Saturday, October 4

The Cruise - Day 1 (Cont.)

Well the departure was a big letdown. There was no departure party like there always was on the Love Boat and the women were still in Miami so it was still 4 bazillion degrees. They were all tired from a full day of travelling and the daughter just wanted to sit for a while. They went to the pool deck to check out the party and as soon as they got off the elevator there was a staff member with a tray of Bahama Mamas. WooHoo. The daughter took 2 and then had to put them back on the tray so she could sign the slip adding them to her room charges. She thought it fitting that her first charge on the ship was BOOZE! LOL.

The women hit the deck and there was a poolside buffet with burgers, dogs, and jerk chicken. They grabbed food to go with the drinks and headed up one flight of stairs. Now they were on the top deck of the ship (deck 12) and the daughter could barely feel it move. They turned the lounge chairs around so they were facing the water and just sat and ate while the ship slowly left the Port of Miami. And it was still 4 bazillion degrees.

After eating and sitting around for about an hour the women were ready to explore the ship since the shops and the casino were open – the women wanted to see what the big floating hotel had to offer. The daughter had put on a seasick patch before they left for the airport that morning so she was doing remarkably well and was having very little problems so exploring was definitely what she wanted to do. They found the theater, the disco, the library, the coffee bar, about 80 restaurants, the jewelry store, and the art gallery. At the point just before the women fell down from exhaustion they headed back to the room…and that is when the problems started.

They got to their tiny room and started to unpack. The daughter didn’t need a lot of drawer space since she only had shorts and tops…she could just put them anywhere. The mother and friend packed their stuff away as well. The friend had the sofa bed that was right next to the balcony and if the bed was out then none of the women could access the balcony so the sofa bed was still folded up. The women spent a little time out on the balcony but it was 3 bazillion degrees and they were all tired so they decided to turn in for the night. That was when they heard a slight noise at the cabin door. The friend went to see what it was and there was a notice in the mailbox. Their shore excursion for the next day had been cancelled due to lack of participants. Well, the women weren’t put out at all since that meant they could sleep later in the morning and they would save the $50 fee.

The friend went to the reception area in order to verify the cancellation and the mother and daughter changed into jammies and slid between the cool, crisp sheets of their beds. The drapes were drawn, the room was dimly lit so the friend wouldn’t kill herself tripping over stuff when she came back, and the temperature was a very pleasant 70 degrees. The mother and daughter were starting to drift off to sleep.

The friend came back in and immediately turned on the lights and the TV. She opened the drapes and the door to the balcony (which automatically turned off the air conditioner) and started talking to the mother and daughter. The mother and daughter, annoyed by the sudden commotion and jarring lights and babble from the TV, asked her to please close the drapes so they would be able to sleep later in the morning. The friend said, “No. this room is too small and I feel claustrophobic with the drapes drawn. Also, I went to check into getting a different room for just me and I can get one without a balcony for $200. I don’t want to spend that money on a room so I will just stay in this one”.

The friend came back in from the balcony and started getting ready for bed, performing the nightly rituals – brush teeth, wash face, etc. She finally pulled out the sofa bed and she too crawled between the cool sheets. She maneuvered a bit to find a relatively comfortable place and then started flipping the channels on the TV. By this time the mother and daughter had had enough of the rudeness and asked her to turn off the TV and go to sleep. It was then explained that the friend had a habit of falling asleep with the TV on. The mother and daughter sighed and laid back down hoping that it wouldn’t take long for the friend to nod off. Fortunately, it took less than 5 minutes and the friend was asleep. The daughter reached over, slid the remote from the friends hand and turned off the incessant noise. The mother turned off the light and all was blissfully quiet, cool, and serene…and then the snoring started.

Next blog: In Freeport, getting naked in public, having an aneurism, and a Foodie’s paradise…next time on AS THE BOAT FLOATS.

Sunday, September 28

Color Me Stupid

We interrupt this blog to bring you a special bulletin.

If you know your friend is selfish, a control freak, and ungrateful on a normal day don’t expect her to be any other way when she is moving to a new home. In fact, when she is under stress expect her to be all of those things, just more so

I’m just saying…

Thursday, September 25

The Cruise - Day 1

The day the three women left for the cruise everyone was up very early. In order to catch their 7:20 AM flight they had to leave for the airport at 4:15. Once there, the friend headed to First Class check in and the mother and daughter headed for general check in. The mother and daughter had 3 bags between them and were unaware that the airline the friend booked them on charged $25 for additional bags. First class however, can check 2 bags per person with no additional charge.

Since they had so much time to wait until the flight, the three women went to breakfast before heading to their gate. After that, it was boarding time and all went well. The first leg of the trip was fine, the mother and daughter had aisle seats and had things to keep them occupied. The second leg of the trip was also fine as the same arrangement was made on the second flight as the first.

When they arrived in Miami they had to go collect their luggage and find the cruise line representative. The representative, Jorge, was a very nice gentleman and carted their luggage to the meeting point for the cruise line. Once there the women found that the shuttle to the ship would not leave for another hour. The daughter asked how much a cab to the ship would cost. Turns out it would cost the same amount as the shuttle. The daughter asked if they could get a refund for the shuttle and just take a cab and everyone laughed…but the daughter was serious. She was tired of being in the airport, tired of travelling and tired of being hot and sticky. They waited the hour for the shuttle.

Once they arrived at the port, they checked in and got their room keys. The room keys are multi-functional since they also serve as a credit card. The ship charges a certain amount on the credit card of your choice and then that amount is the balance on the room key card. So anything that is purchased on the ship just goes on that card. It is convenient, but also sneaky on the ship’s side since it is easy to lose track of what is charged from day to day.

After they checked in it was time to find their room. There were phone calls made before the arrival concerning an upgrade and before the women went to their room the friend wanted to check on the status of the upgrade. That had to be done on the reception deck of the ship so it was onto the ship the women went.

As soon as they stepped on the ship they were greeted by a ship member holding a tray of champagne flutes. They each took a flute and headed to the atrium to sit and look out the huge windows. They headed towards the atrium so the friend could go check on their upgrade status. The mother and daughter sat and relaxed and waited. And waited…and waited. Finally the friend came back and by this time the mother and daughter were annoyed because they had to wait so long. When they asked what took so long the friend stated that she went and booked her next cruise…oh, and they didn’t get the upgrade. The mother and daughter just exchanged glances – they were too tired to do much else.

When they arrived at their cabin they were greeted by their luggage at the door. Once inside they were surprised to see how small the room was. They were told that the room would sleep three but the cruise line failed to mention that the three it slept would need to be super model thin and midget short. At that point they were just happy to be in the room – and they did have a balcony.

Next Blog: The departure, the party, the balcony and the drapes. Stay tuned for more of...As the Boat Floats.

Wednesday, September 24

The Cruise - Prologue

Once upon a time there were three women (actually, there were more than that but for the purposes of this story, there are just three main ones), a mother, a daughter, and a friend. One day the friend visited the mother and daughter and said, “Lets take a cruise. I can get us a great deal on a cruise to the Bahamas if you book it through me. And my cost for the cruise is only going to be $175” The mother and daughter thought about it and decided to go ahead. They each paid the $419 for the cruise.

A few weeks later the friend said that they all had to make their airline reservations since the cruise was out of Miami. The mother and daughter started thinking it over and decided to see what was available leaving from the Port of Baltimore since that was only 30 minutes away. Considering the cost of airfare was an additional $300 on top of the cruise price, the mother and daughter started looking into cruises in the $700 range. The friend said that she didn’t like any of the cruises out of Baltimore and that she was happy with the one out of Miami. So the mother and daughter paid an additional $300 for airfare…in coach. The friend used her frequent flier miles to book her ticket…in first class.

After another few weeks, it was time to book the shore excursions for the days that the ship was going to be in port. The friend wanted to hang out on the beach and do some shopping, the mother and daughter wanted to do some adventures. The mother and daughter booked their shore excursions separately and decided to see what the friend was going to do. Meanwhile, the friend booked their shuttle to and from the ship…at an additional cost of $30.

While the mother and daughter were looking at the website for the cruise they checked out the fares to see how much of a great deal they were getting by booking through their friend. Turns out there was no benefit since the fares the general public got was the same as the fares were the same. Turns out, the only person who got a deal was the friend…who booked her cruise at $175 and paid absolutely nothing to fly there and back in first class. However, if the friend had listened to the mother and daughter and caught a cruise out of Baltimore it would have cost her $700 – the same amount as the mother and daughter…no wonder she was happy with the cruise out of Miami.

The mother and daughter said nothing about it to the friend at this point.

Friday, August 22

Conspiracy Theory

I think there is a conspiracy afoot to keep me in Maryland. This is why I think this:

This summer has been beautiful. The weather has been so nice that I have been able to keep the house open for weeks now. It is the perfect summer weather – mid 80’s and low humidity.

