Saturday, December 13, 2008

2157 Aftermath

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Yesterday, when I woke to a cold dark house and trees down all around, I knew that the first thing I had to do was go to the grocery store and buy water. Then, of course, I found the trees down on my driveway. I heard a chain saw off to the left, followed the sound, and found a neighbor clearing a path through his fallen trees so that Central Hudson could get through to restring his wires (which were lying on the ground across the road). I asked him if he'd help me if he had a moment, so I helped drag branches, and he cut my barrier.

By the time I got to the grocery store, every gallon of water was gone except for one lonely bottle of "nursery water" (What?! Distilled water fortified with flouride?! What?!) at four times the cost of ordinary water. I bought it. A gal's gotta flush toilets, you know. With super water if necessary.

Then I went to the pharmacy, but they had no power, so I went back to the grocery store, but by then their power had mysteriously disappeared, and then I noticed Piper's car was outside his office, so I stopped in there. He had to leave to meet his generator service man (snicker! He's been bragging about that generator, and then the first time it was needed, it didn't start), so he gave me an office key, told me to keep it forever in case I needed it. I stayed until 8 pm (with two trips back to the house during the afternoon), and then when I went home I crawled right into bed and slept for 13 hours - except for brief awakenings to snuggle deeper into the covers.

When I awoke this morning it was 52 degrees F in the house. The cats were funny. They know how to complain about food or water - you point at the dish and yowl and shake your tail - but how do you complain about cold? It was obvious that they were unhappy, and also obvious they were frustrated about the inability to explain their complaint to me.

So I headed out again, to Piper's office to play with the laptop and wait for power. The Man has personal and business accounts with Marriott, and he suggested that he make a reservation for me for tonight. At 2:30 I called my house, but the machine didn't pick up, so I knew I was still without power, so I called the Marriott to check availability, and they had no rooms available. Not surprising - it's the closest hotel to "the bridge to the dark side" of the river. So I made a reservation at the Holiday Inn. Besides, the Holiday Inn would allow me to bring the cats.

At 3:30 I realized that if I was going to pack a bag for the night, if I didn't go home soon I'd be packing and cat catching in the dark, so I went home.

Good signs - the tree that had been leaning on the wires was gone. When I got out of the car I could hear the rushing sound in the chimney that meant my heat was on. I had power! It was still only 53 degrees in the house, and the temperature rose by 4 degrees in my first 15 minutes in the house, so it couldn't have been on for long before I got home.

I briefly considered canceling the hotel, until I turned the water on. Because the pump had been off so long, water backflowed through the filter, and now the water is muddy. I need a bath. I need to wash my hair. To the left is an actual photo of what's coming out of my faucets. Pure mud. It has the same color and opacity as chocolate milk. It won't run clear until I let the kitchen faucet run full blast for several hours.

You know, that water is probably why my hair is pale blond instead of white. If I washed in real water, it probably would be white.

So --- kitties are home, and I am here at the Holiday Inn. I had room service fried chicken and a wonderful spinach salad, and in a few minutes I'll have a nice soak.

I can see the back parking lot from my window, and it's full of Con Edison cherry-picker trucks. I can see 14 just from here. They must have come up from the city to help out. Thanks, guys!

Later - It's now 10:45 pm, and there are 23 Con Ed cherry-pickers in the back lot, and more coming in. Wow!

Later still - Midnight, and a contingent of Central Jersey Power and Light trucks has arrived, maybe 10 more. This hotel is running a special rate this weekend. Most local rooms are $150-$200 a night, but it's $90 this weekend here, so I guess that's why all the crews are here. Or maybe all the crews are why it's $90. Don't know, don't care, it works for me.

I witnessed an interesting discussion at the desk when I checked in. A woman discovered that she was paying $135, and everybody else in the bar was paying $90. The desk clerk patiently explained to her that she had requested the AAA discounted rate, which was $135, a discount off the regular $150. That's what she requested, and that's what she got. The $90 is a special, but she didn't ask for that. I was amused because the clerk didn't seem to understand what her problem was. Like, "You asked for the AAA rate, you got the AAA rate, what's your problem?"

Friday, December 12, 2008

2156 Ice

Friday, December 12, 2008

We had an ice storm last night. All evening the electricity had been bouncing, so I gave up and went to bed at 11:30 pm. At about 11:45 the electricity gave up for good. All night long I could hear trees and branches falling. Thuds, bangs, crashes.

Usually when there's a winter storm predicted, I move my car to the bottom of the driveway to be sure I can get out. Last night I didn't. I didn't feel like walking back up the drive (350 feet) in icy rain.

It's a good thing I didn't. This photo shows precisely where I would have parked. Those trees don't look big, but they're black locust - very heavy wood.

The next one is the little apple tree next to the garage. It's been uprooted. It did hit the garage, but as far as I can see there was no damage - maybe a dent in the rain gutter at most. Poor little apple.

