Thursday, August 30, 2007

Yet Another Hare-Brained Scheme

I've been kicking around ideas to make some extra money for a while now. (Does anyone besides me remember the old "I Love Lucy" tv show, where Lucy was alway coming up with crazy ideas to make money, often dragging her friend Ethel along for the ride? I watched way too much tv as a kid.)


Anyhow, I've finally come up with something that might actually work, and will not interfere with my regular job. On Tuesday, I met with some advisors from SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives). This is a national group of volunteers who advise entrepreneurs and small business owners. They were very helpful and gave me lots of advice. Wednesday, I got my state sales tax ID number, which makes it legal for me to sell stuff. Woo-Hoo!

More on this as it evolves. (Or De-volves, as the case may be.)

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

You're WHERE??!!

My boss called me at work about an hour ago. Here's the conversation:

Boss: "Good morning, RockyCat. How are you?"

Me: "I'm just fine; how are you?"

Boss: "Welllll, I was on my way to Home Depot this morning, and the cell phone rang, so I picked it up and was talking, and there was a cop right behind me, so I got pulled over."

At this point I just started laughing, because this guy gets more tickets than a dime-a-dance girl, and my boss was laughing, too. Then he continued:

"Sooo, I'm here in (insert name of town), and I might need you to come and help me out."

And I'm thinking, help him out how? I mean, it's just a traffic ticket, right? So I said:

"But you'll just get an appearance ticket and be on your way, right?"

Boss: "Weellll, I was driving on a suspended license".

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So now the boss is at the police station, while they determine if they will let him go or throw him in jail! If they do throw him in jail, I suppose I will have to call the bank and have some transfers made so that I CAN POST BAIL! FOR MY BOSS!

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

The other guys in the office think it's pretty funny, too. (Why yes, of COURSE I told everyone! All two of them!) And I am having an extremely hard time not cracking up on the phone when clients call. Just imagine, I could say, "Sorry, he can't come to the phone right now. BECAUSE HE'S IN JAIL!" So I take the calls, speak politely, and then laugh hysterically as soon as I hang up.

Please understand, my boss, while generally a nice-enough guy, is one of those people who think the rules do not apply to them. Who think they are somehow more privileged than everyone else, and therefore can do as they damn well please, because they are "better" than other people. (Think Leona Helmsley, and her comment that "Only the little people pay taxes".)

So the idea of him sitting in jail is just kinda cracking me up right now. And the rest of the office is getting a great big kick out of it, too.

I wonder if I can get ahold of his mug shot? If so, I'll post it here!

Ha ha ha ha ha!

Ooooops - he just walked in the door. I guess they let him go free. See what I mean about "privilege"? Oh well, it was fun while it lasted.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

What an Insult!

Best insult I've heard in a long time:

"If dumb was dirt, she'd cover about an acre."

Ha ha ha haha haha ha haa!

Monday, August 27, 2007

The Best Buck-Sixty-Two I've Spent In A Long Time

A strawberry/raspberry twirl soft-serve ice cream cone, eaten while sitting on a picnic bench in between the ice cream stand and the mini-golf course, on a day when the temp hit 94 degrees with 75% humidity.

You'd better believe I'll be pulling that memory up come January.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Year in Review

As of today, it has been a year since I started this blog. Here's some of the things that happened to me in the past year.

1. I painted (almost all of) my apartment.

2. I took a watercolor painting class.

3. I bought a digital camera (whoo-hoo!).

4. I celebrated(?) my twenty year anniversary at my place of employment.

5. I was terrorized by a disabled person.

6. My sister TIB stopped speaking to me, and will not even speak to me long enough to tell me exactly why she's not speaking to me.


