Tuesday, May 18, 2010

You know how when you were a kid and it was a week before Christmas and you thought the days would never end and that Christmas would never "get here!"?   Well, that is how I always feel the week before we leave for the beach.
Are we there yet!!?
This is the view from our deck at the little house we rent every year. Yes, it really is that beautiful. The stress goes right out with the tide...first day. Heaven on earth.

We have been going to the same island and the same house for ten years and it never gets old.  It's like "coming home".  If a place can steal your heart, Pawleys Island has done just that to me. It has a magic about it that makes you smile in spite of yourself and slows your heartbeat down to "island time".
The rule of the day is always,  "It's 5 o'clock somewhere!" 
We walk on the beach picking up shells, looking at the lovely beach houses, scan the ocean for pods of black dolphins, sit under the umbrella in the sand and let the world drift away. We read books and doze. Ah yes, island time, bliss indeed.
Every evening, we make our way to the "creek side" to share a cocktail and the sunset with our neighbors in the house next door, The Wooden Shoe. We are Nod. The two houses behind us are Winkin and Blinkin.  (Are you seeing a theme here?)
In the ten years we have been enjoying Pawleys hospitality, we have become friends with the most delightful people one could ever hope to meet; the gang in the Wooden Shoe. We have shared laughter, sorrow, hugs aplenty, and more food and "beverages" than any six people should indulge in, but it's the beach...what can I tell you? 
I am that kid on Christmas Eve, that kid in the back seat of the car...

Are we there yet???

...To Be Continued...come join me in paradise.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

...and all is right with the world.

Once again, peace reigns on the Branch. The sun is shining, the trees are leafy and green and my satellite is friends with my computer again. Ahhh...Bliss!

After fighting the battle of the Titans with Hughesnet for weeks, I was finally able to get the illusive "Up Grade Order Number".  I immediately "texted" (I text now...la dee dah, on my new Iphone. Welcome to the 21st Century Ann) my faithful Guardian Enterprise Tech (lovely young man with a work ethic that would make our grandfathers weep with pride) and handed off the baton to him.  He ran with it and by Saturday afternoon, all was well.
Out in the Boonies where I live, we pretty much have to pipe in daylight, so if you don't have satellite, you don't have TV or Internet service. You learn to take very good care of these puppies.  I am particularly happy that my computer satellite is now on the ground on a six foot pole so when it snows or ices over, I can go out and brush it off. (The satellite on the side of the house is for Directv.  Works GREAT!)  
In the midst of all this satellite drama, I discovered yet another invader at the gates...ants. I went behind the computer to unplug the modem so Steven the Tech would not get electrocuted, and discovered a colony of tiny black ants had taken up house keeping under the warm and humming connection box.  ACK!! Thousand of the little buggers!! Thank goodness for Raid! I am trying to work up the courage to look inside my warm and humming computer tower, but that will have to wait. For now, I am basking in the glow of new gutters, new computer satellite and happy roses and newly planted tomatoes.

Life is good...I'm just sayin'.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Iphone Anonymous: My name is Ann & I'm an addict

I bought a new phone yesterday.  I innocently went into the AT&T store in my middle class neighborhood and who knew it was actually a Crack House. 
I was given a taste of the glossy, colorful world-in-your-hand toy called The Iphone.  Ooooo...so pretty, so entertaining, so mesmerizing...
No, no...don't take it away...I want to play some more. 
Alas, only the first taste is free.  So I nearly broke my arm getting my credit card out. Yes! I want one! Sign me up! I'll sign anything! Just give me back that toy!  Ahhhhh...that's better. Mine! All Mine! My Precious!
(Hughesnet...eat your heart out.)

Friday, May 7, 2010

Satellite, cont.

The tree is down. The Tree Man would not allow me to pay him. He said I over paid him on the last job. Is this guy the stuff or what??! If I knew where he lived, I'd make him cookies.
Alas, Hughesnet is not nearly as efficient or easy to get along with.  Still no joy there. Even my technician called me at work wanting to know what the hold up is.  I offered to let him call them and see if he could light a fire under them.
Oh well, just another tricky day in Paradise.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Satellite Woes: The Continuing Saga

Okay...so I called as instructed after five o'clock to arrange for the satellite up grade to the 9000 series. Once again I got a very personable young woman (I think they are hiring the daughters of the Stepford Wives at Hughesnet...) who was So Sorry but there was still that pesky "open order" that needed to be closed out so that we could proceed with the satellite upgrade.  So Close it Out! already! Jeez! Just how did you guys send the "open order closure message" to "Some Where Else"?  Mule Train???? 

"Oh, that was supposed to have gone out yesterday afternoon, but I see here I didn't actually go out until this morning. I am SO Sorry..."


So, now I am waiting until 5 o'clock this afternoon to call "One More Time With Feeling!" to see if I can get the bloody up grade order.

Meanwhile, my faithful and might I add...Dependable! Tree Guy, Ron Bland, is out at my house even as I type cutting down and cutting up a tall skinny tree.  No need for me to be there, just mark it. I'll take care of it for you Darlin'.  I love it when men say "I'll take care of it and Darlin'" in the same breathe. If he wasn't already married, I'd propose.

Too be continued....

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Take My Money, Please!

