Monday, May 30, 2005

Nova


Nova
Originally uploaded by Shmoomeema.
This is Nova, he's 16 years old. He's very hard to photograph because he hates the flash on cameras and camcorders. He runs away and hides even if we get the camera out. Our only chance of snapping him is outside, and only if he doesn't see the camera. Usually the moment you snap a pic of him, if the camera makes a noise, or the flash goes off, he's out of there.

Yesterday was the great rib tasting festival. We bought these humungous ribs at Costco and baked two slabs of them in the oven (because we don't have a grill yet, because we don't have a deck yet). Very tasty, but missing that whole "grilled" taste.

We also buried the sump drainage pipe. We dug out as far as possible, then starting hitting tree roots, and decided that was far enough. Dug a nice pit, threw some rocks in there, plastic back to keep dirt from clogging the end, and filled up the trench.

Today we mainly lounged around all morning, then went to eat at Carrabas, thanks to a gift card from a friend. It was definitely tasty, but I prefer Macaroni Grill or Pasta Plus over them.

A woman almost won Indy 500. I pity the poor guy that did win. I'm sure all of his friends are saying "yeah, way to go, you beat a girl".

We moved the server into the computer room last night, which means I finally have a living room again. Lots of room for the pups and all. It was getting a bit cramped down there once we moved the dog cages, then had the computer sitting there. I like it better down there now.

The dogs just finished a rousing game of bark bark bark bark bark, now they're napping. Hubby is steam cleaning downstairs again.

Tomorrow is back to work day. Ugh. At least I only have three days at work (then friday work from home) to deal with. I really need to hit a lotto or something.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

The Deck Supports


DSC00003
Originally uploaded by Shmoomeema.
Ok, here is a picture of the deck supports as they stand on Memorial Day weekend.

Kinda hard to grill with no decking, but its progress.

If the weather holds out, the deck craftsman said he'll be done pretty much by thursday. I can't wait!

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Are We Home Yet?

Today was run around and buy things day:

Starbucks (of course) for fraps

Lowes for trenching spades, rocks (drainage solution), grass seed spreader, and a thin piece of wood thing to cover the gaping hole in the bathroom closet.

Zips: dry cleaning pick up

Columbia Mall: barbecue sauce (even though we don't have a grill, we're going to try some rubs and sauces on ribs this weekend in the oven).

CompUSA, Grill store (sauce mop and grill pad)

Best Buy (I'll explain later)

Safeway (spices)

Circuit City (Sony DSCP200 digital camera)

Costco (big hunks of ribs and other foods)

Hubby has the Sony DSCP150 Digital Camera, and since they are obsolete now, all they have is the DSCP200, which is fine with me, it's smaller and cuter. I wanted to get it, and the docking station with it.

This morning I went onto the Circuit City Web site and selected the camera and docking station. It was available at the store down the road, so I added them both to the cart for in-store pick up, tried to pay for them, but it only put the camera in there. Hmm. Tried it again, same thing. Tried it again, but this time it said it wasn't at the store down the road, but it WAS at another store. Add them both to the cart... only the camera. E-mailed a nastygram to Circuit City and printed out the whole session (including where they were going to take 20 bucks off the price). We went to just about every place they sell digital cameras, and they would have the camera, no dock. Best Buy said they were sold out of the dock (I think she was lying, they never had it).

Finally got to Circuit City and posed the puzzle to the salesguy. He looked in their computer and was also confused, because it looks like its in the store, but its not. Apparently its available "on-line" but not at the store, even though it says its at the store. I'm thinking that this is another piece of vapor-ware.

I wasn't about to leave empty handed, so I got the camera. Until I can get a dock (if they even make them), I can hook it up to the power book with the USB cord it comes with. I even asked for the 20 bucks off and got it, so that's cool. I'm waiting for the battery to charge (4 hours) then I plan to use it. So exciting!

So, all the running around took us like 5 hours, and the pups were very angry. I appeased them with cheese and some food, and they've been napping with full stomachs. Of course, right after hubby steam cleaned the nasty hallway, old geezer Nova took a pee there (he's senile, and that's why we have steam cleaners). Sam decided to add to that before we could shove them outside, which meant another round of steam cleaning. The joys of marking dogs.

Friday, May 27, 2005

It's beginning to look a lot like a deck

For a change, we had a beautiful day, and the crew was here bright and early to start building the supports. Amazing job they do, and it's just at the support part. As I walked the dogs in the back yard on their leashes (they always want to help, but without opposable thumbs, are unable to hammer a nail), I'd watch how they built the support beams and stuff. Pretty cool.

I sprung for pizza for them, the least I could do as they toiled for 7 hours without a break.

I haven't taken any pics with my camera, as it doesn't have a USB cord to connect to the PowerBook, so here's a link to hubby's site where you can view the various stages: http://homepage.mac.com/blankgm/MoneyPit/PhotoAlbum107.html

Speaking of cameras, I have my eye on the Sony DSCP200, the newer version of the one hubby has. Takes the same stuff as his, except for the cradle which is no big deal. Now that I have a PowerBook, I need something that will work easily with it. Currently I have to go downstairs, load the USB reader on the HP, upload the pics to it, then upload the pics to Flickr, which is just a HUGE inconvenience.

