A little Frustrated

When I bought the townhouse that I currently live in, it came with GE appliances. Most of these have functioned perfectly fine. The washer, the dryer, and the refrigerator have given me absolutely no problems. The oven… well, I hardly use it, but I haven’t had any problems with it either. I only wish I could say the same for the dishwasher and the microwave. I bought this place new. No one else has lived here except my cats and me. So, no one else has used these appliances either. I broke them in, and apparently I just plain broke them.

The microwave didn’t last long. It is one of the microwaves that hang from the cabinets, and even though it broke about 2 years ago (and I have only lived here about 5 years), I still have not pulled it down. It will not turn on. The clock doesn’t even flash 12:00. All of this means the microwave will not cook. I replaced it with a cheap microwave that sits on the counter for about $50 and this microwave seems to keep chugging along just fine. I know that I haven’t had it as long as the GE, but I expect it last longer than the GE.

The dishwasher (which is currently running) seems to just randomly not want to work. Yes, it is a little like me in that in that aspect, but I expect more from an appliance. An appliance should not have laziness issues. Both times, it stopped working mid run. I would try a couple of things, then finally give up and just do the dishes my self. After about a week I would let the dishwasher have one last try and both times it would start running again.

I will never recommend GE appliances. I am sure that the builders used the cheapest options that they could, but both of these breaking within five years it just a tad frustrating.

Being Thrown Off

I am a man of who does not like change. I like consistency. Well, a pair of ripped pants threw off my consistency. Usually, I run home, get changed, eat some dinner, and watch some TV.

Well, this morning while getting ready I noticed that my pants had a nice sized tear in them. So, I had to change again, and head off to work. That’s not he part that bothered me. No, I had to head out to the store after work. I wanted to replace the pants quickly. I ran out and got some shopping done.
Now, my night is all out of whack. Hell, even Loki’s schedule seems to be a bit thrown off.

I hate changes to routine.

Angel

On Saturday night (last night at the time of me writing this), my parents and sister had to make the difficult decision to put their cat Angel to sleep. This was the cat that was a houseguest here in Maryland for almost two full years. She was a skittish cat who would run away from her own shadow on most occasions. In fact, most of my friends actually though I only had two cats here because she hid from most of them. My parents adopted her in 2002, and excluding the two years with me, she lived happily with my family the entire time.

Angel

She did have her quirks, but she was a fun and pleasant guest. Well, she was excluding the fact that she did not get along with Loki, the true owner of this house. Angel would jump onto me whenever I would lie down to go to bed, but she would never let me (or anyone) pick her up. She would lie there, purring away, blocking my view of the TV.

She was also the talkative one of the group. In fact, I am not sure that some of her chattiness didn’t rub off on Loki because since she left this house, Loki has been much more talkative.

photo

Sadly, Angel was in pain. I’m sure if was a difficult decision for my family, but it was a decision that had to be made. I wouldn’t want her to suffer and this was probably the best option for her.

So, while this house is a lot calmer without Angel terrorizing Loki, I am going to miss her.

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She was a good cat.

Cage Diving Trip Summary

When I started my trip to Guadeloupe (seems like so long ago), I thought I would keep a record of the daily happenings. Well, that lasted all of the flight out to San Diego. Once in San Diego I was sort of distracted and I really didn’t keep up with it once on the boat. So, here I sit getting ready to write, and I have to go off of my memories, and as my friends know, I don’t have the greatest memory. And to make matters even worse, it took me a few weeks to actually write this blog.

First, I have to talk about the boat and the crew. The boat, the Islander, was about 90 feet long, She was nothing all that special, but she is a good little fishing vessel. The crew, however, they were special. From the Captain, to the cook, to the “tour guide.” Every member of the crew took the time to get to know each of the passengers. Their first priority was the safety of the passengers and their second was to make sure that the passengers had an amazing time. As much as I would like to fault them for putting my safety ahead of me having fun… I just can’t. After all, I was going to enter the water with Great White Sharks. What sane person does that? Even in a cage?

Poor Visibility

Since I am writing about the crew, I should write about the cook. I cannot say enough about the food that we were served. The cook consistently prepared amazing food for us. Even though I tried to throw her a curveball by being a vegetarian, she stepped up to the plate and repeatedly hit home runs. I don’t think I heard a single complaint, except by those who ate too much (like I did). We had a healthy variety food. Breakfasts, Lunches, Dinners, and snacks. They were all excellent. I hard a hard time adjusting to the garbage I cook for myself after I returned home.

Second, the sharks and the dives. While the weather caused some issues with the visibility during the morning dives, the sharks were there. My trip took place not long after a hurricane, so the soot was all turned up. The dives ran in two groups of eight people. When one group was in their cages, the other group was resting, eating, warming up, and preparing for their rotation into the cage. Each rotation would last about an hour. The cages were spacious, easily fitting four people each. There was not one moment when I felt unsafe in the cage. And when the water did clear up, we all got some amazing views.

