When Things Go Wrong

Every year has a theme. The theme of this year is Murphy. In things great and small, if it can go wrong, it does.

In our house endeavor it manifested in several ways, but one of the more annoying was having to hire two people for every job, and having the first one either not do the work, do the work wrong, cost us money by forcing us to redo the work and other work (the most notable being cabinet painter who splattered the floors all over.) We might be in the middle of one of these, btw.

On the upside, the second person we hired almost always was competent, fast and honest, even if often very expensive.

And the second time I did a job — on average — the stain didn’t assume strange hues and the varnish didn’t curdle. Which gives me great hope.

We’ve now redone and sold five houses in the last 37 years. We’ve never had this much trouble, not even the first time.

It also manifests day to day, like right after I landed and was starting to work again I got sick, and it’s taking me forever to come up from it. I blame some fans/friends I hang out with online. I mean, all they had was a nasty cold, but I don’t know how I caught it.

Seriously, Dave Freer and I used to pass colds to each other when we talked every morning. Given that we were on opposite sides of the world, after the fourth time it happened it led us to question the nature of space/viruses and reality. Because that stuff shouldn’t happen.

So, if you’re sick, please breathe away from the monitor, just in case 🙂

Anyway today’s murphiness manifested in the form of poo on my bedspread from the fluffy and unhygienic cat. (This is a great name for a rock band: Unhygienic cat.) Oh and some cat (I suspect Valeria who is the spiteful one. You need a brain for spite) having turned my lap desk upside down and peed on the under side. Anyone need a pair of mittens and a matching fur hat?

I think part of what’s working on them is how confusing and messy the house is. Which means I need to unpack faster. But I have books to finish.

All of which will undoubtedly feed murphy some more….

This ramble brought to you by “I bathed my cat and washed my bedspread, and all I’ve got left is an empty brain.”

Oh, yeah “And I’m really starting to worry for national events and that the butcher’s bill will start being collected any minute now.” …. and I still own houses in two states.

So forgive me this very weird post.

At least this year is almost over. If we’re lucky, the theme of the next one won’t be “Things go wrong and can’t be fixed.”

And yet, despite it all, for what we’re about to receive let us be truly thankful.

And FIDO (F*ck it, Drive on.) Which is the only way to deal with Murphy, temporary or permanent.

189 thoughts on “When Things Go Wrong

  1. Speaking of Murphy and cats, this happened to me last night/this morning (from my FB post on it):

    Well, THAT was an adventure.

    Last Thursday, my next-door neighbor Mark posted to the neighborhood email list that his kitty was missing. I replied that I had heard one of my cats getting into it with somebody that night and discovered my basement door pushed open, but couldn’t find any extra cats in my house and figured she must have run back out the basement door.

    Over the last couple of days, though, I’ve heard both of my cats growling at something behind the tv stand. Last night, I realized that they were growling at the side vent on the fireplace (it’s an old ’40s model with a metal shell with an airspace behind it that draws in air from the sides and vents it out above the hearth), not something next to it, so I banged on the vent and heard a growl in return. And then I took off the vent on the other side and saw a furry cat butt, but was too shocked to grab it in time. I called and called, and then put some food in a dish inside the vent hoping she would eat some and went to bed.

    This morning I got up at 6:00 and went and bought a probe camera at Home Depot. I snaked it in the top vent and, sure enough, there’s a little cat face looking back at me. I called Mark and he came over and called to her, and what with him calling and me poking her from behind with the camera probe, finally got her to stick her head out the vent hole for me to grab her by the scruff and haul her out the rest of the way.

    (I guess instead of running out the door she must have jumped into the downstairs ash trap, which leads up to the ground floor air space, and then she couldn’t get back down the vertical trap.)

    She’s home now and getting a good cleaning and probably lots of treats and loves.

    Thank heavens I didn’t light a fire this weekend during the big storm. I thought about it, but it was already too dark and too wet outside to go split logs for kindling.

    Guess I should probably drill some holes in the brick in the basement and cover the old ash trap, lest one of my cats decide to do the same damnfool thing.

    1. I have 3 cats and the same type fireplace with an air gap all around it that a cat could easily fit in. I will block any entry points, while being thankful the cats prefer disappearing in the cluttered storage area.

    2. It is amazing where a cat can get to. I have a familial pump organ. We were trying to sell our previous home When we went out or showings were to happen the kitties went into a large kitty cage downtstairs. They were not amused by this state of affairs. One time we were going out and were trying to corral our two felines. One was easy, offer food and the little plump boy showed up. But his sibling was missing and we could NOT find him. Wife was concerned she had let him out by mistake and became frantic (Note: wife was 8 months pregnant with second child and not her usual calm cool collected self). We searched and searched but no cat. Wife was beside herself and sat down at the dining room table near the pump organ and broke into tears (see previous note on state). All of a sudden the little SOB cat came down the pedals of the pump organ and rubbed against my wife as if to say “Here I am Mommy”. I went between wanting to throttle the cat and utter joy for about 15 minutes.


        1. That was likely the nicest thing I said to him that day. Even so he still is one of my favorite cats ever. All cats are jerks, it just varies by degree…

        2. Got chastised at vet by a customer when called my dog dummy or derp. She had gotten scared of fireworks, cut her paws on something and gotten herself all sorts of tangled.

  2. I lock murphy in the same closet I use for my editing brain when I’m trying to write. Doesn’t stay there long, though. They’re probably besties.

  3. Not sick. Joints are crunchy because weather is shifty. I can’t give you virus, but I can offer some advice on the whole “can’t brain” thing, since I tend to have that hit fairly frequently: Eat moar bacon–it helps your brain process (no, really! Bacon has more choline than most things except liver, and tastes a lot better).

      1. It’s a brain nutrient–I eat a good amount of bacon (and some eggs, which also have a lot), because I found out by accident that it helps clear brain fog, and went looking for *why.* Well, that was it.

          1. I eat the yolks. Not just the whites. Nothing better than an omelette. With bacon. And mushrooms. Unless it’s a bacon and egg sandwich with a slice of melty extra sharp cheddar…

              1. Mushrooms ain’t too bad. I dice em up with garlic when making chicken and rice. Godson o’ mine hates mushrooms. Happens to like the chicken and rice dish, though, mushrooms and all. Not a fan of them by themselves, mostly. Had ’em with fondue a time or two, and were quite tasty then. And the oncet, a salad that didn’t totally suck.

