Friday, February 21, 2014

3822 HOTW - Everett McGill

Friday, February 21, 2014

I haven't done a Honey of the Week in ages, but I found one this evening!

I watched the 1999 (I think) movie "The Straight Story" this evening.  It's the story of Alvin Straight, and his trip to visit his ailing brother - 240 miles away, riding the distance on a lawn mower towing a home-made trailer.

The movie is almost two hours, and it's slow moving (just like Alvin, who is in his early 70s, has bad hips, walks with two canes, and can't see well enough to drive a car), but it's wonderful, worth every minute of the two hours.  If you have a chance to rent it, I highly recommend it.

It's all true, the whole story.  The only thing they changed was, for some unknown reason, the timing of the trip.  Alvin actually set out in something like June, arriving in August, but in the movie he sets out in September, arriving late October.  Folks from that area who saw the movie caught that discrepancy, because of the bicycle racers Alvin meets on the way - that race takes place in July.

Anyway, Alvin's first mower didn't get far, so he bought a newer (only 30 years old) John Deere to restart the trip.  The John Deere salesman's part is only a few minutes long, but it was long enough for me to develop a crush on him.  That part was played by Everett McGill:

Yummy.  (But somehow a still picture doesn't quite convey it.  The eyes and the smile, you know. See the movie.)

I think part of the attraction might be that he reminds me a lot of my father's sister Irene's husband Chick (Charles).  Uncle Chick was a strong, tall, silent, farmer and in my preteen years I had a terrible crush on him.  He died when a bulldozer fell on him (really).  I guess even the bulldozer had a literal crush on him.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

3821 Show Snovels and Checks

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Rules for snow shovels:
- Store the shovel outside for the winter, so it's at air temperature when you use it.  You can't shovel snow with a warm shovel.
- Occasionally (like every other use) spritz it with Pam, so snow will slide off easily.
- NEVER chop ice with it.  That will cause the sides of the blade to curl.

I can use the same shovel for years, as long as I'm the only one using it.  The one I have now is about three years old, and I love it.  It has that bent handle that's easy to lift, and the blade is plastic with a curl at the top and raised sides, which makes it perfect for using like a plow.  Because the blade is plastic, it's lightweight, and it has a metal strip on the underside to keep the edge flat.

Well, Daughter and Hercules (Wow!  The first time he's ever done anything resembling work for me without being asked/shamed into it!) used it after the last two storms, and now the blade is cupped.   It doesn't run flat anymore.

I am unhappy.


The real estate taxes on the city house are due quarterly.  I have it stuck in my head that "quarterly" is March, June, September, and December.  This being New Jersey, naturally they want it February 1st, May 1st, and so on.  So I didn't realize that I was late until Tuesday evening, the 11th - one day past the 10-day grace period.

Wednesday I hurried off to the town hall to pay, but they were closed for Lincoln's Birthday.  Thursday they were closed for snow.  Friday I couldn't get out of my driveway.  Saturday and Sunday they were closed.  Monday they were closed for President's Day (yeah, in addition to Thursday.  Nice job).  I finally got in today, and had to pay more than a week's penalty.  I think I got burned.


I have a 35-year-old checking and savings account (and a pre-approved emergency loan account) with my old credit union at the country house.  The credit union started life as the IBM Employees' Credit Union.  My account numbers were my employee serial number, with "001" suffix on the savings account, and "009" suffix on the checking, which made the account numbers easy to remember.  When IBM left that area it, the credit union, went pubic. 

For the past 8 years (8 because I'm a widow getting benefits on Jay's account) Social Security has been depositing my monthly check into the checking account, let's call it "123456009" (where 123456 was my employee number) on the second Wednesday of the month, with no difficulty.

Yesterday I got a letter from the bank saying that the SS check had arrived and they were unable to process it as written.  They processed it by hand, but would not process it next month unless it was fixed.


They said that the check was sent for deposit to account 12356009, and they manually deposited it to 1234560001 CHK.

Ok, I see what SS did - they skipped a digit (the "4"), but I don't understand why the bank deposited the check into the savings account, and why did they call it the "CHK" account if it has the savings suffix?  I don't understand.  I called the credit union.

Turns out that they changed the account numbers last fall.  (I don't recall getting any kind of notification!)  Now the checking account ends in 0001.

I asked, "So what's the sufffix for the savings?"
She said, "Savings is 0001, too."
Me, very confused, "So how do you tell them apart?"
She, "The savings account number now starts with 2."
Me, "So my savings account number is now 21234560001?"
She, "Yes."

I don't understand.

I told her I've been writing checks with the 009 suffix printed on them.  She said that's ok, they'll still go through.  When I order new checks I'll see the new number on them.

Sheesh.  I write maybe 8 checks a year on that account.  I have a 15 year supply.  I wonder how long they'll tolerate that 009 suffix, and whether I'll get any notice when they update their system, or will they just start bouncing checks.


As if that wasn't enough aggravation, I got a call from the fuel supplier for the country house.  The house with the 300 foot uphill curved driveway.  The driver tried to deliver, and says the driveway is too narrow, it needs to be plowed wider.  (I do ensure that the trucks can turn around at the top, but I guess I can understand their fear that they may be forced to back down that slalom run.)

The plow piles on either side are about five feet high now.  They've had a LOT of snow this winter - 24 additional inches last week alone - and no thaws.  The Hairless Hunk has done a hero's job keeping it plowed.  I really really appreciate his being there.  But he's plowing with a pickup truck.  I don't know if he CAN widen it at this point.

So, I wrote him an email this morning, asking what can be done, and if he has to bring in reinforcements, I can overnight him the cost.  But I've got to get oil.  The last delivery was in early December.  The thermostat is set at 50 degrees, but the temperatures up there have been ranging between 23 and -10 since then.  The water is turned off, but still, the pressure tank from the well could freeze.  I don't remember whether I threw the breaker for the pump.

I'm SO ready for spring.