Monday, March 31, 2008

On Housework, Homeownership, and Murphy's Law

Why is it that I have to clean my house in order to clean my house?

In order to sweep the floors, why must I first pick everything up off the floor so that the broom can connect with the tile? The same thing goes for vacuuming. Why must I first tour the house and pick up all the laundry that has yet to make it into the laundry basket before I can begin sorting laundry? Likewise with the dishes: why must I first tour the house to pick up any cups, silverware, plates, bowls, etc., that have been left lying around? And why must I must first put away DVD's, CD's, miscellaneous papers, household files, pens, pencils, newspaper, and a variety of other items that continually litter our dining room table, coffee table, end tables, desk, and any other place with an open area that looks as though it could suffice for storage, so that I have unobstructed surface areas to actually dust?

Why is it that what should be simple household fix-it projects are never that simple?

When your father-in-law says that the leaking bathtub faucet can be fixed by just "turning it here and tightening it," and your husband proceeds to do exactly that, why can't the stupid thing just turn and tighten like it is supposed to? Why does the part that is supposed to turn not turn, and the part that's not supposed to turn does actually find a way to turn, causing the little tiny pipes that connect the faucet to the main pipe to break off, thereby resulting in an even bigger mess than what you had to begin with?

Why is it snowing outside, even though on my calendar it clearly indicates that we have now entered the season of spring? Did you hear that Mother Nature? Spring. S-P-R-I-N-G. As in flowers blooming, not 6 inches of snow falling.

Why did our snowblower break during the last snowstorm?

Thursday, March 27, 2008

I Love My Job, I Love My Job, I Love My Job...

Some days I honestly don't mind going to work.

Today is not one of those days.

We have a closing this morning on one of our units. When we close on a unit, we gather our subcontractor invoices and payoff amounts from the bank that gave us the construction loan on the project which are then paid out of our proceeds, and then send it to either the title company or law firm handling the closing so they can prepare the necessary closing documents (the fun stack of paperwork you get to sign when you buy a home). We've known about this particular closing for almost a month. That means we've had a month to prepare and get all the necessary documents in order, which all of us did to the best of our ability.

Except for my boss, the guy who has the final say, and whose signature we need on the HUD and some of these closing documents to make them valid.

Yeah, he decided yesterday afternoon that about 4:30 was a good time to sit down and finally deal with this closing, which was scheduled for 10 a.m. today. This was after he wasted about 3 hours yesterday talking about everything but work-related issues with the other executives. And by everything other than work-related topics, I mean sports. And sports. And, oh yeah, more sports.

Did he decide at the last minute he wanted changes to some of the documents? Of course. Did he also want additional documents created? Of course. Were some of these changes absolutely necessary? (Are they ever?) Did some of these changes cause more last minute problems than they fixed? Oh yeah.

Guess who got to stay late to deal with it? Yep, that would be me. Guess who got to come into work early to finish dealing with it? Yep, me again. Guess who got to try and explain his less-than-orthodox changes to the law firm handling this closing? Yeah, I got that fun job too. Guess who got reprimanded and lectured by her supervisor for not catching a typo? (Of all the documents I've been madly generating this morning and last night, I had one that had a typo. One. And it was a typo. Singular. I wanted to tell him that maybe if he hadn't left everything until the last minute so that all of these issues had to be addressed in a severely limited amount of time, he would have been more apt to have a 100% error-free finished product instead of a 99% error-free finished product. And that if I worked for one of those sports organizations he had been so busy discussing yesterday with a 99% success rate, I'd be the highest paid and most well known athlete ever. Oh, and you're welcome for my staying late and coming in early to compensate for your inefficiency.)

It's not even that I mind coming in early or staying late when necessary. What bothered me was the assumption that of course I just naturally could stay as late as he needed me to, as though I have no other obligations in my life that might now need to be rearranged at the last minute because of him. It bothered me that it was left until the last minute because he didn't feel like dealing with it, not because he was too busy with other obligations to deal with it. It bothered me that about 50% of what he wanted done wasn't even necessary in the first place (and some of which had to be undone this morning by the closer). And it bothered me that he could have cared less about all of the above.

Oh well, I guess we all get our own little personal versions of the Devil Wears Prada at some time or another.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Cabin Fever

So far spring is a big disappointment:

You would think that it would stop snowing since it's, you know, technically spring, but no such luck. Oh well, we had a white Christmas, I guess it's only fitting that we had a white Easter as well. At this rate we'll be lucky if we hit 50 degrees in time for Memorial Day weekend...

