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Various Stuff

So, to catch up.

Finless Ed, the beat-up cichlid, spent a couple weeks in the Hospital Bukkit, and then returned to the main tank. No more warfare, but there’s still more activity in the tank than previously. 

No real progress on the 75-gallon aquarium-to-vivarium conversion.

I did set up a front-opening glass enclosure to a bio-active vivarium for Shai-Hulud the sand boa. After running without the snake for a month I moved him in on Monday. There was much exploring, and I also saw him last night. This coming weekend I’ll probably upgrade Chirrut the gecko to Shai-Hulud’s old enclosure, which is slightly bigger than Chirrut’s current one.

Dogs are dogs. Rabbits are stupid. The garbage wheelie-bin smells really bad right now. Gimi was not a happy puppy last night, and Tommy was not exactly cheerful about all the fireworks noise, either. They don’t panic, but they did snuggle. 

I was going to vend at the Palatine Hometown Fest over the weekend, but cancelled for the weekend was going to hell in a handbasket reasons, see the Otter Necessities blog. I’d taken Friday and Monday off for setup and recovery, then realized I might as well take Tuesday off and make it a really long weekend. Especially since I had comp time that has to be used up by the end of August. So although I was busy getting ready on Friday, the rest of the time has been very relaxing. 

Sewing has moved up to the bedroom, back downstairs, and back to the bedroom, with the weather. I tried using fold-over elastic (FOE), and it is good. 

Robin is currently employed at the downtown Palatine Jewel deli.

A couple-few days ago Robin registered his very own domain, we installed MediaWiki (the engine that runs Wikipedia), and today Robin and I bludgeoned our way through configuration. Currently Robin is alternately muttering and cackling as he puts content in – background fluff for his miniatures armies and squads. 

If you wish to view the madness for yourself, go here:


If you just go to daemonessandhamekuli.com you’ll be re-directed to the wiki. I set up the redirect!  Go me! 

Weekend Non-Report

It was a weekend. Ron was home, Robin was AWOL (at least according to the dogs). Dogs were snuggly (mostly on Ron).

Ron and I went out for lunch on Saturday and in the evening Xap came over and helped us eat chicken macaroni salad and we watched a movie. Sunday morning Ron and I got breakfast and groceries. There was much flailing around at the grocery store, and then we retreated home in the face of the crappy weather.

I’m thinking of a DIY new enclosure for Moresby, who keeps on growing, as young snakes do, which will also result in more room for Tanami, who is also growing. They’re currently in a 2’ x 4’ x 1’ tall enclosure that’s divided in half, so Tanami would get the whole thing when Moresby moves out (new enclosure question boils down to buy or build). Tanami is a fossorial species, so the low enclosure height is fine for him.

Home Despot has 1/2” thick CPVC sheets, which can be worked with woodworking tools. I’m thinking a 2’ x 2’ x 3’ tall enclosure, as Moresby likes to climb. I could get one 4’ x 8’ and one 2’ x 4’ sheet, or I could buy five 2’ x 4’ sheets, which are easier to handle, requires less cutting, but cost more per square foot. I’m leaning toward the smaller pieces and spreading the cost out over several weeks. Still in the thinking stage, details to be worked out.

I think that about sums up the weekend’s activities.

Still Falling

Still falling off the internet.  Well, not the internet so much as blogging. I don’t think that it’s a coincidence that said falling to some extent commenced with Robin going off for training.

Anyway, Robin got home for a week over Christmas, and Ron was also home. Yay! We didn’t do anything in particular, but it was nice.

Robin finished training and got his own truck about . . . um . . . three weeks ago. Yeah, three, since he’s been home twice now since getting it. He’s working out of Werner’s brand-shiny-new Joliet terminal, doing regional, home on weekends. He’s doing night runs between the Joliet area and Indianapolis, with lots of the loads being Amazon trailers.  When Robin comes home he gets snubbed by Gimli for about a day, except that Gimi isn’t actually good at the whole snubbing thing, especially when Robin scoops him up and snuggles him.

