Friday, October 21, 2016

Collateral Damage R Us

Well as predicted the Association of PA State Colleges(PSSHE) and University Faculty Union(APSCUF)have gone out on strike.  This is the first time a strike has happened in the 34 year history of the state school system.

This happened Wednesday so we are at Day Three of this "event".

Recent news article on the strike HERE.

Local news report HERE.  (I love the clip in this one from our knucklehead Governor, Tom Wolf, urging the two sides to come to an agreement, when he is the person who held our state budget hostage in 2014-2015 and refused to sign a budget for 2 years.  Hypocrite much?)

The PA teachers and the PA State System of Higher Education(PSSHE)which controls/runs the 14 state supported schools here in PA didn't reach an amicable contract settlement by Tuesday evening's deadline, so the teachers walked.
Including the teachers at College Boy's school.

The PSSHE kept saying they would bring in temporary teachers for the duration of the strike.
I shook my head at this because finding an unemployed teacher in PA who has a PHD in music and is a master flutist who could teach College Boy's master music classes to sub for his professors was just a joke.  Yes, there are lots of people with teaching credentials in PA but not working in this field(due to corruption and nepotism-way more teachers are graduated each year here than their are positions for so they have to leave the state to work as teachers)but the pool that meets this criteria is nil.

We got an actual phone call from College Boy last night.  As he never calls(always messges on FB instead)I knew this was bad news.

The PSSHE and officials at his school are telling students they have to "go to class"(even though the professors are not there and not holding "class").
A check of the school website is saying the school is open for business and operating as usual.

So College Boy's professors are all out on strike and he has no classes into the foreseeable future. There is no word or even a hint on when these two powerful groups will hash out a deal that they both will accept.

Friday to Monday of this weekend is the school's Fall Break(no classes Monday even if there wasn't a strike).  College Boy has never come home for Fall Break as it's only a long weekend.  The last 2 years he has attended school there the dorms have remained open and the dining halls have also remained open.

But not this time.
Supposedly this strike is only between the teacher's union and the PSSHE and doesn't involve an support staff at the school.  Bureaucrats, Clerks, Maintenance, Office workers, Food Service workers, etc. are not affected by this strike.

Even though, the "Powers That Be" at College Boy's school have decided to close the dining halls for 4 days staring today until Tuesday morning.  The dorms will remain open however.
So College Boy informed me that if he remains on campus over Break he can't eat for 4 days.

And he is out of personal money(again this year!)so he can't walk to the local gas station and buy processed crap to eat.  I knew he wasn't saving enough this past Summer and I knew this would happen again.  8-(

Then I saw a note was posted on the school website that all sports teams practices and games will go on as players must remain on campus for that but hey!, let's not feed them for 4 days.
That doesn't seem like a very bright plan now, does it?

Now I am not going to take sides on whether the PSSHE or the APSCUF are the unreasonable pieces of shit in these contract negotiations.  But going over 450 days working without a contract and being in negotiations and still not hammering out an equitable solution isn't fair to the people affecting by the skills your negotiating teams seem to lack.

All I know is that the students and their parents(who are footing the bill for tuition and meal plans)are COLLATERAL DAMAGE in this whole brew-ha-ha.
And I am NOT happy about it!

College Boy said all the students are walking around not knowing what to do as they are getting mixed messages(what little information the school actually sends them and of course we, the parents, have received NO communications on any of this!)on what they are suppose to do.
Many of the kids with cars have already left and gone home to wait this out until the strike is over.
I really feel for the international students as they are in no position to call mom and dad and go home easily(if at all).

So we will be picking College Boy up today to bring him home and see what happens over the weekend with the strike.
He can't remain home long term if the strike continues because he has Wind Ensemble rehearsals Tuesday and Thursday evenings. The band director isn't cancelling rehearsals since they have a concert tour next month and are cutting a CD too and you can't not rehearse for however long and then jump right back into it without it affecting your orchestra.

Later today we'll be contacting our PA State Legislative Representatives and the President of College Boy's school as well to voice our displeasure at the way in which this has been handled and find out what the "PA Political Powers That Be" are planning on doing to resolve this mess.

