Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

On Groundhog Day

Saturday, February 2nd, 2019

Y’all have seen the movie, roight? I’ve seen it a few times.

I have probably written about this before but I lived a version of the Groundhog Day movie back in 2012 when The Commander got fed up with living and wanted out. Did I want my mother to die? Of course not! But she was not the mother I grew up with. She was not the mother I struggled with as a teenager (but who also supported me unconditionally). She was not the mother who doted on her grandchildren. She was not the mother who loudly told morbid stories while shopping at Planet Ann Arbor stores (flinging a dead porcupine into the swamp and Radical Betty’s friend dying on a hike in a Canadian national park and having to call the Mounties to get his body out). She was not the mother that I often called (as an adult) to shoot the shit and laugh (and kvetch) with.

End of life is no fun for anyone and mom’s last year was a pretty rough ride. We got her situated at a nice assisted living facility a half mile down the escarpment from her home (which she still owned). We hoped she would flourish at assisted living but various trips to the ER/ICU ensued and each one of those further degraded her well-being. She contracted c. diff during the last of those hoosegow stays and refused meds and food and NO! she did NOT want MEEEE to feed her! Sorry nurse but neither one of us love each other in quiiiite that way. We are independent women… Eventually we arranged for hospice care at her assisted living facility and every morning I hoofed it down there from her house (Squatter’s Paradise) for another day of hanging out with a woman who didn’t really want to live any more but was a bit too healthy to die. So awful but it also reminded me of the Groundhog Day movie.

Today the GG went hiking somewhere over in the west with his girlfriends. I was spacified. I walked, did chores, shopped for grokkeries, and prepped lasagnes for the GG to take up to Tahquamenon next weekend. And then, I found a new groundhog day type movie. Y’all have maybe heard of Russian Doll because it’s been hyped. I have watched two episodes of Russian Doll on my phone. Yes, on my phone. It’s on Netflix. I am enjoying it. I wonder if I can get the GG to watch it with me (on the TV).

It is 38 degrees here today. That is ABOVE zero! And I just saw a guy run by in shorts and a tank top…

Zero degrees and climbing

Friday, February 1st, 2019

We know two of the folks in the pic. The other person is selling Ground Cover newspapers. I have mixed feelings about the Ground Cover newspaper but I am not willing to go there tonight.

We have finally broken through the zero temperature ceiling. It was around zero when I went outside and faaaaared up the Ninja this morning. She was a wee bit hesitant at first but she powered through to a strong start. MMCB and I had postponed our coffee at Barry’s a couple times this week but we finally met today. The young woman who served me always remembers us and asked me if my vee-hickle had trouble starting today. No, although it was a little slow. It lives outside and is 10 years old. But… It is a Honda and Honda vee-hickles ROCK (and last forever). And then I volunteered that I had been telecommuting all week with a dern Pensioner haaaaannnnging around to boot. She asked if I had Cabin Fever. Yes yes yes. She said she had heard a lot of similar stories.

It was wonderful to get back to my work life in Cubelandia today. It was somewhere between 7 and 12 degrees when I got home this afternoon and began my schlep down to Oscar Tangolandia this afternoon. I managed it without either my Smartwool leggings (which ROCK) or YakTrax. In sunlight. In sunlight. In sunlight. Old Man Winter is in no way finished with us but the north shall rise again!

Last night the GG’s feet were like blocks of ice and he was congested. He was resisting putting socks on so I finally dragged a pair of smart wool socks outta the laundry basket and physically pulled them onto his feet. Jeebus! I do think he has socks on tonight.

Frost quakes?

Thursday, January 31st, 2019

This seems to be the decade of inventing new weather terms. Frost quake? I can’t remember exactly what it is (you can use The Google) but something like how all of the water in the ground suddenly freezes and makes a big booming noise. But check it out yerself if yer instristed.

I have telecommuted FOUR days this week and I am soooo over working from home with the GG hannnnnging around. You might guess I won’t be retaaaaaring any time soon. I actually wanted to schlep over to Cubelandia today but my phone proclaimed -22 when I woke up so I bagged out and so did *everybody* else.

There was also an alert on my phone about keeping the thermostat set at 65 or lower for anyone who could. It came from Consumers Power, which was *really* confusing because we get our gas from DTE. Turned out that a fire at some kind of Consumers natural gas facility was threatening to impact their ability to deliver natural gas and because (apparently) the grid is all interconnected, it was a statewide issue (or maybe just the lower peninsula). Our gal Gretchen (the governator) made her own plea. Anyone who *can* lower their thermostat without compromising their health *should* for the good of the wider community. I was happy with 65 or lower and definitely complied. One thing the FinFam is not short on is blankets, not that I needed one. In the end, GM and Chrysler agreed to shut down some auto plants for a few days and that will (hopefully) alleviate the issue so those who are fragile can stay warm.

Don’t mind the guy in the hat. It’s only Stormy Kromer in disguise and the hat was probably purchased to bug the heck outta yer fav-o-rite blahgger. Er, a woman who actually owns guns (by inheritance) but has never shot one of them and probably won’t unless Big Bugs from Zephron 3 try to take over the earth.

