Thursday, July 19, 2018

People are strange

So, my part time job is in retail. I don't mind it; I see all sorts of different people and pick up character ideas for my stories. Some of them though...well, to give some examples:

Yesterday a storm blew through and the power went off. Even when it came back on a few minutes later, the registers had to reboot and reconnect to the system. This isn't something that happens quickly and just because the lights are on, it doesn't mean we can do anything for the customers. One man became so incensed that he threw down his bag of candy and rushed out. Probably even more frustrating that he couldn't slam the sliding door shut.

Some make me sad, like the young woman buying prenatal vitamins and a pack of cigarettes.

Today was a woman who believed I was denying her a discount code for her brand of smokes. Even though I showed her there wasn't a code on the shelf or the print-out. She was still angry and rude...over 15 cents. I have to wonder if her anger was because she wouldn't admit to being wrong or because I didn't give her the discount anyway like one of my co-workers admitted to doing.

At least these are the exceptions. Most are what I would consider neutral experiences, but there are many more positive than negative. People who are charming, patient and pleasant.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Flowers and such

I decided this year to surround myself with beauty.

So I filled all my pots.

And bought some more.

I just fell in love with this metal dog.

I don't know what my neighbors think of me mowing around the wild yarrow in my front yard, but I'm doing it anyway.

I had to water everything this morning. We have the worst of both worlds now: massive clouds of mosquitos from the wet June but hot and dry. Ah well, such is life.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Post Rain

The weather has defeated me and I installed my air conditioner today. As I instinctively squatted to pick it up, my knee protested and I realized I should have asked for help before my son left for work.

My massive strawberry harvest....hahaha.

Garden is flourishing from our recent rains.

Will be eating good this weekend!

I'm trying to train cucumbers over this arch. Not sure why there are spots on the leaves.

Golden raspberries turned out to be quite aggressive once they got established.

My mulberry trees are gifts from the birds. This is the oldest and the fruits are good sized and abundant enough the birds can't keep up.

I'll do another post soon talking about flowers, but now I'm off to work.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

This and that

There was a brief window of 20% chance of rain this, what's it doing right now? Raining. It's hard to complain after weeks of dry heat. Who knows if we will get another stretch like that?

I served a man in his 90s yesterday; a WWII vet. Delightful chat, wish I could have visited with him for much longer.

I woke up at 4:30 this morning. NOT enough sleep, but a disturbing enough dream to make me unwilling to stay in bed. I think a nap is in my future!

Slight improvement in my knee which makes me hopeful that I only sprained my lateral ligament instead of tearing it. I will be taking it very cautiously until it's completely better.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Errant Thoughts Story, Part 26

"Well? What's got you thinking so hard now?" Mr. Haskell sounded annoyed, but Dave knew his bark was much worse than his bite.

"I keep thinking about my future; it's all a blurry mess, but I can't come up with any answers." Dave had been sprinkling ashes around the base of the tomato plants to give them potash as per Mr. Haskell's instructions, but paused to reply, "Like, does it make sense to even finish high school when I can't go to college and all it will do is cut the hours I can work? And my friend is joining the Navy next year and he thinks I could do that too, but I really don't want to."

"First off, yes, get your high school diploma. Unless you're in danger of starving, it's worth it just for the possibilities that can open up. Not knowing what will happen is the best reason not to hobble your choices and it shows people you aren't a quitter." Easing back onto his lawn chair with a grunt, he continued, "As to the military, well, I was drafted into the Army. Never would have joined otherwise and hated it, but I tried to take the good with me and leave the bad behind. Although I still hate pancakes; can you believe someone could ruin pancakes? Either burnt or undercooked, bleah.

"Well, there's a lot of stories I could tell you, but the main point is that it isn't for everyone and don't rush into a decision on it. Maybe that's the key thought for the future; don't rush, try everything that comes along and keep an open mind."

Dave smiled ruefully, "It seems hard when it feels like we're being pushed to choose now what we do for the rest of our lives. It wasn't a big deal a year ago when I planned on college. Now?" He shook his head.

