email: cavebear2118 AT verizon DOT com

Friday, April 20, 2018

New Chair

Back in late February I placed a 1-click order on Amazon.  I glanced casually at the cart first, but I didn't notice I had a big recliner chair on the list that was a serious "maybe".    And when the order confirmation email came back I was all "yeah, yeah" and didn't review it carefully.  So I had ordered a big recliner chair I wasn't certain I wanted...  My bad!

So when I did look at the order confirmation, I was somewhat surprized to see I had ordered the chair.  I contacted Amazon and they told me that, since it was a 3rd party order, I could cancel but would be responsible for return shipping.  I contacted the manufacturer and they said that since the order was already in production, it was not cancelable.  I asked if I could get it in black to match my decor better, but they said it only came in "chocolate". 

The whole time schedule was kind of a joke.  I received an email in early March saying it would be delivered on April 20th.  When I looked up the tracking history recently, I discovered the chair had been shipped to a local freight company on March 15th and was sitting in a warehouse only 90 miles away.  It took them 5 weeks to deliver it from there?

A little history...  Back in the mid 90s, I found a cushioned upholstered rocker/swivel chair I liked at a local store.  It came in peach, aqua, or butter.  Aaccckkk!  But, liking the chair, I emailed the manufacturer and told them I loved the chair but could I get it in black and an ottoman as a special order?  They replied that they were flattered and willing, but I would have to order 2 chairs AND send them the fabric (and told me how much was required for 2 chairs and the ottoman).  Well, I wanted 2 chairs anyway...

I had to visit several fabric stores before I found one with enough black fabric that seemed durable enough.  I send the fabric to the manufacturer along with their email and a letter from me with more details.  2 months later, the chairs arrived.  The freight company told me that delivery was merely off-truck, so I had to arrange for a local delivery company to pick it up from the freight company and deliver them in "room of choice" (as I learned the term was later).  I only discovered afterwards that the chairs were lighter than I thought and I could have just carried them from the freight truck at the street into my house on my own, but you live and learn. 

I was happy enough with those chairs was over 20 years.  But springs sag, upholstery wears out, and everything begins to fall apart eventually.  I spent a lot of evening time sitting in one of the chairs, and when Dad was her for 2 years, he practically lived in the other.  Time for a new chair!

I considered a cushioned rocker/swivel arm computer chair.  I find them comfortable.  But when I stretch my legs out on the ottoman and cat curls up on my legs, that gets a bit uncomfortable with the weight on my unsupported knees.  So I decided to get a recliner.

OK, so much for the previous chairs.  I got my money's worth out of them.

So, I had spoken to a freight representative and she explained that they would do "inside delivery", which was great because the chair weighed 175 pounds.  I live in a "split-foyer" house with the basement on surface level.  The front door is up 6 outside steps.  You enter the door and there is a 3'x5' landing.  You can go up down a half flight of stairs to the basement or up a half flight to the main level.  It's a ranch house built on a surface basement and there is an attic.

So "inside delivery" sounded good.   I sure can't get 175 pound chair up the half flight of stairs myself.  But 2 days ago, I called to confirm the delivery date and confirm the "inside delivery" (I've had some surprises before when truck drivers didn't agree with company policy).  Sure enough, it turns out "inside delivery " means through the front door (or garage or side door) AND NO FURTHER.

Well, damn, if it just goes into the landing inside the front door, I can't even close the door!  So I considered possibilities.  My first thought was a bribe.  If the deliverers had to carry the box up the outside steps annyway, maybe $20 (or $40 dollars if there was too much hesitation) would get it up the half flight of stairs.  I could deal with it from there.  My second thought was to have it delivered into the garage, so I pulled my car out the morning before delivery.  The third possibility was to let them bring the box to the front steps and then threaten to refuse delivery and point out that "up the stairs" was a shorter distance than "back onto the truck".

As an aside, one of my first government jobs was getting furniture delivered to Congressional State and District Offices, and I learned a bit about whgat it took to get deliverers to bring furniture into awkward offices, LOL!  I will add that option 1 about cash bribes was not an allowed option.

