31 July 2007



Ding Dong! The Drought is Gone!

Summer thunderstorms being thunder showers and the rain that fell this past week was a real relief for drought stricken Central Kentucky. We have had about 3 inches in the last 10 days and things are looking up! The moisture is not enough to officially end the drought, but the gap is closing. It was sufficient to to reprieve a passal of cantalopes from an unsatisfactory end. The grass in the yard is starting to grow a bit and the weeds in the garden have really taken off. The ground was too muddy to hoe for several days and now the weeds have the upper hand, but not for long. It is a never ending battle. I picked the first cantalope (muskmelon, really) tonight and ate it hastily in an of orgy of melon consumption. Fresh off the vine, fruit of the earth, Gods Bounty.

Gardening is a love-hate thing with me. It can be wearisome keeping the weeds at bay and seeing your produce being nibble to death by deer and rabbits. It is a joyful thing to get hands in the good earth and feel its warmth in the spring after a long winter. Its good to get your feet dirty and your hands filthy and the soil packed under your fingernails and ground into your jeans. God's goodness is in the ground. I can smell it.

The tender sprouts come up just when you thing nothing is going to happen. The tiny plants wait and wait and then explode in growth spurt that is amazing. All the viney stuff does this; cantalopes, watermelons, squash of various kinds, and pumpkins. My favorite, pumpkins. Great huge leaves and great grasping, muscular vines. You can almost see them grow day by day.

And in the fall, God willing and the blight don't come, I will have pumpkins to distribute at work for all the kids. Jack-0-lanterns. That is a lot of fun.

27 July 2007

Gainfully Employed

What a strange day.

Since most workers are restricted to 40 hours per week at my place of employment, many of them were not at work today, Friday, since they already had their 40 "in".Why? Because 40 hours per week is not the norm for this business year in and year out for the last 30 years. People are accustomed to working 50 hours or more, myself included. I coast through the week at 46 or 47 hours and look forward to not working Saturday. You get used to it. Overtime pay is wonderful. But, NOW, with forty and go home a standing order, so people still work 10 and 12 hour days at demanding, stressful, exhausting jobs in a noisy, tense, and potentially dangerous environment. So when the magic number forty rolls around on the old time card, they book on home. Kinda like getting a one day vacation each week.

The trouble is, not all employees can do this. Some, like me, for instance, work under the burden of a constant influx of work and have little lead-time and no possibility of scheduling in advance. You just plunge in and work like the devil as long as you can and then walk off and leave it for the next day. And whether you are allowed to work overtime or not, I still have to field phone calls from clients who are upset that I didnt do yesterday what should have been done the day before that! I still have to stop what I am doing and do some task which has to be done RIGHT NOW since so-and-so promised it.

Sometimes you get things done in a timely manner, sometimes you dont. Lately, the "sometimes you dont" scenario seems to be winning out. Being short handed means that, well, your are er...short handed! Something has to give. And when two people out of a 3 person department don't come in you end up with a one-man-show. Not very effective, but what do I know I've only been doing this sort of work for 30 years. It used to be important to me, but now, Its getting easier and easier to walk off and leave things in a big mess.

My college catalog said my degree program was to prepare me to be "gainfully employed in industry". Humph. Mostly only a little gainful, and a lot painful.

20 July 2007

Not So Bad

In reference to the preceeding Post; The hour on the phone turned into one hour and 20 minutes with a very professional and courteous person who in essence said, "oops!", and made her key-board click and whir while she whittled away at the bogus items on the Consumer Credit Report. Too easy. I was already to quote the Fair Credit Reporting Act and to threaten bring the Attorneys General down on them but it wasn't necessary to do so. Now just to wait for revised report to show up. The proof is in the puddin', as they say, or in this case, in the print-out. The boss didn't even glare at me for staying on the phone for so long.

16 July 2007

Big Brother Speaks Up.

I love computers. Really, I do.

