Thursday, April 29, 2010


The basement saga continues.
We have been waiting over a week for someone to call to discuss when the basement repairs could start.
At last yesterday someone did.
The lady on the phone was not particularly helpful. In fact she was downright miserable.
Maybe she had left her personality at home that morning.
Anyway, she told me, told me, that the men would be arriving on Friday (tomorrow) to do the basement.
"Oh" said I, " If the basement is going to take two days then surely it isn't good to start on a Friday?"
"They will work on Saturday", said she.
"I don't know about that as my husband works long hours and might not like losing half his weekend like that," quoth I.
"It will only take one day" she retorted, snottily.
"That isn't what Blaine (the head honcho) told me", I replied politely.
"Blaine said it would take two days?" she replied incredulously.
"Oh well I think it will only take one day" she replied imperiously.

Now, I may be a bit dim but surely the engineer who came to look at the work needed, who is also the head man of the company, must know a bit more than some snooty woman who presumably just answers the phones.

" I will phone my husband and ask him what he thinks" I told her, " I will then call you back".
Oh she didn't like that.
I spoke to Philip who said that there was no way he could have the basement ready for the work before Friday ( stuff to be moved etc) and that he didn't want to lose his Saturday. We are paying a great deal of money for this job and they can do it to suit us ......not them.

I phoned her back.
I didn't say all that as I was taught always to be polite to people.
I just told her Friday would not work and she arranged it for Wednesday / Thursday next week.
Bugger..........that meant I would lose a day's work so I phoned her back and asked if they could start on Thursday instead of Wednesday.
She told me they couldn't possibly do that as they were already booked for Friday.
So, Wednesday it is.
I wish I had been quicker though. She had insisted previously that it would be just one day's work. Now, it seems, they couldn't start on Thursday because their Friday was already taken. now it is two days work.

I have been in two minds whether to mention her manner to the blokes next week. I thought maybe I would just ask who the telephone lady was and what her problem is.
As the person on the phone is the first point of contact for a business, she really doesn't do them any favours.
But, I would hate to get anyone into trouble so I knew I would probably end up saying nothing.

Then karma happened.
This morning I had a phone call.............from her.
" I am just calling to confirm that our men will be at your house at 8 am tomorrow to start your basement repair", said she.
"Oh no they won't. They are coming next week", I replied.
"But it was arranged" she engaged snotty mode. "Has it been changed?"
"No, it was never arranged for tomorrow. You only phoned me yesterday and I told you Friday wouldn't work so you arranged it for Wednesday, 8am".

There was a total change of demeanor, as the realisation of dropped clangers hit her.
"Oh silly me. I must have not updated my notes. Ha ha.......what was I thinking." she waffled.

She was thinking what a bloody idiot she had just made of herself. That is what she was thinking.

"Yes, yes of course, next Wednesday 8am" she simpered.
"So, ok let's just check then. Next Wednesday, not tomorrow?" I replied, barely concealing my smugness. "I am glad you phoned because if they had turned up tomorrow I would not have been happy."
"Oh dear, no you wouldn't" she schmoozed.

So, karma having done its job, I have no need to drop her in it when the men are here.
I am glad.
If I had said something I would have felt bad about it for days.
If I hadn't said something, I would have been cross with myself for wimping out.

So, thank you karma.
Now I just hope those guys are not standing on the doorstep tomorrow morning.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Dull here.....exciting golfing over there.

I love this picture of a ladybird after the rain.
It has rained here all the weekend. I can't really complain as we haven't had any rain for weeks and the gardens were looking a bit grim.

We are waiting for the phone call from the basement man to say when he will start work.
I hope it isn't too much longer as I would like to get it over with.

