And the clean-up begins…

29 04 2008

So I finally have a moment to rest where I can catch up on my blog. It’s been an interesting weekend.

Now that tax season is all over, it’s time to begin spring cleaning, inside and out. I can’t stand a dirty house, and it certainly needed dusting. So, the weekend before last, I cleaned the inside really well. I mean, lifting up the chairs to dust under them and all the A-V equipment well. Hardly a speck of dust in sight. If it were my choice – I’d get rid of the carpet….

So this past weekend, it was the same, only outside. The roof badly needed blowing off, so that was the first project. And in the meantime, I managed to get a pretty nice sunburn in the process. Even with sunscreen. LOL. Maybe I’ll finally be one of those beautiful Floridians that you see in the travel brochures – you know the ones… They have those beautiful tans and not a hint of a burn. Yeah. Right. I’ll be sure to keep dreaming….

So next came mowing the lawn, edging the lawn and blowing off the driveway, which was under about a foot of leaves and pollen crap from the oak trees.

Commercial: I LOVE ZYRTEC!!!!! But – even with 4 Zyrtec in me, my sinuses were still screaming at me, and my eyes were watering. But I managed to get the job done and move on to something a little less tiring. Pulling algae and weeds out of the lake….
Hmmmf. Easy? Not even close! Even with an extra wide rake, it still took me 2 days to make any sort of progress. But – again, it has to be done. But why? You ask. Because it’s one of those beautiful joys of home ownership. And yet another joy of living/owning a lake to maintain. But the beauty of it far outweighs the upkeep.

Lakes, ponds, etc. have very unique ecosystems. I found mine to particularly interesting. I have known for several years now about the enormous bass that live in the lake, as well as the minnows and other bait fish, the many turtles and the scads of frogs and toads. (I have counted about 20 species so far…) Well. I found a new creature living in my lake. Crawfish. Yep, those wonderful crusteceans that are the base of Spanish Paella. Apparently, we have quite a few living in the lake.

But something more serious is happening to the lake. There are 3 of us that own the lake, and 2-3 others that get to enjoy the view without the upkeep responsibilities. The problem lies in the fact that those 2-3 people like to fertilize their lawns with some pretty nasty chemicals, and those chemicals eventually run off into the water, and help promote the algae that grows on the surface. (Those of us who actually own the lake know better….) Not good. So every few months, myself and several others are out there scraping it off and pulling excess weeds. The other downside of this simple project? Knowing how much to pull. This lake is rated one of the best in the quad-county area. There are schools of fish that come to breed, and then leave through a series of tunnels out of the lake. These tunnels also bring otters, which come to feast on the plentiful fish.

During the spring season, it tends to get a little crowded on the lakefront, as the egrets and herons fight the osprey for food, the frogs and toads begin their annual mating rituals, and the fish and dragonfly population explode. What a wonder of nature! There’s not a greater sound than living in the city and being able to sit on the back porch and listen to everyone talking at once! Sometimes it does keep me up nights, but I don’t mind. I’ll gladly trade a few hours of sleep to be able to provide such a sanctuary to nature.

So, today’s useless, but helpful fact. Find a pond or lake in your neighborhood and see what you can do to clean it up. Pull trash, skim the surface of algae, maybe even plant a few plants (non-invasive) and see what happens! Little by little you can make it your own “Sanctuary”.


And Finally….

23 04 2008

Now that tax season is over, I’m finally beginning to catch up on my rest….  Sort of.  Now it’s finish the returns that had to go extension, plus run a household, and try to finish many of my personal projects.  What sort of projects?  Oh, something like this:

* Model project – photographing local models, allowing them to add photos to their portfolio and mine

* Yard clean up – ummm.  self explanatory….

* Stock photography project – adding more photos to my stock photography collection for sale online…

* VACATION!!!  I seriously need one…  First, the cruise to the Caribbean, then off to Arizona in July.

