Monday, April 30, 2007

Find a wheel ...

We bought four Michelin tires a while ago. Three have achieved flattened status in the past 12 months: one with a sidewall bubble, one leaking air through the valve stem, and one with an embedded nail. We take full credit for the nail, ourselves.

On two separate occasions, a tire refused to remain round while E was driving to his new place of work.

(He recently passed the State Licensing Exam for his chosen profession. Congratulations E! The State doesn't grade on the curve, for sure.)

Nonetheless, using a flat tire as an excuse for being late twice in a month seems to demonstrate a certain lack of imagination.

In an effort to be proactive, we telephoned Michelin to ask if these particular tires had been recalled. They have not. We also asked that the other tires be checked today when the valve was replaced. No problems were found.

We’ll just see how long they remain circular.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Still drafty ...

The metaphorical paint's still drying, and the NFL Draft is ongoing. I would ask how long it lasts but I really don't want to know. Our sports enthusiasts keep going back and checking in to see how we are doing.

For them, the drama equates to a marathon of the BBC's "Pride and Prejudice, Emma, and Persuasion." Seen in that light ... I do understand.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Sunday, no?

I do know better than to go to the grocery store on Saturday afternoon. In full confidence that today was Sunday, I went short-listing. There was hardly anyone in the aisles. I finally realized the proper identity of the day and the store still did not fill with Saturday shoppers.

Most of them were probably at home watching that dreadfully
NFL Draft. That ... or watching paint dry.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Miu or Mew?

We tried to change her name to Miu instead of Mew. Sounded less mundane that way. But, she got her name by answering a question on the order of, "Well hello, who are you?"

She conscripted us and we have been her volunteers for duty ... almost six years now.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Ranger could do it better ...

The overworked people at our local pharmacy deserve every dollar they earn.

The person at the pharmacy register who normally handles walk ups and answers the telephone has moved on ...
evidently to a galaxy far, far away. So far, there is no replacement.

The pharmacists and insurance specialist are doing double/triple duty. Patrons wait ... wait ... wait in line and fume.

I think I will give the manager of the store my prescription for better customer service.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Ranger, misspelled, is Ranter

We were to wait at home, from 8 am to 5 pm, to meet a repairman for our microwave. Surprise ... he phoned just after 8 to say he was on his way.

The light in the microwave flickers intermittently and we wondered if the power was flickering in sync with it. It is covered by an extended warranty ... one of those things that Consumer Reports says is simply a way to churn up more money for the vendor. We do like Consumer Reports. We subscribe to it and pay attention to most of its recommendations. But, on a hunch and because it was cheap, we bought the warranty through Sears.

The labor is covered. But, a light bulb is not. Yes, we can change a light bulb. And it only takes one of us.

However, a special order light bulb is superior: gives out a more luminous radiance. Or one would think so, for $21.65 including shipping.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Depends on what you call it ...

It is getting dry here, again. The car is so dusty that you get grit on your hand when you close the trunk. Our water restrictions have entered Phase II. Those residents with even numbered houses are not allowed to irrigate with sprinklers except on Thursday and Sunday, from 4 to 8 in the morning. We can water with a hose and hand nozzle, in the evening, from 5 to 7. Odd numbered houses get to water on Tuesday and Saturday, same hours.

Thursday afternoon, I believe I will pull the car up close to the back gate and hand-water the grass around it. The fact that the water moves across the surface of the car first and the grass gets peppered with some extra dust will be all to the good ....

Monday, April 23, 2007

Your eyelids are getting heaavy ...

There is an informal rule that we will not drink any more coffee after two pm, or so. Late this afternoon, it was either a long nap or a tall cuppa. I dove into the cuppa.

So why, at 6:20 pm, could I just lower the lids and be zonked out? I had my eyes dilated today, for examining purposes. How tiring can that really be?

The sad thing is that when: now I lay me down to sleep, the eyes will sprong open until I read for a while. And I'm not sure that reading is an option with dilated eyes.

It's a catch 20-20 situation ....

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Town and Country ...

For you out of towners who may remember Town and Country Mall on 88th Street, it is currently a ghost mall. The part of the mall on the same side as the lake is totally vacant. The Sears is closed. That was our closest Sears and, though small, was convenient for getting refills for the weed eater and vacuum cleaner.

Our newspaper ran an article about the future of the ghost mall and mentioned out-parcels and a new Wal-Mart in the same story. All remains speculative as no money has been visibly spent on the lakeside property.

Just before the Sears finally closed, I found a brand new FoodSaver vacuum sealer for almost half off the usual price. Best of all, the FoodSaver box had an auxiliary use. Scroll down ....

FoodSaver cave

We had to discard this box while she was otherwise occupied. Little tyrant!