The calls I am getting for interviews are all in this area. I have only gotten a few calls from New England.

The economy in MD is much better than it is in New England. Gas is getting cheaper too.

Michael has suggested that I go back to school. This last one is important because it says he acknowledges that it may take me a while to get a job in NE, and in the meantime I might as well do something productive.

I still adore my house. My house is pretty big (5 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms) and I just love the setup. When we go to NE I wont have as much house and will probably have to get rid of some furniture.

All things considered: It makes more sense for me to stay...but I dont love it here the way I do RI. And I think that is the biggest factor for moving. I have to go where my heart lives - conspiracy or no...

The Business of Death

My best friend, Trala’s, dad is dying. It is real now. Before, he was just sick and everyone was trying to get him healthier and accommodate his new needs. Well, last Tuesday he went into the hospital because he had fluid around his heart, again. They admitted him to Hospice Wednesday night. Trala has said that he wont pass away in the next week, but he probably wont last a month. *sigh*

I don’t know what to do for her. I adore Trala and she has helped me cope with some stuff without even knowing she was being helpful. She is always truthful - sometimes to the point of hilarity, one comment she made about me not being a nice person made me laugh so hard my asthma started acting up – and is scarily logical. But death, and imminent death, is not logical. No, that isn’t right, death is logical and expected, the grief associated with death is not logical. I mean it is logical that one would feel grief, but it is not that cut and dried. It isn’t a linear progression, everyone’s grief is different, and some feel it more than others.

Then there is the business of death. All of the little details that have to be taken care of after a death. Not the funeral or the reception, but the stuff afterwards: the removal of the deceased from the legal papers and the accounts, the life insurance, and the last of the medical bills. Stuff that you know is going to have to be taken care of but when they come it is strange that it is so impersonal. A death disrupts the lives of those left, but to others it is just…business.

I have cooked individual meals for the family and frozen them so they can eat something quick without having to think about it. I think the best I can do for Trala and her family is to just support them right now. But I am having a hard time doing that because of the death business. There are already so many services for families during this time that it is difficult to find anything that hasn’t been taken care of. That is good for Trala and her family, but hard for me. I have offered my services in any way I can so I will just wait until they need me. Have I mentioned that I am not good at waiting?

Monday, August 11

No Excuses

Wow, I cant believe it has been so long since I blogged. Things have been pretty busy though.

I fostered 4 kittens this season Tank, Happy, Solo, and Winter.
Mum is here so I have been busy doing things with her
We spent a week in Newport, RI
And, once again, we are getting the house ready to go on the market.

Yeah, I know, we just took it off the market! But now I have decided that Newport is where I want to end up. I know this sounds fickle and that I don’t really know what I want, but that isn’t the case. I have always wanted to go back to Newport. I go back for a visit every year just because it kills me to stay away. This year, we delivered Solo to our dear friends in Newport and after discussing it with Michael we have decided to go back permanently.

The reason we didn’t consider it earlier is because the cost of living is the same there as it is here, except the housing prices are even higher. Add that to the economy of the state being in trouble and it isn’t the first choice of any sane person. But no one ever said the Traveling Andersons were sane. Lol. So now we are prepping for a move

I have been working with a headhunter in Boston and have been sending resumes out to as many places as I can. I have also been looking into apartments there and different areas to live in MA and East RI. Michael is getting ready for a move also. He only had 7 classes left for his degree so he is taking them all in this coming semester. Additionally, he scheduled them all for Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday so he can come up to RI on Friday to spend the weekend with me when I finally get a job. While I don’t envy him his courseload (23 credits) I do envy him going to school. I so want to jump back into academia. Sigh, maybe spring semester.

Now that I know I am going back to RI I am anxious to just go. I am so close to suggesting that we just pack up and go and I will find a job when I get there. That wouldn’t be rational and would just cause more stress so I don’t. But it is hard to stay here when I know it would be so easy to go there. And with fall on it’s way staying here is even harder.

Saturday, July 12

The Kitty Whisperer

Oh my God!!! I have become the Kitty Whisperer!!

A neighbor brought me a poor starving little kitten because she knew I took care of cats. Ugh!! Now there are 7 cats in my house. Trala told me that since I am not working at the moment that I should find out the requirements for being considered an animal rescue and maybe get money from the government. At first I laughed but now I am starting to think about it!

The feeding and the litter box maintenance alone are getting to be a full time job. I only have to feed the older cats 2X a day but the kittens need to be fed every 3-4 hours because of their caloric needs. Also, because Cheese is a chow hound I have to watch and make sure he doesn’t shove the kittens out of the way and eat their food.

The 2 kittens I have been fostering for a while are coming along great. In fact, in a week Solo is going to his new home in Rhode Island. I have some dear friends who are looking for a kitten for their son, Ethan, and I happen to have a great kitten for a little boy. I really think this is going to be a good match since Solo is a really active and sweet kitten. I think they will have fun with him.

Wynter is going to a friend here in Maryland and he will be ready to go in 3 more weeks. Wynter is eating and using the litter box well, but he is only 5 weeks old and isn’t ready to go developmentally. He is learning at the normal rate and is a good size for a 5 week old, but he is still a baby and therefore has to grow a little more before he can go to his Forever home.

That leads us to the new kitten. He is a grey and white tabby and is as cute as a button. He was a stray/feral but every time you touch him he purrs. He doesn’t mind being picked up and carried around and loves having his chin scratched. I have never had a feral react this way. I know he was a feral because I know who his mom is and I have been trying to catch him for weeks. In fact, he is Tank’s brother!

He disappeared a few days ago and we just thought that a fox from the woods across the street got him. We were keeping an eye out for a body or any clue that he was killed. Then Kim called and when she described him to me I knew instantly who it was.

He still has some feral tendencies such as the skittishness and the desire to run anytime there is a quick movement or noise. But if you talk soothingly to him and approach slowly he stays put and you can pet him and pick him up. The touching and holding are the biggest hurdles. If you can get a feral cat to trust you enough to hold him, that is about 80% of the socialization process. I think in a month he will be a normal housecat and will be ready to go to a Forever Home.

But still, 7 cats in one house? I have a big house, but sheesh! I have become the Crazy Cat Lady!!

Wednesday, July 2

Mum and the Air Conditioner

Well, Mum made it in okay and we have been running since she got here. I think today we are actually going to rest.

Mum’s flight got in about an hour and a half late but that actually worked out fine since it gave Michael and I a chance to grab some supper. We snatched her from the airport and then came back to the house. Since it was about 11:30 when we finally got home we just chatted for a while and went to bed. The next day there was shopping to do!! And then everyone wanted to catch up with her so we went out to supper with some friends. She is going to be here until the middle of November so there is plenty of time to get crap done.

A few years ago my parents sold almost everything they had and used the money to move to California. Now that they are ‘unencumbered’ they travel more and do more fun things. They bounce between my sister in San Diego and me in Maryland, spending roughly 6 months at each place. The plan at first was to spend spring and fall with me and winter and summer in CA but for some reason that isn’t what happened. Mum just visits when she wants to and weather be damned. Lol.

On a different note:

We were having supper the other night and were discussing the problem of the temperature control. Our house has a problem with the consistency of the cooling. In the summer the upstairs is definitely hotter than the downstairs. . I like it cold when I sleep. I enjoy snuggling under the blankets (even in the summer) and with it warm upstairs I have a hard time sleeping. Also, the room we use as an office is noticeably warmer in the day than the rest of the upstairs. We have closed all the vents in the basement and most of them on the first floor but that doesn’t really help much. We have installed additional insulation in the attic and have put weather stripping around the attic stairs and that helped a little. Michael built housings and supports and installed 2 HUGE attic fans that push the air out of the roof vent when the attic reaches 125 degrees, that helped a little. We replaced every window in the house and the Heating/Cooling system as well. That helped a lot! But there is still about a 5-degree difference between the two levels. We installed ceiling fans in all 4 of the upstairs bedrooms as well as a huge one in the stairwell and that helped somewhat.

With all of these measures, there is still a difference in temperature between the 2 floors. I now view this as a challenge. There must be some way to remedy this without taking out a second mortgage to do so. Well, Michael suggested a window unit to make up the difference. I balked because there is no way I am going to have a metal tumorous protrusion on my house. I mean it makes perfect sense, but no. I would rather be too hot. We once again headed to the attic. Well, it turns out that almost an entire third of the attic covering the office is not insulated well. It has a scant covering of the popcorn insulation but that is it. So off to Home Depot it was.