The delivery was scheduled between 8am - 5 pm (and you thought cable companies were bad).  But I know that the delivery routes are carefully planned and the items are packed on the truck to empty from the back to the front.  So first thing this morning, I called the freight companies and asked approximately where I was on the route.  The person I spoke to checked and said, "Well, you seem to be in the middle of the delivery route, so my best guess is between 11 and 2".  Well, that was better than 8-5... 

He arrived at 4:40...  You can't win even when you ask the right questions sometimes.  And he arrived alone.  No helper.  And he said the box looked "pretty beat up".  Those are NOT words you want to hear!

But lest you think this is a disaster post, rest assured all worked out better than I expected!

First, he said "Let me bring the box to the front door and we will open it up and examine it for damage.  [My jaw drops]. 

Second, he rips the box apart and we examine the 2 parts of the chair in great detail.  I mean, HE is looking for damage too as if it was his chair.  We couldn't find the least bit of damage. 

Third, he picked up the back of the chair and went in the front door.  I helpfully pointed to the top of the stairs, and he brought it right up to the top of the stair!

Fourth, he was not so sure about getting the heavier base of the chair up the stairs, so I grabbed one end and said "we both can".  It was awkward for me holding the top end and walking backwards up the stairs, but it went fine.

And he handed me the e-ticket to sign and walked back to the truck and drove away.  I owe him a very positive review to his company about his help.  I hope it gets him a bonus...

So I had these 2 pieces of chair sitting at the top of my stairs...  I have things for that.  I built a wooden base with wheels years ago and put the the base on it to push to the spot in front of the TV.  The back was simply carryable. 

I had expected more assembly (like attaching the chair legs and the handle that lifts the human leg support), but everything was installed.  Attaching the back to the base was easy.  It fits down onto 2 heavy metal tapered attachments.  There was a satisfying "CLICK" as they meshed.

And then I sat on it.  More properly, I should say I :SANK: into it.  The recliner handle isn't exactly where I would have put it (being a little forward of easy reach), but it worked fine.  The back is high enough to provide great head support in soft comfort.  I was a bit confused at first that the reliner handle didn't ALSO unrecline the footrest, but discovered that the footrest returned to "unreclined" position with just a little downward pressure.

I miss the swivel ability of the previous chairs, but you can't have everything.

The cats are in love with it!  The arms are so wide and cushioned that Iza fell asleep on my right arm and Marley purred awake on the left.  I'm sure I will see Ayla there soon.

Pictures!





Now, knowing the size of this chair, I need to build a nice end table to match the space between the chair on the wall.  Right now, I am using 2 TV trays to hold remotes and the telephone.  And I need to move some pictures behind the chair.  With the small desk that was next to the smaller old chair removed, I need horizontal space for "stuff"!


Wednesday, April 18, 2018

DNA Re-test

CRIgenetics agreed to send me a new test kit for re-testing.  I had annoyed them with several emails suggesting that their results were possibly contaminated because their report of recent ancestry was inconsistent with known family genealogy.

Here is a question.  Since I suspect this company of errors and just MIGHT possibly just send me the identical previous report to avoid admitting an error, I have a thought.  Should I just honestly send them my own cheek swab again OR get tricky and try to get a friend to do a cheek swab to see if they send an identical report?   In that case, I would know they were falsifying the results just making the report up.

My dilemma is that, if I send them my own cheek swab again and get identical results as the last time, I will never know if they just simply sent me the original report again or if there is some accuracy to it I don't understand.   But if I get some friend or neighbor to agree to this little trick, and CRI tests accurately,  and if the results are different, I won't actually know whether the new test results are his or mine.

And quite frankly, if someone came to ME and suggested this "swap of swab",  I would be immediately suspicious of some intended legal or family deception, and would decline to participate.

I'm not in any way suspecting parental infidelity, adoption, or family uncertainties in any way.  I and my siblings certainly look enough like our parents.  

I just want to have some reason to think the original report was inaccurate because it calls the genealogy into question AND disagrees substantially with a previous DNA test.  So I want this 2nd company to "generally" agree with the other company.

I might have to get a 3rd company as a tie-breaker.  The cost is trivial. 

