And the copier commits suicide…

Today was busy at work. Pauline stopped by, as did John Carlson, Carol and her hubby as well as half a dozen people looking for work. At least Shirley was there to deal with them. Oh, and the phone rang. Most of it was hang up calls. Why on earth would anyone prank a Chamber of Commerce? Bored? Stupid? Oh well… I was trying to get two days work done in one so that I could have tomorrow off. Since I get paid by the hour, it doesn’t work to just take time off.

While trying to hunt down information on concealed carry permits, I told one of our businesswomen in town about the Open Source software we’ve been trying to make people aware of for weeks. She wanted a copy of the  disk and a chamber application. So, gathering my stuff, off I went. Dan covered the office. I dropped off the software, new brochures from the chamber, got invited to present this info at the next school board meeting and then stopped by the Huerfano Journal. I had paychecks! Wheee! I really enjoy working for the Journal. It helps that my cousin Gretchen and her hubby Brian own and operate the paper, but I actually enjoy writing the articles.  (hi Brian! hi Gretchen!) I’m starting a history column mid January. I already do three. I picked up a laptop they want Dan to work on as well.

I got back to work with lunch in hand. I was working on getting stuff caught up and almost had everything ready for the board meeting next week in between bites of french fries. Emphasis on almost. Dan went to go copy something and the printer made this noise. Sort of a cross between a cat being pulled apart and one of those really annoying party horns. He cussed and tried it again. Then the tool bag came out. First he threatened it and then he started pulling it apart. Dan worked on copiers and printers in another life, far away in Nashville. More cussing. Then he borrowed the phone. He talked to Gobins and discovered that while the parts needed were covered by our service contract, the labor  wasn’t. $380 worth of labor for a 14 year old copier. Hmm…. I don’t think so. However, that isn’t a decision that I can make. So, I added it to the agenda for the meeting.

It also meant a whole new flurry of emails to boardmembers to let them know what is going on. Wheeee……

A cup of Mouse a day

Yesterday, I went to feed the dogs, and had to reach way down in the bag because we are almost out of food. I thought that there was a chunk of lint in the bag and so dropped the cup and started to tear the bag down a bit so that I could get the lint. I didn’t want it mixing in with the food because Blanca “wolfs” her food and if it fell in the bowl, she’d eat it.

So, I tore the bag, reached in for the cup and tried to scoop out the lint.

It wasn’t lint.

It was a mouse. I came up with a scoop of dog food with a mouse on top. I laughed, the mouse freaked and jumped off the cup. Brandy went for the mouse and Blanca just stared at the whole circus as Brandy chased the mouse. The mouse escaped, and then I fed the dogs.

Dan laughed so hard he almost fell off his chair when I told him what the ruckus was about.

The rest of the day was rather calm. We watched a few movies and then went to bed early. It was a real contrast from the 25th.

We did a wiring job on the 25th. Another contractor did the original job. He messed it up so bad that we had to go in and repair it. It should have taken 4 hours. Instead, it took 8 long hours. I was pissed. Dan was really pissed. This isn’t the first time we’ve had to fix this guys work. grrrrrrr!!!!

We did the shopping in Pueblo today. Very windy. Granted, it has been windy all week! I swear we went sideways a mile for every 5 miles we drove. It took us nearly 7 hours to do the shopping. Brrrrr!!! Dan and I were frozen by the time we got home.

Helping Senior Citizens with heating bills

My parents have a small wood stove in their new house. Every so often, my Dad heads down to the library and picks up newspaper for fire starter.  Well, when he went down today,  all of the Rocky Mt. News and Denver Post papers were gone.

Instead, John gave him a bunch of the newspaper print magazines from the recycling pile.  Now, this is where things get interesting… Why? Because, these magazines were the Out Front magazine put out by the Gay and Lesbian community in Denver for the state of Colorado.

(snicker…. twitter… giggle… )

My Dad took the pile without looking, thanked John and took them home.

I can see it now… My very conservative Dad sitting there getting ready to start a fire and taking his first real look at the papers that John gave him. Then the blushing starts…

I figure that amount of facial blood flow ought to be worth at least 10 degrees temperature rise per fire.  Dad will probably safe a lot of firewood.


What a way to help people with their heating bills!

Smokey Solstice and the sewer strikes again.

Our trip to Pueblo went well. We got all the little bits we needed and headed home. Only one problem. I still had to make lasagna and wrap prezzies.

We worked on the lasagna and the sausage rolls at the same time. Dan cooking the hamburger while I made pastry dough. We finished the sauce, made the lasagna and put it in the fridge for the next day. Total prep time about 90 minutes. Not bad for one regular and one soy version.

Then it was time to wrap prezzie. I did the paperwork, and Dan labeled, bagged and stashed stuff. Stockings were stuffed and set aside. After staying up until nearly 3am wrapping presents, we set the alarm for 6am. (yeah…. really.) The alarm almost died at 6am. Finally dragged arse out of bed by 6:30am. The sunrise waits for no one.

