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Internet Issues, Barn Owls & Pool Parties

September 20th, 2021 Comments off

Friday (9/17) we woke up and our internet was down. I don’t know if I wrote about it, but a few months ago after our Comcast contract expired, and they wouldn’t give us another deal, we switched our internet service to T-Mobile. It worked pretty well, although not quite as fast, but for $50 per month (no added taxes or fees), we figured it was worth trying out.

When Joe called T-Mobile they really couldn’t do much to help other than offer to send out a new device, aka trashcan (nicknamed as such by the T-Mobile internet community on Reddit). T-Mobile Trash Can

The problem? They estimated it would be a week. Unacceptable! Joe warned them that he’d be cancelling if it took that long and they called his bluff, so he immediately contacted Comcast and sure enough, we were able to get 200 MBS for $50/month for the next 12 months, so we signed up. We have our own router and modem so it was all done online, although Joe did have to chat with someone for them to do something on the account to get it to actually work, but we were up within a half hour.

A manager at T-Mobile called around that time to say they were expediting the device but Joe explained we were cancelling and not to bother. T-Mobile ended up giving us a $25 credit for our trouble anyway, and I guess they couldn’t stop the shipment because UPS is saying we’re getting something from them today. I guess we’ll have two devices to send back to them now.

If only Comcast had given us a better rate months ago, we would have stayed with them.

I feel like T-Mobile needs to do more work on their device/service before it’s a viable alternative to cable internet. Just like with their failed T-Vision streaming cable service, which they never invested in because the user interface sucked, they are rolling stuff out that is inferior to their competitors and consumers are paying the price in frustration. It could just be a coincidence, or Apple TV being particular, but we could never watch Ted Lasso on Fridays (the night new episodes are released) under T-Mobile because halfway through an episode it would lock up and crash the Roku. We tried it Friday on Comcast and had no such issues. I think it’s still partly Apple, since none of the other streaming services ever give us issues, but it’s also T-Mobile for being too slow as well. Perhaps in a few years it will be different. I hope so, since there are a lot of rural customers who would benefit from 5G internet and we personally do not like giving our money to Comcast.

Saturday (9/18) we decided to check out the local plant nursery’s open house. Not before stopping at White Castle for breakfast, however. I got a sausage slider, but also wanted to try the chicken and waffles slider based on the description on their website:

White Castle - Expectation

Imagine my surprise/disappointment when what I got was this:

White Castle - Reality

So of course I had to go online and air my grievance with them. We’ll see whether they reply back.

White Castle Feedback 20210920 - 2

(I contacted Meijer well over a month ago to complain about the quality of their broccoli and cheese stuffed chicken (the broccoli is really hard/sharp recently) and they never bothered to acknowledge it, so hopefully White Castle is more responsive).

Barn Owl (the nursery) wasn’t too crowded when we first arrived, so we ate our breakfast in the car and then took a look around. They had a whole building of just bird houses and bird food! I ended up getting this cute hummingbird palm feeder.

Hummingbird Palm Feeder

I doubt I’ll get any birds to feed directly from my hand this year, but maybe next year when I’m planning on putting everything up in April. As it stands now, we’re already seeing fewer visitors to the feeder as they start their migration south. *sad*

They had live owls on display which was really cool!

Yesterday (9/19) we decided to check out the community garage sale at the nearby park. They also had a car show and craft fair going on at the same time so we figured there would be a lot to see. Not so much. Joe wasn’t very thrilled with the cars, there were hardly any craft booths, and only a few garage sale booths. With the amount of cars parked in the area you would have thought more was going on than there was. Oktoberfest in a tent further back is going on right now too, but that doesn’t open until noon and we were there just after 10 am. Needless to say, we were back at home by 10:30.

At one of the booths the owner trapped me in an impromptu demonstration of her product and forced me to take a business card. I can appreciate people wanting to sell their creations, but I really think they should ask you first. I didn’t want to be rude by walking away, so it was very uncomfortable, not to mention a waste of her time since I wasn’t interested.

