Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Basset House Rules!



The basset is not allowed in the house.

Okay, the basset is allowed in the house, but only in certain rooms.

The basset is allowed in all rooms, but has to stay off the furniture.

The basset can get on the old furniture only, but has to stay off the new couch.

Fine, the basset is allowed on all the furniture, but is not allowed to sleep with the humans.

Okay, the basset is allowed in the bed, but only by invitation.

The basset can sleep on the bed whenever he wants, but not under the covers.

The basset can sleep under the covers by invitation only.

The basset can sleep under the covers every night.

Humans must ask permission to sleep under the covers with the basset.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Succesful transit

From latitude 40 to latitude 30. Thanks to all who helped along the way.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Macy*s Parade


The parade has been held for over eighty years. Way back when the parade was about half that age, young Fin marched in his HS marching band in said parade. We marched behind the elephants, which gives one amazing focus in watching where one steps along the route.

This year, three MILLION viewers lined the new parade route to watch. That is the population of a large city, just along the parade route. In a never-to-be-forgotten act of compassion and charity, Blogger Girl gave Fin a pass on going in person to view this spectacle.

Therefore, Fin got to internet and watch Dave Price interview Hizzoner and a string of B list actors plugging their respective endeavours, and Blogger Girl got to actually experience the electricity surrounding the parade first-hand, up close and personal.

Both enjoyed their day and subsequent Thanksgiving Feast ... at a sports bar of all places. Photo by BG.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

One of the High Points In My Life...so far



Just got word on another website that this magnificent plane crashed at an airshow in South Africa. The pilot was unable to eject and lost his life.

He was not the same pilot with whom I flew in this very plane, to 61,000 feet in two minutes, back at the beginning of this decade. My hands-on supersonic flight in this machine was quite literally the high point of my life, at that time.

For Ben, the Tree Lover

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Ida Was Here



First encounter with Ida had her within fifty miles of our Dixie Estate.

This view of Fire Island National Seashore was taken on the beach at mean low tide. At high tide, there WAS no beach.

Different topic - still trying to wrap my mind around learning of a life-altering event for two us ..... on [ack] facebook.

Still, heartiest congratulations and well done my darling Blogger Girl! I am excited, happy, proud and maybe yes, a bit nervous.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Cool When It's Cold

If I thought I was astounded to learn that Blogger Girl had gotten Hyperhound a leather jacket, I was ten times as astounded that she was actually able to get him into it, whilst in the very midst a former hurricane, when he was exponentially more hyperactive than normal...(if possible).

If you think his expression here is funny,{remember, you can click this image to enlarge it} I am just sad that I do not have the expertise to post a video of this process. I am, however, very impressed BG!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Funny Dawg

Here it looks as if Copper is seriously contemplating contacting PETA




But, it seems forgiveness is what hounds are all about...

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Together Again



Back in the land of honeysuckle and magnolia and heat index warnings. Tomorrow, two of us are going to "Cruisin' the Coast" where I am sure I will think of Low&Slow and yes, even Mr Scribbler himself more than once during our immersion into the world of cars nearly as old as Fin.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Of Hornets And Wasps

Thank you God for looking out for me today. I had contemplated a flight over the top of New York City, a mile and a half above it in fact, where the air is still 'free' and you can go where you please without permission.

However, 'something' prompted me to discuss the proposal with two very senior and knowledgeable Flight Instructors before I took off, and they off handedly asked me if I knew about the Presidential TFR in effect for the entire NYC area. Lack of knowledge about said TFR will get you a quick and unfriendly visit from a pair of Hornets --- the F-18 variety.

Sure enough, with my recent curtailing of my television "news" addiction, I had forgotten or ignored the fact that tribal chiefs from all over the world were busy being important in the Big Apple corner of the land of the free. One of my favorite bumper stickers came vividly to mind.



As for the wasps, it was again a sudden impulse which prompted me to grab the spray before beginning the pre flight, as they had been happily missing from the last half dozen flights. Today, however, there were six encounters, and one was mightily glad they occurred on the ground, not on takeoff, as has happened previously.