I'm suppose to get some money for surviving for 5 years at my company, so I plan on using that to pay for half of the camera. Of course I can't wait to get that dough because now that I know what I want, I want it not, so will probably end up going tomorrow to Circuit City and getting it and the dock, so I should be back up, loading pics by tomorrow. I'm so impulsive.

The pups are still made that 1/4th of their yard is unavailable. Meeshka managed to sneak under the barrier, just to prove that she could. She just stood there and glared at me "see, I did it!".

Something to ponder: Why does Emeril have a live band on his cooking show?

We've been watching too many barbecue shows on tv, now all we want is barbecue, but there are no good places around here for it. There was one, but it mysteriously went out of business. Best ribs around. I need to find another place with good ribs.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

More Progress and Rambling

The deck holes passed inspection by the County, so the concrete got dumped into them today. Tomorrrow is the grand building of the structure, but it won't be done by the weekend. Guess we won't be lounging on the deck this Memorial Day weekend, grilling meats.

In a fit of sanity, we rescheduled the delivery of the fill dirt and the delivery of the grill and deck furniture for next friday. Since we're having the WORST spring in the history of the world, with the MOST rain ever seen in the history of the world, you can just blame us and the deck for that. At least the grass is growing nicely.

I have more pictures, but my card reader doesn't appear to work on my powerbook, so I have to go downstairs, load the pics on the crappy HP, upload them to Flickr (which is a cool place BTW), then posting them. I just haven't had the will to walk downstairs in a while (unless its to let the dogs out every 5 minutes).

I'm so glad that tomorrow is friday and I'll be working from home. This whole week has gone by sooooo slowly for some reason. Probably because its a long weekend. Now that we won't have a deck, or fill dirt, or stuff to put together, we have no idea what we'll do. I'm hoping we'll have the time and inclination to take the computer in the living room apart and put it in the back room so I can get some space back in the living room. I also have my ritual.

My Ritual

Every sunday on Memorial Day Weekend, the only race in the world is held, that's right, the Indy 500. I'm from Indiana, and as a Hoosier, I'm bound by law to watch it.

The ritual goes something like this:
1.) Turn on the race at the opening ceremonies
2.) Watch the opening ceremonies, and cry when Jim Nabors sings "Back Home Again in Indiana" (I get homesick)
3.) Cry when they start their engines (hey, it's personal)
4.) Watch the green flag come out, then the few first laps and fall asleep on the couch.
5.) Wake up after the race and have no clue who won.
6.) Watch the Guns of Navarone

Shut up, it's my ritual!

When I was growing up, they use to delay the tv broadcast of the race until later that night, so the family would grill out and listen to it on the radio. We use to mark down the laps where horrible wrecks occured, then time it just right on the tv where we didn't have to watch the whole race, just the horrible wrecks. Then usually some station would show the Guns of Navarone, so it became my tradition (I have it on DVD because you can't rely on tv stations anymore).

Reminds me of home, and the good old days when after it rained at night, we'd go hunting nightcrawlers to use for fishing (sounding a lot like a freakin episode of Mayberry), and grilling out, perfect weather, good laughs, good food, happy times. So I get homesick for Goshen, although once I get back there, I can't wait to leave. I miss my dad because we'd do a lot together and have fun doing it (because we were so alike), and generally I miss being a kid and not having a job, responsibilities and all the crap that adulthood brings.

Of all the holidays, I really like Memorial Day (honoring our armed forces and their sacrifices), and I love Thanksgiving (the stuffing of oneself with food) because there's really nothing expected of you, nothing really to buy like Christmas, Valentines day and all those other commercial holidays. Fourth of July is ok, but the idiots with fireworks spoil that one. Easter is good because of the ample amount of chocolate (I'm neo-pagan, never got into the whole Jesus thing), and the ability to buy animal shaped chocolates for sacrifices. do a google search on neo-pagans if you have no clue, here's a quick high level low down: http://www.religioustolerance.org/paga_des.htm), and no, we're not a bunch of whackos and we don't sacrifice living things anymore.)

Ok, rambled enough.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Progress, at last

So, to recap:

Friday we have 10 yards of fill dirt being delivered.
Friday we have a humungous grill and deck furniture delivered
Monday it poured rain, no work on the deck
Tuesday it poured rain, no work on the deck
Wednesday, FINALLY the guys were able to come out.

We came home to find the crew cutting up these huge tubes to put into the holes to keep them from collapsing, they were also spreading out the huge piles of mud into an even layer, making the yard look semi normal again! Happy dance!

We left them a note that told them they could pull up the posts to our barrier (to keep the dogs out of the danger zone construction area), and they could also pull away the huge drainage tubes we layed out if they were in the way.

