Wednesday, July 09, 2008

This was an interesting news article

What if we threw out all the illegal immigrants?

In my area, it would be mostly agricultural jobs and restaurant jobs that are affected. Would the loss of immigrant workers have an effect where you live?

Monday, June 30, 2008


Now that it's finally not raining all the time, we've had some lovely weather. I got to enjoy a sunny 78º midwestern summer day today. Frodo had a baseball game this evening - actually, he had two as we are getting near tournament season. The first game they easily won. It was delightful soaking up the sunshine, a light breeze blowing just enough to keep us from feeling too warm. The second game, they still won, although not as easily. The sun started sinking in the sky and out they came. The mosquitoes.

Oh. My. Goodness. I cannot believe all the mosquitoes. Granted, we were expecting them once the rains finally stopped. We have mosquitoes every year. They aren't unusual. And after flooding rains, we get what is termed as a "flood hatch" - a huge explosion in the mosquito population a week or two after the heavy rains. I guess the unusual amount of rain we had contributed to the unusual number of mosquitoes we now have. Locally, the public health department uses traps to monitor the number of mosquitoes in the area. About 10 days ago, they had low numbers - something like 50 mosquitoes per night in the traps. Recently, they are getting nearly FOUR THOUSAND mosquitoes per night in the traps. That means we've had an 800 fold increase in our mosquito count this past week. That's a lot of 'skeeters!

One positive in all this - the floodwater mosquito is NOT the one that carries West Nile Virus. I'll keep reminding myself of that as I'm taking iron supplements for all the blood loss.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

And the flooding continues...

In my last note, I mentioned how I was mesmerized with the houses falling into the river in the Wisconsin flooding. Now, I've been seeing the flooding in Iowa and I'm no longer mesmerized. Now I am heavy-hearted.

I lived in Cedar Rapids and the surrounding area when I was younger. It's a wonderful city with even more wonderful people. The photos and videos I've seen coming from there are shocking. The river that flows through the city (the Cedar River) crested over 31 feet above normal level. Look up to your ceiling. How high is that? Mine is your standard 8 ft ceiling. So that means I need to quadruple that height to get an idea of how much higher than normal the river rose. Can you even imagine having water that reaches the second floor of your home!?!?? Or higher!?!?!? I only had a couple inches of water in my basement a couple months ago, and that frustrated me. I can't imagine having my entire home's contents floating around....

Because I consider that area my "hometown", I've been wishing I could help somehow. I can't get there due to flooding and even if I could, I don't think there is much to be done for now until the waters recede. So I've done some searching and found some ways for me or anyone to help financially.

First option is through the local Salvation Army. They provide food and drink for people affected by the flooding as well as volunteers, emergency workers, or any others in need.

Next option is through the local Red Cross chapter. (On the left, click on "make a donation", then click on "Donate Now".) They provide shelter, food, and snacks for people who have been forced from their homes due to flooding.

If you want to help physically by offering materials or volunteering time, here is one website that has been set up to connect people for those needs.

For other updates, you can get information from the local newspaper's website. Near the top is also a link that says "How to help people in Cedar Rapids". It is in a blog message format - the original post is there, and updates and other information are in the messages section.

Fortunately, some drier weather days are in the forecast. I hope the citizens can all get in and start their cleanup and recovery efforts soon.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

I'm a bad blog mommy

I've been so neglectful. Call BPS (Blog Protective Services) and turn me in. At least it looks like it didn't completely starve to death.

I have been a busy girl. Frodo is playing or practicing baseball nearly every day with his team this year. Running him around to these various practices and games is insane. If I had more kids, I'd go crazy getting them all around to various activities. :P

This is the last week of school. Frodo's teacher decided to put on a class play. I get a note home on a Wednesday night (of course Frodo gives it to me at 9pm...) stating he is to have a costume into the classroom by Friday. Ummmm..... Eek! I plowed to Goodwill on Thursday evening to see what I could find and then sat up that night altering the clothing to fit Frodo. And my sewing skills leave much to be desired. Needless to say, his costume is held together in various places with lots of safety pins. (Sort of like my kitchen curtains that I hemmed with a stapler.)

I decided now is the time. It is time for me to eat healthier. Basically, it is time for me to lose some weight. I started Weight Watchers on Saturday. I've been eating good since then, and I have to say, I'm feeling surprisingly good. My goal is to lose somewhere in the neighborhood of 30-40 pounds. A friend was supposed to start with me, but she's always got excuses. That just means the time isn't right for her. When she's ready, she'll get going. She doesn't want to let go of her food the same way a smoker doesn't want to let go of cigarettes. (She also happens to be a smoker that doesn't want to quit. And a drinker that doesn't want to cut back. ) Honestly, I think she has a lot more issues to deal with, but once again, she's not ready to face those issues.

I'm watching Letterman right now - Alanis Morissette is singing. Anyone else remember her from the "You Can't Do That On Television" days? Hee hee. Before her, the guest was a UFO specialist named Jeff Peckman. That was an odd one. His looks reminded me of someone, but I couldn't quite put my finger on it.

I've been mesmerized with the footage out of Wisconsin with the houses falling into the flooded river. Mother Nature is mad about something!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008



The flooded basement is now a dry basement with new carpet. I'm lovin' that new carpet smell! Not lovin' having to move the furniture yet again, but what can ya do? I really like the new carpet better than the older stuff we had in there. The color is better.


Frodo has started baseball for the season and it's a complete 180º from last year's team.... Last year his team won the championship and had a phenomenal team. This year, not so much. They're 1-4 on the season so far. It's like the kids just aren't into it at all. Hopefully that will turn around soon. I'm just glad other kids besides mine dropped the easy pop fly tonight. Takes the "bad parent" pressure off me! Phew!


