Archive for December, 2005

Cracking the Whip

Tuesday, December 6th, 2005

While I’ve done gone and did it. I signed up for Holidailies. This is the first time I’ve done this, so it will be kind of an adventure. I’m hoping it will get me back in the swing of updating regularly. I read once that if you performed a task regularly for three weeks, it becomes a habit. I don’t know about that, but I’m going to give this a try.

I’ve found over the years that for some tasks I have to provide special motivation or I just don’t get them done. I want to update, but I just don’t make the time to do it anymore. So perhaps the Holidailies will be just the whip cracking I need.

I’m not terribly motivated to do housework either, but since I’m not working anymore and Beau Hunk is busting his butt on outside projects, I feel obligated to keep the house tidy. And if I don’t, I’m going to risk ending up on my ass watching Judge Judy all day. Which is fun and all, but not conducive to good health – mine or that of my marriage. So to add a little whip cracking to this process, I’ve created a task schedule.

Monday – vacuum and mop the floors
Tuesday – laundry and dust
Wednesday – clean windows, pay bills and clean the office (which isn’t even set up yet, but this is an ongoing list)
Thursday – vacuum and clean bathrooms
Friday – laundry and deep clean kitchen

Saturday and Sunday are either days off, days with the family, or make up days. I’m not dumb (or egotistical) enough to think that I can keep this schedule every week, but I’m going to try. It’s all a part of this major life change I’m going through – quitting my job, moving to a new town, getting married and contemplating the start of a new career, which includes college. I used to tell people that I’m changing everything but my haircolor, and I’m contemplating changing that too! So as long as I’m doing all those things, I might as well see if I can get on track with being a whip crackin’, house cleanin’, journal updatin’ fool.

Ego Need Not Apply

Wednesday, December 7th, 2005

When I quit my job, sold the house and moved up here with Beau Hunk, the plan was that I would attend the local junior college to go through their paralegal degree program. Since that matriculation is set up for a fall start, I can’t really get started until next August.

Since I haven’t been to school in a very long time, we thought that it might be helpful for me to take some general ed classes in the spring to get me back in the swing of studying. I’ve started the process by applying, and am currently awaiting arrival of my transcripts and an appointment with a counsellor.

You know, one sure way to confirm that you are firmly ensconsced in middle age is to apply to college at nearly 38 years old. Any lingering illusions that I still posess a shred of youth have been soundly shattered. It occurs to me that a great number of people I will encounter on campus not only weren’t born the last time I attended college, but weren’t even a twinkle in their father’s eye. I do not find this comforting. In fact, this makes me want to curl up under my covers and mourn my misplaced youth until my gray hairs finally turn from middle-aged-old to “distinguished” in the eyes of the social realm. But ego to the wind, I’m moving forward.

Since the spring will be only general ed classes, I have been prowling around the local employment sites. Much to my surprise, I found a job that sounded like it was right up my alley. One of the local municipalities was looking for a web programmer, specifically someone versed in the languages of ASP and JavaScript. Huzzah!!

ASP is one of my favorite languages, I’ve been writing in it for around eight years, to the point that I believe I can be considered an expert programmer. Pardon me if I blow my own horn for a moment, but I did some pretty amazing things with ASP, including some really cool database interfaces and ground-up system programming. Same with JavaScript – I’ve been programming in that for eight or nine years, and can do all kinds of wonderful things. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think I’m the hottest thing to hit the pavement, but I held my own in some fairly complicated the dot com situations. I thought I had a genuine shot at a becoming employed.

Apparently, thinking was my first mistake.

Imagine my surprise when I received a form letter from the municipality stating that I was not being considered for the position because I was not qualified. Huh? Since when does eight+ years of practical, real world, hands-on experience not qualify you for any position, much less that of a web programmer? It just boggles my mind.

It also bruises my ego. As I said, I thought I had a real shot at that job. I’ve seen what passes for web programming in this region, and it sucks. I would understand if my application got ignored in the Bay Area because that place is just crawling with webbies. But up here, not quite. And to be told that I’m not qualified made me want to go down to the Personnel office and ask if they even bothered to look at my resume, and if they did, did they do so with their eyes open?

So my ego has taken a few minor slaps this week. But that’s ok, because I’m a big girl and I can handle it. As I like to tell people, I earned these gray hairs, and distinguished or not, they’re mine. And I didn’t get them from letting a little ego bruising get me down. Onward and upward!

Asparagus is Not a Toy

Thursday, December 8th, 2005

Any kitten owner will tell you that life is endlessly entertaining with a little monster around. Bill The Cat is no exception. First of all, he has two speeds – completely insane, and dead. When he is awake, he’s a holy terror. He rips around the house as an orange blur, a five-pound thundering herd of cat. Then when he stops, he stops. Sometimes we find him asleep on the floor, toy still in his paws, passed out mid-play. When you walk by, he wakes up, chirps out a “blrrr?” noise and passes out again.

Lately he’s found the most amazing toy box – our trash bins. We’re constantly finding him playing with items that we had placed in the trash. It’s not enough that the dogs think our trash is the best ever, but now we’ve got an infinately more agile cat who considers our castoffs his persosnal treasure trove. Everything is fair game – used tissues, mandarin peels, avocado skins. Last night we saw the little orange monster running around bringing death to something long and green. It was a piece of asparagus that didn’t make the cut for dinner. Upon seeing this, Beau Hunk to yelled out “Bill, asparagus is not a toy!” Add that to the list of things you thought you’d never say out loud. (At least while sober.)

Bill has finally killed all but one of my houseplants. The lone survivor was a gift from my former co-workers. It is a duplicate of a cactus that I procured for my boss’ office. The original cactus is six feet tall, and was abandoned in a dark and deserted office. I got permission to take the plant and with the help of my boss, moved it to his sunny office. The cactus immediately went into a growth spurt beyond imagination, quickly adding another foot to its height. This effort earned the plant the moniker of “Spike the Wonder Cactus”. When I left my job, my boss and another co-worker tried to give me a piece of Spike, but were unable to do so without injury to the original. So instead they gave me a small desk-sized cactus of the same species as a gift. I call it “Spike Alike”. Spike Alike is now my sole living houseplant.

Bill The Cat has made several attempts at Spike Alike’s life – the last resulted in him being left root-naked in the kitchen sink, surrounded by his soil. I replanted him, and so far, he’s managed to survive the assassination attempt. Bill has left him alone since then, I’m not sure if he admires the spirit of the little plant, or got bit by a cactus prickle and now knows better than to mess with the likes of a Spike Alike.