MoonX at the end of Cabin Fever

Wednesday, January 30th, 2019

I am not sure why we are so hyped up about minus nine degree temperatures. I remember that the Polar Vortex winter of 2014 had many many days with colder temperatures. I dunno what the wind chill was and I don’t really care. It WAS windy today. I made a quick trip over to the Plum and I pulled my smartwool leggings on over my tights (underneath my long wool skirt). I was warm enough and it was only about minus four at that time anyway.

But hype? Hmmm… So the schools were closed Monday, today, and tomorrow. That’s not unusual. My company told Planet Ann Arbor folks to telecommute Monday, today, and tomorrow. It wasn’t an order exactly, just a strong suggestion. We all have badges that’ll let us in the door so we can get in whenever we want.

Trash/recycling is delayed two days. That means we will put out our trash for an unprecedented *Sunday* pickup this week. I wonder what the neighbors will think when I don’t put my trash out for its usual Friday pickup. I know LofP will be paying attention to what Garbage Woman does. Garbage pickup is not like it used to be when Bad Boyfriend worked for Soo Sanitation and had to jump off the truck to physically pick up garbage cans to throw them into the back of the truck. Nowadays our truck drivers stay in the truck and use a big mechanical arm to pick up the carts. So I’m not sure why the trucks can’t go out. But I am not complaining.

I can better understand why there was no mail delivery today. This wasn’t random like back in the polar vortex winter when sometimes the mail simply didn’t show up. We were *told* that there would be no mail in our zip code. I am okay with this. Postal mail is not how most important documents are dispatched any more and I am happy that postal delivery folks do not have to deliver a bunch of junk mail on foot in subzero temperatures. I do hope they are being PAID.

I was actually hot in my house this afternoon even though the thermostat was set for 67. It got warmer with our Hotlantia/Yooperland friends who stopped by for lasagne and MoonX whine. Black pinot noir. Our lights were pink/magenta when I took the pic. They changed color throughout the night.

Finally a good use for those big bright overhead LED lights

Tuesday, January 29th, 2019

Out of nowhere, an unidentifiable insect (or something) appeared and started climbing onto my hand. I was *not* freaked out about this but some other people around here, aka The Pensioner, get freaked out when an insect appears inside the Landfill. Is it a cockroach? Is it a bedbug? Let’s get it!

It was a very small, flimsy little buggie with many legs and I tried to keep it in sight until The Pensioner could bag it up in order to study it a bit. It climbed onto my sweater and that hung it up for a bit but as TP tried to capture it, it fell to the floor and here he is (in his new hat 🐽) trying to find it on the floor. I don’t usually need the big bright overhead LED lights for anything but this time I turned them on.

We did not find the wee buggie but I do not think it was a cockroach or a bedbug and I’m sure it wasn’t a tick or a black fly. Given that, I think it was harmless and I hope neither of us stepped on it.

We gave up and at about the time we did, I got a text message that Delta flight 1591 was going to land ahead of schedule (after a whole bunch of “it’s gonna be late” texts). So we scurried out to the Frog Hopper to head over to Metro. It did indeed land early but our travelers had to wait for more than half the passengers to disembark, a contingent of high school figure skaters. Boy oh boy, I bet those SanFran kiddos will loooooove being in the Detroit area the next couple of days. I hope they have Smartwool balaclavas, etc., but doubt they do.

Our travelers finally managed to get off the plane and we headed back to the Planet Ann Arbor for dinner at Knight’s. So much fun!

Snowed all day and this is the only pic I have to show for it 🐽

Monday, January 28th, 2019

Last Friday we were nicely but strongly advised to take our laptops home because Monday (today) was almost surely going to be a snow day. (I *always* take mine home.)

Amazon Woman was at Cubelandia at least for a while this morning but she actually lives within walking distance (although I don’t think she walked) and manages the *building*, meaning if there are heating issues, etc. (there weren’t), she is the point person. Other than that I don’t think *anyone* went in, meaning I was communicating online with folks all over southeast Michigan plus India.

Since this snowstorm also covers a few neighboring states, there were so many people telecommuting that VPN was s-l-o-w as molasses in, well, January. If you look at today as an informal disaster recovery exercise, I’m gonna guess some tickets are gonna get opened to deal with the VPN issue.

There was nothing spectacular about this snowstorm, at least in terms of photography. Just gray skies and kind of crappy looking snow and how many photos can you take of the GG running his new snowblower? So, here is The GG’s Tick Collection. I thought it was in a baggie but he has moved it to these fancy little bottles. I think there is some kind of alcohol in there but not sure what the liquid is. I’m guessing water would turn them to sludge.

I think he started to actually *collect* ticks the summer he bought the Lyme Lounge. He and Mouse went to Minnesota to pick it up and hiked various places along the way back to and through the yooperland to the moomincabin. They were collecting ticks left and right, I think maybe something like 60 in a day at one point?

A couple days after they got to the moomincabin, the GG felt ill enough that we teetered on the edge of going to the urgent care to test for Lyme Disease. But then he felt better and we decided the true culprits were probably black flies. They had also encountered throngs of those nasty little beasties and they do bring on short-lived symptoms like fever, etc. I would know. The GG does not (that I know of) have a black fly collection.

