Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The news

  1. Monday was the last day for me selling Medicare insurance in 2012.  Last year the company made a big deal out nobody got Christmas Eve off, and then they let us all go on Dec. 28.  This year they started letting people go as soon as the Annual enrollment period was over (Dec 7).  I felt bad to be let go, again, but I can go back again next year if I want to.
  2. Last year was a bad year for me in the medical dept. and I had to go on antibiotics 3 times, which messed up my intestinal fauna - those little friends who keep everything working properly and clean down there where the sun don't shine.  So I was searching for ways to re-establish active colonies.  I took probiotic pills every other day to keep the colony alive, but it didn't seem like it was quite enough.  I discovered that some probiotic pills only have 1 culture, some 3, and I knew the normal person has hundreds of different critters at work.  Then one day I noticed a weird bottle in the dairy section at the grocery store and that's how I discovered Kefir cultured milk smoothies with "10 +2 live & active cultures".  They made an immediate difference, so it was effective.  My favorite flavor is pomegranate, but sometimes they don't have it.  So I recently bought some blueberry flavored Kefir.  It upsets my stomach for some strange reason.  Well, it's the Christmas season and I love eggnog, and I discovered that eggnog will dilute the flavor and make it so I can finish off the bottle.
  3. After I had a policeman come over and run his lights in front of the house, we went a whole week before one of my strings of Christmas lights was cut again.  I fixed the string, but didn't put it back by the sidewalk.  Instead, I strung it up in a bush, which doesn't seem to offend the neighbors as much as the ones by the walk.  That was about a week ago, and today I noticed that one wire has been cut in another string.  I have soldered those strings of lights together so many times now that I must have mixed up the connections, because the entire string still works with that wire cut.  Strange.  Strange that the lights work, and strange that the miscreant stopped after cutting only one wire.  Maybe this one really was a rabbit.
  4. Our Christmas tree was getting old and the pre-wired lights were burning out.  There were sections here and there with no lights at all.  And, it was only 9 feet tall, which Liz always thought was inadequate for our entry.  The base was 3.5' wide, which is a tight fit in the nook at the base of the stairs, so a bigger tree was out of the question.  But the lights were a real problem.  I was moaning about the sheer drudgery of cutting out all the old lights and putting in new ones, and Liz and I were having our typical, oft-repeated discussion of why I'd like to use never-ending LED lights and how she doesn't like the color of them.  The result was Liz looked online at new Christmas trees and we discovered that Sam's had a new slim tree that is 12' tall and only slightly bigger at the base.  So we bought one.  BONUS:  It came with a wireless remote control.  Very cool, and I was able to astound the missionaries by turning it on with a wave of my hand.  They figured it out when I turned it off by snapping my fingers, though.

5.  Ruth got the old tree, and by using just the top sections where only a few lights are out, made it work in her apartment where it looks fantastic.
6.  Did you know that if you mis-spell dairy as diary, your spell checker won't catch it?

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Battle of the Lights

A couple of Tuesdays ago I was home (I have Tuesdays off) and the LDS missionaries stopped by.   We chatted for a bit and they asked if they could help me with anything (I think that makes me officially one of the elderly members of the ward).  That caught me off guard and I said they could set up the Christmas lights on the little stakes along the sidewalk and in front of the house.  Then I realized I shouldn't have said anything because the poor guys were wearing suits.  They insisted though, so they set them up while I put lights in the bushes.  That took about a half hour, and then they left and I went in the house and did something else for a while - perhaps 1.5 hours.
So imagine my surprise when I peeked out there and one of the strings of lights was out.  I went outside and found that the end of the string of lights nearest to the Crazy Chinese Lady neighbors had been cut and pieces of wire were all over the ground.
  I removed the string of lights and took it inside to solder the wires back together, then re-installed them outside.  Everything looked good again, and I went back in the house.
A little while later, Liz got home from work and we went out to look at the lights.  The two strings along the sidewalk were out this time.  Both had been cut neatly, right next to the stakes so that 6" of the 3 wires were laying on the ground, still twisted together.  The two missing sections were directly across the sidewalk from each other.  I checked the wires to see if there was any sign of gnawing like animals would do, but the cuts were clean, diagonal, single cuts on each wire.
We were amazed, to say the least.  We get along with our neighbors, and I've had the same setup at Christmas every year for the 10 years we've been in the house.  So what set this off?

It was a several days before I had time to fix the wires again, and by the time I set them out, it was Tuesday evening – a week after the first cuts.  Again, within an hour the wires were cut on the two strings along the sidewalk, in the exact same places.  Liz threatened to call the police, but left for a church meeting before she could.
I thought about it for a while.  I didn’t want to have them actually do anything to anybody over a $3 string of lights, but I also didn’t want to have to worry about my wires getting cut faster than I could fix them.  So after thinking about it for a while, I called the police and they sent an officer right over.  A big, burly, officer who looked like he might have been a marine, or Delta Force. Somebody you wouldn't argue with.
The officer looked the damage over and declared that it was rabbits.  Rabbits?!?  Really?  He suggested I set up a game camera, so I would learn about rabbits.  (I have a couple of them, so I did set one up and got NO photos of rabbits.)  Meanwhile, I explained why I didn’t think it was rabbits, so he said he would put my views in his report and if it turned out to be kids or neighbors that would come into play.  That’s when I surprised him.  I told him I didn’t care about a report, I just wanted him to turn on his flashing lights for a few minutes.  I figured that if it was a neighbor, they had to be watching (judging by how regular they cut my wires).  So if they saw the lights, it would communicate that I didn’t appreciate the wire cutting, and that I had official backing.  He was happy to do that, and even joked that his lights were the best Christmas lights in town.  I agreed.

Next day, I fixed the lights again, and they’ve been on every evening since then.  No worries.  Liz is convinced it was the Crazy Chinese Lady, but we have no evidence so I am willing to consider it no-harm, no-foul from this point on.
Merry Christmas everyone, and a big thank you to Officer More.  Your lights are awesome!