Not a lot happening here right now. It is a quiet time of year in Milwaukee.
In the winter there are lots of things going on to keep people from going mad in the snow.
The summer is jam packed with festivals, free concerts, barbies etc.
Even autumn is busy with the run up to Halloween and Thanksgiving.
Right now it is the lull before the storm.
The weather is unpredictable, so I haven't been doing much gardening.
We could still have a frost. I will buy some plants and get stuck in after mid May.
I would love to have a pond but the winters here are too severe.
The water would freeze right to the bottom and I don't think fish survive well in solid ice.
I suppose we could get a water heater but I would worry that it might fail and the fish would die.
I really don't need anything else to worry about.

Apparently, Glenn had a go at golfing.
For those of you STILL not on Facebook the post went something like this.

Glenn McCann The golf clubs my dad bought me for my birthday are rubbish. The golf balls my sister bought me for my birthday are crap. And, to the man in the car park: Yes I know it went in the lake. I know what a lake is. Just get in the car and take your ugly smug son with you.

Yesterday at 6:29pm · ·
Glenn McCann
Glenn McCann
Playing golf just makes me want to smash peoples faces in. Like the three queers who invited me the play through because I was by myself, then watched me take about 20 strokes whilst still on the green. I was by myself because I didn't have my boyfriends with me. And at every hole, a bird kept chirping "twat."
Yesterday at 6:36pm
Donna Beal
Donna Beal
er need more balls then? or not...yet?
Yesterday at 6:43pm
Dale Smith
Dale Smith
even if it said 'twat' at least a birdie was involved
Yesterday at 6:45pm
Glenn McCann
Glenn McCann
Not to mention the squirrel. It was on the fairway as I tee'd off. It didn't even bother getting out of the way.
Yesterday at 6:46pm
Glenn McCann
Glenn McCann
Aww Dale, you should come golfing with me to make it seem like im doing well. And on my next date with a girl.
Yesterday at 6:47pm
Glenn McCann
Glenn McCann
Yes Donna I need more balls, but not those spastic ones you got me last time.
Yesterday at 6:48pm
Glenn McCann
Glenn McCann
Ive had two rounds of nine hole golf. Which amounts to one round of golf, and I've got about 4 balls left out of 20
Yesterday at 6:49pm
Dale Smith
Dale Smith
Glenn, we can do that, just pretned your my carer. I've never played golf, is it as fun as you've made it sound?
Yesterday at 6:49pm
Glenn McCann
Glenn McCann
Yes Dale, golf is fantastic. It's worth having a set of clubs even if you're not totally into it. When you've done it once, there are times when you cant wait to get home from work so you can have a round of golf. However, immediately after having a round of golf, you're not interested any more and feel a bit sleepy.
Yesterday at 6:56pm
Dale Smith
Dale Smith
so saves counting sleep?
Yesterday at 7:01pm
Glenn McCann
Glenn McCann
Well, apart from the times you have a bad day at golfing and you want to smash someones face in, yes.
Yesterday at 7:05pm
Susan Banks
Susan Banks
I bet all you people didn't know Basil Fawlty had changed his name to Glenn McCann.
Yesterday at 7:21pm ·
Dale Smith
Dale Smith
don't mention the 'FORE'!
Yesterday at 7:22pm
Glenn McCann
Glenn McCann
A perfect analogy. After missing the hole several times, I got very angry and tried to kick the ball as hard as I could. I missed it, got more angry, then kicked it again into a lake. Then I got another ball out and gave it a damn good thrashing.
Yesterday at 7:26pm
Donna Beal
Donna Beal
was that when the fird was chirping "twat"
Yesterday at 7:29pm
Glenn McCann
Glenn McCann
No, the bird followed me around. It may have been many birds.
Yesterday at 7:31pm
Donna Beal
Donna Beal
i dont think your rounds of golf are gonna be very stress relieving
Yesterday at 7:33pm
Dale Smith
Dale Smith
sounds like they are for the other golfers though
Yesterday at 7:35pm
Glenn McCann
Glenn McCann
I still want to punch someone.
Yesterday at 7:36pm
Susan Banks
Susan Banks
I wonder if Granddad ever played golf?
Yesterday at 7:49pm ·
Glenn McCann
Glenn McCann
And finally, to top it all off, I asked the man in the club house if I could borrow a pen to write down my score. It turns out that I'd rather borrow a video camera to film my love making, because with golf I've finally found something I'm worse at.
Yesterday at 7:52pm
Susan Banks
Susan Banks
It could have been worse...........
Yesterday at 7:54pm ·

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

When I nod my head you hit it............

