Wednesday, August 30, 2006
And here is the trench. He also cut one for my water/sewer hookups, but it looks just like this one. I'd hoped to get the lines run and stuff also, but J wanted to play with the trencher some more, so he said he'd finish up on Saturday. I don't know yet if I'll have to work the weekend, but he said he'd get Cody to help.
I had to buy 2-0 copper electrical wire, plus the PVC conduit to run it through. Copper costs nearly as much as gold these days, and I spent nearly $1000 on wire and conduit. PVC, fortunately, is still relatively cheap, so my water and sewer pipes won't be near that much.
I'm a little disappointed that they can't get my home delivered before Labor Day, assuming we have it off. I was hoping to use the weekend to move in and such. Well, them's the breaks, and it won't be much longer now anyway.
I can't wait!
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
We all knew the storm was coming. It had been on the news for days, even weeks. We all knew it could be the worst natural disaster in U.S. history. It wasn't like it was a big secret. Storm warnings were in effect up and down the coast. Evacuation orders were given. Someone said, "God help you if you don't get out now."
Oh, we knew she was out there all right. She didn't sneak up on anybody.
I could feel the storm as I left for work that morning. I'd felt her since the afternoon before--a faint breath on the back of my neck. I could tell when her outer edges arrived--fingers from an unseen hand reaching out to touch everything within her grasp. I didn't grow up along the Texas Gulf Coast without developing that sense. That sense that something big was coming.
We didn't have TV or radio access on the shop floor, but some people in the shipping office did have a radio, so we got regular updates. We knew what was going on. We knew when the levees broke. We knew when the roof of the Superdome blew off. We knew when the water hit six foot deep, then 8 foot, then 10 foot...
We also knew she was heading our way next.
The local schools let out at 1:00 PM, but we at ADP worked the full day. When work let out, I got out to my car only to discover text message, after text message, after text message saying "THE SCHOOLS ARE LETTING OUT AT 1:00!!!" In all caps. Over and over again. I kept getting these text messages until about 4:30 PM. Even though I'd sent a response saying that it was well after 1 and I didn't need any more reminders, I kept getting them. I finally had to get pretty nasty with the sender, telling her to stop sending them because she was running my phone battery down. You see, I didn't know whether we would lose electricity or not, and I wanted a full charge on my phone, just in case.
The leading edge of the storm was here and gone by then, and we were in the thick of it. They eye wouldn't pass through for a few more hours yet, but this was a big storm. When I got home, were was my beloved son? Outside playing in the wind and rain!
"BOY! Get your butt in the house! This is a hurricane!" And he comes bopping excitedly up to me exclaiming, "Mom, guess what? A limb almost fell on my head!"
That's the way to calm a mother's heart!
After checking my e-mail, and the weather, I secured my house as best I could, packed a few essentials, and went to B and J's to wait out the storm. Once there, there was nothing we could do but helplessly watch and wait. Watch the news coverage on the TV, and watch the winds and rain outside the window, and wait for it to pass.
By the time she got here, she had weakened to a tropical storm, but her winds were still in the 55-60 MPH range. A strong tropical storm, and still a force to be reckoned with. The electricity flickered on and off a few times, and each time we thought, "This is it", but it always came back on.
There were others taking refuge at B and J's house too. A friend of the family and her three children were there. The husband and father, an army reservist, was not in this area. Having been wounded in Iraq, he was in Virginia receiving medical treatment--I think. I'm not too sure about my memory there, but I know he wasn't here.
It was one of those rare situations in which B and J let Katie, Cody's dog, into the house. Oh, they don't mind her inside, but their own dogs kind of take exception to her being there. But I kept her close by me and after a few minor skirmishes, everyone was fine with each other.
I spent the night on the hide-a-bed in the living room. I was more worried about waking up on time than anything else, so I didn't sleep well. I'd set the alarm on my cell phone, but it only makes one little chirp then shuts off. I wasn't sure that would wake me up, so I kept waking up to check the time. Each time I woke up, I could hear the wind and the rain howling outside my window. But sometime during the night, the storm blew itself out.
I did manage to wake up on time, and the next morning dawned so sunny and peaceful, you would have never thought that such a destructive force had just been through. But the evidence of her passing was everywhere--from downed limbs and power lines, to refugees who lived in the church gym for two weeks, to the horse still stabled in my neighbor's pasture even now, to the knowledge that for so many, nothing would ever be the same again.
When I got to work, about half the employees didn't show up. Many of them couldn't get there. We were hard pressed to find enough people to run at even half capacity. They ended up letting everyone go home after half a day anyway. The roads were so bad our supply trucks couldn't get through.
A few weeks later, the employees of ADP elected to donate the funds set aside for our annual employee picnic to Katrina relief efforts. The committee chose a recovery program in Mississippi for Mississippians. I was very glad of that.
New Orleans may have gotten all the attention, but there were many, many others who seem to be forgotten, but whose lives were forever altered that day.
It is to them that I dedicate this post.
Monday, August 28, 2006
and the new scarf:
I don't particularly like the way the colors are turning out. They looked a lot better as just a ball of yarn. But this one will probably go to a charity anyway, and some child will like it.
Sunday, August 27, 2006
Ernesto is now a category 1 hurricane, and projected to make landfall in Florida by Friday.
For those interested, here is the latest picture of Scarlett:
The burns are at their worst now. My face didn't blister up, so that's good news. They will only get better from here on out. I didn't sleep too well last night either. Normally I sleep on my stomach, but the burn there prevented that. I couldn't sleep on my right side because of the burns on my face. I ended up sleeping on my left side, which wasn't all that comfortable because of the soreness in my left arm. That is from the tetanus shot they gave me. The oother thing is that since it happened, I've been absolutely ravenous. In fact, my stomach is growling even now. I'm going to try to get pics of my burns to post. I know you're all looking forward to that.
