Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Politics - Boring and Getting Vicious

When I was young, I was actually interested in politics. I'm old, so the earliest time I understood or entertained any opinion about politics was the Nixon/Kennedy debates on television (I liked Kennedy because he looked nicer - I wasn't even five years old so no depth of scope there). I don't remember much about the actual debate, just one small snippet of memory, the way early memories often are. 

I like this old Goldwater for President t-shirt
because it actually requires a bit of thought
and some basic knowledge of chemical symbols. 

In elementary school I supported Goldwater. Again, this wasn't because of any depth of feelings for the candidates or the issues. No, I supported Goldwater because a local campaign pin for him was super cool with flecks of "gold" floating in a bubble of liquid. I'm pretty sure the "gold" was pyrite, aka fools gold, but it looked pretty cool. Although I still own a lot of miscellaneous stuff from that era of my life, that campaign button seems to have been lost to the sands of time. 

This McGovern & Shriver political poster is totally
indicative of the times. This was Vietnam, this was
Kent State, riots, burning buildings and helicopters
being shot down. This was the era of the dinnertime
war and it had a tremendous impact on us. 

My next foray into political waters was working for George McGovern and Sargent Shriver's campaign while in high school. I was an activist in high school, like many of my generation. We were too young to vote, but truly despised Nixon. Unfortunately, Nixon won in a landslide and Shriver retreated back into the curtains of history, known more as a Kennedy relative than a presidential mover and shaker. 

On August 4th, 1974, Nixon resigned the office of the
President. Gerald Ford, his vice president, stepped
into the office and as his first act, pardoned Nixon. 

In college I worked on multiple archaeological sites during my summers. (I am a trained archaeologist, having achieved a master's degree in the field, but the point in time I'm thinking about was during my basic college days.) At this particular time I was on a field school in the middle of the desert of New Mexico and the radio in the cook tent was interrupted with Nixon's resignation speech while I was helping to wash the dishes after the evening meal. The entire camp listened quietly and then burst out in unanimous cheers at Nixon's resignation decision. Finally, what I had wanted two years earlier had come true and "Tricky Dickey" would be out of office. 

I voted for Anderson in the campaign of 1980. I liked his
ideas and wasn't fond of either candidate put forth by
the major parties. It was a good vote - I think he would
have made a fine President. 

Over intervening decades I stayed local - voting in every election of course, but focusing more on who would actually impact my life directly instead of from Washington DC. I had my candidates, usually voting Democratic, but sometimes voting outside of standard political parties and once - and only once - actually voting Republican! I know - a shock to me too. 

Our campaign commercials for the midterm elections
are vicious and rather vindictive. I can't imagine why
anyone would want to run for public office these days. 

Why this long post about political interest? Because I'm really bored with politics now. It seems every day it's a new crisis, a new speech, a new decision that will destroy a new group of people. It seems that all many of my Facebook friends can talk about is politics - the current, the future, and sometimes the past (guilty as charged, at least in this blog post). We have the midterm elections coming up in November. I want them here and gone already, because the commercials are angry and vindictive, not just throwing mud but cascading mud from earth-moving machinery. Politics right now sucks, and it's never-ending. When one campaign ends, the next ones begin. I've had enough, time to get on with real life instead of slinging mud. 

We're picking up the truck tonight. It's going to be a rainy day, so I guess we'd better figure out the wiper controls, lights, and also how to put gas into it. We don't have a bed cover yet, but did opt for the bed mat. We'll get a cover ordered soon. Have a truly fabulous Tuesday. I'll be back tomorrow, hopefully with something more interesting than politics. LOL

Monday, September 17, 2018

Anniversary and Space - Why Can't Walls Expand When Needed?

We had a lovely and very low key anniversary day wandering the grounds of the Renaissance Festival and watching a very entertaining, if frustrating, football game. All in all, a nice day but very hot. We are having a late-season heat wave with July temperatures in September and even dressed in light-weight outfits, it was stifling when the pub filled with people watching the overtime of the football game. After plays, both good and bad, the game came to an end after a ten minute overtime. Final score didn't matter because it ended up tied. ARGH

Minnesota vs Green Bay has a long history. We're in
neighboring states and it's a treasured rivalry. Everyone
should have brought their "A" games to this one. 

