Friday, October 06, 2006

It is still hot. We had a little cool spell - enough to make me forget to water my hanging baskets that I've been nursing all summer - they are toast! My water bill keeps going up as I try to keep the foundation watered and our idiots at the city claim we aren't conserving enough- I used to be able to run the sprinkler 5 minutes around the house every day and it was fine - now it takes about an hour every day and of course I'm using more water overall. Gooberheads.

I just got in from chasing Sam (the cat) outside. He is an indoor cat and he escaped when I went outside to get something. Of course it was dark outside and he is dark too. Ever tried to get a cat in the dark with treats and a flashlight especially when he wants to run, run run? I only caught him because he got tired so quickly. He really should be outdoors where he can run some. My other cat, Millie (the white one of course) was mad at him for getting out and she kept hollering for him to get his butt in the house. I hope the neighbors were not home for this bit of excitement that I didn't need.

I may or may not have mentioned before, but I like to leave the ugly plastic flamingoes in my brothers' yards. Now that the youngest brother is in Arkansas, it is a little more difficult to get his yard decorated but it gets done. My other brother, on the other hand, lives nearby and has 2 acres so the front yard is nice and big.

One time when my niece came home from college, I put a whole bunch in their front yard - her room is on the second floor where she could see them. At Christmas one year, I got up early, lined their driveway with flamingos that had woolen scarves around their necks so they wouldn't get cold. One of her boyfriends came home with her for Christmas that time. that was funny. I can't always get good pictures because it is dark when I do it.

Sometimes I leave things around April Fool's day and sometimes not. I don't want my brother to expect anything at anytime. And of course, there is Halloween. I try to leave some things there too.

Payback is soooo sweet for all the trouble they gave me through the years. Well, mostly the brother that lives nearby since the youngest brother is 15 years younger than I am.

But that is another story. For some reason, my siblings keep aging and have passed me by. I was born first but I am much younger then they all are now.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

I can't believe it is so dry. I haven't had rain in quite a while now and the temperature is steady at 98-101. We can use our sprinkler systems 1 day a week. I can use a soaker hose every day for an hour. It is very frustrating because the soaker hose doesn't keep the area 4 feet around the house consistent as did using the sprinkler around the house for 5 minutes a day when the temperature gets over 95. And more frustrating - I am using twice as much water with the soaker hoses and it just isn't working. I don't know what the city is thinking about, they assume because the water bills are higher that we water the lawn more on our 1 day - no way- I'm using all the extra water on the foundation - and it is cracking anyway. The grass is pretty much dead - that's another story. Yes there are people that over water on watering day, but I am one of those that uses water wisely and carefully and am tired of being punished because other people can't do the same.

Scott's Lawn service doesn't check to see when watering day is so they come out, put out chemicals that have to be watered within the next 24-48 hours and they do it on the day AFTER my watering day. They told my neighbor across the street that you have to call them or they will come out whenever they want. So they do my yard the day after watering day and hers the day before watering day. Great Service - so now my grass has burned because I couldn't water for 6 days. I think they should take the word Service out of their name. I am so ready for organics.

But wait - now there is the matter of the grass mowers. I need my grass to be higher so they skip a week as I asked but when they come back the following week, instead of raising the blades, they scalp the front yard. So what was the point of skipping a week? So now I will call and have them skip the front yard until October. It isn't growing anyway thanks to the chemical burns. The sides and back look much better.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

June 21 2006 Well the saga at work continues. Discovery today is that the off-shore staff won't work more than 40 hours a week, won't be on-call and won't work at night or weekends. All the stuff our folks did all the time. Very frustrating.

The garden is looking nice and I am dividing some plants to move and finally planting all the ones I saved from the area that is now a patio. Some of the daylilies are blooming and they have been in pots since March - and when I say pots I mean I dug them up and threw them in pots and behind plants without planting them. I can't believe they are still alive. While working in a new bed next to the new patio, I managed to dig up my cable modem AGAIN (well it has been about 3-4 years since I did it last). So I taped it up, marked it with rocks and it seems to be working.

I wish it was cool enough so I could finish my motorcycle class. I'm drooling over a new one that I think I want when I finally get my license.

I went to NW Arkansas 2 weekends ago and saw a deer stroll across my brothers back yard. Saw some woodpeckers too. I always see animals I don't normally see when I go up there (remember I am a city kid and generally see animals at the zoo).

I got 29 drops of rain over the weekend that was supposed to be stormy all weekend from Friday to Tuesday. And had plenty of SUN too. I think the old timey weather forecasters did much better than what they do today. So needless to say, I am watering well on the only day I can water due to the water restrictions. But my foundation is cracking anyway. ergggggg

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

May 30 2006: My dad's brother is coming in from Seattle tomorrow evening. So I'll go to the airport and pick him up then deliver him to Dad's house. Dad is really excited about him coming. I hope I can get them to come up to my house this weekend. I don't really know yet when he leaves here for Kentucky - he will go visit the rest of the siblings before returning home. I wish Dad would go with him but he won't fly anymore.

