Saturday, May 30, 2009

I don't know why; I don't understand .....

...... why they sold me down the river.

Last night, I had to stop at my realtor's office to sign a release in order to get back my $1,000.00 deposit on the failed Tharp St. deal. My realtor came down the hall and said, "We've got to talk." Oh, crap, I thought, and said, "What's up?"

Here's the story - The apartment building that I live in has been up for sale for over a year, and my realtor, the one who is showing me houses, is the listing agent for the apartment building. I knew that when I called this realtor and asked him to show me houses; as a matter of fact, he asked if I wanted to buy the apartment building. (Um, no.)

A few weeks ago, when I had put in an offer on Tharp St., he had a potential buyer for the apartment building who was looking for an owner-occupy; i.e., she wanted to buy the building, live in one of the units,and rent out the others.

"That's perfect!", my realtor told her. "I happen to know that one of the tenants in this building is moving out, and you can take over her apartment!"

You can see where this is going, right? The Tharp St. deal fell through disastrously, the potential buyer bought the apartment building, and in a few days I am going to be receiving an eviction notice informing me that as of August 1, I have no place to live.

What. A. Week.

Friday, May 29, 2009

While I was gone .......

....... the irises have started to bloom, the columbines are going nuts, and the peonies are just about ready to pop. I was down in the gardens last night, puttering around, pulling weeds, and it felt so damn good to be outside for a little bit, instead of in bed, or on the couch, or at the doctor's office, or in line at the pharmacy.

Final (for now) diagnosis? "Viral infection of unknown origin". The nurse called this morning to see how I was doing, and she was relieved that I had gotten my voice back, although a little dismayed that the only way I can eat is to wait for the Vicodin to kick in. She laughed a little and said, "you know, when you were in here on Wednesday, it looked so bad that the doctor and I were afraid you were going to end up in the hospital!"

Ha, ha ........ ha? Sorry, I'm still a little ways away from being able to laugh about the fact that my throat swelled to the point that it was almost totally shut before the steroids stepped up to the plate, but then again ....... excellent blog fodder, no? Hey, SOMETHING good's gotta come out of this whole thing, right?

So! I pick up another Vicodin prescription tonight, and hopefully get some hanging baskets done this weekend. And some weeding. And maybe a get a little sunshine in the backyard - it just feels good to be somewhat recovered. And hopefully this will be the end of this grisly little story.

I was talking to my sister Texas last night, and I was wondering what on earth people did when they got sick back in the 1800s, back before antibiotics and steroids and all that good stuff. And she said, simply, "They died."

Point taken, sis. Point taken.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Call me Ah-nold

So! I took my first dose of Vicodin on Tuesday night, with great hopes of finally easing the pain and being able to do fun stuff like ...... oh, I don't know ...... how about SWALLOW? And drink water? I was so thirsty. And maybe even sleep without waking up choking?

Nope. The Vicodin did nothing. NOTHING. No easing of the pain, no helping with the sleep, no nothing.

So! I called the doctor's office Wednesday morning, which was an interesting conversation, because by then, my throat was so swollen that I sounded like a deaf drunk with a severe speech impediment.

They had me come in and they shot me up with steroids, in a last-ditch effort to get the swelling to stop increasing, and gave me a prescription for steroid pills. Then they yanked a whole bunch of blood out of me for testing, and told me to double the Vicodin dose.



So I got home last night, dosed myself with antibiotics and steroids and a double dose of Vicodin, and about half an hour later .......... relief. Finally, my throat stopped aching, enough so that I could actually get some water down. And some food! And about two liters of 7-Up, because while normally I don't like 7-Up, last night it tasted like heaven.



So we go from here. Wait for the test results, and wait to see if the steroids can bring the swelling down. And right here is one thing I hate about doctors: While I was in the exam room yesterday, waiting for the lab paperwork, I could hear the doctor and the nurse discussing my case in the hall. I couldn't hear everything, but I was picking up the key words, like "swelling increasing" and "steroids" and "no history of tonsillitis". And then I picked up a few more interesting words, words like "x-ray" and "tumor" and "cat scan".



