Zoom Zoom!

I must say, I had an excellent year, and an excellent Christmas. The day after, even though I received many nice gifts from my loved ones, I bought myself a fancy-pants krimmis present. It’s a velocity red 2010 Mazda 3 grand touring s – woo hoo!!! Never been used, although it was driven to the McMinnville dealership and back (hence the 215 miles on the odometer). It’s got all the fancy bells and whistles, too! I’ve never bought a new car before, and I don’t know if I ever will again, but the old Subie has been thinking about retirement for a while now so I figured I’d give her a break.

I think my hands *still* hurt!

Chris and I have been taking advantage of deals in Portland and Vancouver through Groupon and Living Social, which in my opinion, are Awe-Some. First of all, you get ideas for fun things to do or places to visit that you might not’ve otherwise known about. Second, you get to do/buy these things at a pretty good price. So yippee! If you haven’t checked them out, I highly recommend Groupon and Living Social.

And yes, I’m still working for the Fish and Wildlife Service – I’ve not (yet) decided to change careers and enter into the social media advertising realm, in case you were wondering.

Anyway, I bought a Living Social deal good for four passes at a local bouldering gym. It has been easily over a year (maybe 2?) since I last put on my climbing shoes and tied a chalk bag around my waist. Bouldering was fun, but I still enjoy being tied into a rope and climbing up up up instead of climbing sideways, up until you realize it’s no longer safe without a rope, and then down again. The kids wall was the best because when you got to the top you could take the slide down. The only bad part about the kids wall was all the kids that were in our way. Dang kids!

I’ve got my concentration face on…

And I think I can still smell the rental shoes there. The whole place smelled like someone tried to smoke a cigar that contained rolled up sweaty feet.

What’s next, you ask? This Sunday, Chris and I will be taking a 5.5 hour scenic wine-tasting tour of Willamette Valley via limousine with a couple of friends. Only $40 per person, through Living Social!

New Digs

I know I’ve totally been slacking on my blog. Sorry! But facebook has been getting a lot of my attention – so if you’re on facebook, you can check me out there. I’ll attempt to catch up a little bit now though, for all you non-facebookers…

First off, before I left for Portland, my friends in Carlsbad threw me an AWESOME going away party. Susan hosted and nearly all my friends made it to the party – there was even a Snow White pinata filled with mini-alcohol beverages, courtesy of Michelle and jeep. And the food was awesome! Everyone chipped in to get me a $170 gift card to Powell’s Books, and I gave everyone an appropriate Non-Performance Award.

The next day several folks helped me with loading the truck. At one point they were convinced that not everything would fit and I almost had to rent a trailer, which I was definitely not looking forward to doing. However, everything was jammed in – not a square foot to spare – and only two things didn’t make it: the cat tree was donated to Sparkles (Michelle’s new kitty), and jeep had to bring up my office chair the following week. It always works out in the end, but I’m thinking that my next move will entail a 17′ truck instead of a 14′ truck. At least.

It took two full days of driving, but Mom and I finally got to Portland. My apartment managers are assholes, but I’m trying to forget about that. I got really lucky in finding my apartment – it’s in the Bretnor Building, constructed in 1912, on NW 20th and Lovejoy – right in the heart of all the cool stuff that happens in Portland. 21st and 23rd have a ton of restaurants and shops, and I’m about 6 blocks from the Pearl District. Everything is within walking distance, too – aside from work, I don’t have to drive my car. I’ve walked to Powell’s Books a few times, and even down to the Saturday Market. And now that I have a bike, it will be even easier.

I had to start my new job at the Columbia River Fisheries Program Office the next week – I wish I had some more time off, but dems de breaks. Gots to make money, you know. The new office is nice – lots of native plants around the building, and one entire wall of my office is windows that look out into a virtual jungle of bushes and trees. I’ve been enjoying watching hummingbirds and chickadees – and a towhee – along with bees and other insects buzzing around. My office seems to have quite the spider population in it, but so far it hasn’t been a problem. Once those little guys grow up though…that’s another story…

Another Apartment Nightmare – NOT a Halloween Story!