"Be adaptable! I wanted to be a police officer but instead I was a plumber. Probably made more money than I would have in the police. I don't regret it a bit."

Dave nodded thoughtfully before turning back to the tomatoes, feeling calmer and not as negative about the future.

Monday, June 18, 2018


Lots of watering involved in this unusually hot, dry season...

So far, staying ahead of the drying winds and sun. I'm going to miss the lettuce when it bolts; it's all self-seeded from last year.

The cats killed a vole in the night. Instinct must drive them because they won't eat voles (unlike mice which get munched down straight away.

Loki is the top hunter.

Putting away firewood for the winter. The wood guy is nice, but has never heated with wood himself, so doesn't quite get that it doesn't dry properly before being split. I'll stack some outside to speed the drying process.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Errant Thoughts Story, Part 25

Susan was a bit nervous about giving the expanded shopping list to Bonnie that evening, but she was quickly reassured.

"Don't ever worry about passing on what Iris wants," Bonnie said firmly. "You see, Max's parents weren't very reliable and Iris raised him and his sisters. That's a debt that can't be repaid. So, if she wants extra food then that is what she gets."

"You don't think we are overreacting?"

"After listening to her stories about the Depression and then the war shortages, it's hard to imagine any reaction being over the top." Bonnie shook her head before continuing, "I'll get all this and more; once the cupboards and pantry are full, you watch her. I bet you will see her just looking at her supplies. I wish I had thought of it before; having plenty makes her feel safe."

Iris wasn't the only one feeling good with a full pantry; Melody's parents had a membership with a big discount store and Danny got to do their shopping there. Not only did he come home with 50 pound bags of rice and flour, but he was able to stretch their funds to include gallon cans of peanut butter and baked beans. Susan was thrilled with the cheap cuts of meat he found; with creative portioning, she planned to stretch them out for months of Sunday lunches.

As the next few days passed, it began to look like the whole thing was a false alarm. The storm turned away from the coastline, to the embarrassment of the weathermen who had been feeding the  panic, and the refineries were brought back online. Reports from Canada were hopeful for bringing the fires under control, although they weren't there yet. Oil prices eased back down again and the trucks continued to carry their loads around the country.

Then, when trouble struck, it wasn't even in the U.S. An escalating war of words between Russia and the OPEC members almost went unnoticed amid the other global issues until it reached the shouting stage. Even then, the assumption was that the various groups involved were posturing and it would all blow over; instead, the strife grew to threats, sanctions and blockades.

"This is nuts," Danny said. "The pipelines are running, the refineries are working, there aren't any shortages; why doesn't the government put a cap on the cost of gas while they get the rest sorted out?"

"Hank says it's the speculators on the stock market driving it. If there's even a chance the oil flow could be disrupted they can count on prices skyrocketing. Assuming it will happen makes them push the prices up now." Dave shrugged.

"Okay, that's bad enough, but this new rule that truckers have to keep working or the trucks will be confiscated? On what planet does that make sense? If they can't even break even with the diesel cost doubling, how does forcing them to drive their way to bankruptcy help?"

Susan set a casserole down on the table and said, "Well, we're not going to solve it now so let's enjoy lunch." Franky, she was as worried as everyone else by the sudden turn, but a meal they could eat together generally only happened on Sundays and she didn't want it ruined with arguing.

Danny nodded and pushed aside his concerns for the moment. "I saw that family you used to babysit for loading up a moving van."

"Really? I haven't heard from them since he lost his job and started watching their kids himself."

"Do you think I could do the work you did cleaning and painting empty apartments?"

Startled, Susan looked at her son sharply, "Of course, you could do it, but why? You're already working so many hours."

"Not every week, sometimes I barely hit thirty hours. Danny always works forty and he brings home extra food; I just want to do more." He didn't want to tell her about the concerns his boss had about the future of the pizza business if the trucks stopped deliveries.

"Well, I suppose you can ask; maybe it's something we could do together in the afternoons." She smiled a bit wistfully; thinking it would be nice to spend a little more time with him before adulthood pulled him away entirely.

Part 26