At any rate, the lack of vegetation has left Bill searching elsewhere for his amusement, which now includes the garbage. At this point I feel glad that he hasn’t developed an affinity for coffee grounds. All we need around here is him wired on caffeine and spreading the grounds all over the new carpet. Were that to happen, I’m afraid he might burn through those nine lives in a hurry.

The First Guest

Friday, December 9th, 2005

Tonight we are making our first stab at entertaining a real guest. To date, the only people who have been over have been my parents and my aunt and uncle, both of whom make quick visits. The house projects have been so overwhelming and have left the house in such disarray, we haven’t felt very comfortable having anyone over for more than a few minutes.

We still aren’t exactly ready for primetime, but we’re fairly organized. Our TV, cable box and DVD player are sitting on storage bins because we haven’t found entertainment furniture we like yet. Ditto the stereo system. The surround sound for the DVD isn’t even in the house yet for the same reason. The desktop computer is sitting in a jumbled heap in the living room because we haven’t run a cable connection (for the cable modem) to the new office yet. But the arrangements are neat and 90% of the boxes are unpacked. Those that aren’t are either in the garage or neatly put aside in the house. The place is tidy and clean, if not decorated.

Clean is the big thing. We have new paint, carpets, lights, outlets, switches and doorknobs. The kitchen and bathrooms have been scrubbed within an inch of their lives. Beau Hunk has been working his ass off on the outside of the house – cutting down trees and bushes, building a dog run, fencing in new areas of the yard, tearing down old fences, and replacing other fences. He’s been slaving like a dog out there, and it shows, in a most wonderful way.

Tonight’s guest will be our real estate agent who sold us the house and brought us Bill The Cat for adoption. We are looking forward to showing off the place to her, and having her see how Bill has grown and become a part of the family. It’s not a palace, but it’s our home and we enjoy it. I think our guest will enjoy it too.

Christmas Objectives

Saturday, December 10th, 2005

Today’s objective: obtain a Christmas tree

With all the furor over the use of Merry Christmas in the corporate and retail workplace, I realize that “Christmas” tree is a misnomer. We are not Christians, and technically, we don’t celebrate Christmas as defined by Christians. We celebrate some holiday that falls on December 25th and involves lights, trees, mountains of food, miles of travel, gifts, and a lie about a mythical character who brings those gifts. I have yet to define that holiday as anything less generic than “Christmas”, so the term “Christmas” tree stands.

This year, Woo will be spending Christmas morning with us for the first time. For the past two years he’s been with his mom for Christmas. Last year, since Beau Hunk was in the middle of finals and his move into my house, and Woo spent two weeks with his mom, we didn’t even decorate. But this year, we are determined to see that we provide the boy wtih a proper Christmas. But we are also going to take this opportunity to let him learn about the kinds of holidays Beau Hunk and I had when we were kids.

Lesson #1: Trees do not come from parking lots.

We are lucky enough to live in an area where the Department of Forestry allows regular folk like us to go into thier National Forests and cut down a Christmas tree. Today’s plan is to do just that. We are going to dress Woo up in his little boots and jacket, pack a picnic lunch, grab Ye Olde Saw, pile into the 4WD and head off to the woods. We are expecting a great day of tree finding and forest tromping. Perhaps snow will be involved. I’m not sure if Woo has ever been to the snow. We think this is going to be a great kid day.

Lesson #2: Christmas doesn’t mean loot

Woo lives a rich life. He has more stuffed animals, toys, books and clothes than he can possibly use. The last thing he needs is more. I have already alerted my family to our plan to not spoil this child. We plan on only getting him a few gifts, preferrably practical. When I was a kid, we got fun gifts, but we also got things like socks and pajamas. Our stockings always included an orange, and sometimes an apple and walnuts, in addition to small fun items.

One of my aunts was commenting that Christmas has become so object-oriented lately, and it had her pretty fed up. I let her know that it would be perfectly acceptable if she didn’t buy Woo a present. In fact, it would be encouraged. As I said, Woo lives a full and rich life. As Woo gets older, we hope to have homemade presents in place of store bought loot.

Lesson #3: Family First

This one won’t be so easy, since Woo is the child of two households. But when he’s with us, we want to teach him that family, friends, and love is the most important thing, especially at Christmastime. Presents don’t mean a thing if you don’t have those you love around to share them. We may not be able to pull this one off, and certainly not this year, but we’re going to give it a shot.

I know it sounds ambitious, but we’re going to do our best to raise a little kid who appreciates what he has, and realizes that not everyone has it as good as he does. You might want to wish us luck with this one, I think we may need it.

Dashing Through the Snow

Sunday, December 11th, 2005

Yesterday’s tree expedition was a definitive success. It was everything we thought it would be, and a lot more fun. Frankly, it was also more convenient than I had expected. Well, except for a few location errors.

I’ve decided that Google Maps aren’t all that for this area. For the second time, the program has failed to alert me to the presence of more than one road with the same name. Well, at least that’s the second time that it’s picked the wrong duplicate address and sent me out into the backwoods. To further complicate GM’s issues, their satellite photos of this area don’t exist at a magnification beyond 2,000 feet per inch, and even at that level, they are so fuzzy as to be completely useless. I realize availability of satellite photos isn’t their fault, but it does reduce the usefulness.

Before we could go into the woods to do our lumberjack shtick, we had to buy a tree cutting license from the US Department of Forestry. We found an office in the neighboring town that would be open on Saturday and mapped it. But as you can probably tell from my previous paragraph, that didn’t work out so well. Instead of ending up at the USDF Visitor’s Center, we ended up at the edge of BumFuckEgypt, surrounded by double-wides and rusted vehicle carcasses. I swear I heard a banjo playing, but Beau Hunk says it was only my imagination.

We called the USDF, and after finding that there are two buildings there, one of which was closed, we found out we had the wrong version of the address. Luckily the correct version was only a few extra miles away. We hot-footed it out of Hooterville, headed to the office, got our permit and pointed the hood toward the woods.

The next problem was that the clerk had told us to go to a specific town, but the maps he gave us that showed exactly where it was legal to cut a Christmas tree didn’t cover that town. We ended up going another 15 miles up the road to an area that was shown on the map. There was a little apprehension about this at first, because since we are new to this area, we didn’t know that it was only 15 more miles until we started seeing highway signs with distances. Until then, it could have been another 50 miles for all we knew. But it all worked out for the best.

Our route was easy enough – a two-lane highway that was cut through tall pine trees and wound through little towns whose highway frontage consisted of three or four buildings. The road rose in elevation, and just past the 5,000 feet mark, we found our turnoff. The little dirt road had been covered in snow, but had since been rutted out in muddy tracks. Beau Hunk put the truck in 4WD and grinned. He was in big-boy heaven.