7. I looked into buying a house, and discovered that I need to start saving my pennies (many, many pennies).

8. I came up with several hare-brained schemes to make more pennies, one of which may actually work.


9. I started this blog, which has been a tremendous amount of fun, and a great stress reliever.

I'm sure there's lots more, and if I think of anything interesting I'll update.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Jive Turkey Junction

I was down at Choconut Creek a couple of weeks ago, and some kids had partitioned off a swimming area using rocks:



I thought that was just the bee's knees, until I was up at Jones Park last weekend and discovered this kid-made structure:



Above is the fire pit area. It's about four feet tall and ten feet long. In front of it is the barricade (below). Note the "windows" in both the barricade and the fire pit wall. They also built stone chairs and pathways all along the creek.

And that sign in the bottom left of the photo above? Here's a close-up:
Is that great or what? I remember my pale efforts at forts as a child and feel ashamed. These kids rock (literally).

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Hydrangeas and other garden related news

My beautiful blue hydrangea decided to go pink this year.







While I don't mind pink, I really prefer blue. So after much Googling, I discovered that applications of Aluminum Sulfate to the soil could turn it blue again, over a period of several months. The only place that sold the stuff locally was Agway, which only sold it in seven pound bags, which according to the application instructions should be enough Aluminum Sulfate to turn every hydrangea in my neighborhood blue until the end of time. Whoopee!
At least this one is blooming. My two other hydrangeas opted out of the blooming process entirely this year. I relocated one, thinking maybe it's in the wrong spot. The other one is a much bigger hydrangea, kind of like a little tree, that is on the side of the garden against the shed wall. Given the size of the branches (actually, kinda more like "trunks") on that thing, it's not going to be moving any time soon.
Come to think of it, I'm having the same problem with my Rose of Sharons - of the three, only the one in the middle is blooming (and spectacularly). However, the other two do have buds, so there is hope, as long as they realize that the first frost is not that far off.
While I was up at the cottage the last time, Alabama let me dig some tiger lilies (also known as ditch lilies) out of her yard - I got two great big clumps. I was surprised at how easily they came out of the ground - I went over there with everything short of a backhoe, and in the end, I think I could have pulled them out with my hands.
I also put in another oriental lily - I swore I was not going to buy any more perennials this year, but the oriental lily I put in last year is not doing so hot, so I got another one. I just love the way they smell - like bubble gum!
I started some morning glories in pots on the ground by the deck support posts earlier this year, and trained them to grow up the posts. Now they're all the way up onto my back porch on the second floor at eye level - that's quite a climb!
It's hard to believe that the gardening season is winding down, although it's been easier to believe the past few days, with the weather all cool and cloudy and rainy. Now is when I start seeing what I did wrong last year, and what needs to be divided/moved in the spring. Now is when I say, "Next year I'm going to do it better!". Yeah.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Because I Am An Adult

I just called TIB's house. No one was home, but I left a message on the answering machine asking if we could get together to talk and "get this whole thing sorted out, before it spirals any further out of control". Ummmm, probably not the best choice of words, now that I think about it, but at least I made an effort.

Now the ball's in their court. Hopefully TIB will not show up tonight at my place with a baseball bat. Although if she came unarmed, I could totally take her in a fight.

When Product Association Goes Terribly Wrong

I really like Marc Anthony shampoo and conditioner. But I don't buy it anymore, because every time I would look at the bottle, all I could think of is that creepy, ghouly guy who's married to Jennifer Lopez.

Monday, August 20, 2007

TIB Strikes Again!

Last month, I wrote here about TIB and her husband creating a bunch of drama. Yesterday, I went to TIB's house to see if Mom wanted to go for a walk. TIB would barely speak to me and would not look at me. Whatever. And they were going to a church picnic, so Mom couldn't go for a walk.


I got back to my car and realized that I had forgotten to tell TIB about a dentist appointment I had rescheduled for Mom. I am the designated dentist appointment driver, but TIB likes to have this stuff on her calender. So I went back inside, told TIB the new date so she could put it on her calendar, and added, "and I'll take Mom" (because I always do).


TIB exploded. She started shouting, right in front of Mom, "Oh, Noooooo. WE'LL take Mom to the dentist. WE CERTAINLY wouldn't want to INCONVENIENCE YOU".


