Friday, January 30, 2015

How I Know It is Winter

Here's how I know it's winter and how I know everybody is sick of winter.

Today in the ladies' room there wasn't just one bottle of hand lotion, there wasn't two bottles of hand lotion, there were three bottles of hand lotion.

We are all sick of winter.  So are our hands.

Wash your hands. Wash your hands.  Wash your hands.

Walt Kowalski is struggling, too.  He lotions and lotions and lotions and wears gloves all the time. But this season brings a double edged sword.  Wash your hands, GERMS and DIRT! But the industrial soap in most restrooms is so harsh and full of antibacterial chemicals that it makes his hands worse. He needs to carry his own soap. 

The other day, as he was getting dressed for work, he called to me from the bedroom.  "Help! I can't button my pants."

I called back, "I don't need another reminder we need to go to the gym more, thanks."

"No, you don't understand, my fingers are so split and sore that I can't get the button through the button hole of my new pants. If I try, my fingers will bleed. "

My heart breaks for his poor hands. 

Come on spring!

(Yes, I know I took another photo in the bathroom!)

Thursday, January 29, 2015


Every morning there are toys waiting for us outside the bedroom door.  Sometimes every kitty cat toy, sometimes only a few.  Sometimes they are in the bathroom.  Maybe I need to set up a hidden cat cam to see what exactly goes on at night. 

The pink fuzzy ball is a new toy from Christmas. There is a green fuzz ball, too.   They are favorites because they move fast on the floors. 

Yesterday, as Walt Kowalski was walking from the kitchen into the living room, he said "Where did this big green puff ball come from?  Is this a new toy from Christmas?"

"No! That's my bath poof from the shower!" 
Ok, who was using my poof?  Cocoa Fluffy? Fudge?  

Tuesday, January 27, 2015


Last week I flew home in this:

We climbed above the clouds.  Then the view was this beautiful horizon:

And then, as we approached home, we made our decent down through the clouds into this:

Where did I go wrong? I knew I should have made a left at Albuquerque.

But it turned out ok.  The next round of was beautiful snow.  Sticky and thick covering all the dark and dirty.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Today's Germs

Germs. Germs. Germs. Today's germs are brought to you by the letter G (for germ) and A (for airplane).

The airplane was crawling with them.  I knew it.  I’ve seen the reports.  I could tell by the looks on the faces of my fellow passengers.  They looked germy. I’m sure I looked germy to them, too.

Miss Brenda and I were just talking about germs. What if you could see them? What if they were different colors? Would it make life better, or worse? I think I could become obsessed with trying to get rid of them. Miss Brenda said “I’d bargain with myself. ‘Oh those germs are only the blue germs.  The really bad germs are red.  I can live with blue germs.’”  Yeah, I would do the same. 

I use the ladies’ room at the far end of the building at my new office.  I use this bathroom not just because it adds extra steps to my 10,000 required steps per day, but also because there is no exit door on the bathroom.

It is actually a locker room with a large bathroom. You enter to the left, turn a quick right, and then turn a quick left. No door needed. No one can see in and no doors to touch on the way out.

The office building where I worked this week was totally automatic.

Automatic sinks.

Automatic flush toilets. (Even if I’m not fond of them.)

Automatic soap dispensers.

Automatic towel dispensers.

Sometimes even high-intensity automatic hand dryers.

But yet, like Walt Kowalski said, ‘Why don’t they use automatic doors? Or even make the doors open out so you don’t have to touch the handle?’

He’s right. I totally agree.  How often have I washed my hands and then used the paper towel to open the door. Always. Sometimes my coat sleeve. 

Then today as I opened the door to exit the bathroom I noticed a small tissue holder and small wastebasket on the wall just by exit door.  The tissues dispensed were small.  Smaller than a tissue for runny noses, but just large enough to use to grab the door handle to open the door and toss in the small wastebasket. 


Great idea.  They planned that someone wouldn’t wash their hands and the door handle would be germy. They gave you an additional option to cleanly exit the restroom. (Yet the door back into the office required touching the handle.  Crap.)

For the record, I don’t usually take photographs in bathrooms. Except that now I have taken two photographs in two bathrooms in two days. 

Thursday, January 22, 2015


I have been traveling between two sites.  They are about 15 miles away from each other.  My hotel and the airport are in between the two sites.
Monday and Tuesday we went out to eat after work near the work sites, so I missed the "rush hour" traffic. Last night was different. Dinner was at a restaurant next to my hotel. 
The area of one site is in a nice, new industrial park. That also means construction of buildings and truck traffic.  Last night on the way home I hit traffic as soon as I left the parking lot. But wait, it was construction traffic. There was a train!  Am I at home?  I wasn't expecting that. 
Once the train passed, I hit a few red lights causing back ups.  Not unusual for 5pm. The red lights were controlling the left turns onto the highway.  Once I get there, I should have smooth sailing. Ha!

My new GPS app on my phone was a lifesaver. 20 minutes is what the GPS estimated in travel time to the hotel.
Turn left at the next light the GPS indicated.  The GPS didn't tell me that I was car number 30 in line for the light! I'm not going to make the hotel in 20 minutes.

