Better Late Than Never, Right?

I know it has been a terribly long time since I’ve posted anything, and I know that most of my posts start off with this slightly guilt-ridden statement. Honestly, I don’t know why you people bother to keep checking my blog, since everything I post is pretty boring anyhow. But today, I have a couple of items to share: first, I’m now blogging on a very nice new computer, an HP 17″ laptop that I’m loving (so far). I had a few issues last weekend, but those problems seem to have resolved themselves…so my new computer appears to be self-healing as well, bonus.

Second, I went on a vacation that I have yet to tell you about. Actually, the pictures from my road trip to Portland (which happened about a month ago, ahem) have been posted to the right for a few weeks now, so I don’t feel too bad about not posting until now. But I’ll give you a brief rundown of my trip:

Saturday – I dropped Teddy Bear at Beth’s house, then started driving north. I had a great drive just being by myself, breaking in my new Garmin nuvi GPS, and catching up on listening to all my podcasts. I arrived at Gramma Koski’s house in Paradise at about 5 in the afternoon. We enjoyed a quiet evening chatting and eating.

Sunday – I spent the day with Gramma, who barely let me go an hour without insisting I eat something. We went to Red Lobster for a late lunch, where I finally got cell phone coverage and a report from Beth indicating that Teddy had been barking until 3 a.m. Sigh.

Monday – I start on the next leg of my trip north, which was quickly and briefly delayed by another call from Beth saying that Teddy Bear peed on her couch the previous night. I called my mom to pick him up and put him in a kennel – dang! But the rest of my drive was good – Mount Shasta was beautiful, and there was snow in the mountains just south of Ashland. I got to Corvallis to stay with my friends Jeremy and Dana and their daughter Autumn just in time to take them out to dinner at a tasty Indian place downtown. Yummy!

Tuesday – Jeremy and Dana took me to breakfast before I drove about an hour and a half north to Portland. By the time I got to my brother’s house, I was certain that I needed to take my car in because of a grinding noise that, I was hoping, would simply require a half-turn of a Phillips head screwdriver and cost me about $5.50 to repair. Anne got a referral for me to Vu’s Car Care, where they diagnosed the sound as coming from my dying transmission, which would take two days to replace and cost $925. This vacation is turning out to be a bit more expensive than I was anticipating! But the yummy pad thai Anne and Paul made for dinner, as well as Adelaide’s shenanigans, almost made up for it.

Wednesday – I woke up from a night of snuggling with a surrogate cat (Bosco) and kicked around the house with Anne and Adelaide. We went to lunch at the Laughing Planet, and surprise surprise, my car repairs were fixed by 6 pm. Yay!

Thursday – Paul, Anne, and I drove up to Multnomah Falls in the Columbia River Gorge and hiked up to the top. Adelaide contributed to the serenity of the falls by crying when Paul stopped walking. But the falls were incredible, and we had a nice snack at the restaurant below. That afternoon I stopped by the Portland FWS field office to introduce myself and prove how awkward I am at networking. But I took Anne and Paul out for a Moroccan dinner down town, which was lots of fun (although the belly dancer was rather blonde and caucasian…).

Friday – Me and my newly quiet car began our reluctant journey south towards home. I stopped in Medford to meet up with Jack Williams, who treated me to a burrito for lunch. After that, it was back on the road until I got to Gramma’s. More eating.

Saturday – The end of my vacation was in sight. I spent one last day driving, enjoying the thoughts I had to myself, and my music and podcasts. I was stuck in LA traffic for about an hour, but managed to get home in one piece. Mom picked up Teddy from the kennel for me, so when I got home he was there waiting. Yup, my vacation was definitely over.

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.

Yeah, I’ve been busy (and tired)

