Sunday, July 31, 2011

Family Sunday

Today J's cousin and family came over to swim, and strangely enough, I mostly enjoyed their visit.

I'm not usually much for company, so this is the first time we've really used the gazebo and picnic table.
I wasn't very well prepared for company, but they are supposed to be coming again next week, so I get another chance.

The kids had alot of fun, swimming and playing.

Kev and his cousins 
Funny Kev
Kev and Hope
Hope and JP
I heart my back yard :-)

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Saturday Update

Wow - from Zero to Progress! 

 Last week I mentioned I was dealing with some of my Depression issues....Long story short, I decided to quit fighting and just give in to it for a while.
I didn't want to, because I wasn't enjoying my Summer. Summer is my favorite Season because I like being HOT, and not having to worry about school crap.

Anyway, so I just put on some comfies (yoga pants and a boyfriend-T and fuzzy socks) and watched some TV. I rarely watch TV, usually only when I'm sick, or on special occasions like I love to watch Halloweentown High on Halloween, and in December I pretty much leave the Family Channel on constantly and watch (listen) to the Christmas movie Marathon.

On account of I'm attention deficit and lose interest during commercials, I watch movie channels that don't play commerials. We're getting Showtime free for a year from Dish, plus there's a few others like Encore, some I can't remember the names of. They play alot of older movies, but that's okay because I don't watch tv or movies much so I'm always behind anyhow.
On account of my lousy short-term memory, and that they play the same movies over and over and over and ov... er, I watched alot of movies I'd already seen, and now can't remember exactly which ones they were.

I think the only new one I watched was Burlesque, with Cher and Christine Aguilera. I enjoyed it. Didn't think I would.
Otherwise, sometime back (like a couple of years, or so) my Mom loaned me some Seasons of a Showtime TV series that I hadn't gotten around to watching, so I decided to go ahead and check that out. It's called Weeds, and is about a California Housewife whose husband dies, leaving them broke, and she starts selling weed to support her family.
I enjoyed the first couple of Seasons of the show, it was pretty funny...but season 4 I didn't like so much. Maybe Season 3, either (can't exactly remember).  I have season 5, but haven't even really cared to watch it. I said I was waiting for J to come home and be able to watch with me, since he watched the last couple of them with me, but, nah, I know me too well. If I had been excited to watch it, I would have.

But the show had some weird effect on me, both good and bad, lol. Good thing was, I toughed up and kicked the misery aside, and got off my arse and did some stuff.

Johnny had scheduled to be off from the Doc-in-the-box where he's works PT on Thursday to be able to go help an ailing co-worker, but then that got re-scheduled, so we found ourselves with two days in a row off. Sometimes that happens on weekends, too, but isn't really the same because the Landfill is closed on Sundays.
So on Wednesday, when I realized we had two days, I suggested for him to pull his truck under the window of the front room I was cleaning out upstairs so I could tear the rest of the ceiling on out and we could take it to the dump.  I had just been tearing it out in parts and pieces, filling up a can at a time and sneaking it a little at a time into the household garbage (which goes to the same darn place, so I don't what the biggie is).

It was kind of crazy; all this time I had just been up piddling around, moving a little here and a little there. And then all of a sudden like, in the spanse of one afternoon and one morning, the room is completely cleared of stuff, and the ceiling and carpet torn out and hauled off. Plus alot of junk that had been piled up on the carport.

(In case you missed it in previous posts, the front room upstairs used to be a 2nd level front porch that a previous owner enclosed to make a bedroom out of. When we moved in, it became a storage room, and I've decided I want to open it back up into a porch again.)

Oh, that bad part of it was, the show made me cuss like a ganksta for awhile. Yikes.

We also made some more progress on the outdoor building we're building Thursday afternoon.

Yesterday I canned 10 quarts and a pint of cucumber/pickles.
I didn't post it earlier, but sometime last week or the week before I canned another 10 pints of tomatoes, too.

Not much doing today. The boys are gone fishing, but it's started raining/thundering so I expect they'll be coming on back pretty soon.
Think I'll go find something good to eat on a rainy day to cook, and spend the afternoon in/on the bed again.


Saturday, July 23, 2011

I'm not in jail....and they let the AC they kicked out come back (although, lord only knows why he'd want to after what they pulled). 
I guess I'll quit calling our local rag - I mean paper - a spineless bunch of pansies, paling in the shades of gritty, real, old tyme reporting.