We have huge drainage tubes running along the top of the ground on both sides of the house because the one near the sump pump sprung a leak and water was burbling out of the ground and washing away the yard again. We have one off the downspout on the other side of the house because while the crew was digging the massive holes, they cut through the sunken drainage pipe, so what was happening was water would go down the downspout, and straight into one of their holes. The lead guy told us that since he cut the drainage pipe, he would be more than happy to dig the trench for the new one for us, which we're very happy about. We told him to just dig the trench, we'll bury it, as we'd like to do other things with the end of that drainage to keep it from burbling up farther down the yard. Happy dance!

Apparently tomorrow the cranky county guy is suppose to inspect the holes (yep, those are holes, that'll be 40 bucks please), then they'll pour the concret and get building.

I HIGHLY doubt that they'll be done by the time the massive grill, deck furniture and fill dirt arrive as we had planned, but we'll figure something out. The main question is: will the grill fit through the front door, then out the back door onto the deck? We have no idea. If it doesn't, we may need a crane to get that thing on the deck, but we'll worry about that later.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

A Relaxing Weekend

Spent all day saturday running errands.

First to the storage locker, where we emptied out empty boxes, and added new empy boxes.

Then off to the mall. Hubby was told by his physical therapist not to put a wallet in his back pocket, it's bad for the back. So for weeks he had been complaining about not having enough pockets for his stuff. I forced him by gunpoint to Hechts where we found a nifty front pocket wallet that would handle all of the stuff in his wallet. Then I forced him to the cell phone store and bought him two belt carrying cases (he has a personal phone and a work phone), so now he complains that his pants fall down.

Then I drug him over to Home Depot for the stuff to fix the bathroom. Poor guy, he's been sickly, and tired, and I'm dragging him all over the store looking for grout, caulk, screws, tile, and finally drywall.

I only needed a small piece to fix the bath tub area, but all they had was the big honking sheets, so I got one of those. Wheeled it back to the cutting area (I KNOW they don't cut drywall, all I wanted was a knife so I could cut it into manageable pieces. Five minutes goes by, nobody. I looked for the little button that shrieks "ASSISTANCE IS NEEDED IN THE CUTTING AREA!", but didn't find one. Finally two guys that were busy carting a HUGE load of wood around (I didn't actually see anyone waiting on this wood), yelled from up the aisle "Do you need something?" "I NEED TO CUT THIS IN PIECES!" I yell back (how quaint). "WE DON'T CUT DRYWALL" the guy responds, and goes back to backing up the loud beeping cart thing. Seething "I JUST NEED A KNIFE!" (to cut your ... bad inner thoughts). One of the guys saunters back and hands me what had to be the dullest knife in the history of the world. I hack the board into 4ths, toss back the knife and walk away.

I have to say that I prefer Lowes to Home Depot for two reasons:
1.) Nicer people working there
2.) If you're looking for tile stuff, you'll find all of it in one area. You don't have to go get the tile, then find the adhesives section, then go look for grout somewhere, then search high and low for caulk, like you do at Home Depot. They're dead to me.

By this time its around 5, and hubby has to stop at work to make sure that his report (that takes three hours to run) has actually run. It did. Got home around 5:30, let the angry pups out one by one on a leash, then I went out and put up the plastic barricade and posts that I bought as a temp way to keep the pups from investigating the holes and falling in. They were much happier when I let them all out after that was up, the guys christened it all over. Meeshka tried to figure a way around it (you could see her thinking and plotting).

Sunday

Despite the fact that I asked Meeshka to let me sleep, she got me up at 6am. I went back to bed after I let them in and fed them, she got me up again at 8am... nice.

Procrastinated over coffee until 9:30am, then went in and started the fun festive fix the bath tub wall escapade.

Around noon, my friends called, their ship had docked, so I went to pick them up (envious at their week of luxury and all you can eat food), got them home, loaded their stuff in their truck... ok, we watched while my friend's husband loaded their truck (and what an amazing job it was), they came in for a bathroom break and headed home. Poor hubby stayed upstairs, not wanting to contaminate everyone.

After everyone was gone, and hubby had fallen asleep (again) on the couch, back upstairs to cut the tile. Spackle is still a bit damp. Cut the tile, and after buying 20 tiles for just 5 spots, I'm pleased to announce that I only screwed up 2 of them while cutting them. A record for me. Got them glued on, did the grout thing.

The grout instructions say to use a rubber grout float. To me, this means popsicle stick, because that's what I had. Was forced to eat a popsicle just to have it (drat).

So now I can't do anything for at least a day, that's when I start caulking the crap out of it. Hubby managed to get out of bed and look at it and say "uh huh". Uh huh? 8 hours of work, and... sigh... he's sickly.

Laundry, puppies, dishes, dinner, feed puppies, and here it is, 9pm already.

I hope nobody bugs me at work tomorrow, I need some rest.

Friday, May 20, 2005

The Holes


DCP01166
Originally uploaded by Shmoomeema.
We have like 10 of these in the backyard right now. Oh, it gets better. Since its been raining all night, and all day, we have like 10 of those filled with water.

