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.


Ozzie Update and eBay Victory

Ozzie is settling in well.  He’s still wary of the dog, and is a picky eater.  If I mix in a spoonful of stinky, wet cat food with his 1/3 c. of dry kibble, he will eat ~3/4 of it.  This is an improvement.  There’s no way we’re going to feed him exclusively wet cat food; it bad for his teeth, long term, and he already has dental problems.  That said, he loves the tippy top of the cat tree, which is supposed to be 70″ tall, but is more like 68″.  The girls consult their cat behavior manual, and realize they’re supposed to give him a token hiss when he passes by, so they do.  He looks at them as if to say “Yeah, whatever,” and keeps going.   Woo-hoo, Oz!

As for eBay, I ordered something that should have arrived early last week, and the seller’s shipping company claimed it was.  It wasn’t.  Not here, anyway.  After three days worth of back and forth with the seller, he finally told me it was my problem, not his, etc.  I filed a claim with eBay for a simple refund, which came back within 10 minutes as “Denied.  Your case is closed.”  I had to get on the phone to get a service rep to “appeal” my case.  Anyway, I won, eBay reversed its decision, and I got my refund — or so I was told.  I’ve got the electronic “paper trail” to back it up, if it doesn’t post within three business days. No need to be snippy with anyone involved, but this is progress.

Other than that, all news is Hurricane Florence, even though it’s supposed to miss us, if the projected swing-around to the SW, then north, holds.

Stay safe, if you’re anywhere Flo’s supposed to blow through.

Update on Ozzie

My other half had to leave at the crack of dawn to go to Binghamton to pick up a trailer mounted sawmill he wanted.  Evidently, Ozzie ate his breakfast and used the litter box, so that’s good.  This morning, I went to visit the boy.  He’s not ready yet to leave that spare bedroom to meet our other critters, but as soon as I sat down on the bed, he crawled onto my lap, and started purring.

He’d been at our local shelter for three months.  Judging by the three full pages worth of medical history that I received upon adopting him, he was not in good shape when he arrived.  I doubt he was mistreated (if he was, he’d be skittish), but it seems as though he was somewhat neglected.  His coat was matted, he had ear mites, and a bad case of fleas.  Never before have I seen a medical history on a shelter animal that required a full three page printout for three months worth of treatment.

At this point, if he’s got anything else not completely right with him, it’s that he’s probably a little too skinny for his bone frame.  When we first got Monica, our black cat, she had a little pin head on a beer barrel body.  She’s normal sized now, proportionally, and at a good weight.  Ozzie has a giant head attached to a long slender body, with really long legs, and big paws.  He seems healthy, but probably should weigh closer to 12 or 13 pounds than his current 11.

When my veterinarian’s office opens, I’ll give them a call to book an appointment for Ozzie’s initial checkup.  The vet will tell me what his proper weight range should be, and will have time to read through his medical records.  The pound had been feeding him 1/3 cup of dry food twice a day, which is what we feed our other two.  Let’s hope he doesn’t have kidney problems, which is not uncommon in older male cats, but if he does, I’ll deal with it as need be.  I’ve dealt with it before.  Another cat I owned developed diabetes at age 14, and had to get daily insulin shots for the last three years of her life.

The only thing I’m potentially worried about is whether “mama’s girl” Monica will get jealous of any attention I pay to Ozzie, and scrap with him.  They’re both fully armed.  I’d rather not have to clean up any drops of blood.

Meet Ozzie

His name is Azule, so we’re going to call him Ozzie.  He’s 10+ years old, and such a sweetheart.  When you take in an older cat, you know exactly what you’re getting, personality-wise.

He’s our third cat.  Our dog will get along fine with him, as will our longhair dilute tortie girl.  I’m not sure about our black shorthair cat, but Ozzie is fully armed, if it comes to that.

Because he’s an old fart, we got him for $25, and the shelter even threw in a 7lb. bag of dry food, and some large (12″ x 18″) weird maze-like cat toy that I think I’m supposed to weave yarn around, and hide cat treats in it.  It’s not intuitive.  The cat, however, is extremely intuitive.  He just needs to stay in the one bedroom in the annex by himself with food, water, and a litter box, until he’s ready to meet our other critters.  When he’s ready, he’ll let us know.

This boy is the best birthday present I ever got that I paid for myself.  Of course I will continue to pay for his vet care.  Those bills have always been mine.  So what?

I think I only need another eight cats before I turn into one of those crazy old cat ladies.  *sigh*

Old-Timey Stuff

A few weeks ago, I bought a quart of Queen Helene cocoa butter lotion for $3.29.  I’d never heard of the brand.  Got it because it was cocoa butter, and cheap.  Turns out it’s been around since the 1930s.  It’s thick, and a dime sized blub of it is enough to cover both of my legs.  So, why do hotels/motels place 1 oz. of runny shit in your room, labeled lotion, when an ounce of this fantastic stuff would probably cost a nickel, or less, with a contract for distribution?  This is the kind of lotion my gran in Iowa used to use, and it still rocks ~90 years later.

The other old-timey thing I love is Bag Balm.  It’s mostly petroleum jelly and lanolin, but has an antiseptic, too.  Like Brylcreem, a little dab’ll do ya, for basic scrapes, if you don’t want to use isopropyl alcohol or  hydrogen peroxide, and it’s much less greasy than anything with bacitracin.  Bag Balm has been around since the 1800s.  There’s a reason why.

Old time remedies really do work.  If they didn’t, they wouldn’t still be around.