Our middle son turned 21 last weekend: he wanted a fire helmet, so that's what we bought him for his present. He wanted a Cairns because they are smaller and fit his tiny (brainless) little head, lol.

Once he turned 21, he wanted to go get his driver's license renewed so it didn't say UNDER 21 all over it anymore, and also to take the test for the FP license that allows him to drive the fire trucks.

So I said, since we're going, then our youngest is going to get his Learner's Permit.
Here in GA, one needs to be 15 to get  LP...K is 17.  He just never has had any interest in driving, or even learning how.  That'd be fine if we lived in a big city somewhere, with subways or a bus system, but we don't, and I don't want to see him end up like his certain ones of his relations that can't get themselves where they need to go without bumming and bugging someone else to have to cart their dumb butts around. 
I stayed on him to study and take the online practice tests, but secretly preparing myself for him to not pass, because he had so little interest in.

But he did pass.

We posed him in the car for this picture. He still has no interest or inclination to drive. R got him out that afternoon and took him around the block twice, and that had been it.

And by the way, R failed his test.
Since it was his idea to go, one would assume he would have studied for it, right?

The rest of the week has been non-productive while I give in to my depression issues for awhile.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Roses Project

As a kid I didn't really pay much attention to flowers and plants and such; they were just everywhere, like trees and dirt and the sky, I suppose I took them for granted.

Once, though, for what reason I can't remember now, I brought my Grannie a red rose.
It wasn't the kind of rose like you buy at a florist, but some sort of wild growing rose, I guess. It wasn't exactly a rose 'bush", but there alot of stems, that just kind of grow up out the ground together. They get pretty tall/long, and roses grow on growths off the stem.

Anyway, Grannie wrapped the stem of the rose I picked and put it in a glass of water on the windowsill, and it grew roots. She gave it back to me to give to my Mom, who planted it, and it grew like crazy into a whole 'nother 'bush'.  It was like magic, the way that happened.

So then some years ago, my husband's Grandfather passed away, and left my husband his home.
His Grandmother had long been deceased before then, but she had been an avid gardener in her life, too.
Among fruit and nut trees, several green plants I don't know the name of, Easter Lilies, some of those most beautiful Azalea bushes I've ever seen (*note to self; get these next), there were some of the sweetest, loveliest little pink teacup roses.  Like the sweet, pink little roses in the French Cottage Shabby Chic decor.

I'm told they are called Seven Sisters roses, and are an Heirloom rose brought over from Britain in the early 1800's.

A few years later, the County built a new school close to the place, and bought a chunk of our property to build a new 3-lane road. We moved, and although I always have plans to get back over there and take cuttings of his Grandmother's plantings, I haven't yet made it.

However, as it turns out, apparently at some point my Grannie had taken a cutting or a flower of the roses and  made her own rose bush. They planted it beside the chain-link fence in the backyard, and it has grown up and over and now 'waterfalls' over the fence. It is so pretty when it blooms in the Spring.

Last year my Aunt gave me some cuttings from it, but I killed them. I killed them with impatience, as it turns out. I didn't learn that until just recently.

Earlier this Spring I was at my Aunt's house, and the roses were blooming so beautifully, so again, she gave me some more cuttings.

This time I brought them home and cut them into about one-foot lengths and put them in bottles of rain-barrel water. (We've noticed our garden doesn't do quite as well when we water with City water; it stays alive, but that's about it, the veggies don't grow. So I wanted to give the roses rain-water in hopes that would help.)

One cutting had blooms, so I stuck it in water and sat it on my kitchen windowsill.

I put the bottles on a board on the backporch wall where they would be safe if it came a storm and the wind picked up.  But I pretty much knew they weren't going to get enough sun.
So eventually I decided to give up the water-rooting, and just stick them in the ground instead.

Most of them didn't make it for whatever reason, only 3 lived.
Which, in actuality, is probably a good thing.  Growing these roses could be like spawning vampires gone out control; they are an aggressive and invasive plant; beautiful, but dangerous. If all 24 cuttings had lived, they could have probably taken over the world by themselves.

I still had the one sitting on my kitchen windowsill, mostly because I just never got around to getting rid of it yet.
The flowers were dried and crispy, it had gunk - algae looking stuff growing in it, and it hadn't grew any new leaves like the ones outside in the ground did, so I was was pretty sure it was dead, but for some reason I'd keep adding water to it. Tap water even, that's how sure I was it was a goner.  My son asked me the other day why I kept watering it, and didn't get rid of it.  I don't know why.

