Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The National Weather Service synthesized voice

simply cannot manage to say 'Cuyahoga Falls' in a manner that comes close to sounding human. Nonetheless, I have managed to accustom myself to the sounds that mean the name of my city when tornados are involved, and at about 7:40 tonight, I put my bra and work clothes back on, grabbed my cell phone, the charger, my charm bracelet, Gramma's charm bracelet, the BPAL and the dog and headed for the basement.

On top of a day when I'd been in pain from a ripped-off toenail, balanced three accountings and found out that one of our clients has metastized lung cancer, a tornado warning was almost the last thing I needed. The very last thing I needed was to be in the basement during a tornado warning with a dog having diarrhea from stress or eating who knows what while she was outside earlier. Aargh.

Oh, yes, and when I got upstairs, I discovered the garage had flooded, because yesterday's high winds had brought down a shedload of maple keys and the rain had washed them all on top of the driveway drain, blocking it. I'm sure I have some unspecified ick in my toenails from wading in the overflow to clear the drain.

Anyway, I'm fine, Mom and Dad are fine, the dog appears to be empty, and Yahoo describes the tornados as 'weak' so hopefully nobody I care about is hurt or homeless tonight.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Too much "sub" and not enough "urb"

While I love my house and land, right now I'm wishing I lived in a sterile apartment or condo or bubble.

I have mice in the garage who are occasionally invading the breezeway, so after talking to a pro, I have poison set outside and kill traps set on the breezeway. :(

Last night, I let Little Miss out for her last bathroom break of the night, and was surprised when instead of running to the end of the chain and squatting, she stopped at the end of the house and barked, with all of her back fur up. I do mean ALL, every hair from the top of her head to the base of her tail was standing straight up. I called her and she came in, and I thought it was a skunk or possum or raccoon, and that it would move on and we could try again.

Half an hour later, I put her out again and stayed on the breezeway. I had no more than sat down when Little Miss body slammed the door, barking frantically. I jumped up and opened the door and let her in. She was still barking hysterically and I noticed she'd urinated all over the top step, and just then a deer came charging around the corner. It stopped when it saw or smelled me, and I yelled at it (as if a deer speaks English). It stood there for about thirty seconds, made that angry huffing noise at me and turned and left. Little Miss was absolutely barking her head off the whole time, and I think she was both scared and angry. Every other dog on the street was barking too. I put her Gentle Leader on to get her to be quiet, fed her a couple of treats and petted her until her fur was smooth again, and then I took off the Gentle Leader and we went to bed.

This morning when I let her out around 7, the damn deer was still there, and again Little Miss came running for the door, barking like a crazy thing. At ten I went out with her and saw the deer again. It ran off when it saw me, but not far, and didn't actually leave the property until I stamped my foot and started to walk towards it. My friend clowder thinks it has a baby in the bushes somewhere, eek. So after I have a cool bath and a nap, I'll be heading over to the discount store for a SuperSoaker or similar water gun, and I'll be guarding the dog on her potty trips.

Yeah, a condo sounds good right now...

Monday, May 16, 2011

Local politics

May 16, 2011

My City Council
My CouncilCritter

Dear CouncilCritter:

On tonight’s agenda is an amendment proposed by Representative Derp which would require Cuyahoga Falls residents to clean under birdfeeders and would also prohibit them from having compost heaps. As a long-time resident and taxpayer, I have several concerns with this legislation.

First, on the birdfeeder issue, Representative Derp alleged that fallen birdseed either rots or attracts “vermin” to the area under the birdfeeders, when in fact, fallen seed attract ground-feeding birds, including our state bird, the cardinal.

Second, on the compost issue, is there any solid evidence that there is an epidemic of improperly maintained compost in Cuyahoga Falls? If so, where is the data on this epidemic, how was the data gathered, and how was it evaluated? If there truly is such a problem, isn’t it better to start with education on correct composting rather than punishment? Perhaps the city could do more to let citizens know about the composting tips already available on the city website (by adding a flyer to utility bills, posting a notice in local newspapers, etc.).