Saturday, April 21, 2007


The State still loves me. A driver's license renewal notice came in today's mail. Inside, on the return card above the address was a web site for renewal on line. Also included in the envelope was a notice from the credit card company that I use on line.

It is the one that has better safeguards for on line transactions than other credit cards we have the misfortune to own.

This particular credit card company is offering a $5 gas card if the driver's license is renewed on line using the only card I ever use.

At today's prices, that's worth
just over a gallon and a half of regular? Ah well, free is worth a 39 cent stamp before that price goes up, too.

Friday, April 20, 2007

I see, I see ...

BBC America aired a marathon reprise of the first Robin Hood episodes last Sunday and we captured it with the DVR. J and I are currently holding our own viewing marathon.

Our marathon has to be tucked in around Heat & Marlins games for J and Survivor - Bones - Shark - Poirot - Holmes - Midsommer for both of us. Plus time out to read.

Now for confession: we had started to watch the first episode as it aired live, but turned it off when the sidekick seemed so truly dumb that we didn’t think much of it or him. It took a recommendation from someone who continued to watch from where we wimped out to make us go back and try again. Comparing it to Star Wars didn’t hurt, either.

I expect to see a Wookie step from behind a tree any moment. Thanks, 01 doc.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Window to ...

We are still dissecting the window sales presentation of yesterday. That did not, however, keep us from contacting another vendor. We feel like old hands at this estimate stuff, now.

We don't need the Rolls Royce of windows - the kind of windows which do everything but sprout little arms and wash themselves. The building code for our county is the most stringent in the country. We just need a product which complies with that code.

I don't think Mew will ever feel safe in a storm, no matter what window she's looking through.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The built-in "no"

Today, we entertained a sales associate in our home, voluntarily. He was extremely personable and so is probably successful in what he does. That is, he sells hurricane windows, evidently to the extremely wealthy. This is a category we avoid being in by several country miles.

We will do as we told him and get several other estimates. Perhaps he confused us with the Trump family. I don't see how he could, however, because we surely don't fly a garrison flag out front.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Taking issue ...

Reports about the Virginia Tech massacre break your heart. All we can do, from this distance, is pray for those involved. We know that comfort from such prayer resides with those doing the praying as well as those who are prayed for.

The appalling series of events on campus seems to conspire to make authoritative decisions questionable, in retrospect. Personally, I take issue with yesterday’s talking heads who prefaced remarks with the phrase that they may be proven wrong but ... yada, yada, yada.

I actually heard that statement, live on the air: this may be wrong, but .... Why report it as a semi-fact if it may be wrong? Is there such a thing as a semi-fact?

Speculative musing, immediately subsequent to events. On a news channel. News. Ratings. Broadcast
news' version of survival of the fittest.

But, fit for what?

Monday, April 16, 2007

Doing something about the weather ...

It was 54 degrees at 7:15 am. It seems that if I consider putting away my bits of winter clothing, it causes another cold front to sweep down. The weather personalities do actually refer to it as cold, not cool. A relative term, depending.

It required a slipping into sweater to bring in the newspapers. I had to actually put my arms into the sleeves, would you believe it? And zip it all the way up. This particular sweater came from upstate and is heavier than the airy things available locally.

I promise I won't store it away until the end of May.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Snow or glacier ...

Every once in a while, I get the urge to change the color of my hair. Especially so, when people are shocked that I know how to communicate by email or use a computer to comparison shop.

I try not to use the self-service check out counter if there is a live cashier available because I prefer not to help the management phase out employees. I take great joy in explaining this to assistant managers who come up and offer to "help" me use the automated cashier.

The assumption is often made that because I am a snowy mountain up top, the brain beneath the snow moves at a glacial pace. At times this is an advantage. For instance, pushy salesmen can be blindsided by sarcasm more unexpectedly.

But seats are offered to me whether I want one or not. On a recent shopping trip, a young technician went outside the store and brought a chair inside after announcing that it was too humid for me to sit outside.

Upon glacial reflection, this was - after all - not a bad experience ....

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Lead me not into ...

Judith Viorst's name was a crossword puzzle answer this week. The clue asked who wrote "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day."

When I Googled her (to verify,
to verify, not to cheat this time) I discovered she was quoted as saying:

Strength is the capacity to break a chocolate bar into four pieces with your bare hands - and then eat just one of the pieces."

Upon consideration, I might be able to do that if there were three other people helping me remove the wrapper.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Same critter, different dilemma

I was sitting in the car yesterday, in our driveway, in a violent storm that had made me take a u-turn on 107th Avenue, and go home to wait it out. As it let up, I saw the mama 'possum cross the street into our yard, go along the fence to the gate, fumble along the base of the gate until she found the right place, and squeeze under it. I phoned J to tell him to look out back for her.

She went to the back fence, J reported later, came back around the shed and went into the back hibiscus hedge. She must have moved her family from the roof drip line in the front to the lowest, most water retaining area in back.

