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My mother, who only seems to call me after I've gotten comfortable on the couch, or when I've just finished popping popcorn and it's nice and hot, or stops when I'm cooking dinner, called a little after 8:00 p.m. last night to ask me to take Grama to an appointment this afternoon. She was well aware that I'd have to take time off work to do so, but she and Dad both had a "bug" and she didn't want to go around Gram with it.

Well, what could I say? Of course I agreed. And then I decided to take the whole day off, because why not?

This morning, I get up to find out that Mom and Dad spent the night in the emergency room. Seems Dad doesn't have a bug; he's got an intestinal blockage, and this morning, they're just waiting on a bed to admit him. Yay? Of course, I have nothing from Mom about this; I'm getting it from my sister, who seems to be the only one my mother actually communicates with, though I suspect that has more to do with the fact that she has Bird's cell phone number than anything else.

The first of today's storms rolled through here at 12:30 a.m. -- or at least, that's when I was up wandering through the house in the dark. Not that the power went out; I just didn't turn on any lights. There was something about it that just made me nervous and unsettled. The dog was looking at me quizzically; that's supposed to be his department. Also, I had a terrific headache, which I still have this morning. In fact, I could totally lie back down and take a nap for a couple of hours. Maybe I should. I won't, mind you, but maybe I should.

It is storming again right now, and very dark, though it does seem to be getting a tiny bit lighter. According to the weather wiseacres, it's supposed to stop raining by the time I have to pick up Grama. We'll see.

I am worried about the kittens. I don't imagine it's very dry under that ramp right now, not with the way the wind was blowing last night. I've been trying to figure out how to rig additional shelter for them that won't immedicately funnel water under the ramp. The best I'm coming up with is to angle a small box adjacent to the ramp under the overhang of the back of the breezeway. There's about a foot of space there that's usually dry. That might work, as long as I rig it so that the box can't fall and trap them, should they choose to use it. This requires a bit more thought.

Since I'm home, I should probably call a garage today, either mine or BFT's. Well we'll see.

Hm. It's brighter now than it was just two minutes ago, but it's also pouring.

Right. I need to go take some ibuprofen for my head, get dressed in real clothes (as opposed to my This Is What I Was Wearing Yesterday And I Totally Threw It On Just To Walk The Dog This Morning clothes), and maybe finish cleaning off the dining room table, because I'm tired of that huge mess. (The dining room table is a bit of a catchall, but if I make it pretty with a tablecloth and centerpiece, it might prevent me from just tossing things on it and leaving them there for weeks.)

Day of Moan

May. 1st, 2017 09:37 pm
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Well...no bats so far. Not that I'd really expect to see them this early in the season, anyway, it's just...well, it's just. I think maybe the next thing I have tackled will be the bathroom, even if it's just to have someone come in and put up the ceiling. I have the names of three different contractors: the guy who fixed the kitchen light (and who I thought was a little expensive, and does it really take three hours to change out a light?), and two others. Well, four others if you count the guy who installed the new furnace (he's not just a furnace guy) and the guy who he subcontracted to -- though my neighbor warned me against hiring that last guy.

Yesterday, I met an old friend -- oh, let's be honest, old boyfriend -- for breakfast. We met at 9:30 and finally left the restaurant at 12:30, and we could probably have talked for another couple of hours, too. We haven't seen one another in a few months, and the last time we did wasn't really conducive to chatting, so the last time we had a chance for a good talk was probably a year or more ago. So that was nice. We've known each other for thirty-some-odd years at this point, so a lot of our conversation was about finding ourselves middle-aged (which isn't so nice).

After that, I came home, and decided that since it was sunny, I'd try to get some laundry done, even though storms were in the forecast. I did get the laundry on the line for an hour or so before I had to bring it in; I left it in the breezeway to finish drying. I also started to clean the breezeway out yesterday afternoon; I got the couch turned around and that corner of the room cleared. There's only one outlet, and there doesn't appear to be power to it -- whether it's disconnected, like the wall furnace, or whether it's just turned off, I do not know. I don't really need power out there; I won't be using it after dark. There's still a lot of work to be done, though.

I was sweeping some of the accumulated dirt and dead leaves out the back door when my mother walked in the front door. "What are you doing?" she asked. "What does it look like I'm doing?" I said, broom in hand.

As usual, my folks weren't actually here to see me. Usually when they wander in on a Sunday, it's because Mom has a list of things she's bought for Grama and she wants to be reimbursed, so she wants a check. This time, it was because she wanted to grill me about my sister, who is apparently having trouble at work -- trouble which I had only learned about yesterday morning when Bird caught me on FB and asked if I had any ideas about what she should do.

(It seems that because she isn't constantly Miss Susie Sunshine, she's been passed over for a summer job that she has done for the last three or four years and her unit supervisor actually told her that she would be reluctant to recommend Bird for a permanent position -- which isn't going to be a problem, anyway, if Bird can't ever place high enough on the clerical exam. In any case, this particular supervisor is only going to be with us for another nine months (thank goodness!) and Bird's temporary permanent position (it's a permanent position in that it gets her benefits and union membership, but it's a position with a time limit of two years and some months) runs for another four or five months after that, so it won't be up to Madame High and Mighty. I told her to try to get moved to one of the units upstairs; I'm not certain that those clerks are under Mme H&M's control.)

Today...was Monday. I had a low-level headache by lunchtime, and I stayed in the office for lunch so I didn't have to put up with the Gecko. I was going to stay after work, too, but ended up hurrying home so that I could get Jack walked because we were under not only a severe storm warning, but a tornado watch -- all of WNY was under a tornado watch, and Mom called Bird to let her know that there were tornadoes on the ground in PA. (Bird lives over the border in PA.) Of course, those tornadoes were two and three hours away, but they were on the ground! Mom gets a little...over-anxious about these things.

