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Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Give Dave A Big Hand

While mowing the front pasture David said he thought he'd gotten into briars,but then he looked down and it turned out he'd gotten into a very large nest of yellow jackets. He got stung about 5 or 6 times but was very fortunate as the whole nest swarmed and he managed to get back to the house before they all got him. He had to leave the Gravely running for over two hours as he couldn't get near it. Needless to say he had a rather miserable night, he took benedryl but his hand poofed up anyhow and he just felt terrible - achy all over. He's better now and is busy exacting revenge on THEM, he's very peeved about the hand. One of my co-workers suggested pouring gas on them and lighting it, torching  tend to be WV's answer to most any problem you have, whether it be yellow jackets or the neighbors. The college students like to set thier sofas on fire after the big games, so maybe if we can lure the yellow jackets to a sofa the students can at least make themselves useful.  I've been doing quite a bit of traveling since I'm doing the Uniontown end, the 2nd picture of is one of the Greek Orthodox churches in a nice area. The 3rd is just the top of one in a not so nice area. I wanted to take a better picture but it was actually a fairly NOT nice place and there was some guy sort of following me so I opted to ix-nay into the apartment I was supposed to be in anyhow. Jackson is enjoying school and there's all sorts of Drama going on all the time so we get to hear about that. I'm off tomorrow but have to get my oil changed, a big boo for that. The weather has gotten rainy and humid, we're still running the AC to keep the house dry. But the sunsets are getting more spectacular as we head into fall and I'm already itching to get my winter clothes out. I'm so tired of this summer.


Monday, August 29, 2005

End Of Summer

No, I didn't take pictures of the BBQ because I got too busy. I started getting ready early in the day, I yelled down to David to see what he was doing in the pasture. He announced he was looking for the gas main, I told him that our guests would be more impressed with a warm pool than being able to view our gas line so he came back to the house to fire up the heater. While he was doing that Vincent snuck in (the cats are not allowed in the equipment room) and before he could grab him, Vincent got tangled up in a glue board(remember the mouse problem?). David said the cat flipped out, probably thinking he was being attacked by a cat eating sticky monster and bolted into the woods. By the time I got my shoes on Vincent was back and we peeled it off, but now he was all full of wet, drippy glue, his whole back leg. Jackson and I washed him the best we could but it will probably have to wear off. Other than that the party went well, we had pounds too much food and Jill brought more, the3 kids had a ball in the pool and Christy looks like she's ready for them to go back to school. She said they were supposed to start on Friday, but a water line broke so they closed the school. Apparently if it's not open today she's planning on going crazy. Jackson's girlfriend Becky came too and they liked the ka-bobs I made, apparently no one had ever had them before. I made some with chicken and some with tofu, when Christy went to take one I told her the ones on that plate were tofu  and her husband Michael yelled "OH MY GOD, WHAT DID I EAT?!!" and actually looked a little panicked, but I assured him I'd given him the chicken ones. They left a little early with the kids and Jill and Oscar stayed to talk, so we had a really nice time.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Happy Anniversary To The Cat

Today it's been exactly a year since Vincent appeared on our doorstep - I've been teasing Jackson that that's why we're having a BBQ today - I think I had him going for a minute too. So, I guess we're keeping the cat. Both he and Claw love going out now, David was afraid he'd run away but what would he be running away from?? He doesn't like the furniture? He'd prefer different Friskies? We were out to dinner the other night and Jackson said he wouldn't mind being the cat, but not the boy cat. I asked why and he said You Know What You Did To Him. I pointed out that since we did that he's been very happy to stay home with his mother but Jackson was not buying that he now has a happier life. I've got to get cleaning, I had everything perfectly planned out yesterday and as the way things usually run around here, everything was shot to hell by 9 am and we didn't get back to the house until late afternoon. David ended up running over to Fairmont to pick up some used fence he's going to put up on the reclaimed frontage. He's also playing around with selling off the two acres we're not using, we go back and forth about that. I know the neighbor who was mowing our yard would want it, but I don't think she'll want to pay for it - not to mention her grandchildren ALL have ATV's so I'd prefer we didn't sell to her. And the weather today? Foggy, rainy,etc. -  it's so damp in the house this morning we turned on the AC just to dry it out. Perfect.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Rain Rain Go Away