So, fixing the basement is going to cost us $6700 ish.
Then on Friday the I look out of the kitchen window and the 7ft high back fence is falling over.
One of the posts had broken beneath the ground, in the concrete a while ago.
Now 3 were broken and the bloody fence was leaning way over.
Philip was not thrilled when I told him.
It needed to be fixed. Actually it probably needs to be replaced but we can't do that for a couple of reasons.
One, we can't afford to..........see above.......poxy basement.
Two, the fence sits on top of the retaining wall that we had to have replaced when that was falling down shortly after we moved in.
That cost almost $3000.
To replace the fence would mean digging out the concrete where the posts are. This in turn would destroy the poxy retaining wall that we have recently replaced.

The only alternative was to do a temporary repair. We did a bit a research at the stores. Wasn't looking good.
The bloke down the road came and had a look. He sucked air through his teeth a few times and suggested we prop it up somehow.
Oh that would look lovely.
Come and see the new Manitoba Hill Billies' garden...........posh new wall........propped up fence.
We eventually found some fence post supports that are made to bang into concrete and then attach to the posts.
Sounds so easy.

We bought 4 of these as they too are expensive. We could always get another two in a couple of weeks.
We bought a hammer too. We only have a little one. Now we have a bigger one.

It wasn't big enough.
After, sweating, cursing and hammering for ages the bloody metal supports hadn't moved an inch.
Round we went to the other side of the fence to try there.
It went in a little way.
The man next door came out and loaned Philip a big hammer..........bless him.
This did the trick. Not easily. Still much sweating and hammering but less cursing because the nice man was standing watching.
The supports went in a bit further, not as much as we would have liked, but enough to attach the posts and for the fence to be upright.
We are not sure for how long though.

There doesn't seem to be an easy answer to this one so we shall wait and see how it plays out.
Meanwhile, the basement chap came yesterday to measure up.
He brought me a couple of bags of wine gums and took away a large cheque.
One of the bags is sour wine gums.
I didn't know they made them. I haven't tried them yet but I am sure they will be yummy.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Swear like an Egyptian.

Latest painting is now complete.
It was totally different from anything else I have done.
I have always fancied having a go at something with an Egyptian theme and it was not as easy as I thought.
For a start, there is a definite style that is in all Egyptian paintings.
I did not want to copy anything but I did want to use the style.
So, I read books, looked at their art and hieroglyphs.
They painted everything very flat. There is no shading or definition.
This is hard to do when you have been trained to show every curve and recess.
Usually you would show the structure of the body beneath the clothes. Egyptians did not.
I found it hard to resist shading and defining the movement of the bodies.
Everything is very stylised and not true to life.
Also, I had to try not to make it too perfect. Their art was a little primitive and done free hand which gives it so much atmosphere.
Anyway, I had a lot of fun doing this picture, but it has left me with a healthy respect for those artists who made their mark so many thousands of years ago.
I have no clue what the hieroglyphs mean so it could be a load of swearing.
I hope it is.

I have to explain the above picture so you can understand why it made me giggle.
Poor Bubba. It may have been mentioned before but he is not the sharpest knife in the drawer.
Anyway, the kitties are always fed in a part of basement.
It is the utilities/storage area. The washing machine and dryer are there and the floor is stone.
Not like the main basement area which has tiles and carpet.
Every day, twice a day, it is feeding time and the kits form a sort of feeding frenzy around the legs of whoever has the pleasure of dishing out the grub.
The girls are given their dishes on the floor but Bubba doesn't like to get his toes cold on the stone floor so he sits on one of the blue rugs that are there.
On Friday I washed and dried these rugs but I had left them on top of the washing machine.
Come feeding time Philip called me to come and look.
There was Bubba, waiting for his dinner, sitting on his rug which was still on top of the machine.
Oh bless him.
He wasn't going to get cold tootsies whatever happened.

