Tag Archives: house stuff

too many spoons this weekend

so i went white water rafting on saturday. it started with getting up at zero dark thirty so that i could leave at 6:30 to get to st. fred’s house by 8:00. then it was breakfast at st. fred’s (bacon, eggs and hashbrowns, thanks to st. gordy) and off to cashmere, which is where the party ended. then it was getting all geared up, wet-suit, PFD (personal floatation device) and paddle, whereupon we were bussed west of leavenworth, about 14 miles up river to where we put in. it was way better than the last time i went, primarily because i didn’t actually fall in the water – although i had a hand, literally, in rescuing the guy in front of me (howard? steve?) when he fell in. once we got out, there was a barbecue, and then the ride home, which was fairly quiet because we were too tired to talk much. it was fun, but i used up way too many spoons, which meant that instead of being efficient and mowing the lawn yesterday, i slept most of the day.

moe didn’t go with us white water rafting because she had an agility trial saturday and sunday. it was cool for her, too, because in two days, two of her dogs earned their NATCH (North American Agility Trial Champion). one of the dogs, magick, had been trying for her NATCH for several months, but the other one, zorah, just breezed right through it, which was exciting, even if i wasn’t there to see it. so we went out to dinner last night to celebrate.

i got two T-shirts, on saturday, from T-shirt Hell (where the bad t-shirts go) that say “Tuba Hero”. i have a rehearsal later this evening and i intend on wearing one of them, just to see how many people notice. i’m also going to mow the lawn dandelions this morning, hopefully before it gets too hot.

um… still ergh, but not anywhere near as much.

i’m still coughing intermittently. i went to see chris a few days ago and he gave me some Clear Mountain Air Tea Pills. the recommended dose is 8 pills 3 times a day, but i found that they produce extremely bitter tasting phlegm, and i decided to reduce the dosage to 8 pills once a day because that way the bitter taste was less pronounced.

i’m still rather amused about the disparity between what i read and largely agree with at pharyngula and the stuff, which if PZ myers knew i was reading, would probably put him in a tizzy, namely my general acceptance of things like acupuncture, chiropractic, homeopathy, and hinduism. things like my ear, and my back – i know enough about chiropractic that i can instruct someone who has never done it before in the correct way to “crack” my back to make the pain disappear (and stay gone for 2-3 years) that the doctor said was “a virus” that i would simply have to put up with in my shoulder (when i was in high school) – and the fact that when i take certain homeopathic and/or herbal medicines, things go away a lot more quickly than they would if i were treating them with “conventional” medicines… or the fact that, regardless of how little evidence there is to prove the existence of God, i don’t just believe, i know that God exists, because i am in constant communication with Him (for lack of a better term). i really wonder how a guy who can be rational and reasonable – and, more importantly, correct – so much of the time, can be so pig-headed and ignorant so much of the time. and then i remember that, for all of the proof that i accept as real, i can’t actually show that proof to anyone.

oh well… 😐

i haven’t been posting as much because the weather has been ridiculously hot for the past week or so, and i’ve been keeping the computers turned off as much as possible… and there hasn’t been very much in the way of postable stuff happening anyway, apart from the usual death, destruction and politics. it’s cooler and overcast today, but it’s still pretty hot. i built a shelf for the air conditioner that we got last year – the “universal air conditioner support” that i bought at home depot wouldn’t work – so now, theoretically, all i have to do is block up the rest of the window that remains open when the air conditioner is in use – which i will probably do with styrofoam window insulation – and we’ll have a functioning air conditioner in the house.

i went to a thing that was advertised to me as an “art car” show on tuesday at roosevelt high school. it turned out that Ganesha was the only “real” art car there – there was a local amphibious car, which had an anchor labeled “emergency brake” and was made up to look like a boat, but most of them were “muscle cars”, complete with shiny, polished engine compartments, flames, and trophies. i was really surprised that a roosevelt high school student walked up and asked me if that was sanskrit, and then proceded to talk with me about a sanskrit tattoo that she wanted to get. also one of the roosevelt staff was actually able to read my car, which is unusual under normal conditions, but this lady wasn’t a hindu, and wasn’t from india. she said she was from the philippines, and her father was a pandit, though, and that made all the difference.