Recently the auto insurance bill came in the mail (insurance is a whole 'nother can of worms which I will not tip this time). My rate went up $200 from last year. They kindly tell me that they have used a Consumer Credit Report to evaluate the probability of my filing an automobile insurance claim. Seems if you are late paying your credit card bill you are at a higher risk for having a fender bender and thus imposing on the financial well being of the insurance company by asking them to pay a claim on the policy you have been paying for 20 years.

They also kindly tell me where I can get a free copy of the credit report used by them to evaluate my worthiness to receive their "best" rate; or in this case, "Not the Best Rate". So, I go there. It is a web site of a company which does not produce credit reports. It is a company which purchases credit reports, apparently mine among others, and sells them to auto insurance companies. THEY kindly supply instructions to request a free copy of the credit report that they purchased from a third party and furnished to my auto insurance company.

I request the report. Three days later I get a letter form the report purchasing folks that they have my request and since they are nice people they do not know who I am or what the report says since they only buy and sell the reports, but do not read them and that the report will be coming along shortly from the folks who really created the consumer credit report.

O.K. Report arrives in a few days. Great I say, very efficient! The system, the powers that be, Deus Ex Machina, etc. seems to be working. Not so.

On this "Credit Report" there are:

17 names listed as information sources: I am only one of them.

21 Addresses listed: Only 2 are places I have lived.

3 "Negatives" listed: I fess up to one. The other two are unknowns.

60 "Accounts in Good Standing": 46 of these are definately not me.

3 social security numbers listed: All three are wrong.

3 phone numbers listed: You can guess. All wrong.

Date of Birth Listed: Wrong again. This is boring.

2 employers listed: Never heard of them.

And, according to a casual survey of all the data contained in the report, one can infer that I have at least 3 wives and have lives in 21 different houses or apartments in 5 states over the last 20 years, and that I have simultaneously held 4 mortgages and 18 credit cards, give or take a few.

Call the "800" number and you get, can you guess? A computer? And a stupid one at that. Go to the dispute website and you get another stupid computer. Beautifully laid out pages that make it easy to dispute any item on the report. Except when you try to do so on most of this stupid report you get a pop-up that says, "NO NO NO! Can't do that here! You must contact us directly".

Great . Just Dandy. There goes another lunch hour talking to some dumshit on the phone.

Gee, I love computers!

09 July 2007

Big Brother Gives Permission

Apparently, it is possible to post to a Blogger Blog by sending a e-mail to your blog. Is this automatic? Is the Blog alive? Worse yet, is it a Corporation with all rights and privileges appertaining thereto?
Can it pay my electric bill for me?

06 July 2007

What is it with the Weather?

Maybe I am getting old, but I have found myself saying of late, "This summer sure is not like the Summers I remember as a kid".
The wind! The Breeze! Have you noticed? Its been blowing steadily in the Bluegrass for 12 weeks now. Its blowing in the morning, blowing in the evening, and continues all night. A dry, hot breeze that sucks the life out of everything. The humidity is low. I feel like I am in Texas or Arizona or some other dessicated place. The daytime highs are normal, but because of the low humidity, the temperature plummets when the sun goes down; overnight temperatures in the low 60s have been the norm for the past month. Its like being in the desert. It wasn't like this years ago.
When I was a kid there was abundant rain, frequent summer showers and thunder storms. In the last 20 years extended summer dry spells have become the norm. Winters are warmer; snowfall is almost non-existent now. We had a sled when I was a little kid. Dont bother to buy one now. Winter used to start in November, now it starts in late December. Everything is akilter.

05 July 2007

First Things

Thanks be to God for last night's rain. Rained out Fireworks shows were a small price to pay for one inch of life giving rain for a region that has had almost no rain at all for 12 weeks. Rain is taken for granted until there isn't any; then dead and dying crops, withered pastures and usage restrictions remind us just how fragile our ecosystem really is.