Monday, April 30, 2012

Good Day

Well, the float switch arrived from Amazon (thank you Brown truck of happiness!) & it honestly took more time to get it out of the packaging than to get it installed.  So my basement is once again safe from becoming a swimming pool.

I also spent some quality time with the boys this afternoon.  Freedom & Gambler both appreciated the rub down.  Hell, Gambler even let me bring out the clippers without acting the fool.  Maybe I'll breakout the hose and suds this week & get out some of the deeper grime.  With highs in the 80's, they might actually appreciate it!

Sunday, April 29, 2012


Spent the afternoon baking cookies & rocking out to Queen.  It's been a good day!

Ginger Snaps - Choc. Chip - Sugar Cookies

Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Week In Review

I think it can be labeled a bad week when both sump pumps die. However, the week did improve from there. 

The major change-over we're doing at work is smoothing out so I'm not staying as late as I have been.  A lot of the planning and prepping I did before going to California seems to have paid off.  I can't get into much detail, but there's a lot of my time and ingenuity logged into this project, I'm relieved to see it implementing well.  In all, I'll be glad for the first week of June, just to see it completed! 

Spring projects / chores are starting to come together as well.  I managed to mow *most* of the lawn yesterday.  This was the first time it's been dry enough to brave where the pond was & other murky parts.  Some areas I'll have to attack with the weed-whacker simply because I'm not sure what's there.  Sounds kind of funny that I'm not sure what's in my own yard, huh?  Well, ya see, mowing is Heath's chore, he likes doing it & makes it look good and I'm rather ambivalent to beheading grass.  So with a wet fall / winter / spring, some of the soupier parts of the yard may have become more, um, wild, and while I know we have some unburied sections of dog fence & some rather fearsome rocks in the back corner of the yard, I couldn't say exactly where they are. So, I'll bring the weed whacker home tomorrow or Monday & go hunting for buried mower landmines.  Have I mentioned how much I want Heath home?

I did get one of "my" spring chores accomplished yesterday.  It took 3 hours, but all my front beds are weeded, tidy, and ready for mulch.  The beds on the back of the house still need attention, but my back and knees cried mutiny.  Also, there is no truth to the rumor that I used copious amounts of weed killer on the Canadian Thistles invading the south-side flower beds instead of dutifully hand-pulling each one (nasty, prickly bastards deserved every last drop! I regret nothing!).  Speaking of prickly things, my next project will have to be making trellises for the raspberries as they're threatening to take over the entire north flower bed.
Today was spent spiffing the house and I think I'll spend the majority of tomorrow baking.  A big batch of chocolate chip cookies always makes Monday seem more surmountable.

Warrantee Lapsed Last Month...

Last Sunday I noticed that the downstairs sump was kicking on rather frequently, bugger.  My F-I-L came over & had a look at the outside (main) sump.  After working on it for 30 minutes, he pronounced it dead and went off to the land of orange aprons to procure a replacement.  Upon his return, we found that the pipe leading from the old pump was of smaller girth than the one needed for the new pump, so it was back to the land of orange!  Upon his return all parts were assembled & the new pump lowered into the pit to alleviate the over-burdened pump in the basement.

Unfortunately, all the extra labor proved too much for the basement pump, it began stutter-starting and then refused to shut off at all, bugger twice.  This time I had my dad come over to check the pump, and he found the diaphragm switch broken.  An exact replacement was $70, however, with a little searching in the great inter-tubes I found a suitable substitute for half the cost.  Huzzah!  The brown truck of happiness should deliver it on Monday.  I can't wait for Heath to be back so I don't have to rely on others for this sort of thing anymore!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

House Toad

Our faithful house toads have returned!  I give you the first house toad of spring!

Joys of Travel

Had a wonderful time in California last weekend.  There were a few set backs (mostly with flights) but getting 4 days with my hubby made it all worth while. 

About those flights though...

I'm kind of torn on United Airlines, while almost every flight I was on was delayed or cancelled, I did make it to my final destinations on the intended travel day (albeit several hours later than anticipated).  This wasn't much different than US Airways last time around either, so I'll just assume delays & rerouting are the new status quo for air travel and not a foible of United specifically.

