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      Monday, April 01, 2013

03:31 PM - 04/01/2013

The topic: 2012 taxes are done!

I just need to get them printed out and cut a check.

We owe! Last year we didn't. Owing is good, it means we made money. We'd have to pay more, but I had over $12,000 in medical bills that we paid for my gallbladder surgery in late 2011.


I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off of my shoulders right now. I hate doing taxes. Lots of "why do you have invoices in the cash receipts file that you used a credit card for?" stuff. I can't deduct it twice, for heaven's sake.

Done! Woohoo!

      Tuesday, April 02, 2013

07:22 AM - 04/02/2013

The topic: Great way to start the day

Brian comes into the house (it's trash day, we have a dumpster and he pushes it out to the street, then starts emptying the trash from the house that's still needs to go out) and asks "have you seen Bobby?"

Come to think of it, no, I haven't. I go into the backyard and start calling him. No Bobby. Well, Brian said he saw a cat jump onto the dumpster when it was against the garage door and he thought to himself "that cat looks really healthy; it looks like Bobby".

I go out front and start calling Bob. This cat runs off of the bank and up to us, under my car. Brian picks him up. Yeah, it was Bobby, good thing he's one of those "ooh, you called me, maybe I'll get a scritch or two". Brian carries him inside and I go out back and start doing the perimeter walk, checking tree branches, problems with the fencing, looking for how he got out. A palm tree down by the pool will need to be cut down, the fronds are strong enough and tall enough now that a cat could get out (the same type of tree that helped the last escape, Skippy). Another thing I check for is anything new. New attracts kitty attention.

And I see new. Brian was working on a door job last week and had large sheets of plywood that he used for boarding up the opening. This plywood was now resting against the side of the house. Right below a window with a screen. And right above that window is the roof. Easy for a limber cat to make the climb. I tell Brian what I think. He comes out and looks at it. He shakes his head. He moves the plywood.

A little later I'm watching Bobby. He climbs the plywood, looking up at the roof as he does it. He's done it before, maybe he can do it again. He can't. No screen and the roof is quite a bit higher at this point.

It amazes me when people say animals are stupid and can't think. This cat checked out something different, saw an opportunity and took it. And he remembered.

What a smart kitty.

      Wednesday, April 03, 2013

09:45 AM - 04/03/2013

The topic: Remember yesterday’s entry

Where I thought we found Bobby's exit?


Last night when I was getting the cats fed in the garage (not all of them were in), I heard a thump on the dumpster, which is up against the big garage door. I called out to Brian that something was out there. He went out front, I went into the backyard. I couldn't find Bobby. Brian yelled out "he's in here!" 

He was in there because Brian brought him in from out front.


So, what else was different in the yard? Why now, after all of these years?  Brian moved the tractor to the middle of the yard, even though it was parked in an area where it had been parked for months before. He moved it to mow the lawn the day before, it had never been a problem before. Moving it again might solve the problem. Then we checked out the fencing with a flashlight. He fixed a couple of spots it might have been, but I was thinking along the lines of Bob jumping off of the roof onto the dumpster. If he'd gone over at some breach in the fence, why not just jump to the ground? Brian agreed, it didn't make sense why he'd go up instead of down. We both feel that he made it over to the roof somehow.

Right now Bobby is in the office, sleeping on the copy machine. Brian isn't home and I need to take a shower. I'll probably block the cat door so Bobby can't leave the house while I'm busy.

What a PITA this is.

      Friday, April 05, 2013

08:49 AM - 04/05/2013

The topic: No escape

Well, since Brian moved the tractor, there've been no escapes. We've seen him on the top of the tractor, looking up at the roof, checking out the options, but his little furry butt has stayed in the yard.

We haven't gone walking in the morning because the cats were out and we didn't trust him. Looks like we're safe for a while.

Silly cat.

      Saturday, April 13, 2013

09:24 AM - 04/13/2013

The topic: Okay, time for a break

From paperwork. I got the taxes done and sent last week. This week, I caught up on paperwork.  I hadn't reconciled the old company's checking account since the December statement. And I reconciled two months of the other company's account. That's not my favorite thing because we take PayPal on that and they deduct fees right away (4.4%). We pay the credit card fees once a month, they're automatically deducted from our bank account. For PayPal, I tell the accounting software how much the customer paid, then deduct the fees on another line. I don't want the customer invoices showing the fees so I have to take additional steps so everything balances. It's a PITA. And UPS automatically deducts money on a weekly basis.