Let's see, I'm having 8 people over for a BBQ tomorrow and pool party. The weather forcast for this weekend: Rain. Scattered showers. Possible Thunderstorms. More Rain. I'm sure there will also be Periods Of Drizzle and Patches Of Fog. We have a breezeway that David can BBQ in and we can seat up to a dozen people in the dining room so it'll be ok. After this weekend, David and I have decided to shut the pool for the season, the leak's definately gotten worse in the past week and we're tired of adding water. Work has been interesting, I'm being loaned out to the Uniontown office so I've driving all over south-western PA - I didn't know I was going so I left my camera at home. It's amazing how many pictures you can see when you DON'T have your camera, but all of that will be there next week. Jackson had his first day of school Friday, he had less of a problem navagating than he thought he would. He ate lunch with an old friend from South Jr HS and will be sharing a locker with him. Apparently everyone has a "locker-buddy" and when Jackson moved they never gave this kid a different one, so Jackson is actually getting the locker he was supposed to - how strange is that? He's got one class with Becky, his German class and reports the teacher is from Germany. David is laying out the line for the new water main which he's putting in in the next couple of weeks so that should keep him busy for awhile. He's going to be spending the next two weeks or so finishing up around here. I heard from Adam, the leave in October is not looking so good, so he's thinking maybe in the spring.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

The School Boy

Yep, two more days and off he goes. I asked Becky what time school starts and she said 7:30am - that's earlier that I had thought. That means we'll have to be out of here by 7, yuck. I'm off today so we can get some last minute things I guess, there's not much to get so far. I have to get my car inspected also today, hopefully it'll go better than David's. He went at 10 am last week and didn't get home until 4pm. They scrape your sticker off when you get there (thereby effectively making you thier hostage) and he ended up needing brakes and new tires, so 500 dollars and six hours later he was released. The weather has cooled off alot this week, temps are in the 60's at night, but it's supposed to be in the 80's. I think we'll be winterizing the pool after this weekend, I know it's early but I'm just getting tired of filling it. And since we have to fill it more ,we end up using more chemicals because of the dilution. Gas prices suck, it's 2.59 in WV but if you're in PA (20 minutes away) it's 2.52 so I've been buying it there. Kim says it's 2.48 in Massachusetts in case anyone's in that area.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Look What I found!

I was dreaming last night that we had toads as big as dinner plates in the yard and I couldn't find my camera. Perhaps I should stop with the toads. We did church on Sunday, there's been a lot of discussion lately on growth - and donations, the congregation is growing but the church is not. David's going to give them an estimate on a small addition this week. We had our first dinner guests, everything went well and the cats stayed off the table for the most part. Mr. Lee did make several attempts and I got a scolding at the table from her. Next week we're having more guests - 8 of them! Oscar our former neighbor and his family will be joining us for supper and it will be a pool party since some of the guests are children. David and I are planning on closing the pool the first or second week of September due to the leak - we got a good run out of it considering what it looked like in the beginning of the season but I think the leak is starting to get worse and it's just not fixable. We just have to figure out how to winterize it and cover it, if it leaks down to the bottom I really don't care.We're going to open the hot tub after we close the pool which will be fun.David's almost done with the deck in Buchannon and is going to finish with the trash around here this week - yes, we're STILL pulling it out from every corner. Jackson starts in school on Friday, I know he's getting nervous. But we'll be driving him so that'll help - my job allows me to drop him off and if David starts his jobs early he can pick him up so it'll work out.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Please Don't Let It Go Over The Fence....