Their staff wasn't overly impressive either.  While they were efficient in getting new itineraries, that's about all I can say to their benefit.  Most that I observed (had several hours to kill) lacked conflict resolution skills.  I can forgive a lack of sympathy, after a while I'm sure everyone sounds the same clamoring about how their plans are ruined due to something an attendant can do nothing to prevent or rectify.  However, their job is to make the situation at least appear better, not worse, and help with what little they can control. 

Case in point: There was one poor bastard at Palm Spring Airport that got the unofficially-official goat-rope.  He & his family disembark from the plane (PSP uses open stairs, not enclosed catwalks) and while his family continues in, he stops *just* before entering the building & remembers they have door-checked luggage.  The United ticket attendant sees him, calls him into the building to ask why he was going back & he explains about the luggage.  She then informs him that since he stepped into the terminal, he could no longer exit again & his luggage would then be sent to baggage claim. O_o  He points out that she called him in, apparently that didn't matter, he was in the terminal.  Thus ensues a rather Abbott & Costello-esque argument.  Eventually, a porter comes and moves the bags the whole 10' to the door so the gentleman could make his connection.  FYI, there were no signs stating you couldn't go back.  All she needed to say was "wait a moment and I'll have a porter bring the bags over" instead she kept escalating the situation by telling him he couldn't go out there and there wasn't anything she could do.  *sigh*  I'm not sure how the frequent fliers do it anymore.  I used to love flying, now I keep recalculating the cost of driving.

The above situation notwithstanding, I really like Palm Springs Airport.  It's small, easy to get in & out of and they have a lovely outside waiting area between security and the terminal buildings.  It costs about $50 - $100 more than flying into Ontario or LAX, but with the the extra drive time & the cost of gas, it about evens out.  The reduced stress counts for a helluva lot in my book as well.  I'm to 29 Palms in about an hour and it's a straight shot vs 2 1/2 hrs+ and the need of a GPS.  Not to mention LA traffic!      

I actually stayed on base this trip, which was quite an improvement from staying in 29 Palms proper.  I have to give props to the Sleeping Tortoise, I've never been so pleasantly surprised by hotel accommodations.  The room was comfortable, clean and extremely well priced.  Our room had the largest kitchen I've ever seen in a hotel room (full size fridge / freezer, dishwasher, stove top, sink & microwave) and a large, serviceable bathroom / shower (it wasn't spa like, but the hot water never stopped and the exhaust fan was damn near industrial).  The room included internet, cable, outdoor grill stations, picnic area, playground & continental breakfast.  All the staff were courteous, helpful and efficient.  The only thing I would have changed was asking for a non-courtyard room to avoid the playground noise, but there may not have been any available.  Overall, I would recommend staying there to any military personnel / family passing through the 29 Palms area.  I'm actually looking forward to staying there again.

Post about the actual weekend forthcoming :-)


Friday, April 6, 2012

Lessons Learned

Here's a couple things I've learned while my better-half is off becoming a Marine.

1.) There's no longer "my chores" and "his chores" - that dead chicken isn't going to scoop itself simply because he's not here to do it.

2.) The "honey-do" list has gotten a lot more reasonable since I've had to do the projects.  Definitely reins in what I think can be accomplished in a weekend.

3.) Cooking for one is impossible. 2 or 20? no problem!  But alone, I'm either eating leftovers all week or it's ramen again.

4.) There's a force-field actively protecting his side of the bed.

5.) I'm the hermit.  You'd need a pry-bar the length of Texas to get me out of the house without necessity or obligation and I hate going unfamiliar places.

6.) My ability to puzzle things out & muddle through projects has improved dramatically.  Amazing what a little unavailability does for my tenacity.  It might take me longer and not look near so pretty, but I'll be damned if I'm giving up on getting things done.

7.) I need to spend more time at the range alone.

8.)  My tolerance for strangers around the house / property has plunged to -0-.  *If* I answer the door, I'm armed and my favorite phrase is, "I'm not interested, I think you should leave now."

9.) This time apart would be much less tolerable without the dogs.  Coming home to 3 critters that are excited to see me & can't wait for a belly rub makes me feel a little less alone.

10.) Finally, and this is the most important lesson, we love each other.  There's no question, no doubt at all.  This process hasn't been easy, but it's refocused our marriage and made us realize how much we need each other.  All together, we'll be apart 9 months (less 10 days leave and 3 weekends).  While I wouldn't trade the experience, I couldn't imagine going through the rest of my life like this - I'd be no good without him.