Suck It, Terror: The Saga of Second Place

2016-04-26 17.55.20

Remember my last post, when I mentioned new house research was underway? Well, that research went really quickly and we haven’t stopped moving since (literally… we still have four more things to bring to the new house). This April, we became the thrilled owners of a three-bedroom ranch-style house built in the early 70s. Brian named it Second Place, partly because it’s the second place we’ve lived here and partly because of an old inside joke. It’s one of the weirdest houses we’ve ever seen, and we are absolutely in love with it. I had wanted to keep a log of the home-buying experience because this is our first, but that turned out to be unrealistic considering the sheer amount of stuff we had to do. Instead, I’ll channel Inigo Montoya in this post and sum up.

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Photo Credit: Brian Landis

Local News Blurb
Tonight at 6:00: Oklahoma’s obesity epidemic has expanded to the English sparrow population: how one small-town woman is responsible.

Okay, not really, but dang: my cheepers are fat. When we started focusing on our garden a few years ago, we put up bird feeders and a bath because I like to care for small creatures. (Brian calls me a Disney Princess, and it’s one of the nicest things he’s ever said to me.) Birds are pretty and I enjoy watching them do their thing. I didn’t think beforehand to read up on feeder types and seed types and which birds are considered “desirable.”

To me, they all are. Cardinals are my favorite, but I love the jays and mockingbirds and finches and chickadees and sparrows. We have doves, robins, starlings, and the occasional hawk. I love those too, along with the catbirds, ravens, scissortails, and woodpeckers. They brighten up the yard and my day with their birdly songs and activity.

They also make an infernal mess. Because I knew diddly-squat about providing for wild birds, most of our feeders consist of a roofed platform with perches that keep the squirrels out while letting the birds eat. These feeders have the unintended consequence of allowing the birds to be picky about their seed choices. When they’re picky, they fight over perches and fling the unwanted bits far and wide.

At first, finches spent the most time on the perches while sparrows acted as the Ground Crew and cleaned up below. Doves and cardinals helped, and all was lovely. Then the sparrows figured out they could eat from the feeders. They decided they were too good for the Ground Crew and left that duty to the doves and their loser friends who couldn’t hang with the seed-flinging crowd. Chaos ensued. Everyone got food!


The sparrow population in our neighborhood exploded. Recent reading has informed me that this is A Bad Thing because they’re an invasive species, but… they’re so cute and chirpy. I don’t want to run them off completely even though I’d like a bit more diversity in the garden, so we’re going to phase out the platform feeders when they break. The new feeders will reduce flinging and hopefully bring in more finches and chickadees as the sparrows disperse.

I have learned my lesson! Do your reading beforehand or you will end up like I did: with a legion of fat, mouthy, entitled little jerk-birds.

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Brr! It’s Cowd.

Plant sprout in snow

[My poor little garlic shoots are snowed under, except for this one hardy fellow.]

Our birds and plants have absolutely no idea what’s going on. In early January, we were bathed in 70 degree temperatures and covered by clear, sunny skies: a warm blanket of Solar Love. Late February has been a whirling dervish of ice, wind, and gray: an iron maiden of Frigid Hate. I’m ready for Spring.

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The Garden Begins

It’s a stunning weekend here in Oklahoma, one of many in an astonishingly mild winter. As we get closer to the traditional last-frost date for where we live (typically around March 31st), it’s time to start really thinking about what we want to plant this year.  We actually started thinking about that last summer, since you always have to plan a bit ahead if you want to have any real success with a garden. There is, of course, a small wrinkle.

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The Great Purges

Photo by Erik Drost/Flickr Creative Commons.

Cleaning out closets doesn’t usually lead to epiphanies. Usually it leads to a vague sense of satisfaction in knowing you won’t have to haul that stuff on a truck the next time you move, but lately for me it’s done more.

It’s made me realize how far I’ve come.

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New Digs.

Heather and I have lived, loved, and (occasionally) worked along side one another for many years now. In one of those semi-spur-of-the-moment outbursts I’m prone to, after an otherwise innocent comment by her about a minor dissatisfaction with her blog at The Spotted Cat, she woke up Saturday morning to find that I’d spent the night before setting up a web server and teaching myself enough about PHP and WordPress to launch her a homegrown custom blog site (thankfully I already have my basics covered for Linux, HTML, and Apache.) A few quick clicks later and we had a domain. You can see some more info in her post.

Long story short, The Spotted Cat and The Incredible Shrinking Man are merging into this site, which should become the one-stop repository for all the tripe Heather and I see fit to drop on the internet.

I really don’t know that I’ll write much here. I suffer from a common problem. I think to myself “Who the hell cares what YOU have to say? Who do you think you are to spout forth like some foul-mouthed oracle?” I think it’s important to remember that you don’t have to move the world every time you speak. Sometimes just sharing a small insight or idiotic thought you found humorous is enough to change someone’s day. Maybe if you do that enough the world moves a little without you noticing.

More posts will no doubt be coming, as will a whirlwind of changes as I discover all the glaring security holes I probably left open.

And just in case you were on the internet back in 1991 (when I first got on the internet proper- I’d been online for years previously but that was the first time I had true web/news/email/gopher access)… well you know what this damn graphic means:



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Updates and Technology

We’ve made some changes around here since the Creepy McJerkface event. Thanks to Brian and his judicious application of technology, I feel a lot safer these days. If someone tries to bust into the house now, they’ll be greeted by an ear-splitting siren followed shortly by the police. We’ll even be able to provide a nice video of the miscreant shrieking and running away. My ability to sleep has greatly improved with these additions, and we’ll be able to take it all with us when we move to a neighborhood that doesn’t suck. Brian rules.

I heart Theo!

In related household technology news, our old Bunn 3-minute coffeemaker died a horrid, gurgling death right before Christmas. We limped along with my 1960s avocado-green percolator for about a week before ordering our new coffeemaker, which is my current favorite Kitchen Thing. It reminds me of Buck Rogers, so I’ve named it Theo, short for Dr. Theopolis. I’m kind of in love with it. Theo matches my mixer and food processor, saves us quite a lot of precious counter space, and beeps adorably. I’ve taken to setting up the coffee every night (for morning auto brew!) and I enjoy it. Brian rules again because he found Theo, put it in a lineup, and let me pick.

And in yet more technology news, we watched the Microsoft presentation for the upcoming Windows 10 last week. Both of us have a professional interest in this stuff because so much of our work revolves around Microsoft applications, but we probably would have watched it regardless just to see where the technology is going. Where is it going? Well, to Mars, among other places. It was an impressive presentation. I was excited even before they got to the holograms, but I’m also the only person we know who liked Windows 8 when it was released. Good integration makes me happy, so my next phone will probably be of the Windows variety (sorry, Google).

That’s about it for the technology news, at least in our household. There are tons of things I want, like a Fitbit Surge, but until I crank in some more dough or convince companies to send me things to review, they won’t make the “news” category.

I would review the ever-living heck out of a Surge, though. Truly. Food for thought, Fitbit. Food for thooooought.

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