I started a new scarf. I found some self striping yarn at Wal-mart, and broke my self-imposed moratorium on buying new yarn. I don't feel too bad about it. This is the first time in about a year that I've bought new yarn. I sort of designed this scarf myself. I wanted one that was simple enough that the pattern wouldn't be lost in the busy colorway of the yarn, yet was a bit more interesting than plain stockinette stitch. So I adapted an afghan pattern that I think works very well for the scarf. I had to start over several times to get the stitch count just right, then I decided the scarf was just too wide. So it went to the frog pond and I started over yet again. Of course, then I had to get the stitch count right again, but I decided the garter stitch border was too wide. So I started over still another time. But it is just right now--just the right width, just the right stitch count, and just the right border. I'll take a picture of it when it gets a little longer.
PBS is having a special on snakes tonight. Gonna go watch it and knit a bit more.
Saturday, August 26, 2006
Here is my sky:
But other places have skies that look like these:
This is Tropical Depression (formerly Tropical Storm) Debby.
She is becoming more disorganized by the day, and isn't expected to last much longer, as she heads into the colder waters of the North Atlantic.
This guy, on the other hand, could end up being a problem. This is Tropical Storm Ernesto:
and he is heading into the Gulf of Mexico. He could become the season's first hurricane, and a threat to this already battered area. We'll be keeping a close eye on him.
I had my own personal storm today at work. You see, I work as a brazier. I use an acetylene torch and a silver alloy brazing rod to join copper components together into prespecified assemblies. Since me and my brazing partner are so far ahead of our line, Johnny sent her to another area to work. I set up on her stand to finish an order over there and was happily brazing away until one time I went to hang up my torch--which is also supposed to shut off the flame. I'm not exactly sure what happened, whether I got the tip caught on my glove, or I didn't get it on the hook well or what, but the next thing I know is this acetylene flame is coming straight toward my face. I could feel the heat (they burn at an excess of 1500'--because that's the temp at which the rod melts) and instinctively grabbed at it, trying to get it away from my face, but it somehow got between my arm and my body, so I just opened my arms and let it fall. As it fell, it hit my stomach and burned through my shirt. I'm glad I insist on wearing all cotton shirts ( I can't stand the feel of polyester) because a synthetic fiber would have melted and stuck to my skin. As it is, my skin is burned off in a couple of spots and in one of them, the burn was deep enough to draw blood. And it doesn't feel too good, either. The hair and my eyelashes on the right side of my head are a bit shorter now also.
Now, being a brazier, I'm pretty much used to getting burned. I've got more than one burn scar. Usually we just run a little cold water over it, maybe put some burn cream on it and go on about our business. This time, due to the severity of the burn on my stomach and the size of the burn on my face, this time they decided to send me to the ER as a precaution. I know doctors are trained to be calm and reassuring, but I always feel like they are acting like I'm making a big deal out of nothing. The nurse was a lot more sympathetic. Anyway, the doc gave me a prescription for an antibiotic burn cream and painkillers, and a tetanus shot and sent me back to work. As the nurse was giving me the tetanus shot, I remarked, "You know, my last tetanus shot was courtesy of my place of employment as well." Back in 1997, I got my hand caught in a copper tube cutter. I didn't lose any digits, but got about a dime sized hunk of flesh ripped off on one finger. Now that hurt...
So the doctor cleared me to go back to work, and told me to follow up with Dr. Harrison (the cheapest doctor in town and the one all the plants and jails use, and he's no good; but that's a story for another post) on Monday. I had to call B to come pick me up, because when you get hurt, the plant won't let you drive yourself to the hospital--in case you are hurt worse than you think, but they just drop you off and you're on your own getting back. I got back to work and told my supervisor what the doctor had said. Then I told him I'd rather see my own doctor (and he said ok) and even though the doc said I could come back to work, I felt like I needed to go home ( and he said ok).
I got home at around 12:30 and spent the evening knitting and watching PBS on the TV. But now I can tell my painkillers are starting to wear off, so I need to go eat something and take some more.
Oh, good snake news:
- After 48 hours, Scarlett still hasn't urfed
- Monty ate an unscented rat
- Slider took a second small adult rat.
Friday, August 25, 2006
I heard from Sunshine. She did get my shodan promotion filmed. She is going to send me a disc of it as soon as she can. But being a busy college student, I don't know when that'll be. I remember my own college days...
I'm going to try to get Cody to film me doing seisan kata soon. So many other bloggers have posted their own versions of seisan, that I wanted to add mine as well. I got to learn a little more of Sunsu kata last night. Yes, I finally made it back to karate. It seems like such a long time since I'd been, though it was only three classes I missed.
Sensei said the he wants to start a black belt class, so the four of us can continue to grow. I hope he does it soon, because I feel like I'm not doing anything now. I don't participate in classes any more, unless we have an odd number of students and someone needs a partner. I usually do basics with the class, even though I'm not required to. I'm the only one in the black belt row doing basics. Sensei and Mr. Tedder are teaching, and James just leans against a bag or something. Then, when we are doing kata, sensei will call us out by ranks. He never calls black belts out to do kata. If I want to go over kata, I have to do it by myself after class. If I want to learn anything, I have to get with sensei after class. I guess that's the way it was in sensei's home dojo--the black belts didn't work out with the kyu ranks.