Dreaming of summer today, as you can tell 🐽

The stinkiest ride ever

Sunday, January 27th, 2019

Did I want to go for a ride? Where to? To get a new tank of propane. Well, not really. Then I saw that he had a boooook in hand. That meant we would eventually end up somewhere for lunch. Okay, okay. We got the propane tank filled and then we headed out Liberty and I was sooooo happy when we got far enough out of town that Liberty turned into a dirt road and we didn’t have to deal with any traffic on the snow-covered intermittently slippery roads.

Eventually we ended up heading north for lunch at Dexter’s Pub but not before we were almost overpowered by the smell of mercaptan. I was wondering if someone had “let one” (one of the politer terms we used as kids when discussing flatulence) until the smell became so overpowering that I opened my window. In 16 degree weather.

My supernose almost always catches odors first and it wasn’t until after I started panicking about the propane tank that the GG seemed to notice the smell. “Oh, it’s just mercaptan.” What!!??! A rather disjointed “discussion” about mercaptan and propane tanks and whether we were in danger of exploding ensued. After some googling, I became convinced that mercaptan in and of itself was safe enough. It exists in our bodies and does indeed play a role in the odors produced by flatulence. And it is used with petroleum products to warn of leaks, etc. I’m still wondering why we were smelling it and if the propane tank was leaking but we did make it home and the tank is out in the back yard, thank you very much. I am remembering stories from my days at the EPA NVFEL about how propane tanks could rocket around the building, etc. Fortunately that never happened thanks to the expertise of our federal employees (sorry, had to get in a “dig” at the Orange Baboon).

You are happy that I posted the pic of winter tree branches from my 0-skunk-30 walk this morning. I could have posted a loverly picture of the monster cockroaches who hitched a ride in a toolbox from Crazy Old Florida. They are in my house somewhere now (I told the GG “put ’em in the chitchen”). It’s okay, they were dead even before they left Fla. The GG has a similar baggie of ticks. And one of bedbugs, which did not come from Fla as it turned out.

Traitorously fling-a-dinging

Saturday, January 26th, 2019

The Pensioner peered at me this morning and asked what kind of “good” we could get up to today. Turned out he had a vague plan about flinging. So did I except that my plan was more like “where do I [re-]start?” He actually had a few items in mind.

It’s been a busy year what with trips to Fla, etc. We are kind of down to stuff that we really need Other People to make decisions about. And then there’s the issue of trips to Fla bringing More Stuff into the Landfill. In the end, we took a few things out to Kiwanis. It wasn’t a lot but any little bit is progress.

Sshhh. Don’t tell Jenel but we deviated from our usual Saturday lunch at the Griz today. We have had our eye on the Brecon Grille, a place we keep driving by in Saline, so I looked it up. I was impressed enough by the menu that we ended up heading down there for lunch instead. It did not disappoint and we will return, although Jenel remains one of my fave bartenders/servers ever.

Polar Vortex coming our way? The first time I ever heard the term Polar Vortex was the winter of 2014. That was the year that Canada “got drunk and fell asleep down here in the USA”. Beginning around the new year, we had huge snowstorms and sub-zero temperatures that continued throughout the winter. It was almost like when I was growing up in the yooperland but I’ll go there some other day. The Planet Ann Arbor road crews did not get ahead of the initial snow storm before it all froze at -13 so we had icy roads forever after.

They are talking polar vortex again, ahead of winter storm “Barney”. Or is it “Jaden”? I’m corn-fused and I wish the weather gods were not naming winter storms but whatever. I guess “polar vortex” has entered the lexicon of meteorology, at least TV meteorology. I am not impressed. It is winter and we get storms in the USA in winter, particularly in the northern latitudes, like here in my own beloved Great Lake State. Those of us who live here are prepared for pretty much what Old Man Winter throws at us. It isn’t like preparing for a hurricane. Usually, it’s a matter of shoveling out after it all hits. I will say that at Cubelandia FZ decided to take his laptop home in case he couldn’t get in to work if there is snow/ice on Monday.

So we are looking ahead to some snow [maybe, they’ve backed off a bit] and bitterly cold temps [they haven’t backed off about that] over the next week or so. But this is typical winter weather for us. If the TV folks want to call it a polar vortex, okay. But it is NOTHING like the winter of 2014. And here we are in late January. In another week, winter will be half over. We call that day Groundhog Day. It is a “cross quarter day”, which means it’s midway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. We may have awful weather for a few months but the sun is swinging back “up north” and we will deal with it. Not that there won’t be complaints🐽!

The beautiful glass in the pic? That is one of the artifacts that came from Uncle/Mr. Ed’s in Fla. It is an heirloom. We aren’t sure whether it belonged to The Beautiful Grandma Sally because she inherited it from her aunt or because it was a wedding gift from her aunt. This is not the kind of thing I could ever fling even though it is not my style (if I have a style). This crystal is earmarked for inheritance by others so it doesn’t belong to us but it is in the Landfill for the time being and the GG served a nightcap of porterization in these glasses last night.

Mad hatters

Friday, January 25th, 2019

I was actually trying to take a decent pic but somehow this is what happened. I kind of love it anyway, especially since it really isn’t an Ugly. And look at those eyes! A Bird Box creature? Hmmmm. I am not dead yet.