So, hit me with logical questions, suggestions, advice, experience, or anything else...


Friday, April 13, 2018

Telphone Calls

I had the weidest experience and I'm still trying to figure it out.

1.  I kept getting calls from the same number.  6-10 per day
2.  I have NoMoRoBo. so calls from known telemarketers ring once and are blocked.  But I still had to manually delete the "missed calls" list
3.  I reverse-looked up the telephone number and the report was it a known telemarketer for Cingular telephone.
4.  I finally got pissed off enough to call them.
5.  It wasn't Cingular.
6.  It was a small company that offerred house HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) onsite surveys.
7.  The nice lady I spoke to was horrified I was getting all these calls.
8.  She said they had a new marketing calling system but it was never intended to call more than once a month
9.  But she said they were having problems with it.
10. But she said she could delete my number from their system in a keystroke.  Yeah right...  If she could, all those other telemarketers could.
11. But I haven't gotten a call from them in week!
12.  It worked!
13.  And that's proof that any company could do that!

Think about that.  Any telemarketer can probably eliminate your phone number from their list, but they just WON'T...

You just have to get to someone willing to.

And something else weird?  I haven't gotten any spam calls from them for 3 days.  Now, maybe I'm just lucky, but I also haven't gotten any OTHER spam calls

It might be worth calling back the numbers that call you and raising hell!

Mark


Thursday, April 12, 2018

About Birds And Cats

I don't want to make a big thing about all this interest that cats have in birds.  But I saw another complaint about cats catching songbirds recently (elsewhere).  I understand that cats DO catch birds.  I understand that bird-lovers don't like cats very much because of it.   Well *I* love birds too.  It's not like I feed them to be food for my cats.  Black Oil sunflower and thistle seed is way too expensive (than the canned food the cats happily eat) for THAT to be worthwhile.

They probably catch voles, mice, and moles 100-1 compared to birds.  The neighborhood hawk, on the other hand, catches 4-6 birds per day (not usually from my feeders, of course, or I would have nonbe).  I see the scatterred feathers on the ground infrequently.  If we want to protect songbirds, kill hawks.

My cats stalk birds.  They also stalk squirrels (but never catch them - and I wish they could) and rabbits (and though they do catch the occasional young rabbit the world isn't going to run out of rabbits.  And my cats have a varied diet of beef, chicken, turkey, tuna, duck, and rabbit.  So if you are sad they eat rabbit (or any of the other animals), consider that they are eating rabbit because people raise them just to be eaten.  There are predators and prey (and that started about 500 million years ago).

There are more songbirds thriving here after I cleared the property somewhat than before I moved in 30 years ago.  I originally had a pair of Cardinals.  Today there are a dozen pairs.  I never saw a Goldfinch for the 1st few years, now there are some dozen of them.  I didn't even know what a Purple Finch was until they started nesting around the yard attracted to the feeders.  Between the thistle seeds and the black oil sunflower seeds and suet and peanut butter smeared on trees in Winter, I think there are more than 10X the birds here as when the lot was undeveloped.

When one of the cats catches a bird, it has to be pretty dumb (other than birdicide against a window).  I've observed it a couple of times.  The birds sits on a low shrub branch, one cat comes near it, the bird stares at the cat stupidly, and the cat grabs it.   DUH!  The dumbest bird in the flock has been removed from their gene pool, LOL!

Sometimes the attacks on cats as bird-killers bothers me,  so I wanted to give some personal experience.  Cats don't catch the smarter birds or many of them...

Put another way, I just saw a picture in a National Geographic magazine.  A hyena is carrying away a flamingo.  The flamingo is alive (its neck and head are upright) and not acting very distressed.  It doesn't seem to be struggling.  In fact, it seems to have no idea it is about to eaten alive by the hyena.  It is just like "huh" well, carry me other to that next pond, OK"?

Sorry, I go "off" sometimes, LOL!

Monday, April 9, 2018

Politics

I try to avoid politics in general, but sometimes things just get TOO MUCH and I have to blow off some steam.  But I'm not talking about "regular people" trying to figure out a frustrating world.  I complain about politicians and extreme party loyalists looking to benefit personally and selfishly...

