Saturday, December 31, 2005

Happy Another Year

New Year is always depressing to me. Its not really a "new" year in the sense that lessons from the past year are learned and not repeated, its more of a "thank gawd we made it through another freaking year, let's hope we survive the next one".

New Year means that tax time is coming up. That's something to look forward to, isn't it?

New Year means starting the same old grind over again, same job, doing the same things, same routine, nothing changes except the digit you write at the end of your check date.

I haven't won the lotto, haven't found a likeness of the blessed virgin mary on a potato chip, haven't invented something that everyone wants, so my chances of "jumping" out of the dull routine are pretty slim to none. Still have to work, haven't been discovered as the latest hippest blogger, or cartoonist. Hubby's pictures haven't been "discovered" and purchased for outlandish sums of money.

So, on Tuesday, we'll slog back to work as always, get told what to do, get told to change it, get told to change it back, get our paychecks, pay our bills, worry about paying taxes, worry about what if we get told we're no longer needed to change, then change back things.

For those of you who simply say "If you want something bad enough, you should be brave enough to just go do it"... you have too much freakin money and live in delusion. Give away your money, work an 8 to 5 job, live paycheck to paycheck and in fear that someone that doesn't like you will can you, then tell me about all those glorious dreams you speak of.

Its not a "new" year, its just another year, like last year, the year before, and certainly like the ones coming up. Same thing, same routine, same.

So, Happy Another Year, now get back to work.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Made it through another one

Ok, so we don't have to worry about whether to say "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Holidays" anymore, I think its pretty smooth sailing on the whole "Happy New Year". At least I haven't heard if there was a problem with that one yet.

Has anyone come out offended by "new year"? Is there a religion that doesn't go by a traditional calendar? By "traditional" I mean the one sold in the millions at all the bookstores around June. I do know that the Government goes by a different fiscal year, are we to start celebrating that as well? Happy New Fiscal Year! Since the government is really big on Federal holidays, I'm sure they'd all be for another day off to celebrate. Its been my experience that they usually take a few days off before Thanksgiving and don't do anything until after Martin Luther King's birthday, so why not declare those three months as the official government holiday.

Today should also be designated as the "take all the crap back that you got for christmas day" day. There's no way I'm venturing to a mall or store today. I made that mistake a few years ago, hoping to score a cheap winter coat, only to find myself in a JC Penney among two woman actually fighting (pulling hair, screaming, kicking) over a marked down gown. That was lovely. Lucky for me the people in line decided to go watch the fight so I was able to sneak through the line, pay and escape unharmed and unarrested.

Its another rainy, but this time somewhat sunny day today, so we'll just hang out at home. Perhaps I'll celebrate by bagging up more crap that has been "handed down as heirlooms" and put it on the curb as a sacrificial offering to the garbage gods.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Christmas in Maryland

What a lovely day today, Christmas in Maryland.
It poured ass cold rain all freakin day! Unbelievable. Miserable, crappy day. Ho, ho, ho.

We figured out what we ran out of that we had been trying to think of what it was we ran out of, and in order to brine the turkey for dinner... we needed salt.

Would you believe it, but no stores were open on Christmas day! Wow! Stores closed on a holiday? Who woulda thunk it! We did find a 7-11 that was open and bought enough salt to embalm a mummy with, and came home... in the pouring rain.

The dogs weren't at all pleased with the rain either. December: rain... what happened to that snow stuff? They pouted a lot, and got snarky because I wasn't about to go chase them in the yard in the rain, and frankly they'd go out, do their business and demand to be let back in again.

Turkey was tasty, gave the dogs an added bonus of raw meat in the dinner, so they're happy for a change (that will last 5 minutes), and its 7pm and I'm ready for bed.

The old dog has decided that I'm not allowed to sleep in anymore. He woos, and barks and carries on until I get up and go into the computer room and sit in my chair. He then throws himself down behind the chair and sleeps. If I try to get up and sneak back to bed... he wakes up, comes in and woos and barks until I get up again. I need to break him of this habit. Its killing me getting up so early in the morning on days when I should be able to sleep in.

Since getting dogs, I don't think I've ever slept in. Dogs are wonderful, but not if you really like to sleep in.
I should have napped today, I need to schedule one for tomorrow.

We did get some great robes from my in-laws. Very comfy, very very COMFY. This is a first, since their gifts are usually NOTHING that we'd want. As a matter of fact I spent a few hours yesterday tossing some of the crap they've sent us over the years. Finally, after 17 years of marriage, they actually got us a gift we'll use and like.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Most Wonderful Time of the Year

And here are the things that piss me off:

Idiots that stop in front of grocery stores and park there while their spouses shop, so that people trying to load their groceries into their cars have no place to pull up. MORONS!

The malls are already jam packed, lines throughout stores, rude people... I'm so happy for the glad tidings of joy flowing through the malls. The annual excuse to buy crap. Um, how about appreciating people 365 days a year AND STOP PARKING IN FRONT OF STORES!

12/9/2005

Just read a festive article about government fighting over what to call their trees, schools debating what songs to leave in or out, and lawsuits being filed to keep people from getting fired for saying "Merry Christmas" instead of "Happy Holidays".

So, we're having a swing back now on the whole "Christmas" thing. 20 years ago we got rid of it, because it was apparently offensive to everyone that doesn't celebrate Christmas. Um, why don't those who don't celebrate Christmas do their own thing? Ok, sure there's all the gaudy decorations and lights and crap... but people can still do their own thing. But what about the government, what should they do to celebrate? Um, how about letting your employees do their own thing, and frankly you can save me some tax dollars by not putting up all the crazy blinky lights and blow up displays outside courthouses.

People are starting to do their own thing... and getting in trouble for it. Some person hung a santa up a tree by a noose. People are offended by it, want him to take it down. Um, perhaps your nativity scene offends him, but he hasn't said anything about it because you have the right to display what you want in your yard, so get your nose out of this guy's business and let him do what he wants.

Someone put a Santa laying face down in his yard with an arrow in his back and a big grinch on his roof with a bow and arrow. Once again, people are offended. Well, excuse me, but baby jesus (with the cracked plastic head, and sagging creche) really pisses me off, but I don't say anything as long as you aren't setting all that crap up in my yard.

So, if governments don't want to make people mad, instead of taking away or renaming their holiday stuff, they need to honestly celebrate ALL religions, include it in their whole spiel. I better see some bird seed, water, dirt, and a candle in a circle at the local courthouse if they do go all out.

Merry Bless the Earth and all that live on her (even the morons)
and have a very Happy Neo-Pagan New Year

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Blog Spammers

So, after my run-in with kiosk vultures at the mall, I decided to whip off a quick e-mail to the general manager of the mall. Hey, he posted his e-mail on the mall Web site, so he was just asking for it.

Almost immediately, and not an auto-generated reply surprisingly enough, I got a response which had also been forwarded to the person in charge of yelling at kiosk salespeople. The manager assured me that my disappointing visit would not be repeated.

Amazingly enough, it wasn't. We cheerfully walked by each kiosk, as the kiosk salespeople sat slumped in the chairs, looking bitter and angry, but nobody except the idiot eyeglass cleaning guy (who I hissed at) approached us. Of course they were all glaring at us, as if they knew I was the one that ratted them out, but that was probably just my imagination.

Now if only I could be as effective with Blog Spammers. If anyone bothers to read this blog, you'll notice there are quite a few comments. Oh, its not because I'm popular and hip, its because idiots with nothing better to do, hoping to make it rich with penis enlargement pills, have found a way to auto comment on blogs once they are updated. At least I hope they found a way to do that, and don't sit and cut and paste that crap in manually, because auto commenting is pathetic, there's just no word for manually doing it.

I was deleting them. How dare you soil my writings with your pathetic boy toy or stock quote web site links, you moron! For each one I deleted, 14 others would pop up, so I said screw it. One of these years I'll figure out a way to block them. I want anyone to be able to comment, so I guess I have to deal with these idiots.

Guess I've rambled enough. Still getting over some kind of plague, SARS, Bird Flu or next Pandemic. Sweating like a pig. I'm taking the all important whatever the f holiday is monday off. Can't even remember what holiday it is, its so non-important. Oh yeah, I just looked, its the day that the one guy says he discovered America, but it was already discovered by the people already freakin living here. Whatever, its a day off so who cares. I'm hoping I'll stop sweating by then.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Mall Spammers

Every friday hubby and I go to the local mall, get a starbucks and walk around for a bit of leg stretching and window shopping. Gets us out of the house and we vent about the week's woe at work.

More and more the kiosk operators are getting quite brazen with their sales techniques. It hasn't gotten as bad as the old days where walking through the perfume department got you sprayed by 15 different people wanting to sell their nasty products, but its getting there. I feel like that AOL anti-spam commercial at times (and they probably got that idea from walking through a mall).

"Excuse me, can I ask you a question?" You already did, and if I wanted a hunk of fake hair I would have walked up and asked to buy one.

No, I don't want my cheap ring cleaned, if it gets dirty I'll throw it away and buy another one.

I don't want you to rip my scalp off with the octopus relaxer thing that you probably used on someone's lice ridden head.

My cuticles are just fine thanks, I don't want to slather myself in your stinky hand lotion.

I already have a cell phone, and no I don't want to upgrade and switch providers.

I don't want to take a survey and you probably don't want to hear what I have to say anyway.

Sea salt for my feet? Don't think so.

Microwave hot pack, no.

I don't have kids and I don't need a radio controlled car toy.

Got a deck, don't need new windows, don't want an enclosed porch, get out of my face.

Its now to the point where I look them in the eye with that "don't even ask" look and dare them to approach me. If they do, I yell NOOOOO!

