enough to keep the dog cool enough.  And yes, they cook to death in the heat.

But lets clear a few things up.  Cause this is just ridiculous.

First off, dogs don’t suffocate in cars.  I have yet to see a single consumer vehicle that actually seals air tight.  Maybe some of the newest high end fancy cars with extra good sound insulation are (though I doubt it, cause what car maker wants to be sued because you suffocated in their car).  But certainly the average car on the road isn’t.  A dog in a car with the windows rolled up isn’t going to suffocate to death.  No matter what the weather conditions.

Second, even in the hottest climates in the USA, if the dog is in a car that has been left with the AC going the dog is not going to overheat.

And in much of the rest of the country, parking in the shade with the windows most of the way down is plenty on all but the insanely hottest of days to keep a healthy dog from overheating.

And if the car owner has put up shading and a fan and water then the dog is REALLY  not going to overheat.

Oh, and while we’re at it, “panting” alone is not a sign that a dog is overheating.  Yes, I know that the little blurbs that the media keeps putting out say that “panting” is a sign of overheating.  You know what?  They’re fucking stupid.  Dogs pant for MANY more reasons than just because they’re hot.  Stress or excitement can cause panting.  You coming over to pound on the window and stare at the dog could be enough to cause a sensitive dog to start panting.  And even it the dog is panting because its warm it doesn’t mean he’s overheating.  A dog who pops up to greet you isn’t overheating.  Even if he’s panting.  Even if he’s fussing at you.  A dog doesn’t sweat, he pants instead.  Just like us humans can be sweating (even sweating alot) without being in danger of heat stroke, a dog can be panting (even panting alot) without being in danger of heat stroke.

A dog who’s panting due to overheating is ALSO going to be flat on the floor or footwell of the car in the only shade he can find, and he’s NOT likely to pop to his feet to greet you.  A dog who’s panting due to overheating will ALSO be drooling excessively.

You know what causes a dog to crash suddenly from overheating?  Assholes who can’t mind their own business and so over-excite the dog by pounding on the window and calling the dog and exciting the dog to the point where he overheats himself in his excitement and crashes.  Yes, by repeatedly “checking on the dog” you could cause him to overheat and potentially die.  So back off asshole.

And third……I keep seeing it reported that there are 16 states where it’s illegal to leave your dog in the car.  Do any of those folks actually bother to READ the laws they’re reporting on?

In 15 of those 16 states the laws  specifically require that the dog be left in such a way that harm or death will result in order for it to be illegal.  And in case you somehow got to this paragraph without reading the above, no, leaving your dog in the car does not automatically sentence him to death.

The only state with laws specific to dogs in cars that doesn’t have that provision is Tennessee.  And even in Tennessee you’d better be willing to swear under oath that you believed the animal was in imminent danger of death.  Unfortunately there are idiots who think that any dog left in any car regardless of anything else is in danger, which makes laws like this one dangerous.  

Now, I keep seeing online commentary that there are individual cities with laws prohibiting dogs in cars.  I’ve yet to actually be able to find any such law.  Several have laws similar to the above mentioned 15 states, where leaving a dog in a car in a manner that will result in harm or death is specifically prohibited, but again that’s not the same thing.  Mind, apparently even some responding police seem to be unaware of the difference, but that’s what the laws state.

In addition, not one of these so-called rescuers seems to care what the impact of “being rescued” can have on the dog.  There are many many dogs who are not stranger friendly, or who will guard their owner’s car, or who will even bite when cornered.  And contrary to popular opinion many dogs don’t give a care what your intentions are, all they know is that some stranger just smashed the window and is now cornering them in the back of the car…..it’s only a matter of time before some “rescuer” is bitten in the process of trying to “rescue” a dog who doesn’t need it.  And in many many areas that bite is a death sentence for the dog.  Especially since it would be considered “unprovoked” in the minds of many people. 

Now sure, in an ideal world no dog would ever be left in a car unattended.  But even the best laid plans can fail, and a bout of diarrhea on the way home from a 45minute trip can require an emergency bathroom break.  And a 5minute sit in the car unattended is nothing compared to the benefits of being able to spend the rest of their day with their human in the minds of many dogs (and owners).  Have you ever gone to a canine sporting event?  Very few facilities have the space to allow indoor crating of every single dog participating.  Heck, if it’s an outdoor event there may not be ANY indoor crating space.  And yet the number of canine deaths from heatstroke at these events is astronomically tiny (and even then, it tends to be after the event, on the way home, that it’s an issue).  

So lets stop this hysteria, all its doing is harming the dogs and the responsible owners who are caring for them!

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Rain…..

Posted July 1, 2015 By Ruth

You know, when you talk about moving to central/upstate NY, everyone warns you about the snow.  Not only does the area get large total amounts of snow, but it gets lake effect snow, which is a special torture all of its own.