I know, it has been a long time since I’ve updated my blog. But really, it was pretty much just pictures from Jes’ wedding and my trip to San Francisco that I wanted to post. Work has been very busy the last couple of months now that David is back as my supervisor, and when I get home I pretty much just want to chill. But there’s still a couple things going on – the first thing would be my cat, Zoe. She’s 13, and people tell me that’s old for a cat, but I disagree that it’s old for Zoe. But, over the past year I’ve been noticing that she’s been losing some weight – getting very bony and skinny. So last weekend I brought her to the vet – she lost 2 lbs over the past year (which is a lot, considering how tiny she is), so they took some blood to run a full panel, and also took some urine for a urinalysis. Zoe was not happy about it, and enjoyed even less the vet force-feeding her a deworming pill (it took 2 vets about 10 minutes of fighting to get a 6.9 lb cat to eat one pill). The urinalysis showed some blood in her urine, so I have to give her antibiotics twice a day for about two weeks (ask me how much Zoe likes that). The blood could just be an infection, but it could also indicate other problems with the kidneys or bladder. But, her blood panel turned out good, except for her thyroid, which looked borderline high. So, they sent for another test – negative for hyperthyroid. So, last weekend cost me about $350. I went back yesterday with Zoe – they took x-rays and didn’t see anything wrong, except that she has no body fat, which makes her organs difficult to see. But no kidney or bladder stones, or major tumors were evident. The vet suggested another specialized blood test to check for pancreatic function and malabsorption – I’ll get the results back on that this week. It was still too soon to see if she still has blood in her urine because she’s only been on the antibiotics for a week. The bottom line is that I’ve spent almost $600 and I still don’t know what’s wrong with my kitty. She’s acting normal and everything – she may just be getting old. I don’t know, but she’s my buddy and I’m not quite ready to accept that she’s at the age where stuff starts to go wrong.

Speaking of going wrong, oh, Teddy Bear. He really is getting old. A couple of times in the past month, as we’ve been out walking, he’s pulled himself so hard on his leash that he starts choking, falls over, and then has a hard time using his back legs. I don’t know if it’s a seizure or what, but he’s still his normal annoying self, so it’s hard to say. Today I noticed that one of his yucky back teeth is loose – I hope it falls out so that I don’t have to take *him* to the vet again! Last time we went it was also very expensive.

And speaking of expensive, let’s talk about my car. Last Friday I was on my way to work and I decided to stop and grab a sandwich for later. I was gone two minutes, came back to my car, and it wouldn’t start! I called AAA, who came out to tow me to my mechanic, and the car started right up. What’s up with that??? So, I drove it to my mechanic – turns out some dumb sensor in the starter was broken. That set me back about $150, but I guess it could’ve been worse.

Man, at the rate things are going, I’ll never have enough cash for a vacation!

Good things though – I finished the wrap top that I started sewing a few months ago, and made good progress on a skirt. So far, it’s awesome. I’ll probably finish it next year some time. Also, I’m getting back into my digital scrapbooking – I’m a little overwhelmed with Photoshop Elements, but I purchased an instructional CD that focuses on scrapbooking with Elements. It should be very helpful.

That’s it for now – I hope that’s enough. I’ll be in touch!

Fun Fun Update!

I love my life soooo much sometimes. In the past month or so, I’ve shelled out $700 for Teddy’s medical bills, $550 for a new alternator for my car, and now this. Here’s what I came home to on Friday:

Supposedly, the drywall guys will be in Monday to repair the ceiling and wall and paint. Hopefully they can get it done in one day and I’ll be through with this mess!

P.S. – On Saturday, my apartment complex informed me that they’ll be raising my rent $60-$100 per month in February. Can you believe that they have the nerve to raise my rent when my ceiling isn’t even fixed??? They clearly have not seen my needlepoint skills (see several blogs previous). I don’t need to be paying nearly $1000 per month for this ghetto. I think I’ll be outta here in February…

Seriously, like I really need this too.

I totally live in the ghetto, where your ceiling leaks, collapses, and the “emergency maintenance” person never returns your pages that you’ve been sending him for the past 48 hours. Take a look at the fun fun fun progression of events!

Wednesday morning – after a small rain, my ceiling started looking ugly and began dripping. I tried paging maintenance two times the evening prior, and once in the morning.

Wednesday evening – supposedly, the plumber fixed a leaky pipe in the attic. The ceiling was still leaking when I got home, but later stopped. A nice crack developed. The office attendant said it would “take a while” to get the ceiling repaired and painted.

Thursday evening – the cracks are getting bigger! I’ve heard nothing about the status of the ceiling repair.

Thursday evening, five minutes later – holy ghetto, batman! My ceiling collapsed, and there’s crap everywhere. I tried paging the maintenance person again (nothing), then called the security company, who said they would contact the apartment manager. That was at least an hour ago and I’ve heard nothing.

Just a fraction of the rubble I get to clean up – soggy drywall, paint, cardboard, insulation, solder shards from the pipe, a valve handle, and a wet rag, all of which fell out of the ceiling. Teddy Bear is having a blast sniffing various bits and pieces and dragging them around the apartment.


