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Reboot and miscellaneous, more personal stuff

Friday, May 10, 2013

The real estate closing finally went through, so I now don't need to move. I have a (small) nest egg, a steady income through the mortgage (which I'm holding, not because a bank wouldn't accept the borrowers - I learned that lesson years ago - but because the buyers are Amish and don't want to deal with "English" banks right now. It's all good - no worries) and several part-time jobs that I love - one as greenhouse keeper and landscaper for Heritage Farm ( ), one writing, one growing organic things and one doing artsy stuff. I'll get the links up for those in the near future, for anyone who wants to know what I do in my "spare time".

I've been marginally interested in the fact that I seem to have grown some sort of emotional exoskeleton that is fear-proof. I'm not afraid of change, but I'm not especially interested in it, fear, but no...other emotions that humans seem to relish. But that's not what we're here to talk about.

Parenthetical: (I've finally come to terms with the fact that, as a widow, an orphan with no relatives and an empty-nest person with no money to speak of, I have no one to please and no one to whom to be accountable but myself. I'm trying to figure out where one goes from here. I really am trying, and thanks to Bereavement counseling, I'm making some progress.)

Anyway, the thing about the land sale that becomes relevant here is that, now that I have money to spend on stuff, I seem to have reverted to old bad habits - too much salt, too much alcohol (can you read "margaritas" in this?") and generally eating Whatever instead of planning decent food. This, obviously, is not acceptable. I'm halfway through my weight loss, and I'll be damned if I'm going to regain the first half rather than going on to lose the second.

I bought a juicer (a Samson ...Advanced? Evolved? Improved? Anyway, better than the last one) and am preparing to do a Juice Reboot ( ) Please don't tell me how this isn't good for me long term - I don't intend to do it long term. I just need something incredibly structured to get myself turned around to face front again. I'm also growing wheatgrass to juice - the cats ate my first batch, but I'm replanting.

As if that weren't enough, I'm also doing the Spring Into Summer Challenge. Responsibility, thy name is Scooter. I will do for others what I would never bother to do for myself (we'll address that another time as well), so in order not to let my team down, I'll keep up with it. All the weighing and measuring and recording and generally trying to Play Well with Others.

I figure that between buying a new piece of moderately expensive kitchen equipment and being in a situation where others count on me, my Scots blood will keep me on track.

In fact, I'm seriously considering having the MacNeal badge tattooed on my person. It wouldn't be my first ink...that was 18 years ago, when my baby went to kindergarten. I took a sledgehammer to my bathroom, sold my Mercedes for $1 to the bathroom repair man - it needed $10,000 worth of body work - and got my first tattoo. Yet another thing for another day. I'll apparently be bending your ears (eyes?) for some time to come.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ENUFF81020 5/12/2013 11:53PM

    Hi there,

I am impressed with your tone and your own control over motivation and action. I wasn't aware of all you have dealt with until I read this, and all I can think of to say is "Wow!!" You have really made a lot of tough decisions in a tough situation. Good for you--and a few margueritas in the big picture won't mean that you are tossing your healthy living program. I think we all need to indulge a bit and then, we realize what we need and want. You have done that.

Best wishes on your challenge and your weight loss program. I suspect you will make it just because that's who you are. Congratualtions on it all!!

Gentle hugs,

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SUZYMOBILE 5/12/2013 10:51AM

    The more I think about your blog, the better it sounds! Forgive me if you don't like her, but it puts me in mind of a Nora Roberts novel where the resourceful heroine triumphs over adversity, keeps her lovely old homestead, makes a living doing delightful things like running a bookstore, writing novellas, or growing herbs (with the Amish, even). All that's missing is the strapping young carpenter who lives in the farm across the way.

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NORASPAT 5/11/2013 9:12PM

    Scooter I am so happy you are able to finally have a small nest egg to fall back on. Your jobs sound absolutely great. Right in your area of expertise.