This game was against our arch-rivals, the Green Bay Packers, and was in their home stadium (they'll be visiting our nice, warm, indoor stadium in November - good scheduling for a change. I have to wonder if our field goal kicker will have a job today. He missed three - THREE!!! - field goals yesterday, any one of which would have won the game for us. Admittedly, two were very long - a 48 yard and a 49 yard kick, but the third one, in the overtime portion of the game, was from 35 yards and this one also went wide right. FAIL! 

Diggs performed beautifully, catching some amazing balls such
as this one. Without him, we would have lost the game. Cousins
also did pretty well as quarterback. It was our kicking that
fell short. 

I'm sure Carlson (our kicker) feels horrible, but he just failed massively at the one thing he had been hired to do, and not only failed, but failed three times in a single game. Fortunately the rest of the team managed to get their act together and pulled out the tie. It's not a win, but it also wasn't a loss, so I'll call this week a win/win and look forward to the next game. 

We're supposed to have approx 2-1/2 feet between the two cars
and the cars and the sides of the garage. We actually have a lot
of side room, but it's taken up with things like the radial arm saw
and a band saw, the snow blower and lawn mower, and
various ladders and lumber. We have some serious work to get
done in here before Tuesday night. 

After returning home we measured the garage for the new truck. Oh yeah - DH really liked the truck a lot. Although Joshua would have let us take it home with us that night, We still have work to do before bringing it home, so we'll go back on Tuesday night to do the final paperwork, leave Ghost (the old Saturn) with the dealership, and take away Shadow, our new truck. 

We'll be saying good-bye to Ghost, my mom's old 1992 Saturn. It's time. 

The truck and the garage will be tight. It will barely fit, but once some of the wood for the wood shed gets moved and the extension ladder can move closer to the wall again, the length won't be a problem at all. Width will be a bit different. We both have to be able to get in and out of our respective cars, and if we didn't have the sides of the garage filled with things like the lawnmower and snow blower. Tuesday DH will have to clean out Ghost and work on the garage. It's do-able, but will take some shifting and moving. 

We have a few busy days ahead of us before bringing Shadow home, and our anniversary dinner consisted of Chinese take-out, but all in all, not too bad. I hope your weekend was excellent and that you have a wonderful Monday. I'll be back tomorrow. 

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Project Runway - Will It Still Live On?

Fall is fashion time because many people begin the switch from the light-weight and colorful fabrics of summer to the heavier-weight fabrics and more sedate colors of winter. Although today is hot, hot, hot, up here in the Frozen Northlands, last week was cool and the leaves are starting to turn. Fashion Weeks are scheduled and color palettes are being released, with Pantone releasing its' palette from the Spring/Summer London Fashion Week just this morning. Want to take a look at those colors? Click on the link here

Heidi announced that she and Tim Gunn were leaving the
show in a Twitter post on September 7th. They will be
partnering up with Amazon for a new fashion venture. 

Of course, fashion and color make me think about Project Runway. The old standard got a major shake-up at the end of last season - Season 16 - with the sexual harassment charges that were brought against Harvey Weinstein. He was accused of rape, improper conduct and many other things and it brought down his company, Miramax. What does this have to do with Project Runway? He was the husband of judge Georgina Chapman and it was his influence that had placed the show on the Lifetime network. With him out of the picture and divorced (or in the process of divorce - I'm not exactly sure) from Georgina Chapman, the money has stopped. Project Runway was cast out into the cold. 

To remind you of last season, here is Season 16's winner,
Kentaro Kameyama's winning Runway

In the early days, Project Runway had a different network home - on Bravo. Shortly after Lifetime cut ties with the show, Heidi Klum announced that Season 17 would have the show moving back to its roots on the Bravo channel. I have fairly basic cable, so I'm not 100% sure I actually can get the Bravo channel, but if I do, I'll at least watch this next season which will begin in 2018. BUT, there will be a LOT of other changes. 

I'm not all% sure I liked his collection, but
I really supported Season 16's emphasis on
models of all sizes. 

Within the past week came the announcement that both Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn have left Project Runway for a new fashion venture with Amazon. A few hours later, Zach Posen also announced his withdrawal from the show, hinting at new projects in his future. That leaves Nina Garcia and Georgina Chapman as judges ... maybe. 

Kentaro had a distinct style, and as I recall, he had also
composed his own music for the Runway walk -
a tonal piece which was firmly Japanese. 

