Well, so much for the broccoli…..

The broccoli survived the cold snap, no problem.  I was delighted!

Yesterday, with the onset of stunning spring like weather I went out to open up the covers and let the plants have air and sun for a few days before I have to close up everything for the single digit lows predicted for Thursday night.

And found all but one plant to be completely bare of leaves, and the stalks themselves very gnawed on.



In other words the rodents refused to be forced to move by  me flooding their holes, and decided to take advantage of the free food right infront of them…….obviously if this is something I want to do again next winter additional thought will have to go into how to keep out the rodents.

For now traps have been set in an attempt to catch them…….

The Joys of Home Ownership

I’ve griped before about the state of the plumbing in our house.

Infact, I stated at least once that I thought they’d used grey electrical conduit as water pipe.  Turns out I was wrong about that.  When we redid the shower in the master bath just over a year ago, I got a better look at the pipe being used, and discovered that it’s actually a type of water pipe called “polybutylene“.  And that there’s a reason why it’s no longer allowed by code.  Basically, for no obvious external reason at all, it splits randomly.  Resulting in lots of water mess.

We’ve been replacing it as we run across it in the house.  Eventually we’re going to have to hire a proper plumber to come and crawl under the house and remove and replace all of it under the house too.  Since that requires pulling down all the insulation and water barrier in the crawl space (and since it all needs new insulation) we’ll probably combine the projects, a bill I’m not looking forward too.

Of course that means that we keep running into splits in it in the places we’ve not gotten to yet.  Thankfully all such have been INSIDE the house, but cross your fingers for me, I figure it’s only a matter of time before we get one in the crawl space.

Yesterday it was in the water line carrying HOT water from the water heater.  All internal pipe, no exposure to cold.  Husband turned on the hot water yesterday morning and had no water pressure and went looking and discovered that the entire area around the hot water heater was saturated with water.  God only knows how long it’d been spraying water.

Husband proved again that he’s no handyman.  Last time we had this problem I found the breaker for the water heater no problem.  This time he couldn’t find it and shut off the whole house in his panic to try to stop the water.  Which no, didn’t stop the water.  That required crawling under the house to shut off the water.  Cause he forgot that LAST time this happened we had his father install a shut off on the cold water in line to the water heater.  Even though he’d just looked at it to find the leak.  He did at least have all the clocks reset by the time I got home from work……

General update

The broccoli survived the cold, I keep forgetting to take pictures, I’ll try this weekend.

I started my hot pepper seeds this week, I’ll wait another week or two before starting the tomatoes

I’m still torn over what exactly I want to grow this year.  I both want to narrow down my growing choices and at the same time I want to try 20-100 new things……

I think I’m going to try potatoes again this year.  One of the things I picked up at the end of last season was one of those “make it yourself” cedar raised bed kits for about $25 (which is cheaper than buying the lumber would have been).  It’s designed to be stacked so you can make it tall instead of wide, or both, so I’m thinking I’m going to try it for a potato bed.

Our snow is mostly gone.  And has been replaced with nasty freezing rain.  Which isn’t actually an improvement.

Shadow (the Siberian cat) has been diagnosed with a possible grade 2 or 3 heart murmur.  His workup to confirm the murmur and how bad it really is has been scheduled for the first week of March.

Trouble (the calico cat) had a fairly large bump appear out of nowhere on the side of her face, right between eye and ear.  This is a really bad spot for this sort of thing no matter what it is as there’s not alot of spare skin there, never mind the nerves for eye and ear being so close.  So the bump was removed, biopsy says it’s a benign “inclusion cyst”, so as long as it doesn’t grow back there shouldn’t be any further issues.

For some reason I’m not looking forward to taking the dogs in for their yearly checkups this year.

The appointment with my primary care doctor to request a new referral to a new rheumatologists office went well.  I did my best to be as honest as possible about both how I handled things and how I perceived the doctor and office handling things.  And she was still pretty darn peeved for me.  Which made me feel better cause it wasn’t just me being over-reactive or something.  Now the wait begins to see how long it’s going to take to get into the new office.