Are you able to do any of them at home or do you need to commute. I was whacking at my clay last night and i was thinking of you at every stroke. Today i was able to have day off because of the rain. I transplanted hostas and boy that took some S.T. for sure. I got them into the area beneath the trees . Tree roots are worse than clay but clay and roots together took too much time and many tools. Hostas are looking good.
Today I bought red lupins just because DH loves them and they too will go in my small area.
I hope you are feeling good about this wonderful turnaround. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon Pat in Maine.
I hope you will come to see the ocean this summer.

Comment edited on: 5/11/2013 9:13:21 PM

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AJDOVER1 5/11/2013 8:54PM

    You are an amazing courageous woman. I'm glad we're sharing this part of our journey together.

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    I'm so glad your dire financial worries are over. I was very concenred if you would starve to death or freeze to death. It's very stressful to watch a friend deal with things like this when they have had to go through what you have.

I love your part time jobs. They sound perfectly suited for you, (and me!) LOL.

I would be in a similar situation if something happened to my husband. I think you are coping well. You have made some really hard decisions that are excellent.

Good luck with the juicing and the challenge.

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AUGUSTDRAGON 5/11/2013 6:27PM

    You go girl and I am of the opinion since margarita and moderation both start with "M" they are made for each other. emoticon

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SUZYMOBILE 5/11/2013 12:53PM

    Well, you've never been one to beat yourself up for too long. Enjoy the juicer and the Challenge as much as you can, and REALLY enjoy that peace of mind that comes with not having to move out! You sound as if you're doing great, frankly.

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_UMAMI_ 5/11/2013 11:31AM

    I keep wondering if you keep any chickens.......

A few celebratory margaritas are understandable. You're in a good place, and your head is on straight. You have much to celebrate.


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JANEDOE12345 5/11/2013 9:33AM

    Great energy!

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HIPPICHICK1 5/11/2013 9:02AM

    It sounds to me like you're doing a fine, fine job getting along. I'm with the Amish on the banks. I wouldn't want to deal with them either. Personally I keep as much cash OUT of the bank as I can. Recently I realized I could save $25 a year in bank fees and interest if I paid for my car insurance all in one go rather than in monthly installments directly from my bank for which the bank charges, so my goal is to have $400 saved up for that come November, and another $1000 for new tires.

Have fun with the challenge (although for me personally I felt it was far too much pressure and far too much extra time spent on the computer). I hope your juicing goes really well too and that you get the wheat grass before the cats.

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SOXYINMO 5/11/2013 8:52AM

    Love the strength and determination! emoticon

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SLIMMERJESSE 5/11/2013 8:33AM

    So many similar things that parallel my life, including the tattoos. And emotions that humans seem to relish, and no fear. Congrats on finding several things
you enjoy doing part-time. That's a huge step right there. Big hug.

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BETHGILLIGAN 5/11/2013 8:02AM

    Wow!! You are definitely moving to a "better" place in your life!! Hooray for you. You, GF, deserve lots of good things in your life. It may have been hard to sell that land but now you have some security. Look at you doing all sorts of things with your life. Love the Heritage Farm concept and I'm eager to hear about your other exploits. I can't tell you how happy I am to hear you are receiving bereavement counseling. That is a gift to yourself!! I am thrilled at where you are!!! Nobody deserves it more!!!

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DEEKELLYE 5/11/2013 7:21AM

    Good luck with the spring into summer challenge! I'm in it as well. I'm not as far as you are in my weight loss challenge but the small amount I have lost I don't want to gain or find it again. We can do this!

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OWL_20 5/11/2013 6:10AM

    Hi Scooter, saw you on Awesome A Team and I love your icon. Sounds like you're moving forward and thinking about possibilities, that's a great start. You're halfway thru the weight loss--I think that's awesome! And I really love the determination that's sneaking out of your blog. Hang in there, you're not alone. P.S. I would love to hear about the tattoo, too, hehe.

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VALERIEMAHA 5/10/2013 11:05PM

    Me too, said it so very well!
emoticon(X 2)
BTW, I will be front-and-center when you decide to delve into, "I've finally come to terms with the fact that, as a widow, an orphan with no relatives and an empty-nest person with no money to speak of, I have no one to please and no one to whom to be accountable but myself. I'm trying to figure out where one goes from here. I really am trying, and thanks to Bereavement counseling, I'm making some progress."

