Thursday, May 31, 2007
When I got home from work last night, the pool was gone. Totally gone. Nothing but dirt in that backyard now. And I wondered, "How on earth did they find a contractor to take that thing out of there in one day?" I guess they could have just filled it in, but I doubt they would do that. I mean, having a gigantic filled-in swimming pool in the back yard can't be the best selling point when it's time to put the house on the market. But if they did have it removed, how did they do it in one day? I mean, this pool was big. With a concrete patio all the way around. And the yard was totally fenced, so they must have taken out quite a bit of fencing just to get the chunks out.
And the contractors around here? Are kind of, um, lackadaisical in their approach to their work. I mean, you hire a contractor for whatever kind of job, he's liable to show up on the first day with a full crew, work like crazy, break for lunch, and show back up three weeks later. To pick up his tools for the job he is currently working on.
Anyway, several years ago, my next-door neighbors filled in their in-ground pool. It had been sitting empty for a few years before that. Well, mostly empty. A few feet of rainwater had collected in the deep end, and that was Rocky's favorite fishing spot. He would squeeeeeze under their chain link fence, go to the shallow end of the pool (the dry end) and jump down into the pool. Then he'd mosey down to the deep end, where the water was, and sit and just look into the water. Occasionally he'd dip his paws in, chasing something, but he never did bring me back any fish.
So now the only pool in the neighborhood belongs to the Screamer. The neighbors three houses down have a little girl, about five or six years old now, who is a Screamer. And when she is in the pool? With other kids? Who are splashing around and having fun? She screams. and screams. and shrieks. and screams. Punctuated by cries of, daddy Daddy DADDY DAAAAADDDDDYYYYYY! DAAAAADDDDDYYYY! DAAAAAAADDDDDDDYYYY!
I know Screamers are fairly common; there's one up at the lake. What I wonder is, what do these kids grow up to be like? Do they grow up to be happy, well-adjusted adults? Or do they grow up to be jerks? If anybody knows a Screamer who has reached adulthood, please let me know how they turned out.
So, Goodbye, neighbor's pool. I'm going to miss you.
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
By Brian LiberatorePress & Sun-Bulletin
WEST CORNERS -- Fire investigators Tuesday said a discarded cigarette butt started a fire that destroyed a mobile home May 23, leaving three children and their mother homeless.
Virginia Roberts, 28, who has three young children and is expecting a fourth, left the butt burning in an ashtray that fell on her couch, said Tom Vroman, senior fire investigator with Broome County. Roberts left the trailer to attend to one of her children and likely forgot about the burning butt, Vroman said. Roberts said she had walked to a nearby relative's home, where she heard that her home was burning.
She went back to her mobile home, she said, but firefighters would not let her near the burning trailer for fear that the fumes and smoke could affect her pregnancy. The fire spread, damaging a neighboring mobile home. No one was injured in the blaze.
The Southern Tier Chapter of the American Red Cross paid for Roberts and her children to stay in a hotel five nights. The family is now searching for a new home. Roberts, who is disabled and does not work, said she did not have renter's insurance.
"... for fear that the fumes and smoke could affect her pregnancy"!?! When it was her cigarette that started the fire!?! And let's see, she was smoking while pregnant. Charming. And she doesn't work and she's on disability and she doesn't have renter's insurance and she's got three kids with a fourth on the way, but she sure could afford those cigarettes, couldn't she? Oh yeah, and no mention of a husband or of the children's father(s). This just has "white trash" written all over it. And it cracks me up. Because until you've lived in proximity to people like this, you have no idea how fucked up they really are.
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
1. My sister Alabama (also known as Florida, depending on where she's living at any given time), is about to become a great-grandmother at the ripe old age of fifty-something. Her oldest son's stepdaughter recently (a) turned eighteen; (b) dropped out of high school; and (c) got knocked up by her redneck idiot boyfriend whom no one in the family can stand. Good times!
2. My sister TIB's daughter A. and A.'s husband J. spent the weekend at the lake. Unfortunately, A. and J. are not currently on speaking terms. Hopefully they'll start talking before their baby is born in October. Woo-hoo!
3. My sister Ditzy recently became engaged. However, the bloom is apparently already off the rose. Her fiancee has an autistic son, which is waaayy more than Ditzy wants to deal with. So now her plan is that they'll still get married, but live in different houses. Ditzy thinks this makes perfect sense. Ooohhhkay.
My family. Is insane.
Friday, May 25, 2007
Here is all (that remains) of Ted, after washing. I removed all the stuffing before washing; amazingly, some of the stuffing on the very inside was still white and clean. Unfortunately, the remaining leg became detached from the torso during the cleaning process:
Why yes, he is impaled on flower vases. That's just to avoid mold/mildew forming while he dries. At least he's in close proximity to himself.
I know I may be spending waay too much time on this particular project, but something about it just makes me smile.
Thursday, May 24, 2007
That can't be true, right? I mean, surely if you are a good person, if you are a Christian, if you believe in God, surely the Catholics believe that you will go to heaven!
Wrong. I talked to several of my friends who are Catholic, and although they hemmed and hawed and tried to change the subject and were obviously uncomfortable with this facet of their religion, the fact of the matter is this: The Catholic church instructs its followers that all non-Catholics are going to hell. No matter now good of a person someone might be, if they are not Catholic, they are going straight to hell when they die. Which inspired the following flip book (you can see the yarn ties on the left side of the pages):
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
2. Stagedoor - A documentary about a summer camp for kids interested in the performing arts.
3. The Devil & Daniel Johnston - Documentary about a mentally ill guy who does "outsider music".
4. Waiting - A comedy about people working in a restaurant.
5. Murderball - Documentary about handicapped people playing volleyball. (I think it's volleyball. I could be wrong.)
6. Unknown White Male - Documentary (what else?) about a guy with amnesia.
I really, really wanted "Hands on a Hard Body". No! Wait! Don't get the wrong impression! It's not porn, honest! It's about people who enter a contest whereby the person who can keep their hands on a truck longer than anybody else wins the truck. According to Netflix, it is not yet available on DVD. Hmmm. According to Amazon.com, it is.
So, does anybody out there have any experience with Netflix? Did I just make a huge mistake? Will they somehow bill me for hidden charges? Let me know!
Here is Dead Ted Head after his bath. This photo shows his good side: He is missing an eye on the other side. And yes, that is an upside-down bottle of ketchup behind him, stuck in a beer cooler! Cause I am nothing if not classy.
Monday, May 21, 2007
In the end, I just took the head. Why? I have no idea. I will take home Dead Ted Head and soak him in a bucket of water (Oh! The poor thing's troubles never end!) and I think I may put him on the back porch or possibly on my wall, depending on how well he cleans up. Because I'm weird.
Yesterday, I was up at State Park, where the roads are not the best, and the rattling was pretty noticeable. So when I got home yesterday (ok, ok, after I got home, did a little painting, listened to the radio, drank a couple beers, etc., etc.) I got down on the ground underneath the car and really looked at it. And there was this big piece of aluminum shielding under there that had come completely unbolted and was just kind of ... hanging there, supported by other car parts. Ooops!
I took the Parkway into work this morning, so as not to have this big piece of metal come flying out of the back of my car while going 70 on Route 17, and dropped the car off at the muffler place around the corner.
The guy at the muffler place called about an hour later (Miracle #1. The first rule of mechanics is you never, never call the customer. Let them sweat it out and call you.). He said that the piece of aluminum was the rear heat shield, that it was too deteriorated to re-bolt, and that I really didn't need it anyway, so they had removed it, my car was ready to be picked up, and there would be no charge. (Miracle #2. Hallelujah!)
So as soon as I got off the phone, I started wondering. Because God forbid I ever take somebody's word for something and just let it drop. Oh, no. So I wondered, if I didn't need the heat shield, why was it there in the first place?
Now, I am not totally ignorant when it comes to cars. Just almost totally ignorant. I do know how to check the oil, the radiator fluid, and the windshield wiper fluid, and I do check the air in the tires. I know more about replacement parts than I ever wanted to know (crankshaft positioning sensor, anyone?) I had always assumed that the heat shields were there to protect certain parts of the car from the heat that other parts of the car produced. So, logically, if a certain heat shield was to be, say, removed and not replaced, another part of my car could potentially burst into flames. I know, I KNOW, but that's the way my little hamster wheel of a mind works. Don't trust the guy who does this for a living! Worry yourself endlessly about something that is not going to happen!
So I asked the guys at work, who were kind enough not to laugh out loud (at least to my face), and they explained that this particular heat shield was meant to shield the ground beneath the car from the heat of the exhaust pipe. And that I should probably not park in any fields, so as not to inadvertently start a brush fire, but otherwise I was ok.
So the car is fine, my mind can now rest (mental note: don't park in fields), and best of all, it was free! Yay!
Uh oh. Here goes the hamster wheel. The guys at the muffler place have been known to, let's say, loosen up stuff while they're working. Which means that a week or two after you get your car back, something else goes wrong.
But for now, all is well! Relax.
Friday, May 18, 2007
Anyway, here we go:
The wind was still blowing when we finally went to bed. At the very northern edge of the land, where it was dark and late and storming, sleep seemed the easiest state to exist in. I went to sleep there fully trusting the world not to harm me. I don't know if I ever felt that safe, before or again. My hands lay softly on the bed that night, my ear to the pillow as if that was where the comforting sound of rain came from. We were far away. I liked going to sleep knowing it was cold and no one was outside and we were so far away from anywhere else where the sky might be clear and other people might be living other lives.
I just love that.
Thursday, May 17, 2007
So anyway, the blogs are saying that Blake beat Melinda because of all the teenage girls who are clogging up the phone lines voting for him, convinced that if they vote enough times, Blake will somehow magically find out and show up at their house and whisk them back to Hollywood, declare his undying love for them on live national tv, and then marry them.
Sigh. Remember what it felt like to be that age? My teen idol was David Cassidy. Or wait, was it his younger brother, Shaun? No, I'm pretty sure that it was David. Remember Tiger Beat magazine? Do they still publish that?
Oh, and I had an odd (REALLY ODD) attraction to Marjoe Gortner. I read his biography when I was a kid and he just fascinated me. Because I was an odd, odd kid.
Now, if you click on "Marjoe Gortner", above, it should link to his Wikipedia entry. Hopefully. I thought a learning a new skill would be appropriate, seeing as how this is my 200th post and all. Thanks, Marjoe!
Gosh, I was a weird kid.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
When I googled "Lakeside Park", the lyrics which popped up had absolutely nothing in common with the lyrics as I knew them. I kept running the song (as I knew it) through my head, and finally realized: What I was actually thinking of was "Fly By Night", another Rush song, to which I had somehow melded the words "Lakeside Park".
Here are the lyrics to "Fly by Night":
Fly by night, away from here
Change my life again
Fly by night, goodbye my dear
My ship isn't coming and I just can't pretend.
Now, keeping in mind that this will be much, MUCH funnier if you know how the melody for "Fly by Night" goes, here, for your viewing amusement, are the lyrics I somehow came up with for "Fly by Night":
LAKEside Park, doo doo doo doo doo
LAKEside Park, again
LAKEside Park, doo doo doo doo
Catfish are coming (!?!) and I just can't pretend.
Ha ha ha ha ha! I'm an idiot!! Oh my goodness, I don't know what to do with myself sometimes.
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
I was standing in line at the grocery store at lunchtime today, when the woman in line behind me said, "Excuse me, but could I ask where you bought your purse? I just love it!"
I explained that I had bought a basic black purse, then bought some fabric and glued it to the purse. She said, "Oh, what a great idea! I just love that purse!"
And that made me very happy. Because I'm easy.
Oh yeah, and to the girl two people ahead of me in line? Yeah, you, the teenage mom who was putting her bags of groceries on top of her baby in the stroller? The one who held us all up an additional five minutes because you couldn't remember the pin number to your welfare card, which you of course thought was just the funniest thing ever? The one with the VBS problem? (Visible Bra Straps - folks, if you want to try this at home, it's just fine, but please - especially if your bra is all ratty and dirty - nobody wants to see your straps.) Yeah, you ..... I don't like you. Just sayin'.
On another Make My Day note, when I went out on the back deck to get the paper this morning, there was an opossum in my garden! A great big one! And when he heard me on the deck, he just ambled through the backyard and went under the neighbor's shed. That's the shed that the woodchuck lives under. And Rocky likes to hang out under there too. I wonder if they play cards?
1. Eleven pounds represents about 10% of my current body weight, and
2. I'm not on a diet.
The doctor was concerned, until I explained The Stress Diet to her. Also known as The Ex-Husband Diet, and The Dental Diet. When I am under a great deal of stress, such as currently, I magically lose weight. Even though, when the stress first starts up, I try to remind myself that I can go ahead and eat whatever I want to, because, Hey! Here comes stress!
My body's reaction to stress is to go on High Alert. I swear, it's like being a mouse in a roomful of cats or something. I get all "ramped up", for lack of a better term, and I just can't relax. At all. Even when I am supposedly relaxing, the hamsters in my mind just keep running, running, running. My theory is that at times like this, when my body is constantly ready for "fight or flight", it burns up calories at a higher rate.
Now I just have to write a book, "The Stress Diet", and I'll be rich! rich! rich! Although I'm not sure how many people would be willing to place themselves under massive amounts of stress in order to lose weight.
Monday, May 14, 2007
A few days later, he went down to the basement to get something, and there was the missing litterbox. Right next to the new litterbox.
My mom hides things. She hides money, she hides clothes, a couple of years ago she hid Christmas presents she had bought. And once she hides stuff, it stays missing. We have no idea where this stuff goes; I have to think that some of it she buries in the garbage can, because it simply never appears again. The litterbox is the one thing to make the return from the missing; we are all dying to know where she had it stashed!
Mom and I went for a nice long walk at Greenwood Park on Sunday, and then we went to lunch. I got her a live orchid for Mother's Day:
Mom made out like a bandit, flower-wise: Rose, lilies, mixed bouquets, and a hanging basket. Having six kids has its advantages!
Friday, May 11, 2007
This whole thing makes me really nervous (big changes always do), but the situation with Jabba downstairs has deteriorated to the point where I really feel that it's better to leave than to spend the rest of my life in prison for murdering the bastard. And if I'm ever going to buy a home, now is the time (I'm not getting any younger, you know!)
So I will hang in there at the apartment for the time being, and hopefully a house in my price range (believe it or not, they are out there) will come along soon(er or later). I am being realistic, and I know it will take a while, and I know I'm not going to get a "dream home" due to my financial limitations. But if I don't at least try, I'm never going to get anywhere.
It will be funny to look back at this post in a few years and see how things panned out. Probably something along the lines of, "Oh my God, I was such an idiot!"
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
He wore it to work. Where there are other people. And clients. There is one client in particular who is very very, um, uptight, and I'm pretty sure that this client would pull his account if he saw this t-shirt. And frankly, I thought it was disgusting. Hack-em-up Ed has a twelve year old daughter. I wonder what she thinks of this t-shirt?
Folks, please tell me. Am I just being a prude here? To tell you the truth, I think that that t-shirt would be inappropriate to wear to WalMart, let alone to work. And yet I am seeing more and more of this type of t-shirt out and about. Is there anybody out there who actually thinks that this t-shirt is funny? Let me know!