And a little research will tell you that the Syracuse area is one of the least sunny areas of the country.

Nobody tells you about the rain.  I suppose it ought to follow along with the previous two bits of trivia, but somehow it never does.

Its not till you move to the area that you learn that almost half of Syracuse is a flood zone.  They’re currently arguing with the Feds about whether those folks have to buy flood insurance or not.

That I81 itself floods to the point if not being drive-able, and if the rain is hard enough it’ll happen so fast you’ll end up stranded in the middle of it.  Seriously, go look at that picture.  Those cars didn’t drive into a “flooded road”, they were ON the road when it flooded.  To top it off various morons in charge want to turn I81 into a tunnel under the city.

We’re not quite breaking records for rainfall this month.  But we’re in the top 10.  There’s a reason my garden is all in raised beds.  My yard is a swamp.

I don’t want the drought conditions the west has, but I’d be happy if we could just have an average rainfall…..please!

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Economy…..

Posted June 27, 2015 By Ruth

Saw an article not to long ago (no, I didn’t save it, wasn’t intending to blog on it) about how even with the lower gas prices the general public wasn’t spending more money on “extras” than they were before.

They had a whole list of reasons as to why the author thought that was the case. 

But they missed the one I thought most obvious.

When gas prices skyrocketed, very shortly afterwards the prices on everything else started going up.  Meaning that consumers were not only paying for the higher gas prices at the gas pumps, but also at the grocery stores, and clothing stores…..

When gas prices came down (we dropped below $3/gallon for the first time in how many years??  Hell, I don’t think we’d even been below $3.25/gallon for that period!) nothing else dropped in price.

Husband and I did some math, and we’re saving, on average, about $20/car/fillup, which means about $40/week for the household.  Although we’d both noticed with delight the lower gas prices, neither of us noticed that $40 a week.  Not really.  It got added into the grocery and sundry budget before either of us so much as thought about it.  Hey, we can have a once a month ordered out pizza again!

Sure, $40 a week is $2080 a year.  Which I suppose has the potential to be a nice vacation or something.  But I’ve got far better things to spend that on.  Its not “extra money”.  And it’d take a hell of a lot larger savings at the gas pump (for a much longer period of time) before I’d even consider calling it that.

So, why am I blogging about this now?

Yesterday I bought sugar.  

I don’t buy sugar that often, infact its been a couple months since the last time I bought it.  The name brand stuff has been packaged as 4lb bags (instead of hte former 5lb bags) for a couple years now at least.  But the Wegmans brand sugar was still 5lb bags last time I paid attention to the label.

Yesterday, I noticed that the Wegmans brand sugar was packaged in 4lb bags, for just about the same price I remember paying last time I was sure it was a 5lb bag.  Now its possible it was like that last time I bought sugar and I didn’t notice.  But it hasn’t been like that for much longer than that, because I DO try to notice.

Not only are the prices on “other stuff” not dropping to match the gas prices, they’re still going up.

And “they” are wondering why we aren’t spending our “extra money” on things like big vacations……

Blanket Training……

Posted June 25, 2015 By Ruth

*sigh*

I try, hard, to stay away from “reality TV”.  Because if I watch even a few minutes of it I find myself wanting to give into the desire to smash the TV and pound my  head into a wall.

This means that I didn’t follow the Duggars either.  I knew who they were, couldn’t avoid that, but I otherwise tried hard to not pay much attention to them or their TV show.

Which means that when the publicity storm hit that the eldest son was a rapist, I took a deep breath and ignored it.  And when the fact came out that he’d been 14 at the time, and it was more like “force-able touching” than rape, and his parents hadn’t even gotten proper counseling for him or their daughters I did the same.

I wasn’t quite able to ignore their interview with whoever it was about the subject, and ended up reading the transcript of the interview.  Got very frustrated at the religious stupidity of people (“well, all of our friends’ sons did it so we figured it wasn’t a big deal” gggrrrrrr, no, it means you and your community FAILED MASSIVELY at teaching the moral/religious concepts you’re so proud of!), and then took another deep breath and turned in a different direction.  Adding my voice to the mess was pointless, I’m sure they’re ignoring the large majority of it anyway.

Two days ago THIS blog article popped up on my news feed.  Since it wasn’t immediately obviously attached to the Duggars and I was bored I clicked through.

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that thats a “thing” in the child rearing world.  Nor that certain strict thought processes insist that if the child isn’t happy they’re shaming their parents.

Look, I think the average teenager today has both too much freedom and not enough.  They lack learning in responsibility and consequences, and I dread the day that those kids are adults who are helping form the society for their kids.

I don’t have a problem with “place” training for dogs.  Which is likely what the “blanket training” is based off of.

Nor do I have a problem with a properly placed and timed swat on the rear of a misbehaving child.

But…..there’s a point at which things are taken to far……and the Duggars and others who follow those methods have found that point.