A Bit of Connecticut Humor

Overall, Yankees aren’t as funny as Rednecks; that’s why I don’t hear as many jokes about the North as I would like.  Here’s one, though, from my own experience:

The two biggest grocery store chains in Connecticut are A & P and Stop & Shop.  While I was there, the A & P in downtown Danbury closed.  Maybe the other stores should merge, and we’ll call the new chain Stop & P.

Good Family News

God has been good to my family this week!  First of all, my unemployment benefits ran out last week.  Now that may not sound good, but read on.  I have been trying to call the Connecticut Department of Labor about that since Monday, but they are so busy this week, that I did not get through until today.  Judging from what the agent on the phone told me, I qualified for an extension, and I won’t even miss this week’s amount.

The news from my brother Chris is even better.  You may remember he visited us the first week of June.  When he got back to Florida, the first thing he did was go to Tallahassee for a job interview.  In the month since then he has been scanning my Dad’s slide collection, and posting them online so the rest of the family will have copies.  Well, this morning he learned that he got the job!  He will be starting on August 5, so sometime before then he will have to move from Naples to Tallahassee, leaving behind all the Everglades critters he has been living next to for the past ten years.  In addition, he will be a few hundred miles closer to the rest of the family, so we can expect him to visit more often.

Another Connecticut Assignment?

I mentioned around the beginning of this year that some companies are starting to hire again; I am seeing a few more “help wanted” signs than I did in years past.  This cartoon appeared in our local newspaper, The Lexington Herald-Leader, last January, and gives you an idea of what jobs are available in our area.

KYjobs

It sounds fine and dandy, but I’m not ready to declare the Great Recession over yet, because nobody in Kentucky has a suitable job for me.  The high-tech market that attracted me here in the first place has largely dried up, and I haven’t seen signs of that coming back.  Consequently my last job, from June 2011 to April 2012, sent me to Danbury, CT, more than 800 miles away.  For me Kentucky has been a very nice place to live but not a good place to work.

Well, my job situation could be changing later this month.  This morning I got a call from the recruiter who got me the job in Connecticut.  That job is available again, for another assignment that could last at least six months.  Other candidates have been submitted for the position, so it’s not a sure thing I could be going.  Still, Leive and I are going to be doing a lot of planning in the event it happens, like how to get reliable transportation for both of us, and where to stay if the apartment I used last time is not available.

The Great Sleet Storm

I am not going to believe any more predictions from groundhogs.  Last year the most famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, saw his shadow, meaning there would be six more weeks of winter.  Instead, the weather warmed up early for both Connecticut (where I was staying at the time) and Kentucky.  This year the groundhog didn’t see his shadow, and though April is only a week away, we’re still getting snow, and temperatures are 20 degrees below normal.

This morning, as expected, snow replaced yesterday’s rain.  It fell steadily, but did not accumulate on the road, so it didn’t interfere with driving when I went out.  But oh, the sleet! When I first started blogging back in January 2007, sleet was a new phenomenon to me.  Now I have seen more sleet today than on any other day in the past six years.  It fell for most of the afternoon, with brief interruptions of snow and rain to keep things interesting.

Also, it just occurred to me that it was on this day in 1992, that my family and I experienced central Florida’s greatest hailstorm.  Then hail the size of golf balls dented cars and ruined roofs over an area forty miles across, from Orlando to DeLand.  Now twenty-one years to the day after getting caught in the great Florida hailstorm, I was caught in the great Kentucky sleet storm.  The good news is that unlike other forms of precipitation, sleet doesn’t hurt anything or anybody.

Incomun Taxum Deum

Pardon my Latin, that’s what yesterday was for me; I finished work on my tax returns for the year.  And no, that is not why Julius Caesar was told to “Beware the Ides of March.”

The tax paperwork was as complicated as it was last year; I had to fill out state returns for both Kentucky and Connecticut.  Overall I had an easier time of it; last year it took until March 30 to do the Federal return, and another week and a half to mail the state returns.  The results were the same – refunds from Uncle Sam and Connecticut, a small payment to Kentucky – but because I earned less in 2012 than I did in 2011, all the amounts were less, too.  It also occurred to me that it is not a good sign if I am getting good at going through this red tape, and I am not doing this as part of a job.

Yesterday I also checked on the Red Delicious apple tree I planted in the backyard last October.  It has a bud on the tip of each branch, so I know it survived its first winter with us.  My next project is to plant a Fuji apple nearby, for cross-pollination purposes and because that is Leive’s favorite variety.  Over the past week I checked a few stores, and the only one with Fuji apples is K-Mart.