Not wanting the whole scene to get any uglier, I said goodbye to Mom and left. Mom followed me out the door, all upset and apologizing. Apologizing! So I tried to calm Mom down, explained that TIB and her husband were angry with me, not her, and said I'd talk to her soon.


Jesus Christ! Enough with the drama, already! I guess I should probably call TIB and ask to meet with her and her husband to see if we (she) could just all act like adults about this whole thing, but right now I just can't summon the enthusiasm.


I guess what's really bugging me is that they're all pissed off at me over something that was basically Alabama's screwup. I'm just the closest target. And I'm hesitant to take action, because I really just want all this to stop, and I'm sick of trying to be the responsible one, and I wish TIB and her husband would just GO AWAY. FAR, FAR AWAY.


So I'm torn. Over just ignoring this whole clustermess, or trying to be the grownup. Sigh.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Mystery

While I was up at the lake this past weekend, Rocky came in from outside one night in the middle of the night and jumped up on my bed. When I reached to pet him, I felt that the top of his head was soaking wet. At first I assumed that it was raining out, but when I petted his back, it was dry. It was just the top of his head that was wet.

Then I got worried. Rocky, in his youth, was a fighter, and I was afraid that he had tackled some random animal outside who fought back, and instead of water, what I was feeling was blood.

So I got up and turned on the light, and to my relief it was just water that was soaking his head. But several times during our visit to the lake, he came into the cottage with a soaking wet head. We finally figured out that there must be a pipe under the cottage that is leaking (Rocky loves to hang out in the crawlspace under the cottage), and that Rocky must be laying under the leak and getting his head wet.

But, here's the thing. Rocky loves to drink water, but he hates to be wet. Absolutely hates it. And there's plenty of room in that crawlspace. So why on earth would he be laying under a leaky pipe? And if he was laying under the leaky pipe, wouldn't the ground underneath the leaky pipe be wet, therefore getting the rest of him wet?

It's a mystery.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Push the Button!

I just got back from a few days at the lake with Texas, Alabama and three of Alabama's grandkids. When I got up there, Texas had already been there for a few days, and she said she couldn't get her TV to work in her new camper. She and Alabama had monkeyed and monkeyed, and made a trip to Radio Shack, and nothing worked. So I took a look at it, and all she could get was static. I asked her if she had tried hooking it up at the cottage (I thought maybe something was wrong with the camper hookup), but she said the TV would not switch from channel 2, so it must be the TV that had the problem. I asked her if she had tried pushing a funky little button that I noticed on the wall above the TV hookup, and she said that she must have, since she and Alabama had tried everything they could possibly think of to get the TV to work.

So, the next day we went to CrapMart, which is basically the only game in town up there for appliances, but Texas didn't want to spend a massive hundred bucks for a new TV (because she is rich, you know, but also incredibly, um, cheap (I know, I KNOW; somebody's going to say, "that's how she got rich, you idiot!" Go right ahead)). SO, because I am a card-carrying member of the Salvation Armani, I suggested we stop at the thrift store to see if they had any TVs. Now, I am fairly certain this was Texas's first foray into a thrift store, because while she is cheap, she is also designer label all the way. And not really into, ahem, used clothing.

As an aside, no one in my family reads this blog, in case you're wondering. I decline to give them the web address, because anyone in my family who read this thing would never speak to me again. Not that that's necessarily a bad thing, in some cases.

Anyway, sure enough, they had a TV at the thrift store for 25 bucks. I warned her that all they do at the thrift store is plug them in and make sure they turn on, they do not check for picture quality or anything else, and Texas said fine, fine, I don't care, I'll take it.

SO, we get back to the camper, plug in the new TV, and ..... nothing. Just static, like the other TV. So I took the thrift store TV over to the cottage, hooked it up to the cable, and, voila, picture! Granted, the thrift store TV had some issues, like you can't get a picture unless you pull up the on-screen menu box, but still .... picture!
Then we took it back to the camper, hooked it up again, and .... static. Until I pushed that funky little button above the TV hookup, and ..... picture!