I talked to sensei before I left. I told him Cody and I were going to have to quit karate. With the new house and the accompanying payments, I just couldn't afford to pay him. He said, "You don't have to quit."
I said, "But I can't afford to pay even for just Cody." He said again, "You don't have to quit. I've told you before that financial troubles are never a reason to quit."
Maybe he is not all about the money after all...
Thursday, August 24, 2006
Yesterday at work I was talking to one of my friends who has a son just a year older than Cody. I was bemoaning the problems I was having getting Cody to do his homework. In a stern and rather condescending voice, my well meaning friend said,
"You need to start taking things away from him, Becky."
I didn't say anything to her, because she had good intentions, but what did she think I was doing? I mean, did she think I was just sitting around saying, "whatever you want dear" while my son was refusing to do his homework and lying to me about it? Give me a break!
But the conversation reminded me of some of the humorous, and totally useless, advice I got when Cody was a baby. Let's discuss a few of them...
When Cody was just a few weeks old, we were still in Italy. I was visiting with a friend who had two daughters, 7 months and 2 years old. During the course of the conversation, she pointed to a walker and said, "I was going to give you that walker for Cody but Jen Jen tore the seat out of it standing in it. "
I replied, "That's ok, because I wasn't planning on getting him a walker anyway."
"What???" She responded in a shocked and incredulous voice. "You're not going to put him in a walker????? How is he ever going to learn to walk if you don't put him in a walker????"
Uh, the same way babies learned to walk for thousands upon thousands of years before walkers were invented. And Cody did learn to walk at 11 months of age. Right on schedule. (After we got back to the States, I eventually did get him a walker. I found one at a resale shop for half price, but I seldom put him in it. He was probably in it 5 times before he outgrew it.)
Other things I heard were:
- He will never learn to walk if you don't put him in hard soled shoes
- If you don't put him in high top shoes, his ankles will be deformed
- You need to start potty training him (at 11 months of age). If you don't start to potty train boys as soon as they learn to walk, they'll never be potty trained.
Sometimes it's just better to trust what feels right.
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Now, I am not normally a bug person, but I found this huge cicada on my laundry when I got home from work this evening. I remember as a child, we used to love to find the little brown exoskeletons they left everywhere. We called them locust shells, though they weren't really shells, and they didn't really come from locusts. We would stick them on our shirts--long before the days of Izod, and on our ears--long before the days of ear cuffs.
I didn't get anything done this afternoon that I was going to. I didn't get the oil changed in my Jimmy. I didn't go get milk. I didn't color my hair. I didn't do much of anything.
But I DID call the Liquid Petroleum company and get my account cancelled and made an appointment for them to come pick up the gas tank. My new house will be all electric, so I don't have to worry about paying a gas bill. Funny thing, I grew up with an electric stove and though I've lived in this house for 11 years, I still haven't quite gotten used to cooking on gas.
I'm starting to count down the days until the new house gets here. It'll be next Thursday or Friday, since J won't be able to extend my utilities until Wednesday. I can still hardly believe it's coming! Woo hoo!
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
If you're going to blow yourself up, make sure your car isn't as well built as this one.
And finally, if you're going to lie to your mother and tell her you don't have pre-algebra homework, it's probably not a good idea to do it while she has your teacher on Yahoo Messenger.
Not much to talk about today. We've spent the evening doing the battle of the homework. And it's still going on....
Good news is, it rained all night last night. But I'm afraid for this year's crops, it is too little too late.
More good news, Scarlett hasn't urfed yet and it's been 4 days. Maybe we'll get past this eventually.
Monday, August 21, 2006
Sunday, August 20, 2006
Good news on the snake front. I finally got Slider to accept small rats. Some of you may remember Slider. He is a ball python I adopted from a co-worker. He's about two years old, and had been fed live mice his whole life. I wanted to switch him to rats, because mice simply aren't big enough for a snake of his size. Now, ball pythons don't get that long--mostly 4-5 feet--but being boids, they are really thick around the middle. At Slider's size, he should be eating small or medium adult rats. Since he was not used to eating such a large meal, it was suggested to me that I start him out on smaller rats. I tried feeding him weaned rats for several weeks, but he wouldn't eat them. Then I had a DUH! moment. He was used to mice! So I started feeding him frozen/thawed mice, starting with one, then adding a second one. Once he was eating mice well for me, I tried another weaned rat scented with Mouse Maker. He wouldn't take it, so it was back to mice for a couple of weeks. Then I tried again with another scented weaned rat. This time he took it. After a couple of weeks of eating weaned rats, I tried with a small adult rat. I think he was intimidated by the size of it, and refused. Back to weaned rats for a few more weeks.
So this weekend, I decided it was time to try him on small adults again. Six of my seven snakes were scheduled to be fed--5 on Friday, and 2 on Saturday. I fed Slider last of all--Saturday evening. After two days of smelling thawing mice, he was pretty worked up. By the time I got his rat scented and heated up, he was out in his tank looking for something to eat. I lowered it in there holding it by the tail with long feeding tongs, and he grabbed it so fast he jerked the tail clean off. I actually got to see him eat, too. Finally, he is eating what he needs to be. It's been a long, hard process, but well worth it. And judging by the lump left in his stomach, it won't be long until he needs to move up to medium adult rats.
Bad News on the snake front. Scarlett urfed again. It was just a bit of skin, but it was still an urf. That's two. If she urfs this latest meal, I'm going to put her back on liquid feedings for a while.
On the knitting front, I'm really wanting to try knitting a lace shawl. I've been spinning yarn for a while, thinking I would knit a shawl for my sister. It's time to start researching shawl patterns...
