C'est un blague.

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  • Thursday, June 28, 2007


    Got into work this morning at 8:00. Ate my "lunch" at 4:30 pm. Still here at 7:15 pm. Probably won't get out until 8:00 pm.

    That's a 12-hour day (that math was simple enough that even I could do it).

    No, I don't work for a firm. I work for the federal government. E-gads.

    So, that's 4 hours of comp time, which is equivalent to the annual leave I would accrue over a two-week period.

    AND I have to be in early tomorrow.




    For your (and my) amusement...

    stolen from Nell. Starts slow, but hang in there for the whole thing and you'll see why we both uploaded it.

    Fun and creative.


    Wednesday, June 27, 2007


    My week just got really busy at work.

    It will be a challenge just to keep my head above water. Oh my.


    Monday, June 25, 2007

    Talk about being taken to the cleaners...

    That judge who was suing over the pants? Well, he got NOTHING. Deservedly so.

    AND, he has to pay the court costs for the defendents. Deservedly so.

    I also hope it costs him his job. Deservedly so.

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    I hope the judge judges against the judge

    and kicks this suit in the pant.

    All that this case does is make a mockery out of the judicial system. Talk about frivolous. The plaintiff refused several thousand-dollar offers of settlement. I wish I could illuminate the analysis behind his decisions, but there is no rational reason why someone would sue a dry cleaner for $67 million.

    The whole thing is just disgusting. I hope the plaintiff is disbarred and debenched. What a disgrace.

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    Monday morning haiku

    Waves crash over me.
    Drenched, I struggle to breathe.
    Ugh. Humidity.


    Sunday, June 24, 2007

    Jason Kander for state rep in Missouri

    You're probably wondering why I'd blog about this, but Jason is a former classmate of mine from GULC. He's a cowboy hat-wearing, big red pickup truck-driving, military haircut-sporting progressive democrat. I didn't know him all that well in school, but I knew him well enough to know he's got the goods.

    So check him out. He has a campaign website up and running. Not many bells or whistles -- or pages -- but I expect that will change as he raises money. Which you can help him do on his site.

    And even if you're not interested in donating, if you're interested in politics, check him out. He's gonna go places. When others are wringing their hands and maybe talking about problems, he does what he thinks needs to be done -- volunteering for combat in Afghanstan, co-founding Heartland Democrats (a PAC), running for office. How many of us can say that?

    "I'm running for State Representative because the Republican regime in Jefferson City has failed us. I know we can do better for Missouri's families if we elect representatives that are ready to lead and willing to fight."
    Like I said, he's got the goods.

    Go Hoya Lawyas!

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    Friday, June 22, 2007

    Never saw this before

    On my walk to the metro this morning, I saw a first. A first for me. Such a first that I did a double-take.

    Here's the scene: a very nicely dressed businessman passed me going up the steps at the metro. He was carrying a briefcase and had on a suit and tie. Your basic dark suit, white shirt, etc. Nothing remarkable about it until I realized that the suit he was wearing had short sleeves.

    As in, cuffed above the elbow. Not rolled or scrunched up. A nice tailored cuff. Above the elbow. Sort of like this jacket except more tailored and business-like, and the sleeves were definitely above the elbow.

    Did I say that the sleeves were above the elbow? I thought so. Just checking.

    That was a new one for me, so I did what anyone would do -- I first stared (just kidding)... I googled it. It was hard to find pictures, but I did find a few. Apparently short sleeved suits for men are more popular and more available in Asia.

    The guy I saw was quite sharply dressed -- avante-guard and well put-together. But short sleeves on a men's suit? I dunno. Might be a tough sell around here. I don't even like short sleeves on men's shirts (when worn with a tie, that is).

    But for the sake of keeping cool? Looking cool? Some could probably pull it off.

    What thinketh you?

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    Wednesday, June 20, 2007

    In case you were wondering...

    The house is a mess, and we need to unpack so that my wardrobe doesn't turn into 70s suburban-track housing: the same thing every third iteration (day). The dog stinks and needs a bath. Work is less than challenging -- except when it comes to office politics which are deadly -- and I am increasingly questioning whether this is where I want to work long term. I am close to the heaviest I've ever weighed in my entire life. SM is working such long hours that he's out before I get up in the morning and ready to fall asleep just when I'm hitting my stride at around 10:00. I am spending money faster than I'm earning it.

    But ya' know what? Life is good. SM and I are good. Gidget is good. The house is good. The rest feels like mere bumps in the road.

    I'm pretty freakin' happy.