Dear medical professionals: Your patients are not deaf. Well, most of them, anyway. If you want to discuss the scarier aspects of their cases, that's fine, but for the love of Pete, DO NOT DO IT WITHIN THEIR RANGE OF HEARING. Unless and until you are ready to discuss something with the patient, DO NOT discuss it in the hallway right outside of their room. That is all.



Sheesh.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

..... survey SAYS! ......

....... Ear infection, which had miraculously started to clear itself up, but not before inviting my tonsils (tonsillitis) along to the party, along with some nearby lymph nodes. Oh, and there's possibly a smattering of strep, because, well .... WHY THE HELL NOT, while we're at it? Although the official strep results won't be in for a day or two.

And the doctor was very nice, even though he wasn't my usual doctor and only crammed me into his schedule out of pity. And he wrote me a prescription for antibiotics, and when I told him that taking Advil at two to three times (what can I say? it HURTS) the recommended dose wasn't really denting the pain, he also gave me a prescription for Vicodin.

And I've never had Vicodin before, so I didn't understand until reading the label (in the Wal-Mart parking lot, natch, 'cause I am KLASSAY) that Vicodin is actually Hydrocodone, and, wait a minute ........ isn't Hydrocodone the stuff that all the trailer-trash gets hooked on?

Great ....... I'm about to become a drug addict. HALP!

Although I guess I'm not all that far from trailer trash already, being that I was dosing myself IN THE WAL-MART PARKING LOT. Hey, I've waited four f*cking days for a little relief, and I wasn't going to wait one minute longer, not if I could help it. Trailer park, here I come.

Oh {ouch} hai!

Just in time for the holiday weekend, and just after my doctor's office closed on Friday afternoon, I picked up a massive ear infection. My ear is killing me, and every time I swallow it feels like somebody's twisting a hot poker in there. The side of my neck is swollen, my jaw hurts, and last night, every time I fell asleep, I woke up choking.

Good times! How was your weekend?

Friday, May 22, 2009

It was a 455 Rocket - Biggest Block Alive

My first car, that is. I got it for my high school graduation, when I was 17. A 1975 Hurst Olds, with a 455 engine, a dual-gate (his-n-hers) shifter, and t-tops.

My dad gave all of us kids cars when we graduated high school (and there were six of us!). They were not brand-new cars, but good used cars. My dad loved cars, loved to work on cars, and owned several pretty special ones over the years. I remember the Lincoln Continental he had with the clamshell doors (also known as suicide doors). We drove up to Misquamicut, Rhode Island one year on vacation so that he could have the wiring re-done. He also had a 1970 Olds 442, which I am sad to say I totalled. He had it rebuilt, and then my brother-in-law totalled it, and that was the end of that classic car. He had a old Cord at one point, but I don't remember that one.

I have to admit that when it came time for me to pick out a car for graduation, I knew very little about cars, even after all those years watching my dad work on his. My dad had set a budget of $2,500.00 (this was back in 1980, keep in mind), and he decided to help me out with car selection. Keep in mind that the man liked muscle cars. His first pick was a used Camaro, but I didn't like it. Then, my dad heard about a guy who had a Hurst Olds for sale. This guy was a regular patron of the bar my dad owned at the time. My dad took me to the bar one afternoon to have a look at the car, and the owner offered a test drive. I got behind the wheel, started out of the parking lot, lightly touched the gas, accidentally burned rubber, and fell in love. Looking back, I kind of have to question the wisdom of giving a car like that to a seventeen-year-old idiot, but ...... Thanks, Dad!

I learned a lot from that car. I learned about how cars can be guy-magnets, about how to beat the pants off the boys in street races (when you've got a 455 under the hood, it basically means just hitting the gas and keeping your foot down), about cars in general. I learned that when you've got a lot of power to control, you have to be careful. I loved that car. I drove that car until, if you lifted up the floor mats, you could see the open road beneath your feet. I drove it until it was only firing on 6 of 8 cylinders (and doing just fine). I drove it until you could put your fist through the rust spots in the side panels. I drove it until the engine finally started blowing great clouds of blue smoke, and then I sold it for 200 bucks. It broke my heart to sell that car.

