Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Irene Came For A Visit

Sunday evening, Ron and I went to Jackalope's for dinner. I couldn't believe the surf down there! It's not often that you see the shores of Lake Erie like this. It was really awesome!




I hate to be reveling in the pounding surf after all the damage that Irene has done, but we definitely seem to have received the best that Irene had to offer. She brought to Lorain cooler temperatures and a slight breeze.

Ok, Sunday night it was a stiff breeze, but the lower temps were nice.

I wanted to take a video so you could HEAR the surf. Let me tell you, that wind was a-blowin'. I had my arm braced against a pole trying to keep the video stable. I should have thought better of panning the camera so you could see all around since the wind was really blowing and I was having a hard time standing still in that wind.


video


So, here is what Irene gave to Lorain. After hearing the reports of her damage, we got real lucky.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Keep The Lights Down Low

Man, oh man, if you've ever wondered why movie theaters are so dark, wonder no more. I can tell you!

When Ron and I go to a movie, I like to go to the Regal Cinemas over at Cobblestone on Abbe Road. To me, it's cleaner than the ones at Midway Mall and I think more comfortable too. I'm not so sure now just how clean any of the theaters are.

Sunday, we decided to go to an early matinee. The show was at 12:30 pm and if you're interested, we went to see The Help. As a side bar here, it wasn't all I thought it was going to be, but I thoroughly enjoyed it! Any movie that makes me cry is a good one! Ok, it doesn't take much to make me cry, but I digress. I still give the movie my thumbs up.

Anyway, we got to the theater early, just after noon. I knew that being that early we'd have a wait, but that was ok. We got our sodas and headed in to pick out our seats. I like the back row against the wall just because with my back, I can't always make it to sit through a whole movie. If I have to, I can stand up back there and not be in any one's way. This time however, walking from the bottom of the theater where you come in, all the way to the top where we like to sit, I saw WAY more than I should have.

I'm guessing that since this was the first show of the day, they were just getting ramped up. All of the overhead lights were on! I've never been in a theater when ALL of the lights were on! People, there is a reason the theaters are dimmed! O M G, what I saw is now burned into my retinas.

The kids do go through and sweep up all of the dropped popcorn and such, and pick up all of the litter between shows and such but for real, I don't think that floor has been washed in years. If it has, shame on them if that's as clean as they could get it. But, that's not my gripe. The floors can be dirty. After all, we have shoes on and I'm not going to eat off of the floor. The seats however, were another story.

I can see YEARS of stains and spills and who knows what else. I honestly thought of just standing during the movie! I want to burn my clothes now! I should have taken a picture of the seats, but I didn't think of it until just now! I kept going down the row, looking for a couple of "cleaner" seats. The next thing I knew, I was at the wall and out of seats to look at! Yes, they were all that bad.

I don't know what I expected. After all, how many butts were in these seats this week. I don't know if it would be possible to keep them any cleaner, with the traffic that goes through a movie theater. I don't know what I expected, but holy cow, this wasn't it.

I will never wear good clothes to a theater again. And, when I get home, the clothes that I did wear will go right into the laundry!

Better yet, wait until the movie comes out on cable or on Netflix or Red Box or your DVD supplier of choice. My floors and furniture, even WITH cat hair on them, was a whole lot cleaner than the theater! And that, my friends, is why the theaters keep the lights down low. Remember, you heard it here first. The less you see, the better off you are.

Just thinking of it, I need a shower again. Eww.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Now That Was A Storm

Wednesday night we had a heck of a storm roll through this area.

When I left for work on Thursday, I could see downed branches and a lot of leaf litter all around. All in all, our neighborhood wasn't hit too hard. We lost power for just long enough to mess up all of the clocks but we were otherwise unscathed.

Then, I went to work. What a mess I was driving into! Or not quite driving into as the road was actually closed do to the damage.

The property across the street from where I work is full of very tall trees. During the storm, part of one of these trees fell taking out a telephone pole across the street, a car that was driving north on the street and a telephone pole on our side of the street. Trifecta!

