Ugh! Computer Repair

Last night, my favorite laptop crapped out on me.  First, it inexplicably put itself into airplane mode, and wouldn’t let me switch it back to wireless after a half dozen attempts.  Okay, that was annoying, but I thought maybe a reboot would let it find the signal.  Nope.  All it did was give me an ominous DOS level error message, and refused to boot.  Not even the rescue thumb drive was able to get it to boot.

Called a local computer and cell phone repair place earlier this morning, and dropped it off for them.  They did a perfectly respectable job replacing the fan on it that shot craps several months ago, for a very fair price.  For all I know this could be anything as simple as reinstalling the OS, or, at worst, needing a new HD.

Since the machine that is in for repair is ~5 years old, I ordered a new one from Dell.  I had to customize the one I wanted to triple its standard RAM, but otherwise, it had all the specs I wanted.  A RW CD/DVD optical tray drive was a must.  I’m not going to use all the 1Tb HD space, but that’s standard on this model.  It was thin on RAM, though, so I had to upgrade that.  So, Dell won’t be shipping an “off the shelf” model from a warehouse, but I will get what I want.  Given the 11% sale promo discount, and the additional 10% cash back from Ebates, it’s a pretty good deal, even with state sales tax.

In the meantime, I’m using a ~7-8 year old laptop that’s running Win7 Pro.  Hey, it still works.  It’s fast enough, but it’s only got 8Gb of RAM, and I’d forgotten how much I dislike its keyboard.  The keys are plenty big, but I really miss having a numeric keypad, and if one of my bracelets skims the touch pad, it screws up whatever I’m typing.  Anyway, it works just fine.

Hopefully, I’ll hear back later today from someone at the repair place with a diagnosis.  Unless it’s as simple as reinstalling the OS, I’m going to have to approve the repair estimate, anyway.  They don’t have carte blanche.

In other news, Ozzie is curled up next to me on the sofa, purring up a storm.  Even someone who is allergic to cats can’t help but like the little guy.  He’s so affectionate.  Once the girls realized he wasn’t going to challenge their authority, they decided to tolerate him, and leave him alone.

Ozzie

Ozzie is the 10 year old longhair gray male cat we adopted a couple of months ago.  He was a picky eater at first.  When we went on vacation a month ago, we decided to “lock” him into the annex, so the girl cats wouldn’t steal his food when he didn’t eat it fast enough.  Turned out to be a good plan.  He did a good job on his kibble while we were gone, without interference.

Last night, I was feeling like crap, with my neck arthritis acting up, so that I needed some fake Ben-Gay, and an ice pack for it.  Fine, but within another hour, I needed another ice pack for my facial sinuses, so I decided to go upstairs to lie down on my bed.  Within three minutes, Ozzie was up there on the bed with me, standing on my chest, licking my face, then settling down, wedged up against my ribcage.  The critters know when you’re feeling crummy, and do their best to comfort you.  He was aces, purring up a storm.

Ozzie was already 10 when we adopted him.  He had all kinds of problems when he was brought to the shelter, probably because his former owner could no longer take care of him, and he got his own room for three months, instead of being shoved in the cattery room, which is only slightly larger than the one he was given to himself.  He does have permanent sinus and oral issues, but he’s the best cat.  He’s super affectionate, and actually likes being brushed/combed to get rid of his mats.  If he had been mistreated, he wouldn’t be so affectionate, so I chalk it up to being neglected.  The girls bossed him around for a couple of weeks, but when his reaction was “Whatever, dear,” they gave up.

Every male cat I’ve ever owned has been such a sweetheart.  Not so with the girl cats.  They can get really bitchy — or possesive.

So, right now, we have two female cats, one male cat, and one male dog, all over the age of nine.  The dog won’t go up on the bed, but the cats will, when I need them.  A snuggly cat is maybe not as good as ice packs, but when you need one, one of them will volunteer.

Lasagne!

My other half wanted me to make lasagne a few days ago.  No.  Not happening after I had my molar implant removed.  This is day four later, and although I had to scarf down some ibuprofin this morning when I woke up, I think I can finally handle eating somthing a little more solid than soup or mashed potatoes.  Lasagne it is!