Friday, April 16, 2010

I hate teeth.

On Tuesday I had to go to the dentist.
Just for a cleaning.
Heh........that is so easy to say....."just for cleaning".
Cleaning can be one of the worst experiences, in my opinion, at the dentist.

I go at least every six months.
The hygienist always tries to talk me into going every 4 months.
But, my insurance (like every poxy insurance over here) will not pay for cleaning every 4 months even if the professionals say it is necessary.
So, she makes me an appointment for 4 months and then about a month before, I phone and change it to a couple of months later. She seems ok with that.
Anyway, I hate going. I have been dreading it coming round for weeks now.
But, Tuesday I had to go.

When I got there the receptionist asked if I had remembered to bring "it".
She insisted that last time I was there she had asked me to read Mary Poppins to her. It is a British accent obsession that is rife in Milwaukee.
As soon as I open my gob it is..........."Oooooh you have a accent.......where are you from?"...etc...etc....
Sometimes, in restaurants the servers get what Philip and I call the "Accent Stare".
They are so swept away by the fact that someone speaks differently that they totally glaze over and don't hear a word you say. We have had some odd meals from servers who's brains have shut down when we have tried to order.
But, I am waffling again.
Back to the dentist. The other receptionist said "she isn't going to remember that was 6 months ago".
Of course not, I can rarely remember what I did last week and I told her so.

Then the hygienist came to get me. A different lady.
I was quite pleased as I thought that maybe this one would be gentler than my usual one , Mary.
I sat in the chair and this lady explained that there was a mix up and I was with her just this time.
Just then Mary leaned round the door and made apologetic noises.
I was having none of it.
"Oh don't you bother", I yelled. " I know when I am not wanted. You just couldn't bear to see me this time. Don't you worry about it. I will be ok. Go and get on with your client who is obviously your favourite."
We all had a good chuckle and I settled down for the torture that I hoped would be less arduous than Mary's torture.
Pah...........was I wrong.
This lady was a monster.
How can it be, when I am there regularly every 6 months, that she has to take bloody great chisels and pneumatic drills into my delicate cake hole to scrape off apparently huge boulders which are stuck to my pearlies?
I had taken two paracetamol before I left home.....just in case. I should have taken more.
It was a nightmare.
There must, in this day and age, be a better way.
I will never see this lady again. I so appreciate Mary now and she isn't gentle.
My gums are still sore. I made an appointment for 4 months time.
I will have to remember to change it again.

Monday, April 12, 2010

HAH.....Caught in the act........................

This morning I was in the basement sorting out the washing.
I heard a rustling.
There is a corner of the basement where we store things like, wrapping paper, gift bags.....and, more importantly, gift bows.
Lollipop developed a passion for gift bows at Christmas.
She nicked all the bows off the prezzies under the tree and took them away for a good chewing.
She had found our stash.
There she was sitting in the bag of bows having a fabulous time.
It must have been like gift bow heaven to her.

Not so much for the bows I think.
She has a not inconsiderable bulk. Cat like grace seems to have escaped her.
I doubt very much if chewing them is going to make much of a difference to the bows' condition now.
They have been Lollipopped..............a sad demise for "purty" bows indeed.

On Saturday we went to the theatre to see "Seven Keys to Slaughter Peak".
Oh it was good.
Really over the top, lots of send ups, lots of laughs and gun shots too.
What more could we ask?
I do love live theatre and always say we should go more often but I am probably wrong about that.
Because we go infrequently, it is more of a treat and something to look forward to.
I was sad when it was over but, hopefully, there will be something else to look forward to soon.