    Because I was amused...

    And because I haven't gotten my snark on in a while, I'm going to steal some of Jami's post: 50 Liberal Bumper Stickers.

    Political agendas aside, many ring true.

  • "We need a president who's fluent in at least one language." -- Buck Henry

  • "The government of the United States is not, in any sense, based on the Christian religion." -- George Washington

  • "When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross" -- Sinclair Lewis

  • "If tyranny and oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy." -- James Madison

  • "Dissent is the highest form of patriotism." -- Thomas Jefferson

  • "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." -- Benjamin Franklin

  • Stop using Jesus as an excuse for being a narrow-minded bigoted asshole!

  • God Bless Everyone - NO EXCEPTIONS.

  • Sure, evolution is a theory ... kind of like gravity.

  • You can't be pro-war and pro-life.

  • When Jesus said to love your enemies, he probably meant don't kill them.

  • Hate and discrimination are not family values.

  • Let's bring democracy back to America first.

  • Of course it hurts. You're getting screwed by an elephant.

  • If the fetus you save is gay, will you still fight for its rights?

  • Shhhhh...Bush is listening. Use big words.

  • Support the troops - Bring them home!

  • When you fight evil with evil, evil wins.

  • I love my country, but I fear its government.

  • Is lying the country into a war a high crime or a misdemeanor?

  • More trees. Less Bush.

  • Where's your W sticker now?

  • January 20, 2009: End of an error.
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    Let me get this straight...

    So, they've made a movie Hairspray (due out July 20th), which is based on the Broadway play Hairspray, which was, in turn, based on the movie Hairspray (1988)...?


    Let's hope the ozone layer can handle it.

    (Actually, I will definitely go to see this. I loved the original movie, starring Ricki Lake, and who could possibly miss the opportunity to see John Travolta reprising the role (the mom of the main character, Tracy) originally played by Divine? Not me. And the rest of the cast looks fabbo, too. I'm definitely there!)


    Tuesday, June 19, 2007

    Holy crap -- I can't believe I missed the anniversary

    "They" say that you never forget your first.

    Well, I did. Ooops.

    One year ago, last Wednesday June 13th, I was sworn-in as an attorney licensed to practice in MD.

    I've been an esquire for a year now.


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    External validation please

    I just wanted to check in with my online peeps. Help me out here -- it IS okay that I am irritated by the incessant giggling that emanates from the cubicle across from my office, from the 20-something woman who turns into a giggle-machine every time a 20-something guy stops by to visit (which they do with regularity), right?

    Now, before anyone hurls the "jealousy" charge at me, let me just put an end to that. No big green monster; not even a little one. No envy. None of that. I could not care less if that corner becomes match.com central. In fact, I wish her luck in her flirtations, but with one caveat: she must stop the giggling.

    This isn't a petty little office spat or sour grapes. I actually like the woman -- and I have reasons, two of them, to be precise, for wanting her to shut up: first, the noise is annoying and distracting and hard to ignore when you're working, and second, I am equally irritated that this woman, who usually carries herself with dignity and decorum, dissolves into a giggling mass when the men come to visit. I mean, c'mon. This isn't high school.

    I'm jest sayin'.

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    I got nuthin'

    I'm batting around a few longer posts in my brain, but they're still way down there -- not yet on deck. Soon, I hope.

    In the meantime, here's today's Page-a-day trivia question:
    What was Mountain, West Virginia, known as before it adopted its current name in 1949?
    I promise, if you give it a second's thought, you'll come up with the answer -- without resorting to google...

    Answer? You may have guessed it: Mole Hill.


    Monday, June 18, 2007

    And for the record

    Today is the six-monthiversary of my employment. I started here on December 18th.

    They haven't fired me yet. I think I have them all fooled.

    Let's hope so, at least.


    Monday morning haiku

    Training all morning.
    Oh crap! Forgot my haiku!
    So much for "morning".


    Sunday, June 17, 2007

    Happy Father's Day!

    Especially to those of you who are fathers but also to those who are male role models. I am very thankful to my own dad for all he's done for me, but, even though my only kid is in the form of a Gidget, I can appreciate SM's "parental" role, from the perspective of his partner. And I do.

    Happy Father's Day, all!

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    Saturday, June 16, 2007

    New website, new technology

    and also SM's latest, funnest way to waste time online: The Redistricting Game.

    Yes, he's a policy wonk. Yes, he works on the Hill for a member that was a pawn in recent redistricting games.