I have no living nuclear family and no other relatives I'm in contact with, no children, no significant other, haven't had any counseling (nor can I afford it)...and at times I have some issues around all of that

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KRISKECK 5/10/2013 10:57PM

    Sounds like a bit more security in the money department overall will be a good thing even if you're going a little overboard now. It must be a relief. I love your determination and your self-observation skills. You are made of strong stuff, I am sure you will achieve your goals. And probably also begin to feel again...bu that is a whole 'nother thing, isn't it?

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SUSANNAH31 5/10/2013 10:19PM

    Your new life sounds deliciously complex and rich with possibilities.
Congratulations on making it all happen.

I especially like your determination to stick to your weight loss plan.
"I'm halfway through my weight loss, and I'll be damned if I'm going to regain the first half rather than going on to lose the second."

I agree!


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Saturday, April 27, 2013

Well. It looks as though last year's experiment - let the back yard go totally wild, and have a lovely meadow full of flowers - was a Complete Fail. Rather than a meadow, I got a scrubby patch full of burdock and brambles, studded here and there with hidden piles of dog...leavings. The point of the trial - aside from sheer laziness - was that a friend had reported great success with this, and that the yard is extremely uneven, everything from trees coming out (or going in) to a sinking leach field to Lord alone knows what other reasons.

I thought I'd spend today out there hauling out a large hunk of a cherry tree, an apple tree that died but resprouted from the root stock (which never works, incidentally - they graft the good apple tree onto different root stock and you rarely get anything usable from the regrowth), digging out the burdock and the brambles, raking everything out and generally getting ready for this summer, in which I'll do everything differently. emoticon

About an hour into this, emoticon I realized that the only progress Lucy the Dog and I had made was that we were both covered with burdock pricklies. We also discovered that the wire fence (that covers and is taller than the post fence to which it is attached) has come down in several places. If it were a house, we would say, "This is no longer a fix-up. This is a teardown." emoticon

So I went inside to consider and retrench. New plan: on Monday I'm going to retrieve my tractor from my neighbor. After he starts my chainsaw for me ( emoticon ) I'm going to cut down the apple tree that is regrowing, the 1/3 of the cherry tree that blew down in a winter storm (we'll see if it lives - I hope so), and then hook the rake onto the tractor and rake it that way. I'll need to go back and dig out the brambles, but all the dead grass will be done with. Then, I think, I'm going to try smoothing out the lumps with the back blade. If that doesn't work, I'll borrow the backhoe. Have to be careful of weight, though, because of the Stupid Leach Field. Once it's leveled, the grass should come back easily and I can proceed with Normal Yard. Need a new grade door out there too (that's that slanted door that covers the steps to a cellar) - mine apparently gave up under the snow load.

Not sure yet how to handle the fence. I really ought to unfasten all the wire, lay stone, then put the fence up again so the grass won't grow and the base (and thus no whacking) but I doubt I'll do that properly. I'll probably whack it once, then lay newspaper over it, then mulch and hope for the best. emoticon

The front gardens are still waiting for their fall clean-up, so I need to get busy on that right away. Part of the stone wall fell out - again - so I may pull that all down and relay it, but I seriously doubt it. Likely I'll just put the stones in a neat pile and hope for the best (you'll note I do a lot of that.)

Have to chop out half the rugosa, which is now roughly the size of a small SUV, and chop down the Japanese honeysuckle (again.) Maybe I'll chain it to the tractor and just rip it out. Messy but quick.

Then the raised beds have to be cleaned up and the paths around then cleared and re-papered and mulched.

And that's all before any planting can happen. Luckily there are some bulbs blooming here and there to encourage me. emoticon

But luckily (I suppose...) I have about another month before I can really plant anything, because of our absurdly late frost date - and I hate ditzing with plants, dashing out to cover them if they are in danger. I plant them once and wish them well. Sure, I do all the maintenance type stuff, but that's later, and it's fun, I think.

