Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Hoy Award

Among many of my talents I have to admit that computers are not one of them. I think it is my inability to sit still for long periods of time or that need for instant gratification that I don't get from the computer.

In reading post today I want to thank Lucy for passing on the Hoy Award from to me . Very cool tag by the way! I have been reading many blogs for awhile and find that many offer a taste of life and experience that is entirely different from my own. I enjoy many and find it difficult to choose a couple to post. So I encourage everyone to surf and sample a taste of all that is to be had and enjoy what others bring to the table.

As you read blogs after awhile you start to identify with some of the writers. When I hear of Nebraska on the news Lucy, Joe, and Spunky come to mind and I will wonder how they are doing. As I am watching crafts being done on TV, Janie will come to my mind in Kansas (of course that is along with the mention of the Wizard of Oz). Sunny California brings pictures of Betty and Koda to mind, along with Claudia's description of surgical procedures performed in PA., Jacks adventures across country, and the Pioneer Womans life on a ranch. So excuse my neglect of links on this page which is basically due to a severe time crunch at the moment.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


It was a long day yesterday and as we were traveling home the guys started talking about current topics. Cloning, Bush, the Presidents new dog, taxes, and other current news. I was really surprised by the different opinions and thought processes. They brought up some good points.

Most of them hate the fact that when they go to read the instruction manual on new products they have to flip through at least three different languages before finding the English version. Now one version was why has this changed so much, and is it making the cost of products go up? The States was originally integrated with several different nationalities years ago, but the main language was English. So why change it?

Obama's dog! Why are so many people interested in the dog that is going to live in the White House when so many are living in shelters. Some thought it was a foo foo dog. Others just didn't give a hoot.

The lady with so many babies and the doctor that implanted the embryo's. Can you believe we didn't even remember her name. I think it's Nadia. This one got a little vulgar so I won't repeat.

Dead beat Dads. Seems like most of them had solid childhoods with good dads and to my surprise the older guys even admitted how much they missed their Dad, even though they had passed on several years ago. Many of them made admission of physical correction by their fathers that seemed to have an impact on their memory. They felt that their upbringing had made them stand up men with dignity and honor and that they thought that was lacking in young men. There seems to be a code with guys. Your always there for your buddy, never hit a woman, man up to any debt, stand your ground, have good intention to do the right thing, take care of yours, and to have fun. Actually that all sounded pretty good to me.

What a dollar used to buy. Movies were .25 cents and you could watch it twice. A huge bag of popcorn, a draft beer, a shoe shine, and soft pretzels at the carnival were all .25 cents. Carnival rides were .10 cents and if your were nice to the carnies you got an extra ride. Gas was .65 cents a gallon. A dollar could buy you a couple soda pops, some candy, and you would still have a quarter left. TV was free and you had one that everybody watched.

The changing times. Most expressed happier days gone by and wished their children could have experienced some of what they had. Drive in movies, to play safely outside getting away from all of the computer garbage, fishing, and Sunday picnics and football games with friends. Most thought that children today are spoiled and lazy. Interesting, and some included their own in this category. They think kids today have too much. They grew up with minimal and more imagination compared to the excess that kids have today.

As I drove I just listened to all of this and wondered why men seemed more free to discuss their difference of opinion than women. To me women have more of a tendency to agree and be more diplomatic. I have read many other blogs that were based on current political news and opinion. Most all comments seemed to agree with their writers and I wondered why? Do people that have a different view feel inhibited to express this? Are they afraid someone will think less of them if they don't agree? Really now we all have one, we see the world from many different views, and we have the right to express them. Opinions are a very important tool. Presidential campaigns run on them. Yes it all is a matter of opinion.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

grease monkey

First I have to tell you about a new product experience. I normally buy those bleach tablets that you put in the toilet tank. In the past when I have run out I have used some regular bleach in that tank. So I went shopping and bought the new Clorox Plus Splashless. Ran out of tablets and poured some of this bleach in the back tank, did a flush and was not really paying attention as the tank filled. Came back into the bathroom only to discover and enormous amount of suds spewing out of the back of the tank. I grabbed a cup and start transferring the suds to the sink. Before I knew it the sink was full of suds. What the hell? Seems like fast running water just helped to create more suds. I guess the Plus meant more suds!

