Friday, January 29, 2010

Dodging a bullet, aka looking on the bright side ....

.... aka everything happens for a reason, aka *insert your own cliche here*

Remember the mold house? The one I almost bought last May, except I backed out of the deal because the home inspection revealed it to be a disaster?

It flooded Monday. BIG time. They were rescuing people from that neighborhood in a hovercraft, that's how bad it was.

In other flood news, it's really disconcerting to walk around your house knowing that there's three feet of water underneath you. The water in the crawlspace wasn't floodwater; the creek didn't get that close (thank God). It was groundwater that was forced up from the flooding around it. Everybody told me that I didn't need to pump it out; that it would recede all by itself, just the way it came up. And they were right! By Wednesday, the crawlspace was dry again. But it was still odd, to know that water was down in there.

My compost piles got washed away. All those coffee grounds and eggshells have gone to nourish someone else's land.

I have to give huge props to my neighbor, L, who came over Monday as soon as I got home, to make sure I was okay and to reassure me that by that time, the waters were actually receding and would not come any closer. And she took my work number so that if something happens again, she can keep me posted. What a sweetie!

According to L, this is only the fourth time since they moved in, in 1963, that the waters have risen this high. And they've never gotten high enough to flood the inside of my house (she knew the people who lived here before). Which is at least a little reassuring. And I do have flood insurance; I had to buy it to get a mortgage. I just hope I never have to use it. And please don't start going off about the federal flood insurance program; trust me, I HAVE HEARD IT ALL.

Oh yeah, and you'd better believe that on Monday, as I was driving home, knowing that they were evacuating people one street away from my house, and having no idea if my house was full of water, I wanted a cigarette really, really bad. After almost ten months of NoMoBloSmo, I wanted a cig. Did I have one? No friggin' way. Go me.

Remember how I said shit comes in threes? Two days before the flood, phone service to the entire neighborhood went out. It was still out when the water came. And the day after the flood, my garage door broke.

Spring IS coming, right?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Last night

I was watching Obama's speech last night, and one thing he said jumped out at me:

"We have not raised income taxes one single dime."

And, yeah, okay, that may be true, but they DID raise PAYROLL taxes. An average of two bucks a week, per employee, where I work. I know, because I do the payroll, and I was not happy when I got the package from the Fed with the new withholding charts, knowing that I was going to have to tell my co-workers that they were going to be making a little LESS every week.

And you might think, well, two bucks a week, that's just a hundred bucks a year, but you know what? I can think of all kinds of things I could spend that hundred bucks on RIGHT NOW, thankyouverymuch.

I hate to say it, but Obama's starting to disappoint me. I mean, sure, he TALKS a good game, but then it's like he goes right back to the banks and the insurance groups and everybody else who are heavy campaign donators and gives them what they want.

I'm beginning to think that the only difference between Republicans and Democrats is that at least the Republicans are honest about being in the back pocket of big business.


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Lord willing and the creek don't ......

...... shit.

This creek normally runs down the far side of the park, about 150-200 yards from me.
Yesterday afternoon, thanks to two inches of rain and a melting snowpack, it came within twenty feet.

I'm okay. The cats are okay. All of my neighbors are okay. I've got a crawlspace full of water and I'm still shaken up, but the water's receded and we're all okay.

That's enough excitement for now, creek.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Ryan Smith

I was watching this documentary on PBS the other night following singers auditioning for the Metropolitan Opera National Council. It was really interesting, and one singer in particular caught my attention.

His name was Ryan Smith, and he was 3o; older than the others auditioning. He explained that he had started training to become an opera singer, ran out of money, went bankrupt, got back on his feet, and decided to give it one last try. You just had to like him; he always had a great big smile and a booming laugh.

At the end of the documentary, Smith was one of the winners! And he went on to the training program at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

A year later, he was dead of lymphoma at 31.

If there's something out there you want to do, go do it. Right now. Because you never know.

Friday, January 22, 2010

I think they're gonna need a bigger birdfeeder ....