This is the side yard that I'd just got cleared and leveled and seeded this year. I've been rather proud of how nice it looked. Now it's covered in half-trees and large branches. Note the two trees leaning in the background. They'll go over with the next wind.

The back yard. That's a huge tree that uprooted. Several behind it will topple with the next wind.

There's lots more. I've got about ten trees completely down, and probably six or eight more that broke somewhere in the middle and will have to be taken down.

The village got electricity this afternoon (it's a bit intermittent, but the "on" periods are getting longer), but my street (a few miles out of the village) may not get it back for a while. We had a lot of trees down on lines. The crews opened the street to traffic this morning, cleared it of fallen trees, but that was all they did. There's one very tall tree leaning at an angle across the street, uprooted and resting the top branches on the electric wires. I've gone under it five times so far today, and it has scared me every time.

At least two of my trees and one large branch had fallen into the road. The road crews cut them up and then pushed the debris onto my yard. It's all a mess. I cleared a path to the mailbox so I could get delivery, but the rest will have to wait.

Everyone on my street was pretty lucky. A huge 3' diameter tree fell in the yard across the street, and just missed both the house and the vehicles. Down the street a bit, one of those 150-year-old monsters went down - the root ball is half their yard - and again it missed the house and vehicles.

I'm sitting in Piper's office typing this. My cell phone, camera, and laptop all had low batteries, so he gave me a key so I could come in, charge batteries, and use the bathroom. I figure when I leave here and go home, I'll just crawl into bed. No light, no heat, no water. Bah.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

2155 The eBay Necklace Dispute

Thursday, December 11, 2008

This is the necklace I bought; the photo is from the seller's description:

This is what I received, after four week's delay, and stories of being out of state for a family emergency (is she unaware that I can use her feedback to see that during the time she was "away", she was still selling things, mailing things, and other buyers were getting their items?):
(The metal is the same - old silver. She used daylight, I used a flash. It's just that I received a lot less metal than I was sold.) I've asked her to locate and send the other four rings, and if she can't I want to return the necklace for a refund.

So, do I have a right to complain?

2154 PayPal Pissed Me Off. Big Mistake!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I am very angry with PayPal. I've got a problem with an eBay seller, and when she did not reply to my emails (after taking four weeks to send me the item, she sent an inferior version), I got her eBay contact info, and then discovered that her phone has been disconnected. I am left with no recourse but to file a PayPal dispute.

You have to fill out a description of the problem in a little text window on PayPal, which should include the history of attempts to resolve the problem.

Well, I don't type all that fast, and I don't compose all that quickly. I went over and over my note, changing, clarifying, and refining details, and then I hit "send"...

... and was informed that since I'd been on so long with "no activity", PayPal had logged me off. All my hard work was lost.

Are they really incapable of detecting that I was entering text all that time? No! They knew! I know they knew because the running count of "characters left" keeps decreasing as I type. They KNOW I'm typing! I'm so angry that they ARBITRARILY kicked me off without saving my text.

Piss me off.

(Yeah, next time I'll type it all up offline, and then copy it into their stupid little window. And you know what pisses me off even more? I had this same problem last year, and I wrote to them about it, and they said I was right, and they'd fix it, so it hadn't occurred to me that it would still be a problem. Liars.)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

2153 Shoot Woot! Kill It!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I thought was "one day, one deal". I'm getting like 15-25 deals a day in my post reader. Phooey. Maybe I'm subscribed to the wrong feed. Anyone else having the same problem?

2152 Bailout, the Real Deal

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

2151 Bits from TV

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Guy on Proactiv commercial: "... I put it on at night...and when I wake up in the morning you don't have acne."

Wow! That stuff really works! He woke up this morning, and sure enough, I didn't have acne!


I've mentioned before how there are so many towns around here that aren't pronounced the way they're spelled, like Valatie is not pronounced VAL-a-tee, it's va-LAY-sha. There's a jewelry store upriver named Castiglione Jewelers. I used to date a guy from Naples, and according to his rules for pronouncing Italian, that should be cast-TIG-leo-nee. It sure looks like an Italian name. They pronounce it CAST-a-line. I don't get it.

Yeah, it's your name and you can pronounce it any way you want, but it seems like a town or a store should stick to the phonetic so people can FIND it! Recognize the name when they see or hear it.


I've enjoyed Boston Legal so much. I'm sorry it's all over. Last night, Alan and Denny decided to get married. (You have to know the show to fully appreciate that. Denny is in the early stages of Alzheimer's. Alan is like a son to him, but unlike a blood son, he cannot do a lot of things for Denny that might need doing. Yeah, there's wills and proxies and powers of attorney, but that won't allow you to sleep on a cot in a hospital room with him like spousehood would. Not to mention estate taxes. So for various legal and social reasons, they decide to marry. In Massachusetts they can, so why not?)