We had a bloodbath at work last week - well, at least they told several groups that they would be off-shored, some as soon as the end of June and others at the end of this year. While many knew it was coming, it was hard when you realize that so many people that you work with will be gone - especially the good ones. I had already been offered a position in another group and will take that one. I had another offer but while it would have been the better long-term solution, it was a chance to do something I've wanted to do for a while -it is a big risk for me since I am coming out of a technical area. It was hard to get any work done last week but I'm glad they did this on Tuesday instead of waiting until Friday before a holiday. Hard decisions were made and that's ok if they are good ones. Time will tell (I'm betting sooner rather than later).

I worked all weekend in the yard doing some spring cleaning .... yes it was very very late. The weather swings in Jan through March did more damage than I thought. I also had to thin out some plants that I was using as filler until other plants grew in. Looks good but I'm still not done.

I really wish I had finished the motorcycle class but in some ways it is probably good that I didn't since I have so much yard and house work to finish. I'm going to get some gloves that fit better for the next time and ask for a more powerful test motorcycle ( I had a baby cycle that took all day to warm up and I kept missing practice and tips while they kept trying to fix the silly thing). Been reading my motorcycle for dummies book though. It's pretty good. I've noticed I pay more attention when there is a motorcycle around while I am driving - it is also amazing how many people aren't dressed properly - I like my skin too much to do that.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

May 25 The arbor was installed in 1 day. It is really nice. The concrete doesn' t look so white and orange anymore. I put out the antique white wicker furniture and it looks really good. I restained the potting bench but I don't like it on the patio so it will go in the garage this weekend. It is sooo nice out there. I still have some more pots to fill. But I forgot to water some of the new plants this week and they were almost dead when I went out here this afternoon. It makes a difference when it is really hot (and we have already hit 98 this spring).

I hope to get the rest of the house and the garage straightened out this weekend. I did get some furniture moved up to Mom's this weekend. She likes to have garage sales. I put one piece back in the spare bedroom and part of it is in front of the window. The cats really like it there and it will give me a little extra storage space.

We start level 3 water restrictions next week so I can only water the yard once a week on trash day. But most of my plants aren't really thirsty (except the pots of course).

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

The patio has arrived but where is the arbor? The patio was stamped and stained concrete. It looks pretty good but the color I picked is too white and too orange. It looks like the UT Austin Longhorn logo should be in the middle (yes I did go to UT DALLAS where the color is an ugly ugly green and we didn't have a mascot - it was a pure academic school back then!). I hope once the arbor and furniture are in, that the color won't be so ... soo. darn orange! The city of Allen has a new automated sytem for the inspectors and apparently they are still working out the kinks. The inspector came out 2-3 times and was getting really frustrated because the automated message for the contractor said the inspection was cancelled, then approved, then cancelled. He did approve it as long as they put down 2" of sand. So it took 2 weeks from the first shovel of clay to the end. It is a nice size.

So they called yesterday Monday to say they would be out to start the arbor but when I went home, they hadn't shown up at all. And there wasn't any rain in my area yesterday. Of course, it should rain today and it will be another 2 weeks before I get the arbor. It may be fall before I get to use this thing! And I'm waiting to take a week of vacation after the arbor is up so I'm getting more and more impatient!

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Sun April 30 2006: well I got 'skunked' this afternoon. My mother is having problems with an armadillo messing up her back yard. The city came out and left a trap. This morning, there was a skunk in the trap. We went up and laughed but stayed out of the way since the city won't come pick it up until Monday. We went out for Chinese food for lunch and then came back to change light bulbs, tighten down things, put up new hangers (all the things one does for mom when you visit). By the time we got ready to leave, the sun had moved and the skunk was in a really sunny place without any water. So I decided to be nice and put something over the sunny side so he wouldn't get so darn hot in the metal trap. HA! he got me....not bad but bad enough. My brother wanted me to ride in the back of the pickup on the way home but my sister-in-law (bless her heart) wouldn't let him do it. So we all got used to the smell until I got out of the car. The cat that was awake - Sam - didn't seem to mind it but I got on the internet anyway to look for ways to get rid of the odor. So a quick trip to the store (no one ran away screaming about the smell), got some baking soda and came home to make the 'get rid of that darn skunk odor' concoction (hydrogen perioxide, baking soda, detergent). it worked to some extent but I'm really not sure I'll be going to work tomorrow. My clothes are in the washer now so we'll see how they come out (my favorite jeans too!)

