Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Dawn And I

No, unfortunately, I have not found a girlfriend. Dawn is referring to dishwashing soap. It is a hundred million degrees out there, I'm sure of it. Well anyway, I was just out there using my Miracle Grow applicator to apply a coating of the Dawn liquid on the problem plants - those plants that are covered with white flies. I'm hoping it's now Miracle Death versus Grow. I put several tablespoons worth of the liquid in there and I could see the whitish layer on the plants I was spraying.

Did it work? I have no clue. I will go out and check in a while. I'm thinking that it takes several applications of the stuff to get rid of them completely.

I have 2 Koi left out of the 10, I think. I did not see any fish bodies floating around today, but, I couldn't locate them either.

A shocker.
I put the dogs outside - I do that when they are getting ancy and wandering around and starting to irritate me with unending visits. I mean, when you have dogs that big, their visits are giants head RIGHT in your face. I can only take so much of that.

Well,they bark at everything that moves by the house. I have found that they ARE barking at something, you just have to catch it. A kid on a skateboard? Bark. I click on video surveillance to catch it. To assure myself that they no, they aren't barking at blades of grass growing. A person on a bicycle, anything where humans are moving on foot or a method of motorvation that doesn't include automobiles. Fortunately, they do not bark at every friggin' car that goes by.

So, they're out their barking about 30 minutes ago. I click on video surveillance - it's always on, I just have to bring up the screen.
There is a familiar red pickup on my screen. It's the Army Reservist! In full blown military uniform, she comes walking up to the gate, ignores the barking dogs (my dogs can be ignored, they won't bite anyone, but, people that don't know them wouldn't know that), walks to my back door, knocks and walks in.

Yup, for now, she's back. A bit of a discussion ensued - I'm very interested in this life of hers in the Army Reserve and what it entails. She calls it part-time military. She stated that her unit is slated to go to Afghanistan in April of 2012, but she is volunteering to go before then. She is true blue military, she knows nothing else she wants to do in life. My hat's off to her and everyone like her. Without those people, what would the U.S. be like? She isn't there because she has to be there, she is there because she totally LOVES it.

Here's the part that, at least temporarily, saves my @$$: she hands me a full month's rent. That money will all be going to bills. There is nothing else to do with it. Well, there is, obviously, there is nothing else that I can RESPONSIBLY do with it.

If I want to do something during my staycation, which starts after work in 2 days and goes on for 9 days straight, I will be hitting up my coin stash. It's enough to go to a waterpark, the movies, whatever. Any money handed me by tenants is going to eletricity, water, bills. No, really, it is. I'm not into losing the house, car, electric going off, water being shut off, whatever.

I do remember one time, years ago, my water was shut off - non-payment. They turn the valve off out front and then put a lock on it. The lock was too big for the hole, it was easy enough to turn the ball valve head enough to get the water back on - at full pressure even if the thing wasn't turned to a fully on position.

Stealing? They thought so. I did not, I have to have water to survive and I fully intended on paying up the bill on my next paycheck after they had done that. They came back a few days later, turned the valve back off and left a note in the meter box - where the meter and valve is - to NOT disturb the valve or "serious" consequences" would ensue. I cared not. I turned it right back on. The next day, I came home from work and they had shut it off again, with a much more dramatic note - I don't remember what it said because I didn't care.

I turned the water back on. Note that turning the water back on did not mean breaking their lock, it simply meant turning the valve as far as it would go with their lock still being in place. Which doesn't actually condone my actions, but, again, a house without water is not a house. The toilet use is the first thing that comes to mind.

They shut the water off again the next day with some vivid not of police and this and that. I again turned on the water, but now? I had the money to pay off the bill, which I did. They informed me on the phone that they would be by the next day to turn the water back on, I informed them to take their time, the water was already on. Well, sir, you aren't supposed to do THAT. No, I replied, I'm probably not, but have you ever lived without running water?

The conversation was moot, I in no way tried to hide the fact that I had repeatedly turned the water back on after they had shut it off, but, again, my conscience was clear enough: I was going to repay them fully.

Well, whatever. I have "fond" memories of doing whatever in the past. In another place I lived, they shut off the gas. Yes, I have had financial issues in the past, severe. It was winter, the house was cold and shutting off the gas also meant no cooking in that particular place.

I learned, that night, how to turn the gas back on. First off, I did have to cut a lock this time. There was no getting around it. I took a Sawzall, cut it off in less than 30 seconds. Turned it on - nothing. No idea.

Unhooked that big meter from the unions that attached it to the pipe - there were rubber stoppers they had installed to keep gas from flowing in case someone like me came along thinking they were going to turn it back on. I removed those, rehooked the thing, turned the gas on, sprayed everything with a soap formula to check for leaks, no leaks, re-lighted everything, walaah.

I dunno, I guess they check up on such things, because they were back at my doorstep one night, not day, late, asking me who turned the gas back on. I said nothing, if I recall correctly. They said if it happened again, they would remove the meter. Okay, whatever.

I'm not going to say I was feeling GOOD about what I had done, but, with a kid and trying to survive and with full intention of paying up the bill, I wasn't losing sleep about it, either. They did come back - and they did remove the meter. Yes, I cut the new lock off and yes, I turned it back on after they left.

Their meter? No problem. A vacant lot across the street had a meter - all of those meters are owned by the gas company, not the lot owner, so, I justified to myself if no-one else that I was only transferring something they owned from one place to another. I installed that meter.

They apparently did not come back checking. I dunno. I finally got the money and paid up the bill. They said they would send someone out. They did. The man that showed up came knocking on my door. "I was sent out here to turn on the gas, but it looks like someone from my company already did so, the meter is installed and flowing". Did I dare tell this guy what I had done? No, I think not. I smiled and said thank you for coming, guess it's all taken care of.