i’m going white water rafting in eastern washington tomorrow with st. fred and a bunch of his cronies, including st. gordy of boehnghytte, so i won’t be posting anything tomorrow. if anything outstanding happens, i’ll probably post again on sunday… or whenever i feel like it.

garbage drama

back to mundane stuff…

they haven’t picked up our trash for two months, ever since we switched to once-a-month trash pickup, so i called to find out what was going on. it’s not that we haven’t paid, either, because we haven’t gotten a bill in two months as well. in fact, they sent the bill on the 14th, and it’s probably already been paid, but that’s beside the point. when i called to switch to once-a-month pickup, they told me that it would be on the first thursday of the month. so i put the trash out and they didn’t pick it up, so i called and they said that they had made a mistake, that they would pick it up on the last thursday of the month. so i waited for 3 weeks, put the trash out, and – they didn’t pick it up… 8/

so i decided on another tack, and put the trash out every week last month. they picked up our recycling (which is most of our waste these days, fortunately) on the second and fourth thursdays, just like they’re supposed to, but they didn’t pick up the trash! 8/

so i called them this morning. they told me that the pickup would be on the first thursday of the month, then they changed their minds and said that it would be on the last thursday of the month. then, realising that they had just given me conflicting information, they said that they would check it out and call me back. about a half-hour later, i talked with the dispatcher for the company that covers south king county waste management, who told me that the real pickup date was the thursday of the first full week of the month. not only that, but she said that, because of the fact that customer service was confused about our pickup dates, our address was not even included on the route list that they gave to the driver, which is why we haven’t had a pickup in two months.

that’s all very well and good, i said, but the fact is that our trash hasn’t been picked up in two months, and i’m running out of space. so the dispatcher for south king county says that she will request a “courtesy pickup” (“for no charge”), since there was a screwup on their end. a half-hour or so later, i heard the garbage truck backing up, and fifteen minutes or so after that, i get another call from the dispatcher, who says that they tried to pick up the trash, but the can was too heavy and their driver couldn’t lift it. we have our own, 33 gallon container, which has to be loaded by hand, rather than paying the county for a 35 gallon container that the truck can pick up, and the driver has a weight limit to spare him having to lift heavy trash bags into the truck, so if i wanted our trash picked up, i was going to have to go down and “portion it out” into chunks that were small enough for the driver to lift.

so i broke it down into three garbage bags and the remaining garbage in the can, and supposedly they’re supposed to come back tomorrow, and of course, now that we’re back on the route list, the next trash pickup is supposed to be next thursday… 8/

i’ll believe it when i see it. meanwhile, if i reckoned correctly, we just paid a bill for $60 for the past two months… when, because of a screwup on their part, we weren’t getting any service at all

grumble, mutter… and they wonder why i get upset about things like this… 8/

update

happy 4/20. i’d be consuming more holy vegetable, but i still am terrifically short of breath and coughing a lot as a result of being sick still. i’ve been vapourising a bit and even that has been causing me to cough. i suppose i could probably make some ghee or something…

they’re putting on a new roof, so that it won’t leak any longer. it’s only about two years overdue, but there’s no point in complaining about it now. the dogs are being quiet, in spite of the roofers right over their heads, making all kinds of noises which dogs would definitely find suspicious. we’ll see how long that lasts.

the $300 withdrawal from my bank account has had a band-aid put on it, but it’s still an open and sucking chest wound. at this point i’m done talking with people until i hear from the bank concerning my contesting of the charges. moe has taken over talking with the people who actually withdrew the money, and considering that i never actually signed anything, combined with the fact that the first time i ever even heard about an “early cancellation fee” was when i checked my bank account on thursday, she seems to think that there’s a more-than-likely chance that there will be a positive (for me) outcome. we’ll see about that, as well… 8/

maybe i’ll go to the fremont sunday market on sunday. one way or the other, i could really use a day of doing nothing but making money, and there’s a good chance, since i haven’t been there in a while, that fremont will be itching for some new incense.

