Thursday, October 31, 2013

happy halloween

the view today out my office window...

Monday, October 28, 2013

four or five things in no particular order

1.  I just read the blogs of three daughters of one of my friends.  Oh my but I want to comment and tell those girls how much I love when they post, I love reading about their lives, I love seeing their pictures--but you know, I don't want to be that person who hijacks all of the posts by commenting like cra-cra.  But I do love reading them.

2.  And speaking of my mom...rim shot...but seriously.  Mom stopped by on Saturday while Jr was stapling black sparkly fabric to the dining room ceiling in order to make it look all starry for the party that night.  Jr's friends said they couldn't believe his mom allowed him to take over the house with all of his party plans.  My mom sat right there in my rocking chair and told him he needed to stop asking permission and just do what he wanted because it was much easier to just do what you want and not ask permission.  That's how she's lived her whole life, she actually said that, and really what were people going to do anyway if you just did what you wanted and then they could just get over it, right?  Kids of mine, if you're reading this post, please close your eyes and don't read this next part, because, WTF?  My whole entire livelong life has been about trying to get permission from my mom who ALWAYS SAID NO FIRST.  I was so stunned to hear her actually admit to any of this.  I've recently realized that she's going to do whatever she pleases so just get over it, but to hear her say it?  Sorry to Jr's friends who thought I was annoyed at him stapling stuff to the ceiling.  My RAGE had nothing to do with him or his party plans.  I was just ticked off that I'd missed out on all sorts of who knows what by ALWAYS ASKING PERMISSION AND BEING TOLD NO.  Jeez.  Seriously?

3.  Okay. Take a breath.  Next.  I still haven't made that banana bread.  But I did bake two batches of cupcakes for the party, and while they aren't those fancypants cupcakes you see at the fancypants cupcake stores that are EVERYWHERE--well, they are still pretty tasty with their chocolate frosting and festive sprinkles, and I have done my best to make sure none of them go to waste.

4.  And speaking of cupcakes.  Jack, Jr and I went to the nearby gym tonight to join up.  We took a tour and it has everything we could possibly need and it's about three minutes away.  Perfect, right?  During the tour, our guide pointed out a large room that had mirrors from floor to ceiling.  I thought he said it was the angry workout room.  He clarified by saying it was the main workout room.  Okay.  Makes sense.  Then he made us walk upstairs to see all of the workout equipment.  Yes, that's right, exercising to go see the exercise equipment.  Then he offered to show us the locker rooms.  Did he let me go with them into the mens' locker room?  No, no he did not.  He sent me down the hall to the womens' locker room, which was very nice, and while walking back to meet up with the guys, I noticed the angry workout room was full of women so I peeked in and before I knew what happened, I was right in the middle of a zumba class.  Yep.  Me and zumba.  I could make a list of all the stuff I learned about zumba but I'll just point out two things--first, I have absolutely zero idea how to shake my butt like that teacher was shaking hers.  And I can't remember what the other thing was.  Probably something about how I haven't really exercised for the past 30 years and I'm pretty sure I need a handful of advil stat.  Or about whose crazy idea was it to put mirrors on every wall in the angry workout room?  No wonder people are angry.  Okay, yes it was fun to move to the music, even if I was frequently creating moves all of my own, but I suspect that any increased amount of movement has to help me feel more fit, right, or at least after a couple of weeks and some advil? 

5.  Oh wait, back to the cupcakes.  I was feeling so proud for lasting through the entire 55 minute zumba class that I rewarded myself with a cupcake.  So there you have it.  I zumba'd and ate cupcakes.  Yes, I had one before we went to the gym.  There's only one left, so probably by the time I go to bed I will be all done confessing my eating of snacks.  Until I make that banana bread.

One last thing--has this been the most beautiful autumn or what?  Yes, windy and colder today and probably rainy tomorrow, but seriously.  The colors and the temperature and the feeling.  Remarkable.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

the party

Jr really knows how to throw a party.  Unfortunately, the band didn't play (the lead guitarist had to go to his real job, boo), but even without a band, the party was a hit.  I'm not sure I should have played that crazy card game with Jr and his friends, but there was much laughter, and seriously, check out these decorations, from the front yard, to the haunted woods in the front room, to the great hall in the dining room, down the stairs to Hogwarts in the basement, and a little bit of extra startling at the bathroom entrance:





And Halloween hasn't even arrived yet...