In other news we now have confirmation that when I get really really stressed and frustrated my blood pressure tries to go through the roof.  I normally sit below 110/70-60 and occasionally even lower.  So when I walk in with a blood pressure of 140/98 they get pretty upset.  Talking to the doctor helped though, before I left they took it again and it had already dropped to 132/78.  I know there are folks with blood pressure much higher, but for me, that’s high.


Dear Shoe Manufacturers

You know, if you were to design a set of shoes specifically for the retail employee, you could make a killing on the market.

Something with proper ankle support.

Something that comes with options for wider feet, even for the smaller sizes.

Something that can survive pounding on cement for day after day after day and still be comfortable to wear 3-4 months later.  Or longer.  Longer would be really nice.  I really don’t think 6 months to a year is to much to ask.

Something that, while it may come in all sorts of gaudy colors and designs, also comes in plain colors for those of us with strict dress codes.

Something that won’t break the bank when we replace them every 3-6 months, or, if more expensive, that will hold up a good year +.

The market made up of those of us who work retail, both part-time and full time, is actually quite large.  And although there is a stereotype that retail employees are young, teens and early twenties, the actual truth is that a huge portion of the group are mature adults.  Adults with joint problems that are aggravated by being on our feet on concrete for hours on end.

I realize that this portion of the market isn’t as flashy as the newest sports shoe that you can toss a big sports name on and sell for hundreds.  But I think you all are missing a huge opportunity for sales…….


An example of why you need to be very carefull about what you share around social media.  Many times its just one person’s opinion, which can vary quite a bit from fact, and there are people for whom the law means nothing as long as public opinion is with them…..

A possible upgrade in data storage is on its way.

GE to phase out CFLs.

The latest in (high end) truck bed campers.

Turns out there may be a definable reason for the rise in mental disorders in the young (not that we all couldn’t have figured it out I’m sure).

Read the captions!

Now they need to make a bigger one for me.  Bacon!

More on the discussion of Livestock Guardian Dogs.

Bogie, this one’ll ring a bell for you.  Personally, I’m just hoping I can beat average for once.  I’d really to NOT take 5yrs (and 5 doctors) to find a doctor who’ll listen to me.

Multi-tool bleg

Does anyone know of a decent quality multi-tool that does NOT contain a knife?

See, I can’t (per company code) carry a knife, other than the ridiculous safety knife issued to us, at work.  We’re allowed to carry all sorts of OTHER tools, but not any other knife.  Flat bladed screwdriver?  Sure.  Pry bar? Sure.  Knife of any kind?  OMG, YOU’RE SO GETTING FIRED FOR BRINGING A WEAPON TO WORK!!!!

And yet there are so many situations where I could SO use to have a multi tool on me.  Yes, the company HAS tools we can use.  If I want to find someone to let me into the office to dig through the tool cabinet to find what I want.  While the customer waits impatiently.

I am aware that several of my co-workers carry multi-tools on the sales floor regardless of the knife/weapon rule.  And management mostly turns a blind eye to it as long as no one gets injured.  But my personal preference would be to NOT push the envelope.

I know the Leatherman bracelet thing doesn’t contain a knife, but I’m not a bracelet sort of person (Leatherman is supposed to be pretty sturdy stuff, but I’d rather not test out the bracelet’s durability, and I would be if I bought one).  Plus I’d really like a pair of pliers and the like too.

I did recently run across the SOG line of multitools, where it looks like in at least most of them you could potentially pull out the knife and put in an extra piece of something else instead, which is kinda cool.   Anyone have any experience with these?

Are there any other options out there?


I used to do a post which was basically just a list of interesting links and stories I’d found recently.  For various reasons I slowly stopped doing it.  Which doesn’t mean that I stopped collecting interesting links, I just mostly toss them onto my FB page and promptly forget…..

I’ve decided I really ought to share some of these more, so, here’s some of the links that caught my eye in the last couple weeks:

Dutch Police are training eagles to catch drones

Some contractors were a bit startled to discover what had taken shelter in their work overnight.

I didn’t realize pepper spray was illegal in Denmark.