It gets even better!
They have to dig 10 more because they were two feet off!

We have another 10 yards of fill dirt coming on friday!

The back yard


DCP01165
Originally uploaded by Shmoomeema.
Remember the beautiful, level, pristine, with grass back yard we worked so hard to create...

Can it get any better?

We haven't had rain here in three months... the day after the deck holes are dug, torrential downpours lasting the whole day and night. Figures. This means that I'll have to use the bilge pump this weekend to bail out all the water.

The plumber is here. He's already installed the new kitchen faucet (so cool) AND the little soap dispenser that came free with the faucet (totally cool).

The bathtub is another matter entirely. He cut a small hole to access the parts he needed, and of course, the patch job repair I did on the dry wall and tile fell out. Lovely. He's still working on the tub, but I have some drywall repair and tile glueing to do this weekend to get the tub back in order. This time, at least, I'll have a nice little hole to work from to get access to the wall, instead of jury rigging something "that will do" from the tub wall.

Sigh! So much for a relaxing weekend.

Update

So, while juggling the plumbing fiascos, there's a knock at the door. It's the deck company to make sure that since the county told them they couldn't build out that far from the house, that moving the deck over 2 feet wouldn't be a problem. I would have thought they would have checked that BEFORE they dug the big holes, but whatever. So out in the pouring rain we go to have a look. As we're looking the County inspector shows up. He's not happy, and wants to know of the contractor, why they didn't call to cancel the inspection because of the rain. Um, duh? Hello? No sense not to come out in the rain, you need to be told? So now, of course, the inspector will hate us, and make our lives miserable. The contractor guy asked him whether moving the deck would leave enough clearance for code and the contractor said yes (I should have gotten his name, I know this is going to bite us in the ass later). Inspector stomps off.

So now they're going to have to come back on Monday (like this mess is going to dry out by then) and redig the holes, but apparently everything is still on schedule for finish by next friday (I have no faith).

I let the dogs out once the plumber has finished and left, they want to go out, it's still pouring, now I'm soaked and they're still not happy. Fed them, took them out again, and noticed that the drain in the sunken back porch is not draining fast enough, water is building up. Lovely. The poor sump pump is working double duty and can't keep up with the water. Out I go with the handy dandy bilge pump to syphon off some of it. I'll need to go out and do that probably once an hour until the rain stops 8 hours from now (or so weather.com says). Hubby's Marine Corps rain poncho is quite handy, wish I had thought of wearing that hours ago.

So, to wrap up:
Fix the drywall in the bathroom
Holes redug on Monday
bilge pump the back porch periodically
wet, cranky me
wet, cranky dogs

lovely

And Finally

Just when I thought the day was complete crap, I get the mail and find an escrow account refund, and a refund from a credit card company because we overpaid them. With that money (that we didn't expect), we can now get the matching railing, and a new, more secure gate.

Sometimes things do work out, and I really love my new kitchen faucet.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

I can't wait for this to be finished

I'll post pictures later, right now my brain is fried and I can't function.

I left work at 11ish today to go home, let the pups out, feed them, then go to a doctors appointment.

I get home, there's a trailer in the driveway, the back fence is open, and there's this loud roaring sound coming from the back yard. I walk back there. It's the deck guys. They said they would come back on Friday, but apparently they had an opening, and had returned to dig the footers and remove the plating from the house. Ok. One hand, that's cool, other hand (being a xenophobe) they didn't call or anything, so I'm a bit miffed, but happy that work is progressing.

Then... I look... and see that they have an auger and appear to be drilling to China. I knew they were going to dig big holes, but I can fit in one of these holes. Two days of hauling 10 yards of compost/topsoil into the back yard, carefully laying it out, making sure it was flat and beautiful. Weeks of nurturing grass to grow so it would be nice for when the deck came in... gone. HUGE piles of sand and muck were now covering the wonderful soil. The auger was ripping up the tender little grasslets. I pictured hubby coming home and having a stroke.

I go in, and proceed to take all 4 dogs out on a leash one at a time (further ruining their usual routine). Meeshka wants to play with the workers, and clawed me in her excitement. I didn't realize that I was bleeding like a stuck pig until I saw one of the workers gawking at the bloody arm. Just a small hole, a band-aid took care of it.

As Loki is finding a perfect pee spot, they pull the support beam off the house and it comes crashing down on top of the rickity back door stair railing. DAMN if it didn't hold. I was hoping it would shatter in a zillion pieces and they would offer to replace it with a nicer railing (instead of charging me, which I'll gladly pay for anyway, but still), damn the luck.

I eat, take the dogs out AGAIN, then go to my appointment, then to Costco for essentials, because I figure they'll be all done when I get back. How long does it take to dig humungous holes?

Well, longer than two hours, as they were by my return, hammering away at the concrete block for the back footers. Around 3pm they finished, and since it is suppose to torrential downpour all day tomorrow, we covered the holes as best as we could with tarps, contractor bags, a small swimming pool we got for the dogs, but all they'd do is drink the dirty water and wash their feet in.