Saturday, August 19, 2006
I was hanging my laundry before work this morning and managed to catch the sunrise. It would look a lot better without the power lines, I know, but I didn't have time to walk down the road that far. I also figured out how to center my direct links from Photobucket. Yes, I am still having trouble uploading photos to Blogger, and I see from the help group that I am not the only one. Others are having this problem as well, but no one seems to know what to do about it. I sent an e-mail to blogger support, and all they did was to send a reply containing links to everything I'd already read. Some support that is.
James and I had a long text Thursday night. He is talking about quitting karate. I asked him what was wrong, and he said that he is sick of the way sensei is handing out belts left and right, without requiring anything of the students. Sensei promoted Brian Thursday night without testing him, and without requiring that he know the kata for his next rank. Now, if anyone deserves to have some slack cut, it definitely isn't Brian. He is rude and disrespectful. He smarts off to sensei in ways I'd never have dreamed of doing, even when I was 14. He doesn't want to learn his kata or self defense. All he wants to do is fight--both physically and verbally, and he gets downright abusive. He has a chip on his shoulder the size of Mt. Rushmore, and seems only to be in karate to prove how tough he is. Yet sensei promotes him just to keep him in the school. He doesn't want to lose Brian's monthly dues.
You see, with sensei, it's not about the art any more. It is all about the money. And the art suffers for it.
I encouraged James to stick with it for himself, and not to worry about what everyone else is doing, but it was really hard of me to say that. I feel like quitting myself. In my dojo, even though sensei says black belt is only the beginning, it is the end. Black belts in my dojo are non entities. Non students. I guess we are expected to do all our learning and training on our own time, away from the dojo, because we certainly don't get any instruction in the dojo. But if that is the case, why even bother to go? Why pay all that money (that I sure can't afford now that I am going to have a house note) just to stand on the sidelines and watch. And that job he offered me as an instructor in the after school program? Never panned out. He hasn't mentioned it again, though the program has been going on all this week.
I suppose James and I could start our own class there on the sidelines. That's what we've been doing for the last month anyway.
Speaking of school, I already got a note home from Cody's math teacher that he has not turned in two homework assignments. He's only been in school for a week! I told her that anytime he doesn't do his homework or classroom assignments, to send me an IM that same day, and I'd put the whammy on him. Heh, I ought to tell ALL his teachers that.
I think I will...
Friday, August 18, 2006
Thursday, August 17, 2006
I skipped karate tonight, too. My stomach is really tied in knots. It kind of feels like when I eat something I am allergic to. I can't think of anything I ate that was new or different, except a burrito. Those aren't completely new, but I haven't had any in a long time. Hmmm.... Maybe I should take a Benadryl before going to bed.
Cody and I have been watching the show America's Got Talent. Normally, I'm not too fond of talent competitions, because I think they are self limiting. There are many types of talents that don't present themselves well on stage. It's pretty much limited to singing and dancing, and maybe a magic show or two. Some people have a talent for painting, but how do you present that in a two minute stage performance? Or a talent for writing?
There were some really varied acts in this series, but I'll lay odds that the winner will be--you guessed it--a singer. I"ll let you know who wins.
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
P and Z urged to resolve trailer placement issue
by TISH BUTTS Staff Writer
Grenada City Manager Sidney Runnels has suggested an increase in Planning and Zoning authority regarding manufactured home placement.
Runnels and Councilman Steve Richardson both attended Tuesday's meeting of the commission and agree that P and Z should approve the issue of replacing an existing mobile with a newer mobile home.
Both said the matter is completely different from locating a mobile home onto new property. In this case, the mobile home existed on the property before the request was presented to the commission.
Rebecca G. of R Road requested permission to replace her old mobile home with a new one. G. presented the commission with a list of names from 30 of her neighbors who approved of the new mobile home.
P and Z Commissioner Mickey Boyette compared the request with one made by M. J. last month. The matters differ because G. already resided in the mobile home on her property. She also had the approval of her neighbors. J. wanted to bring a new mobile home onto new property.
Wanda Palmer made a motion to deny the approval because relocating a mobile home is a matter for the city council. P and Z Commissioner James Miller seconded.
"I think it's a waste of time," said Runnels. "I think the matter should be processed here."
Palmer withdrew her motion.
Boyette motioned to approve the replacement. However, Stanford Amos suggested P and Z go through the normal process until the city council officially hands over authority to P and Z.
Runnels suggested Pa and Z approve the matter at last night's meeting. He said he will present the approval to the city council at the work session Thursday.
Amos seconded. The commission approved unanimously.
Ok, well, it was a whole lot juicier than that, and it wasn't quite unanimous. Wanda Palmer voted no, but still it was 4-1. I sure would love to have a copy of the tape of that meeting. It was something, I tell you. J told me that it was a total setup. City councilmen don't usually attend P & Z meetings, yet there were three of them there last night, one being the city manager. J told me that his son M called him at work and told him Mr. Runnels got a chewing by an older member of the city council. He said Mr. Runnels shouldn't have done that without him there. J's coworker overheard the conversation (it was on the speakerphone) and said of the older councilman, "That sorry ----------. He's sorry, he's always been sorry, and his son is sorry, too." The entire conversation was sprinkled with epithets I daren't repeat here.