The "Life" part comes in when you realize that this would have been much simpler if I'd attended to it properly last fall. Like so many Life Issues, the old Stitch In Time thing pertains. Also, that things happen when you're not looking - the wall falls down, the tree splits, the grade door caves in, there's a giant ant nest in the fire circle - and they are, in all probability, not going to be discoveries that will be good news emoticon I'm sure there's some lesson here that I ought to learn, but probably won't.

Here's what it looked like last year:

And I'm not just an enthusiast - I'm a NY certified landscaper, arborist and master gardener, so if anyone has a problem (anything, if you're in the northeast, only very general stuff if you're in, say, Texas), describe it to me and I'll try to have an answer for you, or at least tell you whom to ask.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

AUGUSTDRAGON 5/7/2013 10:24PM

    I'm exhausted after reading your blog. Makes me thankful that I have no yard issues beyond keeping the bears out of the bird feeders. Anything I plant outside is immediately consumed by deer or violently uprooted by squirrels and raccoon. I'd love to have flowers!

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ALAINEBUG 5/6/2013 9:16AM

    You are a miracle worker. Welcome to M&M.

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TIME2BLOOM4ME 5/4/2013 11:06PM

    What a beautiful garden.

When the time is right you will be able to juice. Don't stress over it.


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KRISKECK 5/1/2013 5:10PM

    Beautiful yard and stone wall - and what a lot to do! I love to garden but am happy to have a postage stamp yard after spending years with a pretty big one (although nowhere near as big as yours!). Good luck with all of that - and I wish I had your skills and talents!

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FLORIDASUN 4/30/2013 2:44PM

    Holy tomatoe...and wowsa~ too!

I was in blog reading planting bliss over one of my friends gardens and the steps she is going through to get it ready...she posts tons of pictures so it's perfect for visual me! friend...your little saga adds a WHOLE new universe of green thumb bliss to my world!

Talk about deferred maintenance... we aren't doing a blasted THING around this house until we know if the creepster bankers are going to succeed in stealing it from us. I've blogged long and exhaustively about the whole sorry mess. emoticon

Well we did have to break down and replace our a/c compressor to the tune of over $ choice there...we live in friggin' 100 degree weather with 100% humidity at 6 a.m!

BUT if I could have put that nasty little maintenance item off too.. I would have. Why spend our hard earned $$$ for some creepster that is going to scoop in and steal this place for pennies on the dollar.

WHICH of course brings me to a WHOLE nut'her rant...why do the banks steal these homes from hard working earnest homeowners that have paid the price to get these so called modification payments with everything but their blood the house away and then go right out and sell it to someone off the street (or more likely their brother if it's a great house like ours) for pennies on the dollar???

Of course they move it off their books and probably get a bail out from the good ole' government...but really if they are going to take a loss..why not work with the homeowner and give them the same sweet deal they are getting?

Makes no sense to me..and I'm a pretty common sense gal from Iowa.

Can't wait to see all your sounds like you will be burning that calorie meter BIG time! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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    We knew a guy my hubby used to work with who lived at a lake near here who tried the wild yard experiment too. It looked like some place in the Amazon. People had trouble finding his front door. I think he did too. Apparently some clever teens took advantage of the overgrown mess and planted a pot plant which grew to amazing heights until the cops noted it and showed up on his doorstep. They have dogs that are smarter than people and can find front doors. I guess he had seen the plant but both he and his wife thought it was pretty and that the other one had planted it. The cops were not as thrilled with it. LOL.

Comment edited on: 4/29/2013 10:12:13 PM

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NORASPAT 4/28/2013 11:07PM

    You know that is just about what happens to me. I always did great work for my clients but many of my clothes waited till I was desperate for them or I outgrew them during the time lapse.

I have finished my fence and DH was impressed.
If I had taken the fence out (NO WAY) I could have done the trench in hours but no way put the fence back. we live on BLUE clay .
I love listening to yout life.

