Monday, May 26, 2014

I've declared "war" on the pigeons

I like to feed the birds.  Well, mostly I like to feed the quail and hummingbirds.  But I have hanging bird feeders for the sparrows and finches as well.

As much as I try, I cannot like the pigeons.  There are too many.  They crowd out the other birds.  They chase the quail away from the bird block.

When I say too many, I mean that one day I counted 40 pigeons clustering in the shaded areas of my back yard.

Bogie catches the slow ones.  I haven't the heart to shoot the pigeons with a BB gun.  What if I hit one and wound it?  As much as I dislike them, I don't want them dead.

I just want them to go away.

My latest solution?  A Nerf gun.  I bought it for work.  One day I wondered if the noise and flying disks would intimidate the pigeons.

Yes.  Yes, it does.

So far I have cut my pigeon population down to 1/3.  I can live with that.

Not sure the effect will remain on the days I'm at work.  But if I am persistent, maybe I can convince the majority of pigeons to move elsewhere.

Non-violent pigeon displacement.

I like it.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Never thought it would happen.

Bogie is a certified Good Boy. He passed his AKC Canine Good Citizen test yesterday.

If you had told me a year ago this was possible, I wouldn't have believed you.  

There are 10 tests that evaluate a dog's sociability, obedience, and acceptance of other people.  We had a practice session with 2 other dogs on Thursday evening.  Those same two dogs and Bogie were tested yesterday.  Bogie passed them easily.  

I'm so proud. 
The test:: CGC Test
The training facility: Top Dog Training

Saturday, May 24, 2014

The relationship I don't have with my mother

My mom has been in the hospital for the past two weeks.  The reasons involve obstinacy and a flagrant disregard for her health. She is one week shy of her 80th birthday.

I've visited her once or twice a day since she was put into the hospital.  It's the most time we've spent together in a two week span in as long as I can remember.  It has been a sad reminder of our lack of closeness.

I don't think it's me.  I have a couple of friends that I can spend 8 hour days with and never run out of things to talk about.  I regularly talk with my sister for 30 to 90 minutes at a time.  I get into long conversations with co-workers.

I don't think it's her.  From the number of people who have called in concern and who check on her status regularly, my mom is a popular person.  She can talk on the phone with my youngest brother for a long time.

Somehow it's us.  Together we run out of conversation in only a few minutes.  Oh, we've had the occasional dinner out together where we've talked for an hour or so.  About my siblings, my niece and nephew, about people we know in common.

But our normal is five minutes of conversation, then an attempt to find something to talk about.  That's why we play a lot of Scrabble when I visit.

I have closed off any inner part of my self that I could share with her.  I learned long ago, from two different instances, that what I tell her in private won't stay private.  She will share it with her friends.  And it will be brought up again at a most inconvenient time.

So I don't share anything really important to me.  We both read, but not the same kinds of book, so that doesn't take us long to exhaust.  She has no understanding of, or care to understand, my work.  Conversations about my dogs keep her interest a little now that she is confined to a bed.  But normally she changes the subject.

She does that often.  Change the subject.  If I do have something I feel I can share with her, she changes the subject.  Sometimes in mid-story.  I take that as a lack of interest in what I am talking about.


She's low maintenance.  At least for me.  She and my sister have a much different relationship.  But my mom only expects periodic visits or phone calls, and gifts for Christmas and her birthday.  She doesn't expect, or want, us to be by her bedside all the time she is in the hospital.

I knew a woman, long before free long distance, who lived here in Arizona and called her mother in Massachusetts every single day.  I can't imagine what one would want to talk about every single day.

But sometimes, occasionally, I wish I knew what that felt like.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Back yard lizard

It's been a good week for back yard visitors.  First the tanager, now this lizard.

I've seen 5 different kinds of lizards in my back yard in the past couple years.  It's probably why I don't have much of a cricket problem.

This guy was hanging out the other afternoon.  The blocks are 16" wide, so he must be 6 or 7" long.

I hope Bogie never sees him.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Western Tanager in the back yard

Saw this beauty in the back yard and managed to get a picture before he flew away.  Pretty sure I saw his mate the day before, but not quickly enough.

First time I've had a Tanager visit, even though the bird book says this is part of their summer range.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Why it takes 2 1/2 hours to hang three glass panels.

Yesterday I started around 7 with the intention of installing the hooks for the stained glass.  

Out to the garage to get the 8 foot ladder.  See the newly purchased and delivered multi-ladder and wonder whether it will work just as well.  Unwrapped the ladder, removed the scaffold plates packed with it.  Went to attach the stabilizer bars and the rubber ends stunk. Badly.

Rubbed Dawn all over them which helped a little.  Then dripped some peppermint oil on them and rubbed that around.  Better, but still an obnoxious petroleum smell.  So I set them outside to see if the sun could bake the smell out.

So, 8 foot ladder.  Moved the bench out from under the living room window, and carefully brought the 8 foot ladder into the living room.  I didn't even hit the ceiling fan this time.

Back to the garage to get the measuring tape and a pencil.  Figured I had better put the drill battery on to charge.  I thought lithium batteries weren't supposed to lose charge from sitting?

Up the ladder to measure where the hooks should go.  Had trouble getting center aligned.  Half of 71 is 35.5.  So why doesn't a dot at 35.5 measure equally both ways?  Hmm.  Measure three times.  

See that the ledge of the window is dusty and has bird poop on it from when the sparrow got into the house.  Down the ladder to get a scrubber and sponge.  Up the ladder to clean.  Down the ladder to rinse.  Up the ladder for one last cleaning pass.

Down the ladder to rinse out the scrubber and sponge.  I look out the kitchen window and saw a brilliant yellow bird – Western Tanager – drinking at the bird bath.  Get my camera and take a picture.  Got his head, but the flowers were in the way.  Move to find a better angle, and he flies off. 

Out to the garage to get the drill and the correct size drill bit.  Up the ladder to drill the two central holes.  Drilled into the metal rim around the window.  Then the hooks wouldn't go into the holes.  And I figured a thin sheet of metal wouldn't provide much support.

Down the ladder, to the garage for spackle and a stud finder.  Up the ladder to find actual wood 3” above the window edge.   Drill new holes.  The hooks go in perfectly.  Spackle the previous holes. 

Down the ladder to move it so I can reach the west end of the window.  Move the end table so the ladder will reach.  Drill the hole and insert the hook.  Measure 33’ and it is almost to the center hook.  Maybe I can get by with 4 hooks instead of 6? 

Down the ladder to move it so I can reach the east end of the window.  Drill the hole, insert the hook.  See that the top of the hutch nearby is filthy, covered in a thick layer of dust and dog hair.

Down the ladder to move it closer to the hutch.  I get a sponge and clean ½ of the hutch top.  Down the ladder to move it, rinse out the sponge, then clean the other ½ of the hutch top. 

Upstairs to get the stained glass panels.  Realize I haven’t finished cleaning them. Start cleaning the excess wax and smudges off.  Realize that the configuration of the hooks will not work.

Back downstairs to move the ladder at least three more times, move the hooks, spackle the holes, see that the center hooks are lower than the outer hooks.  Move them again, spackle the previous holes.

Upstairs to cut the chain to size, attach the chain to the panels, examine each of the three panel in the shadow box light for smudges.  Once they are hung 8 foot up, I am not going to be cleaning them. 

One at a time, I take the three panels downstairs and up the ladder to hang the chain from the hooks.  Down the ladder to evaluate level.  Up the ladder to re-position chain.  Repeat for the next two panels.  

Stand on the stair landing to get a better view.  See that the west piece isn't level.  Up the ladder to re-position.  Twice.

Make two trips to the garage to put away the drill, ladder, spackle, measuring tape, pencil.  Done by 9:30. 

At least it looks beautiful. 

Ceiling fan blocks a bit of the view.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Projection Lamp replacement

My Sony Wega TV is about 5 years old.  The picture was getting bad. In fact sometimes it was so dark I could barely see what was going on.  

I assumed that a new lamp would require an expensive service call.  So I was considering getting a new TV.

Sure enough, the lamp replacement warning came up Tuesday.  I looked in the manual and the instructions seemed pretty straightforward.  I found a new lamp on Amazon was only $85.

Hmm.  $85 versus $500 to $750 for a new TV. 

I ordered the lamp from Amazon Tuesday evening around 7.  By the time I got home from work yesterday, it was waiting for me.

The step by step instructions were perfect. I had the lamp replaced within 15 minutes, and that included moving the entertainment center to get to the back of the TV. 

I turned the TV on, and the picture was beautiful.

The lamp replacement even came with a prepaid mailer to recycle the old bulb.  

Very pleased. 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Exciting dog walk

Last evening was lovely. Even though my knee was bothering me and Angel's leg was stiff, I figured we could still go for a walk if we took it easy.  So at 6, I took Bogie and Angel for what was intended to be a leisurely walk.  And was. 

Until we rounded our home street.  

Bogie was leading, as he usually does.  At the second house from the corner, hidden from view by the car in the driveway, the owner had his two bulldogs leashed out in the yard.  Close to the sidewalk.  

The bulldogs started lunging at the end of their leashes, barking and growling.  Bogie, of course, was interested.  I don’t think he would have hurt them, but I don’t like to take the chance.  One bite and most other dogs would be dead.  I didn't want Bogie to think he had to defend himself, or me.  

The leash gave Bogie too much leeway so I grabbed his collar and yanked.  I was glad he was wearing his prong collar instead of the regular choke chain.  It gave me better control.

Somehow I ended up straddling him and couldn't get off without loosening my grip.  In the meantime, Angel is milling around and getting tangled around Bogie.  Bogie either wanted to play or fight and started baying and pawing the ground. 

It was chaos. 

The owner offered to take his dogs inside, but I just about had mine under control.  It took a couple minutes to get things back in order.  

We went on our way.  I felt badly that I didn't have as much control as I should have.  But I had no advance warning where I could have shortened the leash or crossed the street. 

I was the only one injured in the melee.  My right wrist ached, probably from jerking on the collar.  And my left knee hurt.  Probably got twisted.  

We made it home with no more incidents.