Years ago, our neighbor kept chickens, and he gave us extra eggs for free.  We “chicken sat” for them when they went away.  Those chickens were free range, all over his property and ours.  I liked them.  They kind of spooked some people, but pullets or hens aren’t aggressive.  They’re mostly harmless.  This year, he got 21, with no males, and one Silkie died before we had to look after them, so we’re looking after 20.

All 20 are accounted for.  They lost one black silkie before we were put in charge of them.  This time around, they are not allowed to roam all over the neighborhood, free ranging.  They don’t get to eat grass, or other vegetation unless we bring it to them.  Grass is a treat, as far as they’re concerned.  They almost fight over it, because all they get this year is seed, mealworms, and water, in their coop.

The good news is that we’ll probably get some free eggs.

Going by comb size, I’d estimate that a third of the flock is Americaunas.  The blue on their eggs goes all the way through to the membrane.


Family Reunion

This annual shindig was canceled last year, so it had been two years since we all got together.  We drove 1200 miles and change to get there.  So did my cousin-in-law from NM.  Same road trip back home for us.  Other in-laws flew in from FL, and rented a car to get there.

Unfortunately, it was kind of a crappy rainy weekend, so we got stuck indoors until mid-afternoon, and even then, the lawn was soggy, so we weren’t going to go out and play “Hit the Human Target With a Water Balloon.”  My BIL has a great water balloon sling shot launcher, and everyone from teens to 80s wants a go at that yard game.  Maybe next year.

The day before the big shindig, we did go to Canyon River Winery with our in-laws, for a flight tasting, because we had an afternoon to blow, so to speak, and stayed for a glass of what we each liked best.  I paid for that tab, because my BIL was going to get the tab for the pizza dinner.  I got the better end of the deal, pricewise.  The winery was unexpectedly decent.  C’mon, it was Minnesota.  The pizza was pretty good, too.

When we got back home, our cats were happy to see us. We unloaded our cargo before we went to pick up our dog from his boarding “resort.”  Our veterinarian no longer boards critters from clients, so we had to find somewhere else.  This place costs more than a two adult hotel room, if you split the cost per person.  The upsell for “packages” that include extra hugs, play time, tucking in at bedtime, a bedtime story, and all that nonsense is ridiculous.   Our dog doesn’t get all that at home.  Not gonna pay extra for it.

We went for the basic boarding thing, but I did have to pay extra to get our boy a bath, so we could pick him up in the afternoon.  There was NO WAY we were going to get back before noon to fetch him.  The last time he had a bath was the day before we adopted him 12 years ago.  He does have that “new dog” smell, but he never smelled like much of anything, anyway.  Mostly, his short coat looks a little fluffier.

Anyway, the whole trip went according to plan, and our 2400 round trip road trip went well.

Face muzzles were supposedly required, not by the state, but by local businesses.  Nobody wore them, and nobody cared, either way.  Hey, it’s better to be able to breathe than get asphyxia.  I think the muzzle signs were there for the health inspectors, not for real people.  We are SOOOOOO over that BS.

Whoa Pony on the Invoice

In a totally good way!  I was expecting a bill of ~$500 for the pool opening this year.  I got charged $42 and change, for the chemicals.  They waived the labor charges for cover removal and the rest of it.  Granted, the two people were only here for half an hour, and I did assist them without getting in their way, but holy guacamole, Batman!

Anyway, I called to pay the bill, and was told it was correct.  Wasn’t going to question why (because they had never done that before), so I have to assume it had to do with wanting to keep a years-long customer, given that there are at least s dozen other pool companies around here.

I’ve got a boatload of calcium hypochlorite crystals for it, as well as ~30 lbs. worth of the same thing in 3″ tablet form.  Didn’t know that chlorine tablets were in short supply this year, but it doesn’t matter.  The crystalline version and the tablets are the same chemical compound.  I probably have enough for the next two years.

Limit your exposure to its fumes, though, and take off your silver jewelry when using it.


Two days ago, a “neighbor” who lives ~1 mile away in the next town over posted on Nextdoor that she had a set of seven cast iron Tiki torches she wasn’t using anymore, and was offering them for free to whoever wanted to come by to pick them up.  She had posted the ad three hours earlier, with a picture, before I saw it, so I PMed her immediately to ask whether they were still available.  They’re really nice looking.

After a couple of PMs and texts back and forth to arrange pick-up, we arrived at her house yesterday afternoon, found her around back on her patio, where she told us she’d be, and we snagged seven of them.  Had to pull them out of the ground ourselves, with the exception of one that was particularly stubborn, so the owner got out a trowel and pitched in to extricate that one.  We knew there was an eighth one, but her ad only mentioned seven.

