Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Pictures of you
I think I first realized I was entering other people’s family photos – vacation photos to be precise – when we lived in Chicago. At the time I was working for the Trib. The Tribune Tower is right near the Chicago River on Michigan Avenue.

People liked to take pictures of the river, of themselves on the bridge over the river and of the ol’ Magnificent Mile itself. I got caught in the crossfire. Usually I wait for someone to take their picture – but that always takes longer than you’d expect. It is point and shoot people not point and ask what this button does.

Invariably, I’d walk through the shot after waiting a fair amount of time (10-15 seconds) and end up in the background of the photo.

It’s worse for me now – I’ve worked in the same neighborhood for the past four years and I’m centrally located near several popular tourist destinations: the Boston Public Garden, the Common, Cheers and Copley Square (home to Trinity Church).

I’m always there – walking to the gym, to the bank, to that bakery where they make those pastries that melt in your mouth from the buttery goodness, to CVS for a Coke Zero fix (I know I have a problem) and there they are: tourists. They are taking pictures on the turtle and rabbit, chattering and asking for directions and pointing excitedly to stuff like squirrels (I know they are exotic in some parts of the world – but are they really exotic in Iowa?).

I try to stay out of their way; I’ll stand patiently on the sidewalk as they take pictures of each other standing in front of Cheers on Beacon Street. Then they take forever – someone doesn’t know how to work the camera. I start to walk and then I am immortalized forever in your vacation photo.

Sorry people. The nice thing about digital, you can erase it. Of course, that’s assuming you know how to work the camera.

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Monday, May 29, 2006

I can wield shame like a cudgel
We bought a big, powerful and loud gas-powered lawn mower a few weeks ago. After last summer’s debacle of trying to manage our grass with the old reel push mower, we opted to upgrade to a bigger gas mower. The reel mower didn’t do a very good job and frankly our yard was too big for it.

This year our condo neighbors agreed with us that we should upgrade and three of us hopped into the car to visit the giant orange box store of despair. I looked at a nice electric that didn’t do everything I hoped our new mower could do. Then I looked at the gas-powered machines. Our neighbor had “done some research” and made some suggestions about which mower to buy. Deeps chimed in and we bought a big self-propelled machine that will mow and mulch.

When we got the machine home the men set about fiddling with it. They seemed quite pleased with themselves. And they both commented on how much faster the lawn mowing task would be – mere minutes compared with the nearly hour-long task it had been with the reeler mower.

They both said they’d be more inclined to mow the lawn now that they could do it in less than 15 minutes. Both said it would be something they could easily do after work. Neither of them ever did anything. So I had to start my slow guilt campaign.

I didn’t actually care that they didn’t mow the lawn, it’s just they made such a big deal about that mower that on principle I felt they should do some lawn care and maintenance. I’ve shamed Deeps into doing it twice. It’s harder to shame the neighbor since he’s not around a lot and seems somewhat impervious to my shame – after all I’ve done all the yard work to date and dug up the whole back yard to reseed and overplant it for the lush green lawn we have now.

I figure a good few minutes loudly struggling with the mower should do the trick. Then I can spend some quality time with the Weedeater.

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Sunday, May 28, 2006

Worse than the blue screen of death
Like Mike, I like to read Consumerist. And I’ve read it enough to know that when I get a thick, unmarked envelope with something that feels like a credit card in it – something might be up.

See – I didn’t order a new card and I wasn’t due for a replacement anytime soon.

The letter said that my personal information may have been compromised by a third party. What? And that they don’t know for sure – but maybe something bad might happen so they’re sending me a new one. You know, just in case. Oh and my old card dies in like a week. So good luck.

I’ve had my information compromised before. Last year I got a letter saying an old corporate card had been part of a group of 40,000 numbers stolen.

I guess I’ll be spending the next few days calling people, updating my info and scanning credit reports for problems. The thing that is always fun about being the victim of a crime is the inordinate amount of paperwork you have to deal with.

Thanks, scumbag thieves!

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Saturday, May 27, 2006

Secrets to a lasting marriage
Next week Deeps and I have our fourth wedding anniversary. We’ve been living together for nearly a decade now and you’d think that we’d be tired of each other. We are – but there’s still plenty that we like about each other that makes living together a pleasure and less of a chore.

