Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A Most Pleasant Surprise

image from talbots.com

I'll have real pics soon, I promise. It's been a busy couple of days, where life crowds into your original plans and you've got to roll with it. In this case, wasn't a bad thing at all. I'm still basking in the glow of good fortune, and my spirits are turning, thanks to some rather phenomenal generosity of a good friend.

My husband's family usually keeps me in clothes. I can't afford to shop...I indulge in the occasional purse, but don't do a lot of clothes shopping for myself. Looking at it now, I simply gave up as the pounds piled on, gave up on the concept of anything fitting well or offering any sort of style. I see people my size try for style and the results can be embarassing, or would be if they knew any better. I vow not to be one of those fat women who wears form-fitting stuff with seeming oblivion, so my fashion repertoire has consisted of big shirts/glorified t-shirts, pants and jeans, and not a whole lot else. And I'm usually buying on the cheap, so tailoring ain't exactly a priority. We don't have a whole lot of mirrors in the house either, so what I call tomboy style is probably closer to slob. I just didn't see the point of trying too hard to look good, when my body couldn't hide from itself.

My best-friend-since-6th-grade Christy is in Florida for 2 weeks; she resides in East Hampton normally, works for a CPA. I moved to Warren, CT, in 6th; our relationship was really cemented in 7th when Dad had his first aortic dissection and Cyril and I spent 2 weeks at her place, while Mom went back and forth to New Haven.

We met for lunch with another friend, Diana, on Saturday, talked til mid-afternoon, catching up...she's working her way toward marriage with her guy and the quest has some speed bumps. Reminds me how very lucky I am; outsiders may wonder how I have the patience for a guy who doesn't work, but the guy would walk through fire for me, and that mutual love conquers any squabbles.

We got done with lunch and decided to meander through St. Johns Town Center, the local outdoor mall...it's capitalist heaven, everything from Abercrombie & Fitch to Yogaberry...you literally can't tell we're in a recession when you walk those sidewalks. We bought shoes at Aerosoles (work for me, wedding for Diana), wandered through Coldwater Creek (love their colors!), Chico's (which has NOT changed for the better style-wise...yeesh!)...and found ourselves at Talbot's. I didn't even know they carried stuff in my size, thought it was a normal women's clothing store for the size-14-and-under crowd. Christy saw some stuff on the racks and decided I needed to try things on, this would look good on you...and she has a good eye, was finding stuff that said me, not necessarily her. I tried on blouses that were flattering and comfortable and made with such soft material, the likes of which I'd forgotten existed. She'd give me her appraising eye when I emerged from the dressing room and say, yup, we're getting that.

My cup runneth over...with tops and blouses and soft, soft highwater pants that don't make me look dumpy, and the above dress. I couldn't look at what she was spending, it made me uncomfortable, but they were insistent...I'm still flummoxed by her generosity. They're both getting thank-you cards; they tried to split the bill, but the computer balked, so it all went on Christy's card. I'm attending work this week in a haze of renewed self-esteem and self-image the likes of which I haven't enjoyed...maybe ever. I tend to get sticker shock at those types of places, but I see now that when you shop carefully, it's possible to justify the expense (and thankfully, with the exception of one blouse, everything was on sale). I really can't remember if I've ever worn clothes this comfortable before. I've found a new reason for a savings account, a terribly selfish reason that may actually work at helping me save, the desire to be able to spend X on a top or pants when I'm window shopping, because it's well made and comfortable, until we can get our credit back in shape.

This week's gonna fly by...we leave for Orlando after work on Thursday, stay overnight at Meara's, then move her to Charlotte the following day. I'm jazzed to see her new place, maybe drive around the city just a bit...it's gonna be so motivating, getting to go up there even just for the day. So excited!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Taking stuff for granted

I make fun of my Lil Sis because she's a teeny, tiny bit OCD. Not shut-the-door-3-times-wash-your-hands-wash-your-hands nutty...but she keeps a clean apartment, is very organized, and her little corner of the world is quite orderly. I used to be this way too...then I got married :) Also, I recognized my perfectionism when I hit college and made a concerted effort to shed it, because at the time, I thought I was asserting independence and growing away from Dad's tyranny. Teenage rebellion...now I look back and wonder why it was so important to me that I NOT be a certain way, since all evidence suggests I turned out eventually to be a person I kind of like. But I'm already digressing...I mean to say that I get now that life ain't always in control. Heh, far from it.