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

A Parade of Stupid

I amaze myself sometimes.

Like the other night when I was driving home from church, I couldn't figure out why all these people were flashing their brights. There was enough traffic where it didn't occur to me right away that they might be flashing them at me (I know, how clueless is that?). So what are my initial thoughts? "Stupid MN drivers," I think. My disdain for MN drivers runs deep. They're even worse than CA drivers, which speaks volumes. I'll have to post on this someday, but for now, it doesn't matter what I think of MN drivers, because that is not the point. The point is that I mentally cursed the lot of them for a variety of general bad driving offenses before finally realizing that the reason that every car I passed flashed their brights was because I didn't have my lights on. And it was pitch black outside. Oh, and it was snowing too.

Then yesterday morning a co-worker asked me for some information on one of our properties. She gave me the correct address to the property. I had been working on another property, however, so when she messaged me the address, my little brain didn't even register that it was a different property than the one I had been working on. So then I proceeded to rant about how I had already provided this information to the person who had asked her for it, and then she, in turn, trying to be a good co-worker, corrected this person for asking for the same information twice, and informed them that I had already provided them with this information, and that it was still sitting on their desk. It was only after all this occurred that I realized my mistake.

But the best was yesterday morning's wardrobe malfunction. I was wearing black dress slacks that had a button, two hooks, and a zipper. I remembered to fasten the hooks and the button before leaving the house, and then walked around the office for an hour before realizing that I had failed to dress myself entirely.

Oi vay.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


I've never specifically addressed this before on this blog, so I will do so now. I moderate my comments. I do this because a) it's my blog and I can, b) my mother reads it, and c) I'm particular about what type of language is used and prefer to keep this as G-rated as possible. I appreciate the opinions of others, and enjoy reading them. I know that we will not always agree, but part of what I enjoy about blogging is getting to read the insights/opinions of others and learning new perspectives.

That being said, there is a way to state your opinion that will result in my publishing it, and a way to state it that will result in my rejecting it. Comments that include profanity or references to adult topics when I'm blogging about something completely unrelated will not be published. Comments that make derogatory references to an entire group of people will also not be published.

I received a comment today on my post about the
video game. The writer said that he did not understand why I objected to the game. Fair enough. I realize that by many people's standards, my definition of what is inappropriate is extreme. However, this person went on to joke about a situation that he felt would justify concern on my part. Unfortunately, although unintentional, the humor of the comment came at the expense of an entire community of people, so I chose not to publish it. Maybe that was too extreme too. But it's my blog and, therefore, my call.

So there you have it. To those of you with the patience for my neurosis, thank you, and I look forward to reading your future comments.

Monday, March 17, 2008

One Month Later

It's been one month since my grandmom died. Part of me feels like it's been much longer, but then the other part of me still half expects to see her at the nursing home the next time we're in CA.

My grandmother didn't want anything big in the way of a funeral, so we had a burial for her and then a memorial luncheon. My mom had prepared a collage of pictures of her for the luncheon, as well as displayed some of her artwork she had done before the Alzheimer's set in. It was good to see the pictures and artwork again. My grandmother had Alzheimer's for so long that I had forgotten what she looked like beforehand. She had a really pretty smile. In the pictures she looked so happy and full of life--it was almost like looking at a different person than the shell of the one we'd come to know over the last 10 years.

My grandmother loved art and had wanted to go to an art school when she was younger, but her father didn't think that was any way to make a living, so she went to secretarial school instead. Years later, after I was born, she went back and got her associate's degree in art. Some of the pieces my mom had displayed at the luncheon were one's I'd seen at my grandmother's house growing up, and I hadn't even realized she had made them. There were several pictures and sculptures, one of a cat that I had always thought they had bought. There were some familiar pieces too, like the charcoal drawing she had done of apples that hung in their living room for years. Hubby likes art, and I always wondered what kind of conversations he and my grandmother might have had if she was able.