In almost two hundred and fifty visits, I do not ever recall choosing this destination as a second choice. Not hard to guess why!




Please feel free to click this bottom photo.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Fed Ex(cuses)

IT is nearly to the day forty years since I moved into my present location. I know I have been here longer than nine digit zip codes, and actually I moved in a scant half dozen years after the five digit ones so improved our mail delivery.

Because some mailboxes on the street periodically explode during the night, I use a post office box for my mail, dumping 80% of it in the wastebasket at the Post Office. On those rare occasions when I need a delivery to the home, I spell the street and tell them specifically that [surprise] number 36 is between number 34 and 38 and directly across the street from number 35.

Often, this is enough. But not always. Ironically, Fed Ex managed to find my front door six days ago, during the one hour of the day when I was absent (having been told delivery would be the preceding day), and upon my return and an unnecessarily cumbersome series of push button calls to the local center, in due course (three hours later than promised) the package arrived.

An old part needs to be returned, so a pickup will need to be scheduled. HOWEVER, I was also expecting a second package, [unknown whether UPS or Fedex], and so I called the mailer of same who gave me a Fedex tracking number and informed me that the package was some 15 miles distant and sitting there (who knows for how long) due to an "incorrect address".

*KABOOM!*

Supervisors at FedEx are now called the "Escalation Team". I do not know why. What they did was ask me my name and address (spelled with the specifics of the location identified as usual) and place me on hold for nearly a half hour. At the end of that time, we had NO idea when the package would be delivered or if (gasp!) the same driver might pick up the return. The only saving grace was he was able to squelch the non-stop recorded admonitions about how much better off I would be using their website.

I told him that if he did nothing else in his career, he should try to have them change their coding from "incorrect address" which is a lie, insulting to the customer and makes them look stupid and lazy (which is likely true to some degree) to "unable to locate furnished address". And I am afraid that the irony of being told it is an incorrect address less than a week after another driver from the same company found it twice was lost on him.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

A Different Way of Seeing the World

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Not too long ago, I read an account of an ultra-light aircraft developed for use over the jungles of Africa. It uses two overhead mounted engines and has an open cockpit with seats for two, fore and aft. Because it's primary mission was low level photography, it is called the Aircam.

Today I learned that they are still being made in this country. I met a pair of pilots (who possess multi-engine and amphibious ratings) who were on their way to Maine from Virginia in a pair of these strange looking aircraft.

It has long been my policy to ask for a flight if conditions are right, and so after a short flight along the beach in my own plane, I sought out the pilots as they fueled their craft and did so. As they were facing a rather strong headwind on their way to Massachusetts for an overnight stay, and since they had now lashed gas cans in the passengers seat, it was decided that my ride would come on their return, in the middle of the month.

So I have a mission to try to seek out a fresh water landing spot for the occasion. I watched them take off, clad in thermal jumpsuits, on their way across Long Island Sound and Connecticut for their next stop, and was very glad that at least one of them was my age or older.



Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Wow - we were on LIVE television

Seems the local Congressman from South Dixie had a "town hall" meeting. I had wanted to ask him about the Salt Dome mess, and envisioned a dusty little room with a row of straight back chairs and a half dozen people sitting around trying to stay awake.

Wrong. In the first place, it was held in an auditorium...a large one. Secondly, when we were several blocks from the place, we noted cars pulled off and parked on the grass, and when we finally got to the entrance to the place, a half dozen sheriff cars and many many more on foot.

And several television crews. BG and I rapidly decided that this was NOT something we wanted to get involved with. The line of people to even try to get into the building stretched the length of a (US) football field.

Getting out was NOT easy, and while doing so, we drove thru a live television shot. It ended up on their website and I took a photo of my laptop screen, and here 'tis.



and here we come, slowly driving thru the live shot.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Then Vs Now

This is a tale of two interactions with a bank. Both involved the same customer (me) and sort of the same bank. Marine Midland Bank, then based in Buffalo, NY was subsequently gobbled up by HSBC, which I believe is headquartered in Hong Kong.

