One Task Left

IMG_1604IMG_1605. . . But it’s a complicated one — putting the piece of foam board over the bedroom window, which I will do tomorrow.  Today, I got the slender pieces of wood screwed onto the other piece of pegboard, moved the piece of plywood out from the wall, and put the pegboard in place.  Then I got the hooks hung and everything hung on the hooks.  I taped postcards from friends and other such eye candy up above the one pegboard.  In addition, the caster on the leg of my chair had been moving back and forth across this one area of the plywood causing the surface to splinter and a rut to be dug into the wood, so I unscrewed the chair mat from the plywood, moved it forward to cover this area and screwed it back down.

IMG_1608IMG_1607Then I hung the remaining pictures over the bookcases.  All four of these are the artwork of Susan Seddon Boulet from old calendars.  There are two unicorns on the wall above my Marian artwork that’s sitting on top of the bookcase.  (That’s Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré in the gilt frame on the furthest right, and Luc-Olivier Merson‘s “Rest on the Flight into Egyptin the gilt frame at furthest left) Seddon Boulet is perhaps best known for her goddess paintings.  I’ve two of them above the Gaelic and Chinese goddess statuettes  That’s Ixchel the Mayan jaguar goddess on the left and Spider Woman/Grandmother (Na’ashjéii Asdzáá) on the right.  Spider Woman features in Diné Bahaneʼ  the creation myth of the Diné.

IMG_1609IMG_1610I also put the plug strip on the bottom of my little reader’s table so I have a place to plug in my internet radio, a little desk lamp and my Kindle.

The only little things left to do in the office now, are get new glass for the picture that fell and rehang it, find a place for my new vacuum, and do something with the three remaining boxes and their contents.

This morning, I paid my August rent, and went to the grocery store as I have dinner guests coming Saturday (hence the “final push” to get everything done).  Then early this afternoon, I fixed my BFF’s computer again.  She had gotten a browser hijacker popup thingie that was driving her crazy, so I got rid of that, downloaded Malwarebytes and did a scan and cleaned up the odds and ends from the annoying little virus thing. I showed her how to run a scan.  McAfee came with the computer, but I don’t think much of that program.  The free version of Malwarebytes is better than the “full up” version of McAfee.

Earlier, I washed a load of towels, (including a new set of burgundy towels for my full bath) and then washed my bed linens.  I just now made my bed.  Once I post this, I’ll take my shower, and go to bed.  I go daddysit bright and early tomorrow morning (7:30) so my mom can go to the beauty saloon.

The Taurean Has Another Go At The Same Old Gate

I am so glad to be shut of AT&T — or almost shut!  For those of you who have tuned in late, here’s a recap of the battle with that octopus:   They sent me a bill for the whole month of May even though I had surrendered all their equipment to UPS as instructed on May 19th, the day the movers came, and I had the receipt to prove it.  When I got the bill, I called straight away wanting to know why they were billing me for a full month when I hadn’t used their services for a full month.  “Oh, that’s company policy.  You’ll get a refund, but not until our records show we have received your equipment.” They promised me that once that happened, a check would be forthcoming, but I wouldn’t get it until the end of July, which is absurd, but I let it pass.

Then about halfway through July, I made a second call wanting to know where my refund was.  I pointed out that if my equipment had been returned by me on the 19th, even if it went by ground, it should not have taken a month and a half to get to them.  “Oh, our records show that your equipment was returned the 19th and that it has been received by us.”  That call was made on a Monday.  That Friday, oddly enough, I received a check for $91.17, refund for the period of 05/21/2014 to the end of that billing period. I also received, by the same post, a bill from them for a $5 “convenience fee.”

So I call them a third time and point out to them that they owed me more than the $91.17 they had promised to refund me because, as their records showed, I had returned my equipment on the 19th, so I had no equipment at the service address with which to avail myself of their services, and even if I had, neither my computer nor my TV nor my telephone was physically present at the service address after the morning of the 19th, so even if I had had any equipment, which I hadn’t, there was nothing at the service address to which to hook it up.  And further more, what was this bill for a $5 “convenience fee”?  They had had my money in their bank drawing them interest for over a month and a half, and they were charging me $5 for that privilege?!   They agreed that it would not be a good idea to bill me for two days of service that I could prove I could not possibly have “consumed” and that they would refund me an additional $21.25.  And the lady I spoke to had worked for them for over 10 years and she had never heard of the “convenience fee” they were charging me (and I could tell that even she was shocked by their corporate effrontery).  She would see that it was waived.  By now, I was beginning to feel like John Cleese in the famous Dead Parrot Sketch, but I thought maybe I was finally done with their constant nickeling and diming octorporate* practices, and well and truly shut of them.