The suddenness of her death has worn off--even though she had Alzheimer's, I always thought there'd be more warning before she died, and that she wouldn't just get a cold and be dead within a day. There's a sense of relief now that's more prominent. Relief that it's finally over, and that she's not suffering anymore. I still feel cheated out of the last 10 years, and I'm not really sure how long that's going to last. But overall, everyone in the family seems to be coping well--we were worried about how my grandfather would react, but he seems to be holding up pretty well. Thank you everyone for your prayers and support during this time.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

How Not To Hide Something From Your Wife

I've noticed a couple of funny things lately. For instance, when I go downstairs when my husband is playing his XBox 360, sometimes he quickly switches it over to the TV before I get within eyesight of what is on the screen. Also, if I have appointments or meetings that don't pertain to him, he has been asking how long I'll be gone, what time I'll be home, etc. That's odd, because usually if I tell him I'm getting my hair done or my legs waxed or something, all I usually get is an "Okay," which he says without turning his head away from whatever it is he is doing, because that's just how interested he is in my beauty regimen. After a few weeks of this, I began to get suspicious. So then, naturally, I started snooping. It didn't take too long to find out that he had purchased a particular XBox 360 game, to which I had previously voiced objections.

The game in question is one in which almost naked anime chicks wrestle. They wrestle because the makers of the game had to have them do something, because otherwise it would just be blatant anime smut. Sometimes when they wrestle, certain things Depending on how you wrestle, you can "unlock" other costumes for the fighters, like schoolgirl or nurse. (See where this is going?) As IGN, a popular gaming site, put it, the makers of this game weren't so interested in creating a high quality wrestling game as they were in "creating interactive girl-on-girl action." When I first found out he was researching this game a few days after I bought him the XBox 360, I voiced my objections. Surely there are other wrestling games one can purchase, if you really want a true wrestling game, right? Why does one need the game with the half-nekid chicks? I just don't see the point. Well, I take that back. I do see the obvious point, and I object.

When I discovered that he had bought the game AFTER I had asked him not to, I was pissed. Mr. Slick had been researching game cheats online, so I went through his stack of XBox 360 games to find the game. I found out that my darling husband had two stacks of games: one, the much larger one, was out in the open. The other consisted of three games: the game in question plus two others he must have thought I wouldn't like, and was hidden under a box under a table, separate from the others.

So he bought the game after I had asked him not to, hid the game, then tried to play it on the sly. On top of that, he researched game cheats on our home computer, on which I have a monitoring service (long story), which he knows about.

I decided that rather than confront him, I would keep quiet and just hide the game. So I did. I took the game disc out of its case and hid it where I knew he wouldn't find it. Then I waited for him to notice it was missing, which he did last night. When I came home from my hair appointment, the first thing out of his mouth was: "Hey, did you do anything with my games?"

I told him I only did something with one of his games, the one I asked him not to buy. To which he responded that maybe I should just go through all of his games and get rid of all of the ones I found offensive. Then he decided that instead of doing that, maybe I should just get rid of the XBox 360 and Playstation 2 entirely. (In the middle of this conversation, we got a phone call. Husband answered it downstairs. I asked who it was when he came back up, and he told me to check the caller ID because didn't I prefer checking up on him?) Then he went downstairs and didn't say anything to me the rest of the night.

I told him I was upset about the one game, because I had asked him not to buy it, and then he went and did it anyway and tried to hide the evidence. His response was basically that I'm psycho and controlling. I, however, don't think that my objections are unwarranted, nor that my hiding the game was that out of line.

But I don't know, maybe my reaction was over the top. It is just a video's not like he had a brothel hidden in our basement. What do you think?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Bon Apetit!

I still don't have much of an appetite what with being sick and all, so last night we had fend-for-yourself dinner night. The only thing that sounded good to me was an English muffin with lots of butter, yummmmm, butter. I came upstairs to make myself dinner and found that Hubby was creating a yummy sandwich in the toaster oven. He had sliced a bakery roll in two, and then heaped one half with melted cheese, and then the other half with ham. It smelled really good, and I was almost ready to ditch my English muffin and ask Hubby for a bite of his sandwich when I noticed something.

Hubby had sliced a hot dog long-ways into three sections and laid it on top of the ham. So he had a ham, cheese, and hot dog sandwich.

I asked him why he ruined what could have been a really yummy sandwich with hot dog. He said "It's good!" I told him he was crazy, but even I didn't expect what came next.

"You know what would be good on this?" he asked me. I didn't really have an answer for him, because, really, what does one add to a ham, hot dog and cheese sandwich? But that was okay, because Hubby already had something else in mind.

"Olives!" he exclaimed gleefully, and went downstairs to the cellar to get a can.

This is the same guy who made steak goronzola and chocolate mousse for Valentine's Day. He has now made himself a ham, cheese, hot dog and olive sandwich.