So this afternoon, after Cody got off the bus, we went down to the trailer place and picked one out. We had already pretty much decided on the floor plan we wanted, but that one was with metal siding and a metal roof. I wanted vinyl siding and a shingled roof. It also didn't have a dishwasher. I was going to have them special order me one just the way I wanted it. Well, when I got down there, they had just what I'd ordered! I'd spoken with the salesman about what I'd wanted, but I hadn't told him to order it because I wanted to wait until I was sure it would be approved by the City. He must have gone ahead and ordered it anyway, or else someone made a really good guess. The only differences were that I woudn't have ordered a separate shower stall in the master bath, and this one has it. Also, I would have chosen grey siding with blue shutters. This one has a tannish color siding with blue shutters. But those were inconsequential differences as far as I'm concerned.
This is the kitchen. I won't be getting the table and chairs, and all the decorative stuff will be taken out before it is delivered. But it's a nice sized kitchen and has a dishwasher already installed. That was sort of the kicker.
This is the living room looking toward the kitchen area. I really liked how it is divided. Most mobile homes have one big room in the middle--half kitchen and half living room. That little cabinet there will hold a TV. I didn't take a picture of the other direction because, well, there's just not much to look at. Once it is delivered and set up, I'll take more pics of the rest of the house.
P.S. The post is way down here because my pictures are so big. I had to link from Photobucket again, and the pics are bigger than they would be if I'd uploaded them to blogger. I didn't want to resize them, so here they are in all their glory!
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
Ok, it was like this: I was first on the agenda and they called me up to the podium. I presented my case, and the chair called for a motion to approve. One man so moved, but then they had some discussion. One lady brought up the point that a former city council had told P & Z not to make a decision on these types of situations, but to refer them to the city council and they would decide on a case by case basis. Seems there were some lawsuits brought against the city in the past by the Mississippi Association of Manufactured Homes, and they had enacted that instruction to protect the city. The thing is, all that happened some ten years ago, and it has long been settled. But neither P & Z nor the city council had ever changed the policy. They were still following the same old antiquated procedures that didn't really apply any more.
About that time, just as I was beginning to despair, an older, white haired gentleman got up and stood next to me at the podium and began arguing with P & Z. He was saying that we have a new city council now and we need to move on with this. He also said that coming before the city council is supposed to be the appeal process, and that by automatically sending everyone on like that P & Z is denying citizens their due process. There was some more
But then, this other guy on P & Z said that it didn't matter whether she rescinded her objection or not, they still had to follow the procedures outlined for them by the old city council. The white haired gentleman began arguing the same points with that guy, another man in the audience stood up and started arguing, too and a third man, though not standing up and arguing, was quietly expressing his support and offering suggestions. The second man was saying that everyone who comes before the city council with this type of request is approved, and all P & Z is doing is delaying what is going to happen anyway. He said they needed to start approving these requests so that people could get on with their lives. Well, the guy on P & Z said that though they wanted to approve my request, they just didn't have the authority to do so. At that point, the gentleman from the audience pointed to the white haired guy who was still standing beside me and said, "He can give you the authority to approve it." So the white haired gentleman told them to approve my request, and that he would get the instruction officially changed in writing tomorrow and make it retroactive to today.
More discussion followed, and finally P & Z voted to approve my request. The whole time, I was wondering who in the world are these people arguing for me. Turns out the white haired gentleman was Syndey Runnels, Grenada City Manager, and the other two were also on the City Council. I find it so ironic and kind of funny that P & Z was saying they couldn't approve my request because they might get into trouble with the city council, but half the city council (well almost half--there are 7 council members) was in there telling them to approve it. Anyway, the chairman called for a vote, and it was approved 4-1. The old biddy who started the whole mess was the only one who didn't vote yes. I asked J if she was always like that, and he said, "Oh, yes!"
At one point during the discussion, I presented my petition which all my neighbors had signed. The lady asked me if this encompassed everyone who lived within 160 feet of my house. I quietly and politely said, "Yes, Ma'am" but inside I was thinking, "Lady, there ain't nobody within 160 feet of me!"
It was a very interesting process, but the point is, I'm getting a new house! Tomorrow after Cody gets off the bus, we are going to go order it. I'll try to get pictures of the model to show you. It'll take two to three weeks for a special ordered house to be built, then another week to 10 days for them to deliver it and set it up. I can't wait!
Oh, a guy at work had seen my name in the paper yesterday. It was just a little note saying that P & Z was meeting and that I was on the agenda. He came up to me out of the blue and asked to buy my old house. I was honest with him and told him all the problems with it, but he is still interested. If he gets it, that'll solve my problem of what to do with it.
In all the excitement, I almost forgot. I've been a black belt for a month now. Karate really has infused my whole life. I was so nervous about going before P & Z all day. I just kept reminding myself, I faced down the Isshinryu Karate Association board, I can face down these guys. You know, though, before karate, I doubt I would have had the strength to get up in front of a board of officials like that.
I'm off to bed now, though I'm still so keyed up I doubt I'll sleep. What a day! I got the whole city policy changed, and now things will be so much easier for those who come after me.
I guess it's true that even the smallest person can change the course of the future.
Monday, August 14, 2006
I hope my front door doesn't fall out before then.
No, I won't think like that. P & Z will be reasonable. Think positive!
Sunday, August 13, 2006
Mommy cutting his hair. Just look at that face. Isn't he angelic?
And driving Clifford the Big Red Dog. Having the time of his life, from the look on his face.
I don't know what's been up with blogger lately. It still isn't letting me upload any pictures. I had to direct link these from Photobucket also. It's beginning to get on my nerves, though. But I guess you get what you pay for.
Saturday, August 12, 2006
We had quite a beautiful sky for part of the day. The rest of the day it rained. It started raining between 11:00 and 11:30 PM last night, and rained all night. It was still raining when I went to work this morning. Cody said it rained a bit throughout the day. We sure needed it.
