New opt-out contact for Market Value Place – croyer@chicoer.com

Last night the Chico Sustainability Task Force unveiled their 2018 work plan – again I was disappointed but not surprised to see they left off “get rid of Market Value Place”.

Most of you know, because I’m guessing you have come here looking for opt-out information, that MVP is a weekly ad-rag made to look like a newspaper, stuffed with slick ads. It used to be shoved into mailboxes all over town every Wednesday, but I think the publisher – Chico Enterprise Record – found out they were afoul of postal law. 

When I researched the subject of junk mail, I found out mail advertisers are supposed to include their return address or phone number for people to opt out of the mailing. Market Value Place has never done that – instead, they list a number for advertisers to place their ads. When I called that number years ago, I got the Chico Enterprise Record.  The woman who answered hung up on me when I asked for opt-out information, so I started e-mailing Editor David Little. Long story short, Little assigned a staffer to the opt-out position. 

But, he still refuses to put the opt-out information directly on the mailer. Want to know why? Because he promises his advertisers “total market saturation.” That means, they send this pile of tree pulp to everybody who does not subscribe to the paper.  That way, their advertisers are supposed to be reaching everybody in town. What a joke – do these advertisers realize how many of these rags go straight to the trash can without even being unfolded? What would they think if they knew their victims could “OPT OUT”?

So now, they don’t mail it. I have to wonder if that’s because of the law. Now we see them at the end of driveways every Wednesday, wrapped in a plastic bag.  Some of my neighbors never pick them up, they sit and turn to pulp as cars run over them again and again. 

So it does not surprise me how much people hate this rag. A few people have told me it fills their mailbox so that no other mail will fit. One reader reported he went on vacation for a couple of weeks and came home to a mailbox filled with MVP and a notice saying he would have to pick up his other mail at the post office. 

So I try to keep the opt-out information updated, because I get searches for it every week without fail. Still, people land at old posts and get the old information – I just got a note from a nice man yesterday, informing me that Jenny Jurdana is no long the “go to” girl for opt-out – email Clint Royer at  croyer@chicoer.com   

Be polite, all you have to ask is, “please take me off the list for Market Value Place, I no longer wish to receive it at (your address)”

And thank you for doing that – people have to stand up when something isn’t right. Read this:

http://www.andersen.sdu.dk/vaerk/hersholt/TheEmperorsNewClothes_e.html

 

 

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The rodent called it right – Winter has returned!

Wow, new refrigerator. Neat!

But I guessed right – the drivers were not told anything about our situation, including the correct address. As I stood in my kitchen window yesterday morning at 9:06 I saw a huuuuge unmarked delivery van sail by my driveway, and I just knew.

“An-deeeeee!” I hollered at my husband, who was in the garage, pushing things around to make a temporary space for the old fridge, until we could haul it to our son’s house in Pair-o-dice. He had already seen the truck, and was trotting up our driveway to flag them down. They had stopped at the neighbor’s house – I’ll say, the addresses on our street, with a lot of flag lots, are confusing. I watched the driver jump back in his truck and turn it around – it was swaying and bobbing as he hit one pot hole after another.

That was nothing – you should have seen the looks on their faces when they saw the stairs into the apartment. Nope – all my careful instructions had been in vain. They were so surprised I was afraid they would turn on their tails and make a run for it.

Especially when they saw our old fridge – it’s a big sucker, especially compared to a little tiny delivery man. Young fellows too, I must say, very brave. Watching them scootch that big mother down those stairs made me nauseous, I was positive somebody – maybe the old fridge – was going to get it.

So I went back into the kitchen and hid in the refrigerator nook, calling out for progress reports. When I heard the wheels hit the cement of the patio I just about barfed with relief. After that epic struggle they brought in the new unit without a hitch.

By 10 am we had sent the boys on their way, replaced all our groceries in the new unit, packed up the truck, and were headed up to the camp shack.   Weatherman predicted a rousing comeback for Winter – I knew it, Punxatawny Phil is the man to watch. He said we’d get six more weeks, and sheesh! – he wasn’t kidding. Last week we had lows in the 40’s – within a few days, nighttime temps were back around 31.  We decided to bail out of the apartment for the cold spell and sit it out by the wood stove at the camp shack. We left the heater on 53 to safeguard the pipes and turned off everything else but the new fridge and the box freezer. Doing this a few times a month has kept our PG&E bill under a hundred dollars.

Clouds were skirting in – weird weather, clear and COLD at night and daytime temps in the 60’s with clouds rolling along in sunny skies. As we headed east the sky got darker and darker, a sprinkle of rain hit our windshield as we mounted Hwy 32.

The feathery snowflakes started to appear a mile or so above The Store, but it didn’t look like it would stick. By the time we got to the shack, we had minutes to get our stuff out of the back of the F-150, and secure the rest of the load with a tarp. We’d brought some furniture, our old bed frame and some other comforts, thinking we’d have time before the storm hit to move them in. No such luck!

Within 20 minutes the snow was piling up on the ground. The canyon had disappeared.

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Within 20 minutes the patio was covered with powder.