How do you come up with that combination? When you're looking in the fridge and you see the hot dogs lying next to the ham lunch meat, do you just think "Oh, ham and hot dogs, I haven't had that for awhile?" Because I never would have thought to combine the two, even if it was the only food we had available in the house. To me, hot dog is a stand alone...meat (yeah, we'll just call them meat). You put ketchup on them, maybe mustard and relish, but ham? And then top the whole thing with olives? Huh?

Sunday, March 9, 2008

You Know It's Cold When...

...even the stupid water falls freeze. But they are quite pretty that way, aren't they? Hubby took these pictures yesterday at Minnehaha Falls.

Here's a view from the side.

And here's a view from the front.

Here's a view from behind the falls. I'm not sure Hubby was supposed to be back there, but I'm kind of glad he went. :)

Now there's something you don't see everyday in CA.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Can This Month Get Any Better?

So when we got back to American Siberia, I got a little cold (as in germs, not weather, although come to think of it, that would be applicable too). At least, I thought it was a little cold. It started out with a dry cough, which I at first thought was due to something in the air or something in the CA air (it's not uncommon for both Hubby and I to cough for a few days after a CA trip--one of the nice positives about American Siberia: fresh air). But then I got a slight fever. No worries I thought. But then the slight fever turned into a pretty nasty fever, I started vomiting, getting night sweats, aches/pains and congestion. Fantastic, I think. I have the flu! Normally I try to stay away from pills when I'm sick and just let the germs run their course, but I felt so crappy that I took an Advil to make the fever go away. And then another Advil. And another, and another, and another, until five days had passed and the only thing that had gone away was the Advil supply. Okay, time to go to the doctor.

I hate the doctor. I actually went to two last night, and my first experience demonstrates exactly why I avoid going at all costs. I show up for my appointment, after explaining all of my symptoms to the woman making the appointment and the nurse who brought me into the exam room. The doctor's office was packed and the exam rooms were close together, and I could hear the doctor that I was going to see talking to another patient before he came in. This patient sounded like he was complaining of flu-like symptoms as well. The doctor told him that he really didn't have the flu, that all of his symptoms were due to the change in weather and the pressure that can cause on your sinuses. (We actually got above freezing this weekend before the temperature dropped again--so basically the "temperature change" the doctor was referring to was: this weekend was cold. This week is really freakin' cold.) The other patient pointed out that he had a fever, to which the doctor replied that if this patient had the flu, his fever would be 104. (Really? 'Cuz I've had the flu lots and your temperature doesn't always stay at 104.)

Then this doctor comes out of that exam room, and speaks to the nurse about me before coming in. Then I hear something I can't believe: he diagnoses me before he even sees me. He tells the nurse that "I already know what she has. She's got ______________ (insert fancy schmancy medical terminology here which I'll get to later)." Sure enough, he comes in, listens to my lungs, looks in my ears, and spends a lot of time looking in my nose. He asks if I am experiencing fatigue. I say yes, kind of surprised that he asked, because aren't you always tired when you're sick? He tells me that all of my symptoms are due to the congestion that's sitting in my nose. I ask him if nose congestion can cause a fever and all of the other symptoms that I've experienced, even if it was one of the last symptoms to appear. He repeats that my symptoms are due to my nose congestion, and that this will also cause fatigue, which is what I came in for after all, right?

I couldn't believe what I was hearing at this point. I told him, no, I came in because I've had a fever for five days that will not break despite my taking obnoxious amounts of Advil. He told me that Advil won't make the fever go away, that I'd need an antibiotic. I'm not sure if this is accurate. I've taken Advil before when I've been sick, and it has helped the fever go away and kept it away. But then he prescribed the same antibiotic that doctor #2 gave me for a much different diagnosis, so maybe doctor #1 wasn't completely off his rocker. He also prescribed a nose spray which he was very adamant I take right away. As an aside, this is the third time between the two of us (Hubby and I) that we have seen this doctor. The last time I saw him, I went in for an earache. He told me I had post-nasal drip. Hubby saw him because he had a cold. Hubby was also diagnosed with post-nasal drip. Guess what was prescribed for post nasal drip? Nose spray! I think the guy is getting a kick back...

Anyway, he told me I had vasomotor rhinitis, which, when I googled it at home, is basically the medical word for a stuffy nose.