The day the bitter cold spell started earlier this month Ron slipped and fell, bashing his left elbow. It was bruised, swollen, and sore, got a minor infection where he skinned it, got that cleared, then earlier this week it got really really sore, still swollen, and has kept oozing fluid (plasma). He got to our doctor Friday, who sent him for an X-ray. No obvious fracture, seems to be all soft-tissue injury. Yesterday the swelling was better, and it was less sore, yay.

I’ve figured out that when Ron’s home we need to do something together besides go to the grocery store and sit around the house. Doesn’t have to be a big deal, but something. Yesterday all three of us went to breakfast, before the inevitable grocery shopping. Inevitable shopping because it’s much cheaper for Ron and Robin to stock up while at home rather than truck stops.

Robin’s plan is to get the Kia towed over to John and Scott’s for repair this week (although I’m the one who’s actually going to invoke the towing, since I’m awake during business hours and have keys). Which will be nice for me, Joliet is a solid hour from home, and an hour and a half from my office when we left at 4:30 pm. I really need to poke at the GPS in Mongo the pickup and see why it keeps trying to send me on daft routes (as opposed to the sane ones suggested by Google).

Got a quote from a dog-walking service for coming by once per day to give the boys some exercise. Now we have to decide if the budget is ready to start adding things like that back in. I’d really like my cleaning fairies back, but the dogs have priority.

Stuff & Nonsense & Natter

Wednesday already? At the same time, the individual days this week really dragged. Anyway, to recap last week:

Robin passed his test and has his CDL learner’s permit-like thingy. He’s been making paper flashcards of the information he needs to memorize, as he prefers them to the flashcard iWhatsit app Ron shared. Ron’s been driving around the training yard and nearby industrial park and hasn’t squashed (m)any cones.

Stayed home last week Tuesday – more weather and tree sex misery. Took a nap, then Ron dragged me out to the yard to get some fresh air and sunshine. While there I tried drawing a tractor-trailer in perspective, and got a drawing lesson from one of Ron’s instructors, who was formerly a Fine Arts instructor. Very nice guy, very helpful.

Got lunch, got home, and finished the drawing that had been in the works for a couple weeks – “Morel-ia Pythons”, see MrsMorelia.deviantart.com

On Saturday I picked up some interesting crayon/pencil things that work like watercolor crayon/pencils when you apply water, except once they dry after applying water and turning them to ink, they’re permanent. I got them to do backgrounds. I’ve done some experiments with them.

Saturday afternoon/evening we went to BrookCon, a party at a friends’ house. I drew a sad red panda with the ink crayon/pencil things mentioned above (which I applied water to when we got home), the room we were in, in songle-point perspective, and a snake. Sunday I colored the snake, and am very pleased with the result – “Shy Baby Beep” on DeviantArt. Over the weekend I also started a larger version of “Shai-Hulud and the Fremice” And on Monday I drew a fish (not a snake!) and colored it. The proportions are a little off for the type of fish its supposed to be, but overall its clearly a reasonably realistic fish.

Yesterday was the regularly-scheduled Cleaning Fairy visit, and there was much rejoicing, yay!

Ron keeps thinking about being an truck owner/operator. Robin seemed un-interested, but it turns out the issue was the paperwork. Which we’d be hiring an accountant for, at least for doing taxes. But they’ll start out wherever as company drivers for a while first. Started doing preliminary research on trucking companies for them to look at in more detail – name, do they offer A-Z, etc.

The rain over the had the sump pump running and running and running and running. The basement flooded again, but not too deep, and the pump seemed to be gaining. We went to Menard’s on Sunday and got another pump anyway – the plan was to install it, with the float at a higher water level than the existing one as a backup/heavy load pump, when there was a break in the rain.

Didn’t happen Sunday (weather), or Monday (Ron and Robin were busy with other things), but they did get it done yesterday. Currently we have just the new pump, and the old one desperately needs to be de-gunked (can’t even *find* the intake, explaining why it was struggling with the water in the basement, a certain amount of which is inevitable) and possibly replaced. And we need to check and clean the sump pump(s) at least yearly, as a certain amount of crud is going to get into the sump and build up on the pump. The new pump is 1HP, and is probably overkill. While installing it, Ron did all the necessary work so that we can put the old pump or a replacement in fairly quickly/easily. Which I think we’ll do, if only for peace of mind.