Zen encourages living in the present. I've mentioned before that I have a leetle bit of a problem with that. I live restlessly, my brain/psyche/personality ain't happy where we're at, so until we're moving forward more productively, it's hard for me to appreciate the present. My restlessness can also be blamed on my lithium deficiency, as I notice that I handle the ebb and flow of life a LOT better when I'm on it, but this ain't about that.

The car died this week. It's a 6-year-old Nissan with 75,000+ miles on it, which we do a pinch more than the bare minimum to maintain. I'm absolutely in love with this Jap car...after years of driving Saturns that couldn't last beyond the first 100K miles, I'm perfectly willing to give my future automotive money to the imports (my next dream is to acquire something in the Subaru wagon/SUV family, thanks in large part to Jenna and her ability to transport 3 grown sheep in her Forester...seriously, Subaru should pay her royalties).

I hadn't been noticing overt symptoms of trouble with the car, just really small stuff...it doesn't unlock easily with the fob, so I figure the fob battery is finally going...it takes a pinch longer to start, I figure the spark plugs are needing a change. I know enough about cars to sniff out an issue, usually; but I still miss the hell out of being able to pick up the phone and ask Dad. But this was sudden...go into Publix to pick up staples, come out, and the damn thing won't turn over. Not even any clicks, like you get if a battery is going dead. This is the first part of the taking things for granted theme, because when your car suddenly doesn't start, your world is kicked off its axis. What the hell...? Why...? Now what...? I popped the hood, jiggled the wires, and borrowed a wrench from Publix to try and dig the corrosion out from around the contacts. Nothin'. Shit!

OK, now what? Battery's less than a year old, for pete's sake! We don't have AAA or jumper cables (yes, I get how irresponsible this is, but spare dough always seems to go to something more important, like food), and I can't stand the idea of waiting around the lot begging someone for a jump. I'm a woman of action, I'm tired, I wanna go home, and Publix is a whopping 1/2 mile from our place; so I call Les, tell him I'm stranding the car, and hoof it homeward. Call Mom for assistance after she's gotten settled from coming home from her work. She comes out, we jump it successfully, and manage to get it home to our place...make plans to assess the sitch again tomorrow night. I bum work rides from her, because she only lives a mile from us, and the city bus system is completely unfeasible for me (a 15-minute ride would take 2 hours).

Borrow Mom's car the next night with intention of taking our battery to Advanced Auto; since battery's less than a year old, they should be able to test it and replace it gratis if it's the cause of our problem. Say prayers that this is the case; because my brain is thinking alternator or starter, which would be significantly more expensive. We get to Advanced Auto and are told that their tester is broken. Begin slow burn....not helped by the fact that it's easily 90F outside still. Les cusses like a sailor. Feel helpless because Tires Plus has quoted us an estimate that's considerably higher than if we bought a rebuilt alternator from Advanced and then took it to a Mom-and-Pop, but the Mom-and-Pop has closed for the night already, we don't have the dough to purchase anything right then, and Tires Plus is waiting for us after-hours out of the goodness of their hearts and their desire for biz. Make command decision together to get car to Tires Plus. Jump car again. Mercifully, the car waits to die until Les pulls into the Tires Plus driveway...we push it into the waiting bay.

Tires Plus gives decent service...within an hour of their opening, they've called us to let us know they think it's the battery only, that they will get a fresh one delivered from Advanced Auto, test the car completely after the fresh battery is installed, and by the way, do we know our brake shoes could use replacing? We're so relieved that it's not the alternator, we let them replace the brake pads...besides, Mom's helping us with this fiasco, and is seriously grateful that we're accompanying Meara on her move to NC next week, so she's happy to oblige the Tires Plus guys' blatant salesmanship.