We bounced down the road for half a mile or so, then pulled off down a side track that had a few tire tracks on top of the snow and ice. The truck slipped and slid a couple of times, but mostly because Beau Hunk was purposely hitting the gas. We stopped in a little clearing where we could easily see trees that would fit the bill.

Of course we couldn’t just pick the first thing we saw. We tromped off into the meager snow (only 4-5 inches) and started looking for the perfect tree. We narrowed down the selection, eventually selecting a lovely tree that was straight, balanced, full and about eight feet tall. It was perfect! Beau Hunk cut it down and loaded it in the truck. We cut off a small bough from the tree and stuck it on the dash – the whole truck was filled with the most lovely pine scent. We took some time to play in the snow, throwing snowballs and generally having fun before going home.

We’ve decided we’d like to do this every year. It’s affordable enough, the tree cutting sites are only about an hour from here, and we had load of fun. As an added bonus, the truck smells wonderful!

An Easy Day

Monday, December 12th, 2005

I achieved almost nothing today. I slept in, sat on my butt, watched TV, then took a nap. I was a monument to inertia, my biggest accomplishment that of Cat Magnet. Not a bad job, if you can get it.

While I was curled up in bed taking a cat nap, complete with two cats, Beau Hunk was outside working his ass off replacing fences. What a shame that was, all that hammering was interrupting my snooze. How dare he? I’m sure you’re just as overwhelmed with sympathy as he was.

I started feeling guilty this afternoon, so I managed to get up long enough to clean the kitchen, make a batch of taco/burrito meat, and go to the grocery store. Are you in awe yet? Compared to the morning, I was a veritable blur of motion.

But the truth is that I didn’t feel well this morning. I woke up around 4am with one of my brain-cracking headaches in its infancy. I wish I could figure out why this happens and make it stop, because it’s fucking annoying. Maybe my brain just isn’t happy and wants to escape. I wouldn’t blame it, it’s probably bored. I would be, if I were my brain. The extent of its exercise these days seems to be trying to figure out what I should stuff in my mouth next. Not exactly taxing to ye olde gray matter.

At any rate, it was a good day, if not a productive one. I am making my sloth up to Beau Hunk by making him dinner. I am one of those spoiled types that has a man who not only works on the house all day, but comes in and makes dinner. He loves to cook, and is good at it. Frankly, better than I am. So he gets his joy and I get fabulous dinners in return. Tonight he is politely suffering my guilt-alleviating swill.

Here’s to tomorrow being a more productive day.

Life is a Little Bird

Tuesday, December 13th, 2005

Life is a little bird. It must be, because it keeps taking dumps on my head.

There are people in this world who are so fucking selfish they can’t even begin to think about the world outside their own heads. These people have no qualms about throwing hand grenades into the lives of others, solely because they want what they want, when they want it. Fuck everyone else.

These might be the same people who don’t follow through on their promises. I’m not talking about “I’ll call you” or “I’ll do the dishes”. I’m talking big promises – like caring for a seriously ill family member, or adopting the child of your best friend if they die. You know, big life-alterating shit. They say they’ll do it, then when the time comes they just change their mind. Now everyone else is twisting in the wind because someone said they’d do something and is too fucking selfish to do it. “La la la, too bad, that doesn’t work for me now.”

If you are one of these people who has not followed through on a big promise, I can bet that there’s someone on this planet who really doesn’t like you. Maybe they don’t not like you enough to want you dead, or maybe they have just enough of a shred of the Pagan beliefs that they wouldn’t wish you harm. But they don’t like you. And if the Earth opened up a chasm and swallowed you whole, or aliens sucked you off the planet never to be seen again, they would probably throw the biggest party you’ve ever fucking seen.

Now fly on little bird and go shit on someone else for a while. You’re not welcome here.

Embracing My Inner Martha

Wednesday, December 14th, 2005

I usually tell people that I’m closer to Bob Villa than Martha Stewart. And usually, that’s true. But not today. I spent today baking. The whole day. And I’m not finished yet. No, really. I am embracing my Inner Martha.

So far I’ve made several dozen sour cream spritz cookies in various shapes. These are not very sweet, and kind of biscuit-like. Tomorrow I will frost them with almond frosting, which will make them rock my world. I also baked up five or six dozen sugar cookies (I lost count), decorated with red and green sugar. Tomorrow not only will I frost the spritz cookies, but will also make a double batch of chocolate chip cookies.

Just what am I going to do with all these goddamned cookies, you ask? Well, I decided that I better get with the program and start being socially gracious. Not only does that include sending out Christmas cards – through the mail (not the e-mail kind) and on time, but I best show up bearing cookies to the neighbors. I have heard that others in the neighborhood do or have done this, so I better get on the stick and play ball.

So far, I figure I’ve got five households to gift:

There’s the couple across the street who have become our friends. They call us “The Newlyweds”, and the wife has been known to bring us lunch when she sees us working hard outside. The husband is very nice, and going through cancer treatment, so he has good days and bad days. We have come to really enjoy their company. They will get a plate of cookies for all their support and friendship, and because I truly believe that cookies, taken in the proper doses, can cure cancer.

The retired confirmed bachellor two houses over has twice brought us cookies he’s made when he was bored. We’ve spent a lot of time talking to him, and also enjoy his company. I’ll give him a plate for payback / thanks.

The little old man across the street and one house over will get a plate because he came over and helped us unload a truckload of boxes when we emptied our storage unit.

Our neighbors across the street are shut-ins. They both use walkers, and the wife has Alzheimer’s. Their daughter comes over several times a week to take care of them. She came over and introduced herself to us. I’ll give them a plate because, well, just because. They can’t get out, so maybe a little well-placed kindness will momentarily brighten their day.

The final plate will go to our next-door neighbors. They just got married too. They are the only ones on this block who even come close to our age. They seem like a lot of fun, and so far have kindly tolerated the noise from our dogs, kid and stereo. If that doesn’t deserve cookies, I don’t know what does.

In the next few days I will be flouncing all over the neighborhood handing out globs of fat, sugar, sugar and fat. I suspect this won’t last and I’ll revert back to my tool-bearing ways. But for now, move over Bob, Martha’s comin’ through.


Thursday, December 15th, 2005

I think I have finally kicked the ass of my Inner Martha. I finally finished the cookies today, and I am happy to say that I have gotten that out of my system for a while. I think I may be good for another year, maybe two.

In addition to the cookies, I also crossed off another big, ugly to-do from the list today. I took my pre-college enrollment English and math assessments. I wasn’t looking forward to it, which turned out to be an absolutely correct intuition.

It took me two hours to take the assessments. I had no problems with the English tasks. In fact, they were tedious to the point of boring. I ended up scoring a 98 on that one, putting me in the highest placement category they have. That means if I have to take an English class, I am pre-qualified to take the Creative Writing class. Ooh, creative writing – now there’s an idea!