Fantastic Vet

Greta got her stitches taken out yesterday, got her annual combo shot, and has forgiven us.  The veterinarian who did the job is the son of the original owner, and probably co-owns the joint.  Both are excellent.  So is everybody else they hire.  There was no charge for removing the stitches, but there was for the shot, at a very reasonable cost.  Turns out thaat Greta did not need the second week’s worth of antibiotics.  We were told that we could return the unused pills for a refund.  Really?

We had no further use for them, but they did.  Untouched, uncontaminated, still in unbroken vacuum packs, they can still use them on their hospital patients.  Even if I didn’t get a refund for them, still in their vacuum packs, I wouldn’t have cared.  Still, I got nearly a $15 credit to my account, which will come in handy when our black shorthair needs her annual checkup and combo shot.  I freakin’ love this vet.

Poor Greta

She’s our longhair cat.  Unfortunately, she hates being brushed, to the point at which she will claw and bite, if I persist.  So, every year during summer shedding season, she gets a few mats in her coat.  This morning, my other half noticed a raw patch on her skin about the size of a dime, where a mat had been.  By the time we got her into the vet an hour later, it had grown to the size of a dime store turtle.  We had to leave her there for sedation and stitches.

The good news is the people who work at this veterinarian are excellent, and their fees are quite reasonable.  A father and son team own the practice, and I think most of the other vets who work for them split their time between there, and another practice elsewhere.

Greta was also probably due for her annual checkup, and distemper/rhino/etc. combo shot, although I hadn’t gotten a postcard in the mail yet.  She passed her checkup, but that injury does need treatment.   Fortunately, this vet accepts personal checks, and VISA (but not Amex), because I probably don’t have enough cash on hand to fork over a handful of Jacksons.  I generally don’t pay greenbacks if the bill reaches three figures, anyway.

Having to run over to the vet first thing in the morning while I was still undercaffeinated and hadn’t taken a shower yet wasn’t much fun, but it had to be done.  We should have her back by dinner time.

Veggies for Mom

My mom stopped cooking anything, probably close to two decades ago.  Still, she loves it when we bring over some freshly harvested produce from our own veggie garden.  She’s up for two heirloom tomatoes, a cucumber, and a cantaloupe.  Butchering and ingesting those only invloves a knife, fork, and spoon.

As far as the growing season is going, we have at least another two dozen melons on the way, most of which are a Tuscan type, some cukes, a boatload of tomatoes, pole beans, bush beans, peppers, and tomatillos.  Most of it’s doing fine.  The tomatillo harvest is a bit of bust this year.  With all the rain, half the big slicer tomatoes are cracking, and scarring over, at the stem end.  Nothing we can do about that, other than pick them when they first start to turn, and let them bench ripen.  I’m amazed the melons didn’t rot.  OTOH, as good as the melon harvest is, they’re not as sweet this year as they would have been with less rain.

We got not one eggplant from any of the three we planted.  The jalapeño and cayenne harvest is so-so.  The mini-sweet peppers are coming in fast and furious, but they aren’t starting to ripen yet.

My next door neighbors no longer keep chickens.  We traded them five or six trailer loads of wood mulch in Spring for a load of sheep dung compost from their farm down the road.  We also loaned them both our big and small trailers to move around their big tractor, and the stuff we sort of swapped  He has his own big trailer, but it’s non-op; ours works, right down to the tail lights and brakes, and he has the truck to pull it.

Last week, I gave them a sampler of our organic produce.  I would never give away anything that had any blemishes; most organic produce does have some.  It was just a small sampler:  one of each of four different things, along with four jalapeños.  It was like giving them a flight instead of a half gallon growler, so to speak.  They let us go grab whatever peaches we wanted off their trees.  Not many were left; It’s a fair deal, I think.


For the life of me, I couldn’t find any sunscreen in any grocery store that had an SPF of less than 30.  I already had some of that, and anything with a higher SPF is a marketing gimmick.  I wanted SPF 4, because the old stuff I had of that caliber was so old that it came out of the squeeze bottle like milk instead of lotion.  I don’t need anything more than 8, even in late Spring, when the sun first emerges in earnest.  I tan like crazy, as a rule, and haven’t gotten sunburned in over 30 years — not even on the golf course.  Nobody wants to fry in the sun, but getting enough to kick up your vitamin D production, so you can metabolize calcium properly is not a bad thing.

Soooooooo, I ordered some Banana Boat SPF4 waterproof spray online.  It arrived today.  Yesterday, my other half, who knew I wanted some, came home with a squeeze bottle of Hawaiian Tropic SPF4 lotion.  He found it at WalMart, of all places, when he went to find an oil filter.  I paid him back for it, as he does me, when I pick up something only he’s going to use.

Suddenly, I’m up to my eyeballs in SPF4 sunscreen.  Oh, well.  At least I’ll have enough to last for the next decade, or more.  The creamy lotion version is good for maybe five years before the thickener breaks down, and the spray version doesn’t really die, kinda like 1960s conventional hard contact lenses.

I probably can get away with no sunscreen for half an hour hunting and picking through our veggie garden, but I sure do need it poolside, whether I’m adjusting chemicals, vacuuming the bottom, or floating around on a lounge chair with a cool beverage in the holder.  I wouldn’t be doing any of that if it wasn’t sunny.

Now I Remember

… why I hated this pair of 28″W x 32″L Levi’s.  Other than the copper rivets, they’re all cotton, with no stretch unless they’re wet.  They’re the ones I grabbed to put on to go grocery shopping this evening.  They are so baggy in the butt, and in the thighs.  I must have bought them in the early ’90s.  The ones I still have from the ’70s are cut straighter, which works better for me.

As much as I love jeans for their durability, they can be the bane of my existence.