Friday, October 31, 2008

Something New, #187

With the recent passing of TCGIBS42Ys dog, I purchased my first sympathy card for a dog. I went to two stores, the second being a Hallmark, and was disappointed in the selection. The CVS only had 2 and the Hallmark, 3. The girls and I are going to sign it, and drop it off with a pot of mums. The Little One was so sad last night when she heard the news and cried and cried, but forgot about it today with all the Halloween candy in front of her.

But on a happier note, I got the job I interviewed for! I think I was actually interviewed by the attorney's assistant, because the attorney was on a conference call, and the assistant came out and talked to me for a while first. I got the call about 30 minutes after I got home, so I think she must have checked my references beforehand. I really liked both of them and it looks like a job where I can learn a lot. Plus, it's a 16% increase in my salary! I start a week from Monday, so in the meantime, I can finish tuning up my house and have some time for other things I've been putting off.

I am so happy and relieved!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Rest in Peace, Doc Holliday

Tonight, when I was walking TND, I saw TCGIBS42Ys walking alone. I asked him where his buddy, Doc, was and he gave me the awful news that Doc had died over the weekend.

Apparently, they had gone on their annual pheasant hunting trip to South Dakota, and he caught some shot in a freak accident. TCGIBS42Ys actually thought Doc had had an aneurysm or something, because he didn't seem to have anything but superficial wounds, but after he took him to the vet back here, they found the bullet that had worked its way into a main artery. He died in TCGIBS42Ys' arms.

Doc was a flat coat retriever and one of the sweetest dogs I've ever known. He played so well with TND, and my favorite trick of his was when he'd grab TND's leash in his mouth and then pull her around. He was sweet with the girls and let The Little One climb all over him.

I feel so bad for TCGIBS42s and know he will now have this hole in his life. It was so sad seeing him walking alone. He did say that at least Doc died doing what he loved and in the place he loved best in the world.
I miss him already.

Something New, #186

Today while I was getting my mammogram, I noticed one of those breakaway capsules with smelling salts taped to the machine. I asked the tech if people really passed out and she said about twice a year, she got a fainter. When I worked at the pedes office, every now and then, we'd have a teenager, usually a 6 foot boy, pass out after a shot. It's not the shot that makes them faint, but they tense up so much before it, that after, all that adrenaline is released, and they pass out. It made an awful sound.

So I learned that some women pass out during a mammogram, but also, a good way to distract myself from the squishing is talking about something totally unrelated.

And as I finish shoveling through all the crap in the basement, I keep asking myself "Why the hell was I hanging on to this fill in the blank?" Yesterday, I neatly stacked all the old cabinet doors against the wall, after I had carefully swept off the floor and hit it with the Shop Vac. Today I thought, "Why am I keeping these in the first place?" When we moved in to this house, I hated the kitchen, the cabinet doors especially. Every day for ten years, I looked at those doors and hated them. When I finally took the initiative to just jump in and replace them, I cried when the new doors went up. Superficial, maybe, but now I feel at home in my kitchen. I guess in the back of my mind I thought I'd need the old ones for some reaseon. Today I realized I'd never have any use for those doors, and kicked them to the curb.

I do tend to hang onto things that don't work for me. I guess I'm just a stubborn Taurus. But on the flip side, some of the things I have held on to for the longest are friendships. My BFF and I have known each other since we were ten, and even when life gets in the way and we don't speak for a while, we always pick up right where we left off. But I also tend to hand on to relationships that don't work, too. I've got one that's been hanging around for about 25 years that periodically bites me in the ass. Gotta learn how to kick those to the curb.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Something New, #185

Today was my last day of work. As I've mentioned, the head partner closed the office here, so my boss and I are out on our bottos. Knowing for about 3 weeks this was coming, I've been applying everywhere. Just like throwing spaghetti on the wall and seeing what sticks.

Since I'm going to have free time, I made a list of all the chores around the house I'd like to get done while I can. The first was conquering all the CRAP in the basement. I thought I'd sort it all out for a garage sale, but realized it wasn't worth my time, so I'm filling boxes, then calling Goodwill. I can't believe all the things I'm finding, and wondering why it was so important for me to hang on to some of it. Why does someone who is not a professional house painter need at least a half dozen old shower curtain liners and vinyl tablecloths to use as drop cloths? And why exactly was I hanging on to a broken blender? I actually had one box that had not been unpacked since we moved in. It was my old dollhouse, and at least in the last eleven years, the mice had made good use of it. I did find a stack of screenprints I did in college, that are still in good shape, so I may actually frame them.

