Stay Safe…Wear Duck Tape

Now that the days are getting shorter, I am back to driving to work in the dark. Some mornings are darker than others, depending on the cloud cover. Although I only travel 6 miles from my house to my job, most of the roads I take are two lane with limited lighting. Driving in the dark means having to watch out for the various animals that are trying to get back home before dawn. It also means having to watch out for the deer that always seem to want to cross in front of my car. Note to the deer…stay where you are. It really isn’t better on the other side of the road.

If watching out for deer isn’t enough, we have to add the morning exerciser into the mix. While I salute those who actually have the energy to get out of bed and go for a walk or jog, doing so in all dark clothing is not a good idea. Why? Because we can’t see you! There are all sorts of fluorescent exercise clothing and shoes that have reflective things on them, so why can’t people actually wear them? They sell them for a reason. Companies don’t want you to get hit by a vehicle when you are out exercising.

But if you aren’t going to wear some bright neon shoes that light up with every step you take, could you maybe wear one of those lights that blink on and off? A light can be seen by someone in a car. If the light is too expensive, can you slap on some glow in the dark duck tape? I don’t care where you put it, but maybe a strip along your arm and leg that faces the street or wrap some around your running shoes….in other words, somewhere a driver can see it. That will help drivers and other exercising people see you and hopefully not run into you. Safety first!!!

 

 

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Good Bye Summer…Hello Fall

Labor Day, also known as the unofficial end to summer has arrived and now begins the push into fall. The weather has actually been very fall like during the past week or so with temperatures mostly in the 70’s and even dropping into the 50’s at night. Of course it is supposed to get back into the 80’s today, so we will get a reminder that summer is still around. The last two days were also rainy as Maryland was visited by Harvey as the former hurricane exited the U.S. Next on the horizon is figuring out the path Hurricane Irma will take as it gets closer. For those of us along the Atlantic coast, we hope that the path stays well south and avoids the U.S. altogether. But, in case things don’t work out that way, and the path brings it up the eastern coast, we will get ready the best we can.

You can tell that the seasons are starting to change as the trees are beginning to thin out their leaves. Before long we will be able to see the homes behind us again. It is nice during the summer when you only see the green of the trees. Or in the case of our Japanese Maple, a beautiful red wine color. The cooler weather also caused some of the leaves to change from vibrant green to lighter green with yellow tones. So it won’t be long before we start seeing the oranges and reds as nature puts on its fall show.

Our maple in April

Our maple now

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We have started planning short day trips around the area now that the weather is more comfortable. We booked a fall foliage train ride in Pennsylvania in mid-October and are planning a longer trip in early November. We are taking a covered bridge driving tour and another that will tour barns, some which are hundreds of years old. I hope to get plenty of pictures.

Cutting the Cable Cord

I remember the first time I became aware of cable television. I was in high school and my father was upset that the town was allowing a cable company to dig up our grass to install the lines for cable. He argued with the city to get them to plant new grass to fix the mess they made out of our lawn. The grass grew back long before the town ever got cable. Each time it seemed like we would get cable, the company would go out of business and another company would eventually take over and then it would happen all over again. It wasn’t until I graduated from college that I learned my town had finally gotten cable.

At the time, the price of cable seemed relatively cheap in comparison to prices today. I remember my parents trying to decide what movie channels to pick and eventually realizing that they were paying for a lot of channels that they never watched. Once married, cable was a must as most places didn’t get channels on free television. If you lived near a major city, then you were luckier that most people. We usually chose the most basic cable plan. Later, we would choose a plan that also included the internet.

We recently completed a two-year contract that rolled into a month to month contract. Of course, the plan increased by $16 a month. When I looked into what a new two-year plan would cost, I saw that they would increase us another $25 a month, or $199 a month for the same plan. What is even worse is that if you were a new customer, you could get the same exact plan for $79 a month. So, to reward me for my loyalty, you will charge me $120 more a month? Ummmm….no thank you.

So we started looking at our options. The first thing we did was keep track of the channels that we actually watched. Out of 254 channels, we watched maybe 25 on a regular basis. We looked to see what options were available in streaming television and checked out Sling and Hulu. We ended up signing up for a free trial with Sling and picked the package that contained most of the channels that we watched. The only down side is that they do not have any local channels and we like watching the weather and traffic in the morning before going to work.

We then contacted the cable company to see if they would make us a deal, but they wouldn’t. Actually, the price kept going up instead of down. We then called back and asked what the price would be to increase our internet speed and drop cable. The person we talked to this time was very helpful and explained that we would need a different internet cable coming into our house for the fastest cable and we would get 15 local channels. The price was half what we were paying. We chose that plan and officially cut the cord.

