Thursday, June 28, 2012


As of 1:30PM yesterday afternoon, I am no longer an employee of Seminole County. Feels great! Of course it's not like I'll be sitting around watching movies or anything. We have a great deal of stuff to get done in the next four weeks starting now. I have a lengthy to-do list just for today, plus longer-term projects both here and in Zephyrhills. There is zero chance that we'll bored between now and our official moving day.

I don't have time for anything lengthy on today's decision that the Constitution of these united States places no limit whatsoever on the actions of the federal government. Combined with yesterday's decision that placed hard limits on what individual states are allowed to do, this pretty much nails the coffin shut on federalism. I had assumed from the start that there was no way that any branch of the federal government would block legislation so advantageous to multinational corporations as Obamacare will prove to be. Unfortunately, raging cynicism seems the safe bet lately.

Maybe more later when I knock out more of the to-do list.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Checking In

Not much posting lately mostly due to not having a lot to say. We're still running back and forth to Zephyrhills to prep the new place whenever we have the chance. We are slowing making progress and we should be able to have the place whipped into shape by the end of July when we have to be out of our current apartment.

Related to that, I'm counting the days I have left at the library. Basically, I have a five-day stretch starting Saturday, then I'm done forever. And none too soon; the place is really starting to drive me nuts. Maybe it's because I'm short-timing, or maybe people are getting more crazy, or the summer heat is getting to me. Anyway. Five days and I'm done. Then things will kick into high gear for the move. Shifting our stuff in phases promises to make this less of a pain than previous moves. If we can get rid of some of the big stuff, it will be easier still. There are a couple back-breakers we still have left over from more-permanent living arrangements that I would really love to not have to move again.

Our apartment is looking more and more like a storage unit, especially after I emptied our actual storage unit into our second bedroom yesterday so we could save a couple month's rent on that. We keep finding clothes. There was a suitcase we didn't even remember having hid in the back of the storage unit. When I lifted it, it was painfully obvious the thing was packed full of something. It felt like books. Or maybe rocks. Nope. Clothes. Must have really needed them given that we've been unaware of their existence for two years. How in the name of the Goddess does that happen? There were also a dozen of our large plastic bins that were full of stuff. Some of it is packing materials like bubble wrap and packing peanuts that we keep rather than have to buy new every time we move. But several of them were waaaay too heavy to be packing peanuts. I haven't yet dared open those to see exactly what madness lies inside.

And that's pretty much been our existence the last couple weeks.

It's been a while since I've posted anything about our current economic mess, primarily because not much has changed in the last couple years. The stock markets are still going in circles, flitting up or down on every rumor or latest bit of one-percenter, bankster insanity designed to fleece the rest of us of what little we have left. The financial industry continues to play the same games, legal and otherwise, that caused the mess in the first place while the Obama "Justice" Department remains comatose. Meanwhile, millions of people who thought they were part of the middle class watch helplessly while they fall into poverty and their children are conned into a life of debt slavery with increasingly hollow promises of fame and fortune at the end of their Four Year Slog in one of our "universities". I only bring up the subject now because of a small glimmer of hope in the far distance: United States of America v. Carollo, Goldberg and Grimm. I know that sounds like the perfect cure for insomnia, but that link will take you to a piece by Matt Taibbi that gives some hope to even the most jaded cynics like yours truly. On the surface, the case involves three nobodies involved in a price-fixing scam on municipal bond interest rates. Like I said; Sominex, right? The good stuff is in the tapes and testimony showing a long list of major banks and investment houses ripping off pretty much every county and municipal government in the country for the last 10 to 15 years. Unlike most financial cases, this didn't end with a wrist-slap fine in exchange for no admission of wrong-doing and immunity from lawsuits; every local government is now free to start filing lawsuits (some already have). We'll have to see where things go from here. Remember when the robo-signing scandal was going to bring down the banksters? All we got from that was a "task force" of a few dozen people with no office to work in or even a published telephone number that has yet to accomplish anything other than a couple press conferences. That can easily happen with this bank scam as well, which is why I only give it distant-glimmer status. But still....

The New York Times had a piece describing Obama as a poor tortured soul for having to sit in a meeting to decide which Americans will be murdered by our military this week. If a cop started summarily executing bad guys, he would rightly be charged with premeditated murder. Why we allow this power to be exercised by our president on the advise of an anonymous cadre of spooks is beyond me. Another reminder that the nation I grew up in no longer exists.

And just because I haven't beat up on public education in a while, we have two young girls being tortured by forced sunburn. If a parent were to force their children to stand in full sun while not allowing them to apply sunscreen or go inside or even to wear a hat, they would be charged with child abuse and the children would be dumped into the foster care system. A teacher does it and, well, "We jus' followin' da rules, massa!" How do people so stupid and callous end up in charge of large numbers of our children?

