Sunday, August 30, 2020

twinsies, tests, and tutee trepidation,

 I pulled into the parking lot and immediately saw where I HAD to park.

Yep, spotted a twin-mobile, so I parked right next to it.  Make other shoppers think there's a fancy car show going on.

Really, my 2000 Toyota Echo is such a puttster, I do get mildly excited when I see another rare gem.  As I left the two of them snuggled together, I checked the other license plate.  The registration had expired in May.

I checked out of curiosity because Magnum had a sudden epiphany a few mornings ago:  our car registration expired at the end of July.  Sure enough, our other car - Honda Fit - is past due.

Why is it that seemingly every piece of crap junk mail follows when a person moves, but important things like MOTOR VEHICLE REGISTRATION RENEWAL NOTICES don't?!

Curious, I checked the Echo.  Expires, well, tomorrow.  And alas, "my" other car, which Meego uses, expired in June.  We're criminals!

Our county requires emission tests, so I took both the Echo and the Fit and alerted Meego to take the Civic.  Thankfully, they all passed.  I'll mention that the employees at the test center were super friendly and efficient.  Seriously, I wondered what substance they were on?

Speaking of tests, the College Board administered its first SAT test since pre-Covid yesterday.  Not a big blip in news headlines, but big in the land of tutors and high school seniors.  Many test centers cancelled, and only a few "chosen ones" were able to take their tests.  

Ugh, I feel for these kids (two of my tutees were cancelled).  Most don't know until the last  minute whether they'll be able to take the test or not. So many unknowns. Panic abounds.  I lurk around the SAT and ACT subreddits and the anxiety is palpable.  I do appreciate good meme efforts, though.

Friday, August 28, 2020


 It's a nice building... from the outside.  

The hiring manager seems friendly and competent... although I likely wouldn't be able to pick her out from a lineup.

The facilities and equipment necessary for the job... sound fine

I mentioned that I recently accepted a culinary job offer at a rehabilitation facility to replace my greatly-reduced-hours culinary job at the hospital.  Although I went there for the interview and some followup, I've yet to set foot inside the place.  Hiring practices have changed.

My interview was outside under a patio umbrella.  The manager, whom I texted to let her know I'd arrived, and I both wore masks the whole time.  There was no tour.  I saw no one working.  A handful of residents were outside with visitors.  If asked for a physical description of the manager, about all I can say is she has dark hair and is maybe an inch or two taller than me.

Around the same time I applied for this job, I applied for another that sounded promising.  Once the application window closed, they informed me that I had cleared the first hurdle, then nothing but crickets for nearly three weeks.  I knew they hadn't canned my application because they would have informed me of that too.

Yesterday, they finally emailed that I'd cleared the second hurdle, and about a minute after that, the email that I'd cleared the third.  They want to interview me, but I've already accepted the other offer.  I had a feeling that would happen.

Note that neither of these jobs is high stakes, high falutin', high anything really.  My college degrees don't mean a whole lot in this realm.  So I guess I've changed too.

But in my current "season",  I'm pretty sure I would enjoy either, be appreciated, maintain a nice work-life balance, while generating some income.  Yes, that's my current season.

I did do a bit of nerdy decision analysis when realizing the second place might still call after the first offered me the job.  

I ranked each of five criteria on a scale of 1 to 5 for each job, applied the importance-to-me factor, then summed up the scores.  

According to the nerdliness, the rehab place "won" by 3 points.  Not the best for pay, but feels more secure during these questionable Covid times.  And the commute?  It's like a mile and a half from my house.  And really, as I revisit this, the pay differential isn't that great.

Feels like the right decision... Since I'm beyond "Trophy Wife" season, and mostly skipped it altogether anyway.

Linking up this week with Mama Kat for the prompt:
4. Write a blog post inspired by the word: changed.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

trying to give up smoking

I met with a tutee this morning.  I opened up the online classroom and remembered I was wearing a bandana all, "YEEE-HAAAAW!!"

It's been SO smokey from surrounding wild fires. As if wearing a mask for Covid weren't enough, now I actually want to cover my nose and mouth.  Before I logged on, I'd been wearing the bandana all Bandito-style, then pulled it down and forgot it was there like a bib until the video kicked in.