Third, also on the compost issue, in these extremely difficult economic times, is it right to tell a homeowner or renter who is trying his best to be environmentally responsible, that the City of Cuyahoga Falls expects each homeowner to spend between $40-$200 the average homeowner may not have? The City will be collecting dozens, if not hundreds, of recycling bins in the next months—will there be a credit for turning in that much plastic? If so, the city should consider using that credit to pay for composting bins and provide them to residents instead of adding another financial burden to households quite probably already in straitened financial situations.

Finally, I ask the same question about both issues—who is going to enforce this, how is it going to be monitored, and are my tax dollars paying for this? Will health inspectors or police officers be sent on “seed patrol,” or will enforcement depend on tips from citizens? If the latter, not only is there a large potential for multiple problems based on misuse of any reporting system, the process would simply duplicate a right Cuyahoga Falls citizens already have, the right to pick up the telephone and call the health department and complain about an unsafe or unhealthy condition.

Given all of my objections, I would ask you both, as my representative and as president of the council, to vote No on this amendment.

Thank you for your anticipated attention to this matter

Very truly yours,

Citizen Jammies

P.S. Tell Mr. Derp to settle his difficulties with his neighbors by negotiating with them, not by trying to pass laws that screw up the budgets and lives of the rest of us.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Book review

Feckless: Tales of Supernatural, Paranormal, and Downright Presumptuous Ilk (Volume 1)Feckless: Tales of Supernatural, Paranormal, and Downright Presumptuous Ilk by Ellen C. Maze

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

There have been a lot of technological advances since I started buying books 30 years ago, but my favorite has to be easy, accessible paper recycling. Now when I make the mistake of purchasing two covers surrounding a giant pile of dreck, I don't feel guilty about tossing it.

View all my reviews

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Ow, but worth every minute!

Yesterday morning, Mom and I met at 11:30 at Temptation Nursery, and spent a very happy hour looking at everything, wanting everything, and buying select things. We were in the middle of a spat over how much I was spending on her Mother's Day gift when one of her former colleagues from the university came up behind us, so we spent another ten minutes chatting, and I won the argument. For the record, I told Mom I had $100 budgeted for plants, $25 of which was hers, and the total came to $89, so nyah. I got 5 basil, 3 lavender, 4 tomatoes, 3 sweet potato vines (decorative), a white licorice plant, a heliotrope (!!), a purple and white ivy geranium, and a peppermint. Mom got twelve coleus, a Swedish Ivy, a red ivy geranium, 3 sweet potato vines, 4 tomatoes, an English ivy, two cinnamon basil and two lamium. I did let her pay for the red ivy geranium because it's a gift for her sister.

We took the plants and my car over to my house, and I unloaded everything because I didn't want them to sit in a hot car all day, then went to the restaurant Mom picked in Fairlawn. Lunch was pretty good, but not as phenomenal as the downtown branch. When our waiter brought the check, I tried to get it, but Mom pulled the little tray so hard one of my fingernails went with it, so I let her have the check.

After lunch, we looked for a Sally Beauty Supply, because I need to renew my card and Mom needs to get some ridge-filling nail polish basecoat, but the Fairlawn Sally has moved and I didn't know where, so we just went to the craft store and the discount store. Mom got a bunch of stuff for our secret project for the summer and I got yarn for a brown scarf.

At the discount store, I got a cute shirt to put away for the cruise, three pairs of flip-flops, six pairs of socks, a present to put away for Christmas, two white bath mats and a black iron trellis with "Welcome" along the top. Mom got an identical trellis, plus two shepherd's hooks with "Welcome" on a vertical plate along the upright portion, one short and one tall. She also got a shirt for the cruise, some gluten-free cake mix and frosting and some other stuff I don't remember because by the time we left, my feet hurt! We played car Tetris to get the shepherd's hooks and trellises in, and I need to call Mom and see if she has one pair of my flip-flops. She was tired enough by the time we got to my house that she didn't want to wait for me to cut her some lilacs, so I am taking them to the office tomorrow. That way, she gets pre-Mother's Day and post-Mother's Day goodies!