The old thermometer on the front door that registered 41 degrees when we arrived had dropped to 39. We always keep a box of kindling in the cabin, so we had the stove going pretty quickly, and before we knew it, the temperature in the cabin had climbed to 55, so we could sit inside and watch the storm in comfort.

It didn’t last an hour. The recovery was dramatic. The sun came out and the ground around us glistened, while the eaves drummed with snow melt. 

But it’s still very cold – this morning the old thermometer outside the door registers 24 degrees. I woke up in the night worrying about my sensitive plants back in town  – we had rounded some up under freeze cloth on the front patio, and even set a fan on a timer in the greenhouse for my aloe vera. I don’t think it got to 24 in Chico, but probably cold enough to do some damage.

The nopalitos take a beating, but they’ll come back. 

Today I will rake and burn, stay close to the piles, set a few potatoes in the coals. 

I hope you’re all snug.

 

I can’t wait to get back to Normal

Ever since we kicked out a batch of bad tenants last March and put our old rental on the market, life has been out of whack around here. I keep telling my husband, and he keeps agreeing – I can’t wait to get back to Normal.

Wherever that is.

One thing I’ve learned – don’t look back. The view is dizzying.

I can say, we’ve made forward, positive steps, but we’ve had to climb over some rocks to get here. I can stand on a rock now and then and say, “Wow, this is great, I’m sure glad we’re doing this!” But I’m exhausted, I don’t remember when I’ve been so tired every night.

Frankly, I can’t remember Normal, or even what it looked like. That makes a person giddy, a feeling of not really knowing whether the train is moving or standing still.

We’ve been spending money like mad too, trying to get another rental up and running. We want to make it very efficient so we’re replacing the big refrigerator. We’ve been waiting for President’s Day because the big box stores always have crazy sales. Lowe’s had a 14.5 cubic foot unit for about $450, so we went for it. Oh yeah, it was like cutting out a butt steak paying for it, but now I am relieved – a new refrigerator is a good sell for an apartment. 

But I’ll tell you what it happened so fast. I said to my husband, “Okay, it’s President’s Day weekend, let’s hit the box stores.” He says, “we don’t have to  go out, we can do it all online.” And I’m like, “Wow!” So we sit down at the old box and the next thing you know we’re buying a refrigerator. And guess what, they want to deliver it TODAY!

What ever happened to Sunday?

But I went along with it, flying by the seat of my pants, I started cleaning the old fridge, which had so many magnet and photos and whatnot stuck on there, it was hard to see there was a fridge under there. 

I had my grandma’s fancy serving dishes on top, a gorgeous stem cake plate, a couple of those old silver plated trays, and a neat little punch bowl. I boxed it all up and stashed it away on a shelf in my husband’s shop, who needs that stuff anyway.

Then I went about cleaning the inside of the fridge. After all these years, it’s still a great unit, so we’re giving it to our older son and his girlfriend. That’s been the plan since they moved into a bigger house last Spring. They like to cook and shop in bulk, so they could use it. And it’s a good model, with replaceable parts. The last time we had to get it fixed the guy told us – the new models are pretty much built to be disposable. He showed me how to clean the coils, and I’ve taken good care of the old baby. The kids are excited to get it.

Then we thought we better make a pathway through the apartment. Furniture had to be moved, scrunched in here and there, climb over the credenza to get out of the bedroom, etc. But we did it.

There’s just the matter of getting the old unit down the apartment stairs, and the new unit up. We checked the box indicating we would pay $20 extra for haul away, and I made sure to describe our situation very clearly in the “other” box. When we bought our washing machine three years ago, the operator assured us there would be no problem delivering it upstairs, AND hauling away our old machine – but the driver and his partner gasped when they got to our door. They got those babies in and out – they have a lot of neat equipment – but my husband gave them each $10 more out of guilt, and they were happy to take it.

So in about an hour my husband and I will drag the old box out from it’s tiny cubby, clean the coils, clean the space, and get ready for the delivery people to show up. 

Life just comes at you, doesn’t it? 

 

 

 

Forest policy changing with Trump

Those crazy warm temperatures last week had me ready to bust out the summer sheets. Then BAM! back to the 30’s at night, which is much more February-ish.

It’s hard to resist turning on the heater when I wake up in the morning to 59 degrees in the apartment.  It’s been about 34 degrees on the patio. So when I stumbled out of bed yesterday, I turned the oven up to 500 and got a bowl of dough ready for the oven – before I knew it the apartment was warm and smelling fabulous.

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Sourdough Bob is the life of every party.

But we have another plan to keep our PG&E bill down to a dull roar – whenever we can we pack up and head for our camp shack in the hills. I always turn off all the power strips on the way out, the only things we leave running are the refrigerator and the chest freezer.

Up here we are working on fire clearance, although it’s been too dry to burn, we wander around the woods with rakes and chain saw, clear “fire breaks”, and make piles for later. Our kids made bike trails around our place years ago, digging out a single track with log jumps and little bridges made of scrap wood. I try to keep that clean with a rake so I can meander around the place and look for good firewood.