So I got home, rushed right past the Gecko to get socks and change into my sneakers and take off my jewelry and grab my raincoat and get back out to get Jack around the block...and we got as far as the parking lot at the end of the block where we cut over to the next street and it started to rain. And by "rain," I mean "the heavens opened and all the waters of the world fell down upon us, yea, and also did blow the winds, so that there were white-caps on the puddles." Jack and I were both drenched pretty much immediately, and to get home, we had to turn back into it because it was coming from the west(ish) and we were walking east. It blew my hood off right away, and Jack was simultaneously trying to huddle on the ground and shelter behind me. We passed a bush he usually pees on, and he headed straight for it; I thought he was going to pee again, but instead he tried to crawl under it. He was quite put out with me for insisting that we go home, but he was probably even more relieved than I was when we got there. He looked like a drowned rat and there was so much water in my sneakers that they sloshed. I'll be wearing something else for morning walkies. My pants were so wet that I had to wring them out in the tub and hang them in the bathroom to dry. My socks...well, I just tossed them into the tub. We were a seriously bedraggled pair.

I've been caught out in the rain before, but never such a deluge with such high winds. It was...unpleasant, and Jack's obvious anxiety wasn't helping.

But at least the smell of wet dog overpowered the smell of unwashed Gecko, so....
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I took Thursday off from work because I had to drive to Rochester for a mammogram, which I think I mentioned on Thursday morning. The trip was pretty stress-free (I was on time even though I had to stop halfway, and didn't miss the exit), and the exam came out okay. They didn't insist that I stay for an ultrasound, but did suggest that I have one as a matter of course next year due to density issues. (My density has popped me to you.)

Sometimes, after my appointment, I go shopping. Sometimes, I just come straight back home. Thursday, I decided to at least stop at Pier 1 because I had $20 in rewards certificates to use, and even though they'll take them after they're expired and there's a Pier 1 right by my aunt and uncle's place (we will stop there, in fact, on one of our Shopping Days), I felt like stopping, and no left turns were involved, so I stopped. I was so pleased that I did because they had in stock collage frames to match one that I purchased in Buffalo last year. I had loaded it with Paris photos and wanted a matching one to load with London photos. Or even Italy photos because I still haven't hung any of those. Anyway, I went through every frame on their website and they didn't have it in stock, anymore. It was still marked at the regular price, but I got one, anyway. And then when I got to the register, it rang in for $17, which is something like 85% off the original price...so I got their remaining one, too. So now I have one for London and Italy (probably one photo per city). I was so pleased with myself for stopping, because I had considered just coming straight home and mowing the lawn. Anyway, I picked up a few other things that I wanted, and with the deep sales they were having and my reward coupons, the whole order came to just about the regular price of one of the frames. So, yeah, pretty pleased with myself (even though I shouldn't be spending any money at all).

So Thursday was good.

Friday...less so.

Jack was really upset with me on Friday because when I came downstairs, I skipped our morning ritual (when I give him skritches for a couple of minutes while fur flies all over my living room), and ran straight to the laundry room because as soon as I got downstairs, I heard this loud hissing noise. My first thought was the gas line to the dryer, but it turned out to be water under pressure -- you know how it hisses, instead of trickling or running or gurgling. I couldn't find anything wrong in the laundry room, though, so I went down into the basement...yikes, what a mess.

I had noticed, on my way through the living room that some cat had pooed on the throw rug in the living room, and when I went downstairs, I found out why: the litter boxes were flooded because something was leaking and water was sheeting down the basement wall and into the litter boxes...and beyond, since they were full. Which...ugh.

I got the cold water valve turned off, but the hot water valve was corroded. I didn't want to turn the water off at the main house valve because I hadn't even been to the bathroom, yet, so the water continued to run for a couple of hours until I could get hold of my parents. (Yes, the same ones that I complain about constantly. Though it's really just my mother. My dad is okay.) They came down around 7:30 (water still running) and Dad got the corroded valve to turn (fortunately, we found the tools in the toolbox that Grama had given me after Grampa died), but it didn't shut the water off, so we did end up shutting off the water to the house. And let me tell you, you never think about how much water you use and where until you don't have it.

I had already called in to work, but then Mom said that since the immediate problem was taken care of, they needed to hit some garage sales and Dad would be back in a couple of hours to fix the problem, which turned out to be an abraded washer hose. Because the valves were in the basement, hoses ran through the floor, and one of them had rubbed against the edges of the hole and kaplooeyhisswetwetwetflood.

Now my mother's time sense is something like Football Time or SCA Time -- if she says "a couple of hours," you can bet she means "around noon, if you're lucky." My sister had already taken the day off to come be moral support, so I had her sit with Jack while I got dressed and went to work for a couple of hours because I had a meeting that morning that wasn't necessarily earth-shattering, but which had been hell on wheels to schedule, and I didn't want to have to attempt to reschedule it. So I worked for two hours, then came back home, and my dad didn't show up for another half hour or so -- just as expected. (I went got to work at 10:15 and left at 12:15.)

Anyway. To make a long story slightly longer, we decided to extend the water pipes above the floor into the laundry room. HTWIWM had left them in the basement because he always wanted the washer and dryer in the basement. Either in the basement or in the upstairs bathroom (and we all know how that story goes). My father used to work at the water filtration plant in town, so he knows plumbing (because there's no way in hell that they'd've hired a plumber to fix anything). I had to buy the parts (which is why I left work instead of just leaving him to it), but I also helped install them (mostly holding the light and extra hands), so I learned a few things.