So, what am I doing now? Working on the Disney meet video for 2011. Yeah, it's a little late, but I had computer problems and couldn't finish it last year and then I just kept putting it off. Now, I've got the time to devote to it.

Yesterday, I checked my music playlist. It wasn't playing well with my new version of Windows Media Player, so I figured I'd just redo it. A playlist with Disney music only. Well, with the new version of WMP, you can't listen to something that's not on the playlist without adding every damned tune to the playlist. At least I couldn't. I'd work on the thing for fifteen or twenty minutes, then see a song "oh, I want to listen to that" and I'd lose what I'd done. I did this three times before I finally quit trying to listen to other songs. I catch on quickly. tongue

It took me over an hour to do. When I was finished (I'm hoping I got all the Disney tunes), there were over three thousand Disney songs on the playlist. It will be fun seeing the duplicates (amazing how many Disney compilations have the same song versions).

And then there are the photos. Thousands of photos. I like having a lot to work with, but I lose the EXIF information (date and time the picture was taken) when I take the old picture, copy it, edit it (usually to brighten a dark picture and sharpen the image), resize it and paste it onto a background, because I have a brand new picture. The EXIF information helps me keep the photos in order. Last night I had a great idea to find a program that would make a contact sheet with the EXIF information I needed. I'd use pictures that Brian and I took and work from there (most everyone that was there took pictures and sent them to me for the video; without knowing the approximate time they were taken, I'm lost as to how to add them to the video, which I like to do chronologically).

I downloaded two programs, both old. Neither of them had me jumping for joy. I removed them both from my system. On my search I found a post on a forum that suggested using IrfanView. I'd previously installed it on my system because it reads SVG files (my cutting files). And I tried it last night, works like a dream. Printed the contact sheets on the black and white laser printer, then the color printer this morning. I'll use the b&w to get them to the right ride/time of day and the color to further order them.


Then when that's done, I'll add the transistions, then the music. Then burn them to disk, then print the labels onto the disks. Then make the DVD case cover and insert.

I'm pretty excited about the insert. This has a menu of what's on the video. Back on Valentine's Day I got a Big Shot paper embosser. Well, during the next few weeks, I found that I can make my own embossing folders. Time consuming, yes, but they're MINE! Not someone else's idea of a cool emboss, but my idea of a cool emboss. And I worked on an idea that had been percolating in my brain for a couple of weeks. I did a test folder last weekend, but I had it backwards so it's more of an "in"boss that "em"boss. The bossing goes in, it doesn't stick out. So I did another one the right way. I liked it. I used some Stickles glitter glue and am happy with the way it turned out.

This past week I made the one I want to use on the insert and it turned out best of the ones I've done. The edges are clean. It's going to be good, I know it is. 

So, contact sheets finally printed out, time to get cracking.

I wish there was an easier way to do this, but I have to admit, once I get started, I love it.

      Tuesday, April 30, 2013

09:31 AM - 04/30/2013
We found a penny on our walk this morning
I'm listening to Pandora on the Roku
The current weather is nice, sunny and cool

The topic: When did I get so busy?

Gosh, there's a ton of stuff on my plate right now.

Right now I'm doing paperwork for Fit Rite (the new company). D & D is winding down. Fit Rite is picking up steam and we had to get more white boards to keep track of orders. We've got two now, one for regular customers, one for dealers and rush jobs. (Dealers go to the head of the line and also get a 15% discount on all orders after their first purchase; we had a few too many orders "yeah, we're a dealer", they get the discount and we never hear from them again).

Well, the boards are full so something had to be done. I had some old magnetic black strips from my foray into scheduling my time in the laundry room, which was a wake up call for me to see how time was flying between loads. Now I'm more on top of laundry than I had been. I used those strips on the white boards he's using now and they keep getting moved when he writes. So, for the new white boards I got some 1/8" adhesive tape from Amazon, blue and black. I plan on alternating the colors for the lines so it's easier for him to follow (although he does use different color markers to match the tractor make). We'll have two boards for regular customers, one for rush jobs and one for dealers. I used my Silhouette Cameo yesterday to make the vinyl lettering (I'm glad I bought all this stuff years ago when I got my original Silhouette, sure makes spur of the moment ideas a lot easier when you've got all of the ingredients) for the top (this machine is a workhorse, I swear!). Regular customer boards will have black lettering, rush jobs will be red (which actually looks more like an orange/red) and dealers will have blue lettering. Easy to differentiate. I need to do the striping on the new boards and then when the old boards empty, the new boards will be used and I'll stripe the old boards.