As one of the richest "reality" contest shows on television, Project Runway held a unique slot in the genre. Winners received a substantial hand up in the fashion world, and several have gone on to become well-known and respected in the industry with easily recognized names. At the top of this list is Christian Siriano, whose make-up line is now spotlighted at Target stores throughout the nation. 

The four fashion photos are all of Kentaro's winning
Project Runway Fashion Week walk. It was a
unique viewpoint, but not one that I shared.
I probably would have chosen a different designer
as the winner. 

So what will happen with Project Runway? If it actually airs next year, I'll probably be watching - if for no other reason than watching train wrecks can be interesting. Will it be as fun without Heidi? Actually, I have no problem having PR without her. How about Tim Gunn? I'll seriously miss Tim Gunn. In a world that is cut-throat and often draws blood, Tim was a steady companion, a voice of calm, and a confidant. He'll be sorely missed. 

My Unci Zona (Grandma Zona, the woman on the right) died on
this day in 2001 at the age of 92. Her one remaining sister,
Auntie Sadie, passed on less than a year later. I still can't read
the death notices without weeping. I miss you, Unci. *LOVE*

So that's the down-low as I've heard it up to this point. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. I'll be test-driving the truck with DH tonight, and we'll be celebrating our 39th wedding anniversary at the Renaissance Festival tomorrow. It'll be a fun weekend, probably our last hurrah for warm temperatures before autumn finally clamps down. I'll be back on Monday! 

Friday, September 14, 2018

Too Many Legs and a Truck Update

I'm super stressed, not sleeping well, and over the past 24 hours, have killed three house centipedes in my home. I'm not having a really great 24 hours. Then again, things can only improve, right? These bugs really bug me - (chuckling and hiding from the pun). They aren't the really big centipedes that can bite and cause pain. No, these are the little guys, usually anywhere from 1/4 inch to 1-1/2 inches long. They destruct pretty easily with a shoe or slipper, or, in the case of the mini-me who was just running across my computer keyboard, my finger. I have to be quick on the draw with these guys, though. They're fast with all these legs. 

Sorry if you're not fond of bugs. This is a house
centipede - something that I'm not fond of and
that I've been killing too often lately. It must
be fall! 

I'm getting these guys in the house because it's almost autumn up here in the Frozen Northlands and they're looking for a nice warm place to spend the winter and raise a family. I can't really blame them for that, but I'm trying to eliminate the "Vacancy" sign that seems to be raised at centipede level somewhere in the exterior grounds. I would prefer they find another place to winter over. I'll go on killing them when they intercept my pathway. It's what I do. (My cats used to love stalking and playing with them - silly kitties.) 

I would be much happier if we had been able to go to the dealership
last night. It just wasn't going to happen, though. I think
Saturday will work, but it's a lot tighter on time. 

DH and I were "supposed" to have gone to the truck dealership last night to test drive the truck I think DH will enjoy. It didn't happen. He stressed out about it, and raised concerns about his driving in the dark - something he doesn't like doing any more. I phoned my sales guy and set something up for late Saturday instead. I get off work an hour earlier so it gives us more light. 

It's not going to happen without problems, though. I'll have to close the shop 30 minutes early on Saturday and DH will only have time to look at and drive the truck. If he likes it, he can give them a small check to hold the truck for us and we will return later next week on an evening to finalize all of the paperwork, etc. I wouldn't be pushing so hard, except I think DH will really like the truck a lot and we need this finished. I'm spending WAY too much time finding the best vehicle for our needs right now and have other things (think Holiday Cards) that I actually need to be working on. 

Maybe the house centipedes have multiplied over the past few days just because they knew I needed a stress reducer, it is rather cathartic to smash them to smithereens. At any rate, I've got to get this truck thing resolved because I'm too stressed to sleep. I'm averaging around five hours a night right now, and that's not functional for me. 

Tomorrow's post will feature some serious Project Runway news that just broke over the past 24 hours. Ooooooh! Cliffhanger - LOL. Here's hoping you have a Totally Fabulous Friday! I think I need to take out some of my basic frustration in the water. Hopefully the pool won't be as crowded today as it was yesterday. We were crazy busy at 5:30 am! Go figure! 

Thursday, September 13, 2018

I Love Trucks

Trucks are fun! I had forgotten how much I enjoy pickup trucks, so it was fun to wander the sales areas and to test drive a few models of trucks yesterday. I did come up with two firm recommendations for DH, one of which I'm leaning toward a bit harder. It's going to have to be up to him, though, since it will be his truck. I'm pushing to go test drive the Toyota tonight after work, so we'll see if he ends up in favor of that or not. Guess I'd better get some gas into Minion - I'm low in the tank and I don't want to tempt the traffic jams in the end stages of rush hour. 