I found Deeps in the living room last week watching TV.

Me: Whatcha watching?
Deeps: A movie about hobos and an evil train conductor.
Me: Oooh…
Deeps: Ernest Borgnine just hit a guy with a hammer and then the train ran the guy over and split him in half.
Me: Wow.
Deeps: Yeah, and Lee Marvin is the gentleman hobo who is trying to ride the rails and he’s locked in mortal conflict with Ernest Borgnine.
Me: Lee Marvin vs. Ernest Borgnine?
Deeps: With a hammer.
Me: Does Lee Marvin have a weapon?
Deeps: Just his wits. And Keith Carradine.
Me: I’m going with Lee Marvin.
Deeps: Me too.
Me: This sounds like the greatest movie ever.
Deeps: I knew you’d like it.

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Leaves little to the imagination
K and I like to talk about our shared memories of our college years together – except we find that we don’t share memories so much as complete them. She’ll tell a story about something that I absolutely don’t remember and vice versa. As the story goes along, one of us has that flicker of memory and we can kind of recall the event.

I think this story might be something like that.

We worked together at a small Internet company the summer after we graduated from college. K worked at the front desk (the nerds were incredibly happy when I brought my hot friend in for a job interview) and I built Web pages.

Those people liked to have parties – the area was kind of isolated and there wasn’t much nightlife. I don’t think we went to very many – but I do recall going to a few. I figured I’d go for the free beer.

There was a new guy in the office and he had rented (purchased?) a swanky loft condo that used to be part of an old mill or something. It was very industrial.

We didn’t know tons about the guy but he had certain slickness about it. Despite the fact that he was nice to me, he was a bit off-putting. He had a girlfriend, he talked about her a lot and I believe he fancied himself an artist.

I came to the party when it was in full swing. People were everywhere and the space was throbbing with music and people – the evening was hot. I wandered around with a colleague and we ran into the host. He gave us a tour of his large, open apartment. It was nice – modern and sparse. Then he showed us his bedroom.

As I recall, it had a kind of round bed. This could be totally wrong – it seemed like the kind of room that should have a round bed. But the bed might have just been a regular queen-sized bed. Above the bed was a giant canvas. My colleague and I looked at it for a moment and like many people at art galleries we cocked our heads to the side. We were just trying to understand what we were seeing. Could it be?

Host: I painted that myself.
Me: Wow.
Colleague: That is really interesting.
Host: It took a lot of work.

The painting in question – it was a giant open flower and out of the center of the petals was a giant, erect penis. I think the canvas was at least four feet wide. Was it a self-portrait? Was it ironic? Were we staring at our co-workers genitals?

The party never really came together for me after that. I went out to get some air later in the evening and casually brought up the painting to some of my co-workers. Some hadn’t

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Friday, May 26, 2006

What will you do for a Klondike Bar?
Yesterday I was in this all-day software training session to learn how to use a new system at work. Nothing major, nothing awful – but it was a long day. I got out around 4:00 and headed over to the train station to go home. Normally I’d walk to the last train stop before the river to get a little exercise but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I was beat.

I was surprised to talk down the platform to find a train waiting. I hopped on board – and zoomed to the next leg of my journey. When I switched trains at Park St. I was again surprised to find a train (and a seat!) waiting for me. I got to my final stop, Alewife, in no time. I climbed up to the bus terminal and waited for a few minutes.

I can take any number of busses home, but I decided to go with one bus because I saw it idling nearby as the driver was taking a break. I figured that was my best shot. I figured wrong. As soon as I sat down at that stop I realized I’d made a mistake. The guy next to me – he looked like a drunken walrus – decided he liked me.

And so he started talking. This is when I realized that he was absolutely a drunk walrus: right down to the weird little mustache.

He asks what I’m reading. I show him the cover of the book. He asks if it is a good book. I tell him it is interesting and dense. Then he asks, “Is it sick?” and I shake my head no. He launches into a monologue about something sick he’s read and how really sick it was. I’m not sure what the hell he was talking about, but whatever. I mentioned I didn’t get much chance to read and kind of turned back to my book. I thought he might take the hint.