I took these 2 picutres in Masontown - it's thier HS football field.If enlarge them, you'll notice it's entirely surrounded by a graveyard with only about 6 feet between the goalpost and the first row of graves. I wonder if that intimidates the visiting team? 3rd picture isn't a mountain, it's all mined rock, not sure if it's coal or not. Yesterday Jackson had a good time at the fair with Becky's family, he said it was a food fair and  these days that's right up his alley. He'd apparently left his appitite in WV because since we've moved back he's been eating like a trooper and has gained a much needed 8 lbs. He now looks like a very healthy skeleton boy. They had Buffalo Wings and he took full advantage of that as did Becky. David and I ended up driving to Washington Pa - he wanted to go to Home Depot and pay off the furnace on the Pa house. When we had it installed we decided to make payments but if you didn't pay it off in a year they charge you interest - retroactively on the entire amount. The interest would've exceeeded the what we owed and I think David just wanted to go to Home Depot. While there I went to the mall (pictures 4 & 5) - it's the one that has all the shut down stores, I find it sad and sort of interesting. It's the oddest thing to be walking in a mall on a Saturday afternoon and you can hear your own footsteps. When David called to tell me he was done, I found myself speaking low  into the phone like I was in a library. They do have a Jo-Ann's there which is why I went in, but not much else. After we explored the area a bit more, had lunch at Crackerbarrel and there's also a Sam's Club so we did our foodshopping up there too. We had a big thunderstorm last night so Copper was my best friend - I wonder if he thinks I'll get hit by the lightening because I'm taller, sort of like his own personal lightening rod....

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Good Morning!

And so ends another week. Yesterday was a big surprise - the traffic was backed up all over the place, even down the back roads. I had forgotten that WVU opens it doors this week to over 30,000 students - most of whom are spending the week creating traffic jams. On LI the roads jam up all summer and you get relief in the fall. Here the summer is the break in the year and the fall is when the crowds appear. The next two weeks are the worst with families here settling thier kids and all the freshmen constantly lost, nothing moves. We ended up having pancakes for dinner last night since there was no way I was going to get near the grocery store. Jackson is going to the local fair today with Becky and her family and David and I are heading out to Sam's club. I can't imagine what that fair is going to look like with everyone back in town but if I was Jackson's age I would be loving it. David was clearing property last night and came across a slow moving 6 foot black snake. I asked him why he didn't pick it up and bring it in the house, we can always use another pet but he said NO WE DON'T. Stinker. At work I continue to slog through oodles of paperwork which I never get right. I hand it in and sit at the desk so I can fix it when it comes slinging back ten minutes later. I'm driving all over which is fun despite gas prices and I get to take plenty of pictures. I'm still pretty wary of the coal trucks, in this area they're all over and you have no idea how fast they come barrelling down the road. We're still fighting with Frontier, our phone has been full of static for 3 days, sometimes so bad you can't even use it. I called AGAIN yesterday and she found the work ticket from the last time they were here and read it over the phone before she thought about it I think. It said simply "unable to locate problem" - I told her just because you can't locate it, that doesn't mean you don't fix it! So as far as we know they're coming out today and will probably replace the line which is what they should've done a month ago. It seems to be ok today but with the slightest amount of dampness it becomes unusable.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

I Smell A Rat

But really, if you were here, you would actually smell a mouse. And Vincent is faking it because that's NOT  his - it was already dead in the bushes. I had to chase him to relieve him of his ill gotten gains since I wasn't sure how it had died (or WHEN  - eww). Isn't WV just so fun? The excitement never ends.   We're having our first dinner guests over on Sunday, a friend of David's and his girlfriend who is also a nurse are coming  for a BBQ and a swim in the pool We're currently trying to train the cats stay off the table so that Sunday will not find us wrestling the feline members between the potatosalad and wine. Good luck on that one! Kim's parents are planning on visiting in the fall too, they live about 80 miles from us so they might come for a weekend. I'm still knitting the Chevron sweater and having trouble with the sleeves - I had one part -way done and then had to frog the whole thing. Somewhere I screwed up and there was just no fixing it no matter how hard I tried. I've been busy at work, one thing about my job is you've GOT to love dogs because so many other  people do! But I do love them and people bring them out for me to see. Jackson is busy trying to finish enjoying the summer, but with the dreaded school looming overhead he's a bit hard pressed. He was moaning about all the things  he hadn't done - but I pointed out a week before is not the time to start.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Whoo Hoo! Bonus!

