Thursday, December 31, 2009

That's better.

I wound up taking a sick day yesterday to sleep and relax, and be bundled up. I feel worlds better today than I did yesterday, so I think it really paid off! Now I can see myself actually enjoying NYE a little, which is a pleasant thought.

I'm otherwise pretty boring right now, so I won't waste your time making you read about what isn't very exciting in my life at this point. (Example: today, I'm going to look for a new coat to replace the one I've had for the past 13 years, that has somehow stuck with me through all those winters and through a gain of 40 or 50 pounds. It's a size 10, and I'm a size 18/20 right now. I don't know how it's working, but I can still wear a couple of layers under it, even. The thing is that it's so old, the buttons cant be sewn back on anymore. And even though I had it relined a couple of years ago, the pockets both have holes in them, and my car keys keep falling out. It's time for a new coat. I love this one soooo much! But it's time. And that is the excitement in my life at this moment. Woo?)

Happy new year to you all. I certainly hope that 2010 is a better year than 2009 was for my family and friends, and wish you the same for you and yours. Unless 2009 was a particularly good year for you, in which case, congratulations. (But no one likes a show-off, so go 'way now, would ya? :P)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

This is just silly.

I think there might be a total of about 30 people in my whole building. I really don't know why I'm here right now. This is how bundled up I am in my chilled state...I have on my scarf, my knit wrap I keep at my desk for days when the A/C is too much or the heater isn't enough, my sweater, and two shirts. I'm wearing my ankle-length sweater skirt and tights on my legs, and I still wish I had a down comforter to wrap around me to cozy me up a bit more!

I have a hair appointment tonight that I can't cancel, or I totally would. I can't cancel because of the salon's new cancellation rules (I'd have to pay for the appointment if I cancelled right now), and also because my roots are awful...they must be done. So I'm gonna take another sudafed in about an hour, suck it up, and go.

So tired. So, soooo tired...

Miserable. Effing. Cold.

I have a cold. It is not only a crummy time to have one, but it's really just capping off a lovely past couple of weeks. So, trying to focus on things that cheer me up, I will share puppy videos with you now.

Jake in the snow. He is so spazzy, it just makes me giggle.


And here he is in a relatively serene and mellow moment when I was working from home recently...it gets silly around the 1:13 mark.


Sorry for the boringness. Blame the stuffy head. Blah.

Monday, December 28, 2009

FLOR stands for "F^ckin' LOVE Our Rug!"

Over the past couple of years, we've been struggling with what to do with our living room floors...actually, the floors throughout the house, to be honest. I love hardwood, but I also like to change things up every now and then, if you hadn't noticed. :P So the original rug that I've had in our living room since I bought the house back in 2003 had gotten a wee bit old for me. At one point, I wanted to install carpeting, but leave a border of wood floor around it, after I'd seen a picture of something similar in a magazine. But that's expensive, and I'd have to tear out a whole lot of original flooring to do it, and a part of me dies when I think about tearing out those original floors for aesthetic reasons!

So we've been looking at new area rugs for a while, watching for good sales, and trying to figure out what we wanted to buy. For the record, this is what our original rug looked like in the space...


It was a 5' x 8' rug that I got on sale from Pottery Barn. That's the only way I buy big items like that from them...from their sale section. It just doesn't make sense to buy things from them for full price, if you ask me. The sales are totally worth waiting for.

Anywho, the rug was a good one...it masked doggy accidents rather well, and looked good with most of the changes we made in the living room over the years. But it was accented with brown and green, and now that we've painted the blue and gray in the room, it definitely was time for it to go.

I've known about FLOR tiles for a while now, and knew they might be an economic option for what it was we were trying to achieve in that room. I went to their website a few weeks ago after we measured the space we wanted to cover with rug (it was about 19' x 13'), and entered the measurements into their little tile calculating tool, and looked up different variations on designs that we might like to have, and then I ordered samples of the tiles that I liked the looks of, and that definitely helped us make our decision on the colors and types of tiles we wanted to get. So I'd recommend not skipping that step if you ever order some FLOR tiles yourself.

We went with the Easy As Pie pattern, which costs $6.99 per tile...one of their lowest priced tiles, which suited me fine! We purchased them in the seafoam and earthen colors, and mixed the colors in a striped pattern. Each square has a striped pattern on them, and we alternated the stripes in the seafoam rows, and then kept the stripes going the same direction in the earthen row, which you can kind of see in the photo below.
It took us about 3 hours to lay the rug out, and then place the FLOR dots under the corners, to adhere the whole thing together. But overall, it was super easy, it looks great, and we're very happy! This was what it looked like when it was done, without the room loaded back in...
And here it is with all the furniture back in the room with it. Ignore the clashing of the Christmas decor...I might have to change that out in the future, since it doesn't look so good with our blue/gray theme we have going on now.

The great thing about this kind of rug is that we can change out the tiles for a very low cost if any of them become damaged beyond repair. It's a super-low pile, though, so keeping it clean should be pretty easy. I wish I was one of those bloggers that received a discount or free stuff for endorsing shit on her blog, but I'm not, so know that I'm gushing about FLOR just because we love it so much. If you're looking for a change in any room in your house, you might just wanna give it a go!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas from possibly the happiest dog ever.

Imagine this is a shih tzu-poo in only about 7 inches of snow, and you've got our home this morning. I effing LOVE this video! I hate how it has a habit of start/stopping throughout, but it's still worth the trouble of clicking play, IMO.

Happy Christmas everyone! Hope you all have a lovely holiday with friends and family. :D


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Woowoo!

I'm working from home today, thanks to my awesome boss being so...well, awesome. I figured that between the weather and the emptiness of the office, there really wasn't any point to me going in there to do exactly what I can do from my couch in my living room. So I texted him yesterday afternoon (he's on vacation until January), and asked to work from home, and he said, "Sure! Merry Christmas!" Heehee! Yay!

With the ability to work whilst I do other things, today, Leo and I are laying our new FLOR tiles we ordered, so we can cover our living room floor in carpeting, sort of. I'll be taking pictures, so don't you worry. The FLOR tiles are so cool, though...we basically paid a good $350 - $400 less for the tiles than we would have had to pay for any other carpet of similar size, so we feel really happy with the purchase so far. We love our wood floors, but we've been here for 6 years. We want a change. So there ya have it.

Happy Christmas Eve, all! If I don't post tomorrow, then Merry Christmas to y'all as well. :)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Long story short...(Hahahahaha! Yeah, RIGHT!)

So Leo left his job on Sunday. It was weird that he was scheduled to work that day, because technically, he was already at 5 days/40 hours for the week due to the bereavement days he took on Tuesday and Wednesday. So he asked his boss when he saw him on Sunday, "Am I receiving OT for today? Or am I getting paid for 48 hours this week?" Unsurprisingly, his boss said no. He was only being paid for Tuesday as a bereavement day, and Wednesday was just an unpaid day off.

Which was totally what I suspected was going to happen. So I freaked out a little on Saturday night, and told/asked Leo to make sure to confirm what kind of pay he could expect for the week. So he did. And felt that the answer was total bullshit. And so he quit on the spot.

He's never done anything like that before in all his years in the kitchen. And he feels awful about it. It has been like pulling teeth to try to convince him that he didn't do anything wrong. I blame his traumatic upbringing for his 2 years of devotion to that kitchen. He was willingly being abused on a daily basis. Because he thinks that kind of treatment is normal, or some shit.