This one may be past action point, but still good info.  NJ wants to make it illegal to buy a pup (or kitten) from anyone “sight unseen”.  They also want to remove buyer protections from anyone buying a pup (or kitten) from anywhere.  Since its part of a bill to stop the selling of pups (and kittens) in pet stores getting this law stopped will be difficult.

Simpson College’s shooting club is under fire.

Know someone in Canada who lost custody of their child over a drug test with screwy results?  They may want to read this.

If you have hiccups that won’t go away there may be a reason.

I’ve thought off and on about getting a tattoo, but rarely do I see ones that really make me want one.  There are exceptions to that though.

Dog owners, and parents of small children, in Hercules CA need to keep a close eye on the ground.

One of my biggest gripes about the purebred dog show world, so few of those award winning dogs have actually done anything approaching “work”.  There are exceptions though!

I swear suddenly there’s been an influx of rabid animals found in the North East.  Not sure if the otherwise mild winter had been to blame or what.  The lastest that I’ve seen.

A mug for those of us who still remember DOS.

Elephants are afraid of bees.  Who knew!

More zero tolerance ruining the lives of kids.  Since when are drug detection dogs trained to smell out Advil.  Is THAT why we keep hearing about dogs reporting drugs when there aren’t any?  And how much is the school paying to have their parking lot checked by drug dogs??

Sometimes companies go out of their way to do the right thing.  And when it happens they deserve all the credit!

Queensland Aus police decide tshirt launcher is a category B weapon.

Ever wondered what exactly it is that a Livestock Guardian Dog is and does?  Here’s a video for you.

My husband’s not much of a country fan, but even he had to admire this voice:

Thought crime and traditional publishing.

NY’s at it again. This one’s better than some of the others I’ve seen in the past, but it still doesn’t take into account working dogs, and people who work odd hours. AND would require veterinary and ACO written approval to tether a dog for more than 3hrs AND requires that such approval be redone every 60 days. Nor are there accommodations for areas with laws forbidding fencing, or where laws restrict fencing to be no more than 3-4 feet tall requiring a tether as a 2ndary form of restraint.


According to Weather Underground we dipped to -22 (before counting windchill) last night.  Syracuse officially dropped to -23 after midnight this morning, which broke records for today.  Infact most of Upstate NY broke records last night/this morning.  And since its not predicted to get above 10degrees today (original prediction was 7, Weather Underground is currently saying we might not even make that) I won’t be opening up the broccoli to check the thermometer either.  Monday or Tuesday I should be able to open it up and check it.  Cross your fingers!  Even Apollo thought it was awfully cold last night, and that’s saying something!  But we made it through with no frozen pipes, so I’ll take it.

To top off my week though my car refused to start yesterday.  I’m hoping it was just the cold that was the cause…..


I’ve ranted before about my frustration of trying to get help at the rheumatologists office.

What I really needed to do was call my regular doctor and arrange a new referral to a new office, but life has been busy, and I kept putting it off.  Plus I knew that getting into a new office meant starting all over again with the several month wait to get in the first time.  So I decided to give it another try with the doctor I was seeing.

Beginning of January I used their online patient portal to message the doctor asking for more information on the decision to not prescribe a drug to slow the bone erosion in my hands.  Got a response back from nurse that the doctor was out of the office for a few days but she’d give him the message when he was back in.  That was January 4th.

I’ve never heard back from the doctor.

January 25th I sent a message to the office staff, via the online patient portal, asking them to please tell me what procedure they require to change doctors within the practice since their website states:

In order to maintain continuity of care and avoid “opinion shopping” within the practice, subsequent requests for switching doctors must be approved by the physicians involved, and in general will be denied.

so I assume they have a procedure to handle such requests.  Got an immediate response to “please call and ask for Colleen and she will discuss it with you”.  So the next day about lunch time I called and asked for Colleen.  Turns out she’s the office manager, she was in a meeting, but we can put you through to her voicemail?  Sure.  Left a message stating that I’d been told to call her for information, listed my name and number twice (my last name tends to give people fits in messages, so I always say it twice, spell it, and then make sure that my phone number is clearly stated twice so that even if my name has thrown them off they can still figure out who I am).

I still haven’t heard back from Colleen.