Where did all this heat come from? Who let the sun out? It is hard to believe these skyrocketing temperatures from one day to the next. Yes Al, I know it is part of global warming. I just can't keep up with things since spring hit. Everyone wants their grass cut and they wanted it yesterday. Why in the hell did I decide to call our business On Demand Services! That's what people expect too! Call in the morning and want that grass cut today! I am not really complaining, just amused at how people think.

I actually acquired a new client that is amazed that we have women mowing grass. He even had mentioned in a round about way if we mow in bikini tops. I was torn over how I felt about this and of course that wasn't happening. In one sense I understood that there was a whole new avenue of business there. Can you imagine seeing that ad in the help wanted section:

Wanted big busted, trim young women that can handle warm temperatures,
operate lawn equipment while wearing a bikini, and being oggled by
a few needy souls. Work for ON DEMAND SERVICES
(only mowing no other services are needed)
And here all this time I thought pay per view solved this problem!

I have hit upon a huge target clientele which is divorced and widowed women. They actually create to do list for us. Ranging from changing light bulbs, mulching flowerbeds, to waterproofing basements. I think it is time to expand but still fear the economy and am holding back from doing so. I would love to have a small tractor with a front end loader. It would make some of these jobs so much easier and less time consuming. I guess I will just have to put it on the wish list. I found something new to rent however. It is called the dingo and is a powered walk behind front end loader, post hole digger, trench digger, and raker. Relatively small for those small areas you need to work in. I want one. Guess I'll put that on my wish list too. I am learning that it is not hard to operate alot of the large equipment, it just takes practice.

I have been cutting corners everywhere to save money towards one ( a tractor) . Today it was trying to tune up the mower myself, change the truck oil, and flush the anti freeze. Well I went to the local parts store with all the info I thought that I would need for all this stuff and boy was I disappointed. Get home, get all the stuff out, ready to roll and change the truck oil first ( I have done this in the past on my other vehicles). Oh my God! I thought I was going to blow a big hernia across the driveway. There was no way that drain plug was moving. Three coats of WD-40 and a 3 foot extension pipe and 45 minutes later that thing was not budging. I really don't think men should be allowed to use air guns! They just put shit on entirely too tight! I moved on to other services, lawnmowers. Two down with oil changes, spark plugs, and new air filters. The last one was manufactured by the devil himself. I read the the damn manual front to back and it took me 1 hour to get the damn oil out. Now believe me I do not relish baking in the sun, sweating like a pig, breaking a nail, and getting my hands greasy. It is simply because I am cheap when it comes to certain things. I just can't get over the hump of a lawn mower mechanic getting sixty dollars and hour to change oil and install spark plugs. Then that brutal determination set in that I was getting this done come hell or high water. Well dusk came and I am still at it. For the life of me how can you take a model and serial number plus the owners manual into a parts store and they still give you the wrong air filter! Bummer!

Then came the final part. I purchase my first grease gun. After scanning the instructions I get the thing out do a quick review to check out how it works and install the lube. Oooh this thick pink oozy stuff. Oh my it is really smelly and greasy. It smells just like the garage when you take your car in to be worked on. This was a new experience for me because I just never realized how they got the grease into those little nodules. After the a day of hard labor and an education of how things work I retired to the house like a whooped puppy with an unusual odor that lingered in the air. As I prepared to take a shower, a cold mug of beer in hand , I looked into the mirror with horror. Nail polish worn off, grass and other what not in my hair, and grease smudges everywhere I had realized at that moment that I had turned into a grease monkey for the day!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Just Stuff

