Here’s Hoping

Each of the rat zappers killed a rat Wednesday evening or Thursday morning, so the total is now

rats in truck 16
rats in well house 9
mouse (in truck) 1
ground squirrel (in truck) 1

Andy put the Rid-a-Rat in the truck Thursday. A rat had moved it yesterday, but there was no new nesting material and no rat in the zapper.



Today he’s going to put the motion-activated light in the well house. We don’t want rats destroying things in the truck and well house, but we don’t want to kill them either. Keep your fingers crossed for us.


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Yay, Scotland! Yay, UK!


The above is a screen shot I took during BBC Scotland’s coverage of the referendum for Scottish independence. The colored areas on the map are the ones where the votes had already been counted. Areas marked in red had voted against independence, green, for independence. Not surprisingly, the No’s won.

Why would I spend time watching the results? I have a warm spot in my heart for Scotland. Kaitlin spent her junior year of college at the University of St. Andrews, and I visited her twice while she was there. The first time was for a weekend in the fall when I was on my way to Germany for a business trip. The second was when Andy and I went for a week during Kaitlin’s spring break. We rented a car, saw a lot of the country, and had a great time.

So I love Scotland and think staying in the union is a good thing for it, especially if the Scots do get the increased autonomy they’ve been promised. We’ll have to see.

Did any of you care about the referendum, one way or another?


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Smooth Ride? Or?

Has your life been one smooth ride? Has it had enough rapids to make it adventuresome? Or have you been “dunked” more times than you would have liked? Or…?


Posted in Life As a Shared Adventure | 19 Comments

Poor Obama

That was a long time ago, wasn’t it?


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Interesting Stories

There are lots of elderly people and children in our street, and walking with your cellphone may cause unnecessary collisions here.
—Official in the Chinese city of Chongqing

So the city tried an experiment. It divided one stretch of sidewalk into two lanes — one for smartphone users, the other for non-users. Did it have any effect? No, because the smartphone users were too distracted to read the signs.

Then there was the fellow who was applying for a visa to Australia. He was asked if he had ever been arrested for a felony. His answer? “I didn’t know that was still a requirement.” Neither Andy nor I saw that one coming.

Have you read/heard any interesting stories — either true or made up — lately?


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Discouraging Critters

Yesterday I wrote saying I hated the idea of killing poor critters who only wanted to make a nest for themselves, and Beate emailed a possible solution. A friend of hers had good luck with Rid-A-Rat. The idea is simple. Rats like dark places, so just install a little blinking light to discourage them.

I ordered one of them and also a motion-detecting LED porch light — the light turns on when it detects motion, then shuts itself off to save the batteries. We’ll try them both, one in the truck engine compartment and one in the well house. We’ll let you know if either of them seem to work.

Thanks, Beate!


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This weekend Andy and Orlando were going to fix up the roads so Andy can plow this winter, but Orlando couldn’t get the backhoe in time. They now plan to do it next weekend.

They’re also going to install these two new culverts in the road drainage system to help keep the roads from washing out next year.


A critter has been bringing materials into the engine compartment of the truck — to build a nice nest for the winter.


I’m afraid, and Andy hopes, the rat zapper will get it instead. What would you be rooting for?


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Say, What?

Radical groups in Syria have for years waged a slick campaign to recruit Westerners by appealing to their sense of religious duty and by assuring them that despite all evidence to the contrary, war isn’t so tough.

Recruiters have referred to the fight in Syria as “five-star jihad,” with impressionable would-be fighters promised ample accommodations, fine food, money and brides. Some recruitment materials have featured smiling fighters holding kittens.
—Karla Adam, The Washington Post

Adam’s article, entitled Westerners Fighting in Syria Disillusioned With Islamic State But Can’t Come Home, is about disillusioned young Britons fighting in Syria.

Apparently some “experts” studying these young adults say some of them are not hardened jihadists — if they were offered a deradicalization program and were carefully monitored by MI5, they could be a powerful weapon against jihadist recruitment efforts in Muslim neighborhoods.

My guess it would be a hard sell to politicians and the British public. What do you think?


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tammy’s Back!

Her latest post, a lamp by the window is up at peanut on the table, and she’s welcoming comments again.

Yay, tammy! We missed you.


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An Organizational Glitch

Do you remember the incident with the insurance company sending us a check? We had thought the case was closed — both the insurance company and provider had said the provider had been paid. Then we received another bill from the provider and a check from the insurance company. We weren’t about to cash the check, so after talking to the insurance company we signed it over to the provider so we would be out of the mess.

Or so we thought. Wednesday we received a letter from the insurance company saying they had overpaid, please send them a check for the overpayment. Needless to say, I’ve spent a few hours dealing with the insurance company trying to get it all resolved. I’ll spare you the details. I do have the names of two people who promise to follow through on it, and one of them is a supervisor.
The Adventure Continues, July 12, 2014

The customer care representative did follow through, and she phoned me after she had contacted billing and had presumably settled the matter. I was impressed by her and appreciated her efforts.

Unfortunately those efforts didn’t quite work. Monday we received a second notice on the bill. I again phoned the Customer Care Unit and the woman agreed we didn’t owe anything, she would talk to billing.

This woman didn’t inspire confidence, so I went through my notes and found our photocopy of the check, showing both the front and back (where Andy signed it over to the provider). We photocopied it and sent it, along with a note explaining we didn’t owe any money, back to the billing department.

I have a feeling that might have been enough, but just to be sure I went on their website and filled out a form giving the details and asking them to please settle the matter. The site says someone will contact me in a day or two, and I do like the idea of a real person responding. Hopefully this time one of my methods might finally work.

What do you think the chances are? I actually think they’re pretty good. I think the insurance company does care about customer service so sooner or later the problem will be solved.

I do think we were wise not to cash the check and to photocopy it before we sent it off.

My list of essentials for dealing with large organizations are

(1) A speakerphone so I can do other things when I’m put on hold,
(2) A photocopy machine so we can easily document what we do, and
(3) Patience and a sense of humor.

What would be on your list?


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