When I got to work, the limbs in the street were just being taken out of the road but the car that was hit was still there. It took them two days to replace the two telephone poles and restring the wires but the best part of all this is WE didn't lose power! Well, I think we lost power for a little while during the night but by the time I got to work, power, phone and internet were all up and running. I've spent a day at work before manning the phones with no power. It was NOT fun!

After I got my day started, I took a minute to go outside and take some pictures. Because I could only sneak away for a minute to take the pictures, I did the best I could. The shadows were not cooperating with me!

This one shows the telephone pole on our side of the road at the left of the picture with the broker part of the pole across the bottom of the picture.


Another view of the same pole, with the broken part on the left in the shadows. And, since you can't read it, the white looking tape going across the picture says something like "DANGER!" and something about electrical danger. Who doesn't love a good electrical danger sign?



This is the car that was hit in the road. I don't know about the driver of the car since he/she was gone by the time I got there. Just the clean up crew was there. Note the downed wires in the foreground.



I hope the driver is ok.

What scares me the most is the tree that lost the branch that caused all of this. I don't know if this was hit by lightening or if the branch just came off in the wind. But the aftermath of the broken branch left this:


There really doesn't look like there is much left to this tree. As high as this break is, there is MUCH more tree above it. That's the part that worries me! Is this gonna come down? Is this gonna come down right on my head?


Backing up a little more . . .






I don't know how tall this tree is but it looks to me like it would reach the building where I am. As a new accessory to the safety shoes I have to wear at work, I should add a hard hat to my ensemble. I am such a trend setter.

Monday, August 22, 2011

I Didn't Mean To Hurt Him!

As you can tell, I'm a fan of blogs. I have my core blogs that I read all the time and on occasion, I like to surf the blog world. That's how I find new core blogs that I want to read. I really don't remember how I found Helene's blog as her world and my world are PLANETS apart. She's a married Mom of triplets plus a bonus baby! I am a single woman with two cats. For real!

But there is something about her writing that has had me hooked for a long time. I feel like I know her and her beautiful family. While our worlds are far apart, I find common ground with her. For example, I like that she can find the humor in the chaos that is her life. It gives me hope for mine.

I like that she loves to post pictures on her blog (hello??!!), I take note of some of her money saving ideas and, I get inspiration out of a lot of her GREAT recipes! She posted a recipe lately for stuffed peppers. While stuffed peppers isn't one of my favorite things, I've been wanting to try to make them and I thought her recipe sounded great because she used Thai sweet chili sauce. I am a HUGE fan of the Thai sweet chili sauce!

I know Phil does not like spicy stuff. But I didn't think the Thai sweet chili sauce would be TOO hot. ;-) I've snuck some things by Phil and I was hoping this would be one of them. (Sorry, brother.)

I'm not gonna kid you. This recipe took a little work. But O M G was it worth it! I did change her recipe up a little bit but I kept the sauce exactly as she had it. I think this is one of the BEST things I've ever made. Even Ron liked my cooking last night! Go me!

We were almost done with dinner though and Phil asked if I put any "extra spices" in the dinner. I had to come clean. I admitted to a couple of extra spices! Sorry, Phil but I loved it. He said his mouth was burning. Oops. I guess I hurt Phil more than I thought!

This morning I got a text from Phil that he was at the dentist's office with an abscessed tooth and he was waiting to get it pulled. Ugh, I feel your pain, brother.

I offered my condolences to Phil for his pain today. He got his tooth pulled and then came home with a bunch of meds, some of which were happy pills. Very happy pills! Phil may have been a rabble rouser in his youth, but in my adult hood, he's been mostly a straight arrow. Seeing Phil on pain meds, seeing Phil loopy, is hysterical! He's actually smiling!! I should take pictures of Phil loopy, but that would be just wrong somehow. I'll let the poor guy heal in peace. I'll just make him a blog topic sans pictures.

