Thursday, February 28, 2008

$388 later...

the sewer line is clear. After my post the other day it "acted funny"; when Dottie came home later that evening things didn't work at all. John came and tried to clear it the same way I had on Sunday to no avail. Dottie called the plumbing company that worked on John's line (a real pain) and asked for first call.

She stayed home yesterday so I could sleep, not knowing what time they would show up. Their plumber arrived at 2; I got up a bit short on sleep, but there wasn't really anything I could do to help. He had to pull the commode for access to the line; it went back down at 4:25, but wouldn't flush. He had pulled two huge balls of tree roots when he removed his auger from the line, and the tub seemed to be draining fine. After I left he pulled the commmode again and figured out even more had dropped off in the "sweep" that comes off the "stack" to the toilet base, clogging it. So finally, at 5:30 things were "right" again. Since I don't want to do anything to "rock the boat" at work right now, I'm very glad Dottie stayed home!

Two years ago I was driving an $800 car I had bought 8 years earlier...that number really hurt, but when you can't fix things yourself...

My brother-in-law called during all of that to say that my sister's shoulder surgery was done and they were taking her home. I'm going to call her in just a minute to see how she's doing...

Dottie is off tomorrow, so with the weekend peeking over the horizon, I'll see you all then!

May it be wonderful!


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

I'm not!

To bed around 6; clock set for 2. At 2 pop a caffeine tab and reset it for 2:30. At 2:30 turn on tea kettle and reset clock for 2:42.

Get up at 2:42, turn off clock, turn off kettle just as it starts to whistle. Get latte mug from cabinet, put in 2 heaping spoons of Hill's French Vanilla, open fridge, pour mug full of milk...

Start over!

Trying to drive slower, leave earlier, and in general be more careful these last few months to make sure I get through them with no mishaps, especially something that might cause me to "lose time". When I got off at 3:30 this morning, we'd had freezing rain and a bit of snow, it was in the 20's and the wind was blowing at around 30. I wrapped up in my Cabela's parka with the hood up and covering my cheeks as I have way too many crowns over "live" teeth in my upper jaw and they hurt when they get cold, and as I walked out across the parking lot, I wiped out on black ice and caught myself in a push-up position...

My right wrist is a bit tender, and I slept in a "brace" for the first time in several years last night, but it could have been so much worse. My younger sister did something similar a few months ago, and is having to have shoulder surgery tomorrow because of it!

My one-day-weekend was spent on the roof playing with the "Drain Kings" again as the sewer line is still "not happy" with things; sometime in the next few weeks I'm going to have to pay someone to auger it and hope I don't have to dig it up. While I had the ladders out I pulled all the ice and leftover leaves from the gutters and cleared the downspouts because there was supposed to be a lot more rain yesterday than we ended up with.

My movie ("Prix de Beaute") didn't arrive for the weekend so we watched a few episodes of "Welcome to the Captain" (pretty funny, and Raquel looks awfully good for 68!) and Dottie's movie, "Pursuit of Happyness". Makes all of my whining seem minor...

Still waiting for a benefits call to answer more of my questions about retirement, and for the official "roll out" of the program to make sure there aren't any details that scare me off.

When one of us dies someone usually hangs copies of the obit on the front door so those who want to can attend the services. In the last month there have been several who waited to retire until they could draw Social Security, one who waited until he could draw the "full" amount. He retired last December...

I don't want that to be me!

May the week be kind...


Friday, February 22, 2008

Too many hours, too little life...

Once again far more time has slipped away than I would like here...

Something I won't miss when I can put an end to these 10 hour days and 6 day weeks!

I printed calendars last night and added up hours; with what I know of our schedule as long as nothing happens, I'll be +19 hours at the end of shift on June 14. I still have to wait and see if there are any odd details in the buyout when we actually get the package, but things are looking better. Since I had never dreamt of being able to do this so young, I never took any of the "retirement classes", though I had planned on it this next time around. I've checked on some things (once I'm actually drawing retirement if something happens Dottie gets to keep drawing it, though they cut the amount by 2/3. If I die while still working she has to wait until 62! Either way the amount ends up the same...) and have more questions for the benefits rep when I get to see her.