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

look at me being all busy and stuff today

Went to work where I:

1.  Got my flu shot.
2.  Ate flautas smothered with chili verde for lunch with Jack, Stu, and Jr.
3.  Got a new compy.
4.  Tried to learn to be friends with the new compy who speaks a foreign language it seems, or maybe it's just a new operating system or whatever those IT guys call it when they give me a new computer that is pretty much different from my former compy.

Came home from work where I:

5.  Reheated leftover pot roast with potatoes and gravy for dinner.
6.  Donated blood and ate cookies because the Keebler elves support blood donation, which is cool, if you ask me.
7.  Bought a new suit at Ann Taylor, which took a few minutes because apparently my body has not only changed size in the past few years, but also shape, and, well, I'm trying to be okay with that.
8.  Blogged this post and will spend the next three minutes making my picks for the fantasy football league, which, btw, I am still leading, and you boys stop hatin' on me for my picking skills.

Tomorrow I'm taking a quick trip to Birmingham, Alabama, for a mediation session for work on Thursday and then back home Thursday night.  Very cool to get to sit in on one of these, I think.  Seems only reasonable if you are in on a matter from the very start and live through it for seven years and four lawyers that you ought to get to see it to conclusion.  Which may or may not happen on Thursday, but it will be interesting. 

Yeah, I'm legally nerdy like that.  And I'll be wearing a fine suit.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

the good news

1.  I spent the evening last night with the locals.  Fun was had.
2.  The government is back open.  Wheeeee!
3.  My parents have arrived in California.  Long story about the route.  I'll spare you.
4.  Halloween party planning is in full swing.  As can be seen in this shot:

You heard it's a Harry Potter party this year, correct?  Don't you wish you had a castle in your basement now too?

And this shot:

Which, in case you cannot tell, is a picture of the white board with electrical/electronic diagrams for the various devices that will be used to entertain the guests and frighten the trick-or-treaters...and I've been told those numbers in the corner are something to do with battery life analysis for various haunting devices...

And I told you there will be a band again this year, right?  Yeah, because that's how we rock around here.  And we will rock.  Join us on the 26th, right?  Or if you want to giggle yourself silly, come over on the 31st and sit in the darkened living room with me to laugh at the frightened teenagers out front. 

Best.Time.Ever.  Along with the band.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

driving but not where i want

There are always a lot of possibilities on my list of things to do on a Sunday, but driving to Wendover, eating at the Mandalay Bay buffet, and then driving back home are not on that list.  All kinds of messed up is what that is.

See, Wendover has become to me a ten-minute bathroom stop and gas tank fill-up on the way to see the Californians, or perhaps the last stop on the way home from visiting with them.  It is definitely not a destination place.

But on Sunday last, the phone rang and it was my mom, calling to tell me she was disgusted with herself for forgetting to bring her purse with her on their trip to California.

Mom turned 80 this year and seems to have decided that she needs to do all of the things she can while she still can.  She is doing stuff she's always done--like yardwork in the dark and shopping and storing away lots of stuff and remodeling the house in whatever ways she still can, but the past few months have included a whole bunch of new things she wants to do, like hiking up part of Mt. Olympus and skipping the family reunion to go to Lagoon.  There is no stopping her now, so she and dad are on their way, driving the nearly 800 miles to northern California for Leo's first birthday this Saturday.

They left at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday night and she called me from Wendover at 9:00 a.m. on Sunday to ask if I'd mind bringing her purse and a few other things out to her.  Jack, Jr and I picked up the purse and the half a dozen other things she'd forgotten and headed to Wendover.  Mom said she was starving when we got there so off we went to the buffet at one of the local casinos, and after a couple of hours, headed back east to home.

Fingers crossed that they'll be safe and have a good time together.  I know dad will be delighted to see the Californians and mom will have enjoyed the drive and getting out of the valley. 

But it was so hard to go to Wendover and then turn back for home.  Just sayin'.

Monday, October 14, 2013

valuable still

Do you ever have one of those days where you just feel worn out or old or maybe even useless?  Or maybe something not quite so harsh.  Well sometimes I do.  Not today, but sometimes. 

But yesterday I noticed these two things on my counter:

Now you might be wondering what a bunch of brown bananas and some dead roses have to do with anything, but it occurred to me that even though those bananas are brown, they will make some fine banana bread.  And even though the roses are somewhat spent, they are still quite lovely in their own way. 

Sometimes it doesn't take much to get me over the hump.

Friday, October 11, 2013

little cat

I have tried for years to get a good shot of this one.  She's tricky.  Little and shiny and black and beautiful, but also a bit skittish.  This is my best one yet.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

random stuff

Jr is getting serious about school.  He told me this is the first semester that he's been ahead on his homework.