* Design portfolio – I’m creating letterhead/logos, etc. for my portfolio.  I’ve been doing graphic design for 10 years now, but most of my portfolio I cannot display due to contracts I had to sign.  What can I say?  I was young and stupid…

* Projects with the kids.  Loads of things there.  I’m going to take them camping again sometime this summer, this time for a longer trip (than overnight), and we’re going to do it on bikes.  Nothing too fancy, maybe just two nights, close to home.  But it’ll be a fun project.

* Origami projects – both of the kids are seriously into origami right now, so we’ll take some time to practice

And some other wonderful projects that I’m sure will pop up here and there.  And of course there’s always the never-ending editing of photos and the corresponding displays…

So off I go, to conquer and have fun!!!


15 04 2008

It’s 11:23 my time, and we have officially crossed the finish line. That means that the last trip to the post office has been made, the final tax returns are gone, and I can finally start on my steak dinner. Yep. You heard me right. I have a fabulous T-bone steak that I’ve been marinating for two days. I cannot wait to throw that sucker on the grill, right next to the twice baked potato, that will be grilled/cooked for a third time.
So I guess that makes it a thrice graked potato? Three times, twice baked, once grilled? I don’t know…. Maybe it HAS been too long a day….

So besides that, I bet I have a couple of you wondering… I thought the Brainiac was a Graphic Designer. Well, I am. But my best friend and his wife are accountants, specifically in the area of Income/Corporate Tax returns, and I somehow manage to get roped in to helping them do taxes every year.

Just kidding. Well, about the roping part. I do it because they’re my best friends and because they’ve done so much for me in the past. It’s the least I can do. Besides, it’s been a wonderful experience and education. If I ever decide to leave the graphic arts area, I know what my second career will be. Apparently, I’m really good with the numbers and the research it sometimes takes.

For example, there happens to be a very obscured tax law that was originally piggy-back on a 1971 oil bill that passed through Congress. Now how many people do you know that would actually know that? And I thought I was the one with all the useless information…. Let em see how H&R Blockhead would handle that….

Speaking of H&R Blockhead…. I had someone come up to me asking a “quick” tax question, since they heard I do tax prep work. (Folks, there’s no such thing as a “quick” tax question….) She was asking me if the IRS was still allowing a sales tax deduction like they did 20 years ago. She had apparently gone to these wonderful people and had her taxes done, only to find out through a friend that he had deducted the sales tax on his car, his new windows, etc…. H&R Blockhead didn’t even know about the deduction on the Schedule A!

Okay, enough about that. My steak is almost done (I was grilling while writing this), and I’m going to go eat. More tax time blunders and stories later this week! 🙂 If you happen to have a question, or a story, let me know! I’ll be happy to commiserate with you!

Counting down….

15 04 2008

Okay everyone!  The countdown begins!  10 hours and 15 minutes – according to my watch!  If you haven’t already done your Income Tax return, either get it done or file an extension!  No excuses now!

If anyone’s looking for me…..  I’ll be fighting the deadline…..

Funny signs

13 04 2008

One of my friends love to send me funny pictures of various sayings on church marquees, so I thought, in honor of him, I’d post a funny one myself.  What’s funny is that he’s a used car salesman….

So, am I to assume that they’ll hire either a “NEW” or “USED” salesman?  Maybe I could trade my friend in…. He’s been pretty used….


7 04 2008

Okay, so I was going to write a post today about how bored I am with all there is to do around the house and how I’m getting spring fever and the need to get out of town for a day or two, but then I came across something interesting.

Hot chocolate.  Yep, even when it’s hot, I love it….  I came home today after a client meeting (that went waaay too long in my opinion), thinking about how bored I am with all there is to do around the house, and how I just want to get out and take some pictures, and then I saw my tea mug.  Hmmmm.  Hot chocolate sounded really good about then.

So here I am, writing useless tidbits about hot chocolate.  Exciting day, don’t you think?  🙂