HUGS Pat in Maine. emoticon so much emoticon

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BETHGILLIGAN 4/28/2013 6:06PM

    OK! I'm exhausted just reading this blog! Tractor? Chainsaw? Backhoe? Really??? I used to plant and weed, etc. but not much anymore. I do not have much of a green thumb so my husband by default started planting, weeding. His thumb is much greener than mine. However, now my husband's interest has waned and our yard has suffered. I can't get organized inside let alone add outside chores!!!

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SUZYMOBILE 4/28/2013 5:37PM

    Well, it all looked delightful last year. So northeast that it makes me pine a little bit. I'd ask you for advice about staghorn ferns, ti plant, orchids, and sea hibiscus, but I suspect your specialty is hosta and columbine!

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_UMAMI_ 4/28/2013 11:18AM

    Whew! Our yard is a mess, and I'm actually making an effort this year, after two years of letting it go. We have a tree falling, slow as a glacier, across our front yard, that we should take down, but no $$$ or chainsaw to do so. I just loaded up on zinnias, pentas and lantana, 'cos I love watching butterflies and hummingbirds in our yard.

I love your stone wall! I might even attempt something like that in our yard. One of these days.

I don't have a green thumb, but I have moon in Taurus, so maybe there is hope for me.

I'll certainly be taking up your offer of "general" advice. Wish I lived further north, because I would LOVE some peonies or ranunculas. Or even Dahlias, which are native to Mexico, but our nights are too warm here.

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HIPPICHICK1 4/28/2013 10:20AM

    So much to do and so little day light in which to do it! All the best of luck with the outdoor "reno's."

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KASEYCOFF 4/28/2013 2:08AM

    I love you dearly, you know I do, but everything you've just described is exactly why my dream is to be a tenant of a well-kept property, lol... "Blackthumb" be my middle name.

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ISLANDNESTER 4/27/2013 10:15PM

  I got a great work out just reading your blog emoticon I love reading about people fixing things up,"Under the Tuscan Sun" was a delight for this very reason.Your old house is great,and the stonework brings back memories of living in New Hampshire as a teen.Enjoy your beautiful gardens!

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FLAMENM 4/27/2013 7:34PM

    Happy gardening!

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CDCSMITH2013 4/27/2013 7:16PM

    I wish I could teleport you here for a general opinion of the yard. What should be kept, what should be trimmed back. A good portion of the yard/property is left in its natural state (a river runs through the property). We have deer that come in, nesting swans, all sorts of very cool things meander in. I don't want that to change, but I'd like to strike a balance.

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VALERIEMAHA 4/27/2013 5:17PM

    LOL..."I'm sure there's some lesson here...."

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JULESJET 4/27/2013 4:49PM

    Sounds like you have great plans for your yard!
I wish you luck!

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Oookay, my weird reality is back in place.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

On the way home from fetching cat food, I was listening to NPR. They were talking about the flooding on the Mississippi, and how it's difficult to get cooperation because it passes through so many different jurisdictions. The commentator said, "It's like a child with 800 parrots, but he's an orphan."

"Yeesh", I thought. "If my son had 800 parrots, I'd leave home, too."

I was a good ten miles farther along before I realized he'd said 800 *parents*.

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FLORIDASUN 4/30/2013 2:51PM

    Har de HAR HAR...I LOVE NPR! When we had our little cabin in N. Carolina NPR was one of the only radio stations that had a signal strong enough to be heard. You learn some really GREAT stuff on the station! Television was banned at the cabin. Actually it should STILL be banned in our Florida home too. Mostly just brain rot crap is on anyhow. I'd much rather read...but the hubs is totally wonder men are so duh...AND easy to entertain! emoticon emoticon

Love your parrot story...and glad it gave you a laugh for the rest of the trip home!


