Friday, May 30, 2003
So y'all know Doug got his new job. Today he went to work and they informed him at his current job that they wouldn't be renewing his contract for next year.
Essentially, they fired him.
I won't discuss any of the details, this is not his blog -- and I'm sure he wouldn't like it, suffice it to say that it must have felt alright on his part to say "oh, that's fine then (asshats) I have another job to go to, so I was gonna resign and leave you (fucktards) behind anyway."
Say it in a sentence.
You know you want to -- there. Didn't you like it? Isn't it hard to say without laughing? I know I found myself in hysterics just READING the word.
Anyway -- back to the topic at hand. You know how I can digress. Everything happens for a reason.
I'd asked Doug the other night when he intended to give his notice. He said he'd wait a few days, but they beat him to the punch. So he gave. He's done -- he'll finish out the academic year and use up his one remaining personal day between now and June 12th or 13th when the actual last day is. He'll depart from there as the consummate professional that I know he is. And to be honest -- it's their loss all told. Whether or not he had another job to go to, Doug is a rock star there at the school and the kids love his big self, and I'm sure there will be some sad and confused children next fall. And God help them in this academic and special ed climate in the state of Massachusetts these days.
But we'll be rich by then. And the children? We've thought of them. We've got two to think of and we'll play go fish with them instead of Doug playing with other peoples' kids.
Doug bought beer. We'll drink heavily tonight and read all the benefits and contract info for his new job. And we'll have fun.
The monkey references continue - but Wednesday was a cheat. I got the email on Thursday informing me that the blog "Buy the Monkey" existed. Special props and mad shouts go to Stacey-Ann. Nothin' but love over to you girl. Go visit both of them. Stacey's got a new puppy. Go visit -- it looks like she's hanging up her blogging hat until further notice.
God knows I'll miss her. I wish her the best.
Another aortal link has proven to be a fabulous find. Andi agrees with me that Avril Levigne is the lamest. And she writes of recent news that her Sk8r Boi song will be made into a film.
So I join in with Andi at the Worst Weblog Ever in insisting that "Avril Must Be Stopped." We'll make web banners and maybe stickers that you can slap on toll both bucket change flaps. Andi also loves the Schlimpsons and BNL. So in addition to being cosmically or cyberly related to Stacey-Ann, I know Andi is my soul sister.
Rock and Punk On.
Work Related Anecdote
I know I said I wouldn't write about work but damn, this is funny. So in advance I request forgiveness for including this here should my lovely co-workers find this journal and like be reading it. It is well worth including here, and I doubt A would mind.
Yesterday was a frustrating day.
Aside from my not knowing what the hell synching payroll to Ben X means, (remember Ben X? Who is he and why is he a pain in the ass?) aside from not having a clue about it, it wasn't working. Whatever it was. Eventually I understood what we were trying to do, but why it wasn't working was beyond us all, A, me, and the payroll goddess.
A and I spent a frustrating half hour doing something that should have taken oh, 10 minutes.
And finally, the burden of the task and the necessity of it working correctly weighing on us, she decides we need to call ADP tech support. So we do, and I start dialing their toll free client services number, telling her I want her to do the talking. She skoots over to the speaker phone and I position myself to and drive and do whatever the hell the tech support person on the other end instructs us to do.
The phone is answered, and mind you the names are changed to protect the innocent:
"Hello, this is Matthew," a heavily accented voice answers.
A and I look at each other and groan. There is a guy who works for ADP, the guy who cannot give a yes or no answer when we ask him a question, and we think this is yet another ADP rocket scientist and that we're in tech support hell.
"Hi, Matthew," begins the lovely and very frustrated A on my left side, "This is A at Blah bla company. We're trying to synch our benefits deductions with payroll and we're getting a lot of error messages and it's not working and we are calling hoping you can walk us through the process and help us figure out what we're doing wrong."
"Uh," Matthew replies hesitantly, "um, can you call back tomorrow when a manager can help you?"
A and I look at one another, aghast. We are paying SHITloads of money for ADP service and this guy wants us to call tomorrow!
"What?" A stammers.
"Tomorrow if you call back, there will be someone here who can help you. There is no one here who is a manager."
A is pissed and I'm afraid she's going to lose it. We've been rather unhappy with ADP's client services as of late, and I'm so sure she's going to become Mussolini from the balcony on this guy.
"Why do I need a manager?" she begins, and then is on the verge of going off on this poor guy's ass. Matthew confesses that he doesn't work there and probably shouldn't have answered the phone. A and I look at each other I say "Uh, Matthew, where exactly are we calling?"
It was a car dealership. I dialed the wrong mother fucking number.
