Sunday, November 15, 2015

Garden reality

Some cactus I had in the kitchen window had grown in size where they now needed to be transplanted.  So I created a planter on the west side of the yard.

I moved each block and each shovel of dirt myself.  I am tremendously proud of the work I did.

I even put in a section of river rock to catch the dirty water when I cleaned out the bird bath. 
river rock filter
However, the dogs had different uses for the garden. 
Hole and pot blockade
This is the very deep hole that Bogie has decided needed to be dug in this new soft dirt. I filled it back in three times before giving up. 
Next to it is the "pot blockade" that keeps this cactus from being dumped into said hole. 

unlevel ground
I spent considerable time ensuring that the ground was level across the front of the rocks.   Not time well-spent, apparently. 

And finally, 
Tomato cage
The tomato cages that keep the dogs from walking all over the newly transplanted cactus.  

Not the garden that I envisioned, but a garden the dogs and the cactus both enjoy. 

Friday, November 13, 2015

Scent Overload

I hear more and more people talk about being affected by scents. I've had issues with scents for decades.

My sinuses close up.  My neck clenches.  My nose gets stuffy.  The reaction varies depending on the scent and strength of the scent.

I don't know if it's an American problem or a global problem.

But people seem eager to cover up their supposedly smelly selves with a hodge-podge of scents that waft into the common atmosphere like second-hand smoke.

I like to walk the dogs outside in the fresh air.  Well, okay, fresh air and Phoenix may not go together, but it's reasonably fresh.

I pass a house and am overwhelmed by the Spring breeze dryer fragrance.  Yes, dryers vent to the outside.  It's not just your clothes are that becoming dryer fresh. It's the whole area around your house.

People stand in their bathrooms with the air freshener spewing out its fragrance.  They apply scented moisturized and put scented deodorant on under their laundry scented clothes.  They comb their scented shampooed and conditioned hair and maybe spray on some scented hair spray.  They spritz their mouths with breath freshener.  Top off the whole combination with cologne or perfume.

None of these fragrances match.  They walk out the door a simmering concoction of mixed scents.

I've pulled into work, with no one in sight, gathered up my belongings, walked to the elevator, waited for the elevator, and stepped into a cloud of cologne.  No one has been present for at least five minutes, but the smell is over-powering.

What must it be like to stand right next to this person?

What started this devotion to chemically-produced fragrances?  Are we so convinced that our natural, clean selves smell unpleasantly?  I've not had anyone complain.  Or avoid me.  So I assume that regular bathing is sufficient.

Why are we so convinced that adding a scent makes everything better?

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Trying to nap

I injured my shoulder last weekend and have been in a lot of pain.  It's a recurring issue so I didn't bother to go to the doctor.  

But the pain has been very wearying.  I came home from work on Thursday, exhausted. 

I fed the dogs so they wouldn’t interrupt me.  Then I laid down to nap on the couch.  

Angel put her wet nose in my face as soon as she was done eating.  I petted her a moment, but she was in a playful mood, doing spins and wanting her butt scratched.  Finally, I told her No and pushed her away. 

She decided to get her attention from Bogie.  They wrestled.  Right next to the couch, bumping it repeatedly.  And Angel was happy, her tail thumping the couch right below me. 

Bogie laid down in front of the couch.  I assumed playtime was done and closed my eyes.  Only to be interrupted once again.  This time by Angel breathing heavily into my face. 

I opened my eyes and she was staring right at me, a big grin on her face. 

Sighing, I pushed her away.  

I moved to the opposite end of the couch, hoping Bogie’s bulk would be a barrier to Angel.  Not so.  

She climbed over him, onto the couch, and sat on my head.  Seriously, on my head. 

I pushed her onto my chest, petted her for a bit, then gave up, and got back up.  

Total elapsed time: ten minutes.  

Total minutes of sleep: zero. 


Friday, October 2, 2015

I found my tribe.

I spent my high school years feeling like an outsider.  Maybe everyone does.  I don't know.  I was too busy acting like I didn't care.

But the people I work with now?  Well they just seem to get me.  There is no pressure to be something you aren't.

It's the first group of people I've ever belonged to that don't judge.  There is a good percentage of people with no kids and no plans to have any.  But one guy has five kids and another has four.  Gay, straight, unattached.  All represented.

It's all good.

Love your dogs like fur children?  They get that.  (Or your cats)

Are you a Tolkien freak, a car geek, a Disney aficionado, a Lego builder?   Cool.  Tell us about it.

Church, no church, different churches.  None of it is an issue.

It's an environment where what you know or can learn, and your willingness to pitch in, counts more than any label society attaches.

There's a lot of good-natured razzing. But if you did a good job, they'll tell you.  You fucked up. They'll tell you that too.  But nicely.  And help you fix the problem.

They make going to work a pleasure.

And I am ever so grateful for that.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Mediocrity annoys me

People who do their job just enough to get by irritate the bejeebers out of me.