Monday, I received a check from AT&T for — are you ready for it? — $17.25.  Yep.  They’d deducted the “convenience fee” from my refund.  So yesterday, I get on the phone for the fourth time, go through the whole spiel again, to be told, no, they had indeed refunded me all they owed me and I did not owe the convenience fee.  Of course, I didn’t own them a convenience fee! They’d already deducted it from my refund, even after the lady I talked to before had assured me she worked for them for 10 years and had never heard of the convenience fee (“Oh, that just started in 2014.”), that I would receive a refund of $22.25, and that the convenience fee would be waved.  We went round and round again, and she mentioned that she would report the other lady to her supervisor for giving me incorrect information, and that I didn’t owe a convenience fee.  I could see I wasn’t getting anywhere and hung up.

I simmered about it for half an hour then got back on the phone and made a fifth call.  I waded through the phone tree and when the lady answered, I asked to speak to a supervisor.  Oh, she assured me she would do everything in her power to see that I was a very satisfied customer, and that if I still wasn’t satisfied, she would put me in touch with the supervisor.  So I went through the whole spiel again, and we fenced a bit, and I made it clear that what would make me a very satisfied customer is her sending me a check for $5, which she agreed to do, but — wait for it — I wouldn’t get it until the end of the next billing cycle. What do you want to bet I end up having to make a sixth call?

In other news, one of the kitties, and I have my suspicions as to which one, provided me with an opportunity to use the power suction “pet” attachment to my new vacuum by ralphing on the bedspread.  By the time I found it, it was dried.  Vacuumed out nicely, though.  I also learned that I could reconnect the vacuum in such a way that I could use the “floor brush” portion ( “business end” when the vacuum is configured as an upright) as an attachment on the end of the wand when using just the “tank” portion as a “carry around” vacuum.  Somebody has put some serious thought into this baby.  Also, it’s so quiet it didn’t panic the kitties.  They’re understandably leery of it, but it doesn’t panic them like my old upright, or the Eureka tank I’ve had longer than I’ve had the kitties.

Last night, the Littermaid’s rake froze at the top of the cycle — at least it didn’t freeze in the middle where it would have completely blocked the kitties access to the box.  But as it was, the soiled litter receptacle could not be closed. I turned it off and on a couple times, and all it did was sit there and blink.  Rather than just leave it sitting there blinking, I turned it off.  This morning when I got up, I was going to call Littermaid (it’s still under warranty), but on a whim, I turned it on.  Amazingly, it finished its cycle and has continued to work so far.  However, this rake “freeze” is an ominous sign.  Good think I have a brand new one in an unopened box stashed in the closet.

I’ve got to go take my bath now because I’ve got to go by the bank to get a money order for my rent, and then go to the dentist for a teeth cleaning, and then I’ll see if my BFF is home and go fix her computer.  Again.


*A word I just coined, derived from the strength of an octopus’ grasp because of all the suckers on all eight of its tentacles and all the things it can grasp because it has eight tentacles, and the type of corporate culture that attempts to get hold of as much money out of a customer’s pocket as they possibly can without doing anything overtly illegal, in AT&T’s case  by using a convoluted and admittedly creative system of fees and tolls so complex the customer would have to be especially determined to get to the bottom of and catch them at, and even then . . . . “Convenience fee,”  my Aunt Fanny!