In the eleven plus years I've lived in this house, I've never really CLEANED the basement. For the first time, I swept out under the steps that lead to the basement and swept the cobwebs and dust from the ceiling and walls. Eleven years of dirt, cobwebs, animal hair and Goddess knows what else. I even cleaned the top of the hot water heater, and all around the furnace. Hopefully, that will keep St. Montgomery happy, and keep it running.

My Kind Friend Bev is a feng shui consultant, and has been giving me a lot of good advice lately. Since I did the major redecorating last month, I knew I'd stirred up all kinds of stuff and she gave me some cures. If she's reading this, I know she's probably thinking "GAH! You've stirred up enough stuff! Let it rest for a while!" But, I have to say, her cures are really working.

Not two days after I followed her suggestions, I got a call from out of the blue from The Ex. He had called the county trustees and was arranging to double the child support. Now, in the last 4 years, every time I bring that up, he threatens me with the equity in the house he still has. This was truly a shock, and the fact that he took the step to call to find out how to do it, is even more amazing, since the man has almost no initiative.

So today, about 2 hours into my cleaning project, I got a call from a firm that I had applied to. I have an interview on Friday and am keeping my fingers, toes, eyes, legs and whatever else I have, crossed.

Another interesting find in cleaning the basement were these painted footprints. They were in the back corner, near the radon detector. I had no idea they were there, or whose they are. Maybe KFB can tell me what they mean!

I'm going to keep cleaning methodically through the house. Who knows what else I'll find...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Something New, #184

OK, here's another Something New that is kind of stupid, but made me think about something differently.

When I sort the laundry, I have a basket I throw all the orphan socks into, hoping I'll eventually match them up. Today I realized, that some of these orphans have been in there for years, so I did something BOLD.

I threw them away.

Now I know that's not major, but I was raised not to throw anything that might still be useful away. My parents were born right after the Great Depression, so grew up frugally, and passed that on to us.

The thing is, we have plenty of PAIRS of socks, and even if we didn't, socks ARE something affordable. I just find myself hanging onto stuff out of habit.

Today the orphan socks. Tomorrow the 2 foot pile of rags under my kitchen sink.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Something New, #183

Since our last day of work has been moved from the 31st to the 29th, my boss has taken slacking off to a level I didn't think she was capable of.

She did bring movies for us to watch on Friday, but I spent most of my day checking out Craigslist and CareerBuilder and filling out applications online, so I didn't get to that.

Today she said, "Since I'm in court this afternoon, and you have an interview (with my THIRD employment agency), just turn on your cell and you can be"on call.""

Sweet. I've never slacked with permission before.

However, by the time I finished the interview, went home and had lunch, it was time to pick the girls up from school, so I really didn't get that much time off.

Still, I think it was a first for the both of us.

We'll probably do the same tomorrow and Wednesday.

We are such rebels.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Something New, #182

As I may have mentioned once or twice, I don't sleep much. Last night, I was up until 1 AM putting the laundry away and ironing. I woke up this morning at 7 AM and couldn't go back to sleep.

So instead of laying in bed another hour, hoping to sleep, I got up, got dressed and went to the grocery store. I whispered to the girls I was leaving, went to the store, did my shopping and got back before they woke up.

It was a great time to shop, since the store was practically empty, and all the check out lanes were free. If I were braver, I'd try it in the middle of the night.

I'm awake anyway, might as well do something constructive.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Something New, #181

Every time I go downtown, I pass a store called Architectural Salvage. Every time I go by it, I think, "I'd really like to go in there sometime." We passed it last week on the way to the Obama rally, I asked both my friends if they'd ever gone in, and neither had.
The Little One and I were downtown again today, so I finally stopped in.
I thought I died and went to heaven.
Three floors of architectural salvage. A whole room of just hinges. Another of lamp globes. Too much to see in one visit, especially with an 8-year-old. I think next time I go, I'll take a lunch.
The really cool thing was, one of the owners had on the same Obama shirt I had on. Just another reason it's an awesome place. And hindsight being 20/20, I wish I'd asked them if they needed any help. I still might, if I don't find another gig quick.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Something New, #180

It kind of cracks me up, that in these "trying economic times", articles and stories about "cutting back on expenses" give suggestions like, "Brown bag your lunch," "Cut out premium cable channels," "Clean your own house, car, dog, etc."