New summer fash-on. Anyone know a good rain recipe?

Anyway, it's been a minute since I was last bloggin'!  I've been somewhat busy and thought I would summarize my list of productivity:

Firstly, I returned to the hospital job yesterday after three weeks of furlough. Furlough activities include...

Seriously, WTH

  • applying for new side gig jobs
  • getting a golden crown
  • watching my tutees, Meego, and related memes as school starts in the year of Covid

  • getting a side gig job offer and accepting
  • saying "good-bye" to allergy injections
  • quitting resigning from my other side gig job
All right, that's enough summarizing.  But does anyone else buy band-aids or itch cream, etc., throw it in a drawer or box and end up with things scattered around the house?  I found some first aid ointment with a 2009 expiration date for chrissake.

Medically speaking, I'm happy with my new golden (tooth) crown and am going to see what happens if I don't mix up another batch of allergy juice.  

On the job front, I've mentioned how my hospital culinary job was stumbling along with hours reduced since Covid restrictions.  All of us took voluntary furloughs, and we're still at reduced hours.  I'm down to one shift a week - that was my yesterday fun.  

I managed to find a very similar job at a nearby rehabilitation facility.  It seems that providing comfort food to the infirm is my retirement calling, and I'm not complaining.  I haven't actually begun working there yet as they are background checking me as I type.  I'm so boring, if they find anything, it's a mistake.  

So I told my hospital boss yesterday, and he was naturally understanding.  Really, I think I'm doing him a favor - one less person to try to keep on the payroll.  As we were chatting toward the end of my shift, my coworker Em entered from the kitchen holding a towel and her hand with her other hand.

"Uhm... I've cut my hand and am going to take care of it.  I'll be right back", she reported

She hadn't returned by the time I left about a half hour later.  I'm thinking her cut was more serious than Boss and I were thinking, and maybe she actually went to the ER down the hall.  I guess I'll find out when I go in for next week's last lone shift.

Either way, I've got plenty of gauze if she needs it.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

a day of carnage and mystery

 Yesterday morning, just before sunrise, I was enjoying a morning riff-raff-bike-ride through that lovely ritzy private lake neighborhood.  At one point, I saw a dead furry thing in the road ahead.  

As I approached, I tried discerning what the carcass was.  Raccoon?  Dog?  Cat?  The fur was dark and a bit stripey.  I was leaning toward raccoon.  

There was a man approaching from the opposite direction, apparently out for a lovely morning walk.  We both acknowledged each other while acknowledging the dead furry thing in the road.  I wasn't looking forward to rolling passed it and seeing the full gore likely to be on display.  Walking Man also approached rather gingerly, like to investigate the death.  

I was about to say something to him like, "should we call to have someone properly remove this?" when that damn thing jumped up and trotted across the street!  It startled Walking Man too as he visibly flinched and took a step back.  I managed to stay upright on the bicycle.

Frickin' cat.  Big boy.  Laying in the middle of the street for grins. Probably playing games with us before returning to its millions dollar home for a bowl of caviar.

Walking Man and I just looked at each other all wide-eyed.

"I coulda swore it was dead!", he said, narrating my own thoughts.

Later, in the afternoon, I was again out bicycling on a short errand.  Again, I saw something ahead in the street.  It could've been some downed branches?  It did appear to be branch-like, but it wasn't just tree-colored.  As I got closer, it looked to be... a person?  A child?  And a downed bicycle?

Closer still, and yes. It was a person and a bicycle.  A woman actually.  I'd say she was about mid-50s.  She just laid there.

Another woman appeared on the corner of the sidewalk and began speaking to downed woman just as I pulled up.  Sidewalk Woman and I asked how Crash Woman was.  Was she okay?  Could she stand up?  She remained sitting in the road.

At first, I thought maybe she'd hurt her leg/hip/knee/foot/ankle and was unable to stand.  But then a car approached and Crash Woman stood up while picking up her bicycle.  

She was a little scratched up with road hash here and there, but she hadn't hit her (helmeted) head.  Her bike saddle had a little tear.  Had she gone over the handlebars? 

Sidewalk woman and I asked her questions:  Did she feel she needed medical attention?  a ride? want to sit down? some water?  

