Cranking up for Snowmageddon 2019

A day or so ago I was hearing from several of my co-workers about a possible snowstorm that might be coming this way this weekend.  There were rumors about the possibility of a foot or more of the white stuff that might be coming down.  Naturally, for most of them, it was a cause for concern, but for me it was quite the opposite.  My personal reaction to hearing we might be getting significant snowfall was ‘About Damn Time!’

I’ve always been one that liked a lot of snow. Even when I was little, I loved to watch the snow come down, knowing that the next day (or later that same day) I would be able to play in it.  Snowball fights, snow forts, being able to get swathed in my snowsuit, with the mittens attached to the cuffs by clips, playing in the yard with my brother and the neighbor kids for hours.  Sledding, tobogganing, building, destroying, fighting (not the ‘knock down drag out’ variety) and just generally having a good time as kids are supposed to.

Now that I’m older, well the desire is still there, just in a different manner.  I have a ‘toy’ that I ‘play’ with, called a snowblower.  It’s almost 30 years old, and it’s undergone a couple of refits, but it still works just fine.  A bit rusty, I remember purchasing it from the local AGWAY store near where I grew up, because there was a big snowstorm coming, and I wasn’t able to manhandle the large Graveley tractor that my Dad used to use.  His Alzheimer’s was in full swing at the time, and he wasn’t able to help me with the configuration of attaching the large 48″ snowblower to the front of the tractor.  So I went to the AGWAY and bought a floor model snowblower, and asked if it was possible for them to deliver it that day.  As I recall they were amenable to the prospect, and later that afternoon, just before the snow started falling, the truck arrived and they dropped it in my driveway.  I muscled it up and into the garage and was able to test it out the next morning.  Worked like a champ.  So much so that I never used the older, bigger snowblower again.  Even so, were I able to, I would have taken Dad’s Graveley with me.  But the people who bought my parent’s house wanted the tractor, so it went with the house as it was sold.  Visiting the property in 2016, I noted the tractor was long gone from the garage.  The owner’s Mercedes sedan was in the bay where the old station wagon used to sit, but it appeared there had been no yard equipment in the garage for some time.

Hmm…getting back to the topic at hand.  Getting ready for the impending snowstorm.  I went shopping today for some of the items I figured we needed, filled the Edge with gas and filled my 5 gallon can with gas to make sure the snow blower was good to go.  Between Saturday and Sunday, if the storm holds the right track, we might end up with about 20 or more inches of snow.

Fingers crossed it works out that way!!

Happy Anniversary, girl.

It’s been a year since we decided to switch things up. With you taking the bottom role and I being your Top.

We did manage to meet once, back in June. We’d planned for more meetings, but money and life got in the way.

It’s been an interesting journey so far.  I think you can agree to that.  Ups, downs, ins and outs.  We’re working towards our goals, and we’re doing it together.

Happy Anniversary.  1 year down, many more to go.

Doldrums

Doldrums (n.) – a state or period of inactivity, stagnation, or depression.

January is a generally a month where one regroups after the hectic ‘go-go-go’ of the Thanksgiving/Christmas season.  It’s a New Year, but it’s also a time where things slow down considerably, before ramping up towards the holidays of Valentine’s Day, and then Easter.  I’ve always equated it to the term above, remembering about when I learned of the other definition of the word.  IE: an equatorial region of the Atlantic Ocean with calms, sudden storms, and light unpredictable winds.

It’s more of the ‘light unpredictable winds’ I’m referring to than anything else.  How to keep yourself motivated, when everything around you is stagnant.  It’s a difficult time of year to create change, like many people attempt to do, with their resolutions of this, that and the other thing.  Generally, I’ve given up on making New Year resolutions, because it ends up being a wasted effort, since the desire to ‘change’ doesn’t tend to stay in the forefront of my brain for more than a couple of weeks, at best.

Change is difficult under any circumstances, to be sure. But forcing the issue on yourself doesn’t make it any easier.  Things like weight loss, like quitting drinking, or smoking, or some other habit has to be done when you desire to do it, not on some schedule, either self-imposed, or due to peer pressure.  The argument ‘Well, everyone else is doing it‘ doesn’t work any better as you get older, than it did when you were younger.  The old argument ‘if everyone else jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge, would you as well?‘ definitely applies.

Here we are, 2019.  Hopefully it will be a good year.  There’s always that possibility.  Time will tell, of course.  Should be interesting if nothing else.

Cheers.

Almost tired of the holiday

I suppose there’s a term for holiday burnout.  Perhaps that’s the term right there.  When you get to the point that you really, really want it to be all over with.  A little peace and quiet, and no one wishing you Merry Christmas, or expecting you to be happy all the blessed time because of the holiday.

