Change of the Guard

It was time.  Say adios to Odin & Loki and say hello to Calvin & Hobbes.

Ok, I realize that doesn’t make much sense when put like that, but here’s what it means.

Typically (almost) every year I change the passwords and SSIDs to my wireless router access.  On the current router there are two options; 2.4 GHz and 5.0 GHz.  For the past two years, we’ve had Odin & Loki.  (I was going through my Marvel phase).  Before that was Amadeus & Poughkeepsie [2018], then Hephaestus & Ares [2015], and finally my Harry Potter phase of Dumbledore & Severus_Snape [2013].  Prior to that I had a different router, and I don’t remember what the SSIDs were.  This year I was looking for a duo that was whimsical, and I didn’t want to get bogged down in minutae so I went with the venerable Calvin & Hobbes. [I could have gone with Opus & Binkley, but Wattersons’s duo came to mind first.  Maybe in 2021.]

Of course, when I change the SSIDs, since so many of the tech we have are dependent on the info being correct, I had to go through the house and change everything that connected to the router manually in order for it all to continue to work as it should.  For example; as soon as I changed things, the cameras on the outside of the house went offline, the lamp upstairs as well as the lights in the living and dining room stayed on, and didn’t turn off when they were programmed to.  Tablets, phones, my tv in the den and both Roku boxes went offline and needed to be updated to the new SSIDs.

When updating things of this nature, I tend to ‘beef up’ the security on them as well.  When I first started password protecting myself online, passwords were pretty simple.  Nowadays one has to be aware of dictionary based attacks, and keeping track of 500+ passwords is impossible.  Especially when you have to try to remember nonsensical strings of letters, numbers and special characters.  tabby#0645 is a lot easier to remember than something like JsWnY=4m&hz}Lv}.  Sure the second one is way more secure, but there’s nothing to link it to in your brain to remember what the heck it is.  Consequently, for the last 12 years, I’ve been using Password Depot, it has saved my bacon more than a few times, and now it’s available as an app for my phone, which allows me to access my passwords wherever I am.  Truly a game changer.

So, Calvin and Hobbes are residing in the house for the next year.  Things are locked down (in more ways than one) and we’re secure for whatever comes in the months ahead.

Oops, almost forgot.  The guest SSIDs are ‘GuestOfUs’ and ‘StrangeWomenLyingInPonds’.  If you happen to visit, ask for the passwords.

Grass clippings

Voila!  It’s done!  The first mowing of the season is in the bag.  So to speak.  I left the grass clippings on the lawn for the first mow, so they will break down and reintegrate into the soil (hopefully) and make a stronger lawn in the process.  Bagging clippings makes a lawn look nice in the short term, but my parents never bagged theirs (probably because their lawns encompassed about an acre) so for the most part I don’t bag mine.  Of course my lawn is a mere fraction of the size, but then again I don’t have a place to put the bagged clippings, except for a small brush pile behind the garage.  And at the end of the season I have to find someone to haul it all away.  Which costs money.  Consequently, most of the clippings stay where they fall.  UNLESS it’s been many weeks and the accumulated debris would end up killing said lawn.  So there’s many factors to consider.

Having the day off and getting the lawn mowed early also gave me time to think about what to do with the garage this year.  Most years I get out the mower and the rototiller, use the latter once or twice and the mower every week or twice a week (depending on the weather) and then in the fall have to figure out a way for everything to fit in the garage again so the car can reside as well over the winter.  It ends up being a major chore, simply because it’s a one-car garage and there’s so many other things that need to fit in there as well.  Having a garden shed would come in handy, but although I’ve suggested it many times, it’s never seemed to garnered much enthusiasm from the opposite end of the marriage.

Needless to say, cleaning out the garage and getting rid of all the stuff that has been accumulating over the past twenty years is a goal for this year.  Just have to do it on a day when it’s not quite so hot.  Heat tends to suck at my ability to get things accomplished.  But then again, days when it’s below freezing does that too.  So it’s a matter of scheduling.

Finally, there’s still planting to do.  Memorial Day is coming up, and like most years, I get the holiday off.  So there will be time for that.

Stay the eff home, please?

By now, unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re aware of the COVID-19/Coronavirus pandemic that’s got the planet in a tizzy.  And when I say tizzy, I mean full-blown panic.  Even while all of this is going on, my job is considered to be ‘essential’ so I’m still going to work every day.  Though, while I’m doing my part to keep the wheels turning and people fed, I still see things that bother me, and many of my co-workers as well.

In retail, one sees many of the same people day in and day out.  Regulars, are what we call them.  You can almost set your clock by the time they arrive, what days and so on.  Some show up every single day, stay for almost the same amount of time, and then you see them the following day.  It seems like nothing is ever going to change their routine.  And in this time of uncertainty, when people are being warned to ‘stay home’, that hasn’t changed their routine one iota.

Every morning, ‘Acadia Lady‘ comes in right around the time I’m starting my shift.  Sometimes I see her in the parking lot on her way out of the store as I’m walking in, but rest assured, within about one to two hours, she’s back in the store, hunched over her cart and tooling around, picking up a few odds and ends that she missed the first time around.

Around about the same time, I see ‘The Shuffler’.  A gentleman of about sixty or so (might be less, a little difficult to tell) who shuffles his right foot as he walks, and goes through the store looking for bargains.  He generally comes in around 8 am, and then in the afternoon he’s back, again seeking out any bargains or reduced merchandise.  I understand money is tight, and a lot of people shop primarily the reduced merchandise in the store.  I don’t have any problem with that (unless they bring me items expecting me to further reduce them, that annoys me to no end) but when I’m required to be in the store, they don’t have to be coming in so often.  There’s a health emergency on.  The governor of the state has instituted a stay at home order.  Is there any logical reason why it’s completely necessary to ignore it?

We’ve already gotten two separate reports in recent weeks that people have come into the store while having symptoms of the virus.  As a matter of fact, on 3/26 one of them went to their doctor, got the test, was determined to be positive and ignoring the directive to ‘go directly home‘ instead on the way home stopped at my store and did some shopping, because they determined they didn’t have enough food and supplies for a two-week stay.  In their mind, apparently it was better to possibly infect anyone they met, just to satisfy their need for snack foods and toilet paper.  Nice move.

And of course there’s more.  The families that come in and shop all clumped together.  Mom, Dad, and the kids.  The directive from the governor says that only ONE person from each family is supposed to be in the store, as little as possible.  Preferably doing the shopping for the week, not every day, or every other day.  Or the elderly husband and wife that have to come in, both of them take a motorized handicap cart, and motor around the store for an hour or more, denying their neighbors use of one, while they get maybe five items between them.  Unreal.  It’s little wonder we get so many complaints that we don’t have enough of them.  Certainly my store has four, which is two more than any of the other stores around us have.

Bottom line, for my sake, for my co-workers’ sake, since you don’t have to be at my store every effing day.  Stay home!

End of rant.