I went to a book clearance sale today. I love books. We somehow lost our copy of Harry Potter #6 (I think it was loaned to someone that never returned it....). I was inexpensively able to replace it in our home. Yay! Once Frodo and I are done reading the "His Dark Materials" trilogy by Philip Pullman (the first of this trilogy is "The Golden Compass") maybe we'll pick up on Harry Potter again. We'd read up through #5 when we stopped because we couldn't find #6 anywhere in the house. And you know what? I haven't ready Harry Potter #7 yet. Call me crazy. I think I'll experience it while reading it through with Frodo.


I spent my Mother's Day moping over the fact that neither hubby or Frodo even bothered to wish me a happy mother's day. Brats. So the next day I went shopping and bought myself my own mother's day presents. First, I got myself a new set of earbud headphones for my not-an-ipod. The ones that came with the MP3 player were so big, I could hardly get them in my ear to hear. And when I did, it hurt. I had to look through all the colorful earphones to find pink because if I bought a set of comfy earphones in a neutral color, one of the boys would have them in use ASAP. And they have MUCH waxier ears than I do!

Then I bought myself a teakettle. I've always wanted a teakettle. It's just so much quicker and easier to heat up water on the stove in a teakettle than it is to heat water up in a cup in the microwave. (Maybe my microwave is just that crappy!) And heating water up on the stove in a saucepan is just fine. It's just the pouring of the water out of that pan that is difficult. So now I own a pretty black teakettle.

And that's just how easy I am.


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

My basement.

It flooded.

We had a record rainfall late last summer. That was followed by record snowfall this winter. Then this past weekend, we had another heavy rainfall. Sometime between 3:30am and 2pm on Saturday, our sump pump decided it was done working and punched out. Permanently. Hubby heard the sump pump run at 3:30am. We went downstairs at 2pm and were met with *squish* underfoot. In the corner of the basement by the sump pump, we had 2 inches of water. The rest of the basement was anywhere from 2 inches to barely damp.

I kept repeating the mantra, "At least it's not sewer backup. At least it's not sewer backup. At least it's not sewer backup." We dug out the shop vac and put it to work inhaling water. I placed a call to a couple friends begging for an extra shop vac and an extra dehumidifier. Both were promptly delivered along with helping hands.

I went to the home improvement store and purchased their last vertical switch sump pump. (The only kind that fits in our sump well.) I also bought a big fan. We swapped out the old pump for the new one and it works beautifully. Yay!

We then got our carpet pulled up so it could start drying. I talked to a couple people and they said we had to get the pad up ASAP to facilitate drying. So we did that. We had two dehumidifiers and two fans running and 3 days later, parts of the carpet were still wet. And now it was starting to smell.... And it wasn't flowers!

So today, I ripped out all the carpet and it's all at the curb. We just had this carpet put in 2½ years ago, so that was sad. Fortunately, we bought cheap carpet!

Everything is drying nicely now. (Concrete dries fast when it doesn't have wet carpet sitting on it. I went browsing today for replacement carpet. Hubby is going to bleach the floor tomorrow to make sure the mold is dead.

Bad parts: all the work to clean it up, the smell of wet and musty carpet, the loss of carpeting that was newer

Silver lining: It is forcing me to clean out the basement storage, I found out I can replace a sump pump, no furniture or other items weren't ruined, and it wasn't sewer water!

I hope that never happens again. What a PITA!

I have a sad friend.

My friend had applied for a promotion last year. She is a police officer and she wants to be a detective. She didn't do so well in the process and consequently, she did not get promoted. She decided to try again this year.

This year, she aced the exam and got the highest score of all the applicants. Then came the interviews. She aced the interviews and got the highest ranking of all the applicants. The other detectives wanted her to be the next one added to their group. Other supervisors recommended her. The lieutenant in charge of the process placed her first on his list of recommendations. This recommendation list was forwarded to the chief.

The chief reviewed the rankings list. The chief chose someone else. Someone that wasn't even on this recommendation list. My friend does not know why she was passed up and she is very sad. I just spent two hours on the phone with her, trying to help her through this. Part of me wants her to go stomping into the chief's office to demand an explanation. Part of me wants her to just put her shoulder to the wheel and try again next year. Part of me wants ME to go stomping into the chief's office to demand an explanation!

I think I finally persuaded her to go talk to someone. She feels like she can't trust anyone in the office to talk to. I finally suggested she call an old co-worker who was more of a mentor during his time there. I hope that will help. I feel helpless and I really don't like that feeling.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

I recently found...

...the joys of Stephanie Plum. I had asked some online friends if they had any reading suggestions. More than one recommended the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich. So I took their advice and I'm hooked! These books are easy reads and very entertaining.


I survived a 5th grade sleepover this past weekend. Frodo never had a party for his birthday because March was just too busy for our family. He invited his friends from school, so my home hosted four extra boys on Saturday night. The best part about boys? All they need are food, video games and nerf dart guns, and they are a happy bunch for many hours. They would've been happier for longer, but we finally forced them into sleep mode at 5am.


It was 63ºF and sunny on Sunday. I dethatched the yard a bit. Ok. I lied. I dethatched the yard a LOT. I have a plentiful number of bare spots in my lawn now thanks to the voles that hid under this winter's deep snow. I was going to spread some grass seed to fill in the spots, but it's back down to the 40s again and is scheduled to snow again tonight. Sigh. This has been the worst and longest winter I have ever experienced. We never had this much snow even when I lived in the great white northern parts of Minnesota. Maybe now I'm starting to understand why people spend winters in the south.... Any suggestions of places to spend winter?