Saturday, August 05, 2006

835 Aaaaagh!

Saturday, August 05, 2005

I'm having trouble writing August, on checks, on notes, here, everywhere. It's like I refuse to admit it's August already. I'm not ready!

I'm fussing with Our local PBS station plays their videos during the "fill time" between shows, and they fascinate me (not the ones with the robots. I don't like them). I like the ones with the Rube Goldberg instrument heaps that play themselves. So I went to their website and I bought the 2-DVD set. What arrived is two CDs - just the soundtrack from the DVDs - which, by the way, are $11.59 cheaper than the DVDs I paid for. I'm so very disappointed. But I like the music anyway (it's sort of jazzy easy listening electronic new age - I can't describe it - go to their website and check it out), so I decided to keep the CDs to play in the car.

They play in the house CD player. They play (audio-only) on the DVD player. They won't play in the car. They just get kicked back out again without even an error code.

Altogether I'm very disappointed.

So I have sent them a note today asking if they would please send me the DVDs, and since I overpaid for the CDs they sent me by accident, I expect to pay only the difference in price (also minus a $2 discount they offer on second orders). And, oh, by the way, why won't they play in the car?

I'm annoyed that I probably won't get a response until I'm about to head out the door for a week and a half.


Speaking of heading out the door, I have a unreasonable reaction. I'll be home alone all day and night, for days on end, and get no phone calls, and it doesn't bother me at all. I mostly don't especially like the telephone anyway, and most people know that. I turn my cell phone on only for outgoing calls or expected incoming. There are only a few people I'm comfortable chatting on the phone with.

And yet, if I'm out all day, or for an evening, or even just for a few minutes, the first thing I do when I get home is check for messages on the house phone. And for some reason, I am always terribly disappointed, to the point of feeling sorry for myself, sometimes almost to the point of tears, when there are no messages on the phone. That big fat red "0" mocks me. Like I was away, and nobody missed me, nobody loves me, nobody wanted me. I know this is unreasonable, but it's there. Every time. I hate it.


I managed no post here yesterday. Firefox, BiznessOline (my ISP), Netscape, AOL, and Bloglines *ALL* updated themselves either late Thursday or early yesterday. All at once. So all day yesterday I was having problems. Firefox and Netscape both kept program-checking, the connection was so especially slow that things kept timing out, and it kept bouncing, and every time I tried to go to a post on Bloglines, instead of loading the post, it DOWNLOADED the entire blog or web page. Gack! AOL would get slower and slower until it locked the entire system, and I had to push the button and cold-start. Which on this antiquated overloaded piece of #$%& takes upwards of 20 minutes.

I use Bloglines to read blogs and some news flashes. I can read the nice simple content of a post or report right there on Bloglines without all the formatting I have to wait for if I go to the website itself. For me, it's a lot faster. If for some reason I need to go to the actual post, I click on the title, and go there. That downloading crap was a shock. So much so I had to try it several times to believe it. I noticed on my SiteMeter counter (at the bottom of this page) that I got only 4 hits yesterday (I usually get only maybe 15 or so, many of which are accidents, which as far as I'm concerned is about all I want, maybe even more than I deserve), so I suspect others were having similar problems.

Bloglines seems to have straightened itself out. Firefox, Netscape, and BiznessOnline have bounced only once each so far today, about average. AOL is behaving. Cross fingers. Firefox has started doing its "tab" thing all by itself, which I don't like because I'm not used to it, but I guess I could learn to tolerate it.

I do wish "they" wouldn't all change at once.

Oh - AOL has sent out a notice that AOL is now free! But their notice didn't say whether or not they will continue to hit my credit card every month. This could get interesting. I keep AOL just for email - I find it easier to use than any other I've seen. I'm a little worried though - what you see when you have the paid-for AOL code on your system is nothing like what you see when you handle email through the AOL website. If they're going to switch us all to that mode, I may have no reason to continue using AOL at all.

834 What Country Am I?

You're Egypt!

Curator of ancient mystical secrets, your life on the surface is fairly typical these days, though you are in denial about more things than most people.

Nevertheless, you're trying to convince people that you're safe despite your more
volatile and unstable times that seem to be behind you. You like cats a whole lot.

You'd probably really appreciate The Blue Pyramid.

Take the Country Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid

Thursday, August 03, 2006

833 No More Fixing Stuff!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

I put four new tires on the minivan, and a month later it started this tummy-ache garbage.