On a good note we have been busy. We have had three days of rain right after Easter and lots of lawns to cut. Two landscaping jobs in progress and one painting job. Two estimates are out for pressure washing and deck sealing.
Now I know we are in a recession and that people don't have much money but to leave your grass get above 8 inches high and expect the same price is ridiculous! People just don't realize how hard this is on the blades and belts of really expensive mowers. I actually had to cut one lawn three times. I am going to post a picture of a job that is coming up just to show you what we face some days. If they are elderly I have no problem with this at all, but for a young healthy couple, or people that can afford it I am thinking about having them get another service to come in just to get a taste of those high rates.
I worked all weekend while the weather was good so we really didn't get to do much of anything interesting. We did order some crabs though. What a tease for the season. The weather was so nice here that I even got my first sunburn-whoopie!
As I was passing through town they had an early parade going on for the little league. Small but quaint. The kids seemed to be enjoying it. A client of mine had taken her niece to see the new Hanna Montanna movie and said it was really good. I think I will pass, but if you have kids I am sure they will like it.
I am ready for a little rain this week to get a day off so I can grocery shop. We had peas tonight with no butter-can you just imagine that?
I wished I would have had my camera with me the other day. As I was coming in to the neighborhood I saw a really bright colored beautiful pheasant. I stopped to watch as he strutted around oblivious to my presence. Then while mowing a yard I saw some movement in the grass ahead. Then a baby bunny popped up and was trying to run to the best of his ability. He was so young. So I stopped and to my surprise there were five babies running around only to make their way to the underneath of a row of cypress trees where the guys where hand mowing. I cut a big circle in the yard, got some gloves on and put them all back in their nest. They were so cute. Of course they would have been lunch for the dogs at my house.
Everyone seemed to be enjoying the weather this weekend. We went from wearing coats on one weekend to wearing shorts this weekend.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

What are people thinking?

Ham, Ham, Ham, and more Ham. I think I got carried away and bought a ham that was a little large. I am doing the whole thing of ham salad, ham and eggs, beans and ham, and the list goes on. I saw a recipe on TV the other day for deep fried deviled eggs. I am gonna have to try that one. Right now I have been obsessed with making a Cuban sandwich with mojo pork, ham, cheese, and pickles which we will be having tomorrow.

I have been reading alot of information about construction products and equipment and keep coming across the phrase "big box stores". Not fully understanding the reference, I read on only to find out that it refers to large home outlet stores such as Lowes and Home Depot. I found it very interesting that neither of these stores sell one of the top rated paints called Benjamin Moore. I found this odd since these stores are widely shopped around the country. It reminded me of jewelry in a sense. Could you find a Rolex watch at Walmart? Why is this? Many people that shop at Walmart could afford one. Why not have layaway for a high end item like this? Now I have my curiosity aroused about this Benjamin Moore paint that is suppose to be so good at $56.00 a gallon, I am going to have to buy a gallon just to see for myself. At that price it should come with the professional painter to apply it. This should be interesting.

It has rained for days here and all work is on hold-what a bummer. TV has proved to be interesting. Re enactments of the Boston Tea Party due to taxes, States scrambling to come up with ideas to increase revenue by taxing the sinful goods ( I better get that good bottle of bourbon now), one state even mentioned a crack tax- does that mean plumbers or pipe? ( now that has to be the best by far), and of course property tax hikes. Now they are thinking about putting a Casino right in Baltimore City. Not such a good ideal at this point since it rates in the top ten for violent cities, has had numerous police chiefs over the years and is currently under investigation for being corrupt, there is not enough parking, heavy traffic, and poverty. What are they thinking? You can't even get into a ball game without being hassled by the homeless and addicts. So the thought of getting away seemed really appealing until they showed the segment on bed bugs that have invaded hotels, and hospitals. I think I will just stay home.

I had a dentist appointment for a cleaning on Monday. I have been going to the same super busy office for 15 years. This was an entirely different visit. The office was dirty and unkept, they had let the cleaning service go. Only two patients were there to be seen unlike the usual ten. I was seated in the chair waiting to see Val the Hygienist and to my surprise she was no longer there. A small petite woman came in to do the cleaning. I was shocked to learn that it was the actual owner of the dental office that I have not seen in the entire fifteen years that I had been there. Normally there are two to three dentist working and two hygienist. They are taking a huge hit with the recession. People just don't have the money for dentistry and those that have lost their jobs have also lost their insurance. As the snowball rolls it seems to keep growing larger swallowing businesses and jobs in its path.