Another Week

Last week Robin registered for CDL training, and Ron sent him all the study material he’s been using on his iWhatsit. Meanwhile, Pizza Workplace has been giving him extra incentive to move on. I think coincidentally, but not sure. Ron also mentioned that if they do team long-haul we will be getting lawn fairies. Yes, yes we will.

Ron’s driving training time doesn’t begin until next week, so he’s somewhat thumb-twiddly this week, as he’s finished his class time and taken his written tests with the Secretary of State – so now he’s theoretically certified for doubles, triples, tankers, and hazmat.

I started a larger, color version of another one of my snake drawings. This time I’m re-drawing from scratch, due to issues with the computer on Friday when Ron spilled water on the mouse and Wacom tablet, and un-related mis-behavior on the part of the Adobe Creative Suite. But I had a lot of changes to make from the original anyway, so starting from scratch was not a big deal. I got it sketched in pencil Friday night, and that’s where it still is.

Saturday we shopped – groceries, and for the project of moving the ball pythons to tubs, which meant Ikea, Menard’s, and Ace Hardware. Yes, Menard’s and Ace would seem to be redundant, but Menard’s only carries lighter-weight zip/lamp cord than Ron wanted for wiring up the heat tape.

I thought we were going to work on setting up the tubs Sunday, but we went to Brookfield Zoo instead. Ron took lots of pictures of scaly and feathery things – we went to The Swamp, Birds/Reptiles (formerly perching birds, the big long building), and Scales and Feathers, which is more birds and reptiles, and has free flight in the whole building. The otters weren’t out on display at The Swamp, so we saw no furry creatures.

My plan for Easter dinner was a butterflied/boneless leg of lamb on the grill, with cucumber/onion/yogurt salad. That didn’t survive contact with the grocery store. Eurofresh didn’t have any of that sort of lamb roast, and lamb shanks and chops weren’t calling to me. So Robin and I had lamb-burgers, and Ron had blue cheese burgers, and they were cooked under the broiler because we were all feeling lazy. But I did get the salad made, we all had our burgers in pita bread, and Robin and I put salad in the bread with the burgers, and it was yummy. Note to self, next time get dill so we can make the salad even more tzatziki-like.

Kajura is developing into a busy-body snake. They often pop out to watch what’s going on in the bedroom, especially in the evenings. Settling down, but one day last week they tried to bite again. Well, succeeded in attacking my thumb and holding on and a little gnawing action, but not in actually breaking the skin.

Buford shed last week, and then ate for the first time with us. He was also out and about a couple days ago, during the day. We didn’t see him out, but I know that morning before I left the substrate was in a relatively even layer over the whole enclosure floor. Not so much by evening. Not sure what he was doing, but he cleared a significant chunk of his enclosure floor.

Ron did start on drilling tubs last night, demonstrating that our plan for the rack will work.

Random Title

I finished the color version of Kajura (tiny baby water python) on a mushroom on Saturday. I tried highlighting Kajura with a metallic ink, which was not a complete success. Oh well, didn’t know how it would work until I tried. The mushroom, however, I’m quite pleased with – I’m happy with the shading, and I’d picked up some titanium white thick acrylic paint to do spots on the mushroom, and they came out really well (easier to do opaque white spots over the background than to leave the spots un-colored).

Had a MuseCon meeting on Saturday, where I drew a couple more silly snake pictures, to go with the silly snake pictures I did last week.

Ron got his new DSLR (a Canon mumble mumble) last week. He is very happy. The low-light/high-ISO capability is impressive. Unfortunately, he’s suffering the pain of early adoption – Adobe hasn’t updated support for this model (he’d pre-ordered to get it when it hit the market), and may not for a couple months; which means that he has to use the Canon software, which do sucketh, verily, instead of Lightroom (or Photoshop). There has been much wailing and gnashing of teeth about this.