I just want to walk through the mall, sipping my latte or iced mocha, and not be bothered... is that too much to ask?

Monday, September 19, 2005

Going to the moon?

This morning I was treated to the perky newswoman who tried her best to look all depressed and sorrowful over the fact that she was reporting that we didn't have enough money to rebuild New Orleans (I like how its now JUST New Orleans, not most of the Gulf Coast) and help all of the displaced, refugee, evacuees, whatever the hell they're calling them now.

Oh, the horror, as one senator or congressman, or whatever high paying "public servant" was bemoaning that if we wait one more year on some senior prescription program, we would use that money to rebuild.

Nice, now we're telling old people to wait on their medicines for a year. NIIIICE.

The perky newswoman was able to regain her usual "perkiness" as she reported in the next story that NASA was going to spend oodles of money to go to the moon AGAIN.

Um, excuse me. I actually had to tivo that one back up. We're just bemoaning the fact that half of the Gulf coast was washed away and now old people can't get cheap medicine, but we're going to spend money to go to the freakin moon?

We've been there already. It's a dead rock. We took some cool pics, played a little golf up there, stole some rocks. Why do we have to go back to the moon?

We've got little tonka trucks with cameras crawling all over mars (remind me to rant later about the fact that they can get those things to work on Mars and outlive their expected life span, and yet I have to get an oil change every 3,000 miles), so wouldn't "going to the moon" be a step backward? Not to mention a HUGE waste of money?

Brain is bubbling again.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Katrina Relief

Its nice to see all of the excessively wealthy movie and sports stars pitching in with money for the hurricane victims and clean up.

Micheal Jackson wrote a song that he wants to sing with other singers, and have the proceeds go toward the relief effort... um... nice. Like anyone would want to sing it with him, and like anyone would buy it.

I'm waiting for Elton John to dust off "Candle In the Wind" and rewrite it for the hurricane victims.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Donate now to save the lives of pets!


Donate to HSUS
Originally uploaded by Shmoomeema.
Please consider donating to the Humane Society of the United States. They are actively in the hurricane ravaged area now, saving the lives of pets.

On 3 September 2005, they have rescued 89 dogs.

Support them with a donation by going to:


  • The Humane Society Disaster Relief Fund Secure Site
  • Thursday, September 01, 2005

    Another Hurricane Thought

    It is very nice that the Astrodome is being used to house the poor and suffering people from Hurricane Katrina.

    Why doesn't every big city with covered stadiums do the same? Aren't there plenty of large convention centers and arenas that we can put these people in?

    Is providing aid and comfort to those who have lost so much less important than a ball game?

    Why aren't the news media helping?

    I'm watching the news about the hurricane damage. It's horrible. Absolutely horrible.

    I've read the reports about lack of communication, I've seen newscasters live reporting that people don't know what is going on, don't know where their loved ones are, don't know where to go, and can't read Web sites where people are literally opening up their homes to those who need it.

    Then I realized... um... I'm watching a live report. Some guy is standing in the middle of this mess, talking on camera, communicating, has power, looks clean... WHY ISN'T HE HELPING???

    How many satellite trucks are down there "reporting" this mess that can be taking down names, linking up people with homes, posting their information on Web sites so others can know they are alive? Why aren't they helping the Red Cross and other relief agencies communicate with the outside world?

    Sure, we should know what is going on, but wouldn't it be MORE helpful if these puppet heads were HELPING instead of "reporting"? I could stand a few less reports if I knew their time was being taken up by posting names of survivors to Web sites, or directing survivors to shelters and help, or even telling people "look, this is what is being done".

    Getting information out is vital to helping, but just standing there in your swank guchi wet suit is doing nothing but wasting space. Get your newscaster asses out there and start helping people by spreading information to THEM and meaningful information to US.

    morons!

    By the way, if anyone is looting anything other than food... shoot them. Anyone that grabs a tv in the middle of a disaster area, with bodies floating around is a waste of human flesh.

    Tuesday, August 23, 2005

    Baby Rant

    One of hubby's co-workers had a kid, and invited us to the christening. Apparently having a kid and getting a zillion dollars worth of flowers for the mother, and some kind of expensive, and probably worthless baby gift basket wasn't enough, now we have to shell out money for a christening (whatever that is, I think it involves water). What next?

    We apparently didn't RSVP in enough time to attend the actual dunking to be held in a church, and probably a good thing. Churches make neo-pagans such as myself, nervous.

    Still, we were invited, so its time for the obligatory gift. We have dogs, we don't have kids, and have no clue what to give people with babies. Thankfully, someone invented the gift card... but where do we buy one?

    I checked online and found a Babies R Us, but it wasn't conveniently located. Baby Depot was, so off to the mall I went. Baby Depot, part of Burlington Coat Factory, which doesn't make coats, but sells just about everything else, in my humble opinion, is a dump, but if I can run in there and get a stupid gift card... so be it.

    I ran in, stood in line, stood in line some more... gave up when I thought I would be dooming the recipient to this crap also, and that's not a nice gift.

    Off to some other children's store where I quickly checked, and they did have infant stuff, so good to go.

    First I was asked if it was a boy or girl. Hmm, I think its a girl, but I'm not sure, got any cards that are unisex? Of course not, so I tell the salesgirl to just pick one, and I'll blame her if its the wrong type. She wasn't amused, but I don't care.

    Then the card wouldn't scan. She tried another card, and it scanned and I threw some money on it, but then she couldn't remember which card scanned, so there was a 10 minute drama of her trying to figure out which card had the money on it, while very cranky post birthing mothers waited behind me tapping their feet.

    Great, I got the right card and escaped the screaming store, then remembered that I need to get a card to put the card in. Ugh, so off to Safeway for a card for the card.

    Twenty minutes standing in front of the mile long card aisle looking for "baby christening" cards. Is baptism the same as christening? I don't know and there was no authority to ask at the moment. Do I make a horrible faux pas and grab one, only to find I've done something horrible by getting a baptism card when christening was a whole different religion thing?

    Then I found the cards that said "baby christening" WOOHOO, except I read them, and its all like "We know that our God will watch over..." or "Our God is almighty and blah blah..." Um, I don't believe in a God, where are the ones that say "We really hope your God has his act together and keeps your kid safe", or "best wishes on the kid dunking"? Huh?

    After ranting and raving quietly in the card aisle and scaring off a few customers, I found a cutesy card with nothing in it. Let hubby come up with the sentiment, because my brain has bubbled out of my ear.

    As I'm walking up to pay for the card, I see thise HUGE carousel of gift cards for all sorts of place, INCLUDING kids places! AAAAH, all I had to do was go to a grocery store and take care of this in one swoop, instead of stalking a mall for a store?

    There really needs to be a neo-pagan card writer out there, and this crap needs to just pop up as reminders on your calendar, the computer goes out, finds something, buys it and ships it to the recipient and sends me a reminder so that when someone says "hey, thanks for the toaster, the baby loves it", I can say knowingly "ah, shucks, it was nothing".

    Thursday, August 11, 2005

    Resealable Bags, Not So Much

    I did the dance of happiness when manufacturers started putting their stuff in resealable bags. What a waste of money, you buy the thing, then you open the thing, then you have to put the thing in another bag so it doesn't go bad.

    So, the first time I got something that screamed on the label " RESEALABLE BAG!", I did the dance of happiness... until I tried to open the bag.

    Typically the "new" resealable bags come with a tear strip so small, you need tweezers to get ahold of it, and then invariably it doesn't rip right. You either end up with an opening the size of a needle point, or you rip right through the "reseaalable" part and end up stuffing it in another bag.

    Another thing that pisses me off is when it's literally IMPOSSIBLE to line up the two sides just right to get the stupid thing to seal. You line up one side, pinch the bag and run it down the top and the one side is closed, the other side flips open. Repeat, now the closed side is open, other side is closed... shove it in another bag.

    Cheese people actually caught a clue and started using the little zippy thing, thank you cheese people. I still have some issues with the initial tearing off of the strip, namely it's virtually impossible.

    A lot of times I'll just use the 5 million little twisty ties that come with garbage bags to "reseal" the bag. Who uses the twisty ties on garbage bags? Totally worthless, just tie the stupid ends together.

    Another pain in the butt are the new containers that you store upside down. No matter how hard you shake them before you open them up, like in the case of ketchup, the first bit of stuff that comes out is all water. You end up with a water logged slightly red tinged bun. The relish is most disgusting of all.

    While it's nice that I no longer have to manually stuff a fork in the container, which has always been too strenuous for me lo these many years, the upside down containers don't contain as much stuff as the normal containers... AND COST MORE! I'm paying more so I don't have to stick a knife in a container. Still have to dirty a knife to spread the glop (and watery crap) over my bun, so its not saving me any time in the dishwashing department. Takes the same amount of time, so there's no benefit there.

    What about coleslaw? At my grocery store, you can buy a bag of shredded cabbage (aka coleslaw), but you can't buy a bottle of coleslaw dressing. What's up with that? So, I save by not having to buy a head of cabbage and slice it up, but I still have to buy all the slaw ingredients and make the dressing... niiiice.

    So, in a nutshell, if its marketed to save you time, and be more convenient, it'll cost you more and end up being a pain in the butt, so don't bother.

    Friday, August 05, 2005

    Runaway Bride Rant

    I'm not sure this is true or not, but apparently the Today Show mentioned that the Runaway Bride (AKA: Jennifer Wilbanks) and her fiance were indeed going to get married... FINALLY.

    My first reaction "who f'ing cares?"

    Also, apparently, the Today show mentioned where they were registered, and hinted how nice it would be for them to get all of their stuff. Since I didn't see it, I don't want to claim that they actually told people to go out and buy them all the stuff they wanted, but that's the gist of what I was told.