My plans into the foreseeable future are in limbo until this thing is over.  
And I am NOT a happy camper.

I hope the parents of these 100,000+ affected students who foot the bills at these schools are planning to band together and DEMAND a pro-rated refund of tuition/fees/meals/housing costs we paid for services/goods that won't be delivered during this strike.

I hope it doesn't come down to us all having to get a lawyer and suing the PSSHE and APSCUF leadership chuckle heads for our money back!

As an aside, the school has NOT sent us, the parents, a single piece of communication about this whole strike fiasco.  I am having to hear everything from College Boy(who is mostly in the dark about this)or read it online from various news sources.

So thanks a lot PSSHE, APSCUF and President Hendricks for disrupting our son's education/life!

The local school district's teachers went out on strike in 2007 when all 3 of my kids were still attending schools here(1 middle, 2 high)and that debacle lasted a month+.
I can't even hazard a guess how long this strike will go on for.

President Hendricks on his welcome page statement off the University's website says....

"Here's to building a memorable year for Mountie Nation!"

Yep, 3 months in and it sure it a Memorable Year.....but for all the wrong reasons!


Thursday, October 20, 2016

One Goal Met this Fall

Well if nothing else I did achieve one goal this Fall.
I kept the heat off until after the electric bill cut on October 19th.
Go me. 8-)

Since we were still using a/c at the beginning of September or October electric bill came in $42.90 lower.
Once the heat goes on however the electric bill will start that upward trend until next Spring.  Last year our electric usage rose $39.97 from October's bill to November's bill.  If it rises at that same rate this won't be a bad thing, though overall the amount will be higher than what we paid/used in 2015 because it's double the amount of people living here now and sucking up energy from the power grid.

We have had an unusually warm Fall so far with the exception of two nights that dipped down into the 30'sF two weeks back.  Forecasts are calling for possible snow this Saturday night but it won't stick around at this point in the year once the sun shines, if we even get that snow.

I have a stretch goal of keeping the heat turned off until November 1st.  11 more days to go to get to that one but with temperatures in the 30's/40's at night(Tuesday's predicted low is 29!!!)I don't know if Hubs won't want to flip the switch.
I can hold out by putting on my layers but he won't want to.
The kids don't want the heat on yet.  Heck, they have their bedroom window open and both a standing fan and the ceiling fan running in there(which I have to constantly turn off when they leave for the day)!  With all that body heat(plus a large dog),the door always closed so no cross ventilation and all the elctronics hooked up in there dragging the power grid it's no wonder that room is so warm.

It annoys me that I keep having to go behind them and turn things off-fans in their room and random lights when they are the last ones downstairs at night.  Daughter is bad about leaving the deck light on all night when she brings in the dog from her last potty break for the night. ugh.

I am still interested to see how the BF does once we get into Winter temperatures here.  He has never lived anywhere but the Deep South his whole life!  The boy doesn't even own a heavy Winter coat, let alone a hat, gloves, etc.
I wonder how long until he wants to go back to Louisiana.  Any guesses?  ;-)
This should be an


A Little Weis Shopping

Before we start here, these are the cinnamon brooms I spoke of yesterday...........

People buy them and hang them either as is or decorate them with fall items/flowers and then hang them in their homes(a kitchen usually I am guessing?).  Not a pleasant aroma in the Summer heat or when you get 100 or more together giving off fumes in an enclosed space at the store.

Moving on--

Last day of the sale so I hit Weis Wednesday afternoon for a few Deals.........

The Scottie facial tissues were $1 a box this week.  I have a $1/3 IPQ and a .25¢/1 Weis CatalinaQ that stacked with the IPQ so .58¢ per box for 3 boxes.

The San Giorgio pasta was .67¢ a box and with the $1/2 ManuQ in Sunday's paper insert each box cost .17¢.

