Short Elegant Time Wasters ~ Early Evening Thoughts….

Normally I put games here that I’ve found … and I’ve got a couple of those to share later.  These two videos managed to turn into time wasters as I actually played these twice (that I’ll admit to, anyway ….)

This one is sort of a “Forest After Dark” feed.  Instead of the BB nonsense we get some woodland folk being all natural.  During the convention of bears around the tree, No one and I repeat, no one will look down on you for singing – The Bear Necessities – Glenn Naylor is a Park Ranger and photography enthusiast who lives and works in Alberta, CA. As a founding member of Bow Valley Wildsmart, you can probably guess that he loves nature.

The next video interested me on a number of levels …””Here now are 167 musicians playing the absolute hell out of 167 matryomins, to the tune of a boogie-tastic Beethoven’s 9th. Be apprised: “matryomin” is a portmanteau of matryoshka (as in nested matryoskka doll) and theremin. It’s… basically exactly what it sounds like.

The theremin has been the go-to instrument of horror/suspense movies for ages.  It just somewhat amazing to me that it would work as well as it does with Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 AND it’s rock cousin ….

And My Life Goes On And On ~

As you’ve discovered here, I’m pretty easy going and have a pretty good sense of humor.  Today, however, I wasn’t so sure I was going to be able to keep it … Read on McDuff!!!

OK, first up was a Dr’s appointment (good report) followed by a trip with a friend to Bath and Body Works – for the sale (things up to 75% off) and I had a coupon for an additional $10 off. Sounds simple enough, right? Um … this is me we’re talking about!!!! So, braving the sales crowd at the store, I find the “flavor” of wall air-freshener I like ~ Eucalyptus Mint, if you must know…. 4 for $20. Not a great buy, but OK none-the-less. Leaving that station RIGHT NEXT TO IT is another station filled with the same fragrances packed 2 to a box instead of being single in a bin. Should cost more, right? Wrong. These SAME fragrances are now marked $6 for a two pack. — So, instead of $20 for 4 they’re now $12 for four.


At the check-out, the “kid” (and I do mean kid) ringing me up almost panicked when it rang up at $6. Before I can say anything there is an immediate call (on headset) to manager (who was probably only 6 months older than he was). I mentioned the price difference, which causes her to grab the box and repeat, as if to a first grader: “This is a two pack”…giving me the impression she was going to charge me $6 PER bottle. I’m telling her the sign said “2 pack for $6 and she’s clutching the box (as if it were pearls she was clutching in horror) repeating “This is a two pack.”

Realizing this is going no where fast, and I’m beginning to get really, really irritated – I said to just ring it up. With one more attempt to make sure I understood this was a 2-pack and possibly realizing I was about to render her visual aid to be extremely painful, she left with one totally confused clerk and one totally confused customer in her wake.

And yes, they rang up at $6 for a 2 pack leaving the singles at $5 for one, in faded memory.

Moral of the story, if Bath And Body Works employees can’t figure it out, it’s best left alone … right? LOL ….

The House

I’m still awaiting the photos from my daughter concerning the renovations going on to the house … sigh! Hopefully, soon….

Friday, my picky and demanding contractor (AKA “the-son-in-law” had us meet at the house to make some final decisions about electrical placement, etc. I think I’ve mentioned that there were various 1″ level differences throughout the house. That’s simply a result of the house being sliced/diced over the years. While we were there the workers were trying to remove what we THOUGHT were stick-on tiles in the sun-rooms….they were not. whoever put the sun-rooms in had placed the tiles  the WET cement and pushed them in – making it literally impossible to take up. I’m not sure what the thinking about that was, or even if they were thinking.

Regarding tile – On Tuesday my daughter/son-in-law and I went and picked out tile for the house. One of the major changes involves putting the same color tile throughout the entire house. we had a plan A and a plan B as far as color was concerned … no problem. On Wednesday, the tile man started calling the various stores to place the order. In the size of tiles needed (18″ x 18″ – 45.732 x 45.72 centimeters)it was discovered that in spite of being a highlighted for sale tile, not one single store here had enough tile. Some had 10 pieces (NOT boxes) another had 100 pieces, etc. My beloved son-in-law was ready to pull the hair out of his shaved head. Then one of the stores told him it could be ordered in delivered in – oh – three to four weeks. At this point my beloved son-in-law was starting to show signs of complete melt-down.

His tile guy looked at the back of the sample piece and literally called the plant where the tile was manufactured. He discovered that 1) the tile was manufactured in a plant about 7 hours from here and 2) if they were there the next morning they would load up ALL the tiles that had been chosen (tiles,boarders, edging, etc.) as well as all the grout and other things necessary to install them.

Two of my son-in-law’s workers put his trailer on the back of their truck and drove – basically all night – and picked up the tiles and drove back to get them there to have the house tile finished this weekend.

However, I was informed Friday that I have been placed on “house restriction” – meaning that I am not allowed to see the house until Monday….