PICT0035

On this trip, the submersible cage was not used. I would love to fault Jimi for this, but I truly feel he made the right call. On the first two days, we had pretty low visibility and the sharks seemed a little timid (surprising for Great Whites). So, while I missed out on doing the 30-foot dive, I would rather have skipped that than scare away the sharks we had. It was the right call. And by the time we had a shark that wasn’t timid at all (looking at your Dotty) we didn’t have enough time to actually do the deep dives. Again, Jimi made the right call.

Dotty 1

So, since we didn’t scare away the sharks, we did get the chance to see many of them. There is even the chance that we got to name one of them (Hasslehoff!) since everyone believe that it was a previously unidentified shark. All of the sharks that we saw were amazing creatures, but the 17-foot Dotty was special. I have been on this trip before and I have seen other large female sharks. And each one holds a special place in my heart. And Dotty was no different. You just knew that she was not afraid of the cage or the weird things that were inside of the cages. We were not even limited to just sharks. I got to see a sea lion, mackerel, and a lot of jellyfish. And while those were interesting, I would have preferred to see more sharks. But those sharks do not always follow the script.

Dotty Surface 2

I enjoyed this trip, and the crew so much that I will be taking it again. In fact, I plan to be on a two-year rotation. Every aspect about this trip was fun (except for the small fight with seasickness I got). Every aspect about this trip was worth the money it cost to go. Every time someone asks me about the trip, I recommend that they go. Even when people don’t ask me about the trip, I recommend that they go. Log onto the website and book a trip as soon as you can!

Preparation

Now that the trip is so close, it is time for me to prepare. One of the few things I learned from my ex-wife is to make a list. Currently on the list are the days of travel. That is it. Nothing else.

But what have I gotten done? Let’s see. I bought travel sized bathroom items, so those are off the list. I bought a new dress jacket. I looked for and found my passport, by goggles, and a shirt I use for diving. Finally, I am doing some laundry. It’s been a productive few days for me.

Now, none of this is actually packed. That is going to happen throughout the week. The cat sitter (my mom) will be here the day before I leave, so those little guys will be taken care of. I bought plenty of cat food, so that is not a concern.

Well, I guess it’s time to populate the list. Figure out exactly what I need to pack, what else needs to be washed, and if anything needs to be bought.

I guess it is safe to say that I am excited… time to go to see (and hopefully hug) some great white sharks.

I swear it’s safe!

Just Another Weekend

I actually had a pretty busy weekend. I accompanied some friends to the local renaissance fair where I had my first alcoholic beverage in almost 4 weeks. I was dragged to a wine and painting event where I painted a sunflower that looked a little bit like a great white shark, and I actually got some cleaning done that just isn’t enough. You know what all of this means? I didn’t actually play any warhammer this weekend and I feel a tad lost because of it.

sunflower

Also, there is something wrong with me. I haven’t enjoyed working on my warhammer models in a long time. I haven’t enjoyed any wine in even longer. Even yesterdays plastic cup of Riesling wasn’t enjoyable at all. That is not to say that it wasn’t good. Actually, it tasted fine. I just didn’t enjoy it. And today’s event where there was plenty of wine to drink, I didn’t have a single glass. I haven’t watched any Doctor Who either. My favorite television show, and I am at least three episodes behind.

At least there are some good things that happened. I didn’t kill the kids that were (and are) screaming outside my windows. I did get to enjoy some fresh air and sun, the first this summer season (great timing, right?). I also bought some pumpkin cream cheese, which looked and sounded much better than it tasted.

Well, it was a good weekend. Time to prepare for a long and hectic week with meetings that will actually prevent me from getting my job done and which will ultimately reduce my morale. At least I won’t be suffering alone.

Finally Happening

It’s finally happening. Plans are being made to send two of my three roommates back to New Jersey. The have been living here for about a year and a half, since the November after hurricane Sandy hit the area. My parents are still not going to have their own house yet, but they are moving into the property I own in Beachwood, and they decided to take these two cats with them.

I have mixed feelings about these felines going home. It will be nice to have slightly less cat hair in the house. The reduced cost of cat food, since I will only have to feed one, will also be nice. And I cannot understate the amount of joy I have towards having to deal with less hairballs and cat puke. Having said all of that, I have actually grown fond of these little furry females. Yes, Angel and Loki have fought a lot. I don’t think they have gone more than a couple of days without having a little brawl, but they are nice to have around.

Each of these cats has their own personalities. Angel is the skittish one. The one who is afraid of her own shadow. She runs from me all the time. I think in the year and a half I have only been able to pick her up half a dozen times. But she does have an affectionate and playful side. When I lay in bed, she immediately jumps up and lies on my chest. She also has the sharpest claws, and she has even ripped a shirt or two of mine.

Angel

Pips is the bitch. She has the worst mood swings I have ever seen. And of all the cats, she is the only one who has hissed. But she also has a playful side. And if I sit on the couch, she’ll jump up and sit next to me, and just purr away. In fact, I am pretty sure that she has claimed the couch for herself. I have seen her defend the couch from Loki. Hissing and clawing, preventing him from jumping up on the couch himself.