Perhaps he’d have taken the hint better if it had been attached to the business end of a nine iron. Honestly man – I do not need to hear about your drunk problems. He covered losing his job, self-esteem of people who think they can’t get a better job, retiring, 9/11, the Station nightclub fire, and Filenes. I am not kidding.

About the time he’d launched into yet another diatribe; a guy from the T walked by and mentioned something about the busses being delayed because of a problem with the train. I took this as a sign. Seems like a nice day, I muttered, I guess I’ll walk. I wished him well and got the hell out of there.

I called Deeps from the Minuteman trail a few moments later as I hoofed it home. I told him what happened.

He was not surprised. “I’m telling you, it is the red hair. Drunks like you,” he said.

I walked the two miles home. It was oddly relaxing. I should do it more often, especially now that the weather was nice. The path was pretty busy and people like to ride their bikes. After being nearly mowed down for the third time I remembered why I don’t do it more often. Plus there is a lot of poison ivy along the trail if you have to step off to get out of the way – bad things could happen.

I finally got home and grabbed some water. I parked on the couch for a couple of minutes thinking about what just happened. Then I remembered that Klondike bar in the freezer (okay – maybe it is no sugar added and reduced fat – but whatever). I busted it out and went to town. What wouldn’t I do for a Klondike bar?

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Thursday, May 25, 2006

Suspicious Minds
My husband is being stalked by the New Yorker. It is a weekly magazine, but it is dense with articles and fiction and other good stuff.

He wanted to subscribe, but it has been difficult for him to keep up. At one point I know he had a backlog of like six issues. Today he’s about to start the latest issue. It is a challenge for him each week.

He also loudly announces when he’s finished the latest issue so I can… I dunno, tell the Internet about it I guess.

He doesn’t have a handle on the situation because he gets twitchy every time I go out to get the mail.

Deeps: Is that the mail?
Me: Yeah.
Deeps: Anything good?
Me: Uhm a couple of bills, and these (I hold out vaguely magaziney/catalogey shaped things).
Deeps: Is there another New Yorker?
Me: …
Deeps: Oh God! There is!

I told him we could cancel our subscription if he couldn’t handle it – but he got all offended. I suggested that I might try to read the magazine as well since the intense television season is over and I’d have more free time in the evening.

Me: I think it would be a good idea.
Deeps: I think it could mess up my reading schedule.
Me: I’ll just read the issues you’ve finished.
Deeps: But you read faster than me!
Me: You know I’m just going to subscribe to The Economist.
Deeps: That might be better.

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Wednesday, May 24, 2006

And that's why I didn't go to grad school
Apropos of nothing, I was thinking about one of my worst job interviews this morning. (I come up with my blog ideas in the shower – it is very stream of consciousness. No pun intended.)

I met with this guy, he was the founder and CEO of some little internet start-up in Chicago that did something with lifestyle stuff… I can hardly remember now. I also can’t remember what my situation was when I agreed to talk to this guy. I like to think I was desperate, but I suspect I was bored. Oh the go-go 90s! Things were different and e-whatever and cybery back then.

I walk into the office. I believe he wanted to meet with me on a Saturday morning. The place is like your first apartment, but worse. It is filled with broken furniture organized to look like desks and office configurations. It was weird.

If it were a movie, I think the scary music would have started.

A skinny, disheveled, middle-aged man came out of the office and greeted me. He was nice enough and offered me a seat (at a chair missing an arm) and we started to talk.

He started to talk, actually. A lot of my job interviews in the 90s remind me of bad blind dates. This was one of them. He talked a lot and I believe he was very proud of his MBA from some fancy university. He blabbered on about that at length. Then he started asking me questions.

The first question was: how old are you?
Me: I don’t think you’re allowed to ask me that.
MBA guy: What?
Me: I think that’s frowned on by the government. EEOC and all.
MBA guy: Oh. Okay. I was just trying to understand your resume.
Me: I see.
MBA guy: So tell me, how would you determine how many refrigerators are sold in China each year?
Me: What?

The guy repeats the question. I start to stammer about the Internet. Then he tells me I can’t use the Internet to do the research. Oh - and I am not going to work for him selling fridges in China. The guy looks very pleased with himself. I suspect he has a checklist somewhere that he's been referring to.