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2BMYOWN 4/27/2013 12:36PM

    Do you empathize with that wacky commercial they used to show of people standing in their showers, etc. singing their favorite songs and totally butchering the lyrics? LMAO I can't say a word.....been there/done that. But with me I believe it is a 'blonde' thing, even tho my hair has been gray for so long....that blonde syndrome just never seems to go away. (sigh) However, they say if you can laugh at yourself, you are ahead of the game.....I am a sprinter, if that is true. LOL

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HIPPICHICK1 4/26/2013 12:25PM

I lol'd AND snorted!!!

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APPLEPIEAPPLE 4/26/2013 10:51AM

    LOL. emoticon

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    Wow, that made me giggle!

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DAWNSJOURNEY 4/26/2013 7:19AM

    OMG your brain did it's own autocorrect. emoticon

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ISLANDNESTER 4/26/2013 1:51AM

  LOL!When I was a little girl living in southern Oregon, we had a collie dog that died.To my little kid ears I heard she was eaten by a green alligator!Years later,as an adult,I mentioned this to my oldest brother,wanting to know how that could happen in Oregon.Needless to say he laughed until he cried,and said,"Oh Robbie,that is so like you,she was trapped in a grain elevator!"P.S. She did not die in there,the teenage boys that took her in there were found out in time,my little brain just mixed up the events in so many ways!! P.S.S. My brother still likes to tease me about that one:)

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MCJULIEO 4/26/2013 12:04AM


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    LOL. I love parrots but not 800 of them. Would not want 800 parents any more than 800 parrots but of the two I would opt for the parrots.

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NORASPAT 4/25/2013 9:42PM

    Oh you silly thing I wondered what the punch line should be. Thanks for the LOL, DH wondered what I was chuckling about. I also love N PR, DH like the music. I like the talking heads. It keep me interested-some times downright mad but not often HUGS Pat.

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon KAREN

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ADAGIO_CON_BRIO 4/25/2013 8:29PM

    Oh, yeah. I really hate it when I accumulate 800 parrots. That makes me, too, want to flee. Especially when they break out into petty verbal spats.

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PEPPYPATTI 4/25/2013 6:50PM

    LOL! That is a good one! emoticon emoticon

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BETHGILLIGAN 4/25/2013 6:25PM


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100LBLIGHTER 4/25/2013 5:48PM


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SOULFISH80 4/25/2013 5:41PM

    Too funny! When I first started reading I thought you had made a typo (as I so frequently do). Funny.

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SUZYMOBILE 4/25/2013 5:33PM

    I often misread road signs that way. Must be the full moon.

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Maybe it's the full moon...

Thursday, April 25, 2013

(Warning: this blog isn't my usual mix of cheerful and snide )

...but I just can't seem to get myself together today.

I woke at my usual 6:30, but because I knew the house would be freezing (don't ask) I stayed huddled in the bed with Lucy (the dog) and KayKay ( the cat who sleeps on my head), reading and generally putting off the inevitable. Finally rolled out about 9:00.

Proceeded to do absolutely nothing other than drink a mug of coffee and eat a handful of walnuts for the next FOUR HOURS. I have plenty to do, but no will or desire to tackle any of it. Halfhearted Sparking, some staring into space. I have to (as in MUST) go out at some point today, because I'm out of cat food.

Finally took Lucy for a nice long ramble - although FitBit only acknowledges 2800+steps, WE thought it was a nice long ramble. We went in the grove where the people are buried (supposedly - and over 200 years ago), spoke with the faeries, looked to see if the wild onions are ready (almost), sat on the twin boulders (my late husband John and I had each claimed one) and looked for spring. I wanted to somehow drag the boulders up to the lawn, but realized today that that isn't going to happen. They're each the size of a large lounge chair, and that's the part ABOVE the ground. So we said our good-byes, because they're in the parcel that will be sold. We went through lots of places you can only go in late April and early May, because everything is still flattened down from winter - later on it'll be too scrubby for walking.

Selling 100 or so acres was the only alternative to moving altogether, and it's a great solution for everyone. I get to stay and have some money and a good 60 acres, the lovely Amish family has a place to live and farm and cut wood, and generally God's in His heaven. It makes perfect sense. On paper. In my head.