And right now, my second load of laundry is running, and so far -- knock wood -- things are holding.... But now I've got a full load of filthy rags hanging on the laundry line -- I took them straight from the basement and hung them up sopping wet rather than trying to wring them out -- and I don't want to run them through my washer, so I'm actually contemplating throwing almost my entire supply of rags (old towels, all) away. I suppose I could wash them out by hand in the backyard, then hang them back up to dry. That might be the best thing to do.

The rest of the weekend has been far less exciting: yesterday, I spent a good chunk of the day finishing (more or less) the clean up of the basement and working on getting garage sale stuff around. Today, I have a writing project to finish up, then I'm meeting The Girls this afternoon to see Independence Day: Resurgence. They had better not have screwed this sequel up because ID4 is one of my favorite movies, and the one I always turn to when I'm really depressed.
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Yesterday's armed standoff ended around 5:00 p.m.; according to a Buffalo TV station, the police eventually ran out of patience with the guy and went in and got him. The guy who was shot (not a deputy, after all) is apparently going to be all right; he was flown to a Buffalo hospital. I am sad because someone's dog got lost in the whole thing; the dog got across the police line and the owner couldn't go after it.

I am displeased with some of my coworkers, though. One of them was going around bitching loudly about how we weren't on lockdown. Well, for one thing, the guy was contained, and for another, to get to us, he'd've had to run a several blocks and go through a single door. But she actually tried to contact the county administrator (currently on vacation) to demand that he pay more attention to our safety.

It got to the point where I mentioned to Co-Conspirator P that someone ought to duct tape the woman's mouth...which, now that I think on it, should just be done as soon as she clocks in in the morning because she's just obnoxious, period.

My parents dropped by last night because a) I am the keeper of my grandmother's purse strings and Mom has bought her some things lately and wanted a check for reimbursement, and b) to let me know that Easter dinner will be at the banquet center (ugh, gak, their food is awful) around mid-afternoon. Or so she plans, anyway; she hasn't actually made the reservations yet.

And then she made me quite a handsome offer. She hadn't realized, until lately, that I had considered buying my grandmother's house. Her offer was that if I wait until the house comes to her and MyAuntie, then I will only have to pay Auntie's share of the sale price. She will sign the rest over to me. This is...staggering, and unexpected, but I'm not sure how I feel about it. I do like my grandmother's house, and it has many features that I have always wanted (a dishwasher, a fireplace, a proper fence, a nice view, access to the dikes for walkies), but it is also quite a lot smaller than my house, much farther from work and I'd have to fight my way along the busiest streets in town (no mean feat, and it would increase my commute from six minutes to at least twenty -- I know some folks will be saying, "Aw, poor you!", but I don't live in a Big City, and so that is actually a Big Deal), and I said I'd never live inside the city limits again. On the other hand, I could probably afford to continue to pay this mortgage, if necessary, and pay MyAuntie.

I dunno. I will have to think very hard about this. As much as I loathe some parts of this house, it is my home.....
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Just as I was leaving with Jack for walkies yesterday afternoon, my parents showed up. Dad couldn't find anything wrong with the plumbing and couldn't figure out what the problem was, but offered to take the guts out of the toilet and clean them out. Could be mineral build-up or something, he thought. So he did that, then found a couple of small parts that needed to be replaced, so we headed over to the Despot to purchase new bits, and Dad fixed things. The screeching has been going on for so long that I've gotten used to it, so when the plumbing works without it, I expect it to break, but it's nice to not have the noise.

My dad is the best dad.

Though because they showed up so late in the day, my dinner plans were completely derailed and I ended up at McDonald's....

Today has been mostly damp. It rained this morning and is now just grey and damp and chilly. Of course "chilly" is actually somewhat warmer than it would normally be at this time of year, so I guess I should stop complaining, right? According to the weather wiseacres, it's actually supposed to be a relatively unpleasant week, with rain every day, but sun on Saturday. We'll see how it goes.

I was mostly productive at work today, which is unheard of. Of course, I was basically touching the low-hanging fruit: things that were easy to finish and get off my desk. Still, you have to have days like that now and again when you have cases waiting that are going to take up the entire day and then some. I have a couple of those looming; they're cases that I've already denied (both for failure to provide verification, I think) that I now have to do reconsiderations on, and, if I have all the docs, now, will end up opening.

I was somewhat delusional when I shopped for groceries on Saturday; I believed that I would actually start to cook again. (I've barely cooked for myself for years, since my divorce, because it's really fucking hard to cook for one person.) I had planned chicken and biscuits for dinner last night, with leftovers for lunch today. That, of course, was derailed by my parents showing up hours later than promised, and whether I make it before the weekend or not will depend on whether or not I remember to thaw the chicken. I did remember to thaw the ham today, so for dinner I had roasted asparagus, rice, and ham.

I cooked!

The plan is to have something that will generate leftovers for lunch the next day, but if it doesn't, well, I'll have Cream of Wheat with berries. I'm trying to get in the habit of eating better. Gods know I could eat much worse than I already do. At least, unlike my mother, I don't consider a supersized breakfast from McDonald's and then no food until I get dinner from another restaurant a diet.

We'll see how long it lasts, because I really hate cooking. But for this week, I have a dinner planned for every evening: spaghetti, steak and sweet potato and grilled green beans, roasted potatoes and carrots with sausage, and, at some point, chicken and biscuits. The spaghetti will probably generate plenty of leftovers for lunches, and that's fine, because the steak and sweet potato won't.

In case you're wondering, yes, I am rambling until it's time to feed the critters. Which...it's time to feed the critters.