The first interaction took place at three AM Buffalo time in February of 1993, when yours truly telephoned them to advise that his credit card (and money) had been stolen in Madrid and I was now without funds in Lisbon, Portugal, and what could they do about it.

Within a very few hours, I had a pocketfull of Escudos from a bank two blocks from my hotel and a new credit card with the old one blocked. To this day I am still grateful to Ruby for her swift action, because I got off the phone almost totally relieved, with funds to eat and to get home.

The more recent interaction was this morning, as it is the first of the month and bill-paying day. The NY Post office has not covered itself with glory in forwarding my mail to me; in fact only three out of five important bills managed to find their way to Dixie.

One of the missing bills is from HSBC, and I needed to know the date and amount of next payment due and the account number (sixteen easy-to-remember digits).

For my security, they refused to tell me the account number, although it ran up a five dollar cell phone bill while they decided this...fifty minutes of listening to really horrid screechy techno-'music'.

Any wonder I keep using and using the word "dysfunctional" to describe more and more of our society today?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Fin and his Lady



This photo was taken in Wisconsin by someone looking at his computer monitor. It was also being seen simultaneously in over eighty different other locations, from New Zealand (North Island) to Great Britain to Tacoma to Texas.

And also by an interested bunch of librarians six miles up the road. It was fun to meet the man behind the website which has generated interest all over the world, literally.

Friday, July 17, 2009

More Dawg



Pretty lady and good natured houndog.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Goofball Dawg



Frankly, he looks like a photoshop of a Springer Spaniel and a Basset Hound.

But he needs a home and Blogger Girl is due for a new wonder dog, and he seems to like Fin.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

From lower Sixties to Upper Nineties

A week from today one will make the transition from living in a climate which has recently resembled Scotland in October to one that might be charitably compared to the inside of a very hot sponge.

This sojourn will last for basically two months. It will, as far as I can remember anyhow, be the longest time I have ever been absent from the place where I have resided for forty years. Ever.

My reasons for leaving could not be happier ones, but the many facets of leaving such a well-worn comfort zone have surprised me to a degree I had not expected. There has been much to do which I have never had to do before. The impending journey has engendered many lists, both paper and computer.

I never lose sight of the fact, however, that the reason for this departure is that I am among the luckiest of men. And for that I am ever grateful.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

More About Wild Elderberries

As a teenager, my Dad got me a job in a factory which manufactured food products, including peanut butter, relish, jelly and coffee. The jobs ranged from unloading sixty pound sacks of sugar or one hundred pound bags of coffee beans from railroad freight cars in the summer heat, to working on the end of an assembly line stacking 24 pound boxes of peanut butter as they rattled and clanked down a conveyor belt to be taken away by a cigarette smoking forklift operator, to cleaning sixteen bathrooms in a day. Fun stuff.

So my job on this one particular day was to take large metal tins of wild elderberries and smash the top open with a large ball peen hammer (hit right in the middle) and then dump the twenty five or so pounds of wild elderberries into a large metal hopper where they dropped to a cooker located on floor below. At some point in the process, large amounts of sugar were added, which was contained in bins the size of a mid-sized uhaul truck.

As the day progressed, I wearily smashed open one tin after another of wild elderberries, sending them on their way to be cooked and put into jars, labeled, boxed and stacked on wooden pallets by some other poor soul who had drawn that particularly back breaking job for the day. Once a line was put in operation, it did not stop for much of anything, and therefore it was a stunningly pleasant surprise to have a white shirt and tie walk up to me and tell me to cease operations for the time being.

Seems that several floors below mine, a group of four women with latex gloves on, sat at a long metal trough with wild elderberry jelly running through it, and fished through it nonstop, looking for anything which might not belong therein. And in the course of such searching, they began to detect items variously described as fur or bone fragments, admittedly NOT an intended part of the advertised product.