    Doesn't sound very exciting does it? Probably only appeals to the inside-the-beltway types.

    But check it out anyway, if only to watch the intro video on the site. It's well done and raises important questions for civic participation.

    Yes, we're kinda geeky that way.

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    Tom Daschle found me

    One of the great advantages to moving is leaving the junk mail behind. All of the catalogues (of which I got many, MANY), the fliers, the credit card offers and donation solicitations... gone from my mailbox! They don't get forwarded, nor does the post office send the send a notice of change of address.

    This, in my opinion, is a good thing.

    However, the other day, I got a piece of mail which let me know that the democratic party has tracked me down. Rats! I got a solicitation from Tom Daschle (I donated to his last senate race, the one he lost). Not thrilled about having been found, because once one mailing list has found you, the rest will follow. Oh well. I guess it was only a matter of time. Plus, I'm sure I'll make another donation eventually, so they'll get me that way.

    Otherwise, nothing new to report with the house. We continue to have unpacking aspirations, rather than actual progress. I have to say, though, that I LOVE having my own washer and dryer. And -- bonus -- I actually really like the models of washer/dryer that are in the house. They are very nice. In fact, I might have chosen these had I bought them new. Yay! (Can you guess what I'm doing right now? Uh-huh. Laundry.)

    Other things I am appreciating more and more about the house and neighborhood? The easy but interesting walk to the metro -- along the way, we pass a center which is home to Theravada Buddhist monks (SM has seen them drive off together in a minivan in their orange robes. I have only seen them around the outside of the house doing various tasks.), some of the very best but least expensive restaurants in the DC area, and lots of mom-n-pop-type grocery stores (Italian, Filippino, Brazilian, El Salvadorian -- and a kosher Jewish deli not too far in the other direction). I also love that the neighborhood is generally so quiet. We don't get bothered by other people's noise or the thumping of the bass line from the stereo of a passing car.

    I am also finding things which I'm not so entralled about... There's a large shrub on the corner of our property at the intersection. People dump their trash in it (cans, wrappers, cigarette shit, etc.). That's not cool. We may have to remove the shrub to eliminate the garbage dump but also because it obscures the corner and may be something of a safety issue. Relatedly, there aren't many lights along the streets back from the metro to our house. Many folks put on their front porch lights to help alleviate and illuminate. Right now, the lack of lighting isn't a problem because it's summer, so we're not walking home in the dark. But it will become a problem in the fall. Not so thrilled about walking in the dark-ish. I'll have to figure out another route. Also, our neighbor across the street owns all sorts of boats and a ginormous motorhome, which, while not particularly attractive, is fine except when they park them -- or the trailers -- in the street in front of our house. Then it's annoying. Not a real issue, but definitely annoying.

    In terms of the house, we have discovered all sorts of problems which were solved with a "quick fix" by prior owners. We may or may not have to re-do some of those things. We'll see. Plus, the age of the house will bring its own problems, like the plumbing. The drains upstairs are very VERY slow. After showers, I am left standing in a pool of suds. We're going to have to look into that, and if we decide to do anything, it'll be expensive. Also, we have no front porch or entry foyer. That means that when it rains, there is no transitional space. We go from getting wet outside to bringing the wet inside into the living room, making a mess. I find this unacceptable, so we'll probably build a porch eventually. Also, it means that any packages that are left on the stoop get wet when it rains.

    But, all that being said, we really like living here.

    I'm sure we'll like it even more when we actually unpack.

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    Wednesday, June 13, 2007

    Holy head-spinning, Batman!

    It's already June 13th! That's the middle of June! We're almost halfway through 2007.

    How the heck did that happen?

    (Okay, so I know I'm not telling you anything you, as a sentient adult, don't already know... but jeez it seems like time goes so fast these days! Don't I sound like an old geezer?)

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    Tuesday, June 12, 2007

    I ate SM's cannoli

    No, that's not a sexual reference. I actually ate his cannoli.

    I picked up a few the other day at the local family-run Italian place on my way home from the metro. Yum. I devoured mine all but instantly. SM didn't.

    In fact, he wrapped one up and put in back in the fridge to eat later.

    WHO does THAT?

    Then he didn't eat it later.

    So I did.

    So there.


    Is it just me?

    Or are others having problems with their bloglines feed? None of my posts today are showing up on bloglines.

    Ironic, considering that today was one of my more prolific writing days, a turn-around from the radio silence of earlier this week.