*sigh*

Mar. 13th, 2016 02:54 pm
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It's going on 3:00 p.m. I'm clearly going to have to have a talk with my mother about what constitutes "early" afternoon....
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Jack is following me around the house, all excited -- he thinks he's going to get something, or get to go somewhere because I am showered, dressed, and have shoes on. (All unusual events on a weekend; since I go for groceries so early in the morning, I often do it in sweatpants.) I am going somewhere. He is not. I have an appointment at the salon in about forty-five minutes. Doesn't that sound glamourous? I'm getting my roots done and my ends trimmed -- I am still not willing to stop dyeing my hair. Maybe in a few years. Maybe never.

I'd love to show up to work on Monday with purple/blue/green twilight waterfall hair, but I don't actually have layers, and that sort of coloring actually needs layers to work properly. Plus, I'd probably get sent home again. Or made to wear a hat. While we don't have a dress code, I can't see them putting up with that kind of...unprofessional look. Despite the head of Accounting who wears Bills sweatpants on Fridays during Bills season. But he's one of the Good Ol' Boys, so it's okay....

My grandmother received another bill related to her recent hospital stay and is obsessing over it -- so much so that not only did I get email from MyAuntie yesterday reminding me to call the hospital and have them apply the financial aid, but my parents also dropped in to bring all of the bills from Gram's drawer, including that one in particular, despite the fact that I had planned to pick them up by Monday evening at the latest. I'm not certain that the hospital's financial aid will apply, though, as it's from an outside doctor, and came from his office, rather than from the hospital proper. I suppose if I don't show up to see Gram this weekend, I'll be getting unintelligible phone calls. I do wish she'd realize that I'm never going to not show up. But she doesn't have much else to do other than obsess as she doesn't mix much with the other residents down there. She prefers to stay in her room, mostly. Which, frankly, is probably what I would do, too....

My parents, of course, did not leave immediately, oh no. They also had my high school piccolo with them. (If you're not familiar with the piccolo, it's basically a miniature flute, very much more high-pitched.) I thought my sister had pawned it back when she was living in North Carolina. (My sister was also a flautist in high school, so when I graduated, I let her have my piccolo, because there was no way I was going back to playing second flute in the university's orchestra after sitting first chair in my high school band, mostly because I always hated playing harmony. Now, of course, I find that harmony is often cleverer than melody, but I'm no longer musical. Also, also, when I was not allowed to go to music school, I gave it up.)

Where was I? Oh, yes, my parents. They wanted to know about streaming devices, so I demonstrated my Roku to them. They want to drop cable TV, and I can't say as I blame them. Even basic cable is quite expensive, and I will probably have to drop it when my introductory rate ends at the end of the summer. Though now that I think on it, if I were smart, I'd drop it now and put that money into a jar for either the cruise or next summer's trip....

Anyway. I cannot get my parents to understand that I do not like to have people just barge into my house and then stay for an hour. They're too social and Just Don't Get It. Aside from the fact that whatever my mother wants trumps whatever anyone else wants....

I am continuing to watch Space: 1999 even though it's sort of boring. I'm not really binge-watching, though. One episode an evening is sufficient.

Also...I just keep typing and typing and typing to lure Jack into a false sense of security....
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Deadpool was quite funny. There was quite a lot of laughter. I think it's no secret that there is a lot of fourth-wall breaking, which I kind of love. I do have to wonder, though, how many people under the age of 45 or so will get the reference in the stinger. Is it doubly-meta if the stinger references the stinger of another movie that breaks the fourth wall?

I rather suspect BFT and I will find ourselves at the cinema again next weekend.

In other staring-at-screens news, I finished the third season of Elementary yesterday before the movie. I was hoping to be able to catch up the rest of the season On Demand, but they only have the last half-dozen episodes or so. It seems that I will not be able to see the first half of the season unless I want to pay for CBS All Access, which I do not. There is a week's free trial, which would actually be plenty of time to get through the first several episodes, but I would probably forget to cancel it. Mind you, I really, really, really, really want to see those episodes, and I have today and tomorrow off, so I might do it anyway.... On the other hand, I could just watch the current episodes and catch up when the season ends, but my completist soul rebels at the thought.

I gave my parents a framed photograph for Christmas of a shot of two of the trilithons at Stonehenge. The other day, my mother asked me if it was a photograph that I had taken. Well, of course it was. Why would I give her a framed photograph that someone else had taken when I was there this past summer? I believe we are going to try to get back there next summer, as well. And Glastonbury. Fair warning, [personal profile] silme....

Today, I really have to do the laundry. I've been putting off, and for no good reason, really; I just didn't feel like messing about with it. But it's time.
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My vaction has, so far, not gone as well as I might have liked. I have had company or had to go out every day so far, and the plan was to spend as much time wrapped in a blankie on the couch as possible. Christmas, of course, I hosted dinner. Saturday, my sister showed up with my niece, then after they left, my dad showed up and stayed for half an hour or so. I was so looking forward to finally having a day all to myself yesterday. I didn't bother with going out for groceries; I didn't bother with taking a shower or washing my hair. I did a little writing in the morning, and then settled on the couch in the afternoon to watch Persuasion because one of my favorite cold-weather Sunday things is to wrap up in a blankie and watch Jane Austen movies. Just about the time I was ready to turn the movie off and take a nap, I heard a door slam in the driveway.

Motherpusbucket....

Someone had finally persuaded Grama to go to the ER, and they were admitting her overnight, so Mom had sent Dad to get me to pack up an overnight bag for her because I'd know better than Dad what she would need.

Um...really? Really? RLY?!?

I'm not certain what sort of logic that was, actually, especially since Dad is always with Mom when she gets supplies for Grama -- I'm not. So I'd think he'd know far better than I, but whatever. I got into a pair of jeans (because I was in my favorite pair of ratty sweatpants that I had to repair not too long ago with iron-on patches) and away we went.

Anyway. I sat with Gram in the ER bay for over an hour while Mom and Dad went out to get supper. They offered to take me home, but I figured that someone ought to be there to wrangle Gram's stuff if she got moved upstairs before Mom and Dad got back, and it's a good thing I did stay, since that's what happened.

