Friday, 14 February 2014

09:59 – Barbara hates to let the weather alter her plans. So this morning she headed to work in the Trooper. She called when she arrived to say that the residential streets were a complete mess, but the main roads were in pretty good shape. The high today is forecast to be well above freezing, so some of the mess on the roads will begin to melt. But tonight is to be very cold, so the mush will refreeze into solid sheets of ice with deep ruts. Tomorrow morning is likely to be a worse mess than this morning.

We’re shipping kits steadily. February is always the slowest month for us, but at least we’re on track this month to more than double last February’s sales. For the first half of the month we’re at about 1.2 times last February’s total sales. Our kit inventory is in pretty good shape for biology and forensic kits, but we’re down to less than a dozen chemistry kits. Getting more of those built is a high priority.


24 thoughts on “Friday, 14 February 2014”

  1. 72 F and heading to 74 F here in the Land of Sugar. My swimming pool had actually gotten up to 49 F last weekend but it is back down to 42 F with all the 32 F nights. It will probably start rising rapidly now.

    I seem to be following in my maternal grandmother’s tradition of severe food allergies and am now getting a new allergy each year. She could only eat tuna and rice for the last ten years of her life (died at age 88). I have been allergic to almonds for about 20 years now and added milk to that two years ago. Added butter and cheese to that list last year. Sour cream is not on the list yet but I have my suspicions. Dry baked potatoes really suck!

    Last night the wife made sugar cookies with confectioners sugar icing for a Valentine’s treat. I had three last night and lost the contents of my stomach. Had two more cookies this morning with the same result so am adding confectioners sugar to the list. Sigh.

    I am also allergic to Penicillin and Keflex. Any good bacteriological outbreak and I figure that I am toast.

  2. We’re getting ALL the weather here in Ktown today. At 8 AM, it was slightly overcast. By 9, it was socked in and snowing heavily, with almost an inch of snow in half an hour. Now it’s bright blue sky and melting fast and all the snow that fell earlier is gone, though Accuweather informs me that it’s actually raining. Later I expect toads to fall from the sky, or perhaps a plague of locusts. Well, no I don’t really expect that, but I wouldn’t be surprised, either. After all, Okanagan is native for “weather changes often”.

    Lynn, I feel for you. If I had to give up cheese, butter and cookies I’d kill myself. The only thing I’m allergic to is other people’s pets. My own pets never bother me.

    To be sure, you’ll be dry toast.

  3. Last night the wife made sugar cookies with confectioners sugar icing for a Valentine’s treat. I had three last night and lost the contents of my stomach. Had two more cookies this morning with the same result so am adding confectioners sugar to the list. Sigh.

    I’d be really surprised if it was the confectioner’s sugar (powdered sugar) in the icing. That’s basically just sugar in a fine powder form. The traditional recipe for confectioners icing includes a little bit of milk. Could it be gluten in the flour in the cookies? I don’t think I know anyone all who is allergic to sugar.

    Disclaimer: Gene Roddenberry, DeForest Kelly and James Doohan persuaded me that the practice of medicine was not for me before I got to high school. So none of my statements could even remotely be construed as medical advice.

  4. Lynn, I feel for you. If I had to give up cheese, butter and cookies I’d kill myself. The only thing I’m allergic to is other people’s pets. My own pets never bother me.

    I have a similar allergy. I’m allergic to my wife’s dog when my wife isn’t around. The problem has become more acute since we chose to get rid of my dog. We had to get rid of my dog because he made the mistake of trying to gently explain to our daughter that he had higher standing in the pack than she did.

    Remarkably, we found him a nice new home where his pack status will not be questioned. Actually that wasn’t the surprise. The surprise was that he lived long enough to find a new home and the new home wasn’t six feet underground.

  5. I think the flowers I bought my daughter for Valentines are getting to me. Very fragrant. Odd that while I’ve often gotten hay fever cut flowers are usually not a problem. Forty plus years ago I used to work off and on for a florist while going to school(summertime I fought fires). Great job but VD and Mother’s day were hell.

    Last night at dinner(don’t do that on the 14th either) it was mentioned how late I used to work on those holidays. I told everyone how the boss used to even offer discounts if people would take delivery on the 13th but almost no one would. My wife says ‘But it’s not Valentine’s Day’. Funny I said Mother’s Day was done on Saturday and it was never a problem.

    I can remember a lot of people getting mad that it was 7 or 8 at night before we could get there. We warned them. That was with 4 or 5 vans running instead of just one like most days.
    Hope all you married guys planned ahead.

  6. The traditional recipe for confectioners icing includes a little bit of milk.

    Not here. She puts confectioners sugar in the flour and the icing is just confectioners sugar, water and vanilla extract. Not enough flour for gluten problems and we will do a vanilla extract check in the morning when she makes me corn fritters for brunch. Living high on the hog down here in the Land of Sugar!

    I think that my grandmother was allergic to sugar in the last 10 ten years of her life. She basically could not eat anything but tuna and rice from age 78 to 88. Anything else made her sick than all get out. She dropped 40 pounds the year she started that and was about 90 lbs (5’8″) the rest of her life.