We picked up more insulation to lay in the attic but we also picked up one of these:
http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?storeId=10051&langId=-1&catalogId=10053&productId=100527430&N=10000003+90401+503451+2647#reviews

We used it yesterday in the office (we hid it behind a piece of furniture) and within 30 minutes I had to increase the temperature because it was getting too cold in the room. Imagine – me, too cold! We left the central air at 72 degrees overnight and just wheeled the unit into the bedroom. It was nice and chilled in there. I actually slept under the down comforter! I am loving this thing! I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a portable unit.

Well, it is time for me to go feed the little crack heads so I am outta here.

Monday, June 23

I'm Done

George Carlin Died.
I'm never getting out of bed again.

Saturday, June 14

Dont Feel Like Writing




AAAAAAaaaahahahahahaaa!!!

I dont feel like writing today. I have a lot of crap to do before I meet Michael in Virginia for supper. I'll catch everyone up later.

Monday, June 9

I don’t even know where to start. I guess the bare facts will have to suffice:

My favorite author, ever, has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

It was announced about 6 months ago but I somehow missed it. How could one of the most fantastic satirical minds of our times be afflicted this way? I understand that Alzheimer’s is devastating to anyone and everyone who is diagnosed with it, but this man uses his mind for his craft. Not only is he a writer, but he is a phenomenal writer.

His slightly skewed view of the world around him comes through in his writing. In Eric (a parody of Gothe’s Faust) through the lead character[1] he further explores the politics and hypocrites of religion as well as basic human nature. In this story even Satan is banished to administrative work through a coup by his contemporaries. In Jingo he explores basic human greed and stupidity through the appearance of a mythical city located exactly halfway between two very powerful countries. In Feet of Clay he explores cloning and the possible subsequent slavery of an ‘inferior’ race. And Thud is a glaringly obvious satirical look at the mindset of the Middle East.

His seemingly favorite character, Death, has evolved through the books and has even taken time off to go find himself. He has battled the Auditors over what is right rather than what is procedure in Thief of Time, and he did a stint as Santa Claus in Hogfather. His other characters are just as complex and nuanced as Death and the development of them through various plot turns is nothing less than genius. Vimes’ battle with the bottle and his hatred of administration perfectly highlights his determination and pragmatism. Magrat ‘s[2] insecurities and eventual discovery of her own strength can be applied to both men and women. And the inclusion of an Igor[3] into most of the books lends whimsy when the symbolism becomes almost too obvious.

I have looked forward to the annual release of the Pratchett Discworld[4] novels from the moment I discovered him. I have burned through his books upon discovery and have laughed until I cried at some point in each of them. Michael has now become very accustomed to me bursting out laughing in bed simply because I tend to read them there. I see his characters everywhere in real life.

I know it is incredibly selfish of me to feel this way but I feel I am losing part of my family. When the Discworld ends, so do some of the most charming, twisted characters I have ever had the pleasure of discovering.


[1] who is Rincewind the wizard rather than Eric
[2] yes, that is the proper spelling…there was a typo on her birth certificate and she was doomed to go through life
as Magrat instead of Margaret
[3] Igors are a specific race of …people…who have devoted their lives to the service of others. This tradition, as well
as most of the body parts, has been handed down through the generations.
[4] So named because that world is flat, like a disc…and yes, people fall off the rim of it.

Sunday, June 8

It Really Exists

Okay, so something interesting happened to me the other day. I was out running errands and when I came back home and walked in the door, I noticed that it smelled like butt in my house. Well, the litter boxes were clean (and that is a different smell anyway) and I had showered this month (that, too, is a different smell) so I couldn’t figure out what it was.

I put down all my stuff, petted the kitties and started to follow my nose to find out where the smell was. After some twists and turns down long hallways and dark tunnels, I found myself in a huge cavernous room. It was bright and sunny and it looked like the room had a purpose at one time. I took the time to wander around a bit, and the kitties had followed me so I kept an eye on them. I figured if anything dangerous was lurking then the kitties would notice it first.

Upon further inspection, I found a large upright box with a handle on it. I took a deep breath and pulled. I was immediately awash with cool air. There was a light there and I could see all kinds of brightly colored things living there. I must have startled them because they didn’t move as I stood watching them. I eventually closed the lower door and pulled the upper handle. Again, there was light and more of those brightly colored creatures but they were much colder. After observing no discernable movement I just closed the door and let them resume their lives. I then noticed the front of the structure was covered with random letters. What could this mean? Was it trying to communicate with me? I waited and watched: the only thing written there was www.streetcorner.com which was there when I entered the area.

I stood and looked around for a few minutes…there was something familiar about this room. I could almost put my finger on it but not quite. I continued my observations: there were a lot of flat surfaces - like work spaces, there was a large amount of empty space that reflected the light from the many windows; there was even a water source on the floor that the kitties were drinking out of. Plus there was still the smell.

I again checked for any hidden dangers – this time behind the many doors below and above the empty work spaces. I was surprised to see that there were brightly colored creatures living here as well. I figured there must be at least three different species: the room temperature ones, the cold ones, and the very cold ones. These were timid also since they didn’t move the entire time I stared at them. I eventually closed the door and continued. That feeling of familiarity was still tugging at the back of my brain…I felt like I had been here before.

I found another box cleverly camouflaged with the flat workspaces. At first I thought it was just another work space, but a different color. Then I noticed that it was some kind of device since it had turn knobs on it. I turned one and immediately the surface of the work space went from grey to red and I could feel the heat radiating off of it. I could think of many uses for a contraption like this. I wondered if I could take it back with me when I left.

The smell was getting closer so I decided to try to locate it. I found the source of the smell a few feet away in a tub type area. Upon closer inspection I noticed there were plates and silverware in the tub. That feeling of knowing was becoming very strong now. I stared at the eating utensils in the basin…I then realized there was a water source there as well. I reached up and pulled the handle and cool refreshing water came out of the spigot. I was so close to knowing now I could almost reach out with my hand and grab it.

My breath caught in my throat and I spun around…the upright box, the doors, the heat making contraption…I had found the fabled KITCHEN. I just stood and stared with my mouth hanging open and my eyes wide. I had found it again! I was struck with wonder and I started touching all the surfaces. It was a good thing the water was still running because I burned my hand on the heat making box, but other than that warning bite the Kitchen was still docile. I wondered at the food items in the boxes and behind the doors. I have never seen food in its infant state of Containerism, I have only seen it in its mature state- on a plate next to a drink with an umbrella in it.

I think I stayed there, in the Kitchen, for an hour just exploring and reveling in its wonders. The water resistant floor, the Storm in a Box that some one had placed even more eating utensils, the odd growths on the workspaces that looked like a coffee maker (just smaller) and storage apparatuses. Finally the smell started to get to me and the kitties were leaving, one by one. I figured I had better follow them out or I may lose consciousness and never get back. The trip back to the house was uneventful and rather quick, I could see the front door after a few turns and knew I was on the right track.

Later that evening, I started to tell Michael what I had explored that day. I attempted to convey the wonder and majesty of the mythical Kitchen and my amazing adventure in it. He sat on the chair watching me closely, waiting for the incredible thing he knew I was going to tell him. I took a breath, looked deep in his blue eyes and started... “The dishes are starting to smell funky, they need to be washed.”

Saturday, June 7

Pissed off

I have been seeing advertisements for the show Army Wives on Lifetime. I had dismissed it as a glorification of the military and the soap opera-ization (if that is even a word) of what military wives go through. There is an Army Wives marathon on today so I thought this would be a good time to explore the series. I have watched one episode and I know everything about all of the characters. The writing is bad and predictable. Within the first fifteen minutes of the episode I knew how the episode would end because I have seen the same episode about twenty other times on ten different series.

But other than that, this is why the show is shit:

There is all this crap about the military wives code and how they have to protect each other. Bullshit, we all just live our lives.

After watching 3 episodes I am now afraid of any Army veteran. At least once an episode an army dude from Iraq comes home, goes nuts, and kills everyone in their general vicinity. I am thinking this isn’t really the norm anywhere except on this show. I understand that the veterans who come home have been overworked, over deployed, and probably have PTSD to some extent, but don’t make it look like our military is full of guys who could go nuts and take us all out if the commissary doesn’t have their brand of ice cream one day.

I understand that the show is on Lifetime, but sheesh! It is like watching Army Steel Magnolias. There is the one central wife who is strong, stoic, and all knowing. She is infallible and her hair always looks great. Then there are 4 supporting players who have the problems that she has to fix. Give me a freaking break.