A good thing came of our little excursion, though! On our way back to the car we ran into our friend D who was walking over (she lives a few blocks away from the park) to check things out and she invited us to come over for a swim later. I enthusiastically agreed knowing it was due to be very hot that day and I have been wanting to go swimming one more time before it gets too cold to do so. We went home to do some light cleaning, ran to the store to grab some snacks to bring over, and took a shower. After getting everything packed up and ready to go I went to use the bathroom and BAM, the time of the month said “SUPRISE, I’M HERE!” It couldn’t have waited just a few more hours, right?

We still had fun hanging out with our friend, but I was only able to deep my feet into the pool. She made us some cheeseburgers and we lounged on her awesome patio furniture under a big tent away from the blazing sun. It really made a difference since my weather app said it was 85 and felt like 95 yet we were very comfortable.

We interrupt this entry to display pics of our friend’s two dogs who love getting pets, particularly the all brown one.

Dog 1

Dog 2

D’s ex, a guy we used to all go to Bingo with back when they were dating, hit her up later on since he was also at the nearby park, and she invited him to stop by, so we ended our afternoon chatting with him before taking off around 6 pm so we could walk Wookie before sunset.

Speaking of, she was so unbelievably excited when we go home she was literally vibrating and panting a lot. She’s been fine being left alone for hours but this was perhaps just a bit too long for her liking (5 hours). Usually she’ll sleep when we’re gone which is what she did most of the time since I checked in our her once in awhile via the cameras. About an hour before we came home I noticed her pacing around the house, however.

Hummingbirds

August 14th, 2021 Comments off

I am positively obsessed with the hummingbirds that have decided to visit our patio this year.

Hummingbird

Once our zinnias bloomed they started appearing occasionally. Then yesterday we had multiple visits. At that point I decided it was imperative we get out the old feeder.

But first we needed an ant moat. Amazon had one for $7 but then I thought to check Menards and they only wanted $2.50 so we picked one up this morning. The last time we had the feeder out it was positively covered with ants, inside and out, and I was so grossed out. Hopefully the moat will prevent that from happening. I only put a small amount of food (1/4 cup sugar & 1 cup water) in the feeder since it’s supposed to be changed every other day to prevent mold.

Hummingbird Feeder

It wasn’t even a half hour after I put the feeder out that a bird came to check it out. I was sitting at the patio table eating pancakes when I caught its shadow on the ground. Confused at first, I finally realized it was coming from the feeder. After that a bird was coming by every ten minutes or so. Interestingly enough, none came by when Joe was outside, but appeared almost immediately once he went inside. His chair is closer to the feeder, though, so it might not be personal. Later on I was dead-heading some flowers when one came by even though I was pretty close to the feeder. A couple of times the bird came closer toward me like it was checking me out.

I mistakenly thought we only had a single bird visiting until two came by together!

So of course I had to tell my friend!

Hummingbird Convo

So far I think we’re only getting female visitors, or possibly juveniles, since they are lacking the tell-tale red throat indicative of a male ruby throated hummingbird, the most common species of hummingbird in Illinois.

Categories: Animals, Photos Tags:

RIP Rodman/Pirate

April 14th, 2021 Comments off

Remember this little cutie I fostered back in 2013? I just learned he passed away in July 2015 at the young age of two and a half from an enlarged heart that wasn’t detected on normal vet exams.

Here’s a photo of him full grown:

Pirate (formerly Rodman)

I’m so sad. I loved that little guy. He had the sweetest disposition and smelled so good I would bury my nose in his fur. His new foster mom, who ended up keeping him and his brother, said he was her soulmate. I’m not surprised; he was special. She renamed him Pirate and his brother Cheetah (formerly Pippen).

Categories: Animals, Pets Tags:

Praying Mantis Rescue

August 28th, 2020 Comments off

We rescued a large praying mantis from certain death this morning. He was trapped under the plastic Home Depot has on their outside grills. I spotted him while walking past. Joe pulled up the plastic and got him to crawl on his hand. He wasn’t there long enough for me to get a photo before he flew away into a nearby tree. I’ve never seen one fly before so that was cool.

