Struggle in the Vegetable Garden

No, not just me and my pathetic “crop management.” While that's definitely been a struggle, there have apparently been physical altercations going on in the garden, specifically on top of the onions. The tops of those plants — once so proud and erect — are all now bent over. I hope they're not broken, not that I guess it will affect the bulb in the ground, will it?

We already know the culprit: our stupid cat, Sunny. And we already know her “opponents”: rabbits. Rabbits that don't live to tell about it. It's the strawberries and lettuce next to the onions that these critters are after. Sunny brought one of her victims inside the other night, horrifying our daughter, Elizabeth, asleep in her bed. The rabbit was still alive when brought inside, but not for long. In the morning when Elizabeth woke up, her first, almost apoplectic words were all about what I'd just described.

We all agreed it was disgusting, and none of us is particularly fond of the cat lately. But we can't keep her locked outside because then she'll keep waking me up — repeatedly throughout the night — scratching at the window. Besides, as I told Elizabeth, the cat thinks she's being helpful by bringing us her kill. She thinks she's providing for the family. Still, it's disgusting and annoying, and I wish I could figure a way out of this situation without harming the cat.

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No More TV

We've turned off, unplugged and hidden the TVs from ourselves! The plan is to keep it that way throughout the summer. We'll see how long it lasts. 🙂 Something tells me we'll be “cheating” by watching more stuff on our computers. Still, I expect us all to be just a little bit smarter because of it. 🙂

First Day of School, I Mean, Work

Feels like the first day back at school after summer vacation, except in this case it’s not even summer yet and I’ll be starting a new job, not school, today. I hope it lasts longer than the last few jobs! I have had a string of incredible bad luck over the past decade through no fault of my own, I swear. 🙂

I guess it started with that ladder company job in Smyrna where I was hired as the “network administrator.” That was cool. People were nice. Salary was decent. The company actually made something rather than just pushed papers. And I was commuting the opposite way of most traffic. What’s not to like? But then they shut that plant down and moved everything to Mexico. Thank you, NAFTA.

Luckily, I had my “fall-back” job of freelance consulting, dba ComputerHelp!, which I did for a couple years, with sub-contract work thrown in here and there to help pay the bills. Then I got a job at that limestone mining company in downtown Nashville (their plants were all out of state, throughout the southeast and Texas) as an “application support specialist” — “ASS” for short. That one lasted over four years until some foreign (Belgian) company swooped in and bought them. Next thing I know (OK, so it was a year later), my “position was eliminated” by a bunch of bean counters in Brussels. That was a tough year.

Then I got a job as a “functional analyst” (func. anal., for short) at an advertising company. Unfortunately, they were almost completely dependent on a government contract. And this year, thanks to the idiots in Washington and the “sequestration,” my employer lost that contract (or, more accurately “just” the program that paid my salary). Literally half the company was laid off.

I tried applying for unemployment benefits, but that never quite worked out. I didn’t get a single “paycheck” from them. I didn’t really want their money, anyway. But now, after spending the past couple of months trying to get my creative writing and “online presence” whipped into shape — and I did manage to publish a couple of novels — I’m off to work for someone else again … because the income is more reliable at the moment.

As I told these guys in the job interview, “If you’re wondering where I expect to be in 5-10 years, I’ll be making a living as a writer. Until then, I’ll be a fantastic ‘technical business analyst’ for your company!” But they never did ask that question, or any of those typical, stupid, laboratory-derived interview questions.

Maybe this place will work out. The people seemed cool, even though the company itself is a large corporation. We’ll see. Here’s hoping!

Holiday World (2013)

I rode a rollercoaster for the first time in I don't know how long. It was a blast! The Raven has been voted “most awesome [or whatever] wooden coaster” several times in the past ten years. The Voyage, now the reigning champ of wooden coasters, was temporarily unavailable. Surprisingly, it was good therapy for my back. When the bottom falls out from under you while the lap bar holds you down, it is, in effect, a couple seconds of traction. It helps stretch out the spine.

I was so proud of myself, I tried to post that to my Facebook status — without the “traction” bit — but FB has been weird on my iPhone ever since the last couple of updates, and the post never went through. Where did it go? I clicked Send. Maybe it posted that to someone else's status and now all his “friends” are asking what the hell he was doing at Holiday World in Santa Claus, Indiana when he was supposed to be at the Rotary Club fish fry in Manhattan, Kansas or something.

There were very few parents like me — at least in the water park “Splashing Safari” area — going on any of these rides. It was 90% under-18 there. Part of the reason for that might be that you first have to climb sometimes five or six stories high before riding down. I got a good workout.

I had ridden The Raven alone while Tara and Elizabeth rode the “Tin Lizzies” where, I'm told, Elizabeth almost had her first road-kill! A squirrel jumped out in front of them with Elizabeth behind the wheel. Luckily for the squirrel, you can only go about 3 mph in those things.

We spent 3/4 of our time in the “Splashing Safari” side. And while those water rides were all great, Elizabeth's favorite part was probably the Bahari Wave Pool, the more elaborate one of two wave pools. We all got some great swimming exercise.


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Not Pulled Over

Had a very brief, mundane, realistic dream the night before last in which I was pulled over by a traffic cop. I didn't think much about it until the next morning when I was going down Antioch Pike to a client's office. That particular stretch (as you pass the sports fields) is infamous as a speed trap. The speed limit is 35, but there's really no reason you can't safely go 45 as long as there are no kids, which there weren't.

Anyway, I was going about 45 when some Bubba coming the other way in a work truck flashed his headlights at me, the universal warning for “speed trap ahead.” I sl