The old Catholic in me feels the Catholic guilt. I'm sorry if my cooking has put you in the dentist's chair and made you part with your tooth! At least my cooking didn't make you have your stomach pumped! See? Finding the humor in the chaos of my life! Thanks, Helene!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

You Ain't Never Gonna Believe This!

Dogs. ME. With dogs. For the records, I still have 10 fingers and toes!

My friend Lisa and her husband Chuck have three adult dogs and they just added two puppies to their family. Lisa had asked me if I wanted to come meet her puppies and for some reason, I really DID want to meet her puppies!

Her adult dogs are Rottweilers. I wasn't so sure about meeting the adults, but the puppies were a mix of Labrador, Poodle and Golden Retriever. I thought puppies I could deal with.

Ron had to work this morning, so I met up with Lisa and Chuck for breakfast. I got really brave and decided to follow them home to meet the puppies! They would keep the adults in the house and would let the puppies out. I stayed safe in my car with the doors locked until I was sure that the adults were not in a position to eat me!

The puppies came out and bounded around the yard like they had springs in their feet! Something about puppies and kittens, you just gotta love them! They are so happy and so full of life! I looked at the puppies and while they were a lot bigger than I imagined, I felt with Lisa and Chuck there, I'd be ok inside of the fence with the two puppies.

I not only went inside of the fence, I got down on one knee and was playing with PUPPIES! In case anyone didn't know, puppies grow up to be DOGS! We all know how I feel about DOGS! Hey, I'm working my way in slowing. First I'll tackle puppies, then I'll work my way up and through her family one dog at a time.

Since this would be hard for most people to believe, of course, we have picture proof! Here is me and Gizmo with Chuck staying close for moral support.


Then it was Opie's turn for some Ree love! Please note that my finger is IN his mouth! And, he left it attached to ME!


Then me and Lisa both enjoying some puppy love!


Then it was time to reunite the entire family. Here is the whole gang! From left to right, we have Buster, Sadie, Opie, Leeloo and Gizmo.


Yes, I had to go to the other side of the fence for this part of the visit, but c'mon, this is HUGE for me! Leeloo really wanted to "meet" me. So she jumped up onto the fence and I met her half way. I even offered her my hand for a sniff and a lick and I must have been deemed ok since I still have my hand!


Please note here that I am NOT bending down to get Leeloo's picture. She IS that big!

It was a great day. Thank you to Lisa and to Chuck for introducing me to their family and helping me find the courage to play with the puppies. One day, I'll be inside of the fence with the rest of you!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Mr. Krasienko, Tear Down This Wall

With apologies to the late President Reagan for the literary license I took on one of his famous quotes. I'm allowed though.


Thanks to Mayor Tony Krasienko, we went from this:


To this:


To this:


And we have some more before and after shots:






And thank you to my brother, Phil, for going out in the middle of this to get me some pictures!

I am really conflicted here. I am thrilled that this eye sore has come down. The job is not complete, but based on how far they came in two days, I'm sure this will be finished quickly. We basically have the hole in the ground from the basement left. That will be filled in and closed up.

This has really made me sad though. Sad that a solid house had to come to this end. Someone tried to back door this through a broken system. It is my belief (Hey Mayor Krasienko, this is NOT literary license. This is MY opinion and MY opinion only. I don't need a license for that.) that this did not go through the Neighborhood Stabilization Fund. It is MY opinion that someone wanted rid of this house for whatever reason and gave it up to Tri-C to burn. After all, who in THIS neighborhood would care.

Well to Mayor Krasienko and the members of City Council:

Thank you for taking my neighborhood and putting it through the fire. You took a house, set it on fire, then left it there until I started a fire under your asses to take care of your mess.

Thank you to my cohorts in crime, Lisa and Loraine, for picking up my fight and helping me to get this issue out there so that Mayor Tony Krasienko and the members of City Council couldn't forget about it and pretend nothing was wrong. Also, thank you to Lisa for providing my literary license and for the use of her research and pictures from her blog.

