Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Why I will never have my own tv show

Three years ago, I had my front porch enclosed with a half wall and screened windows. I bought all the screening supplies (spline, screens, and those screw-in gutters and caps that you can easily do yourself). I had done this once before and it wasn't that hard.

That first day I worked on the screens was one of the most frustrating things I've ever done. I cursed, I cried, I rubbed my sore aching neck. I finally got it all put up and then realized that I had forgotten to use the spline. Doh.

So I let that first half-assed job go until the screens started working themselves loose and now they need redoing.

The weather was great on Sunday and I had the good mood and determination to put things right. I tore off the old screen, cut my new one and started trying to roll the spline into the gutters. Oh my freaking god. How could this be so hard? I could only do an inch or two at a time before needing a break. I got two sides of one window done and gave up.
Then I realized something. Spline comes in different diameters. I obviously had a much too thick spline for this job.

So I went to Home Depot and got a couple of bags of a smaller size and hope to resume this project on my next day off.

Three years this has taken me. Am I retarded or what?

I'm an idealistic sap

My husband and I took a little trip to Hot Springs yesterday to have a soak, some wine, and dinner. Beautiful day. It was very relaxing.

While we were waiting on our meal, a couple of local guys came in talking about some beavers that they had trapped. We were invited to go take a gander at the bodies in the rear of his pick-up truck. My husband asked which of the guys killed them and one of them responded that "they drowned".

I find that so upsetting. I'd rather hear that the beavers had been shot. I mean, you're a beaver, and water is your thing; almost a part of you, and suddenly you find yourself inexplicably drowning in it despite your strength and agility.

We peered over the edge of the truck in the dusk and saw our first up-close beavers (no sniggering please). One of them was massive; probably about 30 pounds. We got to see the big flat paddle tail, the super sturdy front paws and scoopy claws and the huge chipped teeth. They really were incredible. I hate that there are two quiet beaver homes tonight.

The guys told us that the beavers breed like crazy and are causing trees to fall down along the river on their property nearly every day. This is how they're taking care of it. I can see their concerns, but I just wish that drowning them wasn't the method of eradication.

I ideally wish humans had chosen a path that allowed for equal space for everything on this planet instead of seeing wildlife as something that's in the way or sport.

I have a friend who is a big-time big game hunter. He spends thousand of dollars to travel around the world and mess with critters who are just minding their own business. He then spends thousands of dollars to have them stuffed and shipped home.

He quoted something to me once from a poem? or essay which intimated that hunters are the biggest lovers of nature there are. I guess what he was getting at, is that hunters choose to appreciate wildlife for what it is in it's own habitat, not anthropomorphized or idealized. I guess that's something like what he meant? Two of God's creatures, out in the wild, facing-off, sizing up each other as opponents. Except one has a gun.

I'll never get it. To see something you agree is magnificent and beautiful and wild and occupying it's own habitat and to not want to rest until it's dead.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

What a nice day

Wow, my hand is almost normal today with no additional medication. I even worked on installing new screens today for about a frustrating hour and a half and it didn't cause a flare up.
This still begs the question of what in the world caused my hand to get so wacky to begin with. Hopefully the test results will point at something concrete.

In other news, my husband came home unexpectedly today! Ironically, his hand gave out this morning, (along with being generally burned out after two weeks on the road with no time off), and he drove home to be with me for a day or two. YAY!.

We had a nice dinner at the brewery and watched a movie together. It's great having him home. The animals think so too. They're all vying(sp) for his attention.

So, we'll get a bunch of long overdue laundry done and get him back on the road good as new. I gave him some of my Celebrex for his stiff hand and and it's better already. Good stuff. Timely huh?

Good day.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

The mystery pain continues

I went to a walk-in clinic this morning and managed to baffle the attending physician with my hand.

I woke up this morning and it was the worst yet. I couldn't touch my hand against anything without experiencing searing pain. It was tremendously swollen and curled over on itself.

The doctor took a bunch of blood to run various tests as well as three x-rays to look for a potential fracture. They didn't see any obvious fractures, so it's down to the tests. He says he might recommend me to an orthopedic specialist this coming week if it doesn't start getting better.