A few minutes ago, Jr was leaning over my shoulder, moving my mouse, trying to find a blog post that he was sure I needed to see.  I was losing patience, just a little, not like seriously, just a little.  And without looking at him, I intended to give him a tiny little threatening fist in the air, not ever considering that he was leaning over my shoulder so closely that I might punch him in the forehead.  Uh.  Just really glad it wasn't his nose.  I don't need yet another son who won't let me forget giving him a bloody nose or two.

A couple of weeks ago, Jack thought it might be a fun idea to set up a fantasy football league and invite himself, me, Jr., Danielle, Stu, Wally (a childhood friend of Jack's), and Jack's brother, we'll call him Bob, to play.  We just finished up our second week.  Guess who is leading the league in points?  Yep.  Me.  (This is me trashtalking my leaguemates.)

I don't know which I think is funnier--Bob calling Jack at work yesterday to ask if I'm somehow cheating and that's why I'm leading, OR, Jr making his picks based on things like team colors, mascots, and always picking New Orleans to win because they speak French in New Orleans and the team logo is a fleur de lis.

Okay.  Well, probably enough for now.  I gotta go make this week's picks.  Rock on fantasy football.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

those plans of mine

Remember a month ago when I had that plan to go to the Provo house, clean like a mad woman, snag a bowflex and get that place rented?

Well.  Sometimes you can have a plan, with a list even, and still not get things done like you wanted them done.  Or maybe you can get things done eventually.  Which is the case with this plan and that list.

No, there was no bowflex for me.  But I got the place all tidied.  I thought I was ready to rent it, but then
there was that apparent tornado and remember that post about bricks nearly smacking me in the head? 

And there was the flooding of the bedrooms.

So of course, then we took that little sidetrip to Cali, which was, as always, pretty great for me.  Not so much for Jack since he had to come home early to tend to his mom.  That situation was a bit intense for a while but seems to have settled down for now, which is actually nothing to complain about but is instead a bit of a breather and something to be very grateful for.

But then, well, someone had to decide what to do about the flying bricks and collapsing chimneys and the flooded bedrooms.  So I decided.  (Well, not really all by myself at all since the Californians weighed in as did Jack.)  We hired a guy to cut in a drain in the concrete at the bottom of the stairs at the front door of the apartment.  (Check, no more flooding there.)  We hired a guy and his kid to repair the chimneys.  (Check, no more flying bricks or dampers and dang if they don't look quite fine again.)  Jr and I did some serious pruning of the neighbor's trees that had overgrown the roof.  (Check, back away trees, no more blowing around at our chimneys.)  I hired a company to replace the basement windows (Check, no more water flooding into the bedrooms) and picked out some new carpet that was installed earlier this week to replace the flooded carpets (Check.  So nice on the feet.  And the nose--yum new carpet smell.)  And in a couple of weeks, there will be new soffit and fascia and seamless rain gutters (Check, away with you rain, go out to the garden now!), which, along with the new windows, will make this a cozy, dry place to live, especially while walking barefooted on the new carpet. (Check.  Seriously.)

So this past few days has been the time to get new tenants.  Many people call, text, email.  Many say they will be at the apartment at various times on various days to see the awesomeness that is this apartment they highly desire. 

So, you might ask, then why do they not show up at the appointed time?  Or perhaps that is what I was asking after driving there again to wait for apparently no one.  Dorks.  That's what they are.  Inconsiderate dorks who do not deserve to live in this cozy soft to the foot place. 

But then yesterday and today, some of them arrived to see the place.  Let me just note that it is hard to be the one deciding who should get to live in this place.  Ultimately what I want from renters is twofold--pay the rent on time and take care of the place.  Period.

So.  Do I go with the one who has no work history?  Do I choose either of the ones who have three children?  How about the mom with the sons who won't stop chasing the ducks even after the mom asks them to stop three times?  Do I pick the one with the new puppy who hasn't peed in the house in like, six months?  Do I go with the almost married couple who doesn't want to sign a lease for another two weeks or the ones who want to wait six weeks?  Do I go with the guy and his sons who are hesitant to sign up for the electric service with the city?  See, everyone has a story and probably any of them would be okay or mostly okay, right?

I chose the two guys who have been contacting me for several days.  One of them has a service dog, an adorable pomeranian named Shellie who has been his companion for five years. Shellie is a well-behaved indoor dog who has absolutely no desire to chase the ducks.  Her owner and his friend have job and housing history and seem like they will take care of the place.

That's all I ask.  Although a bowflex would have been nice.

pretty nice chimney, right?