Pips

I admit it; I am going to miss these ladies. But the stress level should go down. And I know that when they finally leave, I am going to come home to find that Loki threw himself a party.

The End

And so another year comes to an end. I have to admit, it was a decent year. A lot of change and turmoil, but nothing I could not adapt to. Most of the family made it through the year as healthy and as sound as they were before the year started. Of course, calling my family sound is stretching it. A lot of the issues that the family had were caused by incidents the year prior. Fucking Hurricane Sandy.

We did suffer a loss. My Aunt Arleen passed away this summer. I remember staying at her place up in Maine, and I swear her house was haunted. I also have fond memories of visiting her in Arizona. She will be missed.

Speaking of Maine, I learned that I hate Maine. In fact, if Puerto Rico wants to become a state, I say we give Maine to Canada, and not change our flags.

The fighting among the cats seems to have picked up this year, but they are still alive and annoying. And they are still as fat as ever. They are on a “diet” that is a high protein diet. As the Vet called it, a Catkins diet. Hopefully, in the coming year, the two women of this house can go home. I may miss them, but Loki (the actual owner of the house) will be very happy to be the only cat here.

I didn’t SCUBA dive or go skiing at all this year. And my kayaking trips were down, I think I only went 3 times, and that makes me sad. Next year I must go more often. What’s the point of having all the equipment and the license if one never uses it.

I did make some great friendships down here in MD, and I hope that those friendships continue into the New Year. And of course, I still have great friends in NJ, who are all doing well.

I started seeing someone. She hates the MINI and likes Batman. So she obviously has good taste. What she sees in me is anyone’s guess.

And of course, much wine was consumed.

It was a pretty good year.

Right to Speak

Apparently, people are surprised that when you give a redneck a vehicle to express his views he is likely to say something stupid. That’s like being surprised when a Tea Party member opens his mouth and says something that anyone with a brain would never say. No one should be surprised, it should have been expected. Of course, I am talking about the star of “Duck Dynasty” comparing homosexuality to bestiality. I highly doubt that the people of A&E were dumb enough to not see this coming. The man is a very conservative redneck. How could they not see this coming? However, that being said, I cannot join the ranks and call for his head. The man expressed his views, and that is his constitutional right. Even though the man has views that I do not agree with, he has every right to express them. And I have every right to call him a jackass.

Now, having said that, I also agree with A&E’s right to fire the man. Yes, the man has the constitutional right to express his idea, but A&E has every right to fire someone for expressing views counter to his or her standards. Don’t get me wrong, I know A&E is doing this to save face, but since A&E is a business, they have every right to fire someone. Consider this, do I have the right to say you cannot swear in my house? Of course I do, and I would be setting one heck of a double standard as I swear here all the time. But, just like I don’t agree with what the star said, I also don’t agree with A&E’s firing of him, but it’s not my business to run.

If you really want to solve the issue, how about we attack the problem at the source? You want to solve the problem. How about we take away the man’s popularity? Stop watching the show. If no one watched the show, he wouldn’t have been asked to give the interview, and his statements wouldn’t have been so public.

After all, things I say don’t make CNN news.

And now for something completely the same

Jeffreytharp.com

Black Thursday

After listening to complaints for weeks about how K-Mart, Wal-Mart, and the like are starting their black Friday sales on Thursday night, I thought I would weigh in with my thoughts. Now, I do not plan on discussing if Wal-Mart underpays their employees, that is a different conversation entirely.

However, I cannot fault these stores or their decision makers about opening their stores on Thanksgiving. While I may not agree with their decision, it all comes down to economics and money, much like every decision in this country. Of course these stores are opening on Thursday to make money, they are a business after all. However, can we blame them when we are the ones who have created the demand for them to be open? We are such a sales orientated civilization that we cannot help ourselves when it comes to the sales on black Friday. So, maybe when you are complaining about stores opening on Thursday, and how these companies are requiring their employees to be at work, you should consider your neighbors, and possible yourselves, as the people who have created the demand. Now, you may say that the stores didn’t have to open that early, but if a demand is created, someone will step up to meet that demand.

My complaint over all of this is that stores are requiring people to work these hours and punishing those who won’t. I have to admit that I don’t have a solution, but I do have issues with this policy. The stores need people to man the store, but this is also supposed to be a time to spend with one’s family. Granted, it is not a religious holiday, and maybe that makes it less bad in the eyes of some, but historically, it is a major holiday in this country. Punishing people for wanting to be with their families may not be a policy I can support, but then again, this is a job that usually does not give days off. Look at gas stations, they are opened nearly 365 in most cases. And in the state of New Jersey, that means people have to be working on holidays. I don’t hear people stepping up for gas station attendants or people who work at Wawa. We seem only want to go after major corporations.

If you want to complain about these stores and their hours, how about we take a look at ourselves. Consider that we created the demand, and realize the actual problem.  Personally, my shopping can wait till Black Friday, or even later.

And now, something completely the same.

http://jeffreytharp.com/2013/11/06/misplaced-outrage/

Any plagiarism was completely unintentional. But the idea did originate from Jeffreytharp.com and I would like to thank him for a blog idea.