After a few good windstorms, I noticed two dead black oaks that were hanging over the trail a little precariously – like arches. When I showed them to my husband he took the chainsaw down the trail and cut them into sections we could drag up the hill to our driveway, cut them up small enough for the stove. They had been standing dead for who knows how long – perfectly cured. 

We spent yesterday wandering the woods for more dead trees, dragging them up the hill, cutting and stacking. My arms feel like Super Play Doh, but I got a very admirable stack of wood for my own stove, and a pile in the back of the truck for our kid and his girlfriend to burn in their new house.  We sent him a picture – we’re so broke right now, that’s his birthday present. 

He’s going to be 27 years old, I can hardly believe that. I was just cleaning out a drawer and found a picture of him wearing a diaper, holding on the side of a garden bed to take his first steps. 

We were holding on to the side of the truck, exhausted, admiring our haul, when we noticed smoke was billowing up in the sky – the light on the ground turned that curious yellow color of forest fire. 

We knew it was a controlled burn because we’d seen the signs all the way back in Chico – “Controlled Burn. Do Not Report” Yeah, they must get sick of fielding those calls. We had seen crews all through Fall and Winter, kids from California Conservation Core and some from the Salt Creek jail facility, slashing and stacking all the way across Butte Creek up toward Paradise.  But we hadn’t seen any of those piles being torched when we drove in. 

The smoke was overtaking the sun.

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If we hadn’t seen the signs we would have packed up and got out at this point.

 We sat and watched from our picnic table over lunch, the wind blowing steadily toward Chico. I realize – these people have crews, tools, water trucks – I would never have considered torching a pile at our place in that stiff breeze. 

And then the wind shifted. Before we knew it the woods directly around us were filling with smoke.

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The smoke blew right up to our feet.

 

And then the wind shifted back toward Chico again, just as we were thinking about baling out. We watched the smoke dance in the wind for the rest of the afternoon. But we never smelled it or felt overwhelmed as we continued to chainsaw and rake around our own piles.

I’m glad for this kind of work to be done, it’s long over due. It’s been too politicized with the Obama administration, now I’ve heard Trump is funding these fire safety clearance programs again and that’s fine with me. 

 

Super Moon still rules the sky

Even on the wane, Super Moon is looking pretty super.

I woke up to find Super Moon winking at me through the bedroom window this morning. And if you look a little harder to the west…

you might be able to see Saturn there to the right of the photo.

 

Saturn also looked very close this morning, very 3-D. The whole scene was very dramatic, you could see that the sun was just off camera, shining very bright on the round bottoms of Super Moon and Saturn.

Work work work. I am at the wheel these days, I don’t have much time to blog, but I like to share a nice picture now and then.

Got to mau-mau the flak-catchers once in a while

What weird weather – record highs for February, 70 degrees! It’s actually stuffy at night, but we’re keeping the windows shut because the rice and nut farmers are burning their fields and slash piles out on the west side and you never know when the wind will shift.

I don’t mind the farmers – dirt made my lunch, thank you a bunch. When I was a child and my grandfather had to have his field burned, he loaded us into the canned ham and headed to Fort Bragg for a week. We came home to wash the soot off the window sills.

I looked ahead at Accuweather – they are predicting a few rainy days in March, but nothing like the miracle it will take to make up for this dry Winter we’ve had.

No snowboarding for me this year – I play my Dick Dale records and carve around the apartment, cut some imaginary 360’s in the kitchen, do a jump or two out by the laundry line.   I guess I should put my boots on one day just to make sure my feet will recognize them when the time comes.  Heavy sigh…

I’ll  tell you what – I’ve gained 5 pounds, and that means a couple of pairs of jeans won’t button. Damn you Germans and your lebkuchen! Really, it’s my own fault – January is my sleep month, can’t get excited about much of anything.

Although, tomorrow there’s a 3:30 meeting I’m looking forward to – the Local Governments Committee. It’s a  good meeting because it’s a catch-all for issues that are before all the local commissions and boards, from Chico City Council to Butte Stupes to Chico Area Recreation District, and even the mosquito guy will be there.

Did you know, our mosquito board manager makes about $103,000 a year and only pays three percent of his pension?

There are many important issues on the agenda – including a report given by my kindergarten classmate, Dennis Schmidt. It’s  fun to listen to Dennis – he still  talks with a lisp, and his ears stick out just like they did when we were kids – eee-haw! He’s old and grumpy now, and working for the county, which means he’s up to no good about half the time. He’s the guy who raised the fee on pumping septic tanks, and now he wants property owners to be responsible for hiring their own security patrols for Humboldt Road.

Humboldt Road is a public road and a public disgrace – whole sections of asphalt missing. Here’s my guess – the county and the city are playing hot potato with maintenance of that road, since it goes in and out of the city/county. And, there’s so much illegal dumping up there, you’d think you were at the dump. There’s also homeless  camps. Neither the city or the county wants to take responsibility for that stuff, so they are laying it on the property owners? Who pay whopping property taxes. 

So Old Juanita has to get on her high horse and go down there and shame them. That’s about it. And I’ll tell you what – I’m not above making fun of a lisp and big ears and somebody who couldn’t tie his own damned shoes in kindergarten.

I’ll ride my bike, starting getting rid of some of this excess belly fat.