Hello! We've been having a time of it with our internet provider for at least a couple of months now. Sometimes there is a connection and sometimes there isn't. I thought it was maybe something with my computer, but my mom is having the same problem. She called Verizon and after
talking to at least three different people in India, who barely spoke English, she got a repairman scheduled to come out. He looked everything over and changed a few things and it seemed to fix the problem....until about an hour after he left. Then it was right back to the way it was. Mom tried calling several different numbers and all led right back to India. She was not pleased. Apparently you can't speak directly to a Verizon employee here in the States. Talk about frustration! The repairman that was scheduled to come to my mom's place was scheduled for a day only, no definite time, just between 8:00 am and 7:00 pm. I can't deal with that while I'm working, but school will be done for the year this Friday. I guess it will be my turn to deal with Verizon and see if I can get some answers. For what they charge each month for DSL service, it would sure be nice if it worked!
D'oh! There it goes now. Grrrrrrr.
Whew! 179 days down and 1 to go. Tomorrow is the last day of school and I am glad. This year has been pretty enjoyable as far as driving a school bus goes. I really like the new company I work for and the kids I have are much better behaved than the ones I had last year. They (and I'm talking about the high school kids here) actually hug me and tell me I'm the best driver they've ever had. Much better than the belligerent students I had to deal with last year. Still, by this time of the year I'm ready for a break.
To catch you up a bit...
Megan has finished her first year of high school. It went so fast! She thoroughly enjoyed her first year in FFA and is currently raising a lamb to show at the county fair. We are lucky that our school district has the best ag facility in the state and she is able to keep the lamb in the barn at school. There is so much to the ag program. Much more than there was when I was in school. Had it been like this, I probably would have joined. Megan is enrolled in the tech ag program for next year. In it she will learn much of what keeps a farm running....carpentry, welding, electrical, plumbing, mechanical, etc. She likes the animals, tolerates the plants, but the nuts and bolts of it is where her heart is.
Matt and Ashlei have moved into their own apartment. I think it is a better location for them as far as working goes. Matt has already transferred to another Radio Shack and Ashlei is looking for a job in one of the many stores in the neighborhood. Hopefully she will find something soon. There is no way they can afford to live on their own with only one part-time job to support them, but there is no telling them. They will have to figure things out for themselves. They adopted an adorable little Jack Russell terrier just before they moved. Sadly, they may have to give him up if they can't find a way to control his barking. Their downstairs neighbor is complaining. I'd help them out by taking him, but he and Scooby, our poodle, don't get along at all.
Tim finished up the big project he was on. The one that had him working 7 days a week and 15 or more hours a day to meet the schedule of 90 days start to finish. It was new concept, a hi-bred between a Giant Eagle grocery store and a Get-Go convenience store. It's called a Giant Eagle Express and if you live in this corner of PA, then you probably saw the grand opening (and possibly Tim) on the news. They really made a huge fuss and it was nice and a big surprise that they gave Tim the credit he was due. They called him up in front of the crowd and praised him mightily for pulling it off in such a short time and for doing a good job while he was at it. They presented him with a hammered pewter plate from Wendell August Forge that depicts an eagle soaring over the mountains and tree tops. The back is engraved with thanks to Tim and the date. Since the completion at the end of April, he has been working straight 40 hour weeks until it is time to start his next large project. It's been nice having him around so much and he's even taking a week of vacation next week during my first week off for the summer. It does make it tougher to make ends meet, though. He makes good money, but once they take out taxes, the bankruptcy payment, health insurance payment and life insurance premium there isn't a whole lot left. Once his vacation is over he'll be back to a normal schedule. Well, normal for him that is.
My boss helped me keep one of my New Year's resolutions today. I'd promised myself I'd learn how to hook wool rugs this year and I bought a kit a couple of months ago, but we'd both been busy and couldn't seem to find a time to get together. Today finally worked out and she helped me get started. Wow, is it going to be more time consuming than I thought it would be, but maybe it will get better as I gain experience. For now I'm having a hard time pulling the wool through the burlap without snagging it quite a bit. My boss kindly said that it will add primitive character to the finished piece. I'm going to have to fuss around though and find a comfortable place and position to work, though, as when I quit after an hour this morning the tension rushed into my shoulders and neck and resulted in a pounding headache. That's not going to work!
It's been really hot today. At least 90 degrees and humid. Tomorrow is more of the same. We've had a lot of hotter than normal temps the last month or so and not that much rain. That is supposed to be the trend for much of the month.
Today was the last day of school. Hooray! Goodness was it a hot one right from the getgo and the humidity? Don't ask. We got some relief this evening in the form of some pretty nasty thunderstorms. We were fortunate in that, while we got a bit of the high winds, we did not get the 1" hail that some areas did.
It was a fun morning on the buses. The kids were wound up, of course, and so were we drivers. The teachers I encountered were just as silly. A lot of us brought treats meant to try and help the kids keep cool. One driver even brought her daughters along and armed them with squirt guns which they used to spray the kids. Sounds like the kids had a ball.