I got some Celebrex for the swelling and hydrocodone for the pain. I have to say, Thank God for Celebrex! It's 8:00pm now and although my hand is still kind of swollen, I can use it with only a minimum of pain. I made dinner and washed the dishes and I'm not miserable. I haven't even had to touch the hydrocodone. I might take one before bed so that I don't wake up at 3:00am all hurty.

I just want to know what the heck this is all about. I'm really scared that it might turn out to be some kind of nascent recurring arthritic condition. If so, I have to say I have a HUGE new appreciation for the pain that arthritis sufferers go through. I don't know how they get through a day.
Since I'm adopted I don't know if that kind of thing runs in my family. I'll have to ask my birthmother next time she calls.

Anyway, I'm so glad I went to a doctor today instead of having to deal with this until Monday. I have medicine!! Yay!

Friday, February 23, 2007

In which there is an attempt to silence me

I've somehow screwed up my right hand. Possibly while I was sleeping.
I say sleeping, because I really have absolutely idea how it got this way and I noticed my finger hurting first right after waking up.

The day before yesterday, I just thought it was my pinkie finger. Then yesterday, it got a little worse. Today I woke up and can barely use my hand. It hurts to hold a pencil and I can't comfortably type anything with with a P, ", ], or ?. Ow.
Maybe the universe is trying to curtail my attempts at communication.

I can't figure out if something is broken, sprained or dislocated.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Bad Boys

Ooooh I wish I could... I wish I could post some amazing pictures that my husband's security cameras captured yesterday.
Five guys broke into a store at around 5:00am and over the next forty minutes managed to fill hefty bag after hefty bag with thousands of dollars worth of merchandise.
It's amazing to witness the sneaky hubris as they totally empty the store.
The pictures aren't as good as they could've been because someone lowered the camera angle after it was installed and also the lighting wasn't so great. But there are still plenty of amazing shots.
It's weird to think I could login to any of these cameras right now and catch something like that going on live.
Too bad someone wasn't watching early this morning.

It could've been worse

To do: Make copies of my house key.

I came home the other night and watched horrified as my key broke off in the door lock.
Thankfully I had successfully unlocked the deadbolt first. The key broke in the door handle lock and miraculously managed to turn and open.

For a split second before I twisted the knob, I took in the situation: a houseful of animals waiting to be fed and let outside, a husband who's out of town for several more weeks, and no key to drive and make a copy of. At least it wasn't 20 degrees.

I've been unlocking the doors much more gingerly now until I can get to a keysmith. I walked all over the mall tonight trying to find a place to make a copy, but it seems you can't get that done at the mall these days. I could've gone to Walmart, but really didn't want to.

But yeah, I'm going to get like five copies made and make sure I don't put myself in that situation again.

A related question: How do you get half a key out of your lock? I've tried a really strong magnet and tweezers, but I can't get it to come out more than a sixteenth of an inch. Any ideas? I don't trust myself to take the knob apart and get it back on properly.

Project Basic Denim

I need a new pair of jeans. My pseudo-beergut and burgeoning ass are threatening to evict me from every pair of pants I own.

I went to the mall Monday willing to spend some money to find a nice basic pair of jeans that fit well and after trying on 15 pairs, I ended up with nothing.
I must be shopping in the wrong places because everything I saw was either flared, low-rider, distressed, cigarette-legged, ultra-low-rider or bedazzled.

Most pairs I tried on kind of fit until I'd bend over, and despite wearing a belt, I found myself showing a whole other version of cleavage.

So yesterday I stopped by a thrift shop and picked out four pairs that looked like they might work. I got them home and only one pair is really fitting. I think two others should be good once I lose ten pounds.

Why is this so hard? I'm not freakishly built. I have a short waist, but that used to just mean I should stay away from Liz Claiborne and Jordache, who both seem to think that a woman should fasten her pants directly under her breasts.