I have to say, though, when you're in the ER, you don't want to hear this, in reference to the patient in the next bay over, when you're just separated by curtains: "Where's security? I don't trust this guy." (Said guy had put his hand through a plate-glass window, and was asked a couple of times if he did drugs.) And even though the nurse wasn't in the bay with him, if I heard her, he certainly did, as well. Nice.

I'm half expecting to get a call that I need to go pick Gram up at the hospital and take her home, because I haven't yet received email from my mother that she's been discharged, and Mom and Dad have to go to Buffalo today. Though Dad did say that they might cancel because the weather was supposed to turn bad.

Mom was right, by the way: Gram has bronchitis. The reason they were keeping her overnight, though, was an elevated heart enzyme. They were pretty sure that she hadn't had a heart attack and that her chest pain was just from her coughing, but they were keeping her overnight just to be absotively posilute.

After Dad brought me home (while they were settling Gram; because she tests positive for MRSA, she has to be in isolation, and I didn't feel it was necessary to gown and glove up to go in and be in the way), I walked Jack, fed the three of them, ate something for dinner, and finished the rest of my goddamned movie.

And then I watched the Doctor Who Christmas special for the third time, mostly so I could watch Capaldi's face while River is ranting about how she may be the woman who loves the Doctor, but that doesn't mean he loves her back.
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It is quite warm and breezy out there. I wonder if this pretty warm for the last days of autumn weather is going to preclude a January thaw? Walkies this morning was far less of a burden than December walkies can be, though Jack saw or scented something a couple of times that he wanted to investigate. He didn't jerk at the leash (too much), but he was definitely interested in something. Bunnies, perhaps.

I am trying to decide whether or not to take this afternoon off to fix the fence. I don't actually think it will take very long; I'm not planning to take the old fence down, just run a new section of fencing along behind it. I am planning to hack at the grapevines, though. I haven't decided whether or not I'll try to kill them completely by sawing through the main trunks (and I would definitely need a saw), or whether I'll just cut through a bunch of the branches with loppers. I need to cut them back in any case to actually get to the fence. Besides, they're killing my lilacs.

Why take this afternoon off? So I don't have to do it tomorrow or Sunday. So I can be lazy on the weekend, because I like being lazy on the weekend.

In dog-related news, the Ravenous Gecko has been quite good about not getting into things since I left the note for her on Monday. So much so, in fact, that I'm planning on give her more cash than I had originally intended to. I think time will tell the tale on this one, though; I'm curious to see how long it takes her to revert to form. Maybe she won't. Maybe she just needed someone who wasn't yelling at her (like my sister and grandmother) to set firm rules for her. Yeah, maybe.

In other dog-related news, I have still not heard back from the dog guy. Why do people bother to put "Email me" links on their websites if they're not going to respond to the resulting email? I realize that they probably get a lot of spam that way, but if they're running a business, they should spend at least a little bit of time sorting through it. (Why haven't I called him? Because I keep forgetting to. I get busy at work doing my, you know, job, and forget about things I'm not supposed to be thinking about at the time, anyway.)

In non-dog-related news, Dad got the result of his biopsy yesterday. Some abnormalities, but no cancer. They're going to keep an eye on it, though. Whew.

My parents dropped in last night to pick up the last of their garage-sale stuff from the garage. They're having a sale this weekend since it's supposed to be in the low 60s. Another reason to take this afternoon off to fix the fence: my parents are having a sale, which means that it's going to rain.

I am still reading the Harry Dresden books, though I am taking a bit of a break to finish up the Mary Poppins series, which should be taking me less time than it is, but I generally only read during my breaks at work these days, and there's only so much one can read in fifteen minutes, even when one stretches it to twenty-five because one is a badass rule-breaker.

I got a new winter coat yesterday. I'm rather proud of myself for getting it half off, plus an additional $20 off in points, so it was about 70% off. It's from Lands End, one of those puffy, downy things. It's supposed to be packable (in case I ever get to Venice for Carnivale), and it's also supposed to be Really Warm. It's got the highest or second-highest cold rating (maybe that should be lowest?); it's supposed to keep you warm in nose-pinchy weather. I dunno. It's awfully thin; my spring jacket seems thicker and heavier. I'm thinking that maybe my definition of "warm" isn't the same as theirs, à la "inconceivable." We'll see, though. I'll be able to test it out during dike walkies in a couple of weeks....

So...

Oct. 4th, 2015 11:21 am
malinaldarose: (Default)
Is anyone surprised that my parents did not, in fact, show up yesterday? I stayed home yesterday pretty much just so that I would be here because Mom didn't know when they'd manage to make it to this end of town. I had originally planned to either go to a movie or take Jack to see Grama. This is why I do not ask them for help. My mother emailed me around dinnertime that they had had too much to do and that she wasn't feeling well -- which is her answer to everything she doesn't really want to do. "I don't feel well."

They will, of course, show up at some point today when it is least convenient. Or not at all, especially if I make a point of sticking around for them, like I did yesterday.

*sigh*

I did get a reasonable amount of work done around here yesterday, though. I slew the ferocious grocery beast, ran the vacuum through the whole house, gave up on keeping Jack off the folding bed in the Spare Oom and just put a blanket over it, cleaned the kitchen (twice), and spent the afternoon working on editing my trip photos. I have about 200 still to go.

It rained all day, until about an hour after I walked Jack in the afternoon. The weather is supposed to be warmer and dryer today, but I don't suppose it matters much. My plans for the day include doing the laundry (I had sort of planned to hang it out, but the oak tree under which the laundry line runs is too wet, so it'll have to go in the basement (the laundry, not the oak tree)) and watching Practical Magic and Hocus Pocus. There will also be crockpot soup today; I'm planning on cheeseburger soup, which only takes a few hours, so I don't have to start it until this afternoon. My usual crockpot soups take all day, and I normally have to have them going by 10:30.