It is our friends of porterization arriving at the Oscar Tango on a Friday evening of 13-degree temperature and wind WITH HATS ON!!!

For years and years and years, we would meet for dinner in the middle of a Great White North Winter and I would look at D and say something like, “D, you are NOT wearing a hat!” But here she is, not that you can tell *who* she is, wearing a hat.

I always wear hats in the winter. In fact, today I wore TWO hats. I wore one of my Smartwool balaclavas underneath my sparkly bomber hat. The balaclava is actually warm enough on its own but the sparkly bomber hat makes me look less like a terrorist and more like an eccentric old bag. Of course, the long wool skirt helps with that too.

Is the “gov’t” “open” again? Last I checked news we were heading in that direction. I was never much of a Nancy Pelosi fan (heck, I am not even a Democrat despite my often progressive opinions) but I am rapidly warming to her and all I’ve got to say is YOU GO GIRL! We MUST talk through our issues rationally and not by holding innocent people hostage. Working without pay? No. Do we need to shrink the federal government? Maybe. Do we need to form better immigration policies? Probably. But we *must* do those things by defining requirements and then carefully designing a plan that has as minimal impact to our country and leaves our hard working federal employees to do their jobs. With pay.

A couple of loved ones flew to the left coast today. I am always a wee bit above my edge when anyone is flying although I keep it well under control because I know intellectually how safe our airspace is. Today when they closed LaGuardia my anxiety ticked up just a bit. Fortunately DTW and SFO were running smoothly although no cosmetic or shoe check at DTW…

I am past the end of my rope with the Orange Baboon. I have never believed that he cares about anything more than himself. His recent frivolous gov’t shut down only serves to support that opinion. Not everyone agrees that we need a “wall” and data doesn’t support the issues he spouts out through his ridiculous tweets. In my dreams, I would love for him to be impeached but I don’t support impeachment. Better that he loses his next election because he lacks voter support. And don’t forget that he actually did NOT win the last election if you counted actual votes. I don’t think that we should get rid of the electoral college but I do believe it did our country a disservice in the 2016 election.

I’m sorry. I’m ranting. But I’ve been directly affected by these stupid *politically driven* government shutdowns and they make me really angry. I do NOT like the Orange Baboon and I do NOT think he is an appropriate president for our great nation.

Let them eat cake (sponsored by #MAGA)

Thursday, January 24th, 2019

First a Birdbox update. I finished the book and we actually watched the movie last night. The movie is not set in Michigan. I’m thinking I heard something about California but not sure that’s right. Lots of other details were different and although the movie was fine, I preferred the book. I can only imagine the issues involved in turning a book into a movie but I would’ve loved if the movie had been set in Detroit. But check out both book and movie and form your own opinions if you like dystopian stuff.

Ugh. Yesterday I left Cubelandia without managing to solve a seemingly intractable Javascript issue with our high fidelity product prototype (“the demo”). The demo is mine and mine alone to deal with. I am not a Javascript expert but I know enough about it (and programming logic in general) that I can usually debug just about anything related to the demo. This one was escaping me. Finally, after hours and hours of meetings, I had some solo time to dig into it and I did manage to figger it out! Whew!

My cute li’l timehop app served up this pic a few days ago or so. It’s from 2014, a couple months before we gutted the chitchen. Can you believe that we lived with this fugly chitchen for something like 30 years? All I can say is that, when we bought the Landfill, we could barely afford it, or so it seemed, but it was a HOUSE that we OWNED. Not an apartment with landlords that rented to us because they didn’t want to rent to “zebra teams”. I was gonna say to google that but a quick search doesn’t turn up the definition I was looking for, which is a black person married to a white person. And this on the Planet Ann Arbor of all places. That was a long time ago and those landlords are surely long dead. (It was the Jackson apt, not the Seventh St., for a couple of people who might be wondering.)

Anyway, like all good gov’t employees/contractors, we lived paycheck to paycheck for many many years, basically until I became gainfully employed after a long hiatus and we actually had a meager bit of disposable income for once. Eventually, after a long period of cold feet and marital disagreements, we gutted this fugly chitchen. As oogly as it is, it is where the beach urchins grew up, drawing at the end of the “table” (that you can’t see) while I made dinner with Star Trek re-runs in the background. Wheeling around in one of those unsafe “walkers” or dragging stools back and forth across the room. Always busy and interested in whatever their moom was doing.

MAGA MAGA MAGA. Are we doing “great again” or are we just raking?

Bboxing

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2019

I wish I had taken a pic out my front window this morning. What a frickin’ mess. The temperature was just over freezing and what was coming out of the sky was rain but what was already on the ground was glare ice. So glare ice topped with water and more water coming out of the sky. All of the schools everywhere were closed. Walk? I think I’ll take a pass.

I also made the wise decision to do a Late Start and work from home for a while. As I was settling in, iDeep Skyped from India and I replied to his “How are you?” with “Fine, we had an ice storm so I am working from home for a while 🐸” I was wondering in the back of my mind if he had any clue what the heck an ice storm is and why did I even say that to him. I was on Skype with him for at least an hour. About QA stuff, not Michigan weather.

