Jennifer D. Wade Journal

Welcome to my online diary, enjoy your stay!

Blog posts May 2007


On Sunday, May 27, I took my dog, KT, to the Animal Emergency Clinic.  I didn't bring her home.  She had been seizing for a good part of the day.  Given her age (mid-teens), recent blood tests which showed serious kidney and liver problems, and a significant weight loss over the past few months, I opted to let her go.

Where KT was concerned, things always seemed to happen rather quickly.  For example, one day in 1999, I went to work and didn't have a dog.  When I went home that evening, I did.  She was the featured pet that day on the station's pet adoption segment, and I adopted her on the spot.

One of the first orders of business was to give her a name.  The people from the shelter didn't know what her original owners called her, so I had to find something suitable.  I looked through a list of names and came across Teagan.  I liked that, but it didn't sound very good by itself.  So, I thought some more and decided on Kinsey, after Sue Grafton's fictional PI Kinsey Millhone.  Put them together and you get Kinsey Teagan - KT.

About three years later, KT went blind.  Again, it happened rather suddenly, over the course of about two weeks.  I noticed her having difficulty jumping onto the couch or the bed, and going down the stairs became an adventure.  She was running into furniture.  I thought that maybe it was temporary, caused by a virus or something, but a specialist said, no, it was permanent and not out of the ordinary for dogs her age.

Despite her blindness, the rest of her years were relatively healthy.  She lost a few teeth, and had some benign tumors, but, overall, she was fine.  It was only in the past few weeks that I really noticed her start to struggle.  She wasn't eating as much, and was more finnicky about what she did eat.  Favorite treats were suddenly being rejected.  At the same time, she drank more water, often lapping it up as though she couldn't get enough.

She also seemed to have lost her bearings.  She got into places that normally she managed to avoid.  Twice, for example, she found her way into the small space behind the washer and dryer.  And, a couple times, I had to free her from among the tangle of chair legs and table legs in the dining room.  I had a feeling she wouldn't last much longer.

Last week, I took her to the vet for a check-up.  He drew blood and discovered the kidney and liver problems.  I was considering what to do when KT made the decision for me.  The seizures left me with no other option.

Thanks, KT, for eight great years.

KT sleeps.  May 13, 2007

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From Worst to Worser?

Earlier this year, a woman named Jessica Hardy got my vote for "Worst Person in the World."  In THIS entry, I wrote about her 3-6 year prison sentence for ripping off the Make A Wish Foundation by making up sick children.  Yes, this woman invented sick children and used donations meant for them to fill her home with a hot tub and big TVs.

Well, now, it seems our Jessica has some competition in the form of a suspect named Raymond L. Clayton Sr.

Photo from WNEP.COM

Clayton is the pastor of a church in the Mount Carmel area of Northumberland County.  According to police, the not-so-good reverend stole the identity of the 82-year-old church secretary and proceeded to rack up almost $30,000 in credit card charges in her name.  Police believe there may be other victims.

Maybe it's just me, but identity theft doesn't seem like a very Christian thing to do.  In fact, I think his alleged crimes are worse than Hardy's.

What say you? 

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This One's for APAL

Here's where things stand.  The tub and shower are in, but the vanity is out.  It was removed so the guys could tile the wall and the floor.  The grouting proces is about halfway - walls are done, but not the floor.

I don't know if you can distinguish the colors.  The wall is tiled in a pale blue.  The floor tile is white - actually "talc" - with a pattern in a greenish color called "chlorite."  I originally wanted "charcoal" tile for the pattern, but it's been discontinued.  So, I picked chlorite, which is another color in the same series as the talc.  I think it will work out well.

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Primed and Ready

The tile for the bathroom is supposed to be at the distributor today.  I expect installation today and/or tomorrow.

You can see that the walls and ceiling have been primed, so they're ready to be painted or tiled.  You can also see where the light fixtures will go.  Also, the vanity has been installed.  Notice how the bathroom door now opens all the way to allow for easy entrance and exit!


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One week into the bathroom remodel.  The old mustard yellow fixtures have been taken out.  So far, the only new fixture that's in is the tub/shower.  But, the guys have been busy getting rid of wallpaper and preparing to tile or paint.  Here are a couple more pictures.  In my estimation, this is already an improvement over what was there.


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Act 1 - The End

Surprise, surprise!  Act 1 went down to defeat - big time!  In the district that takes my money, voters said "NO" by a margin of 4 or 5 to 1.

Perhaps the biggest surprise is just how miserably the proposal failed.  Around the state, Act 1 was a total bust.  This morning, the AP reported that votes from 2/3 of the 498 school districts that had Act 1 on the ballot had been counted.  Only four - yes, 4 - okayed Act 1.  Some official type person said he thought it was because voters didn't understand Act 1.  I think it's because they did.

If you care to look, HERE is a link to the PA Dept. of State so you can see how Act 1 fared in school districts around Pennsylvania.

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Out with the Old

Today is the day.  After months of planning, the long-awaited bathroom remodeling project is about to begin.  I expect the contractor here shortly, so this entry will have to be short.

In brief, today is the beginning of the end for a decor that can only be described as "post-flood Seventies."  By that, I mean that when Agnes flooded the Wyoming Valley in 1972, the house I live in took a pretty good whack.  I have a feeling that the former owners spent a fair amount of money to redo the home - and didn't do a heckuva lot after that.

When I bought the house, there was one kind of wallpaper in the living room/dining room, another kind along the stairway, and a third kind in the kitchen.  None of it coordinated very well.