In other snake news, I’ve decided to move the ball pythons to tubs in a rack, and give less shy snakes the enclosures they’re in. To that end I have a stack of bus tubs, heat tape, and hides. Well, the hides aren’t actually for this project, but they came from the same place as the heat tape. Hopefully this coming weekend we can pick up PVC pipe and things to make tunnels between pairs of bus tubs. Which will all make sense when its done.

Ron has about 4 hours of class time left in his CDL training, and will be starting the driving portion of the training later this month, unless somebody else misses a scheduled time and he can get in earlier. Robin is also considering CDL training, pending some current-job things.

If either one of them decides to do long-haul work, I may be getting a service in for mid-day dog recesses. If they decide to do long-haul as a team there will definitely be mid-day dog recesses. And Nyar the skink will be re-located at least to a more accessible spot (for klutzy Moms) in Robin’s room.

German proceeds in fits and starts. I bought the Rosetta Stone software yesterday, even though conversation isn’t a particular goal of mine, as I wasn’t doing too well on my own. I think it’ll help get the basic vocabulary and grammar back into my head, after which reading on my own should go better. Ron’s been using the Rosetta Stone Spanish lessons and liking the program.

Had a bad case of ennui yesterday. We got breakfast, groceries, put groceries away, and then did . . . a whole lot of flopping around. And changed water in the aquaria, which is mostly flopping around and keeping an eye on water levels. I think partly it was the weather – as in a bit humid and fairly warm. When I came downstairs this morning it was definitely cooler than last night, but still 76 F.

Not a Lot Going On

It’s been a fairly quiet couple of weeks in terms of doing stuff. I’ve worked on doll clothes, but not so much as to (re-) aggravate my wrist. Dogs have been pretty good. Fish are fish.

Snakes have mostly been eating, and the ones that haven’t been haven’t been worrisome (in shed, etc.). Bruce is getting to be a big boy – the growth in length seems less dramatic than the girth, but his proportions haven’t changed. I think Nageswari is liking the larger enclosure, she was out soaking last week Thursday and again today. Lummy continues his dead tortoise impressions (napping sprawled out).

Got some more cleaning done on Sunday, me in the dining room, with Robin’s help, and Ron worked on the spare bedroom. Both rooms are getting closer to usable, more natter about the dining room on the Otter blog.

Don’t Wanna Go Back to Work!

When last we met, I’d been shopping on Friday for various things. Saturday morning Ron got the shelf put up, and the helicarrier and a few other legos put on it. And naughty dog(s) had broken my terra-cotta horse (collateral damage, I believe). Fortunately, Robin was able to repair it, and its up on the shelf out of range of further dog shenanigans.

Ron’s tummy was acting up on Saturday, so we didn’t get snake cages cleaned. We did get the new cage put together. Twice. Because I screwed up the very first step, which we didn’t realize until the end. D’oh! We did not stay up until local-midnight.

Yesterday Ron installed heat on the new cage, and muscled it into place. Then we cleaned cages and moved snakes around. Haku and Diaval went into the new cage, the ball pythons shifted to cages that are higher off the floor, and Henry and Caudimordax came down lower – ball pythons are mellow, so dealing with them while on a stepladder is easier than with the more active boys. Dizzy and Nageswari moved to Diaval and Haku’s old cages (size upgrade), and Danger Noodle moved into the Cambro tub Nageswari was in. The tub is still in the bedroom, so hopefully Danger Noodle isn’t too upset by the move and keeps eating well.

Friday night or Saturday morning I noticed that the shelves the snakes are on in the bedroom was leaning, and shoved another piece of furniture up against it to prevent further leaning. The plan is to move Wonambi’s cage to the top of my dresser and put the garb on the shelves instead, but we ran out of energy to get that done yesterday.

After cleaning all the cages, and then the living room (there was shredded aspen from one end of the room to the other), I got a shower and clean clothes and felt human again. Just in time for Xap and R to come over. Fortunately, because of all the work in the morning and early afternoon, dinner plans were easy – 7-layer salad that just had to be assembled, roast beef tenderloin, and pre-made pies. And I put Robin in charge of the pies. It was all yummy.