                Otherwise, not much a fan of the fungus. Done well, they’re alright. Done poorly, I’d just about rather starve, thank you.

              2. But was it a panic, or was it malicious conspiracy on par with BLM and the ‘Covid-19’ ‘research’?

  4. Maybe we should go looking for Agents Of Murphy. [Crazy Grin]

    Oh, that was what the old Witch Hunts were about. Things Go Wrong And It Has To Be The Witch’s Fault. 😦

    Take Care Sarah. 😀

  5. Your crazy post made me laugh out loud.

    James Caledonia Gray, aka Sunny Jim, aka “Ass Kat” is an American longhair who occasionally brings his shitty back end onto the bed. To share, and to get some cuddles, which means it usually ends up in my face.

    I have just created homemade laundry soap that is par excellence, so I suppose I’m ready.

    And I’m starting the big fight back against Kroger/Fred Meyer on ADA exemptions and just general medical malpractice against Kaiser.

    Take no prisoners.

  6. Babylon Bee has a headline about Kenosha residents painting Black Lives matter in lambs blood on their lintles so the angry mob passes them over. I laughed at first then I felt depressed.

      1. I don’t now about that.

        Having “Black Lives Matter” on their buildings didn’t save anyone list time.

        Not even having “this is a black-owned business, plz to not destroy” helped.

  7. Keep Calm and Bugger On, I suppose.

    Found out three days ago that I’m losing the medical coverage that I liked, and the replacement isn’t quite as good or as reasonably cheap through the State of California. (At least I have a one month grace period until the end of the year.)

    I spent nearly three months not so much barking up the wrong tree as digging a hole to China (or, more accurately, out in the middle of the Indian Ocean and miles away from Madagascar), thinking that I was going to have an additional extension for my unemployment but instead that I just didn’t have to actively look for work while I was in school. Hopefully, I can get another extension for next year-and finish my degree program in a single semester-which is something that is going to be useful for finding a new job.

    I think-and hope-that next year our (theoretical) lords and masters are going to have to start doing things to cut into gas prices and such because of the 2022 elections. Because the “smartest” of them realize that if they lose this election and try to cheat, it’s going to be in the history books as when everything exploded and the blood began to spill. And, everything is on track for a massive blowout-the Republicans just need to hold on to their current seats in the House and gain six of the fifteen Democrat seats up for election to be the majority party in Congress. Senate? Hold their current seats and gain the open Democrat seat and it becomes a different game.

    It’s frustrating, because it makes it harder to write (far too much time doing other things), but it’s either stay on top of things or otherwise go insane.

    1. The only thing they can do to cut gas prices will likely hurt them more than gas prices. Hell, FICUS is already going after “the gougers”

      On the other hand, the bust that follows the current money printing boom will fix gas prices good and hard.

      1. I’m of mixed feelings. Let’s be fair, there’s a lot of infrastructure that has been given far too much benign neglect and needs massive replacement. And, internet access is reaching the point of being a genuine utility like phone, water, and electricity. And, we all know that there’s going to be pork in these bills, happens like butterflies and pretty girls when Spring rolls around.

        But, the crap they’re putting out has far too much Leftist indulgences to prove that they are Good People.


        1. That spending will certainly hurt gas prices, especially as they seem to be investing in everything but what actually works. I suspect the vast majority of the infrastructure spending will go to consultants and litigation in any case and little, if anything, will be built.

          Ive written here before that the current price increases in, well, everything are supply problems and that little money has been created, hence transitory, not inflation. The infrastructure bill will likely be inflationary, particularly as we won’t get much, if anything, tangible out of it, just money spent so we’ll have no increase in capacity but lots of money sloshing around after scarce goods.

          In the shorter term, high prices tend to cause low prices. Every downturn over the last 50+ years has been preceded by a large uptick in the price of oil and every large uptick in the price of oil has been followed by significant economic stress, usually, but not always, recession.

          You can go onto the St. Louis FRB “FRED” economic data site and confirm this, if you wish.

          In the longer term, the demographic tide is going out and deflation is on the horizon. Deflation is poison to elected politicians.

          1. If you want to know where the “infrastructure” spending is going, just think Solyandra. Also, very little of the 1.2 trillion infrastructure package is actually infrastructure. Remember, the commies are calling EVERYTHING infrastructure, because their vision is an all powerful, all pervasive, federal government.

            1. Yes, I know, I know, I know.

              But, hopefully there are some actual diamonds in the turd sandwich we’re going to have from this bill. 101, for example, is finally getting the widening it should have gotten years ago and might be 3+1 lanes all the way up to the Oregon border. There’s some other projects that have been held off for years, and need to get done as well.

              I just hate all the waste and crap that it takes to get there in the first place. And, one thing that I know won’t have any spending will be additional wildfire abatement and emergency measures. Not even widening the main roads coming in and out of the hills to 1+1 configuration.

              1. Oh. Goody. More road to slide into the ocean or alternatively more road for slides to slide onto. Because that is what happens on Hwy 101 on the California, and to be fair, the Oregon Coast, or at least stretches of it. Or as we say “Must drive 3 hours to drive between Florence and North Bend on the coast. Because Hwy 101 is down and out, again.” Florence to Territorial Hwy to Corvallis to North Bend. Not sure of the bad patches south of Reedsport. Reedsport to Florence might have sand blow onto it, but that section of freeway isn’t going to fall into the Pacific or have major slides on it. I know the California sections also has problems. Widening it, won’t help.

          1. The second largest item is, evidently, the restoration of the SALT deduction, which is really, really good for me but not so much for everyone else.

            Trump managed the minor miracle of actually raising taxes on the rich and this undoes that. I’ve gotten immense mileage out of it, and this will keep it going even farther, as it completely illustrates that the dems are stupid, greedy, and hypocritical at the same time. The dems truly are the party of the rich.

          2. And, Starlink is doing very well if you’re not doing things like streaming a dozen HD channels at the same time or need it for gaming. Unless I could get a deal for fiber, I’d be getting a Starlink dish if I was out in the countryside.

        2. I’ve long said that internet access must be treated as utilities are because that’s how it’s used. Resistance is from those who want to use it to get power.