I finished watching Logan's Run the other night. I never got to watch the show when it was on the air, but I've watched it through a couple of times since I acquired the DVDs...except that this time, I didn't remember ever seeing the last two episodes before. I think the show was cancelled before they were aired. 'Tis a puzzlement. I did wonder, though, about a couple of things. In reality (even in fiction), neither Logan nor Jessica would've kept wearing the same clothes -- especially Jessica. Her City clothing was completely inappropriate for Outside, especially those thin slippers (though at least they weren't spike heels). You'd've thought that the first time she stepped on a pebble, she'd've been eager to find new footwear. Any of the people they encountered on their journey could have helped them with that. Still, I enjoyed the show. It mostly stands up if you can ignore the obvious stock footage (there's this one tiny sequence of Logan starting the hovercraft -- just his hand flipping switches, but they reused that footage in several episodes), and the "advanced" technology that is...really not.

This next weekend is Columbus Day weekend already. I wonder if I should take an extra day off....

Huh

Oct. 3rd, 2015 09:06 am
malinaldarose: (Default)
I should post bitterly about my parents more often. I found email waiting from my mother that she and my father would stop by today sometime so he could show me where to oil the furnace motor.
malinaldarose: (Default)
I do. I loathe this time of year. I hate autumn almost as much as I hate winter. The only good thing about autumn is that I don't have to feel guilty about spending all of Sunday sitting on the couch watching movies. (Which reminds me: order a couch board.) Which is pretty much the only good thing about winter, too. Well, that, and I can wear scarves. I love scarves, and most of mine are too heavy for summer, even summer in the office.

But I would trade scarves for more summer in an instant.

Last Saturday, it was nearly 80°. Today, it's not supposed to be 45°. I'm going to spend time swapping my summer and winter clothes around, I guess. And maybe the screens for storms, too; it's unlikely I'll be opening windows again, unless it gets into the 70s on a weekend. On the other hand, it's raining, so that might not happen. It also occurs to me that if I want to paint the backroom, next weekend would probably be the time to do it, since it's a long weekend. Which means I should spend some time seeing if I can get it prepped. On the other hand, I could save it until Thanksgiving week, because I think I'm going to ask for that week off from work. Or maybe the couple of days after.

I turned on the main furnace last evening. I had hoped to not have to do so for a couple of weeks, yet, but.... Jack doesn't like the noise it makes, and it always makes noise when it's actually running. He actually fled upstairs to the bedroom last night when it came on once, about an hour before he normally would have.

I also turned up the wall furnace in the basement office yesterday morning, and it promptly set off the smoke alarm right outside the office door, so I pulled the battery in that. I had hoped to be able to limp along with just that furnace and my electric radiator for a couple of weeks, but, apparently that wasn't going to work. The wall furnace has been running all summer. Usually, I shut it off and shut the gas off to the unit, but this summer, I didn't bother. So I didn't have to go through the relighting ritual; I just turned it up. I came home at lunchtime yesterday and it was out. Just out. No pilot -- but no smell of gas, either. So I'm not certain what happened there, and now I'm not sure whether to try to relight it or not. I don't suppose I really need it with the main furnace lit, so.... (Also, I'm a little afraid of it. I don't like esplodey things.)

Which brings me neatly to why I hate to ask my parents for help. I emailed my mother yesterday to ask if Dad would come down to look at the furnace motor (since the furnace guy's wife just had surgery and he's not working for a while), and she said she'd ask him. And that was the last I heard. Now, Dad may know nothing about the motor (even though he's the one who took it out and reinstalled it when the substitute furnace guy wired it in backwards), and that's fine, but I'd like to actually, you know, be told that. My parents: happy to help me when I don't want or need their help (see my many posts regarding my upstairs bathroom, for instance), but when I do ask, they disappear.

Furnace

Sep. 30th, 2015 12:55 pm
malinaldarose: (Default)
I finally remembered to call the furnace guy a week or so ago only to find him awaiting a call that his wife was out of surgery. He won't be working for a few weeks more. I had hoped to have my fan motor looked at before I had to turn the furnace on; the long-range forecast is suggesting that I'll be doing that Real Soon Now, though at the moment, the temperature is holding at 71.5°.

So now I'm debating whether or not to ask my father to see if he can figure out why it makes so much noise. He, after all, is the one who removed it and reinstalled it after the substitute furnace guy wired it in backwards. I hate asking my parents for help. Dad isn't the problem, really. Mom puts strings on everything.
malinaldarose: (Default)
Yesterday's trip to Erie was a lot of fun, though disappointing in spots (for more, see earlier post). I picked BFT up a bit early, before I dropped Jack off at Gram's house, so she got to coo over how cute he is (and, indeed, posted a photo to FB before we even got to Gram's). The weather was okay for driving, though it was cold. Since we got out of town about half an hour later than planned, we decided to have lunch first, then go to the bookstore. Normally, we hit the bookstore first to really work up a good hunger, then we walk uphill a bit to get to the Olive Garden that's two doors up from the bookstore.

Getting lunch first wasn't a bad idea, as the place filled up quickly. The waiter was ridiculously happy to be our waiter. I have to wonder if he's still that bouncy at the other end of his shift....

We acquired manymanymany books, then went across the highway to the mall. We really only intended to hit Sears and Eddie Bauer, so we parked outside the nearest Sears entrance, which proved to be perfect. Unfortunately, we weren't at the mall as long as we had planned, and had no other places we needed to go, so we were on the road home again by 2:30 in the afternoon, which is a record for us. We don't normally leave Erie until closer to 5:00 p.m.