I wish this was a Halloween tale; alas, this is just the horrific story of my life on Morning View Drive. Last week we were informed that all of the pipes in each building are going to be replaced. So, we were to secure our valuables, have our pets contained, and move everything out of the bathroom and under the kitchen cabinets so that the plumbers could access the necessary areas. Luckily, Mark was here this past week – I got a call on Monday from the landlady that they wanted to enter my apartment and start work that day. So, Mark moved all my stuff into the living room. When I got home, I saw that this was going to be a lot more disruptive than originally anticipated – check it out:

My dining area; workers were supposed to be done by 4:30 each day, but were there until about 6:00. They moved all their crap out of the way, but all my furniture had to be shoved into the living room for about a week.

My bathroom – everything was moved into the living room. They took down the only mirror I have in the apartment!

My living room. Where’s the couch??? How do I get to the litter boxes??? What the hell is going on here???

Anyway, I think the plumbing is done now. I think this week they will be patching the holes that were cut in the bathroom, dining room, and kitchen, then painting the whole thing. At some point they’ll be coming in to clean the carpets, replace faucets and sinks, and the ceiling fan. At least, that’s what I’ve been told. I told the landlady – gee, all these renovations are great, but I’m living here. What a pain! And, my rent will be going up. Surprise, surprise.

Halloween Pictures at Last!

It was a strange Halloween. I think the fires had a lot to do with it – I didn’t decorate my house like I did last year, and I only got four groups of kids at my door. The good thing was that I didn’t have any groups of little thugs this year, the bad thing was that I had a whole lot of candy left over. Anyway, a few people still got dressed up at work, me included. I was a tiger…grrr! And, I still put decorations up in my office. It’s weird doing Halloween in SoCal – the weather was so warm, and it just doesn’t feel like autumn, and that things are dying or going to sleep for winter. At any rate, here are some pictures – enjoy!

My office was very spooky. Besides the Halloween decorations, there are lots of project files and piles of papers that have yet to be addressed. Boo!

Cara, me, and Heidi (above).

My downstairs neighbor went a little nuts. When I came home from work, a gigantic pumpkin was leering at me, and all those skeletons? Yup, motion-activated cackling is what I was listening to all night long.

The Roof – The Roof – The Roof is on Fire…

Actually, it’s not on fire yet. I stayed home from work today – still not over my cold – but it turns out that my office closed anyway due to the fires, so it’s a good thing that I didn’t go in. It’s pretty chaotic out there from what I understand – lots of nearby areas are being evacuated, and my downstairs neighbor has already packed up and left. My doctor cancelled my appointment that I had tomorrow morning because her house burned down, and Zoe’s checkup was rescheduled for Wednesday. Anyway, here are some pictures I took this morning, around 7:30 am, then again at 10:30 am. I didn’t alter the color in these photos in any way – crazy, huh???

Now *THAT’S* what I call a Couch!

I recently decided that I need a couch. In Pennsylvania I had a small fold-out couch from Pier 31, which Jesse destroyed in Colorado with his powerful stank-pee (good riddance though – it was really an uncomfortable sofa!). Then, while I lived with Steve, we had this awful plaid couch that smelled like dog butt and was getting torn apart by various animals. When I moved to California, the only thing I had to sit my ass on was an old green armchair that was going to be thrown out by the Fort Collins Mariott. I was so sick of sitting on this uncomfortable old chair that I said “screw it! I don’t care if Teddy is going to stink up a new couch, or Zoe will shred a new couch, or Jesse will pee on a new couch! I want something to stretch out on and lounge around on during my time off in front of the television watching reality tv shows!”.

So, I took a trip to the local Jerome’s Furniture store and ordered a REAL couch. A few hundred dollars worth. Plus a 5-year fabric warranty, which does cover pet pee and doggy drool. I swear it did not look this big in the store, but here it is, in all of its cushioned and pillowed fancy fancy glory! It’s huge! It’s a behemoth! A monster! It takes up my whole living room, but that’s ok, because I’m not going to be in this little apartment forever. It has been almost a week and it has not been smelled up by dog butt, Jesse pee, or marred by Zoe claws. So I’m pretty good so far…knock on wood…