I always wanted to drive a Peterbilt top of the line big
rig, but I've never had the opportunity. Oh well, there's
certainly no room for one in my garage. 

Although I've never owned a truck, I've driven quite a few of them over the years ... everything from small pickups to larger hauling vans. I've always found them to be great fun, and would have looked into making a living driving the big rigs if life hadn't thrown other career directions into my path. Admittedly, there's not a lot of commonality between a big rig and a compact pickup truck, but I'll still enjoy driving DH's truck, no matter what model he ends up choosing. 

The Chevy Colorado Extended Cab is one of the two trucks
I looked closer at. I think it would do well for DH, but that he
would get more for his money with the Toyota. 

Yesterday, after my swim, I headed out to do a few errands and to drive over to the two automobile dealerships I had chosen. I wanted to catch the salespeople soon after the stores opened. I planned on checking out Chevy and Toyota trucks. I was leaning toward the Toyota, but had a lovely perk of a $50 gift card of my choice if I test drove a truck at the Chevy dealership. SCORE! I drove a larger Silvarado at the Chevy dealership and loved driving the larger truck, but ended up thinking their smaller truck, the Colorado, would be the best choice for DH. 

I really liked the Toyota Tacoma SR5 Extended Cab. The reviews
were a bit spotty, but I think it will do better at what DH wants
a truck for than the Colorado will (and I loved the color). I really
want DH to take a test drive. 

I then drove over to the Toyota dealership which was hopping. It's one of the largest dealerships in the Upper Midwest and it showed. They had more than 20 salespeople and the desks were pushed in almost randomly. I really liked the salesman who approached me first. He was laid back, not pushy at all, and he had me into the Tacoma and behind the wheel within 20 minutes. Great truck! 

I'm not fond of pushy car salespeople, but really liked the
salespeople I was working with yesterday. The Chevy
woman was from Cornwall, England, and the Toyota man
was from Canada. Lots to talk about outside of cars. 

I'm pushing DH to buy the Toyota because I think it is the superior truck, but I think he would be happy with either one. The reviews are close, the options are close, there are some definite pluses for the Toyota over the Chevy, but it comes down to his choice. After driving them and then coming back home to measure the garage (either one will fit, but just barely!), I was finally able to continue my day's chores, topping my day off with a nice long chat with Aearwen. 

Here's hoping all of you have a wonderful Thursday. It's always best to let DH cogitate a bit, so he'll be thinking about trucks all day and looking things up on his own. Then we'll see what suits him. Enjoy your day and I'll be back tomorrow. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Trucks, Bills and the Pool - Oh! and Laundry In There Somewhere

Today, since it is my "day off", is hectic and involves a lot of errands. As usual I have the laundry and the trash and the regular housekeeping stuff, as well as my weekly convo with Aearwen which I look forward to all week long, but today I'm adding trucks to my agenda. I've set up an appointment to test drive a Chevy Silverado and hope to also test a Toyota Tacoma while I'm in that general area of the city. Although I could have used a Chevy dealership that's quite close to me, I chose one farther out because it's closer to the Toyota dealership, so hopefully I could do two vehicles in a day. If time is VERY kind to me, I'll try to grab the Ford F150 too, but that dealership is actually within walking distance of my house, so time is less of an issue. 

The Toyota Tacoma is one of the trucks we're thinking about. We
don't want a full crew cab - we have no need for the full second
row of seating. We just want small flip-down seats if needed, although
I doubt they'll ever be used. What concerns me are the dimensions
and the space we have in the garage. I'll be working with my tape
measure and taking a lot of notes. 

I'm really pushing to have a new truck in the garage before the snows fly. That gives me a 6-8 week time frame under ideal conditions. We both agree that pouring more money into our 26-year-old Saturn simply doesn't make sense any more. He needs a truck that can haul rock and such from our supplier, and I need to know he'll have reliable transport when needed. My car will be paid off mid-way through next year, so it won't be a huge financial burden. It's time. 

Paying bills is not our favorite pastime, but it's necessary. I'll have
to make sure I track this bill down, or just pay it based on
previous months payments. It's not a problem, per se, but it's
highly annoying. I don't lose bills, and I pay them quickly. This
one shouldn't be MIA. 

