Monday, April 5, 2021

The joys of home ownership, part...ye gods, I've lost count.

We've had several quotes, now, about a new roof.  We've done research.  It's down to whoever will give us the best deal for what we want: metal shingles.  Not the barn-roof type metal roof--I don't think that would look very good with our roof-line.  If we didn't have a hipped roof (and built-on garage, which complicates the hipped roof roof line just a bit) it might be different.  

I'd also rather not have the fasteners exposed to the elements.  

I do, however, want the benefits from having a metal roof.  I want to only do this once.  I want something that, if the neighbors who sell fireworks (and store them on their property) have a nasty disaster, will protect us from any fire jumping to our roof.  

We've had quotes from hair curling to "OH MY GOD!  I COULD ALMOST BUY A HOUSE FOR THAT!!"  

The lowest quote was the guy that quoted for asphalt shingles.  And his quote said that any lumber repair would drive the cost up.  We...we're going to need at least some.  So yeah.  Not only is his product not what we're looking for, I don't think his quote was particularly accurate.  

Thing is...my aunt needed her roof repaired.  She needed repairs for almost twenty years.  It kept degrading, to the point that she started needing a new roof something like ten years ago.  She left it for longer.  With all the leaks, and stuff.  And now, after the ice storm just after Christmas shattering trees and dropping them on her house...well.  You can imagine.  She needs the roof replaced.  All the way down to the ceilings and beyond, in some places.  Just to the ceilings in others.  Her roof is going to cost something like twice what mine would.  Because she didn't get it done before it got really bad (and doesn't have insurance on the place to pay for ice storm damage...which is another level of stupid I won't go into). 

I do not want to end up having to pay more than what I already will have to, by not doing the repairs/replacement as soon as it's needed.  

And that's ignoring the fact that we're already seeing some inflation on the money pumped into the economy by the igornatti in Washington, D.C.  

I want this done now, before the dollars we have won't stretch to pay for what we need. 

Monday, March 29, 2021

Trending...downward.

I started teaching back in '03.  I'd applied, and been accepted to, grad school, and applied for several types of financial aid (but not loans, because I'm not stupid).  I was offered a teaching assistantship, on the recommendation of my advisor for my bachelors' degree.  She said, when I thanked her for that recommendation the following spring when I visited my alma mater, that she watched me teach, when I was in her composition classes, and thought I'd do well in front of a classroom.  

Well.  I like to think I didn't do badly, in any case.  And I did manage to teach my first classes that writing wasn't something to fear.  

Those first classes...well, it was a Big 10 school.  Town population of 30K permanent residents; school population of 25K.  I had 22 students in my class.  

Three of them didn't know that there was such a concept as a complete sentence.  Three of them wrote on a higher level than I taught.  I arranged with the bottom three to come to my office hours and work with me as well as enroll in the tutoring program.  The top three I worked with to keep them from getting bored.  

My class--Freshman Composition 1--was the lowest level English class that the university offered.  There was no bone-head English for students who weren't at Freshman Composition 1-level of competence.  There was an advanced class, but it had extremely limited slots, and they were already full.  To bursting.  Because there was only one or two sections, capped at 22 students, for a university that had 25K students overall.  

I taught for that university for the two years I was in graduate school.  

Then, I came home.  Back to where I started.  With the same professors who taught me, and the same department head.  I started teaching in fall of '05 for that school. 

It was...well.  Different.  First of all, I wasn't told that I would teach these papers in that order.  (I used a few of the assignments I'd used for the big school, but wound up designing my own types of papers.)  I wasn't told that I'd use this textbook, that workbook, and the other supplemental reader.  Since I took the sections of someone who'd abruptly quit after she'd gotten her sections assigned and gotten her book ordered, I just...kept her book.  It wasn't any more utter shit than the textbooks I'd been working from, after all.  

The biggest differences...well, my alma mater had something like 4-5,000 students.  It varied by semester.  All the classes were small.  The university (which had been a college when I'd graduated, three years earlier) had not-for-credit below-level classes for people deficient in math and English.  I didn't get students who were wildly unprepared.  The university also had six sections of the advanced class that doubled for both sections of freshman composition, for a far smaller student population.  I also didn't get those who were so far beyond the work level that they were bored into cutting up. 

I taught there for several years--both in person, and online.  During that time, I saw...changes.  

Not one of them were good changes.  

First, the university president was fired.  It was found that he'd actually lied about finishing his doctorate...fifteen or twenty years earlier.  They only found it out because they'd gone looking for something to put him in breach of contract, because he was running the university into the ground, financially.   The guy they brought in to replace him was never going to be popular, because he was brought in for the sole purpose of bringing the spending back under control.  

Most of the things he did were incredibly good ideas, and excellent policy.  Some weren't, but overall, he was an excellent university president...