I might have to stop travelling to Clarksburg - I'm way too addicted to AC Moores.the one here sells "mill ends" yarn- I have no idea what that means other than 4 skeins for 5 dollars.They sell chenielle mill ends to boot - this stuff is about 5 bucks apiece in Michaels. BUT the problem is the sight of any new yarn coming into the house makes David hysterical and yell alot, etc. So when I came home yesteday I stuck it all under my work bags in the back seat of the car and when he went for pizza I quick ran it into the house. This led to the next problem which is the dresser I keep all the yarn in is overflowing so I had to hide it under the dresser in the back. I can't keep this up forever, he's fairly observant and forever on "yarn alert". I guess I'll just have to knit faster. In other news, Jackson is set for school. The guidance office doesn't come back to school until August so we've been in limbo for the summer. We got a call from the high school finally on Monday - just this cryptic "you need to call me immediately" and when we did, she wasn't there. Needless to say with all the stuff we've been dealing with the past two months that sent me right over the edge. David stayed home yesterday because of rain and it turned out she just wanted Jackson to come in to do his schedule - I was like why didn't she just say THAT instead of making it sound like there was some big problem. So David took him in and he has a schedule and the guidance counseler also took him on a tour of the school. He starts on the 26th which is wierd as that's a Friday. He bought a pair of pants from Hot Topic that's covered in straps and chains and grommets, David says he's going to get a hernia trudging around with all that but he doesn't seem to mind. And the Issue Of The Day is the phone again. The only company that serves this area is Frontier - if you have any choice don't use them. Our last phone bill was $170 - we had signed up for thier long distance plan (300 minutes for 14.95) but they were like, oh didn't we tell you it takes awhile to "kick in" (ie after you make all those phone calls). And that's when you can use the phone - we once again have static on the line despite the fact that they "fixed" it last week - I'm guessing they're using thier psyhic powers. Thier phone book only covers thier customers - and they aren't even in it! I've gotten a new appreciatiion for Verizon, let me tell you.

Monday, August 15, 2005

It's Not All About The Coal

We have lime mining too! I hate driving past it when it rains - the dust gets all mucky and all over everything. The lime mines are huge, I tried to take pictures to give an idea of the size but it's just impossible. I would have to stand in Ohio to get the whole shot. The machinery around here is very cool - it's so big it's staggering. I've been quite the traveller lately, both at work and at home. Sunday I did indeed take Jackson and Becky to the mall in Washington - both had a very good time of course and we ate at Garfields, home of the deep fried everything. Jackson had put off  asking her because he told me he wasn't sure if she wanted to go. Hmm. How many 15 yr old girls are there that DON'T want to go to the mall? I suppose all the dead ones. Maybe. Becky surprised us all by not only wanting to go, but being ready by 10:30am on a Sunday no less. I finally got my WV driver's license, I sort of look like a  "before" picture, but a fairly good one. I'm going to start working more in Pa, one of the nurses in the Uniontown office is cutting hours so my manager asked if I would do one day up there to help out. She must be getting to know me because before I could take a breath, she rattled off all the malls in that area. : ) And in other news, Charger bit ANOTHER toad - David said he was doing to rabid dog thing again. He said maybe my dog is  wierd and   likes the taste of toad pee. Who knows, maybe he can be on one of those "fear factor" shows that they eat african cave spiders and stuff - he already has the WV toad biting down to a science.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

The Trouble With Toads

Yesterday we started and ended our day with a toad. I took the dogs out early and when I came around the corner Charger was backing up shaking his head violently. There was an injured toad in the drive that I put in the bushes - Charger was gagging and foaming at the mouth to beat the band. There was so much it was pouring down his chest, so I dragged him to the hose and preceeded to irrigate his mouth which in case you're wondering, he did NOT like. So he was foaming and spewing and I was catching the worst of it, we were both a mess when I was done. I called Kim later and she said since if you pick up a toad it will pee, well, if you bite a toad it will pee in your mouth and that's the cause of the foaming. Needless to say, I won't be sinking MY teeth into any toads soon. David left Jackson home so we spent the day messing around, went to exit 7, swam in the pool - a nice day after such an awful week. The heat continues, the 2nd picture is of my lawn -  we have clay here instead of dirt so when  it gets very hot the ground actually cracks! David got home at 4pm, he said it was 95 in the shade, so he was glad he hadn't brought Jackson. The 3rd picture is of Charger - "stuck" behind the split rail fence, if you call him from the other side he can't figure out how to get around it.Sigh. We played in the woods for a bit and then after supper I found a big toad outside. So of course unable to resist it's toady charms I picked it up. You guessed it, all over my feet. Charger and I never learn.