Well, you can guess the rest of this one. We hooked up her old TV, and ..... picture! Obviously, even though she and Alabama had tried everything, they had never tried pushing in the button directly above the TV hookup.

So now there's a spare TV up at the lake. And all weekend long, of course, no one could pass byArline without saying "Push the Button!" And laughing hysterically.

Push the Button!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Movie Review - "Jesus Camp"

"Jesus Camp" is a documentary about children at an Evangelical church camp. And let me tell you, this is the most frightening movie I've seen in ....... possibly ever.

All I can say is, I strongly recommend that everyone see this movie. I cannot remember the last time a movie made me think so much, about so many different issues.

I knew that the current Administration had close ties with the Evangelical movement, and that Evangelical leaders regularly confer with President Bush. But I really had no idea what Evangelicalism was all about until I watched this movie. And the way these people are indoctrinating (brainwashing, if you will) their children at a very young age disturbed me deeply. Now, most religious people try to pass on their religious beliefs to their children, which is fine by me. But to watch a woman home-schooling her child tell him repeatedly that "Evolution is a lie" really bothered me. And to watch very young children speaking in tongues and sobbing hysterically over their ecstasy in the Lord made me upset. These are kids, for Pete's sake! The phrase "Hitler Youth" kept coming to mind. Especially when these kids would talk about "laying down their life for Jesus". Hello! You're eight years old!

Now, I was going to add a disclaimer, something along the lines of, "Not that there's anything wrong with being an Evangelical", but, you know what? I can't do it. Because after watching this movie (which was painfully even-handed, by the way), I think there is something wrong with these people. I think there is something wrong with anyone who is so totally consumed by a certain belief that there is no room in their mind for any other possibilities. That anyone who is not on their side needs to be converted to their side, as quickly as possible, because, after all, their belief is the only truth, and there is no room for any truth other than theirs.

I know I may not have articulated this very clearly, but let me say this: This movie will scare the shit right out of you. Unless you are an Evangelical, in which case you will probably smile and nod right through the whole thing.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

My Sentiments Exactly

Head on over to Girl Named Boo, who perfectly expresses my sentiments about Barry Bonds.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Chandelier

A while back, I got it into my head that I would like a chandelier (because I'm weird). So I started looking in thrift stores, flea markets, etc. Everything I found had to be hard-wired into the ceiling, and visions of me frying myself while trying to monkey with electrical wiring made me look into the plug-in type, all of which were either ugly or too expensive. Then one day I was at the local CrapMart and found a chandelier on sale for seven bucks!

Now, this seven dollar job had to be hard-wired too, but by this time I was thinking that maybe I didn't actually need the light from the chandelier (my apartment is always lit up like a runway at O'Hare from the existing lighting because my eyesight is going to crap as I get older), but rather what I was interested in was the shape and the idea of a chandelier (I can talk myself into anything.).

As an aside, these CrapMart chandeliers were in an aisle marked as "college dorm furnishings". Which made me wonder why on earth you would send a kid off to a college dorm with a chandelier that had to be hard wired into a ceiling.

So anyway, I bought the CrapMart chandelier and went to work. Here's the before (the prisms were still wrapped in plastic):



And here's the after:



I painted it, bought new prisms on e-bay, added on some glass fish I already had, and plopped a parrot in the middle. The colors are a little too nursery-room for me, and I'm looking for something other than a beanie-baby parrot for the centerpiece, and the whole thing needs some tweaking to make it more interesting/less babyish. Any ideas? (Other than throwing the whole thing off the back porch, that is.)

93 over 62

Hah! Beat that! My blood pressure ROCKS!

Friday, August 03, 2007

Giving Myself Permission

I was going to go up to the cottage this weekend. I have the new baseboard heater unit for the back porch, some of the family are going up, it's going to be nice and sunny tomorrow so I could get some good photos of the cottage (I have surprisingly few), and I really should go.