Could you call it unethical? Yes, I suppose you could. Many people I know have never been in survival mode. They have had all the money and then some that they need. Their biggest worry is trying to get the new iPad, not keeping utilities on. I'm not condemning them, I'm simply saying, there is a totally different mindset when it comes to dire need. Need does not necessarily condone deceit or theft, in fact, it doesn't really. But, when it's 110 out and the electricity is off, or it's 10 degrees out and the gas isn't on, or it's WHATEVER temperature and the water isn't running, the mind can conjure up many things to justify something you normally wouldn't even think about.

Which isn't my mindset now. I have no desire to have anything shut off. Pay the freaking bill. If I can't, call them. If that doesn't do anything, figure something out. If that doesn't work, down the line of thought/analysis until whatever - it's all out. Then the lines have to be chosen to cross or not cross.

Whatever. I don't know how I get on that subject, but I do.

Monsoon season is here. Rains haven't come yet. I would like that to start, but traditionally not until next month. The sky watering my plants would help immensely. Do you remember when you could stand outside when it's raining, look up towards the sky and open your mouth? I do, as a little kid. I also used to eat raw beef. Yes, totally uncooked. Then came the age - pollutants and chemicals and this that and the other thing.

That's enough for one entry. I am finding more and more readers - not that I'm looking for them - but people I know, have known or people that found this place - however. My Cafe World posts are all over the Google internet. Other types of postings as well. Amazing some of the messages I am getting. Not comments on here, messages.

Anyway, good evening.

ben

Wednesday

Last day of June.
I would like to hear - knowing it is impossible so a rhetorical question - a date/specific day when this oil gusher is going to be turned off? Anyone have an answer to that question? Does anyone not believe that there is enough oil down there to eventually pollute ALL of the water? You think millions and millions of gallons of oil is just going to stay in the Gulf of Mexico, that it won't eventually start heading out? If it ALL heads towards GoP's shores, the world should count itself lucky, really, the shorelines are already devastated.

I keep hearing that BP is the world's leader in knowledge about these things. Great, they haven't exactly done much of anything to stop this shit, there are other oil drilling companies and there are also companies whose sole business is to stop gushers. Is there not some other expertise out there, anywhere, that might have something to put on the table? Look, I am not opposed to drilling for oil, but what happens if this happens again? And again? Perhaps we should reconsider this technique of drilling a mile underwater and then drilling miles down under THAT. We can't exactly go down there and deal with it.

I'm getting a little spooked, I guess, about this gusher, I think a lot of people are. There is no end in sight. Meanwhile, apparently people are boycotting BP gas stations. I had no idea that Arco is owned by BP - plenty of those around here. I don't use Arco stations, if I were inclined to boycott them it would have zero impact on me. I don't use them because they charge 50 cents to use the debit or credit machinery to pay for your fuel - a thing NO-ONE else does around these parts.

Meanwhile, I remain amused at this guy who is relentlessly running an ad, day after day after day, attempting to sell his used, pre-formed ponds for $500. He has a large pond I would love to get my hands on. I really have no money for such right now - but for the right price,I would go through my change in my closet and come up with it. Yes, I have a lot of change in there. I'm guessing minimum $100, probably more worth. I have been saving it for a while now. I just empty out my pockets and dump it all in there. There are 4, good sized containers filled to the top with change, and much of it is not pennies.

He will not, however, come down to a good price. Well, I got him down to $150 for a 2 pond setup with the sump and bio filter. It's actually a killer deal, but - whatever. If I offer him $100 he will probably be insulted. At the same time, those ponds are just sitting there, in his yard, doing nothing and HAVE been since he started putting those ads up some 2 MONTHS ago. Lol.

No, money is tied up in bills right now. Better off leaving those coins in there for emergency backup if it becomes necessary. Actually, I am now seriously considering paying off one of the 401k loans and then getting a larger loan in it's place. Still in the consideration phase, I would rather not. If I can make it through the summer, my electric bills and water usage will go back down - shedding some $250 at least per month. No, more than that, minimum $300 down including water. I have 2 months of hell heat to go to make it to where the temps just start to creep back down. 100 degree days are far better than 112 - today's expected high - in terms of electricity used to cool the house.

The white flies are not gone - at all. The exterminator said when his man came out that they would put Dawn dishwashing liquid in the mixture and it would kill them off by suffocating them. Well, it didn't happen and those damned things are slowly killing off my lantannas. I bought a huge bottle of it on sale yesterday at Fry's - $2.99 was the sale plus a coupon I was given at the register. I don't know if the guy just didn't put enough of that stuff in the mixture or what, but I can't continue to watch my plants dying off. They are still quite salvagable if I can get those freaking flies out of there. I'll be doing that today or tomorrow when the sun starts going down, I want the moisture to get everywhere and stay everywhere for a while. In the direct sunlight, that stuff will just dry up - too fast - and I don't wonder if that's part of the problem.

I guess I'll find out tomorrow if this Army reservist is coming back or not, since I haven't heard a single word from her. I have had a dilemna in whether to return her mail or keep it for her waiting for her to come back. One of those pieces of a mail is an IRS tax refund that's been sitting there about a month now. If she doesn't return tomorrow or at least contact me, all of that stuff is getting returned to sender.

Umm, work day approaches and there is plenty to do. It's the last day of the month, so they will be pushing to get whatever is in the system - delivered and on the books.

Later.

ben

Driving in hellish traffic all day long today.  I was sent to Columbus, Ohio, a place I haven't been to in decades.  Had to pass through...