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Friday, August 10th, 2018
11:33 pm - There will be a conversation in the morning...,
This is a rant.

I have a number of credit cards, use them carefully, always pay more than the minimum, and ahead of the due date.
I've had one in particular for several decades and it has a fairly high "line" that they've voluntarily raised on several occasions.
[It's with one of the big four national banks - but not Wells Fargo.]
I share that one with my [adult] youngest son.
He has his own physical card and is responsible.
He and uses it basically as an emergency backup, repaying me as he's able.
It keeps him from over extending on his own cards and away from "payday loans" and similar trash lenders.

This evening he called me.
He's on a road trip, more than 1,000 miles from home, and his wallet - with the card has disappeared.
I did a quick check on-line and there are no unauthorized pending transactions.
Since he didn't have records with him, or computer access, I said that I would call, block the card, and order a new one.

I was naïve !!!

I did make the call, but there was only a general number, and after going down the menu tree, I finally got to "lost or stolen credit cards."
This was at about 8:30 ET.
"Due to high volume there will be a delay...."
"Your call is important to us, please stay on the line..."
"Did you know, our other products..."
"We are still experiencing..."

For One hour, Forty three minutes, and Thirty five seconds!!!!

At which point, with my phone's battery being rather distressed, I hung up.
I went back on the net and found that, by ordering a replacement card, I could block his card.
But, I couldn't just order one for him.
The one in my wallet is now also blocked, both will be replaced, and even my online access to the account will be locked for twenty four hours.

I'm retired, after more than forty years in the financial industry.
We constantly worried about and worked on risk management.

Not everyone always has access to a computer.
Nearly everyone does have access to a phone.

It's ludicrous to me that there wasn't a way to go directly to a human being.

I don't know how much they save by their lack of service.

I do know that it's about to cost them my relationship.

current mood: aggravated

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Thursday, August 9th, 2018
1:17 pm - Relaxing on the Deck...,
Ours is on the east side of the house - sunshine in the morning, but shaded a bit later.
We've raised planters with both veggies and flowers, and lattice that supports the morning glories beyond.
It gives a fair amount of privacy without being solid and ugly.

"M" likes to go sit and read in the afternoon.

Our feeders are on the far edge and the birds don't seem to mind.
It's pleasant to watch them.
[Among others, we've about six male goldfinches that frequent the thistle and sunflower feeders.]

But seed attracts other creatures as well, including squirrels - three grays, two reds, and a black.
They mostly leave the feeders alone but vacuum the debris that the birds have dropped to the deck.
They're actually useful because the birds can be picky about the mix and scatter what they don't want at the moment.

However they don't always observe boundaries, and "M" is vey uncomfortable when they get too close.
We needed to find a non-lethal solution.
She now has an armed garden hose very close at hand.
It's much more fun than a water pistol and they've definitely gotten the idea that "human" equals "bath" equals "maybe lunch later."

At least most of the time.

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12:35 pm - Country Life...,
We've more than a few varieties of wildlife in our vicinity.
Most of course are welcome, but a few can be bothersome.
Even though it's New Jersey, we've actually got a fairly dense bear population.

Our trash goes out to be picked up once per week - overnight on Wednesday for early morning removal on Thursday.
We've mandatory recycling, so that all goes in a barrel, and the actual "wet" garbage into a sturdy bag alongside.
There've been a number on instances of waking up to find the wet as a mess all over the road and lawn.
At first we blamed the bears but then realized that the true culprits were our local murder of crows.
They would come in, peck through the bag, and scatter the content.
[Bears typically grab the bag and run back to the woods.]

We didn't want to hurt them, but also didn't want to be getting up at 6:30 AM to put the wet out just in time for the actual pickup.
I came up with an idea, why not give them a bit of spice to go with their meal?
When the bag went out last night, it had a liberal dribble of siracha on the outside.
[The drawstrings were uncoated so that the trashman could lift it.]

We were awakened at about 6:45 this morning by the crows across the street.
They were having a very heated discussion among themselves.
They were absolutely not very happy.
But the bag was unopened, and no clean-up was needed.

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Thursday, September 7th, 2017
5:19 pm - Blackberries...,
Our property has two berry patches - "black cap" raspberries and true blackberries.
This year we harvested the raspberries for about three weeks in July.
It was a pretty good crop.

The blackberries started coming in at the beginning of August and were very abundant.
[Which semi makes up for the "not hot enough" lousy tomato year.]
During August we brought in at least five gallons, ate some, gave some away, and froze a lot.
[Frozen blackberries are a nice substitute for ice cubes in a Margareta.]
I thought we were done a week ago, but I wandered toward the patch today and still found about a pint of freshly ripened ones.
They'll probably make it into pancakes for tomorrow morning's breakfast.

