Friday, August 12, 2016

Box Elder Bug Blues

George Bernard Shaw once quipped "
A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul"

I would like to change this slightly.  If you rob Peter to pay Paul, Paul is quite happy but Peter is mad, and visa versa if you don't do it, Paul is angry but Peter is happy, in other words, no matter what you do, people are unhappy, because people are inherently unhappy and there is nothing you can do about it.  I have long ago understood that I leave a long line of unhappy people in my wake and therefore you all are just going to have to deal with it.

So if you have been waiting for an update from me, you are just going to have to be deal with it.  I was busy...

An update from Lake ..Wob...well in my case The news from Enemy Swim Lake...

In local news the long time CEO of the regions largest industry was recently fired by his father about in law issues, that is tough one to bounce back from.....At Bill's pretty good grocery...they had a special on plums, the first of the season....   The usual hot and dry August has been replaced by torrents of rain, intermittent flooding, and well 100 degrees.  My wife's niece and friends came by to visit and well, they took out the powerboat and took out the prop, now the third prop repair job since I've driven the boat.  Then they took out the jet ski and submerged it, luckily I only own 2 watercraft, nothing else to break, as after 420 bucks of repairs, one begins to about this and then I remember a bed we broke visiting friends and no, sex was NOT involved...sigh, I wasn't even there when the stuff got broken. Well, that is that, I guess.   It looks like there is going to be a big crop of box elder bugs...The local price of sweet corn is up to $4 a bushell if you can still get it, but tomatoes are dropping. It has been an amusement to watch the helicopter laying electric cable on the new powerline east of town and west of town the mysterious 6 foot pipeline laying continues.  No one knows what that is for. There was a false alarm at the firehall when Bo Schenckles accidentally leaned on the alarm, and at The Real Safe Insurance Company building an announcement went out to warn the people to be careful of the mowers as well with all the rain, they will be still mowing the grass.  Football has started although with the heat everyone on the Maroon and Gold looks lethargic and the coach assures everyone that everyone will be fit for the big game with the arch enemy Sisseton, who it is reported has developed a secret trick play so secret that they are afraid to even tell their own players about it.  .  
It was such a slow news weekend that I got to be the front page of the regional newspaper, but again I wrote the story and well, that is my job

In my news....
I did fly off last weekend to Hatteras for 2 days of pelagics although the second day was cancelled.  I saw and photographed

Band rumped storm-petrels

South Polar skua

Audubon's shearwaters

all first of year photographs for the year, we saw 7 species although no new year birds, my daughter which was going with, cancelled  as my sister who is 8 mos pregnant, needed to finish her teacher certification studies before the baby comes and needed someone to watch her 3 year old so Lena decided family was more important than birding, oddly all 7 species, she needed.....
As I said, they cancelled the second day due to weather and so, if I would have came a week earlier I would have tallied 2 birds and then went this weekend to the west coast, would have gotten 1.  It is odd how things just don't work out for me.  Surprising I've gotten what I have gotten.

With nothing else to do, Silja and I stopped by the swamp, got a few chiggers and spotted a prothonotory  warbler and looked for red-cockaded woodpeckers for something to do.

The warblers were everywhere

The woodpeckers were out and about but all I got on camera this time was an odd artificial nest hole for them.

The yellow flies or as we call them deer flies were present but you could deal with them, the heat almost killed my poor wife. I like birded the Carolina and it was fun.
We arrived early to Sanford NC to visit my wife's cousin Tim, now retired from Ft Bragg and the US Army.  Tim is fighting a bad back from too many parachute jumps but I appreciate his service for us and hope it improves.  It was a nice visit and they live in a nice part of NC.

On the flight home a facebook picture of the duct tape on the plane engine went viral

I guess it was something called 350 mph tape but still, it made me a little weary of flying, more on that later

This week was a big week, (well big for Peter (life), I didn't rob it to pay Paul (birding) ) It was a big week for me and it wasn't because the in-laws came to visit.  This is the birding blues period, the doldrums and nothing of note is or has been around to chase and I needed to do some things, like....taxes for one.

