New Batteries

Andy was late coming home yesterday evening because Greg and Bernie had started installing our new batteries. The new batteries weigh about 200 pounds each, and there were six of them in each green container, so the guys needed heavy equipment to move them around.




Greg and Bernie were still working when Andy left, so we will presumably have more pictures tomorrow.


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Mallard Fillmore

Yesterday’s Mallard Fillmore cartoon shows the duck reading the newspaper and looking frightened. The headlines are about Ebola, the Islamic State, the economy, etc., etc.

Mallard says,

Halloween seems a little superfluous this year.

Do you think he has a point? ;)


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Good-bye Tree

Now that trees are beginning to fall, Andy decided this one should be taken out before it fell on the fence and crushed it.


So he had the contractor’s crew come up to deal with it. They first took down the fence.


Then they cut down the tree.


And they cut the tree into manageable pieces so they could toss them out of the fenced-in area before putting the fence back.


All in all a productive day.


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I’m pretty sure Andy Borowitz would say the states trying to quarantine anyone who has interacted with Ebola patients in Africa are overreacting. In his latest report, Study: Fear of Ebola Highest Among People Who Did Not Pay Attention During Math and Science Classes, he writes.

For example, when a participant of the study was told that he had a one-in-thirteen-million chance of contracting the virus, his response was, “Whoa. Thirteen million is a really big number. That is totally scary.”

My first reaction was to agree, the quarantines are an overreaction, but now I’m more sympathetic with the governors who say, “Better safe than sorry.”

This New York Times article talks about a study just published in Science. The West African strain of Ebola is different from the one we’ve known for years about in Central Africa. This difference is important because

…the diagnostic tests now in use, as well as drugs and vaccines under consideration, are based on the Central African strain and might not work well on this outbreak. For example, a diagnostic test in use now might not give a clear positive if a victim had a low viral load early in an infection.

That doesn’t mean we should panic, it just means there are a lot of things about the current strain of Ebola that we don’t understand. It might be wise to proceed with caution.

The argument against quarantines/restricting flights is it will discourage volunteers from going to West Africa to fight Ebola before it becomes a world pandemic. In that case maybe the federal government could encourage volunteers by providing flights and health monitoring rather than placing the burden on individual states. What do you think? Do you care one way or another?


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Crazy Systems

Andy just received a computerized notice of Tuesday’s follow-up appointment with his surgeon. The computer had the date and time correct, but for the address it had the address of the billing and scheduling department in Santa Fe. We already knew about this kind of problem because of the reminder we had received for the surgery. For that one I phoned and got things clarified. And for this upcoming appointment Andy had already gone down to their office here in town to confirm that the appointment was here, not in Santa Fe. It always pays to check.

And we received another letter from our health insurance company about the ongoing matter from last January. I wouldn’t have been surprised if it were a fourth version of the request for us to repay them — I figured the computer wouldn’t know for a while even if they had straightened it out. But this letter said they knew we hadn’t cashed the check, but please give them the documentation proving the provider had returned the money. We have no access to that information, of course, so I just wrote a note on the bottom of their letter:

This matter was resolved months ago. For details contact Customer Service, [Phone number].

I was willing to mail this back to them because they included a postage-paid envelope. Otherwise I would have just ignored their letter.

Clearly some systems work better than others!


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When we had the house built in 2012, we requested a brown screen/storm door. The contractor couldn’t get one right away, so he installed a “temporary” white glass one.


This weekend, almost two years later, he installed the one we specified.


It pays to be patient.


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Yay, CBC!

I was amused by this description of the Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC) coverage of the shootings in Ottowa: Canada Just Showed the US the Exact Right Way to Cover a Shooting.

Given the seriousness of the situation — Canadian MP Kyle Seeback called it a “horrific day” — and given the relative rarity of public shootings in Canada, a media circus would not have been entirely unexpected. Yet CBC, one of Canada’s premiere news organizations, had other ideas.

Rather than the hysterical, high-pitched squealing of some American networks, CBC assumed a miraculously calm tone. As Media Bistro’s Mark Joyella noted, “the rolling coverage was smart, careful, and absolutely un-American.”