On their website is the following statement:

A chronic shortage of rheumatologists exists throughout the US. In most practices, waiting times for a new patient to see a rheumatologist is 2 to 6 months, and many rheumatologists struggle to meet the needs for follow-up care of existing patients. The shortage is projected to worsen over the next 20 years. The American College of Rheumatology has recommended the integration of Nurse Practitioners (NP) and Physician Assistants (PA) as an important way to address this shortage and extend the ability of qualified rheumatologists to meet the demands for specialty care within their communities. As a result, AHA has created teams wherein physicians and skillfully trained and supervised NP/PAs work in a coordinated fashion to see patients in a timely manner and reduce the risk of complications or delay. The expanded physician schedules provided by the NP/PAs have successfully reduced wait times substantially, while maintaining the capacity for personalized care.

The value of this integrated model of scheduling with the rheumatologist  and NP/PAs means that when someone calls for an appointment, a visit can be provided with the minimum of delay.

So this past Thursday I was looking at my work schedule, and feeling frustrated because the pain in my ankles has become a constant (thankfully mostly low grade, mostly) thing any time I’m on my feet.  And in addition I now have little needle stabby pains in my left ankle.  And it occurred to me that they have the above statement on their website, and hey, next Friday I’m only scheduled to work till 2pm, maybe I can get an appointment with a PA for after 2, that way I can go in AFTER a work shift and actually show them how my joints are after a day of work, and maybe they’ll listen to me then?

So I call up.  But no, that’s not an option for me.  At some point someone flagged my account.  I’m ONLY allowed to see the doctor.  And no, he doesn’t have any openings for at least a couple months.  Would you like to leave a message for him?  I took a deep breath, politely told the person on the phone that “no that’s fine thank you” and hung up.  What point is there in leaving a message when no one ever gets back to me anyway.

Am I flagged because I asked for pain meds last time I was in and so they’ve deemed me a drug seeker??

Or am I flagged because I asked for information on changing doctors??

I have decided I no longer care.  The constant low grade pain is literally depressing.  I’ve never had any real problems with actual depression, but this is getting to me.  Arthritis Health Associates (Syracuse NY) is supposed to be THE office to ask for in the area.  This is supposed to be THE best office to get care from.  THE one to ask for.  But they’ve essentially denied me help.

I’m very well aware that in the overall scheme of things there are ALOT of people out there dealing with much more pain on a daily basis.  But I’m finding myself hitting my own limits.  To top off my Thursday I ended up spending almost my entire shift outside in the cold, lifting and moving 40lb bags of (heating fuel) wood pellets.  I personally and on my own sorted two pallets at 50bags each, and helped sort another 2 pallets.  Why am I “sorting” pallets you ask?  Well, we’re down to the damaged pallets of pellets.  The pallets where there are visibly a large number of damaged and broken bags, so before we can sell them we need to tear down the pallets and pull out the damaged bags, and restack the good bags for sale.  Its Saturday morning as I type this and I still hurt.  All of my joints ache (undoubtedly “helped” by the subzero weather we’re experiencing today I’m sure) and my ankles in particular hurting even when my feet are up.  My knees are starting to follow suit.  I’m hoping my knees are just a reaction to the stiffness and pain in my ankles.

The appointment to talk to my primary care physician about a new referral to a completely different office has been scheduled.  There’s at least one other rheumatology office in Syracuse that I could find.  And it looks like that if I’m willing to travel a bit further out (and it’s looking like I may not have a choice in that) there are others in cities further out.  I don’t really want to have to see a doctor a couple hours out, but if that’s what it takes to get treatment I guess I’ll deal.

I was warned by two different people (one of them my MOTHER) that despite rheumatologists being the specialists in the field, the people who ought to know better, many of them still consider all of that sort of problem to be an “old person’s” problem.  And so it may take some trial and error to find a doctor who’d work with me.  My MOTHER (who’s approaching retirement age) told me this.  I guess I should have realized that meant it’d be hell trying to find the right doctor.  But I didn’t expect it to be this bad.  How many other “young people” (and I don’t normally consider myself to be in that category, I am after all in my mid-30’s) are struggling to find a doctor who’ll listen to them?  And how many have given up and are just dealing with the pain and frustration on their own?