… by WordPress eating the last third of this morning’s blog, I thought I’d quickly check back in for a little catching up.
It’s definitely looking more and more like batten-down-the-hatches time for tomorrow. Aside from winds gusting into the 70s and 80s, it’s wet, wet, wet and about to get wetter. This afternoon I took a drive outside of town and at high tide (we’re heavy on salt marsh and tidal estuary hereabouts) the water was already only inches from rising over the roadway. By tomorrow’s high tides, things could get messy.
The windows of my house overlook a wetland that in winter usually has small channels of water running through it. It’s a solid lake now, broken only by a few grassy hummocks. Another inch or two of rain will make it a solid river.
Yeah, definitely battening time. It feels great to know I’ve got heat, food, light, and water on hand. As long as the trees and the hill behind the house stay put, what more could a body need?
I was nearly done with this morning’s maundering when WordPress gobbled it, anyhow. So I’ll let that go for a while.
And on the subject of Amazon links, because Karen and Ellendra asked, I tried to find that bounty program I thought I’d seen for those of you who sign up for that flat-rate $10/month plan for Kindle books. But either I imagined it or it’s gone now. So for heaven’s sake, if you’re thinking of signing up for that, just do it. It’s great of you to think of me, but it’s not a biggie.
However, if anybody downloads the free Kindle Cloud Reader (for non-Kindle devices) using this link, it’s a $1 bounty credited to my associates account.
If you give Amazon Prime as a gift this Christmas using this link I’ll receive a $10 bounty. (This is strictly for gift purchases, not your own Prime memberships.)
Sign up for your own 30-day free trial of Prime membership using this link and I’ll receive a $3 bounty even if you cancel.
Now, if all you need from Amazon is a little holiday fantasy and humor, check out the links Dana dropped into comments the other day. Don’t miss the hilarious product reviews.
On a more practical note, if you’re still looking for the perfect gift for the freedomista-survivalist-gun-owning-pet-loving-bacon-consuming-book-reading person on your list, last year’s seven-part gift series might offer inspiration. (The link goes to part VII; scroll down for links to earlier installments. Probably a few broken links by now, but you’ll find what you’re looking for.)
I’ve already had a couple of readers ask what I’d like for Christmas. And my answer is: You already gave me fabulous presents.
Last summer’s roof-raiser was all I could ask for — and more. You bestowed such bounty on me that I’m still struggling to feel worthy.
Been a weird year. One thing after another went wrong, but no sooner had it gone than somebody would pop up with a helping hand. It’s been really amazing.
So no. I don’t need anything for Christmas. I had Christmas already.
If you’re in a giving mood may I suggest again this year that you send a little something to Joel over at TUAK. His eyeballs are working again now, thanks to last year’s generosity. But he’s got that broken-down Jeep and … well, he just works his tail off and never has much. So think of Joel, not me.
Or drop a few coins into the tip jar over at Rational Review. Or at Carl-Bear’s blog. Or another favorite freedom site. Oh. The Zelman Partisans has a donation button, too (and may soon be offering a few special gun-related deals to contributors). Right now, no TZP people are paid, but someday we’d like to see all the writers — and what a fine bunch they are — getting a little something.
That said, however, you can help rescue my Amazon links if you’re shopping online.
Suddenly, my Amazon commissions have cratered. Seriously. Cratered. Collapsed. Imploded. Fallen into a black hole. I’m in shock.
I assume my hermitting (even though it’s turned out to be only quasi-pseudo hermitting) triggered the downfall. OTOH, maybe the economy’s collapsed and the rest of the world doesn’t know it yet. Or you’re all on the outs with your relatives and not buying them anything for Christmas this year. Or you’ve all taken a no-spending pledge. (I can sympathize with that.)
In any case, we’re not just talking “a little bit off.” We’re talking bottomless pit.
November is usually very strong. This time it scraped bottom, coming in well below a typical month. December is always a barn-burner — generally bringing in three to four times the commissions of an average month. I’ve never seen it fail. Now? Sales are below average, and I don’t mean “below average for December.” I mean … 75 to 80 percent off a normal December.
So no, I don’t want gifts (though thank you very much). But IF you’re buying at Amazon anyhow, please use those links.
P.S. Before I could protest, one Santa already dropped a very welcome present down the chimney. While I was grousing in the cold, a big, beautiful kerosene heater arrived. That thing is capable of warming the whole house! Like my smaller, less powerful, Buddy-type propane heaters, it’ll be used only for emergencies. But it sure did warm my heart.
Thank you (once again), Family A. I know you just went through a long, stormy power outage and are very aware of how useful a powerful heater like that one can be.
With the gas fireplace now officially kaput (and with queries sent to the manufacturer and the propane company), I’m huddled in an alcove between two space heaters, drinking hot coffee and eating warm comfort food.
It’s funny. Fifty-nine degrees feels perfectly decent outdoors. And considering how humans have lived for most of their history (and how some, like Joel, still live), 59 indoors is a relative luxury. Heck, electricity is a luxury. Nevertheless, I’m exercising my prerogative of feeling like a Dickens character. In the snow. Barefoot. Tubercular. Selling matches. (Or was that Hans Christian Andersen? I forget.)
Another thing the Little Match Girl didn’t have was a DVD player. And I admit its among my very favorite escapes from the cold. And from myself when the hermitting bit gets too intense.
I won’t go into detail about how my PayPal account became overdrawn.* It was a mistake (not mine). The mistake-maker assured me the problem was resolved days ago. PayPal being PayPal, though, what’s “resolved” on one end may not be on the other. So there’s a $50 negative balance and nobody will fix it. That means I can’t use my account.
