Saturday, August 04, 2007

1411 Recycle Rant

Saturday, August 4, 2007

My internet connection is now cellular (wireless) broadband. When I connect, it casts around to find a "path". I can see where I'm connected through, on I am amused that sometimes I'm "in" Colorado, or Indiana, or Pennsylvania. Today I was surprised to find that I'm connected through the District of Columbia, specifically the Washington Navy Yard. Wow. That surprises me.


I took a load of stuff to the recycle center today. There are usually two paid workers there, and maybe one or two volunteers. It was very hot today, so they were all hiding out in the shed, in front of a fan.

Man, if I volunteered there, within hours I'd be thoroughly disgusted with people in general. It would be very bad for me.

I can't believe people dump cans and bottles in the bin without so much as rinsing them out. How can they do that? The smell? The way dirty cans attract wasps? Have they no pride? Is it really so hard to rinse?

That's bad, but worse are the people who dump stuff they should KNOW is not accepted. The center is constantly handing out lists of what is and is not accepted, and which bins get what, and I swear nobody (except a few like me) reads or pays attention to them.

One quick glance at the top layer of any of the three sorting bins finds what looks like a 30% mix of not-acceptable or not-this-bin items. Manila envelopes with bubble-wrap lining are not accepted at all, and yet the newspaper-only bin was speckled with them today, and the distribution, all through the bin, suggests that it wasn't only one person who screwed up.

They accept ONLY #1 and #2 clearly-marked plastic, so could someone explain to me why the plastic/glass/metal bin is full of plastic bags?

I get so angry at idiots.

Garbage collection around here is very expensive, and I think a lot of people see the recycle center as free garbage disposal. What they don't seem to understand is that the more trash they throw in there, the more they put in the wrong bin, the more expensive it is to sort, and eventually it will tip to too costly, and will be no more. THEN what will they do with it? Fully 2/3 of my waste every month is recyclable. I don't want to pay to have it hauled away and dumped in a landfill. But these idiots will make that happen.


Grrr. I was already in that bad mood when I read a comment in the local Mensa Yahoo group, regarding the lack of a local directory, that REALLY jerked my chain. I snapped back. A certain person seems to think he has all the answers and conveniently ignores what he doesn't like, and everyone else ignores his "I'm the source of all wisdom" attitude (except in conversation when he's not around) because he's also one of the most active and social people, which IS appreciated, and they don't want to lose him. What they don't realize is that since no one wants to go head-to-head with him and lets him have his way, NOBODY ELSE WANTS TO DO ANYTHING! They don't want to have to deal with him. He's the chief cause of the apathy in the group, and that's not just my opinion.

I didn't want to touch off the powder keg but I may have. He went a little too far this time, and this time he stepped on MY toes. He's ON the Board, but he often seems to think he IS the Board.

Oh, well. It needed saying. I'll crawl back into my apathetic but very comfortable shell now.


Friday, August 03, 2007

1410 Check Engine

Friday, August 3, 2007

So, I started the van this afternoon, and the check engine light did not go on. I headed across the river to get it inspected, and an oil change, and transmission fluid flushed/changed.

Right up until the end of the safety inspection, the CE light was not on, but then the guy called me in, and pow, there it was. On.

In NY (don't know what it's like elsewhere), they hook the vehicle up to a machine that gathers who knows what information, which is sent directly from the machine to the DMV (for all I know it could be your destinations and speeds, photos of passengers and taped conversations, for the past year! Heck, this is NY. It could happen!), and if the check engine light is on for any reason, it's an automatic fail. He wanted to fail it right then. I did the gas cap bit, told him it might take a minute or two and to continue with the safety inspection and fluid changes, then look again.

Forty-five minutes later, my name was called, and the van had passed!

When I went out to drive it home, the CE light was off.

Then when I was almost home, I pressed the cruise control button and tried to set the speed, and it didn't take, and I thought "Uh oh", and the cruise control turned itself off, and the CE light went on.

Oh, well. It passed inspection. I've got some time to figure this one out. As for tomorrow's furniture moving, if it were just locally I'd do it, but the furniture is on Long Island, and I'm not sure I want to go that far while I don't know what will happen. Last year the screwed-up computer caused stalls in intersections.

1409 Kitty Breakthrough!

Friday, August 3, 2007

Jasper has been behind the washing machine since Monday. I put soft food in a bowl at the end of the washer, and when I'm not around he'd eat the food, drink some water, piddle on the floor on the other side of the laundry room (ignoring the litter box - I'm still not sure where the poopy is - no odors evident). There was some dry food on a plate in the middle of the room, too, but he'd been ignoring it. All I've actually seen of him since Sunday night has been big eyes in the dust and dark behind the washer.

This morning, it was evident he had found the dry food. And he had piddled on the newspaper I'd put down in what appeared to be his chosen urinal area.