The car is back in our hot little hands. Reliefreliefrelief...Last night I picked it up, dropped dinner off with Les, and then went to hang with Mom so she could give us the added gift of AAA memberships ala online. We chatted, I didn't get home til 9.

Today I'm crawling out of my skin. I can already tell if I'm not careful, the weekend will go by too quickly, because I'm doing lunch with Christy on Saturday and there's plenty of other things that demand my attention. I want to sit and regroup; it's been a busy couple of days. I can't wait for work to finish.

To make a not-so-short story very long, I have a new appreciation for the way we take some things for granted. How dependent we are on our cars and how important their upkeep is. How badly I still want a bike, so I don't feel so tied to my car. How I wouldn't mind living somewhere more conducive to biking. How even though my size and the seriously populated commute route make it unrealistic for me to bike to work right now, the feeling of being stranded from not having wheels was really unsettling and required temporary behavior shifts that I'm still shaking off. I'm thinking hard about wants vs. needs. And I'll be taking time to just sit this weekend. And if I get a bonus in July, I'm thinking again of investing in two-wheeled transportation.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Probably hatched yesterday, judging by their size this morning. Little ingrates dropped off the porch later this afternoon. Adorable critters, but we're tossing the nesting box in the trash...I want my porch back!

A distracted week otherwise...enjoying car trouble, hoping it's just the battery, but it's probably the alternator. My evenings have been busy with the car nonsense.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Tuesday musings

3-day weekends rock. I got a little bit of organizing accomplished, and a lot of relaxing occurred. I'm turning a fresh corner in how I handle work stress and opening my mind to other possibilities. I don't know that I actually want to be an English professor. I do know that I'm not sure what my next move is career-wise, and that the concept requires thought.

I celebrated Summer Solstice with a stroll through the Jacksonville Arboretum...forgot my camera, but got in a good knee workout that's jump starting me back into exercise. Took a couple of weeks off there...so damn easy to slide. Temperatures dropped just a smidge, so I can walk without worrying about heat stroke, so long as I take the proper precautions.

Bought a packet of hierloom organic Roma tomato seeds ... thinking of taking a fresh stab at the stubborn nightshade. The ducklings should hatch this week, and then it's sayonara, waterfowl, get the frick off my porch!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day

We never celebrated Father's Day when Dad was alive. The man was positively allergic to holidays. Once we kids started growing up and moving out, they practically had to wrestle him to the ground to celebrate Christmas. Can only guess his chilly upbringing was the cause, or one too many disappointing birthdays, or something...gift giving and harmless hoopla were lost on the guy.

So it feels hypocritical to celebrate him on this day, because it would be just another day if he were here.

I miss him. We've all moved on, best we can, but there's still and always this gaping hole where he used to be. I don't quite know where I'm at these days where he's concerned. Was going to take his pictures down on the right, but realized the Cyril one needed to stay...it's one of my absolute faves, so tender. That was a rare state to catch him in.

We don't keep secrets from each other now that he's gone; we're more honest with each other. We kept things from him because he was so rigid sometimes, it was just easier for all concerned to stay quiet, dodge a potential argument. That hurts like hell now, makes it feel like we're better off somehow with him gone. My stress dreams usually involve that guilt...he's come back somehow (details fuzzy, and since he was cremated, my brain concocts some rather convoluted answers to that question) and we're living the way we live now, and I'm trying to bring him around to my way of thinking about something. That's gotta be old sadness from 1997 manifesting itself too...when I told Dad Les was moving in with me, he didn't speak a word to me for at least 6 months. Felt a lot longer, and maybe it was...it took quite a few arguments that I thankfully wasn't privy to, to get him to my wedding at all. If I visited during that time, he found a reason to be in the garage, or he went to run an errand. His righteous beliefs simply didn't allow for his eldest daughter to exert that level of independence. Old hurts die hard. And time heals very slowly apparently. 3 years ...

