June 2, 2008

Yes, I'm still working on my "price zapping" sale to try to raise some money to help pay off mounting medical bills from my surgery.  So, as you shop, watch for the lightening bolt sign...those items have been marked down...a lot of them below my cost, just because I need to raise some cash quickly.  I'm marking them down a little at a time as I'm still a little lacking in energy.  Keep checking back!

We've had some very stormy weather lately. I had to take these from inside because the wind was blowing the rain around so crazily, there was no such thing as shelter from the storm, even under my covered patio.

It got as dark as night at about 10:30 or 11:00 in the morning.  In the first picture, you can tell I still had electricity, because you an see the reflection of my lamp in the glass of the window.  But we lost power for about 6 hours on Sunday.  In fact, I've decided the electrical utility company (PSO) really stands for "Power Supply Optional" rather than Public Service Company.  Believe me, there is NO public service to be had!  I live in a neighborhood that has buried power lines.  This is SUPPOSED to mean we won't lose power every time one of these Oklahoma storms blows through.  But it's becoming a very VERY regular happening, in spite of the fact that the lines are underground and in spite of the fact that our utility bills continue to rise and rise and rise and RISE to ridiculous heights.  We pay more and more for less and less, but because they are the only power company in town, they just gouge away.  Yes, I'm pretty frustrated.  At some point, enough is enough and I've had ENOUGH.  Grrrrrr!

 

June 7, 2008

Do you ever have those mornings where nothing seems to go right?  Totally unexpected, hits you out of the blue?  It started off O.K.  I got dressed without mishap, ate breakfast, got the dishwasher going, so I really didn't have any warning that the rest of the morning was going to be...weird.

It started when I pulled out of the driveway and began to exit the neighborhood.  This fancy-looking sedan backed out in front of me and basically stopped.  Oh, they might have been moving 1 mph.  I did detect some slight forward movement if I watched carefully.  I was trying to be nice...you know, it's not a good thing to make your neighbors hate you because you're standing on your horn and driving 1 inch from their bumper.  But I can only seem to be nice for so long and they were trying my patience.  They finally began to creep forward at the incredible speed of 5 mph.  I couldn't pass.  There were cars parked in the street (aka - the obstacle course) that had narrowed the road to one lane.  So, for the next 15 minutes, I was stuck behind some IDIOT who obviously didn't know their car came equipped with a gas pedal.  When we finally reached the entrance to the neighborhood (1/2 a mile from my house) and turned out onto the main street, I was able to pass, with much relief.  They're probably still out there, creeping toward the next intersection.  Thankfully, they are no longer in front of me!

The grocery store is fairly abandoned at 8:00 a.m. on a Saturday morning.  This is why I go early.  I don't like getting caught behind idiotic shopping cart drivers any more than I enjoy getting trapped behind idiotic sedan drivers on my way to the grocery store.  I thought my bad luck for the morning was over because there were even less cars in the lot than usual.  And I really did quite well in the store...until I started to check out. 

For some insane reason, I always use the self-checkout lanes at the grocery store.  I don't know why I do this.  It's more work.  It's often frustrating.  But I still go back, week after week, and check myself out in spite of the problems that one generally encounters when using this system.  I shop at my Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market.  They now have this new "improved" self-check out system.  It weighs the item you just scanned and decides whether or not you have actually put the right item in your bag.  Therefore, items such as my Diet Mt. Dew, that I do not normally bag, must be placed on said scale for a ridiculous period of time to allow this new and improved system to give me the thumbs up so I can continue checking out the rest of my purchases.  Oh, you can hit the "skip bagging" option, but you can only do this twice before the whole damn system locks up.  At this point, you are required to get assistance from some non-existent store employee.  I assume they DO HAVE employees.  Somewhere.  But they are rare and should probably be placed on the endangered species list.

I guess I didn't leave a box of cereal on the scale long enough.  Everything locked up, so I hit the "skip bagging" button that had appeared on the screen and started to move on.  I must have been moving faster than the speed of lightening today, because the darn thing locked up a second time and I see the "skip bagging" button has again appeared on the register screen.  O.K., why not?  I need to move on here.  When it locked up again after I bagged my milk, I knew I was in trouble.  Three strikes and YOU'RE OUT OF LUCK, SCHMUCK!!!  I tried it anyway.  I hit the "skip bagging" button and sure enough, I got the "employee approval required for you to skip bagging this item" message.  I was dead in the water with 4 items left to go.