Living just north of the poverty level for so many years, I cut that extra fluffy stuff out years ago. And no, I've never had anyone clean my house but me, so that one is really off base.

Instead of getting my morning coffee at Starbucks for $4.00+, I usually take my own travel mug and get an amaretto cappuccino refill at Quik Trip for eighty-five cents. It's from a powdered mix, but full of chocolaty and caffeiney goodness.

But with my impending unemployment looming, I couldn't even scrape up enough change for that this morning, so I improvised and made my own with home-brewed coffee and a packet of raspberry hot chocolate mix. It was OK, but not as sweet as Quik Trip's version. Which is probably not a bad thing. I think if I tweak it, I may be able to stomach it.

The silver lining is that because we do live simply, I can make very little and we still get by. Hopefully, I'll get a "real" paying job and we'll bank the rest.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Something New, #179

My Something New is that I drafted a round of documents for a case, and did them correctly on the first try.

Figures. I have 6 more days until my job is kaput and I finally get it right.

My boss is being so funny now, though. She's very by-the-book. Not strict or a hard-ass, but like me, is too chicken to act up too much. She suggested that since next week is our last week, we should make it like Senior week, and do nothing but watch movies and take field trips.

I can dig it. I've been at work for 3 hours today and done no actual work. I'm sticking it to the man.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Something New, #178

I learned that one does not put a baby in a paper shredder.
Seriously, is that someone's job to come up with stuff like that?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Somethingn New, #177

I learned that if an 8-year-old leaves the tub running, it will overflow into the garage below.

Something New, #176

Since we had hundreds of seeds from the Barack o'lantern, The Little One couldn't wait until next year to plant them, so we planted an indoor pumpkin patch.

I'm not sure if they will grow, but she will have fun finding out.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Something New, #175

Today I learned that it's probably not the best idea to let an 8-year-old make Kool-Aid by herself.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Something New, #174

This Old House

I live in an older house, built in 1962. Not old enough to be charming yet, but old enough to feel its age. It really has held up well, considering I've lived here for 11 years, and the only major things I've had to replace are the roof, water heater and dishwasher. The furnace is, and I'm not kidding, a Montgomery Ward model, installed in 1978. Every winter, I say a little novena to St. Montgomery, praying we get another year out of it.

There is a really funky smell that comes out of the drains every few months, and sometimes black ooze comes up the shower drain. I usually keep plenty of Liquid Plumr on hand for just such and emergency, but was out, so tried a home remedy I read about. "One squirt of Dawn, washed down with a teakettle of boiling water."

I'll be darned if it didn't work. Cleaned that sucker right out.

What is it about Dawn that works for so many things? And it has to be REAL Dawn, and NOT the generic kind.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Something New, #173

I took The Big One and The Little One to a Barack Obama rally, along with my neighbor, her daughter and my cute friend Jennifer.

It was held at the Liberty Memorial and so far, the estimates are the attendance was in the 80,000 range. Best behaved crowd I've ever been in.

I didn't actually see or hear well, but did catch glimpse or two, and got goosebumps. There was a helicopter that kept circling overhead and made it really difficult to hear. At one point my CFJ screamed out at one of the warm-up speakers, "We WANT to believe you, but we can't hear you!" Truly a sitcom moment.
I'm not sure if the girls understand the significance of this or remember it, but my grandmother made a trip to DC when she was six with her grandfather, and shook Teddy Roosevelt's hand. She didn't remember much else about that trip, but did remember he asked "How are you today, little lady?" At least they can say they were there.
It was a long wait, but I'm so glad I went. I felt like I was watching history in the making.

Something New, #172

"I'm Barack Obama and I approve this jack o'lantern."

I carved a fancy-schmancy jack o'lantern, using a tool kit from the dollar store and a stencil I got online. It took about 3 hours, including cleaning out the guts. The tools really did help, cutting into the fine lines and cleaning out the rind.
I don't know if it's something I'd do again, because I really don't usually have an extra 3 hours to carve pumpkins, but it was fun and something different.

Although I think it looks more like Bill Cosby than Barack Obama.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Something New, #171

I had 10 13-page documents that I was trying to fold and put in regular #10 envelopes. I was being cheap, and didn't want to pay the extra postage for the large flat envelope rate. Although, seeing how I'm out of a job in eleven days, don't know why I bothered trying to save the company some money.

Anyway, I couldn't get them flattened enough to fit in the envelopes until I had the idea to crease them tighter with the edge of a CD case, then sitting on them. A co-worker came by and was watching me and gave me that "What the hell are you doing?" look.