However, a gay rights group objects. Alan and Denny are both flaming heterosexuals, and the gay rights group objects because they are "making a mockery of the institution", and of course they end up in court:
"We love each other."
"But- you're both heterosexual!"
"Are you saying we can't get married because we don't intend to have sex?"
....................Interesting question.

(They ignored the fact that lack of sexual intent is grounds for annulment, so yeah, it does seem like sex is a requirement in marriage.)

Anyway, they did get married. Perfect whacko ending, in true Boston Legal tradition.

Monday, December 08, 2008

2150 A Sheep Story

Monday, November 8, 2008

Suppose you live in a small town in the boonies, where there's little actual money and a lot of bartering of sheep. Suppose you go into debt to your neighbor, for a new roof, say, and he's hassling you for payment, 10 sheep. But your sheep haven't been reproducing well, and you don't have 10 sheep you can spare.

Suppose I am very rich, live in the huge mansion on the hill, with a large flock of sheep. You come to me for help, and I say, "No problem", and I sit down at my desk and write a slip of paper saying that I will take care of your debt, that this piece of paper represents 10 sheep. (Or maybe I write 10 slips of paper worth one sheep each.) Note that I don't actually give you 10 sheep. The paper just says it's good for 10 sheep.

You take the paper to your neighbor, and he is satisfied. He takes the paper to his grocer, and the grocer is happy to take the paper in exchange for bread and milk, because, after all, he can look up the hill and see the sheep in question browsing in my fields. I'm still shearing the sheep and keeping the wool, but that's ok. He can redeem this slip for a sheep when he needs it.

Unfortunately, your neighbor also still owes for the materials he used for your roof, and having bought the groceries and being out of spare sheep (his also are not reproducing well), he comes to me and asks for help. I sit down and write some slips of paper that say, "Don't worry, I'll cover for 10 sheep." Note that if anyone actually redeems the paper for sheep, you and your neighbor would have to replace the sheep.

There's been a general infertility problem. Nobody's sheep are reproducing well. That's called "recession". The sheep are depressed or something. Pretty soon, there are little slips of paper all over town. If everybody redeems the paper for sheep, then everybody owes me sheep, which they don't have. And they are starting to look up the hill and realize that there are more little slips of paper out there than I have sheep. A lot more. I've covered for more sheep than I have. But it doesn't bother me, because - hey, I still have the sheep! I'm doing fine.

Eventually it dawns on people that if they brought this paper to me to collect the sheep, for each one-sheep slip, they might get a third of a sheep, not a whole sheep, because there aren't enough sheep. So they start asking for three times as many slips when one sheep is owed. And it also dawns on them that if they do try to collect sheep for those pieces of paper, I'm going to start calling in the loans at the rate of one sheep per paper, and nobody can afford that, because, well, the sheep aren't reproducing.

And that's inflation.

You know that $800 billion the big house on the hill handed out? There are no sheep. The government (well, actually, the federal reserve, which is NOT a government entity, it's a private enterprise, and the taxpayers are in debt to them, but that's another story) simply sat down at their desks and wrote up 800 billion slips of paper redeemable for sheep no one has.

The only way to fix it is to get the sheep reproducing. We need to make more things of value, export more sheep. Get off our duffs and start creating sheep. But the banks have most of the rams, and the rams are suddenly more valuable, so they're not renting them out for stud at fees we can afford, so we are forced to eat our sheep, and with fewer sheep we are firing shepherds, and with fewer shepherds we can't take care of our sheep as well (they are notorious for difficult births even when we have access to a ram), so it spirals down.

And we all go into a depression.

Moral of the story - Elect shepherds who can count. And invest in farms that have their own rams.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

2149 Another Tarot

Sunday, December 7, 2008

I went to a bazaar in Woodstock yesterday. The Gypsy was vending - but her stuff, although beautiful, is too expensive for a bazaar. People are looking for trinkets, Christmas gifts, not $200 dresses.

While there, I got another Tarot reading. This one was really good. She asked what my question was, and I was stumped, so I said I wasn’t worried about money, or home, or job. Maybe Daughter or romance. Ok, let’s do romance.

I hesitated briefly about writing this up, but it's so good I can't resist. The Man is aware I have a blog, but he says he doesn't read it because he doesn't want to read about himself and about "us". He also doesn't read, period, if he can avoid it, so I do believe he won't read this. But if he does, that might be good, too. He will laugh at me for the Tarot part, I'll lose "intelligence points", but what the hell. He thinks fantasy football is important. So there!


So, back to Tarot. We did the handle, shuffle, and layout bit. The woman was amazing. I had told her absolutely nothing about myself or anything going on with me. She tapped the card toward the center, and said “That represents you. [Right side up pretty lady.] You are very easy to get along with in a relationship. You are caring and cooperative, forgiving, and very willing to compromise.”