Since it was raining, I finished this scarf. Well, mostly finished, since it isn't blocked yet. Next I'm going to go back and finish the other scarf I started. I don't know what's after that. But as soon as I know, you'll know.
Today was snake feeding day. Six of my seven snakes were scheduled to be fed, and 5 of them ate. Onyx, oddly enough, is off his feed. I don't know why. He almost acts like it is mating season again. Maybe they have two mating seasons in California.
I've also been busy getting things ready for my P & Z meeting Tuesday night. Mr. DeShazier called me Friday morning, but since I always forget to check my answering machine, I didn't get the message until today. All he left was his name and a phone number, and now I'm going to stew with curiosity until Monday when I can call him back.
I suppose I ought to do another drawing as well. It's been so long since I've posted any sketches that Carole thinks I must have gotten a new hobby. And I've got two books I need to finish, so I think I'll go get in the bed and read a bit.
I made Johnny Lindley mad this morning at work. We are required to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) while at work. Our PPE consists of gloves, arm guards, earplugs, and safety glasses. I swear, it's like pulling teeth to get new PPE from Johnny Lindley. Every time I ask for some, he always says to go start working and he'll bring it to me. But then he never does. It usually takes about a week of continuously asking before he'll finally bring me some. So today, I asked him for some gloves and arm guards, and as usual, he said he'd bring me some. After he'd walked by the PPE cabinet twice without making any effort to open it, I spotted Calvin, our department supervisor. I asked him what it takes to get some clean gloves and arm guards around here. A few minutes later, here comes Johnny Lindley with my PPE. He said, "You didn't have to go crying to Calvin about it. I would have brought you some." Maybe so, but I wanted it today, not two weeks from now. When those gloves get all oily and nasty, I don't want to put them back on my hands. I think Patricia said it best when she said, "That's like putting your dirty underwear back on."
Friday, August 11, 2006
There was even standing water in my yard, which is once again showing a bit of green.
Blogger is acting wierd again, and not letting me upload photos, so I direct linked these from my Photobucket album. It's always good to have a plan B.
With school starting up again, the subject of bullying seems to be a popular one here lately. Cindy and Lou both posted on similar topics, and both are worth a read. Cody doesn't have too much trouble with bullies at school. On the bus is a totally different story. Unfortunately, the school seems to take the postition that a fight isn't a fight until the second kid hits back. So he is the one who gets in trouble. This is why Cody is picked on so much. It's not that he can't defend himself, though how a 12 year old is supposed to successfully stand up to a 16 year old is a bit beyond me. It's that he doesn't want to get suspended from school. We are going to keep a close eye on things this year, along with written records of whatever happens, and you can be sure I will be in touch with Mr. Brewer.
Thursday, August 10, 2006
I'm not kidding. I was so sick from heat exhaustion yesterday I thought I was going to lose everything I'd eaten all day. Which wasn't much. I was too hot to have an appetite. Today was just about the same. I didn't even participate in karate tonight because I was still so nauseated. I just went over all my kata after class, which is about all you do as a black belt anyway. In my dojo, at least, the black belts don't usually participate in the regular class. But I have been anyway. I'm not paying all that money every month to stand and watch. I've asked sensei if we can start a black belt class, but he won't for just us. He would if Mr Tedder would come back regularly.
Mr. Tedder, well, he kind of rubs me the wrong way sometimes. Oh, I like him as a person and all, but I don't really like the way he acts in the dojo. He is a shodan, and has been for almost 4 years. He will come to two or three classes, then quit for 6-8 months, then come to two or three more classes, then quit for several months, and so on and so forth. But on the rare occasions he does show up, he doesn't do anything but walk around telling people what to do and how to do it. Now if he wants to be an instructor, fine. But if he wants to be an instructor, he ought to be an instructor. That means being there. Consistently.
Another thing is that he's always talking about how bad things are at the dojo, and how unorganized sensei is and how this is not right and that is not right blah blah blah. He's really particular about things, and if everything is not just so, he quits. Now I'll admit that things could be better at the dojo. A lot better. But if Mr. T wants to be an instructor, which he does, I think he should stick around and try to get the problems solved instead of stomping off in a huff. But he's also got to remember that it is sensei's dojo, and he can't have everything his way. If he wants things just so, he needs to open his own dojo.
I gave James back his gi, and he gave me back mine. He hadn't washed mine. I made him promise to start washing it--in the washer with laundry detergent--not Febrezing it. I told him if he didn't, I'd never let him live it down.
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
He got home in a much better mood, but you know boys. They wouldn't admit they liked school even if they did. He had a little bit of homework and actually did it without having to be told.
I accidentally brought James' gi top home last night. Well, he left first, so he got mine, and I grabbed his not knowing it. All the way home, I was thinking, "This gi top really stinks. It's picked up the smell of James' stinky feet." It wasn't until I went to fold it that I saw all the patches and realized it was his. Now, James doesn't like to wash his gi. When it starts smelling, he just sprays it down with Febreze. Five weeks worth of human sweat combined with Febreze makes an indescribably repulsive smell. I threw that thing in the washer by itself first thing this morning and hung it on the line in the fresh air all day. It smells better now than it has in months!
Sensei didn't bow us in last night. I guess we already got our one and only moment of respect from him.
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
The rain also gifted us with this lovely rainbow.
Though faint, it stretched all the way across the sky.
It's been a long time since I've seen a rainbow.
Monday, August 07, 2006
What is it with men? Why can't they just believe what you tell them? As most of you know, I had to put my car in shop to get the brakes fixed. Thursday evening when I took it in, the mechanic told me I needed my right front hub replaced. Ok, fine.
When J came to pick me up, he asked what was wrong with the car, and I told him what the guy said--my right front hub needs replacing. Then he started in--it could be the rotor, bearings, the drum, a caliper hanging up, it could be this, it could be that....
For two days I listened to what all it could be. Then the mechanic called J to tell him my car was ready, and he talked to him. When he was driving me down to pick up my car, he told me,
"Your right front hub needed replacing."
Uh, isn't that what I said in the beginning?
Sunday, August 06, 2006
First Period--Career Discovery: This class is one in which students will explore various career options. It's is kind of an overview of what jobs are available out there. I kind of wish we'd had a class like this when I was in 7th grade. The teacher is Vera Anne Saulters. She has a B.S. in Business Education, but only three years teaching experience. I think she must have gone back to school, because she seemed older than your average college graduate. She seemed quiet, but pleasant, and when Cody told her he'd already decided what he wanted to be (a pilot), she responded that he could help her teach that unit when she got to it.
Second Period--Band: His band teacher is Mr. Presley whom we'd met last year. Unless he moves or something, Cody will likely have him all the way through 12th grade, as he is the teacher for the bass instruments. He has a great sense of humor, and the kids all love him.
Third Period--Science: Science used to be one of Cody's favorite subjects, but he seemed to lose interest in it last year. His teacher is Leigh Ann Melton. She has a B.S. in Education and also has only 3 years of teaching experience. She is young, bubbly, and vivacious. I liked her.
Fourth Period--Art: This will compete with Band as Cody's favorite class. Kelsea Walkley is the teacher. She has a degree in Architectural History & Theory and is certified in Art & Gifted Education. She has three years teaching experience. What I liked best about her was that she admitted that she made a mistake and apologized, instead of trying to cover it up or gaff it off.
Fifth Period--English: This class will likely be our biggest problem. The teacher is Allison Ashmore. She has a B.S. in Education and 29 years teaching experience. She spoke in rather a dull monotone, and said that they would do a lot of writing. There in lies the rub. Cody hates to write. I expect trouble from him in English. But hopefully Mrs. Ashmore knows how to read and write herself. His 6th grade English teacher sure didn't. I'd never seen so many spelling and grammar errors in any teacher's communication in my life.
Sixth Period--Pre-Algebra: Cody seems to be looking forward to pre-algebra because the teacher said she would challenge the students. This will be a first for him. He has never been challenged in school before, and is in pleasant anticipation of the change. Emily Hatcher is the teacher. She has a B.S. in Elementary Education, and has 4 years teaching experience.
Seventh Period--Social Studies: Cody's teacher for social studies is Mr. Louis Matriciano. He has a B.S. in Political Science/Urban Planning and an M.S. in Secondary Education. He has 10 years teaching experience. Upon first glance, he seems the typical nerd--skinny, glasses, wears a tie, but he really is cool. He has a great wit and a good rapport with the kids. He also separates the boys from the girls. The boys sit on one side of the room and the girls sit on the other, with an empty row of desks between them. Kind of like they did in the old days. You know, back when the U.S. had a 95% literacy rate.
Well, that's my first impressions. The first day of school is Wednesday. It'll be interesting to look back at the end of the year and see if any of those teachers lived up to my expectations. Cody has a lot of young teachers this year, with relatively little teaching experience. I can't wait to see how they handle him. He has stymied teachers with a lot more experience.
And so it begins...
Saturday, August 05, 2006
Today's Saturday Sky was just beautiful. It was just the right shade of blue, with the puffy white clouds that make the day so enjoyable. But don't let it fool you. It was hot.
Just plain HOT.
We'd gotten a break from the heat for a few days, but now it's back full force. Hot and dry. It has been so dry that the crops are all failing. The soybeans and corn are dying, and the cotton has started to open. It is far too early for that and if the entire fields open this early, the crop will be ruined. This will be a lean year for the farmers.
Friday, August 04, 2006
First off, I think I've solved my connection problems simply by moving my modem to another location. Funny the tech didn't think of that one.
Ok, so the busyness started yesterday when I got home from work. My ABS light started coming on at intermittant intervals on my car, and when I braked, it felt kind of jerky/grindy. So I called the service department at the car place, and they said bring it on in. So I did, and they looked at it and found out what was wrong, only they said they didn't have time to fix it. After some cell phone wheeling and dealing, I drove the car home, then after karate class I took it back to the service department, which was closed by then, and dropped it off. J came and picked us up there, and let me borrow B's jeep today to get to and from work. That might have gone over better if he'd asked B first...
So I get home from the car place (the first time) just about time to get ready for karate. It was during this time that I discovered Scarlett had another partial regurge. Two little mousy feet and a bit of skin were given up as an offering to the digestive system gods. After karate class, I saw that she had left a rather large poo as well. So there is good news and bad news. We will follow the standard regurge protocol, which we've become quite familiar with, and start over. Sometimes I wonder if it would be better to send her to that great snake pit in the sky and try again with another snake, but when I see her still active and alert, I just can't do it yet. She is not suffering, though if it does come to that, I will certainly make that difficult decision.
Now, on to today's busyness...
I left work at 1:00 PM, and J met me in the driveway. "Are you ready to go get it?"--meaning my car.
"Yeah, just let me change clothes first."
Ten minutes later, we were headed to the car place, and didn't get back home until 4:30 PM. Immediately upon leaving the car place, we drove to the school, and I was lucky enough to find a parking spot..Really. You see, today was Meet the Teacher day at Grenada Public Schools. Everyone in Grenada (just about) was there. Not just parents and students, but brother, sister, grandma and grandpa, aunts, uncles and cousins too. Ok, maybe I exaggerate, but not by much.
