Aug. 23rd, 2007

barbra, embarassed, peeking out, hiding

Although come to think of it, Paris might not get my mind off of rats...

OK, right off the bat, here's the sucky thought du jour: I can't decide if we should go through with the trip we were planning to Europe. Though I'm in luck if I need to travel, because I've got bags under my eyes that could hold my entire wardrobe. Why? Because we spent the night in a hotel room with all six cats while we fogged the house for fleas.

I cannot properly do justice to the level of annoying this whole flea thing is. And it's not just fleas annoying me. Allow me to whine for a moment.

  • I'm pretty sure I saw somewhere that it's the hottest August ever on record in Nashville. Even if it's not, it should be. So let's just get that out of the way right now, 'cause the extreme heat sure isn't making anything (or anyone) easier to deal with. 

  • Remember the rats? Well, they've apparently nested underneath and in the walls in the back of our house. (One of my coworkers suspects that this is where the fleas are coming from, but I don't know if there's any way to be sure.)

    OK, and side note -- this is a bad story. Feel free to skip to the next bullet -- Karsten went out weeks ago and got rid of the junk pile, busted up the old deck, and started digging out the weeds around the house. He hit a nest with tiny wriggling ratlings (it's easier to call them ratlings than "kittens" when your aim is to get rid of them). It was an awful scene and he was devastated at having hurt them but the aim is, after all, to eliminate the population from our property. So as a compromise, whichever babies weren't already killed from the impact of the shovel got carried off to an empty lot a few hundred yards away.

    But anyway, even after all that there are still rats in the walls, and we're not sure how we're going to win this one.

  • Baby Clyde is doing better, we think. He apparently had a blockage in his digestive tract so when they x-rayed him, his stomach looked totally full even after a day of intense vomiting. Not sure how or why, but the next day's x-rays showed his stomach clear and his lower digestive tract filling up, so the vet was satisfied that things looked to be on the right track. But I'm still nervous because we don't know why he was having trouble in the first place. Which in my mind means it could happen again anytime. But considering I thought he might be dying on Sunday night, I'll be relieved if all we're dealing with is a bad case of indigestion.

  • And the fleas! The fleas are driving me nuts. I mean, it's just exactly the kind of thing that really gets to me. I can't take any kind of insect in large quantities. I won't even release ladybugs in the garden 'cause they freak me out en masse, but individually I'll let them crawl all over my hands and arms. A whole mess of bugs I don't like under any circumstances invading my living space? Definitely gonna mess with my mind.

  • One of the other cats, Blackberry, has had a long-standing problem with urinating where he shouldn't. We've fought it for a while, but it had been getting worse recently. Took him to the vet and found out he has a pretty serious bladder infection. Uh, OK. Now I feel like a terrible cat person. So we've been giving him pills twice a day for weeks, and if you've never had to give a pill to a skittish cat, well, you just haven't experienced life.

  • Between the overages in the house renovation and the flea/rat/vet/hotel expenses, we've depleted our checking account to levels we haven't seen in years. It really sucks and it makes me feel anxious. I think having had the experience of losing nearly everything we owned and getting as close as you can get to bankruptcy without actually filing, I'm having traumatic flashbacks to my anxiety level at that time. Our situation right now in no way resembles our situation then, but it's hard to shake an experience like that.

  • Oh, and I'm trying to accomplish about a million things simultaneously in the next few months at work. So there's that, too.

I'm really trying to keep everything in perspective by remembering that we have a house, we have our health, and we're not broke (yet). But the amount of stuff we're having to deal with is enough to make me whimper.

So yeah, I can't decide if we've now spent enough unbudgeted money on all these various problems to mean that we should hold off on our long-awaited vacation. The vacation that coincides with our 10 year anniversary. The vacation we've been trying to take since 1999. The vacation we could really freakin' use right about now.

You see what I'm saying? We've been really looking forward to this. So to put it off, while it certainly wouldn't be the end of the world, would hurt and would suck and and and. Yes, we'd get over it. But it would be a big disappointment.

Anyway, it's not time to decide yet. For one thing, I don't think we're out of the woods with the whole pest control issue, so there may actually be even more money to spend. But also because we still have a little time before we have to make the decision, and I may yet come up with some genius plan to make everything work. Hey, it could happen.

Mais il y a peu de chances. Le sigh.