  8. Makes me so glad that our three cats (well, two at the time) didn’t get feline revenge on us (ooo! Band name!) by leaving “presents” like that. Granted, both of them had only been adopted shortly before our move, so they didn’t really have *time* to settle in at the old house, but still.

    I’m sure you know this, give them some time, work on unpacking some of *their* things, and they’ll start to settle down.

      1. I wasn’t thinking revenge, more a case of stress from the move, the new place.

        As for the hygiene, I can see that (MiL had a cat that couldn’t groom itself well and didn’t like to be handled, that made it *fun* to try to brush her)

        1. We moved 3 cats three times, and another one twice. They ranged in age from 7 to 11 years old. The 5th cat, who also moved with us the last time, we got just before the last move was a young kitten. Had very specific methods of dealing with them moving and had their stuff out and setup first. Then we had the newborn human join the family. (We are sooooo mean!) Do not remember any issues, but it has been 33 years since the last move.

          We’ve had cats when they got older they needed help grooming. It never went well. Clipping nails was impossible, and it had to be done or the nails curled under into the pad (which then got the veterinarian involved). Brushing generally went a little better, at least it only took one person. Last 5 kittens as they’ve come into the household I’ve started clipping nails, bathing, brushing and combing, from tiny, tiny, kitten. Whether they needed it or not. Paid off. I can clip nails by myself, apply topical flea/tick treatment, and we can all brush or comb their fur. Full baths not so much, but they’ll take a toweling down when they come in wet from outside, and we can wash butts. They don’t care for any of this (a lot of squalling) other than the toweling, combing, and brushing, unless dealing with mats thick enough that cutting through the mat (well away from skin) is required. But at least it can be done. None of this helps if not started when they are kittens, whether they needed it or not. As adult cats they have to know they have to submit. Otherwise it took 3 of us, and we did not escape unscathed.

          1. Our previous 2 we adopted on the younger side, so they were very used to being handled, claw-clipping was never a problem.

            Our current 3, fuss a bit when we pick them up for clipping, but I flip them on their back on my lap and the wife clips away. They squirm a bit, but it only takes a second to settle them down again.

            I think with the MiLs’ cats, though, she can’t clip the claws herself, the wife will aim to do it once a month but the cats have been skittish around strangers. Plus, I feel at least, a lot of times the MiLs’ behavior prior to and during the clipping sessions might rile the cat up further (she’s not doing anything WRONG per se, but instead of being calm and low-voiced prior to and during, she gets a bit loud (not yelling, but above normal speaking volume), and “excited” a bit, shall we say. And the cat picks up on that and gets wound up.) The best times the wife has been able to clip the claws is when she’s taken her mom out for a while and then come back to a napping cat and snagged the cat before it gets all the way woke up.

            1. Our three worse cats to clip nails were gotten extremely young, one barely 5 weeks old, and the other two bottle fed. But never clipped their nails as kittens or young cats. When they got old enough that it had to be done, because of age. Three of us with chain mail on, and, while clipping was accomplished, we did not escape unscathed.

              1. Yeah one of our current kitties is very worried about claw clipping. I wonder if when he was a kitten someone clipped them and tagged the quick. I wish I had the personal shields from Dune for clipping his claws.

                1. The last 5, as tiny kittens, didn’t even clip the nails, until at least 16 weeks. Just went through the actions. Just too tiny, kittens AND their little needles. Even with the < 12 month current kitten, the nails aren't getting more than the tips clipped.

                  Flea topical application OTOH, especially now since they have < 5# options … No I am not drowning the kitten, I swear I'm not. Sounds like it … I'm not. We've brought home abandoned strays (whether by a feral mother, or not) that the kitten was outweighed by the fleas … or seemed like it.

  9. That’s because
    Angry Mob The Avenging Angel of God.

    To be truthful, Kensha residents should have a fully charged cell phone, and arm themselves with several hundred rounds of ammo, and sit in their front room.

    Anyone encroaching on their property with weapons or fire, send the video to 911, warn the intruders off once, then shoot to wound center of mass and keep shooting until your property is clear, or you’re out of ammo.

      1. Trap. If the defense (or anyone in the courtroom) had protested, I can near as guaran-dang-tee you that GoldBinger would have used that as an excuse. He’d have said something on the order of “what’s the issue? Why’s everyone so upset? After all, that’s what Kyle did. So y’all take me pointing an AR-15 at you as a threat *now* but didn’t when he did it?”

        Now I *will* allow as how the idiot didn’t clear the chamber himself when he picked it up. Rule one violation. He swept the jury with it, among others. Rule two violation. And he put his Binger hook on the Bang Switch. Rule three, that’s a trifecta. Yes, there was no magazine in the well. But there was no barrel flag and the chamber wasn’t locked open- conceivably, there *could* have been a Baldwin situation where a live round was in the chamber. He couldn’t know, could he? He didn’t even bloody check!

        GoldBinger gets 0/3 on firearms safety. Had he done that on any range, he’d have been stopped immediately. Possibly tackled. And banned from the range for life.

          1. “And after a five day long trial, the travel says he was fined 15 copper for improper haggling and the prosecutor was beheaded…”

            I do regret never getting to run that adventure.

        1. It absolutely is a threat, just as what Kyle did was a threat. His problem is that not all threats are provocation, and his case rests entirely on the idea that Kyle provoked the encounter. Threatening someone who had been provocative all night long and was now posing an immediate threat doesn’t strip Kyle of his right to self defense.

          1. You’re right, and that’s the tack that the defense has been taking, with some success, thus far. The prosecution is relying mainly on that grainy video (that they had HD of, but somehow failed to deliver to the defense). They’re trying to put in the jury’s mind that Kyle was they *aggressor.* Rekieta has been running good commentary on the trial itself, with assistance from a lot of the better Youtube law folks.

            Why the defense hasn’t been blasting for mistrial with prejudice is beyond me. And most of the commentators on Rekieta. MWP would basically throw Kyle free, and paint the prosecutor (accurately) as both incompetent and with malicious intent. This sort of thing should not fly in *any* courtroom. You don’t defy the judge on multiple occasions, cross Constitutional boundaries, and present doctored footage as “evidence” and get away with it. Or bloody well shouldn’t. Let alone the sweeping the jury with a gun you didn’t check while your finger is on the trigger.