This show doesn’t accurately portray military life. It is the Army Soap Opera and plays on all women’s fears and emotions, whether they are military or not: Will my kids grow up to be stoner skate rats, will my husband get in a car wreck on the way home and die (as mentioned above, his chances of being taken out in the commissary one day are much, much greater), does this watchband make me look fat…

But the worst part is that they have taken something very personal and private to some women and by televising it have succeeded in trivializing it. They made it look like when the dudes leave for their macho, testosterone filled existence in the hot sand, that the wives lives are still just as easy and the only problems they have are the dreaded watchband issue and who they are trying not to sleep with next. They don’t show the crippling sadness, the children who act out because they miss their parent and cant express their pain, the logistical difficulties like carpooling, work demands and trash removal that just work better with a 2 parent home. They don’t show how hard it is to just live when a military spouse gets left behind.

And yes, I know that when we marry our military spouses that we signed up for the leaving. We leave our friends, our home, our family, our comfort zones. But it is still okay because we leave as a couple. It is okay when we leave all of these things together. But after all of the leaving, it is still such a horrible, painful thing to be left. It doesn’t matter how strong, capable or well liked you are. When your spouse leaves your home to do a job, it hurts. A lot.

And to those people who don’t think the military wives are really ‘in the military’ I say, Fuck You. We serve too. We go to the shitty formal balls and eat lukewarm food with people we don’t like. We attend office functions and eat store bought cake with blue frosting that turns your lips the same frightening color. We sit on the bleachers in the heat and the mosquitoes to watch the office softball team lose…again. We cry when one of ours doesn’t come back and we secretly thank the Higher Power that it wasn’t the one we have given our heart to.

As a 20 year military wife veteran, don’t tell me I didn’t serve, and if you are going to put us in the spotlight, make it at least believable.

Dumbasses. Fuck you. Now I am all pissed.

Tuesday, May 20

Ugh! Too Much Work

Sheesh!! I had forgotten how nerve-wracking kittens are.

Tank is 6 weeks old and is pretty self sufficient when it comes to input and output. He eats fine and goes to the litter box with minimal supervision. He is apparently in the Stepping in the Doodles phase of development. He goes to the litter box and then scratches so much you would think he was going to china. When he hops out of the litter box not only has he NOT covered up the doodles, he has also stepped in it. So now I have to chase him down (the little shit hops fast!) and endure his kitten curse words while I wash off his feet and hiney. Other than that he is getting along well.

The nerve wracking part is that he is so small that I constantly have to keep checking on him to make sure he hasn’t gotten himself stuck somewhere or that Cheese hasn’t mistaken him for a challenging snack. Also, I cant seem to get his plumbing sorted out. Either he poops soup or he is constipated. His poor little booty is starting to look sore. It has only been 2 days now but he is so friendly and comfortable with us that I forget it hasn’t been that long. I know the doodle situation will work out, but in the meantime I am constantly thinking that he is going to get the runs and die and it will be all my fault.

Add that to the fact that we acquired a 3 week old kitten yesterday and he still wont eat. We have the formula for him and the bottles but he doesn’t like it. He refuses to latch on to the bottle and suck! It has been 24 hours now and I think I have gotten a whole ounce in him. I keep trying and we both end up a sticky mess. After the force feeding session he is pissed and I am worried. I am going to try a different formula in a couple of hours to see if it is the formula and not the bottle. I don’t know what to do with him if he wont eat. I will probably end up taking him to the vet in desperation.

Well, I am off to find the poop machine and perhaps take care of some doodle maintenance.

Monday, May 19

Meet Tank

Well, this little guy was found under the shed in my side yard. I knew his mom - PuffPuff -had kittens about 6 weeks ago but I wasnt able to find them in time to take them and socialize them.

Sunday, I was working in the sewing room and my kitty, Autumn, was fascinated with something outside. I went to the bedroom window to get a better view and still couldnt see anything. Michael, however, could, and told me that there was a black and white kitty down there. So, thinking that it was PuffPuff's kittens, I headed down with Michael in tow. Once down there, I had Michael look under the shed but I doubted anything could be under there since the hole was too small. Michael shone the flashlight under there but didnt see anything. He went back in and I just sat at the little table and chair set that is right there. A few minutes later Michael came out with kitty treats which I scattered in front of the hole under the shed.
While I was waiting, PuffPuff wandered around the side yard and froze in her tracks. She is used to humans but no one can pet her or get close to her. When I saw her I knew her kittens were under our shed. This was not going to be fun. I sat as still as I could and just waited. Slowly a tiny paw crept out and stole one of the treats. PuffPuff had slunk closer to the shed and kept a wary eye on me. After about 5 minutes she was close enough for the kitten to see her and he came bounding out to see mommy. Mommy took off and the kitten darted back under the shed. I hadnt moved a finger but PuffPuff is timid and the kittens take their cues from her. Finally, she moved back to the shed and the kitten came back out. PuffPuff made the mistake of squeezing under the shed and I lunged. The kitten couldnt get under because PuffPuff was blocking the entry so I was able to snatch him up. Lets just say that he was not a happy kitty. I scruffed him and he calmed down a little and I snuggled him against my chest with his back to me. He settled down very fast and I took him to my friend, Jackie's house.
Upon examination it turns out he is a very healthy little boy. He is only about 6 weeks but he is already about 2 pounds which is excellent. And that is why we call him Tank - he is HUGE for 6 weeks, but his development is that of a 6 week old kitten. He eats kitten food - both hard and soft - and uses the litter box. I am still teaching him to lap water, and I feel like a total shit for doing it. I bring him to the water bowl and push his nose in it real fast. He hates it and I feel like a bad mommy, but there is no other way to teach him. In the meantime, in order to get fluid in him I mix his wet food with water so it makes a barf colored gruel. He loves it, I get fluid in him, so it works out for all of us.
I am keeping him in the guest room (yes, your room, Mum) and it was just luck that we hadnt filled the waterbed up yet. We had assembled the frame but that was it. Now it is a temporary playpen for the kitten. It is large enough for his bedding, food, water, and small litterbox to be far enough from each other to be acceptable for him, but the sides are high enough (at the moment) to keep him contained within. When I am upstairs I let him run around...well, he hops around really. He is still pretty uncoordinated but he is learning, and he is really cute when he runs/hops.
The most surprising part for me - other than his massive size - is that he is completely socialized. Other than the first 2 minutes when I grabbed him he has not shown any agression or antisocial tendencies. He purrs when I talk to him (which is totally charming), he has met the other cats (they have more of a problem with him than the other way around) and when he gets tired of playing he seeks me out to snuggle (again, completely charming). He has no problem being held by anyone and even Michael has snuggled him.
He has a home already, and as soon as she returns from vacation next week Tank will go to his new home. I am happy for this week, so I can make sure he is a good pet. I always make sure the plumbing works right and that the kittens are trained and used to humans. This little guy was the easiest kitten I have done. I got very lucky considering his age.

Thursday, May 15

Tired Tonight

I have spent all day at the mall and just got home a couple of hours ago. I am tired and am going to bed soon. I am posting the Too-Cute-For-Words pix for today and I will post an update soon...maybe even tomorrow.

Friday, May 9

This Just In...

Bee-bee Kitties are kyoot Kyoot Kyoot!!!
Just see for yourself.
These were taken before the little boy passed away and I am just now getting the pix up. Sorry.

Sad News with a Good News Chaser

Well, we lost a baby poodin. Well, we didn’t really lose it…we know where it is. It just isn’t living any longer. I noticed that it wasn’t gaining any weight and that it’s output wasn’t looking like it should. I called the vet and she said that there really wasn’t anything that could be done for it since it was so tiny, and that we just had to wait and see what would happen. Well, it died later that night. It always kills me when we lose a poodin.

On a brighter note:

The one that is still with us is definitely thriving. We have named her Bella-Gigi and she is certainly growing to be as beautiful as her name. I have included some AAWWWWW pix so try not to slip into a diabetic coma. LOL

Wednesday, May 7

The Anderson Idea of Humor

Yeah...this is what passes for humor in our house.





The first line is mine, the second is the hubby's response to the first.
ahhh...love is grand.

Friday, May 2

Kyoot Bebe Poodins!!!

We have baby poodins!!! They are soooo kyoot kyoot kyoot!!!!

I was puttering around the house last week and my neighbor came over and showed them to me. They were just a day old and still had their umbilical cords attached. Apparently the momcat had the babies in the garage and then decided to bring them into the house.

The momcat is a stray and had the kittens in the garage. After she did she got the attention of my neighbor and led her to them as if to say, “Look what I made for you!!” Jackie, my neighbor, ooh-ed and ahh-ed over them and then went back in the house. Shortly after that, momcat was at the back screen…with a kitten. Jackie couldn’t imagine that she would want to bring the kitten in but opened the door anyway. Sure enough, momcat brought the kitten in and made herself at home. Now, Jackie has other cats so this wasn’t going to go over well with them. And momcat was screaming at any kitty who even looked her way. So we put the kitty bed (where she had stashed her kittens) in a large crate. Momcat hopped into the crate to be with the kittens and we locked it up and put a towel over it. We then moved it back into the garage where she stayed for a day before trying to bring the kittens back into the house.