Vroom vroom vroom…

I finally got around to taking my car in to the shop after three weeks of staring at my “Check Engine” light and nervously sitting in traffic for an hour and a half every day. It turns out that my temperature sensor was off, and my car was actually running a little bit cool. So, my garage guys replaced the temperature sensor, and I had them replace my fuel filter because I knew it needed to be changed. I also had them check all my belts to see if they could figure out the squealing noise I always hear, but they said everything looked fine. So, $271 later, my car seems to be in pretty good shape. And I’m about to pay off my car next month too! Woohoo!!!

I really like my garage – D. Mac in Escondido. I found them on the Car Talk website (you know, the NPR guys) and they had excellent comments in their listing. There was a huge opportunity for them to totally rip me off, but I really sense their honesty and integrity. If you’re in the area, definitely check them out!

I’m so very tired!

This week has been a blur. But for those of you who are interested, here’s where I’m at:

The “Check Engine” light came on in my car.
Teddy Bear threw up and diarrhea’d in my living room and the smell won’t go away.
I worked 15 hours yesterday (I started a 10-week full-time temp job, and then I had to guide for Roar and Snore).
No one came to my little get-together on Thursday due to traffic accidents and hospitalized people and sickness.
I have no food in the house, and neither do my pets.
Zoe keeps licking my hands until they bleed, and I can’t stop her because she’s too damn cute.
Grandpa’s condition continues to worsen.

So let’s update you on that last part. I haven’t gotten to the hospital for the past couple of days because I’ve been so exhausted, so I’m getting all this info through Mom, who struggles through each day (and with a nasty head cold at that). Apparently two days ago Grandpa lost his ability to swallow liquid and food, so he’s now getting nothing but hydration through an IV. Mom had to make the very difficult decision to not give him a feeding tube, and came to that decision because he would a) just try to pull it out, worsening his condition and b) continue to linger on in this horrible state he is in for who knows how long. Recovery doesn’t seem like an option right now, really, and it’s just so hard to watch Grandpa go through this. His dementia is very bad, and when he’s awake he’s hallucinating, yelling, and trying to rip out his tubes and his gown. So they’ve had to sedate him not only with morphine and valium, but now with thorizine, which is used to calm people with hallucinations and the general crazies. I imagine that today he’ll go to a skilled nursing facility, but if he’s not eating or drinking, I’m not sure how long he’ll linger there. I’ll write more when I know more; in the meantime, thanks for your support and thoughts.

It’s Alive!!!

Yippee! The electrician that came over today took nearly 7 hours to find, diagnose, and fix the problems of yesterday’s turmoil (see post, below). The good news is that my tv was not fried! Unfortunately, the dvd player, vcr, and stereo did not make it. So I had to go out today and buy new ones! I got pretty good deals (I won’t tell you where I went because I’m so ashamed of myself, but it rhymes with “Almart”) on a combo dvd/vcr and stereo. So I’m good.

And now here’s something to cheer YOU up:

So my tv blew up today…

Sad but true, I came home this evening to partake in my usual Sunday night VH1 Celebreality extravaganza (a triple treat consisting of “The Surreal Life”, “My Fair Brady”, and “Breaking Bonaduce”) and discovered that my entertainment center (a.k.a. my entire world) was on its way towards self destruction. I pushed the power button on my tv and nothing happened. That’s odd, I pondered, my tv has always been such a reliable friend. Goodness – my vcr, dvd player, and stereo also all appear to not work. I figured I must have blown a fuse so I called Mom over to show me where the fuse box was.

While I waited for Mom to arrive, I strolled out into the living room, only to see that an evil poltergeist was turning on some of the lights in the house, making them brighter than usual, then turning them off after a few seconds. Odd indeed! By that time, Mom was at the door.

Pop pop bang bang!!! We went into my bedroom and found my stereo and vcr smoking. I quickly unplugged the whole power strip and momentarily mourned the loss of my stereo. Well, it was cheap anyway, so no terrible loss there. And my vcr had been eating my tapes, so as far as I was concerned, it deserved an inferno-like demise. But what about my tv? My dvd player? They did nothing wrong – they were innocent victims of some evil eletronic surge that sought to rip all that I love in my life right out from under me…oh, the humanity!!!

The SDG&E repair guy that hustled out disabled the circuit, so I sit here blogging to the light of two candles. I have electricity in the living room, dining room, and most of the kitchen, but I’m under black-out conditions everywhere else. I get to call some electricians out tomorrow to fix the problem – pray, please pray, for the safety and well-being of my tv and dvd player. I’m certain the stereo and vcr are toast, but if the others are fatally injured, I…just…don’t…know…what…I’ll…do…………