She never answered other than to decline the offer of water.  She just kept saying, "I don't know what happened".  It was a clear day on a smooth, debris free road.

It was soon clear that Crash Woman and Sidewalk Woman knew each other.  In fact, I think maybe Crash Woman had just left Sidewalk Woman's home.  So even though Crash Woman seemed to be a bit dazed as she was smiling at Sidwalk Woman but not talking, I started to feel like a third wheel...

... and left them to it.  

Clearly some torrid affair stuff going on.  Crash Woman deliberately making a scene in front of Sidewalk Woman's home, not expecting Stranger Woman to intrude on the drama out of the blue.  

I  mean, if she's not talking, I'm left to fill in the blanks myself.  Just like with Caviar Cat.

Monday, August 17, 2020

it burns

Heard about those new glass coffins?  Think they'll become popular?

Remains to be seen.  *SNORT*

Okay, sorry for the dad joke.  I think I need coffee.  Or maybe I'm just thinking destructive thoughts.  Several wildfires are now burning in Colorado as typically happens this time of year.  One of the fires is about 40 miles from us, and the smoke is thick and irritating


We had to deal with some smoke while on vacation in the mountains last week, but it wasn't too bad.  

Skies were relatively clear, thankfully.  And breathing wasn't a chore.  

Now, I've seen a few photos online from the bike park we visited: 


A new fire has cropped up near there.  Not very nice... I'm glad we missed it, but geez, sad sight.

While there, Magnum and I chatted with a woman who came from out of state with her husband to spend a month in Colorado's mountains.  She's a school teacher, and with all online school, they figured they can go anywhere (don't know what hubby does).  So they booked an Airbnb to hang out and mountain bike.

I saw that the area where they are staying was evacuated yesterday.  Bummer of a vacation.

I think the fire near us is in a pretty wild area, so difficult to fight, but also low risk for structures or inhabitants.  Still, it'd be nice to have some way to clear out the smoke.  Always something.

As we were talking with the vacationing school teacher while waiting for our guys to complete their final runs, we were hanging out at the base of the mountain that featured a "bike wash" station.  Nice idea, I took my bicycle, Lily, for a much needed shower.

Lily before.

Lily after, Aaaaaaaaaaah.

And I certainly wasn't the only one partaking.  I found it interesting to observe several rough and tumble, young "biker dudes" stopping to give loving washes to their bicycles.  I was thinking that their bachelor bathrooms likely don't look so pristine.

But then, who knows?  Maybe the TLC given their various gear spills over into other areas.  In fact, the more I thought about it, the more sense that made.  It's likely a good sign to see someone take care of their possessions - a sign of their priorities.

Any good relationship requires routine maintenance.  Agree?

Thursday, August 13, 2020

what I did at summer camp

It's probably been around 30 years since I was last in Winter Park, Colorado.   Well, before this week anyways.  We just got back from a few days in the mountains, and I didn't turn on a computer the whole time.  Miss me?  Even notice I was gone?

We planned a family trip several weeks ago, and the stars actually aligned so that all five of us could hang out.  So I've been in and out of a mountain cabin for the last few days.  I'd like to say we enjoyed fresh air and sunshine, but various big wildfires out-performed the fresh air part.  Plenty of sunshine, though!

Obligatory sitting-around-on-vacation pic:

Don't mind the small blemish on my left shin.  I did a much better job on the right shin when we spent the day at Trestle Bike Park.  Trestle is a mountain bike resort with miles and miles of mountain bike trails.  The nice part is, you can ride a gondola to the top, so you're mostly riding your bike DOWNhill.  Weeeeeeeeeee!

Wolfgang is the most experienced mountain biker of the bunch and has been to Trestle before.  The rest of us noobs got to experience it for the first time.  

Meego and whatsherface.  Who wore it better?

It's one thing to snap a pic at the base of the gondola, another thing to get back down the mountain.  Just call me "hashtag slow and awkward"!  Nonetheless, I've got to say, it was fun!  Magnum and I stuck with repeatedly riding on one green trail in particular, aptly named "Green World".  It was great because it went for miles and miles without getting too technical.   

One of Wolfgang's friends joined us on Trestle day, so those two did their thing on the more advanced trails.  Meego and Chaco hung out with Magnum and me for a bit, but pretty much left us in the dust and did their own thing.  

