Thursday, October 30, 2014

Our Little Vacation

Keith ended up being off for an entire week, going back to work yesterday afternoon. He had only signed up for 4 days but the way the board worked he had to lay off the day before his vacation or he would have been sent on the road, and then he switched the first day of vacation to the end and it all worked out to where he had an extra couple of days off.

Not that he got all that much done, the first couple of days were spent doing pretty much nothing, but he did get my laundry closet doors painted and ready to hang. They are currently leaning against my living room cupboard/bookshelf thing, where hopefully they will not stay for weeks and weeks and weeks. Or years and years and years as sometimes happens when it comes to Keith and projects.

Anyway, we took off Friday morning to drive up to the Fresno zoo, stopped in Tulare for breakfast at Apple Annie's, a little local coffee shop restaurant that has okay food, nothing really amazingly special, but we do like to support local businesses. I think we have stopped there each time we've been up that way.

We got to the zoo at about 12:30 and were told that the zoo was closing at 2 to set up for a special event, Boo at the Zoo or something like that. If we had known that, we would have left the house earlier and maybe not stopped for breakfast, but since we were going to spend the night in Clovis we figured we could just come back to the zoo in the morning if we didn't get to see everything. It's only $7.00 to get in, way less than the cost of a movie, so paying for 2 days was just not that big of a deal. Support your local zoo and all.

We really enjoy this zoo every time we go there, it's small enough to where you aren't exhausted walking around, but big enough to where you really could spend all day there. They have a new Sea Lion Cove exhibit that is just amazing, it's made to look like part of the rocky California coast, a cove complete with mussels and starfish growing on the rocks with what appeared to be a tidal flow system since you could see a water line on the rocks. There are 2 sea lions and 3 seals in the exhibit, and an underwater viewing window where you can watch the sea lions and seals swim past. Quite mesmerizing.

When the zoo closed we found our way to Clovis, a suburb of Fresno with an 'Old Town' area that I've heard is really nice. We don't have GPS or any other fancy navigating stuff on our car, we were using an old fashioned paper map, but we did finally find Clovis and checked into our motel, then went to Old Town to wander about.

Old Town Clovis is well worth a visit, just a couple of streets and a few blocks, but lots of antique stores, very clean streets, lots of benches to sit on, and the most amazing thing was PUBLIC RESTROOMS! Wow!

Why do public restrooms impress me so much? Because in towns like Ventura that have a big homeless population, you just don't see a sign for public restrooms and the stores there certainly won't let you use their restrooms. There have been many times that I was in downtown Ventura and had to walk all the way to the public park where the restrooms are always nasty and smell very strongly of urine and you certainly don't want to step in any of the puddles of what you hope is water on the floor.

I did use the Old Town Clovis public restroom and it was clean and again, WOW!, a public restroom!

We didn't get any pictures of Clovis, too busy shopping in the antique stores before they closed at 5, but here are some taken off the internet.

The rest of Clovis is just like any other suburb of a big city, but we really enjoyed Old Town and would definitely come back again.

We went and had some dinner and then back to the motel, where there was really nothing to do, the TV had HBO but there was nothing on to watch. Keith had drunk a few beers with dinner and laid down on the bed and proceeded to start snoring, so I read the book that I had brought along. I guess I'm really not much of a traveler, I was kind of wishing we were at home with all the comforts, I don't sleep all that well on strange beds.

In the morning we went and got breakfast and then drove back by Old Town, where we had seen a used bookstore, a bookstore that was actually already open, so we spent a few dollars in there, but I'm so used to my cheap bookstore where everything is less than $1.50 that it was kind of hard to spend $4.50 on a paperback in this store. But, the selection was huge and they had a lot of antique out of print type books if you are into that kind of thing.

Then, back to the zoo to see the animals that we missed on Friday. There were paper chains in a lot of the exhibits, don't really get what that was all about, apparently Halloween decorations, and a lot of the animals had their Halloween pumpkins.

Like the orangutans and gibbons. We spent quite a while at their enclosure, there are 2 adults, I'm assuming mom and dad since one of them has a lot more hair than the other, and 2 kids, who were quite amusing to watch, playing with the paper chains and tumbling about while their mother sat nearby under a sheet. Daddy found a pumpkin on the ground and made his way up to a tree stump right by where we were standing and proceeded to chomp the top of his pumpkin off and leisurely eat the seeds and pulp. The 2 gibbons were up further in the tree and as soon as daddy orangutan had his fill and left his pumpkin on the stump, they scrambled down for the leftovers.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Little Poopy Paw Prints

So, this morning I was awakened at about 6:30 or so by an incredible stench coming from the cat box. I had heard Pepper scratching on the wall, she doesn't scratch in the cat box to cover her business, but rather against the wall and then leaves her stinky stuff uncovered. Then she runs away as fast as her fat body will carry her to get away from the smell.