I just don't get why designers seem to think that women's legs look best as denim sausage casings. If I go a size up, I just get this champagne glass thing where the waist of the pants is flared out around me, but my legs are still bound tightly. Oh also, a size up shouldn't assume that I'm also four inches taller.

Where does one go for a good selection of basic relaxed fit Levi's these days?

I'm starting to think I should approach this from the other direction and just lose some weight. I have a completely serviceable wardrobe just waiting for me to drink less beer and eat healthier. Ten pounds should do it. Maybe that's the real message here.

Monday, February 19, 2007


I was lying awake last night with the usual litany of nagging concerns regarding my house. Seems like nearly every home improvement I've made to this house has come undone within a year or so.

To wit:

Screening in porch....screens are now torn and need replacing. I've been putting it off cause it's cold, and a pain in the ass.

Fencing in yard...tree guys dropped a big log on the chain link and it's all dented and ugly.

Laminate hardwood floors....in three places now, something has been spilled on the laminate and caused it to bubble.

Painting hallway walls....my new cat decided to scratch four deep holes in the cheap wall board and now the whole hallway needs to be sheetrocked.

Installing a nice antique window in the hallway....the carpenter who did this did a crappy job on the framing and I have yet to try to stain it.

Painstakingly painting the kitchen and kitchen cabinets....my choice of colors ended up being a bit off as well as the paint now being somewhat scratched, peeling in places and dirty.

New living room furniture bought with pets in mind (study, canvas etc...)....now two years later reminds of me of why buying new furniture is a complete waste of money when you own animals.

New bookcases for the living room wall.....although they are real wood and cost a lot of money, the shelves now sag and the veneer shelf fronting has peeled off.

New wooden bathroom counter that I made and polyeurathaned is now disgusting looking. And I'm reluctant to take it off to sand it and redo it because I'll screw up the delicate plumbing under the sink and have to call in my already exasperated plumber to put it right.

The only improvement that's holding up is the roof that my friend and I put on. No problems there.

It's all so depressing. I get excited about trying to improve the place, but it always seems that this place just doesn't want to rise above.

I'm at the point which I've accepted that when it comes time to sell, I'm selling the house as is and taking a loss. My goal is just to try to make enough on it so that I'll have a decent downpayment on another place. It will be halfway paid off at the end of this year and that puts me in somewhat of a comfort zone. I assume the house will sell to a contractor who has the resources to fix it up properly and make a profit.

Anyway, lessons learned. It's not been awful. It's sizeable, warm, dry, private, reasonably attractive and the payments have been easy to double each month with my income.
I guess that's why they call them starter homes.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Another snow tease

We have a good chance of snow tomorrow. I really enjoy stocking up with provisions and anticipating a nice safe day or two stuck at home.

I have beer, food for myself and all the animals, a newly repaired furnace, a new delivery of firewood, a ton of good books, a few good movies and if there's anything I've overlooked, I'm within walking distance of several general stores.
All I'm missing is my husband.

He took off on the 15th for the next leg of his job. He's in Charleston tonight. He has about 50+ stores to outfit with cameras and software and probably won't be back for two or three weeks.

I always enjoy the first day he's gone in my own perverse way. You know, you don't have to worry about what the other person wants for dinner, whether they want to go out when you want to stay in, I can watch whatever I want on tv and uh, well, that's about it.

After that first day though, it's all downhill. We'll be missing each other pretty hardcore as time goes on.
His plan is to make his way to the farthest eastern points of North Carolina and work his way back, so that when the homesickness gets overwhelming, he'll be within a day's drive of home.

So while I'm here enjoying some snow (I hope), I'll be worrying about him driving through other snowy areas and wishing he was here.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

I'm warm!!

Repair went well. I now have heat. I posted a positive report for Ogle's at Angie's List.

On the 15th of February, my true love is not here

I woke up this morning to a non-working furnace, a backed-up toilet and no internet.

The internet was easy; I just restarted the router.
The toilet took about half an hour (I think maybe the sewer lines were frozen?), but I got it working.
The furnace had to wait until I found out what kind of time I could take off from work today to meet a repairman.
I called KUB, who has fixed my furnace before and they said a guy could meet me around 12:30. I drove home and met the guy, took him to the basement and he immediately fingered a piece of broken PVC and said he couldn't touch my furnace. "Policy".