I guess somebody forgot to inform my heart.

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2BMYOWN 4/27/2013 12:32PM

    Awwwww, I am so sorry, Scooter. I know it will help you, financially, but's so hard to let go of what means so much to you, too. God bless and give you peace, inside and out, with it all. Big hugs your way. emoticon

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VALERIEMAHA 4/26/2013 2:51PM

BIG news!!!

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    You have had to make a hard decision and you know it is the right one. These memories will remain in your heart and most likely the Amish people would allow you to visit these places occasionally should you feel the need to. I think it is wonderful that you are able to stay. Taking care of 160 acres would be a lot of work. Too much for one person. The money can be spent to make your life a little easier. You will have the money to buy things like cat food and power. We are here for you. We have gone through rough times with you in the past. We care and will be by your side no matter what you face in the future. You are teaching us all how to survive difficult times with humor and grace. We love the person you are. emoticon

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SHERYLDS 4/25/2013 5:51PM

    emoticon at least it's an Amish couple.
In my area you would be worried about young adults with blaring stereos

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SOULFISH80 4/25/2013 5:44PM

    I'm sure selling your land is hard, but it sounds like you are so blessed to be able to stay on your 60 acres. I dream for 1 acre someday! Hope your heart heals and feels balanced with the decision that had to be made.

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BETHGILLIGAN 4/25/2013 4:47PM

    I think it is only natural that you are grieving the loss of your land. You have your home and 60 acres but you won't have those 100 acres with the memories. It is another loss to endure. Maybe that nice family will let you visit the boulders? Sending you hugs and peace.

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APPLEPIEAPPLE 4/25/2013 4:07PM

    It is always hard to make difficult choices. But the one you made will give you some security and you do get to keep your home shared with your husband. As a widow myself, my busband and I built my home together and shared so much in it. I would really hate to give it up. emoticon

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DAWNSJOURNEY 4/25/2013 3:08PM

    emoticon giving up something you love is not easy.. while getting to stay is Awesome. I hope you get a few more moments on your boulders before your final goodbye. I guess think of the peace they have given and your moments of joy rather than the goodbye that is to come.

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Banks, exchange rates, and other things arranged to make us crazy.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Because I've started working with developmentally disabled folks, I've had to take a couple days' worth of specialized training (we'll talk about that another time) about 50 miles from here. 50 miles x 2 (I'm coming home again every night) x 3 days = more fuel cost than I had handy. Luckily, I had $21 in Canadian dollars from a trip not long ago. Easy one, I thought. I'll just stop at the bank and convert it.

I'm slowly learning that any time I think, "Hey, no sweat!", it's going to turn out to be a real fiasco. This was no exception.

First bank:
me: "Excuse me, can you exchange some Canadian cash for me?"
teller: "You mean, you have, like, Canadian money?"
me: "Yes"
teller: "And you want us to, like, change it into American money?"
me: "Yes, please"
teller: "Do you have an account here?"
me: "Yes, yes I do."
teller: "Well, we can't do that. Money from Canada? Huh-uh."
me (wondering why she wanted to know if I had an account there...)

Second bank, same question:
teller: " Sure, we can do that! Do you have an account here?"
me "No, I don't."
teller: "Oh. Well, then we can't do that."
me (wondering if they thought I was laundering currency internationally)

Third bank, same question:
teller "Sure! We can do that!"
me: "Whew! Ii thought I might have to..."
teller:"In increments of $100."
me: "But I only need $20..."
teller:"Nope. Sorry. Only in increments of $100."
me (thinking that *this* would be the place to do international money laundering)

Fourth bank, same question:
teller:"Sure, we can do that!"
me: "Whew! Here's my $21."
teller "Okay, great! Oh, by the way, there's a $15 service fee"
me:" A $15 service fee ...for exchanging $20..."
teller: *giggle* "Yep. Sorry!" *giggle "You know, you can, like, use it on the Thruway! They deal with money all the time!"
me (wondering if I should point out that banks also deal with ... oh, never mind.)