    Reader poll

    Question: what do you do when you have had the unfortunate experience of eating something that doesn't agree with your system, resulting in the regular, intermittent spewing of noxious, obnoxious and potent emissions? And you can't avoid humanity (oh, the humanity!) for the day but rather have to attend class, go to work -- but gawd forbid, NOT be on a long flight somewhere -- and generally be in close proximity of others?

    What do you do to avoid killing off friends and co-workers?


    How to turn a song you like into a song you can't stand

    Upload it to your phone and use it as the sound for your alarm in the morning.

    Gets really annoying, really quickly.


    Can I apply for dual citizenship?

    Courtesy of Tom at Fargoing, who in turn snagged it from Strange Maps (read there for the details, explanation, etc.), I found this map to be very interesting. It labels each US state with the name of a country with a similar economic output, population notwithstanding -- so it deals in total numbers, not per capita production.

    I was born in Washington, DC which is smaller than a 10 x 10 mile city (Virginia took back its share), but this map suggests my fair city has the economic output of New Zealand.

    We don't have as many sheep, though, unless you count all of the federal workers.

    (click on image for larger version or go to original post)


    Monday, June 11, 2007

    Monday morning haiku

    (the "just under the wire" version)

    Toppling towers
    Excavating the layers
    Unpacking my house


    Sunday, June 10, 2007

    Book club


    We had book club on Thursday night, and for next month, we're reading The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien.

    I have been wanting to read this book for SOOOOOOOOO long and have had it on my shelf for more than a year. SM took it on his recent trip to Puerto Rico and gave it thumbs-up as a really well-written book that he enjoyed. Magic Cookie loved it, too, and said it was one of the best books she had read in a long time... which just made me all the antsier to read it. I actually picked it up to start reading as a commuting book, but forced myself to put it back down because it was on the book club's list of potential picks.

    We finally chose it this month as a result of my advocacy, another member wanting to read more about the Vietnam War era (because she just got back from an extended trip, which included Vietnam) and another member who read it in college and just gushed about how much she loved it and wanted to read it again.

    I already dove into it and am just devouring it. Yum!


    List of accomplishments for today

    in no particular order

    * watch Sunday morning political shows
    * walk Gidget x 2
    * clean downstairs bathroom (the one with all of the sawdust)
    * vacuum the basement
    * assemble our new grill (a mighty feat of following directions)
    * cut the grass
    * shower
    * fold laundry
    * read the paper
    * rub my feet
    * break down boxes for recycling
    * put out garbage for pick-up tomorrow
    * feed Gidget
    * go out and get us Thai food
    * put up with my bullshit
    * fall asleep in front of the TV
    * probably lots of other stuff that I'm unaware of since he got up earlier than I did

    * feed Gidget
    * assemble new tower fan (which works really well)
    * make fried rice for us for lunch
    * eat chocolate x 2
    * do a load of dishes (in the dishwasher)
    * put away dishes
    * do a load of laundry
    * fold laundry
    * put up towel bar in bathroom (which involved power tools and ended up being more of an ordeal than it should have)
    * assemble cheap storage cabinet for bathroom
    * read bloglines
    * shower
    * hang shower curtain/curtain liner
    * unpack and put away some clothes and bathroom and kitchen stuff (but not much)
    * clean kitchen sink
    * clean stains on carpet (from Gidget or previous owners' dogs... dunno)
    * wipe up Gidget's regurgitation because she ate grass
    * sand down plaster on wall
    * vacuum plaster dust

    My list may look longer, but SM definitely did more work than I did. No question. Most of my tasks were short spurts of energy, unlike the several hours it took him to assemble the grill. Also, notably missing from my list (other than showering)? Unpacking boxes. We didn't do much of that this weekend, but we did eliminate some boxes by virtue of assembling furniture and appliances that we bought.

    Rationalization, I know.

    We still have a lot, lot to do. But slowly...

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    Friday, June 08, 2007

    CNN reports that

    Isaiah Washington has lost his job on the hit ABC medical drama "Grey's Anatomy"...

    And I don't think it's to get his own spin-off show.

    Hard-hitting news, I know. But that answers one of the season's cliff-hangers.


    Wednesday, June 06, 2007


    This looks really good.

    And recipes too! Oishii-soo!


    Tuesday, June 05, 2007

    Okay, so I lied

    Carlos is only NOW as I write this (rather than earlier this week) getting his crap tools out of the basement. Delays, delays and more delays. I understand it's a pain in the ass to clean up and a schlep to come here, but I want some closure on this little big project. I want the finale. I want my house to myself!

    Ya' know, so I can walk around nekid.

