New Shoes in the Rain

Thursday, August 29, 2013

It bugs me

When my wife and I purchased our current house, we traded a somewhat rural environment for a more urban one.  That is to say, our old house was in a development about five miles from Lexington, and we now live within the city of Lexington itself.

We wanted to live in the city, as that put us both closer to our jobs and a lot of other things we needed or wanted to have nearby, like shopping, dining, etc.  We also bought a newer house, which we felt would give us some advantages in the way of maintenance upkeep costs.  And we were also glad to be connected to a central sanitary sewer system, instead of the septic tank and field drain bed setup we had at our previous home.

But one thing we did NOT count on was insects.  Bugs.  And I don’t mean your garden variety flies or mosquitoes or even bees and wasps.  No, I’m talking about all kinds of critters that we had never seen in our years in the country, near a farm.  These creatures must surely originate in the sewer system and use our drains to enter the house, as we almost always see them in the bathrooms.

We see such exotic varieties as craneflies, harvestmen, centipedes, beetles, moths and a host of others for which I don’t know the names.  And I stand by my assertion that they enter via the sewers, as I routinely spray the perimeter of the house each spring and fall to ward off ants and other traditional pests.

I suppose we’re used to it now, just reach down and grab the offending parties and return them to the drain with a little water behind them for incentive to move on.  Just so surprising that we would have MORE pests in an urban setting than we did living adjacent to unused farm land for many years.  Back in those days, if one of us referred to a “pest,” we were most likely talking about a gopher or mole, not a bug or something akin.  To be fair, those required some effort to eradicate, too, but they were much less frequent than the centipedes (I think the correct name for what we see is “house centipede”) or other creepy-crawlies that visit us now.

I think I’ve mentioned in this space that my wife became fond of feeding the local birds soon after we moved in, and we have continued this practice for about fifteen years.  Among these birds were and are cardinals, bluejays, robins and finches, as well as the generic black birds that come in bunches and generally make a mess of the yard.  The list of animals receiving food expanded to also include the local squirrels and chipmunks, although recently we stopped buying separate products for them to eat.  About the only thing that keeps the birds away (the squirrels do not) is a hawk that visits our yard periodically.  My wife will often comment that the hawk must be nearby, since the birds aren’t coming around. 

Just yesterday she tapped me on the shoulder and told me to quietly look outside, and, sure enough, there was a young hawk perched on our fence.  He was watching our yard VERY intently.  Back when we used to have a cat and would allow him to rove around the backyard, my wife worried that a hawk (most likely an older, bigger model than the young one who just appeared) would grab our cat and carry him off for dinner! Fortunately, that never happened, but we still talk about it.

So if you receive an invitation to visit, please don’t assume that you’ll need a beekeeper’s suit or a falconer’s glove. 

Friday, August 23, 2013

I love

I’m dating myself with this, but there was a modestly popular song back in the early to mid-70’s by a journeyman country singer/songwriter named Tom T. Hall by the name that today’s post also bears.  His tune went through a list of what he liked about his life and life in general, and each verse ended with “and I love you, too.”  All very nice.

Driving to work one morning this week, that tune popped into my head, and I thought, how great would it be if we ALL took a few minutes to think about the aspects of our lives that are good and positive and uplifting….people and things and circumstances that we LOVE.  So here goes, without an effort to rhyme or set to music:

I love:

My wife

My kids

Their families, but especially THEIR kids

My friends (well, some of them, anyway)


Cincinnati Reds baseball

Golf (playing more than watching)

University of Kentucky basketball and football

Movies (my tastes are well documented here and in my profile)

Music (ditto)

A good book, one that you cannot put down

Now, a few of the everyday things that I find that I love….

Preparing a delicious meal for my wife and others

Mowing my lawn and being happy with the way it looks

Hearing my grandchildren laugh

Hearing my wife laugh at something I’ve said or done

An ice cold beer at the ballpark with my son

Talking with my daughter on the phone, keeping her close even though she’s really not nearby

A friendly wave to let you into the line in traffic

Positive acknowledgement that you’ve done the same for another driver

A quick “thank you” when you hold the door for someone

Friendly food servers, cashiers, customer service folks

The way that my Apple products work (can’t quite identify why this is, but it feels good)

Life is good, friends.  Enjoy it.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Latest and greatest

Friends, I kind of went back to the future today.  Concluding my third week in my new position, which is office-based, but since last Friday our office was like a ghost town, with virtually everyone deciding to work from home, I gained permission to do the same.

And it's just a little strange to be back here at home, in my home based office that I occupied for ten years.  New job yet so familiar.  Lucky that it's not entirely foreign to me, I suppose!