Down to Two Tasks From Three

IMG_1583IMG_1573That is, tasks left to do to get the apartment in shape. Last Thursday night I sorted out my books.  It was highly satisfying to put them in the “proper” order:  Female scifi/fantasy authors (that accounted for a bookcase and 3/5), male scifi/fantasy authors (a bookcase), comics (including a complete collection of Calvin and Hobbes), graphic novels and books about art (the tall bookcase), and mixed general fiction (the dark bookcase).  Then the remaining 2/5 of the one bookcase was for fairy tales, myths, legends, special books, notebooks containing things like my mom’s family geneology, a dictionary of Líídá, scrap books, craft books and knitting patterns.  The “special books” are a copy of Mosses from an Old Manse that belonged to my great aunt E.E. (sister of my maternal grandfather), a copy of “The Ballad of Reading Gaol” published during Wilde’s lifetime, a Methodist hymnbook (just words, no music) belonging to my great grandmother, etc.

No, it’s not OCD.  People with OCD are compelled to perform certain actions because they are obsessed  by the idea that some terrible thing will happen if they don’t.  They may be compelled to check to see if the burners on the stove are off, because of their obsession with the idea that the gas might have been left on and a disastrous fire or gas explosion might result.  They check the burners repeatedly, compulsively — like every five or ten minutes. A person with OCD may believe that  every time they turn a light switch on or off, if they do not turn it on and off a certain number of times in a certain pattern (magical thinking), some catastrophe will befall them or their loved ones.  The compulsive hand washer has become obsessed IMG_1578with the notion that their hands have become contaminated with some lethal disease and they will either sicken and die from it or expose their loved ones to it and they will sicken and die.  No, it’s not OCD.  It’s just imposing order on my environment.  I have previously described the M&M/Reese’s Pieces color thing I do (again, not OCD) where I sort the candies out by color and eat them in a particular order.  Again, not OCD.  I do not suffer any delusions about dire consequences that might befall me or mine if I don’t do it.  There are so many things in my life I cannot control.  I control what I can.

I had a Little Ceasar’s attack just now.  Nipped up to their store and got a three meat pizza, a cheeze bread and a regular wings. (For me, that’s four or five meals’ worth of food, BTW)  Prepared a plate, was headed back to my computer, didn’t even get into the hallway when the black one came unfed — without preamble! I don’t know what it is.  It seems the minute I get a meal prepared and sit down to eat it, somebody either comes unfed or refunds a hairball.  It’s almost like clockwork.

IMG_1601OK.  Now the vacuum cleaner saga.  It was guaranteed to be delivered by Saturday.  I was home from about noon Friday, to 9 o’clock Sunday morning.  No vacuum cleaner. After all day Saturday and no vacuum, I got on the Amazon website at about 7:20 p.m and clicked on the tracking info.  According to Amazon, it was delivered at 2:39 p.m. on Friday afternoon, and somebody named “Payne” signed for it.  In the first place, it wasn’t delivered to me, and who the heck is this “Payne” person who has my $160 vacuum!! Fast forward to this morning shortly after 9 a.m.  I go over to the manager’s office, .et voilà  There it is.  UPS made no attempt whatever to deliver to my residence.  They did not leave one of their little notes saying “We (thought about attempting to) deliver it, but nobody was home so we left it at the office.”  They just took it to the manager’s office and left it.  I lugged it home, put it together, and test drove it all over the house. Money well spent!  I had not vacuumed since I moved in on May 19th, and the picture at right is what it looks like to have three shedding cats (see below) and not having vacuumed for two and a half months, more or less.  It weighs only 12 pounds (approximately 5.4 kg). It has three settings:  Off, Floors, and Carpet.  When you’re in the carpet mode and return it to the upright position, suction continues, but the brush turns off, so you don’t have to turn the vacuum completely off to keep the brush from “digging a hole” in your carpetIMG_1603.  It cleans very thoroughly. The “bag” detaches so I can take it outside to the dumpster and empty it.  I haven’t used it with just the canister and the special pet brush yet, but so far, I’m entirely pleased with it.  Now if I can just find a place to put it when its not in use.

Two tasks left:  Put the styrofoam insulation panel over the bedroom window, and fix the other pegboard for my computer area which, besides screwing the pieces of wood to the pegboard, also entails taking the recliner and the computer table off the piece of plywood on the floor, and pulling it out from the wall about 2 inches so the pegboard will go between it and the baseboard. In order to put the styrofoam panel over the window, first I have to take the curtains down, then I’ve got to stick some foam door weatherstripping to the styrofoam panel so it will “seal” against the textured wall, put it against the wall and fasten it with screws threaded through quarter coin-size metal washers — just plain screws will pull through the panel.   I have 11 washers.  (Why the package only contains 11 instead of an “even” dozen is beyond me.)