Hey, I don't think there's anything in the office as heavy as my botto.

I got them all in the envelopes, metered and mailed.

I hope the company appreciates my effort.
File this under "'Well, you don't see that everyday."

Yes. It is a cow carcass in the back of a pickup. Driving down State Line Road.

I'm actually rather pleased how well the photo turned out, considering I took it straight from the driver's seat.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Something New, #170

The Big One and I are reading the same book at the same time. We've read many of the same books, just never simultaneously.

It's been really nice. She's quite a bit ahead of me in the third book of the Twilight series, but I'm gaining on her. We talk about where we are in the books and I ask her what will happen next, and she won't tell me. It's given us something unexpected in common, and since she's 12 1/2, somethings in common will get few and far between.
It's given us new topics of conversation. An example is that the Edward character is protective of the Bella character to the point of obsession. I explained to The Big One that in the real world, if a boyfriend acted like that, it was a red flag of potential physical and mental abuse, not because he was trying to protect you from "bad" vampires. One of the characters' mortal life almost ends, due to a gang rape. The text was very subtle on this, and I had to read it a couple of times to make sure that was the intent of the author. That should give us another new topic to discuss.
I hope we can hold onto this dialog a little longer. Maybe I should slow down my reading.

Something New, #169

As I've mentioned before, I don't sleep much.

Some of this has to do with The Neurotic Dog. She wakes several times at night and paces, pants and scratches. She is home alone for most of the day, so I don't really blame her for being restless, but it is aggravating.

The other night, I had an hour to walk her while The Little One was at her Brownie meeting. I figured I'd wear her out good, and she and I would both sleep. We did 7 half-mile laps around the park, plus the mile round trip to and from the park, for a total of 4 1/2 miles. I was pooped, so I'd figured she'd be.

I figured wrong.

She spent most of the night scratching, scratching, scratching. I found no signs of fleas or any other bugs, and seeing how I just Frontlined her a couple of weeks ago, figured it wasn't that, but maybe some kind of allergy.

So the following night, I doped my dog. I gave her the contents of a Benadryl capsule in her food and she did sleep most of the night. I don't know if it helped the itching, but at least I got 6 hours of sleep in a row.

This may become our nighttime routine.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Something New, #168

I saw a segment on Oprah how a woman had cut her electricity bill in half by unplugging her "electric vampires." Since my natural gas bill went up $40, I figured I needed to make up for it somewhere else. So starting today, I'm going to make a conscious effort to unplug the TVs and computer before we leave the house and before bedtime. I don't know if it will do any good, but it can't hurt.

Speaking of vampires, The Big One got me reading the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer. I did no chores yesterday, and laid on the couch and read most of the first one. I wish I were a brave enough slacker to have called in sick to read the second. I got the first three in the series for The Big One for Christmas, but may have to give them to her a little early.

We're planning on seeing the movie over Thanksgiving.

Edward Cullen...mmmmmm...

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Happy Halloween

One of my neighbors has put a cemetery in their front yard in honor of Halloween.

I think this pretty much says it all.
The smaller tombstone to the right says "Art is next."
They also had tombstones for "Kenny." "Thirst N. Howell" and "The Mullet."
But the mullet never really dies, does it?

Saturday, October 11, 2008

I realized what an extension of me my dog is.

We're both stubborn, neurotic, love to eat, smarter than what other people give us credit for, smarter than what we give ourselves credit for, and at the end of the day, just want to have our bellies scratched and our butts rubbed.

Something New, #167

I went with the middle school photography club for a field trip to the zoo.

While we were looking at the kangaroos, I asked the docent some questions. Learned a lot about kangaroos and zoos.
For instance, a kangaroo can have 3 generations going at one time. An infant, a fetus and an embryo. I asked how many baby kangaroos were born at this zoo, and the docent told me that all the animals in the zoo were on some kind of birth control. This is because of space and money issues, but also because they want to discourage too much inbreeding.

Never knew that.

Also, the kangaroos at the KC Zoo aren't contained. They pretty much just stay in their field and hop around. I asked if any animals ever escaped and he said just once, when a tree fell on the chimp hut and they got out. He said they had a problem keeping wild animals out, such as geese and blacksnakes.
Speaking of snakes, this is a lovely shot of Louise. She's a constrictor of some kind and weighs 75 pounds. She was very friendly and gentle, but her handler said she had bitten him once.

Something New, #166

I love estate sales.

