Irina Is Settling In

It took the girl a few days to emerge from the annex bedroom we gave her as her “safe space.”  For the past couple of days, she’s been running around the whole rest of the house, exploring, which is a good thing.  She’s settling in just fine.

Our other cats are giving her token growls, which don’t faze her.  Our dog doesn’t care one way or another; he was raised with cats.

We’ve got her first vet checkup appointment scheduled.

FWIW, my other half’s office manager got a chuckle out of us naming our new cat Irina; it turns out that it’s her daughter-in-law’s name.

Welcome to the menagerie, Irina!

Meet Our New Cat

Her name, as of now, is Baby.  That’s what she was called when she was brought to the shelter a few days ago, anyway.  She’s six, and looks a bit like a Russian Blue, so we wanted to give her a Russian name.  We toyed with the idea of Katia for a while, but then I remembered that a friend had a cat he called Irina.  Katherine vs. Irene, basically.

Continue reading

Monthly Winter Energy Report from My Electric Company

This thing is such a joke.  In December, I supposedly used 5% more electricity than average for my neighbors.  In January, I allegedly used 18% less.  This is a complete joke.  When most of the lights in and around your house are LEDs, and none of them are kept on for much more than an hour at a time, your heating and stoves use something other than electricity, and most of the other houses in the neighborhood have 2000 sq. ft. more than yours,  this is ridiculous.  JCP&L and PSE&G were so much worse about getting outages repaired pronto.

If they want to see my summer electricity use, it’s still below average, because I keep the air conditioner at 78F during the day, and use fans at night, unless the humidity is higher than the temperature.

Ozzie is Deceased

I freaking loved that cat, and he returned the love.  He was the most affectionate cat I’ve ever owned in ~40 years.  We did everything we could for him at then end, but his combination of cancer, kidney disease, and everything else, carted him off to kitty heaven.

He will be buried on the north side of our stone spring house.

Got Out of Attending a Wedding

A second cousin, who has met me twice in her entire life, the most recent of which was when she was six years old, sent us a wedding invitation.  She used Zola dot com.  I guess that makes it easier for people to reply, and send gifts than the old fashioned snail mail, or a phone call.

I’m sure my cousin made her daughter put us on the invitation list.  There is no other reason for us to get an invitation.

The good news, I suppose, is that Zola makes it easy for me to decline, and just send her the 4 qt. Le Creuset stock pot/Dutch oven she wanted from her registry list.  I’ve got one that is older than she is, and it’s indestructible.  Holy crap, has the new price for it escalated since the ’70s.  Oh, well, it’s worth it.

Ozzie and Super Bowl

Poor Ozzie.  Our little lovey dovey 11-12 year old cat has kidney disease.  Per our vets’ (plural, from the same place), he’s now on a Science Diet K/D (kidney disease) formula, and a periodic subcutaneous hydration drip that we administer at home.  He’s also got a mass in his belly that, when x-rayed, was inconclusive for cancer, but at his weight, he’d probably not survive anesthesia to do any surgery to find out.  We’re doing our best for him, and he doesn’t seem ready to give up, yet.  When he is, he will let us know.

As for the Super Bowl, I was surprised that this one was a good game.  Forget the crotch-grabbing and pole dancing halftime show, aimed at a much younger demographic than mine.  The game itself was the first one I’ve seen in years that was a really good game.  I was rooting for KC, mostly because my family roots are in the Midwest, and the Chiefs have never won it, while the Niners have six to their name.

I loved it when KC’s nose tackle made a “snow angel” in the confetti.

As for Ozzie, we will keep him going until he tells us “no mas.”  He’s not there yet.  They will let you know when they’re ready to go.

Super SCORE!

We visited my mom yesterday, as we typically do every other Sunday.  Her bee in her bonnet yesterday was to make us sit with her for hours while she sifted through boxes of old photos and artwork.  I came away with a really nice Japanese scroll, a bunch of Thai temple rubbings, and one heck of a gorgeous Japanese print she’d never gotten framed that I will.  The Japanese print will have to be framed, and kept away from sunlight so that the freakin’ gorgeous blues do not fade.  The Thai rubbing are somewhat fragile, but no more so than those brass rubbings I made myself in a church a block or two off Piccadilly Circus in the ’70s, for anywhere from 1-6 pounds each, depending upon their size.  I have loads of those.  Most of them are still unframed.

The Thai temple rubbings are probably worth more than my brass rubbings, but the main thing is that I love all of them.  I don’t think there’s anything odd about mixing Native American, Japanese, Chinese, Thai, and English wall and knick-knack art in my house.  It’s what I grew up with, instead of hippy-dippy flower power stuff.

*UPDATE* Hmm … A Day Early

I have three things on order, two of which were supposed to be delivered tomorrow, and one on Saturday.  All three are now rescheduled for a day earlier.  Fed-Ex is usually pretty good, but the post office is another matter (and it’s not my mailman’s fault for that).

The part that sucks is that I need to go run an errand, but dare not leave the house until the Fed-Ex delivery is made.  I might need to ask the delivery guy if he can haul it into the house for me.  What’s weird is that the online listing said the item weighs 130 lbs., but Fed-Ex tracking shows its shipping weight as 45 lbs., with a much smaller box size than it should be, so I’m not completely sure what to expect.  It wasn’t supposed to arrive in multiple packages.  I can still lift nearly half my weight, even packed into an awkwardly large box, but if it really does only weigh 45 lbs., what’s missing?  If it weighs nearly 30 lbs. more than I do, there’s no effin’ way I can haul it into the house by myself w/o going out to the barn to fetch the hand cart.

