* * * * * * *

"Life doesn't have to be perfect to be wonderful."
- Unknown

"That which does not kill you, makes you stronger."
- Handed down through the ages.

"Life's tough. It's even tougher when you're stupid."
- John Wayne

December 1st?! Aaaaghhh!

I will not stress about how close it is to Christmas.  I will not stress about how close it is to Christmas.  I will not . . . .  Oh, who am I kidding?

Looking at yesterday's post title, I realized that me using 'ugh' again made it seem like a complaining / depressing post.  Hmmm, must watch that.

So, it wasn't even 9:30 this morning, and I'd learned something new!  I stayed at the office until 10:00 last night, determined to get my last order placed in the hopes of having some new canvases at the gallery in time for the sale on Saturday . . . only to become über frustrated due to the fact that the company wouldn't accept my credit card.  Declined.  I tried 4, 5 times.  It isn't the balance.  No, for once, I'm fine in that regard.  What the HECK, then?  After trying to place the order again from home here this morning, I had the same results.  Dammit!  So, I called the bank.  Turns out, there are limits (which can be changed by the account holder) of how much any single debit / credit card (or ATM / cash) withdrawal can be!  Did YOU know that?  I certainly didn't.  Turns out, mine was just set at an automatic amount . . . too low for this big printing company purchase.  Hmph!  Like I said, learn somethin' new each day!  But, yayyyyyy:  just got a message from the company reading Print Order Complete!!! 

Just got a detailed e-mail off to My Girl.  I need a Girl Friday in preparation for Saturday's to-do, and I'm beginning to delegate.  She won't be able to attend the event on the weekend, so I'm taking advantage of her now . . . besides, she needs money, and I'm willing to pay for her time!  ;)

I was gone for a while there, but you didn't even miss me, did you?  I'm multi-tasking this morning while I'm still at home, and I just got four oil filters and four air filters ordered for the generator.  Here's why.

Remember last Wednesday's / Thanksgiving Eve's snowstorm when I still didn't get to bed until 3:30 AM even tho I arrived home at 11:00?  Well, about a week previous to that, the automatic start on the generator didn't automatically start, and I was given an error message that the oil pressure was low.  Knowing I had to change the oil & filter, I topped the reservoir off so I could postpone the job just a couple more days.  Fast-forward to the night of the storm, and, once I was home and back outside doing chores, I checked the oil in the generator just to make sure that all was well.  (It was.)  While there, though, I popped the top off one of the 3 cells in one of the 24 deep-cycle batteries to make sure the water level wasn't low (also a needs-to-get-done job I'd been putting off until "I had time" - HA!).  It was low.  Hmph.  I popped another.  Low, too.  Damn.  If two were low, it meant they were probably ALL low.  All 72 cells.

I trooped back into the house and changed into work clothes.  Then, still awfully tense from that horrible drive home (remember, I b-a-r-e-l-y made it in with the Yaris), I pocketed the large bottle of pear cider I'd (wisely!) purchased that afternoon and headed back out to the garage.  The cider didn't taste as cold as it should have in that snowstorm, so I got a brilliant plan:  oooooh, pear cider slushy!  I grabbed a flashlight and ran upstairs of the garage to the pub-to-be and started looking through boxes.  Soon, I had a gold-rimmed china cup in hand.  I stepped out the garage door and scooped it full of fresh snow.  Then, I topped it off with cider.  Aaaahhhhhhhh, lip-smackin' good!!!  Plugging in the portable DVD/CD player I'd also grabbed from the house, I put in my latest audio book and set to work.

It was 2:30 by the time I'd checked each of those 72 reservoirs and topped them off.  Mind you, it's a job that requires you to contort your body to reach all the cells . . . while wearing a full face shield to protect from acid splashes (the battery "water" is actually part acid) and the always-feared-but-never-yet-experienced-thank-gawd possibility of exploding batteries.  And, you're up and down (leaning in that horribly painful awkward position) a million times to refill the ketchup squeeze bottle (that I use to gently squirt the water into the cells) from the gallons of distilled water.  Because the battery room needs to stay warm (77° is ideal, but it's far from that in the winter), you're sweating, and the way the face shield attaches makes your head hurt.

Once I got inside that night, I STILL needed to "decompress", so I popped in a taped TV show . . . hence the didn't-get-into-bed-until-3:30 . . . where I still tossed and turned and couldn't turn my brain off, DESPITE the pear cider and mindless TV.  But, such is Life on the Homestead.  ;)

Jumping ahead to yesterday morning and me doing chores before I left for the day, I noticed that I was getting the same 'low oil pressure' warning, and the generator had not turned on to charge the batteries.  Knowing I didn't have time to tackle the project then, I turned off everything I could in the house (for the least amount of battery draw), and left the system as is (not charging except for what small solar gain would come through the solar panels on a cloudy day), promising myself I would do the oil change when I got home.  I peeked up on the shelf, and there were two filters awaiting use, and I had plenty of oil, so I knew I was prepared.

Working late last night trying to get that order placed, I didn't get home until about 11:40 PM.  But, I changed clothes like a good girl and headed out to tackle the project.  I did all the prep work and then opened the oil valve to allow the reservoir to drain.  While the generator was draining, I used the stepladder to get up to the shelf to pull down one of the two oil filters.  Problem was . . . they WEREN'T OIL FILTERS!!!!  Dammit!  Same color BOX, but NOT the same thing!