Of course, the idiots that put the crappy deck on didn't seal it right, and they also cut our siding in the process, so for a zillion years, water had been seeping into the wood, and one of the boards needs to be replaced and some other boards as well. That'll be another $300, thank you.

Hubby came home and asked "Where did all that dirt come from?" As if for a surprise I ordered up more fill dirt and left it there as a gift. Um, the holes? I had to help support him when his knees gave out.

The dogs are not amused, I'm stressed out because every time I sit down to do something, one of their bladders needs to empty. Hubby is still sick and not happy about the whole hole thing.

Tomorrow, I get to deal with taking the dogs out in the rain, and the plumber. I dread that one, because who knows what he'll find behind that closet wall when he rips it open, and where am I going to put all of our toilet paper from Costco until we fix that big honking hole? These, and other answers (I hope) tomorrow, as the house turns.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Why is this another Screaming Banshee day?

Ok, so the deck guys ripped off our old deck (yipee), and then there was a lull in the activity. (whew).

I went out and mowed the front lawn because if a County inspector was coming to look at the footings soon, it wouldn't be wise to leave the waist high grass the way it was. Don't want to tempt fate. When I say waist high, I mean about waist high.

It was high enough that an itty bitty tiny bunny thought it was a good place to hide. It came shooting out of the side of the lawnmower (so I thought), then scrambled onto our porch all scared. I went and caught it, hoping not to find it too mangled. It appeared unharmed, so looking around, I didn't see any good places for it in our yard, and heaven forbid it would venture into the back yard (see previous posts about how the pups treat guests). So, the neighbors across the street has lots of good plants and shrubbery to hide in, so I relocated the little bunny over there, where he is probably eating all of the shrubbery now.

Lawn mowed, and just enough time to relax for 5 minutes before hubby came to get me, and we took off for Lowes. I had to pick up the faucets for Friday's plumbing visit. I ordered them on line, but having been burned by Lowes store pick up before, I had my doubts. We were also going to go buy and schedule the delivery of the HUGE grill, the deck furniture and other assorted fun and expensive stuff.

Got to Lowes, they were out of the grill. UGH! Ryan, the Lowes guy that helped us, went beyond the call of duty, ordered one to be delivered from Glen Burnie, to be delivered to our house on the 27th with the rest of the stuff. Ok, however they want to do it, but the grill will be trucked from Glen Burnie, past our house to the Lowes in Laurel, then back to our house. Like I said, whatever they want to do.

As I'm standing in the store waiting for Ryan to work his magic, I get a cell call. It's Lowes telling me that my stuff that I ordered on line was ready. Had a good laugh at that when I informed the woman that I was standing in the store.

Got everything ordered and ready, went to customer service and... of course they didn't have my stuff sitting there waiting, we had to go back to the plumbing department and get it... ourselves. I have to ask what good is it to order it online if I have to go back and get it. We happened to get the last shower faucet one that we needed. I can't imagine the squirrelly wrath that would have happened, had they been out of stock there.

Got our stuff, then went to CVS to pick up my prescription. They gave me generic, I told them no, I want real stuff, they got me the real stuff. Went to Superfresh for something to eat tonight, as everything was frozen. We ended up with two steaks and a cart full of popsicles, ice cream and some new type of frozen treats for the pups.

Home, ate steak, fed pups, now I'm ready for bed.

Oooh, did I mention that next friday I have a dump truck load of fill dirt coming in, AND a HUGE grill, deck furniture and other stuff? That should be fun, but we'll have three whole days off to deal with it.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

Deck and Destruction Part 3


DCP01162
Originally uploaded by Shmoomeema.
Here is the deckless house. Quite a drop from the kitchen door, but it looks so funky without that crappy old deck attached to it.

Friday or Monday they'll get the jackhammer in to dig through the concrete and start digging and pouring the footers, and constructing the deck while they wait for the county inspector (who hopefully won't have a bug up his ass) to show up and ok the rest of the construction.

Memorial day weekend Barbecue Bash, here we come!!!!!

Deck and Destruction Part 2


DCP01160
Originally uploaded by Shmoomeema.
Here the crew has ripped half of the deck off the house, and is in the process of sawing into smaller chunks. The rest of it is laying by the side of the house.

Deck and Destruction Part 1


DCP01159
Originally uploaded by Shmoomeema.
Bright and early this morning, Steve and the gang were here to rip apart the old deck.

They unceremoniously used a saw to hack off the railings. It almost looks nicer like that.

Monday, May 16, 2005

It's the Plumber, He's Come to Fix the Bath Tub

So, at 6:30pm tonight, the plumber arrives. He fiddles with the knob. No, it can't be that easy, and it wasn't. It's the whole "assembly" that needs to be replaced. Of course.

Our house was built before there was a building code, so of course there is no access panel to that part, so he'll have to cut a big hole in our closet wall to get to it. That's much better than ripping out the front and having to pay someone a zillion dollars to retile the stupid thing.

