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We do most of our own property maintenance, but some things that need repair or replacement require hiring a contractor.  We’re not even halfway through the year yet, but we’ve already had three such jobs.

  • fence repair
  • pool opening
  • awning fabric replacement

Got three estimates for the fence repair, hired one, and the job was done very efficiently and professionally, but it was like pulling teeth to get the company’s owner to give us advanced notice of scheduling so that at least one of us could be home at the time.

Scheduling the pool opening was crazy.  Forget using their website’s contact form as they want customers to do, since they never reply.  I have to call them, and make sure I get through to the only competent person there in the office.  They still can;t even give me a basic “morning or afternoon” time frame for they day they scheduled.

As for the awning fabric replacement, I made inquiries of three companies for estimates.  One of them has a website that advertises that they do awnings, and features something like 40 photos of awnings they’ve done.  The owner replied to my inquiry to inform me that they don’t do awnings, but referred me to someone else.  That “someone else” got back to me pronto.  So far, a day later, only one other company has even responded.

Fencing Contractors

Trying to get an estimate from these companies is a joke.  One wants my entire property survey before even giving me an estimate for replacing fencing surrounding only three sides of an 1800 sq. ft. area with 150′ of fencing, plus a gate.  Nope.  I’m not looking to fence in my entire property, so it’s nunya biz.

Another contractor will send a guy over to measure the existing fence that I need to have replaced.  My estimate of the length needed is approximate, but not off by much.  This one seems to be more eager to get the job, but who knows.

Querying Angi is not much help.  Anyway, when a job is going to cost me more than a few hundred, I want multiple estimates/quotes/bids for the job.  This is going to cost me at least a couple of grand, if I get lucky.

My eye doctor’s office keeps calling me to make an appointment to have my cataracts checked.  I don’t have cataracts.  I have astigmatism.  If my vision wasn’t crystal clear with contact lenses, I’d know it.

My dentist’s office kept calling me to reschedule appointments during the past five years.  Offhand, I cannot recall an original appointment that didn’t get rescheduled at least once.  Last time, I outright asked “What’s the excuse this time?”  Didn’t get a sufficient answer, so I refused to reschedule the appointment.  So, they sent me a bill for x-rays that were included in what I last paid them for service on the day of.  I’m going to contest it.

What seems to be happening here is that none of these people run their own practices anymore, and are employed by corporate entities.  Those corporate entities often employ third party companies to run their billing for them.  I fire the dentist, and his employer double bills me on my way out for stuff I paid for months ago.

Bug-A-Salt

I ordered one of these for shits and giggles. It should be fun to use this summer, out on the patio, for picking off flies, ants, and smaller wasps or spiders.  It arrived today.

Happy New Year

Our fireworks aren’t quite this good, but some of our neighbors’ are.

Merry Christmas

No snow on the ground today.  The last time I recall having a white Christmas was in 1968.  At least we got to build a cute snowman with rocks for eyes and a mouth, sticks for arms, and maybe a couple of holly berries for a nose.

Finally turned the radio off this morning, because all it was playing were the same dozen Christmas songs over and over, but with different singers or musical arrangements.

Now that we’re a couple of old fogies, the only presents we exchange are practical things — a Faraday bag, a new pair of pruning shears, a new pair of jeans in a hard to find waist/inseam size, and, of all things, interior floodlights, because we ran out of them.  With neighbors, the exchange is always some sort of munchies — something for the adults, and if they have kids, something they can have, too.  Our critters are too old to want to play with toys, so they get cat and dog treats, instead.

Looks like the girl next door got a new bicycle with training wheels.  Those kids are so cute, and so polite.

Anyway, Merry Christmas everyone, even if you don’t celebrate it with anything other than “Chinese and a movie.”

We Have the Best Neighbors

Next door are two kids, 6 and 4, their parents, dad’s mom, and his grandpa.  They’re all really nice people.

Today, they brought by some Christmas cookies for us, and our missing package that was delivered to them instead of us.  In return, we gave them a bottle of wine, a pot of good cheese spread with crackers, and, for the kids, some bags of Cheetos and Cracker Jack.

They loved it.  There was something for the kids, and the adults.  “Mom” said she might not want to share the Cheetos.

Next up, the couple who lives diagonally across the highway from us.  Same swap with them for her cookies, but w/o the kiddie snacks.  She makes the best cookies, along with “haystacks.”  There’s a good chance they will pop by tomorrow.  We met them a few years ago at a Christmas party another neighbor who has since moved away invited us to attend.

We have one neighbor who we call “halfwit Kenny,” whose dad must send him outside to play with his leaf blower just to get him out of the house.  Another neighbor spies on us when we’re down in the back acres picking up branches or downing dead trees near his property line.  Those two don’t bother us, but are sort of a joke.

My M-I-L’s Spirit Lives

After my mother-in-law died last year, my other half went out to help his sister and her husband sort out some things.  We last saw my m-i-l for a family reunion two months before she died, knowing it might well be the last time we saw her alive.

At the time, my sister-in-law bought a mini phalaenopsis for our m-i-l, who knew I grow a lot of orchids, so she asked me how to care for it.  Oh, boy, were those instructions that came with it wrong!  She kept it alive, and my husband brought it back for me, because he knew I could care for it.

Since then, it bloomed again for me, right before the memorial service, and has a nice new bloom spike on it now.  At the memorial service, I mentioned to my s-i-l and b-i-l that I was in possession of that orchid, and it was re-blooming.  They just seemed happy that the plant had a new home with someone who knows how to take care of it.  Eight buds, a branch, and a node that will probably pump out a new spike when the other blooms are done, is pretty impressive for a miniature.  All I do is give it the right amount of light, and water it when the sphagnum moss gets crunchy.

The last I saw of him was two years ago almost to the day when he left a comment on an obituary page for a friend or acquaintance of his.  Something also came up about how he was planning to move back to IL from FL, but to Joliet, presumably because no relatives he still have in the area want to take him in.

I hadn’t even thought about the guy for years, until a couple of nights ago, when his name came up while talking about the biggest dumb jackasses we’ve encountered.  That’s when I decided to do a search for any of his social media posts, or whatever.  It seems he has not written anything that he or anyone else published within the past few years.  His old social media is, well, old.

Holy Turkey Bargain

Wow.  Post Thanksgiving, I was able to snag two frozen 8.5 lb. turkeys for $7.84.  No, not each, but total for both of them.  Before Thanksgiving, I was lucky to find one 9.5 lb. bird for that same price.  We normally roast a turkey for Christmas, as well as one for Thanksgiving, so that takes care of that meal.  For NYE, we traditionally roast a duck, and we have one of those, too.  Fortunately, we have an upright freezer in addition to the one that’s part of our fridge.  We may be a bit skimpy on the Christmas presents this year, but we’re good for food.

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