Archive for July, 2010

So, We Took the Grandsons to Red Lobster

SwampMan decided, since he was going into surgery Monday and would not be visiting restaurants for awhile, that he wanted to go to Red Lobster. Besides, he had been laboring mightily over my van (still not in actual operating condition) in 102-degree record heat, and he needed a reward. It was 3:00. We absolutely positively had to get the kids no later than 5:00 so Daddy could meet his unit to go off for two weeks with the National Guard. Mommy was at work on the other side of town, so Daddy absolutely relied on us. We were on the road, but still were 30 minutes away from Red Lobster. We were 45 minutes away from grandchildren.

SwampMan had asked me, before we left, where I wanted to eat. “Anywhere you want!” Okay, so I figured somewhere quick where we could drive through and get our food (grin) on the way to get the kids. “NO! I want to eat somewhere YOU want where we actually get to SIT DOWN and have people wait on us!”

“Okay, fine. How about Sonny’s BBQ?” They’re fast, good, and relatively inexpensive.

“I thought you liked Longhorn. You wanna go to Longhorn Steakhouse?”

“Uh, sure. I’ll go, if you think we have time.”

“Well, I don’t want to go there. I want the garlic crab and shrimp pasta at Red Lobster.”

It is a good thing that mentally banging a head on the wall doesn’t leave marks!

I pointed out to SwampMan that unless we could get in, order, eat our food, and get out of Red Lobster in 30 minutes (HA!), we were going to be really pushing the time on picking up the grandkids. “But I WANT Red Lobster!” “Well, we’ll just take the kids with us!” says I, ever the optimist. SwampMan was somewhat more sceptical but his Red Lobster craving was not to be denied. He agreed, reluctantly, to pick up the kids first, expressing his hope out loud to God that he wasn’t screwing up.

MeeMaw told the grandkids that we were going to go to a restaurant where they got to go inside and sit down and people ask them what they want to eat. Papa asked them if they remembered going to a restaurant where somebody asked them what they want. “SURE!” said Jacob. “McDonald’s!” Heh. Papa explained that this was a seafood restaurant. “Do you know what that is?” “Do they have shrimp?” asked Jacob. “YES!” “Good, cuz I looooove shrimp!” Dylan said that he did not like shrimp. Papa said that they also have fish. Dylan said that he didn’t like fish, either, with a challenging stare at Papa which, since Papa was driving, he fortunately did not see. Dylan had not had his nap so he was a leeeetle bit grumpy. He soon fell asleep.

When we arrived, I woke him and gave him an abbreviated set of MeeMaw’s Rules, which consisted of sitting quietly with feet under table, bottom in chair, and no loud talking.

When we got inside and were looking over the menu, I found that I had left a few things off of MeeMaw’s Rules. Things like no enumerating every place where he had ever pooped in the potty at in his loud, carrying voice. Things like no burping loudly at the table. The Rules were quickly amended on the spot. “I have to PEEPEE in the potty!”

The very nice and pretty young lady that waited our table brought crayons. Dylan decided to draw poop since MeeMaw wouldn’t let him discuss it. I made Jacob’s shrimp order (with fries!) for him. He asked if he could have chocolate milk. The young lady assured him she would mix some up personally for him. Dylan said he wanted chocolate milk, too, and wice. “Do you want chicken with your rice?” I asked. “No. Just wice.” “How about fish?” “NO! Just wice!” The sweet and pretty waitress asked him if he wanted macaroni with his rice. “Yes! And I HAVE TO POOPOO IN THE POTTY!” Jacob accompanied us. SwampMan and I got our salads. I ate a few bites of salad. Jacob colored quietly. Dylan announced “I don’t wike sawad!” Our appetizer came. Jacob colored quietly. Dylan smelled it. “I don’t wike it! Where’s my wice?” “They’re cooking your wi–uh, rice.” “It takes a long time to cook wice?” “Yes, yes it does.” Dylan told me that he liked wice. And noodles. And cheeseburgers. And boogers. Another rule: No eating boogers. I hurriedly snarfed down a couple pieces of my appetizer. “I have to PEEPEE IN THE POTTY!” We went potty again. When we came back, SwampMan had eaten my appetizer. I told him next time, he goes on the potty run. He declined. He said if I had wanted my appetizer, I should have put it all on my plate. I pointed out that I didn’t have a chance! He said that was no excuse. The cheese biscuits were delivered. Jacob didn’t want one. I gave one to Dylan. He smelled it. He licked it. I firmly told him we do not lick biscuits, we eat them, and tore off a piece. He liked it! He then told me he needed a knife to cut it. I told him there was no way that MeeMaw was going to allow him to have a knife. Ever. “I can cut it with my hands?” “Yes!” “Okay.”