The second time she brought the kittens into the house, Jackie moved them and momcat into a bedroom that she wasn’t using. She gave them a nice soft flannel sheet to bed in, food, water, and a litter box. Momcat didn’t leave for 2 days and was pretty happy and content. Now though, momcat goes outside and leaves the kittens for a couple of hours at a time. When that happens Jackie and I rush upstairs and grab the kittens and snuggle them to within an inch of their lives. LOL.

They are 10 days old today and their eyes are starting to open. I am a little concerned about the boy because his…uhhh…output is a different color than what it should be. I called the vet and there isn’t really anything that they can do since they are sooo tiny still. So we are just waiting to see if it resolves itself. If it doesn’t, then we are going to have to take the kitten and start bottle-feeding it to see if that will correct the issue.

Oh, and of course there are photos.

Julia – I think this is what your poodins probably looked like…with the exception of Gracie who is a little fluffball. LOL

Thursday, May 1

Oh my God!! It just keeps getting worse…

The plumbers are here. We still have the leak in the shower. They suggested getting the tile person in to pull up the tiles and check for leakage in the floor. Then they cut a hole into my closet. AND THEN THEY FOUND THE LEAK!!

Well, at least they found the leak. It was in the piping leading up to the shower head. Apparently, when Wayne put everything together he didn’t solder things correctly and now every time I turn on the water it runs down the pipe, into the sub flooring and drips through the ceiling. I could just kill Wayne. At least it is getting fixed though. As soon as they finish with my shower they are going to give us an estimate on routing the pipes to the small upstairs bedroom so we can turn that into the laundry room. That way the laundry room will be upstairs instead of in the basement. Yippee!! That is what I am really looking forward to. Then I can put clothes away as we do them, not all at once when they come up from the basement.

There is good news and bad news: There has been improvement and a minor setback in the knee situation.
First the good news:

The knee is definitely getting stronger. I am able to walk around normally now. I don’t look like Igor dragging one leg behind me ( the crouching and lisp is still there though, “Yeth Masther”).

It doesn’t hurt as much as it once did – though to be honest, it never really hurt that much – now the pain is an occasional thing when I do something without thinking about my knee. Before, there was always an ache down my LCL and in my hamstring.

I walked on the treadmill yesterday at Physical Therapy.

Michael is getting very good at stretching my knee out. The passive stretches I have him do feel really good after I have done my knee exercises.So that is the good news.

And now the not so good news:

The discouraging thing is that I walked on the treadmill yesterday for 4.5 minutes and my knee buckled. I didn’t fall and it wasn’t painful, but I had to stop anyway so I wouldn’t do any more damage. I then went to the bike and did 10 minutes on that. I really hate that damn bike. I have never liked the bike but now I hate it because I have to do it every day in order to strengthen my knee further.

So in all, I think progress is being made and I can – hopefully - avoid the surgery. I have my Drs appt on the 6th this month so I should know more then.

Tuesday, April 29

Bum Knee Update

Well the good news is that I am up and about. The bad news is that we wont know anything about my knee for another 2 weeks.

I have a torn ACL, a torn LCL, a posterior tear in the medial Meniscus, and a pulled hamstring. Whew! When I do something, I do it right. When I went back to the orthopedic surgeon all the muscles in my knee were still in spasm so he sent me to physical therapy for 4 weeks. I am in the second week and I go three times a week. The exercises arent hard or grueling…they just hurt. There are lots of stretching and strengthening, and mobility exercises that I do. PT usually takes about 2 hours a visit and then I come home and ice the knee for about an hour. I go back to the orthopedic surgeon in about 2 weeks to see if I need the surgery. If we can strengthen my muscles enough that they make up for the lack of tendon stability, then I wont need the surgery. If we get the muscles as strong as they can be and I still have a lot of instability, then I will need the surgery anyway. As of now, I am still convinced that I can do this and avoid the surgery. There is nothing that I haven’t been able to do once I really decide to do it. I REALLY REALLY don’t want surgery.

Tuesday, April 15

The Couch Chronicles

Today is my appt with the orthopedic surgeon again. Hopefully he will be able to tell me how this is going to be repaired. I am so sick of sitting on this couch. Since I am getting out today I will be able to see my weeping cherry tree in full bloom as well as all of my tulips. I am so bummed that I am not using this time to garden. Normally, by now, my beds would be pristine and well maintained. Sigh…

I have been able to explore the delights of daytime tv though. I regularly tape some shows and that is about all the tv I watch. I always get Jeopardy and some shows on adult swim but the rest of the tv broadcasts make my brain ache. I have been listening to books on CD and cross stitching but that can only entertain me for about 4 hours at a time so I have been mucking through the channels. I have been staying within the safe channels for the most part – Discovery Channel, The History Channel, Biography – but every once in a while I get brave and venture into the cloudier recesses of the channel pool. To my surprise I have added another show to the list that I already tape regularly: Good Eats. I ventured over to the Food Network one day and there it was. At first I thought it was a science show on the wrong channel but the more I watched it the more I was fascinated. It is a delightful blend of science, food, and pure camp. Being a goofball and a foodie I loved it. I love knowing tricks and the why’s of food. They also throw in history, techniques, culture, and folklore. I was enthralled.

Unfortunately not all my experiences were that pleasant. One afternoon, out of desperation, I ventured into the dark depths of daytime broadcasting. I was at first encouraged by Ellen. That wasn’t too bad. But then I was thrust, unprepared, into the Oprah show. Reeling from the shock, I blindly began changing channels. I sunk further into the muck – Jerry Springer. Blindly stabbing at the remote to relieve the pain to my eyes I found a channel with a commercial. I never thought I would be so happy for advertising. Of course it was for a trade school but that was okay…at least it gave me a chance to catch my breath. Whew! When I had become more rational I gingerly changed the channel back to my safe station – Discovery. By this time I was feeling brave…I had ventured into the slimy end of the pool and other than some retinal damage, I had survived. Well, the adrenaline rush was addictive so I headed right back – only this time I randomly chose a number and punched it into the remote. As luck would have it, I ended up on a shopping channel…a jewelry shopping channel to be exact. I was mesmerized by the nonstop babble of the sales person. There weren’t any quality pieces but you would never know it from listening to the huckster. I stayed there just to see what the next piece was going to be…and then the next one…and the next one. When I finally got tired of it I had watched for a good 30 minutes. Huh. I am the first to admit that anything shiny will attract my attention – after all, my favorite color is Sparkly – but from the format of the show, I am apparently not the only one. I think today I will try another random channel. After I get some pain pills in me…

Monday, April 14

Update From the Couch

I find this whole situation a bit amusing. I mean, the knee doesn’t hurt if I just sit here. I don’t even have to take Advil so it seems silly to just be sitting here all day doing nothing. But, as soon as I get up to get a drink or hit the ladies room my knee tells me to sit my ass right back down. So while I am sitting here I am all frustrated because I FEEL FINE. I sat in the hot tub last night for about an hour and I didn’t notice a difference in the knee but it was really nice out there. The hot tub was about 100 degrees and there was a cool breeze blowing. Aaahhhhh…heaven.

Since I have the films from the MRI I called my neighbor the Dr to see if he could make heads or tails of them. My neighbor is a Dr at Union Memorial Hospital. In fact his official title is Medical Director - Acute Rehab Unit. He is also the Department Chief and was in Baltimore Magazine as one of the top 10 doctors in Baltimore in his field. Hell, had I known all that, I would have injured myself a lot sooner. You would think that with all those accolades and all that prestige he would be an ass. The truth is, he is one of the most personable people I know…both him and his wife are just great people. We got soooo lucky when they moved in next door. The neighbor on the other side of us is a Physical Therapist. So I got the diagnosis and the recovery covered!

Well, the good Dr looked over the films and pointed out where the joint looked ‘junky’ and that was where the tear was. He also repeated what the orthopedic surgeon said in that when there is an injury of this type there is usually more damage than just one part. So he believes that not only did I tear my meniscus, but I may have torn a ligament or tendon as well and that is why mechanically my knee doesn’t work. Well, if you are going to do something, do it right!

Tomorrow I have my appt with my orthopedic surgeon so I should know something more after that. I am all excited that I am getting out of the house. My cherry tree is blooming along with all of my tulips and I AM MISSING IT! I hope to be repaired soon because I have planting to do. I bought lots of starters and was really looking forward to planting. Dahlias…Phlox…Columbines…sigh…

Saturday, April 12

Stuck on the Couch

Well shit. I broke my knee. Well, I don’t know for sure but here is the story:

I had been going to the gym for a week. I had been doing the treadmill and using all of the facilities and was just, in general, loving my gym. I got out of the house, it made me feel better, and I was doing something good for me. I had the best day ever at the gym just the day before my knee got injured. I went later in the evening, walked on the treadmill, forced myself to stop after 45 minutes (I was loving the endorphin rush) and then went and sat in the sauna for about 20 minutes. OMG! What a great way to finish a work out. After my shower, I hopped in the car and floated home. I walked in with this huge shit eating grin on my face and when Michael saw it he asked, “good work out?” only the best work out ever!