Had no idea they’re as tall as they are from the picture she posted of the torch top end.  If we had known, we’d have driven the pickup there to fetch them.  They would have fit in the bed with no problem.  As it was, I figured out where the latches are to release one or both of the back seats in my car to fold down, creating pass-throughs from the trunk to the passenger cabin.  Knew the feature existed, but never had to use it before.

So, we snagged seven of them yesterday.  She even threw in the better part of half a gallon of torch oil that contains citronella, and the funnel she had been using with it.  The torches are in really good shape.  They don’t look new, but they also have no signs of rust on them.

Turns out several other people who were interested in them messaged her after I did, but since I was the first, I had dibs.  Well, she wants to get rid of the eighth one, too, and texted me this morning to say that if we didn’t want it, she was just going to throw it out.  So, I texted her back to say we’d probably pop by late this afternoon to get it.  She returned the text to say she’d dug it up, and left it behind her mailbox at the end of her driveway for us.

Very nice woman.  I can understand why she didn’t want to simply send them to the scrap heap if someone else wanted them.  They don’t even show any signs of rust.  Our guess is they might be approaching 10 years old.  If we’re right,  they would have sold for a minimum of $35 each when brand new.  Probably closer to $70 each, now, if they were sold as new.  These things are rock solid, and have ornamental value besides their utilitarian value.

Finally Got the New Contacts

Got my new contact lenses today.  So far, they’re phenomenal.  Took my old ones out, popped in the new ones, the eye doctor tested them for fit and vision, and . . . wow, they feel like I’m not wearing contacts at all.  They’re for distance, not reading, or a combination of both, but with these, I don’t even feel like I need readers for small print anymore, whether it’s on my computer monitor, or in a catalog.

My old lenses were great for distance, but reading fine print got a little fuzzy.  Maybe the Rx is slightly different, but I think it’s mostly because my old lenses were well past their shelf life.  Supposedly, gas permeable ones are good for 5-6 years, and mine were at least 12 years old.  Didn’t tell the doctor how old they really are, but did say they’re probably at the end of their shelf life.  They’d been sitting in a case, unused, for all but the past few years, anyway, so the wear and tear on them wasn’t as old as their birth date, so to speak.  Anyway, I’m keeping the old ones for a spare pair.

Will have to go back in a week for a follow up to see if they’re still as good then as now, in case any adjustments need to be made.  There’s a 90 day warranty on them for however many adjustments need to be made, at no extra charge.  I did not get charged for today’s visit, nor will I get charged for the next one.  In the scheme of things, a couple hundred greenbacks isn’t bad at all for a complete eye exam, lens fitting, and follow up exams.  The lenses themselves cost more than that, but, again, no further charges, in case one or more needs to be remade to tweak the Rx during the warranty period.

First World Problems, Eh?

My eye doctor’s office called this morning to cancel my appointment, and reschedule it.  “She had an emergency” was the reason.  It could have been another client’s immediate eye emergency, or it could have been a personal one.  Doesn’t really matter.  It would have been nice if the office had just allowed me to pop by to pick up my contacts, but nope.

Also, I have a couple of “Karens” on Nextdoor, trying to bash me over the head for not muzzling up in a flippin’ public shopping center parking lot, and saying that my jab status is none of their goddamn business.  If I frighten you, take a few steps further away from me.  The best part is that none of those Karens will confront me in public; they stick to being keyboard jockeys.  Pfft.

Contacts Came in from the Lab

Got a call from my eye doctor’s office today to say that my contact lenses arrived from the lab.  It’s remarkable how quickly they can get you an appointment when you pay on your way out, so they don’t have to deal with insurance companies.

Anyway, I’ll get them o Friday, with a follow-up appointment by the doctor who fitted me for them, just to make sure they work.  There’s a 90 day warranty on then, so even if the Rx has to be tweaked several times during that time, it’s no more cost to me.  It shouldn’t.  My Rx has been almost the same since 1978.  This late in my life, I could use some readers, but I don’t want bifocal contact lenses.  Ones for distance are fine, and I’m not so vain that using readers for fine print less than 2.5′ away is a-ok with me.

What’s weirder is that my glasses have not come in.  I’m using the American equivalent of Specsavers for those, and I ordered them before I did the contact lenses.  Nope.  Not in, yet.