Our food came. Jacob pronounced his fries and popcorn delicious. Dylan looked at his food. “I don’t wike macawoni!” he declared. What a surprise! He looked suspiciously at his wild rice pilaf. “Somebody put SAWAD in my WICE!” There were teensy chopped carrot pieces in there. And a little greenery sprinkled over the top. *sigh* “Just pick out the salad and eat your rice!” He did. He ate half the rice and half a cheese biscuit. “Meemaw, I finished!” Meemaw was shoveling in food at a frantic pace while Papa had a leisurely lunch/dinner. “Well, you will need to sit quietly while Meemaw finishes!” I have to PEEPEE IN THE POTTY, MEEMAW! “We will go peepee when Meemaw eats her food.” Papa was over on the other side of the table murmuring “never again!” to himself. I told the boys how well behaved they were and how proud I was of them. THEY didn’t eat my appetizer while I was taking the boys to the bathroom. The very nice lady bagged up our leftovers while I was escorting boys to the bathroom again.

It only took us an hour and a half in Red Lobster. It just felt like an eternity!

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The 2009 Economic Data From Government Was a Lie

I heard the business news program this morning saying that the economic data had been revised downward sharply for 2009. Really! It was revised downward sharply and the recession was “deeper” than they thought. What the hell does that mean? Well, one thing it means is that the government was lying to us in 2009, but we’re supposed to believe them in 2010? Riiiight.

The Market Ticker has a great article entitled “Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire!” I’ll post more as the day goes on, but I need to go outside and help work on my vehicle! That would be the vehicle that I would have replaced if I agreed that the economy was, indeed, recovering and that I could PAY for a new one, which I don’t.

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Still Think Your Facebook Info is Private? SUCKER!

Read Details of 100 Million Facebook Users Posted Online. Guess your account really isn’t private and never will be private now! After all, you were only as secure as your dumbest friend or relative!

To recap: Never write anything damaging about work. Never write anything damaging about your coworkers. NEVER, NEVER, NEVER write anything damaging about your company or your supervisors. NEVER write anything that can be misconstrued by your spouse. Don’t write anything you wouldn’t want your pastor or mom to read. Act like your account is public, because it is.

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Infant Dies From Eastern Equine Encephalitis; Beware Mosquitos!

Apparently two people have died from EEE in the Tampa area and one in north Florida. Just be aware that it is back and take appropriate precautions if you wish. SwampMan and I have both had severe headaches that we woke with a couple of days apart with a feeling of nausea; however, we figure that it was probably because we’d spent too much time outside in the heat.

SwampMan and I were driving around the westside today in working class neighborhoods. There were a surprising number of people sitting outside in the shade, men with shirts off, sweat pouring down their bodies. They looked to be in their 40s and 50s (our ages). We figure that they’re part of the ongoing economic collapse and can’t afford the bill for the AC. Outside is cooler.

Unfortunately, the economic conditions that cause the men to be sitting outside shirtless also means communities are cutting back on spraying for mosquitos. We live outside any city limits, so we never have our mosquito problem sprayed. The neighbors may not appreciate my Muscovy ducks, but they do keep the skeeters down! Of course, the neighbors don’t know that since they’ve never lived here without patrolling Muscovy protection!

So, here we are. The tropics are starting to get more active. There are a lot of unemployed/underemployed people that can’t afford to run the A/C during a particularly warm summer. There are nasty, mosquito-borne viruses circulating. And there are communities that can’t afford to spray for mosquitoes. Sounds like it will be another exciting year for the public health people!

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Heat Index 110 to 112 Degrees Today, Be Careful!

A heat record that was set in the 1800s may go down today (of course, population, concrete, and asphalt was a lot lower then). Regardless, it’s gonna be damn hot today and people that work outside (like people that have to put fences up!) need to be careful, stay hydrated, and take frequent shade breaks.

This week is not a good week to be in the roofing business.