Nuh-uh. Not in the least.

Acting as an advocate for the employees there, and also fairly pissed off myself about how my family was being treated by his employer, I wrote them a long letter (no joke...sucker was 5 pages long!) telling them how fucked up I felt the entire situation was when it came to Leo asking for and receiving bereavement time to be by my side for my dad's funeral. And then I shared a little bit more info about what I felt was wrong with the management style his boss employed in that kitchen. I sent it to the President of their Board. And the GM of the place he worked. The GM wrote me back to acknowledge his receipt of the letter, and his intention to look into the situation.

Today, Leo was asked to give back a key he had to a lock in the kitchen, and they would give him his final paycheck in return.

He checked, and sure enough, they paid him for 24 hours of bereavement, and not just 16. Which means he was paid what he was told he would receive before we left for our trip. So the letter must've had some impact.

::sigh:: I hope it has more than just that small impact, though. For the sake of the people who still work for that tyrant they call a chef...I hope they do more.

One of my friends whom I asked for advice from on the letter told me she saw it as being a bit meddlesome. And I get that. I totally do. (Plus, I like her, and I respect her opinion, so I took it to heart.) But the problem is that Leo wasn't the first cook to walk out of that kitchen with little-to-no notice. Throughout his 2 years there, I remember there being at least 4 others that couldn't stand the way they were treated. Maybe 5. And that is a lot, even by kitchen standards! (Particularly by country club kitchen standards, which is where he was working.)

I suggested that keeping quiet might not be the best idea. Everyone else had kept quiet, and that man (i.e. his boss) was just allowed to keep on keeping on...managing everyone through fear and intimidation, yelling and screaming and being mad at them all the time. Threatening them, berating them, mocking them. It's not right. People shouldn't have to work for people like that! I left it up to Leo, though. I've been writing letters as a cathartic outlet for a loooong time, and if he wanted me to fold this one up and put it away, I certainly would respect that decision. But he chose to send it. And while it was from my point of view on the situation that took place, and included hearsay about how his boss manages his kitchen, we also got permission from a couple of those other coworkers who had quit to include them in the list of people that could be contacted to verify what had been said in the letter. That helped a lot. Because that made it so it wasn't just me acting like a crazy-ass, meddling wife, going off on a situation because she didn't want her husband to be bullied anymore.

Anyone out there that has to deal with abuse on a daily/weekly/monthly basis...speak up. Say something. You do not deserve to be treated like that in return for your hard work and dedication to your employer. You don't deserve to be treated like that in your home, either, by someone who is supposed to love you and take care of you the same way that you take care of them. You deserve to be healthy, happy, and productive because you care about your job (or your home/spouse/whatever the case may be)...not because you're being intimidated into doing something you're talented at for money. Or because you're being intimidated into sticking by those "till death do us part" vows. You deserve MORE. Don't let anyone ever tell you otherwise.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Um, is it covered in diamonds? Because diamond-coated liver isn't my thing.

Leo wanted to make duck breast with a port wine and mushroom sauce, seared foie gras, and brussels sprouts for dinner on Christmas day.

We got the duck breasts from McGonigle's. 2 pounds for less than $40, as far as I know, because that's what I gave him to spend on it. (Maybe he's using the change to go to the movies someday this week...not sure. There's no way they cost more than a whole duck, which we found at Whole Foods for about $30.)

I just went to Dean & Deluca to check out the foie gras, since it's apparently the only place in town that has it available to the public.

Eighty-five. Dollars. Per. POUND.

The small .4 oz chunk they had available would have been $35. They're getting more in later, though, so in case anyone wants any, get there early because the dude said it goes quick.

You know, I remember the one time I've had foie gras in a restaurant, and it didn't cost us more than maybe $20 for that appetizer. And it was at least .4 oz on the plate.

So what is Dean & Deluca smoking? (Well, besides their own ego, which of course is monstrously inflated to begin with, right?) I dunno...$85 per pound is just silliness. We'll just buy a nice little bit of pate to have with some bread before dinner, and pretend it's foie gras, maybe.

In other News From Outside, I almost got hit in the Town Center parking lot by a small bus/large van as it backed out of a spot, so I slammed on my breaks and honked. Which gave me plenty of time to see that their license plate read "QUIVRFL". ::runs screaming from scary baby fundamentalists:: (By the way, avoid Town Center if you can. Jesus McFUCK, there are a lot of people there!)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Wait until he learns the phrase "GFY!"

While home for my dad's funeral, I had the opportunity to spend a fair amount of time with the Twin and mine's best friend*. She came to our parents' house on Sunday before the funeral, and helped us with the programs for the service on Monday, and to just generally help us try to remain sane throughout all the crazy that was going on with all the preparations. She is a fabulous person, and believe me, if you don't know her, you should wish that you do.

She managed to stick around through dinnertime with the Smith clan, and she told one of my favorite stories about her son when we were all done with eating, and had officially commenced with the semi-drunken story hour. (For some, it was the FULL-ON DRUNKEN, but that's totally allowed the day before your dad's funeral. Just so you know.)

Apparently, she and her husband were sitting on their living room floor, playing the Memory Game with their son one night. Said son is about 4, I believe. And he is a cutie-pie! Anyway, he was having a great time, finding his cards as he flipped them, memory working away in his favor. Until he flipped one card, getting this look on his face that said, "Oh, I know where that match is at!" And he flipped the card he thought matched with it to find that it, in fact, was not the matching card. To which he exclaimed, "What the FUCK?"

For me, this is an absolutely AWESOME kid story. LOVE. Funny, funny, FUNNY. My friend's husband found it hilarious as well, and laughed out loud, which made my friend laugh of course, and then their son laughed along with them.

Aw...heartwarming, isn't it? Gotta love it when a 3.5 - 4 year old says something like that, with the correct inflection, and the correct context and all. But the thing is, they totally aren't cussers. And I don't hang out with them enough to be blamed for his downfall into ludeness and debauchery, so where did he learn the phrase? Hahahahaha! (I blame Iran, Brittany Murphy, and the existence of celery personally.)


*For the record, I have no idea how to word that...EVER. Mine and the Twin's best friend? The best friend to me and the Twin? Our best friend that is awesome for loving the twins so much since age 13? It's always a jumble in my brain, is the thing.

Friday, December 18, 2009

An Ode to Southwest Air

Hi! ::waves:: I'm back. I'm not all together here, but I'm back. :)

As I told everyone in my last post, I was flying via Southwest Air for my trip back to California this past week. I honestly dread flying on Southwest, because even though they've made some significant advances in their boarding procedure since the original "cattle call" days, it still somehow manages to confuse people. How? I do not know. But since people and I usually don't get along all that well, you can imagine how much worse off things can be when I'm around people who are confused for essentially no reason at all. It can get ugly all up in this head, y'all.

It wasn't too bad on the flight out. Well, unless you count the lady that thought her 35 pound toddler was extra luggage she could keep in her lap for the trip to Vegas. Who decided to take the empty seat behind me. Yep, that was a treat and a half! Especially when the kid shit his pants halfway through the flight, and the lady decided to sit there for 10 minutes without changing him. Delightful.

On my way home yesterday, I figured out the way to avoid the kid-sitting-behind-me scenario. I sat in the row that was directly in front of the exit row. Brilliant! Now, not only could I escape from the plane quickly in an emergency, but I was guaranteed to be free of a screaming kid kicking my seat throughout my flight. Yay!