After the install, we have fast internet where we can stream Sling television and also get the local channels for morning news. The surprise that we learned was that there are more than a hundred free channels that we also get as well. Many of the channels are from throughout the region. Some of the channels are from the UK and Japan. They apparently have agreements with Public Broadcasting (PBS) to stream their programs. The reality is that we have not missed cable at all. To think of all the money we wasted with cable and all the channels we never watched. I only wish we had known this sooner.

Invasion of the Wildlife

While I love touring the countryside and capturing pictures of wildlife, I don’t necessarily like to see them up close and personal in my yard. This summer has been rather interesting around my house as several different animals have decided that our neighborhood makes a good place to live.

We have always seen deer around the area, but rarely see it near our house. One morning, we saw four deer making their way across the field behind our house. They came up from the river at the end of the block and were on their way back home after a night out. A few days later, I was on my way to work and I saw something in the road. It looked like a cat at first, but I realized that it was bigger than a house cat. As I got a little closer I realized that it was a red fox. It was headed out of my housing area, so I’m not exactly sure where it was coming from. I just hope it doesn’t live near.

My husband was working from home the next day when he sent me a text that a groundhog had apparently taken up residence under the shed in the back corner of the yard. When I asked him if he was sure, he sent me a picture. Since it was about the size of our pug, I was concerned and wanted it gone. We called a wildlife company that will trap and relocate the animals. The price was close to $200 to put in a trap so we decided to buy one ourselves. At the same time I saw a story on the Baltimore news that a rabid groundhog was found on the grounds of the Baltimore zoo, so I definitely didn’t want that living under our shed.

After about a week we didn’t catch anything. We were going to put the trap away but we ended up lending it to our neighbor when he said that a groundhog was living under his shed and eating from their garden. I figure it was like an all-you-can-eat buffet at their house for the groundhog. After a couple of weeks he returned the trap and said that he didn’t catch anything either. So apparently the groundhog moved on.

Photo © lenalee

Last weekend my husband went outside to mow the lawn. He saw a tiny bird alongside the shed and he thought it was injured. We put some water near it and when he checked a little later, it looked like it was trying to drink. After he finished the grass, he looked for it again and it had hopped up on a low board of the fence.  My husband took a picture of the little guy (who looks a little grumpy) and I texted it to a co-worker whose husband volunteers for a wildlife rescue organization. It seems the little bird is a newly fledged mockingbird who may have overestimated his flying ability. He said the mom and dad were probably close by. When we checked an hour later, the bird was gone, so the water must have worked. The next day we noticed mom and dad mockingbird chasing one another around our trees. I think they might have been celebrating their empty nest.

Rainy Weather

We have had a lot of rain go through the area in the past week. While we received a couple of inches, some areas received a lot more. The good news is that we have cooler temperatures for a few days, which has been nice since we were in the upper 90’s for a couple of weeks. As the storms moved through, the sky looked beautiful….

Sunset

Photo © Lenalee

 

Storm clouds clearing in the late afternoon

Photo © Lenalee

Calm After the Storm

Photo © lenalee

The picture above was taken several weeks ago from our deck. It was early morning after storms had gone through with a front that was bringing cooler weather. Since moving to Maryland, the one thing I have noticed is that when a front goes through the area, either a cold front or a warm front, there is always a big difference in the clouds as it clears the area. Fronts would go through in Kansas, but never with such a separation of the clouds.

So what do you see when storms go through your area?

Happy 4th of July

Wishing everyone a 4th filled with fun, food and friends….Stay safe!!!

For JP

Hey JP… just checking in to see if you and Guido are okay. Worried about you both in London. Hugs to you both. You’re in our prayers.

I Joke About His Driving But It Saved Us

In the past I have written about how my husband has become an east coast driver due to his daily commute on the beltway for work. He tends to drive too fast for me and when I am with him he hears a lot of things about speed limits and how we aren’t in a hurry to get there. A few weekends ago, we decided to take a drive up to eagle watch and if we just happened to stop at Philly Pretzel Factory on the way back home no one would be complaining. It was raining lightly, more of a drizzle and annoying than anything. We saw a few eagles and then drove up to see if I could get pictures of a covered bridge that was being used for engagement photos the last time we were up that way. This time a group of boy scouts were fishing off the bridge, so we decided to pick up the pretzels and head home.