A and I start laughing. I confess to Matthew that we have a wrong number, he sounds relieved, we hang up and A and I fall down and pee our pants, tears rolling out of our eye sockets, laughing.
She calls me an Asshat and a Fucktard (not really, but the name calling and arm smacking abounded). She basically gives me a ration of shit for my mad and successful phone dialing skills.
I grab the phone list and realize that I used the wrong toll-free prefix. 800, 877, 888, who the hell cares. I dial the phone slowly and carefully this time, speaking each number as I press the corresponding button and drooling like a fucktard the whole time, much to A's joy and entertainment.
By the time we had an ADP client services person on the phone, A's anger was diffused, and we had a great conversation with the very non-excited to be talking to us person at the other end of the phone.
Funny thing is, had A gotten a real ADP human on the phone on the first phone call, she probably would have Drano'ed the person's ears out with an angry and well deserved tirade against this product, the situation, and the support or lack thereof. We found out that the payroll goddess has been getting these same errors for MONTHS and has been faxing their office and getting no response from them. She probably should have like followed up or some shit, or told A, or something...The whole situation was messy and stupid, and as much as we feel we're making great strides we get the feeling that the people on the other end of the phone that we're paying lots of money to are slack-jawed yokels in a barn office sitting on hay bales and scratching their asses with pitchforks. And they're a big company too, ADP. Why this is happening is beyond me.
Watch a shitload of people do a google search on ADP payroll and find this page. Boy. What a client testimonial this is!
Needless to say -- everything happens for a reason. A's pent up rage was diffused by me being stupid. God protected ADP from her kicking their asses, through my fat fingers. I love it.
There's a whole bunch of stuff I've wanted to write about.
First of all -- congrats to Tess and the Manfriend. It looks like "IT" is official. He asked her, she said yes, and the minute her plane lands after her whirlwind tour of the Eastern States she's grabbing him by the nostril and dragging his ass to a JP to get'm hitched.
Secondly -- Tess is coming to visit and I'm all like giddy as a school girl. I chatted with Amy about the All About Buford show that I'm going to host at our church hall in honor of the Tessmeister, and I think I'm going to invest in some cool wall hangings (indian tapestries) and pull some lamps out of the church basement so we can turn the lights down low, and, we're going to put up a disco ball over the band's head so they can rock disco-ball style. It will be the concert of the century, man. I'm so excited. I feel like I'm back in the old coffeehouse management days when I used to put shows on and introduce bands and shit. I could grow to like this once again and if I weren't so confirmedly lazy I'd do it all the time.
Thirdly -- the other night I bought the Red Hot Chili Peppers' "By the Way." Not because I wanted it, but because GEOFF wanted it. There are two songs that he loves (the title track and "Can't Stop") on this thing, and another that I love ("Dosed") and a radio hit, so about 1/3 of the CD was stuff I was familiar with in the first place. The rest of the CD is okay. I find I like RHCP when they are funky and rocking out, and I enjoy them less when they do ballads. Just my opinion.
Fourthly -- while on the subject of music, I have refrained about mentioning here that I really do not care at all for the Johnny Cash cover of Nine Inch Nails' "Hurt." The whole entire universe seems to be all ga-ga over this song. He's number 1 on CMT's countdown (gah! I typed cuntdown. I am glad I caught that instead of being shocked and spitting my beer out across my PC screen when spellcheck caught it) and everyone from BNL's blog to MTV are talking about how GREAT this is.
I think it's lame and rather pedestrian.
It doesn't do anything for me. Am I the only one?
Him singing the song simply does not convey the same amount of angst and pain as Mr. Reznor does when he sings it. And the video -- parts of it are amazing (him at the table of fine food, pouring the good wine all out over everything with his ancient shakey hand) but mostly the images don't fit at all with with a man who wears a crown of shit upon his liars chair (changed to "crown of thorns" for Mr. Cash's version). He never was abandoned by JCC, and it seems to me that the whole thing just doesn't fit.
Best parts of the video though are her standing behind him and watching him as he cries. Chilling. She's gone now -- she was an amazing vocalist and one of the first women I remember hearing aside from Grace Slick, Judy Collins, Joni Mitchell or Tammy Wynette. I suppose that a lot of the buzz surrounding the song is due to her death as well. He's seen some rough times, but on the country music scale of rough times I'd have to say a Waylon Jennings cover of this song would have made more sense.
I'm lost. I must be the only American who has honestly sat down, soaked it in, thought about it and am still completely unphased by the "genius" of this performance.
I think if I'd never heard the NIN version before, perhaps this would blow me away. So most of Nashville and perhaps most of the people in areas where their choices for airwave entertainment are Froggy Radio and Hip Hop, limited choices to be sure, would never have heard "Hurt" performed in its original state.