These deer - momma plus twins - cruise my neighbor's birdfeeder every evening at dusk to see if they've filled it that day. I can't figure out why they didn't put the feeder in the fenced-in garden area (you can see the fence behind the deer).

What's funny is that these neighbors were complaining about ANOTHER neighbor who was allegedly feeding the deer (illegal in New York) - they're essentially doing the same thing by not moving the feeder.

The deer move through the park next to me, sometimes quite late. When I first moved in, I couldn't figure out why people in cars would pull up in front of my house and just sit there, idling. Traffic is light on my street, and I'm at the very end - often only one or two cars will go by in a night. So when the cars started idling out front, at first I was like, "oh, shit, I bought a drug house", but it turns out that they're just watching the deer in the park in their headlights.

Oh, and there's another big doe who comes around who does not like me AT ALL - last night she was stamping her feet and snorting at me. Back off, Bambi!

So far the most I've counted in the yard is seven - my neighbors say they've seen up to ten at a time.

Amazingly, there doesn't seem to be a lot of deer poop in the yard, but then again, the snow could be covering it up. The spring thaw could get a little messy, is all I'm sayin'.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Indian Giver

Way back about a million years ago, I won a Zune with a docking station on The Pioneer Woman's website. And honestly, I'm just not as into music as I once was, and what with one thing and another, I never took it out of the box. Sorry, Pioneer Woman!

I've been thinking for a while about giving it to someone who could actually use it. And Hack-Em-Up-Ed, one of the guys at work, helped me out when I was moving, and I know he's into music. So the other day, I asked him if he could use the Zune. Sure, he said, so I gave it to him.

I found out today that he's giving it to his wife for her birthday. And, oh my God, I'm not even kidding here - I found out because he asked me to WRAP IT for him.

Wait. What?

And here's the thing - I KNOW I shouldn't care what he does with it. But it just seems so ...... well ...... I don't know ....... CHEAP or something to take something that was given to you and give it to your WIFE as a GIFT like you went to the store and BOUGHT IT ...... and to ask the person who GAVE IT to you to WRAP IT UP so you could give it to your wife as a present ....

Am I off base here? I mean, this is totally a Hack-Em-Up-Ed kind of thing to do, but still ..... I feel like snatching that damn Zune back and giving it to someone else. Or, you know, telling Hack-Em-Up-Ed to shove the damn thing up his ass. I mean, obviously I'm not going to actually do that, but I sure feel like it.

What do you think?

Breaking News!

Traffic on Route 26 came to a halt this morning while a flock of turkeys crossed the road.

It's nice to start the day with a smile.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Snips and snails and puppy dog tails

Has anyone else seen that Redi-Whip commercial? Where the lady's at the diner and wants whipped cream on her pie and the hostess is like, do you want that fake oil-saturated Cool Whip or do you want Redi-Whip made out of real whipped cream?

Now, I had never given much thought to dessert toppings, although honestly, I've always been a Cool Whip gal myself. Growing up, my Mom always made real honest-to-Pete whipped cream made out of heavy cream, but there's no way I'm going to all that trouble for myself, so Cool Whip it is.

But! After seeing the commercial describing Cool Whip as basically being made of things not found in nature, I thought I'd give Redi-Whip a try. I mean, come on, real whipped cream! The logistics of how they got real whipped cream jammed into an aerosol can and then managed to keep it stable long enough to get it to a store and sell it before the cream curdled were kind of troubling, but screw it. I bought a can.

Guys. Have you eaten any Redi-Whip lately?

That shit is nasty. I don't know what it's made out of, but if there is indeed real whipped cream in there, it was long ago overpowered by whatever chemicals they jam it with to get it to the table without spoiling. I swear to God, it tasted like metal. And other unpleasant things that you do not want to eat with your apple pie, for chrissakes.

Pass the Cool Whip, please. It may be equally chemical-laden, but at least it tastes good.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Friday, January 15, 2010

Blasphemous Friday!