But then this morning I found this:

It took 2 months and 2 days, but it grew a root in water, just like Grannie used to do it!
That's how I figured out I killed last year's cuttings with impatience; I thought they died and I threw them out within a couple of weeks.

I took it out, and dug up the other 3 from the planter box, and transplanted them all into pots with compost soil:

Now let's see if I can keep these babies alive, and maybe plantable next year sometime.  I plan to plant one here in my yard, and one in the family cemetery next to the Grandmother's grave stone.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Well, it's been a mostly uneventful week, but a productive one.

We got the pool opened and going, it's been nice on these h-o-t days.

Been working in the garden, which is going along well, despite the heat and lack of rain.
We're just about to have a slew of tomaters come ripe. I'll be busy canning these maybe tomorrow or Friday. I can't wait.
I really enjoy canning because it takes me back to the summer days of my kidhood and working the garden and doing canning with my G'mothers.

No pic, but yesterday J and the boys got some more work done on the new workshop they are building.  They got the posts up for hanging the doors, and about half the siding put up. Doesn't sound like much, but they had to dig holes for the posts, and get them level/square, then concrete them in.
Every bit is progress.

And I got back to work cleaning out that storage room upstairs again. I did real good for awhile, and have it about 3/4's of the way cleared out now.
I'm running into a couple of problems just now;
1) I've been dividing the stuff into two parts: stuff I want to keep, and stuff to yard sale. I have been doing pretty good letting go of stuff so far, so my yard sale pile is as least as big as my keeper pile. Problem being, both these piles are still in the house, and I didn't have room for any of it to start with - hence why that room became a storage room to start with. I am running out of room for sorting the rest of it out.
and 2) I'm getting back to somemore stuff I call, "I don't want to keep it, but I can't get rid of it". My Grandmother's square dancing dresses that she sewed herself.  I don't square dance, and even if I did I don't wear the same size she did. I don't know anyone in the family or even that I just like well enough to give the dresses to. But how can I just get rid of them? I can't :-(

Update on the VFD Drama:

Last Thursday night was station meeting night. R started classes that night so couldn't make it.
The Assistant Chief - the one that had just spent several months training them for the NPQ FF-1 test - called R to ask if he was going to be there, because he knew they were going to try to get rid of him.

R had his gear packed and ready to turn back in to them because, if they got rid of the AC based on the Mileage by-law, then they would also have to get rid of at least 4 other guys who also don't live in this area. That would leave That Guy (who we can call Captain or Asshole, or both) and only 2 Active members.
(Found out they have a whole lot of members of the fire dept - on paper. All the City cops are listed as being volunteer firefighters, a City Councilman, some other old dudes that live in the neighborhood, and a bunch of women R's never even seen are listed as Support personnel.)
Anyway, if they got rid of all those guys, R wasn't staying either.

Check this out: They decided to enforce the mileage rule, BUT they amended it to a distance that included those other four guys, and ONLY left out the Assistant Chief.  The one that had just spent several months training guys for the NPQ FF-1 testing; who got this dept several actual, certified firefighters, for free. (Sorry for repeating, but it still just blows my mind that the Heads of this town are so stupid they'll get rid of such an asset, in favor of such an idiot.)

I know people can be conniving, backstabbing, lowdown FH's. But to be so absolutely blatant about it!

R's friend called and told him what had happened, and R was still ready to turn in his stuff, but the guy said well they were going to stay and vote Captain Asshole out. (Which isn't going to happen - it won't be allowed. It's been tried, and he went crying to the Mayor and she *made* the Chief at the time allow him to stay.)
Anyway, R isn't formally resigning just yet, but is just biding his time until he finishes this summer semester of college.
He got up at 5:15am Monday morning to run a call (he was the only one to show up. Captain Asshole, who lives two doors from the station if we're going to make a big deal about distance being an issue, had to be called and woke up out of bed to respond later on), but other than that he's not really participating anymore. He didn't go to the meeting last night because he was doing homework, and he's not participating in a parade on Saturday for our Hometown festival thing. (Saturday is his 21st birthday, and he has plans with his Dad.)

He told Captain Asshole he wasn't going to be able to make the meetings because he has class on Thursday nights, so Cap decides right there - he apparently doesn't need prior approval from the police chief or mayor - that they'll change the meeting night to Tuesday.

