Coffee in the Atlanta Skyline mug (the collection grows), "A Little Less Conversation" by Elvis Presley on iTunes. Life for the past couple of weeks has been a fight for everything--nothing has been simple. And yet I am still in good spirits and have kept the breakdowns to infrequent minis. The latest additions to the list of catastrophes associated with the trip to Chicago: the stereo system in the Odyssey, bamboo, carpet, router and neighbors.
We picked up the van almost without incident from the dealership in Nashville yesterday morning. It was almost without incident as the battery was dead from one of the dome lights being left on for a week while it sat in their parking lot. A jump later and it was running, but the anti-theft security on the radio had been triggered so we needed to put in the code. Also not too much of a problem, they looked it up for us there. I didn't try to get the iPod and all working until we were on the road, but when I did, I found that power adapter (used to be called a cigarette lighter adapter) and the cd player/radio had no power. It would have been a long silent ride home (the dvd player did not work for the Sprout either), but we made metaphoric lemonade and took turns singing silly old songs (Clementine, Bicycle Built for Two, Yankee Doodle, etc.) and playing counting games. Jessie's favorite that she sang was Yankee Doodle, but she just would not accept that pronunciation/name and sang "Rankie Doodoo" all the way home.
There was no lemonade for the bamboo. This year for the first year since I put them in, the yellow and green Castillonis bamboo sent up shoots, big shoots, five of them. They were about a foot high (and over an inch around) when I left for Chicago and one of the first things I did yesterday upon my return was run to the backyard to marvel at their glory. But they weren't there towering over the rest of the bamboo. What the hell? So I looked closer and discovered to my horror that bamboo shoots are either tasty to deerhounds or Seraph was really stressed at my departure. All five shoots were about four feet tall and splintered off at the top from being chewed. No leaves at all so they probably are not even going to live. In the case they can't grow from being cut off in the middle, I need to cut them back to the ground so they don't siphon off nutrients from the rest of the plants. *sigh* There's always next year (bamboo shoots once a year and the full growth of the new culms happens in one growing season so these plants will always be as they are this year.
The lemonade for the carpet was that it could have been worse. The gate to the upstairs did not get closed before we were all gone so the dogs had free run of the upstairs in our absence and the carpet suffered in a few spots. Enough said on THAT one.
I just threw up my hands and out the lemons on the router. Went to get Dave the security key for the router so he could get his laptop connected last night and the lights on the router were all off. I couldn't connect to the router via either the laptop or the iMac and my laptop couldn't connect to the net. I think I am still able to get on via the iMac as a pass through from the DSL modem. The electricity was out while we were gone and the router might have gotten fried by lightning. In any case I foresee a frustrating morning of sys adminning to get the problem resolved and the home network functional again.
I wish I had saved the lemons to through at the neighbors. And last, but not least, the crappy neighbors with the yappy dogs moved while I was gone. So how could this be a catastrophe? Guess what they left behind--the yappy dogs. I went over last night and the dogs had no food and no water. I went over this morning and, again, no food and no water. It is going to be 85 degrees today. I do not know these dogs well enough to open their kennel, go in and take care of them. As far as I know, they have never been out of the kennel and though they look friendly, I am not going to risk being bitten. So I called animal services and their response is to put an abandonment notice on the kennel giving the owners 36 hours to take the dogs away. No amount of protesting would convince the operator that the dogs could be dead in 36 hours. Alvin and Belinda have been gone for over a week now, and I have seen no evidence that they are coming by to take care of the dogs. After much aggravation and $7.95, I have found the landlady's name and address (the internet is a truly wonderful thing) and called her. She did not know they had moved and said she would call Alvin (Allen, whatever) at work to find out. She might or might not call me back to let me know what she finds out. And the police should be here in the next hour.
Even if the Alvin and Belinda complaint falls through I still need the police. I have finally decided to do something about the dog in the yard next to Alvin and Belinda's. Another set of renters moved in there and they have a young female pit-bull in a prong collar chained 24/7 in their backyard with nothing more than a small airline carrier kennel for shelter. It is illegal in our county to chain animals at all. Even trolley systems can only be used in the day--not from 10 pm to 6 am--and require a back-up containment system. I have not complained before now because I did not have the time to dedicate to the process and was nervous about the fallout from the neighbors. I am still nervous about the fallout from the neighbors (the dog owner is a big guy and if he bangs on my door with temper and ill-intent for making a complaint...) but it is the Right Thing To Do.
In tomorrow's post I will get around to all the good things that happened in Chicago and all the fun we had. For now I have to unload the van, fix/replace the router, fire a couple of commissions, review the web pages I have *finally* received for review from the website development company, and write the publisher about their response (I haven't received one yet) to the project outline I sent last week and the week before.