Friday, June 29, 2012

A Lot of Stuff...

So a lot of stuff has been going on here.  The breakdown of the waterheater was followed less than two weeks later by a backup of the sewer line.  Apparently when we get dry summers in TX the tree roots just gravitate towards the sewer line.  And that does not equal a good thing.

So that had to be fixed.  Oh yeah, more money down the drain.  It's almost literal in this case.

Then we have a cat that's very old.  Well, old for a cat.  Spike was born (as near as we can figure) in 1998.  That makes him about fourteen years old.  Considering he probably spent the first year of his life outdoors he wasn't doing too badly.  He's had a couple of surgeries, one to remove a lump that was probably cancer, and other to remove bladder stones, and he's been on special food ever since. 

But he's a sweetheart and loves everybody including the new sissy who isn't thrilled by anyone who isn't her mommy or daddy.  And he's happy as long as his people are willing to pet him and give him some attention, even if it just means hanging out on the couch or by our feet when we're watching TV.  He's also a fairly hefty cat, and enjoys his food.  If I'm cooking he's in the kitchen hoping I'll drop something.

So when he started sleeping under the bed and not coming out unless I went and talked to him we knew something was wrong.  This is not typical Spike behavior.

After an overnight stay with the vet, an x-ray, iv's and a few other things to figure out what was wrong and get him feeling a little better we were able to take him home.  But we've been warned, our time with him is limited.  We've got medicine to address the problem he's having and he seems to have perked up a bit, but he's still got issues and its obvious.

But he's also still Spike, proven by his interestin a soup can and licking the broth out of it, to the point of sticking his head all the way in and sitting back so he was practically wearing the can.  As long as he's doing things like that, i.e. interested in food, we're doing okay.

Thankfully I got a promotion at work that was reflected in my paycheck this Friday.  That helps financially.  Emotionally and mentally we're all exhausted.  The promotion is great and the work is interesting, but I'm still working my old job during the bulk of my time because we haven't hired anyone for the position yet.

So we've all had our ups and downs this week.  But things are almost normal again.  Here's hoping this weekend is better than the last one!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Advice Is Always Free

So we're now officially having Summer in Texas.  And for all of you who are not in Texas I'll let you know a few things about my adopted state.

There are a lot of white cars here.  At first I thought it was because white makes everything look bigger.  It only took one Texas summer before I remembered that white doesn't absorb the heat the way other colors do.  White and silver are two of the most popular car colors down here.

If you must have a car in the color other than silver or white, don't buy a black car.  Trust me on this.  You can blast the A/C, park in the shade, put sunscreens in the windshield and you will still end up driving in a pool of perspiration if you have a black car.

Ask me how I know this.  Go on, ask.  I dare you.

You guessed it.  I drive a black car.  The husband always wanted one and when we had to buy a new car that's what we got.  So I get to drive the newer car because I drive farther to work.  As I sit in this black car, with black upholstery and a black dashboard I really start thinking I did not get the better part of this deal.

My brother covered up lousy upholstery in one of his first cars with teeshirts.  I'm thinking I might adopt something like that, just to see if it helps.  It certainly couldn't hurt.

In the meantime, I'm still trying to figure out exactly how to make a case for this dollhouse.  I'm wondering if putting all four sides on hinges so I can get at the house will work?  I've established that I need a wooden frame anyway.  Why not have hinges so I can open each side?  I'm hoping that will work instead of putting the house on a lazy susan.  If I did that the case would have to be something like four and a half feet square so the house could rotate fully.  That would mean when I build it, I'd be leaning into the case two feet on each side.

My back dislikes the idea of leaning.  My neck too.  Actually all of me dislikes it. 

So that's the latest.  And if anyone has suggestions about reducing heat in the car or making a case for this dollhouse I'd be more than happy to hear them.  I'd like to get started on this project before I turn another year older.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Owning a House...Or Why I Always Feel Broke

I have, as they say, good news and bad news.  The good news (desert first) is that we have hot water again. Yay!  What's that you say?  Don't most houses have hot water? Oh yes.  But only with a working hot water heater.  Which leads me to the vegetables, or the bad news.  Yep, we had to replace the hot water heater this week.

Oh Joy.

Wow, okay so I'm tired but I hope everyone can tell that's sarcasm. 