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End of Summer Blues

Summer “vacation” is coming to an end quickly. We’ve been so busy with SwampMan’s arm surgery that kept his right hand out of service for @ 3 months, trying to get my nonoperational nearly 20-year-old vehicle running again once his arm was working, grandchildren, livestock, and preparing for SwampMan’s surgery next week on his OTHER arm that will keep his left hand out of service for @ 3 months that we just haven’t had or taken the time to do the things that also really need to be done. The house needs painting. It’s been so damn hot that we haven’t gotten the fences replaced that desperately need it. Chicken pens need rebuilding. Sheep need hauling off to market. Both of us just move sooooo slowly outside while dripping sweat that it takes forever to just do the things that have to be done daily and weekly with nothing left over for things that need to be done.

*Sigh* One of the things that I did NOT accomplish that I swore I would this summer was losing 30 pounds! I’ve instead gained three. I got my hair cut today because it was so hot on my neck. The short(er) hair does NOT make me look thinner. Yikes. I wanted to buy a Weider Total Bodyworks 5000 but we’ve been sooooo broke (parts are expensive and my paycheck is sooooo tiny!) that I just never ordered it. I *think* that a one piece exercise thing that I don’t have to put down and change out every time I need to do another exercise (like the free weights) might keep me exercising instead of wandering off to dabble at one of the hundreds of things that need doing. Maybe. Have you or anybody that you know used one of these successfully to get in a shape besides round?

Walking or jogging 6 miles daily used to be my exercise of choice (worked well, too!) to keep me thin until my heel spurs and plantar fasciitis happened, probably from the walking/jogging! My pain is minimal unless I try to walk too far or pedal a bicycle. Just can’t do enough to help me with that weight loss. That’s why I’m looking for something else/another way to exercise.

Another thing that I did NOT do and need to do VERY badly is come up with another source of income OTHER than my school salary. I need a backup plan! My one-year contract was renewed for another year at this school, but won’t be again. I was offered an accounting job but didn’t take it because of keeping the grandkids this summer and SwampMan’s surgery. Unfortunately, I probably won’t get another offer for a job with an actual salary that we can live on. Damnit. Maybe we can get another business started when SwampMan heals. It is very worrying to me because if anything happens to SwampMan, I would be hard pressed to keep the electricity on.

Maybe I’m just kinda blue because I go back to being bitten for a living again in a couple weeks. My bite marks have scarred up nicely over the summer, and I’m not looking forward to acquiring new ones.

Update: Aaargh! It will cost $250 for parts for my A/C if I want to actually drive to work without arriving in a pool of sweat. Since I don’t actually HAVE $250 for parts, I suppose I’ll arrive at work soaking. Did I mention that it is supposed to be @ 100 degrees for the next five days? Hmmmmm. If I sweat enough on the way to work, will I look slimmer? I have training in downtown Jax during that period. Something to look forward to!

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New Home Sales GREAT in June? Oh, Please…

I was casually listening to a business channel on television while I peeled peaches for the freezer this morning, and breaking news was read that “Housing sales for June skyrocketed 24%! Great housing news! The stock market is positively reacting to this (and other) great news!” and lots of other “yay, ECONOMY” stuff. Now I know where cheerleaders go after college.

It didn’t sound quite right to me. It wouldn’t be surprising that June sales would be up; they should be! After all, you don’t want to disrupt your kids’ school schedule by changing to a new school during the school year. These people were reacting like a Walmart shopper (like me!) with a winning lottery ticket, however. I thought that perhaps I detected the faint odor of a deceased rodent. They were just too excited.

After washing off the peach juice, I conducted a (very) cursory examination and came across this at Calculated Risk:

The 330 thousand in June is the worst June on record. With all the gyrations, it is difficult to see what is happening month to month, but overall this was a very weak report.

If you like pretty graphs that show you a nice picture over time, here’s one from Market Ticker Forum.

This is a really ugly housing sales picture, folks, even though media economy cheerleaders would have you believe otherwise. Those “sales” are not all actual sales, either. I’ve put in offers and had them turned down, and I’ve done contracts and then the financing fell through, although I hate to think that the figures could possibly get worse.

Heh. I just checked the Market Ticker (front page) and Denninger has a post about it!