While he's out here, we're having him replace the kitchen faucet, because that's about to go tits up as well. Might as well do it before it starts flowing like a waterfall on a sunday night.

Nice guy, he's giving us the service plan discount, we just have to go out and get the fixtures and junk. You would think that would be easy, but apparently, our house was built before they had fixture codes, so we need a two knob thingamajiggie, and now all they sell are the one knob thingamajiggies. You can get the two knob ones online (takes 10 days to deliver), or you can get them in the store for about 400 bucks or so (from a reputable place... they have them for 80 bucks by Bob's Bath tub Knobs). I'm hoping they only show you that online stuff and they actually have more in the store, but I'm just deluding myself further. As hubby pointed out though, it would be criminal to pay the guy 700 bucks to replace 100 knobs and stuff.

So, we greased up the Amex, and on Thursday I'll have to remove all the crap out of the closet (which I had been planning on sorting through anyway, now is the time), then afterwards, we'll have to get some kind of panel to screw in there (in case we need to access that place again), then get some cheap shelving at Ikea because those shelves ain't going up again.

Cha CHING!!!!!

Sunday, May 15, 2005

The Screaming Banshee

I'm typing this on my new powerbook, so apparently the settings are different on safari (which explains the lack of bold in the title).

I'm liking this whole apple thing. The biggest headache was getting it on the network (still have some issues there to resolve), and converting quicken and quickbooks information. I took the coward's way out on quickbooks, and just plugged in the information manually.

For quicken, we have information from 1992 in there, and there's just no way I'm putting all that in, so I followed the intuit instructions for converting my data, then burned it to a CD. I installed quicken for mac and imported the information... and it worked. Of course there were some things it didn't do, and I have to set up all of my online payments and junk, but it converted all of the other data without a problem. I'm almost ready to beat the HP with a hammer now.

Of course, there are some differences between the windows version and the mac version, and until I can either figure out how to pay bills online (it's not very simplistic, and my quicken billpay username and password apprently don't work on the mac, for some reason, but it does work on the windows computer), I may just cancel the quicken billpay crap and just do online banking with my bank. Seems like an opportune time to do that, since most of our stuff is actually put on our amex anyway, just have to do the mortgage and truck payments.

So, hubby is feeling sickly (coughing, etc), and I've had half a migraine all day which pills and a nap couldn't help, but other than that, we've had a pretty good day... until... the bath tub faucet broke.

Yes, the evil bath tub faucet. When we moved in, we discovered that the hot water faucet just turns around and around. You just find the spot where it turns off, and life is good. It doesn't turn off anymore. It just dribbles at a pretty fast rate. We called a plumber to come out and tell us that he'll need to knock the whole wall out, and that'll be a zillion dollars (or the exact equivalent to the amount of money we spent on the powerbook and the 23" monitor).

Figures. I had a screaming banshee moment then. I'm fine now. I'll be home tomorrow when the plumber comes, so I'm sure I'll have another one when he tells me what it will cost to fix it. For now, we just have the hot water turned off to the tub, we'll shower downstairs in the scary shower (I just don't like it, too small). I'll laugh when he gives me the estimate, and tell him to go ahead, because what choice do we have. Guess if it happened before the powerbook/monitor purchase, then I would be really paranoid that something worse was going to happen. As in: we have oodles of money, is that jet having problems gaining altitude?

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

The Story of Steve

On the eve of my getting a powerbook, and taking all of my crappy HP Windows computers and beating them to pieces with a hammer, I thought I would share "The Story of Steve".

Two years ago in September, my brother-in-law was visiting, and as we always do, we all sit around and play computer games. The Unreal Tournament 2004 edition came out, so that was the one we wanted to play, except my crappy HP Windows 98 computer couldn't handle it. I was stuck without a gaming computer, and peeved.

Off to CompUSA we go, and I decide that I want the HP Pavilion a262n (which was on sale). I didn't want the crappy service plan, and I didn't need a monitor, I just wanted the CPU. A woman was looking at the same time I was, and since she was there first, I told the salesguy to help her, but she hadn't decided and told the salesguy to help me first.

"I want the HP Pavilion a262n, no monitor, no service plan", I announce.

"Um, well, you can get this other computer cheaper, and it comes with a service plan."

"No, I want the HP Pavilion a262n, no monitor, no service plan", I repeat.

"Well, this one comes with the service plan"

"but I don't want that one, I want the HP Pavilion a262n, no monitor, no service plan"

"well, you really need a service plan, what if, for instance, you get it home and there's a virus on it?"

"ok, how is a computer that comes straight out of a box have a virus on it, and besides, your service plan wouldn't cover that, I've read your service plan"

"but you really need the service plan, so why don't you get this other computer, because it comes with a service plan"

"I don't want that computer, I want the HP Pavilion a262n, no monitor, no service plan" voice getting higher in pitch and tone.

"but with the service plan..."