Last week, it was Virgin-Mary-In-A-Dildo; this week, I give you:

I debated whether to go with a saltine or a graham; I thought about using a communion wafer, but not being Catholic, I don't have access. In the end I went with a graham and mod-podged it for posterity.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Shit comes in threes

At the end of last month, I let the moths out of my wallet and coughed up four hundred bucks for a (used) washer and dryer.

And once I got my Christmas bonus (thanks, Boss!) I went ahead and bought new fixtures for the bathroom. This past weekend my niece's boyfriend, along with HIS friend the electrician, came over*, swapped everything out, and installed some new electrical outlets. Because do you know how many electrical outlets were in my bathroom? ONE. One lousy outlet, attached to the medicine cabinet that was being replaced. Which Einstein designed that bathroom, is what I want to know. Who the hell builds a room with NO OUTLETS in it?! Oh! And did you know how much electricians, even ones working "on the side", charge? A METRIC SHIT TON OF MONEY, that's how much.

So imagine how thrilled I was when I jumped into the car Sunday afternoon, started her up, and watched the "Service Engine Soon" light come on, blink a few times, and then stay on.

"Spark plugs", the mechanic said, after running the code-thingie on the car. "Unfortunately, I'll have to take off the intake manifold and blah blah blah to actually reach the plugs blah blah blah, so there's a lot of labor involved."

Over TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS worth of labor, actually. To change six lousy spark plugs.

Tell your kids to become appliance-store owners when they grow up. Or electricians. Or car mechanics. Because all of those people are making a F*CK of a lot more money than I am.

*FINALLY. Don't even get me started on that. Oops! Too late.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

It was like watching Jeffrey Dahmer audition

Okay, okay, I'll admit it - I caught some of American Idol last night. And I have to say, that dude who sang "House of the Rising Sun" creeped me right the f*ck out.

The segment went on and on and on, with him acting creepier and creepier, and I couldn't figure out why they'd give a misogynistic sociopath so much air time, unless they were trying to warn the people of Boston (where last night's auditions were held) that a Hannibal Lecter is in their midst.

And here's the thing - a lot of the weirdos on that show are obviously putting on an act. They figure the stranger they are, the better their chances of getting airtime - and let's face it, they're right. But I got the feeling that this dude was not acting AT ALL, that he went home after the audition and strangled some puppies or something.

I honestly thought twice about posting this, because I get the feeling that this is a dude who will google himself and then hunt down anybody who said anything bad about him.

Just leave it in the comments, okay, bud?

Oh, yeah, and what happened to Posh Spice's face? She looks like Jocelyn Wildenstein! Yikes!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Heads up - An alternative to American Idol

Tonight, a lot of PBS stations are airing "Young @ Heart" as part of the Independent Lens series. "Young @ Heart" is a documentary about a senior citizens' choir who sing songs by The Clash, James Brown, and others you wouldn't expect. The documentary treats its subjects with respect, and it's touching to watch.

A million miles away from American Idol, and worth a view.

Recently Read

As usual, skip it if you wanna.

First off, let me say that I am weirdly excited about the return of American Idol tonight. I know that within the first fifteen minutes, I'll be covering my ears and changing the channel, but right now antipication is high.

Here we go:

1. I Smile Back by Amy Koppelman - Oh, for f*ck's sake. Novel about a housewife who becomes unbalanced. Good writing, but I had zero sympathy for the main character and gave up about halfway through.

2. Home on the Bear's Domain by Martha Martin. I loved her first book, "O Rugged Land of Gold", despite the cringeworthy title, but I just couldn't get into this one, another memoir about her life in Alaska. For one thing, she really doesn't seem to like her kids very much, which actually should endear her to me, but she just came off as kind of cold. I quit about a third of the way in.

3. Closing Time by Joe Queenan. Memoir about growing up with an alcoholic, abusive father. Mr. Queenan took what should have been a fascinating story and intellectualized the shit out of it. Which is his prerogative, of course, but I gave up halfway through.