She tapped an upsidedown card below the “me” card. “This represents a past relationship. There’s some kind of negative influence, a hangover, that’s causing a problem with a current relationship, or will cause a problem in the near future.” [Wow. The Man’s problem with Jay’s illness? His attitude is that I don't accept the inevitability of death, and fight a useless battle. He has connected that to my comment to him that he seems to have a death wish. There is no connection, but there has been a lot of unjust death in his life and it can't help but color his thinking. It's a serious problem at the moment. That blocking hand is definitely up.]

She tapped the lower right card, upsidedown. “This represents how you feel in your current or near future relationship. There’s a problem. You want to give. Love and caring. Intimacy. That’s your nature. He is or will be resistant, not accepting. He has or will put up a barrier. [She held her hand up in a “stop” gesture.] There is frustration in that you can’t be yourself, your caring self. You need to love completely, to give, to care for, and he won‘t let you.”

She tapped the center right card. “This is a man. He is very near you now. You know him now. You are involved with him now, or will be soon. He’s related to the blocking card down here [tapping the previous card]. He is younger. Much younger.” She looked up at me and said, “You would prefer an older man, yes?” I shrugged and said yes. She went back to the card and said, “Well, he’s into athletic pursuits, but [frowning] not active. He’s very different from you, in many ways. But he’s [blushing] very! [emphasized] good at … uh … the things of the boudoir, you know? That‘s what will keep you with him, keep you coming back, even though he frustrates you.”

At this point I laughed and admitted that yes, there is a current man, much younger, and yes, she has described him perfectly, and the blocking part, and the part about the previous relationship also fit.

She moved to the top center card. It was a beautiful woman walking toward a four-columned floral canopy. It was upsidedown. She said that this card represents the future of the relationship, and that this card was the best card to have in this position. Its simply being there was a good sign, even though it was upsidedown. “It does not indicate marriage. You would be content to live together without marriage? [Reluctant nod and shrug from me.] It means that a very good, a wonderful, long term relationship is possible, but the expression card down here [lower right] is blocking it. You must turn that [the blocking card] card over. It will require manipulation, and you’re not very good at that. You have to fix that. You are a monkey. [I was born in the Chinese year of the monkey. Wow.] You can do tricks. You have to get him to let down the barrier. If you can fix that, then this card will turn around. If you can‘t, then you will remain frustrated. You will go back and forth, back and forth, unresolved.”

There were two or three other cards, but they either reinforced the others, or had little meaning to me.

Damn. That’s about the best description of our relationship I have ever heard. I couldn’t do better myself. I’ve GOT to turn that blocking card around, and I don’t know how.


Now, as to Tarot. I am fully aware that a good reader reads your expressions and body language. I'm also aware that, like horoscopes, one reads into what is said, and if it's general enough, anyone can apply it to almost any situation.

I found this reading interesting because it did seem so very specific to right now - some things that are going on that I haven't mentioned here. I did a little exercise last night, where I took what "the cards said" (including some things I didn't mention in this writeup) and attempted to apply it to other periods in my life, other relationships, and the closest fit, that I could say "Yeah, that sounds right", was the early years with Ex#2, over 30 years ago - except that Ex#2 was a few weeks older than I, and there was NO sex, let alone "very good". But the rest fit. And I never did get the block turned.

Interesting. I know I have to turn that block, and not because of what the cards say. I know it. I see it. But I don't know how.


I am reminded of my youngest sister's dog, a 2-year old Chow. He was very suspicious, snarled at me when I got too close to him, got up and moved away. The first time I met him, Sister had to leave the house, and I was a little concerned about being left alone with him. Sister said not to worry about him. "He's a total chicken", and wouldn't come anywhere near me. When they first got him as a pup, her mature tomcat had terrorized him unmercifully "until we put a stop to that".

She left, was gone about 20 minutes. When she came home, she was amazed to find the dog leaning against my leg, tongue lolling happily as I scratched his ears. For the next three days, he was glued to my side. He gave every sign of worshiping me. He even gave up his own bed and slept in my room.

How did I manage that?

I was left alone with the animals. I was in the kitchen when I heard a cat snarl and a yelp from the living room. I looked, and the cat was sitting in the middle of the room, and the dog was cowering in a corner. A few minutes later, I was sitting on the couch reading, when I saw the cat crouched, tail flicking, creeping, with an obviously evil intent, toward the dog sleeping in the corner. I got up quietly, and crept toward the cat. The next three things all happened at once - the dog woke up and saw the cat about to attack, the cat went into the leap crouch, and I yelled "NO!" and smacked the cat halfway across the room.

Instant doggy trust, faith, and love. I am The Great Doggie Protector!

I wish I could do something like that with The Man. It won't be so simple, I suspect.