Because next Saturday is Lexi’s third birthday, last night Leive called Lindy in Georgia, to hear what the “Apo” wants.  Instead of the expected toys, she asked for boots that light up, and a tablet.  By “tablet” I take it she means a computer tablet, like an iPad or the Google Nexus I bought myself last January.  I mentioned in a previous message that my tablet turned out to be a thoroughly useful tool when I go out, but at home it is mainly used to entertain the parrot.  Well well, it looks like Lexi is going to be a computer nerd, like her mother and grandfather; a true heir to the family!

Winter Here and There

This morning it was 43 degrees when I woke up, and the temperature fell slowly for the rest of the day.  Like I have said before, in all my years in Florida, we never had a day where the highest temperature came at dawn—or before dawn.

On the radio today I heard a comedian named Lewis Black declare that Valentine’s Day should not be celebrated in February.  As he put it, February is the dreariest month of the year, and while a holiday dedicated to love is a good idea, it’s hard to celebrate when your partner is all stuffed up with the flu.  I’m inclined to agree after our experience this winter; now Leive thinks she has the same bug I had last week.  All things considered, these days the healthiest member of our household is Brin-Brin the parrot!

But when I hear the news from the Northeast, I realize I was very lucky.  Today New York and the New England states are getting hit by their first blizzard since January 2011.  They’re expecting up to three feet of snow in the area between Bridgeport and Boston.  I knew it must be really bad when I tuned in Sean Hannity’s talk show, and instead of ranting against our incompetent politicians in Washington, he was telling us how fierce he expected the storm would be, and how his part of New York hasn’t recovered from Hurricane Sandy yet.

Remember I was working in Connecticut at this time last year?  If my goal was to escape winter, I couldn’t have picked a better time to go there; the Yankees claim that they missed out on winter altogether!  And do you remember that I first applied for the job in January 2011, but wasn’t accepted until I applied again in May?  If I had gotten the job the first time around, I could have been caught in the last blizzard, too.

By the way, this week I received notice of a technical writer job opening in Shelton, CT.  Leive doesn’t want me to work in Connecticut again, but I think I’ll apply for the job, because I’m qualified for it and the prospect of getting it amuses me.  First, my family lived in Shelton forty-eight years ago, when it was called Huntington.  Go to the page entitled My Old Connecticut Home to see what the place looked like, when I revisited Shelton/Huntington in June 2011.  Second, the job description says it has to do with manuals for rotary-wing aircraft.  The only company I know of that works with helicopters in that part of Connecticut is Sikorski, the company my father once worked for!

My, oh my.  After I got laid off, some folks, including Leive, brought up the idea of moving back to Florida, and I said that would be a step in the wrong direction, now that we’re firmly established in Kentucky.  If that is so, then returning to my former home town before my Florida days, and working for the same company that once employed my father, would be an even worse case of regression, wouldn’t it?

On Groundhogs and Marmots

tdy-130202-groundhog-1.photoblog500

According to the folks who brave the snow in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania at this time of the year, Punxsutawney Phil, the world’s most famous groundhog, did NOT see his shadow this year, so spring should come early.  I hope this year’s prediction is correct; last year the groundhog saw his shadow, but in both my permanent home of Kentucky and my temporary home of Connecticut, we did not have to deal with six more weeks of winter. (As I write this, a new layer of snow is falling, to replace what melted yesterday.) In Kentucky we have groundhogs, but they’re not a big deal; I see one quite often where Old Todds Rd passes the Linkbelt factory, watching the cars go by.

I also just learned that in Alaska they don’t have groundhogs, but a very similar rodent, the marmot.  Consequently, while she was governor, Sarah Palin signed a bill declaring February 2 “Marmot Day” in Alaska, and it goes into effect today.  I didn’t know marmots lived anywhere in America; I thought they were strictly critters of northern Eurasia.  Did they cross the Bering Strait during the Ice Age?  Here’s an article explaining the business:

Marmot Day Sarah Palin

And three years back, a blog called The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs had this to say:

Happy Marmot Day, Sarah Palin!

I voted for McCain/Palin, gotta’ problem wit dat?

We can thank Sarah Palin for subverting a silly tradition such as Groundhog Day. Enjoy it in good health people!

Finally, a week or two ago a friend of mine got the idea that this year, the president would give his State of the Union speech on Groundhog Day.  Actually, the speech is scheduled for February 12.  Still, he sent an e-mail to me comparing the two events:

“One involves a meaningless ritual in which we look to an insignificant creature of little intelligence for guidance.

The other involves a groundhog . . .”