And it wouldn't be a noteworthy day at the bike park without some body damage, right?  Meego was the first of us to do an over-the-handlebars move resulting in a bit of road hash and some bike blemishes.  But he was back to it in true 20-year-old fashion.  

Later on, Magnum hit a highly technical berm and ended up flying off the bike (translation:  he tripped exiting the gondola)

Finally, I attempted a particularly gnarly feature, and ended up sending it off the trail and into the foliage (translation:  I pulled my slow @ss over to let an adolescent pass me, and ended up dumping my bike).

Successful first trip to the bike park!

Linking up this week with Mama Kat for the prompt:
4. Write a blog post inspired by the word: damage

Sunday, August 9, 2020

speaking of

A young plumber came over and cleaned my pipes on Friday.  Nope, not a euphemism, he flushed our plumbing.  It's included in the maintenance package we bought when we had some work done after purchasing our house.  Now, I'm basking in the afterglow of a good clean of the pipes and thought I would blog out a rundown of current events to start the week fresh.

This officially starts my voluntary 2-week furlough from the hospital.  At first, it seemed that August was a long time away when figuring out everyone's furloughs, but here we are.  Got some projects and some vacationy things planned.  On that note...

  • I went to Sierra Trading Post yesterday in search of a swimsuit.  I bought two name brand suits for a total of $25 - ridiculously low price for women's Nike and Tyr suits.  The reason I bought two suits was Sierra's dressing rooms are closed because of Covid, so I bought two candidates to try on at home, and I can return the runner up.  For those who haven't shopped Sierra Trading Post, I highly recommend!
  • Speaking of happy purchases, remember my struggle to manage the never ending accumulation of pet fur in the house?  I discovered rubber brooms!  Got one.  It's changed my life.
  • Speaking of pets and fur, I met Meego's Uromastyx  at his bachelor pad this week.  Such a cool, but hot (desert reptile), little creature!  Plus:  no fur to shed.  
  • Speaking of college kids, I'm having to turn down tutor requests.  Fall season is always busy with high schoolers and undergrads thinking of grad school.  Despite Covid - or maybe somewhat because of it - online tutors are a happy thing.
  • Speaking of happy things, Chaco and I were glad we made our mountain trip this week.  The morning of our hike, the weather was threatening to turn us back, but the day turned out just right.  And we learned interesting facts about the local geology, too.
  • Speaking of learning, my temporary crown fell out.  That's actually not that educational, but I couldn't think of another transition.  But the tooth is the last tooth in my lower jaw, so unnoticeable, and it feels fine.  I did call the dentist office, but it seems he's on vacation too.  I'll let it ride as I'm scheduled to get the permanent crown soon.  I'm wondering what adhesive he used.  Elmers?

Hard to believe it's August.  It seems to me that the months are flying by despite the slog of the pandemic.  A tutee of mine suggested that maybe it's because all the days, weeks, and months have blurred together. Yes, maybe we're just blurring along.

Whassup with you?  How are your pipes?

Friday, August 7, 2020

cash, a hose, nose spray, and the booby prize

"I'm done with meetings after tomorrow, so if you still want to hike the west peak...", Chaco calls and says on Tuesday.

Several weeks ago, we talked about planning a hike up the West Spanish Peak in Southern Colorado, near my hometown.  The mountain is one half of the Spanish Peaks, named Huajatolla (/wɑːhɑːˈtɔɪə/ wah-hah-TOY)  by the Ute Indians, meaning "breasts of the earth", for obvious reasons.

The West Peak is the more voluptuous of the two - as we know, no pair is  perfectly symmetrical - and nearly 1,000 feet higher in elevation than the East Boob... er... Peak.  It tops out at 13,626', just missing the list of Colorado 14ers.

It so happened that my schedule was also free for the remainder of the week.  The stars thusly aligned, we set out for the boobs.

It was about a 5-hour drive to the trailhead, so we set out Wednesday afternoon to camp overnight and get a Thursday morning start on the mountain.  The drive went pretty smoothly (not mentioning the golf ball-sized hail in Colorado Springs), but we arrived at the trailhead and realized the fee to camp was cash only.  That's when I realized I'd forgotten to bring some cash.  Same for Chaco because who carries cash??