The best news is that with this Indian Summer we’re having, our oregano hasn’t gone dormant yet, so I can use fresh oregano in it.  Dried will suffice in the dead of winter, but it’s not the same.  We have all the ingredients, and it’s just a layered casserole, so there’s nothing time specific about it.  Make it.  Assemble it.  Bake it.  Enjoy that meaty, pasta-y, cheesy goodness while it’s fresh, but the leftovers the next day are even better (like chili).

Good.  I was getting so sick of butternut squash and egg drop soup, both of which I like, but not for days on end.

Pole Barn Rep Arrived to Assess the Damage

This guy is the local rep for the pole barn manufacturer.  Evidently he made good time driving from his previous appointment, because he got here a few minutes before my other half did.  So, I showed him the roof damage, and let him inside the barn to check out the wood frame.  The wood framing is aces, but the damage to the steel roof is potentially expensive.  When he asked whether this was going to be an insurance claim, I made it clear that it depends upon the estimate; if it comes in below my deductible, I would not file a claim, only to have my premium skyrocket.

The guy was all business, which was great.  Don’t waste my time, and I won’t waste yours.  Part of it might have been that we were his second appointment of the day, on a Friday, and he only had one more before going home for the weekend.  Whatever.  I like the way he rolls.  Major kudos to him for being as comfortable speaking with me as he was with my other half.  Some guys are a little “Where’s the man of the house, so I can speak to him?”  This guy wasn’t like that at all.

We’ll get an estimate on Monday or Tuesday.  Fingers crossed that it’s three figures for parts, travel time, and labor costs.  This could go either way.

Happy Halloween Witches and Ghouls

We never get trick-or-treaters here; it’s too rural.  But, that doesn’t mean people don’t have fun decorating for it, with mini-pumpkins on their fence posts, and scarecrows by their mailboxes.  I didn’t even bother drawing faces with a Sharpie on our home-grown sugar pumpkins, because if I do put them outside in this weather, they will not last as long as they would if kept indoors.  I want them to keep long enough to process for pies for the holidays.  Still, I did some seasonal decorations in Fall colors. Continue reading

Very Nice Recliner Console Loveseat

After checking out several options for cost vs. quality, I ordered from Bob’s Discount Furniture.  The delivery was supposed to be somewhere between 3:15 and 7:15pm.  But, at 2:30, I got a call saying they’d be here in 15 minutes.  I was here, so that was okay.  Two guys showed up, who only came up to my shoulders, speaking Spanish to each other.  It was not in their delivery job description to move my old 400 lb. sofa-bed to the side, where I wanted it, to put the new piece in its place, but they did it for me, anyway.  I asked nicely.

If your job is delivering furniture, and setting it up where the customer wants it, you’d better be all business.  Those guys were.  Don’t dick with them about 2″ to the left or right, and waste their time.  Don’t waste my time, and I won’t waste yours.

This new piece of furniture is the best, even though it doesn’t match with all my antiques.  So what?  It’s a whole lot more comfy than some Louis XIV sofa, or a reproduction of one.

It pissed me off a little that a few hours later I kept getting calls from Bob’s asking for feedback about my delivery experience.  Yes it was fine.  Go away.

Anyway, this new piece of furniture is … divine.

Mid-October

Finally got the pool closed yesterday.  I wanted it done by the end of September, but couldn’t book it that early.  It’s just as well, given the Indian summer we’ve been having.  It’s still in the 70s Farenheit, and I actually got a mosquito bite yesterday while I was deflating floats, and removing the last few leaves from the pool, while the guys from the pool company were doing their thing.  Fished out a rather large frog, not quite bullfrog sized, but close, in addition to the leaves, and launched it over the fence onto the lawn.  It happens.

Anyway, when I tell the guys “I’m not trying to drive you nuts, looking over your shoulder as you do your thing, but I really do want to learn how all this works, since I only bought this house a couple of years ago, and have never before owned a pool.  I’ve gotten the hang of keeping the water quality good, and clear.  This pool opening, and closing process is still a learning exercise for me.”  It’s not always the same people they send over, but every last one of them is happy to show me, and explain what they’re doing (and why).  Let’s face it:  if I knew enough about what needed to be done to micromanage it, I wouldn’t need to call them in to do the job.  Besides, it’s not my nature to micromanage, and never has been, even before I retired from a top management position.