I met all of Cody's teachers, and got the supply lists. I also got to meet the new principal, Mr. Brewer. Such a pleasant change from Dr. White, in more ways than one. Heh, Dr. White thought she was hot stuff. Mr. Brewer really is hot. I think I'm going to enjoy those conferences...
"Cody, don't you think it's about time you got into trouble again?"
The reason I was talking to him is that when we picked up Cody's schedule, I noticed Art wasn't on there. I thought it was maybe one of those once or twice a week classes like some of the other learning enrichment programs but it isn't. It is a regular, daily class. Mr. Brewer was out in the hall, so I stopped and asked him who the art teacher was and when Cody was supposed to be doing it and all. Mr. Brewer was real nice, and told us who the teacher was and where her room was. He told us to go talk to her, and if she didn't have Cody's info, to come back and talk to him again, and he'd get it straightened out. When we went and talked to the teacher, she knew exactly who we were, and apologized profusely for the scheduling mixup. She said it was her fault, that when she was typing up her list of students, she'd inadvertently left Cody's name off of it. She'd already discovered her mistake, and had asked them to fix it, but since the schedules had already been issued, they couldn't change it without talking to me first. So, with an ok from me, and a short note from the teacher to the office, Cody is now in Art.
Then it was off the
The old schedule.
The one that had been thrown away.
And you know what that means.....
WE HAVE TO GO BACK!!!!
I can get the supply list off the school's website. That is no problem. But to brave those crowds again...The entire population of Grenada crammed into two aisles of school supplies at Wal-Mart.
I tremble at the thought...
Thursday, August 03, 2006
Sensei has always taught us that when a black belt enters the dojo for the first time, everyone is to stop and bow to him. He has faithfully stopped whatever class he was in and had everyone bow to Mr. Tedder, on the rare occasions he shows up to class. He has never shown James and me this respect.
Tuesday night Mr. Tedder came to class for the first time since James and I made black belt. We were already in the dojo. Dead silence from sensei when we entered. Yet when Mr. Tedder entered, sensei was quick to call everyone to a halt and bow to him.
So I asked him how come he never had the class bow to us. He sputtered some about us coming in during the kids classes and how hard it was to get them back on track once they get distracted...blah, blah, blah...
(For the record, I disagree. Children need to learn proper courtesy as well.)
Tonight when we walked in to the class...guess what....
"Yamay! Everybody face the black belt. Rei!"*
During the class, there was a very subtle but very present shift in attitude toward us. A hint of respect that wasn't there before.
Leading by example.
*Yamay means come to attention, and rei means bow.
Wednesday, August 02, 2006
Tropical Storm Chris, expected to strengthen into the season's first hurricane. We'll be watching him.
Guess what I found. This picture of my brother Scott was supposed to be in this post, but I couldn't find where I'd saved it to! I think I'm getting that Old Timer's disease! Anyway, for your viewing pleaure, here he is my younger brother and youngest sibling Scott.
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
I could really be angry with my son about now. On the Mississippi curriculum test, he scored advanced in all three areas they test in, reading, language, and mathematics. That one doesn't give much details. Just his proficiency level, the points he scored, and the possible points.
The Terra Nova is the more complete test. It is a nationwide test and not only gives his grade equivelant, but also his percentile score. Here is what my 12 year old, 6th grade (the test was given last year, he will be in 7th grade this year) child scored:
Reading-- grade equivalent: 12+, National Percentile: 98
Language-- grade equivalent: 12+, National Percentile: 99
Mathematics--grade equivalent: 12+, National Percentile: 99
Total Score--grade equivalent: 12+, National Percentile: 99
Now, with scores like that, he ought to be doing better than Bs and Cs.
After that, we came home and picked up J, then went to talk to Stanly DeShazier, the Grenada Building Official. What I had hope about yesterday seems to be not so easy today. Mr. DeShazier was not encouraging at all. It seems the Planning and Zoning commission does not like trailer houses within the city limits. Mine was here before this area was annexed in 1996, so it was grandfathered in. However, apparently what they want me to do is to let it deteriorate until it falls apart, then move it out and never replace it. So what I have to do now is to get affadavits from all my neighbors stating that they do not object to me upgrading my trailer, take pictures showing the poor condition of my trailer, take pictures of the new trailer I'd like to put in there, and take all that to the P & Z meeting on the 15th, then hope and pray that the committee will allow me to upgrade my home. If they refuse, I can appeal to the city council at the meeting in September. If they refuse, then I will have to move, and I will move out of Grenada.
Mr. DeShazier said we should have just done our thing and never told them about it. Likely the only way they would have ever known is if one of the neighbors complained. If it were up to him, he wouldn't have a problem with it, but he couldn't make that call himself, because he would be the one in trouble if anyone complained. But he said he was pulling for us, and hoped the P & Z would be reasonable.
Finally, we went and looked at homes again. I really liked the floor plan of this one:
But want the vinyl siding and shingled roof like this one:
However, I think I may get gray siding with blue shutters, instead of the tan and green of this one. Now, I just gotta do battle with the city, and we're good to go.
The tech came out and fiddled around with my DSL, but it didn't help. It's worked for almost three hours but started dropping again. He said if it didn't work, he didn't know what was wrong with it, but to call him back and he'd try something else. I wonder if my modem is overheating. I think I'll move it to a better ventialted place and see if that works.
But for now, off to karate class...