OK, so I was a college kid, a bosses brat and a well acknowledged smartass, but it did not take a college education (in progress) to figure out what had happened. For some reason, the company tolerated or even encouraged the presence of a number of cats in the factory, perhaps for cheap rodent control or to help the workers forget the slave-like existence many endured for years. And yes, one such was VERY pregnant and inhabited the sixth floor in the vicinity of the huge sugar bins. And it had been noted earlier in the day that said cat was no longer pregnant and that the location of her nest was thus far undiscovered.

My suggestion that they should NOT scrap the entire output for the day, but should merely re-label the product “Wild Elderberry Jelly Fortified with Kitten Parts” was not greeted with either grateful thanks, nor whoops of amusement, and in fact it is very likely that only my Dad’s position with the firm prevented me from being fired or beheaded.

But I still think it was a fair suggestion, and it would have saved them from losing an entire day’s output of Wild Elderberry Jelly.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Hello, Goodbye




Who would have believed a long weekend could pass so quickly.

Thanks BG for another few days filled with wonderful memories!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Reason Number 73,548...

...why my respect for the FAA is at the level it is.

Flying westbound along the south shore of Long Island this morning with a lovely companion visiting from Mississippi with me, and after a quick visit to look at the traffic in the Hamptons, we had proceeded past Smith Point. The bumps had subsided, there were two full tanks of gas, nobody was nauseous and the visibility was quite good. We could clearly see Connecticut.

So I called and asked the following question: "Does the restricted airspace for the Jones Beach airshow extend as far east as the Robert Moses lighthouse, over." The astute amongst you will note that this is a question which requires a YES or NO response.

"Restricted area 7493 is a 5 nautical mile radius around a point 17.8 miles from the Deer Park VOR on the 138 radial, said restriction in effect currently until 1900 hours zulu."

'Roger'. I turned around and came home.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Friend of a Friend

More accurately, the Best Friend of my Best Friend, was lovingly laid to rest today.

Tennison The Wonder Dog was good company for the woman I love for virtually all of her adult life. He had a long (13 years) and love-filled life thanks to the caring devotion of his best friend. He lived long and he lived well and he will be remembered with affection, tenderness and happiness for years to come.

I shall miss him too. Very much.


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

DDDD Different Day, Different Drains

DDDD (Different Drains, Different Day)

Today we are on a main County north-south road which runs from the Atlantic Ocean on one end to the bridge to Connecticut on the other end which they never built. This road is actually quite favored by serious bicycle riders, and is also popular with 22 wheel gravel trucks who devoutly believe that 75 mph is an ok speed in a 55 mile zone, despite knowing it would take them six city blocks to stop.
Note that the engineers have not only taken the entire bike path for their drain, but additionally have cleverly made any escape impossible with a guard rail situated to the right.





Next, an opportunity to develop a new ‘skill set’ *gag* of “precision” riding. Note that the normal mountain bike tire would have less than ONE INCH of clearance on either side of this path.




And the best for last. Piece de Resistance. The “green” highway engineers have pretty much outdone themselves on this one. Note that the holes in the drain are specially designed to parallel the path of the bicycle wheel, ensuring that it is absolutely impossible to drive over it at any speed.



But wait, there’s more! This particular bike killer is also, and at the same time, located right at the base of an entrance ramp, so that with any luck, accelerating vehicles will be looking left over their shoulder for southbound traffic and not paying ANY attention to bicycles on the shoulder who HAVE to veer into the roadway or die.



Thanks guys!

Monday, May 11, 2009

More Like It



Now, out in the Hamptons, the drains do not overlap the bike lane. And, you have the Atlantic Ocean on the left, and osprey nests and the bay and wetlands on the right, and if an SUV hits you, they are more apt to be rich.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Bicycle Path - Suffolk Style

Imagine riding with a following tailwind, so doing perhaps 14 to 15 mph, with SUVs roaring by 15 inches away at 55 mph and then seeing this thing in your pathway. If you don't ruin a wheel, you could end up as road kill, smooshed under one such SUV in a heartbeat.