Since he approved of the dry food, this morning I reached (a long stretch for me) between the utility sink and the washer to put some dry food in the bowl, and was surprised when a little head pushed itself under my hand. He wanted a head and neck scratching while he ate.

He wouldn't come completely out from the safe space, but ... this may yet work out. I didn't see fear in his eyes this morning. I saw recognition. So maybe it will take a few days of my lying on the floor stretching to reach between the sink and washer to scratch a furry neck.

I can do that.

1408 Dear Diary - Four Days

Thursday August 2 into Friday August 3, 2007

I have something of a much higher priority to do tonight before I go to bed, therefore I'm doing this first. The Man laughs at me because there are things that make perfect sense to me, but would make no sense to anyone else. I guess this is one of them. If I do a lower priority thing first, then I can be sure BOTH will get done before I conk out.

I haven't kept track of the past four days, and if I don't soon, it'll be all mixed up in my head.

Ok. Monday I caught up on everything I'd let slide since Wednesday.

Tuesday I wrote a very long and difficult email to FW on a topic we had discussed the day before, and then I went to EEE (Mensa dinner) at the Indian restaurant in the village. There was Angie, Jeff, John, Roman, and me. Jeff had ridden his bike in from Bard, and it got dark, and his bike had no lights, and it didn't fit in a car trunk, so I followed him all the way back to Bard at between 7 and 17 mph with my flashers on. I guess it was ok, because a police car passed us without a blink.

Wednesday I REALLY overslept. Crazy. I had wanted to go to the museum, I need to process the checks that came in during July, but I didn't wake up until 2 pm. After that, I haven't the faintest idea what I did. I do recall getting several phone calls, several hours on the phone with several people. Social stuff. You'd never guess I hate talking on the phone.

Thursday I got up at a decent hour and did some financial research, some cleaning up in the laundry room, flirting with the new kitty, bits of things. Left the house a little after 3 pm to meet Roman for dinner. We went to see Richard III at Boscobel. Last minute tickets don't get you the best seats, but they were still pretty good. This time the costumes were vaguely Egyptian, and we had great difficulty understanding the family relationships. The guy who played Richard was very good, although his very strong resemblance to my Hairless Hunk was rather distracting.

Sundaes after, in a restaurant/ice cream parlor that played wonderful 50s, 60s, and 70s music, and I didn't want to leave. I kept pumping quarters into the "nickelodeon". (Remember when you got one song for a nickel, six for a quarter? Now it's three for a dollar!) Got home a little after 1 am.

Roman and I talked about our relationship a bit. We are very good friends right now, and I don't want to screw that up by getting too involved. He's having a little trouble with that. I told him I'd like to find him a good woman, but on the other hand, I don't want to share him. We'll figure it out, I guess. I hope.

Tomorrow I have to figure out what to do with the minivan. On Tuesday I had committed to help a friend move some furniture on Saturday. I screwed up. I forgot that last week when I tried started it, the "check engine" light went on. It won't pass inspection if the CE light is on, and it was due for inspection by the end of July. Man, I blew it. From a couple of directions.

So I'll have to check it tomorrow morning. I hope tightening the gas cap will have been enough. If so, I'll get it inspected tomorrow. If not, I don't know what I'll do.

Now on to more the more important task, so I can eventually get some sleep.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

1407 Catching Honey

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Something funny that happened last weekend: Son-in-law Hercules's mother, K-Mom (I'm S-Mom), was talking about an abandoned cat named Honey that she'd been trying to catch, and Hercules said, "Did you try flies? I hear you can catch a lot of honey with flies."

I don't think he realized what he'd said until he thought about it.

So Thursday night I was telling The Man about it, and I said, "And then Hercules said, did you try...", and The Man interrupted with "Flies! They say you can catch a lot of honey with flies."

I cracked up. I swear those two have the same brain! The two of them are always finishing each other's thoughts, even the weird ones. They think the same way.

I'm not sure which is better, or worse - that a 32-yo has the brain of a 47-yo, or vice versa.

1406 Dear Diary - Weekend in NJ, Part 2

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

I haven't updated in DAYS! Busy. The previous post left off Saturday afternoon. After writing that post, I went for a walk on the roads around the hotel. I returned across a lawn behind the hotel, and met Jasper. Jasper changed all my plans for the next few days.

Jasper is an American shorthair gray tabby, white trim, round face with huge eyes and enormous curved and tufted lynx ears, spots on his back and stripes on his legs, probably about five months old. The housekeepers and reception desk women say he turned up at the hotel as a kitten just before the flooding (was that last April?), and they were amazed he made it through. He's a very small cat with tiny feet, but he's solid muscle. He begs food from the hotel guests and staff by being cute.

I sat on a bench to watch him. Any time anyone walked out the door or through the parking lot, especially men, Jasper'd run over with a tiny high-pitched "Meee, meeee", and walk next to them calling, roll on the ground in front of them, waving his paws in the air, duck down behind the curb with only his ears showing and one paw up patting the sidewalk, and so on. I noticed that about one in six men (but, oddly, not the women) would return in a few minutes with a piece of meat or cheese.