No problem. Hey, I’ll just add money. There’s a handy-dandy button for that. But suddenly, for me, the button yields only a variety of bizarre messages (“talk to the person responsible for setting permissions on your account”) that leave PayPal customer service reps as baffled as I am.
This became a four-hour customer service nightmare this lovely Sunday morning. I won’t go into detail about that, either.** Except to say that PayPal’s customer service makes the famously bad Comcast service look like a concierge operation at a fawncy hotel by comparison. And except to say that one rep told me (humiliatingly) that I’d have to deal with their collections department. Then he cheerfully transferred me to collections — without mentioning that they’re closed today.
And of course, PayPal being PayPal, they can’t be bothered with an automated “we’re closed today” message. So there went yet another half hour of my life, listening to endlessly repeated mini-lectures from a voice that sounded increasingly smug by the moment, until — for the second time today — I hung up without managing to speak to the human in some other department who was supposed to help.
Not only that, but the fifth PayPal rep I talked to — who I’d already told that story to — also tried to transfer me to collections.
I know Peter Thiel hasn’t run PayPal in more than a decade. But its service was hair-tearingly deplorable a decade ago, too. Hard to believe that a man the media lauds as a great libertarian created something that operates so much like the freakin’ DMV. Or the IRS.
If you ever need a reminder of how little you really matter to institutions, corporate or governor, just call up PayPal and ask them something really, really simple.
Oh, and the problem never did get resolved. You didn’t really think it would, didja? I get to call collections tomorrow and present myself as a deadbeat making amends.
Not only is it a place of some lively blogitude and comment. Not only have we had 4,000-some visitors in the 10 days since the Lovely Nicki put up a counter. Not only has social-media maven Nicki gotten us somewhere in the vicinity of 1,100 Twitter followers in a matter of days. But we’ve gotten our first interview request (which Sheila will handle), a couple of requests to join, our very first donation (a monthly commitment, yet!), and demands for logoed tee-shirts, fridge magnets, etc.
Whew! Workin’ on it, workin’ on it!
For a bunch of volunteers who are putting this thing together in their scarce spare time, this is awesome.
But then, so are the volunteers. And so are the hardcore rights advocates who won’t settle for compromise.
* In case you’re wondering, all those wonderful donations got moved out of PayPal almost as soon as they came in, thanks to PayPal’s other notorious habit of arbitrarily freezing accounts just when they have nice sums of money in them. PayPal: can’t live with ‘em, can’t live without ‘em. Someday — soon — they’ll lose their de facto monopoly, and on that day they’ll rue the fact that they treated their customers like crap all these years.
**Yeah, you’ve had experiences exactly like this, right? You don’t need to be told anything.
I’m grateful to have a solid roof over my head (and Ava, Robbie, and Kitsu the cat would say the same if they could speak) as the rain pours down all week and the season’s first high-wind warnings go up.
This sense of security I owe to you.
I owe C-B, S.H., M.K., L.P., and especially Anonymous and the Mysterious Rockefeller for the latest round of help, which repaired the section of roof that collapsed while the rest of the roof was being refurbished. I also owe many of you, especially Paul Bonneau, for construction advice.
Or so the envelope said. The return address (I looked it up) was the HQ of the Council on Foreign Relations.
My correspondent has a sense of humor.
Based on what was in the envelope, my correspondent can call him or herself Rockefeller, Gates, Buffett, Rothschild, Medici, Windsor or anything else great heart desires. It would fit!
In their own world, they must have Rockefeller-level pull. They somehow talked their local post office into sending the priority envelope without either a postmark or the required tracking sticker. (Hilariously, this put my postmaster into a high huff. She was ready to write a nastygram to the postmaster of “New York 10065,” informing them that they’d broken the law!)
So, with no means to identify Mr. or Ms Rockefeller, or even have a clue as to where in this vast land their secret Lair of Largess might be, I can only say an inadequate wow. An inadequate doublewow. And an inadequate thank you.
Up goes that last remaining, recalcitrant section of roof. And off my heart and shoulders comes that rather heavy burden.
Gads, it was 80 degrees yesterday. Eighty in October in the Great NorthWET. There are entire summers when we don’t see 80. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it this warm this late in this corner of the world.
Supposed to be “only” in the 70s for the rest of this week. Oh, poor us.
With construction catastrophes keeping the house in chaos, I’ve been trying to de-clutter to help deal with the fact that every time I organize stuff in one area, it immediately has to be moved back out because … oh, the roof falls in or somesuch.
So I’m whipping myself into a crusade to de-stuff.
As confessions go, it’s a boring one, so don’t get excited. I’m not about to admit that I’m secretly an ATF agent or that I do strange things with lace-clad armadillos. But there’s definitely something I haven’t been telling you.
It’s about the very mundane (albeit often hair-raising) matter of home improvement.
Opportunities for monkeywrenching have sadly diminished in this age of omni-surveillance and can’t-take-a-joke fearmongering. But all is not lost!
John Richardson over at No Lawyers — Only Guns and Money, had an irresistible monkeywrench land right in his email box. And you, too, can take advantage of it without risk. (Until the antis figure out what’s happening, anyhow.)
UPDATE — Looks like the monkeywrench was working well enough that they caught on. Per Mark in comments: “The link leads to a page that says you must contribute at least $25 to get the book, so no more monkeywrench.” And no more “we know some people won’t contribute enough to cover the cost, but that’s okay …”