See I grew up in a house and I'm familiar with the problems they can have.  Water heaters leaking or breaking down.  Air conditioners not working when its 98 plus degrees outside.  Furnaces waiting until January to crap out.  Uh, have I ever mentioned I grew up outside of Chicago?  Texas winters are a breeze compared to Illinois.  Though I have seen more tornados and hail down here than I ever did up there.

There are certain things one has to get used to when living in a house in Texas.  Chances are the house will not have a basement, due to the type of earth/ground we have here.  And foundation repairs are something everyone needs whether they like it or not.  You also may find that your water heater is not located some where sensible like the garage (which we don't have) or the kitchen (which would make sense) but off of your back patio.  It will also only be accessible by a door on the outside of your house.

I know for all of you who live in Texas that this isn't exactly news.  But I was really, (and I can't say that enough) surprised by that.  It's still one of the things I find most irritating about my house.

Another strange thing to get used to is that the furnace isn't the basement (the lack of which has already been addressed) but it will be in a tiny closet, or sometimes in the attic.  The repair people for heating and air are always happy with the closet scenario because apparently attics are some of the worst places to deal with.

Having never been in my attic and never intending to go up there I wouldn't know.  I can imagine quite a bit though and I'll just stay on the ground floor.  It's not as if the attic is livable or even a place I want to store things.  I have closets for that.  The only time the attic door has ever been opened was when the house was inspected and when we had cable put in. 

I'd like to be clear.  That is totally fine with me.  I'm not a fan of bugs, dirt, spiders or leaves and I'm certain they all exist in my attic.

Other joys of owning a house are a huge front lawn.  Requiring the purchase of a working lawnmower when the old one breaks down.  We got an electric one and a couple of really long extension cords.  Best decision we every made as at least we didn't end up paying for a lot of gasoline every time we needed to mow.

A sprinkler system that has to be winterized and then set up again in the spring.  Trees that seem to drop limbs everywhere, including the back fence one year.  Leaves we have to rake or mow down into mulch.  The list goes on and on.

But lest you think I hate being a homeowner there are things we like.  My husband grew up in apartments.  Yesterday morning he decided to pay the bills (I know shocking right? Americans don't do that anymore do they? Yes, they do. Or at least we do.) to the tune of Electric Blue at a deafening volume.  No one complained or pounded on the walls or ceiling about the nose.  Because we're in a house and the neighbors couldn't hear.

We also, if you noticed from the cat pictures, have cats and made cat furniture for them.  Shelves that go beneath windows on the wall.  Yes, we have holes in the walls from pictures, cat shelves, a dartboard, curtain name it.  And we won't lose our security deposit over them because, yay, we own the place and if we want to knock down the walls hole by hole we're allowed.

We also don't have to troop down the hall and up a flight of stairs to do laundry, or down to a laundramat because we have a washer and dryer here. (One of which also had to be replaced recently.)

Oh, and we have four cats.  With the option for more if we're feeling stupid and crazy because four is enough for this small house.  But the point is we can have our four because there isn't a pet deposit or a limit on our house.  (Not sure if our city has a limit on pets, I should probably find out.)  And without our cats we'd go seriously crazy. 

I know what you're thinking.  We sound crazy already. 

Yeah, you got me there, but we're a benign sort of insane.  Play video games, watch movies and tv, and write all weekend kind of crazy.  Not the sitting on the roof and taking potshots at passing cars with a rifle crazy.

Owning a house is good.  I get credit because it was my idea. Also my 401k money that made it possible to make a down payment.  It's a good feeling most days.  I've had people be surprised that I'm a homeowner, apparently I don't always come off as responsible or something. 

But occassionally, it does feel like the house exists to take my money.  I like my house...but I really love having money.  I've been broke. I did not care for it.  And no matter how often my husband shows me our accounts and says we're fine...after a big expenditure like furnace repair, washer replacement, water heater replacement...I always feel nervous.  And broke.

I'm sure it'll go away sooner or later.

In the least writing is free entertainment right?

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Soooo Not the Point. So Now We have the Rules

So I read this quote the other day that apparently Fashion Bloggers just love.  'In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different' - Coco Chanel.

I will try to phrase my reaction (to quote the great David Ogden Stiers) as eloquently and succinctly as possible.


Maybe that worked for Coco Chanel.  But I ain't her.  I'm irreplaceable because I'm me goddammit and there won't ever be another me, not even if they work out cloning.  We are all the crazy combination of nature and nurture.  As such, we are all different, we are all individuals, we are all unique.  There's no need to work at it. 

These days everybody aspires to be unique.  Everybody wants to be special.  And not normal special where you're loved and appreciated by the people who matter to you.  No, people want to be famous special, or rich or whatever...