At some point later on, I need to tear a couple “lawn and leaf” plastic bags off the roll and do a clothing cull.  I need to try on everything in both closets and chests of drawers (except unmentionables) and whatever doesn’t fit, in the bag it goes.  Then the bags will be donated to Goodwill or Catholic Family Services or someplace like that.

I think I’m going to start a filing cabinet fund so I can get a good metal two-drawer filing cabinet. Once I get the other pegboard in place the kitties will be able to do an end run around the screen I’ll be using to protect my computer equipment.  I’ll have to get a piece of poster board to block off that hole in my defenses until I get the filing cabinet.


Of Etherees and Butterflies

Shoreacres, who hangs out at The Task At Hand is rather fond of a verse form called an etheree which, like the sonnet, the quatrain, the haiku etc., makes specific requirements of the poet in terms of meter and length of line.  I hauled off and committed a double etheree a while ago,  based on observations I had made back when I had a yard that was in a condition where such observations were possible.  That would have been before the “trees of heaven” seeded by the tree next door pulled a Genghis Khan maneuver and occupied it.  After that, of course, I moved.  As long as I’m having poetry attacks, I’ll have another one.

Love and War

Swirl, loop and twine.
Two males dogfighting
Over honeysuckles
And blood red climbing roses
Chase each other in the sunlight
Like tiny wood and canvas biplanes
Skirmish over irises and jasmine.

Who would have ever thought that butterflies
Built of milk glass, gossamer and cobwebs,
Could fight with such ferocity?
Two kite-like adversaries
Endlessly pursuing
Their affaires d’honneur
Through Roses and
Til one

Poem ©2013 The Owl Underground

Love and War

A Solitude á Deux

Terry Windling recently had a post up on her blog, Myth and Moor, about literary marriages.  Herself an artist, author and editor, Windling is married to a protean playwright/musician/puppeteer.  She commented in particular on the marriage of Virginia and Leonard Woolf and pulled this quote from Olivia Laing’s book, To the River “These two couples nurtured a kind of fertile separateness, a solitude à deux that seems totally at odds with our modern concept of marriage. It is striking how frequently Virginia Woolf and John Bayley in particular write of the pleasure of writing alone in a room, knowing that somewhere else in the house, in their own private sphere, their spouse is also happily at work.”

After reading that post, I had a poetry attack:

Solitude á Deux

Now that would be a nice marriage.
A solar system of two planets,
both orbiting the same star,
yet each a world unto themselves.
It would, of course,
necessitate development
of interplanetary travel,
but, oh, how nice
for each to know
there was another world nearby
full of untold wonders,
that traveling there
was easy and convenient,
and that the natives were friendly.


Poem © 2014 The Owl Underground
Poem © 2014 The Owl Underground Image © 2013 Michal Karcz
Poem © 2014 The Owl Underground
Image © 2013 Michal Karcz

Things and Stuff

Just a collection of gleanings from the internet.

This is a sculpture.
This is a sculpture.

tumblr_n8itn5P3qD1rcreq5o1_1280 tumblr_mxftqwUnaa1qbyxr0o1_400 tumblr_mwujx5cg461qmstddo5_500 tumblr_mhny2iKBKf1rppyj0o1_500

Poem and Image © Shel Silverstein
Poem and Image © Shel Silverstein
Image © Peter de Seve
Image © Peter de Seve

omar-rayyan mosaic

Image © 2014  Jackie Morris
Image © 2014 Jackie Morris
Image © Peter de Seve
Image © Peter de Seve
Image © 2014 Doodlemum
Image © 2014 Doodlemum

