Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Is it a sign?

Because I'm a terribly lazy person by nature,  I sometimes find out interesting things while wasting time on the internet.  To wit: So many hairstyling videos!!!

Today, as I was 'driving' Google street view around the town in NY where I spent some growing up time, I was pleased to see that the Google car has made it around my old block and thus I could drive right past my former home (previously it was only viewable from a nearby road).  Imagine my surprise to see my car in the driveway! 

Really, it's right there in the picture!  Dodge Grand Caravan, dark blue, 2005-ish, just like Jiminy!  What are the chances of that sort of thing happening?

Well, because being lazy can mean 'avoid all things you're supposed to do in favor of something you'd rather be doing,' I am going to make and attempt to figure out the probability associated with this happenstance.

According to an estimate I'm making based on more current numbers found on Wikipedia, between 100,000 and 200,000 of these vehicles were sold in the United States and Canada.  According to Kelley Blue Book dot com, about 11% of minivans are medium or dark blue.  Doing the math, that means between 11K and 22K dark blue Dodge Grand Caravans were sold in the US and Canada.

Let's assume that there's a population-equivalent distribution of Dodge Grand Caravans to make things a little easier.  New York state has an estimated population of 19,651,127 for calendar year 2013 (source), but we'll take out the population of NYC because the chances of someone who lives in the city driving a  Dodge Grand Caravan up to Vestal to park in in my old house's driveway are pretty remote, wouldn't you agree? Using the same estimation practices, the 2013 estimated population of NYC was 8,405,837.  That puts everything above NYC at a population of 11,245,290.  North Carolina has only 9,848,060 people estimated to be living here in 2013.

Still with me?  OK - the total estimated number of people living in the US in 2013 is 315 million.   Taking the lower estimate of 11,000 dark blue 2005 Dodge Grand Caravans made in 2005, there is ONE dark blue 2005 dodge grand caravan per every 28636 people. That means that there are 383 2005DBDGCs in NY and 344 of them in NC.  

To be more specific, the population of Vestal in 2010 was 28,043, which means that, with the maths we have done, there's less than 1 2005DBDGC in the whole town!

The population of Wake Forest in 2010 was 30,117, which indicates, given the assumptions made above, that there's slightly more than 1 (but let's call it 1) 2005DBDGC in town.  That one is Jiminy!  Science works!

Note: Even if the upper estimate was used, there would only be 1.9-ish 2005DBDGCs in Vestal and a smidge over 2 in Ye Olde Wake Foreste.  This means of course that (keeping in mind that because human beings basically move around in a semi-predictable Brownian fashion we have to work in an inconstant parameter for estimates of instability) the chances of that ONE 2005DBDGC being in the very specific location that it was when the Google car drove by on that sunny day in 2012 are something like one in  a BILLIONZILLION and that, my friends, is why you should pay attention in school.

So, given that the chances of that particular car being in that particular driveway at that VERY particular time are so very infinitesimal, is this the Universe trying to tell me something about OUR car?

Do you think there's a heap of cash stuffed in a seat or something?  A giant diamond wedged into a corner of a Stow'n'Go crevice?  A black hole in the coolant system?  Some Whos in the glove compartment?  What is the profound message in this circumstantial fleeting parallelism!?!  It can't all just be random chance, can it?

Can it?


I'm off to ponder the Universe and maybe go look for that hidden wad of cash - - Tiff out.


PS - I have made an error in my calculations.  Forgive me, Canada, for leaving you out of  the people/2005DBDGCs estimate.  But note my statement about being lazy?  I'm not going back to recalculate.  Just be aware that the one in a billionzillion chance is now about one in 1.3 billionzillion.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

The Apocacabinet, plus many parentheticals

The Tiny House's kitchen is small.  Not tiny, because it's 15' x 15' in dimension, but really only one wall of that space has countertops or cabinets.   There is also a short run of cabinets on another wall, but that's built for linens and candles and game storage so I'm not counting it as purely 'kitchen' because it's the stuff you might find in a living room or family room in larger homes.  In the middle of the room is our kitchen table, in a corner is Biff's office space, and there are 4 doorways (!) so this one 15' wall is about all the space we have to work with, kitcheny things wise.

Because of the relative dearth of places to put normal kitchen stuff, a lot of our small appliances live on a shelf in the laundry/garbage/cat box (AKA 'pantry') room, which is fine because it's 2 steps to the left of the stove and therefore convenient (as are most things in Tiny Houses, which is a huge plus of living in one).  We keep all the baking items there too, as well as all cooking oils, vinegars, pasta (well, most of it), onions, potatoes, pet food, ...you get the drift.  Stuff we need routinely, which, as it turns out, is a lot of stuff!