Monday, May 07, 2007
This is the camera I bought this weekend. It's a Fujifilm S700. It has 10x optical zoom and 7.1 megapixels. Now I just have to figure out how to use it! It's pretty big and clunky compared to some of the digital cameras I looked at, but I actually prefer that, because if I had one of those little teeny ones, I just know I'd lose it (the camera, not my mind).
Here's some pics I took with my old camera:
This is my rhododendron:
This is my neighbor's forsythia bush:
Besides buying the camera, I didn't do a whole heck of a lot this past weekend. I went to the laundromat and did three weeks' worth of laundry (ugh!), went to the library, and did some walking. Sunday morning I went to the SUNY nature preserve and hoofed it up the Oak Trail (waaay too steep). The underbrush is greening up, but the trees are still mostly brown.
Number of times I had to call Jabba and tell him to turn his TV down - 2. Number of times I contemplated just calling the cops instead - about a million.
Sunday afternoon I did some weeding in the garden and discovered that my Bleeding Heart is sending out little satellite Bleeding Hearts. I moved one of them to the back fence and put a little fence around it to keep Evil Lawnmower Man from mowing it over. I wonder if Evil Lawnmower Man is the same guy who plows (or rather, doesn't plow) the driveway in the winter. Because the lawn is getting pretty shaggy, and nobody's shown up to mow it yet.
Thursday, May 03, 2007
I am not having such a good week at work.
Update: I went to Staples last night, they opened up another box, and guess what? That box didn't have a user guide either! At which point the assistant manager tried to tell me that "this fax doesn't come with a user guide". I had been e-mailing back and forth with HP (the maker of the fax) regarding this, and assured the assistant manager at Staples that yes, indeed, there was a user guide. As a matter of fact, HP even e-mailed me a downloadable version, all 286 pages. I even pulled the packing slip out of the box he had just opened and showed him the picture of the user guide on the slip. God bless him, he just repeated that "it doesn't come with a guide". Interesting. He suggested that I print out the downloadable version, I explained that I didn't particurlarly feel like printing out 300 pages of something that was supposed to be in the box, and he offered to print it out for me if I brought it in on a flash drive. I explained that the user guide was also on HP's main web site and that he could pull it up there at the store and print it out, and he said "we're not allowed to go online". Oh really?
So after a few more e-mails with HP, they are going to send me a real, printed out, honest-to-goodness user guide. HP has been nothing but prompt and professional throughout all this. Staples? Bleecccch.
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
She has called back at least ten times today. Now I recognize the number on the Caller ID and either pick up the handset and place the call on hold or pick up the handset and hang right back up.
So she evidently contacted some of her telemarketer friends and told them to call me. I have dealt with approximately 40 telemarketer calls today.
If I could, I would gladly hop in my car, drive to this woman's place of business, and throttle her with my bare hands.
I knew what was going on. Mom has Alzheimer's Disease. Mom had had a dream the night before about a big party, about having to find a place to spend the night, about having to take the cat along, and when she woke up, she thought it was real.
I talked to TIB. TIB said Mom had told her a different version of the same story, that TIB's daughter was having a party at TIB's house, that she needed to find a place to stay, that she would have to take the cat, etc.
The first few times this happened, it was alternately scary/confusing/sad. Now it just irritates the hell out of me. "No, Mom, nobody is going to take the cottage away from you." "No, Mom, TIB didn't tell you that you had to give away the cat". "No, Mom, the dentist didn't tell you that she had to pull all your teeth." Oh yeah, the dentist - I have to take Mom to the dentist and go in and speak with the dentist after she sees Mom, because otherwise, Mom will walk out of that treatment room telling the most amazing stories you've ever heard.
And five minutes after you've reassured Mom about whatever she is obsessing over, she starts right in all over again. And then gets mad because you are telling her the opposite of whatever she has convinced herself is true.
Alzheimer's Disease is a snot.