A stuffy nose. A stuffy nose can cause fever, aches and pains, cough, night sweats and vomiting? I think not. Now, I'm not a doctor, but I think I have pretty traditional flu symptoms, which, based on their longevity, could have been many different things. I was not tested for any of them. There was no blood work, no x-rays, nada. Just the extended nose examination after the pre-exam diagnosis. I call Hubby who comes home and I go to the urgent care of a different clinic. I see another nice doctor who takes one look at me, listens to my symptoms, and sends me down for x-rays and blood work.

Yeah, I have pneumonia.

What's really scary about doctor #1 is that he told me that he sees "9 or 10" of these "cases" a day. That's great. How many other people are getting misdiagnosed by this guy?

So now I'm on bed rest until Sunday, and I'm really hoping the antibiotic doctor #2 put me on does the trick, because I'm tired of being sick. And I'm seriously considering filing a complaint against doctor #1.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Plane Etiquette

Sorry it's been so long since my last post. We were in CA this week for the funeral. Normally this is where I'd do a nice, touching, memorial post about my grandmother, but I'm just not ready to talk about that yet. So instead, I've decided to do a post dedicated to all those who helped make our time spent flying the friendly skies these past few days all that much more excruciating.

1. When the announcement is made that your plane is starting to board, put down your drink and get your heiny out of the airport club lounge and join your fellow passengers asap. Do not take so long in meandering over to the appropriate gate that you actually delay the flight. Do not wait until the airline has to actually threaten to give away your tickets in their effort to motivate you to do as you're told. Chances are, you booked the flight, and selected the flight time, and, even if you didn't, THE BOARDING TIME IS PRINTED ON YOUR BOARDING PASS. If you can't figure out what time you need to board your plane, please find another method of transportation. The rest of us have better things to do than wait on you.

2. If properly stowing your carry on luggage is proving to be a bit too challenging for you once you are on the plane, please step aside and let those behind you pass so that they may find their seat and get situated. Then you may rearrange your carry on luggage to your heart's content. Do not take five minutes trying to put your carry on suitcase into an overhead compartment, only to realize that it does not fit and that you will have to move it somewhere else. Do not take an additional 10 minutes to find somewhere else to put it, all the while holding up 20 other passengers who are standing behind you waiting to get to their seat because it has not occurred to you to let them pass. Do not take your time taking off your coat in the center aisle once you have finally found space for your carry on luggage. Do not, after all of this, begin to sit down, only to realize that you would like to put your cane in the overhead compartment as well, and then jump up just as those who you've kept waiting have been finally allowed to begin to find their seats, and who now have to stop yet again and wait for you to find just the right spot for your cane. If you are doing all of the above as the flight attendants are making announcements urging people to quickly stow their luggage and sit down, THEY ARE TALKING TO YOU. If the captain makes an announcement prior to take off saying, "We're going to be a little late getting out of the gate here today, folks. It took us longer to board than we thought" HE'S TALKING ABOUT YOU. Also, if it's taking you longer than it should to load your suitcase in the overhead compartment because you're struggling to lift it, either pack lighter or check your bag.

3. If you have physical issues that require you to take more time to deplane than the average person, please sit in your seat until all other passengers have gotten off the plane before doing so yourself. Please do not stand in the center aisle and put on your coat while those who were seated behind you stand and wait. Also, please note that putting on one's coat should not require ten minutes. If the state of your physical being presents airline seat to passenger space ratio issues that require you to have to stand in the center aisle to put on your coat, please at least return to your seat after you have done so, so that those behind you may pass. Please do not continue to gather your things, arrange them just so, and then slowly shuffle off the plane. And for Pete's sake, please do not then slowly shuffle into the bathroom and stand in the worst possible location, spreading your crap around and taking up as much space as possible, thereby once again forcing the rest of us to either move around you or wait for you to move, especially since by this time we all really really really have to pee because it just took us 20 minutes longer than it should have to get off of the plane because of you.

4. Please be careful when adjusting your seat back. Please do not lurch your seat backward at top speed, using your 6 foot 4, 230 pound frame to expedite the process. This only results in the chair over-extending from the sheer force of your efforts, and bonking the head of the passenger seated directly behind you as she is leaning over searching for her MP3 player. There is no reason to have to lean back in your chair at warp speed. And my head still hurts.

5. When the flight attendants ask you to do something, do it. Do not make them come back and ask you to return your seat back to its original position five times before actually doing so, and then only doing it because the flight attendant is now pushing your chair forward and refusing to leave until you comply. I don't care if you're not comfortable. It's a plane. It's uncomfortable by default. If you can't accept that, don't fly.

Some people are just a special kind of stupid.