I am the first to admit that I am a plenty screwed up individual.  I maybe drink more than I should at times, say things that could be misconstrued if you don't know me, and tend to live in my head an awful lot.  I also will do just about anything for my friends, love my husband to death, and take care of my cats better than I do myself.

So here's an idea folks.  Lets not aspire to be unique. I've got some new rules.  Ready? Yeah, me neither but here goes anyway.

1) Do not aspire to be unique.  Unique is wonderful but it can also be a pain in the ass. Unique seems to translate to prima donna and nobody likes to be around that.  I'm not saying unique is bad, we're all unique really.  But making a point of it? That's kinda stupid.

2) Aspire to be yourself.  No one is exactly the same, nature and nurture combine to create (in the words of Star Trek) infinite variety in infinite combination.

3) Get to know who you are.  Figure out what makes you...well you.  What do you like? What do you love?  Who do you want to be when you grow up?

4) Enjoy your life. This is a free ride and there are plenty of ups and downs.  But if you aren't at least trying to enjoy it why bother?

5) Give yourself a break if you haven't done everything you think you should.  Who says you should have a doctorate by the time you're thirty?  Why does everyone think they should own a house?  Who made up these standards anyway?

6) Take responsibility for the things you've done good and bad.  I've screwed up.  I've made mistakes at work, at home, just about everywhere possible.  Admitting it and trying to fix what you've done is the best thing you can do.  In the end, I've got to believe that I'm leaving more good in the world than I am bad.

7) Remember that being human means that you are not perfect and only a moron would expect you to be.  That doesn't mean you can get away with doing less than your best every day.  You have a responsibility to yourself to do your best.

8) Find something you like about yourself and remember it.  Its really easy to feel that we can't do anything right when everything in life is going wrong.  You know, work suddenly sucks, you're exhausted, you've overweight, you don't want to get out of bed.  But if you like yourself? Or at least something about yourself...that can really get you through the day.

9) Being yourself is no excuse for being rude.  Yeah you all heard me.  I accept that you are a unique and distinctive individual and I treasure you as such but that doesn't mean you get to treat me like I'm dirt.  Manners are the best way we have of showing courtesy and consideration for those around us.  If we're all polite to each other, even if the worlds coming to an end, at least we're trying to show some decency to others.

10) Ignorance may be bliss, but its no excuse.  Yep.  Sorry folks, but if you don't know something. Ask. Don't pretend you know and then get yourself in more trouble.  Somebody said the world is made for fools and the unaware.  Well as one of the aware who often has to clean up and or deal with the mess leftover from the unaware/ignorant, educate yourself and save us all a lot of trouble?

So that's it.  Those are my rules.  They might need to be tweaked some or maybe you don't agree with them.  But that's okay.  They're mine and they work for me.  If they work for you, that's great.  If they don't...make up your own rules.

Just remember, this is America.  I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.  Unless you're yelling fire in a crowded theatre. That's stupid and wrong and you'll be prosecuted.

Oh, and I fixed the comments so if you want to you can comment on this even if you don't have a Blogger account or a google thingy or whatever.  So go on now and tell me how smart I am.  Or how much you disagree. 

I'm waiting...

Actually I'm not.  I'm going to get ready to go see Prometheus.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Exercise Really Interferes with my Life

So I haven't been able to write as much lately.  I'd like to point out that while writing is enjoyable and something I would rather do than almost anything else, it also takes an enormous amount of energy.

So last week when my doctor said that I needed to lose weight...  Okay, lets be clear here, I've needed to lose weight for a while.  That's not exactly a surprise.  But last year I fell down the stairs at work and hurt my neck badly enough that I needed medical help.  In that year I gained at least fifty pounds.  I'm currently heavier than I've been in twelve years.  Needless to say, I am not pleased.

So my doctor kindly explained to me the exact amount of pressure my weight was putting on my knees, one of which had already had problems, and that if I didn't lose weight I'd need knee replacement surgery by the time I was fifty.  And oh, here's some fun news, most doctors won't even think about doing a knee replacement until the patient is sixty.  My knees haven't been bothering me much for the past six months and that's great.  But it also means I have no excuse to not exercise.

Except for the fact that I totally hate exercise.  It's boring.  It's uncomfortable. (We'll ignore the pain the day after the exercise for now.)  I get sweaty and feel gross.  And then there's the body issue.  To use the vernacular, I've got a big rack.  Trying to find a sports bra to fit me is like trying to find a trebuchet capable of slinging the Grand Tetons.

