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Harvest in the Rain

My plants are bigger but my harvest is less. I don’t blame the plants as nice as that would be.

It decided to rain in Virginia. Last week it rained and rained and rained some more. We learned that the Isis candy are splitters.

My first two Orange Russian 117 have ripened. They are lovely but I haven’t had time to do weights. I estimate seven to eight ounces and perfect oxheart shapes.

The cherry tomatoes are overflowing. I really recommend cherry tomatoes for people who want tomatoes. The Rapunzel are a disappointment. No long trellis. However, taste wise they taste like large tomatoes which is quite fun.

The Sicilian still has curled leaves. I don’t even begin to understand that plant.

There are finally tomatoes on the Yellow Brandywine. I’m not impressed with them as producers. They may do better in the soil. Beautiful plants, however.

We are past the rain. Everyone is flowering for the next harvest. The Ground Cherries are the real winner. Prolific, easy keepers, and a LOT of sweet berry fruit.

Comic Books

Ebay made me an offer today. I can list 500 items for free by July the 6th. I don’t have 500 auctions to list. Ebay has a limit on me as a new seller to 100. Normally they give you 50 listings for free. This means I can list 100 items.

I’ve been rolling through the comic books and getting them listed. It makes me ponder the value. Value in comic books is not a straight forward thing. #1 in some series may be worthless but #12 may be a ‘key’ or introduce a character that later becomes a major player or even develop their own series. Batman is an example of this. He appeared in Detective Comics and that is his official 1st comic.

There are gems in my collection. I expected this but I’ve found some that are quite exciting. One that I chuckle about is the Tomb of Dracula. I laughed when I saw the title. It is campy now but Dracula had his own comic book series. I figured it was a worthless comic and that proves me to be an idiot.

You see, I was reading about Blade the movie series. In that reading it discussed how Blade was introduced in the Tomb of Dracula as a minor character. Today, as I was working on listings I wondered… could I be so fortunate?

It turns out, that I am. I have the Tomb of Dracula #10 and I believe it is in good condition. That is the book that introduced Blade and it is a highly sought after comic book.

The idea of expensive comic books is exciting. The reality is that selling them is a slow process. There are a lot of comic liquidators out there. They will give what seems like a large amount of a huge lot of comics. I was chuckling at one the other day. No need to figure out grading or how to use ebay just instant money in your hand! Seeing an offer like that pretty much tells you that you have valuable things.

So much to do

There is always so much to do.

Work demands my days off. Our ebay adventure is going very well but it still takes time to list and manage everything we are doing. The garden is taking off but pruning, feeding, and tending takes time.

It is both good and bad. I am struggling to have the downtime I need to be creative. Most of my down time is spend being exhausted and reading financial management stuff. I’m pretty much debt free and making sure that our next financial ventures are solid choices.

But so much ebay. Productive stuff once we put the time into it. The husband seems to hate shipping for some reason. As in the packing and wrapping and dropping off at the post office.

It is fascinating what some hate and others do not mind. By our powers combined, he and I can be rather productive since we like and hate such different parts of things.

But ugh. Somehow June ran off, I got a lot done, need to do more, and it is time for bed too.

Aphid War

I gave in and purchased ladybugs at the end of May. The aphids where so bad that they looked like scale on the plants. Going into the garden felt gross. Aphids would fall off of everything. Then it wasn’t just green aphids but brown as well.

Why me? I wondered. I’m not the only one to be attacked but it was very, very frustrating.

That is where the ladybugs came in. I ordered them, set them out as instructed, and left the garden alone for the next two weeks. The good news is that we have baby ladybugs in the garden and the aphid numbers feel as if they have been slashed in half. They are still there but it is not as oppressive as it was.

Just in time for the tomato disease to appear. I believe it is a leaf spot disease. It punched the Yellow Brandywine in the face. That plant has not yet made fruit. The Orange Russian 117 is also looking bad but I think its struggle to produce has to do with the aphids draining the blossoms dry. At one point we where uses brushes to try to get them off.

So, now I have fewer aphids and a tomato disease ravaging the garden. I pruned heavily on Monday and everything looks better. We’ve seen more young ladybugs and the aphid population is decreasing. Hopefully, we have made ground in this war and the garden will be able to recover.

Comic Books

When my father died I inherited his comic books. I gathered them out of the dusty, decrepit Xerox boxes he stored them in. I sorted them, I got bags and backboards, and I organized them.

I then struggled to find any help on how to sell most of them. I put out a few feelers but none of them where things that would benefit me. I’m not comic book ignorant. I went through quite a phase when I was 11-15. I still read graphic novels although I have a taste for longer, more complex stories that cause me to buy bundled books instead of individual comics.