    Something else about it was mentioned on a local newscast, and (I laughed my butt off) one of the newscasters said "I bet she's registered at Greyhound". I'm sure HE will catch crap for saying that (since he's a man and all, picking on a poor demented young woman).

    Since I didn't know where they were registered, curiosity got the best of me, and I chose to look at Macy's. Sure enough, there they are, registered, and still registered under the original wedding date... how nice.

    I looked at what they wanted, and threw up.

    A Waterford Lismore Ice Bucket for $250????
    A $250 Ice Bucket? Who needs an ice bucket that costs TWO FIFTY??? Does it create ice with no electrical means? No! It just sits there and hold ice. What do you do with a $250 ice bucket? WHY would you need an ice bucket that costs that much?

    The answer is: to match the Waterford Lismore Pitcher that costs $225.00!!!!!!!

    How about the $130 tablespoon? They also want 12 sets of the 5 piece dinner flatware. TWELVE sets? at $360 a pop? That's $4,320 bucks worth of freakin silverware!

    $225 for a cake platter (better be some damn good cake).

    My all time favorite is the $140 gravy boat (on sale for $111.99, get it while you can).

    On a personal rant, I feel that gravy boats are the biggest waste of money imaginable. Who uses them? You heat the gravy in the microwave and use a regular spoon. What idiot in these days has time to heat up gravy (let alone make it from scratch), dirty up one dish, then pour it in a gravy boat and dirty up another dish. Typically if I'm invited to weddings, I get them the gravy boat. If you ask for it, I get it because its stupid. If you don't ask for it and I give it to you, it's because I don't like you. I want everyone to remember me by thinking "why did we ever get this stupid gravy boat?"

    Ok, so back to blanket head woman.

    There's a general rule for picking out stuff for registries: If you can't afford it, don't put it on your stupid registry, if you can afford it, go out and freakin buy it because half of your friends can't freakin afford it. Another general rule is: if you can't afford it and you put it on your registry, then everyone laughs at you because you're a pig in a suit. That's probably why she ran in the first place.

    Oink

    Saturday, July 30, 2005

    How about this?

    After digging up the cardboard left by the deck crew... the dogs found other places where there is cardboard. Sigh.

    Went out today and bought chicken wire and stakes. Tomorrow I'm going to chicken wire the entire area under the deck, put a thin layer of dirt over it, and if they find a way to dig the cardboard out... then they can freakin have it.

    This is just a general rant of sorts now. What bonehead designed the shuttle? Is this thing made of styrofoam or something? A window cover falls off and breaks it, foam insulation falls on it at lift off and they thing crumbles, and what the hell are high tech astronauts doing toting CAULK GUNS around in space to repair this thing? I'm just guessing that someone from NASA didn't run out to home depot and buy one, I'm sure they're "special" caulk guns that cost my ass a zillion dollars in taxes.

    TWO YEARS they studied, plotted, and planned and still crap falls off that thing, not to mention fuel gauges not working. Good lord people! What about a little duct tape next? Gorilla Glue claims to be the strongest, send the astronauts up with a tube or two of that stuff.

    I'm also getting sick of stupid excuses for stupid people. Some woman boots her 4 year old out of the car on 495 and leaves him (hitting him as he tried to get back in), later gets into an accident (because she was tired), and someone actually tried to excuse that behavior. "oh, she was driving all the way from New Jersey, so she must have just have been tired"... TIRED? You boot your kid out on a freakin highway because you're tired? Seems logical to me, and totally excusable. Let her go, give her back her kid and let her get tired and kill some people later on, I'm sure she'll have a better excuse for that.

    Sunday, July 24, 2005

    We Survive the BBQ

    The next time we have a barbecue, I think we'll start around 5pm, because at 3pm it's really hot and sunny on the deck.

    After doing some last minute running around for some last minute stuff we forget, we got home in time to do the prep work. Everyone that was invited showed up, everyone seemed to have a good time despite the heat, and the gate at the bottom of the deck stairs held just fine and the dogs didn't race up for some chaos and husky greetings.

    There were about 6 kids there, 2 of which were babies. I was worried that the older kids would be bored, but they entertained themselves by trying to pet the dogs, who were a little angry that they couldn't join the festivities. The older kids kept wanting to get in the yard to play with the dogs, but I kept an eye on them and told them not to. Yeah, the pups are all cute and fluffy behind a gate, but it would be like 60lb pirahnas had that gate opened. Fur flying, jumping and kissing going on, small children knocked to the ground for a flurry of husky love. No thanks.

    I felt somewhat bad that my house is not child friendly, advising a parent that they really should sterilize the furry pacifier that fell to the floor. We also really don't have any place to lay a child down on where fur wouldn't be an issue in the whole diaper changing process.

    But then again, since I rarely have kids in the house, there's no reason for me to maintain a "sterile" room. The closest would be the guest room, but that's only when someone we expect is coming. It doesn't stay "sterile" very long.

    So, overall it was a good time (hopefully had by all), but I'm glad its over with.

    Thursday, July 21, 2005

    The Battle Continues

    I really wish I had told the deck people to pull up those stupid concrete molds they stuck in the ground to keep the holes from collapsing on those first set of holes they dug.

    I mean, come on, who would have thought that the dogs would actually sniff them through the dirt, dig down to them and actually EAT the soggy, nasty cardboard? They're slowling degrading (as they should) but in the meantime, the dogs are going after them like its a delicacy or something.

    There are about 4 spots where those things are. During the great drainage pipe dig (ok digs, there were multiple digs) hubby and I ripped through a few of them and tore out as much as we could, but a lot of them remain, and the dogs just keep trying to dig them up.

    They hover in that area, waiting for me to turn away or get distracted, then go to town trying to dig down to them. I chase them off, but they migrate back. "I'm not doing anything, I'm just slowly walking around in this area".

    Today I went to Lowes and got 6 paver stones, the big ones. They're pretty cheap actually, but heavy. Toted them home and placed them over the tasty concrete spots.

    The dogs came out, sniffed a bit, pawed a bit (with me reminding them not to paw), then seemed to give up. I'm not stupid, I know they're just pretending that I've beaten them. They're trying to let me think that their little treats are now beyond their reach and I'll stop watching them like a hawk. The moment my back is turned, there's going to be some digging going on, even if they have to tunnel to the area.

    Sunday, July 17, 2005

    Purging, purging, purging

    Today is purge day. So far we've moved a very old, very tiny computer desk on the porch for a freecycle person to pick up. I also cleaned off the junk that was on two very junky bookshelves (we got them when we first got married, they're rejects from an office move we did when we worked part time for a moving company), put them down in the back room for now, they'll go in the trash later. I would freecycle them, but they're really pieces of crap.

    Now, the only thing in the upstairs living room is a desk. When we save up, we'll be adding furniture, a big flat screen tv, and making that our living room, since we hardly ever go downstairs anymore.

    It's kinda nice to have the minimalist thing going on up there. We could play handball up there if we wanted.

    BTW: have I mentioned just how freakin HOT it is around here? It's FREAKIN HOT!!!!! I sweat just looking outside. Even the dogs don't want to go outside. Hubby LOVES it. He's been lounging on the deck (which we re-organized to make room for our two matching little tables and some extra chairs), lounging in the heat. I've been avoiding the heat.

    Ok, I'm rambling now, I'll shut up

    Saturday, July 16, 2005

    Enough of the storms already!

    We're on our third major storm of the day/night.
    We cancelled our barbecue bash because of the crappy weather, had a HUGE downpour that lasted about an hour and made the yard into mud (can't wait for grass to grow). Then we had another one that knocked our power out for a few seconds, causing us to do the "shut down the computer dash" throughout the house.

    Around 3pm (the time we were going to have the barbecue) we took off for Costco and (as usual) spent waaaay too much on more stuff to grill. Stopped for the obligatory latte, then got home to find... no power. None at all, and from the UPS lack of beeping, it had been off probably about the time we walked out the door two hours ago. Lovely

    As we were carrying the food inside, the power came back on (thankfully), but then we got hit by another major storm.

    7pm rolls around, the sun comes out, QUICK fire up the grill! We had 24 brats to cook because we had thawed them for the barbecue and if we didn't bad brats, BAAAAD brats.

    I made potato salad, we satueed some saurkraut and onions in beer, grilled 24 brats and around 9pm, we each had a brat... 22 to go.

    So, it's getting late, we're both tired, and what happens... another storm. Lightening and thunder up the ying, rain, blah, blah, blah, and the moment we try to go to sleep, Meeshka will want us to get out of bed because of the thunder... sigh.

    BBQ Postponed

    As we were out mowing the lawn and cleaning up the back yard, it started lightening and thundering. Yes, it's still early and this could pass, but we checked out weather.com and found a lovely line of storms coming our way, and its suppose to start raining until sometime Sunday.

    Since the yard is a catastrophe, and we're not doing so good anyway with the yard being a catastrophe, and what with it pouring rain right now, its just going to get worse, we took the cowards way out and decided to postpone it for next weekend.

    Guess we'll have to eat 24 brats now... the horror :)

    Drainage Woes Continue

    50 bags of drainage rock later, hubby and I dug the pit, carefully filled the pit and the trench with drainage rock, stepped back to admire our work and sunk ankle deep in quicksand.

    Apparently the T pipe part is still leaking or SOMETHING, we don't quite know what at this point. Either the sand/crap that we used to fill the T pipe part wasn't packed down enough and in the other day's downpour it turned into goo, or the T pipe part is leaking and we have a problem.

    I swear, I'm about to rip the downspout out of the front and just lay a pipe into the street and do the same for the back and leave it like that.

