Monday, October 28, 2013

Pumpkin Carving Party

On Sunday, a bunch of us got together to have a wee pumpkin carving contest:

He didn't do so hot carving his pumpkin, but he made up for it by being cute.

I had the opportunity to do some modeling:

Doin' what comes natural.

A strikingly likeness, although the artiste was a tad generous in the hair department. My modeling expertise earned him the first place ribbon.
Here is the result all lit up in their Halloweeny glory:


Not much else happening right now. Mostly enjoying our break from the heat. It's only been in the high 70's the last few days and, laudate dominum, dipping down into the low 60's at night. We both have been sleeping for 10-12 hours a night. Alas, it won't last. The weather liars say we will be setting record high's by the middle of the week. Unlike all their other predictions, they'll get it right this time. Sounds like we'll be all sealed up and running the A/C in November.

Well, I'm off to another night of deep and undisturbed slumber while I still can.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Life of a Patio Block

So we hustled over to the concrete place and purchased, hauled and stacked about 3,000 pounds of patio blocks... the ground all prep'ed...

... started setting blocks the next morning...

...and finished up on day two:

I know I said we would be all done with patio blocks after this, but we haven't been happy with the front patio since we moved here. The whole thing is one giant tripping hazard with all the sinking and tipping patio blocks. The original plan was to reset the blocks that were already there, but when we looked closer at the blocks, they are in bad shape; missing corners, cracks, funky miss-matched colors. Soooooo...

While we were at it, we took up some existing patio and did some regrading with all the dirt we have left over from the work in the back. It will take another pallet of patio blocks to finish, then we need to find some place to dump the old blocks, but the result will be much better drainage on the lot plus not needing to tip-toe around on our patio to keep from face-planting.

Today, I took a break from all things yard to catch up on bills, bookkeeping and blogging. One bill that I had been ignoring for a while was from one of my doctors. Since the beginning of this year, every time I go see this guy, I also get a bill from some lab I've never heard of. The visits were routine, nothing had changed that I was aware of, and there was also a lab line item on the bill from the doctor's office. I have no problem paying bills I owe, but I have a big problem with paying a bill that has already been paid. Today I finally got someone on the phone who knew what was up and told me that I shouldn't be getting the separate lab bills, that the office already paid the lab, and to not pay them. Well, I already had, so she needed copies of the bills that had been paid mailed to her so she could start the process of getting me my money back from the lab. (Yea, right. A refund from the medical-industrial complex? Don't make me laugh.) She was very apologetic and explained that it was the result of a tragic computer error.

I have another term for it: Fraud.

A computer error could have kicked one bill to me. It may have even allowed payment of said bill. But to kick a second bill and allow that one to be paid, after being aware of the problem for four months? That's something far more serious than a computer error. Unfortunately, from looking over the constant stream of bills coming into my parent's mailbox, I have a feeling double billing is very common. The worst part is that trying to dig to the bottom of these messes is nearly impossible. The entire medical establishment's attitude is "Shut up and pay it or we'll trash your credit." The bills themselves are impossible to read (deliberately so, in my not-so-humble opinion), so don't even think you can cross-reference bills from different organizations to see if you are paying for the same thing twice. Even the people who work in the office are baffled by the crap they themselves send out.

Good thing Obamacare is going to fix all that.


Obviously, I didn't bother to say any of that to the person I was talking to; the problem was at the lab, not the doctor's office. So I made copies of everything and sent if all off to her like she requested. I expect it was just a waste of paper, toner and a stamp, but I may get a surprise.

I think the Florida weather gods are trying to kill us. We have always shut the A/C off and opened up the windows on October 1st. Today is October 21st, the windows are all sealed shut, the A/C is cranking away, and there is no end in sight. Oh, the weather liars keep saying it will cool off by the end of the week. For three weeks now. We've had exactly one day that it didn't get into the 80's. But this weekend for sure!! I started the summer off using old washcloths as sweat rags; now I've graduated to old hand towels. If this keeps up much longer, it's gonna be old beach towels.

Well, I need to go make some food. It's hamburger and fries night!!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Brain Bender

You'll want to watch this full-screen:

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Slow Week

It felt like we were busy, but this morning when we tried to figure out what we were so busy doing, we couldn't come up with much. We were able to get everything prep'ed for the last phase of the patio block project:

The ground is cleared, phone lines buried, and everything more or less ready to start dropping patio blocks.
And our squirrel was back this morning on his new favorite perch:

Yo. Wha' choo lookin at.
I'm not sure if he is expecting to be fed or if he is plotting our demise. Maybe he works for the NSA...?

Tomorrow morning, bright and early, I'm heading over to the concrete place for another pallet of 12" patio blocks. I don't need that many, but it's cheaper to buy a full pallet instead of paying the individual price on what I do need. I'll have around 30 or so leftovers. I'm not sure what we will be using them for, but we'll think of something.

Well, it's late and I need to get up early. Someday I may have time for a real post....

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Busy, Busy

We spend every day knocking things off the to-do list, but the list never seems to get any shorter. Some of the latest bits we've been working on:

After storing the thing in its original box in the back of the Durango for a week, we finally got our anniversary gift assembled.

We had our thermometer hanging on the side of the shed primarily because that's where our predecessor had his hanging. We couldn't see it from inside the house, and the sun shone directly on it in the afternoon, making it a less-than-ideal location. We moved it to the fence, which works much better for us and seems to please our local squirrel.

These were going to be dug up and tossed, so we dug them up and planted them next to the porch. This is another plant we see growing all over the park; we'll see if they can handle our southern exposure.

New pots with Cat Palms. These are supposed to bush out rather than grow up, which will make a nice screen for the patio.
We've also been busy just keeping up with all the leaves falling out of the trees both here and at the parents' place. Toss in car repairs and other such random "fun" and our time disappears.

Speaking of parents, we'll probably start opening up their place in another week or so, getting everything aired out and cleaned up. This year was a bad year for mold, so we may have a lot of work to do inside. We already know we have a lot to do on the outside.

So other than all that, not much going on. Heh. I'll probably start working on the last phase of the patio block project later this month after the credit card closes. After that, I will be taking a break from outdoor work while I focus on getting my CPE credits completed before the end of the year, and re-familiarizing myself with software I haven't looked at in 15 or so years. And I may have other news on the job front. I'll know more on Monday.

Well, I need to get back at it.