I get up and go turn on the coffee and feed the impatient cats just like I do every morning, and then when I go back in the bedroom to make the bed I see paw prints all across the floor from someone who has stepped in poo and then tracked it across the floor.


I hadn't planned on using the Resolve carpet cleaning system (foam in a can and a scrubber brush mop thing that squirts the foam out for you) but really didn't want to look at poopy paw prints so as soon as Target opened off I went to get more cans of foam.

And you might as well clean the living room carpet while you've got the Resolve carpet cleaning system mop out, right?

It really does help freshen the carpets and makes the house smell good, but it gets a little expensive at 4 bucks a can and it takes 2-3 cans to do the living room. Someday I will get a new steam cleaner, or maybe just get rid of the carpets all together and have wood floors throughout the house. Someday.

Keith is on vacation for a few days, yesterday we went to Hobby Lobby to get some wind chimes that I had seen there, using their weekly 40% off coupon to knock down their rather expensive prices on decorative type stuff. Then we went to the Black Bear Cafe across the parking lot for lunch. Then Keith had to take a nap after we got home because shopping and lunch are so exhausting. I think he must have been a cat in a previous life. He does like to nap a whole lot.

Today he is supposed to be cleaning up the back yard, so far not much has gotten done and he is watching TV right now. I just finished watching the 10 episode Fargo TV series and he started watching it last night after I told him he should watch it instead of just flipping channels around. It is an excellent show if you get the chance to see it, and if you do see it you will find yourself saying 'well, heck' a lot, ya?

Tomorrow we are going to drive up to Fresno and go to the little zoo there and instead of driving back that evening will stay up there somewhere for the night and then meander back home on Saturday. We haven't taken any kind of vacation or road trip in quite a long time so we are both looking forward to it.

We saw Joe and Elizabeth yesterday, they are going to come over and feed the cats and clean the cat boxes for us while we are gone, so they came to get a key and feeding instructions. We took them out for pizza for dinner after the cat feeding instructions.

Joe finally got in to see a real doctor about his back instead of the quack doctor he has been going to, a specialist in back issues and other stuff, and he is feeling much better about things after talking with the new doctor. They are going to do a full back x-ray since the quack doctor didn't send all the x-rays over, but the doctor thinks a shot of steroids might help a whole lot before any kind of surgery is discussed and maybe no surgery at all if the shot works. Joe has been off work and without any income for a couple of months now, the quack doctor wouldn't sign paperwork so that he could get railroad disability but the new good doctor will get all that going for him and has given him a 6 week doctor's excuse.

We have been helping them out with bill and rent paying, not wanting to see them living in a car or maybe not even in the car if they couldn't make the payments. We are glad that we are actually able to help, if Keith didn't have the railroad job that Joe helped him get we definitely wouldn't have had the money to help. But, we would like to not have to pay his bills anymore, so the sooner he gets his disability the better!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

I've Said It Before

And I'll say it again.

Having cats is a lot like having toddlers running about the house. Imagine seven small children instead of cats and you sort of get the same thing. They poop and pee and need feeding and need something to drink and they leave toys laying about the house and get bored if they aren't getting enough attention. Sometimes they vomit and they frequently keep you up at night. They also wake you up early in the morning wanting to be fed.

Like last night, Buddy wanted petting while I'm trying to sleep and he takes his big head and pushes against your hand and then flops down and shoves against you trying to get in the perfect position to where your hand that he has been pushing against is on his head. Pet me now.

They also leave presents for me in surprise locations, like the poo balls that I'll occasionally find way outside of the cat box and the still wet hair ball that I didn't know was on the couch until after I'd been sitting there for a while and laid my hand right on top of it. Complete with dried vomit around the hairball area. I don't know why the hairball was still wet and the vomit dry, but whatever, it was really disgusting.

I went and got my hair cut the other day, I really don't like going to get my hair cut, waiting my turn in the uncomfortable plastic chairs, reading three magazines while waiting, and then making small talk with the hair stylist. I always apologize for only coming in about once every 9 months or so, not one of their best customers that's for sure. I wanted chin length and got much shorter than chin length but that's okay because then I can wait even longer before I go back for another haircut.

I get to the point where my hair really starts bugging me, it gets put into a bun every day because I'm really too old for the ponytail look, hair hanging down annoys me these days, especially on hot days when the hair makes me feel even hotter. I spent most of my adult life with long hair having grown up in the long straight hair hippie days, but now that I'm old once again it is all about comfort.

It always feels weird for a while after getting a haircut, you're washing your hair and it's not there anymore, and brushing your hair and it's not there anymore.