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Wednesday, September 6th, 2017
5:18 pm - My poor, rather neglected journal...
It's been quite a while since I tarried here.
I've been busy - as always.
I'm still working, but on my own home, so just not getting paid for it.
Last years project was the master bedroom, this year it's a total rebuild of our kitchen.
The floor and ceiling are completed, and 95% of the walls.
The upgraded electricity [outlets and lighting] has been completed
The cabinets and counter on the far side are in, and the main side is under construction.
Today was grouting of the tiles behind the stove.
As soon as that finishes drying and gets a final cleaning, the hood goes back up and the stove goes back into place.

It's been an adventure.
As near as I can tell, the hose was built prior to 1860.
No surface is flat and nothing is plumb.
All cabinets are custom built and with custom dimensions.
It's more than just a challenge.

... but I'm having fun.

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Thursday, January 21st, 2016
1:46 pm - A thought for the season...,
I've always been a bit frugal, with a "get it done with what you have," attitude.
[Although I will admit that I have a lot, especially when discussing tools of any kind.]

Our original forecast here was for 12 to 15 inches of snow this weekend.
Snow removal has always been done by me, and with a shovel.
Yesterday I finally "bit the bullet" and bought a quality gas powered snow blower.
Now of course my forecast says that we may not even see four inches of snow.

That's OK.

Reluctantly, I have to admit to my age.
Other snowfalls will happen.
Heart attacks can happen.
Bad backs and shoulder aches do happen.
I'll get my money's worth.
... and in the mean time, I have peace of mind.

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Wednesday, June 24th, 2015
11:07 am - Quick Thought...,
I came off the road after dark last night.
As I got out of my pickup, I could hear a frog croaking at the back of the yard.
That's one of the nice things about country life.
Nicer too was that he didn't continue all night and yes I was able to get some sleep with the windows open.

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Monday, June 8th, 2015
3:05 am - I Did Some Planting Yesterday...,
Three fence posts - out front near the road.
That's the high side of my property. - It drops roughly ten feet front to back over a 190 foot distance.
The interesting part was that I struck water in all three holes at about a depth of one foot.
The land on the other side of the road is higher, but only by a couple of feet.
It had rained the night before, but not that much, it's apparently a high water table.
My basement is dry, so I'm not too concerned.
What's amusing is that I have a 160 plus foot deep well.
It looks like I will not have to worry about it going dry this year.
Hey sawguy, I'll send you some if you'll pay for the freight costs.

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Saturday, May 23rd, 2015
2:36 am - Someone Had a Bright Idea...,
In many parts of the NYC metro area, landscapers have to pay to dump wood chips.
Therefore, in those areas, if they happen to find a homeowner that's looking for chips to use as mulch, they are only to happy to oblige, and for free.
A friend of mine was one of those homeowners.
The other day, she received about seven cubic yards, in a great big pile, in the middle of her driveway.

"How do we move them to where they need to be?"
"Dave, can you come over, and please bring your garden cart?"

The cart holds about 6 1/2 cubic feet
That works out to about 29 cart loads.
Somehow one of us got the, "Load the cart and pull it [uphill] detail," and the other got to use the rake to spread them around.

We were sort of busy.

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Friday, May 15th, 2015
1:03 pm - At My Bird Feeder...,


I think this may be a male Red-Bellied Woodpecker.
He's been a regular visitor to my feeder for a couple of weeks.
What's your opinion ravenfeather

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Sunday, May 10th, 2015
10:37 pm - The First Cut is the Hardest - Mowing Continued...,
The first mowing is basically done - but it was on and off effort over three days to get there.
The bank that owned the place ahead of me had hired a guy to come in every other week last year on a riding mower, but he didn't do the edges and of course it was never raked.
I deliberately did not put a new blade on for the first mowing and I certainly DID find most of the sticks and stones.
It was so bad that for the final third I had to just discharge it from the side instead of bagging it.
If it doesn't rain tomorrow I'll be out there with a rake - but at least now I can see what I'm dealing with.

There's still an area in the back that I have to deal with, but it hasn't been cut in several years and is now under fallen branches from a tree.
I'll have to tackle it with a bow saw before I'll be able to get a mower underneath.

... and than of course there's also the matter of the wild roses and raspberry bushes.

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Friday, May 8th, 2015
11:38 am - I Looked At A Beautiful Meadow Today...,
It was filled with fresh spring green after our rather difficult winter.
There were yellow and blue wildflowers interspersed.
It brought me back to many long forgotten thoughts on the season...