The temperature was inching up (as predicted) ever so s-l-o-w-l-y but I wanted to be in the office for the 10 AM Standup so I eventually trundled over there. Ever so s-l-o-w-l-y. The roads were okay but messy and my main concern was having to hit the brakes fast. Fortunately everyone else seemed to have the same concern because even the hot-shot 4-wheel-drivers were taking it slow today. We won’t talk about the HUGE puddle I narrowly missed. It looked like it was about a foot deep. I was pretty sure it was not Ninja-able.

Poor FZ lives out in the “country” and he couldn’t even navigate his driveway so he was stuck at home WITHOUT HIS LAPTOP. That meant he couldn’t email, so about mid-morning we were all kind of wondering where he was. Like me, he doesn’t take time off without plenty of warning and almost always works *at* Cubelandia. Eventually Amazon Woman got a chance to check her text messages.

I am reading Bird Box. The Bird Box movie has been showing up on my social media and my interest was a bit piqued but I wasn’t sure but then… When I found out it was a book first (it’s important to me that a book comes before a movie), I immediately downloaded it. And I am loving reading it. It is just up my alley, beginning with the fact that it’s a dystopian novel set in the Detroit area. The main character is from the yooperland, which lends even more interest.

For another dystopian novel set in my beautiful state of Michigan, check out Station Eleven.

Good Reads

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2019

I had to scrape my veeeendsheeeeld this afternoon for the first time this winter. It was freezing rain and I was at work and I can’t remote start the Ninja to Egregiously Idle it because it has a stick shift. Fortunately the roads were not icy (yet) but I still drove under the speed limit just in case and no one tailgated me.

So, how about some books? I have had a profile on Goodreads for a few years now. I am connected to exactly three people on Goodreads. My dear friend Jean of YAG years, who doesn’t apparently use it actively. And the beach urchins, who I stalk relentlessly🐽 I stalk them because they read a *lot* and their reading activity often provides me with good ideas.

I have read a lot in my life but somewhat intermittently. I got into a big sci-fi jag as a teenager but I also read other books. Like Portnoy’s Complaint, which The Commander bought and announced with some fanfare. I said I wanted to read it when she was finished and she said, “Sure, fine!” Well. The book disappeared in pretty short order. I did read it but I had to sneak it out of the drawer I figgered out she was hiding it in. Was it a good book? Actually I could probably write a whole ‘nother blahg entry about that but I might have to read the book *again* and I am not all that interested in doing that.

So I dunno, there was a period of Victorian novels, prompted by a college class, and then I read willy-nilly for a while, until I had kids!

The first book I read out loud to Lizard Breath (in the Reading Chair) was “Mouse’s Train Ride”, a simple baby board book with no words. Her Frances Grandma had sent it to her and every time I turned a page and voiced words for the picture (“the baby”, “some crayons”, etc.) she bounced up and down in my lap and “hyperventilated”.

I loved buying books for the beach urchins and I found that I loved reading books out loud. Baby/toddler books, picture books with an actual story. Charlotte’s Web to a three-year-old. Wind in the Willows to a four-year-old (with a two-year-old listening intently). Chronicles of Narnia to a couple of grade schoolers over breakfast and before bed. Indian in the Cupboard to older grade-schoolers, not to mention a whole bunch of beach relatives of all ages. I loved reading on the beach and I so miss those days.

The beach urchins transitioned into fantastic readers. I could still find books for them until about their teen years and then they moved on from me. Now that they are adults, they are better readers than me plus they are really good about finding good books. Our tastes aren’t always exactly in mesh but I do think we all like some weird stuff occasionally. Borne is one that comes immediately to mind, although it was meee finding Borne driving up to HL in the Ninja and listening to Science Friday on NPR. I sometimes wonder if I instilled that tendency in them by reading them Gorky Rises when they were little kids. “Gogol was goggle-eyed!”

NSFW convos against a backdrop of [loud] Andy Griffith reruns

Monday, January 21st, 2019

One minute you are fussing high and mightily about smirking teenagers in MAGA hats and the next you are free-falling into a bedbug rabbithole. That tends to be my lot in life, maybe that’s true for everyone. We can kvetch and kvetch and kvetch about whatever is going on in the news and polly-ticks but then real life reaches out and pulls us down out of whatever ivory tower we think we are in and we land with a big ka-whomp firmly on the ground. Go ask Alice. I think she’ll know.

So hey KW has Monday off this week. It’s MLK’s birthday observation and KW works for the online banking industry so it is a bank holiday. Sadly it is probably not a holiday for many government workers who are furloughed or working without pay. We’ve been there but not today. Today was a beautiful day if you can get past the fact that it started out at minus seven degrees. But the pavement is [largely] dry so let’s drive an hour or so north and take Fla Man out to lunch at Little Joe’s.

That was all cool and yes Andy Griffith was on for the duration that we were at Fla Man’s before lunch. The GG took Junior out to do his business and while he was gone I endured a few NSFW discussions. Something about fans in the bathroom and being a single guy P-ing and that is about as far as I will go with that.