Keith is going to be taking a few vacation days at the end of next week, we finally figured out how to sign up for vacation on the BNSF computer system, one of the main reasons he hasn't taken any before now. He also has to sign up for next year's vacation soon and I've told him to take it during spring and fall rather than when it's too hot to do anything in the summer time. He has always taken his birthday week off in June and it's usually been not all that much fun for him, doing things like getting colonoscopies and dental crowns, car repairs and such, or the one year when he was sick half the week. Hopefully spring and fall vacations will work out much much better.

We are planning on going to Fresno to the zoo on Friday and maybe even spending the night up there somewhere and maybe go through the Sequoias on the way back home. We will see, the best laid plans and all. Something may come up to thwart them.

He'll probably nap a lot, too, it does seem that he sleeps a whole heck of a lot on his days off. His last day off was spent by waking about 10, fixing breakfast, laying in the hammock, taking the sheets off of the bed to wash, then him napping on the bare mattress on and off for the rest of the day. I don't know how one human can sleep so much, but whatever.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Let's Talk About The Weather

We don't get too much in the way of exciting or scary weather around here. It's pretty much either hot and dry or cold and dry and only a few months where it's the perfect mix of just right and dry. We may be able to finally turn off the a/c until next year soon and it'll be a month or two before the heater gets turned on. It was hot again yesterday afternoon but a cool front moved in last night so it might just turn out to be a no a/c day today.

However, the cold front that moved in last night really moved in with lots and lots of wind, and when you live where it is hot and dry and there are a lot of empty fields that make up a large part of the area around your town, lots and lots of wind means lots and lots of dirt being blown around. Lots and lots of dirt being blown around means dust storms with local highways having to be closed down because people can't see where they were going. And when you can't see where you are going on a highway, you tend to run into other cars. Think extremely heavy fog but gritty dirty fog.

It was quite windy last night and when it is windy Lucy gets a little freaked out, so I took a box outside to make her a hide from the wind space which she seemed to appreciate, crawling in it and letting me cover the top of the box with a towel so that the wind couldn't get her.

One good thing about the wind is that it blew all of the tiny leaves that have been falling from our backyard tree into nice piles against the flower beds and fences. I've been too lazy to go out and sweep up but now that the leaves are all in handy piles maybe I'll get myself out there today and clean some of it up. It will be a never ending project for the next few months, our big tree with the big leaves hasn't started dropping yet and that one makes a huge mess but at least the leaves are bigger, making them easier to sweep up?

Other than a dirty windy day there is nothing much else going on. I still haven't dusted the entryway bookshelf knick knacks but I am enjoying wearing my old lady pants. Oh, the comfort!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Birds Singing And Face Washing

I've been working on cleaning the house all morning and actually got almost all of it done! What?

The only part left is the entryway, which has a mirror/shelf thing that Keith built and a bookcase thing that Keith built that has lots of knick knacks on it and always eludes me when it comes time to dust it all. I don't know why that area is my toughest area in the house to clean, maybe because it is the entryway and when you are in any other room in the house you don't really see it and it's that old out of sight out of mind thing. But it does need dusting at least once in a while.

I did get the tile part of the floor by the front door mopped and did vacuum the rug in that area but that dang dusting may just wait until tomorrow. Or next week. Or the week after.

The dust rag and cleaner are sitting on the bookcase all ready for cleaning but knowing me I'll probably just let them sit there for awhile and then put them away. Without getting the dusting done.

I went shopping at Target the other day, well actually I go into Target almost every day, but I was looking in particular for some new face washing stuff, being extremely lazy about washing my face on a regular basis, usually just kind of washing it while I'm taking my shower, and now that my skin is almost 60 years old, it could probably use a little extra care. And moisturizing. And maybe even put a little makeup on it. Plus some rouge.

I am not one for spending big dollars on face washing stuff or creams or wrinkle remedies or any of that kind of thing, but if that's your thing and you can afford it, then by all means keep Clinique or whoever in business! Me, I'll find something a little cheaper thank you very much.

I did find something in the under $10.00 range, and so far I like it a whole lot. The cleansers don't leave your face feeling all dried out and itchy and the moisturizer/sunscreen goes a long way. So do the cleansers, you only need a little squirt for lots of suds.

I got a gel face wash and a couple of times a week exfoiliating scrub and the moisturizer/sunscreen. I don't remember exactly how much each of them cost, somewhere around 5 or 6 dollars. Target had a special where if you bought one and a People magazine you would get a $5.00 gift card, but I really didn't need a People magazine, having given up reading them a few years ago, so no gift card this time.

These really do seem to make my skin feel softer, cleaner, and not all dried out.

I've had the windows and doors open all morning (while actually cleaning) and the birds are really really happy happy today, chirping and singing and in general making nice noises outside. Very pleasant and so nice to have cooler weather at least until this afternoon when it gets hot again and the a/c comes back on.