One voice matters. Had I not started to vent my frustrations on my blog due to the treatment and brush off I received from Mr. Howard Goldberg, the house would have been forgotten by everyone but those of us that have to live next to it.

So, from all of us to all of you on the 7th floor and where ever else City Council reigns, thank you. Thank you for cleaning up your mess. I may not be worth the time of my own Councilman Tim Howard, and Mayor Tony Krasienko may think I'm not worth speaking to in a professional or even civil manner, but like it or not, I AM a member of this community. And you WILL hear me, even if only on this blog.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Just Between Us

This is one of them stories that I am embarrassed to tell! So, if you'd just keep it between us, I'd appreciate it.

I know I am amusing to my neighbors. I'm not graceful, not too knowledgeable, I just seem to know enough to get myself in trouble. For example, cutting the grass. The riding mower still scares the crap out of me, so I'm sure the occasional scream that slips out of me coupled with the funny faces I'm sure I make, guarantees that I am entertaining to watch.

Anybody out there ever water their lawn? It's not as easy as you think! We have one of them nozzles that you jam into the ground and then it goes softly left to right, then ratchets itself back from right to left. You can set your arc as wide or narrow as you want, as long as you can figure out how to set the doo-hickey stops on it.

I don't water my lawn often, but this time of year seems to bring it out in me. I've had a green lawn most of the summer and now it's turning brown in big patches due to the heat and not enough rain. Last week, I thought I'd be nice to my grass and set up the hose. With the big yard that I have, I have to do this in zones. I figured I could at least spend a couple of hours on the worst of the brown patches.

I jammed the spike into the ground and then went and turned the water on. Just like in the movies, of course I have it backwards and there is no way to get from where I am to where it is without getting wet. No worries, I was prepared for that! I have on my shorts, a shirt and no socks or shoes. I'm as prepared as I can get!

I walk through the water, get the spike out of the ground and jam in back in after I turned it around. Then I have to watch the water go back and forth until I get that arc starting and stopping exactly where I want it. Like I said, easier said than done. But, finally, I get it. I'm soaked, but the grass is getting watered and the neighbor's car isn't. Win/win.

Now I go back into the house to eat dinner. That's when I notice that my feet are covered with grass! Yeah, I'm a fan of mulching your clippings back into your grass so there is grass clipping all over the yard, especially all over my wet feet!

I'm standing on the rug in the kitchen trying to use a paper towel to dry my feet and get all the grass off of them. Yeah, that ain't working.

Then I see that the sinks are empty. My hair brained mind figured why not just rinse my feet off in the sink??? I am good at planning. Unfortunately the execution part of my plans is usually lacking.

Have I mentioned I am NOT graceful?

I stand next to my sink. I left my left leg up and place my left foot into the dirty side of the sink. So far, so good! To be honest, I'm freakin' impressed that I could lift my leg that high! Once my foot was rinsed free of grass clippings, I realized I'm was in trouble. Um, what goes up should come down, but my foot was not cooperating. There is no way that I was going to stand on one foot, lift my left foot higher to get it up and over the sink and get it down to the floor without killing myself or at least breaking my leg.

"RON!!!"

Poor guy. Imagine his life with me! I can only imagine what goes through his head some days when he gets called to come save me once again! Being the good guy that he is, he came over, dried my foot with a paper towel and then helped me get both feet back on the floor.

Aah, thanks honey! But, "since you're standing there, please help me do the other one"! So, I lifted my right leg, got my right foot into the sink, rinsed, and Ron again dried my foot and then helped me plant both feet safely back on the floor. For real, how many people get stuck in their kitchens with one foot in their sink?

I can't make this stuff up! Some days I think I should charge admission for glimpses into my life. I can be entertaining, just ask Ron!

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Update On My Car

I took my car first thing on Saturday morning to get that catalytic converter looked at.

I grabbed a cup of coffee and my book and I was prepared to sit and wait all day to have my car fixed. I walked into Monro Muffler and Brake right after they opened at 7:30 am Saturday morning.