Well, I have to go do my daily chores and get another truck-load of stuff ready to haul across Florida. Later.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

New Place: More Work

We had another day off together, so we headed over to the new place to do some more clearing and to start loading the place up with our stuff. Most of the day was spent putting heat film on the living room windows. Unfortunately, being a travel trailer, the windows are the louvered, crank-out type meaning that instead of one big piece of glass per window, there are three. That made the process painfully slow, but it will look a lot better than our temp heat shields I slapped up last week using left-over Mylar from the apartment heat-shield project. The total cost for all the windows except those on the north side will be about $70, so not too bad. We hope the payback will be something like two or three months, but it will be hard to do an exact payback calculation given no one has lived in the trailer in the summer in a very long time. Anyway, here's what things looked like after the Restore truck came and went:

We're keeping the mat and box for now so we have something to sleep on when we stay there. Once we have our own bed moved over, these will be sent to Restore as well.

We emptied out the closet only to fill it back up again. Most of the stuff here will end up elsewhere, but for now it's out of the way.

Built-in dresser needs some work. Several of the drawers have busted rails; an easy fix, fortunately.

We're keeping the washing machine that came with the trailer, but Restore got the miniature 110-volt electric dryer. At some point, it may be replaced with a full-sized propane dryer, but not immediately. We'll use a clothesline for now.

We moved all the bits we plan to yard-sale into the laundry room to get them out of the way for now. All the existing shelving is so poorly done, it will all have to come down. Several sections collapsed with even the slightest bit of weight because the installation was so botched.

The Florida room is mostly emptied. We kept one of the kitchen-table-and-chair sets so we would have something to sit on until we get some of our furniture moved over. We're also not sure if our current table will fit, so it's also a form of insurance.

With a big screen at one end, we could do some serious Wii Bowling in here.

Even cleaned out the kitchen looks alarmingly small. This may turn out to be one of the first major renovation projects.

China hutch filled with our good china that has been in storage since we got it as wedding gifts. We decided it was time to ditch the old stuff Debbie bought for her first apartment and start using fancy dishes.

Our empty living room. We'll be heading over again tomorrow after I get out of work, mostly to take another load of stuff that we won't need before August, and try to finish up the heat film on the windows. We'll also be working on a detailed list of projects that need to be done before we move in, then figure out how to make it all happen in the six weeks we have before we move in. Fun stuff.

Well, I need to get dinner started.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

New Place: Work Begins

We both had Sunday and Monday off last weekend, so we headed over to the new homestead to start the cleaning up process and to find anything that we will need to get fixed before we move in. But just to give you an idea of what we had to deal with, here are the pictures from our "first look" at the place:

Obviously not move-in ready. In fact, it looked like it had been abandoned. We found out later basically that's what happened. Some stuff was cleaned out, but it was a long way from everything. Later when we started opening up the drawers, closets and cupboards we found more of the same. On our first pass, we filled 20+ of the large, 30-gallon trash bags with the stuff that we couldn't imagine anyone having a use for; Wendy's salad containers, dozens of coffee mugs, butter containers (some with mystery contents), unlabeled spray bottles with odd-smelling liquids in them, dozens of glasses with no two alike, every Christmas dodad ever sold at the Dollar Store and enough fake flowers to fill the fake flower section of a large craft store. The previous owner had a thing for toothpicks, which we would find in every room, in every closet, on every shelf, in every drawer. Toothpicks. Big Paul-Bunyan-sized toothpicks. We'd no sooner think that we'd found them all and one would fall out of a curtain or one would turn up hidden in some crevice. There is so much glitter from all the Christmas decorations embedded in everything that we're not sure we'll ever be completely rid of it. We still have all the big pieces of furniture to deal with; queen sleeper, love seat sleeper, two kitchen tables with two sets of chairs, recliner, swivel rocker, queen bed. (We're thinking a big donation to Restore; they'll come haul it all away for free.) The stuff in the last photo is some of what we thought we might get some nickles for at the next park-wide yard sale, so we're hanging on to that for now. Unless it accidentally falls into a trash bag.

The outside looked like this:

Piles of leaves everywhere, a dying lime tree, another large, overgrown dying lime tree, a couple volunteer bushes from the other side of the fence, one of which was disassembling the fence with its roots. And all sorts of odd bits around the yard; part of a fountain, part of a bird bath, in-ground sprinklers that don't seem to be hooked up to plumbing, a plastic tarp anchored to the ground with 6" Ardox nails, a bucket of dirt. After several more bags for the dumpster and 30 bags for the compost pile, here's what the yard looks like:

Clean slate. We don't know what we're going to do with it yet, but at least the obstructions are mostly out of the way.

We'll take some after photos of the interior once we get rid of the big furniture. I'm calling Restore on Monday to see what days they can do pick-ups. If the stars align, we may have a mostly-empty place to start moving our stuff into sometime next weekend.