The overnight fee was $12, and I miraculously found $13 in my wallet - one dollar to spare!  The next morning, we readied.  We each wore hydration packs - backpacks that include hydration bladders for easy sipping.  Chaco's pack had a good supply of water, but alas, he'd forgotten the hose that gets the water to his mouth.  Slight omission, but I'd brought some bottled water, so we grabbed a coupla those.  We'd need water for Chaco's dog, Ella, too.

With that, we set out.  About a mile or two into it, I realized I'd forgotten to snort my Flonase for my allergies.  My allergies give the annoying symptom of messing with my ears, which affects my balance, despite my allergy injections (which I'm starting to think were a waste of $$).  The Flonase helps keep me sober... if I actually USE it.  OH WELL, what's a little balance issue while climbing a mountain?

Looking toward the summit.  Chaco's backpack with everything but a hose.

Just before things got really steep and rocky, me without my Flonase

View of the east boob as seen from the summit of the west boob.

Then we had to get back down.

All in all, it was a beautiful day and satisfying trip.  We didn't camp illegally or succumb to dehydration, and I managed to stay upright the entire time. 

It's not an adventure unless something goes wrong, right? 

Linking up this week with Mama Kat for the prompt:
3. Write about a time you forgot something important

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

in search of a crack ho(e)

We're slowly getting our house up to our liking.  Of course, as most homeowners know, this is a never ending saga.  The house was a rental for years before we bought it in March, so it's been a little neglected.  We have a list of improvements to be made and have checked a few off.

Note:  my office ceiling still has a cat portal.

There are some big jobs that are best left to the professionals, and other little things we can tackle.  One thing I don't like is little weeds growing up through the cracks in the driveway.  How is it I get those, but can't keep a houseplant alive??

I wanted to find a tool to remove the weeds from the driveway cracks.  What term to search on?  The first thing that came to mind is "crack hoe", but then I figured that's probably not what they're called.  Yup, "crack weeder" or "concrete weeder" or the combo "concrete crack weeder" work.  

I would love to just get all the improvements done in one big swoop of activity.  Patience is not one of my virtues.  

Ever watch HGTV?  We don't have cable or dish or anything more than network TV, but it seems like whenever I've been in a waiting area with a TV, HGTV was on.  Good thing Meego had braces or I would never have learned the many home improvement methods from the orthodontist office.  But who are these people with unlimited budgets?  I saw this meme and had to nod in recognition

Yesterday, I worked my last shift at the hospital before my voluntary 2-week furlough kicks in.  I hope to get a few projects completed during the downtime, but also have some adventure time planned, so projects will have to wait.

The driveway will be a quick task.  I just need that crack ho.

Sunday, August 2, 2020

pets and peeves

Friday afternoon, Meego and one of his housemates came by to pick up Meego's critter tank:  a big glass enclosure with air holes and screened cover.  It is the former home of his snake, Reese, who escaped to the wilds several years ago.  I think it's about a 75-gallon.

The guys can't have pets in their rented house, but Meego said the landlords gave them the go ahead for their herpetology endeavors.  

"Don't know if/ when we'll get anything.  We just want to see if there's a good spot in the house for the tank", he says.

Then last evening, he sent this photo.

Well, that didn't take long.  It's an as yet unnamed uromastyx

As I was texting back and forth about the tank and the lizard, I was remembering what easy and entertaining pets reptiles make.  We used to go to maybe a couple of reptile shows a year.  In fact, we acquired the California King Snake, Reese at one of them.

We'd usually see Reese's breeder at subsequent shows, and he'd remember us and ask about Reese.  After The Great Escape, we avoided that breeder at shows...

So this morning, I'm sitting here in my back "office".  The ceiling consists of those crappy tiles I remember from old high school classrooms.

In the meantime, the cat had managed to climb up into the ceiling.  I could hear him rummaging around, and I'm thinking he could come crashing through at any minute.

...which is exactly what he did a few minutes ago.

Napolion the cat is fine, landing on the carpeted floor, feet first of course.

And actually, I was planning to remove those ugly tiles anyway - going for the "industrial" look.
This was probably Napolion's way of getting the show on the road.

In the meantime, reptiles as pets are earning points.