4. Official Book Club Selection by Kathy Griffen. The stand-up comic's memoir. I like her, but her book? Not so much.

At this point I was beginning to think I was never going to find a book I could get all the way through. Thankfully, I came to:

5. Gap Creek by Robert Morgan. Novel about a woman in the late 1800s. Well-written and interesting.

6. The Keys of the Kingdom by A.J. Cronin. Published in 1941, this is a novel about an English priest in China in the early 1900s. A really good story. Oh, and I did a little research and discovered that they made the book into a movie starring Gregory Peck as the priest, which cracks me up because in the book, the priest is a nebbishly little nerd.

7. The Tender Bar by J.R. Moehringer. Oh Christ, another full-of-himself journalist writes a "memoir" while in his forties - bleecch. Dude, you're not all that.

8. Hey! Let's do a movie review! "Adventureland" is a coming-of-age tale of kids working at a six-flags-like park. It reminded me of Garden State, which means it was boring and lame.

9. Jesus Saves by Darcey Stienke. Novel intertwining the stories of an abducted girl and a minister's daughter. Interesting and disturbing.

10. Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot by John Callahan - Autobiography of a disabled cartoonist. Meh.

Boy oh boy, I'm not liking much of anything these days, am I? Must be the season. Right now, I'm about halfway through "Under the Dome" by Stephen King, and while it's interesting because Mr. King is a hell of a writer, it's following the same old King formula: Person/Group of People find themselves in peril from an outside source and must Slay the Enemy/Save the World, with a healthy dash of the Supernatural thrown in for good measure. Although so far there hasn't been much of the supernatural crap in Under the Dome, which is a welcome relief.

How bout you - read/watched anything good lately?

Monday, January 11, 2010

An exercise in futility

I have a suet feeder hanging outside the kitchen window. It's up high enough so that the cats can't jump up to it from the ground outside, so The Runt's decided on a new tactic:

It cracks me up that he completely ignores the stuffed parrot toy hanging from the ceiling. He's all, like, you can't fool ME with that fake shit. Ima after the real thing.

Sorry, Runtski, the window's closed.

And the funny thing is, the birds have evidently figured out that he can't get to them, because they just hang out on the feeder (see woodpecker in these photos), watching him scrabble against the glass and figuratively flipping him off. (They're giving him the bird! Hah! (sorry.))

I'll bet that The Runt's fondest wish is to sprout wings so he could get those damn birds.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Those Crazy Catholics!



First off: This post actually contains an image that may be, kinda, sorta, NSFW (not safe for work), so use caution if your boss is standing over your shoulder.

Question: What is this?:

No! Wait! It's not what you think it is!

Take a look inside:

It's the Virgin Mary! Standing on a globe! In a ...... dildo? What the .......? That is just so wrong.

God, I love the flea market.

Oh! Oh! Does anybody besides me remember the very first Waltons movie, The Homecoming, where they're having a Christmas pageant, and all the little church kids are singing "Hey, Mary, whatchoo gonna name that pretty little baby?" That's all I can think of when I look at this little tchotchke, except I'm thinking, "Hey, Mary, whatchoo gonna name that pretty little dildo?"

I'm sick.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

It's all happenin' in my garage

The new* washer and dryer were delivered on New Year's Eve. I think the guys who did the delivery may have started celebrating a little early. But! No more laundromat! I'm livin' the dream, my friends.

I had to break up a cat fight at two in the morning the other night. When I heard the squalling, I flipped on the garage lights; my two came flying inside, and the other cat ran out the back pet door. Can't they all just get along?

The morning after the cat fight, I looked out in the garage to see The Runt and Little Girl sitting on top of my car, staring intently up into a corner. Great, I thought, there's a frickin' neighbor's cat up in the rafters. But no! - it was a grackle, who swooped out in relief when I opened the overhead door. I can't figure out if he got in under his own steam, or if one of the cats ......well ..... brought him in. In any case, he didn't seem any the worse for wear as he made his escape.