I threatened today to get into “drag” and visit the house incognito. My son-in-law texts back that when he finally stopped laughing hysterically – it wouldn’t work. So, I promised that I would behave and NOT go to the house this weekend. And frankly with the temperatures and heat index being in the triple digits all weekend and much of next week … I don’t plan on going too many places at all…

More to follow – hopefully with more pictures!!!!!!

The House ~ continued

After reading today of Mitt Romney’s decision to bulldoze his “small” house and build an 11,000 square foot addition, I’m almost afraid to write about mine. It certainly isn’t anything like his ~ but after all the years I’ve been paying money to apartment owners, it probably will feel like it!!!

As I’ve mentioned my Son-in-Law is doing all the destruction/reconstuction on the house. On Monday, I thought I would surprise him and his workers by showing up – unannounced. My good friend BW drove me to the house. I don’t drive, but that’s for another set of posts, dear friends. I was sure I saw his truck in the driveway along with all the other vehicles. We entered the front door and as I was pushing back the plastic keeping dust and such contained – I yelled out: “My moving van is outside, where do I put all my stuff?”

As we rounded the corner, I realized that 1) he was NOT there and 2) these folks had absolutely NO idea who in the heck I was. SIGH! Fortunately, I introduced myself quickly, and the ice thawed even more quickly. I was taken on a tour and shown what was happening, and what was planned. If it is possible, I became even more excited!!! S was the fellow in charge and he explained as much as possible. He had a couple of questions for me and we made our way over piles and piles of lumber, etc. It was obvious, the dumpster had not arrived yet….very obvious.

I felt as if I’d caused enough chaos for the day, and we left more quietly than we arrived…

Wednesday, my daughter and I met J at the house for further discussions about plans and such. Unfortunately, my son-in-law IS a contractor and just as in other professions, they speak their own language. Fortunately, S was there to translate – both directions I might add.

Friday, we had to meet there again and this time, the dumpster had arrived and the place looked less as if something or someone had exploded in there and more like a construction site. There were some issues that needed to have decisions – for instance, my idea for the master bathroom had hit the reality of the space. Not a big problem, but that took some time to talk out.

This is a picture of the bathroom I’m talking about. I decided it was the winner of the “world’s worst bathroom” … to give a point of reference, it will be almost three times the size it is in the picture.

The toilet was taped closed for the estate sale – for very good reasons, and I’ll leave it at that!!

More later – and hopefully, I’ll have some pictures of the destruction by then!!!

Dear Me ~ Part 3

And so the re-construction began this week for real. I’ve gone a quite a roller-coaster of emotions about this purchase. Everything from “this is wonderful” to the to be expected “OMG ~ “What am I doing, have I completely lost my mind!!!!”. Let it not be said that I do something like this quietly and with no outward show of emotion.

I also made it a point to talk to my children about this ~ and they were amazingly supportive, vocal in their love of the idea and more than willing to suggest way to spend the money!!! I’ve been living in apartments for so long, I’d almost forgotten about what owning a home is like ~ almost.

The house had been owned by one family since 1960. The Father has passed away a number of months ago, and the Mother wasn’t doing all that well. The Son came a lived with her for awhile, and decided that she needed to move back to where he lived and worked. That’s how the estate sale came to be. the son helped gather the stuff up for the sale, and then the next day, he and his Mother boarded a plane. They literally locked up the house and walked away….leaving in the process an incredible amount of things ~ including the contents of the refrigerator.

The head of the estate sale outfit has his phone number and we connected by phone. It was a very positive chat and then he had his realtor call me. Several phone calls later it was decided that it would NOT be a good idea for his agent to represent both of us – so another agent from the same office called me and we were off to the races!!!

The closing was two days before our beloved congress tried to drive the economy over the cliff – really good timing on my part!!

My dearly loved son-in-law is a contractor and is doing all the work on the house. He also has a lot of work to do for various franchise owners of a certain fast food outlet. Again, with them rolling out a new menu item requiring re-doing most of the kitchens in a rather short space of time, my timing couldn’t have been better.

More tomorrow or Saturday. Until then here’s a teaser pic of the start of the re-construction!

There will be a LOT more pictures of the mess of re-doing it all that I will post later. My daughter took them, and her camera does pictures that are HUGE HUGE HUGE! She’ll get them to me, and I’ll get them into a size that will fit….

Blue, Blue – My Love Is Blue ~ Early Evening Thoughts

After having been away for a “few” weeks, I thought my return to the blog would be somewhat unnoticed. Two emails quickly settled that idea. So, as promised ~ an explanation of “blue” ice . . . And while I explain this, my vice-president is at an undisclosed secure location.

In the 80’s I worked for a major airline. Which one is somewhat immaterial, but I will offer the hint that it was in bankruptcy at the time with the pilots doing very interesting things to let everyone know we were operating that way.