About a week ago, I returned to the scene of the crime, so to speak. My mom had a myleogram done at Baptist downtown, and the day stay wing was exactly one floor down from the heart hospital where we lost him. I had a long time to wait for Mom and thought about going up to that floor to confront whatever I was feeling, but while I was sitting there, they called a Code Blue to the heart hospital that I heard 2 floors down in radiology waiting. I experienced a flood of emotions and had to concentrate for a moment to regulate my breathing, so I figured there was no need to be self-flaggelating and go up to that floor.

We'll never be better off without him. I miss the debates that he and I had, and I actually enjoyed butting up against his beliefs, because at least he was knowing the real me. Now, can't argue with a ghost...hence my current cast adrift feeling. So Happy Father's Day, Papa! I remember you today, the good and the bad, and miss both very much.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Thoughtful Thursday

Is there any other kind of Thursday around these parts?

I've been quite fickle with the new template designer here...this latest one's quite cheery though, think I'll keep it for a while...

I'm taking Monday off just because...they were asking for us high-tenure employees to schedule days off, so we're not all piling it up at the end of the year...so I thought, why not first day of summer? I'm glad, because I've been seriously ornery this week and need to get some excrement accomplished.

Not getting that job was a blessing; I mean, I don't actually give a crap about how this company markets itself. They just announced an acquisition that's costing them $135 million, yet I just slogged through 2 hours of training on 10-year-old computers that barely work, and they can't be bothered to pay us market rate.

I remembered something the other day, and it's lit a fire inside of me. I've had several coworkers get their Master's degrees in English and bail on the company to go teach. Each time, I remember thinking, lucky bastards. I still want Les to get back into school before me, but I'm thinking hard about ways to get us both back in somehow. We had another girl cash in her 401(k) to go back to school full time recently...I remember thinking, must be nice to be that young. I won't touch my retirement unless it's to shave a chunk off to move out of this godforsaken state, but it's got me thinking of other ways to invest, scrimp, save...plus, Les could be eligible for federal aid, since he never completed a degree.

In the meantime, I've started reading Norton's English Lit Anthology online and checked Beowulf out of the library...gotta start somewhere. My dream is to be able to ace my next degree because I've done half the studying already...since I'll likely be attempting my next degree with the distraction of small people present, I figure any studying I do now can't hurt. I literally still have stress dreams where I'm enrolled in college, but I'm blowing off classes for one reason or another and I'm right back at the level of mediocrity that I patented during my first degree. I don't understand why I have those dreams, because I know how very much I've changed in 20 years; but you can be damn sure they ain't foreshadowing.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Thinking, thinking, thinking...

Didn't get the marketing job : (

If I'm frustrated and unhappy, why am I still working for this company? There comes a point when you realize that stability isn't all it's cracked up to be. Certainly it would make the most sense for me to stick with them...we're still talking about kids, we're stuck here til next frickin' October...but this week I'm indulging in a self-assessment. Nothing may come out of it, except a clearer picture of our near future, but it needs to happen. I'm tired of self-imposed misery.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Good news, bad news

Bad news...slightly toasty here in FL...heat indices reaching over 100

Good news...rains have started every evening and tomatoes flowering a bit more

Bad news...I'm in a mood

Good news...it will pass, but Starbucks may be involved in its passing :)

Bad news...AC was on the fritz last night

Good news...Maintenance man with attitude problem fixed AC

Good news...Wizarding World of Harry Potter opens this week at Universal Orlando

Bad news...I'm not sure my Lil Sis remembers what it's like to get 8 hours of sleep in a row...hell, make that 6 hours of sleep...I expect the punchy sense of humor to kick in right around tomorrow night's gala...wish I could be there both to help and to watch her unspool >:)

Good news...Bagels on sale BOGO at Publix, Thomas' whole wheat...yum!

Bad news...so naturally my boss springs for bagels this morning...Murphy's law...

Good news...started a fresh blog dedicated to my hopeful farm

Bad news...wordpress annoys me...searching for the most user-friendly freebie...