Books Read in 2014

78. Kushiel’s Avatar, Carey, Jacqueline
77. Tithe: A Modern Faerie Tale, Black, Holly
76. Meet Me in the Moon Room, Vukcevich, Ray
75. Kushiel’s Chosen, Carey, Jacqueline
74. The Golem and the DJinni, Wecker, Helene
73. Kushiel’s Dart, Carey, Jacqueline
72. Fearsome Journeys (The New Solaris Book of Fantasy 1), Bear, Elizabeth, et. al.
71. *Unnatural Creatures: Stories Selected by Neil Gaiman
70. The Beckoning Lady, Allingham, Margery
69. Dancers in Mourning, Allingham, Margery
68. Sweet Danger, Allingham, Margery
67. Mystery Mile, Allingham, Margery
66. The Fashion in Shrouds, Allingham, Margery
65. Look to the Lady, Allingham, Margery
64. Mr. Campion’s Lucky Day and Other Short Stories, Allingham, Margery
63. More Work for the Undertaker, Allingham, Margery
62. Tiger in the Smoke, Allingham, Margery
61. Death of a Ghost, Allingham, Margery
60. Police at the Funeral, Allingham, Margery
59. Flowers for the Judge, Allingham, Margery
58. Pearls Before Swine, Allingham, Margery
57. Miss Buncle Married, Stevenson, D. E.
56. Miss Buncle’s Book, Stevenson, D. E.
55. *Vampires in the Lemon Grove, (short story anthology),Russell, Karen
54. *Troubled Waters, Shinn, Sharon
53. *Wakulla Springs (Novella), Duncan Andy, Klages, Ellen
52. Sethra Lavode, Book 3 of The Viscount of Adrilankha, Brust, Stephen
51. The Lord of Castle Black, Book 2 of The Viscount of Adrilankha, Brust, Stephen
50. Peacemaker, Foreigner #15, Cherryh, C. J.
49. The Paths of the Dead, Book 1 of The Viscount of Adrilankha, Brust, Stephen
48. The Manual of Detection, Berry, Jedediah
47. Summer at Fairacre. Book 2 of Fairacre Affairs, Read, Miss
46. Village Centenary, Book 1 of Fairacre Affairs, Read, Miss
45. Assassin’s Assistant, Hobb, Robin
44. No Holly For Miss Quinn, Book 3 of Christmas at Fairacre, Read, Miss
43. The Christmas Mouse, Book 2 of Christmas at Fairacre, Read, Miss
42. Village Christmas, Book 1 of Christmas at Fairacre, Read, Miss
41. *Life After Life, Atkinson, Kate
40. Storm in the Village, Book 3 of Chronicles of Fairacre, Read, Miss
39. Village Diary, Book 2 of Chronicles of Fairacre, Read, Miss
38. Village School, Book 1 of Chronicles of Fairacre, Read, Miss
37. *Shadow Magic, Wrede, Patricia
36. Harfang Book #1, Demilly, Aurore (graphic novel)
35. Iorich, Brust, Steven
34. Book of Enchantments, Wrede, Patricia
33. Cowboy Feng’s Space Bar and Grille, Brust, Steven
32. Jhegaala, Book 2 of The Book of Dzur, Brust, Steven
31. Dzur, Book 1 of The Book of Dzur, Brust, Steven
30. Tiassa, Brust, Steven
29. Issola, Book 2 of The Book of Dragon, Steven Brust
28. Dragon, Book 1 of The Book of Dragon, Brust, Steven
27. Orca, Book 2 of The Book of Athyra, Brust, Steven
26. Athyra, Book 1 of The Book of Athyra, Brust, Steven
25. Phoenix, Book 2 of The Book of Taltos, Brust, Steven
24. Taltos, Book 1 of The Book of Taltos, Brust, Steven
23. Sector General, White, James
22. Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day, Watson, Winifred
21. Tekla, Book 3 of The Book of Jhereg, Brust, Steven
20. Yendi, Book 2 of The Book of Jhereg, Brust, Steven
19. Jhereg, Book 1 of The Book of Jhereg, Brust, Steven
18. Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant, Cliff, Tony (graphic novel)
17. By Blood We Live, Adams, John Joseph, editor
16. The Tenth Gift, Johnson, Jane
15. *The Birthday of the World, LeGuin, Ursula
14. The Lantern Bearers, Sutclif, Rosemary
13. The Silver Branch, Sutcliff, Rosemary
12. The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Gaiman, Neil.
11. The Eagle of the Ninth, Sutcliff, Rosemary
10. A Phantom Lover, Lee, Vernon
9. Talking to Dragons, The Enchanted Forest Chronicles IV, Wrede, Patricia
8. Searching for Dragons, The Enchanted Forest Chronicles III, Wrede, Patricia
7. Dealing with Dragons, The Enchanted Forest Chronicles II, Wrede, Patricia
6. Calling on Dragons, The Enchanted Forest Chronicles I, Wrede, Patricia
5. Sharaz-de: Tales from the Arabian Nights, Toppi, Sergio (graphic novel)
4. *Clockwork Phoenix: Tales of Beauty and Strangeness, Allen, Mike, editor
3. *The Day They Brought the Bears to Belfast, Lee, Sharon (short story)
2. *Surfside, Lee, Sharon (short story)
1. *Life in a Tudor Palace, Gidlow, Christopher


