Dually truck leads to thought on causation

My day began as it nearly always does with my dog, Zoe, insisting I take her on her morning walk.  

On our way back to the car a dually pickup did a screeching acceleration past us.  I take great exception to that kind of behavior.  We live in a neighborhood and that is not acceptable.  He was clearly a worker so when I got to my car I followed intending to get the phone number of his company to report him to the builder that hired him.  But, of course, he did not have any markings on his truck.  He was a window installer with a huge Trump 2020 applique covering the back window of his pickup.  And he had sport wheels like some Friday Nights kid.  It all made sense.  It was a demonstration of American Exceptionalism in action.  

And as such things will happen, I ran across this from Rolling Stone today:

The TLDR is that we're watching the end of the American century.  Not the end of the world any more than the British Empire ending brought it on.  But with the ascension of China we're seeing the start of their century while watching the end of American exceptionalism.

I do not think I've ever read an article with more quotable lines in it.  The author, an anthropologist has a few things to say about Trump but then:

Odious as he may be, Trump is less the cause of America’s decline than a product of its descent.

This, I think, is clear.  He is a symptom to which we are attaching unwarranted causation.

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Utility drama

Our water shifted from one municipality to another.  There is so much growth around here that Georgetown, to the east, could no longer handle supplying water to our community so we switched to Leander, to the west.  Supposedly Leander costs a lot more but the way they calculate water charges on a bill are clear to someone with a degree from MIT but no one else.  So I just figured I'd wait to see whether we were going to have to pay more.  Not like I could do anything about it.

Annnnddd they screwed up the first bill.  Someone made ONE mistake setting up the transition data scrape.  They picked up the starting water meter figure from the last Georgetown bill rather than the ending figure.  So everyone gets this really high bill for two months of water usage PLUS a deposit not refundable until the last bill (meaning to my estate) and NextDoor gets a lot of over the weekend WTF comments among the neighbors.

I called this morning and, of course, they knew about the mistake.  They said to forget the bill and a new one would be coming out.  

The one good thing is that I sent them my ID for a 10% over 65 discount.  Whohoo!!

I'm hopeful that after all the dust settles and we get over the first month deposit, things will be no worse and maybe better.

Cancel culture

Almost worth it just to have that misleading post title.

I'm working through all those $10 here, $15 there subscriptions to see how much money I can get back into my budget.  Google music, Spotify, NY Times, and all my Amazon subscription stuff (mostly, turns out, dog treats.. not sure just how that happened).  All the aforementioned was set up when I had my company and money flowed back and forth.  Now it does not flow inbound quite so quickly so I'm looking at everything.

At the moment I'm online trying to claw the $15 from Mint mobile that I'm supposed to get when my friend susandennis  recommends me.  I got all the way to checkout and it isn't there.  So I'm chatting.

I'm hopeful with Mint Mobile.  I no longer need a hot spot and seldom leave the confines of my wireless here.  According to T-Mobile I've only used about 2MB of data per month over the past three months (doctor office and occasional music when I'm walking, neither of which are critical) so I'm paying a bunch for stuff I'm not using.  Turns out that this plan will cost me $101.91 for the first three months and four times that per year unless/until they raise their rates.  That is for two phones.  T-Mobile is $70/month for two phones.  And they use the same towers.

The biggest difference is you pay one month at a time for T-Mobile vs a year at a time for Mint Mobile.  But the cost difference is huge so that is not really a consideration.  

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A year with my knee

Two years ago I was recovering from getting my right hip replaced.  It had been really bothering me for years, long before I realized what was the cause.  My cycling was up to about 120 miles a week at that time and it kept the issues with my hip at bay.  But I'd had to change from a push mower to a riding mower when, one day, I got to the end of a row and could hardly stand.  Shopping was painful and I leaned on the cart.  I had to actually lift my right leg up with my hand to get into my truck.  This went on for years before I did anything about it.  

The titanium hip was wonderful.  After the surgery, I refused all the pain meds (they actually kind of guilted me as they threw away the hydrocodone that was in the pain pump I never used).  But I was really not in much pain at all.  I mean walking again was painful and building up muscle around the hip was challenging.  I remember days thinking 'this is not fun'.  But I dumped the walker in two days and dumped the cane in a couple of weeks and was walking as far as I wanted in a couple of months.  HUGE difference.

So, a year ago at this time I was recovering from a left replacement.  Knee opposite the hip.  It was crunchy when I walked or did much of anything.  Bone on bone.  Not ever going to get better.  I did the faux shark cartilage injections and they did nothing.  Did all the stuff you're supposed to but the knee was never going to return and I was not getting any younger, so I pulled the trigger.

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I got up early this morning to take my Zoe walk before it got too warm.  And to get it out of the way so I could go to Costco for the senior hour at 9.  