The next day I had an appt with the personal trainer. We were going to be doing upper body. I started on the bike for 15 minutes. Then we went to the weights to work out. We ended up at the free weights and I started doing some shoulder work. In between sets he had me do jumping jacks. I got through the first set just fine. The second set of jumping jacks however, is when it happened. I was supposed to do 15 of them and I got to number 10 and my knee popped and I just about hit the floor. I stopped and told him what happened and he said, “Huh, that’s odd. Does it hurt?” Well it didn’t so we just kept going…except that I refused to do any more jumping jacks. I finished the upper body workout and then we headed back up the stairs to do the ab part of the training. I noticed at this time that if I extended my leg all the way out, it wouldn’t support any weight…so I didn’t do that. I held my leg at an angle, made it up the stairs and finished the ab workout. From there I did another 15 minutes on the treadmill increasing the incline and speed every 5minutes. After that I went and stretched, again noticing how my knee would give out if I stood a certain way.

It wasn’t until I was getting in the car that I thought maybe I really hurt it. It is my left knee, which is the leg that supports the weight as I get into the car. Well, it gave out but I pulled myself into the car with the steering wheel and Jesus Handles. I got home and barely made it up the 3 steps to get into the house. I called the Dr on the way to Patient first and they told me that I couldn’t get an appt at the dr office that day but I could go in on Monday. Well this is on Tuesday and I wasn’t about to wait a week to have my leg looked at. I told the receptionist that I was going to be seen that day whether it was at the emergency room or at Patient first and they needed to decide which one to send me to. LOL. By the time they got back to me and told me that I was approved to go to Patient First, I was pulling into the parking lot.

They took x rays and could see no bone damage. By this time it was starting to ache a little and I was feeling like I had overstretched or pulled a tendon or ligament. Well soft tissue damage doesn’t show up on an x ray so I would need an MRI. After everything, I got a knee brace and crutches and was told to see the orthopedic surgeon. I made the appt to go to the orthopedic surgeon the next day and he poked and prodded me until I just about cried. He said that because my kneecap is locked in place and I have almost no movement with out pain, that I probably tore my meniscus. If that is the case, I would have to have surgery to fix the mangled mess. But they wouldn’t know until the MRI results came back. I got the films back from the MRI – I don’t know why he wanted films as opposed to a cd – and Michael and I have looked them over closely since my next appt isn’t until Tuesday.

Since we are not Drs we are obviously experts on the subject so we have concluded that there is no real damage. I just sprained my knee. The fact that it mechanically does not work is kind of beside the point. Lol. The fact that I can’t really move it at all or that it looks kinda deformed just supports the conclusion that it is just a sprain. It will heal on it’s own if I just keep using it and ignore the pain.

That being said, I have been sitting on my ass on this couch for the past 3 days. I have a pillow under my knee and have the recliner part of the couch up. I am surfing, texting, knitting, cross stitching, sleeping and bitching. Emphasis on the bitching, ha ha. The only good part now is that if I go insane, I cant get up to kill anyone!

Monday, March 31

Here we go again...

The dinner party went well. I lived and didn’t burn the house down so that is considered a success!

All of our stuff made it out of storage. Our house is a disaster again. It looks like it did before we put the house on the market. We shoved all the stuff in the small dining room and just left it there. I mean really, there was wine to be had! The food turned out perfect and the company was great. The only hard part was steering the conversation to include everyone. Since Steve and Lena were in Newport the same time we were and worked in the same office they talked a lot about the people they used to work with. I had to keep trying to come up with topics that would include everyone. That wasn’t too hard though, and the more wine we had the easier it was to do. Lol.

We spent today cleaning out that small dining room and getting the living room all set up. We moved the TV to the opposite wall and brought down the recliners from the sitting room upstairs. We moved the couch to a different wall and left the window area open. We moved the boxes and the misc furniture to the upstairs and basement rooms that they belong in. Now we are planning on picking a room and completing it before we go to the next one.

We cant start on the next room until Thursday though. I have to be in Rockville tomorrow and then I am going shopping with Lena on Wednesday. So Thursday we are going to start in the office and get it set up and start moving stuff into the guest room. That room doesn’t need to be finished for a while since my mum isnt coming until June.

I have had people ask about my shower so I am adding the pix here. The Eff-er still leaks so we are having the plumber come next week. While he is here we are going to get him to give us an estimate on moving the laundry from the basement to the third floor. That would be so much more convenient and we really aren’t using all 4 of the upstairs bedrooms anyway.


For some reason the last 2 wont upload here so you can go to Flickr and see them. I am going to bed...I am beat.

Friday, March 28

Insanity Rocks!

WooHoo!!!

Now that I have gone insane, there is no need to fear it. How did this happen, you wonder? Well, it started like this:

I quit my job to move to Indiana. We then proceeded to put most of our stuff in storage and get the house on the market. We started looking for a place in IN and then realized that I didn’t really want to move after all (combination of loving my house, my neighbors and friends, and the charm of the area…who can beat the Hon Festival). So we took the house off the market and now are starting to bring stuff back from storage. That was still okay…I was still sane at that point.

Then…

We asked a few friends to help us move the heavy stuff out of storage this weekend…

Ok, still sane…

Michael has a tournament on Saturday so all of the moving has to be done on Sunday...

Ok, still sane…

I decide to throw a dinner party and serve my most time consuming dish - lasagna – on Sunday…with homemade Italian bread.

OK, that is where I think I lost my mind: Somewhere in that last sentence. “Well”, you think, “lasagna is an easy dish, just assemble and bake.” Ummm…you have never had my lasagna before. I have had people PAY me to make it for them. I only make it about once a year. Because it takes 2 days to make the shit!

“What can be so difficult about Lasagna? Do you make your own noodles?” No, and that is only because there is no way I can make them better than the store bought kind. Everything else though…

If I have a dinner party on Sunday, I start cooking on Friday. The sauce is home made and you know it tastes better after it sits for a day. I cook it slowly for about 5-8 hours on the first day, and then it rests overnight. The next day I start on the lasagna. I have to make the cheese/spice mixture( grate cheese, mix cheeses, check for right consistency, etc), I have to assemble the individual lasagna rolls, use the sauce I made the day before (heating it up a bit first), assemble in pan (making sure not to crowd the individual rolls), add more sauce, sprinkle with cheese, and then cook the hell out of it for about an hour.

So there is really just a lot to do the 2 days before the party. The day of the party I only have to make the bread (a WHOLE different blog!), make the salad, heat the main course, and open the wines. So really not a lot to do on the actual day…however…the actual day will be filled with me telling people where to put the boxes (heh) and various pieces of furniture. That means my house will look like a disaster area when the guests begin to arrive.

Like I said…now that I have embraced the insanity it isnt really all that bad…

Tuesday, March 25

Catching Up

Well, we finally got back and I didn’t kill anyone. Though, I have to say that at 10 pm on Sunday night it was pretty close.

We left Missouri Sunday morning around 11 am and finally stopped in Columbus OH around 11 hours later. For the most part, I really enjoy road trips. Michael insists on driving the whole way, and I am not going to complain. We get books on cassette and I just listen to the books and knit to my little heart’s content. I get so much knitting done on a road trip. I can get 2 pieces of my quilt finished in an hour and knock out a good book at the same time. This time we listened to a couple of Terry Pratchett books. The man is a friggin genius. He is hysterically funny as well as very insightful. Anyway, we stopped in Columbus at the usual hotel chain and I couldn’t have been happier when we got in the room. I swear, we have been travelling so much lately that the hotel suites feel more like home than our house does! Even with all the travelling and the fact that we lived in a hotel for almost 2 weeks, I still love hotel rooms.

We left the next morning around 11 and got back home around 5. I was happy to be home with my kitties. They all came out to greet us and Autumn Savannah’s feet didn’t touch the ground the whole time I was home. She was either sitting on my shoulder or I was carrying her around. We went to supper with some friends and then came right home. After that I figured the kitties needed some Human Time so I just changed into Jammies and sat on the couch and tried to read. No such luck. Autumn Savannah decided that she had to sit on my lap no matter what and heaven help the poor kitty who got close! I love that cat but she is a bully at times. I finally gave up and just read in bed for a while…at least that way all 4 kitties could spend time with me. Michael was in the basement watching Sports Center and walking on the treadmill. The man is so damn healthy that it is disgusting.