Those of us in reservations were an unusual group of people. Because we were not at the airport, we were considered somewhat apart from the rest of the world. Although, in our customers minds we were the ticket counter and as such should be able to see people who were there or, in one case find out if someone had left a briefcase on the floor. I was sitting next to the person who got that call, and hear him say: “OK, let me look – OMG someone just walked off with it . . . ” When he finally got the person on the phone calmed down and got him convinced that indeed he really wasn’t at the airport and wasn’t able to check for the missing item – he’d earned a trip to his supervisor. . . and not a pleasant one either.

As reservation agents we had a fairly powerful reservation system to use. We had access to multiple “windows” which allowed us to look up various types of information and display them all on the same screen. We could look up flights in one, fares in another, airport weather in yet another and return flights in a fourth.

As reservation agents we were supposed to only work on screens that had to do with the business of reservations. Alas for the airline, that was NOT the case. It wasn’t too long after I started working there that I was introduced to the “dark side” of the system. (cue theme from Jaws here. . . )

We were connected to the various airports, hotels and car companies who all had sites resident in the system. There was no Expedia/Travelocity connection that allowed someone to go directly to another reservation system. All entries involving cars, hotels or such involved requesting what you wanted and pushing enter. At that point an electronic message would be sent (as I told my travel academy students) to the Valhalla of all computer requests – Actually ARINC (Aeronautical Radio, Incorporated)located in Chicago who would, in their own sweet time, send back an answer.

That’s a long way around to say that hotels and cars kept quite a bit of detailed information available – all on “pages.” They were updated by that company or by the airline itself. What was discovered was that – with a specific entry – we as reservation agents could update them as well. And a completely immediate, unmanageable and totally private system of IM’s were born.

One that was used a lot was XXX car company – page 100. That XXX would ever get to that page was pretty slim – as in none. The chance that the reservations office supervisors or later the travel academy people would discover what was going on – even less.

That was an amazing world – IM’s before IM’s had even been invented, conversations with people from all over who knew of the place and some very seedy, funny and downright erotic stories and such. The kind of talk that would get one banned from AOL … but very few knew about it.

That, however, is for a later post — especially how those private conversations came back to bite me in the butt and cost me a job.

Blue Ice – quoting from Wikipedia: “Blue ice in the context of aviation is the frozen material formed by leaks in commercial aircraft lavatory waste tanks, a mixture of human waste and liquid disinfectant that freezes at high altitude. The name comes from the blue color of the disinfectant, and is a sardonic reference to the Blue Ice line of products used for cooling ice chests and similar applications.

Airlines are not allowed to dump their waste tanks in mid-flight, and pilots have no mechanism by which to do so; however, leaks can occur. There were at least 27 documented incidents of blue ice impacts in the United States between 1979 and 2003. These incidents typically happen under airport landing paths as the mass warms sufficiently to detach from the plane during its descent. A rare incident of falling blue ice causing damage to the roof of a home was reported on October 20, 2006 in Chino, California.

On January 28, 2007 at the Timberlanes subdivision in Tampa, Florida, under the approach path to Tampa International Airport, a red Mustang automobile owned by Andres Javaze was struck by a large block of ice estimated at 50 pounds which crushed the rear of the vehicle. A neighbor named Raymond Rodriguez reported hearing a whistling or whizzing noise as the ice fell from the sky before impact and watched as it smashed the vehicle. However, the chunk of ice was not blue and is not thought to have fallen from an airplane. The incident is being investigated by the FAA.

Blue ice became known to many people from the last 2003 episode of the HBO series Six Feet Under, in which a foot-sized chunk drops on an innocent bystander. It is also the title of a 1992 film where Michael Caine’s character describes the concept of blue ice,and it also described on the tv show MANswers .”

Now, as reservation agents we had access to a lot of information, but nothing that involved maintenance or inner workings of the airport. . . until someone discovered that (long before blogs) someone at the airport was writing the “Blue Ice Newsletter” in the computer. Whoever was writing this had an acid sense of humor, biting wit and a complete command of what was happening on the ground/tarmac and mechanics role in the controlled chaos.

Who knew that airplane parts were interchangeable from one type of airplane to another? Who knew that “tug” operators (those zippy little luggage and plane pushing/hauling carts) could do so much damage. Who knew that it was possible for a few mechanics to service more planes than they should have – and get them in the air. Who knew that by canceling a return flight of an overseas trip, they were cannibalizing the parts into other aircraft – sending them on their way and when they returned, the parts would be pulled and the return trip of the overseas flight would “continue.”

The author of “Blue Ice” knew, and it was written in black and white – well, more green – and was intended for airport personnel only. Don’t ever put a members only sign on a site like that – at that time reservations would find out about it and pile in. And we did. We could find out about cancellations before anyone else and other interesting tidbits about what to fly and what might be best avoided.

Ever since then – “blue ice” has come to mean to me, something that simply continues to unfold in a highly dramatic and damaging way. Something that appears to be complete chaos – without form and void. Something that will simply not go away. Even when the tanks have been pumped. (OK, just how did you think those tanks on aircraft got emptied? By the blue ice elves?)

And since it’s a mixture of excrement and disinfectant – the analogy is right there in plane plain sight.

— more to come