Readers Do Help

I mean ordinary magnifying reading glasses on top of my contact lenses, not readers for whatever crap I type that happens to be on my mind on this blog.  My vision with contacts is great for distance and mid distance.  It isn’t bad for reading, either, but instead of holding a book, magazine, or catalog a foot away from my eyes, or in my lap to read it clearly, I had to hold it at arm’s length.

The eye doctor who fitted me for a new pair of contacts on Wednesday was pretty good.  My old contacts that had been the same Rx since the ’90s were still right on for mid and distance.  The only thing she said was that if I had to keep holding reading material further away to read it clearly, I might need either a bifocal Rx or, just get some readers.  Told her I was fine with contacts for distance, and if I had to get a pair of readers with something like a 1x magnification from Walmart or wherever, I was fine with that.

I do have a pair of glasses on order, that basically are gradient bifocals.  They cost a bloody fortune, but in case I need to wear them in an emergency when I cannot wear my contacts (say, a scratched cornea), then they will cover all bases from reading to long distance.

For now, some low magnification readers make a huge difference, especially in low light conditions.  But, they only work within 2′.  Anything farther away than that, and I have to rip them off to see clearly.

Well, at my age, this was bound to happen.  I’m sort of lucky I lasted well over 40 years wearing contact lenses before readers would even make a difference.  Readers cost maybe $12-20.  Bifocal contacts cost an additional $100/pair over single focus, so . . . fuhgeddaboudit.  I’ll go with the readers.

Busy Week

I had my eye doctor appointment yesterday, but the woman who booked my appointment booked it with the wrong eye doctor.  I made it perfectly clear I needed a current Rx for rigid gas permeable lenses, but the woman with whom my appointment was didn’t do that sort of thing.  I don’t get it, because in the old days, I could go to any opthalmologist or optometrist, and get that person to write prescriptions for both glasses and contacts.

Turned out alright, though, because I did end up with a current Rx for glasses.  Damn near the same as my old one from 1978.  The woman was amazed.  Didn’t surprise me, because my vision pretty much stopped changing since I was in high school.  At least the exam was thorough, and included a glaucoma test, the one for colorblindness, evaluation of my retinas, optic nerve, blood vessels, center field of vision, and lenses.  All was good.

The problem was that I had to make another appointment for tomorrow with the doctor who specializes in RGP contacts.  They were going to tell me the soonest they could fit me in was next week, but I made it clear that I HAVE to have a new pair of contacts before the last week in May, so the assistant checked the computer, and booked me for tomorrow.

In the meantime, I went to LensCrafters, picked out some new frames (much smaller than my old ones), forked over my Rx, and the guy who assisted me was so efficient, that we were in and out of there within 20 minutes.  No problem with that.  Between the frames and Rx lenses, the cost was about what I expected.  What was weird is what they do on the lenses pricing.  They jack up the price to double, then pretend to give you a 50% discount.  The frame price is what it is.  It’s the same bullshit that some department stores play.

Anyway, it’s worth the cost to get a new pair of glasses that doesn’t make me look like a housefly.  They’ll probably just sit in a drawer for the next 20 years, anyway, unless I happen to scratch a cornea, and can’t wear my contacts for a day or two.

The good news is that the glasses should be ready about a week or so from now.  Given my Rx, that’s to be expected.  When I finally get the RGP Rx tomorrow, it’ll take a week to 10 days to get those back from the lab, too.

While we were out and about, we drove by our favorite plant nursery, which wasn’t open to the public last year, but is now.  So, on our way home, we stopped off to pick up some lettuce, spinach, hot peppers, and thyme.  We forgot the basil, but we can get that when we stop by after they get in more of the hot pepper varieties we wanted.

Tomorrow, our dog goes in for his bordatella booster shot.  Without it, we can’t drop him off at the doggie “resort” while we’re away.

We have commitments on Saturday and Sunday, too, so Friday’s our only “free” day.

Eye Doctor

There is no shortage of opthalmologists around here.  The problem is getting an appointment for a contact lens fitting.  Three places effectively said “We will have one of our schedulers call you back.”  One place said “We can fit you in in on the 6th.”  Might have been alright if it had been the 6th of May, but, no, it was the 6th of June.  Thanks, but no thanks.

All I want is a new pair of gas permeable contact lenses.  This is not rocket science.  Evidently, it’s not particularly lucrative, either, even when I say “I’ll pay cash on the spot for services rendered.”  But, finally, I got an appointment.  I’ll go in there with my remaining contacts, and those bug eye glasses from the ’70s.

Any idiot who has the right equipment can measure the thickness, curvature, and diameter of my lenses.  It’ll take a week or two to get replacement pairs, but this is easy.  I’m not looking for Lasik or cataract surgery.