I prefer the NIN version so much more. The way Trent goes from whispering "what have I become..." to "YOU CAN HAVE IT ALL! MY EMPIRE OF DIRT!" Oh, it's amazingly powerful to me. Mr. Cash is great and all... but... meh.
I grew up with Johnny Cash. I don't think I ever totally understood the mass appeal to the point of him being "legend." To me, Buck Owens is far more a "legend," but what do I know.
I remember thinking "My Name is Sue" was a hysterical song when I was growing up. My dad would sing it and I'd laugh my ass off. "Ring of Fire" is a fucking fabulous song, and the "I Walk The Line" always did it for me. Aside from that. Meh.
And Finally, Bob Hope is 100. I have nothing enlightening or sassy to say about that. I've never been a big Bob Hope fan... I think by the time I was aware of him his comedy was "Old People Comedy" and I was more into Monty Python (Hello Mrs. Gorilla. Hello Mrs. Non-Gorilla. Been shopping? No. I've been shopping) and I never cared for golf. So all I can say is "good for you, Bob Hope." Perhaps he'll see 101 and we'll be all atwitter about him again this time next year.
Great googly moogly, this is a longassed entry. I'm sorry. I should have made like three. Oh well, if you made it this far, have a great weekend.
Wednesday, May 28, 2003
Doug called me at work to let me know he got the job. Huzzah. Just in time. Now... off to the fridge store for a new fridge.
His salary will be bigger, much bigger, than what the public schools give him these days. So our unexpected cost of buying a new fridge falls on a good day. We can afford it now. We went out to the local across the border in New Hampshire appliance joint that we go to and picked ourselves out a phat Amana fridge, with the freezer in the bottom and wicked cool stuff up top. We opted out on the ice maker and filtered water dispenser for two reasons:
1. Geoff will play with them all damn day and make a sick mess.
2. We'd have to call a plumber and get him to run a line over to the other side of the kitchen to run the stupid thing, and to be honest, I can't be arsed. Who cares. Open the fridge and crack open an ice tray. You want crushed ice? Here's the meat mallet. Make sure you wash it first.
We saw this unbelievably cool retro bitchin' totally like a big fat Chevy fridge -- designed with the style of the 50s and the efficiency of the 21st century in mind.
I so wanted it. It was Wild Cherry Red. Like a whore's lipstick. Like a Coke advertisement. Like I'd need more chrome and a cool black and white checked tile floor in my kitchen. I'd be June Fucking Clever with this thing in my house. And I'd be the coolest EVER. People would come in and say "Shit! Your fridge is so damn RED and cool!!!!" Who do you know in the universe who has a farkin' cherry RED bitchin cool fridge in their house? No one. Absolutely NO ONE, damn it! I so wanted it.
Doug couldn't be convinced.
So while my dreams of a completely renovated kitchen and a red hot chili pepper/Brian Setzer ripping guitar riff fridge may not happen, I'll soon have delivered to my home a cool enough fridge. And ya know? God bless America that I can just walk out the door this evening, go to the store, and pick the one out that suits our needs.
It gets delivered and installed next Thursday... We'll have to cut some drywall out, the fridges there that were the right size for the opening just didn't cut the mustard for us. Doug's vision was the entire roast turkey for Thanksgiving, with a watermelon and a 12 pack in there. And the 30 inch fridges just couldn't do it for us. Plus, he wanted the fridge on top option, with the freezer down bottom.
It rocks. Of course, I'll take pictures of the ebony ice behemoth as soon as it's purring like a kitty.
And before you wonder why the hell we got black, our stove is black. And Geoff's grubby handprints won't show nearly as bad on the front of the damn thing as they would on white or "bisque," which is nouveau for "almond."
I saw no avocado fridges in stock. Major bummer.
Work today was really cool. My boss and coworker and I are getting along great. Unlike my sister and her boss, who are screaming in each others faces. That sucks.
I hate boss/employee strife. Especially when it turns to screaming. I've been in interesting arguments with bosses, and I've stepped into fights and have broken them up before violence ensues... so being where I am vocationally right now is good.
We had a good laugh or ten today, and when I told them Doug got the job he wanted, they were honestly and truly happy for us. Not just a "hey, that's ... nice!" insincere thing. I also told them that if he didn't get this offer, it would have come down to us probably leaving the area, and they were extra happy because they'll get to keep me.
Now we have to plan on what to do with Jessie for the summer. I've contacted a local 4H day camp, and they have an overnight residential program too, so if she wanted to go to sleep over camp, it'd be in the same town where I'm working! How cool is that??? Instead of shipping her off to the Berkshires or something, I can beep when I drive by!