Good news...enough cash on hand for frappuccino :)

Monday, June 14, 2010

Ornery Monday

Another weekend bites the dust and all I have to show for it is a clean bathroom. Well, that's not entirely true...I also cleaned most of the kitchen and made a chicken rice soup, that I'm pretty sure neither of us will feel like eating this week because it's so damn hot out. Wanted to bake bread yesterday, but couldn't justify having the oven on, as our delightfully energy-inefficient apartment heats up in spite of the AC at the peak of the day. The bathroom area does look good though...nice amount of counter space back, and I threw out enough expired crap from under the sink to fill up a garbage bag and qualify us as a biohazard location.

Went to Chamblin's on Saturday, but only came away with 1 book each...unloaded literally a car trunk's worth of books though, which felt good...there's another Goodwill box started, and with less new TV on right now, my evenings are going to be spent organizing.

SS turned us down...writing up appeal this week.

Harry Potter opens at Universal/Islands of Adventure this week. My Lil Sis is working quite nearly around the clock. They literally check out rooms at the hotels on campus there for the PR staff, but no sleeping is expected to actually occur. I really don't get why she's working past the grand opening...she heads to Charlotte for intro meetings for her new job early next week, and if I were her, I'd get back to Orlando and sleep until the move July 4th weekend. Will be encouraging her in that regard...

But enough about her...I'm ornery and hoping to shake it off as the day progresses. When you get things accomplished on the weekend, and it doesn't appear a dent was even made, it's frustrating. SS turned us down because they say nothing's changed in Les's sitch since we last applied in '07...I feel like saying, no shit, dumbasses, he couldn't work then and he can't work now. I put it as plainly as I could in the initial app...your average office job means being under fluorescent lighting all day, which exacerbates his migraines, and working outdoors isn't feasible either because any exertion past normal exacerbates his migraines. I really don't want to hire a lawyer...it'd have to be one of those "we don't collect unless you do" guys, as we can't pay our way out of a decent phone booth these days. But even those guys must have loopholes in their contracts, I mean, who can afford to work for nothing? In the meantime, looking at federal financial aid for him as well...would love to get him back in school, get the remedial junk out of the way here...he did time in college, but bounced around and left before AA.

Lord, I'm grouchy...heat index is supposed to be above 100 today, but I'd rather be outside than in...hate being strapped to a computer when I'm antsy like this. I'd rather be out sweating myself dry on some project than tapping away at a keyboard. I want to empty the large cabinet on the dining room table and start trimming the edges, seeing if it needs patching, and sanding it down for refinishing. I want to start more plants without having to worry about the damn ducks knocking them over. I want...
(can't remember where I snitched the image from, but I've used it before, so its source is archived)

Friday, June 11, 2010

Friday fatigue

Took yesterday off to shadow Mom while she had a medical test done. No heavy lifting, just helping her, fetching dinner, corralling the dog when needed...but I puttered around in my bare feet quite a bit because I was feeling lazy, and my knees are telling me loudly today that they don't appreciate the laziness. What I need are walking sandals that offer support...wonder if Keen has outlet stores? Hey, a girl can dream...

Slept at Mom's last night, and I'm finding I miss my plants...good sign that I'm finally expanding my dedication to growing things...

Mom's couch remarkably comfy, but just narrow enough that my brain woke me up every time I wanted to change positions...which was a good thing, because I would've fallen off the sucker otherwise, and besides, her TV has gremlins and turns on by itself lately...turned the silly thing off like 4 times last night. So I'm a little fuzzy around the edges today.

Wow, that picture's old...was taken when Chloe was a puppy, she's 1½ now. Not sure how it's possible to be completely adorable and significantly annoying at the same time, but Mom's dog manages it...really the first time I've spent quality time with the critter too, but wow, cemented my belief that we'll be medium to large size dog people when the time comes...the urge to nudge that critter a little farther than necessary with a carefully placed foot is palpable at times. Saw a sign on the side of the road for a Frisbee Dog Tournament and told Mom I was thinking of entering Chloe, as I was certain I could throw her far enough. Luckily, Mom has a sense of humor >:)

This weekend, Chamblin's run, gardening, organizing...

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Wistful Wednesday

Serious energy today...not sure why, but really wishing I could expend some of it on something other than website editing.