I have to say, though, that traffic on Peach Street in Erie is ridiciulously intimidating. It's six lanes, and it was pretty much bumper to bumper. You get off I-90 and the land slopes downward toward Lake Erie. Which means that I pretty much didn't need my brakes to stop at the lights on the way back to 90. I don't like city traffic at all, and this was a bit nerve-wracking, because if you got in the wrong lane, you were pretty much stuck with it. Fortunately, we were okay.

I had hoped to spend the evening relaxing, but instead spent the entire evening making one last editing pass on my Rarely Written entry, before posting it at 10:00 p.m. Ouch.

And so, I had hoped to spend all day today doing Not Much, but I have already been out for groceries, and I have to balance my checkbook and write checks, then balance Gram's checkbook and write checks, then do the dishes and the laundry. (Actually, I should probably go get the laundry started.) I should also vacuum and probably brush Jack, but I rather think those activities are going to go on the FukkitI'lldoitlater list. And just about the time I surface from the library desk (which is where the Financial Stuff happens), my parents will probably barge in unannounced and stay for two hours, like they did last week. Last week, in fact, they barged in around dinner time, and when the timer went off on my dinner, they still didn't leave for half an hour. I find it annoying when they do that on a weekend, but goddammitall, Sunday is my time -- No Pants Time, as BFT says -- and I find it absolutely infuriating when they do it on Sundays. But if I'm short and rude with them, my mother just puts on her Minister Voice and says, "Do you feel all right? You act like you're going to cry."

I hate the Minister Voice.

I shouldn't have to leave my own house to get some peace and quiet....

Oh, look at the time. I've been rambling for Quite Long Enough.
malinaldarose: (Default)
Well, okay, it's not new snow, but the full moon is gleaming on the smooth, ice-crusted surface of the snow we do have. If it hadn't been so cold last night, I'd've set up my tripod to try to get pictures. But it was quite cold, and I wasn't that enamored of the effect. (Does this make me not a true photographer? Probably.)

Everything is covered in ice; my driveway is like a skating rink...and I'm having a washer and dryer delivered and installed tomorrow. This should be entertaining.

I have never bought appliances before, so this is a lot nerve-wracking for me. I'm not entirely certain what I'm supposed to do. Do I need to turn off the water to the washer that is being removed? The gas to the dryer? I don't even know. I assume that I should, which means going into the basement to trace the pipes. The ones I want should be right over the litter boxes.

Fortunately, my parents are coming over this evening for dinner, so I can ask them. It is my mother's birthday, and somehow "Do you want cake?" ended up as them bringing steak dinners down here and probably spending the evening. For the last few years, my mother has declined to celebrate, so I really didn't expect her to say yes....

My day off yesterday was very quiet. Somehow, though, I managed to not spend any time reading or watching movies. I spent quite a lot of time at my desk reading or playing games. I ran out around mid-morning to find a birthday present for my mother. I baked a pan of brownies -- did you know that if you accidentally set the oven 50° lower than it's supposed to be brownies will not bake in the time they're supposed to? Couldn't figure out why they kept not being done, then I noticed the oven setting.

Had dinner with BFT and J1 last evening at my favorite place. We decided that points were not applicable last night, and had dessert, too. Of course there was enough food for three or four meals, so I also have leftovers for lunch for the next few days. J1 recommended a recipe for a cheeseburger soup that I think I need to try.

We also discussed the trip which is now only a few months away. We all have definite ideas about what we want to do in London, and I don't think my idea about getting out to Stonehenge is going to work because we're only going to be there for three days. Our Mont St. Michel trip has been moved from our last day in Paris to our first so that we're not scrambling to get packed up when we get back. And apparently we're planning an Alaska cruise for next summer for J1's 40th birthday. So I think if we don't make Stonehenge this summer, I should push for making sure it happens in either 2017 or 2018 -- either the summer before or the summer after my 50th birthday. Of course, if that's going to be the way of it, then we should just do a megalithic sites tour....

Or spend a week in Venice. Either would work for me, though I think I have a preference for the stones.

Jack is not entirely happy with me at the moment because we didn't go walkies this morning. It's below zero again, and I had to frost the brownies and clean up the kitchen and the back room, as well as make more progress toward cleaning up the laundry room. It'll be interesting to see what cat toys are under the washer and dryer. And how much lint....
malinaldarose: (hate_snow)
We had another proper snowstorm last night; for a while, with streetlights and low clouds and snow in the air under a recently full moon, it was quite bright out there. I did consider getting a tripod and trying to take some night photos, but I don't really have anything that I could easily use to keep snow off the camera, so I didn't. This morning, it turns out that we got a few inches, but nothing like we got Sunday night into Monday. Still, the snowbanks along the road are getting rather high. I can no longer easily step off the road when a car comes along. Well, I can just by leaping into a snowbank, but Jack's not too keen on that idea...though this morning, he did try climbing a snowbank just so he could pee on a lightpole which he favors. (He ended up leaping down again without leaving his mark.)

I am off work today because my dog sitter is not available and I am not quite prepared to leave Jack alone in the house for four hours, then again for three. As it is, I will likely have to drive up to Gram's at lunchtime to feed Nick for my sister. The roads should be decentish by then, though.

It took me about two and a half hours to dig out the driveway the other day, and that's only because one of my neighbors kindly helped me dig out the last ten feet between the house and the street. It probably would've taken me another hour to forty-five minutes on my own. I was surprised, actually, because this guy has seen me out shoveling on my own before and has never offered to help before.

About an hour and a half later, my parents showed up with a shiny new snowblower. "We've wanted to get you a snowblower for a while," my mother said. So they did. Dad showed me how to use it, so I'm all set for today's snow.

