Tuesday, October 30, 2012


We're still here. Cleanup will probably take a while though...

Monday, October 29, 2012


Well, Chris Christie tells it like it is: Don't Be Stupid.

Granted he's referring to the barrier islands in NJ, but it's looking like we're all in for it. PA will probably get high winds, lots of rain, flooding and power outages, for sure.

We prepared over the weekend, and I'm working at home - at least til we lose power.

So now we wait.

Friday, October 12, 2012

I Don't Have A Good Title, And Don't Want To Use "Pee" Again. Oops.

For about a month now, it seemed we were over the cat pee issue, so I figured the cat had a UTI. Now I think it's kitty prozac time.

I was sitting in our back room working on the computer, and the cat comes sauntering over to his bed by the window, which was flipped over from what looked like an earlier kitty attack.

“Awww. Does kitty want his bed all fixed so he can glower at birdies and deersies in the yard?” I cooed, and I reached for the slightly mangled bed.

“Ewww. What the...?”

The cat bed was heavily saturated with something sticky. And smelly.

Initially, I figured I'd coat it with Urine-Off then wash it out, so I dropped kicked it into the basement. This was a stupid idea, because there was no way something that foul was going to get unstickyfied, and I should have put it into the garbage.

It was then I noticed the gopher outside the window. The bastard was back.

When I was researching ways to get rid of gophers on The Googles, it mentioned using cat litter as a deterrent. Place the used kitty litter in and around the hole; the gopher won't like the animal smell and will leave.

Ingenuity and genius come from odd places.

So why not a saturated cat bed that's going to be thrown out anyways?

I grabbed a plastic garbage bag to use as a makeshift glove, gingerly picked up that nasty thing and sneaked out of the house. The gopher was about 30 feet from the hole, on the left side of the house. I planned to move stealthily around the right side of the house, and head it off before it can get back to the hole. Hopefully it would run into the woods. Then I'd throw the cat bed over the hole.

It didn't go down that way.

That fat rodent was faster than I thought. It saw me, took off under the deck, then headed straight for me.

I was standing about five feet from the hole, trying to frighten it by waving a cat-juice soaked piece of fleece and a garbage bag. My neighbors must love me. I bet there's a YouTube video.

At the last moment it turned, and shot down the hole. Apparently my bag-fu worked.

Granted I was thrilled it didn't bite me or run up my leg, but I was incensed that it got to the hole before I did. I dropped the cat bed over the hole, retrieved a sapling sized stick from the woods, and proceeded to shove that disgusting thing down the gopher hole.

It's still there. I haven't found a new tunnel dug out yet either, so I guess it's now a waiting game.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Great Weekend

This is a rambling mess of things. It was originally three posts - now consolidated into one, because I'm trying to avoid drive-by blogging every time a thought floats through my brain.


What a great weekend!

On Friday, Hubby and I took a trip to Philadelphia to see the Reading Terminal Market, Yards Brewery and my school.

School, as in, after 20 years I finally stopped procrastinating.

See...back in the mid-eighties, I went to college. At 17.

Not because I skipped a grade, but because I started kindergarten early. This probably isn't the optimum scenario unless your child is a super genius, because mostly it resulted in me being slightly bewildered. Math in particular. It was odd, because I was in the advanced classes for reading and English, but math was just lost on me.

I chalked it up to maturity. It wasn't until I was an adult working in the real world that it all suddenly made sense. Especially algebra. When I began programming, it was truly an epiphany.

It went something like this: “I'm writing a program to add stuff. It might be cows and chickens, or it might be assholes and elbows. We'll leave it up to the user. So I'll just call these fields A and B. Holy shit! That's a variable!” Then my brain melted.

It wasn't a difficult concept, really, but no teacher was able to properly convey this to me.

“I don't get it. Why are why adding letters again?” I'd ask.

“They're variables. A and B. They represent something.” said Mr. (name redacted), The Meanest Math Teacher Ever.

“But what do they represent?” I'd plead, hoping I'd get a tidbit of information that would finally make it all click with my 11 year old brain.

“Anything. In this case, it represents A and B.” Gee, thanks. Unhelpful, as always. I was beginning to think Mr. Nastypants didn't know either.

Apparently I just needed a real world example.

Anyway, this was also back when schools didn't have tutors on hand, or a “sense of community” or whatever shizz the guidance counselors use these days to help the hopelessly clueless.

My guidance counselors performed three functions:

  1. Met with you (once!) during Junior year to see if we wanted to go to college. If you did, they forwarded the high school transcripts. Then they kicked you out of their office.
  1. They identified the troubled kids. Keep in mind, we didn't have “special education” like these days. They took all the mentally handicapped kids, physically handicapped kids, kids that had emotional issues, and the ones that just didn't feel like learning and would rather smoke weed in the bathrooms, and lumped them into one class.
  1. Smoke in the teacher's lounge and complain about the rat-bastard kids.

I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, career-wise. I went off to a local college not known for anything special except having a weird name and being affordable. After treading water for a couple years, I left and got a job. Which lead to another job, then a different position. Several promotions later, I had an unintentional career in IT.

Which brings me to my current story.

I had concerns. My college credits were really old and crusty, and not especially special. It was a long shot. I applied to a fairly prestigious school, and miraculously they accepted me. I'm into my third online class, and pulling a 4.0.

Since I was hoping to hit one of the Saturday on-campus classes this Spring, we made a trip to Philly to see it.

I always heard the it resided in a suck-ass section of town, so I was surprised to see how nice it was, and that I felt (relatively) safe. And old. Most of the time I don't think of myself as middle-aged, but damn. I felt like Methuselah.

Still, that didn't stop me from picking up the requisite swag from the school bookstore. Then we headed off to check out the Reading Terminal Market.

I've been there before, but it was a few years ago and it was more of a stopping point between the Liberty Bell and The Franklin Institute.

It is SO worth it. I would totally weight 1000 pounds if I worked in Philly and was able to hit this every day for lunch. There is every kind of food here. I'm getting hungry just thinking about it.

Hubby and I were dying by the time we got to the market, so the first thing we did was get us some Philly cheese steak. It was heaven on a bun, with hot peppers.

Along with restaurant vendor food, there's produce vendors, fresh meat and fish vendors – I could actually do my grocery shopping here. Really, the prices weren't that bad either.

After an hour or so at the Terminal Market, we headed off to Penn's Landing to visit Yard's Brewery. We're able to get their traditional beers at our local Wegman's, but they have special recipes that are only served at their tasting room.

They're called Ale's of the American Revolution, and include the personal recipes of Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and Ben Franklin. All were delicious, but the best was Jefferson's. Hubby bought a case to bring home, I bought the commemorative t-shirts.

We payed for it with Philly rush hour traffic – getting home took two hours instead of one, but it was worth it.

On Saturday, Hubby took The Teenager and me to the local rod and gun club for what he calls our quarterly re-qualification. That means target shooting, y'all.

Darling daughter fired an M16 (AR-15, I believe) for the first time. She popped two balloons at 100 yards out with her first two shots. She's an awfully good shot with a 9mm too.

We spent a couple of hours just enjoying the outdoors, watching all the geese fly South. Friday in Philly was 80 degrees and no humidity, but a cold front came in that night so it was only 50-something on Saturday. So time for the geese to leave. But the leaves were turning and it was a beautiful day.