All the cars I've had since have been "just cars". Nothing special about them. I miss that Olds.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Last night on American Idol

Yeah, yeah, I know ..... honestly, I wasn't REALLY watching it, it was just ... kind of ... on.

And my ears sort of perked up when they announced that Rod Stewart was going to be on next, because, honestly? I thought to myself, "Sweet jesus, he's gotta be in his seventies by now. This should be interesting."

And then he came on and I was wrong, because evidently, he's a lot closer to NINETY than he is to seventy. Holy shit, Rod, get that hip replacement already - you're shuffling around the stage like my dead grandpa. Oh, and you might want to lose the plaid jacket - I'm just sayin'.

I'm not surprised that Adam lost - by the second song of Tuesday's show, when he busted out the jazz hands, even I was getting sick of him, and I have a fairly high tolerance for show-biz histrionics.

Oh, and did anybody catch the pilot for "Glee"? Here's the thing that I didn't get - the kids signed up for the club, they went in and started auditioning, and every single one of them had a voice ready for Broadway. I mean, come on! If you've ever actually attended school choir auditions, you know that it's a lot like the auditions they show on American Idol - for every person who can actually SING, there's another ninety-nine who couldn't carry a tune in a bucket.

One final thought - KISS?????? Really?????? Will you guys please, PLEASE just go away already?! I'm begging you!


Updated to add: I just noticed that the title of this post referenced "Americal Idol." Whoops. It's fixed now.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Oh, snap!

If you're not already caught up, take a minute to scroll down and read the last two entries - that'll get you caught up in all the DUH-RAMA currently swirling through my family.



Okay! So, here's an email I received last night from Alabama, in reply to the email I sent her as seen in the last post:

"I actually suggested Texas call her, being something of a financial guru. I understand your concerns - that's why it was important to get everybody's input. Personally, I think that if Mom were in a position to make a decision, she would surely have helped Ditzy, as she would any of us. I don't think Ditzy thought "it was Mom's responsibility" - she was just asking for help, which, obviously, she is not going to get from this family."

OUCH! waaaaaaaa ........ I am cryyyyiiiinnnggggggg ..........

HahahahahaHAHA! NOT!

I think I'm just going to sit on this one for a day or so, and then gently suggest that if Alabama is so freaking worried about poor little Ditzy's finances, she should sit down, pull out her own checkbook, and write Ditzy a check out of her own money. Problem solved.

I'm pretty sure I just got uninvited to the family reunion. Cry me a river.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

...... and Texas steps up to the plate

My awesome sister Texas has stepped into the big steaming pile of mess described below and suggested that Ditzy explore other financial recourse before raiding Mom's money.


And when I got a second email today from Alabama, suggesting that Texas and/or I call Ditzy (who has yet to be bothered to directly contact either of us) and discuss her options with her, well, I lost it just a little and replied to the email thusly:

"Wait a minute - I have heard absolutely nothing from Ditzy herself on this matter, and now I am supposed to call her and give her financial advice?!

She's a big girl - instead of raiding Mom's money, every penny of which Mom may end up needing, I suggest she discuss financial options with her banker and/or financial advisor.I find it interesting that, according to your earlier email, her boyfriend broke up with her just last weekend, and all of a sudden she's dead broke?! And somehow it's Mom's responsibility to bail her out and buy her a car?

I think not."


Oooooooh, now my life is starting to imitate my blog entries ...... wait a minute ........ I don't think it's supposed to work that way ........

Anyway, Texas, you rock! And I have a funny feeling that the family reunion planned for this summer may turn out to be really unpleasant - you may want to skip this one.

Monday, May 18, 2009

My family - providing excellent blog fodder since 2007

First off: I have four sisters - Alabama, Texas, TIB and Ditzy - and one brother, A.