My sister called from Washington State. Her and her husband were going on a mini vacation to Oregon to see an MBA game. It was her birthday so she decided to get a new dress and wanted her makeup done. She went into Saks Fifth Avenue and inquired if she bought from a line of products if she could have her makeup done. The product she wanted was $63.00. The manager told her she needed to spend $200.00 then she could get it done. Of course she wasn't going to pay that kind of money. Later she went into a Nordstroms store, inquired, and the cosmetic counter was happy to apply her makeup for a small sale. What a difference! My sister has stated that she would never buy from Saks again. What are people thinking?

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Happy Easter

Well it is Saturday, Lisa and I are whipped. I gained a new client that wanted service asap, so we squeezed them in and were trying to beat the rain. They had 1 acre surrounded by Leeland cypress trees that needed mowing and trim. Lisa mowed between the cypress while I mowed and trimmed. Then they wanted 6 barberry bushes shaped, 3 dogwoods and 3 burning bushes cut way back, edging removed, weeds pulled, and some other what nots. This was after hanging wall border for someone. We now have a new man in our lives Ben Gay!

Is the economy getting better? I am busier because of the season, tax returns, and cutting prices. A friend of Lisa's just lost her job as an radiologic technologist in a Florida office. That indicates a big No to us. Lisa has applied for a cat scan position at a hospital in Baltimore. It is a 3pm-11pm position with on call once a week. A long drive to work but you do what you need to at this point.

This past year has really made me question the way we live. I am working and doing work that I enjoy but in reality how many years will I be able to do this type of work if the business doesn't grow enough to hire full time employees to lessen the physical load on myself. The house we live in takes up more time than both of us have and is more than what we use. We have to commute to get to work or enjoyable functions. The mileage and upkeep on our vehicles is high. So we have talked about moving. Lisa is thinking more of condo living and I am thinking small bungalow. I still want that privacy and small yard.

Of course this all comes after getting socked with a $320.00 truck shock bill and the need for $625.00 car struts. A hike in truck insurance, lack of work for Lisa, the leftover pangs of last years gas prices, and current electric hikes. I am a person that usually does not sit and wait until something forces my hand but, try to predict what might lie ahead and get a jump start on it. You enjoy different things at different stages of life and I think we are entering a new stage.

To me the things that should be simple are getting harder. I decided to give our riding mower a tuneup the other day to save money of course. Changed the oil, the gas filter, the air filter, replaced fuel line, and the spark plug all without a problem. By the way the cost of that was only $32.89 compared to $167.46 that was charged at the dealership. I noticed that the mechanics get $60.00 an hours to work on mowers. Went to change the blade and put on a sharpened one to no avail. King Kong himself must have put that blade one. I struggled for 2 hours trying to get it off. Then decided to take the whole mower deck off to make it easier. With each bolt and pin removed carefully writing down where everything went I finally got it off 1 hour into it. Not to bad I thought now I can remove the blade and really cleanup the underneath. Even with the deck off the bolt that held the blade was not budging. I had 4 feet of leverage and it was not budging. Several cuss words later, grease laden, and mad as hell I got the hammer out. A small sledge hammer will do wonders! I simply beat the hell out of it. Put the ratchet back on and it screwed right out. Now I am about 4 hours into this mower, did I save money-maybe. Did I get out all my frustration-yes and I won!

I didn't relish getting so dirty and thought it would be much nicer to have a small yard with a little cheap self propelled mower.

I have shopped around for truck shocks for over a month and priced them everywhere. Most were comparable in price so I bought locally. I wanted to put them on myself with the neighbors help but after the lawnmower incident I thought better of it. So I went to the garage in town and was told it would be a three hour wait after I made the appointment the day before. Just Great!
They get $70.00 an hour (they are really nice there though), which I really think this is outrageous pricing. I decided to walk to the bar and restaurant my friend owns in town for lunch.