    Okay, maybe not for that, but because having the intrusion of his stuff downstairs prevents us from unpacking upstairs (putting clothes in those closets that he just built). And I want to settle into my new old house.

    I hope he gets it all out tonight. But he's already told us he needs to come back tomorrow to patch something.

    Kudos for the excellence in craftsmanship and quality work. Boos for how long it took.

    I'd still recommend him though. And I'll call him again for the next job. But I gotta unpack first.


    Monday, June 04, 2007

    Another random thought: jerry-rig

    Because I used it in a recent post, because I have no clue as to its origins... Perhaps something clumsily-done, as in the fashion of Jerry Lewis? (just kidding)

    Nope. When I did a quick google, I learned a whole lot. Who knew of the myriad history of Mr. Jerry Rig?

    The alt.usage.english FAQ says:
    "Jury-rigged", which means "assembled in a makeshift manner", is attested since 1788. It comes from "jury mast", a nautical term attested since 1616 for a temporary mast made from any available spar when the mast has broken or been lost overboard. The OED dubiously recorded a suggestion that this was short for "injury mast", but recent dictionaries say that it is probably from Old French _ajurie_="help or relief", from Latin _adiutare_="to aid" (the source of the English word "adjutant").

    "Jerry-built", which the OED defines as "built unsubstantially of bad materials; built to sell but not last" is attested since 1869, and is said to have arisen in Liverpool. It has been fancifully derived from the Biblical city of Jericho, whose walls came tumbling down; from the prophet Jeremiah, because he foretold decay; from the name of a building firm on the Mersey; from "jelly", signifying instability; from French _jour_= "day" (workers paid day-by-day considered less likely to do a good job); and from the Romany _gerry_= "excrement". More likely, it is linked to earlier pejorative uses of the name Jerry ("jerrymumble", to knock about, 1721; "Jerry Sneak", a henpecked husband, 1764; "jerry", a cheap beer house, 1861); and it may have been influenced by "jury-rigged".
    Barbara Wallraff of wordcourt.com clarifies:
    “Jerry-rig” is a blend of “jerry-built” and “jury-rig,” but only recently have these two terms begun to mingle. The earliest date for “jerry-rig” given in any major dictionary is 1959, and some dictionaries don’t include it at all, for they still consider it a mistaken form—a garble.

    Today “jury-rigged” and “jerry-built” mean nearly the same thing: “assembled hastily or sloppily.” “Jury-rigged” is seen only rarely, probably because the “temporary” meaning of “jury” has been all but forgotten, so “jury-rigged” does call to mind tampering with a jury in a courthouse. “Jerry-built” comes up somewhat more often...
    So, it looks like I used "jerry-rigged" improperly. I meant something done as a quick but permanent fix, of less than fantastic quality -- more like the meaning of "jerry-built".

    And it looks like the rumors of "jerry-rig" being an anti-German ethnic slur are incorrect as well:
    "Jerry" as British slang for "a German, especially a German soldier" is not attested until 1898 and is unconnected with "jerry-built".
    But that doesn't explain why the French love Jerry Lewis...!

    ...“British soldiers began calling Germans “Jerries” in World War I... But the “jerry” in “jerry-built” dates back to the mid-1800s. It may be old British slang for a chamber pot, or it may be a reference to the walls of Jericho, which came tumbling down—but word historians don’t believe it has anything to do with Germans.
    Huh. So there you have it.

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    Monday morning haiku

    Composing haiku
    by counting on my fingers.
    Metro seatmate stares.


    Sunday, June 03, 2007

    That scared the crap outta me

    It was a dark and stormy night. It was also late, and no one else was home. SS was alone with the creaking of the old house, the rustling of the ancient trees against the powerlines, the scraping of the branches across the fence and the side of the house. She was all alone with her thoughts when all of a sudden she was jolted from her reverie as the dog started barking angrily, loudly, pointedly, her attention fused to the front door. Surprised at the vigor with which the dog bellowed, SS got out of bed to investigate. Donning her robe, SS told the dog, "Find it. Show me where it is" and followed her downstairs. SS looked, but she heard nothing, saw nothing at the front door. But the dog didn't relent. She was intent on something -- delivering her message, but to whom? -- so SS continued on, following the dog's lead. They inspected the kitchen door and then the side door and were about to go into the basement when SS saw it.

    The side door. The sliding glass door.