    At least the dogs don't have a huge hole to play and lounge in any more, even though they're still on the hunt for nasty wet cardboard bits. Sam has found a spot where one of the holes had been, and is in the process of trying to dig to China to get the stuff.

    Some of the "home improvement" books we got say if you have a wet spot in your yard, plant water thirsty plants there. Um, our spot happens to be right in front of the gate, which defeats the entire purpose of having a gate, therefore... NO. I guess we could plant these water hungry plants and bushes near the gate entrance and hope they suck the water from the front of the gate entrance (I doubt that).

    In general, our yard is a mud pit at this point, from all the rain we've had, then we thought we turned the sprinkler off (didn't), all the digging and wheelbarrowing... it's a mess. Perhaps we're just destined to have a mooshy side yard. I would think that grass would grow nicely in that spot now, what with all the water. Maybe that will help, but for a bit... we give up. We'll need to level that part to help water run off, and from there, save up money and have a professional come out and deal with it. sigh.

    Time to mow the yard for the barbecue we're having today (woohoo).

    Wednesday, July 13, 2005

    Here's a banking rant

    Ok, so hubby and I have a joint checking account at a credit union. The only problem with that is that its a credit union, and in credit union rules, even though I'm a joint owner of the account, I have no privileges. When it came time for me to direct deposit my paychecks into the account, they said "oh no, you can't do that, you aren't the primary member, you have to open up your own checking account, then we can transfer the money into hubby's checking account".

    Huh? That's stupid, but they weren't budging, so I had to open a checking and savings account, then fill out paperwork to have my checks deposited into my account, then transferred into hubby's (our) account.

    Everything is fine, until we decide to use my worthless checking account for e-bay and paypal. We input the routing number and checking account number in, and it doesn't go through. So I try to log into home banking, but I don't have a PIN for that. I GO (physically GO) to the bank and tell them I need a password, and they tell me to call the customer service number. Um, I'm here, help me now. No, you have to call the customer service number.

    I read the instructions for getting my PIN reset. It says that AFTER I prove I am who I am (on the phone), they will reset my PIN to my phone banking PIN.... EXCEPT I NEVER GOT A PHONE BANKING PIN!!!! They mention that if I don't remember my phone banking PIN, that maybe (MAYBE) the rep can help me out.

    A.) I WAS STANDING IN THE BANK WITH ID, and they tell me to call and PROVE who I am over the phone?

    B.) I can just see this conversation now, they asking me a bunch of questions that I don't know, or was never given the answers to when I opened the account, they cancel my account because they think I'm some identity thief and my paychecks go boing, boing.

    Such a pain, on top of everything else.

    Oh, it's thundering, guess who won't get any sleep tonight thanks to stressed out Meeshka!

    Tuesday, July 12, 2005

    Weird Day

    I was sitting in an all day ghastly meeting today, had a chance to check my gmail and found one from my friend V. She had been listening to the "Don and Mike" show on monday and it was announced that Don's wife, Freda, was killed in an automobile crash over the weekend. She said her preggers hormones made her cry like a baby.

    I don't have preggers hormones, but felt the exact same way. Hubby and I have listened to Don and Mike forever, especially when we commuted down to VA for our jobs. She seemed like a friend, listening to their son Bart grow up, listening to them argue. I saw her picture for the first time today, nothing like I expected at all. One of the things you could tell about them, no matter how hard they argued, was how much they loved each other. This is devastating, in that it was so unexpected, and such a stupid way for her to die.

    On top of my brain melting in the all day meeting, and feeling horrible about Freda's death, I get home and Sam and Loki had a quick, usual tiff about who was going to smell the fence since the neighbor dog was on the other side. A quick yapping, whirling dervish moment (like many others), and then Loki comes slinking over to me. Great, I think, Sam has nailed him again and we'll have to trot off to the Vet ER again. Oh no... this time Loki nabbed Sam right in the ear. He was slinking to me with that "really, I didn't mean to do that, the ear got into my mouth somehow, I didn't mean to bite down". Sam is totally oblivious and happy, came trotting over to me, ear bleeding.

    Took him inside, it's a pretty nasty ear gash, but as ears go, not much you can do for it. They typically don't stitch up ears, they're too flimsy, just flaps of skin over cartlege, so I stopped the bleeding (ears bleed a lot too), "glued" the parts together with some neosporin (which Loki tries to lick off in apology) and we'll just keep an eye on it. He seems no worse for wear, totally oblivious to it, so I'm hoping he'll heal just nicely and we can go about our business as normal.

    I'll be stuck in another meeting half a day tomorrow, then I'll come home and be with them. I really need to get them back into a routine again. They've all been terribly cranky what with the deck build, then the drain incident, then the 2nd drain incident. I'm sure they just want their yard back and their routine back again.

    It doesn't help that Saturday we're having a BBQ and people are bringing (good lord) children to our house. I want this saturady to be over right now. The poor pups are getting locked up because I think that's a lot more fair than trying to keep them from jumping on kids, or worse yet, have some moron let them out by mistake.

    Poor confused pups.

    Sunday, July 10, 2005

    Drain Repair


    Drain Repair
    Originally uploaded by Shmoomeema.
    During the heavy rains we had with Cindy, I noticed that our downspout drain was leaking (yes, the one we just put in).

    It was very odd, as if water was flowing from the front yard into the back yard. Very odd.

    So on Saturday I started to dig, and found that the morons that did the original drainage ditch had sunk a pipe from the front downspout into the back yard, connected the back downspout to it and continued the drainage pipe all the way into the back yard. This was, of course, the pipe the deck crew had cut into when they dug the footer to the deck.

    Lovely! No wonder the back side of the yard is a swamp. When I dug up the T junk, water started pouring out of it. Even lovelier.

    So, this weekend, hubby and I dug up the pipe we installed two weeks ago, redug a new trench for the new pipe, got a new T connector, and redid the whole thing.

    We also found that instead of digging a pit they way you're suppose to, they just put a loooooong bunch of plastic at the end of the pipe... nice, another reason why that part of the yard was always a swamp.

    Around 6pm today we finally filled in the pipe part, but have to order rocks and stuff for the pit. We barriered that part off from the dogs, and of course, Meeshka found her way in quickly and gave us the finger as she snorfled the mud.

    The other pups are fighting over the cardboard forms that the deck people just left in the holes and filled in. Apparently as they decay, they are quite tasty, as the pups spend a lot of time digging for bits, eating them, or fighting over them. Lovely.

    It's been a lovely weekend, and this week will be a lovely week at work, what with 800 meetings and junk to do.

    BTW: Anne's Dairy Cream, although we've been told serve the BEST hot dogs in Maryland... yeah, it sucks, I'm sorry, those deep fried bologna rolls are not hot dogs.

    Wednesday, July 06, 2005

    Full Night's Sleep Tonight?

    Last night we had thunderstorms. No big deal to us, but to Meeshka, a CATASTROPHE!!!!

    I have no clue where or how she's developed this storm phobia thing, but thunder just sends her into a panic. She doesn't freak out and hide, oh no, she feels compelled to claw you. She claws and claws and claws until you go downstairs, turn on all of the lights and sit on the couch. Those are her rules.

    I think it may have been a rough storm year during her formative puppy years. Typically if we had a bad storm, we'd go downstairs and sit in case it got really nasty. Since we don't have a basement, the downstairs is the lowest part of the house, and frankly its easier to sit on the couch and kiss your ass good-bye than in any other part of the house.

    Apparently we must have trained her to such a point that whenever it thunders, we must go downstairs.

    During hurricane Isabel, we thought we'd have to sedate her. There's just no way she'd be able to function, and no way that we would have any skin left through an all night storm like that.

    Isabel came, lights went out, every dog fell asleep. Plopped on couches, they lay like lumps while we bailed out the sump hole all night. Once or twice they got up wanting to go out, we took them out on leashes, they got to the door and said "yeah, screw that I'll pee in the house".

    So, last night as we're both dozing off, we hear the thunder. We looked at each other, and like clockwork, Meeshka jumped on the bed panting and clawing. UGH!

    Having had my share of sleeping downstairs on the couch with the lights on, I said screw it and herded her into the guestroom (which is very dark with the lights off), told her to stop being an ass, turned the lights off and curled up on the bed.

    She huffed and puffed and panted and paced, then curled up at my feet. Ten minutes later, she stuck her cold nose on my face, I told her to stop being an ass, she got off the bed and lay in front of the door and huffed at me. I was breaking her rule by not going downstairs, but apparently just being in a different room than the bedroom was good enough, and she went to sleep.

    Of course, I slept like crap. We bought a crappy guest room bed for a reason (people won't stay long) and I hadn't changed the sheets in a while so that was a bit nasty (note to self, change those sheets before September's in-law visit... or not), but overall, I got enough sleep.

    Hubby didn't apparently, it got pretty bad so he was up shutting down computers and eating leftovers out of the fridge, but hey, at least he wasn't doing that and getting clawed.

    I hear Tropical whatever Cindy is heading our way tomorrow. LOVELY. Not only will we get clawed, but we'll get to find out if our drainage pipe work will keep the water from flooding our house. WOOHOO.

    Tuesday, July 05, 2005

    Just Because She Can


    DSC00624
    Originally uploaded by Shmoomeema.
    After working all weekend to get the next level of back yard done (hauling 10 yards of top soil into the back yard, raking it smooth, squishing it with the roller, and planting grass seed), we put up the barrier to keep the dogs from digging, playing, cavorting, and pretty much trashing all the work we did.

    Meeshka made it priority one to find a way into the barrier. It was there keeping her out, so she must get in there to see what it was we were keeping from her.