I spent several weeks documenting the entire thing. I should have alphabetized them at the time but I was too tired. And now, when I go looking for it, I have no idea where I put the file or what I named it.

Sigh.

I did try to post on a comic website or two. I was mostly ignored. It is only now, years later, that it occurs to me that there was probably an assumption that I was a troll or lying for attention. After all, it is the perfect storm. “I inherited a bunch of silver age comic books, what do I do?” For as long as I have been online I still forget that many people do nothing more than lie and attention seek. I’ve always seen the internet as a place to gather information, share, discuss, learn, and amuse oneself. Not finding amusement in making up stories for attention leaves me a bit behind the ball at times.

I’m going to go for it. Make a spread sheet to track the books and their pictures and put them up on eBay. My husband also has a large amount of ram he has salvaged that we will put up. He doesn’t want to do the leg work but I am willing to do so.

Unexpected Goals

I have veggie pictures but I am waiting for the photo upload to be fixed for the blog. If not, I’ll go back to pushing from imgur as I used to do. Everything is going great minus the aphid infestation.

With my little windfall I have moved my debt pay off ahead by a year. Doing some research led me to dump my emergency fund into the pay off as well. We still have an emergency fund but it is my husbands. Before I made my decision I checked in with him, to his amusement. The fact that we do not share our cash has always left me feeling strange about making assumptions with his money. Yet, for the first time I do and I do so with comfort.

It was not until today that I realized this debt free level frees us so much. Before, I needed to work at my job to just pay my bills. Now, I’ll be free of all but my part of the mortgage. If we sell the house, my revolving debt consists of my cellphone bill ($30), netflix, and google play music.

What a place to be.

Becoming financially responsible has been a long road. I was never terrible but I was often not s good as I should have been. A thousand dollars seems like so much but spends so fast. Payments seem like they will make a dent but the the credit goes down so slowly.

And cars did not help. The urge to have a dependable car was strong and a car payment has consumed much of my income. It was also today that I said to my husband my next car will be nice but it will be used. We are past the point that I will pay more to minimize the negatives of working on my car. Gone is the stress from my first years of vehicle ownership when a break down was such a  devastating moment.

It feels so strange. This year will be my 20th year since I left high school. It hasn’t been all smooth sailing. It has gone very well. Sometimes it feels as if it went better then it should have. Yet, even if a shoe was to drop, I could catch it.

It is all very unexpected.

 

Unclaimed Money

Around January, my husband and I got into a discussion about unclaimed money and was real it was. I did some research and discovered that the entire idea of unclaimed money was true. Not only that, the website http://missingmoney.com/ looks like a scam and isn’t.

We started with our own state. I found one hit for myself.  I checked where I used to live. I then checked my father. He died several years ago and I was his executor. I found several hits on him. I then checked my mother and grandmother.

It had to be a scam. Had to. I checked the state websites and only NY had their own website. The other’s had forms and told you to use Missing Money’s website. I was shocked because the website oozes scam to me.

But it wasn’t. Today, I got the estate payouts for my father.

I feel like an infomercial. Check it. Check your state as well and compare the two.

The idea of Missing Money is that companies cannot just keep money that does not belong to them. By having to send it to the state people do not develop create ways to keep these funds. They give it to the care of the state that the person lived in. The state keeps it in an account and the owner can come along and claim it.

For my father, one account was for a stock. The other was from his previous mortgage company. It was an over-payment of some sort. For myself, I found an interest refund from my previous vehicle that I had sold. I moved after they sent it and I had used a PO Box in between so they just sent it to the state when they couldn’t easily find me.

Sometimes things really do just work.

Distraction

At many points in my life, I have found myself distracted from what I wanted to do. Those distractions have come accidentally and intentionally.

My writing goals have not been getting filled. Some of that has been my workload mixed with my struggle to find creativity before 2300 hours. The rest of it has been the fact that I have been stuck in a waiting pattern.

On Friday, the memo came out that would move my co-worker and I out of our positions. It did not have our names on the list and we breathed a small sigh of relief. It was not a huge sigh. Our position is no longer secure. We can no longer assume that they see the value in what we do. We can drown to the magic of moving numbers to fit goals that have nothing to do with silly things like work.

It is very frustrating.

Since learning about the potential change in status a month ago, it has been hard to focus. The knowledge that I might lose what I worked hard for, gnaws at me. I find myself demoralized and demotivated at the heavy workload deemed ‘not as much’. I do not feel lazy. I have more overtime in the last year then I have ever had before. All of it from necessity.