This afternoon I also have to spend a bit of time hunting on-line for a bill I thought I had received, and hadn't had the time to pay yet. I need to get a copy of it and get it paid ASAP. I think the amount is the same every month, so if I can't find the actual invoice, I'm still able to pay it, it's just frustrating because I don't lose things like that. ARGH

We're all serious lane swimmers at 5:00 am and 6:00 am. I usually am dong
my mile or another lap or two within 50 minutes and then getting out
for the next person to take my lane. We share lanes, of course, but
it's nice when we don't have to circle by adding a third person (or more)
to the lane. 

Looking at my calendar, tomorrow will be my 200th day in the swimming pool this year. What's crazy good is that I look at the pool, or any reasonable area of water for swimming, and I smile and imagine being in the water. That's why I pulled away from my land-based exercises and concentrated on my swimming instead. I knew that it would be so easy to talk myself out of the elliptical or the stationary bicycle, but that I loved the water so much that I would show up at the gym doors at 5:00 a.m. without fail. That's proved to be true, and I'm relieved that I'm so predictable - LOL. 

So, on that note, I'm off to plug in some pictures and head out to the pool once again. The water calls and the clock ticks and before I know it, this day will be over. Hopefully it will be a day of accomplishments. Have an excellent Wednesday and I'll be back tomorrow morning. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Sales Tax - Now It's Horribly Complex

Sometimes in my highly organized life, confusion reigns. Yes - all of us experience it now and again. Those times when we look at something and realize that it's just not enough - the cupboard needs a good clean-out, the room needs reorganization, or time deadlines that have been set up just aren't going to work. I'm diving into OOPS territory right now both at work and at home, and I've got to get myself into gear, focus, and streamline things that I can to make things work correctly. 

It should be easy for anyone to buy and sell an item. Suddenly
it's becoming quicksand for retail. 

My major bug-a-boo right now is sales tax. I'm sure all of you pay some sort of sales tax - whether it's an add-on at the point-of-sale, a small amount of extra money that goes to the city or state or nation as our "gift" unto Caesar. Carrying sales tax down the line, taxes are assessed on a statewide basis with smaller amounts for counties and even for cities. Normally this isn't a problem - cash registers are set up with a percent, it automatically gets added to items appropriate for taxation, the customer hands over the cash or credit card, and all is good. They get the product, and I get the monthly headache of filing taxes. 

Mail order used to be simple, but it's suddenly
going to get VERY complex. 

You may not have heard about the latest, however. In the USA, recognizing that dollars passing through states without sales taxes meant a loss of revenue (well duh!), someone took someone else to court and now all of us - large to small - have to assess and pay sales tax on every sale no matter what. I, like many retailers, have an on-line mail order arm of my store. I'm seriously considering knocking it out, effective almost immediately. I don't get a lot of income from it, but now, just to make things truly horrid, I have to tax each sale no matter what. That wouldn't be horrid, except now I'm going to be required to tax based on their residence, not my own state's rate ... well, let's just say this. ARGH!!!!!

If my hair wasn't already grey, this might just turn
it that color. I'm hoping I'm misinterpreting some
aspects of the new law. I have to have it in
place by October 1st, and I'd better understand it
by then. 

In essence, just for my state, my tax is based on one of more than 25,000 individual city tax rates, all of which can be "...conveniently looked up" on a PDF form or in a link that I might be able to access from my smartphone at the point of sale. Not only that - but my interpretation is that I need to charge the appropriate sales tax for where my customers live - not where the sale is taking place. So, if Rosemary from Roseville and Albert from Albertville are in the store buying a few beads, I'm supposed to charge each of them differently because they have different tax rates, and then I'm supposed to file my sales tax reports based on those differing amounts so that each city gets their piece of the pie. 

If sales are dominated by a single vendor, what
happens to our variety of available products? 

I'm hoping that I'm misinterpreting this, but yesterday's email from the state Department of Revenue was confusing, to say the least. If I'm right, though, then the law may have finally succeeded in driving all of the mom-and-pop stores out of business and leaving the ocean empty except for the sharks like Amazon. If that's the case, it will be a terrible shame because we'll lose some serious marketplace diversity. 

In any case, have a great Tuesday and I'll be back tomorrow, perhaps with a greater understanding of the new sales tax system ... or not.