E-mail received today from my sister Alabama:

"First some news - Ditzy's boyfriend (fiance) of 2-1/2 years unexpectedly broke up with her last weekend - she is devastated. To make it worse, he had encouraged her to rely on him (since they were getting married) financially. As you know, it is very difficult for her to work full time (which I believe, having several friends with the same condition she has), and she had quit her job. So, not only is she devastated, she's in a bad situation financially. Her car is also on its last legs.

Now, the request. Ditzy has asked to borrow $5,000.00 from her future inheritance (mom's money). I spoke with Dave Doe*, and he said it can be done, if we all agree. TIB, A. and myself are okay with it. I have reviewed mom's balance and her expenditures, and I don't believe this will cause any problem - there is plenty of money, even in the event a nursing home ever becomes necessary. We will keep track of the "loan", and reduce Ditzy's request by that amount.

Please let me know if you agree, and if so, I will email you a letter for your signature, which is what Dave Doe will need."


Internet, you decide! Should my answer be:

(A) Awwww, poor Ditzy! Sure, send me the paperwork and I'll sign it - and let's not be cheap! Give her ten grand, not five!

or

(B) What. the. fuck.

Are you fucking shitting me?

I was wondering when the carrion would start to circle, and now I know.

Ditzy's spent her entire adult life earning extra income on her back, and now that her latest Sugar Daddy's dumped her, Mom is supposed to support her?

That "condition" that you refer to, that caused her to quit her job, is called "Lazy-Ass". There's a reason that Social Security has denied her application for disability benefits time after time: It's because being lazy is NOT a disability for which the government will reimburse you. Oh, she can call it Mono, or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, or Fibromyalgia, or whatever she's calling it this week, but the fact that she has plenty of energy for everything BUT work belies the claim.

Mom might be 84, but she's healthy as a horse, and she could live for another fifteen years. And yes, Dad did leave her some money, which should support her until she passes on, but who knows what tomorrow may bring? What if the money runs out before she does - is Ditzy gonna pay back the five grand? Yeah, I didn't think so. And mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer's almost ten years ago, and she barely knows who anybody even IS these days, so it's not like she can give informed consent, here. You could tell her she was giving 5 grand to Santa and she wouldn't know the damn difference.

And as far as Ditzy's boyfriend "encouraging her to rely on him" - what is this, the 1950s? For fuck's sake, she's fifty years old! I suggest she re-apply for that job she dumped before the Sugar Daddy dumped her. And let us not forget, Sugar Daddy proposed to her long ago, and she refused to marry him, although she sure did wave that big honkin' engagement ring around. Talk about free milk and a cow.


Oh, and her car's on the outs? Better do what everybody else in the free fucking world does when their car shits the bed - go to the bank and get a loan for another car. Don't worry, Ditzy, you can use the home you own as collateral.


And Ditzy, you'd better toddle back to match.com and start trolling the local church congretations (respectively, where you met your last two "boyfriends") for a new Sugar Daddy, because I'll be god damned if our mother is going to finance your ass.





So, what do you think, Internet? (A) or (B)?




*Dave Doe is the guy at the bank who handles mom's money.

Words

Words I love:

Ubiquitous

Serendipity

Antique

Naught


Words I don't love:

Tinfoil (arrgghbleeechh - it makes me think of biting down on it and getting that horrible shivery feeling)

Metastasize (both because of the implications and because I always mangle it when I try to say it)

Perky

Enate - This is a crossword-word meaning "related to on the mother's side". I've never seen it used in real life, and I don't like the sound of it.

Mic, when written as an abbreviation for "microphone". Technically, it's correct, but when I see it, I just think "mick". Why not write it as "mike", the way it sounds?

Enervate - It does not mean what it looks like it means, and for that, fie on you, enervate!


Word about which I am ambivalent:

Petulant (sounds nice, and ooogy, both at the same time)

Sanguine


How about you?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Who cares? I'll bet their kids do

Frankly, I don't give a rat's ass about Jon and Kate of the reality show "Jon and Kate Plus 8". I used to watch the show pretty regularly, and now once in a while I'll catch an episode, but that's about it.