  7. I’m a tad allergic to seasonal pollen and mold stuff, and hoss saliva. No food allergies that I know of.

    26 here with continuing flurries after we had about a foot dumped on us. Just dug out the vehicles and the next tool expense for this place, when they go on sale, is a snowblower. Any recommendations from my fellow north-country peeps here?

    Other priority expenses are fixing the living room ceiling, which Mrs. OFD almost fell through a couple of weeks ago, renovating the bathroom, and getting new windows on the sides that face the lake and the street, for starters.

    Big freeze expected here, par for the course, Sunday and Monday.

  8. ther priority expenses are fixing the living room ceiling, which Mrs. OFD almost fell through a couple of weeks ago, renovating the bathroom

    Does almost mean partially? Like a foot? Thigh?

    I stuck a foot through a ceiling once, past the knee. Relighting the furnace, once again. It was quite exciting to my brother in his room, actually doing homework for once.

  9. She put her whole leg through it; stepped on a heat radiator grate in the upstairs second bedroom and got a nasty scrape and bruise on her hip as one result; other result was that the grate unit itself, a metal box attached, also fell through and smashed stuff down below in the living room, plus took out a bunch of ceiling tiles. We’re now pulling the rest of them down and we can see the original wood beams that previous dipshits covered up with cheap-ass crap tiles. Not sure yet if we should leave those exposed or put up different and better ceiling material.

    Just saw this snowblower recommended in several places online:

    Craftsman 24 inch 208cc Model 88173

    Under $700 currently; wondering how much they’ll go down once the snow stops flying; which up here could be as late as May.

  10. I had a cat before I got married. Had to get rid of him because my fiancee/wife was allergic. I make sure to tell her from time to time that I chose wrong.

  11. There was a time when I would have said Sears to nearly any tool or machine for home, and I actually did have nearly all Sears yard equipment over the years, including a leaf vacuum that hardly anybody had ever seen, and the snowblower. Many years ago, their service was reasonable. Not anymore. At all.

    They do not sell their own lawnmowers anymore, and the one I bought from them for Tiny House somehow cracked the cast metal body just out of warranty. Does not seem to affect the operation, but it looks scary. This is the year the blade should get sharpened, but I shudder to think what that will cost when they charged me $375 to replace what I later found was a $35 plug-in fan on my Kenmore fridge. That was about $150 less than the new equivalent fridge, but the guys who serviced it (and have been servicing Sears stuff around here for 30 years) convinced me that the new fridges, which have more efficient cooling system, also have significantly less insulation, so the energy tag indicates much greater efficiency, but it still uses more electricity because it is less well insulated. Lots of complaints, they said, from people ‘upgrading’ to what they think is a cheaper fridge to operate, but their electric bill actually goes up noticeably.

    The service guys used to work for Sears, but now that work is outsourced to a contractor by Sears. They were ‘transferred’ from Sears to the contract outfit, and say nobody is happy—neither them nor customers. The service rates have nearly tripled with the change (a few years ago), so customers are not happy, and the service guys themselves lost all their Sears employment benefits and seniority with the change, so they are not happy—plus they have to work longer hours now. One guy was my age, and said he is counting the days towards 2 years when his contract allows him to quit and collect the Sears retirement benefits he accrued up until the shift. Come to think of it, this spring will be the end of his 2 years.

    Sears just ain’t what it used to be.

  12. I ain’t payin’ 45-grand for a pickup truck and I certainly would not put a plow on a regular ol’ pickup truck like dat. A blower and my shovel should do the trick here, even if it takes me an hour.

    Sears, and a lot of other fine old Murkan brands ain’t what they used to be. More expensive, shittier products and crappier service, and their employees being stiffed like that, ruthlessly and relentlessly. A colder, harder, darker country in all respects and getting more so by the day, from the top down. Soon we too can have a gigantic gulag archipelago and be treated from caint see to caint see like fuckin zeks.

    Me today, you tomorrow….

  13. I ain’t payin’ 45-grand for a pickup truck

    My next pickup will set me back about $55K not including tax. It will be the last pickup that I will purchase. I keep vehicles long enough that 15 years down the road I will probably be unable to drive anymore. I owned a F-100 from 1983, swapped that for a 1999 F-150, will be upgrading that to a current model F-150 in a couple of years. 4×4 naturally, not that I need it or would use it. It just helps sometimes getting a boat out of the water. All the options, dual cab, limited edition. I will make some sales person happy.

    I will shop for the vehicle in Atlanta which has better prices. Then take the same deal to a local dealer who says he will beat any price by $1,000. I also have a cousin that works for a Ford dealer in California who says he can get me a really good price. Might make for a good cross country trip to bring it back. My cousin says he can save me enough to pay for shipping to a local dealer. We will see.

    FORD = Found on Road Dead
    FORD = Fix or Repair Daily
    FORD = Fools or Retarded Drivers

    I have had good experiences with Ford pickups so I see no compelling reason to change. Plus Ford took no handouts from the government as did Chevrolet. I would not even consider a Dodge or Chrysler product as their quality is at the bottom of the list. Slight chance I would consider a Toyota Tundra as the dealer I use for my Highlander and Avalon is outstanding and I can fully trust them as they have treated me very well.