He skittered away from hands, allowed no one to touch him.

This doorway seemed to be the "break" gathering place, and as staff came out to sit for a while, they all expressed a wish that someone would adopt him, but no one had been able to catch him. A shelter wouldn't take him unless someone could catch him. Traps had been tried, but he was too suspicious.

I decided to catch him.

I went to a Target and bought a litter pan and some litter, some food in foil packets, a food dish and a water dispenser, and a carrier (animals were allowed in the hotel, so this was in case I caught him and would have him overnight. The receptionist on duty said she wouldn't charge me the surcharge if I could do it). By 8 pm he was eating next to my leg. By 9 pm I was petting him while he ate. By 10 pm I was able to run both hands all over his body, even without the food there. Around 11 pm I tried to pick him up and he freaked. At midnight one of the receptionists came out, and he walked over to her and allowed her to pet him. She was amazed. He'd never gotten that close before.

Then I picked him up and tried to put him into the carrier. I had the carrier standing up on end, and was going to lower him in tail first, but he seemed to know what the carrier was, and all four legs shot out to the sides, and I couldn't fit him in. It took another hour to regain his trust.

A little after 2 am he suddenly took off. I was checking out the next morning, so I figured I'd try again then.

The next morning, Sunday, I sat out there for a few hours, but he never showed. The staff women said he was rarely around in the morning. So I checked out and left with an empty carrier, and went to Daughter's.

She and Hercules have a little experience capturing feral cats, and Hercules said that we should get a dark laundry bag. The opening is larger than the carrier, and when the cat is in the bottom of the bag, being in a dark enclosed space seems to calm them. Then you can stuff the bag into the carrier, and the cat will get out of the bag on his own.

Sounded good to me.

So that evening, the three of us went back to the hotel, with leather gloves, a towel, and a black nylon laundry bag. We waited a very long time, and the kitty didn't show up. Daughter and Hercules gave up and decided to go home, and as I was hugging them goodbye, one of the housekeepers drove up, asked if I was looking for the cat, and said he was around the corner on the other side of the building. Sure enough, he was flirting with some guy sitting on the curb talking on a cell phone. I called, and he came. I gave him some food, and while he was eating, I got a good grip on his scruff.

That's an odd thing about cats. Even one who will not allow you to get a confining grip on his body, WILL allow you to get a good handful of scruff. Once past kittenhood, you should never actually pick a cat up by the scruff - it's very painful once their skin hardens and they put on weight - but grasping the scruff seems to actually be calming and comforting.

Once I could hold him in place by the scruff, Hercules picked him up with the gloves, and popped him into the bag held open by Daughter.

It was NOT calming!

Hercules went into mild shock. He was standing there holding a bag full of hurricane-whirled knives! It was pretty unbelievable. Within seconds, there were already rents appearing in the bag, in like twenty different spots. Daughter yelled "Put him on the grass! Put him on the grass1'. We laid the bag down, and I threw the towel over the bag, and crouched over it, holding Jasper still. We slid cat, bag, and towel into the carrier, pulled the towel out, and within seconds the cat was out of the bag. He attacked the door and tried to bite his way out, but then calmed down very quickly.

The housekeeper lady had gotten on the phone and spread the word, so by the time I left, half a dozen of the staff had come down to thank me and wish us luck.

He was very quiet in the car for the 2.5 hour drive home, even slept some.

My laundry room has a washer, dryer, and utility sink along one wall, next to the door to the garage, a half bath on the opposite wall, and shelves on the end wall. I decided that would be the best place to confine him.

When I let him out of the carrier, he wandered around a bit, spotted the shelves, and climbed straight up them as if they were stairs. He spent the night behind some boxes on the top shelf. By Monday morning he had moved to behind the washing machine, and except to eat some food and drink some water, and piddle in the middle of the floor (ignoring the litter box), most likely during the quiet of the night, he hasn't come out of there. I can see him if I lean between the sink and the washer, and he looks up at me with those big eyes, but there's no reaction to all my soft words. It's now Wednesday evening. I'm wondering if he will ever trust me enough to come out. I don't know where he's pooping, or even if he is. There's no odor.


The name "Jasper", by the way, I swear came from him. Naturally, when I was thinking I'd adopt him, I was thinking of names, even though I am a firm believer that a cat names him- or herself, if you wait a bit. But not usually in this fashion or this insistently. Several names ran through my mind. "Jasper" was NOT one of my ideas. "Jasper" jumped loudly into my mind from outside and wouldn't leave. Every time I considered another name, "Jasper" shouted it down. I don't even LIKE the name Jasper. If kitty insists that it's Jasper, that will go on his vet records, but I'll call him "Jazz".

And that was my weekend in NJ.