Unfortunately, these two have been splashed all over the media lately, evidently both to pimp a new season of their series, and because there's possibly some trouble in paradise.


And you know what? I don't care. But I'll bet their kids do.



Dear Jon and Kate: STFU. Your kids, all eight of them, do not need to know that Mommy and Daddy may be about to split up. And that Daddy's dating a twenty-year-old. And that Mommy's banging the bodyguard. Oh, I know, you say that you keep that latest issue of People off the coffee table, and you never let them watch Inside Edition, but guess what? Their little friends know it all. And you'd better believe that thanks to their friends, your little kids now know every sordid detail, every little tasty bit that you've spilled to People, and Inside Edition, and Entertainment Weekly, and Us, and everybody else who'll pay you fifty cents for the "inside scoop."



Please shut up. For the sake of your kids, shut up.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Hands on hips



See that guy on top of the roof? That's the home inspector. He was trying to figure out what was wrong with the roof. Bottom line? Even though the shingles were in good shape, the plywood underneath had gotten wet and delaminated, causing it to swell and force its way up through the shingles. The inspector bounced up and down on his heels, demonstrating the sponginess of the plywood. It's not a good thing. Oh, and the underside of the plywood, in the attic crawlspace, has a nice sheeting of black mold. Sweet.

Oh, and it turns out that the roof members were undersized at the time of construction. At some point someone had sistered 2 x 4s to the rafters, but there is some doubt as to whether the main carry beam is also undersized. Basically, what that means is that one good snow load could take the whole thing down.

I am trying desperately to come up with a "the roof, the roof, the roof is on fire" joke here, but I'm not having any luck. Anybody have any ideas?

The interior mold is due to a combination of factors. The crawlspace took on water back in 2006, which was probably a main contributor, but the crawlspace also had standing water in it the day we were there, due to the fact that the lot slopes toward the crawlspace as opposed to away from it, meaning the lot will have to be re-graded to correct the situation. And, of course, all the mold-soaked sheetrock, panelling, cabinetry, etc., will have to be removed and replaced.

I'm beginning to wish I never saw this place!

So. We need to get a contractor in there, get an estimated cost of repairs (mucho dinero, peeps), and see if the sellers are willing to drop their price by that amount. *cough*

Frankly, the only reason I'm willing to go along right now is that there's nothing else currently on the market that I'm interested in, so I'm not losing any time by playing around in this mess. And it's a learning experience. Gag.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Here for now

The internet service here at the office has been going kerflooey, one computer at a time. Right now I've got access, but five minutes from now? Who knows.

In the meantime, I need to know how hard it actually is to use a manual push mower. I mean, do I need really strong arm muscles? I'll be (hopefully*) mowing a 70 x 140 lot - is that too much to do by hand?

Kitkat and Bridgett, I know you said they're great for small lots, but what about bigger ones?


*Tonight's the night. Inspection at 4 p.m. Pass or fail.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Is anybody still into vinyl?

Record albums, that is.

I've started sorting through my crap in anticipation of the Giant Yard Sale From Hell*, and I found a bunch of albums in a cabinet behind the couch.

Yeah, I need to clean more often.

Anyhow, I've got, like, a hundred record albums from the eighties. Styx, anyone? How about some nice Pat Benatar? Billy Joel?

I've got some older stuff that I may have inherited from my sister Ditzy - Rita Coolidge, Crosby, Stills & Nash, the Beatles, etc.

And I've even got some stuff that I'm pretty certain belonged to my Dad - Doc Severinsen, E. Power Biggs. (What? You've never heard of E. Power Biggs?! He was a famous organist!)

Some of the stuff is inexplicable - The Statler Brothers? Really? Tony Orlando and Dawn? And I thought Yma Sumac only existed in crossword puzzles.

There is some stuff that I simply cannot part with. The 1776 soundtrack, for one. Oh, and "Free to Be You and Me" - that was some revolutionary shit back when I was, like, ten.