In the bathroom, the mustard yellow color that was so popular during the Seventies prevailed.  But, the wallpaper is pinkish and the vanity is a dark brown.  The toilet (which I have been told was the "Cadillac" of its day) is now so old that it's hard to get parts for it, and the latest repair job left some lingering problems.  In short, it's all got to go.

I have added some pictures so you can see just what "post-flood Seventies" looks like.



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Act I, Scene 2

Must be something in the water.  Talk of the Act 1 ballot question abounds!  I blogged about it yesterday.  GORT took his turn today, and it's the talk of Talkback 16.

The overwhelming sentiment of the opinions I've read seems to be "Just say no."  I said I was leaning that way, and now I'm convinced.

First of all, I went back to the PAGE that links to a list of the questions for school districts in Luzerne County.  Notice how Act 1 is also referred to as the "Taxpayer Relief Referendum?"  Uh, huh.  I suspect that's kind of like the Bush Administration's "Clean Skies Initiative."  Whatever the name implies, the reality is the exact opposite. 

Then, I took another look at the Wyoming Valley West "non-legal interpretive statement" and remembered why my initial thought about Act 1 was that the numbers just don't add up - at least not for me.  It's because what Act 1 would allow the district to do is replace the current 0.5% Earned Income Tax with a 1.0% Personal Income Tax.  So, not only would I be giving over more of my salary to the school district, but they will also get 1% of any interest, dividends, etc. that I earn!  It certainly sounds like a bad deal for anyone who has a decent income, regardless of whether they also own property.

But, I worry that it's a bad deal that will pass.  What scares me about Act 1 is that the people who traditionally vote (older folks) are the ones who should actually benefit from this.   The people who will lose out are the ones who may think they're too busy with other things to vote, or who aren't paying attention because they don't have kids in school.  

It is important for people to vote on this issue, and it is especially important to realize that ALL REGISTERED VOTERS - no matter what party they belong to - can vote for ballot questions, including Act 1.

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To Act or Not to Act

First of all, let me say that, according to my stats counter, my blog has had more than 200 hits today.  WTF???  My average for the past couple months is probably around 90 or 100.  What's going on?  Must have been that deeply insightful post about the woman who looks like Helen Mirren!!

Anyway, I'm facing a decision.  Next Tuesday is election day.  Sometime between now and then I will have to decide whether to vote Yes or No on Act 1.

Act 1 is a referendum on the ballot in just about every school district in Pennsylvania.  I believe only Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Scranton are exempt.  Basically, what Act 1 proposes to do is lessen the burden of school taxes on property owners by increasing income taxes.  Somewhere in the mix is all the money that Pennsylvania will get from slots, which will supposedly help finance the reduction in property taxes.  On Tuesday, voters will be asked to decide whether their particular school district should sign on to Act 1 or keep the tax system status quo.

HERE is the "non-legal interpretive statement" for my school district.  A "yes" vote would be in favor of getting rid of the 0.5% earned income tax and instituting a 1% personal income tax for an estimated $150 reduction in property taxes.  What I find interesting is that even if the voters reject Act 1, property taxes may still be lowered due to support (gambling money) from the state.

For a certain group of people (i.e. seniors on a fixed income who own their own homes), voting for Act 1 makes sense.  For another group of people (i.e. people who work but do not own a home), voting against Act 1 makes sense.

For people like me (i.e. people who work and own a home), it's a bit of a toss-up.  What you might gain in property tax reductions, you'll probably lose to the increased income tax.  I also suspect that the increased income tax may end up being the larger of the two numbers, so if I vote "yes" for Act 1, I'd actually be volunteering to increase my own tax burden.  And, since I don't have children in ANY school district, why would I want to give this school district more money than I have to?  Out of the goodness of my heart?

So, I guess I'm leaning toward "no" on Act 1.  Am I wrong?

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Newsroom Humor

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II has come to our side of the pond to celebrate the anniversary of Jamestown (400 years of people fleeing from British rule) and to take in the Kentucky Derby (while no doubt wearing a very smart hat).

Anyway, wherever she goes while she's here, cameras are sure to follow.  When one of our reporters caught a glimpse of her on TV, he said, "There goes that woman who looks like Helen Mirren!"


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I watched the news tonight and, in one of the stories, the reporter used the word "critter."

It reminded me of a stuffed animal that I used to have.  It was called "Critter" and came with its own cage.  If I recall, my parents (OK, my mother) gave Critter to me when I went to college.  It looked kind of like a guinea pig, I guess.  I tried to find a picture online, but, no luck.

Anyway, Critter and I went off to college.  I lined his cage with a copy of the Juniatian and hung the cage from the mattress springs.  I had a loft, so the mattress was essentially the upper bunk, and my desk was underneath.

During my freshman year, Critter and I made our home on the third floor of one of the dorms.  I was friends with several of the girls on the first floor.  One day, I came back to my room to find an empty cage.  The door was open and Critter was gone!

I don't recall a ransom note, but I knew where to lookfor my kidnapped Critter.  Down to the first floor I went - and found Critter tied to a bedpost with a headband that belonged to one of my friends - a dead giveaway because I'd seen her wear it to softball practice!  Poor Critter!  I quickly rescued Critter from the clutches of those girls and returned him to the safety of his cage. 

Where Critter is now, I have no idea.  I kept him for a while, I think, after college.  But, about 10 years ago, I gave away the vast majority of my stuffed animal collection, including Critter.

Wherever he is, I hope he's happy.

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