I talked to the guy there about what happened. His first question was "do you park in tall grass?" Um, no, I don't. I'm either in the garage or in a paved parking lot. No tall grass. He said that was what the cover to the catalytic converter was for. If I wasn't parking in tall grass, I didn't need to replace the entire converter! Bonus for me!

I asked about the heat coming up through the floor and under the seat. Did I need to be worried about that? He assured me that there was a heat shield under the floor so I was covered there, too. For real, no need to throw money into my car right now. I was good to go!

So, I grabbed my still full cup of coffee and my unopened book and I was home by 8:00 am!

Two honest people in one week? First a tow truck driver and then a mechanic? Who knew? I SO got lucky this week!!

I have a catalytic converter but I have no shield around it. Just to make sure, don't get too close to me. The heat coming off of me just might not all be from hot flashes!

Friday, August 05, 2011

Scraaaaape!

Last night was not one of my best nights!

Ok, it started out great. My friend Karen and I met up after work last night for a nice dinner and gossip and catching up. The trouble came along when I started to head home.

We met up in Strongsville for dinner so I got on the turnpike to come home. I think people like the higher speed limit on the turnpike as now traffic was MUCH heavier than I can remember.

Anyway, I'm driving, probably doing 75 mph in the center lane and I hear something "funny". Sounds like metal scraping and at first I thought it was coming from the radio. I shut the radio off but I still heard it. I was next to a semi that was in the right lane so then I decided the sound came from the semi.

However, I eventually passed him up and had no one around me yet I STILL heard the sound. I made an SOS call to Ron and told him I thought I was having car trouble and I was pulling over to check it out. I tried to wait until I got to the next exit, or to a mile marker number in case I had to call for help, or at least to a pull off on the turnpike, but the metal sound was getting louder. I pulled as far off of the road as I could get, put my four-way flashers on and got out of the car. I looked all around, I didn't see one of my bumpers hanging and I saw all four tires were on the car and not flat. It all looked good to me! Yeah, so much for my expertise!

I got back in the car, told Ron it might be a false alarm and then started to mosey along the shoulder picking up some speed. I didn't make it far since as soon as I started moving, the noise was right back! Dang, something was seriously wrong! I was back out of the car and again, all around looking for what could be making that noise. After finally looking further UNDER my car, I see it. I have no idea what "it" is, but I see it. It's metal and it's hanging from about the middle of my car, just behind the front tired. Damn, this ain't good.

Still with Ron on the phone, I came to the realization that I was going to need a tow. That decided, there was nothing Ron could do, so I called the turnpike emergency number (which for the record is *990) and prayed someone would answer.

I'm not sure who monitors that number since it was hard to hear standing by the side of the road with cars and semis whizzing by you at 80 miles an hour. But, whoever answered transferred me to someone and I tried my best to tell them where I was. I've been on the turnpike a gazillion times and I obviously drive it without thinking because I had NO clue where I was.

I knew I was west bound. Ok, I HOPED I was west bound. After thinking for a minute, I remembered passing the go kart place by the Route 10 exit. I thought I couldn't be but a minute past that heading west. She asked me for more specifics. If I knew, I'd tell you! But telling her I was standing next to a white flower or next to an empty Diet Coke bottle wasn't helping her. I looked around and realized I was between two overpasses. THAT for some reason helped her.

She said she'd send help and that they'd be there in 30 to 45 minutes. When you're stuck on the side of the road and that road is the turnpike, 30 to 45 minutes is an eternity. A few minutes later, the tow truck driver called me and again tried to nail down where I was and I gave him the same information. He said he'd look for me west of the Route 10 exit and if he didn't see me, he'd call me back. I knew I was in trouble because if he didn't see me then I really had NO idea where the hell I was.

Once I hung up that phone, I was suddenly feeling more alone than I can remember feeling in a LONG time. I didn't know what to do with myself, I didn't know where to go.