On a brighter note, we are waiting for kittens. We have 2 strays in the cul de sac who are pregnant. During the warm spell they went into heat and I have calculated their due dates from March 31st to April 3rd. the normal gestation period for a cat is 62-63 days so we are getting close. We are trying not to bother the kitties because we don’t want them to move the kittens to a place where we can’t find them. As soon as the kittens are born we usually go on a kitten hunt and then bottle raise them and find good homes for them. It is heartbreaking to take the kittens, but only about 40% of the kittens in our cul de sac make it to adults – they either succumb to the cold, are killed by predators, or get sick and die. I just keep telling myself that it is much better for them this way.

We have tried trapping the 2 females, but they have an abundant supply of food between the neighbors and the woods so they never get curious about the food in the traps. My vet has agreed to do the spay for a minimal charge so all we have to do is trap them. I just hope they reach Kitty Menopause soon, I cant foster every year. In fact, last year I could only foster 2 kittens and we ended up losing 3 of the ones I couldn’t take in time…one was killed by a predator and eaten under my car. With this cold weather hanging on, I just hope the mommy kitties hold out as long as possible…it is too cold for kittens right now.

Anyway, I have to make a storage run…I will write about that whole thing later…

Friday, March 14

Subtle


Ok, you know it is time to shave when you show your husband something on your leg and he looks at you and asks, "Wow, are you European now?"

Monday, March 10

Please! For the sake of Humanity, STOP!!!

This is not right!!

These are not your lives to take. You are not superior to these animals and cannot dictate when they die. Though I am thinking that death is better for them than what they are suffering though at the moment - People giving their pets away simply because someone tells them to. These pets only crimes were trusting the humans they lived with. Now they are being shoved out the door in the middle of the night to suffer an ordeal that will only lead to their death. If they are lucky they will die quickly so they won’t have to live long with both a broken body and a broken heart. Hopefully they won’t live long remembering the nights sleeping on the beds with their humans, or sitting on their human’s lap during quiet times. Hopefully they won’t live long remembering all the head butts and purr-y kisses they gave to the human they considered their protector and parent and best friend.

It is shit like this that makes me ashamed to be part of the human race. We are not cattle, People! Think for yourselves for a change! It is shit like this that makes me want to go make sure these monsters don’t inflict pain on any additional animals. It is an unspoken rule that animals and children are off limits - mess with someone who can defend themselves.

For fuck’s sake People, we are not superior to animals - we are barely equal to them! In fact, I have never met an animal I didn’t like, but I am surrounded by people I can’t stand. Most animals are better people than the people are! These are not expendable commodities to dispose of at our will – each and every one of these animals serves a purpose…and that purpose is not to show kindergarteners that it is okay to club a pregnant cat and her unborn kittens to death. God! What a painful and terrifying way to die.

Shit, everything I do in order to ensure that any animal near me is healthy and happy is wiped out by stuff like this. All the spays/neuters, all the fostering of newborns, all the rescues I have nursed back to health, all the kitties I have found healthy homes for, ALL OF IT, is wiped out by another human killing indiscriminately. These are not your lives to take…please stop!

Bastards! I hope there is a special place in Hell for them.

Monday, March 3

Freak!!


Okay, its official – my cat is a freak. Well, obviously, because she loves me. But really, I have never met a cat that likes this activity. I have tried it on my other cats and they run screaming from the room and then hide for the next 10 hours.

Autumn Savannah loves to be swung around on the office chair. Not just any office chair though, it has to be the one with the arms. She takes a running leap and jumps onto the chair between the back and an arm. That gets the chair spinning on its own. If I am there then it is my duty to make sure she keeps spinning. I spin her one way, and then the other. She hangs onto the back with her paws while sitting on the seat. If I stop she yells at me. In order to get her to forget about spinning for a few minutes I use her “feathers on a stick” toy to distract her. She runs and jumps after that toy like it is her last chance at food. I have to stop and get her to calm down before her one remaining lung pops. She has so much energy and is so active that I keep expecting to stumble across a Kitty Meth Lab one day. What happened to ‘cats sleep 20 hours a day’?

Sunday, March 2

Non Sequiter


While I was feeding the kitties this morning, I noticed an expiration date on the bottom of the Fancy Feast can.


My question is: How do they know?

Saturday, March 1

Warning Shot

My dad is 56 years old…and was in the hospital this week for heart problems.

Being from Kansas it is not surprising that he is a ‘meat and potatoes’ kind of guy, and fried is always better – add cheese and it is a food Trifecta. It is also not surprising that he has smoked for 40 years considering 26 of them were spent in the Navy. He is a computer guy so it is not surprising that his activity level is right up there with…mushrooms. I am not surprised his heart was screaming for help. That being said, why was I surprised when my sister called to tell me he was in the hospital? The news threw me even though I knew it would come someday.

They were getting ready to go to the desert – they go and play in the sand dunes with their quads – and my dad was starting to feel worse. He had been having a backache for a few days but now it had moved around to his chest and both his arms. When he started feeling nauseous he decided to go to the Dr. This was an hour before they were supposed to leave for the desert and after all the Dr’s offices were closed. They went to Urgent Care who sent him to the Emergency Room. There they started running tests and decided to keep him overnight. The next day he had a stress test. Immediately after that they scheduled him for an angiogram.

The diagnosis was 3 blocked arteries - 2 of them at 75% and the other at 100%. The one that was 100% blocked was forming offshoots so his body was actively trying to remedy the situation (I think that is good). The day after the angiogram they did the Balloon Angioplasty and inserted stents in the arteries to open them up. The Dr’s finished the arteries that were 75% blocked and Dad was doing so well that they went ahead and tried to do the artery that was 100% blocked. They were successful with that one as well. Yippee! Dad went home yesterday with instructions to see a cardiologist and to change his lifestyle. This is where the hard work begins.

Considering the fact that I was not surprised to get the phone call from my sister, I was surprised by my reaction to it. I was not panicked even though they are in San Diego and I was unable to be there and boss people around. In fact I got the call around midnight and was calm enough to go to bed shortly afterwards. I kept the phones on the headboard just in case there were new developments but I figured no news is good news. The next day I waited until around 1pm to call and find out anything and was calm then too.

Thursday, the day of the procedure I was a mess. I wasn’t a sloppy mess, there was no crying or freaking out, but I was terribly unsettled - I couldn’t focus and was very restless. I wandered around the house looking for something to take my mind off of it but everything that was thought consuming I didn’t want to do. When I got the call that he was okay I was relieved but I had so much residual anxiety that I didn’t really calm down again until Friday – which is the day Dad went home.

We know that our parents are going to die. It is a fact of life and is unavoidable. I know this and yet I have never really given it much thought. Sure, being the type of person that I am, I have considered the logistics of the whole thing, but never the feelings. I know at some point I will have to move to California and take care of them and I have pondered the way life will be after they are gone. I have even gone so far as to imagine how we would feel at their funerals…but never their actual death. I have never thought about the process of their passing.

I am going to consider it a type of healthy avoidance and move forward. My dad is okay for now, and if he takes this warning shot across his bow to heart (heh, pun intended) I will have many more years to make sure he knows how important he is to me. But…just in case…I love you, Daddy…please stick around.

Thursday, February 28

Much Thanks

I am in the process of changing the look of my blog. As a control freak, everything must be perfect so I am still working out some of the crap I hate. At the moment, however, I am at a point that I can live with. I have to say 'thank you' to my friend Jerry. When I got to the code manipulation part he was available to talk Geek to me and help me get it sorted out.

In a while I will give an update on my dad. I want to get all the details first. Keep him in your thoughts though; he may need some good thought mojo to get him better.

Wednesday, February 27

Is There a Problem Here?

Should it bother me that my cats are more popular than I am?

http://toughasstortiesassociation.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, February 26

Blankets, hot tubs, and near death experiences

While we were in Vegas the last time (3 yrs ago) I fell in love with a store called Alpaca Pete’s. I had just spent $1200 on a couple of clocks at the time so I didn’t think it was a good idea to spend another $600 on a blanket. This time when we went to Vegas I hit Alpaca Pete’s before the clock store and found a blanket that I could live with. I really wanted the white one, but with 4 cats (only one of them white) I thought it best to go with a multi colored one. I got an oversized one and negotiated the guy down from $700 to $550. Additionally, I got free shipping and I didn’t pay tax (shhh). As soon as it arrived I opened it and put it on the bed…and the kitties HATE it. LOL. It must feel funny against the pads of their paws because they hop from the comforter to the pillows. If we place them directly on it, they don’t move until they find an escape route and then hop away. I have to say though, since we put it on the bed, we have more room because the kitties don’t sleep with us. Actually, that isn’t true…now they sleep on our pillows which is nice also. Now we have a fur blanket, and with using the kitties as pillows (hey, they don’t seem to mind) we have fur pillows also! I think the bed looks really…Disco 70’s now. It is a waterbed frame with a fur blanket on it…very Lounge Lizard. But OMG!!! Sleeping with this thing is like heaven. It is nice and warm (we drop the house to 60 degrees at night) and soooooo soft. It is like sinking in warmth. I had no idea how luxurious it would feel! And if I take a nap I sleep on top of it and pull up the comforter…heaven.