This was the week I usually chase big pike in Ontario, but alas I gave up my spot and my 4 year run as the biggest pike champion, cry cry

 This 2014 pike was the biggest on the lake for the decade.  Biggest since my 1997 brute, and three pounds bigger than my 2013 monster.  Oh what I gave up for birding.  I live for wrestling with the big ugly green slimy things. Nothing beats the smell of pike in the morning or a boat with more of your blood in the bottom of the boat than that from fish....I could be there... and I do bird when I fish though, but alas, I'm committed to this whole thing.

Well, like I said I also had to finish taxes, with no time to do it later, and I also still had a couple of company returns.  I also had to lay out my mother's book on the sheriffs of Burnett County Wisconsin, she is such the historian.  One can't forsake everything, you know this is just something kind of silly I'm doing.  I also had to come home to sell a business.....yea, I am no longer storage king of the region....sorry about that.  Two business sales in less than a year, not bragging, just is.

This was one really odd deal, and thank you big year, you actually made me money..but in an odd way.

The fact that I built up a storage company is sort of an odd deal and luck in the first place.  It was the depths of the hell they called the great recession.  I needed office space and so there was one with storage attached and well, it was like eating can't just stop at one.. So, I (or the company I manage) bought one in bankruptcy, then another, them I built one, then two, acquired another company, and begged a U-Haul franchise for one, and had big plans, but then I had employment issues...zoning issues, and a unrecord easement in a deed of a property I was negotiating from a bank... and it stalled a bit, and well I think I wised up... in what I had basically started as a joke with no hope to grow it when I spun off our office buildings into a separate company with a lease back, and then stumbled into real estate in a big way but well that was I'm 50 and tired of the rat race

Back in April I got contacted from a guy wishing to purchase the storage division.  This had happened before, they didn't know how much I had.  There is a savings by getting bigger, and I had just sold the office division as we decided we needed an open space design (oddly they are now making offices to get rid of the open office design)....only 18 mos later....?  Anyhow, I was open to selling as well, I had been selling stuff, so he asked me if it was for sale, I said "anything is for sale, except dog and family and one painting I own"  and I gave him a price I wouldn't refuse. Then I went birding.

He countered but I was still birding so I never got the call or message, then thinking I ignored it, he went higher on offer, now birding in Texas I flew all day west, still no message, and no internet for 3 days as cut my power cord in a door....well then I had to get back east....where he was thinking I think, that I wasn't negotiating thinking I didn't like the counter, eventually he just paid my asking price when I just didn't have cell service for a week, and I would have possibly taken less, but alas, the big year paid for itself in what I spent or will spend by me playing the "no reply" method of negotiating which wasn't my intent, but I got extra for selling it so some things are good.  Oddly he is doing what I wanted to do, and is merging two companies and creating a better monopoly, but well, he is hungrier than I.

I closed on Wednesday, I then, had to go and say good bye to my property.  Here is e of the building I designed and built in Madison Minnesota in 2014,  it feels like an old friend, now gone, tear tear, I had to make my rounds to say goodbye

I am a good buyer but a very poor seller, usually beset by guilt, should I have gotten more?  Did I screw up?  I get anxious selling anything, DO I HAVE THE START OF A HOARDING PROBLEM?  Please intervene if I start taking home dozens of cats or something

IDK, I still feel odd, but I have sold 19 buildings now in 17 months and well, I don't really want to manage property into my 5th decade, no one is happy and dealing with renters is not my Idea of fun, something is always wrong, the checks bounce.  The unit behind the sign above...., we got a search warrant in the spring and it was filled with meth house equipment as he was moving locations, BUT he had paid his rent.....let me say it here, the abandoned units.....we rarely even get enough stuff to pay off the dump fees, let alone the effort to get it there.

so I guess...good riddance...IDK, what to do what to do...too late now I guess
I did it

Madison Minnesota BTW has a great mascot, it is Louie The Lutefisk as it is the Lutefisk capital of the free world and I took a picture of it but it will not be accepted to myself on email from my phone so well...I'll spare you Louie

I did chase a bird while I was down there...45 miles from Madison is my favorite Chinese spot...
my favorite festival in Minneota
 a town I worked in one day and got to even watch the bug races!  I could photograph this sign.
and receive it BTW
..and farther south, in the Lyon County dump...a black-headed gull was spotted, a lower 48 lifer for me, and a lower 48 and USA year bird........good was 101 degrees on the road and the bird was too flighty for a photo after I sorted it out from the Franklin's but it was a continuing bird and well, I had to get back for the second half of my 60 hours of tax work.  It is very light for a Black-headed gull, winter plumage already, all white gull with black wing tips, bright red bill and a small black spot behind the eye, can't really be anything else.