Lunch was wonderful until the GG received a call. Long story short, bedbugs have been detected at Fla Man’s and fumigation is scheduled SOON. That’s as far as I will go with that.

A trip to Kroger taught us a few things. Certain OTC allergy drugs need to be purchased from the pharmacy with an ID. I mean, I know that there are certain OTC drugs that can be used to cook meth or whatever but I rarely buy OTC drugs so I had no clue. And then… Cigarettes? Or cigarillos or mini-cigars or whatever they are? Whatever they are, we had to ask how/where to buy them. The answer was register 15. In other words there was ONE cash register at which you can buy cigs these days. The cashier had to go somewhere to unlock them. I sorta had a clue it worked something like this but I think I have purchased maybe 2-3 packs of cigs in my life. I am a never smoker.

Then I had an episode back at the apartment where I walked into a room with a little pad with some dog poop on it. I can handle seeing dog poop in the “wild”. I could not handle this. I will leave you with the fact that the toilet was clean and I left it clean. If it hadn’t been, this unfortunate episode would’ve been a lot worse. I am a lot more tired tonight than I would’ve been after a day at Cubelandia.

Life is rarely dull and Fla Man is quite the character but he is *our* character, as I told our wonderful bartender, who, busy as she was at the time, indulgently listened to Fla Man’s stories about Fla and taking his dog to bars, etc.

G’night, KW

Looking for something else, I found this

Sunday, January 20th, 2019

The GG sent me a link to a pic where you could see the sun rise through the Marquette oar dock. This is really cool and it reminded me that I once managed to capture the sun rising right in the middle of the Sault Ste. Siberia Ashmun Street bridge, right in the circle at the top of the center of the bridge. I think it was in 2004, about April and the GG and I were up visiting my parents and I took the photo on whatever digital camera I had then. I did not have an iPhone for a few more years.

In 2004, my dad and brother were still alive and the iPhone didn’t exist. My dad probably wouldn’t have learned how to use the iPhone. My brother would have and wouldda been texting me like crazy. My mother owned an iPhone and learned how to text me. She was one smart woman.

I have found that Ashmun Street pic before. For the life of me, I cannot find it tonight. I found this one instead. This is my brother and dad walking at the Doelle end of the moominbeach. This pic is from spring 2004. My brother died a year later and my dad died nine months after that. They almost look like cowboys, don’t they.

We had a sloooow day here today with temps hanging around zero and high winds throughout the day.

Love y’all, KW

Ghostbussers

Saturday, January 19th, 2019

No that isn’t misspelled. We wanted to do our usual Saturday thing of lunch at the Griz but I didn’t really feel like slodging down there in a snowstorm and it turned out the GG agreed with me. So we took the bus. I am always nervous about missing the bus, maybe to a fault, but the GG was doing his usual thing of driving me nuts by disappearing right around the time the bus was approaching.

On the ride back, our bus, the 31, arrived at the transit center a little late. I knew it wasn’t gonna wait around for stragglers. The GG was nowhere to be seen. I got on and told the driver my husband was apparently going to miss the bus and let that be a lesson to him. The driver asked, “Is that him there? Because he’s not gonna miss the bus!” Indeed, there was the GG. We got going and the bus driver – loudly so the whole bus could hear – went into a comedy routine about how I had threatened to lie down in front of the bus if it didn’t wait for my husband.

At some point this bus comedian segued into how we weren’t on the real bus. It was a ghost bus. It came along whenever and picked up people waiting for the 31 or the 32A or whatever. I took this pic and it kinda looks like we are on a ghost bus, doesn’t it? Like, where are we going? (In reality, there was a traffic stoplight out that window.) At the end, I thanked him for the fun ride and we hit up the Plum Market and then walked home with enchilada fixings after a much needed hug and I actually waited in line to check out via Joyce. There are lots of good, nice cashiers there but she’s my fave! I wish I could tip her but that wouldn’t be kosher.

Oh yeah, and someone got to use his new Yooper thingy today. He had to kinda scramble himself out there this morning because Luke of Perrynet was blowing his driveway and then he came ACROSS THE STREET and I was worried that he might shovel the GG’s snow but he turned the other direction and went down to the corner and back. It turns out several neighbors are paying him to blow their snow. He came out to inspect our new blower and told the GG it was okay if he blew other people’s snow if he wanted to but *he* (Luke) was getting paid for it.

I used to do most of the shoveling back when the GG was still working but nowadays I kinda figger why should I spend what little free time I have doing that? And maybe that’s why we have a blower now because I would certainly never have thought about buying one. I used to do it all by hand, even the cement that forms at the end of the driveway after the plow goes by.

In other news, Luke of Perrynet also asked the GG if the garbage pickup would be delayed a day because of the Monday MLK holiday. The GG didn’t know but LofP said he would just follow what I did. I am Garbage Woman and I know when the garbage goes out and apparently LofP watches what I do when he could just check the city web page. Good neighbor though and no, garbage pickup is not delayed for MLK Day (or Columbus Day or President’s Day). Other holidays yes.