Alpaca Pete’s is in the mall at the Stratosphere and we were on our way to the tower when we ended up there. At the top of the tower, on the 108th floor, is the restaurant, the observation deck, and the rides. Michael and I went up for the ride while everyone else went to the observation deck to watch us idiots try to kill ourselves. I was fine with everything…until I sat in the chair. Up until then I didn’t give it much thought since we were just taking care of the logistics: buy tickets, wait in line, are we next? Walk up the stairs, go back and put glasses in the bin, get into seat, look down…Oh Shit! What was I thinking? At that point the kid operating the ride gives a maniacal laugh and wished us the best in the afterlife…and we are off. The ride itself wasn’t anything interesting…it was the plunging over the edge and hoping like hell the brakes worked that was so scary! It was over in about a minute and a half and I was REALLY happy to get off. I loved it though and wanted to hit the other ride that swings you over the edge but since they were having high winds it wasn’t open.


The winds really did a job on some of the hotels in Vegas. They were having freakishly high winds and apparently weren’t prepared for them. On the strip, the front entrance to the Miracle Mile shops was barred. They weren’t letting anyone out of that exit because the winds had damaged the signs on the Bellagio and the Paris hotel and shards of glass were whipping around everywhere. The next day we drove though before the repairs had begun and in the daylight things looked bad.


Once we got home and got settled I went to check the chemicals in the hot tub. I hadn’t checked them in almost 2 weeks and was fully prepared for the worst. As I suspected, the little strip said there were no chemicals in it so I started dumping crap in: algaecide, foam out, shock, clarifier, etc. I wasn’t even going to bother with the Ph levels until I got the rest situated, though I noted that I hade never seen the water so cloudy before…and…ewwww…there was unidentifiable stuff floating on the top. I got brave and went to scoop it out with my hands and got a shock…the water was c-c-c-c-o-o-o-l-l-d-d-d! That unidentifiable floating crap was ICE!! Great…now the hot tub needs to be repaired! I knew that Michael had been in the basement flipping breakers (a stove light issue) and suspected that he hit a wrong one. I had him go down and flip everything back…still no go. I hit the reset button on the outlet and Bingo! Power. It must have gotten tripped by all the rain we had been having. By last night the water was lukewarm to the touch so things are working. I was also concerned that because it got so cold that the hoses or pipes were damaged, but they are fine. Whew! So now I am planning on checking the chemicals again today and hopefully get it squared away so I can get in it tonight.


While I was working on the hot tub I was also taking care of a water spot on the wood floor. When the shower leaked it damaged a 3x3 foot area. I got some stuff to help blend the finish and some Feed and Wax and started to work on the spot. Yay! It worked. And fast too! I was done with the spot in about 30 minutes…and you can’t even tell where the water mark was. I was so impressed that I went around the house polishing all the wood furniture! I was a polishing fool! I have an antique vanity that someone was using as a plant stand ( I know, Idiot!) so I am planning on using it there next.


So I have covered all the topics I promised I would. And believe it or not they are all linked. The commonality? ME! Because, really, it is all about me.

Monday, February 25

To Vegas and Back

Well, we made it back in one piece and we still have money in our pockets. The trip was nice but unless one is a big gambler or has never been to Vegas before, 8 days is too long to spend there. I absolutely hated to leave the Poodins for that long. It is funny how something you so take for granted leaves a huge gaping hole when they aren’t there. The first day back, I don’t think Autumn’s feet touched the floor. And when I did have to put her down she stayed attached to my ankle! Man! I love that cat!

The first leg of our flight left BWI at 8am and got to Atlanta…sometime. We had a 2 hour layover and then started the second leg of the trip. Our neighbor, Jackie, came with us and stayed at Planet Hollywood for 4 days. I have to admit that having her along made a long ride a bit shorter - Michael and I both had a great time picking on her. But now I don’t think she will ever travel with the Andersons again.

Once we got to Vegas we went to Planet Hollywood (PH) and hung out with Jackie for the afternoon. She went there on one of those timeshare sales pitch things. She got a great room, but in exchange she had to go to a sales meeting that lasted just long enough to suck the soul from her body and then had to promise to give them BRAAAIIIINNNNSSS (sorry, had a Zoombie moment there). And since we were in Vegas we had to eat at a buffet for supper. Good God! It was like sex with food - the mashed potatoes alone were climactic!

After supper we left Jackie and we went to our hotel. We had the golf package at Primm Vally Golf Resort so I was looking forward to seeing our accommodations for the week. Our rental car was a Charger so it was a nice ride to the resort and I could drive it around when Michael was golfing. Our room was nice if not a bit…common. We did have a nice bay window with a huge window seat though.

The next day my family wandered into town and we all met up with everyone as they came in. I have to say, that baby is just the cutest thing ever! What a great baby – he was happy the whole time and we played and played and played, and then he napped, and then we played some more. He gave me hugs and I don’t know what happened to me. I don’t know if it was the baby drool saturation level (turns out babies are…juicy) or that intoxicating baby smell but somewhere along the way I think I promised him a car. When he got over stimulated I gave him back to the parents and went shopping. Usually by the time I got back he was a happy boy again…or was it that I was a happy girl? Eh…either way, I got shopping done and played with a happy baby.

While we were there we also hit some shows. The second night we were there we went to see The Phantom of the Opera. We had seen it a few times before but the music always makes me cry. And we had great seats. We were in the second row in the orchestra, right smack in the middle of the row. We could see the actors sweat!! We also saw George Carlin and the last night we were there we went to see The Blue Man Group. Awesome!!

The day after we got home Merry Maids came by, the contractor came by, and we got a call from the realtor saying they wanted to show the house over the weekend. We spent most of the day Friday getting ready to show the house and taking care of little things like nail holes, touch up paint, etc. we got feedback from the realtor saying that the house shows well, so I am going to leave things the way they are now.

Well, I am going to get this posted so I can go to bed. I will post more tomorrow and here is a teaser for tomorrow’s post: it involves the Stratosphere hotel, an alpaca blanket, the hot tub and wood polish…and they are all related.

Monday, January 7

Anderson Luck Strikes!

Well, the shower was finished for a hot second. The contractors left the house Saturday night at 9 and it was done! All we had to do was wait for the grout to cure and the mud on the new closet to dry and we could use them. Yippee!


Ahem...yes...that is how it was supposed to go...in a perfect world. In a world that doesnt include the Anderson Luck. A quick note about the Anderson Luck before I continue about our disaster: the Anderson Luck is a mostly unknown phenomenon that strikes Michael and me. Have you heard people claim that 'if we didnt have bad luck we wouldnt have any luck at all'? Well, it is kinda like that...but multiplied by 10. So anyway, to continue...


Michael and I get up Sunday morning to get ready to go to Indiana and I am in the process of feeding the Poodins when I hear dripping...I search for it but cant find it. I figure since it rained the night before the noise must be coming from outside. I go about getting ready for a road trip. Michael comes down and is puttering about and notices that the floor is wet. He looks up and notices that the beam between the small dining room and the kitchen is FULL OF WATER!! And it has leaked down both walls that the beam is attached to so now the paint has separated fromt the walls.


I called the contractor back and he was already on another job but swore he would send some one right out since I told him it was a bad leak. I think he thought I was exagerating but when his partner Jimmy got there he told Wayne (our contractor) that there was a lot of repair work that was going to have to be done. Wayne finished up his other job and he and Sonny got here about 7 pm and promptly started to cut holes in all the walls looking for the leak. They originally thought that when they installed the shelves that they hit a supply line with a nail, but after cutting into that wall, found that wasnt the case. Then they started checking the drain for the new shower which involved cutting holes in my small dining room ceiling. On the third try water poured down on them when they removed the sheetrock. Once they found the water they had to find out which pipe it was coming from. Back upstairs to the shower! After 7 cuts into the drywall in the closet they finally found the leak. Whew...it was something they did so they have to do all the repair work...and so it starts again. The Anderson luck...








My small dining room ceiling

















Sonny checking the pipes in the dining room

















The beam between the dining room and the kitchen...this was full of water and looked like one long balloon. When we drained it, it took almost an hour.











Another one of the beam.
























The wall where the water leaked down...
















The other wall where the water leaked down.