We were moving! Then we were stopped. Then we were moving! Then we were stopped.


There are no mountains or tunnels here, so why are we braking?  Maybe an accident?  Nope. Just braking.

And more braking. Really, there must be some reason up ahead to be braking. Nope. Everybody was just braking.

Instead of the cars merging into traffic braking, the traffic that was supposed to be moving was braking.  No wonder there was a backup on the freeway!

I also figured out that if follow the rules of driving, and courteous driving, and I leave space between the front of my vehicle and the rear of the vehicle in front of me someone will see that spot and change lanes and squeeeeeeze in front of me.  

And I thought heading into our city through tunnels was annoying. 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Hotel House

My hotel room is more than a room. It’s a suite.  Actually, it is a room for a long stay. They call it a house. I see why. I have a bedroom, bathroom, swivel television, couch, island with work area, microwave, fridge, dishwasher, pots, pans, silverware, glasses, wine glasses, and plastic containers.


Cooking is not on my agenda this week, but it’s nice to consider if I ever did have to stay. Then again, there are so many nice restaurants within walking distance that I would try each one before cooking.  But…there are two nice markets within walking distance.  And a restaurant in the hotel. And a full breakfast. Ok, I’ll save the cooking for home with Walt Kowalski.


The bathroom shower is all glass. Which means…I can watch the television from the shower.  I can watch the television while I am IN the shower! I honestly never gave that a thought.


The breakfast in the lobby is very nice, too. Omelets, eggs, sausages, toast, pancakes, fruit, juices. Very nice. The design of the entire hotel is clean and modern.  Open shelves. Open everything. 

I’m just glad I’m not the one doing the dusting.

The halls are decorated to look like furniture, pictures, and fancy rugs.  All easy to clean.
Outside is a pool (closed for the season), fire pit, and lounge area.
The entire area is apartments and shops and restaurants.  It's a happening place.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015


On a very small.


South.  I headed south.  Only for four days.  Business, not pleasure. I had a wonderful driver to the airport.  Walt Kowalski didn’t wear a limo driver’s cap, but he was a great driver.  Got me right to the door and walked me as far as he was allowed.  He couldn’t join in on this trip south.  Hopefully next time. 


It was a small plane.  A direct flight. Everybody was very business.  I was taking pictures like a tourist.


There is something about flying in a small plane.  The large planes are powerful and massive and get you long distances. Small planes feel more like sightseeing. You’re closer to the ground and can see towns, cities, and homes.  Lots of rivers, mountains, streams.


The airport had a cool retro look to it.

Even on business, I’d rather be a tourist.  The majority of my fellow passengers had their noses in their computers and phones.  They missed all of the scenery.  Maybe they do this trip so often they have seen all the mountains. Being just above the ground gives a person perspective.  The country (world) is big and I there is lots to see. I don’t want to miss a thing. Even a mountain I’ve seen before. 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


Saturday Power Tower's daughter had her Sweet 16 birthday party. We got the call we were needed before the party.  Roadies for the band. 

Walt Kowalski and I both love music, so being a roadie for a band is something that has crossed our minds once or twice.  (In our youth, that is.) 

Of course, the party was on the second floor. We now know we are too old to be roadies.  Chain Saw Johnny was there to help, too. 

The band was very good.  Although, I think the adults enjoyed it more than the sixteen-year-old crowd.

The birthday girl got to join in with the band.

Oklahoma Johnny was working for tips. 

By the end of the evening, everyone was silly like sixteen-year-olds.  Ok, 21-year-olds.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Ice Ice Baby

In the winter, the driveway entrance of the Cat Ranch is ... a struggle. The gray water from the neighbor's house runs across our driveway. Water from the washing machine and other yucky water. The state does nothing about the situation. *sigh* That is part of the struggle.

When the water runs out on the road and freezes, the plow will come through and take care of the ice floe. But sometimes the water backs up in our driveway instead of the road. 

On our to-do list: repair driveway pavement, fix entrance to driveway, put in LARGE pipe and grate to control water, re-pave driveway.

 The ice was 1 inch thick in some places and 6 inches think in other places.

The small ice chipper wasn't enough. Walt Kowalski had to use tools with more power. The ice chips were airborne.

The to-do list gets longer everyday.

Friday, January 9, 2015


Walt Kowalski and I got back to House #1 to finish some ductwork.  The furnace is working just fine, but all of the supply lines and returns haven't been finished.  In other words, the basement was nice and warm and the registers were open to the first floor so the heat could rise up through but the heat wasn't in a hurry to get there.  Completing the ductwork will create pressure and force the air up the register (aka forced air). In other words, that lovely rush of hot air feeling when the heat kicks on.


"Don't take my picture!" Walt Kowalski said inside the ductwork. "You are supposed to be closing the tailgate, not taking photos."

{Insert elephant noises echoing from inside the ductwork.}

"I have to take these photos so everybody believes me when I tell them how silly you are!"