Have you ever been put in the position of having to Beg a
company to take your money? Somehow, I have been maneuvered into just that place. When the monsoon came to Kay's Branch last Saturday, my Hughesnet satellite started taking on water like everything else on the place and shorted out.  Thankfully, it comes back as the weather dries out, but having a high tech hunk of metal connected to my computer that shorts out at the first rain drop is not my idea of efficient so I called Hughesnet, spoke to a very nice fellow in India named "Romeo" because being the Ugly American that I am I could not possibly pronounce his real name...but that is for another rant.
He did his diagnostic tests on my satellite and informed me that it needed re-pointing or new "parts". So, he very kindly set me up with a local company with whom I have had satisfactory dealings in the past and I assumed life would be good as soon as my repair guy showed up and worked his magic.  Wrong...
Allow me to insert here the reason I have a satellite for my computer in the first place. One Word: Boonies. That is where I live. AT&T calls every so often and tries to sell me new services. Each time they ask if I wish to sign up for new services I say, "Why yes, I would love to sign up for DSL." To which they reply, "Great! We'll get your hooked right up....oh, I'm so sorry Ms. Spicer, DSL is not available in your area."  Duhhhhhh.....Ya think!?
Thus the charter membership in the wonderful world of satellites.
Meanwhile, back in the Boonies waiting for the repair guy. And waiting...and, well, waiting. The Cable guy has nothing on these fellows. I finally had to call and cancel as I had! to get to work.
Call to re-schedule. Get a good time slot. Guy was even courteous enough to call me at work to tell me he was running late and gave me a time when he actually thought he could be there. Wonderful! We're cookin' with gas now.
I get there. I wait a little but not too much. He gets there and takes one look and I know this is not going to be the magic moment I was hoping for. "Ma'am...that satellite dish is out dated; I don't even have replacement parts for it."  (it is six years old people; technology these days has the shelf life of a med-fly!).
He says I need an upgrade to the 9000. Okay...I can deal with that. But...he can't put it on the roof; the roof is metal...not allowed. Okay...what can we do? He can put it on a pole in the yard...But...it has to be a ten foot pole, not the normal six. Okay...I can deal with that. But! It is going to be a booger to point,(he actually said that...Booger to point...I love this guy!) and that tree may have to go. Okay...I can deal with sacrificing one very tall skinny tree, I have the Tree Guy, remember? So, I am thinking we're making progress. My repair guy, whom I have dealt with before and whom I trust says to call Hughesnet to request the upgrade.
Okay...I do. The very nice little girl tells me that since I had the modem upgraded almost two years ago and it is still "on the books" that they will have to clear that upgrade before I can upgrade my dish.  Huh??? Whatever. So do it already. Nope. Not so fast. We don't do that in this department. They will have to do that "somewhere else"...mysterious place. It will take 24 hours.  
ACK! Okay, I'm calm. My computer is working as long as the weather stays dry. Don't panic. So, I just now called Hughesnet and requested the upgrade again. Another very sweet little girl informed me that it still has not "cleared". Well, when should I call back? To which she replied, "I don't know Ma'am. That is handled 'somewhere else."   (I really need to find out where "Somewhere Else" is and get their number!)
So, here I am. Waiting, wanting someone to take my money and bring me a new Hughesnet 9000 series satellite so I can go whizzing around in cyperspace at lightening speed.
Maybe I'll just read a book...that is a novel idea. Bahhh Haaaaa!!!! (yep! I'm losing it!)

...to be continued.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Trial by Water

Having grown up in a river town, Monterey on the Kentucky, I am well used to Trial by Water, as I have been involved in quite a few floods.  But when I moved out of town, to a ridge well above the flood plain, I had the deluded idea that my water worries were over...NOT!
Going back a while, the very first disaster I had at my new abode was the cistern wall cracking and releasing 10,000 gallons of water into my basement; this was before I even got moved in! It has been like that ever since. Fighting water battles. Too much of the stuff, or not enough. If I can find it, I will re-run an old Window's Live blog of the Cistern Woes. What a nightmare that was. Leaky cisterns are not fun. You never have any water and rain is your only friend.(thank God and Peaks Mill we finally got water lines; it only took 25 years!).  But when your basement also leaks, rain in torrential amounts can also be the enemy.
Now, with the gutters coming in on the side of the leaky basement, I am out numbered!  We are experiencing a monsoon here in Kentucky at the moment. We have been way behind in rainfall for several months and now, we are trying to make up for it in one weekend.
I don't know if the photos show it, but there is a solid wall of water coming down. That is what it looked like from my upstairs porch.
The guttering is fast pulling away from the "long" side of the house, and as a result, the water is pouring down onto the ground as if from a faucet! And from there, it is finding its way into my basement through the garage. Oh the Joy...
If you look closely, you can see the water running out of the gutter. The gutter is coming off at the corner.

So, doing my Rube Goldberg impersonation, I jury-rigged this amazing gutter-funnel invention. It is a piece of old tin roofing bent into a 90 degree angle, a round tray, a plastic trash can lid, a photo developing tray and the metal slide from my dog door. Its not doing a perfect job, but it is helping. Meanwhile, I dug a small trench from the place where the water is running into the garage out to where the land starts to fall away hoping to divert the worst of the run off. That hose is attached to a sump pump in the basement so I can pump out the water that got past my efforts.

Yee-Ha...We're havin' fun now!
So...tonight, I am going to a birthday party down on the river. It may turn into a "move all our river rat friends out of their houses" party. Have duck boots, will travel. But, which ever it turns out to be, we will have fun, because that is the only option with this crowd. 
Life hands you lemons, make lemonade. I'm just sayin'....