Making something a habit is a royal bitch. Scratch that, making exercise a habit is a royal bitch. Making sitting on my ass in front of a computer a habit is a breeze. I should frickin' shut down Farmville completely and take like, a month off FB and see how much weight I lose.

My sched was thrown off yesterday by stopping by Mom's after work to check the cables on her TV (she says it's been turning on and off without her help) and walk the furball since I was there, but that's a seriously crappy excuse for not walking when it's not getting dark until after 8 now. My knees remind me everyday that they're going to keep on hurting until I lose some of this weight. End scene on self-flaggellation.

A couple of new flower wannabes on the tomato plant, but I'm still not convinced. I'll be glad to eat my words in another 2 months, but I think I'm going to try and seed some more tomatoes, start a later harvest, just for kicks...one of the only perks of living in zone 9A, a really decent growing season. I have more tomato seed starters, and while there's still just basil, parsley, and a lone pepper showcasing my success, I'm really itching to make more...if we're stuck here another 16 months, then that porch is going to be overflowing with green stuff in the meantime. Really wish I could justify a compost bin, but that's probably pushing it...I'm so aware now, of what's being wasted though...every egg shell or banana peel that I toss, I'm thinking how it would serve me well in a compost bin. And who's to say I can't get one of those small fully-enclosed bins to start...it's like my idea of taking that giant Igloo water cooler, topping it with cheesecloth, and making it a rainbarrel...gotta start somewhere. Mel's not-so-new motto :)

Glee's finale makes me want to get my iTunes fixed, since we're coming up on a payday...pretty sure I'll keep putting it off though. I can survive without cool music; bills come first.

SO very nice to hit my wind-down TV time and pick up the sticks and string again...even just for a row or two. I didn't forget how calming knitting is...I just completely wasn't in the mood for some reason, from Christmas through May. Weird. Anyway, very glad to be back at it.

I'm 40¾ today...I know it's just a number, but it still gets my wheels turning.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Myopic Tuesday

Wow...that image is a freak of nature. I normally don't photograph full-face well, because of my lazy left eyelid. Taken with crappy LG phone.

Right eye started giving me hell with about an hour of work to go yesterday. Pretty sure it's just irritation from contact lens age...I'm not the most diligent about switching 'em out. Today it's OK, but I could tell the ole eyeballs needed a rest, so wore my glasses to work. I'm pretty strictly a contacts gal, so wearing the glasses raises comments. Luckily, the frames I purchased last year fit well...it's the first time in my adult life really that I almost enjoy wearing the suckers, and tend to remove the contacts earlier in the evenings after a long day of computer eye strain. So I brought my new contacts just in case, but by some miracle, am not going 'round the bend yet with the glasses. I hope never to be a full-time glasses gal, but it's quite the relief to give my eyes a rest when needed, without it making me completely nutty. Usually if the glasses come to work, they've been switched out by lunchtime.

Not a whole lot else to report...the days dawn muggy. I step outside my front door in the morning to the wall of heat. With our east/west exposures, the front landing gets the sunrise, so I'm pleasantly surprised when walking from car to office, that it's not actually that hot yet, just seemed so when I was going down the stairs at my apartment. But it's Florida June here....lush, green, warm. I'm restless as usual.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Deliberate movement

Images are ghost cat and view from my back porch...could be worse.

I'm awakening slowly this morning, slept late, but enjoyed stress dreams for the late portion of my REM, so I'm content to let my waking occur organically, not push it. I'm eating breakfast and pondering projects. It's too warm to go walking, so I'll spend the day puttering indoors. There's plenty to do. I'll carve a hole in the dining room and later, when it's cooler, I'll hop out to the porch to move some stuff around. The ducks are going to learn who's boss out there. My small successes with the plants have me itching to expand my herb garden and rearrange stuff out there. Also, have to murder some yellow jackets...little bastards nailed me good yesterday. I was crouched, getting pictures of the duck...my knees were cussing me out for crouching full like that, and I didn't notice my hand brushed the damn nest they've been building on our charcoal cooker. At least 5 stings on my right hand. Thankfully, I'm pretty immune to such things...hurt like a bitch at first, then itched, but no residual symptoms, just feeling foolish for forgetting they were out there, plus a little indignance, because getting stung feels like something that only happens to oblivious little kids, not adults.