The PVC in question is simply a condensation line and has nothing to do with the repair in question and poses no hazard. It just vents moisture and doesn't even do anything in the winter. It's been that way for two years and I've had KUB over before to work around it.
This guy just kept stubbornly repeating "policy" and left.

So I scramble and call a random guy from the phone book. He says that KUB has done that to at least three people he's talked to this week. He says he can come over within the hour and diagnose the problem.

He keeps his word and finds out what part needs replacing, but he has other calls and I have to get back to work. He said he'd come back by after I got home at 7:30.

It's 8:00 now and he's still not here. I'm freezing my ass off. Not sure when it would be impolite to call him and make sure he remembers me.

I'm down to my last wheelbarrow of firewood, which should get me through the night. I've got another rick coming in the morning, so at least I know I can stay warm if I can't get this thing fixed in the next few days.

Ok, just called dude and he's on his way from Maryville. Yay!

Oh btw, "dude's" name is Roger Ogle and he's in the phone book.
I'll let you know how the repair goes.

Friday, February 09, 2007

10 years. Fuck yeah.


I'm With Stupid (in an elevator)

I get so fed up with the whole faction of society that insists that the Holocaust never happened.
To what end? What do they get from believing this?
It seems to be that no matter how freely information is made accessible in a society, there will always be stubborn ignorant detractors.


Monday, February 05, 2007


Even though not many people read this blog, it's rude of me to not update on the last note.

I got a call at work the day after we dropped the four cats to be euthanized.
The woman works with the Knoxville Feral Rescue group and has also worked with several vet hospitals over the years.
She proceeds to tell me that there's a conflicting perspective about FIP, in which it's not all that contagious, but rather more genetically transferred.
She says most cats who die of FIP are a year or younger in age.
She says I don't have to kill all the cats.
So I tell my husband and now we're stuck.

We're mourning for Doppelganger who might not have had to have been killed.
And now we're torn on what to do with the remaining cats.

Granted, the woman who called me is biased. She told me herself that she's about to spend $1300.00 on medical treatments for a stray that she hopesto find a home for when he's healed. That's extreme. Obviously she's all about saving lives at any cost.

So I need a third or fourth opinion at this point.

We're still feeding the five remaining cats. I still miss Doppelganger. No one else is presenting symptoms.
It's winter, so there's only a slim chance of indoor/outdoor contact. We have time to figure this out.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Still in limbo

Doppelganger RIP

No more cats have been gathered up since the first group. We took a day off today.

I went out to feed the critters this morning and only four showed up and they definately knew something wasn't the same.

For me, this has had some weird psychological effects.
All day, for as long as I can remember, I'm around cats. I have four indoors at home, the cats outdoors, and two at work.
I have this huge feeling of doom now around all the cats and I have to remind myself that not all of them are going away.
Once I clear my mind and know that Nippy, Lena, Nguyendell, Goslyn, Astrid and Penelope will still be around indefinately, I feel momentarily better.

I've also become really hyper-aware of spreading germs. I wonder how much I've brought into the house or work over the last few months without knowing it.
Apparently this virus can live for 6 weeks on a surface.

The hardest task ahead will be putting down Biscuit. He's a stray I picked up in Fort Sanders in 1993. He has a chronic mouth infection and requires medicine. He's also been a member of the colony since we moved here. Although he's never been an indoor pet, he's been with me so long now that I feel his demise requires more ceremony.

I just had his teeth cleaned a few days ago, so that his medicine would work better. I've spent the last few years doing all I can to keep him alive and comfortable. And now I'm looking at killing him. Bleh, bleh, bleh.

I mean, seriously, he's now able to eat a whole can of food for dinner without yowling, and I keep giving him medicine, and still he'll probably be gone in a few days. It's so disorienting and awful.

The bright spot is sleeping and dreaming. I get to escape from this for 7 hours or so and only gradually remember it all as I wake up.

I keep having to realize it all over again each morning.