i got another order on the web site, but no corresponding order from paypal, which makes me seriously wonder about whether or not i’ve got it set up right. it should be that you confirm your order on my site, and then transfer to paypal’s secure server to complete your order, and of the three orders i’ve gotten since the site upgrade, two of them have confirmed the order on my site, but not completed their orders on paypal’s secure server. i wrote to one of them, but she was located in the UK and never responded. the new order came in on friday, from a guy in california, according to the site, but i never heard anything from either the customer or from paypal, so i don’t know what happened. the next step is to write to the guy and see what happened.

i’ve got to get my tabs for ganesha the car. also, i have a fremont phil rehearsal this evening.

credit cards and firewood

i keep getting both closer and further away at the same time. i suppose the ultimate effect so far is that i’m getting neither closer, nor further away from going live with the new web site. i’ve arbitrarily decided that i want to go live with it around the middle of next month, but that’s an entirely arbitrary deadline and depends a lot on my getting past a couple of what appear to be impossible obstacles, only one of which i have the remote impression that i can fix. the optimist in me says that’s the reason why the business is named after the Remover of Obstacles, but the pessimist in me isn’t willing to concede defeat yet.

the other problem is a seemingly simple problem that gets worse once i actually got around to figuring out how to fix it: the total amount of the order in a customer’s shopping cart is transferred to paypal without any problem. i figured out how to get the shopping cart on my server to figure out the shipping charges without any problem, but when it switches over to the paypal servers, it somehow forgets to add the shipping charges to the shopping cart total, the result being that i would have to request that they fill out shipping as an extra charge again – which would make the customer suspicious, under the best of circumstances, and probably cost me quite a bit in sales, if nothing else.

to add to the problem, in a way that is entirely to my liking, but in a strange sort of way, i’ve actually got another incense order this week, which makes four in the past week (one of which i had to refund because it was made from a page that doesn’t really exist). i haven’t been talking too much about it because i don’t want to jinx anything just yet, but it seems like i’ve gotten far more business this year than i did during the same period of time last year. which means, of course, that the more i sell while i’m still getting the new web site ready, the more i’m going to have to update the new site when it finally goes live, because the amounts of product that i have at that time will be different than it was when i first entered it into the database. the longer time goes on after the database goes live, the less i will have to worry about discrepancies, but it’s likely to be a major headache the first couple of times i run out of product and have to cover my ass.

and that’s not to mention the fact that i’m getting more and more concerned about my relationship with paypal at all. it seems like when i first started doing business with them there wasn’t anywhere near the stigma that there is about doing business with them now. and, to top it all off, there have been things like PayPal Warning dot com, and feedback from people like the lady at the bank about paypal’s reputation suffering, frauds, ripoffs and other wonderful stuff that i don’t want associated with my business.

the obvious solution to the paypal problem mentioned above is to get a “real” merchant account from somewhere, get an SSL certificate – again, from somewhere, and who knows how i’m going to pay for it – and “roll my own”. there are a number of interesting alternatives, including ProPay, which requires that i limit my credit card transactions to $1,000 and has a $35 annual fee, along with the 3.5% + $0.35 per transaction fee, which i think is a bit much for me. there’s also National Merchant, which has no annual fee or signup fee, and has a “discount rate” which is $0.25 + “as low as 1.99%” – but there’s no obvious indication of how high that “discount rate” might go.

there’s also 2Checkout which i haven’t investigated yet, but i get the impression that it’s more of a replacement for paypal than it is a “real” merchant account. there’s also costco merchant credit card processing, which has no obvious way of connecting it to the web (is that what a “payment gateway” is? i’m still learning a lot of terminology for these sorts of things), and i understand that they pull your credit rating as a part of their verification process, which automatically makes your credit rating go down. and there’s also washington mutual, whose representative was way too ready to sign me up, assuring me that their merchant servies were the cheapest, and offering me $250 cash if they couldn’t meet or beat any competitor’s prices. the lady was eager enough to sign me up that i was a little suspicious of her motives. i said i would come back in an hour, but that was yesterday, and i didn’t come back.

instead i talked our neighbour into sharing their hydraulic ram firewood splitter and split the four big rounds of firewood that we’ve still got from last year into about the same amount of firewood that we already had. i figure i’ll go back on monday and actually talk with her about some of the details before i sign up with anyone.