Mar. 17th, 2007

renovation, home, house

Changing the front of our house and the ever-changing housing front

Good news – we got our loan to do our front porch / entryway work! Yay! What’s especially cool about this is that when we went into the banks to start the application process, we told them what we thought the value of our house was but we aimed pretty high, knowing that the appraiser would most likely be coming in to say “yep, it’s worth that much” or not. Somehow the numbers got mixed up, though, and the mortgage guy gave an even higher figure to the appraiser, who came back saying it wasn’t worth quite that much, but placed it almost exactly at the figure we originally gave. So in just about two years’ time, our house has increased in value by over 60% of what we bought it for. Not too shabby! Some of that is directly attributable to the appreciation of home values in our neighborhood overall, of course, but the new windows and some of the other work we’ve done were factors in the increased value, as well, so that feels good.

Anyway, this means that our front porch and entryway work can begin in the next few weeks, and the bulk of it should be done by late spring. The only part that will probably have to wait is painting, which will likely happen in the fall. And for the next little while, we’ll have to use our back door only, which will be weird. But I think it’s going to look great. I can’t wait.

Wanna see what we're doing?Collapse )

Anyway, so Karsten will be outside today preparing the front porch for demolition (he's removing the old bricks that were laid over the concrete so we can save them for patching up bricks on the house).

In the meantime, there’s a lot of movement in our neighborhood: our next-door neighbors just moved to the Waverly-Belmont area a few weeks ago; we’ve learned that some friends of ours in the Werthan Lofts are moving to Shanghai for three years, but when they come back they’ll be moving into a new development a few blocks down and over from us; and some other friends in Werthan are selling their loft and buying a single-family home on the other side of our block.

As for us, we plan to be here for a while. Despite how much work this place is, nowhere else has ever felt quite so much like home.

Jan. 2nd, 2005

hand on head - b&w

2005 Priorities and Resolutions

One of the things we do on my team at work when we're setting goals for a time period is to determine what our areas of focus (or "pillars") for that period are; in other words, what overarching categories of activities take priority. In my personal life, the pillars for 2005 are...Collapse ).

In general, it seems like most resolutions fall into two major categories: tasks or projects to accomplishCollapse )and behaviors to changeCollapse ).

And of course, like any goals, these are subject to change.

Happy new year, everybody.

Jul. 20th, 2004

hand on head - b&w

It just does.

Quicken rocks.

Jul. 16th, 2004

hand on head - b&w

Vacation at home? Why not!

OK. So.

I've been working here at [Fortune 100 behemoth corporation] since April 2003. I've averaged somewhere around 65 high-intensity hours per week since I started. I have taken no vacation.

I'm starting to crack.

So a few weeks ago, I marked the week of 7/26-7/31 as my PTO on our team calendar and my intent was just to stay at home and relax, write a lot of songs, and generally recuperate.

Then I got the idea that I might be able to afford a little vacation. Somewhere beach-y, perhaps. Somewhere conducive to relaxing and writing a lot of songs.

Brainstormed with Karsten about it this morning, then spent over an hour on trying to find a package I could be happy spending the money on. There wasn't much to choose from that seemed worth the money. Also, given how expensive everything was going to be, we couldn't afford to go anywhere for more than a few days, and I dread the idea of all the planning, preparation, packing, and whatnot that goes along with taking a trip for just a few measly days away.

And then it hit me. Why not stay home, but pretend we're on vacation? Treat ourselves to nice dinners we wouldn't normally indulge in, go visit tranquil spots, maybe even pamper ourselves with a massage.

So I threw together a spreadsheet. (Yes, I'm that anal detail-oriented.) It's way, way cheaper to do this, even assuming all of the most ridiculously extravagant things we could do in town.

I think it's a plan. :-)

Mar. 12th, 2004

hand on head - b&w

Oh man, I'm -pissed- now.

eBay took down one of my auctions -- the Kate Spade bag -- for some kind of infringement. Possibly trademark infringement, but I don't know yet because I haven't heard back from the email address they gave me to contact about the whole thing.

Excuse me? This is just a little absurd. I'm obviously a totally small-time seller on eBay and it's not like I'm passing off a fake as the real thing or anything like that. I absolutely need the money, and they freakin' canceled my auction.

This is doing nothing to improve my mood, let me tell you. Grrr.

By the way, there's less than one day left on the other auctions:

Mar. 10th, 2004

bucky, beatles

Today's word of the day: "foul"

I had to stay home from work today 'cause I am foul, foul, foul. I emailed my boss this morning and warned him that I needed to be isolated in a hermetically-sealed home office. He seemed to understand. His understanding, of course, having been aided by my snapping at him several times yesterday.

