Saturday, May 3, 2008

Dogs, Computers, and Taxes

It’s a Saturday. My dog knows it’s a Saturday. I have no clue how she knows it, but she does. This is the day she goes through her ritual of looking out the window just about every three minutes beginning shortly after nine. I don’t know how she knows it’s shortly after nine, either, but that begins the time frame during which she can expect a visit from her sister, our daughter’s dog.

There is no doubt in her mind that she’ll have a playmate before the morning is over. It won’t be long before the phone rings and we learn that our daughter and her dog have left their home heading here. That will be a signal to ours and she won’t leave the window after that until she sees the car coming up the driveway.

The dog will know instinctively that the call is from Daughter Gator. At other times during the week the dog just looks at the phone when it rings. If it should be from the daughter, I guess it’s our facial expression or perhaps tone of voice that signals her, but she doesn’t assume she’s going to have a visitor. But Saturdays, and sometimes Sundays, simply don’t get by her. She knows from the time she awakes that this is the day for a visit.

Just being in a position to watch all this excitement and anticipation is just one of the reasons that having a good pet can be so entertaining and heartwarming. And the fun doesn’t end when her visitors arrive. Now that we have decent weather for outdoor activity, the two dogs will be leading their respective humans outside. They play better and longer when the human gals are outside, too.

Now the big girls don’t have to be paying any attention at all to the little ones. All they have to do is be outside with them and they’re content. It’s a good day for the dogs, and a happy one. They can bring so much pleasure to a family as can just about any loving pet. Our Goldens will sleep tonight.

Oh-oh. As I write this, some very light showers have moved into the neighborhood. I’m not sure how they will affect the day. I guess we’ll just be patient and see.

On another subject, I had a frustrating experience with a computer yesterday. My main computer, a Dell XPS system, refused to boot. I had an error message that said a certain file was missing. So I called Dell XPS support and immediately connected with a technician who apparently was in another country at a call center. He sure did seem to be competent, though, and we easily communicated as he talked me through some correction procedures. Unfortunately, they didn’t work.

So he had me perform an hour or longer disk repair facility and call support back for further instructions. I ran the facility, but it didn’t make any difference so I called Dell XPS again. This time I got a technician who spoke with a slight southwestern drawl. Thanks to a service number he had the work with the other technician before him, but said he wanted to try something different. He said he’s run into my problem before and always could be fixed his way. Fifteen minutes later, my computer was running smoothly. I got lucky to reach someone who had faced the situation before.

And a final bit for this weekend. I heard on the radio that there will be a petition drive to get a People’s Veto of a late night legislative tax increase on the November ballot. I’m not sure if a formal notice for the effort has yet been filed with the Secretary of State’s office, but Monday is the deadline to file such a notice if there is to be one. One group has already filed, but I understand the one discussed on the radio today is by a large statewide coalition of interested parties.

The new taxes, if not challenged successfully, were passed by the Democrats in the state Legislature late at night in the final days of the last session. They will cost Maine taxpayers more than 50 million dollars a year to fund a state sponsored insurance program that covers 13-14 thousand people. The insurance regulations that have passed legislative action over the last several years have driven most insurance companies out of the state and have made Maine among the highest priced insurance states. Most Mainers can no longer afford their health insurance.

If what I heard is true, then I will sign the petition to give all Mainers a chance to vote on this huge tax increase in November. This huge tax, incidentally, is after the governor and many in the legislature said there would be no new taxes, fees, surcharges. That was in the heat of a budget crunch. Once that crunch was resolved, what appears to have been a well thought out plan for tax increase came to fruition.

Some food for thought over this weekend. Enjoy your Sunday and I’ll be back Monday.


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