The circle cutter for ductwork is one of my favorite tools.  It has a drill bit on one side, to fit in any drill, and a center post in the middle.  First, a pilot hole is drilled in the ductwork.  Then the center post of the tool is inserted in the pilot hole and the drill bit is used to started another hole in the duct.  Finally, the center post is held in the pilot hole while the drill bit is used as a cutting device to go around in a circle and cut a hole with the drill. 
A little encouragement and guidance is required and a perfect circle hole is produced.  Now the circle take off vent can be attached.

This is a completed one we did earlier. 

Thursday, January 8, 2015


The cats have the right idea, find a register and stay on it.  Apologies for the cat fur in the air in the house. 

I still don't have the tree down. And now the tree skirt has been pushed halfway across the room so the cats can get to the register.  Heck, they are probably using it as a blanket today.

This was yesterday's forecast. They predicted Friday is going to be colder now, 19 and 0 degrees.  Sunday will feel like a heat wave.

Fudge's look says it all. "Why must you make it so cold in here?  Where is the food?"

This is his spot in the morning when the heat first comes on, between the nightstand and the register. 

A woman at the gym yesterday told me a funny story.  Of course we were talking about the weather.  She said her brother used to live in Louisiana, but was tired of the threat of hurricanes. He didn't want to move back to PA because of the cold and snow. Instead, he selected Virginia.  A happy medium.

The year he moved, the town in Virginia had a hurricane AND got more snow and cold than PA. 

Poetic justice, she said.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

One Last Decoration

I don't want to take down my Christmas tree.  I don't want the season to end.  Red was the color this year.  Everything I used to decorate was red.  I've always liked red, but this year I wanted it everywhere. 

Red lights, red ornaments, red ribbon, red flowers. I even decorated my cookies with red sugars. 

I wasn't alone in my fondness of red this year. 

The flower show was especially red this year.

It was a beautiful, sunny, cold day and nice to enjoy the Christmas decorations one last time this season. AND, I have lots of ideas for decorations for next year. 

Now I want a 10' poinsettia tree in my house, too.   It would totally fit in the foyer. I'd have nooooo problem keeping kitties out of it.  {har, har}

Monday, January 5, 2015


Go Paperless they say! Go Paperless!  Even paperless isn't so paperless. 

I need to go MORE paperless.  Which just means I'll have email and internet clutter instead.  This is mostly a pile of old bills.  Lots of envelopes. 

This is the time of year I *try* to clean out drawers and cupboards and closets.  (How do all of these crumbs get in the silverware drawer?!?!? Why do I have three bottles of soap with only a little left in the bottom? Why are there two open bags of sugar in the pantry? )

I know how it happens.  Company is coming and the soap pumper needs more soap.  But one bottle doesn't have enough to fill the pumper and I don't have time to drain all the soap from one container to the other. So I open a new container, jam the old one under the sink, and say "I'll drain it tomorrow."

The multiple sugars happen because I get Pantry Blindness. Fridge Blindness is just as bad.
You know this affliction. You're looking in the pantry (fridge) for something, sugar, flour, crackers, baking soda (cheese, butter, container of leftovers). You know it's in there, but it's hiding. Masquerading.  The more determined you are to find it,  the harder it becomes to find.  So instead of wasting more time continuing the search, you open a new one. The other one will turn up.

The next day, I open the pantry and right there it is.  Right in front of my nose. 


I try to return things to their proper spot the moment I'm finished using them, but get this...sometimes it just doesn't happen! I know, I know.  I'm terrible. 

I'm guilty of not putting everything back the moment I'm done using it.  Sometimes that's because it goes in the back of the pantry and I have to take everything off of the shelf to put it away properly and I'm going to use it again tomorrow.  Sometimes I'm just too tired.  Sometimes things don't have a "proper" place to live and just get shoved in the drawer because I can't stand it on the counter any more!!!!!! 

Isn't that what junk drawers are for? 

Yeah the junk drawer is on the list, too.

After cleaning out all the annoying papers, I get a good paper: the mammoth crossword puzzle. It was in the paper a few weeks ago.  It's huge! The center of a section, two full pages.  It's not a difficult puzzle to solve, just time consuming to find the correct spaces.  I also can't do it sitting on couch.  I have to have the entire kitchen table or in this case, most of the bar.

Friday, January 2, 2015


New Year's Eve is a fooler. Television, radio, and social media do a great job of making you think that everybody is going out having a great time at a big party in fancy clothes with a band, decorations, drinks, and great food! Woo Hoo! Happy New Year!

In actuality, most people are at home.  Or at least most people I know.  We've done New Year's parties and dinners.  They were ok.  Walt Kowalski and I have started our own traditions. If we do go somewhere, we do it earlier, at 5pm dinner time instead of 11pm. 

We like to get all the errands and visit out of the way so we can get back to the Cat Ranch, make a big fire, put on our jammies, and have crab legs!

Yes, crab legs!

We have them only twice a year.  In the summertime, at the beach, and on New Year's Eve.  I watch the grocery ads and when they go on sale, I buy a package with a little extra grocery money and hide them in the freezer. In years past, we've had shrimp and crab legs.  This year, I got them on extra sale, so instead of the shrimp, we had an extra package of crab legs.  

I don't want the year to go too fast, but I can't wait to have them again.  Shorts at the beach or jammies on the couch.