I waited and nobody showed.  So I started wandering around this nearly deserted store for what seemed like hours.  When a Wal-Mart employee finally came into sight.  I tackled him and drug him over to the register (remember, sightings are rare, so I had to take drastic action).  He conceded that the scales were a tad too sensitive as he logged into the system and punched in his approval code.  I scanned the last 4 items, counting to 20 before removing them from the scale.  I didn't want to get that damned "skip bagging" button again!

I hit "finish and pay" and thought I was home free.  But NO!!!!  The self-check register had it in for me today!!!!  It decided I needed to try to find an employee to help me once again because it wouldn't complete my purchase until they approved it!!!!!  This time, I didn't wait.  I started the hunt immediately.  When I finally found a rare walmartemployeeisusis, I again dragged them to the register where they punched in their magic code and finally completed the sale.  I couldn't get out of the store fast enough!

Exit store, enter parking lot.  We have a wind advisory today.  This means it is unusually windy outside.  It was so windy, I couldn't get my cart to stop rolling long enough to unlock my car and open the trunk.  I though I had it wedged against the cart return rack that I was parked next to.  But the second I turned my back, it took off and was half way across the lot before I could catch it.  Thank goodness there were no cars in its path!  Like I said, the lot was unusually empty, probably because people were smart enough to stay home during a hurricane!  When I finally got the truck popped, it became obvious that I needed at least 3 arms.  Unfortunately, I only had two.  I had to figure out how to hang on to the cart (it was moving way faster than the car I followed out of my neighborhood earlier) and hold the trunk lid up against the gale force wind while also loading my groceries into the trunk of my car.  I finally wedged the trunk lid on my shoulder, where it beat me mercilessly as it tried to bang closed, held the cart with my right hand and unloaded the groceries from the cart with my left hand.  I was contorting like the Hunchback of Notre Dame and probably looked like I was having an epileptic fit, but I got my groceries in the trunk...success at last!

Next stop, the gas station.  So, it's still windy, but what could go wrong at the gas station?  Ha!  PLENTY.  The place was packed...evidently everyone who is usually at the grocery store was hanging out at the pumps.  I finally got a slot, managed to open my door against the ever-increasing wind, got the gas cap off and into the little gas cap clip holder Honda so conveniently provided for this purpose, scanned my credit card, selected my grade ($3.99 per gallon - YIKES!) and started pumping.  Evidently, that sedan I encountered while trying to exit my neighborhood had been there before me and they had powerful mo-jo.  The gas pump was making a gawd-awful noise and it sounded like it was doing something really wild and wooly, but whatever it was doing, it didn't involve gas actually leaving the pump and going into my tank.  Five minutes later, I hadn't even managed to pump $1 worth of gas.  Time to move on.  I stopped at .92, hung up the nozzle and watched my gas cap as it was ripped from the nice little gas cap clip holder go flying across the gas station tarmac.  I went sprinting after it and managed to catch it before it made it all the way back to Wal-Mart.  I had to wait in line for another pump.  I was going the opposite direction when I parked this time, so the wind was hitting the back of my car.  Almost ripped my door off when I opened it to get out of the car.  By now, my hair has been twisted and spun and tangled beyond all hope.  I can't even see anymore, so much of it is in my face.  But this pump worked, I paid my $3.99 per gallon (#@%^&^##$$%), carefully opened the door to get back in my car and waited in line as the crowd and I all left the station together.

I'm home now...and I'm staying home for the rest of the day.  Having survived this ordeal, I have learned my lesson.  It's NOT SAFE out there today...at least not for me. So if you need me, this is where I'll be.  I may or may not decide to leave the safety of my home tomorrow.  I'll see what the wind is like and let you know!