I didn’t go through the math evaluation with quite as much ease. The proctor set me up to take the Algebra Readiness evalution. At first I thought maybe that was dumbing it down a little. Afterall, I did take and pass Calculus. But that was 20 years ago and I would be hard pressed to articulate a single facet of Calculus to you today, so I went along.

Damned good thing I did too. Those questions kicked my ass. Since it was a multiple choice test, I was able to work backwards to some answers, but flat-out guessed on others. I still managed to score an 84 on the test, ranking me at a level high enough that I should be able to skip some (or all) math for my degree, but it was a struggle.

I was amazed at how many of those questions caused me great consternation. I know I’ve lost all my Calculus, but I didn’t know I’d lost that much algebra and geometry. From what I saw today, my math braincells have been slowly dripping away over the last 20 years, and have gone almost dry. I’m wondering how long it will take before they disappear altogether and I find myself counting my change on my fingers. At this rate, I’m thinking another five years.

But I did pass, and the horror of math is behind me. With any luck today will allow me to test out of some of the more tedious classes that are required for my degree. I still have to take some real brain-busters, like Introduction to Computers. The irony here is that I can take that class online. So I get to learn about how to use a computer on the computer? Talk about the chicken and the egg.

Oh well, if I pull this off, I’ll get my degree. Then no one will ever tell me I’m not qualified for a job because I don’t have a piece of paper that says I know what I know. That alone will be worth it.

Please Keep Your Boogers Off My Brie

Friday, December 16th, 2005

Beau Hunk and I went to the store the other night. We were browsing the gourmet cheese section and observed a truly hideous public display.

There was another woman in the cheese section, partaking of the samples the store had laid out. She reached into the sample “dome” with her right hand, extracted a piece and ate it. She then took her left hand and proceeded to wipe her nose, from index first knuckle to wrist, and back again. Then she used that same left hand to reach for wrapped cheese in the display case. Cheese I might have purchased, had I not been utterly disgusted.

Excuse me ma’am, but could you please keep your boogers off my brie?

Is it too much to ask this woman to use a tissue when wiping her snot in public? Would it have been that difficult for her go to the deli counter and either get a napkin, or ask for one? In any case, did she have to snot all over her hand and then touch the food I might want to buy? I swear, it’s enough to make me never shop again.

Catching Up

Saturday, December 17th, 2005

I noticed today that I have a small callous on my right hand, just below my pinky. Who knew that sitting on your ass could produce a callous on your hand? It’s nothing short of a medical miracle.

This has felt like a particularly unproductive week. I pretty much dicked off making cookies all week. We also played hookie one day and went miniature golfing and visited a local dam. Mid-week, mid-December miniature golfing is really fun. The weather was beautiful and we had the course to ourselves.

Today I tried to catch up on the housework I neglected this week. I also wrapped all our presents, which isn’t really saying much. We only have five people on our gift list: my parents, nice, nephew and Woo. That makes for a pretty hassle-free Christmas.

I haven’t done my holiday cards yet, which probably makes me an asshole. But I did deliver my cookies to the shut-ins across the street. I had only met one of their daughters, not the occupants themselves. They are really wonderful people. They invited me in and I spent some time chatting them up.

Both are in their mid-80s and use walkers. The wife has Alzheimer’s. She’s the first person with Alzheimer’s I’ve ever spent any amount of time with. I had to introduce myself to her four or five times. One of their other daughters was there, and the wife couldn’t remember where the daughter lived or worked. The daughter had been recently featured in the local newspaper, and the mother was convinced that the copy of the newspaper had been at our house for some period of time. But she was a delightful woman, and I enjoyed talking to her and her husband a great deal. It was a very humbling experience to see this family working through this situation.

Our lives may not be perfect, but we are thankful for what we have.

The Heating Bill

Sunday, December 18th, 2005

I am still getting used to the weather here. The weather in the Bay Area wasn’t exactly boring, but it wasn’t quite as dramatic as it is here. The summer highs are higher, the winter lows are lower, and when it rains her it rains. The average rainfall for my town in the Bay Area was 13.3 inches per year. Here, the average is 33.5 inches. That’s a pretty significant difference. But what I’m noticing most is that the frequency and duration of rain isn’t much different, just the quantity that falls from the sky. Since I don’t have to go out much, I’m finding that I really like it. I just love looking out the window and watching it pour. I’m sure my feelings on this will change significantly when I am forced to drive on these rainsoaked roads.

We knew when we moved here that the summers would be much hotter than we had in the bay. When I told people where I was moving, nearly every one said “It’s so hot there!” True, the average temperature in July is 98 here (only 91 in our previous area), but we have an efficient air conditioning unit, a small house, and electricity from the local municipality is hydrogenerated and cheap. We are also contemplating a pool, to make those summer months more bearable.

The winter has been colder than we were used to, and we even had a light dusting of snow a few weeks ago. It’s the best kind of snow too – just a few inches to cover everything and look really pretty, then it’s gone by the next day. All the fun and none of the shovelling.

Our heater is natural gas. We keep hearing about how gas prices are going to go sky high, so we are trying to be wise with our heating. During the day we are setting the temp between 65 and 67, and during the night we set it at 62. That may seem a bit cold, but we wear sweatshirts during the day, and have a nice quilt and comforter to curl under at night.

I also have a secret weapon: a little five-pound “hot rock” in the form of a cat named Bill. I sleep on my side, and rarely am I in bed more than a few minutes before Bill walks up my legs and curls up on top of my ribs. Even as I flop around during the night, he repositions to take his rightful place in the world: on top of me. I told Beau Hunk I was saving on the heating bill by using The Heating Bill. Now when I see him curled up on the floor in a puddle of sunshine, I smile, knowing that he’s recharging his little heating cells so he can keep me warm at night. It’s the ultimate in eco-friendly heat sources.

Our Tree

Monday, December 19th, 2005

We decorated our tree this morning, and it was a spectacle of chaos. Bill The Cat ended up in kitty jail because he wouldn’t stop chewing on the light strands. Woo ended up being relgated to a chair for a while because he was so excited he was bouncing off the walls. But it’s done, we all had fun, and we think it’s a lovely little tree.

Click on a picture for the larger view
The tree before we decorated, mid-inspection by Bill
When five-year olds decorate. (That’s Woo on the floor and Bill in the chair checking out the train.)

Martha would not approve of our tree. But I’ve always felt that Martha could kiss my fat white ass, so it’s not surprising that I don’t care. I’ve always preferred odd, personalized trees to themed ones. The themed ones are lovely, but they seem so designed. I’m not a designer kind of person. My sister-in-law asked me if it was ok if she gave Woo an ornament for Christmas, or would that screw up a theme? I laughed out loud and told her we don’t even have a “theme” to our furniture, much less our tree!

