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Open House

Sitting at Open House being alternately bored and annoyed. First class – 3 people. Second class – 1 person. Probably see the same for the next couple of classes on the agenda. Love wasting my time… really, really love it….

I Need to Accept It

My hair will be the death of me. I was born snow blonde and watched the color darken with every year of life. When I the dark mouse brown stage I said “No More!” and started coloring it. When I was young and cash seemed plentiful and fell from trees, I got it professionally done. My original colorist I was with for years. He started as a guy at a cheap salon and worked his way up in the ranks with Paul Mitchell. The funny thing was, by the time I moved away, he was an extremely sought-after stylist and commanded big bucks, but never charged me more than pretty much what I paid when I first met him. And, I could get an appointment with no hassle, even though others had to wait weeks or months. That’s the beauty of sticking with someone – they remember…

I never found that special person again. I basically visited various salons with hit or miss results. Here in town, though, I hooked up with a stylist and visited her for a good five years, but then my money ran out. A color and cut now set me back (with tip) upwards of $150 and…. no. So, it was time for box-of-blonde.

The early experiments were awful. My hair is dark, but I insist on being blonde. With true professional-quality materials and a sense of artistry to pair with technical skill, a quality stylist could give me the blonde I wanted. A box just doesn’t give the same result. I made my hair red, strange brassy gold and more other variations than I can count. Finally, I found one box that was acceptable. Still kept the roots a darker blonde, but got the rest of the hair nice and light for an overall good effect. I’ve used that box for quite awhile and only this weekend ran into the “sold out” situation. My hair was looking awful and I didn’t want to wait or drag my lazy ass to another store to shop.

Well, my hair now has true gold-bar gold roots and pure silver for the rest. If I had pointy ears, I’d be an elf. Luckily, I don’t have a reputation as a hot chick to uphold, so no one besides me really cares what my hair looks like. But, I have my eye on the weekend after next. My hair will be recovered from this chemical spill to withstand another. With my familiar, tried-and-true box-of-blonde. Now, I must go and pray that L’Oreal never discontinues that color…

If It Ain’t One Thing…

We braced and poised and readied for Irene and…nada. Now, it’s West Nile Virus. Chilling at the end of the school day yesterday (my prep period is the last of the day and on Friday it is a chillax block for me) when an announcement comes over the PA. It was the principal and he was a little out of sorts. Apparently a SWARM of mosquitoes in the town had tested positive for West Nile Virus and (1) all outdoor activities were cancelled (sports, recess) until further notice (2) all windows and doors had to remain shut and (3) students should hurry home and stay inside. Needless to say, this created a fine panic since a lot of the kids walk to school and now were petrified that they were facing death as they tried to get to their houses. The woman who provides daycare for my dogs has a son in 8th grade and he sometimes hitches a ride home from me when the weather sucks. Needless to say, he as waiting anxiously at my door when the bell rang, and my dogs weren’t even at his house. He was desperate for a ride home – really anxious about the possible threat. He got home safely and I think he was actually grateful for what he saw as cheating the Grim Reaper…

Enjoying the PlayOn private channel on my Roku box. I’ve been trying to find a good way to get YouTube videos on my Roku box and other private channels I’ve tried have sucked. This one seems to working and I’m currently enjoying a couple of videos I have earmarked as Favorites that the other channels wouldn’t display. Looks like this might be a good solution for me.

Dogs woke me up at 1:30 am, 5:00 am, 6:30 am… and I went to bed at midnight. I’m thinking a rum-fueled nap is in my future, which is a damn shame since the day is 100% sunny, cool and crisp. That’s ok… there will be other days like this…

Do You Need Stuff?

My students know me as, among other things, the teacher with wicked prizes. For unexpected achievements, successful completion of challenges, winnings of contests – I give them a prize. And they go wild. It is amazing how juniors and seniors can light up like Christmas trees (or Hanukkah bushes) when they receive a finger puppet or a rubber ball for a job well done. For Halloween, my prizes become giveaways to kids who costume up and demand their due at my front door. Where do I shop?