I remember when I lived in Houston, it was common to hear about people getting hit on the freeways while pulled over. Also common were Good Samaritans getting killed while they were changing some one's tire. You know, as people are driving by, they are looking at what's going on at the side of the road and they end up aiming for and hitting the stopped vehicle. That's all I could think of so I was terrified to get back in my car.

I thought if I walked down the embankment from my car and a little behind it, I'd be safe. That way, if someone hit my car, they'd both miss me as momentum would carry them to my right. Unfortunately, standing in the grass I was a feast for every living creature there. I am one big bite all up and down both legs. Before bleeding to death by bug bite, I came up from the embankment and back to the shoulder of the road.

Afraid to stand behind my car for fear of someone hitting me before my car, I decided to walk about 100 feet in front of my car and stand there on the shoulder. I thought that way, if someone did hit my car, hopefully I'd have time to jump out of the way. Yeah, that's what I thought. Like I said, I haven't been THAT alone in a long long time.

Where is the safest place to be? People I've talked to have differing opinions. Finally out of fear of someone throwing something at me while driving by, I got back in my car, belted up and prepared for impact. Like I said, it was a LONG 30 to 45 minutes. Semis crossed the white line of the shoulder and passed by me with hardly more than two feet to spare. I was going to get out of the car and go back on the embankment and faced more bug bites but I was afraid of what would come out of the taller weeds behind me and drag me back into the weeds. I felt like I was in a no-win situation.

I was always a big fan of the turnpike when I traveled. Yes, you paid for it, but you got what you paid for. I got to where I was going much faster than if I traveled the local highways. In the winter, the turnpike would be plowed and maintained MUCH better than any other road. Also, the turnpike is patrolled well. As a woman traveling alone, I appreciated this point thinking if I ever broke down, it wouldn't be long before help found me.

I was wrong on that point. I was pulled over for 45 minutes from my phone call for help to the tow truck showing up. Since I called an emergency number, I guess I assumed an emergency vehicle, such as a patrol car of some denomination, would show up to make sure I was ok. I never even saw one go by. For most of that 30 to 45 minutes I was a woman standing alone on the side of the road. I guess I'm not skinny enough or have boobs big enough to warrant anyone pulling over to see if I was ok. That is a rude awakening as a human being, that with the increased traffic on the turnpike, and trust me, the traffic was CRAZY, no one would pull over.

I was never so happy to see the flashing lights from a tow truck before! My new best friend Doug with Rich's Towing & Service. Doug was very nice and didn't live up to the bad reputation of a lot of tow truck drivers. I explained my situation and Doug crawled up under the car to have a look. As I'm thinking of how I'm going to get to work the next day, Doug had diagnosed my problem and had a temporary solution for me.

I guess the cover from my catalytic converter had rusted apart and the bottom half was now dragging on the ground, hence the metal sound. Doug said he could rip off the cover so that the sound would stop and that I didn't need to be towed. He said I would be good to drive home and that sounded good to me!

Doug crawled back under the car, gave the cover a couple of pulls and off it came. I had to pay for the service call which I gladly did and even gave Doug a tip for his trouble. Hey, he could have easily towed my car and charged me a HELL of a lot more than the $50 service charge and then I'd be at the mercy of some mechanic that I don't know to fix my car. This way, my car was good to get back on the road and I will head over to get it fixed this weekend.

I know, it could have been worse. My self esteem took a hell of a shot last night and I have a whole new family of gray hairs that sprouted up from the terror of being that close to speeding death machines unprotected.

I put the piece of crap cover from my catalytic converter on my table to take some pictures for the blog. Benny had to help me take the pictures! He was the bright spot of my evening for sure. Most of my pictures came out blurry with some part of Benny running through the shot. Here is the rest of them, including one gratuitous cat shot.





Thanks to Doug for not gouging me on the tow last night. I do appreciate that.

And phht to everyone that didn't stop to see if I was ok and a bigger PHHT to the semi that crossed the white line and came WAAAY too close to hitting me.

I'll let you know how the repairs go. Hopefully I can get them done this weekend in between everything else.