It is 9pm, and no monkey reference. I'm afraid that this may be the end of the run, unless I go sit down right now and watch the Britcoms with Doug and they make one.
All I know is I'm going to sleep well tonight. Barring any wild animal ruckus. Doug baked a pie. I'm going to go have some. Mmmmmmm. Pie.
It has been a while since we've needed a new appliance here at the Way Out Inn. Two years ago, almost, we bought ourselves a new washer when the old one petered out.
Today, the verdict is in -- the fridge has ceased working. The compressor -- shot beyond repair or reasonable expense to replace. A new compressor for a close to 20 year old Fridgadaire is more expensive than a new fridge with the parts, labor etc... figured in. Fridgeman came today and I am late for work (hence the quick entry, I'm late anyway) due to his visit.
He wanted to time the visit so that he could come in early, figure out the problem and if he needed to send out for a part he could come back in the afternoon. No use... he said she's gone. He recommended getting a bag of ice for the freezer and keeping our fresh food up there until we get a new fridge.
I'm okay with the fact that the fridge is dead. I knew this day would eventually come. The thing that grates my cheese is the timing. I want to someday redo the whole kitchen, and expand the cabinetry towards our bedroom door.
To do that, the floor will need replaced, and the cabinets would need built. And installed. There is an L shaped cabinet part that sticks out into the room that I am hoping we could simply cut and reposition (all the drawers are in that). And I'd like a dishwasher.
I have mentally planned out the layout of the kitchen, and I like what is in my mind. And in the kitchen of the not too distant future, there is a nice huge fridge along that wall, and where the fridge is now a built in hutch with the drawers from the L shaped thing as the base, shelves above, and plenty of storage.
I don't just want to go buy a fridge -- I wanted a rebirthing of the kitchen, and that would not have been say THIS week in my life. So the fridge has to be purchased, and I am thinking we'll just buy one that fits in the current place instead of my mondo phat and super superfridge.
Last night, or shall I say early this morning, around 3am, there was a horrible caterwauling coming from the woods behind our house. Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom raged in the silent woods of our bedroom community, and it was scary.
It wasn't a cat fight -- there was only one voice. Screaming and whistling. Eventually whistles softly fell by themselves in what sounded like resignation and defeat. But prior to said defeat, the fight was vicious. There were breaking branches, snapping and crunching in the dark, and trees shaking and trembling. And the screaming just went on and on. Part of me wanted to go stop whatever was happening out there. I mean, it wasn't like there was a mountain lion or a cougar or something that could shred me to death. But a pissed off raccoon isn't something I wanted to confront at 3am. I was seconds away from calling the police to see if they could come out and stop whatever was going on when the battle ended...
Good thing too, I didn't want to somehow end up on Howie Carr's "Police Blotter Fax Friday" segment on WRKO this week.
"Dateline: Small Town. A woman called police to request they come break up some sort of murderous animal rampage in the woods behind her house at 3am on Wednesday. Police laughed at her and hung up, telling her next time she should dial 912."
Doug figures it was probably a bird and her nest got raided. A raccoon or something else decided to help itself to the babies. I think he's probably correct.
But it ruined my night's sleep. I fell asleep around 9:30 or so, and had horrible dreams about Uday Hussein (thank you History Channel for that enlightening documentary you showed at 8pm last night. Jerks) and once the murder in the dark was over, I couldn't get back to sleep. I finally got back into snoozing mode at 4:30, after listening intently to the woods for any signs of life, and feeling my pulse race for ever... and the next thing I know the alarm is going off. Meh!
This morning there is no physical evidence in the woods that I can see, but Jackie was extra twitchy and sniffy when I took him out there to do his thing this morning.
By the way, on the Monkey Reference Log to the left there, I should really NOT count yesterday's email from Mr. Garfield. He is well aware that I'm logging monkey references, and has taken it upon himself to add one to my day. Seeing as it was the only one, I'll be the ref here and ignore the foul. Someone picking up the phone or sending me an email that has the word monkey, or ape, or something simian in it shouldn't count. They have to be "natural" monkey sightings, like Homer getting upset on Monday's Simpsons rerun because of the change in programming -- "MTC: Monkey Trauma Center" will not be seen tonight so we can bring you this episode of "Taxicab Conversations."
And my mother totally disagrees with me that you can't go a day without a monkey sighting. I suppose if you're home all day retired, and you don't get out much, and you don't channel surf so you accidentally pass Nickelodeon's Wild Thornberry's or Animal Planet and the many many monkey programs there, she may be right.
In my life though -- there's a monkey a day.
Are you playing along? Let me know if you are!
Well, I should head to work. I worked an extra 45 minutes yesterday to make up for this time, so before I have to work extra to make up for MORE time spent away from the office, I should jet. More later.