When I hired in I was 22, our oldest was 5 months old and Dottie was pregnant with our youngest. This year the boys turn 29 and 30 and I'm a grandfather 3 times by the doesn't seem possible sometimes! I look in the mirror at my eyes slowly retreating behind saggy hoods, and at my silver hair and wonder how I got here.

I work tomorrow and Dottie is keeping the grandkids overnight so John and Noel can have an anniversary date. By the time I get up on Sunday most of my weekend will be gone, and I won't be here again until after Dottie goes to bed on Sunday night.

May you all have wonderful weekends!


Monday, February 18, 2008

Perhaps a glimmer of hope...

Rumors are flying wild of course, and everyone is waiting for the "roll-out" information on "the attrition program" before we really know anything.

I called today for a summary of my hours; they said I need 764 from today to have credit for my 30. I had 330 on my check for the 2nd week of February! I need to check and see if vacation days count at 8 hours, etc., and figure out where to go from there.

I might just manage to take their money and run after all!

Years ago I said something to Dottie about putting up a webpage of some of my poetry; she told me in no uncertain terms I was never to do that because somehow we could end up in trouble. At the time people were speaking of handicapped access for "the net" and related lawsuits, identity theft was just becoming a common story in the news, and my wife the technophobe wouldn't even let me have my check direct deposited to our bank account.

As my hours at work increased and I changed jobs to one that is "non-stop" rather than one that "cycles" I lost the time I used to jot down my musings; the poetry grew less, and I started this blog. Perhaps the ensuing years have mellowed her concerning these issues, perhaps not. She is finally, for the first time ever, starting to surf the net on her own a bit. In time perhaps I will tell her; we'll see...

I spent yesterday at John's helping him with plumbing and electrical issues as he gets his house ready to sell; this is a six-day week for me, so the last of what involves me down there is going to have to wait until the weekend after this next one (putting a vent fan in the bathroom). My Mom's birthday is next week, and my sister is going to have to have rotater surgery that week as well, so sometime this weekend we have to try to pull off a party for Mom either Saturday before I go to work or on Sunday.

This is leading up to more apologies on my part for not being around more...

May the week be kind to each of you!


Thursday, February 14, 2008

I saw the light!

and then the train hit me...

For about 30 hours I sincerely believed I was going to be lucky enough to collect $45,000 of GM's money, pay off 4 credit cards with what I would clear, and retire from there and move on to something new, something less stressful, something that didn't involve 10 hour days or the 31 Saturdays they expect us to work this next year if we go back to 9 hour days...

Border's was looking real good there for a while!

But what I read when I got to work tonight was different than what the janitors gave me to read last night, and I am going to miss the "cut". By about one month...

New header...

Pardon my soapbox!

I've intended to write this for a while, but had little time to research it thoroughly. A while back I heard a former Navy JAG lawyer say we had executed Japanese officers for waterboarding during the war crimes trials after WW2. I assumed they had waterboarded POW's...I assumed wrong!

It seems that some Aussie's slipped into Singapore's harbor and blew up a bunch of Japanese ships. The Japanese didn't believe that was possible, and decided that the civilian doctors and nurses who had stayed at one of the hospitals during the occupation must have been involved.

So they waterboarded them. Civilians.

They also used electric shock on them.

In the transcript I found of the trial (through Wikipedia, first by searching "waterboarding" and then following a link to the Singapore incident) the Japanese officers say things that sound a lot like what we hear coming from the White House and it's mouthpieces these days...

Somehow I don't think we can justify using any technique for interrogation that we've ever executed someone for! No matter how valuable the information might be! Yet this week Justice Scalia said that interrogation was different than punishment, and that depending on the information obtained could possibly be legal!!!

