Thursday, October 23, 2014

Holy "Mole-y"

When I was cutting the grass today I was amazed at how many mole runs (interspersed with occasional dirt mounds) were zig zagging across the back yard.  I took great pleasure in stomping down the pushed-up soil after I passed over it with the mower.

I try to co-exist with Mother Nature, but the mole evidence really bothers me!

I know that the moles are just doing what comes naturally; the annoying raised surface tunnels are actually their runs for traveling between their den and their feeding areas.  I know that their digging makes the soil healthier because the tunnels permit air and water to penetrate into deeper soil levels. I know that a mole's diet consists primarily insects found in the soil, (some of which are serious turf pests) so they're actually doing me a favor by getting rid of them.  Still, it's hard to get past the visual annoyance of those ridges in the grass.

I wondered just how many moles were responsible for the mess in my yard.  A little research told me that moles are solitary animals, who live alone except to breed. There are usually somewhere between four to six moles per acre, so my one-third of an acre lot probably only has one or two.  Considering how much damage they've done, they're very busy critters.

My former neighbor was a kind, gentle man, but he took his lawn care seriously.  When a mole dared venture into his domain he'd stalk it and kill it with a shovel.  He offered to do the same thing for us.  (I took him up on his offer one time, and told him he was free to come into our yard any time he saw more evidence.)   However, now he's gone and I'm not going to go through all the time, effort, and money to try and remove the moles.  I guess I'm going to have to learn to co-exist with them. 

Five years ago today: After Dark

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Color Me Confused

The other day I was filling out an employee evaluation form which wanted a description of the person I interacted with.  The company provided a convenient drop-down list of hair colors to pick from:


There was only one problem. The person I needed to describe had bright BLUE hair!  That convenient list didn't provide an 'other' option.  What to do?

After thinking about it for a few minutes, I decided that based on the person's skin tone their natural hair color was probably blonde and chose that.  I wonder if the company figured out who the person was?

Five years ago today: Table For One

Monday, October 20, 2014

No Interruptions

Last Thursday was my final shift at the mall Customer Service desk. With no job to go to, I was a free woman!  The following few days unfolded like they usually do...a meeting and errands on Friday, errands and a night out on Saturday, church and projects around the house on Sunday.  However, even though I was doing the same things, there was an undertone of excitement throughout the whole weekend.  I didn't have to go to work on Monday.  How exciting!.

Last night I still set my alarm for the regular time; I had a lot to do!  Today's project was tackling the master bathroom painting.  After breakfast I went upstairs and started prepping the room.  I took the mirrors off the wall, covered the faucets with plastic bags, and taped newspaper over the toilet and towel bar.  Next, I spread tarps on the floor and counter.  I didn't plan it, but at exactly the time I would have been walking out the door to drive to the mall I climbed up on the ladder and applied the first brush stroke of paint to the wall.

For the next few hours, instead of standing each time a customer came up to the desk I climbed up and down the ladder, and stood precariously on the sink to reach far corners.  At lunchtime, instead of nibbling bite-sized pieces of food at the Customer Service desk, I got to sit down with a big bowl of soup and eat the whole thing without being interrupted.  After lunch when I spent some time on the computer I could give it my whole attention, instead of keeping one eye on the screen and one eye on the passing people. 

But the best part of my day was being able to go to the bathroom whenever I wanted and not worry about someone looking for me.

Five years ago today: Baby Boomer Memory Test

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Sometimes You Just Can't Win

Today it was time to give the master bedroom its semi-annual refurbishing.  Among other things, that included changing the lightweight duvet cover to a heavier model, and removing the mattress to put a coordinating dust ruffle on top of the box springs.

However, Jackson was taking his mid-afternoon nap on the bed and didn't care for that idea.


I asked him nicely if he'd move.  He said he was there first and was comfortable, thank you very much.  So instead of starting with the dust ruffle I decided to do the duvet instead.  I spread out the new cover on the floor, shoved the insert into it, then grabbed it along one edge and gave everything a good shake to straighten it out.

I left for five minutes to do laundry.  When I came back Jackson had found a new place to rest--on the floor right on top of the cover I wanted to pick up...


Saturday, October 18, 2014

Guys And Dolls

Tonight was Guys and Dolls Night, Hubby Tony's and my monthly(ish) get together with a group of friends. The Guys play poker, and the Dolls go out to dinner, then to someone's house for dessert and socializing.  This time was extra special for the women; we got to hang out at Baubles, Bites & Boots, a store in the Historic Main Street section of St. Charles, Missouri.

The store is owned by Sally (one of the Dolls) and her husband Dave (a Guy).  It opened about a month ago, and has the tagline “Something neat; Something sweet; Something to put upon your feet.”.  Sally and Dave have a fun selection of jewelry and hats, women's scarves and clothing, baby clothes, household accessories, sweet and savory edibles, and rubber boots for men, women, and children.

The store was still open for business when we got there, but when the last customer left Sally locked the door and put up a sign that said there was a private party going on.  We ordered dinner from a nearby restaurant.  When it was ready someone went to pick it up.  Everyone found a place to sit, either in the store or in the back room to eat.

Afterwards some of us sat on the floor and put price tags on a box full of jewelry that had just come into the store.  It was like a big treasure hunt.  The jewelry packaging had a code on it.  You had to find the price tag with the same code, remove the jewelry from the package, and attach the tag.  When we were done the floor around us was covered with jewelry ready to be put out for sale.