At think at that point I had a big breakthrough: I do not need an MBA. This may be a weird revelation, but for a while everyone I knew was either in an MBA program, about to leave the program, or mulling entering the program. Most of those people were liberal arts grads, like me, and we kept getting beaten out by MBAs for swanky jobs. There wasn’t any specific reason to have an MBA – but it seemed to be the magic combination of letters to help insure you got employed.

But what Chinese refrigerator guy helped me to understand is that you feel weird around some (not all) MBAs because that’s all they talk about. It’s like the way some (not all) Harvard grads slide that into conversation within like four minutes of meeting them. I knew a woman like that. These people have additional education, some of them may even benefit greatly from that education – I wasn’t necessarily going to and clearly the Chinese fridge guy lacked social savvy and any semblance of street smarts.

I stopped the interview early and said thanks, but this didn’t seem like the place for me. I left the guy sputtering as I walked out of the office.

I like to think the Chinese fridge guy would be the first to admit that there is nothing more powerful than being able to walk away from a deal.

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Tuesday, May 23, 2006

This is why it is an honor to be nominated
I read this article about the XMen movie – an interview with the four main actresses. I think I snorted at least three times. Then I performed a dramatic reading for my husband.

Maybe you had to be there.

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In through the out door
My husband’s uncle and aunt are coming to visit tonight. The house is being tidied and I am making my own mental checklist of when I can expect them to make inappropriate comments about my reproductive status and my weight.

It is like a drinking game. I’m totally ordering some vodka tonics at dinner. God I love family visits!

In other news – I am totally swamped at work and I’m bringing stuff home to see if I can catch up. Seems unlikely.

You know that Montenegro has voted to become independent from Serbia? Yeah, that means I’ve got extra work to do. Those maps aren’t going to fix themselves.

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Monday, May 22, 2006

Lessons learned
This weekend was full of learning experiences.

First, I learned that small girls sometimes like sunglasses and usually enjoy frogs that will talk to them in English and Spanish. No need to go down the slippery slope of the Wiggles just yet.

Dora the Explorer’s head is so disproportionately large for her body that she’s too top heavy to stand on a birthday cake. So you’ve to kind of plant her in the cake... you know, maybe up to her waist.

I also learned that when practicing your coping cuts with an electric saw, you should not practice using the plastic-composite crown molding. It melts.

Oh and in addition to melting, it smells really bad.

The plastic-composite stuff looks and feels like the MDF stuff. And at the giant orange box store where you bought it, no one has bothered to sort the materials so that you don’t buy the wrong stuff. And you should know that, because that is how every other department is “organized” and yet you think it will be different in lumber? You are an idiot.

Don’t let your husband clean out the humidifier from the winter, it will some how end up covered in mold.

Your little garden seedlings can’t survive the deluge of over a foot of water in four days. You will probably have to replant – for the third and last time.

That netting stuff you can put over your garden to keep the creatures at bay works okay – but you might decapitate a few marigolds in the process.

Pray those marigolds do not exact their smelly, golden pollened vengeance.

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Friday, May 19, 2006

What would the Internets do?
Tomorrow Deeps and I are going to a birthday party for the Loaf. She is turning two.

Yes – two!

At this point I’m torn: Wiggles or Dora the Explorer? Should I go the DVD edutainment route or books?

I know what I’d get for my nieces and nephews in the one-three year-old range. But here’s the things, if I give the kids something that they like a lot and it drives my sisters crazy… well, I don’t car so much. But if I give something annoying to my best friend of more than a decade’s kid… well, I do care.

See – I have a soft center!

Are the Wiggles super annoying? I hear Dora might be on probation.

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Thursday, May 18, 2006

LOST
Me: I’ve solved the mystery of LOST.
Deeps: What?
Me: I just saw the Hanso commercial – and I figured everything out.
Deeps: Really?
Me: Yeah – see that shot where there’s like a shadowy figure standing in the window. You can see him (pauses DVR on scene) right there – (pointing).
Deeps: Okay.
Me: It’s David Bowie.
Deeps: Hmm.
Me: David Bowie is behind it all – but not just David Bowie, David Bowie circa The Hunger.
Deeps: You should be proud of yourself.
Me: I really am.