    It was dark outside. Nothing so unusual about that except SS had just, not five minutes ago, turned on the deck light. The one with the outside switch that could only be turned on from its hidden spot on the side of the deck. It was now off. SS could see nothing outside, and only her worried, confused and increasingly anxious reflection in the sliding glass door.

    Feeling intensely alone, SS thought to herself, "Where the hell is my cell phone?" Her heart rate increasing as she chided herself for being so careless.

    The family room. It was in the family room. The now dark family room. "Shit," she thought and went in quickly, but stealthily to grab it off of the sofa.

    The dog had hushed and was now quiet. SS could hear nothing, see nothing.

    "Okay," she thought. "All of the lights in this room -- and only this room -- are out. It's gotta be the circuit."

    SS crossed back through the kitchen, clutching her cell phone in the pocket of her robe and nervously glancing out the back windows as she went downstairs with the dog at her heels. Stepping gingerly over the refuse and rubbish from the recent construction on her basement, SS made her way to the back closet where she flicked on the light and opened the breaker box.

    Yes, indeed, the circuit had flipped off. With a quick click, SS returned power to the family room and went upstairs where she was relieved to see the outside light back on, illuminating the deck.

    "Phew, only the circuit," she thought. "That scared the crap outta me."

    SS sat down on the sofa. The Tivo powered back up and began recording the Red Sox game for SM, interrupted only briefly. With the dog and her cell phone to keep her company, SS decided not to be caught with a dead battery. She went back upstairs to the bedroom to plug her cell phone back in, check on her eBay auction and read email, the dog's clackety-clacking of her nails on the wood floors echoing behind her.

    Distracted for a moment by impulse competitive shopping, SS got caught up in her eBay bidding. Sadly, she didn't win the auction, despite vulturing over it and sniping with a higher bid at the last moment. "Oh well," she thought. "I wouldn't have paid more than that for it. The other guy must have really wanted it."

    The rhythm of the clicking of her keyboard and the dog snoring from her bed in the hallway gave SS comfort. "I trust her ears," she said to herself. "Even if she is asleep."

    No sooner was the punctuation on that thought than the dog again burst into life, barking with determination and bounding down the stairs. SS grabbed her cell phone and followed her once again.

    "Find it," she told the dog. "Show me."

    This time, the dog did. She scurried through the livingroom, kitchen and family room and scrambled out the doggy door onto the deck. Then she quickly ran down the stairs and disappeared into the dark of the back yard, barking at great volume and intensity and length. The light was still on over the deck, but SS couldn't see the dog. She could only hear her.

    And then she couldn't. Suddenly, abruptly, the dog stopped barking.

    SS started to sweat.

    The light was still on, so SS, in her bathrobe, sidled up to the curtain closed over half of the sliding glass door and peered out. From that angle, she could only see part of the deck and nothing beyond it. And no dog. No barking either.

    "Shit," she whispered to herself.

    Images of mutilated pets ran through her mind, and her heart started thumping in her chest.

    SS, still unwilling to step directly in front of the sliding glass door, called for the dog. "Gidget," she said in a low voice.

    Nothing. No rattling of the dog's collar. No clackety-clacking of her nails on the wood.

    "Here girl," she said louder and then called her by whistling.

    Finally, after what seemed an eternity but was in reality perhaps ten seconds, SS heard the dog climbing the deck stairs and come through the doggy door.

    SS grabbed her. Just in time too. She had to wipe off her paws and coat before she shook off the rain all over SS's new suede chair!

    "Okay," SS thought to herself. "Enough of this. I'm just freaking myself out. And when the fuck does SM get home?"

    The lights were still on, but rather than subject herself to the continuing drama of an over-active imagination, she decided to go upstairs where she could ignore the fickle circuit breaker by playing online. So she did.

    Until she noticed that she had lost her internet connection.

    "Fuuuuuuck," she thought to herself. "The modem is plugged in in the family room." Cell phone in hand, she trudged back down to the basement to flip the breaker. Which she did. And did again, four or five times in the course of an hour.

    Yes, ladies and gents, with slight embellishment and an intentional attempt at campy descriptions, that was my evening. The lights did go out. I did freak out mildly. The dog did go beszerk and run outside. I did recall stories of pets being beheaded. This is how NOT to entertain yourself when you're home alone on a dark and rainy night.

    Gidget is asleep on her bed in the hall outside of my bedroom. She detects no bogey-man right now, but I do have to trek back to the basement because for 80% of the time while I was writing this post, the internet was down. Because the modem was down. Because there was no electricity in the family room. Because the circuit flipped again. Because... I don't know why. It can't be overloaded. When Carlos was doing work on the doggy door yesterday, we used more juice than the TV and light take. I don't get it.