Rhode Island Novelty
Oriental Trading
Century Novelty
Archie McPhee

Pick up fun stuff in bulk and hand them out with fear of going broke. Kids and adults are totally tickled when they get a devil duck or water snake… You will be a god…

The People You Trust

I don’t have many, but I have made my own little vouchsafed list that I keep on hand. And, they’ve come through once more. With all the hellacious stories you hear about repair guys, it can be easy to get overly cynical. But good ones do exist…

My condo was burdened with a squirrel hole. My neighbor (the guy who owns the other side of the house) alerted me to the situation and said that he’d get his guy to offer up a price when he gave the estimate for some roof venting my neighbor wants (and seems to think I’ll cover half the cost of, even though I’ve never given it my okay). I respond that I’ll get my own estimate from my guy and get the work done. Well, neighbor-boy goes ahead and gets an estimate and it’s $600. The hole needs fixing and, by the way, the gutter needs replacing and so on and so forth. I get my guy’s estimate – $240. Guess which I went with. I would have gone with my person, regardless, though. One day I needed work done, just some simple things that really didn’t merit a contractor. I found House Doctors. They’ve got franchises all over and do tiny jobs or big jobs. And, they take credit cards. They did one job and I was very pleased. Good work, good price and good people. Then they did another and another… fast estimates and the work gets done pronto. These were the guys who bailed my fat ass out this winter by taking care of the ice dams the former owner of my new house let build and left untreated. Out there the day after my email and even offered to charge less than the estimate since my house was small and low to the ground (falling off the room wasn’t going to break anyone’s back like some of the 3-story places that are common around here – my single story is actually a bit of an anomaly). Squirrel hole is now properly repaired and I will probably have them out again at some point to do some work around this house and will be on-call help for when my condo needs help that my future tenant (fingers crossed) yells for.

Yesterday, the devil pointed his finger at my central AC and commanded it fail. And it did. Frickin’ satanist… Well, I turned the thing off after finding ice patches on lines and, first thing this morning, called my go-to HVAC guys. They installed the central air at my condo and it was a fantastic experience. Quick (ductless Mitsubishi units that I wholeheartedly recommend) and not one penny charged over the estimate. When I needed the furnace serviced at the condo – same folks. Today, make my phone call and there’s a service tech out at 3:30 pm. Got me squared away quickly with no “suggestions” about additional services. Signed up for their yearly service plan and will do the same thing when I have them back in a month or two for furnace checking. They do the job right, the people are honest and decent and they don’t bankrupt you for the work you need.

I’ve had my share of crappy experiences. I’ve had plumbers who tried to charge me for time they spent talking on their cell phones to wives or buddies, car repair people who refused to let me see supposedly broken parts, rubbish removal companies who low-balled me miserably on their estimate then hit me with a huge bill when they were done, etc., etc., etc. But some people restore your faith. They take pride in their work and aren’t out to rob you blind. I’m glad there are still people like that in the world. Now, if I could only find one of those people at my bank…

Thank you Google doodlers for this one. FM would have been 65 today and it’s a fitting tribute to such an intriguing, complex entertainer…

At first, it was just simple work. Grocery shopping, dish washing, laundry. Then, I decided to check out my condo for the height of the grass and found that, yes, it needed weed whacking, but also there was a thick cover of leaves all over the sidewalk and lawn. I’d forgotten about my unhealthy front-yard tree who sheds at the end of summer. And the For Sale sign that was supposed to have been taken down pre-Irene by the realtor hadn’t been and was lying half in the ground and half out. So, it is now all out and under my front porch. One large leaf bag filled with lawn debris, a chat with my old neighbors and I was back home to take care of my own back yard. Work hard and make a nice Labor Day lunch of veggie burger and fresh corn on the cob and… why the hell is it so warm in here?