And it is probably obvious by now that I am generally "progressive".  I hope for the general advancement of all people, of humanity in general, thinking it is not a win-lose game, even when it doesn't benefit me personally or immediately.  A better world is simply a better world, and that's the one I want to live out my remaining days in.

And don't get too bent out of shape, I expect that most mild conservatives (in the sense I am a mild progressive) have the same goal.  It just seems to me that there are fewer of them today than there were 20 or 50 years ago...  I mean, even Regan talked of "compassion".


But there apparently IS no "bottom" to the current conservative extremism.  There are too many Republicans so dedicated to "winning at all costs" that they will not abandon the person keeping them in power no matter what he does.

Would a limited nuclear war between N Korea be sufficient?  A trade war with china?  A Middle East conflagration?  A complete solid legal case against Trump for tax evasion, money-laundering, and immorality?  I don't think so.

The elected Republi-lambs are afraid of the party base that Trump holds firmly in hand.  The ones with any honor are retiring out of a desire not to be humiliated in a general election or holding firm against him (McCain, Graham) .  The sad thing is that the ones who remain otherwise are the sychophants that Trump will just control all the more.

One thing that amazes me is that the Republi-lambs will be almost all that are left in their party soon, and when that has occurred in past American history, things just got worse.  Democrats think if they just win a majority, they will rule.  But they are mistaken too.  They had a majority before and couldn't overcome a Republican minority lead by Mitch McConnell who prevented a Supreme Court nominee from being appointed, never mind that he previously said that the majority party should (when he was in the majority).

And THAT is the hypocrisy that strikes me so hard.   The Republicans claimed one rule when in the majority in the Senate, but another tactic when they weren't.  And the Democrats didn't.  The Democrats respected the arguments of the Republicans when the Republicans were in the majority AND when the Republicans were not.

When one side just breaks the rules of political arguments and governance and the other side does not, shouldn't the general public notice that and at least complain?  No, the Republican base was "all hail the victors"!

Where did "general rational discourse" go?  Where did compromise where both sides got a few things they wanted go.  WHEN DID EVERY MINOR THING BECOME A FIGHT TO THE DEATH ON EVERYTHING?

This is NOT the way society or politics should work.  




Tuesday, April 3, 2018

That Surprising Snow

The snowfall we had here the 1st full day of Spring was surprisingly fluffy and sticky.  In fact it never occurred to me that snow wouldn't just fall right down through 1" chicken wire.  But it did.

It collected on the top of my garden enclosure, and snow can be rather heavy.  It bent some of the top frame!
Yes, it is PVC tubing...
But I set metal electrical conduit pipe inside them for strength!
And they bent anyway!   Some people told me I was over-building again, using the metal pipe inside the PVC.  Maybe I should just leave it like that as an "object lesson". 
I tried to straighten one today and the PVC broke out of the attachment.
I'm going to have to think about what to to to fix it.  I really can't just leave it like that.  It looks like a built it shoddily...

Just what I needed; unnecessary work!  Like I don't have enough to do.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

DNA TEST RESULTS

I received a genetic test result from My Heritage and they agreed with my family genealogy records.  But I was curious enough to take a 2nd test from CRIGenetics.

The following is my PERSONAL OPINIONS about the CRIGenetics results and not mantt to defame or diminish their business.  Their actions have done that on their own.

1.  Their results were amazingly diverse with my genealogy records.

2.  They have a Finnish person in 1750 resulting in 30% of my genes.  The other company showed no such genetic history.

3.  CRI has me coming from all over the map.  I  seriously doubt that any Vietnamese AND Chinese AND Japanese AND Punjabi Indian AND Gujariti Indian AND South American people got to Europe in the 1700s to "engage" with my ancestors.

4.  CRI is not responsive to questions unless you agree to pay them to talk to you online or by telephone.

5.  CRI only will offer reports at a high monthly or annual cost.

6.  CRI will not reply to direct email questions.

7.  CRI claims to identify "British" dna.  Think about that.  "British" is just a collecton of varied ethnics groups that migrated or invaded the British Isles.  You can be Scottish, Irish, Welsh, Viking, Norman French, or true French, but you cannot be "genetically British".  There is no such group.  But CRI claims I am 20.6% British as opposed to other European ethnic groups. 