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There may be a lesson in all of this
I ran into my friend Suki earlier this week. She’s getting married next month and the topic of the wedding is never very far from her mind.

As we waited in line for sandwiches, we had a little chat.

Suki: Did you get the invitation?
Me: Yes! It is very lovely.
Suki: And you saw the note?
Me: About the wrong day being printed on the invite?
Suki: Yes.
Me: I figured you were kind of upset about it. But you know it is a little funny.
Suki: Ten people looked at that invitation and didn’t find anything wrong.
Me: Well, the date is right – it just says Saturday instead of Sunday.
Suki: I had no idea and my Dad called to tell me.
Me: It’s good that you can laugh about it.
Suki: I hope to be able to someday. At least I’m not crying anymore.
Me: You really cried?
Suki: Yes. My Dad called me at work and I just lost it.
Me: Wow.
Suki: Yeah.
Me: I guess you should have sent it to that eleventh person.
Suki: Probably. I’m never getting married again.
Me: Good plan.

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Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Hello Sunshine
The sun is out for the first time in over a week – I hear the birds chirping this morning too.

Of course the cat is in the basement writing her angry poetry and listening to my old Cure albums.

I don’t have much to report at the moment. I’m deep in work deadlines – June 1 I come up for air. So I come home, exhausted and slump in front of the TV to watch another finale that makes me cry. Way to be sneaky, How I Met Your Mother. You are a sitcom! Of course Scrubs has made me misty for years, so maybe I’m becoming a big sap.

My husband has been carefully noting the state of the basement – she is still dry. We turned off the de-humidifier for a little while when we found that the coils were covered in ice (wtf?). Of course, this was a great time for Deeps to crack out his heat gun. He was psyched.

As far as the flooding around us, we finally ventured out a bit yesterday to see what was going on. The Lower Mystic has flooded enough to close the Mystic Valley Parkway – that’s just about half a mile from our house. The Boston Globe had some great pictures if you’re interested in seeing more dramatic images. There are a few from Arlington – most were about a mile from our house. So I guess we were luckier than I thought – a mile isn’t that far.

The waters are starting to recede. A lot of people will find themselves in quite a mess and I think this would be a good time to mention the Red Cross. I know people who complain about giving to the Red Cross – including members of my family. Here’s the thing: nobody else does the widespread work in the US that the Red Cross does. And there will be a lot of people who could use a little help.

So the sun is out again. Don’t forget your sunscreen.

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Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Wear your high water pants
Hey – it is still raining!

I’m totally buying flood insurance. We haven’t had a flood yet, knock wood, and our basement is still dry. But I can afford it - I think I read somewhere I can get flood insurance for about $350/year for $250K in coverage.

Technically, I don’t think we’re in a flood plain – but then again, after Katrina and the recent floods just to our north it would appear that the flood plains are changing. I think the shocking thing about the floods on the north shore is that places that don’t normally flood are flooding. At least, that’s what I’m reading and seeing on TV.

We live somewhat close to the Lower Mystic (a big lake). I guess if the dam broke we’d be in big trouble. So that’s my justification for the flood insurance. I’m sure I spend $350 a year on stupid stuff – so why not spend it on something that might be smart.

And it looks like it will be raining for the rest of the week. Oh and the weather guy said watch out for snakes. I guess they might end up being flooded into your house. Sweet fancy Moses – Snakes on a (flood) Plain!

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Monday, May 15, 2006

Symbolism

Despite the hellacious rainfall – seriously, it is being measured in feet in some parts – we went out to run a few errands on Saturday afternoon. Like all animals, we were driven out to hunt for food.

As is my custom, I walked by the – okay, maybe I swam by – veg patch to see how the rain was affecting my plants. We’re lucky. They are not flooded and the yard had miraculous drainage. So far.

But I noticed that the wind had blown some debris into the garden. I pulled out some bits of paper, a few small tree branches and I noticed a pizza crust. Not totally normal, but given the rain and wind – not totally surprising.

I tried to grab it, but realized it was not just a crust. I actually had to get a stick to dig it up – something dug up a few of my chili plants and had buried a full size slice of pepperoni pizza in my garden.

What the hell does this mean? Is this some kind of threat or warning? I know that yellow roses symbolize friendship and a fish wrapped up in a newspaper on your front porch is not a good thing. Of course, we’ve all learned about the horse head in the bed – but what does buried pepperoni pizza mean?