    It took her all of 5 seconds to figure out a way to get in. She sauntered around, looking all puffy and proud. She taunted the other dogs "look at me, I'm where I'm not suppose to be". She raised a middle toe at us "Try to keep me out".

    She made herself at home. I made the mistake of showing her the board entrance I put up when I let her back out. After that, she would just simply swipe the board away and saunter back in whenever she wanted.

    The boys (Sam and Loki) respected the barrier (peed on it to show their disgust) until Meeshka showed them the way in. After that, it was a free for all in the barrier.

    When they all began leaping over the barrier, hubby had enough. "Take it down before they impale themselves".

    So, they won, down it went. Now they want nothing to do with that area.

    Huskies 1, Humans 0

    Sunday, July 03, 2005

    It Figures

    July 3rd. We've spent all day hauling top soil into our back yard. We wanted grilled burgers... the propane ran out.

    DRAT!!!!

    So tomorrow (the 4th of July) we'll have to go in search of a place that's open and sells propane. If not, guess we'll have to call our friend and tell him not to come over unless he brings a tank of propane.

    This throws our entire schedule off for tomorrow. We have half of a pile of top soil left to haul into the backyard (and frankly, we're not too sure where we want to put it at this point), then we have to go in search of propane.

    It means an early morning of work for us because I'm not hauling top soil after work this week.

    BTW: burgers cooked on the stove suck after grilling for almost a month.

    My Review of "War of the Worlds"

    Please note, there are "spoilers", which is kinda funny since the movie is a remake, of a remake, of a remake.

    Hubby and I went to see War of the Worlds last night. I have to admit, the last two movies we've seen in a theater, I've actually fallen asleep in, but I managed to stay awake for this one (so I guess that says something for it).

    The previews of upcoming movies: King Kong (done to death), The Transporter II (good lord), and two that were so bad, I've forgot about what they were the moment the preview as over.

    The movie starts out by a voice over from Morgan Freeman and showing us microbes. Since everyone already knows the story: aliens come, aliens kill, aliens croak from the common cold, the voice over was all cryptic and probably went over about 95% of the audience's head.

    We're quickly introduced to Tom "I know psychiatry because I've read a book" Cruise's character, and immediately hate him. His two kids, a brooding teenage boy that's taller than Cruise and slightly unbelievable that Cruise and his now remarried and preggers ex-wife could have had a kid so old, and the daughter, a much younger bad dresser who appears to have the brain of 20 year old.

    After the obligatory "this is why they don't get along" scene with the teenager, Cruise gets mad and goes to bed, leaving the kids to fend for themselves.

    Next morning, the shit hits the fan, as the girl is flipping channels, we get to hear snippets of wacky news reports of lightening storms knocking out power to different continents. The girl announces to Cruise that the brother has taken off in his car, he goes to look for the kid and gets distracted by everyone looking at some funky storm approaching.

    Soon, HUGE bolts of lightening start hitting the ground, Cruise and girl take cover in the house until it passes, when they discover that nothing electronic, not even his watch, works now. This takes him a good 10 minutes of trying everything electronic.

    He leaves the girl in the house and ventures out to find out what happened. He amazingly enough, bumps into the teenage son and tells him to go home.

    This is when the aliens come in. A crowd gathers around the big ol hole that is left where the lightening hits, and soon big cracks begin to appear around the hole, people back up, things start flying, buildings collapse, and someone starts shooting the action with a camcorder. Wait... a camcorder? Everything electronic is dead but this one camcorder? Amazing. Well, the camcorder has to work because we're shown through the camcorder how the alien space ship bursts from the hole, rises up, bleats out some tone, then starts frying people. The owner of the camcorder is crisped, which means we get to view the carnage from the camcorder screen now laying on the ground.

    People scatter, get fried, Cruise makes it to safety (as people near him are getting vaporized), so he goes back to his house, gathers his kids and decides to go to Boston, where his ex-wife is.

    They grab the ONLY vehicle that works (because he told the mechanic how to fix it earlier), and he and the kids hightail it out of the city.

    Drive, drive, drive, kid interaction, screaming girl, teenage son bitching. During this time, Cruise is trying to "save" his daughter from knowing what is going on, that is until she has to pee, they stop, she sees a river, then thousands of dead bodies floating downstream in it.

    The military appears and for some reason, Mr. Goth anti-establishment teenage son feels compelled to join the military, which Cruise tells him no.

    The end up at the ex-wife's house, which is unscathed and they end up sleeping in the basement. In the middle of the night there are more of the lightening strikes and some kind of huge explosion, which they manage to survive. In the morning, Cruise goes out and finds a big honking passenger jet has squished the neighborhood, and meets a tv crew who explain to him and show him footage of all the alien craft attacking. They also explain to him (and the idiot audience) that the space craft have been HERE all this time, buried under the ground, waiting. The lightening bolts are the method the aliens have used to get the "pilots" into the space craft. Ok, whatever.

    More driving, until they end up at some town where zillions of people are gathered and freaking out. Their van gets stolen so now we're walking, we're walking.

    They end up on a ferry, which is turned over by aliens, and we see people getting plucked out of the water and stuffed into the alien ships. Cruise and kids swim ashore and continue to watch people getting plucked up, and walk through the "shower" of clothing that keeps falling from the alien ships. HMMM.

    The military converges, tanks and airplanes are bombarding the aliens over a hill (you can't see what's going on, just explosions), and the brooding, anti-establishment teen decides that he wants to watch what's going on. Argument with Cruise, teen feels compelled, demands to go, yadda yadda, so Cruise lets him go, grabs girl and runs, only to see that just over the hill where the teen goes, there's mondo destruction and teen has surely croaked.

    Cruise and girl somehow end up in a basement with Tim Robbins, who turns out to be a whack job. The aliens decide to camp out right over that house for the night, so we're treated to the roving alien eye hide and seek thing, then get to see the alien's coming in to look around while the three hide.

    Tim Robbins eventually goes full tilt bozo, and Cruise is forced to kill him... not really sure why, since right after that, the girl goes nuts and runs out of the house, Cruise follows and runs around yelling for her for a good 5 minutes before they are both captured by an alien ship and plopped into a cage under the ship.

    Apparently, the ships run on humans, since we get to see a person sucked into the ship, then the ship sprays out blood and parts. Cruise is snagged for refueling, but the people pull him out and he's able to plant some grenades (conveniently) into the ship, it explodes, they all escape.

    More walking, more walking. They end up in Boston, where Cruise notices that the gunky vines being "planted" by the alien ship is dying. We also see one of the ships plopped into a building and on fire. Apparently they are all dying of something (gee, what could it be). The military shoots down another ship, and we get the obligatory alien slithering down a hatch, croaking scene.

    We're walking, we're walking to a nice neighborhood in Boston, where apparently nothing much has happened because the row houses are all pristine and untouched.

    The ex-wife, all clean and groomed wearing gap, her new husband, and her parents all come out on the porch, see Cruise and the girl and have a tearful reunion. Amazingly enough, the brooding teenage boy has not only lived through the fire inferno of the alien battle, but has somehow found his way to Boston, the ex-wive's parent's house BEFORE Cruise, so there's that tearful reunion.

    Then its back to the microbes, where Morgan Freeman explains (for those too stupid to realize) that man has been on earth lo these many years and has built up an immunity (which apparently we've "earned") to stuff, and these pompous aliens hadn't, therefore we deserve to live on earth and the aliens don't.

    Hubby and I looked at each other and said "mmm, ok then".

    Questions:
    1.) if the aliens were using us as fuel/food, then why the whole vaporizing scene at the beginning?

    2.) iIf the aliens were using us as fuel/food and sucking our blood out, wouldn't they obtain our immunization from our blood, much like babies do during the whole pregnancy thing?

    3.) I realize that the whole Tim Robbins thing was to show Cruise going from hapless moron who could care less about his kids, to a father fighting to the death for the life of his kid... but did it have to be so freakin long, and it seems to me that he could have left at any time anyway.

    4.) Did the little girl have to scream so freakin much? Up until they were stuck in the basement with Tim Robbins (which is a valid reason to scream), she really didn't see all that much because Cruise was always shielding her from seeing stuff. I also hate 8 year olds that talk like they're 40.

    5.) Gigantic alien ships in the ground, the first one buried right under a street in a big city, and NOBODY found them? "Hey, we can't put the subway here, there's a big honking alien ship"

    Overall, good special effects, stupid story, predictable ending (it's a remake... duh), unbelievable happy ending, la la la, the world will rebuild and learn nothing from the experience, 100 bucks (16 for tickets, the rest for stale popcorn and a soda) down the drain, 2 hours of my life wasted.

    Saturday, July 02, 2005

    Saturday (3:06pm) ugh

    We're done for the day. We both feel like crap, so we managed to dig the trench for the drain pipe, dig a hole for the drain pipe to drain to, fill the hole with rocks, and bury the drain pipe.

    We let the dogs loose after that. They found some of the nasty cardboard from the 1st set of deck holes that were dug and line with. Sam decided it was such a tasty treat that he wasn't going to give it to us. He also found what looks suspiciously like a human femur bone. That was difficult getting out of his mouth.

    Had some posturing between him and Loki for a bit, but they're inside now being buttheads.

    After we stop sweating, we're going to go out to eat (too exhausted to grill tonight), then go see War of the Worlds (hopefully my hatred for Tom Cruise won't ruin the flick).

    Tomorrow we start on the fill dirt... woohoo.

    Saturday (11:00 am)

    We still haven't started yet. I've made a list of stuff we need to go out and buy, found the recipe for the sauteed mushrooms they make at Outback Steakhouse (yummy), cruised the internet, dried our work clothes, and am now eating oatmeal.

    Hubby woke up, now he's watching tv.