Friday, August 12, 2005

A New Angle

West Virginia is not a flat place by any stretch of the imagination - the flatter the property the higher the price. But people build anywhere around here and some of the driveways are amazing. If you go to larger on this picture, not only does this drive go straight up but it's also tilted at almost a 30 degree angle - can you imagine using that in January?? I've been all over this week, from Carmicheals, Pa to  Clarksburg WV.The other nurse got married last week and is on her honeymoon, so her visits were divied up. The first 3 days of this week really sucked, NOTHING went right but yesterday went well and I enjoyed Clarksburg. The buildings there are very old and the details on them are beautiful - I  wish I'd had more time to take pictures. There's a few blocks of restored Victorians and 1800's houses. My favorite store is there too - AC Moores so I finished up my jobs a little early and zipped over there. I bought a nifty gadget I've been looking for - an I-Cord maker so I was playing with that and it works well. The weather has been terrible all week with the heat. It's hot all the time, even at night.. David and Jackson quit early yesterday, around here the heat is the worst around mid to late afternoon. David thinks he's going to leave Jackson home today and just work for  2/3 of the day by himself. I've got to call the school today too to make an appointment for him to make his schedule, school starts on the 26th. We've been letting the cats out in the morning, we still can't get Vincent to do his business outside. He actually comes IN, uses the sandbox and then goes back out again, thereby missing the entire point of being let out in the first place. I've thought about refusing to let him in until he goes, but I'm sure the little booger could hold out longer than I can.

Tuesday, August 9, 2005

Down The Garden Path

David has been a busy yard bee as of late - he bought an old Gravely walk behind mower which will mow down the thickest of growth. We own two acres or so of woods so what he's been doing is making a truck-width path that winds around inside so we can walk through it. We're leaving it wild, but David thought if he put some paths in it we could get some use out of it. The only thing I worry about is the local ATV riders will also get use out of it - more from an insurance point of view that a noise problem. Jackson was happily carving right alongside of David - he LOVES this sort of stuff since the woods around here are almost jungle-like. Picture #6 is the requisite pile of trash. David's been getting a bit out of control as far as the mowing is concerned, he's a little psychotic in my opinion. I told him to leave the pasture behind the barn alone since that's where all the bunnies live. We've been having rain off and on so he wasn't able to go to work yesterday so in between showers he went outside and destroyed nature a little at a time. My job is picking up, I've been going to more visits further and further apart. For some odd reason they seem to like to bunch EVERYONE on Monday which makes no sense because that makes one day impossible and two days a waste where I only have a couple of visits. I'm trying to space it out differently so I can actually do it. Jackson's fine, Becky went to band camp this week so that would make him Mr. Lonely. We're planning a trip to Washington Pa mall on Sunday so Becky can go too.

Sunday, August 7, 2005

There's Plenty Of Rest For The Wicked Around Here

Vincent is not behaving as usual. We've started letting him out more in the past week but he doesn't really come when he's called. He comes when he feels like it. Yesterday I  must've called him for 45 minutes while working in the yard, only to discover him sauntering along behind me to see what I was doing. I'm pretty sure he hides in the bushes since he knows when we're calling it's time to come in. I noticed when I called him later in the day around dinner time it only took 5 minutes for him to appear. The hot weather is finally breaking a bit, yesterday I think it was in the 80's which is very nice. We're currently starting to make tentative plans for the house in the winter, there are a couple of rooms under discussion as to what we're going to do with them. The hot tub room is one of them. David wants to take the old tub out and turn it into a den. I'd like to put the nicer hot tub in, put up bookshelves and a small woodstove and make it into a sunroom. And there's the issue of Jackson, Below The Ground Boy who is vehemently campaigning to stay there. Given the fact we  can't deal with the space we have now I doubt we'll be furnishing the familyroom he's occupying currently, but our main concerns are the heating issues. Right now he's got it made because his room stays cool whether the air is on or not, but I'm a bit worried when the snow flies if it's going to be warm enough.  The room we'd like him to have has a full bath, is on a different floor than the other bedrooms and a great view of the mountain range but he still insists he prefers his 70's throwback digs. The family room is painted that hidious avacado green with some dark wood trim and the pool table is a fake Mediterranean style if anyone remembers that. There's even some black velvet display with a ship printed on mirrors. Of course he loves that too, very classy you know!