I think that blue jay is gunning for me.

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Sunday, May 14, 2006

Lake front property
That’s what we may end up with at the rate the rain is falling. Luckily, we are dry (knock wood) and the basement is still dry and watertight. I have confirmed this visually. But my best hint that there is no water down there is the Poopus – she’s parked on the small couch taking a nap.

Our neighbors to the north are not so lucky – looks like the whole North Shore is in big trouble.

I’ve been inside most of the weekend – eating ribs. We ordered take-out from the rib place last night. A few of our neighbors came by to hang out and we figured ordering in was a good idea – how many ribs do we need? Like a slab maybe? How big is a slab? Can’t be that big.

Dude – I got like 45 pounds of food last night. So I’m about to commence my third meal of ribs. Mmm… delicious ribs. I’m considering becoming a vegetarian after this round.

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Friday, May 12, 2006

Where the wild things are
Every morning before we leave for work, I go out to look at the veg patch. I like to look for signs of life, signs of progress and signs of invasion.

Something has been nibbling on my beans – they’re little nubs now. And my marigolds aren’t doing so well. I didn’t do a great job on the transition from indoors to outdoors.

Yesterday I found that something had dug up one of my little chili plants (the jalapeno). Look – I don’t care so much about my marigolds and I have limited hopes for my beans. But I’ve grown chilies in the past and I hold them dear to my heart.

Plus, I live in a part of the country that collectively suffers from “gringo mouth” - I have every reason to believe that mayonnaise is used as a spice here – so I likes my spicy food. In fact, when I go to the grocery store I have a hard time find any good peppers. They’re usually wrinkly and old and I can rarely find stuff that’s hotter than a jalapeno. So this year I’m growing jalapenos (the work horse), habaneros, and some red chilies (like Thai chilies but a step down on the Scoville scale).

Deeps is confused by, but supportive of my backyard efforts. That is, until I broke out the overalls. I thought they would be good to wear when working in the back yard – to help prevent any unfortunate plumber’s butt incidents. The neighbors don’t need to see that.

But Deeps hates them. I kind of hate them too. I put them on the first time and Deeps suggested that I should avoid going out in public in them. I have to admit, I can’t disagree.

They looked much better when my Uncle Waldy use to wear them (not the same pair – just overalls in general). Of course he was an actual farmer and smoked a pipe. I never saw him take the pipe out of his mouth to talk – he just did that side talking thing like Popeye.

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Thursday, May 11, 2006

Heartbreaking work of staggering laziness
I wasn’t worried about LOST until I read this interview with TV Guide (warning: spoilers). Maybe the LOST writers need to do a swap with the Grey’s Anatomy writing staff. If you say you are out of story for a character who hasn’t had a flashback or that hasn’t even revealed her last name, then you have a problem.

This isn’t a problem that is unique to LOST – plenty of shows have problems writing for their women characters (Homicide and The Shield spring to mind immediately). But LOST doesn’t really have any excuse – they have (had?) JJ Abrams who has written interesting and compelling female characters for both Felicity and Alias. And LOST is the third prong in the mighty TV triumvirate of Desperate Housewives and Grey’s. Despite the uneven season of DH – both of those shows have strong, well-defined female characters. My husband would argue that even the men on Grey’s are basically strong female characters (but that is a different entry).

So what’s the problem LOST? I didn’t get disappointed by lack of answered questions last season or the slow unfolding of stories this season. But I’m starting to worry about the women of LOST.

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Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Gut-tiness
That’s how I solve television mysteries – I use my gut. Usually I miss important clues; when I was a kid I was convinced that on Scooby Doo they’d find clues during the commercials.

So last night’s revelation with Veronica Mars wasn’t really a shock. I’d kind of figured things out (although, I thought it was a red herring after the past few heavy-handed episodes) using my gut a couple of months ago. We’d been speculating for a while, but neither of us had committed to a solution.

I guess this is how Columbo would solve crimes, right? He listened for the wrong thing? He never had a crack forensics team or any DNA evidence. Right? I would be the world’s worst detective.