Certainly (I think at least) it’s worse for those of us in retail.  When you have to be ‘on’ all the time, smiling and helpful to people who may be having a bad day and they (perhaps inadvertently, perhaps not) take it out on you, because they can’t get something that they’ve been wanting, planning for etc.  So, sometimes you have to bear the brunt of their ire, shrug it off and plaster a smile on your puss for the next person.  After a couple of months of that (think Thanksgiving and Christmas) one can get a little frazzled.

Then of course there’s the music.  Stores play over their sound systems music that people over the years have termed ‘Elevator Music’, it’s Muzak, but more increasingly it’s not just instrumentals, but what might be called ‘contemporary music’, ie it’s somewhat current, but it’s subdued, to keep the din of the shopping experience somewhat muted.  So you don’t have a silent store, but there’s something to mask the sounds of what goes on in a typical store, from chattering of the patrons, to other sounds that are normally heard in any brick and mortar retail establishment.  Of course, when you work in such a place, since the music is fairly predictable, eventually you know what song is coming next because you’ve heard it tens of thousands of times.  The music companies aren’t really all that unpredictable with their playlists, only every now and again do they change things up, and with some of them, they have contracts with companies that individual stores can ‘choose’ what playlists they can have piped into the stores, but the contracts generally are for several years in length.  So what you get is what you get all the time.  Try listening to the same playlist for a couple of years straight, 8 hours at a clip.  Try it, I dare you.

The day after Thanksgiving, the Christmas music begins in earnest.  At least in my store.  One solid month of Christmas music.  Old ballads, newer versions, but of course after you’ve heard ‘Santa Baby’ by fourteen different artists in different arrangements, you start to go a little nutty.  Frosty the Snowman, or Jingle Bells are nice songs, but when you hear them played 3 or 4 times in the same hour, you start to wonder if you’re going to make it through the season.  I have to admit, after 30 plus years in retail, I wonder sometimes if I’m going to manage the rest of my time in the same type of job when the wonder and merriment of the season is being sucked out of me.

Sadly, it’s become more and more apparent that I’ll be glad when Christmas is over.  January can’t come soon enough!

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Seasons Greetings.  Thanks for reading.

Repurposing

For many years, I was going through a lot of cellphones.  A lot of it had to do with cellphones coming out with new doodads, new bells and whistles and wanting to be there to take advantage of them.  Only not necessarily the ‘new’ ones, the ones that people were reselling because they wanted the brand spankin’ new ones.

At present I have about 8 or 9 old cellphones here at the house.  Many of them are unusable because they’re just so old that connecting them to a carrier would be cost prohibitive, at least for me.  One of the less ancient ones is a Samsung Galaxy Note 5 that I purchased from somewhere.  I had another one, but I’m fairly certain that I sold it on Swappa.com a while ago, so obviously that one was no longer available to me.

As I have every year for the last couple, I asked my girl what she wanted for Christmas.  I remembered that she had been coveting an air fryer, and I had already been looking for one at retailers off and on for several months, but not really finding the right one for my preferences.  None of the ones I’d been looking at had the right features, or doodads, and I’d been remiss in just buying one at random.  Which is a good thing, since she informed me that she would very much like a new cellphone for her holiday present.

Oof.  That’s a bit of an outlay if I was to purchase something new or even used, but I thought back to the pile of old cellphones on my desk and got to thinking.  She uses StraightTalk, and if I could get the right SIM card, perhaps she’d have the right type of phone, with the right coverage as well as a stylus, which she’d been coveting.  So, I went shopping and investigating online to see if this was possible.  We’d tried something similar before, but for whatever reason, it didn’t work.  Swapping the SIM card from one of her phones to a Note 4 didn’t connect to the network, so we gave up on that enterprise.

I did happen to (finally) go to the Straight Talk website and used the chat portal to speak to one of the assistants. I informed them that I had a compatible GSM phone (unlocked) and needed a SIM card for a location that was not my own. I didn’t go into detail why, I just made sure they understood it was a former AT&T phone and I needed the appropriate card that would connect where my girl lives. Otherwise, they would have sent me a card that would have a phone number that’s more local to me. Even so, I should have remembered to look at the actual phone, because when I powered it up, I re-discovered that it was actually a SPRINT phone, not AT&T. Since it was unlocked, either I at one point had used it as my own phone, or had simply forgotten that it was a different carrier.

The SIM card arrived a few days after I ordered it. After futzing around with it a few times, it finally connected to the network and began running updates. It works just fine now and I need to be able to ship it to my girl so she can be using it for the length of time before the one month no-contract contract expires. Doesn’t do much good sitting here on my desk.

But it works! Go me.