I-95 was wet, but traffic wasn’t as bad as it could be on a Saturday and most people were actually driving a few miles below the speed limit. We were one exit away from ours and in the middle of three lanes of southbound traffic. My husband asked if I could get him one of the pretzel rivets. I reached for them from the back seat and handed him one, keeping the box on my lap in case he wanted another. All of a sudden a red pickup truck in the left lane goes zooming by, not noticing that the traffic in front of him was slower. He braked, fish tailed and then over corrected which caused his truck to start spinning, hitting other cars in front and on the side.

My husband saw what was happening and slowed down. Luckily the people on the side of us and behind us did the same. I envisioned us getting hit on all sides. Car parts were flying off and the tailgate from the truck flew off landing on the left shoulder. It was like a scene out of a movie. The car in front of us decided to move to the right lane instead of staying stopped and the truck slammed into them before coming to a stop on the right shoulder as if he parked the truck there. All told the truck hit 6 vehicles. We would later learn that there were no reports of injuries.

I looked over at my husband and he smiled, probably to counter the look of shock on my face. “I see at least three of these types of accidents each week on my way home from work.” He was carefully navigating us through the car parts littering the highway to get out of the way of the accident scene.

“Are you kidding me?” I asked

He shook his head. “Nope. Why do you think I want to talk to you when I’m driving home?”

“I have no idea,” I answered while thinking that I shouldn’t be critical of his driving anymore.

“It’s because if I get into an accident, you’ll know and be able to call for help. Nice save on the pretzels by the way. I’ll take another one now.”

Looking down, I realized that through the whole accident, I had held on to the pretzels like I was holding a football. “They’re good pretzels.” And they are.

Philly Pretzel Factory Rivets

 

I’m Not a Good Nurse

Remember when you were little and people would ask what you wanted to be when you grew up. My answer up until the age of 9 was that I wanted to be a nurse. That changed after I spent 11 days in the hospital with double pneumonia. I was kept in isolation and because there wasn’t a room available on the children’s ward, I was given a room on the geriatric floor. The sounds at night were very scary to a 9-year-old. I was also having to get multiple blood draws and because I am hard to draw blood from, I was stuck over and over again. To a 9-year-old, I couldn’t understand why the nurses let me be hurt by the people drawing blood, so I decided that nursing was not my calling.

My husband finds it funny that I ended up working in the medical field. Yes, I work around nurses and know that all nurses are not mean, but I also know that I made the right decision not to become a nurse. My husband had the first of possibly three surgeries on his arm earlier this week. His arm had been feeling numb and tingling for the better part of a year. Of course, he being who he is, he didn’t tell me. He was worried that it was cardiac related. When I found out about it, I made him get an appointment with a primary care physician. He hadn’t been to a doctor since he left the military. His doctor I am happy to say is wonderful and has put him through a variety of tests. The good news is that he is better than I thought he might be. The bad news is that the numbness and tingling meant he has to have surgery.

I am fine with all of the things needed to be done prior to having surgery. I went with him for his MRI and made sure that he got his pre-op clearance physical and labs done in plenty of time for the records to be sent to the hospital. I also made sure he got copies of everything in case something was missing the day of the surgery. The surgery was scheduled for mid-morning and he had to check in 2 hours prior. They let me stay with him up until they were taking him to the surgical suite. I was given a number to watch the board to keep track of what was happening with the surgery. The one issue that I had with the surgical board was that the information was not real-time. By the time he showed up as “Procedure in progress” it was actually over and he was in recovery.

The first nurse he had in recovery was rude and totally out of line in regards to how she briefed the second nurse who came to cover her for lunch. It was like my husband was a total inconvenience to her. The second nurse asked questions and joked with my husband making him feel more comfortable. I went so far as to ask her if she could keep watch over him until he was released as the first nurse was not very polite. She said that she would and she did.

I was fine getting him home, making sure he was comfortable and took his pain meds.  I got him ice for his ice packs and pillows to keep his arm elevated. And when he was hungry, I made sure his food was something he was able to manage one-handed. But when it comes down to having to look at the wound and change the dressing. I am not a good nurse. I know that it is psychological, but I get absolutely queasy dealing with someone’s wound. I don’t want to look at it and I am afraid I will hurt him.

It hasn’t been too bad so far, but I keep reminding him that this is the reason I didn’t become a nurse. He laughs and say’s he didn’t marry me for my nursing skills. I laugh and tell him it’s a good thing I knew I didn’t want to be a nurse when I was 9. If I had become one, I have a feeling I would be more like nurse #1 instead of nurse #2.

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