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Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Before - the master bath

This is what the bathroom looked like before - well except for the missing shower curtain and the giant canvas drop cloth. Usually we have some fuzzy mats. That shower is clean by the way. No ring around the tub. Posted by Picasa

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Master bath - after

This is the bathroom after the first coat of paint - it turned out to be more of a medium olive than the light taupey-green we'd picked out. Weird how that happens. Anyway, we went with a bathroom paint because it was easier to clean. And yes, I do have like three kinds of shower sponges and an industrial size bottle of Olay body wash. I am filthy. Posted by Picasa

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Seedlings!

I finally got around to putting some plants in the ground. My idea about growing my own vegetables is... well, not so cost-effective. I spent about $100 on dirt, most of my seedlings didn't survive the transition from seed to plant, and I think the neighborhood cats treat the bed like a giant litter box. Sometimes nature is fun. Posted by Picasa

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Monday, May 08, 2006

Don’t forget to floss!
I had a nice two hour dentist appointment this morning – so I took the day off. My colleagues were all super supportive of me taking the day off.

“Have fun!” they said. “Good for you!” some of them suggested.

“I’m having some cavities filled and a guy is going to look at my gums,” I shared.

“Oh.”

I’d actually planned to do a bit of work afterwards, but I didn’t really feel up to it. My cheeks are sore and puffy. My head hurts a little and my teeth hurt just the tiniest bit.

Before the “procedure” began, I chatted with my dentist so that he would understand that if things didn’t work out, I’d dump him.

Me: My last dentist was not very interested in my pain concerns and didn’t do a very good job at pain management. Which is why he is my former dentist.
New Dentist: Ah.
Me: I had to break up with him. He wasn’t interested in my needs.
New Dentist: I can understand that.
Me: Good.
New Dentist: And you’re letting me know this because you will break up with me.
Me: In a heartbeat.

He gave me a good numbing topical before he gave me the anesthetic injection. He also came back and did one more injection just to be sure. I thought that was good. I didn’t feel anything.

All through the procedure he asked how I was doing. I gave him a thumbs up, complained once about the taste of something (he quickly rinsed and vacuumed my mouth) and suggested that he get cooler protective glasses: like the kind they sell at the hardware store. He said he was going to Home Depot that weekend.

When it was all over he asked how I was doing, if I needed any additional pain medication and if I felt okay to drive. I was fine and appreciated his concern.

New Dentist: So that does it. If you have any questions you can give me a call – otherwise just make sure you get your regular cleanings. And don’t forget to floss.
Me: Great, thanks.
New Dentist: So how did I do? Are we breaking up?
Me: I think we could be in it for the long haul.

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A job done vs. a job well done
I’ve been experiencing fluky technical problems since Friday – so my apologies for the erratic posting. I had pictures up and ready to go last night. Sadly, the computer and I didn’t come to agreement on that.

Anyway, we finished the main wall painting portion of the bathroom. We’re going to repaint the white trim later with legit bathroom paint. That makes it easier to clean – which I think is important for a bathroom.

The color is darker than the paint swatch or the dried paint on the lid indicated it would be. It’s more of a medium olive than the light taupey-green we expected. We still like it – I just think we might have to kick up the wattage on the light bulbs when winter comes. Which is – you know – eight months of the year.

We did have some problems. This is the first oddly-shaped room we’ve ever painted. There are steep angles and weird corners and awkward spaces. This resulted in drips. Well – that’s what I’m publicly claiming led to the drips. Privately, there has been some discussion about painting technique and who might be lacking in said technique (like my husband). So the job is done. It isn’t what I’d call a particularly good paint job. Touchups are required and I’m considering sanding some parts of the wall and repainting them. But that won’t happen for a while.

I think the big lesson for us: we are not good at painting. If at all possible, we should hire someone. So whenever we sell the house – which based on current economic forecasts won’t be for a long, long time – we’ll plan on hiring someone to repaint the whole thing some boring, neutral color.

Plus there will be no fighting over who sucks at painting.

It totally isn’t me.

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Saturday, May 06, 2006

Green thumb, dirty hands
Today I planted the garden. You know the hideous seedy thing I’ve been talking about for several weeks. Well, it seems like we’re pretty much out of the frost risk – so I’m taking the plunge. Or rather a dig.