We stuffed the prezzies on the table and then grabbed drums, pots and pans to “drum up the sun”. (yes, wake up the sun after the longest night.) Then we dived into presents, sausage rolls, peanut butter cookies and hot drinks.


I have to admit that we didn’t decorate this year. Between Logan shredding the house at the best of times, various adults being sick and schedules from hell, I just gave up. It didn’t affect the Yuletide joy however.

We all got some cool prezzies. John got his John Wayne lunchbox, Dan got a telegraph key, the kids got toolboxes and puzzles, Beth and I got baskets and Daniel’s dog got a sweater!




However, remember that comment about smoke? Well, it was bitterly cold that morning as well as windy. So, when Dan and Daniel went to burn the wrapping paper, there was a little problem. Backdraft! We couldn’t get the chimney warm enough to draw.


Not too bad, but hazy. Once the prezzie frenzy passed, most of us adults took a well deserved nap! When I got up, I made the pecan pie.

We had lasagna for supper and pecan pie for dessert. We watched the Dark Knight, which was alright, but I didn’t think it was as great as everyone said it was.

In the middle of the night, the wind picked up. Now, you have to understand that the wind blows around here a lot. However, these were 15mph gusts. By the time I headed to work it was 25mph gusts. I was warm inside at the Chamber offices, but…. Dan and Matt were not.

Why? Well… because our sewer had backed up again on Saturday night. Dan borrowed Jimmer’s truck and went to La Veta to rent the sewer snake. He and Matt cleaned the drain this morning. Yuck!!! Poor guys got blown all over the place. However, the drains are clear again for the moment! Now to do all the laundry that piled up. ewwwww!

Billing Cluster-****’s and lots of wind

I’ve had my fill of idiots. Especially if they have anything at all to do with phones. For 4 months I fought with Qwest to straighten out my phone bill and service. No bills, wrong bills, wrong service, you name it, they screwed it up. Today I went to check and see if any of the credits I was told I would have had come through. Nope, and on top of that, nothing I asked to be canceled had been canceled. Keep in mind that I haven’t had DSL service since the end of October and no phone with Qwest since mid November. Shut off because I didn’t pay although I didn’t get any bills, or the billings I got were wrong. They even admitted that they were wrong!

So, I called. After the third person and 40 minutes on the phone, I discovered a few things:

  • I couldn’t cancel my phone while it was in suspended service.
  • I needed to pay $19.63 to have my phone turned back on so that 24 hours after I had service reinstated, I COULD CANCEL my phone.
  • I still owed $78 in phone charges
  • I have $122 in CREDIT coming to me.
  • I could not get the credit until I have the phone on, and they cycle it through billing.

So, I paid the $19.63. My phone service will be turned on and on Saturday or maybe Friday afternoon, I can cancel my service. I will pay off the $78 by January and at some point, I will get a check or multiple checks adding up to $122. I told the guy at one point that at least Qwest wasn’t as messed up as Sprint. Truth!

For the last month, I have also been arguing with Sprint via email, phone and finally in person at one point. In July, I called and told them that due to the fact that I was broke, I wanted to turn off my phone, cancel my service and pay off my contract. No problem I was told. (you can start laughing, I really won’t mind) Fast forward to August. I go to make a payment and find that my account has been sealed. No access. Hmm…. No access to my account, paperless billing…. hard to pay. I email tech support. No answer. Try again. Got told to go to my nearest Sprint store and pay.

When I cooled off, I explained that I live 60 miles one way from my nearest Sprint store. They did a “sorry, but not our problem, would you like to make a payment over the phone?” When I asked for an accounting and a paper receipt, I got told that wasn’t possible, I’d have to check that online. (What???) I said no thank you, I don’t like to make payments on the phone unless I have a paper bill to back it or an online bill I can check. Back to Customer Service.

Now I’m getting calls from a collection agent. One of them got Very Nasty. Called me a liar and a deadbeat and told me that I “just didn’t want to own up to the fact that I’d screwed up my account and didn’t want to pay”. I explained my views on payments online, especially to third partycollection agents. Reason is, I just got everything straightened out because of a small bit of identity theft. One of the things that they tell you is Don’t make payments over phones if you don’t have a bill in your hand, etc. It might not be the real collection agent, etc. So,… no bill, no payment. This collection agent told me again that I was lying! grrrrrrrrrr!

I did get to Pueblo and made a payment in person. I asked to be switched to paper billing so that I could pay my bill and keep track of my payments. This is after a 15 minute explanation of what had gone on. The guy tried. Guess what! Sprint can’t take you back from online billing back to paperless billing. He apologized.

Fast forward to this week. I finally got someone to listen to what I was saying and then got told that they had lost my payment I’d made in Pueblo. I about thumped my head on the computer. However, I talked to a real person on the phone and got the collection agency off my back until  they find my payment! gads!

In town, the weather has been either bitterly cold or just around 45 degrees. Not bad unless you add in the fact that the average wind lately has been around 20mph. BRRRR! Even the dogs didn’t want to go out the one day. Maybe it was because their water bowl froze!