We considered going to see “Rogue One” today, but failed to work up enough energy. Probably a good thing, as Ron’s currently out helping get a broken car (not ours) to a garage. Robin was helping someone move some furniture around, and is now upstairs, probably painting miniatures. Dogs are sleeping on the couch with me. I think the dogs are worn out from having me home all last week – this is day 10 of vacation.

I’d really rather not go back to work tomorrow, but that whole need for a paycheck thing . . .

Post-Christmas Vacationing

I took this week off, and have done . . . very little.

Tuesday morning I cleaned up the desktop computer desk. Not the whole thing, but enough that I can use the computer without going up a tree. Wednesday morning I made a Mexican turkey pot pie with the Christmas turkey leftovers. Ron came home early both days, and we did not much together. Although on Wednesday the new snake enclosure arrived, as well as Ron’s new banjo.

Yesterday I went to the Field Museum. Ron dropped me off at the train station, I took the train downtown, killed some time at the station, and then got to the museum a little while after it opened. The first special exhibit I went to was the Chinese terra-cotta warriors/tomb of the 1st emperor. It was good, and I was actually able to get some good pictures with my phone – although the space overall was dimly-lit, the exhibits themselves were well-lit, and non-flash photography was allowed.

After that I went upstairs to another history about the history of China. I was going to get lunch after that, but looked at the lines at the entrances and decided to do the tattoo special exhibit, and then a smaller special exhibit of Native American artwork on the way out.

The cafe was swamped, so I grabbed a couple things that I didn’t have to wait for, and actually found a table.

After lunch I decided I was done, and checked the shop associated with the terra-cotta warrior exhibit for an exhibition book or DVD, and found none. I did get a little silk pouch for Ron to keep his loom knitting stuff in, and a small terra-cotta horse replica. At the main museum shop I actually got out empty-handed.

The lines at the south entrance were insane when I left – all the way out the doors and most of the way down the steps – maybe half-dozen shy of the bottom down those big long shallow steps.

Got a taxi back to the station, and got on a train home with a couple minutes to spare. Ron picked me up at the station, and I went home and collapsed. My left ankle was definitely cranky about being dislocated mumble years ago.

This morning I did some shopping – I ran to Arlington Heights and got two bales of shredded aspen for snake bedding (planning to change them all tomorrow), and then to Menard’s in Palatine. I got PVC and fittings to make jungle gyms for some of the snakes, a shelf for Ron’s helicarrier, and a couple plumbing bits for an actual repair.

Christmas Report

Christmas was good. Friday evening we went to Xap’s and hung out and snack and talked with various people. The weather on the way there was crummy, sleet and snow, but much better on the way home.

Saturday morning Ron and I went out and did some last-minute grocery-type shopping. The original plan was to do deep-fried turkey on Christmas day, but given the weather report, we re-scheduled for Christmas eve. That meant I did side dishes on Saturday – sweet potatoes, dressing, and gravy. Ron made a giant molasses cookie from a mix, spiked with extra molasses. Robin worked until 7:00, and we had dinner when he got home.

After dinner we did presents. I managed to surprise Ron! I got him a Lego S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier. We got Robin a couple new cargo vests and a gratuitous pair of shorts (since I was ordering the vests), and cash for a kickstarter we was thinking about, but he had to repair his car. Robin gave us skeletons – a werewolf for Ron, a jackalope for me. Ron and Robin got me a bookbinding goodies and a guitar. And Christmas day Ron ordered a gently-used cello banjo that popped up at Elderly Instruments. Yes, we may have Instrument Acquisition Syndrome. The dogs got meat off the turkey wishbones that were boiled for stock for gravy, and non-stuffed squeaky toys (we’ve had the toys for quite a while, but they didn’t know or care about that part).

Christmas day was somewhat lazy: Ron spent pretty much all day working on his helicarrier. Robin was painting miniatures. I played my new guitar and worked on text layout for a book project. Tanami helped some with the book. Dinner was what we’d originally planned for Christmas Eve – potato sausage, mashed rutabaga, and a apple-cranberry pie that we got from Heybeck’s and I put Robin in charge of baking.

Today Ron worked on his Helicarrier, and finally finished it. Robin painted minis. I played my new guitar and took a nap with a snuggly Tommy. It was a good day.