At the very least, I’ll have to open the box and take inventory.  If there is some screw-up, I’ll need to let the seller know.  I’m sure the seller will rectify it, if that’s the case.  This is the outdoors patio sectional sofa and coffee table with a thick glass top, so it’s not as if I need to have to have it ready for a cookout party anytime soon.


Okay, the Fed-Ex delivery guy showed up a few minutes ago, with three large packages.  Our dog barked up a storm to let me know that he was here.  He appeared to be in his 70s, and was a skinny, wiry guy.  I asked him if he thought he could get the packages over my threshold for me.  He looked at it (it’s ~8″ tall over that stone step), assessed the situation, and said “Sure.”  I took it from there, and squiggled each one out of the way to make room for the next one.  Neither our dog, nor our “Houdini” escape artist cat got loose.  I thanked him profusely.  That delivery guy was the best!  Wow.

Another Off-Season Sale

I was raised by my “Great Depression Baby” parents to value a good bargain, but not be “penny-wise and pound foolish.”  This is why I might buy Halloween candy on Nov. 1, or Valentine’s Day candy on Feb. 15, for half price, but won’t blow money on something cheap (in more ways than one) just because it’s inexpensive.  Do I need it?  Do I have a use for it?  If it’s not a grocery item, like a fresh whole turkey or chicken marked down to $0.67/pound from $0.99 at Aldi, before its sell-or-freeze-by date, it has to have long term use.  Otherwise, I’ll take a pass on it.

This is why I was thrilled to find a six piece outdoor patio sectional sofa, including cushions, and a thick glass top for the coffee table piece, for almost 70% off.  It got 90%+ five star reviews from over 60 “verified purchasers.”  Evidently, it’s really rock solid sturdy.  I’m sure the reasons it’s such a bargain right now are:  1) it’s January in snow country, and 2) it requires assembly.  The alternatives that caught my eye required no assembly, and were nice sofas, but were not reconfigurable sectionals, didn’t come with the coffee table, and cost nearly twice as much.

I’m really good at assembling furniture.  Why in blazes would I pay another $160 to have it assembled for me upon delivery?  This comes with the hardware and tools necessary to assemble it, so I don’t even have to go rifling through my own tools to find the right wrench sizes.  Assembly won’t even require breaking out one of my power tools.

I would not want a sectional sofa and coffee table inside my house, because it would clash with our antiques, but for the patio, its fine.  It’s more comfortable, and friendlier seating than sitting in opposing chairs around an outdoors dining table, or a picnic table, when we have neighbors over for a cookout.

We still have all the patio furniture my parents gave me after they sold my childhood house, and moved into a retirement community.  All of that is circa 1970-1971.  It’s excellent furniture.  They bought it when they had the previous owners of their house’s rose garden ripped out, replaced it with a patio, and enclosed the screened in porch.  There’s no need to get rid of that furniture.  But, it only takes up one end of our main patio.  This entire sectional, plus coffee table, won’t take up much more space along the wall than the two cord wood rack we have there during winter.  The wood rack gets moved back down to the barn when the weather is warm enough to no longer want fires in the wood burning stove in the living room.

I’m rather excited about this.  Kit furniture isn’t challenging to assemble.  Might take me an hour overall by myself to accomplish, but that’s about it.  I will pay someone professional to disassemble, move, reassemble, and level a three slate top pool table with the felt, pockets, etc. (and I did pay two guys to do that for a very reasonable cost, plus tip), but not something as idiot proof as this.  It’s supposed to be delivered on Friday.  As long as I can catch the delivery person, and ask if he can bring it around back, all will be good.

A Challenger for State Rep

We got a mailer yesterday from a guy in our legislative district for state representative, who wants to take on the incumbent.  His “Why I’m running” statement is the usual vague gobbledygook about wanting to eliminate corruption, “unreasonable debt,” and “ensure the same opportunities are preserved for our children and grandchildren.”

What would those opportunities be?  To get elected to partake of that corruption?

The guy is maybe in his early-mid 40s, with two girls under the age of 10, judging by the family picture on the mailer.  His career to date is a mish-mash.  He advised Rand Paul for a year or so, then investigated Medicaid fraud in another state.  He moved his young family here from D.C., and opened up a small real estate investing business, does some independent consulting, and writes for local and national publications.  His experience seems all over the map to me.

IMO, real estate investing businesses can be a bit shady.  Some involve using investor money to flip distressed properties; others involve buying up rental properties (mostly apartment buildings), and reeling in investors to become shareholder-type landlords of god-knows-what.

Still, I want to hear him explain more about what he thinks is wrong with our current state rep, who is in the same party.  He’s holding four events in early-mid February, one of which is a mere mile down the road from me at our local pub.  I think I’ll attend.  My other half has a prior commitment that day.  Complimentary buffet-style food and beverage will be provided.  My guess, having eaten supper there many times over the years, is that it’ll be appetizers, salad, mac & cheese, and maybe pizza cut into hors d’oeuvre sized pieces, with nothing alcoholic served, unless we order and pay for a brewski ourselves at the bar.

That’s fine, but that’s not why I intend to go.  I want to find out what this guy’s all about, and why he thinks our current state rep is so awful that he needs to oust her.  There are three ways to RSVP.  Two involve emailing or sending back a postcard via snail mail that wants our name(s), email, phone number, and employer’s name.  Um, NO!  The third option is to show up with the mailer in hand.  That, I can do.  I’ll simply need to take a Sharpie to black out our name and address.  I’m sure that will be sufficient to gain entry, especially since at this point, his primary goal is to gain enough signatures to get his name on the ballot.  There’s no obligation to sign anything, contribute anything to his campaign, or volunteer to do anything for him, although he’d be thrilled to have us do any or all of that.