I also discovered that it is totally worth it to splurge for the extra $10 to get the "early bird" check-in thingy online. It got me some decent spots in the A boarding group on both my flights, and I had loads of seating options, which including the row in front of the exit row on both my flights. (Tip: if you're traveling with other people, you really only need one person to by the $10 early bird deal. Then have them save you the seats when they get on! Woowoo!)

Unfortunately, regardless of when you board, or what boarding group you're put into (A or B), there's always an idiot that either wants to line up in absolute numerical order, or who doesn't get the boarding system at all. I try to ignore the latter because if they talk directly to me, I'm likely to smile at them in an idiotic way and cross my eyes in order to try to mimic what they look like to me inside my head. And they don't tend to catch the sarcasm. (Shocking.)

But the numerical order people...UGH. While waiting for both of my flights yesterday, I just stood in the general area that I was supposed to. The first flight, I was in A26. The second, I was a bit behind that in A44. And just before I boarded on both flights, men approached me to ask me what my number was. I asked them both, "Does it really matter?" They didn't respond. I'm guessing it's because they realized that, no. It does NOT really matter. If you're lucky enough to be in the A boarding group, you're good. So who the fuck cares about what order you get to climb on the goddammed plane in? If you DO actually care, then you're wasting your brain power. Try relaxing a bit more, and unclench your asshole for a while. You'll thank me later. (I know this might sound weird to some of you out there that know me, because you're probably saying that to ME in your head much of the time. But the thing is, when it comes to travel, I let go of a lot of my control issues. Because it's stupid to try to be in control of everything when you travel. I'd have a stroke if I tried to control everything when I travel. There isn't any point. From the time you give your belongings to a person behind a desk to the time you land on the ground wherever you're headed, you are not in control. So let it goooo.)

The second guy that approached me to ask what number I was in line also called me "hon". ::sigh:: Guys, strange women are not your "hon". They are not your sweetie or cutie either. Refrain from calling strangers a pet name. Because it might make them want to dump their Diet Coke over your head later on the plane, just to warn ya. (I covet my Diet Cokes a bit too much to do anything like that, though, so you'd likely just get a dirty look from me if you ventured to call me something along those lines. But you certainly wouldn't get a dose of kindness from me, that's for sure!)

Lastly, I've found a way to manage my somewhat irrational fear of moderate turbulence during a flight. I discovered it when I was traveling to New Hampshire earlier this year, and had to fly through some very stiff winds when trying to land. (We were kind of sideways when we landed...I think they call it "crabbing." And it was utterly frightening.) I happened to get lucky with a favorite song that came on my iPod as we started to descend into the nasty air, and as I rocked out, I didn't notice the turbulence as much. In fact, it kinda helped my rocking outness. So now whenever we're going through a rough patch that's so bad, it causes the flight attendants to have to sit down, even, I flip through my iPod, and I find my Peter Murphy "Deep" album, and tune in to "Roll Call (reprise)" to get me through it. It lasts about 8 and a half minutes, so it generally gets me through any bad patches all together, like it did last night on my flight from Phoenix to Kansas City. It took about 15 minutes for the pilot to find some more mellow air, and then we were back to a normal smooth ride.

Of course, the vodka sodas I had in Phoenix while I waited might not have hurt. ::shrugs::

The week went well. I felt pretty ok the entire time, until I had to travel home by myself yesterday. (Leo came back on Wednesday, so he could get in to work yesterday, per the request of his idiot boss. Who, when he saw Leo, asked him how the weather was in California. You know, like he'd been there on a vacation, or something. ::rolls eyes::) I found the presence of my family more comforting than I realized, apparently. But I need to learn how to deal with this stuff without them around me. Hopefully, the weekend will help me learn to cope on my own. I'll be sure to let you know how that goes. Wish me luck!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Thanks everyone!

Dad officially passed away finally this morning. I'm pretty convinced that it was just his body finally shutting down, though...I think his soul moved on a couple of days ago. (I warned Leo that he might just join Jeffers now at the house, so he'd better watch out for more activity! Not shitting you, Leo's eyes got all big and he actually looked freaked out, like I was serious. He's so cute...)

In that same vein, I've officially moved on to the silly/goofy/inappropriate comments/behavior stage of mourning. Just to warn y'all, this is completely normal for me, as well as the Twin. I think it's because of our beliefs about the human spirit, and in ghosts and other planes of activity, etc...It's also probly due to the exhaustion and mental whooping we've taken leading up to this point, too, though. So who knows?

Just know that I'm doing ok. Now it's time for me to be there for anyone in my family who is not doing ok, and to hopefully bring them some well-deserved relief from the thoughts about dad suffering for all those years, and the difficult end he experienced. Leo and I will head to California on Saturday via the Big Bus Company of the Skies, Southwest. So you KNOW there are bound to be some stories coming from that. I specifically avoid flying on Southwest, willingly paying more money for flights elsewhere, because the average person who flies Southwest is...well, they had a reality show about those people, ok? It was like a precurser to the People of Walmart site, for fuck's sake! I hate flying with those people. But! The seats are comfier than they are on American, and they fly through cities that don't tend to get snow this time of year...those are two qualifications that I just couldn't discard this time around.

Thanks again for all your kind words and thoughts throughout this week. I can't tell you all how much it's been appreciated!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Isn't it *fun* to deal with people like that?

During the drive in this morning, where I saw people whipping back and forth from lane to lane to get wherever they were going as quickly as they possibly could, regardless of the slop on the street we all were driving in, I couldn't help but think about mixed up priorities. As if I wasn't already focussed on them as it was...

Leo has been having a hard time at his job for around the past 6 months. He suddenly has a target on his head that apparently invites his boss to regularly threaten his job ("If you can't do it right, then maybe I need to find someone who can..."), give him shit for having to tend to other peoples' mistakes (unloading the delivery truck, not knowing that there was supposed to be $600 worth of filets in the delivery, only to find out later that they weren't loaded at the dock, but the restaurant was charged for them in their order...and Leo somehow was at fault for not knowing they were supposed to be on the truck in the first place), and just generally treat him like a slave.

Prior to this, he's been sailing along in an ok way. But for some reason or another, the boss has it out for him now, and I'm frankly tired of the way he fucking threatens him all the damned time. I wish he'd either grab his balls, and fucking fire him already, or just shut the fuck up and recognize Leo for the hard worker that he is.

But yesterday took the cake. Leo and I have decided to head out to California on Saturday this week, seeing as the funeral will likely take place on Monday, and there's some spending time with the family that I'd like to do both before and after. Leo has been dreading telling his boss about my father's turn for the worse. He's known that my dad was terminally ill, but he hasn't been all that sympathetic about it, to be honest. Not that I expect him to be, but still...some level of human decency toward a tenured employee and his spouse was expected.

I don't know what I was thinking.

After I spoke to Leo yesterday afternoon and gave him the update on dad, and told him what I'd like to do for our trip to California, he went back to the restaurant to tell his boss, and to request the bereavement time off. (I think his company allows for 3 paid days off for a loss of a parent-in-law. That's what Leo said, anyway. And it makes sense. It's at the management's discretion, though, hence the request for the time from his boss.) Amazingly, that jackass decided to bring up our trip to California in September (although he was talking about it having taken place in November, which was when we had originally planned to take vacation this year, but that fell through when my family asked me to visit dad instead), saying that he didn't understand Leo's need to go, since he "went to pay his respects already."