Friday, May 23, 2003
Doug went to the market yesterday and bought the new Hulk version of Hershey's chocolate syrup.
It's quite green. Geoff loves it -- loves it so much he put chocolate syrup in four glasses this morning (filling the glass 1/2 way) and then put some milk in. Quite messy and wasteful. And it is really really green and psychologically unsettling to drink green milk.
I used the syrup in iced coffee today, and it was an unbelievably nasty color. But it tasted just the same.
Scary thing is -- it has had a colorizing impact on my, outbound production as it were. It's very strange to see green in the toilet after seeing brown for many years. I think I'll pass on using any more. And I'll not speak any further of production in the nether regions.
Yesterday Geoff lost his first tooth. I was wondering when this would finally happen. Everyone of the kids in his class has at least one grown up tooth. His tooth started getting wiggly early this week, and we encouraged him to wiggle it until it came out. While I was out seeing Buford on Friday night, he asked Doug to pull it out. Doug checked it and said that it wasn't ready yet, and that Geoff should wiggle it more.
Saturday afternoon he came up to me with a tissue in his hand and said "Uh, a little help here." He'd wiggled it straight forward but couldn't get it out and it was at the point where he couldn't just ignore it and go on with life. So I did what any mom would do. I suppressed my squick senses and grabbed hold of the tooth. I told him to tell me if it hurt and I'd stop. I pulled and I could (this is gross, so avert your eyes and skip to the next paragraph if you hate this kind of thing) hear the tooth ripping out of his head. I stopped and said "are you sure it doesn't hurt?" He said no... and I pulled again, more ripping and boom.
Tooth out. I almost started crying. He was so hard core and tough, unlike on a daily basis when he bumps his arm or toe or head and freaks like bloody murder. He sat there and let me take it out... and I could see his grown up tooth right where it should be. Amazing.
If you mouse over the picture above, you can see the "after" shot of this "before" shot. I decided not to put them side by side in case you, dear reader, were squicked beyond belief. I'm so sensitive to my public, aren't I?
So that's been the big weekend excitement here. I slept until noon today. So there haven't been any more exciting and cool moments. I've seen enough monkey references today to last for the next five days... what with the entire army of monster monkey beings in the Power Puff Girls movie. But trying to count all of them forward to cover the coming days violates the monkey a day principle. We'll see what other monkeys cross my path soon.
By the way -- In the "this week in (a)musings history," I've linked over to this day last year and it is by far one of my favorite entries. I just re-read it. And it floods me back with so many memories, of 1988, of last year, of a life missing in action. You can click on that one and go read it if you want, I mean, since you're here...
Doug said his interview yesterday went very well. I think he'll get the job, which means big money for our family but an all summer long conundrum for what to do with Jessica.
We haven't signed her up for camp, we don't have any full-time free to do nothing but hang out with her friends who can watch her. Geoff can go to the day care at his school all summer. So far, we only have one week figured out, and that's the week Doug will have to go for training in Florida. He'll drive Jessie out to his parents and spend a couple days with the family, and then fly from there to Florida and back.
Geoff and I will rock the suburbs out here.
My mom usually comes up for a week in the summer, so that covers another week. I'm going to look into day camps, see if I can't get her signed up somewhere. If Doug will be making good money, then the expense of sending her somewhere for a couple straight weeks that is local and convenient to me to pick her up won't be too bad.
We went out last night to dinner in Haverhill, to our favorite Mexican joint, Pedro Diego's. It was yummy and the sangria refreshing. Last time we were there, or the second to last time I forget ... we were with Aaron and Michelle and had WAAAAY too much of said sangria. It was messy.
Anyway -- last night we were celebrating Doug's complete confidence that he'll get offered the job. Not too premature, I hope, but both of us feel pretty good about the chances of them extending an offer. He got another call today from a school district in southern NH, right across the border, so I hope he'll follow up on that one just in case this other job doesn't pan out the way we feel so sure it will.
Better safe than stuck.
Today is my weekly Baby Ben day... I got to take him with me when I took Geoff to the doctor for a follow up x-ray.
Baby Ben was well behaved, but the appointment was smack dab in the middle of his naptime, so he held up as well as he could. He ended up taking a monster nap from noon to 2:30 as a result of our going out and about.
I forgot to bring the first x-ray film with me from Geoff's original x-ray last week, so they had nothing to compare this picture with (duh? adoy? pfth! Stooopid) but the doctor remembered what it originally looked like.
It looks worse.
The bone has moved "about 10 degrees," according to the doctor, but that's "not to worry." He said it most certainly is not a green stick break.