    We're apparently HIGHLY motivated to start work today.

    Saturday, So Far (9:45am)

    Not only did I forget to tell Meeshka that today was saturday before bed last night, but I also forgot to turn off the dreaded alarm.

    Dutifully at 5:30am, she tries to rake me out of bed. Hubby took them out, then instead of jumping up and fixing their breakfast as I normally do, I went back to sleep. They are so mad at me right now.

    Our "early" start isn't happening. It's almost 10am, I'm on my second cup of coffee and hubby is still sound asleep (despite my reminders). Apparently pollen is high, since I sneeze every 5 minutes and can't breath out of my nose. This might be a blessing, since today we'll be finishing up the stinky dig and bury of the drain pipe, then moving on to the pile of dirt (which looks much bigger than past piles of dirt).

    Friday, July 01, 2005

    The Crap in our Yard

    This weekend we're celebrating the 4th of July by hauling more topsoil into the back yard. Before we do that, we needed to bury the drain pipe from our downspout. You may recall that in the digging of the footers for the deck (the wrong holes) they cut through our downspout drain pipe.

    We got a late start, having to go to Lowes for more drainage rock, more lumber, more grass seed, and more other things. We grilled Salmon patties (interesting... in a strange sort of way), then dragged all the materials into the back yard and started digging.

    First off, we aren't entirely sure where the old pipe was going. It appeared to follow the gate line, but then got too close the one of the poles so we said screw that and cut through it to dig away from the gateline. Apparently it had been clogged with mung for a while, and some very nasty stuff came out of it.

    We started digging toward the back of the yard. The smell of sewage keeps getting worse and worse. All of our sewer lines go through the front of the house, so we have no earthly clue as to why it would smell this bad back here, unless it is because that area is always so wet that anything in the ground is just festering yuck.

    We found, what appears to be, half of a skull of something. Perhaps Jimmy Hoffa, we aren't sure, nor do we really want to know. We found a long metal solid bar... no idea what that's from. We found more stinky sewage gunk. The more we dug, the stinkier it got. It's downright nasty. I now understand why the dogs loved to dig in this area. It's stinky, it's nasty, and that's what they like to eat and roll in.

    We conveniently found two of the concrete hole fillers that the deck people left in the holes when they buried them to dig the new holes. Those are fun to break through.

    Around 9pm, we said screw it and quit. We erected the plastic gate barrier around the nasty gunk pile so that the dogs wouldn't get into it. I'm not about to try to wash that out of their thick multi layer fur.

    Tomorrow we'll continue with the stench-fest, put the drain pipe in the hole, pour water into it to make sure it drains correctly, then cover it up. We plan on laying more fill dirt over that to hopefully hide the stench and then get grass to grow over it. I'm hoping as we dig the rest we don't unearth the Exxon Valdez, a container that says "property of Love Canal", or even better; a "Welcome to Chernobyl" sign.

    Thursday, June 30, 2005

    Stringing the CAT 5

    Wireless technology is a wonderful thing... if you live in glass houses.

    All of our computers WERE downstairs. We decided to leave all the clunky servers and junk downstairs and set up an upstairs spare bedroom as a nook. It started out as "hubby's nook", but then I got tired of sitting in the crappy cement block, unfinished section all the time and decided to set up a nice computer table for myself upstairs in the "nook". Seems a bit more cathartic up there.

    All was well, except our throughput sucked. The wireless routers were downstairs, so out throughput averaged around 50, which sucks when you have cable modem.

    We spent $100 on a wireless booster. It sucks too. Only get about 70 with it, and that's sporadic.

    So, tonight, after hearing hubby complain (once again) about the bandwidth, I said "FINE", grabbed the honking long CAT 5, pulled the crap away from the bed and shoved it down the hole that was drilled for our DirecTV phone line. Strung the cable down into the back room, strung it through the wall where all the DirecTV cables go, looped it over the doors and into the computer room.

    We drilled a hole through the closet, into the nook, hooked up a router and now we're back to wired again. Much fast, much better, amazingly fast, I'm exhausted.

    The good news for me is that now I can actually put my work laptop on my nifty new computer desk in the nook and work, AND have the powerbook up to chat with the outside world (since my work chat is limited to work people). Plus I have the added bonus of not being crammed downstairs with it on a tiny little plot of available desk space.

    It's the little things that make life easier.
    BTW: the dogs are being buttheads (as usual).

    Sunday, June 26, 2005

    Will It Work?

    Ok, I'm giving my palm pilot one last shot, and even though I set up the big mondo dayplanner to use... I'm having second thoughts again (yes, again), because it is so honking huge.

    I finally got the guts to install the palm desktop crap onto the Powerbook, and then figured out how to get it to sync with iCal and my mac address book. At least now, if I can't have the palm with me, but if I have internet connectivity, I can access everything from the web.

    It works pretty nice, although the to do list is kinda clunky. I really did like my flexi soft small dayplanner binder, so... ok, dammit, I'm going back. Yeah, that lasted all of three days. I just can't see carrying that damn thing around with me everywhere I go. What a pain.

    Ok, let me go get the small dayplanner back out, put the big one away (I do like writing in it, maybe I'll go back to journalling in that again, that'll last a week too). Sigh. I'll never be happy, never ever ever.

    Wednesday, June 22, 2005

    Dayplanner mood

    I've pretty much had it with my palm pilot. About a month ago, the on/off switch broke, so I have to hit a button to turn it on, which means if I want to go someplace specific, I have to hit the task button, then navigate to where I want to go. This is getting annoying, especially when I'm looking at something, and it turns off, it means I have to hit the task button, navigate back to where I was.

    I found a program that'll turn it off with a stylus stroke, but one of the stylus strokes is near the down button, and I end up shutting it off when I actually want to scroll down, then I have to turn it on and navigate back to where I was.

    On top of which, I have to install the palm software on the Powerbook (since I don't use the crappy HP anymore), and I'm sure that'll be an easy feat to get it to work since Palm sucks.

    I'm working a task where I can't take it with me at the client site, which means all of my info is trapped where I'm not, so that's inconvenient. Either I keep all of my info on the palm, or on my Powerbook, or I input it into the palm, then into the Powerbook, and I'll spend most of my nights transferring information all the time. Very inconvenient.

    So, I'm relying more on my dayplanner. I love my current dayplanner, except for some minor inconveniences, such as the size. Can't write a lot in it, limited space. I write a LOT. I've always been a writer, so having limited space to write is annoying. The lines are too close together, I'm a BIG writer, I don't like everything squished. It's not normal paper sized, so it isn't like I can print out my calendars and to do lists from the Powerbook and slap them in the dayplanner.

    I've been contemplated on going back to my "monarch" sized dayplanner (if I can find it). The problem with the "monarch" dayplanner is that its whopping big. One more big thing for me to carry around. It's not like I go a lot of places, it's just that it's very big, but the paper has wider spaced lines, I can print stuff out and slap it in there... sigh.

    Yes, I'm a bit neurotic and never happy with stuff because there's always "something" inconvenient about it. I would like to admit now that although I've always considered myself low maintenance, I'm actually high maintenance. I'd like to thank my "career advocate" for pointing that out to me on a trip to Inconvenience-ville... Myrtle Beach when he suffered through a business trip with me and we went to CVS where I bought pens... even though I brought a trailer load of them with me. I am high maintenance.

    Guess I'll go dig through some boxes and look for the HUGE dayplanner now, might as well get that disappointment over with.

    Tuesday, June 21, 2005

    Shish Ka Bobs are good

    Tonight was shish kabob night, and quite tasty they were. I have to admit, I really like the grill now, because my clean up chores consist mainly of tossing the paper plates, and rinsing off the grill tools. Much better than shoving a ton of dirty dishes into the dishwasher.

    We went to Lowes tonight and bought "sprinkler hose". It's a flat hose that is suppose to act like a sprinkler system. We wanted it for under the deck so we can get grass to grow there, but we didn't want to completely soak the deck with a sprinkler, so this "sprinkler hose" seemed like the thing to get.

    We strung it out, hooked it up, turned on the water, and I've never seen a more depressing gurgle of water in my life. Totally worthless. Looked like some old guy with major prostate problems taking a pee. There's 30 bucks down the drain.

    We ended up hand watering it with the crappy sprayer we also bought at Lowes. The dogs were being buttheads, as usual, so they got sprayed a few times. Then they thought it was fun to run back and forth in front of the sprinkler. Now covered in water, they proceeded to power slam each other into the mud, roll around, and chase each other.

    We managed to water under the deck, then ended up having to towel off the muddy dogs. So a half hour job turned into about 2 hours (what with the depressing "sprinkler hose" incident, then hand watering, then drying and wiping mud off the dogs).

    I've discovered that I can't freakin screw anything on with this messed up thumb, which really pisses me off (action: useless to screw, useless to hold while the other hand screws) I've also learned: don't try to move a shopping cart with the thumb (action: screaming in a supermarket, jumping around shaking hand like loon.)

    Ok, gotta set up coffee for the morning and rinse off the grill tools so we can go to bed.

    Glad they found that cub scout alive. Pity he'll have to go through life being ridiculed for getting lost 500 feet from camp and ending up 5 miles away. His parents said he didn't have a very good sense of direction. I'd change that to: he has NO sense of direction and needs to be fitted with a GPS tracking device. Perhaps one of those big collar ones they put on bears.

    Monday, June 20, 2005

    Testing out new Widget

    I'm just testing this new mac widget that allows me to post to blogger

    Sunday, June 19, 2005

    Sunday Already

    Where do the weekends go?

    We saw Lewis Black last night, funny! He cracks me up. Hubby got a bobblehead doll of him, I got a t-shirt. We had a great time except for trying to get out of the parking lot. I really hate Baltimore.