Here's the thing - I know from my experience at other people's garage sales that people will actually flip through piles of old records - I'm not sure if anybody ever actually buys any, but I've seen creepy-looking middle-aged guys flipping through them - so there is hope. I guess I'll just put them in a pile, mark it 25 cents each, and see what happens.

And if a great big pile of record albums ends up at the thrift store after the yard sale, so be it.



*originally I was just going to cart everything over to the Sal Army, but I need to fund my lawn mower.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Would anyone like a wagon-wheel chandelier?

So! The first inspection is scheduled for Monday. Ka-ching! Time to open up my checkbook. Then my boss, a structural engineer, is going to take a look at it. The main thing I'm worried about is the roof, because even though it's only six years old, there's some serious wonkiness going on there, and I can't tell if it's a structural problem or just cosmetic. Here's what I'm talking about:




I'm fairly certain that roofs are not supposed to have waves in them. Looks like the roofers started drinking before they finished the job.


If the house passes inspection, then I officially apply for my mortgage, and the closing is scheduled for June 15, although realistically, I think it's probably going to be some time in July.


I have to say, even though I have run the numbers over and over and over, and I KNOW I can do this, financially, I am scared spitless. I don't think I have ever been so frightened in my life. What I am paying for housing is about to double, and again, even though the numbers work just fine, with contingencies built in and blah blah blah, I am scared to death. Is that normal, or is it just me?



And if anyone would like a lovely wagon-wheel chandelier,





come and get it! And take the wallpaper too, mkay?

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Gobsmacked

They accepted my offer.

Looks like I'm gonna have to buy a lawn mower. And a fridge.

Ho-lee shit.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Time to man up

or,

Put up or shut up,


or,

Sh*t or get off the pot,

or,

Fish or cut bait,


or,

Time to put on my big girl undies



Pick your cliche. Last night, I wrote out a check for a thousand dollars in earnest money and put in an offer on the house I fell in love with. My mortgage guy was able to get me into a different loan program with a better rate, and I went in a little low with the offer, so it's do-able, moneywise. According to my realtor, they've got another offer, but there's a problem with the buyer's financing, so I might be able to sneak in on this one.



Hold me.


Monday, May 04, 2009

Weekend Weirdness

I looked at two houses this past weekend that were truly laughable. The owner of the one I looked at on Friday was so odd, I wouldn't have been surprised if circus clowns showed up. I mean, she already had the chihuahuas and the odd outfit; clowns would've fit right in. The house I looked at on Saturday, the lot was so steep the driveway had a freakin' switchback in it. *sigh*

The Runt got stung by a bumblebee. I didn't even know that bumblebees could sting; I thought it was just, like, yellowjackets and wasps that stung. Great; now I've got something else to worry about. (The Runt is fine; he took off running when it first happened, and then licked his paw for about half an hour. Poor guy.)

My Mom and I were walking in a local forest yesterday and stopped to take a break. Mom commented on all the dead leaves on the ground and I said something about how nobody rakes them up in the woods, and we speculated on what a job it would be to rake the forest. On our way out of the forest, a guy on a mountain bike passed us going into the woods carrying - I shit you not - a leaf rake. Whoooooooa.

I dreamed last night -

*whoosh* - that's the sound of the negative air created as everyone leaves the internet at once whenever someone mentions a dream they had -

ANYWAY, I dreamed last night that it was football season, and a chicken went thirty-four yards against the Bills for a touchdown. Which, given the way the Bills have played the last few years, is not really all that implausible.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Great moments in graffitti

When you walk in the woods a lot, you see a lot of abandoned cars. They're all older models - from the fifties, mostly. And it makes me wonder if they didn't have junkyards back then - I mean, why drive (or push) a car into the woods and abandon it when you can call the junkyard and not only will they come pick it up, they'll give you twenty bucks for your trouble. Maybe scrap metal wasn't worth anything back then; I don't know.


Anyway, I see a lot of cars like this one, which had been used for target practice.



And after the target practice, someone decided to add some graffitti:




Pew! Pew!Pew! You can almost hear the bullets whizz by.



That just cracks me up.