Appreciate what you have. I'm trying hard for that motto, can't let myself be bummed about staying here...there's no point. We're not ready, our finances won't let us get ready fast, so no point in wallowing. I think I get this from Dad; the man was a shark...let himself get depressed about things, but was always moving, crowding out the thing that depressed him with other projects. With him, it may have been avoidance, but my dreams won't let me avoid the big picture, because remedying it will only bring us closer to my little patch of land. I really don't give a damn if it's a form of living in denial, because without dreams, you're sunk. I may not do well living in the present, but I'm able to tolerate the present with a clear eye on the future. Eventually the two will meet, and I'll be able to practice Zen with a clear conscience.

Nudging against this positive attitude is a pinch of envy, because my Lil Sis is heading in the right direction faster than we can. I've been hinting at her activities, couldn't get into detail; but she gave her notice at work, so I feel safe spilling it...the little creep is moving to Charlotte! She has a job up there waiting for her, solid looking firm, nice pay raise; and she works hard to keep her finances manageable, so the move's coming together pretty nicely. Les and I are helping with the driving over 4th of July weekend. I'm excited for her, and I'm sure being able to go up there and get even a small look around will help motivate me further.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Friday, June 04, 2010

This Weekend

Budgeting...looking to the future...analyzing debt...

80% after deductible...I hate how that surprised me.

Making to-do lists...getting my hands in the dirt...

Staying off the computer unless it's to research something...

Knitting...SO nice to have my hands in the wool again...what took me so long? Started Retro Rib pattern (from here) for Mom J, working up nicely...

A little cooking...we've been scrambling for meals since getting back, but the freezer's full...will do some culinary creating this weekend.

Cleaning, cleaning, cleaning...organizing...cleaning...

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Very Thoughtful Thursday

So much shtuff rolling around my head...

...so Les's gastroenterologist billed us for the CAT scan, which surprised us because we thought the fine print in the insurance says that all diagnostic labs are covered 100%. Further inquiry has me thinking that they get around that with a deductible now, but I'm still appealing it because below that nugget about the deductible, it says in black and white that they cover diagnostic labs 100%...so it's confusing enough to warrant further query before rolling over.

...thank the gods that I looked into it, because it turns out my cardiologist's office is slow to bill...not only am I going to be charged for my angiogram (up to the $750 deductible at least), but they put an incorrect diagnosis code on my sleep study, and insurance denied the whole thing, so that mess needs to be sorted out too....so my knowledge of our potential debt situation has increased significantly in the past 24 hours. I'm remarkably calm about it right now.

...our lease runs out end of August, so we need to let the complex know before the end of this month what we intend to do. Yesterday I inquired as to how our rent would change, since we're wanting to renew. Our rent will decrease by $20 if we sign a 14-month lease. While I cringe at the thought of staying in that apartment, never mind Florida, that long, the plain truth of our credit report, debt sitch, and that we're hoping to try for small people again starting this month may make that an offer we can't refuse. We'll be talking ourselves into it this weekend.

...had several downpours last night and this morning felt like summer for the first time this year, real Florida summer...walking from the car to the office, it was muggy, cloudless, and hot. I took a walk at lunchtime yesterday and didn't even break a sweat. I think those days are over now.

...exercise still isn't a habit. I'm studying Bob Greene's Best Life Diet again though, in conjunction with my plans to create a weekly cross-training regimen of cardio, Kathy Smith, and yoga. Making the time for me...so ridiculous that we make it so hard to do that.

...did a couple of rows on the cardi last night, SO nice to be working with yarn again. Started a Cookie A. pattern for Mom J., but I'm thinking of ripping it out because YO to purl is such a pain in the arse...we'll see...

...the fact that someone had the idea "hey, let's go nuclear on the BP oil spill" and our government discussed its merits before tossing it renders me speechless...

...and my shoelaces broke on my Docs yesterday, so I replaced 'em with camouflage laces. Can't wait to embarass my children with decisions like this >:) Yeah, you know you're jealous.