 

June 15, 2008

We are having a perfect day for all those father's day cookouts most families I know are having this afternoon.  It's hot, but not too hot, sunny, but not too sunny, breezy, but not horribly breezy...you get the idea...it's a nice day, for a change.  Those nice days are rare, at least they have been lately.  We've had a ton of rain.  In fact, a couple of times, the rain has been coming down so hard, it was almost like being underwater.  I couldn't see even 10 feet in front of me.  Both times, I was driving home from work on the expressway...not a good place to encounter such heavy rainfall!   Traffic slowed to a crawl, for the most part, which was good, because I couldn't see the taillights of the car in front of me.  The streets were flooded because the drains were overwhelmed by the volume of water.  And we have more storms predicted for Monday.  More flash flood warnings.  I don't know what's up with the weather these last few years, but we are definitely getting a lot more rain than we used to!!!  I'm very tired of feeling like I'm under attack from the wild lightening and crazy winds.  I'm ready for some hot, dry weather!!!

I'm happy to report that my weekly grocery store trip wasn't nearly as disastrous as last week's trip.  I was planning to go through the self-check line, but a very nice check-out person (one of those rare walmartemployeeisusis) was actually waiting for someone to serve and she beckoned me into her lane.  So I didn't have to fight with the talking-locking automatic anti-checkout system.  The wind wasn't nearly as bad.  But the cart still wouldn't stabilize.  The store just bought new carts, which is wonderful, because the old ones were barely mobile any more.  These new carts, however, are race cars.  They roll on level ground.  The parking lot is not level ground.  I'm going to have to find a better place to park or bring a wheel wedge!

The gas pump I used last week was still broken.  This week, I reported it.  Last week, if you'll recall, I was too busy trying to catch my gas cap as it flew across the tarmac and beyond.  I find it hard to believe that no one else had mentioned the fact that it wasn't working...did EVERYONE have to chase down their gas cap last week???  But either no one said a word, or the proprietors decided to ignore the problem.  Either way, I KNOW it has been reported now, so we'll see if they do anything about it.  Although I may avoid that pump for a week or two, just to be sure.

The entire last week was insane.  I found myself needing to be three places at once at work.  Traffic was especially bad all week.  It rained a lot.  It stormed a lot.  Everything seemed hard.  I'm hoping this week will be a little easier.  I'm too old for all this craziness!

 

June 20, 2008

It has continued to rain and storm...we are so far ahead on rainfall, the weather gurus are saying we could go without until October and we would still be ahead for the year.  I lost some shingles in a storm that came through Sunday night and have not yet been able to get a roofing company to come out to repair the damage.  THAT bothers me a lot!  I'm worried that a little damage will become a big deal left to the elements, especially since the elements have been anything but friendly!  So goes life...

On a happier note, here's ZOE!!!!  She makes me laugh, even when it's awful weather and the roof is leaking.

 

Here she is, doing battle (complete with cute growly sound effects) with her bed that sits under my computer desk.  After realizing I snapped her picture, she looked up at me with this innocent "who, me?" look. 

 

She likes to attack my rugs too...notice fierce teeth...lots of those growly sound effects going on here too.

And finally, she wears herself out and simply goes to sleep, like the plug has been pulled and all systems are instantly shut down.

  That's my Zoe! 

 

June 22, 2008

A friend sent this to me and it really got me thinking. 

A few pointed questions about the Iowa floods:

Where are all of the Hollywood celebrities holding telethons asking for help in restoring Iowa and helping the folks affected by the floods?
Where is all the media asking the tough questions about why the federal government hasnít solved the problem? Asking where the FEMA trucks (and trailers) are?
Why isnít the Federal Government relocating Iowa people to free hotels in Chicago ?
When will Spike Lee say that the Federal Government blew up the levees that failed in Des Moines ?
Where are Sean Penn and the Dixie Chicks?
Where are all the looters stealing high-end tennis shoes and big screen television sets?
Where is the hysterical 24/7 media coverage complete with reports of cannibalism?
Where are the people declaring that George Bush hates white, rural people?
How come in 2 weeks, you will never hear about the Iowa flooding ever again?
 

June 28, 2008

I took this picture today.  This is the kind of weather we have been having a lot of lately:

Oklahoma used to be sunnier.  I swear it did!  I don't know what has happened in the past few years, but we have become wetter and even a little cooler during the summer.  Winters have become more difficult...ice storms have become much more frequent.  I don't get the "global warming" thing at all.  Seems to me it's getting colder and wetter and more destructive.  It's kind of frightening when you really think about it.  I've been thinking about it lately and it depressing...or maybe it's just all the rain that's getting to me!!!!