Life Stuff: Well, It’s Not Boring…

…said the person who has confessed that February has been “challenging.”  One of my books on riding suggests that riders quit thinking and talking about problems with their riding or their horse, and start calling things “challenging.”   It’s a mental trick.   It really does work though it requires firmly making a sharp turn in which ways your eyes are pointed.

February started with a polar vortex and an ice storm, with the expected (but not wanted!) power outages and Very Chilly House.  I contrived a candle-stove for heating up meals.  Yes, it was safe.   The satisfaction of that accomplishment warmed my creative soul the way the hot chili warmed us.   The month continued with flooding rains which–with the melting ice from the ice storm–produced a Plumbing Failure (septic tank got full, toilets wouldn’t flush) and necessitated multiple visits by people who deal with these problems.   I will spare you details, having previously discussed waste treatment on either this blog or the Paksworld one.   All thanks to R- for digging all that dirt off the top of the old tank yet again so it could be pumped out, McDowell Enterprises in Copperas Cove and Flores Septic Services in Bertram, for the “snaking” and the septic tank cleaning, and Oncor, who got our power back on for good sometime Friday after the ice storm and corrected quite a few shorter outages in subsequent days and weeks.  The phone guys tacked the telephone wire back up to the poles yesterday.

Meanwhile, my main bank has a “system” for recovering online access that simply does not work.  First step–getting through the phone tree to an “agent” yields someone who can’t do anything if any of the entry checks fails.   They will explain that their inability to do anything is good, because it protects your privacy and security, but if the system doesn’t think your phone number is your phone number (it did until late January)  then there’s nothing they can do.   You are then told to use a different automated system for submitting more data (that I’m not thrilled to have to submit…repeatedly.  That system  boots the user out of the system one way or another before the application to recover ever reaches the human who is supposedly going to call the customer to check on things.  “Server unavailable. Try again later” is singularly unhelpful, especially after multiple tries over two DAYS.  No way to contact anyone who *might* be able to give a helpful answer.  Bad system design, says the person who once actually helped design a large customer-fronting system.   (Not for internet, which was only a gleam in the brains of many code monkeys who really wanted to play games with each other at that point.  “But surely we can hook these computers up via phone lines….and then anyone can ask all the questions they want directly….”  We were still “sneaker-netting” 80 column punched cards up the hill to the computer center for the operators to put into card readers at that point.  We didn’t call it sneaker-netting.  That came later in time with home computers when sometimes couples would communicate online (slow) or go from one room to another in person (often faster until high-speed internet arrived.) We called it finding some low-ranking person and handing them a box containing our precious new chunk of code and telling *them* to run it up to the center and put in a work order for it to be compiled.)  New person on a team was often tasked with the run, though if they turned out to be a better coder than someone else, the someone else would become the transport.




18 thoughts on “Life Stuff: Well, It’s Not Boring…

    1. I once owned a hand puncher that made the little rectangular holes the right size, and stopped Reader’s Digest from dunning my mother for something she’d never ordered by punching a message to them on a card for her, and including it in the umpteenth letter she’d sent them.

  1. The ancient Chinese curse: May you live in interesting times! I’m sorry this has all been happening; we had a blocked sink yesterday, but a dear friend has the relevant equipment and helped us unblock it, and it’s nowhere near as bad as a blocked loo…

    1. Plumbing…don’t want to live without it, but living with it means it’s going to get stopped up sometimes. My idea of heaven is plumbing that never clogs, electric wiring that never shorts out, soles that stay on the shoes they started with, stoves that clean themselves…that kind of thing. Life without its constant little crises. Some might say “But you’d be bored…” and I say “Try me.”

    1. Today was, aside from being told I have to go in and have a “resin” fix applied to a tooth that’s apparently trying to produce a not-quite-cavity into which to pack stuff so it can become a cavity. But the good news today WAY outweighed the bad.

  2. We have snowdrops out in the front garden where they get more sun, the ones in the back garden, which are in shade at this time of year, are still in the spike phase. The daffodils are all in the spike phase too , but the early iris have been in flower for a couple of weeks. Late winter/early spring flowers really lift my mood, and helped me cope with a dental crown replacement – not by any means as bad as the work to prepare for the orignal crown but still not pleasant. I was also tickled by the fact that the dentist just scanned the bare tooth (well all my teeth) and sent the file off to the crown makers, far easier and more accurate than taking mould.

    I hope the rest of February is calm on the “things that house holders have to deal with” front, and that March is similarly well-behaved.

    1. Our narcissus peaked over last weekend, I thnk…it’s hard to tell. Some clumps come much earlier than others, but they’re all that pretty small white kind. Dental crown replacement…I had that for one last summer, and discovered this morning during my quarterly visit that another tooth needs a repair “before it turns bad, which it will in time.” ARGH. The first opening they had was on my birthday and I said “NO. It’s my BIRTHDAY.” So it’ll be the week after, the day before the farrier comes again. Supposed to be an easy repair thingie. I can hope. Best of all, a wonderful employee at the large firm with which I had a problem for several weeks fixed it today–it took both of us on the telephone for awhile, but she was determined to outwit a system designed to make it impossible. And now Tigger hasn’t bitten R- for three days, and from what the vet says, it’s unlikely the bite was the start of a new behavior problem resulting from his brain injury…just be watchful. R- is being watchful and so is Tigger, who is clearly aware he committed An Offense. I think he was dozing and didn’t realize R- was coming into the barn. Something (smell? sense of movement near him?) startled him and he nipped without full awareness, then fled and when I went out lowered his head and turned away from my glare. He’s still acting like he thinks he’s going to be hit. (He wasn’t hit; R- did let out a yell of pain.)

  3. I hope the current weather pattern is kind to you.
    My Witch Hazel is out, glowing yellow in the sun. Tomorrow all the petals will have curled up in the cold.

    1. We survived all that. It’s a weird year, weather-and-spring-leaf-out both. Trees leafed out 2-3 weeks early. Bluebonnets came out 2-3 weeks early, but the blue-eyed grass didn’t. Spiderwort did, but another purple native early flower didn’t (can’t grab its name at this moment.)

  4. Hope you’re all doing okay. If you have a chance, you tube, Friesian Horses with Queen Uniek. post was today, March 12. about 8:40 to 9:00 is after the mare had a bit of a trot in the outdoor arena, then she stood and between the look on her face, the movement of her ears and the breathing it was as if she was really communicating. I suppose you have seen horses do this because you describe their expressiveness so well. I thought of you and wanted to be sure you’ve seen this.

    1. Still trying to answer posts w/ no luck so far. I haven’t looked at the Friesians for a couple of weeks but will do so if/when I FINALLY get a reply to post here.

  5. Computer crash, major loss of data, saved a little on flash drive. New computer (this one) has no access port for flash drive. It’s a laptop. I won’t be back in full action until I load the rest of the software I need. Can’t log in here yet. Web manager is not at home, won’t be back there until after Easter, and I may or may not be able to reach her to help me out. This message may not get there. because of a security error Firefox claims I’m making. We’ll see. Locked out of g for the Paksworld blog
    for sure.

    1. And lo!, the above message got there. I’ll try again with the Paksworld blog as an outsider and see if I can get a message through to that group.

      Should have added: Deeds of Youth project is moving forward with current work on the cover design & copy editing. NewBook is in agent limbo.

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