Our tree is far from perfect:

  • One of our light strands is missing the green string because one of the wires came unsoldered and we can’t fix it. The other light strand is missing the red string for reasons unknown. We just said to hell with it and quit trying. One should only dedicate a finite amount of time to these things.
  • We only have 16 ornaments on our tree, and all are plastic. Until Bill and Woo grow up some, we figured the glass ones were begging for disaster, so we went this way.
  • The tiny angel on top is an ornament, not a tree topper. I have a very nice porcelain angel tree topper, but it’s breakable – see all-plastic ornaments above. It also seemed rather large, given the state of the rest of the tree, so we decided to give her the year off.
  • There is not one single ornament above Woo’s reach, and most of the ornaments are hung in clusters. We let Woo decorate, and that’s where he put them. So that’s where they stay. We aren’t entering this tree into any contests, so why get all pedantic about it?

Bill is attacking the hell out of the ornaments and beaded garland on a regular basis. But at least he’s quit scaling the damned thing. All this past week we’ve been picking his orange ass out of that tree, but the upside is that he smells fresh as a Carolina pine forest.

Woo’s birthday is technically later this week, but for a myriad of reasons, we’ve decided to move his birthday to today. His present was a train to go around the bottom of the tree. It’s one of those $30 battery operated things from Wallymart, and it’s obnoxious as hell. It has “realistic locomotive sounds”, which you can’t even hear over the noise of the engine. You also can’t hear the TV, other people talking, or yourself thinking over the noise of that fucking thing. But Woo loves it, so we’re letting it go. He’s having the time of his life.

Which is really the point. He had fun, he loves his tree, no one (cat or human) can be hurt by the decorations, and everyone is happy. I’d call that the perfect tree.

Markup or Gouge – You Decide

Tuesday, December 20th, 2005

Five years ago, when I bought my house in the Bay Area, I installed ceiling fans. My family had some experience with various brand of fans and recommended I invest in Casablanca fans. I say “invest” because they’re three to four times more expensive than the Hampton Bay sold at Home Teapot, but run silently, self-balance and never wobble. Ever.

I saved up my money and bought two – one for the living room and one for the bedroom. I was rather surprised that the plain one I put in the bedroom was just as expensive as the fancy one I put in the living room, but I was thoroughly impressed with their operation. So much so, that when it came time to sell that house, I uninstalled the fans and replaced them with $50 cheapos from Hampton Bay for the sale. My gods did those fans suck. I knew that mine were good, but I didn’t realize just how good. I guess it’s true that you get what you pay for.

But yesterday kind of changed that for me. Not long after we moved to the new house, we removed the filthy fans that came with the house. Not only were they filthy, they didn’t operate that well, and looked cheesy as hell. So down they came, and up went my fans. A huge improvement to both decor and function.

The only problem was that my fans didn’t have lights. I never put them on at the old house because my switches turned on outlets, not ceiling lights, so I had torch lamps in every room. But the new house has all ceiling lights, and in the living room and master bedroom, they were on the fans. Luckily, putting on light kits is not that big of a deal.

I checked out Casablanca’s website and found a few lights I liked. But Casablanca doesn’t put their prices on the web, nor do they allow their dealers to post prices on the web. Since we have a dealer here in town, we went down to visit their “lighting gallery” and price the light kits. Holy fuck me they were expensive. Like $200 expensive, even for the plain lights. The fancy-schmancy ones were as much as $450 – just for a light! And they weren’t even in stock. No thank you. I knew there had to be a better way to do this.

I went back to the internet and found that I could get price quotes e-mailed to me. I found an internet dealer that sold me very simple light kits for way less than half of what the “lighting gallery” wanted. Reasonable enough, so I ordered them.

At first I was told that the items were on back-order for 10-14 business days. Since we didn’t have lights in the bedroom or living room, I wasn’t thrilled with this news, but that’s the way it goes. I placed the order. Two weeks went by, then three. I called the dealer and was told that the bedroom kit would be in late November, the living room kit in early December. They just showed up yesterday. For the first time since early October, we have lights in these rooms. Yay! Words really can’t express how happy I am at this change.

But there was something I noticed when the boxes showed up – they were marked “Made in Taiwan”. Normally I don’t pay much attention to these things, but given the retail “showroom” prices of these products, I’m appalled. First of all it pissed me off that the local dealer had more than a 100% markup over the internet dealer. Since I’m sure the internet dealer isn’t losing money on these parts, and they all come from the same company at more or less the same price, you can bet that the local dealer’s difference is pure profit.

But how much is Casablanca making on these things? I really doubt a simple outlet with two bulb holders and a glass cover costs $200 to manufacture in Taiwan. I’m thinking a more accurate price would happen if you move that decimal left a couple of places. I didn’t mind paying more for the fans, because I got a very high quality fan. But a light is a light is a light. The bulbs won’t last any longer, the glass isn’t any clearer, and it isn’t any brighter than any other light fixture. I only paid more because it fits my fan. That pisses me off.

So I guess I paid for a lot more than I got, which I suppose makes me a sucker. I’m just glad I didn’t pay full retail pop for them. That would raise me from sucker to mark, and that’s just not right.

Rainy Days and Birthdays

Wednesday, December 21st, 2005

It’s been rainy and drippy here for almost a week now. Beau Hunk has spent the last few weeks replacing our side fences and building a new fence across the back of the property. The new back fence is wire so we can see the trees in the canyon behind the house. When we bought the place there was a back fence thirty feet behind the house, which made no sense, since the property goes back almost a hundred feet beyond the house. Taking out that solid fence and putting a wire one back at the treeline really opened up the backyard. The side fences were a swap of old for new, but he’s done a fantastic job of making them much more sturdy than they were before.

Click on an image for the larger version
Before pictures: taken when when we toured the house before we bought it.
The patio & yard. The old fences were less than private.

During pictures: taken after we moved in, but before the fences were replaced.
The weeds were mowed down – you can see the fence now. This opening was all grown over with trees and shrubs. Beau Hunk cut them down.

After pictures: The new fence across the back.
Only the posts from the old cross fence remain. The new fence is against the trees. The dogs are loving all this space!

All told, he’s put in about 500 feet of fenceline. He only has about 40 feet of fence left to replace before he can hang up his hammer an declare the fences done. But Mother Nature is a bitch and has decided it should rain for the last several days, so he hasn’t been able to finish. He’s about to go nuts.