So, Plan B:  now that the old oil was drained, I closed up the valve and refilled it with new oil.  Today I would order PLENTY of filters and make my second attempt at the job as soon as they arrived.  Meanwhile, although it's still running with the old oil filter, the generator IS running, and the new filters are on their way.

I didn't get any new pictures taken yesterday - probably because every snippet of attention was being given to driving the 4 1/2 mile winter driveway out to the main road.  Given the inch-plus of rain that had fallen on the couple of feet of snow overnight, the road was a DISASTER!  I'll bet my odometer topped out at 11 mph, and I was still getting sucked, sideways, into the ditches . . . even in the 1-ton.  There was NO possibility of plowing that much frozen slush on my way out.  I wouldn't have gone ANYWHERE.  Fortunately, the forecast was right for a change, and the temperature was down to 20° by the time I headed home last night.  Even though there were deep, frozen ruts left by the truck from the morning, I was able to drop the blade and plow some of that frozen gunk off the road on the way in.  I'm tempted to try driving the Yaris today, but I'll feel more comfortable if I give the road one more sweep with the plow, first.  So, it's another trip to town for ye ol' truck.  Fortunately, I LOVE my truck!  :)

Okay, on with it . . . although I feel good that I've already accomplished quite a lot today, even if I'm still in my bathrobe!

P.S.  I almost forgot:  I did the stupidest thing last night.  A girlfriend and I who haven't visited in an AGE made a 6:00 date for dinner last night.  For once, I was on time.  I waited at the bar and ordered a Guinness.  But, she wasn't showing up!  She's always super pronto, so, at 6:15 I called her and left a voicemail.  At 6:30, I decided to order dinner.  She called a little before 7:00.  The date was for THURSDAY night!  Tuesday, Thursday, huh?  DOH!  I've NEVER done anything like that in my LIFE!  Just proves that my brain is filled to capacity!  (Which is why I wrote it on my calendar those many days ago so I'd no longer have to "keep it inside" this kettle drum of a head!)  Looking back at e-mails discussing the date, though . . . yep, Thursday.  Oi vey.


  1. But UGH! is completely appropriate LOL! When I was in the Navy I was once stationed on a cliff in Northern CA that had been severely undercut by the 1992 quake, the base had been selected for closing and we were down to a ghost caretaker crew of 5, I was one of them. One of our duties was to make rounds in the battery room. This part of the building was directly over the undercut cliff overhang and I would be surprised if anyone actually "checked" anything in there! It was a spooky place anyway, think "The Shining", about 5 hours NORTH of San Fran if you can imagine how remote that is. I used to creak open the big security door, stick my foot in so I could initial the check, and get the hell out of there pronto LOL! I really hope your battery room is much less scary hahaha! Too funny about the dinner date, although I can see that happening here too, my mind has been on a zillion things lately!

    My story just reminded me that I'll have to tell you about the time a friend of mine (on that crew of 5) dragged a deer into the GOV'T building one night and proceeded to clean it on the raised decking... oh I have oodles of those, we did some strange things stuck up there in Humboldt County for 3 years!

  2. Erin, if I was in the military, a gig like that is about the only one I think I'd enjoy! ;) Is the base, indeed, closed now?

  3. You topped out at 11 mph in the one ton? Wow. Sounds like some FABULOUS roads up yonder. :) So you had the wrong day for your date. Eh, at least you got to enjoy two Guinness, right?

  4. yep, I locked the doors July of '94! It was a submarine intel base so even at its height of operation we only had about 150 people!

  5. Holy Moly girl! I think I need a nap now...I'm pooped just thinking of all that!

    Bet you will be glad when the 4th is done and passed!

    Ok, so I get the date being messed up because you are TOO busy, but at least you had a good beer!

  6. Erin, while I had a bowl of Raisin Bran late last night, I took a few minutes to peruse one of the latest newspapers. (Reading about the deer at the base reminded me that) I read about TWO separate instances of people calling a road kill deer in to the DNR so they could take it home . . . only to have BOTH deer jump up and run away! And ONE was AFTER the guy had loaded it into the back of his pickup!!!!

    MamaTea, yep that impressive speed was in the 1-Ton. Hey, are you in MN???? And (Ms. Apple Pie, too), you know how sometimes Guinness ABSOLUTELY HITS THE SPOT and then, other times, it's kinda like "meh". Unfortunately, that's how it was Tuesday night. But, maybe I'll give it another go tonight. Just for good measure, you know. ;)

    Erin, ooooooh, if that base is still sitting empty, I'll bet it's the coolest, creepiest place EVER now!

    Ms. Apple Pie again, yeah, I *will* be glad when Saturday's over . . . almost as much for the fact that then I'll finally - and with confidence - put out the OPEN sign each Saturday that I'm there. Previous to now, I haven't been happy enough with it to really proclaim it open.


If you are familiar with me and where I live, please respect my right to retain some anonymity by not referring to me by anything other than Chicken Mama nor mentioning city/town/villages by place names. Thanks!