G’night, Garbage Woman

Your plastic card has been declined

Friday, January 18th, 2019

I know that it is stooopid to auto-pay a utility account with a plastic card because they expire, etc. Nevertheless, I’m still auto-paying Cloverland (moomincabin lucky-shucky) via my debit card. Or at least I was until today when I got the message that (of course) my *canceled* card was declined. Oh, don’t worry, I had the bill paid in about five minutes within receiving the text and it now connects to my actual bank account so no need to change it again, knock on wood.

I have always been really good at paying bills on time. I’m a banker’s daughter. But stuff happens and once, a while after The Commander went on to the other side, I did not pay for the moomincabin’s lucky-shucky and it GOT SHUT OFF! I was at work when I got an alarming email from my cousin reporting that there was a big pink (I think) sign somewhere saying the lucky-shucky was shut off. Since the cabin was closed for the winter, it didn’t really matter that there was no power because everything was off. But what the heck?

I got online IMMEDIATELY and paid the outstanding bill. Then I called. Because the reason I hadn’t *paid* the bill was because I hadn’t *received* it! At that time we got billed only once a year because it was a seasonal dwelling and I hadn’t yet internalized when the bill should arrive or I would have been watching for it. I actually think it was supposed to be delivered in August but THAT August I was distracted by unnecessarily threatening letters from a hostile relative’s unnecessary lawyers and an unnecessary trip through probate via my own unfortunately incompetent lawyer. Or I might’ve remembered to watch for it. Ugh ugh ugh.

It turned out that the billing address had been changed to to none other than The Commander’s at her assisted living facility. Meaning the bills were going into a black hole. At that time, I couldn’t ask The Comm why I wasn’t getting the bills at *my* house but I *suspect* that *she* had changed the address so the little monthly magazine associated with Cloverland would be delivered to *her*. It is a nice little mag and Radical Betty was once featured in an article in it but I would’ve mailed it to The Comm. She didn’t care about the bills by then. She was done done done. “You’ll have to talk to my daughter.”

Heat and Light

Thursday, January 17th, 2019

After I wrote all of that stuff about not wanting any gifts on No Politics Day and counting up all the unwrappable gifts I received yesterday, a couple of unexpected wrappable gifts showed up (not wrapped though, which was good! 🐸). They were gifts of LIGHT! In his “desperate” search for gifts for a woman who has EVERYTHING, the GG thought, hmmm, what does she like? Heat and light 🐸 Heat is somewhat arguable although I did not Egregiously Idle the Ninja this AM because there was no ice to defrog. I started it when I left for work and I was pretty dern cold until it warmed up. It takes about 3/4 of a mile for that process to get going but after that it gets really cozy. But! Also! It had an unexpectedly FULL TANK of gas! Another small but welcome gift from yesterday and I know he did not go to the skimmer gas station. Anyway…

Light! Two “strings” of LED lights. One to string across the only place in the Landfill Chitchen that doesn’t already have a string of LED lights. That is under the shelf right here above my laptop. I love love love my chitchen but I think in every prodject there can be small details that are overlooked or not thought of during the design process. If I had it to do again, I would have specified an LED light string under the shelf. And then there’s the Coffee Station that I wanted but didn’t quiiiite happen. Basically a planned lucky-shuckyal outlet wasn’t installed and no one (including us) noticed it until it was too late. On the positive side, Jerry (lead carpenter) neatly liberated “Mouse” (upside-down U, mind you) from the old wall. She was 2-1/2 when she started writing her name (“Mouse” with an upside-down U, mind you) everywhere including the wall and we really wanted to save it. “Jerry is a genius.” So said the GG.

The other string is tiny LEDs (see pic) to wind along my “collection” of glass vases and bowls of all colors on top of the cabinets above the sink and stove, etc. Like my Santa collection, this is not an active collection. It is stuff that I have owned for a while or have snagged from The Comm’s stuff and a few from various deceased in-laws. I did increase it in a minor way when my Mouse found me some aubergine items for xmas but I am not “into” piling my house high with vases, etc. I needed some aubergine items but I think I have enough for now.

Those light strings (and also a new nightlight, which we needed) were wonderful, thoughtful gifts, especially in the January dark and cold. Not a bad life here on The Planet Ann Arbor, knock on wood as always!

January lights on No Politics Day

Wednesday, January 16th, 2019

I’m sure I’ve written about this before but I like indoor lighting to be as natural as possible, which means dark at this time of year in the Great Lake State. Well, unless I actually need good lighting for something. I do not need good lighting to type a blahg entry on a laptop or use an iPhone. So almost all of the lights are out in the Landfill right now, except for some LED twinkle lights, candles, and a cute li’l faaaaar in the faaaarplace.

So what do you give someone who has everything? NOTHING!

I was happy to have someone get up early and Egregiously Idle both vee-hickles to melt the ice off zee veeeendsheeelds. I chose the Frog Hopper for today although the Ninja would’ve done fine as it turned out.

But since I did *not* drive the Ninja, I was happy it received an oil change today. The light has been on for a while. I can do car stuff if I have to but it seems more efficient if the GG does it. He was outta town when the light came on and this was no emergency.

I was happy to be served a celebratory ‘hattan “up” in one of my in-laws’ gorgeous etched crystal glasses recently retrieved from The Beautiful Suzie’s house in Fla. It’s from their wedding china, etc. I wonder if they ever used those glasses what with 10 children to raise.