Canned foods, which do NOT live in the pantry, have a wall cabinet to the right of the sink that we use to pull from first.  This puppy holds a LOT of canned goods; however, as a family that cooks at home nearly every day (and wants to be prepared if the Big One Drops), we run through a lot of this stuff fast (and want to have nice radiation-free grub for the Big One, obviously).  So, in the design of the kitchen reno a few years ago, we introduced a large cabinet above the refrigerator that we call 'The Apocacabinet.'

The Apocacabinet holds all the things that the pantry/other cabinet don't, as you might expect given its name and what I just explained to you.  But how much had been a mystery.  Stuff just  went in and got fished out.

Well, we went to the BJs today to do a $400 shop, and as a result the shelves and cabinets had to have stock switched to get the older stuff readily at hand and the newer duplicates/replacements into the Apocacabinet.  I got the bright idea to (finally) catalog everything that is IN the Apocacabinet, primarily to know what's in there so we don't overbuy something we already have (a glaring example of which is below), and I wanted to see what would fit into a reasonably stocked, but not full, Apocacabinet.  Because, science!

The real deal!
This, then, is what's in there:

10 pounds dry black beans
1 can dark red kidney beans
1 large can light red kidney beans
6 cans black beans

1 box Malt o' Meal (plain)
1 box Cheese-Its

3 pounds angel hair pasta
4 pounds elbow noodles

10 cans Rotel tomatoes
3 cans diced tomatoes
5 jars diced tomatoes
26 (!) small cans tomato paste
8 cans corn
3 cans french-style green beans

8 cans tuna

1 bag granola
2 bags Life cereal
1 bag Frosted Mini Wheats

1 large bag Pretzel crisps

A purty good haul, wouldn't you say?  It's clear that I can't keep inventory control over the tomato paste (26 cans?  Good grief, we'll need to rush out and buy more in a month!), but everything else is at a satisfying level of 'we have it if we need it,' which will be helpful in the event of a zombie attack or, more likely, crap weather that keeps us at home for a while (or the Big One!).  We'll not be starving, that's for sure, and are able to take advantage of sales and bargains because we have a place to put them.

Maybe that's what some folks use their garages for, but we don't have one of those either so we just have to make do.

Does that seem like a lot of food to keep on hand to you, or do you like to also have that cushion of 'oh no we don't need to go to the store yet, we have plenty!' like me?  Because I care, you'll share!

And with that,  Tiff out.

Friday, December 05, 2014


Flash fiction isn't dead, it would appear.  There's THIS running through tomorrow that y'all might want to be a part of.  Come on, you can do 150 words on what's the best way to orient your toilet paper (over!) so you can certainly write 150 on a vivid prompt, right?  It'll be like WordsmithsUnlimited 'lite'!

Go to the comment section to read the entries AFTER you've written your piece so that other folks' take on teh prompt won't bleed over into your own writing or dissuade you from even trying.

You're good enough, and people like you, so go.  Don't wait, just go.



There was an announcement this week at work that is very upsetting.  It affects thousands of people here in North Carolina in ways that are the Most Profound They Could Be short of just shuttering the whole works and throwing the company off a bridge.  Lives are being turned upside down in the name of....I don't even know what.  The decisions made make NO sense to me, but somehow they must to someone.

Sure hope the shareholders are happy.

Nobody around here is.

Which is why I didn't go to the group Holiday Celebration today.  I just don't have it in me.

But hey, if you know of anyone in the Triangle looking for a medical writer, I'm your gal.


As a result of the business news, I have found out one very unflattering thing about myself:  I can really sulk, HARD.  Spent the day yesterday avoiding doing any but the most necessary work and using the rest of that time to have a god fret about what the hell is going to happen to my life now.  To accede to the demanding plans for next steps as outlined by the company, we would have to pull up roots and I just not prepared to do that.  Oh, sure, if I decide NOT to follow the job there will be some monetary remuneration for me, but is that enough to wait until the company decides when that's going to happen or do I just strike out looking on my own NOW to lock down something 'sure'?

So hard to know what to do.  Perhaps  I should slink back to my corner and sulk some more.  It seems the only thing  I really want to do right now.

That, and hunt down whatever team of nincompoops came up with their brilliant plan to ruin my life and strangle them with their own Rolexes.  I also want to do that.  A lot.


Hope y'all are faring well and rolling with the punches.

Tiff out.

Friday, November 21, 2014

This thing could really take off!