    And SM called from the airport. I told him the whole story. He's on his way home. I'll be glad to have him home.

    UPDATE: SM is now home. He went outside to check the lights and figured out my little thriller mystery. Seems that some of the wiring for the outside light isn't properly insulated, so the rain is shorting it out. Which shorts out the circuit. No bogey-man. Just an old house with lots of things jerry-rigged.

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    Some of my black shoes, so I can stop wearing brown shoes with my black pants. Also found SM's suits, shirts, etc. for work.

    Most bizarre injury of the move? A paper cut from a cardboard box on the top of my foot.

    Back to the excavating.


    And they're out!

    Finally, the handymen guys finished the last project -- the doggy door custom install -- and it took them way, WAY longer than it should have or than anyone thought it would. They didn't leave until after 10:00 tonight, having arrived at 9:30 this morning. Oh my! Of course, their tools and equipment are still here, so they'll be back tomorrow to do the finishing touches and haul their stuff and the left-over materials away.

    Despite not leaving the house all day, I didn't get much done in terms of unpacking, but I did get a chunk of the kitchen done. That's not as simple as it sounds... each cabinet has to be peeled of its old contact paper, cleaned, measured for new contact paper and contact papered (which usually takes a number of adjustments). Then I open the boxes of stuff labeled "kitchen", throw the dishes in the dishwasher, run it and then figure out where things should go. This kitchen has much, much less storage than SM's place (story of the whole house!) -- add to that the fact that my stuff has to be incorporated, and we've got a cabinet shortage. SM and I decided to combine our pots/pans and use most of my dishes/kitchen stuff (because I have the stuff we need). So, some of both of things need to be stored.

    (Gawd this is a boring post. Really, who cares whose cutlery, pots, pans and dishes we'll be using? It's so mundane and tedious -- but then again, my life is so mundane and tedious. Sorry!)

    And yeah, we're going to have to have a yard sale to get rid of the excess crap.

    But, after tomorrow, we can really start unpacking. Yay! As exhausting as it is, I can't wait!


    Saturday, June 02, 2007

    Critters in the house

    Other than Gidget, that is.

    So I've caught and crushed a few multi-legged visitors (let's hope only visiting!) in the house (I started typing "apartment" there, but had to backspace... nope, this is a house!)

    The first was, I hope, a water bug. Big, nasty ol' thing. I don't think it was a roach -- although they do look awfully alike -- because it didn't have the antenna or scurry, and it was in the bathroom. I had to crunch it. Don't you hate it when you hear them crunch? Eeeeew, yuck. What a gross sound.

    The second was a stink bug. The first time I ever encountered stink bugs was in Japan. And they truly do smell when squished -- so much so that they strike terror in the heart of the average Japanese schoolgirl. Other than the smell, I think they're probably pretty harmless. I had never seen one in the States. And frankly, I don't know that I've seen one since... maybe once. So it's a good thing that I knew what it was when before I captured it. I grabbed it in a wad of paper towel, and rather than crush it -- because, ewwww! -- I folded it in the wad and taped it up. Yes, I grabbed a roll of packing tape, and firmly ensconced, entombed and otherwise gift-wrapped that bug under layers of plastic tape. No squashing or stinking involved. Then I threw it away.

    I've also trapped and squished a number of carpenter ants. Not so excited about the fact that there seem to be a number of them on and around the wood deck. Hmmm, we'll have to check that out.

    We also have lots of flies invading the house since the doors are inevitably left open while Carlos works on the doggy door, but flies I can deal with. No roaches -- or stink bugs, for that matter -- please.

    Well, no more anyway.

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    I wrote an email to a colleague at work the other day in which I made a facetious comment, punctuated with "LOL".

    Later, she asked me what "LOL" meant. I was shocked that anyone who uses a computer and email didn't know that. She thought it stood for "loser" something or other and was relieved to hear that it means "laugh out loud". LOL.

    Yesterday, I told that same colleague that she was being "snarky"... and then had to explain that one to her too.

    Hmm, even though she is only in her early 50s, I was definitely feeling a generation gap there.

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    Friday, June 01, 2007

    Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?

    I mean, the weekend. Are we there yet?


    I am so tired. It's not the just metro escalator... it's been a tiring past month with not-so-very-much time off. I was looking forward to sleeping in tomorrow, but nope. The guys are coming to finish the projects.

    Okay, Sunday then... I can't wait!