Yet another dreary instance where planners SAY they want people to use bicycles, but do their best to kill them if they actually try to.


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Dysfunctionality As A Way of Life

Dysfunctionality as a Lifestyle

I have just returned from a modest bike ride to the post office and several other errands, and as I so often am, I am just overwhelmed with how much of life around me can be summed up with the single word – dysfunctional.

I have used the same accounting firm since before Nixon was President, and they are routinely good and helpful and affordable (one bill was for a hamburger and a pitcher of beer, so that was over 35 years ago), and yet I got a package in the mail TODAY saying they were unable to do my returns unless I did such and so. [Required a quick phone call to ascertain the returns are, in fact, filed and accepted]. Oh, and the postmark was March 30th.

In comments to various posters here, I have often said or hinted that my Credit Union is second to none in providing customer service tailored to my own lifestyle, and again with monthly charges about zero. And yet they, for reasons which they certainly cannot explain, decided on their own to begin mailing my monthly statements to an address which I don’t even know how they had, as it has been invalid for close to two decades. In mailing me replacements for the missing statements, they sent me one for Jan 07 rather than January 09. Dysfunctional.

The roads over which I rode my bicycle in the highest taxed area of the highest taxed state (I think) were so potholed that at some points I had to walk the bike or risk bending a wheel.

I stopped at an electronics repair and supply place who affirmed that today, manufacturers produce and sell “disposable” electronics, which is to say that any electronic device older than the warrantee will probably not have support for parts. This leaves me with two non-working television sets, but as BA has proved, who needs ‘em. Point is, that the use it and throw it away philosophy is one of the biggest causes for the mess this country is in, and it is, which brings me to my final point of the rant.

Yesterday, some bright light in the Pentagon decided it would be a good idea to do a photo op within a few miles of the WTC attack and deliberately NOT tell the people or the media. Not surprisingly, the FAA, another PosterChild for dysfunctionality was also involved.

This total idiot has now ‘apologized’ but not the way the Japanese do, which I would really prefer him do instead of hanging himself, which he should. Hizzonner was understandably furious and the Prez pretended to be, but why this man is not fired and billed for the cost to the taxpayers for this lunacy [which could have been accomplished by any fool with photoshop] eludes me. Or maybe not.

One prob seems to be that the idiot in charge is a protected minority and hence either assumed to be too stupid to know better or in any event unfireable. It represents the poster child for the DYSFUNCTIONAL government under which we suffer. It is not hard to feel a large amount of despair at our future.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Home Again


Or am I? This business of having your heart in one place and the rest of you somewhere else kinda gets confusin' sometimes.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Puff Puff


Two acres is just a tad less appealing when you are the only kid on the block NOT to have a working ride-on mower.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Giraffe



One of my favorites, taken on the last available film on my third day in a 100 year old game park the size of New Jersey where I had seen just about every kind of wild animal that lives in South Africa.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Monday, March 23, 2009

Sunday, March 15, 2009

KHTO



Airport located in the land of the Rich and Famous.

Monday, March 9, 2009

And furthermore



As is the case in the photo just below this one, the explanatory text is to be found in my effort at posting on the 'new' journalspace. My reasons for doing it this way are complex, but sound to me.

Worth a thousand words, maybe

Monday, March 2, 2009

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Guesses Welcomed



Misc photo I stuck up for a desktop background for a day or two. Only hint would be that it is taken near where a JSer lives.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Some random thoughts and reactions

A Dash 8 aircraft crashed on approach to a Buffalo, NY airport last night. Fatal crashes of this type of aircraft number three before this: Bangkok, New Zealand and a Lufthansa flight into Paris. It is only the second commercial fatal aviation crash in the US in the last eight years. The one before it was in Kentucky several years ago.

The internet is helping to keep reporters honest and glaringly shows them up when they make idiotic pronouncements to fill air time because someone has decided to go wall-to-wall with their coverage. A voluntary website records air to ground radio transmissions and the recordings immediately were posted to the internet, providing some viewers with the first indication that at least the voice on the radio was female. The hours claimed as having been flown by Colgan are in obvious error by the way. I have no idea why nobody checks these things.