Also this.
Currently I am wearing a pair of men's lounge pants in a festive flannel tartan.  It is 4 in the afternoon.  These are the same pants I slept in last night. 

This is why I love to work at home (WAH).

Every day can be pajama party day!

From time to time I am contacted by headhunters recruiters about possible new opportunities that involve 'home based contracts,' and I must confess here and now that the biggest draw for me to enter into that situation is the whole pajama thing.  Also, not having to drive to an office or talk to people, but the pajama thing ranks right up there.  If I wasn't so fearful of going into a contract situation and giving up my sweet benefits package, I might make the leap, but I'm not quite there yet.  I'm a creature of comfort, and part of that comfort comes from having a full-time job with a 401K and insurance.

I live about as far from 'the edge' as a person can, and having accepted that I can focus on important issues, like optimizing the temperature in the house while wearing pajamas in the middle of the day!!

Another bonus of WAH-ing: the food is free.  And good.  Also, the coffee is excellent.  The bathroom is private, which is terrific.  The commute is short, and my coworkers are fluffy and cute.  Heck, I can even get some chores done if I felt like it, which I rarely do, but I COULD and that's something to take to the bank, eh?


Yes, I know how lucky I am.  I used to work in a lab, where working from home was obviously NOT an option.

I used to be a waitress, and bartender, and radio announcer, and teacher, and McDonald's counter girl too, so I know how to show up for work and put in my time.  This is why I know how lucky I am.  I worked for 25+ years before I got a job that allowed this flexibility, so I am WELL aware of how soft the spot is on which I've landed.  Am grateful every dang day for it too.

Did you know that some kids coming out of college now are demanding that they  be allowed to work at home right from the get-go, even in positions that are better suited to co-working in an office space?  I take umbrage at this - those little snots haven't put in their TIME yet, they won't know the sweetly deep satisfaction of the 'special' days when pajamas and hoodies are the work outfit of the day instead of grown-up clothes that require things like shoes, and accessories, and makeup.  How, when they become older, will they enjoy achieving a position that allows them to cast off the shackles of the cubicle?  No no, I say, make them report to the office for at least 10 years, so they can develop the skills needed to get up each and every day to face the yoke of responsibility (and match their shoes to it)!!  Don't let them get away with it! 

Or at least, make them keep their webcam on at all times for monitoring.  Count the keystrokes!  Filter their web-browsing capabilities!  Lock down all other devices remotely until their spirits are squashed and they perform like the drones they were born to be, just like I was!!!

YES!!!  AMEN!!!



All right, 5 years, and they can be released on their own recognizance.

I think we have a plan.


Tiff out.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

What happened to fall?

Pinkies up!
This time last week?  70 degrees.

Today?  35, tops.

Bring fall back, whoever stole it from us.  This winter garbage is too much, too soon.


We bore the dog to utter death, I'm sure.  All we do is sit around doing our thing on teh glowy boxes, and hardly spend ANY time with him at all.  He gets in as much trouble as he does because I'm sure he's begging for attention, but how much attention can one dog gets while the human is trying to get work and stuff done?

So, he rips up used tissues and chases cats.

A dog does what he has to do to stay entertained in the waking hours.


Let's get back to this Winter thing for a mo, along a slight tangent, to wit:

How it is already the middle of November?

How is it almost time to haul out the Christmas stuff (ALMOST, I must note)?

How did this happen?  Wasn't Hallowe'en just last week?  Wasn't Independence day just a month before that?

The end of the year, that vaunted 'sell by' date for many of my work projects, is rushing hither at a fearful clip.  I'm afraid to  count the actual number of working days that are available to get everything done I said I would.  Shhh!  Don't tell me, either.  I don't want to know.  Really, I do NOT want to know.

It won't be enough, is all I'm saying.


Did you know that Will Smith's daughter has control over time?

Rich kids.  Sheesh.  They get whatever they ask for.


Thing 1 started working last week.  He's a tea-rista at the pinkies-out store in the local mall.  Fancy Schmancy!  For a first job, this one's pretty dang sweet, I think.  No deep frying required, no bagging groceries or fetching carts or washing cars for that boy, oh no.  Straight to the indoor retail customer service experience!

Hope he knows how good he's got it.  Because compared to closing a McDonald's at 2:30 a.m. while angry drunk people fight in the parking lot and your hair smells like grease and you've been on your feet for 8+ hours wearing a horrible uniform, his first job seems positively peachy.


Also, Happy Anniversary to my parents.  Number 58, though they only got to celebrate 35 of those together.  Time is short for all of us, for my Dad way too short.  Still miss him, 23 years later.

Man, time does indeed fly. 

We'll talk soon,
Tiff out.