Coolth Has Been Restored

Evidently, I got a bum battery, because the brand new batteries I put in the thermostat were straight from the package.  One of them was dead, according to the handy man, who twiddled and fiddled with the thermostat for a total of five minutes and got it working again.  This was shortly after 10 a.m. (I probably was not holding my mouth right when I put the batteries in . . . ) Thankfully, the house had already cooled down somewhat since midnight and it was only 78F/25.5C inside when he got the thing working again.  It got cooled down to 76F/24.4C pretty quickly and I and the kitties crawled into bed and crashed out.

Today is payday, and I just ordered a vacuum.  My BFF has this kind and she likes it a lot, particularly the “pet brush,” which is a brush with motorized head that goes on the hose, which is for upholstery (and in my case, the bed spread). They promise it will be here on Saturday.  I guess I shall have to put a sign on my door, underneath that jive doorbell, “I am here, press hard.”  The doorbell does work, but it’s a mechanical bell, rather than an electronic one, so you have to press the doorbell button firmly to make it plong.

I’ve had my bowl of Kashi Cinnamon Harvest cereal and Silk vanilla almond milk, and that’s given me the energy I need to go back to sleep.  (A cup of almond milk, a container of yogurt, and a cup of appropriate fruit plus ice in a blender makes a great smoothie, by the way.  Just saying.)

When the white kitty woke me up (Did I mention what a little diva he is?), I was dreaming that the Queen and I were lying on our stomachs on the floor while I explained to her the intricacies of a particular treadmill.  This particular treadmill was a “tandem” treadmill and was linked to another treadmill.  Whatever the other treadmill did, this one did also.  There was a part that folded out, and when it was folded out on one treadmill, it would fold out automatically on the other one.  Evidently whoever had this treadmill was unhappy about this and and had nailed that part shut so it wouldn’t unfold.


Well, Of Course!

I stayed up late Monday (didn’t go to bed until nearly noon Tuesday!) and I was hot when I woke up after 5 p.m.  Lay in the bed and read until 8 p.m.  Was still hot.  Got up to look at the thermostat to see what the temperature was, and it was blank.  Changed out the batteries.  No soap.  Still blank.  The blower still works, but there is no temperature control to turn the cooling function on, so it’s after midnight now,  it’s 80F/26.6C n my bedroom, and I’m sweating like the proverbial pig.  Did me a whole lot of good to take a shower and wash my hair.  I sent an email to my apartment manager to the effect that my thermostat is kaput.  Naturally, and most inconveniently, I have jury duty tomorrow and I have to be downtown and sitting in the jury pool room by 8 a.m.  We have to turn off our cellphones while we’re there so there’s no way the apartment manager can get in touch with me.  I am already worried sick because it’s supposed to be 97F/36.1C tomorrow, and the white one has such long fur, and he’s 15.  Even short haired cats don’t tolerate heat very well, and he’s already lying on his back which mean’s he’s hot.  So I’m going to be down town and my poor babies are going to be shut up in my bedroom in case they come fix my thermostat while I’m gone.  . . . .

Drawing © 2014 Doodlemum
Drawing © 2014 Doodlemum

This just in:  I checked the County website again — Jury Duty is Cancelled!!!  I don’t have to report.  WHEW! Now I can stay home and melt until they get my thermostat fixed.

I hope they can get it done tomorrow. Surely, they can . . .?  This weekend it’s supposed to be up in the 100’sF/37.7+C on both Saturday and Sunday.  I may have to empty and wash out out a spray bottle of something and mist us to keep us cool. That will not be popular with the kitties. If things get too bad I might can MacGyver a swamp box with a pan of water, a towel and a fan. . .