I went out to lunch at Olive Garden with a bunch of the other drivers when we finished. That was fun. We all had the endless soup and salad. I love their Zuppa Tuscany. The creamy blend of sausage, potato and greens is so good. I wish I could find a copycat recipe. Adding to the fun was the free wine samples they were offering. I had a very nice blush and thought of buying a bottle, but the waitress told me to buy it at the liquor store for $9. Olive Garden charges $28!
While I was at lunch, two of Tim's sisters "kidnapped" Megan and her friend, Holly (who is staying with us for who knows how long), and took them to lunch and Wal-Mart. Holly is one of Megan's new friends from Ag. She is a very nice girl and a lot like Megan as far as their interests go.....country music, John Deere, Ford, and farming. She thinks our family is normal, which means there's something wrong with her, but we like her and she fits right in.
Tonight the girls were dying of boredom so we took them to the mall. Megan wanted to look for some shorts and found a couple of pairs on sale. Then she got her ears pierced for the second time. I had to sign for that, but I don't mind about the double piercing. So many people have it these days that it's common place. I've had three holes in my ear since 1983 (I was a little ahead of the trend). Amazingly enough, Tim didn't care. He about layed an egg when Matt got his ear pierced. Now if she starts pushing for the nose piercing she wants I'm sure he'll have plenty to say on that subject. I only had one word to say on it....NO!
Mom, Megan, Holly and I met up with two women I work with at a rummage sale early this morning here in Latrobe. After cruising the tables for bargains (I didn't find anything I really needed or wanted so it was a real bargain), all of us drove to New Florence to meet up with another friend from work and go to a pick it yourself strawberry farm. It's an old farm owned by an elderly couple out in the middle of nowhere. You take your own containers and they trust you to weigh your berries, figure the price and leave the money on the porch in an old cigar box. It's not a big secret so it amazes me that it works for them and they don't have any trouble. We got there early enough to avoid the worst of the heat, but the field the man set us to was kind of picked over so it took us a while to find enough good berries. He switched people over to another field just as we finished. I was a little disappointed with that, but oh well. Maybe I will try again in the next week or so.
We went back to my friend Helen's house were we'd left one of the cars....and also Megan and Holly. The girls didn't want to pick strawberries so stayed to poke around in Helen's pond and watch television. It would have been nice if they had helped, but to me, it just wouldn't have been worth all the whining about being tired and hot. They had a good time and surprised the heck out of Helen's husband when he arrived home from work and encountered Holly, who he doesn't know. The girls were pretty pleased with their "catch" which consisted of a bucket full of tadpoles just about ready to make the jump to full-fledged frog and one bullfrog that had to be the biggest one I've ever seen. We were all eyeing him up thinking of dinner. Not really but we did joke about it since several of us had just tried froglegs for the first time a couple of weeks ago. They were okay, as in if just the meat was on my plate and I didn't know what it was I'd probably like it, but that whole leg sitting there on the plate just kind of turned me off. Some of the ladies dug up bits of Helen's garden plants to take home. There are a few things I want to get a bit of, too, but I'll wait till we are done building the shadynook in the backyard.
On the way home, we stopped at the brand new McDonalds in Blairsville because the girls were starving. It is really a very beautiful building done in stone and several kinds of tile and the service was pretty quick, but there weren't nearly enough seats for everyone who stopped to try it out yesterday. We ended up sitting at a little table outside right up against the side of the building and next to the drive-thru lane so that we kind of felt like a zoo exhibit while we ate. The ag barn at the school was our next stop. Today was Megan's turn to take care of the lambs and she needed to walk hers. Holly is the lamb manager so they cleaned the pen out a bit, but couldn't do too much as there wasn't any more straw or sawdust to put down. Holly said they run short a lot. I guess there just isn't enough money in the budget to get as much as they need. The barn is quite the noisy place as there are lambs, goats, hogs, rabbits and quail all in two rooms. The quail are some type of miniature and one of them got loose while we were there. It got into the pig pen and the pigs were chasing it around and around until it finally dove under one that was lying there snoozing. I wish I had a picture of the expression on that pig's face when it woke up and realized something was squirming around under it. It was so comical! Megan was able to reach in and grab the quail at that point and put it back in the cage. I wonder if it'll stay. Megan said they get out all the time.
For supper Tim did steaks on the grill, I baked some potatoes and the girls fried a mess of zucchini. Yummy! A real nice summer kind of meal for our first full day of summer vacation. The girls helped me clean up then headed off for a walk. Tim and I waited for Helen and Dave to arrive, watering the plants and enjoying the beautiful evening on the deck. The guys hung out in Tim's workshop for a while then came in and we played cards for a couple of hours. They are the only friends we have who like to play cards or games and we really enjoy that. They just left around midnight. Tim's gone to bed, but I need to unwind a little and let the dogs out before I go.
We slept in a little bit this morning and sat in bed reading the paper until Megan let Elvis in to jump on us. She said they'd be leaving soon to go work on a friend's farm. They never did go and Holly had to go home before lunch. Tim has been cleaning out the sheds all day and loading up things that belong to Matt to take to the storage unit we rented him. Soon we're going to go into his bedroom and pack up all we can there and take it to storage. Since Matt isn't living here or planning to live here any time soon, we really need the space for some of our things. Besides, Matt will be getting all of it next month, anyway. I just wanted to get things put back together while I have Tim home to help.