8.  These are not people *I* would ever trust again to perform a genetics test.

I told them I would describe my unsatisfactory experience with them if they did not provide more detailed information, and they did not, so here it is.  And I will seek out sites where the subject is in legitimate general discussion and comment there.

And I will just let this it sit here for now.

And yes, I'm pissed!

Mark


Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Well. I Did It!

Shaved the head...It's not pretty. and I smeared it with aloe because I didn't think it was ready for even the 1/2 strength aftershave I mix for my self (unscented).

And trust me, the above-the-head shots are not pretty.  I missed a few spots, but I'll get them next time.  My electric razor ran down though, so there are some raw spots.  But for a first try, it could be worse.

Makes my brain look bigger, LOL!

It's OK, I wasn't exactly the Handsome type before, either

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Shave It?

My family (especially on my mother's side, which is the controlling gene) is notorious for the males going bald in their 40s.  I am no exception. 



I'm considering just shaving my scalp "Mr. Clean" style.  Quite frankly, what's left is just mostly annoying.  I already wear baseball or straw hats outside anyway (to prevent sunburn).

What do YOU all think?

Monday, March 12, 2018

Seed Starting

I've mentioned before that I have a box of index cards I created that reminds me when to start seeds indoors, outdoors, and transplant dates.  Some years I get behind, but this year I've been staying on schedule.  Or so I thought.

Oh NO!  I completely forgot about the flowers!  Those aren't in the index cards because I change flowers too often and even varieties of the same kind can have different indoor or oudoor planting dates. 

But I have that information for the flowers on my seed list.  Sure enough, I should have planted some of them a MONTH AGO!  So I stayed up late Saturday to set up 6 flats of my starter soil mix in my 36 cels per flat and poured warm water into them to soak the soil.  I have been expanding my selection of flowers the past couple years.  They all want different conditions.

Sunday, after changing all the clocks (and I sure have a lot of them) I planted!  And it isn't just pushing seeds into the soil.  Some want 1/8", some want 1/4" and some want NO cover at all (needing light to germinate. 

And some want cool temperatures (50-60), some want 70-80, and some want in between that.  And since some want cool temps and light, and some want warmer temperatures and don't need light until the emerge, it got really tricky.  I spent an hour just sorting out seed packets by requirements, LOL!

But when I had that all done, it was easier.  Some were super-easy.  A whole flat of one kind, like marigolds or balsams or salvia required no combinations with other seeds.  Others did though, and as a result, I will have some more of some flowers than others I am used to. 

And, BTW, when I say a 36 cel flat, I really mean 35, because I always leave one cel cut out for easy watering.  I used to lift a corner of one cel to water under, but I noticed that one one seldom grew (because I was bending and thereby ripping the roots I think).  You learn stuff...

But I got most of them sorted out by temperature and germination requirements, and here is what I have growing!

I planted 6 flats.   Some can be under lights in the 64 degree basement.
 Some can be upstairs at 72 degrees and need light but are sitting on a countertop  (covered to prevent cat-exploration).
Some are in the cool basement and not needing light yet...  And, BTW, that light-color stuff is vermiculite which doesn't crust over like soil and makes it easier for the seedlings to emerge.
 Some are in the cool basement uncovered and exposed to light...
And aside from all that, my veggie seedlings are all up and growing well.  
Most of these seeds are several years old.  But because I keep them in sealed vials in the basement refrigerator, they last 3 times as long as the packets suggest.  I got almost 100% germination this year.
Next week, I have more flower and veggie seeds to plant indoors (and some outside).  I think I need another light stand!

But with any luck, this should be a fabulous year gardening year.  Most of the new flowers are self-sowing "cottage garden" types and will not need annual replanting (well, maybe some every few years) but it is a start at a "self-maintaining flower bed" in some parts.  Some parts of the flowerbeds have dependable perennials, and I love those. 

But I'm exploring self-sowing annuals lately.  We'll see how well that works in a couple years.  I'm patient.