So that made me drop my jaw... he said that the 10 degree move is not a problem because of his age and the fact that "biology is on his side." He said if it were my arm, it'd be a problem. But on a little kid like G-love, this kind of thing mends. He'll have a bump in his arm for about three months, and then it will all even out. According to Doctor Fixabone, the break is above the "growth plate" and when he grows the arm and bone will grow just fine, mom shouldn't fret and worry.
He wants him back in 3 weeks, and they'll x-ray him one more time to make sure the fusing is happening and he's good to go. Doctor Fixabone is pretty confident the cast will be off in three weeks when we return.
So that was good to hear. He reassured me and helped me pick my jaw up off the floor and reattach it. Good thing I was at an orthopedist's office, eh?
Hanging out at Baby Ben's means lunch with the guys.
Ben, Brian, Dan always, and sometimes Peg and Rupa too. I'm using their real names, I know they don't care.
State employee Friday before a holiday long assed lunch. 2 hours really. We played a wicked cutthroat game of UNO, the kind with the 30th anniversary card where you can give your whole hand to someone else and keep one card for uno, and effectively get out of the game the next turn, unless the other person you gave all your cards to has the same card and opts to screw you.
I don't do well at UNO when I'm playing with the guys. They pretty much play like it's poker, they remember what move you made five go arounds ago, and then if someone goes out, they'll say "You shoulda played that blue five you got when we did the anniversary hands, then he wouldn't have been able to play that skip and I could have reversed and..."
Brian especially does this. And in short, my goal at uno is to get all the high numbered cards out of my hand so I don't get thoroughly screwed when someone else goes out on a wild card, or draw fours me on their last turn.
The second to last hand got especially hairy. I gave all my cards to Dan on an anniversary swap, after he repeatedly hit me with skips, draw twos and wild draw fours, the bastard. He was seated to my right. I retained a blue card, because all the other colors in the hand I'd given him had either a draw two, a skip, or a reverse... but not the blues. So Dan figures it out that I've got blue or a wild card. They're smart that way, these guys.
It's Ben's turn, he's to Dan's right. He plays a wild draw four, and I hear "blue" spoken out loud. Dan draws his four, and I bitchslap my fat blue eight onto the pile. Huzzah! I won a hand.
Everyone yells. They all yell no! Ben called it as green. Ben called green, but I didn't hear him -- Brian said blue. Brian GOT it... and knew that if Ben called blue, I'd go out and Dan would get stuck with 1000 points or something horrific like that.
So now they know I have the blue eight, and now I have to pick up cards. And pick and pick and pick until I get a flerkin' green card. I got lucky on that hand, in the end I got out with a red five as I managed to get down to uno again.
But I wanted to kick Ben.
I'm not playing uno with these guys anymore. They make me mental. And I'm not playing pictionary with them any more either... Brian cheats.
It was good to see Rupa and Peg for lunch too. Baby Ben enjoyed playing on the floor next to Geoff, and Geoff enjoyed playing banjo kazooie on the nintendo 64. he prefers the n64 games to the game cube. I'm not sure why.
Wednesday, May 21, 2003
As Homer Simpson once said "I've never wanted a beer more in my life."
Today I got to take a three hour online training class for ADP Benefits eXpert, or Ben eX. Or Ben X. Our payroll girl says "Who is this Ben X and why is he such a pain in the ass."
She couldn't be more right.
The system is buggy and tweeky, and that the customer service from ADP has been less than lucid. I've gotten very used to the system, we've figured out back-end adjustments and work arounds to get information into the system without the 90 day waiting period. We have temp to perm employees and if they've fulfilled 90 days of temp work, they are eligible for med/dent benefits immediately.
But the system is set up so that new hires get factored in 90 days waiting for med/dent, and 90 days for std/ltd/life/dependent life etc...
So we've got some work arounds and A and I have the system DOWN. yo. We've got mad skillz.
Still, we had to go through online training.
It's pretty cool. They are using Centra Symposium, which does everything professor MF wants done with her class except there is on video. If there was a video component it would be beyond the pale for what we'd need. The interface is easy. We had an hour "intro" class last week to test audio and mic settings, and make sure everyone knew how to use the icons and tools and stuff. It was really good. But, even though they make you go through this hour intro class, there happen to always be one or two jerkbags who still haven't ironed out their bugs, and they come to the training class with hiccuppy systems that are flaky and fluky and the session leader spends forever and an hour helping them... while the other ten participants sit in their chairs and ROT.
We sat there and rotted y'all.
I ended up writing emails over to A, my co-worker. Both of us frothing at the mouth and making each other laugh.
I also got to sit and watch a bunch of little birdies cavort in the bushes outside my window. And I praised God himself for the fact the window was there at all. If I was stuck without a window, I might have had to kill myself right there at my desk.