Friday, August 5, 2005

The Third Dog

That's been Claw's nickname for most of her life. She's not the nicest cat in the house but once she gets outside, she's a whole new girl. She follows you like a dog  and meows constantly - when you stop she rubs against your legs and purrs. That's a picture of her trotting  along side of me as I'm walking the property. The 3rd picture is of the property that David reclaimed from the neighbor - that area between the tree and the unmown land is OURS, pretty big chunk, isn't it? And we're suspecting she also put her septic system in our yard too! It's not like her yard is that small, it's about an acre and a half, but I guess whatever you can get away with you do. I think she's interested in owning it, but not paying for it so David mows it once a week to keep her from doing it. The 6th picture is of the Washington Mall - we drove up to Washington,Pa on Wednesday to see what was what. David dropped us off at this mall and he went to Home Depot right next to it. David was surprised to find Jackson and I standing next to him 20 minutes later in the plumbing aisle. The mall was awful  to say the least - only 9 stores were open and Jackson  thought we were the only people under the age of 100 in the place.( The Scooter Store seemed to be thriving). Everyone was sort of huddled in the middle at the tables and it was so quiet you could hear the plastic pretzel rotating on the display. It was just sad, they'd even turned off all the fountains so they were full of dust and old pennies. After we left we tried the other mall about 5 miles down the road - THAT was where everyone was!(picture #7) There was a big Gander Mountain - David's favorite hangout and the usual mall stores. There was a Grateful Dead sort of store that Jackson fell in love with and I ended up spending $20 on a tiedye Tee that looked like the ones we used to make as kids and Jackson was eyeballing the giant batiks. We're planning on a return trip and might bring Becky.

Tuesday, August 2, 2005

If Trouble Comes In Threes....

.....I will be hiding in the bathroom for the rest of the week. First the water thing, then Harry the RE agent calls last night - the latest prospective buyers are not happy with the roof  report and want to re-negotiate. At this point I'm more than willing to bite the bullet, get the hell out of Dodge and sort the bodies later. We must be setting records for the amount of times a house can be sold. (I probably also just set the record for the amount of cliches used in one sentence...). So Harry is sending someone over to give an estimate on the roof and we'll work from there, I just want it to be over and done with. At least I have my little toad friend to comfort me.- he's sort of cute, isn't he? You can pick him up and he doesn't pee so that makes him a friend in my book. David did the DMV yesterday and then in a couple of weeks it's my turn. He said it wasn't that bad. We were a little afraid because we never turned in our old plates when we left here, but no one seems to have nocticed. In NY it's a big deal and they fine you daily.No one here seems to return them, even the people that moved - they left a set of plates here too, so we can change them all the time if we wants to. I suppose we could even put them on the dogs. David has been further investigating the water thing, he might just put a new water line in that runs parallel to the driveway instead of under it. It seems to be almost an overflow effect, the water only pools there at night when we aren't running anything, in the daytime it dries up and it's not near the house so we have some time to decide how to deal with it.

Monday, August 1, 2005

Here We Go Again.

SO. David fixed the leak down in the pasture yesterday and we checked to see if the meter had stopped to make sure. We thought it was fixed but this morning we get up to a puddle in the driveway - hmmm. Coincidence?, I think not. David thinks because he fixed the leak down there it's made a lot of pressure on some small leak up here. No, we cannot go after the former homeowners before anyone asks - we would have to not only sue across state lines, but also prove without a doubt that the former homeowners were aware of this problem before they sold the house. It's not really that big of a problem nor does it need to be addressed right this moment and David can do most of the work himself  when he gets to it. Today he has to take off to tangle with the DMV and that'll be most of the day at any rate. Jackson goes to orientation on Wednesday, it's actually for freshman but they said he was allowed to go because this would be his first year. He was a bit worried about how it would look but I pointed out I seriously doubted his attending freshman orientation would be a big topic the first day of school so he'll most likely go.