And I don't know if I've mentioned this, but we only have one landline now, for the FAX machine. We have four MagicJack lines. The problem with the MagicJack lines (and it's minor when you consider how much money we're saving), is you can't block calls, like telemarketers. Well, you can with additional software that runs on the computer, but the Fit Rite phone and the house phone are on the MagicJack plus, which runs directly from the router, the MJ doesn't need to be plugged in to a computer to work. I'd done some research and found the Digitone 10 system which should block the calls. The old Privacy Corp machine didn't work with the Magic Jack (I've got the MJs for the house and Fit Rite wired into the house wiring so the phones ring at all outlets).

The Digitone got here yesterday afternoon and it wouldn't work and I was sad and frustrated. First off, the router I had the MJ attached to wasn't playing nice and I had to reset it (it's a range extender). Then the power adapter for the Magic Jack went out (a cheap fix, just need to stock up on the power adapters, it uses the same ones as an iPhone and those are pretty inexpensive in bulk). Then I got the Digitone plugged in and the phones wouldn't ring, but they did without the Digitone.  I emailed their support using the original mail I'd sent them back in January explaining the situation. I was told what code to use and it finally worked. And now I'll be able to start blocking the pesky telemarketers. Yay!

And for the past couple of weeks I've been working on the Disney meet video from October 2011. A little behind, but I had the gallbladder surgery the week after the trip and man, I've had the hardest time recovering from that. For months I had really awful reflux, so bad I could taste the coppery taste of blood in my throat. I took omeprazole on a daily basis, for months. When I told my physician he about had a cow and told me it's not meant for long term use, to quit using it. I did and the acid was horrible, but I eventually adjusted and now it's lots better. I was working on that video last August and my computer crashed. I was so darned irritated that I just quit working on it until I was in a better frame of mind and had more time to devote to working on it. Which I started after the taxes were finished earlier this month. Since I hadn't worked on it since the old computer, I had to reinstall the software and plugins for transformations and special effects (I'm nothing if not a little anal compulsive about some things). Things were going smoothly until the Storybook Land Canal boats. I'd spent hours putting the photos on a background and in doing so, I lost their EXIF information (the date the original photos were taken). I was comparing the originals with the copies and it incredibly time consuming, I figured I'd set up the second monitor with the USB to VGA adapter I got a few years back. Wouldn't work with the new computer, kept crashing it (gotta love that blue screen) and it wouldn't boot up. Works nicely with the old computer. Well, the new computer has a DVI connector in the back, so I ordered an adapter for the DVI connector to the VGA for less than three bucks on Amazon. It got here, wrong one, gee, you mean there's more than one?  Yep. So, I ordered the right one. It plugged in, but I still didn't get the monitor to work. Seems that this monitor isn't DVI. These connectors need a digital machine, like a television, but all of my extra monitors are VGA, not digital. I need something like that old adapter, but one that works with Win 7. It (from StarTech) got here yesterday and I'm in heaven. It's doing a great job and doing this paperwork is way easier with two monitors, instead of bouncing back and forth on one monitor between Quickbooks and Paypal and the bank website. Money well spent.

And then there's the Mother's Day card (just do a search for "mother's day") and stuff I plan on making my mother-in-law. I've got a couple of weeks to work on that.

To add to that, Georgie hasn't been feeling well, he's lost a lot of weight. I started him on Baytril last week, which I think was a good idea. He's also getting fluids on a regular basis now.

Brian just left to do a D & D job, so I'll have a couple of hours without interruption (funny how I never appreciated that before he started working out of the house). I should be able to get a lot done.

And that's what my life has been for the last month or so. Pretty busy.

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lisaviolet is sixty something, married with no kids, takes care of lots of cats, likes taking photographs, loves Southern California weather and spends altogether too much time avoiding her responsibilities.

In her spare time, she makes pretty things to sell in her store.

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