This week at the chamber has been busy. Meetings no one came to, City Ordinances that look like they were written by Chinese Fire Drill and people running in at the last minute to sign up for the lighting contest.

I think I am really glad to be going to Pueblo tomorrow to finish my Yule shopping! Aieeeeeeeee!!!

Snow pups and Chamber hiccups

The last week has been busy. Between trying to teach Blanca how to be a housedog, changing weather, plumbing foul-ups and Chamber events, I haven’t had much time to post. Oh, and it snowed.

Not just a dusting like we’ve been having ever 3-4 days since Thanksgiving, but an honest to goodness snowstorm. More on that later.

Middle of last week, the laundry room sink clogged. No way to fix it, so John started to undo the U-neck under the sink. 40 gallons of water later, he pulled a clog of lint/cat hair and OMG’S gunge out of the pipe. Only problem, the plastic was so cold it shattered at one end and we couldn’t put the pipe back together. Dan and I would have to do that the next day. Not a problem.

Next morning, I hear water running. We thought Beth was in the shower. She thought that one of us was in the shower. John went to look. Next thing I hear is “OH Shit!” and the sound of the water being shut off. It had been a VERY cold night, and my first thought was that the pipes had frozen. Burst pipes, etc. No, some idiot had walked into our back yard and turned on the outside tap. Water ran for about 15 minutes, but that was enough to flood the basement and the kids room with about 2 inches of water. Ice cold water. ARgh! While the kids cleaned up, Dan and I fixed the laundry room sink.

Last week we also had the on-off-on again Chamber of Commerce Christmas Party. On Tuesday, no one had sold any tickets. So, we canceled it. Then they changed their minds and on Wednesday, they got it up and going again. So, by Friday they had about 30 people coming. Oh, and me. I hadn’t planned to go. Couldn’t afford the ticket. However, they decided that being the Chamber Rep, I aught to be there. So, they paid for my ticket. Chris gave Dan his ticket at the last minute, so off we went. It was at the La Plaza Inn which is a very nice B&B in town. Marty made roast beef. Lovely. After dinner, Larry Patrick ran the present auction. Everyone brought a gift and then it was auctioned off. Now Larry plays dirty tricks, so if you scratch your nose, you bid. If you blink loud, you bid. Lots of laughter ensued. We raised about $650. Dan got a bag of kids toys and one person got a traveling trophy. A plaster deer head. It now lives in the Chamber office.

Sunday was a really warm day, so Dan and Matt started digging a trench for the electric line from the house to the guest house at 520. I had to help for a while when Matt had to run home. Gods we were tired by the end of the day.

Blanca all worn out
Blanca all worn out

the ditch
the ditch

Monday Dan was suppose to help me at the chamber after he got the pipe at the local lumber yard. It was 4 times the cost, so he headed to Pueblo. The weather was getting bad, and by the time that he got home it was raining. Dan and Matt put the pipe in the ground and covered up the trench as fast as they could. They were soaked.

However, it was a good thing that they got it done. The rain turned to snow, and when we woke up on Tuesday, we had nearly 9 inches of the stuff in places. Brrrr!!!

Snow drift
Snow drift

It was a very cold day and even colder night. Today I concentrated on keeping warm. At the Chamber, the heater circut blew again and so the boiler didn’t go on until nearly noon. The dogs are not enchanted with the snow either. Brrrr!!!

Sunday, Puppy Sunday!

Ok, I know it is Tuesday, but the latest episode in my life that makes things go “Kersplat!” happened on Sunday.

Daniel came over to visit. He was here at 520 for a few minutes and then left. He came back with my “late birthday, early Yule prezzie”. I should have been afraid, very afraid. My prezzie was…. drumroll…. a puppy. Not a little puppy, but a 4-6th month old puppy. Not a little puppy, but a 40 pound puppy. Lab, chow, husky and goodness knows what. Feet the size of soup can bottoms. Oh, and white. Brown eyes and black nose. So, I named her Blanca.

Blanca and Brandy
Blanca and Brandy

Keep in mind that while Blanca is 4-6 months old, Brandy is as year old. Blanca is going to be a big dog! She is a very sweet natured dog which is a good thing. Oh, and clumsy too! Does not know what to do with her feet.

It is going to be a very interesting few months.

Work has been interesting this week too. We had to cancel the Christmas party as no one had bought tickets. I think that the economics are just against things like expensive parties. Plus, La Veta was having their party the same day at no cost to attendees. Ours was $20 a person. So, we are going to have our regular meeting on the 11th, with refreshments. Or, in other words, a small party that doesn’t cost $20 a head.Chris Galvan and I are going to make some savories and hopefully, someone else will bring some sweets. I am planning to make the cheese sticks that I made for Thanksgiving. If I can keep Dan out of the dough! Gads! He is addicted to them. (teeheehee)

Tomorrow I’m going shopping in Pueblo with John. Wheeee…. We are having to borrow Erin’s car to do the shopping. My poor little car still has issues. Oh well.