Cue my brain shifting into shocked, amazed, and ultra-pissed mode.

He went on to say that Leo could take the time, but he needed him back by Thursday, not Friday, and he only thinks its fair that he warn him that because of him taking this time off, he'll be reducing Leo's hours starting in January. He'll only be working 4 days/32 hours a week at that point.

Fuck. That. Shit.

I decided to write a letter to the general manager of the location that Leo works at. I didn't know if Leo would want to actually give it to him, or if he'd just like to use it for his own reference when discussing the time off with the HR lady in the office there (he wanted to make sure he was going to get pay for the bereavement days, so he planned to talk to her today), but regardless, it was a cathartic letter for me to write. Here's the final version, in case you're interested in all this crap:

"To Whom It May Concern:

This letter is to address the treatment that my husband, Leo Smith*, has received from his manager, Whackjob in Charge, due to my father’s death and funeral plans in southern California. My father passed away this week after a long fight with a terminal illness. Leo’s subsequent request for bereavement time was met with derision and anger from his boss.

First off, as I understand it, WiC is trying to say that since Leo and I went to California at the end of September for vacation to visit my father and other family members, that Leo should have no reason to need to attend the funeral at all next week. This bothers me very much because it was earned paid time off that Leo took to go to California for vacation. Regardless of what it was used for (which is none of anyone’s business, aside from Leo and me) it was paid time off that was earned per company guidelines. So the fact that WiC is bringing that up as a reason why he can’t give Leo the bereavement time the company allows for is irresponsible on his part.

Secondly, Leo’s father-in-law has been suffering from late-stage idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis since 2002. His brother passed from the disease that year, which lead him to get diagnosed along with his other little brother. He was lucky enough to receive a single-lung transplant in 2008, and survived until this time in a slowly degenerative state. We knew that he would not survive the disease, as there is no cure, but we had no way of knowing that he would be going through the stages of death right before the holiday. We were honestly hoping that the new lung he received almost 2 years ago would carry him through at least another 5 years of life, if at all possible. Unfortunately, he started getting very sick on Thanksgiving weekend, and continued to get worse until he died just 2 weeks later. I realize how busy of a time this is for the [place of work], particularly in the kitchen, and believe me…if I could have this any other way, I would never choose to lose my father during this time of year! It’s unfortunate, but obviously unavoidable. When I started dating Leo several years ago, I quickly learned that giving up holidays with our families was going to be the name of the game for as long as he was working in a kitchen. And we’ve done just that, for most years that we’ve been together. I understand the importance of having him there to help. But I would certainly hope that his family issues involving death wouldn’t be looked at as being something of a nuisance by his managerial team. It’s frankly disgusting to consider that anyone would see it in such a way.

Thirdly, the company handbook states that employees can get up to 3 paid bereavement days, at the management’s discretion, for the death of a parent-in-law. At many companies, the maximum days are given when extensive travel is involved, like when the family lives in a state that requires a full day of travel to get to and from, which is the case for my family. They are in California. It takes a full 7 - 8 hours to fly there and back, which pretty much wipes out the entire day, particularly when returning to the Midwest from the west coast. Hopefully, it might be understandable that during this time, I would like to be with my family (including my husband) if at all possible. My own job gives me 5 days paid bereavement, which I plan to take the entirety of.

Leo regularly has Sunday and Monday off every week for his “weekend”. He is requesting to leave on Saturday the 12th, and return to work on Friday the 18th. That would be only 4 days off from work, since his weekend falls in the middle of that week. We would be traveling on Saturday, to arrive and help with preparations for the funeral (which will take place either Monday or Tuesday, depending on church availability), and then need to deal with a fair amount of family business in the day(s) following the funeral. I would like to have Leo there with me for support throughout those difficult days. We would return on Thursday, not arriving back in town until later that night, due to the time difference from west coast to Midwest. Leo would take Thursday as an unpaid day off, if allowed.

I am only 35 years old. My mother died when I was 25 (after a 10 month fight with liver cancer), and my father was only 69 himself. My father’s disease and subsequent death has been incredibly hard for me and my family to deal with, emotionally and physically. My husband is my rock, and is the only familial support I have locally. He is an amazing employee for the [place of work] (for over 2 years now), never calling in sick, and never showing up late for a single shift, give or take a few minutes on occasion. He is probably one of the most ethical employees that anyone could ever hope to have, particularly when it comes to kitchen staff! So I would hope that when WiC was threatening to cut him down to 32 hours a week starting in January, saying it was due to him requesting this time off to return with me to California to attend my father’s funeral with me, and help me get through the other difficult tasks that attend such an event, he was just upset at the time, and didn’t mean anything serious by it.

I appreciate your attention to this matter, and sincerely hope that my husband will not be punished in any way for being a decent, kind, and loving spouse to me during an extremely difficult time in my life.

Sincerely,
Faith Smith"

*Names have been changed or removed all-together, of course! ;)

I know Leo took the letter with him to work today...not sure why. He didn't sleep a wink last night, and his stomach was so upset this morning, he couldn't eat. He was planning on talking to the general manager maybe on Friday after his shift was over, so he could tell him about the fact that his boss was retaliating against Leo, using my father's funeral as a reason to cut his hours in the coming months. But he's afraid of what his boss will do to him when he gets back if the general manager brings it up while he's away. And he has every right to be afraid...his boss has anger management issues, going so far as to punch a former employee prior to pushing him down a set of stairs that leads to his office. The man is violent and irrational. Leo asked me how bad it would be for us if he lost his job. I told him that his health wasn't worth it, and he should follow his gut. I also told him that if his whackjob of a boss even hinted towards bringing up the bereavement time Leo is taking next week, he should ignore him, except to reply that his wife thanks him for making an already very difficult time even MORE difficult for us.

Why are people such DOUCHEBAGS???

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

"I'm going on a trip..."

I'm on a thin line between wanting to be goofy and silly, and barely having the energy to talk. Last I heard from the Twin, dad had declined to a point where he's no longer responding to anyone, except when they flipped him on his side to put a sheet underneath him (which will make it easier to move him, so the bed can be changed frequently), and his eyes got wide with fear at what was happening.

He hasn't been able to keep anything down since last Friday, apparently. He tried to eat a little on Saturday, and when I spoke to him at about 9:30 or 10 a.m. his time, he sounded really very good! I feel so lucky that I got a hold of him then, because ever since, he's been slipping fast.

The food isn't staying down, and his organs are failing. He told someone that was visiting him that he was going on a trip. And I keep thinking about that, over and over and over. And I hope the journey he has is short, painless, and has my mom and his brother there waiting for him!

When we spoke on Saturday, he told me that he was glad I was happy. He thinks Leo is a great guy, and I agree. He did tell me, though, "You tell Leo I said he'd better treat you good, or I'm coming after him!" I laughed, and reminded him that it was Leo that we needed to worry about in this relationship, because I'M the evil one, dammit. And then I said that even though our family is only made up of me, Leo, and the puppies, it's a damned good one to have, I think. He agreed.

I wish I'd told him how much I appreciate everything he did for me. I wish I'd told him that I learned so much from him, and feel strong because of it all, and can't thank him enough for the values he instilled in me. I wish I'd told him that I'm glad that I've inherited so many of his traits, because it makes me feel like a better person when I try to behave like him.

But I try to console myself by thinking that he already knows all that. He has to. He is DAD, after all! They know everything. :)

Monday, December 07, 2009

Oh yeah...I *totally* wanna sit on that!