...who was chased out by his support staff refusing to support him, and his faculty actively campaigning against him, making his life utter hell.  

There was a succession of utter morons for a short time, as "temporary presidents"--none of which made an impression.  And then, they hired someone who was utterly unfit for the position.  

One of the first things he did was undo about half of the cost-saving measures the hatchet man had put in: the roses and perennials were torn out, and the budget for groundskeeping staff was expected to put in seasonal annuals and change them every month or so.  And the groundskeeping staff was expanded for that purpose.  That was the stupidest thing.  

This guy also started "the Great Game of Education."  He...didn't realize, despite having been English faculty while he was still teaching, that Kipling was not at all flattering about the Great Game of Nations.  And that most of the faculty on campus mocked the fuck out of his idiocy.  Until he realized it, and decided to get petty.  

He decided to step on his classroom professors.  Who were too busy teaching to play his "Game."  He decided to set stupid, campus-wide policies that dumped more busy-work onto all of the teachers, and set financial rewards for playing along...and punishments for not...without keeping in mind all his stupidity took time out of the teachers' schedules...time away from teaching, grading, planning, and their families.  

And the department heads were, one by one, forced out of their positions because they stood up for their teachers.  

Next, he decided the placement testing wasn't worth the cost (minimal), and that the bonehead and advanced courses weren't worth the cost, and that...well, bigger universities put everyone in the same classes...

And then, he decided that the classes had to be more uniform, and he'd start with teplate courses for the distance learning classes.  And hired utter morons to design them.  

It was at that point I quit teaching online--I'd had kids, and rather than quit teaching when I went into labor, I'd switched my last on-campus class to an online course, and kept going for five years while raising babies.  My youngest was three, at that point, and was at the age for pre-school.  So, I arranged things to put both kids in a good private school, and went back to campus.  

The second department head was a good one, the third one less good but competent.  And then, we got to the current twat.  

During the time in question--twelve years--I'd seen most of the department turn over.  Most of the good professors, the ones that did a damn good job, and were student-focused, had retired.  Instead of staying for forty years (like a couple had), they jumped at twenty because they wanted out of the increasingly-toxic environment.  The ones that were still there, still student-focused...well, none of them wanted the department head position.  Not even the newer hires wanted it.  So, they went out and looked for somebody they could jack into the slot.  

He...wasn't prepared for it.  Nor was he competent.  But the upper administration loved him because he also had no spine.  

And then, I noted that the adjuncts were turning over, too.  I noted that when I had to go to the actual department for something--I forget what--there was maybe one or two names on the adjunct roster that I recognized.  

They were dumping the longer-time adjuncts that they had to pay more (policy stated that after five years' teaching, adjuncts got an extra thousand per semester).  

By that time, I'd gotten hit with something.  Something that it took a year to get diagnosed.  I was less and less able to teach and care for my family.  By the time it was my turn on the chopping block, I was ready to go.  

I do not hold a grudge for the puff that fired me.  He was only doing as directed by higher up.  

I do hold one hell of a grudge for the absolute fucktard that ran my university into the ground, trying to pretend that we could do the same things in the same way as a Big 10 school...when we had always turned out better educated students than that big 10 school, because we didn't do the same things in the same way.  

The sad and scary thing is, I'm seeing the same trend playing out on the national level, at this point.  And I worry for my children. 

Saturday, February 27, 2021

I NEEDED this.

 This.  This is good.  The tension in my neck and shoulders is melting away while I listen.  



Saturday, February 20, 2021

Post. Turtle.

 I know y'all know the old joke about turtles on fence posts.  

I have become utterly convinced that the vast majority of politicians are post turtles.  As in: utterly clueless and useless.  

Case. In. Point.  

This senator wants an investigation into why natural gas prices went up.  

During a cold snap.

When natural gas is being used to heat homes.  

And when electricity used to mine and pump natural gas is shut off, which...creates more shortages...which creates more electrical outages because the power plants that use natural gas...aren't getting it.  So, not only are people using more of it, but there's actually less to be had.  At the same time.  

Cause.  

Effect.  

Fucking duh

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Damn it.

 Rest in peace, good sir.  

"...May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest."

 



Tuesday, February 16, 2021

I really hate winter.

 So.  That storm.  It dropped around 7" of snow on us.  When I got up, our weather station receiver (the station itself is out on a fence post) said it was -18 degrees Fahrenheit--a record for cold in the area.  Yesterday and the day before didn't climb out of single-digit high temperatures.  Today's supposed to get up to the mid to upper teens.  We're having a real time of it, keeping the water lines from freezing, and only having mixed success in the fight.*

We'll be getting more late tonight/early tomorrow.  The meteorologist that knows his ass from his elbow is predicting a little more than 3" for the city where I live--farther north will get a bit less, farther south a bit more.  

Thankfully, though, that's the last of it.  We're supposed to be back closer to normal temperatures for the region and time of year by the weekend.  

Texas and Missouri have had...issues...with power.  Thanks to the utter stupidity of the vapid, virtue-signalling twatwaffles running the boards of the power companies, a significant percentage of power generation has been moved from standard, fossil fuels to windmills and solar panels.  

Except...

Windmills...freeze.  They ice up and quit turning, quit generating power.  

Solar panels...well, I don't know how much snow Texas got, but we have around seven inches of snow, and a quarter inch of ice covering ours.  And it won't clear off until the weekend.  

This leaves the power companies in a self-inflicted bind: they don't have sufficient power for the individuals paying for said power...because the weather is interfering with renewable-resource-based generation.  As it doesEspecially in this part of the country.  

It would be less of a problem if the mouth-breathing douche-clots hadn't shut down the fossil fuel plants--however, it seems that keeping them in reserve for situations like this is beyond the intellectual capacity of said fucktards.  

Instead, the dumbfucks running the electrical companies chose to impose rolling blackouts on their customers.  We were out of power for an hour and a half.  The temperature in the house dropped ten degrees in that period of time, even with the propane fireplace still burning.  Because we couldn't circulate the heat.  

Much longer, and the pressure tank in the garage might have frozen.  Which...would have necessitated getting the insurance company in on it.  Because while the plumbing repairs for frozen pipes might be less than the insurance deductible, the pressure tank would not have been.  And we would have filed a claim, and we would have pointed out to the insurance company that it was the complete and entire fault of the electrical company, and their idiotic virtue signalling fucking over their business model. 

I hope that enough people can point their home insurance companies at the electrical companies as the source of the new claims that the insurance companies sue the absolute fuck out of the electrical companies.  

And I honestly can't wait until tornado season.  Here's hoping God hates windmills as much as he hates trailer parks, and the idiots in charge of the electrical company go back to what actually works for this region.


*As I've already mentioned, the cold water line to the washer has frozen up.  Last night, the hot water line to the kitchen started to freeze up, and this morning, the cold water line to the kitchen has frozen.  And the plumber won't get to us today.  Maybe not tomorrow, either. 


Friday, February 12, 2021

FFFFFUUUUUUCCCCCKKKKKK

It's damn cold.  It's really fucking damn cold.  It's cold like I moved away from Manhattan, KS, to get away from.  

It started Sunday.  I went to visit my mom and sister.  The temperature was starting to drop when I went up.  By the time I left for home, we were getting slushy mist: it was sorta frozen when it hit the car, then thawed, then re-froze.  I had an utter bitch of a time keeping the windshield clear of ice enough for safe driving.  And there was a quarter inch of ice frozen over the headlights and front end of the car.  

And the temperature kept dropping.  

Monday, the kids' school was cancelled because the roads weren't safe, and neither were the parking lots.  It never got above freezing, that day.  And we had freezing fog.  

Tuesday wasn't any better.  Wednesday got colder--it never got above 19 degrees.  Thursday...well, yesterday, it snowed a bit, hovered between seventeen and nineteen, and the water line to the washing machine froze.  

I got up this morning around 5:40 to take my thyroid meds, and get a drink of water.  It sounded...weird.  Labored.  So I left that tap on a drip, and other half turned the heater in the bathroom on when he went in.  

It's still dripping.  Because it's still only 12 degrees.  Running the propane fireplace heater, an infrared heater, and three oil heaters has it around 67 degrees in the main part of the house.  And that is with about half a foot of insulation added to the bit that was there, and another six inches under that where there hadn't been any.  

 I'm going to go through and turn up all the heaters.  Because between the frigid cold and the wind, they're just not quite keeping up.  

Next week won't be any better, either.  We've got snow in the forecast.  Our local weather guy has noticed that our weather systems repeat every couple of months, and we're heading back into the same system that dumped a half inch of ice on us right after Christmas (and broke a lot of trees).  Weather guy says this time, with as cold as it is, we're likely to have around 5-7"...minimum...of snow.  Could be a lot more than that.  I wouldn't be surprised, with as humid as it is, and still this cold.  

The kids have been out of school for a week.  And it looks like they won't have much, if any, next week, either. 

When I was in grad school, in Manhattan, KS, we got something like 18" of snow dumped on top of 2" of ice, and it stayed in the single digits for highs for two weeks, and didn't get out of the teens for another couple.  That was a few hours north of here.  

I moved south because I wanted to get away from weather like that.  I live where we have venomous snakes and mosquitoes the size of attack helicopters because I don't like it when the air hurts my face.  Because when the air hurts my face, the rest of me hurts bad enough that I don't sleep well.