Trash Can Roulette

I just missed the trash pickup.  Again.  And it’s ironic since I’ve been up since 5:45 this morning.  Plenty of time to get the cans and recycling out, only I’ve been doing other things, and a little procrastination since getting up.

Since moving here in 2001, we’ve had 2 different trash haulers.  The first one was sort of the ‘big dog’ in town, pretty much the one almost everyone uses.  They have multiple trucks, they expect you to separate your recycling (paper, cans, plastic) and pick up different parts of town on multiple days.  Of course, since they are the one most often used, they charge a bit more than anyone else.  They provide the bins that you use for trash, and if you use a different can, bin or box, they won’t empty it.  In that, they’re preferential.

About 5-6 years ago, my wife found someone else that’s also local, but they were just getting into the business and needed customers.  They just happened to be friendly with a former co-worker of my wife’s, so we switched to them.  They’re cheaper, they’re not so picky about what can or bin you use, and they (a bit maddeningly) even though we separate out our recyclables, they toss everything together into the back of the truck.  I’m thinking it may not make a difference at this point, that it’s entirely possible at the local landfill it’s all sorted, so this method is acceptable.  I never bothered to explore further, figuring if it wasn’t kosher, they would have been called out on it by now and we’d have gotten a message with our bill saying ‘please separate’.  Which we still do habitually regardless.

The only thing is, they don’t really pick up at the same time every week.  It used to be they’d come at 9, then 10, then within the last six months they’d show up at 11 or later.  Since they’ve become a bit lax, I’ve been allowed to do so as well.  Except for days like today, when they showed up early.  I only knew that, because having finished gathering all the trash and stuff to put out, I heard a large truck coming down the street, and peering through the blinds, I spotted their truck passing us by and turning the corner.  So we missed out again.  Fortunately, its cold outside, so going another week with 2 more bags of trash in the cans isn’t going to be a hardship.  In the summertime…different story!

Need to get back in the habit of putting out the trash earlier.  Or the night before.

One of the many reasons I despise Facebook…

I rarely use Facebook.  I used to use it a lot when it first came out, but as time has worn on, I’ve been using it less and less.  When I first signed onto the service, I was using it for keeping track of family and HS friends, with the occasional kinky friend thrown in for good measure (most of my kinky friends are located on Fetlife, so there’s not too much crossover honestly).  I’m a member of a group that makes mention of things in the town which I grew up, so I can keep track of things that happen there, for the most part.  It’s a notable town/village, of historical note and being 90 miles north of NYC, there are a good amount of people from there that have purchased property locally and attempt to co-opt some of the local ways and means, sometimes succesfully, sometimes not.  (Add in some celebrities that live in the vicinity, and it makes things a little more eclectic)

Around the holidays, generally one gets memes and things that are shared to your account by friends and family.  Some are cute, some are overly political and yes there are many that are downright idiotic. Try as I might, I make every attempt to ignore the stupid ones, but every now and again I get caught up in one and it grates my teeth thinking I should have left well enough alone.

The current one is the ‘what do you open first’ riddle.  It has had many iterations over the years, but the current one goes like this:

It’s 7:00 am. You are asleep and there is a sudden knock on the door. Behind the door are your parents, who came to have breakfast. In your fridge: bread, milk (pasteurised!), juice, and a jar of jam. To answer, what will you open first?
Send me a message in the form of a PM to reply.

Getting away from the fact that the word ‘pasteurised’ is in the British/Canadian lexicon, the old answer to the riddle was “your eyes“. You were asleep and you needed to open your eyes to do anything else.  Of course, someone decided that this needed an upgrade, so the new answer is involved in the last line of the riddle.  “To answer, what will you open first?”  Since many people use the app Facebook Messenger in conjunction with Facebook, and they’re usually on their smartphones, the answer supposedly becomes ‘Facebook Messenger’.  Of course, not everyone has the app on their smart phone, so it’s not necessarily the answer, even though the people who have been sharing it (ad nauseam) insist that it is.  Because either they didn’t get it right because it was updated, or managed to get sucked in by their friends, neighbors and whoever.  So arguments ensue.  Bad feelings are generated and no one wins these stupid things.  It’s definitely an updated form of a chain letter, though the consequences aren’t put off, they’re right there in front of you and you have the option NOT to participate, but generally, most everyone does.

I try not to.  Though with the having been folded into the birth family 2 years ago, I’m being besot by my half sibling as she messages to our mother, and I get sucked in.  Either on purpose or by accident.  I really ought to know better, but having not been (ever) in the popular group, sometimes I want/desire to participate.  But generally I get peeved through it (like now) and regret even getting involved.

Facebook is good for its original intention.  What it’s become now, I despise.  I’d delete my account, but unfortunately, it’s so ingrained in everything web and Internet, I’d be left out.  So, I manage this way.  Mostly.