First things first: It smells like a ham sandwich at my desk today. I can't trace it to anything, and it's really starting to bother me.

Over the weekend, we had that move that I talked about in my post on Friday, and sure enough, I came in to find that my chair had been swapped out. Which, really, I'm fine with. Except that THIS was what they left for me to sit on...
Uuuhhmm...I think I'll pass.

I went out in search of a semi-clean chair in the surrounding cubes, and found this in the one next to mine:
Pretty!
I finally went across the hall and found a decent-looking one that was only minorly soiled, but still needs cleaning, IMO. It was the least offensive, though...

We have a real estate group that handles all this kind of shit, so I went ahead and sent one of them those pictures and asked them how I was supposed to request that the chairs get a scrubbing. We have a web portal to request maintenance items to be taken care of, but I'm not sure if they deal with things like the chairs. I can't imagine why they wouldn't, but I really just wanted to send someone in the department a picture of those chairs. Because really? REALLY? It's just FOUL.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Oops. Sorry!

I was a little tipsy last night when I wrote my last post. So, sorry if it came off a little harsh! I am having a rough week, emotionally, because my dad isn't doing well right now and it's been a roller-coaster as far as his status is concerned. It's taking a toll.

But yeah...I'm still not changing my avatar because it bugs someone. ::shrugs::

I just watched a Folgers commercial that was disturbing to me. Anyone else see it? It's about a brother who apparently lives/works in Africa, and he comes home for the holidays, I assume. He gets to the front door, and his little sister greets him, and from there on out, it's just creepy. He seems taken aback by how different/grown-up she looks, and then they're in the kitchen getting coffee, and he gives her a present, and she takes the bow off of it and sticks it on him, saying, "You're my present." And then the camera gets a close-up of his face, and he looks at her with this tender look in his eyes...

Ick. Ick, ew, BLECH! The incestuous vibes of the whole thing just rubbed me the wrong way.

I hate Folgers.

In response.

In one of my recent posts, Logtar made a comment about my avatar being somewhat of a bother for him. I guess maybe it doesn't look as scary/random/fucked up to him as it does to me, and I wonder if that's the case for everyone viewing my blog.

But here's the thing...

That face? IS IN MY BRAIN. It's not meant to be ironic. It's not meant to be funny. It's not meant to look like something that someone has told themselves it might look like (i.e. a thong, or what have you). It's a picture of how FUCKED UP my head really is.

OK?


There's a lot of shit going on in my life right now, and the last fucking thing I plan on doing is changing my avatar so it will be pleasant for people to look at. My brain is a fucked up place to be, even without the weird, evil, random, devil-looking dude showing up in images. I figure it's the best way to represent myself on other blogs, or on my own blog, personally. So it's staying up for a while. And that's all there is to say about that.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Aw...maybe you shouldn't have skipped today, after all.

The Twin caught this sign while watching GMA this morning, and took a screen shot. Looks like maybe "missin school" wasn't such a good idea...

Stoopid Americans...

My kind of Friday!

I'm working from home today...which means I'm in charge of my thermostat, which is nice. We have a large move going on at the office, consolidating teams that were previously spread out in different buildings, etc..., so we are staying out of the way by getting out of the office.

Except for my boss. He decided to go in today, since his office isn't part of the move. (Neither is mine, but the noise and distraction is harder to ignore from my open cube than it will be from his office with a door, I'd imagine.) He's guarding his chair. It's one of those ergonomic types, and he doesn't want it to be taken away just because he doesn't have a note from his doctor saying he needs it. I don't blame him...he's had it for twelve years, and it was given to him at a time when the company was apparently doing pretty well, and they were replacing ALL the chairs in his building with ergonomic kinds. Now they suddenly want everyone to provide a note from their doctor to prove they need the chair, and he doesn't have one, and doesn't feel its right to go ask a doctor to lie for him. He sent a note explaining about how he got the chair in the first place, and requesting to keep it, but they said Sorry Charlie! Which is ridiculous. First off, he's an executive. He should have the chair he wants since he works his butt off for the company on a daily basis. (He's one of the hard-working executive types of people...not the lazy kind that tell everyone else to do shit for him. He's nifty like that. :) ) Second of all, he's worked for the company for almost 22 years. Dude should be able to get a golden throne by now, ok?

But since he doesn't have a note from the doctor, they plan on taking away his chair. I have an ergonomic one I snaked from an open cube during the last layoff, and I don't have a note either, but I don't mind them taking it away. The only problem I have with the fabric, cushy chairs I used to sit on is that they seem to get dirty really easily. Which makes no sense to me, because I swear I wear clean clothes to work, so how the fuck is my chair so dirty after a few months? Whatever...I don't mind getting one back, but I will start submitting requests for them to clean it on a reular basis, is all. They really shouldn't have chosen the color of fabric for them that they did. It's a light greenish color...bad idea.

Anyway, I'm off to watch my email inbox do nothing, while I also watch recorded t.v. shows at the same time. It's called multitasking, and I'm very good at it. Happy Friday!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Time to shut the outside vents, maintenance!

It is fucking COLD in my office today. I don't know if they forgot to close a vent somewhere or what, but I'm 'bout to lodge a complaint.

Side note: Anyone else think of the "Brrr, it's cold in here; there must be some Toros in the atmosphere!" cheer from Bring It On whenever they say "brrr!" to themselves? Because I do it. A lot. And I'm wondering if that means I'm broken.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Rich is trying to kill us all with the cuteness.

I love kittens. I don't like living with them, but I love watching them in their anticy play that involves their sharp little kitten teeth with other peoples' hands. So cute! Rich has a post up today that includes a video that has killed me with the cuteness. If you're in need of a cute injection (and lets face it...we all are, ok?) then head over there to check it out.

So. fucking. CUTE. ::dies::

Gobble your WHAT?

Well, this just seems like a bad marketing idea.
Last week, watching t.v. the day before Black Friday was a mine field of advertising for all the big sales that were being planned. But, by far, Old Navy took the cake in grabbing our attention.

If you don't get why from the picture above, then maybe this will help:

Yeeeeaaaahh...um, ok. Gobble indeed, eh? :D (Although those teeth make things a wee bit more foreboding than they should be, IMO. ::shudders::)

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Quick question...

Why the hell is this Seattle cop shooting story so important to our local news, that they feel the need to update on it every 5 minutes, and even talk to someone in Seattle about it via phone? I mean, I feel bad for the cops that were shot, and for their families...awful, even. But WTF? On KMBC this morning they were acting like it happened in fucking OP, KS.

It didn't. It happened 1500 miles from here. Soo, yeaaah. Not sure I'm getting the significance to our morning, is the thing.

Do we have so little going on here that we need to reach out and look for national stories for interest factor? Maybe there's a robbery in Cincinnati that we should all be aware of? Or a house fire in New Orleans?

Oh, and Donna Pitman needs to go back to broadcasting 101, FFS. It's like she's lost all ability to state a sentence clearly and concisely, and she likes to start all her words with an "ah" sound. It's distracting and annoying. Even Dion's over-attentiveness to pronounciation is less annoying than Donna's word-stumbling as of late. And that's saying a lot, IMO.

I think I need to stick to watching recorded shows in the morning instead of the news, maybe.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Living room update: the finished product (almost)

Enough with the blue ball...Nora wants to know what happened with the blue wall! I hear that!