(all images except the last one snitched from msnbc's Animal Tracks...love that owl shot! Doesn't it just look like one of them should be saying, "um, hey Joe, think it's time to clean the lint screen?")

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Tough concept for a writer, but I'll give it a shot...2 views from my desk...

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Pensive again

We're back. We survived. Brought my camera and didn't take a single picture...which is kind of odd, since I feel like I spent the weekend being an observer, not a participant, of the world around me, but anyway...this shot's from the first time I went to Hitchcock Woods.

We arrived Friday and time slowed down. The niece demands attention and we comply. We color and draw together, and let her climb on us, and chase us around indoors and out. Her eating habits are abysmal, thanks to the lack of structure and the family's penchant for trying to feed her while competing with the TV. I want to laugh and shake my head at them, but as a childless woman, I have no legs to stand on, so I remain silent. Les crashed way early on Friday, but was up and about on a normal schedule the rest of the weekend...and stepped up with Kylie in ways that did my heart good, thinking about us having our own someday soon, knowing what I already knew, that he'd be an amazing father. Saturday his mom and I hit the sales early, were home before 12 noon, which is unusual when we're shopping. The afternoons meandered. The niece is luminous, running big-eyed into life with a strong opinion and will, which will alternately serve her well and make life difficult as she grows...I pray someone can teach some of that obstinance out of her down the road, because going through life thinking you should always get your way, as her mother does, just ain't right. I know in my heart there are ways to do that without breaking her, per se. I ache watching her, because she's still so young...the contradictions she's faced with every day aren't fair to her. I wish...

I kept my mouth shut pretty carefully all weekend, and I talked Les down once or twice when he couldn't. I really hate that my silence could be seen as compliance, acceptance with what goes on there, but me opening my mouth could create horrible rifts...this is a family of manipulators with long memories, and I'm not going to be the one who orchestrates potentially irreparable grudges. If I learned anything from living with Dad and then losing him, it's the art of choosing your battles.

The rain hit late each day, bringing mugginess and then cool. They have a water main leak in their street, which is wasting gallons daily, much to the consternation of the older generation, who've called the city and county about it and received little to no response about repairing the issue. Kylie's parents are still pretty useless. Food consumption for me was sporadic, because their fridge is foreign to me, and so stocked that you can't always be certain about the lifespan of its contents (example: before the little one arrived on the scene, the milk was always out of date), so I pick and choose carefully. Sunday when the little one went down for a nap, I escaped to Hitchcock Woods, hit the trails and just walked as long as I thought I could go before Les would start worrying about me (about 3 miles total). It's easy to go too far there, to just walk and walk and think, well, I'll turn around after this next hill, and then keep going...and I've barely scratched the surface of the trails. Looking forward to hitting them again in August. I sat for a moment on benches bordering a horse show circle...without a soul in sight or sound...and just felt the earth pulse around me. My god, it felt good! Sandy trails, good knee workout.

Sunday night the small one was doing her usual "i'm not hungry" dance, so Les bribed her...eat all your dinner, and we'll go for a walk outside afterwards and then you can have cake. It worked, so he, Kylie, and I went for a short walk outside after dinner, taking a route that she normally takes with her dad to a big tree, her chattering all the way, walking between us hand in hand, as we looked for birds and bats in the twilight.

As scared as I am about how incredibly and irreversibly your life changes with the arrival of a small person, I also know how ready I am. Les is too; we could see it in each other's eyes as we played with Kylie this weekend. No idea what the future holds, but we're ready to start trying again. Cross some fingers please...

I look forward to a short week of work. No money as usual to live on, so just making do and digging into the apartment, sorting, purging, etc. Started the cardigan, and while the pattern was initially a bit vague, it's giving me no trouble yet. Thinking the only xmas knitting I'll do this year is the socks I didn't manage last year for Mom J., and I'm going to start those soon, so they don't vex me around the holiday season. Hey, it could happen...

The pepper plant sprouted its first fruit while I was gone, the tomatoes are holding out stubbornly, and the duck sits.