"I DON'T WANT A SERVICE PLAN..." (looking at name tag) "STEVE, I WANT THE HP Pavilion a262n, no monitor, no service plan" Yelling.

"but..."

"WHY AM I ARGUING WITH YOU, WHY AREN'T YOU GETTING A CART, GOING IN THE BACK ROOM AND GETTING THE COMPUTER I TOLD YOU TO GET STEVE?"

At this time, my brother-in-law is slinking away, laughing hysterically. Hubby had gone off to go find a switch that I could use for the old HP and the one I bought. I see him prairie dogging 5 aisles away, having heard my wrath, and he chuckles. I also notice that by now, someone is standing behind Steve with a badge that says "Manager".

"But with the service plan..."

"I DON'T WANT THE SERVICE PLAN, GET ME THE STUPID COMPUTER!"

The lady that was looking has now retreated into the Apple area of the store for safety. The manager puts a hand on Steve's shoulder, undoubtedly sensing that if Steve opened his mouth one more time, my foot would be in it, takes him away from me and they disappear into the back.

Steve dutifully comes back with a cart, and the CPU. He doesn't say a word as he wheels it toward the front toward checkout, then runs away. The cashier opens his mouth, and I say "NO, no service plan!". He has enough brains to realize not to ask if I'm sure.

After paying for it, we all go to Macaroni Grill to eat and calm me down, since I'm seething.

We get home after a good meal, and I plug the computer in and start the process. First thing I do is install and run antivirus... and IT HAS A FREAKIN VIRUS!!!!

Hmmm. Interesting how Steve had mentioned viruses. Hubby calls CompUSA (because I'm too busy cursing). I hear him explain that the computer has a virus, and then I hear him say "why yes, the salesman's name was Steve". Apparently we're not the first to call and complain about idiot boy. CompUSA denies any involvement in the virus, HP says the same thing, that they couldn't have possibly shipped a computer with a virus on it.

Whether or not its possible, I still blame evil Steve... who no longer worked at CompUSA the day AFTER we bought the computer... for some reason.

A week later the stupid thing started to blue screen of death every day. It took a year of online tech support (with people who barely spoke english, and wrote it worsely) before they finally decided that they needed to send someone out to replace the defective motherboard, hard drive and other stuff... after which the media cards wouldn't work. I tried to tell them it was their fault, but they actually insisted that the HP Pavilion a262n didn't come with media card slots... sigh... whatever, I give up.

So, effective the moment I receive my powerbook... the HPs are going to be smashed with a hammer, because Windows, and HP are dead to me.

Long live Mac!

Anyone want a cheap viewsonic monitor?

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Geek Warning (This post is all about Quantum Leap)

Ok, I admit, I'm a HUGE Quantum Leap fan (note the present tense, I haven't given up on a new series or movie). I would also "do" Dean Stockwell in a heartbeat. Ok, probably too much information, but who cares.

I was totally pissed when the series was cancelled, but that was before I had a computer and could write e-mails to everyone and bitch. I do want to thank Don Bellisario for at least putting some closure on the series with the final episode "Mirror Image", which left me bawling for days, then going "huh?"

For years I've pondered the episode, trying to figure out what exactly made me cry like a little girl (probably that whole text thing at the end that said "Dr. Beckett never came home again"), and think about what really went on in the episode.

The reason I'm writing this now is because the SciFi channel just showed "Mirror Image", I watched it, and once again, cried like a baby. I searched the internet for a site that would say for sure what had really happened, but every other fan seems as clueless as me... offering their thoughts on what happened and why.

Here's my theory:

Al died in the POW camp in Viet Nam

Dr. Beckett lost his brother in Viet Nam

Dr. Beckett builds the time machine and leaps around willy nilly. Al helps him along (because Sam changed the past, Al didn't die)

When Sam leapt into Beth's life, he was suppose to save the policeman (which he did), but wasn't suppose to tell Beth that Al was alive (because he wasn't really).

In "Mirror Mirror" Sam figures out that he's the one leaping, changing stuff all the time. He realizes (and its said several times) that the dead come back to help the living.

He leaps back and tells Beth that Al is alive, and at the very end, the audience sees the picture of Al glistening blue and "leaping" (the dead coming back to help the living).

The reason that Dr. Beckett never makes it home is because he becomes Al (that whole, "which reality do you believe, the one you see or the one in the mirror" comment that Al the bartender makes to Sam), comes home, marries Beth and has two kids... that's his "sabbatical".

That was the one thing he couldn't do for Al, because Sam thought he had to continue leaping and "making right, what once went wrong".

So, that's my spin on it. Either that, or Sam was Al all along. Who freakin knows.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Dirt Weekend II (Electric Boogaloo)

Yes, we are insane. We got another load of dirt. After seeing how well the last pile made our lopsided yard look, the second front half of the yard looked even worse, so we got another pile of dirt.

Two friends were suppose to show up and help this morning. No shows. I'm sure they have a very good excuse like: "who the hell wants to go wheelbarrow dirt for someone else". Not me, that's for sure.