            The judge has been bending over backwards to get this trial to the jury. I choose to believe it is because he believes in the justice system, and wants to see it working properly. Despite the consistent failure of the state to make its case under the law. I pray that things will work out for the better in Kenosha. Not just for Kyle, but for the residents now wondering if it will be *their* homes and businesses targeted by rioters in the coming days.

              1. Tomorrow is another day. The jury came back with the only right and sane verdict possible, given the evidence and the law. With the dawn and as the shock fades, there will likely be casualties.

                It is a crisis too good for the thugs and the grifters to miss. And they’ll get burned for it, even as they may burn buildings, cars, and others, should the riots I expect happen. Perhaps it is too cold for them. We shall see.

                But the crisis is more than just Kenosha. It is Resident Brandon’s fading ability. It is VP Kneepads’ complete unlikeability, and lack of ability in general in respect to the office. Someone is going to try and take advantage of this crisis within the left. Mark my words, *someone* is going to try and seize advantage while the aging leadership stumbles.

                The current foe is weakening. Best we do what we can now, prepare, and stiffen the spines of our allies for the conflict yet to come. The political, social, economic, cultural, legal conflicts I do hope. The other too, needs must. Rather the latter not happen, though. Collateral damage tends to be… extreme.

  10. Somehow TPTB got the cockamamie notion that the end justifies the means, so we have the spectacle of public officials not only ordering law enforcement to stand down while looters and arsonists run riot, but broadcasters send out pictures of “fiery but mostly peaceful protests” against a backdrop of burning buildings. And then we have a teenager being tried for murder in self defense, by a prosecutor who brazenly flouts established constitutional rights and withholds evidence from the defense, while angry agitators threaten the lives of judge and jurors if the defendant is acquitted. And the same broadcasters flat out lie about what is actually going on. I’m seeing a wholesale abandonment of any pretense of truth or justice under the law in favor of rule by criminals. About all I can do about it is be thankful that I live nowhere near Wisconsin.

    Last night I bought a brand new printer. In spite of a bad experience with an earlier model from this company, I foolishly trusted it. If I had read the product reviews about the shoddy workmanship and poor product quality before I paid for it, I never would have chosen this model, and probably not this manufacturer. . Someone in corporate headquarters…or, given corporate bureaucracy, most likely multiple someones, none of whom can be held individually responsible…. decided that making a printer out of cheap plastic parts that don’t fit properly and with sensors that don’t quite work as intended was good business.

    Now I get to go do battle with the repair technicians at the store who I fully expect to Find Nothing Wrong and get this HP(oS) product to work perfectly for them, so why am I being a nuisance? Except that there’s just enough chance that it won’t go that way that it’s worth trying to salvage some of the additional $z00 lesson in the perversity of modern society that I don’t really need.

    I could produce multiple other pieces of evidence that The Universe is Conspiring Against Me and has been all my life. Now, if I could translate this into humor in my fiction, I could maybe sell it and make a zillion bucks. Except that I’ve never much cared about that, I always believed the lyrics of “A Satisfied Mind”. But I don’t have that, either.

    1. I’ve stuck with Brother laser printers for…oh, lord, has it *really* been that long? Twenty years, now. Got my first one second hand in college, and used it until it and the computer would no longer see each other. Second one followed, and a third–replaced for the same reason as the first. The fourth got zapped by lightning just after the warranty ended, and the fifth just before (replaced by the company at their cost, since I’d been using a surge protector). And the one I have now does double-sided wifi printing, and I love it.

      You couldn’t run fast enough to *give* me any HP machine whatsoever.

    2. Can you just return it as unsatisfactory? HP got really weird starting in the late 1990s, and hasn’t been much better since. I had several HP computers and a few printers (employee discount), but it’s a Must Stay Away right now.

      My last HP printer was circa 1998, as was my wife’s all-in-one. It was not a sad day when they were retired. HP lost a lot of my goodwill when it transpired that they were spending lots-o-cash on legal fights over inkjet cartridges and similar crap. (I was in an HP division that supported the printers from time to time, and the word from the printer divisions was ugly…)

      The color inkjet printer got replaced by a monochrome laser from Brother. Duplex printing, *good* online documentation, and solid reliability for medium duty work. All for around $100, ready to print. It’s about 9 years old, and I have the relevant spares in stock when it’s necessary.

      1. Oh well, it’s been too many years, so nobody could retaliate…

        The deciding factor for my souring on HP printers was when our semiconductor division fielded an enquiry from the inkjet cartridge/printer people. They wanted to move the inkjet driver ICs from the printer to the inkjet cartridge. One of the selling features (as proudly proclaimed by a designer in our division) was that the IC would count the number of droplets it disbursed, and would brick itself once the arbitrary limit passed.

        Our division wasn’t set up to do such an IC, and I have no idea if and/or when that idea was implemented, but the customer-hostile attitude offended me (and several of my co-workers). I didn’t buy any HP equipment afterwards. I did notice in passing that the actual printers got cheaper while the cartridges got more expensive. (And the myriad model numbers was not helpful, as they changed cartridge designs at will.)

        1. I gave up on inkjets some time ago. I think the last one I had, I gave away.
          For myself, I have an admittedly low-end Pantum. But it’s inexpensive, rather than merely cheap.

        2. Main issue I’m having with printers, in general, is after a few years the inexpensive (can get at Costco) option goes away. Inexpensive in that, while over the coarse of this time paying more for cartridges than originally for the printer, but still cheaper to buy the ink cartridges than a new printer. However, once not available through Costco, either brick or mortar, or online, then it is cheaper to buy a new printer, even if the current printer works perfectly fine. That is when I run out the ink and printer goes to Goodwill.

          We’ve had HP and Cannon printers over the last 30 years.

          Don’t remember the brand, now, but advertised on TV as just buying the ink, not the cartridges. Haven’t looked into it as our current HP all in one printer is doing great. I can still get cartridges for it.

      2. Done. The store was decent about it and swapped it for another new machine of the same make and model, so it cost nothing more but time and aggravation. But I’m in rattlesnake mode and not inclined to trust that all will go well.
        I don’t just print manuscripts but I do a bit of fantasy mapmaking from time to time, so a color printer is highly desirable. (I even thought about offering my services to Sarah, but surely there is someone more experienced and better qualified.)