Sally paid us for our work with individual jars of fudge, which came with a small spoon to scoop out the fudge.  It was a 'sweet' payment!

Five years ago today: Totally Random

Friday, October 17, 2014

Showering

It's been almost a month since our master bathroom renovation started.  The demolition and most of the reconstruction took two weeks.  Then we had to wait for glass to be measured, fabricated, and installed. Earlier this week we started using the room. 

I still need to paint the walls, so the rooms' big reveal can't happen yet.  However, since the shower portion didn't require painting, I thought you might like to see it.

Our old shower was in sad shape.  It had soap-scum covered, four-inch white porcelain tiles, stained grout, a permanently discolored white floor pan, drippy shower head, and polished brass fixtures and framed glass.  They were all removed.  In their place we now have large ceramic tiles accented with a band of smaller subway tiles at eye level and a tiled niche to hold soap.  The joints are filled with no-mildew grout.  The floor is a similarly colored cultured marble with a very small water lip that makes the shower easy to step in and out of.  The polished brass is long gone, replaced by brushed nickel, and the glass is semi-frameless.


I've showered in there several times now, and I feel like I'm in a fancy spa. 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

It's Final

When I gave notice at the mall Customer Service desk a couple of weeks ago it felt like my last day would never arrive.  However, it eventually did.  When I woke up this morning I knew it was the final time I'd have to put on black pants and my mall-supplied white shirt. The final time I'd have to make a lunch to eat at the desk.  The final time I'd have to fight the traffic on the interstate, and the final time I'd have to wind my way through the parking garage. 

It was a very interesting shift.  In the morning there was a nationwide computer issue that brought down the entire gift-card selling system (and I had to turn one disappointed person away).  Later on, a frantic customer ran up to the desk to tell me a woman had fainted outside one of the stores.  I called Security, and found out they were already aware of the issue.

Much of the shift was all about me.  A couple of my co-workers left nice notes.  Hubby Tony had a cute arrangement of yellow and white flowers delivered to the desk.  Some people from the main office stopped by to wish me luck.  Several of the regular mall walkers said they'd miss me.  One gave me her phone number and told me to call her if I'd like to get together for lunch.  A pair of woman gave me a tiny box of candy. 

The hours passed by quickly.  At the end of my shift I turned my keys over to the Boss.  He wished me luck, and asked if I'd like to come back in a couple of weeks and have lunch.  I said I would. For the final time I left the desk and walked through the mall to my car.  I wound my way back through the parking garage and out to the street.  Soon the mall was just an image in my rear view mirror.

Five years ago today: Be My Guest

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Senior Citizen Texting Code

Because senior citizens are busy people, here's a list of abbreviations to save them valuable time when they're texting:
ATD: At The Doctor’s
BFF: Best Friend Farted
BTW: Bring The Wheelchair
BYOT: Bring Your Own Teeth
CBM: Covered By Medicare
CUATSC: See You At The Senior Center
DWI: Driving While Incontinent
FWB: Friend With Beta Blockers
FWIW: Forgot Where I Was
FYI: Found Your Insulin
GGPBL: Gotta Go, Pacemaker Battery Low!
GHA: Got Heartburn Again
IMHO: Is My Hearing-Aid On?
LMDO: Laughing My Dentures Out
LOL: Living On Lipitor
LWO: Lawrence Welk’s On
OMMR: On My Massage Recliner
OMSG: Oh My! Sorry, Gas.
ROFL… CGU: Rolling On The Floor Laughing…Can’t Get Up
TTYL: Talk To You Louder
WAITT: Who Am I Talking To?
WTP: Where’s The Prunes?
WWNO: Walker Wheels Need Oil
Five years ago today: Battle Of The Discount Clubs

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Uneventful

It was a little over two months ago that people outside our area first heard of Ferguson, Missouri, when Michael Brown was shot and killed by police officer Darren Wilson. Even after the issue dropped off the front page of the national consciousness, there have been occasional unrest and protests in this area. The most recent were the past weekend, when people from out of town joined locals for a series of demonstrations called FergusonOctober.

The event culminated yesterday in “Moral Monday”.  There were incidents reported all over the metropolitan area. Braving wind and rain, the protesters gathered at government buildings, political events, malls, stores, and sporting events.  Not all of them were demonstrating against  police brutality and racism; the multi-issue gatherings were composed several social and civil rights groups wanting to have their message heard.

Last time there were widespread protests (the first Monday after Michael Brown was killed), I was working at the mall Customer Service desk and got a call from the mall office letting me know they had extra security in place.  Even though this mall isn't anywhere close to Ferguson, with the protesters announcing area-wide occurrences I expected the same thing yesterday during my morning and early afternoon desk shift, but I didn't notice more than the usual number of officers. The mall was busy, but it was more as a result of the Columbus Day holiday and San Francisco fans in town for the Monday Night football game. My time passed by without incident.

About 8:00 in the evening I got a text from the mall telling me that possible protesters were headed there, followed a couple of minutes later by an automated phone call relaying the same information. Both said that the police and Security office were monitoring the situation, and would provide updates as needed. There were no updates, so I'm guessing nothing happened.