Guess the stress of everything is getting to me -- surprise, surprise.

Tonight I was trying to relax with pizza and a movie (American Splendor, which I highly recommend unless you're foul and not in the mood to hear about someone's struggle with cancer even if he survives, in which case I don't recommend it at all). My dad called during the movie and said he's in a lot of pain. For my dad to admit he's in even a little bit of pain means he's at about 8 out of 10. A lot of pain means many other humans would be curled up in a ball in the corner. Of course, this finally convinced him he should give the heavy prescription narcotics a try.

I asked if the doctor thought he should move his treatment up a little bit but my dad is sticking to the plan of starting on the 29th. I've got a terrible feeling about his choosing to wait, but it's not my decision to make.

Tomorrow I have to go into work, foul or not, and pack up my desk so they can move our group to our new space on Friday morning. Yeah, you read me right: we're moving two and a half weeks before the launch of our new product. Isn't that bright?

And don't get me started on house/dog/kid-sitting for my boss' boss Monday and Tuesday of this week and getting shorted $80 from what we should have been paid. Trust me: I was foul.

Got my overtime pay for February, though, and it was nice and plump. I worked extra extra hours to cover my new Clie, so it was good to see that sum. And it's only three days until the "pay for the trips to Chicago" auctions are over, and I'm optimistic about those.

So there's good and bad. But mostly I just needed to vent.

Mar. 7th, 2004

hand on head - b&w

eBay listings

I have a bunch of stuff listed on eBay. It's the "help pay for the emergency trips up to Chicago to help Kate's parents out" fund. We'll be making the trip there and back -twice- within a few weeks, and between the cat sitter (15-18 days' worth!) and the gas (for nearly 500 miles each way, so that's 2000 miles in total), it's really going to add up. So we spent yesterday photographing items and listing them. And now I'm eager for them to sell. :-)

Mostly purses (including the Coach! and a Kate Spade) and clothes (sizes M-L), but there's a candlemaking kit including three molds and lots of dye and scent, and my Palm VIIx and accessories as well. (I'm shipping to the U.S. only, sorry.)

Just in case you felt like doing a little eBaying this week... :-)

Feb. 24th, 2004


Sony Clie

A while back, I wrote:

I've been lusting after both the Sony Clié PEG-NZ90 and the Handspring Treo 600

Well, this weekend, I gave into my lust. I bought the PEG-NZ90.

It all started when I decided to sell the Coach carryall bag. Karsten and I started discussing the idea of buying a new digital camera -- we've been using my PalmPix camera with my Palm VIIx, which takes pretty crappy pictures. Short term, we "needed" this new camera to take better photos for eBay, but just in general, we didn't really have a decent snapshot camera.

So we went shopping to get a feel for what quality was available at what price, and to make a long story abruptly short, we were unimpressed with everything that cost less than the PEG-NZ90. Or at least, that's how I justified it. :-)

And it's got all the other rockin' features I've been craving, like an MP3 player, an audio recorder, a video recorder (!), Bluetooth capability (my coworker and I are discovering that it's not as good for chatting during meetings as we'd hoped, though), the built-in Thumbpad keyboard, and more more more!

I'm pretty tickled with it. And no, it doesn't get me closer to paying off the debt, but in as much as it's a tool for improving eBay listings, it is somewhat practical. ;-) And it's a good reward for all my freakin' overtime lately. (73.5 total hours last week!)

And I promised myself that I'd squeeze in as close to 20 extra hours over the next few weeks as possible to pay for it. But I don't know if my boss is going to let me get away with that -- he seems to think I'll burn out if I keep up this pace, never mind increasing it. But who can think of burning out when I have this fun new toy? :-)

Jan. 5th, 2004

hand on head - b&w


I found an auction on eBay yesterday for a $25 gift certificate to a local Indian restaurant (Taste of India, for you Nashvillians). We've been there, and it's pretty good, so I bid on it up to $10. Well, I won it for $7.29 (plus $1 processing, which is kind of a scam since it's all done electronically, but never mind). Woo hoo! We'll be able to either have an extra dine out dinner in the next few months (it doesn't expire for one year) or we can save that portion of one month's dining budget. We'll see how frivolous I feel. ;-)

As a bonus, the seller ( threw in a free 16 month subscription to Saveur. Whee!
hand on head - b&w

February 2011




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