Tag: decisions

Cranking up for Snowmageddon 2019

Reading Time: 3 minutes

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!!

Repurposing

Reading Time: 3 minutes

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

Reading Time: 3 minutes

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.

Tumbling Tumblr

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Admittedly I don’t have a huge social media presence, but I am on quite a few platforms all the same.  One of the ones that I use (or have been using) almost daily is Tumblr.  Though I don’t admittedly use it for vanilla purposes, and in the next 10 days it’s going to get sidelined.  You may or may not have heard of this, but the company that owns the platform; Oath, has decided to eliminate ALL adult content on the service.  Which means, if anything that even slightly looks like porn, it gets pushed off the service.  Meaning probably deleted, along with the offending account that posted it in the first place.  As you can imagine, this is causing a great deal of bruhaha with the majority of people who have such material in their accounts.

Fortunately, I’ve dealt with this sort of thing before.  A few years ago, the website Bondage.com went under, simple because it was considered extraneous, to the company that owns AdultFriendFinder.com.  Of course, it wasn’t just the website that was going under, there was an IRC (Internet Relay Chat) server attached to it as well.  And this server had been working for better than 10 years, so you can imagine there was a pretty big community on it.  IRC servers by and large predate the Internet as it’s known today.  It’s a chat service that’s considered very ‘old school’.  It’s all done by text, you must have a bit of computer know-how to get onto one, and since that’s the case, you tend to get a different grade of person that’s connected.  Very few bright eye’d sorts, think more earthy, down-to-earth, the ones’ that have been around a while and seen a lot of things.

When the news came along, there wasn’t too much time to make any sort of plans, the clock was most definitely ticking, much the way it is now with Tumblr.  More than a few enterprising folks took it upon themselves to code up new IRC servers, but without significant outlay of $$, it didn’t take long for most of them to go under.  An IRC server isn’t something you code on a whim, it takes time, hardware and moolah.  Not a lot, but server space isn’t necessarily cheap.  And dedicated bandwidth to run it also costs a good nickel, don’t let anyone fool you.  Tally in the fact that you need more than just yourself to police it, because there are going to be unsavory characters more than happy to glom onto your spanking new IRC server and drown it, just on a whim, or so they said that they did.

Getting back to the topic at hand, I’ve been sort of watching from the sidelines on this one, seeing the posts interspersed with ones giving Oath/Verizon the finger etc. telling people where to go for similar service, how to back up their Tumblr accounts (Tumblr itself is making it difficult for people to archive their stuff) while I did a little searching on the web for a suitable program or manip in order to move my account from web to hard drive.  A couple of days ago, my efforts bore fruit.  I discovered a freeware program that’s been out for a couple of years, it’s kind of a ‘quick and dirty’ program but it gets the job done.  No frills, but then again it’s free so who’s quibbling?  Once I understood how it worked, it took all of about an hour to pull my accounts off of Tumblr for good.  It doesn’t hurt that I have 16 TB (TeraBytes) of hard drive space at my disposal.

I’m really not going to comment on what caused the problem, how it could have been more easily dealt with, instead of Verizon choosing the nuclear option.  I’m just glad I was able to get my things off the web and into a safe spot.  Yes, and make a little rant at the same time.  *Shrug*  I think I’m due.

 

 

My nightcap

Reading Time: 3 minutes

It could be said that I’m starting to lose my hair.  To be more accurate, I’ve been (over time) losing my hair probably for the past 20 years.  I used to tease a former store manager because he has a bald spot and I started to notice it around 1995.  23 years later, my own bald spot far and away outstrips his.  So much so, at night I’ve been feeling a bit of a breeze on my pate, and it’s been keeping me from getting a good night’s sleep more than once.

A couple of years ago, the wife asked me (as she always does this time of year) what I wanted for Christmas.  I’ve never been the sort that liked accepting Christmas presents, even when I was little, it was a chore to tell my parents what I wanted.  For the most part, my mother had to watch me carefully, see what interested me and then extrapolate from what she had learned what my wish list was.  I just never really go out and away and talk about it.  So, my wife inherited that problem.  Even so, she’s managed ok, with some rather weird exceptions. (Naturally talking about the 1960s model Batmobile, the Quidditch set, and the teddy bear she got me last year)

2 years ago, she asked me what I wanted for Christmas.  I’d been bothered by the breeze on my scalp and had been looking at websites that sold nightcaps.  Obviously I didn’t want an overly festive one, or one that was too sparkly, or had a big pom-pom etc, I wanted something that was subdued, useful and not gaudy at all.  Come Christmas morning, I opened a package and was happily presented with a dark blue night-cap.  I actually discovered it wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be to use.  I have sleep apnea and have been using a CPAP for the last 19 years.  The mask that I use is a bit unwieldy, and when one attempts to wear a night-cap as well, it makes for a little bit of an uncomfortable night.  Almost too much headgear to get a good night’s sleep.

So, for the past 2 years I’ve used the night-cap off and on.  For a time it ended up underneath the bed, and I only discovered it because we were needing to vacuum under the bed, and I stumbled upon it.  I had placed it next to my clock radio, and again forgotten about it.  I found it again last night, since the night before, my head was unusually cold and I thought about it again.  I suppose I was tired enough last night, that the whole headgear and night cap problem basically resolved itself and I slept pretty well…not to mention my head wasn’t cold!  So, it worked!  Just have to make it two for two.