The Runt has developed an odd fascination with the garage insulation. One of the walls, which was insulated by the prior owner, was done with unfaced insulation, which means the insulation is exposed. (Can I use "insulation" one more time in that sentence? No? I didn't think so.) The Runt pulls little pieces of that insulation off the wall, wads them up and sits on them until I throw them away. I swear, it's like he's trying to build a nest or something. I've been covering up the sections of the wall that he can reach - it doesn't seem like that fiberglass can be doing him any favors.

Thanks to the grossly-oversized furnace installed by the previous owner, the car is nice and toasty every morning. I've discovered that winter is much easier to deal with when you don't have to scrape the ice and snow off your car first thing every day. Woot! Of course, I'll probably break down in bitter tears when I get my next utility bill. *sigh*

What's happenin' in your garage?

*Okay, okay, used. Heck, they're new to me!

What? What's that you say? How's that cold doing? Heh. I think I'm on the upswing, but I made the mistake of taking some pseudofed or however-the-hell-you-spell-it right before bed last night, and I was wired up like a gerbil on meth. No rest for the weary.

Illness update, Day .......

....... hmmmm, let's see. Saturday, Sunday, {counting on fingers} Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday ....... Day Five?! Are you f*cking kidding me?! Five days?

Excuse me while I go hunt down that rat bastard from Sears and stab him.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Illness update!

Because I know you are all dying - DYING - to know how I'm doing, let me tell you:

Right now it's three in the afternoon and I'm at that stage where I'm not sick enough to justify going home, but I am sick enough to make being at work pure drudge. All I really want to do is put my head down on my desk and snooze, and I probably could since there's nothing shaking around here right now, but I get the feeling I'd wake up at, like, midnight, with only the light from the monitor illuminating the office, and then I'd have to drive home and crawl into bed and then get back up at 6:30 and come right back in again and


am miserable

Oh! Oh! And adding to my angst is the fact that my niece's boyfriend was supposed to come over to the house yesterday, FINALLY, to install the new lighting in the bathroom and it DID NOT HAPPEN, something bullshitty about ants in his apartment HELLO BUDDY CALL YOUR LANDLORD and I have been trying to get this laid-off jerkwater over to my place since CHRISTMAS to install this shit HELLO DUDE I AM PAYING YOU SO GET YOUR LAID-OFF ASS OVER HERE

oh, sorry. I'll stop.

am sick


Dear Asshole

Dear guy ahead of me on the escalator at Sears on Friday morning:

Thanks so much for that gigantic sneeze that you unloaded right before you stepped off the escalator, leaving me no choice but to walk into the mushroom cloud of contamination you left behind, seeing as I was right behind you, and you were too busy texting to bother to, you know, cover your mouth or anything.

What started out as a sore throat on Saturday has now grown into a full-blown, nasty-ass cold, all thanks to you, Mister "I'm too involved leaving important text messages to bother about the well-being of those around me".

Hey, at least I'll be feeling better in a few days. I hope your next girlfriend gifts you with an STD, you bastard. Karma's a bitch.

Oh, and texting on the escalator at Sears, for God's sake, does not make you cool. It makes you a dork.

Yours truly,


Monday, January 04, 2010

Pulling a post

This morning, for the first time, I pulled a post.

It was written last March, and it was mostly a movie review, but I also mentioned the name of someone who had treated me shabbily in high school.

This past week, that person found the post.

And I got to thinking, anybody who googled his name could possibly find the post. What if it was someone to whom he had applied for a job? What if it was his minister? What if it was his mom?

The last thing I want to do is cause anybody pain, even if they treated me like a jerk back in the day. Bygones, eh?

And when I went to delete that post, I found another one calling people out by name. I pulled that one too.

RockyCat: Starting the new year fresh!

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Number nine, Number nine ......

Number of cigarettes I would have smoked between April 3 and today, had I not quit on that date: 8,100.

Amount of money saved: $1,444.50.

The other night I was pulling out of the parking lot at work and I reflexively reached over to grab my purse and make sure I had my cigarettes.

Old habits die hard. Really, really hard. And at this point, it's getting a little bit ridonkulous. I mean, come on, it's nine months later, and I still can't get smoking out of my brain. Sheeeesh.


Soldiering on .......