Coming full circle

It’s early Saturday morning, which means my vacation is rapidly coming to a close.  By this time tomorrow I will be tucked into my bed, snuggled under the covers and anticipating (or dreading) going back to work.  I’ve purposefully stayed away from my place of employment so as not to interrupt the flow of work (hopefully) happening in my absence.  I expect things haven’t been going completely hunky-dory.  Certainly they didn’t the last time I went on vacation, and despite my best efforts to be sure my relief had all the tools he needed to get the work done, I expect it’s going to be a wreck when I go back on Sunday.

Needless to say, I haven’t missed being at work all that much.  I do get four weeks of vacation per year and as I’ve said many (many!) times, I’d be content taking two weeks of vacation and just getting paid for the other two weeks.  But my employer prefers that their employees take all of their alloted vacation.  Basically ‘Use it or lose it‘.  So I use it.

This week has not been so much sitting on my ponderous butt, watching TV.  It just so happened that my wife and I had scheduled four medical appointments, and we were on the go for most of the days that I was off.  Monday and Wednesday were the only exceptions, but Wednesday was gobbled up by an emergency dental appointment due to the fact that my wife slightly broke one of her teeth.  So that needed to be attended to.  And was.

Even though I spent some time helping a friend furnish her new apartment, I didn’t necessarily neglect my own domicile.  I ordered 4 large plastic storage boxes from Amazon (actually probably larger than I needed) and have been sorting through some things that I haven’t had use of in several years, that need to be secreted away before something nefarious happens to them.  I have to say I’d be pretty devastated if something did happen to them, and certainly I wouldn’t forgive myself easily.  If at all.  Once I have that attended to, I think I’ll breathe a sigh of relief.  That’s been a long time in coming to get accomplished.  At least when I have need of them again, I’ll know where they are.  I hope.

Anyway, it’s back to work tomorrow.  Only one more week of vacation to take for this fiscal year, then I’ll get another four weeks to agonize over on April 11.  Never ends, does it?

Warming trend

hot-coldThe temperature peaked at 60° yesterday.  Sixty!  Holy crap.  It had been snowing for the previous 3-4 days.  We were up to about 10 inches of snow by Tuesday afternoon.  And now we’re in an unseasonable warming reversal.  And from what I’m seeing through Weather Underground, we’re not supposed to see a high below the freezing point anytime in the next ten days.  Although to be accurate, there are going to be several days in that time period when the daily lows will be in the teens and twenties, so we’re definitely not due for t-shirts and shorts quite yet.  This isn’t Texas after all.

Even so, I would definitely say it’s been a snowy winter.  Most years I only drag out the snowblower a couple of times, but this year I think I had it out almost six times since November.  Certainly to the point where I actually had to refill my gas cans so I could keep it running.  It worked like a champ as well, thirty-one years after buying the old girl from the Red Hook Agway.  I still remember when I got it, just before a big storm at my parent’s house.  I didn’t feel comfortable trying to drag out Dad’s Gravely, so I went to the Agway and bought the floor model.  They managed to deliver it that evening and the following morning there was 15 inches of snow to remove.  Cranked it right up and it’s been working every since.

Having witnessed what Texans have been enduring with their utility bills, I’m grateful I live where I am, even thought the taxes can be somewhat high at times.  Where I live we have a local electrical co-op, so it keeps the utility bills reasonable.  When my wife and I lived on Keuka Lake in the 1990s, towards the end of our stay New York State deregulated the electrical business, and in the beginning we got double shafted (or so it seemed) because NYSEG (New York Electric & Gas) didn’t have any competition yet, so they had the lion’s share of customers.  Where before 1998 you received one bill for generation and delivery of your electricity, after deregulation you received two.  And the new bills added up to way more than the old ones.  For the simple reason that when you’re generating a new bill, there are extra taxes added on, so you end up paying for many of the costs twice.  Which was really, really unfair.  But since deregulation was new, and no other companies were in your area, you were stuck.

I think in the end, just before we moved at times we were paying almost $700-800 in electric bills.  And since we heated our rented house with fuel oil, there was a further $250-300 for filling that tank every 45 days or so.  Even though it sucked moving from there, where we’re living now isn’t breaking our back with utility costs.

Spring is on the way.  But perhaps Winter isn’t quite done with us yet.  We still have a little less than a month to go.  No time to get complacent, eh?

I, in my nightcap…

Like so many, I’ve read the poem ‘A Visit From Saint Nicholas‘ and noticed the stanza ‘And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap’ and thought nothing of it.  As I’ve gotten older and started losing my hair up top, I thought about perhaps at night it would behoove me to have a warm head.  To that end, when my wife asked me one year what I’d like to have for Christmas, I told her it would be great to have a nightcap.  She asked why I would want to have a drink.  (She was being humorous)  “Ha, ha…funny funny” I replied.  “You know what I mean.”

And she did.  On Christmas morning, I opened one of my packages and found a very nice nightcap (red) from a business called Berkeley Hat.  Honestly, I’d never heard of them, but they make useful and novelty hats of all different shapes and sizes.  I’ve been very pleased with the nightcap, it’s warm and it covers my head nicely.  Even so much so I bought another one, in dark blue.  

I was thinking about this entry this morning only because last night as I was going to bed, I couldn’t find my cap.  Sometime during the day it must have fallen off the nightstand, and was on the floor either next to it, under the bed, or somewhere nearby.  Since it was nearly midnight, my wife was asleep in the bed already.  It wasn’t a good time to be turning on a light and banging around looking for it.  I went to sleep without my head covered and I did manage to sleep all night, even though it was chilly in the bedroom.  I’ll find it during the course of the day today, and it will be ready for me when I go to bed tonight.

Not for nothing, but I noticed on Amazon that they sell footie pajamas in adult sizes….