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Friday, August 26, 2011

Hurricane Preparedness

Have you heard? We on the east coast are about to be hit with a Cat 2 hurricane. Preparations are being made all over.

It's times like this that I'm glad that I only shop once a month. I have enough food and water to last a few days. I'm even storing pots of water on the stove and will fill the bathtub tomorrow. I'm waiting to do that until the last minute because Crash likes to jump in and run laps around the tub and I don't want to be awakened in the middle of the night by a splash and a wet cat running around.

While I was filling the pots with water I remembered the blackout back in 2003. One of my co-workers lived in downtown Manhattan and offered to let me and a few others stay. As soon as we got to her apartment, I told her to fill pots of water in case the power was out too long and we couldn't flush. The only problem we had that night was a result of dinner. She had used the stored water to cook the pasta. The next morning there was no water to flush. This time I'll know better.

I'm an optimist and can see the silver lining in this cloud. One of the items on my weekly to do list is to clean my patio. I've been looking at the pots of dead plants and telling myself that I had to do something about them. Well, today we were advised to batten down the hatches and remove anything that could be caught up in the wind. I tied the chairs to the table and emptied all the pots of dead plants and brought the rest in. As a bonus, when I was checking and removing the dead stems of basil, I found some new sprouts. What a pleasant surprise.

My next project will be to make ice cubes and store them in the freezer in case we lose power. The extra ice will keep the freezer cold. Guess I better grind some coffee beans. Can't be without my coffee.

I've started packing a bag in case of evacuation and this has Crash and Burn a little upset. They think I'm leaving them. If I have to leave, they're coming with me.

I think I'll be able to ride this storm out.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Panic in New Jersey

Today, while I was sitting at my desk in the clubhouse, it started shaking, seeming to move from side to side. Not knowing what was happening I started to wonder what was wrong with me. Was I going to pass out? Was I dizzy? Then I looked at my water bottle. The water was sloshing from side to side. Then I knew I was OK.

Immediately women came rushing out of the various rooms asking if I felt that. What was it? They were all upset. Cell phones weren't working. They wanted me to call the police to find out what happened. I told them that if there were a real emergency, the police would be too busy to take my call and besides they have a reverse 911 system which calls everyone in the town and warns them about problems.

We finally found out that there was an earthquake in Virginia. But it's the talk of the community.

For me, it was my first time.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Shopping

Last week my latest toaster oven broke down. It still works, toasting one side at a time, but the thermostat doesn't seem to be working so I can't cook my dinner in it. This was my 3rd toaster oven in 10 years. I promised myself that I'd never buy another toaster oven again. I do go through them quickly, but I must admit that I use it about once a day, if not for breakfast, then for dinner.

I stopped into Bed Bath & Beyond this morning to buy a new toaster. While there I decided I needed a new mat by the kitchen sink. Can't buy the gel since it's a horizontal cat scratching "post" for Crash. I got a nice one, then decided to look at mattress pads and skirt/pant hangers. Got both. Then I saw the foot cleaner for the shower which I simply "had to have".

I went to look at the toasters, but didn't like their selection. I decided to give toaster ovens one more chance and bought one. Let's hope this one lasts more than 3 years.

Why can't I just but the item that brought me into the store instead of picking up so many other things?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Business Failure

Back in 2007, the state of Massachusetts gave Evergreen Solar about $58 million in subsidies and tax breaks including a $1/year lease on land at the Fort Devens military base. That was four short years ago.

Now, after closing the Devens factory in March and eliminating 800 jobs, they are filing for bankruptcy and laying off an additional 65 employees.

This company was given all this money and other benefits in exchange for promises of green jobs. They manufacture solar panels. Now, they have discovered that it's too expensive to produce these panels here in the United States. Where was their research into costs? Surprise, they are moving to China. In China it will cost $1.10 per watt to make these panels as opposed to $1.80 here - a difference of 70 cents.

It seems to me that governments, federal, state and local, are too free with our money and giving aid to companies. There should be some strings attached - maybe a promise to continue the business in the same location for at least 10 years or all the money and tax breaks must be returned before a plant or office can be closed and employees laid off.

This company must have had a poor business plan or poor leadership to fail after only four years. Companies are only too quick to take government (taxpayer) money and then much too slow to return it to their benefactor - the government (taxpayer).

I wonder how many more companies took our money and then moved their operations to China. Maybe Donald Trump is right, we should put a high tax on Chinese imports.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

I can't Believe It

I can't believe myself. I'm actually agreeing with the ACLU. Most of the time I find them so wrong, but today I think they're right.

This case involves several sex offenders in Delaware. They are being evicted from their safe house which is within 500 feet of a day care center. The law they are being accused of breaking says that they cannot be within 500 feet of a school. I guess you could say that the day care center passes for a school.

I definitely believe that children should be protected from sex offenders.

My objection to their evictions is the fact that their safe house was in the neighborhood BEFORE the day care center opened. The operators of this center should have checked out the neighborhood before deciding to locate within 500 feet of a safe house for sex offenders.

If the situation were reversed, I would say that they should move, but it is not. Their home was established BEFORE the day care center. There's no way I would defend their crimes, but as much as we would like to deny it, they do have rights. One of them is the right to a home.

Again, I can't believe that I'm siding with the ACLU. There must be a full moon tonight, or the world is turning upside down. Or something....

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Memories...

This is fundraising week on PBS. Last night they took us on a trip down memory lane via music and the songs and performers of the 50's.

Tonight, they featured the comics of the Ed Sullivan Show. What a treat it was to see Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks with the 2000 year old man. I laughed with Red Buttons and Alan King. They brought us a very young Joan Rivers and Carol Burnett and Phyllis Diller and her stories about Fang. Who could forget Flip Wilson and Geraldine who misbehaved because "the devil made me do it", and George Carlin and Richard Pryor. I could go on and on and on.

My all time favorite was Victor Borge and his phonetic punctuation.

I think what made this show so good was the memories it brought back. Not so much the comics, but the general mood of the times. The whole family, sometimes aunts and uncles, would sit in front of the TV and watch the whole show. The comedy was gentle and clean, you weren't embarrassed to hear or laugh in front of your parents. And parents didn't have to shoo the children out of the room either.

We may have only had one TV and seven channels, but we had a good time all together. Ahh those were the days.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

My Faithful Companion

For the better part of this year I have had a number of back problems, some very painful, some just annoying. After a month of therapy and an MRI that showed no major problems I started to feel better.

I started feeling like my old self. Yesterday we had a luncheon in the clubhouse and I was a member of the committee. Since I'm the youngest and probably in the better shape, I did a lot of the lifting. I also spent a long time on my feet. Today I'm paying for it.

This morning, I couldn't get out of bed. Burnie was hungry (he's always hungry) and was meowing and meowing. Finally, Crash couldn't stand it any longer and she went over and slapped him. Every time he meowed, she slapped him. Then she would climb into bed next to me.

Eventually I got up and fed the hungry beasts. After a good breakfast, Burnie found his spot on the windowsill and took his morning nap.

To avoid moving and walking around too much I decided to use my office chair. It has wheels and I don't have to get up, I can sit and rest and still get around. Of course, Crash is terrified and runs away. But as soon as I settle in one place, she's right by my side. It's almost as if she's watching over me.

And they say cats are independent and uncaring!