But let Vermont or California try to clean up greenhouse gasses...

Sorry about the soapbox...

To all who don't mind, a Very Happy Valentine's Day! In another lifetime picking out a card for each of you would be a treat! But since Dottie doesn't know I blog, mailing them might get me in a bit of trouble, lol!


Dottie is off on Friday, so I won't be around again until I get up on Saturday.

May the rest of the week be kind and may your weekends be wonderful!


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Advanced lessons in cheating!

I had planned to come home tonight and write about the weekend; instead I'll put that off for a day or so...

One of the most useful things I've ever found to keep around the house is a roll of plastic sheeting. You can buy thinner stuff, and it will work fine for some things, but the heavier stuff is magic! You can find it at your favorite hardware store, your choice of indoor lumberyards, or the hardware section of Wal-Mart, where I've bought my last half dozen rolls.

For this winter I bought a 20'x25' roll of the heavier stuff; I said 6 mil thick, which it used to be, but it might be down to 4 these days, I don't have the wrapper anymore. The thin stuff will work for a month or so, but the heavy stuff will alst all winter as long as you don't get grease on it. I split it in half lengthwise, so it's two pieces that are 12.5'x20'.

I laid it over the roof of the truck trying to split it fairly evenly, then figured out how far to pull it over the hood to cover the wipers and cowl (the venting at the back edge of the hood where all your fresh air comes from). Poke a hole for the antenna of the truck; slip the excess between the bed and the back of the cab; then tuck it in at the front and rear edges of the door on one side making sure you keep it out of the lock. Pull it up a bit under the mirror, slip a rubber band over it; move to the other side and do the same. If the wind is blowing I'll slip an edge under the gas door just to keep the wind from getting under it.

For Dottie's car I had to trim 2 more feet off the 20' length and it will still reach the ground on both sides. On it we tuck it in at the front edge of the front door and the back edge of the rear door, and though I make sure to keep it out of the locks, I will slip a little back under the lower edge of the back door to keep the wind from getting under it. Rubber band the mirrors and it's good to go.

Today I pulled mine off and stuck it in the garage as it was only supposed to be flurries tonight. Had they sad freezing rain it would have been on the floorboard and I'd have covered it again when I got to work...

I've also used this stuff to cover a screen to make a storm window when a glass one got broken; I've fixed foundation leaks by digging down to the leak and laying a piece of it on the outside of the cement and backfilling the dirt. It's cheaper than buying drop cloths as you can reuse it.

Other cheats: everyone talks about putting sandtubes in a vehicle for traction, and I've done it for years. My last truck had a cover on it and plywood on the floor to soundproof it a bit so things didn't slide too badly. It also had a bench seat against the front of the bed, so they couldn't slide too far.

Last winter I had seven 60 pound tubes between the wheelwells of my Silverado, lying on the Line-X spray on bedliner, which is fairly good about keeping things stationary. Usually...

As I came off the end of the four lane into the industrial district where I work, going with a green light and somewhere around 50 mph, a "spotter" rig made an illegal left turn against the light across my lanes. I "anchored" the truck, and it stopped much faster than I'd have ever dreamed. The sand tubes, however, didn't! 420 pounds of frozen wet sand hit the front of the bed in unison like a 500 pound hammer and the truck jumped a couple of feet further than it would have otherwise.

I cleared the rig, but decided I didn't want to go through that again!

So this summer while I was working on the garage I picked up a couple of pieces of CCA and when it started getting cold this winter I took a handful of decking screws and the circular saw to them:

The CCA is taller than the tubes are, and I used the leftover pieces from the front box to make the "H" shaped piece that looks like a "T" behind the tubes; it's not fastened down, but makes it possible to go pick up sheets of things without having to unload the tubes first. Next summer I can lift the front one out until next winter.