Example - the grocery store near me had the copper wiring ripped out of 7 of its parking lot lights The electrician that repaired the wires just dropped the discarded lengths of wire on the ground and left them there.

The lights work, but taking the extra step to clean up was not in the electrician's work ethic.

Not only that, but the landscapers left it there as well. These same landscapers have ignored a couple spreading weeds until they are now 6 foot wide. And can't be bothered to clean the debris off the drainage grates.

I don't know if the grocery store is remarkably bad at hiring competent companies, or if I have unrealistic expectations.

I don't think so. I know that the landscapers that tend to my subdivision pick up the trash and notice broken branches or support posts before I can contact them. And the workmen I have had at the house were conscientious about cleaning up.

I worked with a programmer that survived 4 layoffs. Everyone wondered what dirt he had on management. He never got his projects done on time. When he did finish, it had to be sent back repeatedly for bug fixes or to have it done according to the specifications.

It never bothered him that he didn't get his tasks done correctly the first time, or the third time. His attitude was, "Well, I thought I would try it and see what happens." With no consideration for the amount of time it took someone to check, and reject, his work.

It's that last attitude that makes me angry. Your mediocrity or lack of work ethic means that someone else has to do extra work.

And why are you okay with that?

Why did the electrician assume that someone else should clean up after him? Why do the landscapers think it's not their job to clean up storm debris? Why doesn't it bother the programmer when his work is found to be buggy and ineffective?

These are job paths people chose for one reason or another. Shouldn't there be some pride in their work?

I admit it, Despite my best efforts, my work gets rejected sometimes. But I feel badly when it is. And I do my best to fix it quickly and effectively.

I just wish other people felt the same way.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Isn't it ineffective marketing?

I will freely admit that I know nothing about marketing.  But I know what works with me.

So I don't understand who thinks that it is a good marketing technique to advertise their landscaping business by tossing a baggy of rocks onto my driveway with a business card.

Similarly, I think unkind thoughts when someone hangs a flyer on my door. Or worse, on my garage door. It does not predispose me to hiring them.

Do these ever work?

I would never hire someone based on debris they deposited on my property. I ask for recommendations from friends  or search for reviews on-line.

Another marketing ploy that frustrates me is calls from windshield replacement companies. Firstly, I've had my windshield replaced 4 times by 3 companies. Yet at least 8 companies have called claiming to have replaced my windshield.

Secondly, when receiving these calls does anyone ever say, "Well, now that you mention it, there IS a big crack in my windshield.  I'm so glad you called."?

Windshield replacement isn't a splurge purchase.  I know when my windshield needs to be replaced. And when I am ready to replace it, I will call someone.

Stop calling me.

I also don't understand marketing that focuses on people behaving badly.  The Experian Credit Score commercials are my latest pet peeve in that arena.  So having a great credit score allows you to be condescending and demanding?  And this is something people aspire to?

The other "people behaving badly" commercial I hate is for Jack Links.  People are bullying, or laughing at bullying, and this is supposed to inspire me to buy their product?

Confused head shake

I would love to be a fly on the wall at the marketing meetings where these ideas were proposed.

Does no one have the courage to say, "these ideas suck!"?

Saturday, August 29, 2015

I work with a bunch of car nuts.  Formula One following car nuts who know the finer points of Ferrari vs Maserati vs Lamborghini.

So it surprised me when they were supportive of my car goal.

My goal is to get 300,000 miles on my car.  My mechanic is shooting for 500,000 miles on it.

I currently have 277,000 miles on my black 1999 Mazda Protege 4-cylinder, 4-door sedan.

It has a dent in the front left fender where I hit a pillar 10 years ago in the parking garage.

It has hail dents on the hood, roof, and trunk from a hail storm in 2010.  It would have cost more than the car was worth to fix them.

There is a slight dent in the right tail light assembly which doesn't meet flush with the trunk lid any longer.  I backed into a post earlier this year.

There are dog drool streaks on the back windows and doors.

But the interior is good.  It's peppy and responsive.  My Great Dane and my Belgian Shepherd fit in the back seat.

And it's paid for.   It's been paid in full for over 12 years.  Twelve years without a car payment.

So I was more than a little perturbed when it started heating up a couple weeks ago.  Yes, the outside temperature was over 110°.  But that doesn't mean the temperature gauge on my car should peg.

I had the thermostat replaced.  Didn't help.

Had the radiator fan and cooling fan replaced.  This is where having an older car became a problem. The cooling fan took an extra day to come in.

Helped, but only a little.

Finally, we replaced the radiator.  It was the original radiator, so I'm not surprised it was faulty.

Ta-da.  I again have a car that doesn't heat up and, as a bonus, the air conditioner works better than it has in a long time.

Cost?  $1000.  Or as I like to categorize it - 3 car payments.

The last major expense was 2 years ago.  So I figure I am well ahead.

Onward to 300,000!