Good night!

Another of those ‘holiday traditions’

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Christmas cards.  The bane of anyone that doesn’t plan ahead.  Every year it’s the same question.  Should I get them done before the 10th, or wait until the last-minute and pray that the post office doesn’t let me down for being procrastinatory?  Usually it’s the latter.

Every year we get in the mail a pile of free cards from one charity or another, so it’s not like I have to go to a stationery store (like there are thousands of them nearby) to get cards.  Sure, even dollar stores nowadays have a small selection of cards for those of us that don’t really give a rip how much the things cost, though I fondly recall my mother going all out to make sure the cards were done every year and sent out across the country to the relatives.  But then again, our relatives for the most part were in two Northeastern states.  Post 1975, two parts of the Ohio contingent relocated to Virginia and South Carolina respectively (due to marriage), but it wasn’t putting a bind on the USPS to get the cards to them in time.

As the years passed on, my mother became less enthused with getting the cards out.  I think it had a lot to do with her becoming bored in her home life, and the more that happened, the more she was drinking. The consequences of that became very obvious.  More things tended to either get pushed aside, or forgotten completely.  Certainly this seemed to have an effect on my brother and I in various ways, but one major effect was, when we’d get birthday or Christmas presents from my paternal aunt, we’d have to be browbeaten into sending thank you cards.  Finally, it came down to a halting thank-you phone call, because we were just becoming too lazy to send a card.

Fast forwarding 30 some odd years, for the most part my wife and I don’t send out cards every year.  Only in the last couple of years has that changed a little bit, but that’s been due to the reconnection between myself and my birth mother.  She still sends out cards for all occasions.  So over the calendar year we get cards for Easter, my birthday, my wife’s birthday, our wedding anniversary, Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Each one has a personalized note and it arrives on time.  So to counter, I’ve been trying my hand at doing something similar, just not as prolific.  The last couple of years I also sent out cards to my cousins in Syracuse.  To be honest, they are the ones to which I still have addresses.  I have 3 other cousins who live elsewhere in the US.  One of which I’m in touch with via Facebook.  But we were never so close as to be exchanging more than pleasantries.  So she’ll just get a message on FB.  Seems a good compromise.

ChristmasCards2018
Christmas Cards from the web

Tree trimming conundrum

Reading Time: 4 minutes

My wife and I go through this every December.  When is the best or most convenient, or proper time to trim the tree?  For a couple of years, when the cat was a bit younger, we didn’t have the 7 foot tree set up, because he (the cat) decided that the lower branches needed fixing, and desired to pull them down and lay on them (we have an artificial tree).  Consequently, my wife purchased a smaller (predecorated) tree and we set that up on a box in front of the large window in the living room and used that as our Christmas tree.  After enduring that for a couple of years, we tried again with the larger tree, and for the most part, kitty has left it alone.  Sure, he occasionally bats at some of the larger balls on the lower branches every now and again, but at least he hasn’t tried to climb the tree, or worse yet dismantle it.  A 20 lb cat can be rather murderous on an artificial tree, no matter how good a base it has.

Getting back to the question at hand, when’s the optimal time to decorate your tree?  From my youth, I remember vaguely doing it on a Saturday or Friday night usually, since Dad was home from work and didn’t work weekends (he was an engineer at IBM).  We’d get out the Christmas albums from his record collection, cue up the stereo, Mom & Dad would troop up to the attic to fetch the decorations, and my brother and I would, either with or without Mom or Dad, go to the basement to get the lights and garland.  We always had a live tree, cut fresh at a Christmas tree farm in Red Hook, NY.  The place is still there today, though the price of trees has gone up significantly.  The last time we bought a tree was probably 1984, and then we paid $25 for it.  I believe the farm is selling them for $75 presently, though there are a lot more people from NYC buying trees and either using them in their Hudson Valley secondary homes, or shipping them down to the city to use in their over-priced apartments and townhouses.

But the timing needs to be right.  Decorating it too early causes it to get stale (like overplayed Christmas music), and doing it too late doesn’t allow you sufficient time to enjoy the spectacle of a fully decked out tree.  Too, considering that you’re putting a lot of effort in getting out the decorations, arguing about how much garland (or not) to put on the tree and a dozen other decisions, you don’t want to spend too many hours before it’s time to separate yourself from your loved one(s), and just spend a little time with the pets, since generally they don’t tell you that you have too many red balls on the left side of the tree.  So it can be a bit of a juggling act at times.  A little patience goes a long way!

I remember one time that my Dad suggested after a contentious row amongst him, Mom and my brother and I, that it might be prudent to cut a hole in the ceiling of the family room, hook the tree to some sort of pulley system, and just hoist it into the attic and lower it every December.  Considering it was a live tree, that wouldn’t have worked out very well in the long run!  But it still tickles me when I think about him suggesting it.

I asked my wife this past weekend when she thought would be a good time to decorate.  Her reply was ‘whenever you want to drag the tree upstairs….’  Well, that certainly settles that!  I’m pretty settled on doing it this coming weekend.  Close enough to the holiday, but not too far away from 12th night, when we’ll be taking it down. (12th night for us is Jan 6, 2019 fwiw)

I wonder where the wreath is?

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