My mother has worked for estate sale appraisers for over 15 years, and I've really gotten an education on them through her. I find some of my best Christmas presents at them.

So I stopped in on one by my office. Apparently, this estate sale appraiser thinks their goods were really awesome, because the prices were really high. Seriously, I can find new furniture cheaper at Nebraska Furniture Mart.

There was a corner wedding cake shelf I liked, but still too high. They were taking bids, and I won, for half the marked price. It still would have been half off the last day of the sale, but I've never bid on anything at an estate sale before.

It looks fabbity-fab-fab in the girls' bathroom.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Something New, #165

I attended my first, of what will probably be many, middle school band concert.


When the kids were in elementary school, they had band twice a day. Now it's every day. What a difference twice as much practice makes. I was pretty much blown away and so proud of the kids.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Something New, #164

Seeing how I'm about to be downsized, I applied with an employment agency. I've never used one, just have gone directly through employers. I had a 2 hour interview, and the two agents I met with seem to be fired up and think they can find something for me.

I'm feeling very ambivalent about it though. My boss, who I love, is really trying to place me with another attorney, so we can still work together, although I'd be on another payroll. If the world revolved around she and I, that would be perfect, but I am the sole income for me and my girls, so I have to just keep throwing spaghetti on the wall and seeing what sticks. I feel like I'm betraying her confidence, but I have been honest with her on my position.

Then I think, if we were men, this wouldn't even be an issue.

"It's not personal, Sonny. It's strictly business."

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Something New, #163

I out and out lied to my kids to get them to eat something new.

I broiled tilapia fillets, cut it into little pieces and told them it was chicken. The Little One ate all of hers and The Big One was halfway through when she asked what it was. I told her and she spit it out.

"But you already ate half!"

"It's fish, I don't like fish!"

"But you already ate all of it!"

"But I hated it!"

Good thing they know where the peanut butter and frozen waffles are.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Something New, #162

I went to court today in a new courtroom. New to me anyway. Thought my boss was going to kick some serious BEYOTCH's ass, but the other attorney asked for a continuance.

We'll get her next time.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Something New, #161

I took a photo of a bumpersticker. And thanks to the technology I learned earlier, am able to post it.

It was in the back window of a pickup, and I thought it rocked.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Something New, #160

In my quest to redecorate the living room, I came up with a window treatment that didn't involve sewing.

I picked the windowpanes off the curb a few months ago, thinking I'd figure out some kind of project for them. I used resin, which I'd never used before, and glass pieces from the dollar store. I probably spend about $60, most of that on the resin. Resin's not cheap!

I actually hung them on the first try. Pretty shabby-chic, if I say so myself.

Something New, #159

I went to Ottawa, Kansas. Never been there.

Apparently, I wasn't missing out on much.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Something New, #158

Another technological first for me.

I'm terrible at remembering phone numbers. The only one's I have stored in my brain are mine, my parents' home number (since it hasn't changed since 1974), my BFF's number from the house she grew up in, my cute friend Mel's and my friend Anne's. So I have phone list numbers everywhere at home and work, and everyone programmed into my cell.

There is a realtor I have to call about every day, so it dawned on me I could program my phone for speed dialing. I have never used speed dialing, because I always figured I'd have to remember what number went with what name, and that would be another phone list, so what's the point?

But I think I can handle just one number.

Something New, #157

I entered a radio contest. The radio station's promotion is that you fax in a bill, and if they draw your name, they'll pay it. I faxed in my mortgage. I went so far as to program my cell to alert me at 7:20 AM and 4:20 PM when they call the names and programmed my cell with the station number.

I'm not taking any chances of missing out.

Something New, #156

I figured out how to eat edamame pods one handed by just squeezing out the peas until I had a pile, then eating them.

This is a very useful skill to use while holding a book or typing with the opposite hand.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Something New, #155

Instead of getting The Little One a physical present for her eighth birthday, I used her birthday money toward karate lessons. She's wanted to take karate since she was four, and since lately she seems to have trouble focusing, I thought karate lessons would help with that and kill two birds with one stone.

The lessons are 45 minutes long and just far enough away from the house and any close grocery or discount stores, that I don't really have enough time to run errands while she's taking a class. So I was looking forward to having 45 minutes to sit, read and breathe.

I was wrong.

Apparently, if you stay to watch a class, you also "volunteer" to be a parent helper. Not that I'm against being involved, but not what I had planned.

But for my turn as a parent helper I got to hit kids on the head with a foam block on a stick.

So it wasn't time wasted.