Okay, the 12th came today and I finished up an Oklahoma tax return at 11pm last night and started to pack, then I was notified that Delta had delayed my 5am departure from Sioux falls until 645.  I'm flying Delta because I am not doing Monterrey and so San Jose I can use my new Platinum status to be somebody so I will actually get there....right?
and Sioux Falls for if I have to leave a car at the airport for a month, I'll save 900 bucks
We slept a little longer and took off, then at 0509 when I walked to the counter, just as I got notified that my delayed plane status was new time, it just left at 0507,..................I had missed it.  REALLY?  Is that the best you can do Delta?

Damn airlines.....why notify me of the change after it leaves when you had notified me of it earlier that it was it wasn't even delayed, it took off early...I was told that those are estimates, and one shouldn't come late even, so then why do they send it out?

So I used my status to rebook, as everyone else in line came in to learn the same things....only people to make plane were those non frequent fliers who don't have the Delta elites...we ended up screwed. The woman helping me on the phone told me she would expedite my upgrade which I learned later, never happened, she was just being nice to get me off the phone.

So now I'm flying to San Fran and my 8am plane is now delayed the same 1 hour and 51 minutes, hum, just enough so if I run, I maybe can make connection in Minneapolis...does this sound familiar?  This is deja vu all over again to the Bay area, maybe I'm just not meant to ever go out daughter is just smiling and well there is nothing I can do about it.  She is a great kid.  I moved my car rental and found out the difference in price is 370 bucks (more), so then I cancelled and rebooked cars online and saved money, amazing again......I just couldn't use my gold status with Hertz on the phone, they tried to screw with me...Hard to fathom again, first is last and the last....first IDK, why screw with your best customers?

so if I ever make it anywhere, I'm back on the road for birds...taxes and property sales done, oh what a relief that is.  

here is an update on my stuff, no new birds

Big Year Total:  752
Coded Birds:  81
provisionals: 1

Miles driven.  35,102
Flight Miles 132, 200
speeding tickets: 1
flight segments: 134   Different Airports: 46
(is the flight over Monterrey a segment or two or none?)
Hours at sea: 201
Miles walked 278
showshoes 4 (isn't going to be any more)
Miles biked 12
states/ prov. birded: 35
Lifers seen this year:  61
nights slept in car:  12
slept in airplane:  5

Oh well, I HAVE figured out what happiness is this year and I think I'm happy.  I have maybe even figured out 2017.  I'm taking up race walking, going to Jackson MS in January to learn correct technique.  I need to get in shape, stay in shape.  My old punter knees won't take running.  I have also started to enjoy my retirement as the week alone with accounting has made me reflect as to how great I really have it....and I guess, I have a lot less things in my backpack to weigh me longer will I get a nasty call from the weed commissioner in some small town that I have noxious weeds growing in my storage properties as they aren't mine (well not owned by the company I was managing partner for any more).

Well, I continue with the Box Elder Bug Blues....I need to check on my plane, maybe it left without us?
That would be my luck.... damn airlines, they make a living out of robbing Peter to pay Paul


  1. Delta did give me enough miles to pay for trip to anchorage next week so all is not totally lost. I guess that is more than American offered

  2. Delta has been having big computer system problems, so they are scrambling. At least they seem aware that there is some customer impact.
    Good on your daughter, taking care of family beats adding to a list every time.

    1. yea, she likes her little cousin Lily and is a good kid, a credit to her mother, not me, thankfully, Guess I'm not the worst father, though....she still likes to hang out with me

  3. You should try biking! Better for your joints than either running or walking!

    1. Yea. Got good bike but sometimes agrivates hips. Too much kicking in my youth. But will think about that. Can't bike where I live for 6 mos I hate stationary biking. Feels like hell. All the peddling going nowhere

  4. What you want is a better stationary bike equipped with a virtual reality helmet.
    There was a writeup of such a setup which the owner was using to virtually pedal across the US. He is using the Google Earth data to feed the VR.
    I don't know whether his setup included appropriate physical cues for uphill and downhill, but that is not a big stretch to add. Injecting suitable bird identification challenges should also be readily feasible...

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