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waiting for...

Monday, June 27, 2016
...my resourceful friend, the Smartest Person I Know. Who is coming to help me with a little project that involves some figuring. Which I admittedly do very poorly. She is usually the person I recruit when I am baffled and bamboozled by numbers.

I've gotten the tax bill for homestead in Brooks County, and feel like it is excessive. I always feel like the amount the county wants to charge for property taxes is excessive, but refusing to pay is so absurd, foolhardy and pointless that is not an option. Trying to appeal the expense is probably equally pointless, but it is not my nature to sit quietly and do nothing. There is a small degree of  latent non-compliance in my personality, not much noticeable, but occasionally the spark comes in contact with tinder and will burst into flame.

(As evidenced in my months-long efforts to have my job class changed from one that is a dead-end to something marginally better. Where there is a tiny little crack for improving financial circumstances, as opposed to working till the building falls down with no possibility of a pay increase. Hope springs eternal, right?)

I need help in deciding if an appeal, putting forth the effort to ask that the value of the property be re-considered, and possibly reducing the appraised value to lower the taxes would be appropriate. I'm not at all knowldegeable about the appraised value of the surrounding property, what other homes nearby are worth. Which is where the help, guidance, moral support of the friend comes in. We did this some years ago, looking at other nearby pieces of real estate to determine if other homes had increased in value, and taxation. I'm hoping for the best, but when it comes to taxes, there is small possibility of relief, and very little likelihood of a decrease. Arggghhh....

walking wounded...

Friday, June 24, 2016
...on my person, both accidental, as well as painful. I was out in the woods and chased by a bear, but fortunately I escaped with only the slightest injury.. The claw marks on my leg are proof of my speed and agility, ability to out run a hungry bear. Fancy footwork! I'm sure you have heard the saying about how you really don't have to be all that fast to outrun a bear, just faster than the slowest person, right?

Pretty impressive, huh? The truth is much tamer and not nearly as awe-inspiring. I was working in the yard several days ago, and brushed up against a piece of hardware cloth attached to a fence post. Put there years ago when the Wonder Dog was small, little enough they thought she might wiggle through the gap between gate and post and escape. She is much too well fed for that now, but the dangerous ends of the stiff hardware cloth, still attached with zip ties to the post, silently waiting to poke the unsuspecting innocent who might get too close: which would be me...

The other injury happened this afternoon when I thought I could finish up the project for the county agent. The painting is done, with far too much time invested in applying colors to cardboard. All that remains is to cut the ovals out for the faces to go in. Where the photos will be taken when hordes of  kids come along to put a bright smiling countenance in the hole to give the appearance of human-oid features on ladybug, butterfly and sunflower.

I sliced my hand open, started a real gusher. So done with cutting.  Dripped all the way in the house, and across the kitchen tile till I could get to a paper towel to apply pressure. Remembering that I had purchased some of this miracle, newfangled product that is supposed to instantly stop bleeding. You just sprinkle the brown powder-y substance on an open wound, apply pressure. Today was the test: it works.

I'm all bandaged and taped and think I will probably survive. There is  not a photo of the knife-work done on my wrist. I discovered the sight of my own blood in such copious quantities makes me queasy. It is now apparent why I did not go into health services for a career - latent nausea, and the fact that I had one day of chemistry in high school and realized I was in the wrong place.

probably too hot...

... is what I may have got, when working in the yard this morning. It started off as a really pleasant day, with a nice breeze blowing, and moderate temp. By midday, and with several hours of exertion, my face looks like a real live action-packed firework. Bright red from the heat.

I feel really productive. On a roll with my wheelbarrow! (Get it?) The tree trash pick-up is an ongoing, never ending project. It should happen much more frequently than it does, but the seriously satisfying stacks of sticks and limbs up by the street after I dumped each load is well worth the effort. I am so pleased with my morning's work, I am (almost) reluctant to have the city come by with that big dump truck equipped with a monstrous 'grabber' to remove the trash.

We had a bad windstorm recently, with lots of people having large branches, limbs, and tree tops break off, resulting in big piles of trash yard debris. So the extra charge they usually require to pick up big stuff has been suspended for two weeks. Normally big things have to be cut into smaller slices, making tree trunks easily moved, loaded by the big grabber arm. So even though I am vainly pleased with my accomplishment, hopefully the city will come by and remove my evidence without extra fee.

Even though it's quite impressive, up there near my newly installed pallet flag, you will not see a picture of trash. Due to the nature of refuse looking so much like trash, it is virtually unnoticeable. And who wants to look at someone else's trash, right? Plenty of that along the right-of-way from litterbugs!

just a bit of FYI...

Wednesday, June 22, 2016
...if you ever happen upon an opportunity to reproduce your own little homemade version of Old Glory. This is something I never paid much attention to, which is sort of surprising to discover, with me thinking I am such a patriotic glutton. Have you ever noticed the order in which the stripes on the flag are sequenced? Me neither...

Until I was a work and someone mentioned the display the Coca Cola guys had done. It's similar to the one that was up on display for weeks last summer. With boxes of twelve packs stacked in rows to look like the flag, with alternating varieties of their product, laid in rows of red and silver boxes lined up for the stripes. Then they added a big dark blue rectangle with a field of white stars attached to the upper left corner.  Pretty nifty whey you walk by and notice it is a huge American flag, about twelve feet high, by fifteen feet long.

But the guys who put the display up at work last year did not start with a red row of Coke boxes.In those thirteen stripes, there are more red than white, so the individual lines start and end with red, seven of red and six of white. Representing, as any good American history student knows, the number of the original thirteen colonies that fomented rebellion and started a Revolution. Gaining independence, celebrated on July 4, with brass bands, parades, tri-colored bunting and ample fireworks meant to remind us of cannon fire.

So don't go making a flag that starts with white. Even though my wooden pallet flag did not have the proper number of stripes, it was built with an uneven number of slats, so I was able to start with red and end with red. Maybe the 'flag police' won't come and drag me out of bed....

painting project...

...finished. Yay! That time consuming thing I was doing for the county agent to use at the Insectival in July. Thankful to not have that hanging over my head any longer. Now I need to cut the holes out for faces to smile and get it delivered uptown to the Extension office and out of  my life.

And completed the pallet I wanted to paint like an American Flag. Looked at a couple of samples on the internet, and find that people are (seriously!) selling them. Wow. I'm certainly not going into the flag/pallet business. One is more than enough.

I guess if the price was right, I would be willing to paint another. But honestly, it is such an easy project, I'm thinking that anyone who wanted one and could scrounge up a pallet, would do it oneself. Rather than pay the $35 or $50 or more the people who are selling them on Etsy are wanting. It would be entertaining to do several, though the stars are sort of tiresome. Mass producing would get tedious in short order - plus where are you gonna put them until someone wants to pay for it?

But now that I have completed the patriotic work, and loaded it onto the wheelbarrow to trundle up the driveway (three times, it fell off twice) I am concerned. Expecting some beer fueled teen-aged guy with a pick up truck will come along and think he likes it more than I do. I've found a length of chain and will run to the store to get a little padlock and secure it. I'm so pleased with my project, I can't think why everyone from the Atlantic to the Pacific would not want one propped up in their front yard. So keeping it safe from being heisted is a necessity.

painting project..

...in my carport will hopefully get completed today. There is a sense of urgency to get finished, as it is needed in early July. There is also a donated wooden pallet I would like to paint today, to have it looking like an American flag. I saw one in recent travels and thought it amusing, wanting one for myself, but at the best price ever: free.

I see the wooden pallets all the time in the stock room at work, but thought it likely I would get nailed for theft. Not specifically shoplifiting, but some form of dishonesty, as a co-worker is convinced management guys are wattching me like a hawk, awaiting any minor infraction. Though I did approach someone I work with who has a pickup truck about delivering a pallet to my house, we decided that absconding with shipping materials from the loading dock would indicate poor decision making skills.

After asking around, I found one, and someone who would bring it to my house, thinking it would not fit in the back of my little Toyo. It has been sitting in the carport for a week, awaiting my paint brush. The friend who came last week to help with the project for the county agent is coming back today to help get that done. So I am going to go, right now, and get a primer coat on the rough wood of the pallet slats, let it dry, and come back with red and blue to make it patriotic.

I'm so excited! When it is finished, my plan  is to prop up against a tree out by the driveway, so everyone - hundreds and hundreds of vehicles that pass my house every day - can see my wooden, homemade flag. Wondering if I should chain it to the tree to keep it in place? People will walk off with anything these days... Check back later for photo!

sitting in the parking lot at Sam's Club....

Tuesday, June 21, 2016
...thinking about my dad. After leaving work, I stopped at the Sonic Drive-in, out in the parking lot. To order a cherry lime-aid during the Sonic Happy Hour, which occurs between 2:00 and 4:00 every afternoon. My reward for working from 6 till 2 without lunch. (Had a lunch break but went to run an errand and didn't actually eat.)

So when you go to Sonic Happy Hour and order a drink, you get it for half price (and usually end up giving the full amount to the server as a tip). It might be a wee addiction, but it seems like the only thing I ever order is the cherry lime-aid. They actually use real, fresh limes, squeezing a half in each cup  pouring in the carbonation  and adding bright red maraschino cherries. The cherries still have their stems on them, with the lid being put on and deliberately catching the stem in the lid when they put the top on the Styrofoam cup.

When I finish the drink, I take the lid off, and eat the cherries out of the cup. Putting the whole thing in my mouth, stem as well as fruit. After the cherry is gone, it is necessary to use your tongue to tie a knot in the cherry stem. You cannot take it out of your mouth,  you cannot use your fingers, only accomplished within the bounds of your closed orifice.

I remember my dad doing it, and apparently with some degree of skill. He would have occasion to issue a challenge to see who could be the first to produce the stem with the knot tied. You can imagine the amusement, gyrations, odd expressions on various faces, getting so tickled in the process you really cannot accomplish the task. I think it is something that happened around the dinner table when he was a kid, with his family bemusedly attempting the knotting.

I just sat there, in the blistering hot parking lot, with the AC blasting, working  my mouth, pushing and pulling with my tongue. Getting the stem in the right position to tuck the end through the loop and complete my knot. Thinking about my dad, thoroughly amused. Cheap fun, and a highly entertaining parlor trick to occupy your spare time.