        1. Oooh, have you checked out this place?

          You can play with the free version, then if you get something you want to use in a book you buy the subscription and get REALLY addicted. 😀

          I’ve got a map made on this literally an arm’s reach away, published with Zazzle for less than buying a map-mat like you’d use to hand-draw for games.

          1. I’ve had Campaign Cartographer from Profantasy for a few years now, It was a bit pricey, but I’ve already climbed a ways up the steep learning curve. They have excellent support and are continually upgrading and improving their products so I’m good. But thanks.

            1. I’ve used that. They also put out a monthly newsletter of tips, trick, and additional content.

          2. That’s the second time I’ve seen someone mention inkarnate. The other wasn’t even here, it was on some other site a while back. Looks even better now than the first time I saw it.

        2. I shelled out for an Epson XP15000 a year or so ago. Large format, good color, duplexes 8.5×11, and best of all it seals the nozzles when it goes into standby so they don’t dry out.

          It is prone to paper pick failures from the tray when the humidity changes, and you have to open the back to clear it. That’s the big gripe. The ink price is the little one, but unless you are doing large-format photo color it won’t be too bad. I do mostly text, a little photo.

      3. Conversely, I have SIX HP LaserJets (two I bought used, one of those color, rest fell on my head, the oldest is 28 years old) and am pretty much cured of other printers. Cheap per page (up to 6000 pages between refills), drivers and parts still available, plug it in and it works anywhere (and will work with fallback drivers).

        Got cured of inkjets long before the Refill Debacles… too expensive to run, too short-lived (dying twice while still in warranty? seriously??), and disappearing or cranky drivers.

    3. Heh. What was it that RAH said? “The universe owes you a living, but it takes you a lifetime to collect.”

      Truth is, while life keeps cropping up in the strangest and most hostile of places, this universe hates life. It does it’s best to end it. It goes so far as to make life itself end itself. It always has been Me, You, and the rest of us against the Universe. Thank God for loving parents or we’d have gone extinct ages ago.

      1. As I’ve said to nature worshippers before, “Thinking that we can ruin the planet is mere hubris, but we can to some degree shape our local environment to better our own lives. Nature has never done anything for me except try to kill me every day of my life. I don’t return that indifference because I am human, and that makes all the difference.”

    4. Regarding your printer –

      The rumor right now – and I’ve seen some things that make me suspect it’s true – is that due to the shortage of computer parts, the computer companies are relaxing their quality assurance standards. The thinking (and I emphasize I don’t know whether this is true) is supposedly that since there’s a shortage of parts to make gear, it’s better to have more out there with a higher chance of failure than not enough while using the old quality standards. Most of the time, it won’t be an issue, and no one will notice. Then when a problem does happen, the company fixes it under warranty. The hit to the bottom line from the warranty repair is covered by the additional sales that otherwise couldn’t have been made.

      Again, though, this is just a rumor.

      1. Probably Chinese made. I was talking to a repairman a number of years ago, and he said, if he had to get parts, he had to buy 3 because 2 inevitably were wrong or failed.

    5. I have a client who insists on buying HP printers. Some of the newer ones won’t even install their drivers unless they have a live internet connection. Then, when you finally get the printer up, it chats with various hosts out on the net, and it is running a web server you can’t turn off. Some of them, you can’t turn the wifi off either.

      They’re bleeding security holes.

      1. That… Ye bogs and little fishes. I’m no network guy, but what the ever loving eff? Did they not learn from the last hundred or so IOT hacks? *headdesk*

  11. I’m having a slight change in opinion about the hippies and protesters of the sixties, since I am now sharing some of their opinions about the police, the FBI, corporations, foreign wars, even drugs. I want drastically less government as opposed to what I think they wanted, but maybe they had some good arguments.

    Seeing the QAnon Shaman get four years is shocking. I wouldn’t have done the posing at the podium like he did, or gone into offices, but if the cops had the door open and were waving people in, I probably would have gone just for the fun of it. Big deal – a ticket for trespassing is something to brag about. To think I could possibly be in federal prison right now …

    1. Except if the cops are waving you in and holding the door open for you, it’s not trespassing. The man broke nothing. The man defaced nothing. Chause(sp) is exactly what Nelson Mandela and Alexander Solzhenitsyn were, political prisoners of tyrannical governments. The Judge, Prosecutor, and Congress on the issue of January 6th are all 100% corrupt; undeserving of their offices, and undeserving of the label, Americans.

  12. FIDO and Murphy? No thanks. I prefer to limit my relations to female humans, and, since I’m married, only one of them. And she isn’t named Murphy.

        1. Indeed. Add in Emperor Mong and the Good Idea Fairy, and all their little unnamed minions. The long dead hands of Stalin, Mao, and Marx. Pol Pot, too. All the good little socialists that engineered and disseminated that dead Soviet destabilization program that’s still running in the brains of today’s Progressives.

          Tarry not with such dangerous fools. The only thing you can predict of them is that they will each seek to spread their own flavor of chaotic entropy and drag you into their own orbit.

    1. Don’t worry. The US State Department is working tirelessly to undo the changes introduced by that idiot Trump and his Abraham Accords.

  13. Sarah, have you ever considered whether you’ve become allergic to cats? Happened to me quite suddenly in my late 30s, and has become quite severe…

      1. OK, old Adele Davis remedy that cured me of my cat allergy (and allowed us to be owned by 9 cats at once. Yeah, we were officially eccentric.) Pantothenic acid (B-5). No the B-vitamin multiples won’t do. Maybe it’s an imbalance in the B vitamin ratios, but I’ve cured not only myself but a dozen others with it. Something you might try.

  14. That made me laugh! I had girl cat jump up on my bed after I turned off the lights and I swore I felt a dry lump stuck to her tush, but then I couldn’t find it. Sure enough, when I felt around in the quilt I found a little bit and threw it off the bed until I could deal with it. Since it was totally dry, I didn’t have to strip off the quilt until the morning…she was really embarrassed about it too.

  15. I’ve found that when encountering Murphy, FIDO does definitely apply….in a modified form: “F…k It, Drive Over Murphy. As for cats, condolences…had 4, down to 2 now. One died from the fatal mistake of continuing to poo on the bedroom carpet. One died in a tragic accident (really). Of the survivors, one is antisocial toward the other cat, and the other cat is in need of a playmate….god help me but I’ll probably get him a kitten to play with…nobody ever said I suffered from an excess of sanity.