Weis has a free turkey/ham/etc. Thanksgiving Deal--Spend in $50 increments and receive 10 points per $50 purchase.  50 Points gets you a free meat item, so you need to spend $250 to get the freebie.
Select items(mostly Weis branded items)earn you 10 Points when you buy 5 in one transaction.  This is a less expensive way to earn those Points toward a freebie, especially since most of my shopping trips don't hit $50 in a single transaction.
The bags of noodles, the whipped cream topping and the bag of croutons were among the select items. All but the croutons were also on sale this week.  I needed noodles and croutons and the whipped cream goes in the fridge for Thanksgiving pie action.  Between reaching $50 in spending on this trip and those 5 items(which was $7.89 of my spending total)I received 20 Points today and now have 50 Points to get my freebie.

I also bought 10 Powerades for Daughter.  Limit of 10 and they were .57¢ each.  She works in a hot restaurant kitchen on weekends so needs the electrolytes they provide(and has promised to save the caps for me to get points on my Coke Rewards account).  10 bottles were $5.70 minus the $1/4 Weis coupon book Q making these $4.70 OOP or .47¢ each.

The 3 pounds of butter got added to the other 6 pounds I bought earlier this week at a rock bottom price around here of $2.37 lb. (The 6 packages bought earlier in the week got me another 10 Points toward my free meat item.)

I also did the Mix & Match Deal-buy 6 select items, get $3 off instantly.  3 Apple Juices and 3 bags of Croutons(both for the BF)after the discount cost .99¢ each....half price for the croutons and better than half price for the juice.

My last find was 4 packages of Ground Beef(3 80%/1 73%)with $2 off Instant Meat Discount stickers on them.  After discount stickers the packs came to between $2.50 +$2.58 per lb.  The best price around here this week for ground beef. Each package is a little over 1 lb. each so I just popped these into the freezer as is to pull out to use in the future.

After Qs and discounts and sales my total for all this plus more things was $46.57 OOP and I "only" saved 44% over regular retail.
A good trip but I've done much better.  ;-)

Since I got to 50 Points already I'll only be buying the best deals at Weis from now until Thanksgiving.  I'll concentrate my shopping at the Shursave grocery store to try to get to their reward.


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Random Stuff

* Do the grocery stores where you shop put out those ultra-smelly "decorative brooms" that are treated with cinnamon oil and smell like an overload of "Fall"?
You know.....the ones that have that overpowering cinnamon smell.
Weis(PMITA)Markets in my town puts them out in the "foyer" area of the entrance, which gets a lot of sunshine, and that extra warmth in an enclosed area that acts like a solar oven just adds to the release of the cinnamon aroma.

I do love me some cinnamon smells but it's quite disconcerting when it's September and the brooms are out since late August and we have a heat wave of temps in the 80's and as high as 90, and I walk into the foyer and am hit with a wall of hot cinnamon fragrance while I am dressed in Summer attire and sweating my brains out.
It just isn't a pleasant thang.......

* A reader left a comment about why I do giveaways.  Well, people like free stuff, right?  I make a teeny tiny bit of $ on my blog from advertisements(thanks to everyone who clicks on those)so I can afford to pay to ship a box now and again out of that income.  Plus I get stuff for cheap/free at Rite-Aid and occasionally at other places too.  And I like to give stuff away(and it gives me an excuse to buy things, the few things I do buy).
So, why not? 8-)))

* As of this past week I have passed the 1.7 million views threshold for my blog.  That's a whole lot of people stopping by to read since this here blog opened for business in January of 2009!

*  My computer updated Windows last week and when I opened up my mail program(OE)the update had done something strange to my inbox.  I was no longer able to delete emails in there.  Well, I could delete them but if I closed out and opened the mail program up again they were magically back.
WTF?!?!  By Wednesday, which was when everything righted itself(sort of), I had over 400 New emails in my inbox(most of those unwanted).  I tried to google a solution but everything I could find was at least from similar problems people had 2 years ago and didn't apply to my situation.
Everything is sort of back to normal now except that now I have two with all my old emails from before the Windows update that is now inactive and the other new inbox.  I guess once I get the new inbox cleaned out I'll migrate all the old inbox mail over to it.
This whole episode does point out that I really need to clean out my mail hoard however. lolz

* I already did a post about College Boy's concert that that's about it for things going on around here lately.

What's happening in your world?