Saturday, April 01, 2006

#625 Mud

I worked like a dog yesterday afternoon and last night after dark getting the last few heavy things out of the basement. Rain was predicted for today, and when the hill is wet, I can't get the handtruck or the cart up the hill, because my feet keep slipping in the mud. Week before last I went to my knees several times.

The container is now almost full. Just enough room left for the dead humidifiers, and a few handfuls of trash.

There's some kind of volunteer fair going on at the mall today, so I want to visit that. Tomorrow I am having brunch with a new friend, at his daughter's deli. Should be interesting. I hope it at least makes up for the other blind date I blew off for tomorrow. He got very indignant when I wouldn't/couldn't tell him why I wouldn't/couldn't go where he wanted to go. I probably won't hear from him again, but that's probably for the best.


Friday, March 31, 2006

#624 Quick Friday

Had lunch with Piper today. Good conversation. Too bad there's no chemistry. Sigh.

I forgot to mention something from yesterday. I had not planned to open any of the eight huge boxes Jay had dragged home from the office when he left The Company. I had planned to simply load them onto the hand truck and take them out. But they were stacked four-high, and they were so heavy I couldn't even shift them on the stack to knock them to the floor where I could get the truck under them. So I ended up opening them and transferring handfuls of manuals to another smaller box roped to the hand truck.

I'm glad I did.

When Jay and I were "courting", I used to slip funny or romantic cards or notes under his office door when he wasn't in. After we were married, I'd slip cards or notes into his pockets, or briefcase, or into stacks of papers he was going to take to the office, so he'd find them by accident at some random moment.

In one of the office boxes, I found all those cards and notes.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

#623 Um, Well, Thursday

More time in the basement today. My back wasn't too happy about yesterday, so I took it kind of easy. The hauling company hasn't called yet asking when they can get their container back, so I didn't call them, either. There's lots more stuff to go in, and if I can keep it over the weekend, I want to.

I went through three moving company wardrobe boxes today, and have bundled more than 50 shirts in perfect condition (dress, casual, western, cotton flannel, wool flannel, and a few pullovers) for donation. Also three sportscoats (one 100% silk) with the tags still on them, and one suit. There's also a beautiful imported Harris tweed sportscoat which I have set aside. I'd rather give that one to someone I know. I'm not sure of the size, I suspect it was custom made on one of Jay's trips to Britain, so there wouldn't be a size tag, but I'm sure whatever size it is, it's a "tall". I don't know any especially tall men right now.

I don't know why after moving from Texas to New York Jay never unpacked those boxes. The shirts are all 16 1/2 to 17, which is the size he wore when I knew him. More oddly, in all the boxes of clothes down there, there are no pants, except those with suits. Odd because the pants were what he is most likely to have outgrown. He was skinny in Texas. He grew a little potbelly in New York. Very strange.

I have to get something to eat now. All I ate yesterday was a granola bar, and some carrot sticks. When I'm working, I don't feel hunger. Nothing at all yet today, and now that I've stopped working, I'm suddenly starving. I've got those "bagged" meals in the freezer. I think I might cook up a whole bag, and eat until I'm full.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

#622 Basement Progress

Six hours in the basement this afternoon. I cut up five mattress boxes, moved out a huge recliner and a small sofa bed, a 70s-era "bar", a huge Mylar and wood box kite, the remainder of the 9-foot Christmas tree, a twin mattress, and seven more large boxes of computer manuals (mostly AIX), among other things. Today was definitely a hand-truck day.

I was surprised to find, in one of the boxes Jay had brought home from his office, twenty-five large reels of computer tape - you know how they used to indicate computers in old movies by showing the refrigerator-sized tape drives? Yeah, those tapes. Some were so old they were in the old "piekeeper" covers. There were also a gazillion mini-reels. And what must be one of the earliest floppy disks. It's about 9 inches square.


I'm going to keep the floppy and one of the oldest tape reels.

#621 What type of Fae am I?

What type of Fae are you?

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

#620 Tax Time

Late entry today - sorry, Daughter.

I spent the entire morning and afternoon pulling documents together for The Angel to do my taxes. First I couldn't find the 2004 taxes, finally found them filed in the wrong folder. Then I discovered to my horror that three 2005 1099-DIVs and one 1099-INT were missing. I had to go online to the company websites, get into my accounts (not easy), and reconstruct the dividend payments. Then I paper clipped everything together in batches, with covers describing and totaling each batch. Putting together the receipts for the 2005 estimated tax payments, I discovered that the amount that New York State has reported to the IRS as my 2004 state tax refund does not match the amount of refund on the filed form. I have no idea why it's different.

Something else very strange happened.

There was a huge stack of paper on the desk, and I pulled the desk chair out, turned it slightly, sat in it, and sorted the papers into five stacks on the floor: 1) bills to pay, 2) tax stuff, 3) investment stuff, 4) to be filed, and 5) trash. Along the way I found a letter saying that AT&T had purchased SBC, and that my SBC stock certificates did not have to be turned in, they were now effectively AT&T stock. I thought "Oh, I should note this in the online portfolio, next time I edit it", and I put the letter into one of the stacks - either the "to file" one, or more likely the investment one so I'd be sure to see it later, or maybe the "bills to pay" stack, since it was a "to do" item. I don't remember. Note that from the time I picked up the paper until I put it on a pile, I did not leave the chair.

An hour later, when I was trying to rebuild the 1099-DIVs, I figured then was a good time to update the portfolio listing to reflect the AT&T/SBC buyout.

Do you think I could find that letter? I went through every one of those five piles, each piece of paper individually, and that letter simply isn't there! Anywhere! It has disappeared. I wonder if maybe I somehow stapled it into one of those batches I subsequently delivered to The Angel.