    1. We have same configuration.
      Havey is not malicious. He’s a sweetheart. He just needs his butt shaved on the regular. And we lost hte shaver in the move.
      I’ve ordered a new one.

    2. I need to get a kitten for my dog.

      He’s a livestock guardian, but apparently he’s decided that the livestock in question is CATS. And he wants so, so badly to be friends with a cat. He tries hard to be gentle, but the second Dumb Cat makes a friendly moved, BOUNCE BOUNCE WAG BOUNCE LOOK MOM THE CAT LOVES MEEEEEEEEEE.

  16. I was driving to the market the other day, and was hearing the occasional quiet meow. This had me puzzled, and I wasn’t sure where it was coming from. I got to where I was going (it wasn’t far), took care of business, and drove back home. Shortly after starting the drive home, I heard another meow. I rolled down my window to check whether that might reveal the source of the noise, but didn’t hear anything further. So I chalked it up to either an audio fault in the audio book I was listening to, or an odd squeak from the car that I hadn’t noticed before.

    Much later that night, I heard some very loud meows coming from the carport area below my apartment. I came down to take a look, and one of my neighbors came out, as well. We eventually figured out that the source of the noise was my car. My neighbor told me that there was a small black kitten that had been skulking about, and evidently it was the source of the meows. She eventually went back in, but I stuck around for a while, staying quiet. After several minutes, I spotted the kitten darting across the parking area into another parking stall. It ran under a neighbor’s car, and disappeared.

    My best guess is that that morning, the kitten had crawled into the undercarriage of my car for shelter. It had stayed there, occasionally meowing quietly, as I went out. At some point after I got home, it climbed out (I went out again later, and didn’t hear it). After I got home that evening, it climbed back up into the under carriage again to keep warm (Southern California “cold” night weather). For some reason it started meowing very loudly. When my neighbor and I start poking around, it went quiet, waited until it thought we had left, and ran off to a new undercarriage to hide in.

    1. Oh, I can do one better….

      Friend gave me a kitten to be a barn cat, then about 6 weeks old. So far so good. Well, a few days later, apparently kitten climbed up into my truck’s engine bay (already weird; truck was cold, then very loud, cats normally run the other way)… and rode 60 miles from the desert down through Los Angeles to the then-nearest Costco, where my truck sat all day while sister and I went off to do Other Things. Then rode along through North Hollywood and stayed put while I went to a meeting. When I came out about 11pm…. went to let friend into my truck and kitten falls out of the engine bay, all HI! How are you?? not the least bit bothered by his adventure, but quite the surprise to suddenly see on the curb.

      Ah, I figured it out; he’s just trying to tell me his name: Roadkill.

      1. Unfortunately, when wife was a little girl, they got a kitten for her. Well, Dad went to work, and was wondering what smelled so good cooking. Same thing on the way back home, even more so. Unfortunately, it was kitten up on the exhaust pipes coming from the engine. There are very unsafe places in the engine compartment and underside of automobiles.

        1. High school buddy of mine worked at his father’s Shell station, and made a substantial amount of spending money cleaning engines when that happened. What’s sad is there really isn’t any way to stop it, especially if you park on the street.

        2. Yeah, I’ve had two barn cats go up the road and encounter someone’s fan belt — one has a stiff tail and the other lost half a hind leg. They’ve got a hot pad for winter, but some of ’em just don’t use it.

          Never had one get fried or mangled in my own vehicle, tho my truck is likely to be entirely cold before the next start, so no reason to stick around. Roadkill had his adventure in the summer, so the wonder was the pavement didn’t roast him.

        3. Yeah especially when it’s cold out and the car has been recently run the warms are just too tempting. We lost a couple of our semi-feral/barn cat kittens to our SAAB 95 station wagon’s fan that was exposed. Very unpleasant.

        1. I used to keep pigeons. Every morning when I fed them, I’d sing ’em a round of “Poisoning Pigeons in the Park” to remind them how lucky they were to be cage pigeons, and not park pigeons. 😀

          1. This one was perched on the roof of my car. Stayed there when I got in. Stayed there when I drove off. Stayed there while I drove down the road. At about 30 mph, I heard a scritch, scritch, scratch and in the rear view mirror, saw a bundle of feathers fall off and hit the road behind me. Passenger pigeon.

              1. You never know about these feral city pigeons, but this one looked perfectly ordinary to me, just perched on my car roof. I was expecting it to fly off any second. but I guess it never found a convenient moment. Most of them I’ve seen do have slightly more sense. It wasn’t there when I drove back the same way a half hour later.

                1. Pigeon feathers are loosely attached, and come out easily… One of my dog training pigeons learned that if instead of waddling away, you just stand there and let the puppies pull out your tail feathers, you get to go back in the cage sooner. Smart pigeon, as they go. Lived past 14 years.

                  Pigeons are weird. (If not quite in the league with turkeys. Now there’s a weird bird…)

    2. Athena T. Cat was found in the oil pan of a pickup. She’d crawled in there to hide (probably from coyotes) and was the only survivor of the litter. Guy found her before he started to drive, thanks be.

      Oh, yeah. She developed three retaliatory hair mats in revenge for the groomer shaving off the huge mat on her tail. *sigh* Cats.

    3. Growing up on a farm, cats around cars was not unheard of.

      We had a medium gray with light tabbie markings named Fluffy. Very affectionate. One cold day she got into the engine compartment since it was recently driven and still warm. My mom went out later to run an errand, cranked up, and RREEEEEOOOWWWWWW!!!! Cat took off. When she came back around, the only damage was to one ear; it was semi-clipped and permanently turned down. So, one ear up and one down, and it gave her kind of a mob enforcer look.

      She was also a great rat cat. We had huge wharf rats on the farm. I’ve seen that cat take down rats over half her size. She’d do the gift thing, and leave them on the porch until my mom (who had fits around mice, never mind rats) would come out, pet her on the head, and say, “Good job, Fluffy.”

      You don’t mess with Fluffy. At least, not if you’re a rat.

  17. Lessee… Deer guard made of 4″ diameter steel tubes.. CHECK! 400+HP Diesel engine with oodles of torque… CHECK! 32,000 pounds (empty) of inertial energy… CHECK!

    Sometimes I deal with loud tools that deliver foot/pounds of energy, most times I deal with slightly quieter tools and foot/TONS.

