Monday, May 23, 2016

Uh, there's a window well...

So the tree guy I had called to come trim our shrubbery was hard at work.
The saw was buzzing and the branches were flying.
It was already looking better outside my office window.
The bushes had been growing out of control since their haircut from a couple of years earlier.
The interior ones had shot up and the whole area was pretty wild looking.
I had called the trimmers back.
"Just do what you did the last time and make it all look better," I suggested before I retreated indoors.
"Watch out for quail nests, though."
They were busy for a while.
I heard a couple of shouts when they surprised some wasps in a nest deep inside and noticed the one guy standing deep inside the greenery. But I didn't think a lot about it.
When I came out with my checkbook to survey the results, he started explaining why he was in the middle of the bushes.
"I wanted to try and lift the branches so they would fill in the hole there," he said, pointing to where he'd been.
"There's one over there too," he said, gesturing to the other side.
I looked at where he was looking.
Yes, there is kind of a hole in the center on both sides, right where the window wells are.
"Uh, there are window wells there," I said. "Maybe I should have mentioned that."
The guy looked at me.
"Really? That would have been a surprise," he said somewhat dourly. "That would explain a lot."
I wonder if you can be sued for damage to a hedge-trimmer who isn't informed about a window well?

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Busting his chops

Say cheese!
We busted a few myths when we were in Washington D.C.
Like, the Cherry Blossom Festival lasts for the first two weeks in April. (By the time we were there on April 8, there was one tree with blossoms still hanging on to it.)
And the weather's pretty nice. (It was super rainy the whole time.)
But most importantly, we discovered that Washington's teeth were not wooden.
In fact, he had teeth made of a number of things, none of them wood.
He had some human teeth replacements, some of ivory, some donkey, some horse and some hippopotamus teeth, held together by gold springs.
He had one set made of teeth from some of his Mt. Vernon slaves. (Yes, Washington owned slaves, mostly inherited from his wife but he did own slaves even while he was lobbying against the practice of slavery.)
He spent a good deal of his time hunting for good dentures and was pretty miserable most of his days.
That's why he doesn't smile in any of his photographs and/or paintings.
If you notice, he isn't smiling on the one dollar bill.
He holds his mouth in a tight line.
The poor man was in a fair amount of pain. He lost his first adult tooth when he was 22 and had just one of his original teeth left by the time he became the nation's first president.
In one of the Smithsonian museums, there's a whole exhibit dedicated just to Washington's dental troubles.
I think it's admirable that he was able to conduct himself with dignity every day. Nothing wears you down like mouth pain.
I have increased admiration for the man.
I had no idea and by the way, we never found the cherry tree he chopped down, either.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Read the fine print

Riding high
We were quite proud of ourselves for discovering and using the BikeShare program in Washington D.C.
We learned to register for the shiny red bikes, unhook them from their stations and ride them all over the National Mall.
We marveled at how handy they were and how much easier it was to see the monuments and memorials from bikeside. We zoomed all around.
We were careful to watch our time and return the bikes both days before our 24-hour period was up, sometimes hurrying to make it but always there in time (or so we thought).
So when we got back from our vacation and looked at the bills we were curious about a $60 charge from BikeShare that we didn't feel could be right.
We knew we'd be charged $16 to register each bike and then we understood there would be a $2 hourly charge for seat time.
We figured we rode both bikes a total of maybe 10-12 hours.
We were conservative and it rained a lot so we didn't ride them everyday all day long.
I called up the BikeShare lady to complain, thinking someone had taken a bike we hadn't locked up properly or someone had picked up a ticket on the ground and used it in our names.
I was prepared to be righteously indignant.
The BikeShare lady wasn't very interested in my case.
"You had a lot of overages on your bikes," she said with a sigh. "You were supposed to return them to the stations every 30 minutes. Anything else I can help you with?"
What? That would be crazy. You would barely be able to get from one place to another before it would be time to lock them back up.
I sputtered.
I told her no one told us that.
"It's all there in the contract" she said, unimpressed. "You should have read that part."
I got the feeling she heard this all of the time.
And now it's weeks after the fact. I'm in Utah. She's in Washington D.C. She has our money and the bikes.
I have no recourse except to get mad and warn others in this blog.
So that's what I'm doing here.
Bikers beware...