During my walk I realized that I was the only person in town walking. I kind of felt like an alien from another planet. I wonder why people don't walk more, than realized because we live in a rural town everyone is used to driving. It was still strange. I had lunch and heard way too much of a conversation than I needed to between some men at the bar and the barmaid and decided to head back. On the way I stopped a small convenience store to buy lottery tickets and found two old friends sitting in there having a soda playing keno. Of course we are all gamblers and played awhile reminiscing about old times. We had fun but failed to win anything. Time was slipping by and I decided to walk up the side streets going back to the garage. This proved to be a good ideal.

As I was walking I noticed the homes that needed touch ups, grass mowed, mulch, minor paint jobs and other what nots. This would be a good target area for business and I already had an idea of what needed to be done. A couple residents were out on the porch enjoying the warm day as I stopped to exchange pleasantries. I continued my walk and realized just what a safe town this really is to live in. Oh my once again I am flooded with doubts about the possibility of relocating. Making it back to the garage I was still early but surprised that the mechanic had finished putting on the shocks. Yeah!

I have been dealing there for 10 years now and this is the first time they have asked me where I am from. They were under the impression that I am from the South. I have found this so amusing over the years that people ask me this. Even when I visited the parts of the South. Lisa even will bring up the way I pronounce different words such as bread, mask, sink, eggs, and such. This is what happens when you spend alot of time during formative years with Southern folk (as I have referred to in the past as my second family growing up). The blend of Baltimorian, Country Mason Dixon with West Virginian can make for a different vocabulary sometimes. When I work in Pennsylvania they think that I come from Tennessee. I often have to repeat myself or explain. It can be very strange sometimes.

Well tomorrow is Easter Sunday and supposed to be a sunny day. I miss the Easter egg hunts and Easter baskets. I guess it is still the child in me. My mother was still making me an Easter basket at the age of 32 so that is my excuse for not growing out of it. I gave the dogs their Easter gifts early and they are passed out on the floor like children with their toys next to them after a hard day of play. Lisa spent the day napping and trying to see how many episodes of UFC, the Bering sea fisherman, and survivor man she could watch. I spent the day making a pot of chili and chatting with my sister on the phone. No real big plans for Easter, just a quiet dinner here than going to the relatives for dessert. So on a last note I wish everyone a Happy Easter!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Forge On!

Talk about sleeping on your head!

Well I finished one clients job with a faux finish paint job which I thought turned out pretty good. I will tell you that this color definitely promotes a feeling of energy. So I thought I would share. This look was created with the a paint system called the Woolie. You get a brush, blender brush, dual rollers, a dual roller pan, and a DVD with techniques. Actually pretty cool with great demonstrations. We like testing out new products to see if they are time savers or simply just a better product.

Came across this dollar the other day. At the bottom front it reads : MAKE A NERD HAPPY! VISIT and on the back instructions to update the bills location online. Of course I haven't visited the site yet but I just found it really unusual. It is like a note in a bottle set off to sea.
Two more offices closed at Lisa's job and they have taken away another day. Not that we didn't expect this. The crazy part of the employers psyche is that they actually had the nerve to send out an email that read something like: I know many of you are wondering what the future will hold since we have downsized from 21 offices to 5 after closing the West Chester and downtown offices. We know that with dedication and a busy schedule that we can keep the remaining five offices open for business and prosper.
Now this is after just locking their doors without warning or notice to their employees, after cutting hours, cutting off health care benefits, discontinuing life insurance and other benefits, scheduling with no allowance for lunch, and leaving one technician per office. Hey let's just wring the towel dry! It is just absurd and almost third world thinking and expectation. I do acknowledge that she still has a job but, at what expense.
This company actually scheduled MRI test for patients that were scheduled to have surgery knowing that they were going to close and just closed the doors without even calling the patients. How unethical is that? Elderly patients that had taken sedation medications were not even called prior to taking the meds. Lisa is just so disgusted at the whole situation but stuck there for now. We have been talking about moving closer to the city where she has more job opportunities since she will have to be on call. We live too far away from the Hospitals for her to be able to take the on call schedule required. Talk about being stuck between a rock and a hard place.
We just stay positive and forge on.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


I had grown up with dogs and always had one since I can remember. Dogs were always more to me than just a pet. When my sisters were off to play with their friends since they were six years older and I was left to my own devices, my new best friend and playmates became part of the dogs role. It is kind of strange, but they were always just there. In the middle of the night when you were frightened of a sound in the darkness I would reach down and know that I was protected by my furry guardian. Growing up I have had numerous conversations (of course one sided) about how life was going and stuff in general, they were always their to listen. During the times that I fell ill or were sad and needed company they were there for comfort. They have shared in the happiness and joy by my side throughout life.

Then when Lisa had told me she never had a dog of her own I felt that she really missed out. Since we have been together, we have had many dogs and then I realized that they were mainly my dogs. It was going to be her birthday soon and after so many years together it gets really hard to come up big surprises. Our husky had passed away and I had Rusty for about a year and he had gravitated more towards being my dog. It could have been the good food, crazy games, or just the simple fact that I was the one that brought him home. So that was the ideal! I would get Lisa a puppy to raise as her own dog.

I had been looking and asking around about breeders. Then one summer evening my boss came in and told me that she saw a sign that said Golden Retriever Puppies for sale. We had about an hour left of daylight and she said that she would take me there right after work.
What a sight to see! As we approached there seemed to be puppies running around everywhere, I couldn't wait to get out of the car. This was a first litter of puppies for the female that was on the premises that was AKC registered with papers. The owner had children that had interacted with the puppies since birth with made them even more social. I went in to meet the puppies mother who had really the lightest golden fur with the darkest eyes I had seen. Almost as if see was wearing eyeliner. She was beautiful,very friendly and really excited. The father was not on the premises but we could make an appointment to see him. I wanted to make sure it was going to be the right dog. Now it was out to see the puppies!

Still in my white chef's coat I knelt down to examine one of the puppies and then the next thing I knew I had eight of them all clamoring on top of me to get attention. Puppy Heaven! I wanted all of them at this point.

Some had already been taken and had a string of red yarn around their neck to signify this. I spied a puppy that I thought was interactive and adorable. Then it was gone, there were so many! My boss was laughing away at the mini circus scene that was taking place. Puppies and children running everywhere. When we thought we had the right one, it would squirm away and another would pop up. Where was that little female I was looking for? Then I realized I had been oblivious to the puppy laying underneath me the whole time. It was her!

After checking her out, I paid for her and made the plans to pick her up on the next day as my boss and I laughed at all the paw prints covering my white chef's jacket.

It wasn't quite Lisa's birthday which would make the surprise even better as I planned to orchestrate this big surprise since I was off the next day to take care of all the arrangements. Well I woke up to Lisa still home and not at work. She thought she would surprise me and took the day off so we could do something together. Crap! Now what! That changed the whole surprise. So I made up an excuse to get out of the house and went to get the puppy.

I picked up the furry bundle of joy and crated her for the ride home which was only about 20 minutes and figured she would cry all the way home. To my surprise she was alert, curious, and quiet the whole time. I was more excited than the dog! I pulled up in the driveway and went in the house and told Lisa to come outside I had a surprise for her. The look on her face was priceless when I handed her the puppy with her bow attached to her neck. Now she would have a first dog!

After half a day Lisa named her Abbey. An eight week old female golden retriever that would become her companion, protector, and confidante.

Time has passed and Abbey is approaching 4 years old now and is clearly Lisa's pride and joy. Very well trained and behaved (most of the time), with a really sensitive side. Always ready for a game of ball, a romp with her brother, or ready to snuggle up and watch TV, . Abbey has proven herself and of course fulfilled all those expectations that I knew she would. She has opened a door in Lisa's life that she had not experienced and lit a small candle of love that people carry for there furry best friends. It is a gift that keeps giving, it is Abbey!