    Saw a moment of kharma happen right in front of us. Some choad decided he was much more important than we were, and literally pushed his car in front of ours to get in our lane. Not more than a minute later, his flashers were on, and steam was pouring out of his hood. Yeah, gotta love that.

    Hubby had to go into work today, so I did some mondo yard work. Cleaned all of the branches out of the side yard, threw out some grass seed (after mowing) and lay down that crappy grass cover stuff that was in the back yard until the dogs had a field day ripping it to shreds. Then when hubby got home, I went out back and cleaned out from behind the shed.

    The back of the shed was used (for many years) as a place to throw branches and other junk. That seemed like a good place to toss it, as it was gated off from the dogs (who would sneak back there and dig where we couldn't see them). Seemed like a good idea until we found mice, rates (from our neighbor's shed) and the dreaded rat snake in our yard. They were making a nice little home in all the branches and stuff back there.

    I went back, fully expecting to be attacked by some wild animal, but they must have heard me coming and ran. Nothing back there but 5 bags of junk. Now its clean, regated, and hopefully will stay clean and critter free.

    Despite the fact that weather.com said "overcast", it started to rain here. The temperature also dropped to about 60 degrees, which is quite a shock. Hubby went out and braved the drizzle to grill steaks and corn on the cob, which was oh so very tasty. We were a bit disappointed that the steaks we scored at the Pennsylvania Dutch Market were a bit tough. Got better ones at Safeway the other day, so I guess there's no need for us to shlep back to Annapolis just for steaks.

    Hubby also connected the wireless booster, so now I can take the PowerBook out on the deck and use it. That's nice! Of course, it's cold and wet out there now, so I'm inside surrounded by sleepy pups.

    Another pretty productive weekend I guess. Certainly not ready to go back to work tomorrow, but at least I accomplished a lot this weekend.

    Oh, and I discoverd that the county doesn't just come and pick up a bunch of junk. Their bulk trash is only for big items, like fridges and things. I guess I either have to
    a.) haul this crap to the dump ourselves
    b.) break everything down so it'll fit in garbage bags and put it out 4 bags at a time twice a week
    c.) pay someone to come haul it away.

    I have an estimate request out, since I'm lazy.

    Saturday, June 18, 2005

    20050617 Back Door Railing


    20050617 Back Door Railing
    Originally uploaded by Shmoomeema.
    This is the new back door railing.

    The old one was connected to NOTHING. Ok, it had some nails holding it in place, but you could pretty much just lift it up and remove it. Needless to say, I can't count the times that we forgot and leaned on it, only to almost tumble onto the concrete below.

    Funny thing now is that we avoid even touching this one. We're so use to the old one leaning, falling apart and nearly killing us, that last night hubby lost his balance and windmilled and did just about everything NOT to lean on this one.

    It's very sturdy. The crew cut into one of the stairs, sunk a support, concreted it and even put a support board at one end. The other end is bolted into the house and another support is bolted into one of the deck supports. It won't be going anywhere soon.

    The pups are exhausted right now. They spent some time on the deck, then had a good run in the yard. It's a lot more exercise than they've gotten in a month of the construction. It's good to see them tired and napping again instead of pacing and full of energy.

    Hubby and are also getting a lot more sun, we're actually starting to tan a bit, which after 11 years of hiding in the house is a miracle. That pasty complextion was actually getting tiresome anyway.

    This morning we hit a Pennsylvania Dutch store that had a wonderful meat counter and other goodies. We got some steaks for tomorrow and baby back ribs for monday. Today hubby grilled some more brats in a beer, onion, and saurkraut metal container. We're snacking on that as the day goes on. Expecting some friends in a few hours to go see Lewis Black at the Lyric, which should be fun.

    Tomorrow is yard work day. We've got so much crap piling up out back, limbs and junk. We also have to prep the dirt and throw out some grass seed on the front yard where the fill dirt was, after I mow it, of course.

    Ok, enough rambling.

    20050617 Deck Gate


    20050617 Deck Gate
    Originally uploaded by Shmoomeema.
    Here is the cool gate that the crew built for us. Very heavy and secure with a locking latch to keep the pups from racing up and down the deck stairs when we don't want them to.

    Loki flew up the stairs like a breeze, Meeshka slowly went up the stairs, and Sam is afraid of the stairs, for some reason, but he finally made it up there. Right now they know they lead up to the deck, but haven't figure out that they also go to the yard.

    Friday, June 17, 2005

    Grill time

    Sorry, forgot to take pics again today. I promise I'll do it tomorrow.

    Tonight was grill night. The propane tank got delivered around 6, then we had to shoot out to Lowes because we didn't have a grill scraper, and of course found a myriad of other things there while we looked at the grill supplies. We also got a padlock for the gate, which gives us both an incredible peace of mind, knowing that some idiot can't just come and open the gate on us. Of course it had sort of a lock already, but still, having it double locked is comforting.

    Now, onto the grilling fest. First of all, hubby and I have never grilled on a propane grill before. I'm a mental case and hate things that could potentially explode. When I was a kid, I had a very vivid dream that I would croak in an explosion and fire, so I pretty much figure that's my destiny, so allowing hubby to buy a large combustable and possibly explosive device was a big leap of faith for me. I stayed inside (close to the phone) while he lit it for the first time. He made one gesture that made me leap toward the phone, but he was actually gesturing that it lit and all was well.

    So, we get the burners burning, and they're burning blue, which is a good thing apparently. Yellow flame, sputtering and noise is a bad thing, apparently. We tried bratwurst as our first grilled thing. Later on I read that they're really "juicy", so you need to poke them and pre cook them a tad, which we didn't do, so we ended up with flames shooting out all over, and me leaping around yelling 'IS IT SUPPOSE TO DO THAT??" We've already planned to go out and buy "Grilling for Dummies" to make sure what is going on should go on.

    The brats were actually pretty tasty, and I'm not a big brat lover. Definitely better than cooking them in a pan though. I bought some dark spicy mustard to go on them, and either I was starving (it was 10pm before they were cooked and ready), or the grill actually makes a big difference, but they were pretty damn good. Tomorrow is hot dog/hamburger day before we go out to watch Lewis Black rant and rave at the Lyric in Baltimore.

    The dogs are really loving the new deck because there are now endless possibilities for slaloming around the support beams. Meeshka has found the nook under the stairs and is slowly making a body impression under the stairs and calling it her hidey hole. She still runs toward where the old stairs were, thinking she can slip under, only to find them gone. I'm sure it won't take long for her to find the new hidey hole in time of need.

    I've also discovered that at night, the deck absolutely blocks out all light to the left side of the yard. We'll have to figure out how and where to put the solar flood light soon so they dogs can't go back there and do devious things. It also kinda blocks out the rest of the light, but the dogs still love zooming around the deck in the dark.

    Overall, except for not knowing the basic ins and outs of the grill, which I'm sure we'll learn, we love the deck, love the yard, love the gate and fence, and love everything about the construction. It hardly seems like we went through so much to get it.

    Thursday, June 16, 2005

    It's Finally Over!

    Sorry, no pics today. It got dark and I forgot.

    THE DECK IS DONE AND ALL WORK IS DONE!!!!

    Whew. Just in time for us to enjoy it while we have our nervous breakdowns.

    The crew got here early (hoping to never set foot in our town again probably). They put the new railing up, and boy is that thing sturdy. After years of rickety, falling down railing, I'll probably run into this one thinking it has some give and impale myself. They also put up the new gate at the bottom of the stairs to keep the pups from running up there and causing grief and chaos. It's perfect, very sturdy, and have an easy latch lock on it.

    Everything these guys did was well thought out, they took the dogs into consideration and made adjustments accordingly, and the workmanship is just fabulous. For all of our complaining and whining, it was well worth it. Of course I'm sure a lot of people say that. It's easy to look back and think it wasn't so bad, especially when you have a super cool deck to lounge on.

    Hubby came home at the end of the work to thank the guys (as i hand them the final check), and then we secured the back gate and freed the puppies for the first time in a month.

    They went nuts, sniffing every beam, peeing on every support, checking out the gate (in case we may have left them a way out), then running around with glee. They're still getting use to having a whole yard, and Sammy loves that he has new obstacles to run around to try to get Loki from catching him. So far none of them have run head first into a support, so that's a good thing.

    It'll be so nice to just open the door and let them out tomorrow, sit on the stairs and sip a cup of coffee and watch them do their thing. Not having to leash walk each one at a time in my robe. Tomorrow I'm going to try to work outside if the wireless connection will transmit that far. That'll be cool. If not, that's fine too, I'll just take breaks with the puppies. Toss them outside then watch them from the deck in comfort :)

    Hubby found a place that will actually deliver propane to your house. We're having a delivery tomorrow, so we'll be grilling tomorrow night. MMMMM grilled food! I can't wait.

    Pictures coming tomorrow of the final outcome.

    Thank you Colin and Don of Fortress Fence for all of your hard work, your unbelievable skill and craftmanship, sense of humor, and hard work building the perfect deck!

    Wednesday, June 15, 2005

    20050615 Gate


    20050615 Gate
    Originally uploaded by Shmoomeema.
    Our cool new gate. The crew installed it so it would swing in, not out. Now if the dogs jump on it, it won't accidently open. It's very solid, and the latch locks two ways, one is a bar that swings down and locks, and then you can put a padlock on the end so it can't be unlocked. Totally cool!

    20050615 Deck is DONE!


    20050615 Deck is DONE!
    Originally uploaded by Shmoomeema.
    Here is the cool privacy fence area they did for us too.