Sunday, April 02, 2006

April 2: I love April Fool's Day. I always have to leave something in my brothers yard sometime on, before, after, around the time of April Fool's Day. Occasionally, I do it at Christmas (last Christmas it was flamingos with wool scarves that lined their driveway - of course I wanted until the Christmas when my niece brought home her new boyfriend!). This year I was just too tired so I went to bed instead. But I woke up this morning around 3 or 4am and decided it was as good of time as any. (I like to mix up exactly when he gets his AFD surprise!). So I go back the car out of the garage, run up into the attic and get the bag of huge plastic Easter eggs (Thank you again Wal*Mart - and yes, I buy stuff all year for this one event). I have a new motion-sensor light in the back so of course the driveway was lit up for a while (I'm sure my neighbors slept through it - well I hope so anyway) then I took off for my brothers house - he lives 2.5 miles away - with the windows down it was just so nice outside. Anyway, I took out all the big Easter eggs and threw them all over his front year (always do the front yard, it makes more of an impact to his neighbors!). He lives in a really really nice area that makes him clean up my shenanigans within 24 hours. But at least he knows I'm thinking about him!

I also finally got my pink phone yesterday. I've been in several Cingular stores recently and besides being rude, they didn't care about selling phones. I decided to try one more time and if I didn't get the phone from a real store (yes I know they carry it online but for heaven's sake, they have stores!!) I was going to transfer to another carrier that does want to sell phones. I went to the store by Collin Creek, had to wait awhile since it was crowded but they had one on display!. When they finally called my name, I said I wanted a pink phone, he said "ok sure let me go get it"; and then he really went and got it. I bought it, he explained about the battery and out I went! It was the first Cingular store I've ever walked out of happy!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

March is certainly leaving with a roar. It is really windy. I've dug up part of my garden as I'm going to have the patio extended. I really wanted a screened porch but because of my roof line, they'd have to take off part of the roof and that scares me. For a few days, I considered moving to a house so I could add a screen room easier. So all the bulbs that I want to keep must come out. Along with the trellis' and the clematis that can't be killed (no kidding, I've been trying for 3 years now to kill this one off with no success - not even roundup works). Of course now I have to find another way to let the cats outside to enjoy the new patio. I may get a big cage so they can go out while I'm at home. Right now one of the cats, Sam, is inside a shopping bag on the floor beside me. He loves that bag for some reason.

Life is never dull. I have a leak in the roof from weekend before last when we got 5 inches of rain. It just showed up in one of the bedrooms. It isn't bad though. But I hate going up in the attic. The insulation makes me sneeze like crazy (yes, even with a mask).

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

March 7 Took out frustrations on 3 crype myrtles. I love my chain saw. They were diseased and had to be removed (they were supposed to be 3 foot high, they were as tall as the house and I planted them too close to the house for trees). I got a new electric chain saw in the fall. This one stops much quicker when you release the level so I was brave enough to wear my sandals. I need to get some steel toed shoes though. Now I have to cut them into smaller lengths and I'll have to use cutters instead of the chain saw - that is really hard work too. Hopefully, I can finish in time for the next trash/recycle pickup this week. If not, I'll be busy over the weekend.

An update on my ant bites, the scars are getting smaller but they are still there. It's getting warm enough to ride my bike again. I'm looking at gazebos again. My little one collapsed in the windy weather earlier this year. I have to put something up since it provided shade for the few shade plants that I have.

I'm still working on moving the 2 bedrooms around. The cats love the extra furniture in the way in the living room (I've only managed to get them from the bedroom to the living room) as it gives them more places to climb and explore. They are getting along fairly well now. Last weekend when I moved the old desk to the porch, both of them managed to get outside. There was a small cat that came in the yard and they were protecting their turf! The only thing funny was me running around trying to get 2 cats that didn't want to be caught. Millie actually got out twice, the second time, she was all the way at the back of the house in the bathroom window and the next thing I knew, there was a white flash out the door (she saw the little cat again) - she was so agitated and tense, it was like picking up an elephant!

My neice visited this weekend from Atlanta. She's working on her doctorate (chemistry I think or maybe microbiology) and still expects to be finished by the end of the year. She's going to a NATO conference for young scientists this summer. This will be her second year to attend.

My nephew is taking law and criminology classes this semester. He really likes them.

I have another nephew who is in a band (but rumor has it that they broke up recently) and he works at a high-end electronics place. He really enjoys working there. I just couldn't stay awake late enough to see this band play anywhere.

I almost forgot! I finally got my Native Texan license tags for the XUV! I was thinking about having a Texas flag painted on top but that would probably get me in trouble with speeding - there are planes in Texas Oklahoma and Arkansas that have radar. They'd be able to pick out the XUV easier with a flag on top. I do try to use the cruise control but that is very boring!