    One more reason why I'm tired

    I have a new work-out regime. No, I'm not going to the gym. Nor am I jogging or even taking the dog for long walks.

    I am simply walking to and from the metro. Easy enough. Only about 2/3rds of a mile each way -- and relatively flat. When we lived at the apartment, it too was only about 2/3rds of a mile from the metro, but it was uphill on the way. So we both usually took the bus. Lazy, eh? So just walking to the metro is a change of habit.

    But here's the kicker. I always walk the escalators in the metro. And lucky me, the escalator at my station is reputedly the longest in our neck of the woods:
    Its escalators are the longest in the system, in fact, they are the longest in the western hemisphere at 230 feet in length, they take just over four minutes to ascend.
    And yes, I do walk down them (a dizzying experience) and also up them. By the time I reach the top, I am most certainly out of breath. Hiking that, especially in any kind of heels, is a job! Let's hope those escalators never, never break.

    And then I have to climb more stairs and walk home.

    It's a good start for getting my ass moving and getting some exercise. Yeah, I know it's not much. Maybe only 15 minutes total, with 3 or so cardio, but it's a start. It's a start!


    Still not done


    At least one more day of folks in my basement. They're coming back on Saturday.

    Last night, I walked through and inspected their work. It looked very good. Wherever there were gaps or holes or staples, I pointed them out, and they cheerfully fixed them. I notice everything, so I was very particular. But they generally did very good work. The space will look quite good when it's painted and has a new floor.

    The last job I am having them do is custom-fit a doggy-door for Gidget in the sliding glass door. The ones you buy at pet stores aren't terribly secure, so Carlos is building an adapter that will allow us to fasten the door to the frame of the doorway and latch the sliding glass door. He's building it in such a way that we should easily be able to pop the doggy-door out and secure the sliding glass door when we need to. Fingers crossed that it comes out how I envision it. Then cross your fingers again that Gidget will learn how to use it!

    After we discussed the door, Carlos told me that he needs the balance on the job to pay his helper. The problem is that my banks are all out-of-state, and his bank holds the check for a week to clear (presumably because he doesn't have enough cash in the account to cover the check). When this issue came up before, SM wrote him a check off of his personal (local) account. Well, SM is out of town, so I told Carlos that the only way I could pay him would be with the out-of-state check. He wasn't happy, but what can you do? SM will be back on Sunday, so I offered to pay him them. Then he told me that he'd need $100 to buy the materials for the door. I had zero cash on me, literally. Not a dollar in my wallet. Again, he was not happy. I asked him if he had any credit cards that he could charge the materials on, and he said that he hadn't worked in the past three months so he had maxed them all out. Basically, he told me that he needed the money for living expenses. He and his assistant were living paycheck to paycheck, as it were.

    Well, my laziness about going to the bank seemed a poor excuse to load more hardship on these guys, so I told him I'd drive to an ATM and get some cash. They could follow me. And off we went. I pulled out $500 for them, which wasn't the full balance we owed them, but was more than the $100 he has asked for. I gave him the cash there in the middle of the parking lot.

    Imagine this: here I am in my sweats, standing in front of my not-exactly-new car (it's a 1988) and looking scrubby counting out $500 in 20s to a (South American) guy who looks even scruffier (dirty from working all day), standing in front of a van with out-of-state plates and another scruffy-looking guy in the passenger seat. Now, handing over that much cash to anyone is kinda suspicious. Doing it in a parking lot, at night, in our neighborhood looks downright illegal. D'oh.

    And in other news: Gidget did not pee in the basement yesterday, but she did dig a hole and escape the yard. Joy. Ya' see, there are dogs on the other side of two of the sides of the fence, so she was sniffing and barking at them -- and wanting to get out. So she found a place where the ground had been dug away from the fence and was pawing at it. So I put a few bricks there to keep her in. Despite plugging a few holes with bricks and putting up some boards to "Gidget-proof" the fence, I still didn't trust her to be alone in the yard, so while Carlos and I were discussing the door, I kept one eye out for her, to make sure she didn't run off. But Carlos reassured me that he had left her out all day without a problem, so I wasn't terribly vigilant.

    Yeah, mistake.

    The next thing we know, she's barking. I thought she was on the other side of the yard. Turns out that she had escaped and come around to the front door. She was sitting in front of the front door, barking to be let back in! How did she get out? She managed to pull the bricks away from the fence and dig the hold big enough for her to squeeze under.

    Darn dog! But not so dumb after all, even if she doesn't get the concept of a doggy-door.

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