So here we go on a little 360 degree tour of our updated living room. (Which has also been decorated for Christmas, fyi. Hence the red fabrics and huge stockings on the bookcase...) This is the south side of the room, where we keep all the sunshine...
...Continuing on around to the north side, where we keep the couch...
...turning slightly so you can see how nicely the blue stripes match with the gray color we chose...
...and how the stripes look in the light of the afternoon...
...they aren't distracting at all behind the t.v....
...and voila! Down the hallway they end!
That mirror over there against the wall? It used to look like this:
I painted that ivy pattern on it back when I was living in my apartment down south, and was still in love with everything green and leafy. It was nice to finally get it painted a new color, and say goodbye to the ivy pattern that dominated my college years!

We do have one issue that remains, and I think I've given in and am just dealing with the disappointment of it overall. When Leo hung the curtains last week, I celebrated their beauty. And then I closed them to make sure they covered the windows, should they ever need to be shut like that. And then I stepped back, and...hm.
Leo stepped back, and looked for what I was cocking my head at. And then he noticed it, too.

The stripes...they do not quite line up. Because they started the pattern at the top in a different place on each panel, it appears...
WTF? ::sigh:: I guess that's what I can expect to get when I buy them for $30 each at Bed, Bath, & Beyond, right?
Anyway, we're close to being done with it all. We're planning on buying a new "rug" from Flor sometime soon, and we also want to give ourselves the Christmas gift that keeps on giving...i.e. a new coffee table. So hopefully that'll complete the space for us for now.
And then we can attack the kitchen. We're thinking of painting the cabinets black...

Newest blue ball activity...

I'm posting this first this week, since I know the Twin is probably losing her shit wanting to see it. So here we go!

The blue ball disappeared again a few weeks ago, when Leo and I started the painting project in the living room. It had been "living" behind the photo of my mom on top of our bookcase in the living room, so when we moved everything around, of course it came down and was back in play for the puppies. It disappeared a couple of days later from the kitchen.

Flash forward to last week, when I was hopeful that the blue ball would reappear during the Twin's visit...but she wasn't able to come, as you well know, so I went ahead and told Jeffers to give it back whenever, if he wanted, since Twin and her girls wouldn't be here after all.

Thursday night, I was getting ready for bed, and headed out of the bathroom into the bedroom to get undressed. For some reason, I glanced up at to the top of the blinds, and saw a glimpse of the blue ball peeking out at me from behind the curtain, which you can see in these pictures I took the following morning:

Can you see it? Here, I zoomed in a bit...

And here's a final zoom for the older folks out there that don't know what they're looking for/at:

I made a little video, too, so that's down at the end of this post. I have no idea how long the ball was there, because it wasn't visible from any other angle than this one, really. I think it was just that day, though, because I've gotten in the habit of scanning all odd locations for the ball whenever it's missing, which is likely the reason why I glanced up to this spot when I was getting undressed. I've probly been doing it subconsciously for a while.

Anyway, I took it down later that day, and it was in the kitchen that night, at which point Jeffers apparently took it upon himself to put it in a "safer" spot on the shelf under our kitchen table/island. (When I went to bed on Friday night, it was next to the dogs' water bowl. The next morning, I noticed it was on the shelf under the table. I asked Leo if he put it there, and he confirmed that he didn't move it.)


I'll keep an eye on it and see if it stays there. You never know with Jeffers! Here's the video I shot:



Tuesday, November 24, 2009

So. quiet.

It's nice in the office around the holiday season. Quiet and mellow. I like it this way.

The Twin won't be able to come out and visit us this week, after all. I'm disappointed, of course, as is Leo, but we totally understand. I'm really proud of her for being so on top of her finances, and in control of her situation right now, actually. She had a pile of money issues fall on her all at once (first it was the front brakes on her car, and then one of her puppies had a tumor-like growth on her face she needed to have checked, and then yesterday she learned her rear brakes needed replacing as well...), and as we all know, those kinds of unexpected obligations piling up all at once can be killers to the ol' bank account! So the drive out here just wouldn't be prudent, is the thing.

Unfortunately, I decided to buy a frozen turkey on Sunday, and thaw it in the fridge all week, because it was cheaper than buying one fresh or already thawed or whatever. So now Leo and I have to figure out how to work a 14 pound turkey into our meals for the next week! Should be fun, I think. ;)

I'm done with my work week after today, so posting might be light for the rest of the week. If I don't post again before Thanksgiving, I hope everyone has a lovely holiday (except for those of you in the service industry, who likely don't get the holiday at all, like Leo...), and have as much in their lives to be thankful for as I do.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Free money...for them?

So I've noticed, as I'm sure everyone else around town has, that the Boulevard Brewing Co has come up with a plan to help the city turn around it's woeful situation involving recycling glass containers...namely that unless you live in Johnson County, you don't have an option to get it done. And so springs forth Ripple Glass. And all of it's convenient containers to collect your crap. (i.e. glass bottles and such. I was just digging the aliteration there...)

I thought it was going to be kept to the Missouri side of the state line, but then I saw a collection container at Whole Foods on Metcalf yesterday, and realized they were being put everywhere. I alerted Leo to the situation, since we tend to collect a loooo-hoooot of glass containers in our household on a monthly basis (we're wine-o's), and told him that maybe a weekly dump at that location will help lighten his monthly trip to the recycling center out south.

The thing is, I wonder how much Boulevard is making from this venture. As far as I know, all those glass containers have a redemption value to them. And except for a select few states, I'm pretty sure you're supposed be able to turn in all the bottles for a return of $.5, or something. The Twin does it in CA, so maybe she can speak more to the value of them, seeing as she collects a pretty penny from her recycling whenever she turns it in!

Are we in one of those select few locations where the glass is worth nothing? Or are we missing out on a great opportunity to collect on our efforts to be greener and reduce landfills? Hmm...some interesting info I just found via Google/Wikipedia on the subject:

- Maine, Vermont, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Iowa, Michigan, Delware, Hawaii, and California are the 11 states that currently have the recycling redemption legislation in place.

- Studies show that beverage container legislation has reduced total roadside litter by between 30% and 64% in the states with bottle bills.

- Studies also show that the recycling rate for beverage containers is vastly increased with a bottle bill. The US beverage container recycling rate was 39.4% in 2001. States with bottle bills recycle approximately 78% while states lacking bottle bill legislation only recycle approximately 23%.

Um, I think we might need that legislation, yo.

Friday, November 20, 2009

She's the evil/crazy/mean/littler one...

As the Twin mentioned in yesterday's comments, she and her daughters will be driving out to our house for the Thanksgiving holiday next week. I didn't mention it yesterday because I was saving the info for today (so I'd have something to post about), and also because when I was referencing the fact that nothing was going on right now, I meant that there isn't any drama in my life. At the moment anyway. Dad is doing well, Leo still loves me (for some reason), ex-"friends" are leaving me alone like I asked, etc, etc...

Which is all very nice, and yay.

Of course we're excited about their visit! Twin's kids get the whole fucking week off from school (which is ridiculous, and don't even get me started on the whole teacher conference days thing, where teachers need to take Thursdays off to fucking prepare for them to happen on Fridays, so kids often get 4 day weekends at random times these days, too, and seriously, how're kids supposed to learn that the Real World doesn't have random and stupid holidays like this if school isn't teaching them about it, hm? Because guess what kids! We don't get all that time off once we get to the Real World!!! Look forward to your 30's, because hopefully by then you will have been at a job for more than 10 years, and you maybe get more than 3 weeks off annually. Yeah. That's right. Only THREE. Have fun, you little pains in the ass! Hahahahaha!), so they're heading out here on Monday and expect to arrive on Wednesday night, and then leave on Saturday after Thanksgiving. I'm very excited to be able to have them over for a few days! They haven't been here since the wedding, so they haven't seen the addition on the house, or had the chance to meet Jake yet...it should be fun.