Um, no.

I am going to get the lounge chair out of the attic, get the kiddy pool out of the shed and fill it up, and relax in the backyard.

The older I get, the more I realize that a lot of "should do"s are really a waste of time. I will be much happier at home this weekend, for various reasons, and anybody who was expecting me to be up at the lake will get over it.

I am a little nervous about this change of heart of mine, because until recently, "shoulds" pretty much ruled my roost. And who knows, maybe sometime soon, they will again. Maybe it's just the summer weather. Maybe it's just a passing fancy. But right now, certain "shoulds" can just go fly a kite.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Jabba Update

As some of you may recall, I was having problems with my downstairs neighbor, Jabba, and his penchant for cranking his TV volume to 11 ALL THE TIME. This started when he moved in, in March, and continued for weeks and weeks and weeks. And I tried talking to him, and talking to his son (my landlord), and talking to the building supervisor, and blah blah blah, nothing was working. Because he kept insisting that his TV was not too loud, despite all evidence to the contrary. And I started looking for a new apartment.

SO, one night last a couple of months ago, I got home from work a little after five to REALLY LOUD NOISE from downstairs. I called Jabba on the phone, and he did not answer. Hmmm, I thought, he's using new tactics. He's checking his caller ID and not picking up when he sees it's me calling. Why did I not just go knock on his door, you ask? Because this guy skeeves me out. I mean, he is disgusting and creepy and scary. The less in-person interface, the better.

A little after seven, the noise was still REALLY LOUD, so I called him again. And he was obviously disgruntled, insisted the noise was not too loud, and basically told me to piss off. So I called his son (my landlord), got his voice mail, and left a message saying that if his dad did not turn down his TV, I would have no choice but to call the cops.

Now, I am no fan of the cops in this area. They are basically useless and tend to be misogynistic, so I avoid contact with them at all costs. Plus, I hate to involve police in what is basically an apartment building dispute.

By 11 p.m., I had been listening to Jabba's REALLY LOUD NOISE for approximately 6 hours straight. And I cracked. I called the cops. The cops showed up, talked to Jabba, and then ...... silence.

Jabba's son called me at work the next day, furious. How DARE I call the cops on his dad! His dad was sleeping when the cops came! The cops said his dad's TV was not too loud! And I asked him, is this what the cops told you, or what your dad told you? And he said, well, um, he didn't actually talk to the cops ........

Once I got the son calmed down, we started going over ways to try to resolve this problem, for approximately the billionth time. And for the billionth time, I told the son, it's not the overall TV volume that's the problem, the problem is the bass. Jabba has a surround-sound TV, and he was obviously keeping the surround-sound bass volume cranked all the time. And something finally clicked for his son. He said, "How about if I ask my dad to turn down the bass?" Which is what I had basically been begging his father to do for the past several weeks. And I said, "You know what? That sounds like a really good idea".

And I got home that night to ...... silence. And with a few minor exceptions, all has been fine, volume-wise, ever since.

And I do have some idea now why it took so long for the idea of "turn down the bass" to sink in. While I was talking to the son, he said something along the lines of, "I know my dad's simple, but ...." AHA! From talking to Jabba, I knew that he wasn't the sharpest tool in the shed, but I had no idea that he was actually retarded. Jabba being retarded explains a whole lot about his behavior.

Bottom line, it took me several weeks, but the situation finally came under control. I'm a stubborn little cuss. And now I am happy.

Somebody Actually Went Ahead And Did It . . . .

. . . . named their kid "Michael Hunt", that is. I know it's true, because "Michael Hunt" was in the local newspaper this morning. Oh, dear Lord.

What, you may ask, is wrong with the name "Michael Hunt"? Here's what's wrong, for those of you who may have missed this part of your grade school education:

"Michael Hunt" would, of course, be called "Mike Hunt". Go ahead, say "Mike Hunt" three times fast. Got it? Good. Poor, poor kid.

No wonder he showed up in the "police blotter" section of the paper.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007