The training class was all fine and good. I found myself volunteering to answer every question. I was a wicked schmartypants poindexter. I asked questions that made the session leader say "hmmmmm? I'll have to look into how to do that, but that is an EXCELLENT question!" And Amy would send me an instant email saying "you ass kisser you!" And I'd laugh.
The class leader also told me I was a model student. A thought THAT was worth getting out of her office and dancing in front of me.
Seriously, all told there was an hour of material in the three hours. And it was painful. Very Very Very painful. All I know is, I want to find out how much these people get paid to do this training job. Because I could do it 100 times better. No. Lie. Meh! Meh meh meh!
By the way, when on the roads and in my immediate vicinity, if you are going to cut me off when I'm driving my big honkin' truck, either by cutting a left turn in front of me or by pulling your ass out in front of me, do yourself, me and my brakes a big favor -- step on the damn accelerator. It's the pedal on the right.
I've had a rash of lefties and pull outs this past week when I'm cruising along at warp speed 10 where the driver sees fit to jack rabbit in front of me, but then do nothing. Get out there in the mix, and then... eh. What next? Oh yeah. Go. I've used the horn more in the past few days than in months previously. My truck is big. And red. Why sit there staring at me for a quarter of a mile as I motor towards you, just to hop out in front of me and nearly kill us all? Is there something mesmerizing about the big red truck? Perhaps the shiny chrome and the great big scary looks like it could eat you grill on the front.
All I know is I hate people who drive like that.
There are some really good monkey references going on. Yesterday's Howard Stern show was chock full of monkey thoughts and ponderings as the guest was Marky Mark Wahlberg. He should have bitchslapped the whole crew for some of the interspecies sex questions they were throwing at him. But he handled it all pretty well and got out of there unscathed and without crying.
By the way, if you're keeping track of monkey references, let me know. I do know Mr. Garfield is. He sent me an email saying that ever since I mentioned it
Tomorrow Doug is going for an in-person interview at the medical company based out of Connecticut. He'd work regionally, get paid very well, and we'd stay here. If he gets this job. If he doesn't, I'm encouraging him to take the school district up in northern New Hampshire seriously.
But, I have no reason to doubt that the medical company will not hire him. He is smart, talented, savvy, very wise, great with people, and he'll kill at the interview. So he technically could start working right after the school year ends. We'd have to figure out what to do with both shorties for the summer. Geoff's an easy call -- keep him where he is. Jessica... we'd have to figure something out. I don't know what though. So we'll see. He'd have to go spend a week in Florida at the end of June, poor baby. We'd send Jessie to his folks for a week. Geoff and I could hold the fort down here.
I am nervous and excited. I can't imagine how he feels.
And on that note, I will of course keep the world posted. I've gotten some cool email from people asking what's going on. I feel like you care! And some of you do -- you're long term friends who want to know if you'll be obliged to help us pack and schlep, or, will be obliged to come to our house here for a cook out after we have some more serious money in the bank after he works for a couple months. In the end, either option is good. So we'll see what works out.
Saturday, May 17, 2003
I am exactly halfway through the year to my birthday. Today is my half-birthday or UN-birthday if you would. Start saving now for that lavish gift. It's all downhill from here to being 37.
Can that be possible already? 37. I shake my head in wonder and disbelief. What the hell happened? I was just 25 and having a baby. I was just 30 and having a baby. Hell, I was just 19 and making out in the laundry room at college and getting in wicked trouble from the hall director. How can I possibly be almost 37?
I feel like Sally in "When Harry Met Sally," I can sit on my bed and cry "I'm gonna be 40!" And you can say, "When?" and I can say "In three years..."
It's the kids' fault, you know.
Once you have children, time moves at lightning speed. You realize how much a child changes in six months, and you realize how many more grey hair follicles you're sprouting. They make you work harder, your recreation time changes from going to clubs to going camping or to the candlepin bowling alley's bumper lane on a rainy day.
They change you and they push you faster toward your shedding of the mortal coil by their sheer energy and force of life.
And to be honest, I wouldn't trade it for anything. Well. Sometimes. I'd trade it for being able to go to the movies twice a week instead of twice a year when I can scrounge up a sitter. But for the most part I would rather rent movies and watch them at home, because my bladder (it is aged, very aged) cannot sit through a 2 hour movie.
There isn't much to report today. We didn't get garden plants on Saturday like I said we would. Doug kindly reminded me that we were under a "frost advisory" for that night and the next, so while I was mightily irritated and quite miffed, I'm glad he stood by his decision and prevented me from going... we did indeed get frost Not bad. But I'd hate to spend what little money we could on beautifying the yard only to have it shrivel up and freeze.
Looking at a year ago from right now, we had snow... and it could easily happen again. New England. Pfth!