He is large and in charge and eating it up, and it totally pizzes me off.  I was mad and made a smart-allick comment about the situation on a local message board, mostly just blowing off steam. I didn't go into details, basically I said they were a bunch of idiots. (I knew a local newspaper journalist is a member of the same MB, but she didn't ask me any details about what I was talking about, and all the others basically just agreed with me.)
Next thing I know R asks me if I saw the newspaper? The article reported that the Fire Chief had resigned.

Apparently, rather than asking me what I was talking about, the reporter emailed the Police Chief asking him what was going on.
He responded with a bunch of BS, saying the Chief had given notice 3 weeks ago, blah blah blah, and that only one firefighter had left "for personal reasons", and that he lived outside the county.

Oh man, reading that really flicked my Bic!
So I went back and posted, in detail, EXACTLY what had happened and went on.
And told them that Police Chief is a straight up liar, saying the AC had left for personal reasons - they kicked him out, plain and simple!  And not only that, but they had changed the rules so that the other four firefighters that live outside the county could stay.
Straight-up small-town kiss-my-ass BS!

So, knowing how small-town BS goes, if I disppear for a long time, feel free to send me letters in jail.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

VFD Drama

Volunteer Fire depts are nothing if not one drama after another. Jealousies, back-stabbing, gossip, rumors, lying, buddy-buddy system, and so on.

When J and I started dating, he was the Assistant Chief at a local volunteer fire station. We were both young - mid 20's and drama was just a fact of life. The more drama the better, I guess. Hell, yeah, I even contributed to it on occasion.

Fast forward a few years, and the stations were taken over by the county and the Dept. went paid.  There was a real heirarchy, and firefighters were hired, and promotions were *tested out* so it wasn't like a cut-throat, who's whose buddy, who's pissed at who, who owes who a favor kind of deal anymore.

For the first couple of years, the ff's worked at their stations alone, and there was still a volunteer bunch to back them up. But being the paid guy, he wasn't involved in all the volly-politic-drama-BS.
Even after he got a partner, he (we) were/are lucky that he's been able to get along with the guys he's worked with.
I have heard some stories about some of the other guys working with guys they couldn't get along with and were not happy.

At any rate, I thought I was done with the whole Volly-drama-rama.


Now it's my kid.
He doesn't have a wife or GF, so it's good ol' Mom that gets to hear the complaining.
And of course it pisses me off when my kid is upset, right.

But obviously he must enjoy the drama, or he'd go to a different station, like I tell him to do.
So I tell him, stop whining at me...if it's so bad, leave!

I understand, he likes everything about the dept. he's at, and the people there, all except for One Guy.

This One Guy is obviously Someone's relative.
R says he's the Chief's buddy, but from some other things he's said, it seems more like the Chief is afraid to or flat out can't do anything about the guy.

I won't list off everything The Guy has done (unless anyone is really interested), but anyway, while we were gone out of town on vacation, the whole thing blew apart.

Last weekend was the annual BBQ they have every year to raise funds. There was some minor bickering because it was hot, and not everyone pulled their weight, but apparently they worked it out.
R was there all day, and J went up that evening. After the event, they cleaned up and went back to the station to eat pizza (lol).
As far as R knew, everything was business as usual as we left town the next day.

A day or so later, R gets a call from one of the guys saying The Guy had *told on* the Assistant Chief for being drunk at the BBQ, and was wanting him kicked out of the Dept.
(Neither R or J saw the Assistant Chief drunk at the BBQ, and they were there the whole time.)

Then, sometime after that, R gets a call telling him the Chief had resigned, and the Assistant Chief had stepped in as Acting Chief.

Instead of grabbing the Chief's position and hanging onto it with both hands, his first order of business is to have the members Vote, not only for the Chief's position, but all the positions, because he knew there was resentment from most of the guys that the Ex-Chief had appointed positions, rather than letting them vote on them.

We returned from vacation and the next day R went up to the station to find printed notes on EVERY door of the Station informing them that "Effectively Immediately, NO Changes Were to be Made Without Approval of (the Police Chief) or (the Mayor)".

It's pretty apparent that The Guy went crying to them about it, mostly because he's always gone and cried to them when the others didn't do as he wanted (hence, why I believe he must be someone's relative). He pretty much knew he was going to lose his Captain's position if the Vote was allowed.

Now usually I'd be like, yeah, typical small-town ignorant political BS....get out or suffer, but leave me out of it.
But this is worse than the typical small-town ignorant BS...this level of sheer stupidity just kills me.
I don't know how, at my advanced age, the lows of idiocy that people can reach can still surprise me.
I guess it's because *these* people are supposed to have at least a little common sense. How can you be a Mayor of a City and be *that* stupid?