5:30AM; I got off work at 3:30, home just before 4, by the time I had the trash out, my laundry in and got through the shower it was after 4:30. I ate a bowl of cereal, started the dishwasher and sat down here a few minutes before 5; now I should go off to bed, but I'm going to check in with one or two of you and put my clothes in the dryer, then I'll go...

May the week be kind!


Thursday, February 07, 2008


Thankfully it will only be a 48 hour one instead of 50; I used a vacation day yesterday!

A bit of disappointment on Sunday because the Pats didn't finish undefeated; a bit of happiness for the Mannings, because brothers winning successive Superbowls will most likely never happen again!

Monday Dottie sprained her ankle walking into work carrying a crock pot and stuff to make "little smokies" for a party; she stepped on a rock she didn't see and rolled it sideways. She didn't fall, so she didn't screw up her replacement hip or replacement knee, but when I came home that night she was sleeping on the couch with ice on it and it was bigger than a large grapefruit.

She still wanted to go to a movie on Tuesday when I got up, so we saw Stallone end his "Rambo" series as poignantly as he did "Rocky" a few months ago. Very well done, and making a political statement for this era as well!

We got home before the weather started, and while she went in and iced her ankle I covered up her car. (We cheat and when they say ice we use 6 mil plastic sheeting to lay over the glass, doors and wipers. If you tuck it in to the door jambs without getting it in the locks, it's a lot better than the scraping and such!) My truck I had covered when I came home the night before (actually had covered hers as well in case it started early...)

While I did pet chores and started dinner it was early enough I got her to call her sister Deb in Vermont, as by the time Dottie comes home and gets through the shower Deb is usually heading for bed. They talked until dinner was ready, then I popped in a movie out of a Jimmy Stewart box set I got for my birthday (one of those gifts we buy ourselves and tag from my Mom so she still feels a part of things). "You Gotta Stay Happy", from 1948. I had seen it before I went in the service and had watched for it to pop up somewhere so I could tape it, but had never caught it. Dottie really enjoyed it, as did I.

I was running laundry to get it caught up as well, so she had no excuse to run up and down the steps on her ankle other than to wash her uniform each night. It seems to be doing well, the swelling is staying down; I think she's lucky she had a day off the day after she did it!

So until the weekend, that's where things stand. Hopefully we'll get the treadmill put together over the weekend so I can figure out exactly how I need to drop the wiring to it, and will have it running by next week.

Since they took away our 2nd week of downtime in July already (they want every Malibu we can build) I have an extra 40 hours vacation that I usually lose then, so taking a few more Tuesdays off shouldn't bother me though I hate to start using days so early in the year. I put in for the 19th as well because we work Saturday that week, and I'd really rather work 5 than 6 especially if they still have to pay me for them!

May the rest of the week be kind!


Saturday, February 02, 2008

"Procrastination is...

the thief of time-
So all the wise I'll say...
One stitch in time
Will save nine-
Tomorrow's not today!

And if you put on-
Someone's bound to lose"

From Nat Cole's "St. Louis Blues" soundtrack...very appropriate for me today! An album of Dad's I practically wore out learning the words to all of the W. C. Handy songs on it...

Woke up "slow", just before 1, lingered here with a latte for a while, then called John to see if he wanted me to help him replace the packing nut in the main water shutoff to his house as it's dripping. He said he'd rather wait until tomorrow as they are trying to finish painting their kitchen cabinets so they can use them again.

Slipped off to Harbor Freight, bought he and I both a new tubing cutter as he had blown mine up the other week, bought him a voltmeter, and myself a set of "strap" wrenches (Dottie has designs on one for opening things in the kitchen, the other is for plumbing fixtures I don't want to scar up). With coupons and sale prices, $11 and change, total.

Home a bit after 4, ate a bit of something while I played "Xenosaga 2" for a few minutes, then came in here before I wander downstairs to rearrange some things to start making room for the treadmill.

I had planned to get so much more done by this point in the day...

Perhaps tomorrow!