On a completely different subject, I have a piece of new furniture being delivered sometime between late afternoon and late-ish dinner time.  Unfortunately, it’s going to rain on and off all day.  Who wants to bet it’ll be pouring when the guys arrive?  They’re supposed to bring it in, unwrap it, and set it up exactly where I want it, for the delivery fee.

I hope they are also willing to move our ancient 400 lb. sofa-bed 90 degrees around, to put the new piece where I want it, because it’s too damn heavy to move ourselves, but the new piece would fit better against the wall than freestanding in the room, and the old sofa would fit better freestanding, from a traffic pattern standpoint of view.  I’ve already moved the TV into a corner, so anyone sitting on anything in that room can see both the fireplace and the TV.

Duluth Trading Company

I’ve ordered items from them before, some on sale, and some not.  Some were leather goods, and some were clothing.  Everything I’ve bought from them wears like iron, and is nearly indestructible.

When they had a Columbus Day sale on firehose pants, I checked it out.  My other half has been wearing out jeans really fast doing tree felling, chainsawing, log splitting, chipper/shredder duty, and changing oil, etc. on the tractors.  Back in the ’70s, we’d patch worn out old jeans with either sewn on flannel patches from old shirts, or use iron-on patches.  That’s fine for ordinary wear, but not good enough to handle serious physical work that does not involve a gym.

So, I ended up ordering a pair of firehose pants for him, and one for myself.  He loves his.  I love mine.  Mine were supposed to be the “slim leg” verson.  Ha!  They’re baggy everywhere below the waist, but if I return them for a size 2, the waist will be snug when I need to tuck in an underlayer and a flannel shirt.  What I am thankful for, though, is that the women’s versions come in a 33″ inseam.  Most pants for women come with too short of an inseam.  These aren’t supposed to be capris, so finding the right inseam is a plus.

Yay for Duluth Trading!  I love that comapny.  My only complaint is that they use UPS Ground “Sure Post” shipping that entails ground shipping from WI, to your local post office to deliver the next day.  That adds a day to delivery.  Kind of annoying, but it’s not worth paying for expedited delivery, when shipping is usually free.

Moscow Hide and Fur

I love this place.  Moscow is far enough north that even from Idaho, their postcards go through Spokane.  I’ve gotten several things from them, including a finished bear rug (black bear), and a very nice 3/4 length fitch coat.  I got my beaver coat from some furrier in NJ, not from this place in ID.

They also have tanned coyote hides.  We have plenty of coyotes around here, which is why all three of our cats are kept indoors.  Taking out a coyote with a .22 can be done, but it has to be a really good shot, within  kinda short range, so the chances of me picking one off are so-so.

I have a coyote vest.  I wear it with pride, when the weather warrants it.  Nobody is obnoxious enough to paintball me.

Moscow Hide and Fur rocks.

Gift Cards

In general, I dislike getting gift cards, because they’re rarely for anywhere I’d want to use them.  However, I managed to get nine of them, altogether within the past three months.

One was from a neighbor for doing him a couple of favors, good for $50 at a restaurant he co-owns.  We used it; the staff accepted it, along with the cash we added for the overage, including tax and tip.  We’ve been there a few times before, and like the place, so why not use it?  But, it takes 45 minutes to drive there, so w/o either that incentive, or the incentive of seeing a band we like play there on a Friday night in the pub room, we wouldn’t have gone all the way up there.

The rest are from local businesses wanting to attract my business, but expire within a few months.  Most are from restaurants.  Two are within two miles.  Another four are within six miles.

The remaining two are not my thing.  I don’t care whether you give me a full day “spa treatment” for free; I’m not taking you up on it.  There’s nothing ache and pain-wise at this stage of my life that I can’t handle at home with a few ibuprobin, a jacuzzi, and a good stretching of my muscles to work out the knots in my shoulders, with which I need no help.  Anything facial that people go to spas for is not in my program.  A steamy shower should fix your facial issues, unless it’s acne.

We’ve decided upon two local restaurants at which to use these gift cards.  One has a good pub.  The other has a fantastic brunch, judging by the reviews on Trip Advisor, which I consider more reliable than those on Yelp.

Two other restaurant gift cards have potential.  The incentive to go there isn’t high, though.

The one I know we’re going to use is from  place 1.5 miles down the road that has a fantastic fixed price brunch menu.  Everything on it is something that we’d want to eat, and the reviews are really good.