Fifth bank, same question.
teller: "No. No international currency whatsoever. You cannot deposit Canadian currency, nor can we exchange it for you."
me (thinking that first, I'm close enough practically to walk to Canada - it's not as though Canadian currency is all that unusual around here - and second, that it's not like I'm trying to change drachmas to francs.)

Sixth bank, same tired old question:
me: "Look, I don't have an account here, and I know there's probably a service charge, but I have $21 in Canadian currency. Could you, would you PLEASE exchange it for American currency so that I can buy some fuel for the car?"
teller:"I'll have to check with my manager"
me *clutches bridge of nose*
teller, returning with concerned looking manager
me (losing hope rapidly, becoming resigned to walking to Canada...)
teller and manager: "Yes, we can do that. We take bills, loonies and two-nies."
me:"Really? You can do that for me?"
teller and manager:"Sure. Just give us a second here..." *much clicking of computer mouse, consultation with papers...* "Here you are. $18.something cents. The coin and the bills have different exchange rates, and we did have a $2 service fee. And here is your receipt, explaining all that we did."
me: (happy. happy. happy. much thanking and praise, and promising to open an account if they ever have a branch anywhere near me.)

There really is no moral to this story, I'm afraid, other than perhaps some Benjamin Franklin quote about the virtue of perseverance. And keeping the proper currency on hand at all times.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

APPLEPIEAPPLE 4/25/2013 4:19PM

    Tenacity does pay. emoticon

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2BMYOWN 4/25/2013 2:33PM

    LMAO!!! Gawwwwwd, that so sounds like some of my days. I keep thinking it's gotta be some kinda cosmic karma or something, I think I must have been a serial killer in another life or something. LOL I'm glad you finally found a bank that was accommodating, tho. Lots to be said for that, I guess. emoticon

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CDCSMITH2013 4/25/2013 8:44AM

    Definately make a point of letting people know about the good bank. WHo knew it would be so hard to do. Good luck. And thank you for sharing. I'm sorry I was giggling at your expense, but it was an amusng tale (since I didn't have to live through it).

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SUSANNAH31 4/25/2013 8:23AM

    OMG! What a pain in the neck!
Good for you for keeping on until you got what you needed.

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HIPPICHICK1 4/25/2013 7:56AM

    You went to SIX banks?! That is crazy!
P.S. Currently our money is on par with USD. The banks stick it to us again.

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_UMAMI_ 4/25/2013 1:09AM

    I hear ya. Not the same thing, but we got stuck in a drive through bank for 20 or 30 minutes. I then realized that the banks (*cough* bailouts) cut back severely on real people and that I'm suppose to just deal with machines from now on.

Thanks for the humor about life's foibles. I need that now. And it helps to blog, and I have a HUGE problem crushing me right now that I'm sure some Spark Peeps could remedy.

p.s. I DID manage to make it outside to try and see the Lyris (?) meteor showers, but what I saw looked like spermatazoa----tiny, faint lines in all directions. Was it real, or my tired eyes??

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    Maybe you can get my bank to send my 2 debits card and my credit card that they always send to the wrong address. They are complete idiots.

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BETHGILLIGAN 4/24/2013 8:59PM

    You are one persistent gal!!! Somehow, no one is able to think anymore. Just go by the rules and customer be damned!! I'd love to hear about new job!!! I have special ed background and worked with disabled preschoolers and their families for over 20 years.

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GWTRIKER 4/24/2013 8:42PM

    That is terrible your bank would not help you. Glad you got it resolved.

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NORASPAT 4/24/2013 8:20PM

    I am so sorry you had to find out the hard way. We have no international bank here so getting anything changed is difficult. Too bad you do not have an Irving anywhere near they usually do it at PAR. So many Canadians come in to Maine you can stop at an Irving and give either money. We usually give them US Dollar and we get Canadian money in exchange.
Driving so far, I hope you are loving your job. HUGS Pat in Maine. emoticon emoticon

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SUZYMOBILE 4/24/2013 7:51PM

    This is too funny not to be true! emoticon

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