    FIDO indeed.

      1. Good thing is, I learned to drive a semi in downtown Boston, so have had training on how not to spill my tea on rough road surfaces!

  18. My wife brought home a Siamese kitten last week. It had the most startling ice-blue eyes. It had ridden into work with one of her co-workers on the engine cowl. We couldn’t keep him, we already have too many animals as it is, and the other day I thought i saw one of the dogs talking to a cow. I think they’re plotting against me.
    Anyway Daughter unit found a home with some friends, who needed another cat for a playmate to existing cat stock, so all worked out well.*

    * Except wife, who really,really wanted to keep it but had to face the fact that one of her previous rescues, a Mountain Cur who’s name is Coco but also goes by crazy cora, Nutsy or Auntie coqueux, would consider said kitten to be SQUIRREL!!! and proceed to snuff it.

  19. Sigh. We are down one of our own cat-herd; the three who live in the Splendid Catio managed to force their way out through a loose bit of hardware cloth, and one of the trio hasn’t returned… He tended to pee luxuriously all over stuff, which is why he lived in the Catio, but still we are feeling pangs of guilt for not patching that hole in the mesh sooner …

    And coming back from a client meet this afternoon, while doing 60MPH on the parkway, (which fortunately was NOT heavily-trafficked in the late afternoon) the hood of my car suddenly flew up and bashed against the windshield and leading edge of the roof.
    Surprise, surprise, surprise …
    Fortunately was able to put on the hazards, crawl to the shoulder and use the bungee cords in the trunk to secure the hood, and drive halfway across the North side to my favored garage. My daughter is more freaked about this than me, at this point. But for that her car has air conditioning that works, Wee Jamie might have been in the car with me…

    1. Yikes. I’ve run quite a few dangerous vehicles over the years (mostly for the garage back in the late 2000s). Having bits fly off at highway speeds is always something that gets the adrenaline going. Glad y’all are okay. Hood slamming against the windshield as about as bad as the cruise that won’t shut off for instant “oh (censored)!”

      1. While I’d never heard of cruise control failing to shut off… I already hate not being in control and never use it. Thanks for another reason to never use it!!

        1. This was over a decade or so ago. Factory made cruise rarely fail, but they *do* fail eventually. Most simply fail to engage, which is safer. After market cruise, which I installed a lot of, involve magnets, sensors, and a electronics that have to be carefully tuned. Width of the spinning shaft as well as wheel/tire diameter need to be taken into account.

          Aftermarket units are understandably different than factory- some fail more often, but most often they fail *differently.* If the sensor is missing a magnet because it has become misaligned or the magnet is *missing* it can go into a condition where the vehicle is moving, but the unit thinks it is *stopped.* Thus increasing speed because the gas is hammered down. It’ll still be able to be shut off manually.

          If it just turns on and accelerates without input (or won’t turn off), that is a *different* issue. Now you need to put the vehicle in neutral and shut the engine off, put your blinkers on, and steer to the side of the while you have some remaining velocity. If you don’t turn the vehicle off fast enough, you can damage the engine by over-revving.

          I’ve driven a lot of dangerous vehicles, as stated. The ones where the breaks are iffy are almost as scary. As are the ones with loose steering. I’ve driven several that by all rights should have been trailered or towed. It was an education, but I would not recommend it! I don’t like cruise either, and for much the same reasons. *Highly* dislike not being in control of the vehicle I am piloting.

          1. Oy. Had no idea what goes on inside cruise control; you convince me to like it even less, if that were possible. Fact is I don’t know if my truck’s CC even works, never tried it, does not seem like a good idea with a 6000 pound juggernaut. And if’n alignment matters… it’s got that quirk where you have to pull up on the steering column to start it (mechanic told me what it was, not serious but I forget the details… consider it theft prevention, since normal people can’t start the truck).

            My vehicles become an extension of my body. Cruise control is like… being unconscious. Tried it ONCE with the LeBaron, for about a mile, and after I scraped my hackles back down, never again.

      2. After running over a semi-tractor spare tire, circa 1982, I drove a Gremlin that pulled hard to the left when braking.
        I got good enough at it that I managed to get it through inspection by knowing how to compensate for it when I had to stop on their testing pads.
        It wouldn’t have been safe for any other driver.
        I eventually managed to remove the strut arm (gouging new threads with every wrench turn) and replace it – but I had to get to work in the meantime.

        1. *nod* Sometimes you just have to make do. My first vehicle I had to pretty much put back together every month or so in high school to keep it running. Old Ranger short bed, engine was only a mild impediment in the slow journey to the ground for the oil. Fuel filter bodged up on my, sending gunk into the cylinders, resulting in lower compression. Oil fouling the plugs required changing thrice a year until I could afford to take the head off and put a new seal in. Radiator leaked such that, during winter, was fine for short trips. Not so much high summer. Darn good brakes, though. Always started up and drove, sometimes with a little help. Excellent cabin heater. Ended up replacing about half the engine bay by the time I left it behind for the big city.

          I miss that old beast, though. Half decent gas mileage for the time, reliable in most cases, and steel body solid enough to laugh at plastic car fender benders. Cabin smelled like engine oil and spring. Always had the windows down when it was warm enough for it.

  20. You always know what I need to hear, huh? Even if he’s not active in your life at the moment Murphy always casts a long shadow and it really doesn’t help when at least one big thing that people do to find their way through potential Murphy messes feels like waving the matador’s cape and daring him to come after me when I do it. Let’s hope this is the beginning of a good turnaround, though, for you in your new place, that I can check out my most likely one and pull it off not too much worse for the wear, that Murphy turns his gaze towards the Marxists big time, and that there are enough people like the ones here to take advantage of it! As for the kitty part, see MGC for my comments there, though it does bear repeating that I’m shocked that I have so few de-pooping incidents with C’s Balinese tail and that H, my only shorthair, is the one that needs shaving now and then on account of her chonkiness…

  21. So Foxy now has an infection in her ears. The liver proteins are cleaned up through the liver support supplement. If it’s not one thing, it is another. Hugs

  22. Well, if it helps any, 2 weeks ago I spent some of the last drops of what I did inherit on clearing the final piece of a long-standing health threat, and yesterday finally got an all-clear.