Woo is getting a bit stir-crazy too – it’s been too wet for him to get out and play. We’ve been trying to do what we can to get him out, but it hasn’t been easy. Monday we took him to the local arboretum / nature museum. We were really impressed with the quality of the facility, and Woo had a blast playing in their kid area. Since it was sprinkling, the place was nearly empty. We loved that, because we hate crowds and we had plenty of room to let Woo do his thing. We spent three hours in the place and Woo was properly whooped when we got home.

Yesterday we attempted a picnic lunch. We headed out in a rain lull, hoping it would stop long enough for us to eat outside and take a walk. Not only didn’t that happen, but it started raining harder. Unfortunately we weren’t able to find a single park or public area that had a covered area to shield us from the rain. We ended up coming home and eating here. There was a small period of time when the rain wasn’t coming down quite so hard, so Beau Hunk grabbed an umbrella and took Woo for a walk. Anything to get this kid his outdoor time and exercise.

Today my Mom & SIL drove up to bring Woo his birthday and Christmas presents. His birthday isn’t until later this week, but we are moving it due to scheduling issues. Beau Hunk noticed there was a bit of a break in the rain, so he took Woo for a bike ride on one of the local trails before Mom & SIL got here. It was just what he needed to take the edge off his energy.

Since Mom & SIL were coming up, we decided today would be an excellent day to masquerade as his birthday. He had a blast squiring them around the house and showing them the Christmas tree. He’s also had a great time looking through the new books they bought him for his birthday.

We had a really wonderful visit with my Mom & SIL. Selfish as it sounds, we liked showing off the house. This is the first time SIL has seen it, but Mom was here when it was a mess. She said it looked like a different house. That makes all the work worth the effort.

Fishy Business

Thursday, December 22nd, 2005

It’s still raining, and we’re still inventing reasons to get Woo out of the house. Today we checked out a local fish hatchery. This is a Federal Fish & Game facility that raises salmon to be released into the Sacramento River. We figured with it being December and raining, we shouldn’t expect too much. That turned out to be a pretty accurate expectation.

I don’t mind that there wasn’t much to do, or that most of the holding tanks were empty. What I do mind is that most of the public buildings were locked, including the bathrooms. What’s worse is that an employee saw us trying to get into the public bathrooms and told us they were “closed”, then directed us to a portapotti in the parking lot. What the fuck do you mean the bathrooms are closed? Open them asshole. This place is ten miles out in the country, it’s not like they’ve got a problem with non-patrons boogering up the joint. The only reason I can figure that the bathrooms were closed is because they’re too lazy to clean them.

We walked around the place, jiggling locked doors and peering into tanks, trying to see the fish. We ran into a group of five employees, only one of which acknowledged us by waving. You’d think seeing someone walking around with a kid, they’d volunteer something to do or direct us to something to see. Guess that wasn’t in their job description. In poking around one of the buildings – the one with the ping-pong table and basketball hoop, I did manage to shake loose another employee and corner him. When I told him we were trying to figure out what the place is all about and find something for the boy to see, his answer was “Well we’re having lunch and the water’s too murky to see any fish. Good luck.”

So let me get this right: these people work at a place with public access, where the public is invited to visit, and then get annoyed because we actually come? It must really suck to be you. It irkes me that my dollars pay for their salaries and that facility, including the ping-pong table and basketball hoop. Hey buddy, if you don’t like your job, go get another one where you don’t have to deal with us pesky taxpayers. But that might mean you actually have to do something to get a paycheck, so I doubt that will happen.

As I said, we didn’t go there expecting much, but a shred of helpful information and a sanitary place to pee would have gone a very long way in making our walk in the rain more enjoyable.

It’s Christmas!!

Friday, December 23rd, 2005

I bet you didn’t know that today is Christmas. You are probably one of those silly people who thought Christmas was on Sunday this year. But it’s not. It’s today! Santa came and everthing. At least to our house.

Due to circumstances beyond our control, it was necessary to have the Christmas Event on a compressed timeline. So we moved it up a couple of days. Woo doesn’t know any different, and as far as he is concerned, Christmas is today.

Last night before storytime we put out a cookie and some milk for Santa, and left him a note so he knew that it was from Woo. Woo even signed his name to the note so Santa could be sure it was genuine and we weren’t scamming for his toys. We did screw up in that we didn’t put out Woo’s stocking, which was in his room because he was playing “sock” with it. So Santa’s Little Helpers had to sneak in and nab the stocking so it could be stuffed.

Woo didn’t have a huge Christmas – Santa left two presents under the tree, and a coloring book and small present in his stocking. He also had presents from my Mom, SIL and the neighbor across the street. (The neighbor told Woo that Santa came by and asked her if there was a little boy in the neighborhood that could use a present.) Woo doesn’t seem any worse the wear for not having been buried in toys this morning, and is having a very, very merry Christmas.

It finally stopped raining today, so I guess I can quit browsing the net for Ark plans. Ok, so it’s only been raining for a week. That’s about four days too long in my book. Especially with a high-energy five-year old in the house. But today we were able to get out and about without getting wet or seeking shelter.

Beau Hunk and I went for a bike ride with Woo in the trailer. The ride was nothing more than a goof off ride, which suits me just fine. I haven’t done any serious biking for months, so I’ve lost fitness and gained weight. But today’s ride wasn’t even close to serious. I went in my jeans, tennis shoes and t-shirt. We rode our “townie” bikes, which are best suited to fun goof-off rides. My bike frame was made by Ritchey, and was Beau Hunk’s hard-tail mountain bike for about 20 years. When he upgraded to a full-suspension bike a few years ago, he converted the frame into his townie.

He put a solid front fork on, changed out the straight handlebars for a set that curves back toward the seat, and put a big, comfy Brooks saddle on it. (Which is an awesome seat, and the sole reason I can ride this bike in jeans.) He then put fenders on it and a rack. It is one sweet ride. He rode it as his townie for a while, and then last October he told me I could have it “in consideration of marriage”. Meaning that if I didn’t marry him, he got the bike back. Law students can be sooooo romantic. The bike is a wonderful ride – big comfy tires, a lovely upright position so I can look around, and lots and lots of gears. It’s a beautiful bike and I love it very much.

Back in April I was at the Sea Otter bike races and saw a sign that Tom Ritchey, founder of Ritchey bicycles, was going to be there signing autographs. I took the opportunity to meet him, and told him the story of how Beau Hunk loved his frame so much that he gave it a new life as a townie. I then told him that it had been given to me as an “engagement bike”, under the stipulation that if I didn’t marry Beau Hunk, I had to give the bike back. He was amused at our story, and blown away by Beau Hunk’s appreciation for his frame. He then signed a poster for me, congratulating us on our engagement.

At any rate, the bike is a lovely ride, and we had a very nice time toodling around on our little ride today. But best of all, Woo had a really great Christmas, even if it is two days ahead of the rest of the world.