My kitchen phone lost the outgoing message every time the electricity dropped, because the batteries had died, but I'd lost the instruction book and didn't know where the battery compartment was. Roman found it and replaced the batteries. A month later, the handset died.

I finally got around to changing the water filter in the basement (with Roman's help), and then the (groundwater based heat pump) air conditioner promptly clogged with silt.

The cement cap on the chimney was deteriorating, so I had it replaced. Shortly thereafter, the roof leaked, causing damage to the kitchen and livingroom ceilings.

I had the underbrush cleared out of the woods, and since then, six trees have fallen, one covered in poison ivy.


What conclusion should I draw?

My vinyl siding has a lot of mold on it. I'm afraid to have it cleaned. My driveway is cracking and pitting. I'm afraid to have it topped. And I don't think I'll get a physical or cut my hair any time soon.

832 Price Signal?

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Roman mentioned on Tuesday that since he now uses the cell phone for most calls, he changed the house phone to a cheaper plan. The change requires no change to equipment, just to how he's billed, so all it needs is a (probably one-line) change on a computer. He's annoyed because the phone company is charging him a $45 "service charge" to make that change. It'll take several months of phone bill savings to make that up. But what really ticked him off is that if he had moved to a more expensive plan, requiring the same change, there would be no charge. So the service charge is not to cover the expense, it's to discourage people from changing to a cheaper plan.

There ought to be something illegal about that. It's certainly immoral. After all, retailers aren't allowed to charge more if you use a credit card instead of cash, even though credit card processing does cost them a significant amount more.

Yesterday (I think it was yesterday) I was watching a PBS news show about the problems with electrical service, specifically about brownouts and drops when the demand is high. They had some honcho on, and they talked about public education on conservation and how it is and is not working, and the honcho said that one of the problems is that "we haven't been sending the correct price signals to influence consumption." Direct quote.

Think about that a minute.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

831 Keeping Bees Out

I found out how I might be able to keep bees and wasps from nesting in my vehicles. I've been told that I should tie bundles of fresh or freshly dried bay leaves here and there in the front and back. My source swears it works.

I've found paper wasp nests in laurel bushes, so I dunno, but I'm willing to try it.

BTW - it's now 90 degrees in the den. I think I'll REALLY turn things off now and go shopping.

830 Tuesday and Wednesday

Wednesday, August 2, 2006

[Edit - fixed the date.]

I missed a post yesterday, and now I don't remember what I did all day. I know I was busy - I had a "to do" list, all prioritized and numbered and everything, and I did everything on the list and then threw it away. Now all I can remember is the bank and the fuel oil. Oh, and the post office. And the pharmacy. And the insurance.

If you ever get annoyed at my lists of "what I did today", well, this is why I do it - because I don't always remember on my own.

I had received the forms to sign up for xxx gallons of fuel oil for the winter at a reduced price. You had to specify how much oil you wanted, but according to my records, I used only 250 gallons last winter. Last winter was very mild. I had prepaid for 400, so I had some credit, maybe 150 gallons at last year's low price. To complicate matters, they had two different prices - the lower price if you intended to pay up front, and a higher price to pay monthly. I gave up trying to figure it all out, and went to the fuel oil office. The nice guy there looked up my credit, and - this I don't understand - when I said I'd prepay, he said he'd give me a better price, and I'm getting next winter's oil for something like 40 cents a gallon less than their lowest advertised price. So that was a profitable trip.

I may have mentioned that there's a guy from one of the online dating sites who lives 99 miles away. Far far beyond my acceptable zone. He's also too tall, at 6'. But for some reason, I find him fascinating, and didn't reject him right off (it's beginning too look like all the good ones are too far away). He is articulate and erudite (his retirement business is an online bookstore), and I like the way his mind works. He'll take something I said in an email, and sort of spin it around, so we're looking at it sideways. My ultraslow connection and I have spent some time on email.

Talked with Roman on the phone last night. We are to have dinner Thursday. He gave me some things to bring up with the minivan service people. I was wondering if maybe there was gunk in the fuel line, but he said that's unlikely. Given the "when"s of the stalling, he thinks it's probably just that it's idling too slowly. You'd think they'd have checked that, but ... nobody really does vehicular diagnosis any more. Can't count on their having checked anything.

It's 99 degrees outside right now, and 88 degrees in here. I probably ought to give the PC a break, before it melts.

Monday, July 31, 2006

829 Shower Rot

Monday, July 31, 2006

Talking about rotting the floor under the shower, in the previous entry, reminded me of the time I saw the results of water getting under a floor.