I don’t watch TV news. If you do, do you agree with the above assessment of American TV networks, or do you think it’s unfair?


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Yay, Old Folks!

Before the operation Andy’s surgeon said Andy would have less trouble recovering than a 21-year-old — older people are more used to aches and pains.

Andy laughed when he told me that.


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More Poems

The book of children’s poems I mentioned yesterday burned in the fire, but Andy and I still remember two of the poems. (I needed to look up the exact wording, of course).

The first poem is Hiding by Dorothy Keeley Aldis:

I’m hiding, I’m hiding
And no one knows where;
For all they can see is my
Toes and my hair

And I just heard my father
Say to my mother –
“But, darling, he must be
Somewhere or other;

Have you looked in the inkwell?”
And Mother said, “Where?”
“In the INKWELL?”said Father. But
I was not there.

Then “Wait!” cried my mother —
“I think that I see
Him under the carpet.” But
It was not me.

“Inside the mirror’s
A pretty good place.”
Said Father and looked, but saw
Only his face.

“We’ve hunted,” sighed Mother,
“As hard as we could
And I am so afraid that we’ve
Lost him for good.”

Then I laughed out aloud
And I wiggled my toes
And Father said —”Look, dear,
I wonder if those

Toes could be Benny’s?
There are ten of them, see?”
And they WERE so surprised to find
Out it was me!

The other is The King’s Breakfast by By A. A. Milne:

The King asked
The Queen, and
The Queen asked
The Dairymaid:
“Could we have some butter for
The Royal slice of bread?”
The Queen asked
The Dairymaid,
The Dairymaid
Said, “Certainly,
I’ll go and tell
The cow
Before she goes to bed.”

The Dairymaid
She curtsied,
And went and told
The Alderney:
“Don’t forget the butter for
The Royal slice of bread.”

The Alderney
Said sleepily:
“You’d better tell
His Majesty
That many people nowadays
Like marmalade

The Dairymaid
Said, “Fancy!”
And went to
Her Majesty.
She curtsied to the Queen, and
She turned a little red:
“Excuse me,
Your Majesty,
For taking of
The liberty,
But marmalade is tasty, if
It’s very

The Queen said
And went to
His Majesty:
“Talking of the butter for
The Royal slice of bread,
Many people
Think that
Is nicer.
Would you like to try a little

The King said,
And then he said,
“Oh, dear me!”
The King sobbed, “Oh, deary me!”
And went back to bed.
He whimpered,
“Could call me
A fussy man;
I only want
A little bit
Of butter for
My bread!”

The Queen said,
“There, there!”
And went to
The Dairymaid.
The Dairymaid
Said, “There, there!”
And went to the shed.
The cow said,
“There, there!
I didn’t really
Mean it;
Here’s milk for his porringer
And butter for his bread.”

The Queen took
The butter
And brought it to
His Majesty;
The King said,
“Butter, eh?”
And bounced out of bed.
“Nobody,” he said,
As he kissed her
“Nobody,” he said,
As he slid down
The banisters,
My darling,
Could call me
A fussy man—
I do like a little bit of butter to my bread!”

They still make us smile after all these years. Can you remember anything that tickled your funny bone 35 or so years ago?


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We Can Relate to That

Poor old Jonathan Bing
Went out in his carriage to visit the King,
But everyone pointed and said, “Look at that!
Jonathan Bing has forgotten his hat!”
(He’d forgotten his hat!)

Poor old Jonathan Bing
Went home and put on a new hat for the King,
But by the palace the soldier said, “Hi!
You can’t see the King; you’ve forgotten your tie!”
(He’d forgotten his tie!)

Poor old Jonathan Bing,
He put on a beautiful tie for the King,
But when he arrived, and Archbishop said, “Ho!
You can’t come to court in pajamas, you know!”

Poor old Jonathan Bing
Went home and addressed a short note to the King:
“If you please will excuse me, I won’t come to tea;
For home’s the best place for all people like me!”
—Betrice Curtis Brown

That poem was in a book of poetry for children that Kaitlin and I used to read. I thought it was funny at the time, and it’s even funnier now because Andy and I have recently had our own Jonathan Bing moments. Have you ever left the house without something important and had to return for it?


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