And then there was the supply of fake logs for the faaaarplace. We always buy faaaarwood but a fake log is good in a pinch. Not to mention that it doesn’t spit sparks out onto the carpet.

I was happy to receive a DM from MMCB1 early this morning even though she also canceled our coffee klatch for today. Why? Because ice. Her driveway is practically vertical, in an upward direction. It’s okay. We’re gonna try for tomorrow. Then texts from beach urchins. And now a group is texting and a Bacon Pocket pic is making the rounds.

I was maybe the happiest to receive the story that went along with Ninja’s oil change. A woman whose first language was not English brought her car into the oil change place and they refused to serve her because it was OUT OF OIL! I couldn’t repeat all of the details if I tried but the short story is that the GG came to the rescue and helped her get the situation sorted out. There was a lot of stuff about going back and forth across the street to get more oil that I couldn’t follow 🐽 but all I have to say is I’m glad he helped and it kind of made my day. PAY IT FORWARD!

“I ain’t gonna work on Maggie’s farm no more”

Tuesday, January 15th, 2019

So, I had a really good blahgging idea and then I walked across the room to cut up the last of Farmer John’s AWESOME potatoes to cook up tonight and that took me maybe three minutes and now I can’t remember what I was gonna blahg about.

But then again, oh yeah. I don’t get very sentimental about the places I used to live or my grandparents’ homes, etc. Last Saturday night I randomly looked up my MacMu grandparents’ address in Detroit and for a few minutes I was kinda wondering if we could fit a drive-by into our sorta-planned Sunday activities over in Detroit. Of course it didn’t really fit and in the cold clear light of the next morning, I was kind of like, “What was I thinking?”

My Detroit grandparents had a lovely art deco kind of house on Mark Twain Street. It had actually belonged to my [beloved] step-grandmother Bolette and her first husband. I didn’t know this until much later but some of Bolette’s siblings also owned houses on that street. It was kind of a family street. Bolette didn’t hook up with my granddad until a year or so before I was born. She and my grandaddy were both widowed and I remember Bolette telling me much later that she was so confuddled about my grandaddy’s marriage proposal that she missed her streetcar stop. The answer ended up being YES and they took a trip “around the world” to celebrate it.

I loved visiting their house on Mark Twain in Detroit. It was an art deco house and there was a beautiful breakfast nook where we would sit and make toast in the morning. They left their pretty Detroit tree-lined neighborhood after the 1967 riots and moved out to the “fancier” suburb of Birmingham.

Years ago, when I first knew the GG and we weren’t married, etc., we navigated (in one of our Ford Fiesta veehickles – no GPS) to 9975 Mark Twain to check out that address. A black man* noticed us and our color and asked “Are you the paper boy?” I was kind of scared because I realized that I didn’t belong in that neighborhood anymore. I replied that we were driving by my grandparents’ old house. He immediately softened. He suggested that I must miss the place. I told him that I did. And then he told me about the single mother who was living there at that point and I was happy that he felt okay about telling me that for whatever it was worth.

Sunday Moomday was NOT the best day to re-visit that old neighborhood so we didn’t. But maybe we will try to visit again some other day.

* What can I say? I do not understand what skin color has to do with anything but it still did at that time (early 1980s.) I’m not sure we understand anything any better now.

How Now [Brown Cow]

Monday, January 14th, 2019

Alert! Alert! Alert! Your card was denied at Kroger in [neighboring city]. What? For a few split-seconds I was really confused. I was over in Cubelandia trying to decipher one of the worst flow-chart diagrams anyone has ever created. I was not at any grocery store anywhere. The GG had plans to drive to a neighboring city today and for a nano-second I was worried that he might not have been able to purchase something. But he has other cards and anyway, THIS card ended with MY card’s number. His card has a different number. And he had traveled to a DIFFERENT neighboring city in a totally different direction.

It slowly dawned on me that I had been HACKED! This has never happened to me before. Fortunately, we have tools to deal with that stuff these days. I went straight to the bank app on my phone and within about a minute’s worth of navigating, I had canceled the card. Whew! I got one more declined transaction alert and that was it. Since the declined “Kroger” purchase was gasoline, I’m guessing the person was prompted (at the pump) for a zip code and, having no clue what address the card was attached to, entered the wrong one and that triggered the declination and alert. How stooopid can people be? The second declined transaction was at some kind of vending musheen bizness and by that time I had canceled the card. (To be clear, I still have the card. It was not “physically” lost or stolen.)

We have a gas station in the neighborhood that is notorious for “skimming” incidents (or whatever they are called). It is the most convenient gas station for me to get gas at and I filled up there but that was WEEKS ago. Shortly after I did that more skimming incidents were reported. I stopped going there. So, not sure if someone got my card info from there or from somewhere else.

I don’t want to be smug about the online banking business. We* take security issues very seriously and are constantly working to ward off hackers and other attackers. But it is very hard to keep up with people who make a career out of trying to hack financial systems. Today my bank (which may or may not use my company’s software, I wouldn’t know), did a good job. (*I sit waaaaaaaay back from anything “real”. I do not have anything to do with security technology so not taking credit for anything.)