Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Gas Roller Coaster

On Monday, I noted with interest that the gas station near where I work had gas prices at $2.86/gallon with a 5 cent per gallon sale. Lisa stopped on her way home to fill up at the place where we always go (we're loyal to this guy because he seems to make an honest effort to keep his prices low) and paid $2.89 (no sale price). But, "John" (the proprietor) told her that it looked like gas prices were going to go back up twenty cents a gallon. Yesterday, that same gas station that was at $2.86 on Monday was at $3.05. Chuck Schumer (D) is pushing hard for legislation to really slam those that are price-gouging, and he wants a consumer hot-line so that people can report gas gouging.

Sixty miles away, in Buffalo, on any given day, you can find gas for a quarter a gallon less than anywhere here where I live. Why is that? It certainly isn't from any big tax bites, because that county charges the same tax as ours -- so what's up with that?

Lisa will be traveling to Louisville next month for a trade show -- she's really excited about it because only the President and GM usually go. She feels like they're "grooming" her for bigger and better things. She'll be gone for 4 days but, unlike previous years, I'm not the least bit upset about her going. It's for the right reasons this time. Before, she accompanied this other putz on the road for training seminars and, while she hauled shit from the truck to the conference room until 1 or 2 in the morning (after driving 12 hours the same day), the "Y" chromosome would be off "coordinating" in the lounge. Add to that the fact that she never got paid any extra...no overtime, no compensatory time, nothing. With this trip next month, she's not going to be a pack mule, she'll be a representative of the company and is really looking forward to it.

In addition to their standard power equipment, they've taken on a line of games. Team Monopoly games, NHL Hockey games, stuff like that. They're all pretty excited about this new product line and it seems to be quite the hit. However, for some reason this insane woman seems to think I'd like an Oakland Raiders Monopoly game. As if.....

While Lisa's gone on her trip to Louisville, I think I'm going to go down and spend a couple or three days with my aunt. She's promised me at least two full days in her sewing room with good company, good music, and no interruptions. Gosh, with that sort of commitment, I could get a ton of knitting done. She quilts and wants to learn to knit. I knit and want to learn to crochet. I guess we all want skills we don't have, eh? She learned to crochet when she was a very young girl but never learned anything beyond the basics. She laughs and says that she's never found a use for an 80 ft. chain. I told her it's all in how you see it and what you call it. That 80 ft. chain could be called a garland, and wrapped around a Christmas tree, for example. Given how small her dog is, it could be called a lead and she could tie her dog out with it.

I hired a student aide this week. She commutes 90 minutes one way each day. She'd had a place lined up here locally but, after the tuition had been paid and everything set, her housing fell through. What's unfortunate is that where she comes from is often very treacherous during the winter months when the temps are below freezing and/or it's snowing. She'd be coming north up along the lake(s) roads and then trying to finish her commute off on the NYS Thruway, which is always on the traffic reports during the winter months with pile-ups and major delays. I told her to keep an overnight bag packed and in her vehicle and, if the weather is bad, she can stay with me. If I was her mother, I wouldn't want her driving along the lakes during a snowstorm. Those roads are twisty, windy, and icy.

I'm just shy of halfway done with that rug now. It's really taking beautiful shape and it looks great. I'm very proud of it. While the picture shows green, I've used black. It's very soft and I'm thinking that I would love to use that same yarn for a sweater or something warm.


This is the blanket I've made (and still need to assemble the strips for). Again, I've used black instead of the picture color.


My knitting troubles my young son. Often when he gets home from work at 8:30 or so, I'll be sitting on the couch, watching TV, and knitting away. He'll shake his head and say "Mom, you're NOT that old!" I can't seem to get through to him that it's not an age thing. Children (boys and girls) are knitting these days. I find it therapeutic, calming, and I'm not sitting and blinking like a toad at the television, wishing I had something, anything to do. I'm also able to make things for gifts -- the rug and blanket are for my oldest daughter. I don't need to buy much else for her -- maybe a gift card to Michaels or something like that, but for the most part, her Christmas gift is all set.

When my birthday rolled around, Joe commented that he had a hard time believing that I'm 50. Well, so do I, but I think he's feeling a bit melancholy. His mother isn't as young and energetic as she once was, she's overweight, has aches and pains, a touch of arthritis in her hands, and I think he's feeling like I'm slipping away from him into that great beyond. We still spend a lot of time together, one-on-one, and I still find him to be a fascinating person to talk to. He goes out to dinner with me occasionally when Lisa's working late or otherwise late coming home. But I also wonder if he's not feeling a bit melancholy about his own youth speeding by as well. He's 22 now and will finish up with his Associates in December. I think he's a bit nervous about the future, especially since he doesn't really have anything he's particularly passionate about, as far as earning a living. He loves so many things, I think it's hard for him to pin them down to anything that he likes better than the rest. That's why a general studies Liberal Arts degree was the best thing for him to pursue. It's a sampling of everything. He's taken meteorology, botany, journalism, communications, Shakespeare, mythology, business, and economics, along with the other core requirements. He's done well in all of them, and could probably make a living doing anything in any of those fields. But none of them stand out enough for him to want to make a commitment to it.

He went to bartending school in February when he was laid off for the winter. Joe has such a great personality that I think he'd make a great bartender. He's personable, has a razor sharp wit, charming, good looking, is very laid back, and loves making drinks for us. He tended bar at my birthday party and had a ball -- did a good job too. There's good money in bartending but, as much as he loves it, he's not sure that's what he wants to do for a living, either. So, I encourage him to pursue whatever interests him for the moment. He's still working at the garden center for $10/hour and putting in nearly full-time hours, and is putting in applications at various bars. He makes decent money, enough to make his truck payment, his insurance payment, and lots left over for whatever. He'll be fine. I've told him more than once that not having a career goal doesn't make him a loser -- it makes him a well-rounded person, a sampler of ALL of life rather than the one corner we all tend to put ourselves in. I adore this young man, even if he does have a "Y" chromosome.

I made 4 phone calls yesterday to churches listed in New Orleans, but got recordings (out of service) on two, nothing but static on one, and the fourth one just rang and rang and rang. Hopefully today I can have better luck. I want to get those clothes down south.

I can't believe what's going on down there. First the mayor "reopens" the city, then backtracks because Hurricane Rita might cause more problems like Katrina did. Add to that the fact that Chimpy is touting his administration's "readiness" for Rita. What does that mean? Now that the horse breeder is no longer director of FEMA, he's going to hire a wedding planner to replace him? Heck, I'm sure wedding planners see a lot of disasters...more than qualifies them to head up FEMA. The fact that someone can spell and use the word "disaster" in a sentence more than qualifies them, in Chimpy's administration. Case in point, his new nominee to head up the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. Little no no experience in the area, and she says "I realize that I'm not 80 years old," Myers testified. "I have a few gray hairs, more coming, but I will seek to work with those who are knowledgeable in this area, who know more than I do." Which would be just about anybody.

What is it that these conservatives refuse to see?

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