Friends had bought their first home, an older house that had long been rented to college students. I helped them move in and make some repairs.

The tiles on the floor of the downstairs bathroom were loose, so the husband started pulling them up.

We found that the subflooring was soaked and rotted. (It was untreated plywood. Someone must have earlier made a cheap repair.) So he started pulling that up.

The joists were soaked and rotted. They crumbled in our fingers. The shower stall was not resting on a firm floor - it was pretty much just hanging from the plumbing.

That could have made for a thrilling ride to the basement some morning.

828 Monday

Monday, July 31, 2006

I drove the minivan today. It stalled four times before I got through the village, but after that it was fine. I've noticed that when it stalls is always when I slow down, as for a traffic light or a turn, and when I shift into reverse. Reverse? Is there something different about reverse that will help to diagnose this problem?

I went to the hardware store about 1 pm to exchange some bathroom caulk strips. Back when I got the key copied, I saw this stuff, and it looked like a good idea.

When the house was built, 20-some years ago, the builder never finished the trim in the bathrooms. Alongside the tub and the shower stall, the flooring just butts up against the fixtures. Jay said we had to put a silicon caulk line down in the seam, cut some quarter-round to fit precisely against the quarter-round along the baseboards, set it into the caulk, nail it, and then paint it to match the baseboard. He never got around to doing it. Neither did I. It seemed like an awkward and tool-intensive low priority task. On the other hand, even though water rarely gets out of the tub or shower, over time we could rot the floor.

So I happened to see something simpler. It's an L-shaped vinyl strip with stickum on the back. You just clean the surfaces, peel the paper off the back, and stick it on. Cutting it to abut the baseboards is easy, with scissors. I initially bought white, but when I got it home, it was obvious the beige would have been better.

I also bought two small fans at the hardware store. It's supposed to be very hot tomorrow, so it won't hurt to be better prepared.

Then I went to the fitness center, and put in 35 minutes on the treadmill. I couldn't do the full 45 because my right foot was dropping. Of course I can't feel it when it does that, but I could hear it scraping the surface of the treadmill on each step, and I couldn't seem to keep the toes up. Walking on ground it's not too dangerous, but with the (slight) slope on the treadmill I'd be more likely to trip, so I quit.

Then I went to the diner for the salad buffet. I had finished eating, had my check, and was packing up my book to leave when I heard a very loud "S-I-I-I-I-L-L-L-L-K!!" and looked up to find Piper and Vinnie arriving. I've never known Piper to suggest the diner, but there he was. He'd been in a charity golf tournament all morning and early afternoon, and ... he's going to be hurting tonight. He was badly sunburned. He looked like a happy tomato.

The two slid into my booth, and I had another cup of tea while they had soup and sandwiches.

I got home a little after 6. I ran out of day again.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

827 Online Dating Update

Sunday, July 30, 2006

I had mentioned I found another online dating site, and that that seems to be where all the local men are hiding. They're still hiding!

In the past few days, I've turned down nine men from that site, almost all because they are too far away - in the 50 to 100 mile range (my profile says 30 or less, please), most in CT or MA or down around the Jersey line. Some of them sounded really interesting, except for the distance. My criteria is 30 miles. I want a natural friendship to develop, and I figure too much distance puts too much pressure on. You work too hard to impress and end up with false impressions.

Yeah, it's arbitrary. Maybe I don't really want this to work. Roman is still on my mind. But if I don't want it to work, but feel like I ought to try anyway, then the chances of finding an accidental soulmate are better if he's closer. So. Who knows what will happen. At least I'm somewhat open.

There were so many on this new site who were geographically close, and they're not biting. I have only two guys left in the "possibilities" pile, and they're both about 40 miles away. Is it possible that they're all looking for women at some distance, rather than close, because they're afraid not to have distance? The possible reasons for that are not pleasant to contemplate.

On the other sites, the ones I had pretty much given up on because like NOBODY was local, or available, or acceptable, and I hadn't heard from anyone in ages, all of a sudden it's like they woke up. In this past week I've been contacted by several, and I've suddenly got two possibilities (by that I mean ongoing pleasant email-stage contact) from those sites. And both are nearby!

From famine to feast. I wonder if it's a coincidence that in another week I leave town for two weeks. The table could be cleared by the time I'm able to meet any of them.

Anyway, that's where large amounts of time has been going lately - reading emailed notes, reading profiles on three different sites, and responding to shoulder-taps on my super slow connection.