Interestingly enough, we didn’t end up finding what we came to the store for; I guess the universe just needed us there to help the trapped mantis.

Categories: Animals, Retail Experiences Tags:

Parks & Memorial Day Weekend

May 27th, 2020 Comments off

Saturday (05/23) morning we headed to Northside Park in Wheaton. We arrived early enough (7 am) that there were hardly any people there at all (it can get really crowded on nice days). I brought an actual camera (my Canon P&S) but I have to say, I think my iPhone 11 took better photos.

We spent about an hour walking around the park and made two full loops around. I would have liked to stay a little longer but one section of the loop had a crazy Red-winged Blackbird who kept trying to attack me. When I first spotted the bird, it was just hanging out on some tall grass a few feet away from the trail, but once it spotted us it started hovering above us, much like seagulls do when they’re looking to be fed. In fact, that’s what Joe assumed the bird was doing until it stated squawking and dive-bombing us. It only did it once to Joe but came at me multiple times. I could literally feel its wings on the top of my head which made me scream. I can only assume it was trying to protect a nearby nest.

We didn’t see it at first on our second loop around, and even though we made a point to veer to the far side of the trail away from where it was hanging out, it still tried to attack me. Not Joe, just me! I took that as a sign we should leave. Other than that, however, it was a really nice visit. The air was still cool out, there were plenty of beautiful birds, including barn swallows, out and about, and it was refreshing to get out of the house for something other than grocery pickup.

Saturday evening I was chatting online with my friend K and was showing her how pathetic my town’s parks page is. It doesn’t even render properly on a mobile device, and the only information it provides is the name of the park, address, and a link for directions which goes to Bing. Bing! Are you kidding me?

In contrast, Carol Stream’s parks page lists each park name, and when you click on it you get the address, a map, the park’s history, and a list of amenities. It irks me we pay so much in taxes and our town can’t put together a decent website. I said Carol Stream’s page looks like something Leslie Knope created and my town’s was done by Larry Gingrich. And if you don’t get that reference, you’re dead to me.

I commented on one of my town’s Facebook posts asking if there was somewhere I can go to see more information about their parks and no one bothered to answer. I mean, why would they? It’s no wonder there’s very little engagement from the public on anything they post to social media.

Also, also, a few weeks ago they posted a list of local restaurants in town they encouraged people to visit to help stimulate the local economy. This list was in NO type of order, alphabetical or otherwise, only listed an address but no phone numbers, and couldn’t be searched because it was a jpeg. For the love of god, someone hire me so I can save them from themselves. There’s no doubt there’s some overpaid lazy person responsible for doing the bare minimum. I only say this because I have to deal with the least friendly, slowest worker, every year when I go into the village hall to buy my parking stickers and pet registration. I dread it every time and was pretty excited to learn I could renew them online this year without a few. Too bad they didn’t send me the pet registration notice! On the plus side I was able to correct the errors in their database that I’ve only pointed out in past years for them to ignore. My last name was wrong and they had my car listed as a Cross Truck (its a Crosstrek). SMH

Sunday (05/24) we headed out early (7 am) once again, but this time to Armstrong Park in Carol Stream. This park isn’t quite as picturesque as Northside Park, but it does have a few ponds where different birds congregate, including a special island where a colony of purple martins live. The park was relatively empty so we could walk around the loop (only once, as it’s quite large) without worrying about getting too close to other people.

Monday (05/25) we woke up to rain so there weren’t any outings in store for us. Later in the day we grilled some ribs we grabbed at Costco the week prior and were thoroughly disappointed.

We’ve had and loved them in the past, and from my quick research they are exactly the same ones they’ve always sold, so I can’t understand why they sucked so much. They weren’t nearly as flavorful, or as tender, as they were before. Needless to say we won’t be getting them again. What sucks is they were only sold in 2-slab packs so there’s more in the freezer that I have no desire to make now. Maybe they’d come out better in the crockpot? I honestly don’t know.

Categories: Animals, Holidays, Neighborhood Tags: