Sunday, July 31, 2016


It's way before eight on a weekend, as I start writing this.  And I am up with a massive sinus headache that hurts from the top of my head, down my face, through the roof of my mouth. 

I know why I've got it, too.  I spent the last three days either cleaning (i.e., stirring up dust), or outside with the kids at the zoo (Odysseus took Friday off, and that's what we did).  Sudafed PE--which isn't really Sudafed, and only sort of works--is about the only thing I can take.  Actually, no, that's not true: Midol Complete works better, but the new bottle is in the bedroom somewhere with sleeping husband. 

The floors, though, are mostly decluttered in the living room and kitchen.  Yes, I still have the back room to do, and I need to find a better spot for the dog food to restore easy access to the washer, but that, and the vacuuming in the living room and sweeping in the kitchen, will have to wait until this headache lets go.  Hurts a lot worse when I'm moving.

We have let the Scotty dog come into the living room to play with us, though (even though we have to send her to bed when she starts questing about on the floor for fear she'll find some crumb of chocolate that Odysseus gave the pixie, and she lost track of).  She loves tug-o-war, shake the rat, and make the hedgie grunt. 

I'm just glad we finally got her to eat.  We brought her home on Wednesday, and she'd only eaten a few mouthfuls before yesterday morning.  It took bacon grease melted and stirred in to get her to eat yesterday morning, and chicken broth (past its best by date on the can, but still good) last night.

Last week, early in the week, I had my new laptop on the table next to my chair.  I thought it was stable, with all four rubber feet gripping the table (and it was), until Cricket hopped up on the table to watch the world go by through the window. 

Cricket.  The stupid and easily startled one. 

In any case, as it so happened, a bird came in to land on the porch railing, pretty much exactly opposite where Cricket sat.  And she came totally unglued.  Scrambled to run away, and managed to dislodge the stability of the laptop's rubber feet on the table.  My laptop wound up kicked off the table to land actually on the cord charging it. 

That did to my new laptop what had happened to my old one (which is what I'm actually working on right now): the charger connects only sporadically, because the prong that the cord plugs onto is a bit loose.

Thank God I spent the extra on the two year protection plan.  I've sent it in for repairs as of Friday morning.

Oh, great.  Now, she's found a toy, and is yowling in the hall.  That's probably going to go on for the next half an hour or so (or until she loses it).  And since the kids are outside, I can't just put my headphones on and ignore the cat.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Adventures in pet care

The plan I had for this morning was derailed by well-meaning relatives: I had planned to go up, have Mom help me wash the dog, then take the dog to the vet's in a nearby town.  What happened was that my mom and aunts had washed the dog by the time I got there to wash the dog. 

I was left with an hour on my hands.

So, our delightful little super-intelligent dog snapped at the vet twice.  She didn't want him handling the hair around her eyes, and didn't want him to pet her after he'd given her three shots.  She ended up costing over a hundred bucks for a well dog visit and weigh-in (19.88 lbs, if you were wondering, in a front wheel drive dog), with a shot package, worm treatment, and flea and tick treatments. 

She loved the little vet tech, though.

I got her home, gave her a bowl of water and let her sleep for a while, while I fixed something to eat and collapsed.  About an hour later, she woke up and whined a bit, so I figured she needed to piddle, and let her out the back door.  I got distracted for a few minutes (no more than about three), and came back to the dog going batshit insane.  Jumping at something, then jumping back.  Lather, rinse, repeat.  I thought, "oh, shit--she's cornered a snake" and ran outside to get the dog in the house so that the snake could get away. 

Nope.  She'd cornered--and pissed off--a box turtle.  I have never, in my life, seen a box turtle as pissed off as the one our dog had spent no more than three minutes with. 

The turtle was hissing.  I have never heard a turtle hiss, not even the big snapping turtles that lived in the slightly swampy area in my maternal grandmother's pasture. 

So, I pulled the dog back by her harness, and stepped in to pick up the turtle--at which point, it hisses at me, probably for taking so long to make my dog start irritating it--and put it outside the privacy fence gate.  It actually sat there and glared at me for about fifteen seconds before turning to turtle off. 

The dog?  Spent the next half a minute while I hunted for something to block under the gate sticking her muzzle under the gate to see what I'd done with her marvelous new toy.  The marvelous toy that was hissing at her, and tried to bite her. 

After that incident, I went to go rescue my mom from my kids.  She'd been wonderful enough to watch them so I didn't have to control both dog and kids at the vet's office. 

And then, after dinner, Odysseus and I heaped indignity upon injury (blood draw to check for heartworms and shots), and sheared a Scotty dog.  Since my family, who grew up around dogs and other animals, are incapable of reading animal body language, they haven't been able to keep the dog's hair cut, and she had four inches or so of hair length over parts of her body.  And mats.  And embedded dirt within the mats.  We took a Walmart bag full of dog hair off the dog. 

Grooming our particular Scotty is a two person job: one to hold her, and one to man the clippers. 

I will say that after the long snuggle while she was being sheared changed her attitude and behavior.  She went from ears and tail down miserable to ears up, and tail acting like a flag, with a happy doggy grin when she went outside for a walk. 

Right now, the dog and the kids have gone outside to play.  I think the dog has calmed down enough (and the kids grown up enough) that she's not scary to them even at her happiest and bounciest, anymore. 

Sunday, July 24, 2016


We have a new, six foot tall privacy fence surrounding our back yard.  The gate locks from the inside, and will stay that way, for the most part.  And that means I can boot the kids out into the back yard without having to be out there with them. 

They were out for a little less than an hour, this morning, but I got some housework done (without hearing them fight, or having the pixie come find me, bawling, because the imp "was being mean). 

Tomorrow, I'm going to feed them, dress them, and kick them out for a while early, before it gets hot.  And then, I'll see how much I can get done before they come in for TV.  I'm also thinking of going to find a sprinkler later this week for them to run through, so I can boot them out in swimsuits and water shoes after nap time, see how much writing I can get done in the afternoons.

Last but not least, we need a new picnic umbrella.  Our old one died the final death two years ago, but with the deck in too bad of shape to let the kids play outside, I didn't see the sense in immediately replacing it.  And there is no shade in the back yard until late in the day, so it's time to replace it.

Last week, Odysseus caught a nasty summer cold, then the pixie caught it (and ran a significant fever, the first day of it).  They're recovering, now, but both are still feeling it in their chests...and the imp woke up with a really bad ear ache, and a bit of dizziness (which could be from three trips to the swimming pool with his paternal grandparents, or it could be him catching this crap).  I'm keeping an eye on all three, as well as on myself in the hopes that I don't catch it.

I've got phone calls to make tomorrow.  First, I need to call the city to get their inspectors to come look at the fence, and then I need to call our vet to arrange a stay for the dog to go get wormed (my mom's place has 'em bad, and Mom can't afford to get the meds every time, and wouldn't let us), shots, flea treated, shorn, and nails clipped.  And then, the dog's coming home. 

Sunday, July 17, 2016

updates on shifting stuff to new laptop...

I've been working with my new laptop since Tuesday. The first thing I did was use Explorer to download Firefox, then Firefox to download AVG, and created system recovery disks (which took an hour, but actually did work, unlike with the other laptop).  Then Open Office.*  Finally, I started Windows looking for updates.

That...that took from 3:00 pm Tuesday afternoon, until 6:47 am Wednesday morning.  It finished up just after I got up and got settled with a cup of coffee.  There were over a hundred critical updates.  I picked through them for the two updates that create the nag screen for "upgrading" to Windows 10.  They weren't in the recommended updates, so I went ahead and upchecked all of those for download and installation.

The updates that create the nag screen for Windows 10 were in the "recommended" updates.  Those, I rarely download.  And it's easy to pick through less than sixty programs and hide two.

It took the rest of the morning to download and install updates.  The laptop finished the restarts after the updates a bit after the onset of naptime Wednesday (1:00 pm).

Since then, I've gotten the printer set up to run with the laptop (that was a bit of an argument), and played with Open Office's Writer.

Writer runs pretty much identically to Word '97.  I used to know all the ins and outs of that program, but I've been using Word since it actually made improvements that were improvements, and I have to say that I find the interface...clunky.  Word '03 through ' of the biggest improvements was in the interface between user and program.  The drop menus were replaced with something that worked better, and was less of a pain to navigate through and find the commands needed.

I have the opportunity, as an employee of a university, to download Office through the university's accounts.  I do want to give Writer a solid chance, though, and will wait until after the first assignment is to be turned in through the course site to see if I actually need Word, or if I just want it.

Regardless of which it is, I do plan to download Office sometime in early September.  Because I do like Word--the current incarnation of such--a lot better than I do Writer.

*remember--I'm testing to see if the course site will open papers turned in online for me to grade regardless of whether or not I have Office.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Dear Microsoft,

I would greatly appreciate it if finding the security updates for a new machine didn't take for-freakin'-ever.

Especially since I'm going to have to sort through and hide a few updates to avoid an operating system that I paid extra to avoid. 

Thanks.  Thanks ever so much.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

It's only been a damn year!

I'm having my computer dying on me, yet again.  This time, it's not the fan, the motherboard, power supply, or anything else.

The little prong that the power cord plugs onto to charge the battery is losing its connection.  I had two older computers--Averatec, both of them--do that.  Both were repaired.  Neither stayed that way longer than about a month.  That particular repair just seems to not hold.

So, I've ordered a new laptop.  Same brand, same model as this one, same operating system (Windows 7) with an additional two year warranty.  It will get here on Tuesday.

I know, I know (TCA), I could transition to Linux.  I'm going to have to in a few more years, if I don't want my OS sending my data to Windows so that they can, in turn, sell it to the highest bidder (or turn it over to the government).  I know course site the university I work for uses even works with Linux.  However, what I don't know is whether or not the gradebook grading will work without using Windows Word.  I am planning on waiting to download Office until after the first assignment gets turned in.  If it does, my resistance to moving to a different, spyware-free OS will be far less.