    True story. When I was shopping for my current F-150 I drove a Dodge pickup. The A/C was not working well and I commented on this to the lot lizard. He asked how much gas was in the tank. I said it was almost empty. He said that was the problem. The A/C did not work as well when the fuel level got low. When we got back to the dealer he even had a service tech come out and confirm the issue. I scratched that dealer off my list and would never buy from them.

  14. Is the truck Lynn linked to underpowered for that sized blade?

    When I visited DC in 2003 my hosts said a neighbour had a rig like that in their back street and after heavy snow they all waited for him to clear a path to the main road for them.

  15. I’ve never owned a Ford, and never been tempted. Just prejudice, I suppose. There was a saying going around here many years ago:

    “Speed kills. Play it safe. Drive a Ford.”

    Well, Ford, GM Holden and Toyota are all pulling out of manufacturing in Australia by about 2017. Mitsubishi left in 2008. So in a few years no cars will be manufactured in Australia.

  16. I have told my Ford story here before. Had the first generation Ford Escort hatchback. Bought it for my wife, and she loved it because of the super-good visibility (visibility out of nearly any car today—except that gawd-awful looking Nissan Cube—sucks badly), was easy to get the kid in and out of the baby seat, was one of the first cars with front wheel drive, and it was easy to parallel park. After a few months, the transmission started giving us problems. I had it in at least a half-dozen times, but each time, they claimed they could not duplicate the problem.

    Then came the day 1 month out of warranty, that the transmission failed altogether. Put it in gear—nothing. Dealer gave me the runaround and told me to call regional headquarters (I was living in Chicago then) which I did. They said they looked at the dealer service records, and there was never a mention of the word “transmission” on any of them—ever! Thus it was my problem. I got out my copies of the service invoices, and sure enough, he was right! I had repeatedly taken that car in and told them “there was a transmission problem”. They had changed what I reported to reflect ONLY what I said the symptoms were: bucking at slow speeds, freewheeling while driving at city speeds, hard slam shifts.

    A guy in the neighborhood had a transmission shop nearby, and I took it to him. $850 later, they had rebuilt the transmission completely. He told me that there were parts put in that transmission backwards, which was the problem. And furthermore, I was not the only one with that problem. He said Ford knew of the problem, and was avoiding responsibility in his opinion.

    I was pretty poor in those days, as we had just bought a house in Chicago, had our first child on a credit card, and I stupidly paid cash for that car. Ended up having to borrow money from family to get that car running again. This was in the early ’80’s. I will never, EVER buy another Ford product—new or used. And I tell as many people contemplating Fords that story to try and discourage them from buying Ford. That is a lifetime of dirty they did me on that one.

  17. Sears just ain’t what it used to be.

    Sears is looking for a place to lay down and die. The purchase of Kmart was a freaking disaster for Sears. And I say this being a loyal customer of Sears over the years but no more. Except tools, their tools (especially the Pro label) are awesome.

  18. Is the truck Lynn linked to underpowered for that sized blade?

    It is a 5.0L 350 hp V8 with 350 ftlbs of torque. Good enough.

    One of my partners lives in Colorado at 8,500 ft down a 10 mile dirt road. He plows the snow off the dirt road with his 4 cylinder Jeep cj-5.

  19. He plows the snow off the dirt road with his 4 cylinder Jeep cj-5.

    I used to plow roads with a 25HP 4 cylinder Ford 600 2WD tractor. It is not the horsepower that is relevant. It is the torque and the ability to keep traction. Gonzos in their big Dodge rams don’t seem to grasp that concept.

  20. Oh no! I’m a Gonzo! Gonzo Davy in his big Dodge Ram 2500 V8 4x, tooling along the interstate here and grooving on the 12-car pileup on the Bolton Flats; per usual, the cretins who just cannot bring themselves to slow down, no matter the road surface conditions, weather, visibility, etc. It’s a very flat area that stretches for miles; DOD had it built to take B52s landing and taking off from it if need be during the Cold War. But it gets freakish weather in the winter and evidently throws drivers for a total loop.

    Won’t be putting a plow on it, though; a winch, maybe.

  21. If I had to give up cheese, butter and cookies I’d kill myself

    I can still eat cooked milk products so I am good there. I had milk in my corn fritters today and that did not bother me the least. Nor did the blueberry spread that I used for topping (freaking awesome!). And if I wanted to know how much sugar is in the blueberry spread, I’ll ask.

    And the only cookies that bother me are the confectionery sugar ones. The wife was very sympathetic, “leaves more for the rest of us”. We had a girl scout cookie delivery today from a very cute five? year old down the street. I have sampled all three boxes and given my approval: thin mints, peanut butter and Samoas. No danger here of dropping below my 250 pounds.

  22. I like the thin mint GS cookies but am esp. fond of the lemon ones; no danger here of dropping below my 275 anytime soon, either. Strawberry shortcake last night for dessert and then tonight we had beef stew with dumplings.

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