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Swat-A-Litterbug!

North Carolina now has a web form to report people who litter from their cars:

Swat-A-Litterbug Home

All you have to do is take note of the license plate#, time, and street/highway the offense occurred on and send this info to the NC DOT. The offender will get a formal notification from the state highway patrol mailed to them.

They had this program in Texas, too, and I used to report at least 5 cars a week. My hope is that at least some of the people will stop and think about what they are doing when they get the notice. There seems to be a tendency for people to think they are invisible when they are in their cars (at least that’s the only explanation I can come up with for all the times I have glanced at an oncoming car and seen someone with their finger up their nose) and there are other people who honestly don’t think it is littering to flick things like cigarette butts out their car windows. I don’t know if they think there is some sort of cigarette-butt fairy that whisks them away, or what, but it is a huge problem.
I know you can’t force some people to change their behavior, but you can at least let them know that what they are doing is not OK.

Nothing like a 3 AM fire drill to start a day off

Yesterday in the wee hours of the morning we were awakened to a loud chirping sound coming from the carbon monoxide detector in the hallway. I sort of suspected a battery issue, but the “get to fresh air” light was flashing and my problem-solving skills are not that sharp when I am half asleep so I proceeded to unplug the monitor heater, open every window in the house, and turn on all the lights — creating mass chaos as I tried to puzzle out whether we were actually having some sort of emergency or not.

We finally determined that it was indeed a low battery warning, closed all the windows, made a futile attempt to locate some batteries in the house, then just disabled the blasted thing by taking the dead ones out. I was just paranoid enough to leave the monitor heater off for the rest of the night, though, so all we had was the electric fireplace for what little was left of the night. Three hours later we had barely gotten back to sleep when the blare of the alarm clock roused us to a cold house and no coffee to be found. Oh well, as Joy’s mom said, at least we were alive. (and in case Joy’s mom is reading this, we have since replaced the batteries and it’s now operational again! 🙂 )

It makes me wonder though, why can’t such devices just be designed with a specific light that is labeled “low battery” so that when the alarm sounds you can immediately tell if there is an actual emergency? And for that matter, why do batteries for those type of devices always run out in the middle of the night? Is it like the buttered toast landing upside down rule or something?

Bee tree!

This past Saturday, it was pretty warm; the maple tree in front of our house, which has quite a few holes in the trunk from what we suspect are woodpeckers, had sap running down the bark. This attracted well over a hundred honeybees, who hung out for most of the day drinking the sap. They didn’t seem to mind me getting really close (and conquering my bee phobia) to take a few pictures.

Bee tree 2

The buzzing was so loud you could hear them from way down at the rear of the back yard. Of course, by Sunday it was cold again so they didn’t return. Personally I am really getting tired of the see-saw weather. We’ve got flower buds from the poor confused trees laying all over our porch and deck, that I guess snapped off when a warm spell was followed by a hard freeze.

A sad but wonderful day

Today we watched Maggie May, who came to us in the spring of 2006 near death and then blossomed into a beautiful dog, leave with her new ‘mom’ to go to a home where she will be the only dog. She even has her own room complete with her own chair waiting for her, two children who are beside themselves with excitement at her joining the family, and a bright future where she will have a whole family to herself. She left earlier today (I cried) and we’ve already gotten an update that she’s settling in well so far.

If we were meant to save her life and heal her so that she would eventually go on to make another family’s lives complete, then it was well worth it. For us, it feels as if a tremendous weight has been lifted. It wasn’t fair for her to have to live the constrained life we forced upon her, and for us, besides the burden of one more mouth to feed, there was constant anxiety and guilt for not providing the right home for her. One less dog means that the next time we move, it will be easier to find a good place to live and we can afford to downsize even further to pay off bills.

Along with Maggie went her ‘party collars’ (of course) and jacket, but also Mojo’s superman costume, Lilly’s bunny ears, and assorted other toys and items that we had in our memento box. We hadn’t been sure what to do with these items, and it raises our spirits to know that Maggie and her new human siblings will enjoy them together.

So here’s a toast to a wonderful new life for Maggie, and the beginning of a new path for us which we hope will eventually lead to us being debt free and owning a home of our own!

If either of these guys wins, we’re moving to Canada

Our Google home page (which I’ve actually junked up with several tabs worth of stuff) has a section for the latest entries on the Urban Legends Reference Pages, aka snopes.com. Recently there were articles for two of the current republican contenders. While we aren’t really crazy about anyone who is still left running at this point on either side (Bill Richardson, who was really qualified but pretty much ignored, was our favorite) I will have to say that if either Romney or Huckabee somehow walks away with the presidency, we are heading for the border.

The first article concerns Governor Mike Huckabee’s son killing a dog, and accusations of an attempted cover up afterwards. Some of the details are a bit sketchy but the incident is apparently true, and the person who alleged the cover up was (at the time) the director of the Arkansas state police… interestingly, not for much longer after the incident. I really disliked Huckabee’s political viewpoints before reading this, and this just reinforced my feeling that this is really someone I don’t want running the country I live in.

I can’t say I really knew much about Mitt Romney before the second story, which involves him driving across country with his dog in a carrier strapped to the roof of his car. This sounds like it came right out of a National Lampoon Vacation movie… is this really the leader we want making decisions that affect the country and the world, where the consequences of a poorly thought out idea are a lot more serious than a load of flying dog crap?