There have been SO many stunningly obvious mis-statements of fact that I am disinclined to go into any more of them. To me it highlights the sad state of much of US journalism today. A few minutes into their broadcast, CBS had managed to cut to the 'reaction' of the new Prez to the death of one of the victims aboard. WHO CARES??

Of more than a little interest was the effort that Continental Airlines took to distance themself from their subsidiary. The aircraft has the Continental logo on the tail, the crew wear Continental uniforms and there are Continental magazines in the seatbacks, but their website allegedly (I did not see this) was quick to post a disclaimer. They did issue a press release offering sympathy and support for Colgan airways, which call sign was used by the co-pilot and which is the subsiduary of Continental involved.

In other news, congress has passed a bill numbering over a thousand pages which by their own admission they have not had time to read, and have reneged on their promise to post the bill on the internet, and are now anxious to get out of town.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

It Snowed Here Today ... Again

Today I learned there is a difference between a jpg and a tif. I don't know (or much care) what either means, but I do now know that you cannot post a TIF on the wordpress blog site.

In between bouts of shoveling, blowing and sweeping the concrete ramp to my garage ahead of another five inches of (admittedly pretty) new snow, I also spent some inside time copying 35mm slides made in my youth (yoot if you are from Brooklyn).

I have posted four from a 1964 visit to Yosemite on my wordpress page:

http://fin2.wordpress.com/

If you DO click thru, a comment would be appreciated. I do not know whether it is difficult or not to leave a comment there. I sincerely hope not.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

SAD

The title has double meaning today. I just returned from a foray out of my cave and into the world on the second day of '09 where the temperatures were above freezing.

I went to the beach and took some nice photos which I would love to post here but they get cropped by the site when I try. So I have put one on a site here:

http://fin2.wordpress.com/

The sad in the title relates to two things: First, I went to Circuit City nearby to see about looking at laptops (for background on this you would need to check still another dam blog, this one on the new Journalspace) and when I got there, all I found was a blank wall where the sign had been and depressing metal gates across the inside of the front doors, and one sad, solitary light on. In a similar fashion, down near the beach was what appeared to be a BRAND NEW CVS pharmacy which looked like it had been abandoned before it ever opened its doors.

It is a far different thing to see these empty buildings and remember the people who had dealt with me in the past and wonder what has or will become of them, than it is to read on a webpage or hear on the news that one hundred thousand more Americans have lost their jobs.

The other meaning of SAD for me today is Seasonal Affective Disorder. I have never felt particularly prone to it, but by gum it was GOOD to get outside the house today and wander around the 'hood. I guess I was suffering more from Cabin Fever than from SAD. I am going to ponder the value of trying to post a few more of my beach pictures on wordpress.

Regards to all

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Friday, January 16, 2009

Cabin Fever

OK. First, thanks to Hsack for his suggestion. I am not capable or in any way motivated to mess with html, and my fiance has got plenty of other projects percolating away and doesn't need to step in.

When I went to edit this piece, the photo of the overwater bungalow in Bora Bora once again showed perfectly. I am going to forego photos here for the time being, and patiently wait to see whether the new JS develops any similarity whatever with the one I had learned to use.

It is snowing here again. Big whoop.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Just What I Need

...Another addictive website.

From the time I was able to see over the dashboard (long before car seats were needed) I have loved to look out the windows or better windshields of a vehicle in motion. No idea why. But some of my happiest moments come from driving across unknown territory and looking out the window, whether it was Helsinki to the Russia border, or travelling the back roads of Poland going from one castle to another, or an eight hour tour of Iceland by tourbus.

And so when a website was linked which provides an "out the windshield" view of a truck driving around the US, I was almost immediately "hooked". OK, yesterday it sat, unmoving, in a truck stop in NJ while the snow melted, but today it is traversing toll booths and bridges and headed on its way from NJ to Utah. Perhaps some of the fascination derives from the fact that I have personally driven at least twice in each of the fifty US states, plus a fair number of places outside the US.