My doctor understood that I hate exercise and I love food.  And my lifestyle tends toward the sedentary.  But at the same time I really don't have a choice.  Eating healthier is good and will go a long way but I have to exercise.  And he also said I should get my husband on board with this.

To give the husband credit, he was immediately on board. He was so on board that he bought a Kinect (sp?) for the Xbox so we could exercise.  It's kinda fun, and it certainly gets my heart rate up.  But OH MY GOD does this take up my time.

Understand that I get up at five in the morning.  I'm out the door by six.  I drive to work and usually end up in the building a few minutes before seven.  I have an hour before work during which I eat and fix my face so I don't scare small children or my more naive co-workers.  And I try to write in the time I have left before eight.  I work until five.  Then I drive home.  If I'm really fortunate and other drivers aren't being complete idiots I'll get home a few minutes before six.  My husband will usually get home twenty minutes after me.

The past two days have been rainy in the greater DFW area.  This means other drivers are being complete idiots.  It has taken me much longer to get to work and home than a normal day.  My husband actually beat me home last night.

So at six thirty in the evening we're starting to exercise.  That means we aren't even done with it until at least seven or later.  Bear in mind that if I'm going to get a decent amount of sleep I need to go to bed by nine.  That gives me two hours to eat, prepare for the next day (pick out clothes etc) wash my face, and maybe write.

This does not take into account the exhaustion and simultaneous revving of my system so that I'm unable to sleep until ten.  Or if the husband wants to watch TV.  Or if the cats are acting insane.  Or if I need to cook up something to eat for breakfast the next morning.

I'm sure that after we get into a routine I'll start to find all this normal and be excited about beating my husband at boxing.  Or I'll have the energy to hit the recumbent bike before we do the Xbox workout.  Maybe I'll even lose weight.  But in the mean time...

Maybe I can get by on less sleep. Or try to write more during my lunch hour or breaks at work.  But right now its seven thirty and I need to start messing with my face. 

But at least I got to write today.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Getting Ahead of Myself

Anyone who knows me can tell you I'm not the most patient person in the world.  Really.  Ask ANYONE who works with me or is related to me.  Heck, ask my cats, I'm sure they have an opinion. (Anybody who has cats can tell you they always have an opinion whether you want to hear it or not.)

Maybe I should clarify.  With some things I have no patience; traffic, restaurants (though I'm minutely better than my husband) rude people, stupid people, computers...the list goes on and on. You get the idea.  And for this I don't really apologize.  I go through life making every attempt to obey the law, be polite and considerate, and pay my bills.  I expect others to do the same and I'm disappointed quite a bit these days.  Turn signals are a thing of the past, no one uses their inside voice in restaurants (maybe I should say that the outside voices are the new inside voices) and everyone seems to have given their children carte blanche to behave badly.

Is it any wonder I like to stay home and plan things to do that involve minimal outside contact?

I do have patience with some things.  For instance I know that unless I'm Tony Stark a dollhouse isn't built in a day.  I can happily spend days sewing tiny jointed teddy bears by hand.  I spent months making doll clothes for my niece's doll. (Actually that required my husband's patience more than mine, but you get the idea.)

That doesn't mean that I don't put the cart before the horse now and then.  See the dollhouse is still in its two boxes.  I'm still trying to figure out the dimensions for the protective/display case to keep the dollhouse in. (Yeah that sentence was grammatically ugly, I know, get off my back.)  And yet...I've now purchased two dolls and another piece of furniture for the dollhouse.  The results of my folly are displayed below.
A nice Victorian lady.

See, a very nice Victorian man.
I only had one bureau and the bedroom is pretty big soo...
So now I am resolved that I'll at least get the measurements of the case figured out and possibly the materials purchased for the case.  The dining room table is mostly cleared off and my next cleaning project is my desk so hopefully I'll be able to make a good start on the case.

See what I mean? Cart before the horse. No patience... Eh, what's life without whimsy right?

But I am pretty excited about some other stuff I bought.  Had this great idea for hats...for the dolls in the dollhouse... see the lady doll I bought has removable wouldn't it be nice that she have a new hat?  Something in keeping with the Texas climate I think... Hmm...

Yeah... I know.  For someone with an Associates degree in Accounting I really don't seem too organized do I? 

I never claimed to be normal. Or sane.

But at least I'm not boring.