    20050615 Deck 3 Starburst


    20050615 Deck 3 Starburst
    Originally uploaded by Shmoomeema.
    This is the cool pattern the crew put on our starburst pattern, totally cool!

    20050615 Grill


    20050615 Grill
    Originally uploaded by Shmoomeema.
    Hubby posing with his new grill!

    20050615 Table


    20050615 Table
    Originally uploaded by Shmoomeema.
    Our new deck table, chairs and umbrella. Comfy!

    20050615 Dogs getting to know the deck

    Here are the dogs getting to know the deck. One of them immediately peed on the door leading to the kitchen, of course.

    Tuesday, June 14, 2005

    20050614 Deck sunburst view


    20050614 Deck sunburst view
    Originally uploaded by Shmoomeema.
    Today was suppose to be the big finish day!

    The crew was making excellent progress. They had finished putting in the railing on both sides, set up the privacy railing area, and were about to nail on the railing tops... when their special nail gun broke.

    The special nail gun is used on the composit wood (which is what the top part of our railing will be) so they couldn't finish the deck today, and they were mad (don't blame them, they're now three days behind schedule, and other people wanting decks are screaming at them).

    20050614 Where's my Gate?


    20050614 Where's my Gate?
    Originally uploaded by Shmoomeema.
    Since the special nail gun broke, they decided to replace the fence and gate. We contracted to even out a part of our fence, and put in a better, more secure gate (with a locking handle, as the old one didn't have that). We also wanted the gate to be wider so we could fit a riding lawn mower through it. They got as far as doing the sides, and then quit for the day. They were nice enough to put the lattice up to block the opening, but since they aren't husky savvy, had no idea that something that delicate would be shredded by the beasts in no time, and we'd be hauling down the street after them.

    We're stuck leash walking them until the gate is up. In the heat. Humidity... 4 huskies. This is fun.

    20050614 Where's my Railing?


    20050614 Where's my Railing?
    Originally uploaded by Shmoomeema.
    Another contracted job was to remove the old railing and put a new one up that matched the deck. They ripped the old railing down (which was pretty much just nailed into concrete and not sturdy at all) and discovered that the reason it was put in like that is because there's no easy way to secure a railing to the piece of crap concrete around the back entrance.

    The lead guy has some ideas. Frankly, we told him if it was secure, within code and reasonably non-ugly, nobody would notice as they would be too busy gazing at the beauty of the deck.

    So, deck not done, gate gone, railing gone, leash walking 4 huskies in the heat and humidity... Priceless.

    Monday, June 13, 2005

    Lack of Common Sense Gene Alert

    I felt compelled to take some time off from posting about the deck building and home improvement woes because of this article in the news today:

    "The mother of a 12-year-old boy killed in his own home by one of the family's two pit bulls said she had been so concerned about one of the dogs that she shut her son in the basement to protect him.
    Maureen Faibish said she ordered Nicholas to stay in the basement while she did errands on June 3, the day he was attacked by one or both of the dogs. She said she was worried about the male dog, Rex, who was acting possessive because the female, Ella, was in heat.
    "I put him down there, with a shovel on the door,'' Faibish told the San Francisco Chronicle. "And I told him: 'Stay down there until I come back.' Typical Nicky, he wouldn't listen to me.''
    Nicholas apparently found a way to open the basement door.
    Faibish said she felt compelled to call the Chronicle Saturday to defend herself against widespread public outrage directed at families with children who own pit bulls."

    A.) If she were concerned about her child's safety, she should have removed the dogs from the house.
    B.) If she couldn't remove the dogs from the house and secure them safely, should she have not locked the DOGS in the basement, not her 12 year old son? Locked her kid in the basement and shoved a shovel under the door handle? What if the place caught on fire?
    C.) Why couldn't she take her son with her while she was "running errands" if she was so concerned about his safety?

    Most of us with common sense would have already had the dogs spayed and neutered at 6 months of age.
    Most of us with common sense would have taken the child with us when we ran errands, and if there was a shred of doubt as to the safety of the boy, enough so to LOCK HIM IN A BASEMENT, we would have sought means to protect the child by either removing the dogs from the house, or seeking a behaviorist to stop the behavior in the dogs, like having them spayed and neutered.

    For her to "defend" her actions, just shows what a negligent moron she is. Sad that her child had to pay for her stupidity, sad that the dogs paid as well.

    I hope that I (and a few of my friends) aren't the only ones to see through this woman's guise to evade punishment for allowing her son to be killed these dogs. Her admitting that they were showing aggressive behavior demonstrates that she knew they were aggressive and did NOTHING but lock her son in a basement to prevent this from happening.

    Shame on her, and shame on those who don't punish her for her neglect.

    20050613 Starburst


    20050613 Starburst
    Originally uploaded by Shmoomeema.
    Here is the stairburst from the outside, with more of the railing (at the platform for the stairs. Heee, it's really cool.

    Tomorrow the crew is coming to finish up everything, and we'll do a walk through to make sure everything is the way it should. They'll be putting up the two privacy railings on either side nearest the doors (to keep our deck a little private, and also because the one side is close to the fence, we don't want the dogs to leap off trying to get over the fence). Then the railing caps will get put on and that should be about it, other than the guys digging the trench for our drainspout :)

    20050613 Stairs


    20050613 Stairs
    Originally uploaded by Shmoomeema.
    This is the back side of the stairs. I just thought it was neat how they made them. It's got a spine down the middle to help support. Unlike the old deck, which just had boards nailed in, this thing is pretty sturdy and has kickplates on the back so the dogs won't slip and break their legs (like what almost happened on the old deck once).

    20050613 railing again


    20050613 railing
    Originally uploaded by Shmoomeema.
    Here is the starburst pattern they put into one of the sections. It looks so cool. That's hubby taking pics for his blog site. After having the rickety old deck for so long, it's amazing how sturdy this is. The dogs won't be able to stick their heads (let alone half their bodies) through these rails!

    20050613 Railings


    20050613 Railings
    Originally uploaded by Shmoomeema.
    More progress today. The deck crew ran out of supplies and had to go get more, but they got most of the railing done, and geesh is it NICE!

    Sunday, June 12, 2005

    "We're on our way to deliver your bath tub"

    That's the call we got from Lowes at 9am this morning.
    Bath tub? No, you're suppose to be delivering our grill.
    Oh, yeah, right... a grill... ok, it'll be there soon.

    Noon rolls around, we've moved almost all of the fill dirt into the back yard, and have created trenches with rock in them for drainage.

    3pm rolls around and one of hubby's friends stops by to help with the rest of the dirt. I call Lowes. The guy that finally answers says "I don't know where the truck is, so it'll get delivered in a few hours probably". I love that certainty, love that exact science of delivery times. Soon, and a few hours.

    4pm rolls around, we're done, cleaned up the back yard, and have let the dogs out to stretch their legs a bit. We had planned on going to Outback for tasty foods when we got done, but here we are, waiting around for the grill delivery. Just as we're about to give up our plans for tasty foods, I hear the air brakes of a large truck. It's here.

    While I stood out back guarding the barrier from the ever nosy Gazelle Meeshka, they loaded the grill into the house. Actually had to carry it with straps because there was no place to grab and carry it. But, it's here, the grill is actually here, and now sitting in our living room. It looks much smaller in the house for some reason.

    We did the dance of grill happiness, then went to Outback and ate way too much, then stopped for tasty ice cream on the way home.

    We're about to go to bed, we're very tired, and full, and tired, and its Monday tomorrow. The weekend went way too fast.

    20050612 Grill


    20050612 Grill
    Originally uploaded by Shmoomeema.
    Our "bath tub"

    Saturday, June 11, 2005

    20050611 Side of stairs


    20050611 Side of stairs
    Originally uploaded by Shmoomeema.
    Here are the deck stairs. The crew came out (Saturday), and finished up nailing all the decking to the deck, then built the stairs. There's another picture below this write up.

    It was pretty cool watching them build the stairs, I never could do something like that, very sturdy, and oh so cool. I'll take a pic of the back of the stairs because it's really neat how they made them.

    Meeshka will be oh so happy because she'll have a place to hide under the stairs again, and this time, there are kick plates, so us evil owners can't reach through and push her out when she's trying to hide.

    While the deck crew was building the stairs, we continued our top soil building. We managed to get a good 5 inches of depth under the stair area before they built the stairs, so now the stairs are at the right level. While the deck guys built, we hauled more top soil and filled in more of the slope. We ordered pizza for everyone, but after that, we all were pretty sleepy, so that was a mistake. 900 degrees, pizza, full stomachs, not a lot of motivation.

    Monday the deck crew is coming out to do the railings and finish the job. We can't wait! It's HUGE and pretty, and very sturdy, compared to our old piece of crap deck. We keep looking at it in awe.

    Tomorrow we'll be filling in a section with more top soil and adding a drainage ditch. After the deck crew finished up, we showered, and went to Home Depot for rocks, and landscaper cloth (to kill the evil weeds), then over to Petsmart because the dogs were out of food (and that's not a good thing), then to Safeway for steaks and baking potatoes for us. It would be nice to grill the steaks, but the grill delivery isn't until tomorrow (we hope), and the railing won't be on until Monday, so we plan on having a grill christening Tuesday.

    We're both exhausted, sore, blech.
    The dogs are antsy, they want to go out in the yard to play, but they're still restricted to a portion of the yard, and Meeshka is restricted to leash when they're all out there. She keeps showing off and jumping over the barrier when they're all out there. If she's by herself, she doesn't feel the need to show off, so we've been letting them out one at a time.

    I'm hoping that 600mg of motrin will kick in. Arms are sore, thumb hurts and is the size of a softball, but I'm sure we'll sleep REALLY good tonight.

    Love those stairs.