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Microlenders in Miami

The Miami Herald has a story about microlenders operating in Miami that are extending small loans to small-time entrepreneurs that otherwise would not have the money needed to start or improve their businesses. These small businesses are (very) small restaurants, hot dog carts, truck drivers, small grocerias, etc., often female owned. They are low income and have no credit.

I’ve read about these microlenders in the past and have been impressed about how a tiny loan such as that needed for a sewing machine can move a family out of grinding poverty.

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Back Up Plans In Case Your Blog Is Suddenly Taken Down By Government Action

I’ve been thinking about the WordPress blogs (73,000) that were suddenly taken down by the government with no comment last week, and I believe that every blogger had better have a backup site/blog ready to go just in case.


This is alarming. Torrent news site TorrentFreak is now reporting that WordPress host Blogetery has been shut down by United States authorities… along with all 73,000 Blogetery-hosted blogs.

Although details are still very tentative, here’s what we know: Blogetery’s entire site has been taken down, and the company’s ISP is claiming that they had to terminate Blogetery’s account immediately after being ordered to do so by law enforcement officials, “due to material hosted on the server.”

“This was not a typical case, in which suspension and notification would be the norm,” Blogetery’s ISP said. “This was a critical matter brought to our attention by law enforcement officials. We had to immediately remove the server.”

Although TorrentFreak speculates that this is part of a recent Homeland Security effort to take down file sharing sites, that doesn’t quite make sense: surely in that case Blogetery would have been asked to pull specific infringing blogs, not have the rug yanked out from under them.

No, the extreme response taken here by U.S. Authorities implies some sort of believed terrorist connection or child pornography ring, not just a handful of warez and MP3 blogs. Even so, though, unless Blogetery itself is suspect of harboring terrorists or child pornographers, it’s hard to condone this sort of extreme action that has instantly silenced over 73,000 users, the majority of whom are doubtlessly innocent of any wrong-doing.

I haven’t commented about it before because we haven’t had any information as to why all 73,000 were shut down. We still don’t.

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Symptoms of Dengue Fever

Dengue (pronounced dengee or dengy) Fever has been diagnosed in three people in central Florida. While they picked it up elsewhere, it can start spreading in the community if a mosquito has happened to dine on them while they had the virus. I looked up the symptoms of Dengue fever at because I think that it will eventually spread throughout Florida. I don’t know about your community, but mine doesn’t spray for mosquitos! Here are the symptoms of Dengue fever:

What are dengue fever symptoms and signs?

After being bitten by a mosquito carrying the virus, the incubation period ranges from three to 15 (usually five to eight) days before the signs and symptoms of dengue appear. Dengue starts with chills, headache, pain upon moving the eyes, and low backache. Painful aching in the legs and joints occurs during the first hours of illness. The temperature rises quickly as high as 104 F (40 C), with relative low heart rate (bradycardia) and low blood pressure (hypotension). The eyes become reddened. A flushing or pale pink rash comes over the face and then disappears. The glands (lymph nodes) in the neck and groin are often swollen.

Fever and other signs of dengue last for two to four days, followed by a rapid drop in body temperature (defervescence) with profuse sweating. This precedes a period with normal temperature and a sense of well-being that lasts about a day. A second rapid rise in temperature follows. A characteristic rash appears along with the fever and spreads from the extremities to cover the entire body except the face. The palms and soles may be bright red and swollen.

What is the treatment for dengue fever?

Because dengue fever is caused by a virus, there is no specific medicine or antibiotic to treat it. For typical dengue, the treatment is purely concerned with relief of the symptoms (symptomatic). Rest and fluid intake for adequate hydration is important. Aspirin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs should only be taken under a doctor’s supervision because of the possibility of worsening hemorrhagic complications. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) and codeine may be given for severe headache and for the joint and muscle pain (myalgia).

Sounds lovely, doesn’t it? Can you imagine several members of the same family being bitten and infected? A sole proprietor of a small business? A widowed or divorced retiree whose family and friends are up north? A single parent with young children? .

I’m not saying to go into a full panic mode over a few people coming down with a disease carried by mosquitos, but if you’re socially isolated, you might want to join a community service organization or a church and make some friends. If you’re a sole proprietor and haven’t made any sort of provisions for your business if you are incapacitated because you’re young, healthy, and immortal, consider what would happen if you’re suddenly out of commission for a couple weeks and plan accordingly. Luckily, we only have a few isolated cases now and it may not progress further.

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