Bright and early (9:30am) we start. This time we're prepared, we bought a dirt roller that you fill up with water for weight to roll over the dirt once its in place. I lost count around 30 wheelbarrows full, and we've only made a slight dent in the pile, but that huge crevass in our yard is almost filled in. Hubby managed to run himself over with the roller a few times (that's gotta hurt). Since there was such a slope to begin with, the stupid thing would roll back out of control, and he bravely would fling himself under it, rather than have it go shooting through the fence.

By 1:30pm, we're both so tired we can barely walk, and after hubby nearly lost a foot to the roller in another run-a-way incident, we said screw it. We'll start again tomorrow.

We do have plans to go out tonight, meet some friends (maybe) around 9pm at a club, but who knows if they'll show up. Even after a nap and a very hot shower, I'm boneless chicken woman, and my left thumb is totally numb now. I don't even have the strength to blow dry my hair.

It seems to be the day of people saying they'll do something, and not. I'm trying to get rid of some of our junk, so I freecycled it. I've had one person say "never mind", another who 'forgot", and one who just plain hasn't shown up, so at this point, whoever shows up and takes the stuff on the porch... bless you. I'm about to throw it all on the curb with a big "free" sign on it.

ugh, I guess I'd better do laundry or something now... if only I could walk. I'll post the before and after pics when we're done tomorrow... I hope we're done tomorrow.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

The Weekend from ... You'll see

Saturday
Ok, so we wake up bright and early and take Loki to the vet for his annual vaccines. He's healthy and not happy about being poked.

Back home, feed the dogs, then off to Lowes for a new wheelbarrow to replace the one whose parts didn't fit, one of those little tractor sprinklers that travel the length of the hose and squirt (very cute), and a gazillion other things I can't even remember.

To the liquor store for refreshments for the guys that were coming sunday to help us move the dirt pile. While hubby was getting beers, I was in Kohls buying some new work clothes, since I've been wearing the same things every day for two years.

Home
It occurs to us that it's not raining, why not start dragging some of the dirt to the back yard. After all, its not such a big pile. Two hours later, tails dragging, we decide that we're going to need some boards to hold back the dirt, as the angle of the washout is a bit bigger than we first thought, and dirt is VERY freakin heavy.

To Lowes for 4x4x6 and spikes

Home
The dogs enjoy eating the dirt while we lay the boards and hammer in the spikes.

8pm: warm up some leftover Baja Fresh in the wave, eat it half cold, fall into bed around 9pm

Sunday

We get up at 7am, well, we slowly roll out of bed and drink as much coffee and take handfuls of motrin to wake up, and stop the pain.

9am, the guys arrive, and after raining all night we find that our side yard, after a few wheelbarrow full, turns into quicksand. We decide that instead of hauling dirt and spreading it out nicely, the best thing to do is just get the dirt into the back yard, and hubby and I will spread it out. Parts of the yard are now molten goop from drainage, and around noon we get the whole pile of dirt into the back yard, then go to Denny's to eat.

To Lowes: for that carpet stuff that you lay down on top of grass seed, and more grass seed.

Home: while we spread the dirt around, the dogs are playing gleefully in the dirt, eating the dirt, and playing king of tarp. Around 3pm, we've just about finished spreading the dirt to where everything is even, and stomping it down, when Sam and Loki decide they each want a special dirt clod. They argue over the dirt clod, they begin fighting over the dirt clod. Gil grabs Loki, but I was in no position to grab Sam, so he took advantage of that and nailed Loki twice in the leg. Loki, in retaliation, went after Sam, but got me on the hand, luckily he has great bite inhibition and barely broke the skin.

We break them up and Loki is holding up his none mutant leg. We go to look and he whines and falls over, all pathetic. He has a sizeable puncture under the armpit and another farther down on the leg.

Lock the dogs up and off we go with Loki to the ER Vet. Spent an hour there, they shaved the spots, gave him an antibiotic shot and some antibiotics to take for the next week, and told us to put hot compresses on it three times a day, he'll be very sore for a week.

Home: Introduce the pups to each other again, and Sam and Loki sorta kiss and make up. Out we go again, this time to lay grass seed, the seed carpet (didn't get enough of that), then hook up the hose to the tractor and start watering. So far the tractor has fallen over in dog holes twice, which is fun getting out there to right it, but so far so good.

The dogs have eaten and I'm making them lay down and behave. Loki is limping pretty badly because his leg is getting sore, but I'm sure he'll heal just fine, but I feel sorry for the poor little guy. Sam knows he's in the craphouse, he's slinking around all guilty and trying to suck up. Meeshka is sucking up too because she knows she should have stopped it, but stood by and watched.

We're covered in goo, exhausted, sore, I have a sore on my mouth (that is growing a head I fear), a scrape on the back of my right hand, a dog bite on the back of my left hand, every muscle in my body aches, and I have no idea what we're having for dinner.

I think we'll just look out the window and watch the tractor spray the yard.