Yesterday we did the garden.
We put lots of red bark stuff around the roses out the front. It looks lovely and should keep the weeds down. I hate weeding.
I haven't decided what to put alongside the garage yet but can assure you that it will not be an "Instant Flower Garden Carpet" or whatever it was called, like I put down last year.
The few weeds that grew there are now history and the soil should be well rested as I don't think the plastic flowers I stuck in there in temper, took much out of it.
I suppose it will be back to Busy Lizzies and Petunias. At least they produce a colourful show even if it almost kills me planting them.
I also put my Birthday prezzies in the back garden.
The above gnomes are now standing by the gazing ball.
I put all my other ornaments back too. Helps me to think that Winter may have actually gone.
I can't plant anything until mid May as we could still get frosts.

Today is Glenn's birthday.
I sent his prezzies a couple of weeks ago, to be sure they got there.
I am hoping he opened his card today. I try very hard to find something different every time.
He has had "little boy" cards, one I got him was just a picture of a gherkin ..........this time.........I got him a funny one.
Well, I expect it is funny. Can't be sure really because it is in Spanish.
I must go phone him now. He should be in from work I think.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Our Eric....well one of them.

Please meet Eric.
Eric is one of the many squirrels that frequent our garden.
There are quite a few Erics.
Big Eric, Small Eric, Little Eric and Just name but a few.
Without having any of the other Erics nearby I really can't say which Eric this is.
He is a happy Eric though as he is enjoying the corn cob I put out for him.
It is fixed onto a small platform.
One night when we were returning from gallavanting somewhere there was a huge raccoon scrunched onto this little platform, eating the corn.
He gave us a look that said............"What you looking at?"
So we left him to it, although I still don't know how he squeezed himself on there.

Well we had a heatwave last week (air conditioning on), then thunderstorms, torrential rain and hail stones today it is chuffing freezing and there is snow forecast for tonight.
I was so cold when I got in from work that I needed an otter, like the one above, to give me a cuddle.
How fab would that be?

Had some brill news though, and I needed some.
Lauren is coming to stay for 5 weeks this summer. She usually stays for 3 but this time she wants to stay for the whole summer holiday.
Yipppppeeeeeeeeeeeeee !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
We love it when she is here.
So, we have Alanmas just after Christmas and because Milwaukee is famous for its summer fests.... Italian Fest, German Fest, Irish Fest, Mexican Fest......etc. etc., we now have Lauren Fest.
It has given me quite a boost.

The basement saga continues.
First quote around $4000.............was from someone who was 2 and a half hours late for our appointment, who had to find out what was needed and has still not given us the estimate in writing that we requested.........hmmmmmmmmmm........doesn't fill us with confidence.
Second quote $6700......... was from a guy who really seemed to know what he was talking about, had a well known company, could do it in a couple of days and gave a 20 year warranty that, should we move, would be passed to the next owners. Very good but pricey.
Third quote $6110.........from another guy who seemed to know what he was talking about, has been doing basements for years, would also sort out the leaky window, but only had a 10 year warranty. Dilemma.
To be honest I think the 20 year warranty is worth the few hundred extra.
We do want the window done though, so I suggested we ask him if he would include the window in the price. If he will (big if really) then I think we shall go with the second bloke.
All we need to do now is find the money............sigh.
I would just love to have been able to spend this money on something that looked good. Like, a new kitchen or bathroom.
Everything we have spent on this house has been for maintenance. Even the retaining wall with the posh stones that we had to have because the other one was falling over, cannot be seen from our house. There is a fence in front of it so the neighbour sees the lovely wall and it even looks like part of his garden.
I suppose next year there will be something else that needs urgent attention so we still won't be able to make an improvement that looks like we have.........if you know what I mean.
No one is going to say......."Oh what lovely supporting struts you have in your basement".
"Yes, we paid almost $7000 for the poxy things."

Monday, April 5, 2010

Still gullible......sigh.