This City (that I don't, thank goodness, live in) actually has 2 fire departments, the stations within a mile of each other.  The one R is at is actually The City, the other is a County Volly station.
They are in some sort of competition - the departments themselves, of course, with the whole "ours is better than yours" thing - but for whatever reason, The City wants to have their own Fire Dept, and not use the Countys fire dept, even though they are right there and would save The City some money.
I wasn't around when all that went down, and don't know the why's and wherefore's, but end of story is, The City wants their own Fire Dept.

Some months back, a house burnt down during a weekday and there were no City volly ff's around to respond. (There were no County vollys to respond, either, but no one mentioned that little fact.) The paid dept from the next closest City was the first on the scene.
There was a holy big to-do about it, a local message board went crazy, the newspaper got involved. Basically it made The City's dept look like a bunch of losers.  The Mayor was embarrassed, and got after the Chief to *do something*.

At some point, I don't know if the Chief found him, or he appeared by coinkydink or what, but a guy joined up with them that is a State Certified Fire Instructor.
Now, this guy doesn't live in The City, or even the County, and doesn't even work in the City or County.
R says he never can figure out why the guy joined them, much less did what he did for them.
What he did was, spent the last few months of his time, almost every Saturday and Thursday, instructing the vollys to get their NPQ FF-1 certifications.  For free.  Didn't charge them or The City *one*red*cent*.

He did it right there at their station, when otherwise they would have had to send them to stay several weeks...I forget how long it is - 10 weeks? - at the State fire academy, and most of them couldn't go away for that amount of time, they have jobs and families. R has college. 

True, he probably won't be responding to 95% of the calls, but hello? - FREE training to guys that can/will respond to calls??

The newspaper came back and did a couple of articles about some of the changes they'd made, and the training they were doing. Made the dept look good, which in turn made the Mayor look good, like she *had handled* the issue.

But rather than doing whatever she can to keep the State Fire Instructor around to benefit her fire dept., she overrides his decisions and apparently puts the Police Chief in charge. Which, if I was the guy, the Acting Chief/Fire Instructor, I'd tell them to KMA, and I'd be outta there!

Bad thing, I'm not sure he is even being given the choice to leave, but is being made to leave because he doesn't live in The City.
Which would be pretty stupid because there is only one volunteer there that does live in the City - That Guy. The big, stupid, crybaby, Loser.

Not positive, but we're pretty sure you can't keep a Charter with only one person on the roster.
Not to mention, That Guy is an idiot.
He's a crybaby, a tattle-tale, a liar. He's a screw-up, but is the kind to blame his failings on others or even things, rather than taking any responsibility for his own actions EVER.
He failed both the State and NPQ certification tests!

I mean, WTH are these people thinking? Are they completely retarded?

Gah, it makes me so frustrated when people act so stupidly!

And I didn't volunteer for this BS.
I volunteered for the crap when I dated/married J, but I've always told R I didn't want him to get so involved in the fire service to start with. If he wanted to do it for fun, fine, but this ain't fun!

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Fire Trip Photos

On our Vacation, we visited the North Charleston & American LaFrance Fire Museum and Educational Center, the Charleston 9 Memorial, and Fire Truck Night at Chik-Fil-A.

I always take alot pictures of anything I'm taking pictures of to make sure I get at least one or two decent looking shots (a good fotografer, I'm not).  This day I managed to take 231 photos and 10 videos.
I uploaded them all at my Photobucket account (now that PB has UNlimited storage, YaY!).

I picked a few to use on my blog and for printing for keepers, but I figured I'd post the whole album here in case anyone is interested in seeing it, bad ones and all.

Click on the photo below to be taken to the Album page.


Saturday, July 02, 2011

I'm Hoooome

from Folly Beach and Charleston, SC.

Vacation is like giving birth...give me a little bit to forget about the pain, and then ask me how the trip went.

Even then I think this one will probably rate pretty dang low on the list of my favorite vacations.
I'm not entirely sure if it was the vacation itself that was so awful, or ME. 

Anyway, nothing really apparent happened the first couple of days. We made it to the hotel safely, didn't encounter anyone out of the ordinary (store clerks, hotel clerks, bellhop, other tourists). The next day we did the tourist thing as usual.
So, I still dunno what was so all-fired important for us to have to go to Folly Beach SC, and be there at whatever certain time.

If you're interested in (a glossed-over version of) the trip, you can visit my Family Travel Blog where I'll be working on posting about the trip today, and add more pictures.