Over The River and Through the Woods

Saturday, December 24th, 2005

Today we’re off to have grown-up’s Christmas with my family. It’s kind of a shadow of Christmas though, because we already had our family celebration yesterday. But we’re loading up the car, packing the presents, and heading out to do our visiting. We’re planning on spending the night at my parents’ house, which might be interesting.

I know I’m all grown up and married, but I still feel incredibly weird about sleeping there with *gasp!* a man. (Which leads to the question of just how uncomfortable I would be if I were sleeping with a woman, but that’s another thought, for another day.) And by “sleeping”, I mean engaging in slumber and rejuvenation, not sex. The idea of having sex in my parents’ house squicks me out so much, I can’t even begin to describe the discomfort. Yes, I am that pent-up about their house.

Which is what has me really flummoxed here. I’m not pent-up at all about sex. I’ll do that just about anywhere. Except my parents’ house. And maybe a funeral. (Not that that chance has been presented.) But I digress, because having sex there isn’t even the root of my hang-up. It’s the mere presence of a man in the room where I spent my formative teen years. There’s no real reason for this discomfort. It’s just me being incredibly weird I guess.

But hang-ups or no, we are off to do our visiting, to eat, drink and be merry. Gifts will be exchanged and a good time will be had by all. It will be the epitome of the perfect family holiday.

Egads, I can’t wait to get back home.

Merry December 25th

Sunday, December 25th, 2005

Our family Christmas is already over, but here’s wishing you and yours a lovely Sunday Holiday, however you choose to celebrate or worship.

Bill wishes you a screamin’ good holiday.

(That showed up purely by accident in the background of a picture we took of Woo posing with one of his presents.)

He’s been attacking the tree like that since we decorated it, and has thoroghly trashed it:

When cats decorate.

The Low-Key Christmas

Monday, December 26th, 2005

The trip to my parents’ for Christmas has been deemed a success. The entire affair was very low-key, and we had a great time. I even got over my weirdness about having a man in my old bedroom. The truth is that we didn’t get to bed until almost midnight and I was too exhausted to even think about it.

We spent most of Christmas Eve at my brother’s house, where my SIL made us a really wonderful dinner. Before dessert we sat around and opened presents. The youngest member of the group was my nephew, who is 16. It was so orderly and tame as to be almost boring. It’s just not the same without a couple of overly anxious kids on the edge of popping a vein in anticipation of opening their next present.

After dinner and dessert we went back to Mom & Dad’s where we spent another couple of hours sitting around yapping. Beau Hunk seems to have been fully accepted into the clan, and he and my father have bonded very nicely over my father’s hobbies.

Sunday morning was slow and lazy, and culminated in Beau Hunk making everyone omlettes. I was in charge of making toast and juicing the mandarins from Mom’s tree in the front yard. I was also responsible for keeping Mom out of the kitchen. I had to take her by the shoulders and gently guide her out four times. She just can’t sit back and let someone serve her for a change. The rest of the morning and afternoon was spent in a haze of chit-chat. Isn’t it amazing how we can spend hours talking to somone and not say a damned thing?

We had an early dinner / late lunch. Would that be linner? Whatever you call it, it was fantastic. We had fresh dungeness crab, salad and sourdough bread. There was really no way for that to be bad. I was in charge of cleaning and cracking the crab, and impressed Mom with my ability to skillfully rip the face off our meal. I also managed to crack the legs without beating the hell out of the meat, which is more than I can usually say for the hacks at the grocery store who try to crack crab. I long ago decided to forego their services and crack my own at home.

The meal was wonderful, and was followed by chocolate silk pie for dessert. I’ve been craving chocolate pie for months, but refused to buy one to satisfy my craving. If I buy one, then I have to eat it. Eating a pie is not a good thing, so I just gave it the big pass. So I was very happy to see that pie in Mom’s fridge. Score!

After dessert we gathered up our goodies and headed for home. We even managed to get home at a decent hour and spent some time with the pets before crashing out in our own bed. It was a geat trip, we had a wonderful holiday, and we’re glad to be home.


Tuesday, December 27th, 2005

Well I’m frustrated. When we moved into this house, we planned for one of the bedrooms to be the office / sewing room. What we didn’t realize was that there isn’t a phone or cable outlet in that room. Cable may not sound essential, but we have a cable modem, and we had planned to put the router in there. So no cable, no router. And getting cable and phone in there means Beau Hunk has to go into the attic and run wires down the walls. We’re not ready to do that just yet.

So plan B was reached – instead of connecting the desktop to the router via ethernet, I bought a wireless card to put in the box, and we left the router in the living room on top of the TV. I ordered a Netgear WG311 on Amazon for a decent price and free shipping. Done. I installed the card on Saturday, and it was a pain in the ass from moment one.

First it wouldn’t find my network. When I finally got that solved, it kept dropping the connection. Then when I would try to shut down to re-establish the connection, the computer wouldn’t shut down right. When I did get it shut down, when it restarted, it wouldn’t find the connection again. I repeat, a total pain in the ass.

I got the connectivity and network finding problems solved, but then realized that every time the machine tried to go to standby or hibernate, Windows would hang. When I knew for a fact that the Netgear network software was the problem, I called the helpline.

Which of course, was of minimal help. The first thing the person suggested was that I try the card in another box. What the fuck? It’s not like I have a stable of boxes just sitting around. So, no. Then he told me that the card doesn’t work because I have an AMD processor, not an Intel. You’re fucking kidding me.

I ask you, does this page dedicate a single word to saying that this product isn’t compatible with AMD processors? And of course, I’m too much of a dumbass to have gone to Netgear’s product page to have looked at the full product description that includes this vital nugget of information. (I am also apparently too much of a dumbass to look at the reviews, most of which say “don’t buy this product!!!”. Guess I could have noticed that before I bought!) At this point, I don’t know if I’m more disgusted at Amazon for leaving it off, or me for trusting their description over that of the manufacturers. But since it’s easier to blame Amazon for my stupidity, I’ll just aim my indignity their way.

But there’s one part of this for which I can’t even pretend to blame anyone else. This card came with a $10 rebate. So yesterday I got all industrious and filled out the paperwork, cut the UPC off the box and sent off for my ten bucks. Amazon doesn’t take returns of items that are missing UPC codes. Argh!! I think I just fucked myself for $10.

Now I’m stuck with a card that works for the most part, but won’t let my computer standby, hibernate or shut down. I’m going to do try uninstalling it tomorrow and see if I can make it work with just the drivers and not the Netgear software. If that doesn’t work, I guess I have to buy a new card. Oh yay. I guess that’s what I get for being all efficient with my rebates.