This is the sort of day I had yesterday.
It started out ok.
We had our imported Hot Cross Buns for brekkie and they were delish.
I really cannot tell you how delish.
We savoured every buttery bite.

Then a chance remark made me realise that I must still walk around with my eyes shut.
More than that really.
I am still gullible. After all these years I still believe what people tell me.
I do get cross with myself over this.
I spent many years totally unaware of much deception and lies.
When I eventually "saw the light", I was amazed at all the stuff I hadn't seen and hadn't figured out.
It all seemed so obvious now. I vowed to be more perceptive and not to be so easily fooled.
It seems I can't help it. I do trust what people say and do and I don't see through things nearly enough.
After all this time I am just as gullible as I was before.
There can be no hope for me........I am a mug.
The day went downhill from then on.
I sort of sunk into a pit of gloom, veering from feeling foolish to being angry with myself.
Poor Philip wondered what was wrong with me, but I just said I was having a sad day.
Which was true.
I am usually happy and upbeat so he knew something was wrong. Bless him.
Today I have decided to accept the fact that not everyone speaks the truth and I will get stung now and then.
Oh well.................I don't know why I bother.

On another note.
I got a birthday prezzie from my son today.
This is something of a first. He sent it from there to here.......ok so it is over a week late, but it was even wrapped in happy birthday paper. He says he is working on getting a prezzie to me on time for next year.
A step at a time he says.
He sent me a dvd of an English TV series called...."Outnumbered".
He thinks I will like it and has been wanting me to see it for ages.
I will let him know what I think.

This evening we have another man coming to give us an estimate for the basement repairs.
The first bloke quoted just under $4000 but he seems very unreliable and in a bit of a dream most of the time. He didn't actually inspire us with confidence.
We then have another one coming tomorrow at 9am.
I shall tag along with Philip and listen to what the one tonight has to say so that I can compare it with what tomorrow's one says.
That will be 3 estimates and should be enough for us to make a decision.

Friday, April 2, 2010 cross buns.....etc

I wish I could sleep anywhere like a cat does.
Lollipop could get a degree in finding the cosiest spots for a kip.
I dare not open the dishwasher and get distracted by something else or I find her like this.
Zonked out on the warm door.

This is where I found her last night.
Our dishwasher came with the house and is very old.
You have to trundle it out and fix a hose onto the tap. We are trying to make it last as we will get a new one if we can ever afford to have the kitchen revamped.
Until then I am happy to nurture the one we have.
Lolly is no light weight and I do hope that she doesn't put too much of a strain on the poor thing.

Lily, of course, being a Princess an'all, would not dream of sleeping in such a common place.
She likes to relax on a comfy cushion. This doesn't mean she has mastered the art of elegance yet though. She is still working on that.

Today is Good Friday and Philip is allowed to finish work a whole 2 hours early.
That is the sum total of his Easter holiday.
They don't do Easter Monday over here. On top of which he has some major project at work that he will need to supervise all day Sunday from home.
Pants...........and no overtime pay..........mega pants.

We will have our Hot Cross Buns for brekkie on Sunday. Donna sent me two packets.
Oh we are so excited.
They don't do them here. We did see them in one coffee shop and tried them. They were awful.
Nothing like "real" hot cross buns.
The cross was done in icing so they couldn't be warmed or toasted and there were no currants.
I have also decided to cook a roast dinner on Sunday too.
I usually only do this at holiday times so it is a bit of a treat.

The weather this week has been amazing. In the 80sF all week and sunny. In fact we put the air conditioning on upstairs last night as it was a bit too warm to sleep comfortably.
I spent some time tidying up the garden yesterday until I got too hot. I even wore a T. shirt.

It is hard to believe that just a few short weeks ago we were up to our ears in snow.
I don't think it will last though. In fact they are talking about thunderstorms tomorrow. We haven't had any rain in ages.
I knew it was too soon for summer but at least we have had a little taster.