I tried to talk the Twin into waiting until the Friday after T-Giving to go see the new Twilight movie, but she wasn't having it. She's one of those odd types that bought her ticket in advance for a showing today. She's there right now. I'd imagine it's about 2/3 done by now. Hm, maybe I should text her to find out. Maybe I should text her to see if it sucks. Maybe I should text her to see if she still loves me even though I think she's a bit over the edge on the whole Twilight thing. Maybe I should text her to tell her that even though I know she's a bit over the edge, I still don't think she's as bad as some people are with the whole thing, and that I really commend her for being able to see that Stephenie Meyer is NOT all that good of a writer, and didn't even write the fucking movies anyway, and so people should stop connecting the books and the movies so closely because aside from the general story line, they're really two different things. (Cndnsg wds so tt wld al ft, btw.)

Me? I can do without seeing it right away. I'd put it off a few weeks (months?) actually, if it weren't for the Twin and her girls being here. I think it'll be more fun to see it with people who are fans of the books as much as they are. Leo stopped reading halfway through the 2nd book, so he can take or leave the movies, really. He'd go with me to see it, and he'd be happy doing it...but only because he loves going to the movies as much as he does.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Some are luckier than others.

Today is the day of our annual fall pot luck lunch here at the office. I made an "old fashioned" macaroni salad (sans celery, because celery is the equivalent of throwing Satan's fingernail clippings into a recipe, IMO), as well as a pumpkin bar recipe that has me just about drooling in anticipation of lunch while it sits on the other end of my desk. Both chosen for their cheapness and ease of transport/set up (I'm so done with bringing my stuffing recipe in a crock pot every year, it's not even funny), I actually wound up really pleased with the outcome of both, thank goodness!

I have to say I'm really proud of the pumpkin bars...they have a cream cheese icing on top that I made from scratch, and is the main reason for the drool issue at present. It's such an easy process to make it! I think I might be topping a hell of a lot more stuff with cream cheese icing from now on...cookies, cupcakes, meatloaf, etc...

Sorry things have been slow around here this week. I'm tired. And yesterday wound up being ridiculously busy when all my attempts to reserve a room for an hour long meeting in 2 weeks were thwarted by the evilness that is a suddenly full building. Made me miss the days when I could run through the halls naked without seeing anyone else for hours...aahhh...nakedness.

There's literally nothing else going on right now. Which, I suppose, could be seen as a good thing, right? Hell, after the year I've had, I'll take it! I deserve a couple of quiet months to finish out the year, dammit.


UPDATE: Note to self - never make macaroni salad for a pot luck again. Not sure if it was due to the lack of a proper dishing out utensil, or the fact that someone put a tin foil cover (!!!) on my container after I served some to myself, but I was the only one who took any. ::sigh:: At least it only cost me about $4 to make!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Can't see the wall for the stripes.

Since some asked to see them, I finally uploaded some photos of the finished product of the blue wall from hell in our living room that we completed last week, and decided subsequently that we hated and weren't about to live with it. It was just. so. much. BLUE.
Evidence of what different light can do to the color...here it is in a dark moment:
And here it is in a bright flashy moment!
Our living room has a tendency to reflect color back in very different and funky ways. We really loved the gray we chose, because it seems to stay pretty true to itself in all lights. It's a winner. So when we chose the new colors for the gym locker room wall from hell, we went with ones that would of course match the gray, but also were more gray in tone. We found a blue one we liked, as well as a slate color that was pleasant. And so we decided to break the wall up even more into smaller stripes of color, and use both the new blue and the slate, and add a line of gray to bring in the color used on the other three walls. Here's what the samples of the slate and blue looked like. (Slate is on the left...)
So we got to work bright and early on Sunday, painting out the gray lines so we could tape them up and get to work on painting the rest of the stripes. FYI, the stripes are relatively easy to do. The laser level makes taping go quickly, but the labor intensive part is when you caulk the tape so the paint won't seep under it, and so you can get straighter/crisper lines. I HATE the caulking part. Leo is forevermore in charge of all caulking at our house.
The thing is that even in that picture above, you can probably see that the gray was coming out more beige in tone, compared to the wall over to the left in the photo. It was bugging me, but I figured it would dry darker, or more true to tone, or something.
Painting the new colors went quicker after we locked Jake in the kitchen to keep him from leaning against the wall as I painted it. Damned dude keeps getting paint all over his back and ass!
I was loving the color combo we chose as I stepped back to take pictures of our work in progress. LOVING IT.
But then Leo started taking down the tape...

And damned if that gray line didn't look beiger than ever! And the baby blue color doesn't look chic and pretty in this combo...it looks more 80's than anything else. I told Leo that the whole thing reminded me of a sweater my brother used to wear in high school. (Pastels were in back then...for some reason.) ::sigh::

I hate it. Last night I told Leo not to worry about cleaning up those lines that didn't caulk well, because I just want to paint over them all together. I liked it better when it was just the blue and the slate, and that was it. So we're going to paint one more time and just get rid of the separating stripes, and have it all be the blue and slate, and then call it a day. FINALLY. We have so much paint on that wall now, I'm afraid it could collapse from the weight of it!

That...can't happen, right?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Painting SUCKS.

Ok, we're done painting the walls in the living room. Now we just need to tackle the trim, and Leo needs to clean up a couple of the lines that didn't work out, and we'll be good to go.

Unfortunately, I still feel like I've been hit with a mac truck today, so I can't say I care about it at all anymore. I want our living room back the way it was! And to sleep for another 5 hours! I think I have a cluster headache, but it's not a terrible one, so I can't tell really. That isn't helping, to be honest.

The blue ball hasn't reappeared since it's last disappearance, so that's why I haven't updated on that. Instead, Jeffers has taken to opening things that are supposed to be shut. Yesterday morning, I rolled over to face my side table, and the top drawer was just wide open. I looked in it, hoping that the blue ball would be in it, but nope. It was just...open. For fun, I guess. ::shrugs::

Then, we went out to get painting supplies from Home Depot, and to grab lunch, and came home to find that the doors to the guest bedroom and the office had been opened while we were gone. I shut them again, and went into our bedroom (that door wasn't open, for whatever reason), and the top drawer on my bedside table was open again. I yelled out to Leo, "The drawer is open again!" His reply? "Maybe the ghost knows that's where we keep the condoms and lube. He wants us to have butt sex."

::sigh::

I'll post pictures tomorrow. Of the living room. Not of...other things. You're welcome in advance.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Oops! Or wait...yum?

Last night, while Leo was out playing bocce against the KC eye-talians in a league with his buddies, I decided to make cookies for my coworkers. I have several different chocolate chip cookie recipes, but have become partial to this one lately, because its so easy (melted butter instead of having to pull out the mixer and cream it), and the results are yummy. (Duh. They're chocolate chip cookies. Of course the results are yummy!)