Well, that and being a dumbass.

Walking the Razor’s Edge

Wednesday, December 28th, 2005

As I was shaving my legs in the shower this morning, my eyes followed the tiny trickle of blood down my shin, and I wondered why this process seems to be immune from evolution. We are still using the same basic means and methods to de-fur ourselves as we have for the last 50 or so years. With all this technology floating around, why hasn’t anyone come up with a better way of making my legs as smooth as a baby’s backside?

I know there have been a few attempts at a better way to smooth skin, all of which seem to involve ripping the hair from your body at great force. Waxing should be performed in prisons as a punishment for the unruly, but it would probably be ruled cruel and unusual. I haven’t yet figured out why the most violent and painful way of hair removal is so expensive. I wouldn’t pay my hairdresser to pull the hair on my head, so why would I pay his assitant to yank it out by the roots elsewhere? That’s just not for me.

The closest thing to the wax-torture home game was the Epilady. Remember? This device’s lovely and gentle name was betrayed by a medieval method of hair removal that involved springs and ripping of hair, flesh, and anything else that got in the way. I can’t help but think that this device was invented after a tragic accident involving a pubescent boy and one of those exercise contraptions that had a string of tightly coiled springs with two handles at the end. I can just picture the poor boy working out his pecs, stretching waaaaaay back and YOW! A smooth and touchable chest for the next three weeks.

I will admit that razors have evolved since the straight-edged days, but the latest developments leave me scratching my head and muttering “what the fuck” a lot. There seems to be an arms race as to how many blades you can stuff onto the head of a razor. I think some company is up to four now. Then there’s the new battery powered disposable razors. It looks to me like they’re nothing more than vibrators designed to suck money out of your wallet while the quality of your shave is left untouched.

My favorite “new” invention is the razor lube strip. I have yet to see any benefit from this device. Mostly because I have yet to have one stay attached to my razor for any amount of time. Inevitably the thing will partially detach and do nothing more than flop around and annoy the hell out of me. At which point I usually rip it off and throw it down the drain.

As much as I question the evolution of the function of the razor, I must also question the evolution of the price of the razor. Why is it that I can buy a dozen ink pens at Office Depot for $0.79, but razor blade refills are still $2.00 each? ($2.50 if you get the ones with Aloe and Vitamin E in that lube strip I love so much.) Hasn’t anyone developed a cheaper way of making these things? Truth is, they’re probably dirt cheap to make, but the demand is so high, why should they bother to lower the price?

I’m telling you, if I didn’t like the feel of a freshly shaved leg slipping between the sheets at night, I’d just plain give up on this whole business. But like a crack-whore to the pipe, I keep walking that razor’s edge, chasing that smooth skin dragon, and praying for the day that painless laser hair removal comes in a home kit.

Karma & Justice – Getting What You Deserve

Thursday, December 29th, 2005

The web is a very strange and wonderful thing. The other day, in a fit of curiosity and boredom, I Googled a name of a former employer. Around a million years ago, I worked for a family of chiropractors in the greater Sacramento area. This was a business run by biggest bunch of crooks I’d ever seen. They ripped off everybody, in every way – the patients, the employees, the insurance companies. These doctors – who owned their own practice, lived in a big house and drove Cadillacs – used to go into my desk drawer and steal my spare change at night.

They were real scumbags, but I hadn’t thought about them in years. As I said, in a fit of curiosity and boredom, I decided to look them up. And oh, what a little gem of information I uncovered. I knew these people were crooks, and now, everyone else does too.

In 1996, one of the family was targeted in an investigation of insurance fraud. The investigators hit paydirt. The doctor was indicted on 34 counts of mail fraud (for using the mail to send bills for services never rendered), which carried a possible sentence of 42 months in state prison and restitution. Not exactly jaywalking.

Since the indictment was in 1998, I wasn’t able to find out if she was convicted or not. But I did find that her license to practice was revoked, and the licenses of the other two family members that shared the practice were forfeited.

I know it’s pure evil, but it warms my bitter little heart to see a little comes-around-goes-around in action. I knew these people were dancing the edge of the law when I worked there. I’m not surprised in the least that they took things further as time went on. They made a lot of money to which they were not entitled, and you and I paid for it through our own rising insurance rates. We also paid for it in the rising rates of Worker’s Compensation insurance, which drove up the price of our goods and services. Crooks like this are why California’s Worker’s Comp system is utterly fucked. Call it Karma, call it Justice, call it whatever you want, I’m just glad to see it.

There are times in each life when one reaches a certain level of frustration with the selfish bad intentions of others. At those times, it gives me some tiny sense of satisfaction to know that once in a while, the universe balances the scales.

Lethargy Rules Our House

Friday, December 30th, 2005

We’ve had just over 3.75 inches of rain since last night.

Not a lot of movement is going on here.

The Red Dog found a warm place to sleep behind the couch.

My dog went to sleep by my feet.

My cat found a basket of laundry waiting to be folded and thought that would be lovely place to nap.

Bill curled up on top of a box for his nap.

A brief attempt was made to play, but ended in my dog sleeping on my foot, with Bill napping nearby.

As I said, not a lot of movement going on here.

What Old Married People Do For New Year’s Eve

Saturday, December 31st, 2005

We don’t get out much. We are not party people. We do not boogie-oogie-oogie until we just can’t boogie no more. We are middle-aged, boring, married people.

So what are we doing for New Year’s Eve? We are staying home and doing what married people do. From that, you may make any inference with which you are comfortable.

We did go out to dinner tonight, and had a lovely beef-n-reef dinner of prime rib and lobster. The meat was fabulous, the lobster quite “eh”. It didn’t have much flavor, but the meat more than made up for it.

Our server was a beautiful young woman, probably in her early or mid-twenties. When our meal was over, we asked if we could have a dessert menu for me, and a glass of water for Beau Hunk. She smiled and said “Would it be ok if I were your dessert menu?” I smiled back and said “Yes, but you can’t be his glass of water.” We all had a rousing laugh and the poor girl almost blushed to death.

She came back with the glass of water, and I asked her for a take-out box for my leftover steak. I didn’t quite know what to say when she innocently asked “Can I be your box?” Oh my. Child, know ye what ye say?? Beau Hunk laughed, and gave an “aw-shucks, stop it” retort. I was laughing my ass off, not knowing quite what to say, when I think she finally realized the implications of her statement. I laughed and said “Don’t lead him on dear, you’ll only hurt his feelings.” Another good laugh was had by all.

So now we’re back at home, bellies full, wondering how we’ll ever make it to midnight. Oh what exciting lives we have!! But I’m sure we two old married fuddy-duddies will manage to find something to amuse ourselves this evening.