I went to a Mensa dinner at a Thai restaurant in Beacon this evening. I like Thai food, but I think I need help ordering. I should have just got the Pad Thai, it looked really good, but I got fancy and ordered the Twice-Cooked Beef (a "special"), and it was like a whole pile of bits of salty beef jerky. Next time, I'll have to remind myself it's the veggies and the sauces I like, so I should stick to things with lots of that, and forget the meats.

Tired. Goodnight.

Monday, March 27, 2006

#619 I Need a hurricane


I got a shock today.

I had plans to do a lot of stuff on the house this year and next. I absolutely must replace the roof shingles, because they're curled and lifting, and there are leaks in three places. I want to resurface the driveway, because it's cracking, and sinking in several spots. I need to replace the deck - it's over 20 years old, made of treated lumber, and was never sealed, so at this point it's almost dangerous. I want to have the siding washed. It's dirty and moldy where vines had grown up it. And then sometime soon, a year or two or three, I want to have half the basement finished, with a lounge with wood stove, another bedroom, a sewing room, and a spectacular bathroom with a whirlpool.

The roof is the first priority. I don't know where I got the idea, but I thought it would cost maybe up to $5,000 at the very most, likely less. I've got that much saved up to do it. What's up there now is architectural shingles, very thick and made to look like cedar shingles. And they're lifting, curling, and buckling. Unfortunately, they are too thick to shingle over, and have to be removed before the new layer goes up. I asked for an estimate to replace them with the same type.

The Hunk says I have a big roof. It comes to "40 squares" (a square being 10x10 sections (feet?))
Materials cost will be $4,300, for 30-year architectural shingles and weatherproof underlining around the edges.
Labor will be $12,000.
Let me repeat that -- $12,000 labor.
(However, he also said something about $150 per square, which comes to $6,000, not $12,000. Did I misunderstand? Or is it $6,000 to remove and $6,000 to apply?)
Assuming no misunderstanding, that's, um, $16,300 total.
Actually higher, because I need something called a "cricket" built on the upside of the chimney to prevent future leak problems. He didn't figure that in.


Sunday, March 26, 2006

#618 Going Postal

Surprise. According to today's Kingston Freeman newspaper, "Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds" is NOT the motto of the US Postal Service. The US Postal Service, in fact, has no official motto. Turns out the words were written by the Greek historian Herodotus, describing the couriers who carried military orders during the war between Greece and Persia. Apparently it was the independent decision of the architect to add it to the (1913) facade of the James Farley Central Post Office on Eighth Avenue in Manhattan. Just decoration.

This little gem was in an article about how the local PO in Kingston is requiring that city addresses must begin using curbside mailboxes, just like us country folks, so that the mail carriers can shorten their routes by not having to walk up to every door, and can deliver the mail faster. Money-saving measure. No mention was made of delivering by vehicle.

I'm confused. The photographs accompanying the article show the (standard rural) mailboxes right up against the curb, facing the street. Now, if the carriers are still delivering on foot, wouldn't it make sense for the mailboxes to be at the edge of the lawns, facing the sidewalk, or between the sidewalk and the curb, facing in? If the carriers are delivering by vehicle, uh, does this mean no one can park on the street any more? Out here in the countryside, there's plenty of room between mailboxes, and nobody much parks on the roads anyway. But in the city, almost everybody parks on the street, and there's very little space between the mailboxes. The article didn't explain it.

Won't this enormously increase vandalism and mail theft temptation?

I don't understand.

#617 Hibernian High

I spent much of today at the Lions Club Expo at the Hudson Valley Mall. All I bought was some socks at PayLess, but I had a good time visiting all the booths. Some were commercial, some were charities, some were government services, and a few were political.

I looked at a tiny RV, and I want one! Even for just weekend jaunts it would be so handy. I also picked up cards for a dog training club, driveway repair, stonework, sunrooms, and antique furniture restoration, and some information from the group fighting the plans to build thousands of condominiums on the Hudson just north of East Kingston. That really bothers me, too, for a lot of reasons. I ate late lunch / early supper at the Coyote Grill.

But mainly I went to see the Ancient Order of Hibernians Pipe & Drum Band. They performed on stage in the food court at 3:30, but then they marched throughout the mall, stopping and forming a circle at every open space to play some more. I LOVE bagpipes. I've loved them forever. Must be something in the genes. This group used to practice on Sundays in a garage someplace in Ulster, across the river and at least 13 "crow" miles from here, and because of the arrangement of the mountains, I could hear them clearly in my house. I used to sit on the deck to listen to them. That was back in the late 90s. They practice somewhere else now. I've missed them.

There were 10 today - 7 pipers and three drummers, seven women and three men. Two of the three drummers were women, and they were really good, they did the twirling and flourishing and spinning of the sticks (are they still called drumsticks when they have big fuzzy ends?).

Daughter, something I would really like - when my ashes are scattered, it would be nice to have one piper uphill, and one downhill, doing that haunting thing where they play back and forth. Of course I might not hear it, but it would still be nice. I'm sure there are some pipers in Scranton or Wilkes Barre. I'll bet any police or fire department will know of some. And don't ask permission of the park. Just do it. Give the other hikers a thrill.


Dirty Dave is putting all of his old photos on disk, and he just a few minutes ago sent me some he'd found of me. The following are probably from the mid-to-late 80's, a Mensa outing. ( Could I have found a less attractive outfit? Maybe a sack tied in the middle?) I'd almost forgotten how thick my hair used to be. But I do remember that I'm no better with a boomerang than with a Frisbee. Duck!