    …Plenty of other health issues still to deal with, largely due to near-lethal levels of stress, but at least they’re not likely to kill me.

    We keep on keeping on. Sometimes out of sheer spite at the universe, but we keep on.

    And sometimes just to see the looks on everyone else’s faces when we pull it off. 😉

    (All about moving mountains, riding the wave, and the essence of FIDO!)

            1. Heck, no; I REMEMBER the classic response to prayers for, say, patience! A prayer for confidence would be via “how am I not dead?”

          1. The way I drive, and other things,* I figure my guardian angel must have palms on top of stars on top of ribbons.

            *Like getting robbed while delivering pizza, forgetting to tighten the four-inch pipe sample in the lathe after loosening to straighten it and it flying out of the jaws, bouncing off the tool and landing in the chip pan, gangrene as a baby (not parents fault; impossible to spot, internal “necrotic tissue”), probably a dozen other things.

  23. Right now I’m grateful to be home from Grand Rapids Comic Con. That’s our last business trip for the year, although we still have the family holidays. Now to settle in and wait, and hope that by our next business trip in March, we have a better idea of how things are going to shake out. This uneasy waiting for the balloon to go up is draining.

  24. I just posted on MeWe today about how there are times when life kicks you in the teeth and just won’t stop. Fortunately for me right now, this is not that time. I have been considering when I get my citizenship and can change my name adding two more middle names: Christine Marie Bladekiller Murphy?

    1. Good luck on your citizenship journey.

      We’re still trying to get Son One’s fiancé’ in country from Brazil. (Yeah, and the Biden Administration has an axe to grind over Brazil for some reason, even though they’re more socialist that we are.) We’ve been working this for over a year. INS is being a royal pain with not processing paperwork “due to COVID”. But boy isn’t this Administration letting illegals in with zero jobs, zero housing, no chaperonage, no criminal background check, no medical screening, and free tickets to disappear into the population all over this country?

      1. At some point in Trump’s term, Brazil’s President endorsed what Trump was doing. I don’t have time to find a link.

        1. Also, iirc, the current Brazilian president got elected in a populist vote that threw out a much more openly socialist and authoritarian candidate. He opposes abortion and SSM, and is a nationalist. So the socialists who run our own bureaucracies are upset about all of that.

      2. My step-daughter-in-law is German. Still resent the cr@p she and my stepson went through.

      3. Thanks for the good wishes! It’s just a matter of going back to that 22 page form and filling it out. I started it in 2020, but was having some financial issues, so just didn’t see the point as my green card is good until 2029 or so. But finances are slowly improving, and I really want to vote in the next election. I think the last time I was able to vote was ’94. And, to the horror of my family, I have discovered I’m an American. (USAIAN?) My sister acts as if I’ve gone to the dark side, but it’s ok. I’ve got cookies. 😉

  25. My sister’s Border Collie has joined the Chicken Liberation Front. We are still trying to fortify the coop.

  26. Not quite bladekiller, but in Norwegian, blade breaker is “bladbryter”. You might have fun with Welsh or Gaelic, too.
    I have to focus on the fun stuff outside of my life right now.
    Adulting just sacks the fun away.
    John in Indy

      1. Well, Microsoft translate says ‘yfwr dagrau’ is ‘tear drinker.’

        Which…. :poking internet: …. is something like ‘yuFUwr dahGRow’?

        1. Uh-FOOr dah-GROW, ow as in ouch, except you push your tongue forward but say it in back. Ughhhhh.

          But like Irish, the simple phonetic system often isn’t. So. Sometimes au is pronounced other ways.

    1. I’ll keep that in mind. Bladekiller came from this issue I had with a lawnmower one summer as well as my reciprocating saw. Which reminds me, need to get another replacement for the latest one I just killed – not just the blade this time!

  27. Look. God allowed all of the Apostles to be martyred except Judas who betrayed Jesus and John who survived being boiled.

    2 Corinthians 4:7-18 gives us a bit of the story. So does the book of Job.

    We’re called to be witnesses, ambassadors, and to encourage others. How we act under fire might be more important than anything we do intentionally to try to persuade them.

    Don’t be the enemy. Be who we say we are. Let God perform all the necessary vengeance. Remember how he killed Herod the Great. That’s worse than knives, guns, or pikes.

    But always remember “meek” doesn’t mean “weak.”

    1. I know John, entrusted with Mary, wasn’t martyred…. (Probably because he was so busy trying to keep HER from being martyred!)

      I know there’s a lot of confusion on who’s who beyond that, I think this is a pretty good run-down of the various claims and their support:

      The general point is 100% accurate, though.

      Oooh, neat thing– the word translated as ‘meek’ is the same used to indicate a horse that is bridled. Not weak, not unable to act, but controlled action. (I love the explanation that it’s like “there is nothing so gentle as true strength,” which in spite of being a very greeting card kind of thing to say has a definite point as well– who hasn’t seen the classic Huge Dog that lets cute little fuzzball abuse the heck out of him, with or without the eventual “k, that’s enough, you need to stop” that is 100% effective but does no harm to the fuzz?)

      1. Note to the Author:
        don’t you know you’re not supposed to reuse the names like twenty times IN THE SAME TIME PERIOD IN THE STORY!?!? How may blankin’ Marys, Johns and such do we have to keep track of !??!


        1. It’s funny that you mention John, because that Michael Pakaluk guy has a commentary based on how John must have been influenced by having lived with Mary, in the way he wrote his Gospel. Very interesting.

          1. Oooh, haven’t seen that commentary!

            Came to mind because had a very geeky priest point out that John had a LOT of stories that made the most sense if you assume that he’d spent a lot of time talking to someone who was very close to Jesus the whole time He was growing up. I think it was in the context of arguing that it was written by THAT John, and not one of the others, but my memory is not so good.

            1. I’ve often thought as though Luke writes as though he got “Mom Stories” from Mary. I hadn’t looked for that in John.

          1. I realize I should have broken such a shocking thing more gently. . . .

            But there have been many martyrs of advanced age.

            1. You mean like was mentioned on the link I offered?

              If you want essay length and in-depth discussions of all likely contributing factors, you’ll have to pay for it, and it will still be limited to responses to you rather than when I am sharing neat information to correct a broad-strokes inaccuracy in a conversation with a third party.

  28. I wanted to share one of my favourite songs with you – thought it might be appropriate.

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