The bad thing is that I lost some plants in the several weeks that passed between when I planted and when I should have put them in the ground and when they actually ended up in ground. Basically, the seeds did okay for a few weeks – but they weren’t up to being in the “starter kit” for a couple of months. Lesson learned!

I ended up planting a few seedlings but mostly I’ve started all new seeds.

Tomorrow we paint the master bathroom. If we don’t die, get divorced or utterly abandon the project – I may be able to post photos.

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Fun with Baker
My mobile phone rang a few minutes ago.

Baker: I can’t make it tonight. I’ve got work stuff and I just can’t do it.
Me: What?
Baker: I can’t come over tonight to play cards.
Me: Uhm. That’s next week.
Baker: Oh.
Me: So – you’re off the hook.
Baker: Okay! See you next week then!

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Thursday, May 04, 2006

Interesting turn of events
Between sweeps and the end of the regular TV season, Deeps and I are spending a lot of time talking about shows we watch.

Me: Is it wrong that I am more likely to guess the plot twists on LOST than I am on Veronica Mars?
Deeps: You still don’t know what the big story is.
Me: No – but we all saw you know, what just happened coming. (I’m paraphrasing in case you didn’t watch LOST yet people.)
Deeps: I’m glad Beaver is still alive.
Me: For now.
Deeps: What? Who is touching Beaver?
Me: I have no idea – and I have no idea who the bus killer is. I mean, I think I know – but it seems too obvious, so I have no real idea. And I think we know who is touching Beaver.
Deeps: Poor Beaver. The Gute was so scary.
Me: I’ve seen like the first nine of the 43 part Police Academy series and I never thought I’d see such a menacing Gute. He was creepy.
Deeps: The stuff of nightmares.

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Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Where is the breakdown?
I was just reading two different blog entries about the bad behavior of people waiting in line.

Then we had our freak-out at the self-checkout at Home Depot. Well, we didn’t freak out – someone freaked out on us. We were buying some crappy crown moulding to practice cutting and so we thought we’d try the self-checkout. Even though I hate the self-checkout, it rarely works and I make a blood oath that I will NEVER USE THE SELF-CHECKOUT AGAIN!

There was a guy behind us waiting in line and then he basically just decided he could go ahead of us. I’m not sure what his thinking was, but it wasn’t what I’d call normal. Then he started like talking to me and Deeps – but he wasn’t really making sense. It was loud and it sounded like a mix of jibberish and bravado: like, what are you going to do about it? Men really like the self-checkout. I have no idea why. The damn thing never works right.

I looked over at the regular check-out lane; there was a lady with a couple of plants and nobody else. We switched lines, which made me happy having sworn a blood oath and all. And the guy who cut in front us? Yeah – he got a lot of those “unexpected item in the bagging area,” and ended up not getting his item faster than us. We exited the building as he still struggled.

I call it Karma.

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Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Colbert on Colbert
I recorded the White House Correspondents’ Dinner on the DVR sometime late Saturday and we watched it on Sunday.

We’ve watched a lot of these because we are nerds – which I believe I’ve copped to since like, my third blog entry.

Bush doing Bush was okay, it played to the crowd – as such a bit should – and they ate it up. Colbert doing Stephen Colbert was tough to watch. It was tough, at least from our TV viewer vantage, because the room seemed cool to his bits. The man was funny, he recycled plenty of material from his show and the jokes went over like a lead balloon.

Once again, I’ll point to the Oscars – the people running the show wanted to get someone “edgy” and “political” – so they hired Jon Stewart. Then they told him he couldn’t do any political humor and wanted him to be “respectful”. Of course, on TV he was funny but to the audience he was as hilarious as a colonoscopy. Necessary but quite uncomfortable.

Colbert’s reception was similar – the crowd was not interested in laughing or the laughs were weak. Bush was stone-faced. It’s one thing to make fun of yourself, it is quite another to have someone mercilessly roasting you on TV (granted, it is C-SPAN). It’s even worse when the person roasting you is just saying what’s on everybody’s mind.

You get what you pay for when you hire guys like Colbert and Stewart – they are not just jokesters, they hide the truth in the guise of their well-pointed jabs. You should probably stop hiring them to host your gigs if you’re not up to being a punching bag.

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