I wish I could leave her a note of condolence. She needs a FEMA trailer.

Anti Ant

Noah was right and it’s happening again, according to a semi-tropical ant colony. They and their designer luggage were moving out of the grass, across the porch, then up the front wall and into the house through a light fixture.

Windex stopped them. I wonder if SC Johnson knows about this alternative use for their product.

Do ‘possums eat ants?

Thursday, April 12, 2007

In five seconds, this tape will destruct ...

Today, I have to undertake a dangerous assignment. We are almost out of cat food.

The internet says that Pro Plan dry cat food is safe and Mew does scarf it up. Not like she used to devour Fancy Feast, but this is better for her teeth, quoth the veterinarian. However, it contains wheat gluten and so I have been seeking a dry food that doesn't.

Pet Promise dry food, from Wild Oats on the Dixie Highway, doesn't contain wheat. But Wild Oats hasn't contained any Pet Promise either. Empty shelves.

Today I checked for sites that list safe pet food products. The Pro Plan that we get from Mew's vet is made by Purina. I looked up Pet Promise and what company do you suppose makes it? Purina.

At this rate, our salad croutons are probably made by Purina, too.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

All last night, we had a soaking rain which was appreciated by us and our vegetation. Other beings did not appreciate the rain in the same way.

This morning I was leaving through the front door, keys and list in hand, when I encountered some wildlife which was just climbing up the step to the porch. I exclaimed and stepped back. So did she ... well, she hissed. After making a sharp left, she marched away at top waddle speed.

Because I had exclaimed rather loudly and at some length, J came out to help me look around and found a soaking-wet baby in the front bushes, instead of the mature specimen I had encountered.

Mama must have taken it to a safer, and certainly more dry, place. They were gone when I got back home.

Before I left, the baby posed for a picture ....

Li'l baby 'possum, not striped, just soaking wet. Does the phrase "drowned rat" drift through your mind?

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


The local news media say it is time for our water supply to be "fooled with" again. Well, they didn't actually say fooled with. They called it treating the water. As if it were sick.

The water company is going to add pungent, free chlorine instead of tame, combined chlorine for the next two weeks. It is so fearsome, they felt they had to warn us.

And recently we have been put under water use restrictions. Less really is more.

Monday, April 9, 2007

TV ... Power

Our cable provider is changing the channel lineups, again, after we have our firm friend and bare acquaintance channel numbers memorized. Yes, yes, there is a "favorites" button on the remote but my favorites are not necessarily the favorites of the various sports enthusiasts in the family.

One member of our family would rather be french fried and drained than watch anything like golf. The pain would be unbearable, I understand.

Ah, but I have my own personal remote.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

The Best ...

Yesterday afternoon, Zeta and M brought over an entire 6-carb cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory.

, yum, Happy Easter. Food does equal love, in this case.

Happy Easter to everyone, even though I'm not saying it with cheesecake.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Hunter, lurking ...

This is a safe view of the last image burned dreadfully into the brains of some long-gone mice. Mew has entered the newspaper's-plastic-cover zone. Last Sunday, the heavy paper fell out the bottom of the bag, leaving a tunnel for opportunists of a certain size. For a true mouse-viewpoint, click on her face.

Friday, April 6, 2007

What equals love ... and pasta?

We were given some jars of Flora pasta sauce by Zeta and M. It is a no salt added product which sounds dismal, yes? But no, really good. We can jazz it up with a little added meat, onion, tabasco, onion/garlic powders and whatever else occurs to us. Just not salt.

At the same time, they also gave us boxes of Dreamfields Pasta. Now, this was a really thoughtful combination. Low salt sauce plus low carb pasta equals love.

Now, spaghetti night can happen. Getting the Flora is the problem. That takes a serious drive waaaay down the Dixie Highway to the large Publix where the gift-Flora came from.

Our nearest Publix is not the smallest store you have ever visited, but close. I have asked them to see if they can order Flora. I have to take an empty jar in so that they can scan the bar code. Perhaps they will also want me to drop by and stock the shelves when it comes in ....

Thursday, April 5, 2007

In the beginning ...

Yesterday, I telephoned our trusted auto mechanic to find out if he installed auto alarms. He doesn't, but he recommended a nearby place to have it done. I took the Camry down and discovered that they're really busy with youthful male customers. I'm a Q-Tip grandmother.

A great deal of their business seems to come from installing, or upgrading, those booming-bass stereo systems that come disguised as a car. They did a good job for us at less than half the cost of what the dealership wanted for an alarm.
This morning, I have to take our car back. Evidently, just thinking about opening a door seems to set off the alarm.

It's a five-minute-job to lower the alarm's sensitivity level, they tell me.

The Camry is probably more alert than our cat is, right now.