It left me sitting for a month, sighing. Would I go back to midnights? Would I have to go back to waking up at five in the morning and feel as if my life was slipping away in an exhausted fog? I had enjoyed the last year of work. I was close to reaching a major life point with paying off my bills. What did all of it mean, now? It had taken so much courage to try for the position that I am now in.

It boils down to courage, or more accurately, self confidence. My struggle with it stops me from believing that I can just apply for a position and get it. Instead, I examine it, look at all of its angles and debate my abilities against it. I don’t care for failure. I do not mind failing but I do not court it. It is an abnormal feeling in my career. Most want you to just try for it and see if you make it or not. But I do not care for jumping into the abyss nor do I have the confidence to believe that I will land unharmed.

It leaves behind focus. Focus so that I have more control over my future. For, I have no control now. Not outside of the basics such as going to work vs skipping and being fired. I find that I dislike it.

Staple Solving

I woke up this morning with the blurry remembrance of delicious food waiting for me. After a few dispirited wanderings around the kitchen, slowly it bubbled forth that I planed to get lunch at Chipolte. I have one across the street but I am proud that I do not indulge regularly. I also make myself walk when I do wish to go. It is only a five minute trot including waiting for crosswalks, but it leaves a general feeling of warm productivity.

Today, we added a side trip to the grocery store in the shopping center. There my mother’s plan to buy two apples and two oranges evolved into an elderly black lady telling her that she was beautiful and complaining about Trump. My mother also picked up an entire box of clementines.

Once she extracted herself from the exuberance of the other woman, something that included hugs and random topics, we purchased the fruit and I told her that she was not allowed to turn down my suggestions of bringing the tote bags in the future.

A bit of momentary cleverness made us ditch the wooden box the clementines come in to save weight. From there, right on time for our pick up, we strolled into Chipolte.

When I order my burrito bowl, I often get the guacamole on the side. The bag of our order was presented to me, neatly stapled closed. My cashier says, “I guess the side guac is in there but its closed.”

He then begun to ring me up.

I blinked at him as the realization that he was not going to check the bag sunk in. Having had my fair share of incorrect orders over the years I cheerfully say, “Staples can be defeated” and popped the bag open. There lay my two containers of guacamole.

I paid and left.

Now. Some people may wish to have a stapled bag. Why? I don’t know nor do I need to address it. I will just accept that may be a very important thing for some. But, they had a staple to staple it closed. The idea can be presented that the same stapler can be used to address the issue of resealing the bag.

It was his defeat that interested me. He accepted the staple as a hurdle to great to waste his time on. One may go, “Of course, why should he care?” The why is because customer service is a harsh profession and decreasing the obstacles in your day is a valuable skill. The chance is high that not all bags have sides of guac. By addressing those bags that do have said sides he increases the chance of handing someone a complete meal. This is how he saves himself the hassle of angry customers. For food service is one of those areas where humanity is stripped from both parties.

Now to lunch.

Time and New Toys

The days do leak away, do not they? I am on the fifth of a seven day stretch. Sixty hours out of the 84 I will do. It will be my last stretch like this for a while. We have not had our missing co-worker replaced, but my other co-worker will not be taking leave for some months yet.

It is interesting to see how my fatigue has affected my writing. Yesterday, my creativity was blurred to char from exhaustion. Today, it is improved. Not great. The bubbling font of creative energy struggles when I work this many days. I’ve never noticed it before, but now that I’ve created the perfect writing environment that syncs between my mobile platform and my home system, it is noticed. I stare at my screen and find nothing to say.

It is a beautiful screen to stare at. My Surface Pro 4 is the first Microsoft branded device I have purchased. I’m very pleased with it. I had been convinced that I wanted an android environment, but I find the mobile windows platform utterly satisfying for my needs.

My laptop need not be my desktop as well. The Surface is not a perfect laptop because it has the form of a tablet. That leaves it lacking room for quad core processors and other such necessities. But, for someone that wanted a tablet to write upon, read upon, and draw upon, it does everything for me. To such an extent that my husband is eyeing the Surface 5 as that it will soon be released.

I’ve also been on the search for a perfect psudo-professional bag to use for work and carrying my basics in. I’ve abandoned the one bag approach. I now carry a simple tote bag for a lunch bag. It holds the bulky things. Then I have not a purse but a bag that acts as my work station, holding my electronics, cables, and batteries. I’d love one such thing but it grows too heavy and too cumbersome.

Ahh well. Soon, this work will pass. I can get back into my project which has been put down since May due to the demands on my time. I do hate having such a busy life. The money is excellent due to the overtime but the fatigue has become a bit much.