Unfortunately, one of them was that I guess it's time to get out the mower and turn the back yard into a lawn again.
And I'll have to do something about the dandelions and the violets in the midst.

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Monday, May 4th, 2015
3:40 am - I Had Fun With This One - For Several Reasons...,
The owner of the home commissioned this as a custom design.


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Saturday, May 2nd, 2015
11:38 pm - Be Careful What You Wish For...,
Along with the rest of the country, I've spent most of the last three months wishing for warmer weather.
It has finally arrived - 70s every day for the next seven and even one that will see 80.
Unfortunately the bugs, ants, and mosquitos have also arrived.
It's time for me to dial back on the feeders and let all those birds start to earn their keep.

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Thursday, April 23rd, 2015
8:02 am - Hmmmmmmmmm - 2 ...,
I just looked out my kitchen window.
There's blue sky and sunshine to the left over the ridge.
To the right, it's fairly gray.
On my deck there are little white things about the size of a pea.
I looked twice and realized that it was sleet or hail.

I'm going back to bed.
Wake me when it's 80F

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4:20 am - Hmmmmm...,
As I often do, I went outside to refill the bird feeders on the deck just before going to bed.
We had a misting rain earlier in the evening.
I didn't fall, but the deck was extremely slippery.
When I came back inside I checked, and yes, it's 28F at the moment.
I thought had hoped, that we were done with freezing.
At least I hadn't put any plants outside yet.

... and now I will go to bed.

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Sunday, April 12th, 2015
1:09 am - I'm Not Cheap, But I Occasionally Try to Be Frugal...,
My e-mail inbox today included a missive from a firm that was offering to sell me pairs of jeans.
There were several variations.
They were high quality.
They were at a deep discount - at 40% off they started around $260. and went to around $350.
I looked at them - nice shadings, and had that already been worn look that is so coveted.
Then I looked at the Levi's 501s that I was wearing after crawling under the hood of one of my trucks and having done some yard work.
I really couldn't see a difference - but my wallet did.
I passed on the opportunity.

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Sunday, March 29th, 2015
5:11 pm - Four Minutes, Four Species...,
Normally I fill the bird feeders overnight or early in the morning.
I did in fact do so last night before going to sleep.
But, I happened to look out the window just now and saw that they had been emptied already, so I filled them again.
Within four minutes I had juncos, sparrows, a brown headed cowbird, and two downy woodpeckers.
I could also see a flock of blackbirds/red winged blackbirds waiting in the trees at the back of the yard.

I guess the word is out.
It's rather sunny at the moment, and looks good until you set foot outside.
At that point the breeze reminds you that it is still March.
That first 70 degree day is going to feel very good.
Right now though I'd quite willingly settle for a couple of 60s.

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Saturday, March 28th, 2015
2:55 pm - I Woke Up to a Wonderful Aroma This Morning...,
I did a major food shop the other day.
Among other things was a bag of potatoes.
When I got home, I realized that I still had a fair number already in stock - and that they really should be used.
That in turn led to an idea, the net, and then about an hour of prep time starting a batch of potato leek soup in a slow cooker overnight.

I actually like potato based soups, but this was the first time that I'd ever attempted one myself - and from scratch.
As is my normal way of doing things, the recipe was a starting point and I modified at whim adding whatever was on hand that also seemed appropriate.
It's on low heat, but I've taste tested it, and it definitely worked the way I'd hoped.
In turn that means that tonight I will not be deciding, "I'm hungry," and doing a five minute quick fix from freezer, to microwave, to plate - aka "Bachelor's Survival."

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Friday, March 27th, 2015
7:57 pm - $%^@@@*&$#%###$#$ Murphy !!!,
It's been a long winter...
My local DPW department has been very diligent and very generous with salt and sand.
It's not only on the Land Rover, but it been thrown on the front of the house that's closest to the road.

It finally warmed up enough that I could do something about it.
A "quick hit" with my pressure washer would solve both.
I dragged it out of the basement, found and connected the supply hose, connected the wand to the pressure side, plugged it in, hit the switch, and water began to flow.

Unfortunately, it was not flowing from the nozzle, but from a split in the pressure hose that wasn't there when I put it away last fall !!!

So much for a simple task.
As a home owner, there's always another - I'm never bored.
But now, there's one new one - a trip to the orange or blue guy to buy a new hose and then a dissection of my machine to connect it internally.
... and oh yes of course, I will have to make sure that all of the fittings are the same so that I can connect the wand to the business end.

I think it's time for a beer.

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