Anyhow, you are warned it may be addictive, but enjoy. http://www.bigrigtravels.com/

Friday, January 9, 2009

Comments

It has come to my attention that quite a few (well 4 or 5) people have not been able to leave comments here. This distresses me because I love comments. I have just gone and re-set the settings. They do not need to be moderated. They should show. No fuzzy word is needed. And anybody on earth can leave a comment.

As I have mentioned before, here and elsewhere, my own comments here sometimes do not post. If that happens, simply add your name to the end of the post and try anonymous. Try more than once if needed.
It is 1122am. The cleaners have gone and most fortunately, they totally ignored my admonitions to skip the shelves, which now glisten. Yes, it will take me awhile to find my remote controls etc, but boy is this place clean! Now I have to warm it up again; huddling under my Scotland blanket currently. [It was got when I first met Westy and I exchanged too much American currency, so had to spent British money before going back to the states.]

Got me to thinking about this whole Illegal Alien thing a bit. Of the people who came in with mops and buckets and scrub brushes and sponges and vacuum cleaners and worked for hours on end without a break, none of them spoke English. I wonder how many out-of-work software engineers would do the same. Or kids between their Sophomore and Junior years at college.

The common “wisdom” is that these people do the work Americans won’t do. I never denied that they are hard working, not after watching them carrying one railroad tie on each shoulder as I tried to drag one along the ground when c**** did his retaining wall for his swimming pool and I was supposed to be ‘helping’.

Before they left, they made my bed (!) and darned if they didn't find and replace a couple of screw tops on the glass jars in the bedroom where my loose change (sorted by denomination) finds its way when I come home and empty my pockets.

Gracias people!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Hello readers. Today has been somewhat better. It was the first day since my return from Fin Towers South when I was not forced to endure strangers in Fin Towers North.

The garbage pickup got rid of a lot of the stuff that the cleaners had bagged up, as well as dozens of ceiling tiles from the playroom which were ruined beyond repair.

Tomorrow, the cleaners return to try to attack the inner sanctum. That should finish their tenure and clear the way for the return of Dry Cleaning Dude, whom I definitely like. My Hudson Bay blankets came out looking sensational.

Then come the painters. This time I am given to understand, they will NOT paint every room and hall in the same white color. OK by me.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Damn Dell

On JS I have complained, bitterly, several times about the totally crap customer service afforded to those of us who elected to purchase their Dell laptop extended warranty in-home service contract.

Hold times of over an hour were not uncommon. Finding a tech who was fluent in English was.

Imagine the brainstorming session recently. "Hey guys, we are getting thousands of complaints about our customer service being crap. How should we improve it?"

"Well, how about we turn it into a marketing tool, and we now sell "premium" customer service with guaranteed answering in two minutes and service center in North America"?

Monday, January 5, 2009

Eight cleaners in the basement today. Might be a good time for a realtor to come appraise the place.

Dry cleaning guy comes tomorrow. All clothing, bedclothing, rugs and drapes are targets.

Are we having fun yet?

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Five people have been cleaning my house for six hours now, almost non-stop.

It is a mixed blessing. The house has never looked so good, but I may never find anything of mine ever again.

They will be back again tomorrow.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Have not heard from adjuster after 4 hrs, so called local state farm and was given 1-888 number for claims. Called them and listened carefully because their menu had changed, did not know the 7 digit number for the party I wanted and then was put on hold because ALL the agents were helping other customers. Called local agent back and told her I had listened carefully to the menu because it had changed, explained I did not know the 7 digit number of my party and was too busy assisting myself with windex, paper towels and loads of laundry to hold and suggested it might be a good idea of THEY could pry out an eta for an adjuster.

Here We Go Again

A New Year has begun with quite a bang. I have had to leave the warmth of Dixie and the Blogger I love so much to return to a frozen yard and oil-filled house. Bills await.

I do hope some of my former JS readers will wander by and say hi.