I feel very spoiled to have gotten alone time with each of my parents in the last few days, and it reminds me of how very lucky I am not only to have two living parents, but to have two amazing people as parents.

Happy Mother's Day to all of the moms and kids!

Saturday, May 07, 2011

From "Aaargh!" to "Whee!" and back and forth

This whole week was bipolar. Good things happened on top of bad things and then more good and bad things happened. Some of the highlights:

After a year of fighting with what used to be INS and is now USCIS and a lot of correspondence with Homeland Security, we finally got a replacement green card for an elderly Ward.

We moved two other elderly Wards to new housing, both unwillingly.

My lilacs are in full bloom, but we only got one day of sunshine.

I lost a day and a half to a severe allergy attack.

Still, the week ended on a good note, because I got to spend a day with my dad and got some good news, too.

Mom was originally supposed to take me to my annual MRI-with-sedation and neuro appointment at the Cleveland Clinic, but since the local probate courts don't bother to check with attorneys when they're scheduling, she wound up with a hearing Friday morning. So at 7:45, my dad and I left his house headed for Cleveland.

Traffic was surprisingly light for rush hour, and we made it to the Clinic with time to spare, and then had more time to kill because the sedation nurse is also responsible for the Tysabri infusions, and she had a bit of a crisis. Still, at 9:30 I was getting my Xanax and at 10 I was having the MRI and not minding it at all. The nurse gave Dad a ton of instructions, which I mostly rolled my eyes at, then Dad and I went out for decent coffee and a mediocre Danish, both overpriced. Then we came back and hung out in the waiting room until my 1:00 appointment.

I was very nervouse, because I've been off the Copaxone for over a year, and I didn't know what was going to show up on my MRI. I met with the nurse practioner first, and she had me do all the sobriety test-type things, then we talked, then she told me that Dr. Cohen was actually in (I was told I'd be seeing a staff neuro, so it was good that I was seeing my doc!) and went and got him. Dr. Cohen told me that my MRI still shows that I have a lot of lesions, but none of them have gotten bigger, and I don't have any new ones! He's actually okay with me being off any meds, if I'm willing to come see him more often, but he also wants me to check with my prescription insurance to see if Fingolimod is covered. I would love, love, LOVE to take an oral med rather than a shot, so on Monday, I'll be calling to find out if it's in their formulary.

After I'd skipped out to the waiting room and told Dad it was good news, we went for a late lunch at a Cleveland institution--Corky and Lenny's. I had a bowl of so-so potato soup and a gorgeous corned beef sandwich, and Dad just had a corned beef sandwich. We actually spoke with Corky, who seemed a little insulted that I hadn't finished my soup, but was mollified when I raved about the sandwich. It was pouring when we left, so Dad took the umbrella and went to get the car while I ducked into the Malley's two doors down. The store was a little on the bare side, and they said they hadn't finished restocking from Easter, but that was almost two weeks ago, so it seemed like a lame excuse to me. At any rate, I got two dark chocolate bars with pretzel pieces, and dashed for the car.

One of the instructions the nurse had given Dad was that I wasn't to drive for 24 hours, and he seemed inclined to take that as gospel. I kept telling him that I was fine, that I'd had 2 cups of coffee, a Danish, half a sandwich and a Diet Coke since the Xanax and that I had to stop on the way home and get dog food. After a miserable quarter-hour on the freeway in pouring rain, Dad agreed to let me drive home if I came in and had another cup of coffee before I left. I did, and gave Dad his pretzel bar as a surprise thank-you since he wouldn't let me pay for anything except the doctor co-pay all day. He said he'd rather have the chocolate bar anyway. My dad, the cheap date.

So I drank the coffee even though my tummy wasn't thrilled with it, hit Pet Supplies Plus for dog food, came home and let the dog out, then in, then fed her and then fell into bed for a long nap, despite all the coffee.

And not only did I have a good day with my dad yesterday, today is plant- and craft- and shoe- and other-stuff-shopping plus lunch with my mom! So although the week was more of a rollercoaster than I like, it's still ending well

ETA: I forgot to mention that I have adorable little house finches nesting in one of the trees in front of the breezeway windows!