A few people have mentioned that I’ve been slack in my blogging, and I’ve found that I cannot disagree.

Let me say first of all, that due to 1 parts of it being hot and 2 parts of me just being a slacker, that I haven’t done much in the way of yardwork lately. I know that the flora and fawna around my house were something of a hallmark in this blog for awhile. Truth be told, when I was cleaning out the planter on the side of the driveway, I did take a few before and after pictures, but I realized later they were terribly uninteresting, and I couldn’t even think of any jokes to spruce them up.

So here are a few outdoorsy highlights:

I got my first ant bite today! Rather than spray down the ant-hills that show up in the front yard, I leave them be until lawn-mowing day, and then just run them down. Needless to say, the ants inside aren’t terribly pleased with lawn-mowing day, and they usually run around trying to gather up the pupae and retreat lower into the ground, which is fine with me. Today, this persistant mound that’s been rebuilding over the whole summer didn’t just roll over – they sent out their warriors. One of them must have caught me on the next pass, or been thrown up by the lawnmower, because she, of all her sisters, made it onto my leg and started showing her displeasure. I’ve never been bitten or stung by an ant before, so it took me awhile to put together the sharp pain on my leg and the ant I saw there. But then she got her comeupances and I got a few little weals, so I’ll call it an even trade.

I’ve seen a lot of bizarre bugs in my yard, but I saw the strangest one so far yesterday. I spent an hour on the web afterward trying to locate it, with absolutely no luck. Here’s a description: It had the body of a true bug – apparently hard-shelled, with a tapered face. It’s head was scarlet red, blending into black before the body segment (or where I assume the segmentation would be – there wasn’t any clear segmentation). It had short white antennae which it strummed against the wood it was on, so the looked almost feathery until the bug stopped and I saw they were just whip-like. It had grasshoppery green legs – though clearly not as adapted to hopping as a grasshopper, they had the same basic shape and orientation, including the bulging on the hind legs where they attached to the thorax. Coming out of the rear of the beastie was a hooked, shiny black stinger.

I’ve seen others of these mutant mixed bugs in my yard before, but along with the green grasshopper legs, they usually had fly-heads, no stinger, and wings. So… I don’t know what’s going on in my yard. Maybe whichever magic beans are making the plants grow like crazy are affecting the bugs, too. If I ever am invited into the core of a giant peach by person-sized crickets and spiders, though, I’m not going.

Today, in addition to mowing the lawn down to a manageable variagated carpet, I continued with my bush-whacking. I finally dug out the old blackberry bush, the bee-magnet flowering bush in the middle of the backyard (it had pretty blue flowers, but far too many bees), and two hedgy plants that were threatening to become dominant species in the backyard! That was a lot of digging things up, but I’m becoming a bit of a pro. But, lo-and-behold!, hiding beneath the blackberry’s spread were three more stumps! Such trick stumps. Two of them were small enough that a few minutes of shoveling popped them out, but the last is looking a little more intractable. I can’t tell you how excited I am about the prospect of digging out another stump. Oh, wait – yes I can. Not at all. 🙂

Onto a subject quite a few people have asked me about: work.

I’ve been at Mori’s for nearly a month now and haven’t posted much about it. Part of that is my wanting to reserve judgement, but a larger part is that they’ve kept me so very busy! It’s a small company, but large for a small company (about 20 people at the office, and 27 stores), and about four or five months ago they bought a very snazzy new backoffice system and registers for the stores. So, my job is to manage these systems, support the registers, and become the master-user for the new ERP software. Right now, because they’re four months into implementation without anyone onsite managing anything up til now (they have had a contractor, who is the daughter of the founders and very business-savvy, who has done a bang-up job of managing the project so far, but she is self-described as “not technical”, is not often on-site, and is ready to begin handing the project off to the company itself to manage), there are a lot of long-standing issues that have begun to boil over, so most of my job thus far has been fire-fighting.

However, I do think that as I get the major issues under control, this will actually be a very pleasant, rewarding job without a demand for excessive hours on a regular basis. I’ve done a little self-training, and I spent two days in North Carolina last week training on the ERP package, so every day I feel a little more on top of things. Most of the people at the office are very nice, and so far I’ve only heard positive feedback, which is very gratifying. The company has a history of steady growth and is successfully turning a profit, but the leadership does not seem driven by a growth addiction, which is very refreshing. All the same, once Christmas is over and the system has been stabilized and most of the wrinkles are ironed out, I think the largest roadblock to the growth they’ve had in the past (their old backoffice and register systems had some very severe limitations) will be gone, and they could as much as double in five years, if they really wanted to. So that’s cool, too!

I don’t really know what else people may want to know, but if you have any questions, I’ll answer!