Then I started wondering why I was going to Costco.  I was on automatic.  I've found an outgrowth of this staying home is that I want to go to the store a lot more than I really have to.  Never much for food planning I've always hit the grocery store whenever I feel like it.  Now with every foray to places where there are other people being a little dangerous I start to question my jaunts.

We're down to a couple of pounds of coffee beans which is, to me, about five pounds less than minimum.  I get nervous when there's not a full complement of coffee in the house and Costco has some really good grower partnership coffee beans for the best price.  And we're down to four rolls of paper towels.  And we need bread.

So, translation: I've got a week's worth of coffee, two weeks or more of paper towels and, by the way, I have enough flour, yeast and the rest to make a dozen loaves of bread.  And we just got a box of meat so no reason to Costco that.  

After dithering for half an hour (something I rarely do.. I'm pretty much a decide and do kind of person) I decided to delay Costco until next week.

I've got my bulgar wheat grain soaking right now and will have bread much better than I can buy done in about four hours.


My second favorite weather report

A long time ago I heard a weather report this time of year from the NPR station in Dallas.  It went something like:  "It's August today and will be August for about another three months".


This was on my phone today:

Praise the AC man
Praise the AC man

My favorite weather report was when I was maybe 10 years old in North Carolina:

"Schools will be closed tomorrow with expected five inches of snow"



Please allow a short vent

The PC was first created in its embryonic form in about 1975.  That means people have had 45 years to learn the basics.  Email was invented six years before that.

The BCC function was created in 1977.

I'm six days short of my 67th birthday and have now officially run out of patience with people not understanding how to use a PC, email, cc and bcc.  And pretty much any other function that is part of the normal use of a computer.

This brief rant stems from a conversation I had with a business person who was reporting on someone who had sent out an announcement to 50+ people using CC and was not happy when a couple of them replied negatively including all in the CC group.  When I said it was the originators fault for not using BCC in the first place I heard the oft repeated phrase: 'well, he doesn't know much about computers'.

NO, NO a thousand times no.

He does not have an excuse.  He is lazy and a victim of his laziness.

Stop making excuses for people who are too lazy to properly use a hammer and end up with a bruised thumb.

Thank you.  I feel better now.

Butcher box customer service

Got my first Butcherbox.  Bacon, beef roast, three huge chicken breasts, couple of NY strips and some hamburger.  I've not tried any of it yet but it seems to be a good value so far.  

But it came two days early.  Great, you think.  BUT I don't randomly open my front door during the day.  In fact I seldom open it.  And I get so many randoms on my Ring doorbell I turned off the notifications.  So they delivered (LSO was the delivery service) and I got no notification but happened to open the door for something else and there it was.  Surprise!

It could have easily sat there a day or two.  Fortunately it was all still frozen although the dry ice was all gone.  All in all not a huge deal until I got an email today from Butcherbox saying that my shipping was delayed.  ??

I wrote them a nice note saying they needed to:

1 — Kick LSO's ass.  There is no interface for LSO to notify me about shipment status.  USPS, UPS, and Fedex all have a way to get me an email notification or something.  

2 — Figure out why they don't even know the true status of the shipment.

I presented the note as a help to them. They are using LSO as a cheaper shipping method trying to keep costs down which works for me.  And LSO needs to step up if they want to play in the big leagues.

The response email I got back was encouraging:

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Court day

Just completed my first court date in Webex.  Just a six month update to the placement activities of the kids assigned to me.  It was so much nicer than having to go down to the court but as my first really official remote court meeting it was strange.  A couple of people, including the court's attorney, had crappy sound and the judge had to tell them to speak up or move closer to their mic or call in.  

Something that the court reporter should be testing prior to the beginning.  But no one asked me.  I'd been using my webcam which is, I think, pretty good as both camera and mic but after a couple of people had issues I put on my headset which I know is crystal clear.  Probably blew out people's speakers when I started to talk.

I did wear pants, though.


Trying something new

I love businesses that are thriving during and, in some cases, because of the pandemic.  Adapt and overcome.  Social, capitalist, Darwinism.

And I love beef and ribs and bacon and... well, I'm at the top of the food chain for a reason. 

But I do feel like we should pay to have the animals we eat humanely treated.  And the less I can shop and the less money I can spend on food, the better.

All to say I've still got my Dinnerly subscription.  It is not perfect and I like it less than Hello Fresh BUT it is 30% less per week and we get three meals for two of us for a total of $40 and it saves at least one trip to the store per week.

I've looked for a local meat deal (you'd think "Texas, here's the beef") but the closest I can find would be to buy a quarter or half a cow and I don't have or want a freezer in my garage.

So I found my hopefully good solution:  Butcherbox.com.  For $129/month I get a bag of frozen steaks, chicken, bacon, pork... actually an assortment that they put together.  For another $10 I could make my own choices but I'm trying the cheaper solution first.  Since we spend that much on meat a month anyway, this represents one fewer trip to the store, better sourced meat, probably better tasting meat and a relationship with a company which has turned the pandemic to their advantage.

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