The only thing is that I also really love this other recipe I have for oatmeal choco chip cookies that calls for whole wheat flour, ground rolled oats, and a couple of tablespoons of vegetable oil to reduce the amount of butter that's usually required in most cookie recipes, so it cuts down on the saturated fat in them. They are delicious, but they require a bit of work. (I can't find the recipe online right now, so I can't link to it...sorry! If anyone is interested, let me know, and I'll get it written and sent over to you from the recipe I have printed at home.)

So last night, I decided I wanted to be lazy, but still try to make the cookies somewhat healthy. I have a ton of the whole wheat flour, for some reason, so I've been using it when I can, and I decided to sub the all-purpose flour in the recipe up top with the whole wheat flour instead.

It didn't occur to me that it would cause any kind of problem at all (I'm not much of a baker, as the Twin can attest to), until I got halfway through adding the dry mix to the wet mix, and my dough was turning into a dry ball of scariness. I still had at least a cup of flour to add to the dough! I kind of started whining at myself, hoping I wasn't ruining the cookies, and just pushed on and kept adding until my arm felt like it might fall off. (Being careful not to overmix, of course! I didn't need to help the cookies turn into bigger rocks than they already were looking like they might be.)

But, surprisingly, they turned out to be really good! They aren't as sweet as a regular choco chip cookie is, and there's something attractive to me in that aspect. So if your arm is up to the mixing challenge, I say go for it! I'm all for finding a relatively healthy way to have a treat, and this is definitely one way to achieve it.

Happy Friday, everyone!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

So, my dad's neighbor is crazy.

The last couple of times we've been home to visit my dad, we've been privvy to a fair amount of construction going on up his teensy street. Dad and step mom live in a small community of about 9 neighbors that are all fairly well off, and have lived relatively harmoniously for many years now. The arguments about land issues and home association issues have been interesting in the past because dad was a moderator between two of the dudes that live up there, and they both behave like teenagers fighting over a girl when it comes to the neighborhood stuff. Now that dad is sick, and doesn't put up with that shit anymore, I don't know who moderates for them, but they're both still alive, and haven't burned each others' houses down, or anything, so I assume that they've worked things out.

Dad's direct neighbor is a doctor, and has a nice little family, and bought the house maybe 2 years after dad built ours. I can't exactly remember. I do remember is that it was in a state of disrepair due to foundation problems, and he came in and made it all nice again. He also brought a few annoying dogs, a couple of horses, some alpacas, and a peacock that used to find it's way into our yard on a regular basis, but his handsome sons made all that much easier for ME to deal with at least. (Plus, I was mostly off to college by the time he was there, so I didn't give a fuck, really.) I like the idea of keeping on their good side because (a) they live directly next door to Dad, and (b) they have a bed and breakfast/country home someplace in France. Outside of Paris. Yeah...I wanna go there, dammit.

I don't really give a shit about the other neighbors, because they're mostly nice people, and they all tend to keep to themselves, really.

Except for the new retar- I mean, guy that built a house across from dad's a few years back. This is the house, and the view we have of it from the bottom of the driveway...

Thankfully, it's low-lying, so it doesn't obstruct our view of the ocean from dad's house.

This is the backside of the buggar:

And you might wonder why I'm showing that to you...like, who cares, right?

Well, the reason why is because the house above it in the picture?
Yeah, that ALSO belongs to the guy that built across from dad. He's been working on it for the past year or so, and tearing up the street in the process. (Sorry for the grainy quality of the photo...I didn't zoom in properly when I was taking the original shots.)

The guy is nuts, ok? I mean, I would guess it has something to do with the view, or maybe the first one wasn't big enough, or something, but regardless, in this economy, unless you're Warren Buffet or Bill Gates, or something, WTF would you be building a bunch of houses right next to each other like that?

It just goes to show that it seems like dad's neighborhood just draws the crazy, for whatever reason. But at least they keep to themselves, for the most part, I guess. It could be worse. They could be running around flashing people, or what have you. So we thank our lucky stars for that, at the very least!

While we were there in September, Leo and I were lucky enough to get to experience the final resurfacing of the street to dad's. As you can see, it's not a wide street...two cars can pass each other on it, but I can't say there haven't been any accidents up there that involved some side-swiping. ::looks away and whistles innocently::
They had dumped a bunch of dirt and gravel before they poured the new pavement, which they were planning on doing the Monday before Leo and I left to head back home. That same day, we were heading to Lake Arrowhead (where the Twin and I spent a few of our formative years when we were growing up...I wanted to show Leo around) for the day, and we had to park our car at the bottom of the street, so they could get started bright and early Monday morning. We walked down to the car, went to Lake Arrowhead, and when we got back that early evening, we found the street had been completed:
Yay for the pretty, nice blacktop! Although it was still a wee bit wet at the bottom, and in walking on it, I permanently planted some gravel into my flip flops I had on at the time. Surprisingly, this does NOT give them more traction someplace like, say, the Walmart Grocery or the Blue Moose.

Tomorrow, Ill put up the few pictures that Leo and I took when we were in Arrowhead, and bring this baby full-circle. The Twin can fill in any random details that might be interesting for people to know about the neighbors in the comments, if I left anything important and pertinent out, I'd imagine.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Oh. Ooohhh nooooo...

Aw. Izzy was taahred. She was under the blanky somehow, so I took pictures of her being cute...
Aaawwww!

No? Not the pictures you were hoping for? Ok, how about these? Izzy performs her magical balancing toy act for your enjoyment! Daah dah dah dah daaah, dah dah dah dah, dah dah dah, dah daaaah...
It's standing on it's fucking head!
How?
I have no idea!
Oh. Those weren't the photos you wanted, either. Hm.

Shit.

I'm gonna have to show you the living room, aren't I? No, Im not hesitating because it looks bad or because we absolutely hate it or anything. Pshaw! What? No. We are...fine with it. It looks like we're living in a chic space half the time, and a gym locker room the other half, but yeah! Its totally what we were aiming for. Alright, see for yourselves...

Here's the old living room color. Plain, blah, boring because we were planning on selling the house the year after we got married. And then the economy happened, and tours of houses with washers and dryers in the kitchen happened, and we decided that, hey! Our house isn't all that bad, really. Just needs some extra space, and it's totally liveable. So we did that instead. And we've been living in the boring living room ever since. ::ponders previous boring living room with a surprising amount of fondness::
So the plan was to paint 3 of the walls a neutral block of color, and then we'd have the one long wall behind the t.v. painted as a focal wall with stripes, and a bolder color than the other 3 walls. Here's the process we went through for the stripes:
Paint the stripes.
Tape over them with 1.5 inch tape when it was dry...
We used the same color for the stripe that we have in our bedroom and the hallway.
See how the wall is sectioned the same way it was in the inspiration photo? Our stripes were slightly thicker than the ones in the inspiration, but it was the same theory we went with.

The other three walls are a gray that we really love. It turned out perfect!
Here it is in the daylight after Leo finished the first coat...

When he finished that, he slapped up the primer for the focal wall. Now, it was a bit bright, but it was just primer. Juuussst...prriiiimeeerrrr... Yeah, the blue and the gray look pretty good together...
But the blue alone? WHOAH. Whoah, whoah, whoah. And NO.

We fucked up. We admit it. I won't even show you what it looks like with the stripes in place, because the color was coming out all crazy in the light last night on my camera, and I was so over it.


We're going to pick out new paint tonight or tomorrow. A nice lighter blue, or a blue-gray. Or a gray-blue. Because we kind of pretty much hate it as it is. Gah. More pictures to come next week! ::sigh::