Except....

Last night when I tried to open the garage door to haul out the garbage bin, I couldn't get it open wide enough. Which means I also cannot get it open wide enough to get the snowblower out. (The paving slab in front of the garage is broken and last winter, it started heaving.) Perhaps this morning, I can work at it and see if maybe it was just ice getting caught under the door. And perhaps if I open the other swinging door, I'll be able to make enough space. But it would be just the way things always go for me that I have this shiny new snowblower and not be able to use it. Since this is obviously going to be an ongoing problem, perhaps next autumn, I will clear a space in the breezeway and make a makeshift ramp to get the snowblower in and out. Assuming, of course that it's not too wide for the doorway. (I don't think it is....)
malinaldarose: (Default)
Thanks, everyone, for the advice on making mashed potatoes. In the end, it went like this:

Me: I can just drain them into a colander, right? Then put them back into the pot for mashing?
Mom: Yes. But rather than dirtying another dish, why don't you just do this? *clamps lid on pot* *drains potatoes*
Me: Look! I have a potato masher! I bought it just for today.
Mom: So do I. Husband! Come mash the potatoes.
Dad: *sigh* Coming....
malinaldarose: (Default)
Garage Sale II: The Return Of The Junk is accomplished. We made about as much on this sale as on the last one. The only problem here is that we have to split it. I made about $70 more than my parents. (Go, me?) Mom sold out almost her entire spring wardrobe, and I sold about half the stuff that I hauled downstairs. My dad included a few antique clocks from his collection -- substantially reduced in price because, hello, garage sale -- and when I said that I would buy one of them, it ended up on my piano without any money changing hands. This bugs me because the reason my parents were even included in this sale is because they need the cash. I fully intended to pay for the clock, and I can't even slip it into the inventory that they sold because my mom was here the whole time and would know. Besides, we've already split the profits.

That obnoxious child from the last sale -- the one who chattered incessantly and actually tried to crawl into my lap while her grandmother ignored her -- was here yesterday. Fortunately, this time, she went straight for my mother, who indulged her, so I didn't have to pretend to like children. Thank goodness. Though she couldn't have crawled into my lap this time as I had a TV tray in front of me because I was working on signs.

Speaking of which, I have two big signs that are basically plastic pillow cases slid onto wire frames, which are then poked into the ground. On Friday, we had some wind, gusty enough to bend the frame on the sign at the corner of my street, and when I went to check on the other one, which was facing the wind, I found it blown away completely. I did search for it, but couldn't find it. That disturbs me a bit, as it has my address printed on it, since it was the one that I put at the far corner of the block. Oh, well. My mother suggested that someone may have stolen it, because it's not like they're only $4 at WickedMart.

I keep hearing an electrical-sounding buzz this morning, but can't place it. I'm rather hoping it's my neighbor to the south doing something in his garage, though it's a bit early in the morning on a Sunday for him to be so engaged. I'm reasonably certain it's not my furnace, because even though I changed the air filters this morning and the batteries in the thermostat, I didn't actually turn it on. Not yet. That may happen later, though. The wall furnace is lit, though.

Maybe the sound is coming from my computer? I'll have to shut it down in a bit and see. I can't think of anything else in the house right now that it could be, because other than the ceiling light in this room, nothing is on that isn't usually on (like the fridge).

Merlin is commanding me to get the hell out of his chair. Maybe I'll go start some laundry and start getting the house back into shape from having a sale and having stuff strewn hither and yon....
malinaldarose: (Default)
I got up on time this morning (i. e., at 5:00 a.m., instead of 5:40 or later) intending to go for a walk. By the time I finally managed to get Sheila on her feet and out the door, it was 6:15. And then she had to go out again five minutes later. Since I have to go to WickedMart and get food for her (I forgot yesterday) before work, I have no time for a walk this morning. Or today at all, since I'll be stopping to see Gram after work and then I have a meeting this evening that will take all evening.

But I have time for El Jay. I always have time for El Jay, my only friend, the only one who understands me.... What? Oh, and Dreamwidth, too.

Sheila's infection is not clearing up, which means that when she does get up to go out, she wants to go out several times in a row and each time she wanders about the yard, dotting it here and there with bloody urine. It's frustrating for me and painful for her. I need to call the vet's office and ask if there's a doggy equivalent of Uristat (which is a pain reliever specifically targeted for UTIs). Of course, given that she's on Rimadyl and tramodol, she probably can't take anything else....

I suppose the lesson for tomorrow, assuming I haul my carcas out of bed, is to put down puppy pads and just freakin' go walkies. Because when I adjust my schedule to my pets, I get nothing accomplished for myself.
---
In other news, very little got down around here, yesterday. It was a gorgeous day: sunny, breezy, temps in the 70s. I ran some errands in the morning, sat out in the sun a bit, read a bit, and actually cooked dinner. Now I have leftovers for tonight, which is good since I'll be hurrying.

My parents popped in last night with a small, thoroughly beat-up chest that they wanted to know if I could identify for them. Mom thought maybe it was something D&D-related. (Or pagany, though she didn't say that.) So Dad set the chest down and I opened it to find...mah jongg. It was full of mah jongg tiles. Older ones, and probably not a complete set. I was really surprised that my parents didn't know what mah jongg is, but even more surprised that they'd think I would. Oh, well, Mom thought they were rune-stones or something. I am boggled sometimes.
---
I am not looking forward to work today. More and more, I begin to wonder if I really could manage to retire when I'm 55 (eight years). I could increase my deferred compensation contribution by a little bit; I always thought that I couldn't get my deferred comp until I was 65, but apparently, I can get it as soon as I retire. Mind you, it's not worth retiring if I'd then have to turn around and go work at WickedMart....

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