Check the AC control and, although I have the AC set on 70 °, the house is at 75 °. So, it is then a matter of racing around trying to find out what’s wrong and… I can’t. Some vents are blowing a little cold air, others aren’t doing anything. The fan on the compressor is functioning, but the air being blown away is cool, not warm. Downstairs in the basement, some lines that usually drip with condensation are doing nothing and others are sodden. Oh, did I mention the ice that I think I would have noticed at some previous point in time. I am so screwed…

But, What Does This Mean?

“Retail shopping studies have found that most people turn right when they enter a store. That’s because the majority of the population is right-handed and right-oriented.”

I stole this quote off of some lame Comcast.net article and it intrigued me since I never turn right when I enter a store unless I know the item I want is located in that direction. I turn left at the grocery store, mall stores, standalone electronics stores… if I walk into a new place my automatic tendency is to hang a left and I’m very right handed. If I know a store, then the layout determines my direction. At one grocery store, I turn right because the entrance is located to the far right and it makes sense to start shopping there, rather than hike to the other end of the store to begin. At the closest BestBuy, I turn right because the computers, DVD’s and phone/mp3 stuff is there. Music and appliances are on the left. Even when I look into a store, I look towards the left – left display window, left-side advertisement signs… I’m not sure what that says about me, but if we accept that the left direction is associated with evil and misfortune then I’m not sure it says anything good…

Popcorn

It’s not even 10:15 am and I already want popcorn. I swear that I can do without any other snack food, but I will end my life on this planet on the day we finally deplete our popcorn reserves.

My love for popcorn is life-long. When I was a kid, it was the greatest thing my mother could drop in front of me. I remember the designated popcorn pot very well. It was very cheap, very thin aluminum with with a black Bakelite handle on the lid. Vegetable oil, popcorn… then goodness. Although I usually only wanted plain salt on my popcorn, I did go through a phase where the butter-flavored salt packets in the bags of certain popcorn brands was a necessary addition. Put it the pot with the popcorn, then add more when the popping was done. So wonderful… Oil was an issue, though, as was the popping vehicle. I never could decide which popcorn was more tasty – my mother’s or that popped by a neighbor who used a cast-iron skillet and Crisco.

Never much of a butter-lover, though. Not at the movies, not at home. The only positive attribute about butter or synthetic variant was that it helped salt stick better. So, I was more than content to enjoy my popcorn dry and I’m sure my mother was glad for the lack of butter throughout the house from my greasy fingers.

I could make a meal of popcorn and often did. A large, hot bowl of popcorn was plenty filling to make a real dinner superfluous. A very large bowlful made for dinner, then a late-night snack. If friends were present, my mother would prepare a huge soup pot full of popcorn, pour it into a paper grocery bag already provided with salt, shake it like a martini and place it in my room or on the back steps for hungry children to rip apart and devour.

Now, I’m too lazy to actually pop popcorn the old-fashioned way. Although the “experts” decry the health-killing properties of microwave popcorn, it is a convenient and quick way to get my fix. It is very rare that I pop enough for a meal, though; the little mini-bags give me enough to satisfy the craving. Some are better than others and I’ve narrowed down the few brands that are acceptable. Right now, I’m headed for a Jolly Time bag that has just the right level of salt and leaves me an acceptable number of half-popped morsels that are always so lovely to crunch as an after-snack surprise. And the dogs are outside, so I don’t have to share…

The Change of Seasons

There is only one season worth a shit to me – Fall. All the others suck royally. Spring is nothing but a soggy mess, summer is humid and buggy, winter is constant battle against snow and ice… Fall is the perfect season…

Autumn is cool, crisp and refreshing. The light is right, too – the sun rises and sets at good times. Yard work is waning and there’s no snow shoveling in sight. Yes, there’s leaves to rake, but there is a profound cultural acknowledgement and acceptance of that. It is considered a joy

As a kid, I loved the start of school. There was something about those first few weeks that were almost spiritual. The weather was turning, you life was fresh and new, those magical school supplies… it was, somehow, a perfect feeling. Today is in the 70’s. Crisp and sunny. We’ll get another blast of heat and humidity at some point, but the feeling of fall is in the air. Time to go shopping for pumpkins and mums…