Enough of that.  Lots going on in the world that warrants comment.

My heart truly goes out to the people of Egypt.  Whichever side of the dispute you come down on, and I frankly can't quite decide who's right and who's wrong, you have to feel for a nation that by all outward appearances is tearing itself to shreds.  Death, extensive injuries, complete chaos and not much in the way of order is no way for anyone to live.

I also have been astounded, as I always am, at the heroism of the brave men and women who put themselves in harm's way to attempt to protect property and communities from deadly and unpredictable wildfires.  There are quite a number burning right now, mostly in the western states, but what these people attempt to do, and often succeed in doing, is remarkable and should not be overlooked.

Everyone who reads this space regularly knows that I'm a huge baseball fan, and I have to say that I was totally fooled by Alex Rodriguez ("A-Rod"), the ailing third baseman of the New York Yankees.  When he arrived on the scene as a skinny teenaged shortstop for the Seattle Mariners, I thought he was something special.  But as time went on and his accomplishments were gradually tempered with the knowledge that he, as so many other prominent major leaguers of the past fifteen years, was using performance-enhancing drugs to increase his productivity, I lost all respect.  So imagine my astonishment that he recently threatened Major League Baseball with a lawsuit if their recently assessed 211 game banishment (which Rodriguez is appealing) isn't rescinded.  I read last night that it's been strongly suggested that he gave up other players' names in an attempt to save himself, or at least lessen his punishment, and that's wrong, too.  No way to know how this plays out, but it cannot go away soon enough.

And don't look now but my Cincinnati Reds have won five games, and closed to within 2.5 games of the lead in the National League Central Division.  Despite their excellent win-loss record, the Reds haven't been this close to the lead in a while.  Should be fun to watch a three-team dogfight between the Redlegs, St. Louis Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates down the stretch.

And we're excited here in central Kentucky about our up-and-coming football team.  They may not win many more games than last year's group, but with an all-new coaching staff, new offensive and defensive schemes and a great new attitude, they stand to be more compelling that last year's team.

That's good for the moment.  Have yourself a good weekend!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

It's the latest thing

If you are a regular visitor to this little corner of the World Wide Web (does anyone actually call it that anymore, and MEAN it?), you know that I was recently displaced by my former company and was about to start a new job with a different, larger organization.  I’m nearing the end of my second week and thought I’d share some observations about my new company and my role within it:

First, and probably most obviously, is that after ten years of working from a home-based office, I’m now back in an office environment the majority of the time (that is, when I’m not traveling, and as a newbie, I’m not traveling at all yet.  When I worked at home, I had a routine that was a little unorthodox, but since there was no one present to arbitrate my schedule, I could do as I needed to do.  Now, I come to an office, where it’s not that rigid, but it’s a place outside of my home, so that’s an adjustment.  And it’s twenty or so minutes from my home, so I had to develop some new routines pretty quickly.

I get up earlier than I used to, because my desk isn’t twenty feet from my bedroom!  I exercise right after rising, where I used to work that in when time permitted after breakfast at my desk.  And instead of pondering what to eat from among the choices available in my kitchen at home, I’m trying to decide what restaurant to visit for that day’s lunch. 

The plusses are that decent coffee is available at no charge, there’s an ice and water dispenser in close proximity, the restroom isn’t far from my office, and, after fearing I’d return to being a cubicle-dweller, I have an office.  With a door and everything.  The funniest aspect of that is that the furniture in it is kit furniture not unlike what I used to use in my home office, before I invested in better hardwood items.  It serves the purpose, and, after I rearranged it to my liking, I cleaned all of it, so I know now that it’s in pretty good condition.

No one seems to watch my comings and goings, which was a pleasant surprise.  On my third day I went to tell the department administrative assistant that I was stepping out for lunch, and her response was that no one needs to let anyone know where they are, since we’re all connected with cellphones and such.   Fine by me.  And my boss is in Florida, working from a home based office of his own, so while I have regular interaction with him, it’s not in person and it’s not obtrusive.

No, so far, my working life has been a sea of online training modules, conference calls and little else.  I assume that when things get going for me, starting with a face-to-face meeting with the primary contact of my assigned client (with my boss, thankfully) later in the month, that things will change.

I was told during the hiring process that it would be wise for me to be in the office most, if not all, of the time during my first two or three months on the job.  Transitioning back to working at home would be most welcome, so I’ll look forward to that happening.

For now, it’s working out OK.  But I miss my more comfortable desk chair and other little things that aren’t possible to bring to the office.

But I’m working, and that’s the main thing.  And I’m most thankful for that!