Seeing as there isn't much to talk about, I mostly wanted to just sit and share some pictures of this weekend.
To me, this is the most beautiful picture ever.
Jack's wounds are healed and he hit the water at the quarry where we geocached on Saturday with wild abandon. For someone who was squished by a truck a few weeks back, I'm happy he's walking at all, not to mention the level of enthusiasm for swimming he showed.
He was in his element -- running like a total maniac, jumping into the water, retrieving, retrieving, retrieving... he had a horrid limp when we got home, but I expected that and gave him some medicine. He and Kinger both love swimming, and they slept very very well.
And thank you God for healing his little body so well. He's a trooper, that Crunchy Dog!
One geocache that we did was in the Boxford Town/State Forest. We had no idea this quarry was there, but I'll tell you what -- I'll be back. It was so nice and quiet, and the dogs were just so happy to swim. I'm not a big fan of quarry swimming, but I'd probably go in this one. Just not too far from the shore, and there is an actual shore (the dogs easily accessed it). It was about like the pond on MDI where we went swimming with A&M this summer. A little ledge and then a deep drop off. I would never jump off the sides (anyone who would is insane in my book) and I would probably make the kids wear PFDs in the quarry for swimming. Especially... the boy.
We did another geocache in the Harold Parker State Forest, right around the corner. The sunset was lovely.
I'm not a big fan of schmaltzy inspirational photos, but that second one is pure gold, baby. Pure gold...
And we saw the craziest conversion van detail job in the history of detail jobs. This dude loves America more than you or I ever will!!! That's for damn sure:
I wonder how much this paintjob costs, and how many hungry people could have had a few meals. It's pretty and all, but is it necessary? We half expected to meet this individual in the woods while hiking through the park, and I was wondering what I'd say. Fortunately, I couldn't think of anything and we didn't meet him anyway... My clever by half comments were not coming to fruition.
On Saturday, I went the whole day without a monkey reference. I went to bed that night convinced that the streak was over at six in a row. And I was sorely disappointed. I fell asleep early, and had a dream.
In my dream, my friend Clayton (I'll use his name instead of identifying him as the very sad "My friend who died last year." He has an identity and I'm ready to speak his name here) was sitting on the couch. He was laughing and laughing... having just told me his favorite joke:
Q: "Why do gorillas have such big nostrils?"
A: "Because they have such big fingers."
Clay thought that was funny. It always got a chuckle out of me, but never hysterics. The first time he told us this joke, it was in the evening on a Friday night. We laughed, it was funny... end of conversation, life moves on past the joke.
Our Friday night ritual together was to watch "Homicide: Life on the Streets." So we're there watching, and Yaphet Kotto, who played the big boss Giordello on the show, is on screen, and he's mad. He's angry. Nostrils. Flaring.
And Clay started laughing. I mean, hysterically, uncontrollably, tears rolling down his face laughing. I thought he was going to pass out. I thought he might just piss his pants and boy I was getting nervous. Doug and I were encouraging him to breathe. We thought he was going to die.
Finally, after about 15 minutes of this, he's able to eek out the phrase:
Yaphet Kotto has big nostrils!
And we get it. He (a black man mind you) had just told us a gorilla joke, and then he sees Yaphet and thinks "gorilla nostrils." They are quite large, indeed. And he starts laughing again.
So I dreamed that. I dreamed Clayton told me the gorilla joke. I woke up from that on Saturday, and it was 11:30pm. It wasn't Sunday yet. And I started giggling. I could still hear Clayton giggling. I got my monkey reference just under the wire. And from a great source. Funny how weird things like that can sometimes happen.
We haven't mowed our lawn yet and it is already freaking May 17th.
Our neighbors have.
Other people I know have mowed their lawn.
Ours isn't doing well. I think the killer Scottish-accented grub from the Grub-X radio commercials (sounds a lot like Fat Bastard, of Austin Powers fame) may have had all his wee friends over after they got sick of Haggis and double malt scotch this long winter.
But Doug just fired up the mower to hit the places that have indeed grown large. We're thinking about what to do for the not doing to well areas, We've got some holes to fill in (dug by the dog and the boy). So there is a lot of work to do here today.
We only own 1/3 of an acre. But whey you just don't feel like being a lawn wrangler, it seems like 100 acres. And to think, I wanted to buy a house with many many acres.
Many many of them wooded and self-sufficient.
I don't understand people who spend all day both weekend days manicuring, polishing, grooming and preening their lawn. Get out and take a walk or something.
My daughter's best friend's mom is an avid gardener. She's a stay at home mom, and she has created a floral sanctuary beyond compare. This I respect. It's the grass preening and worship that I just don't get. Sure, a nice bed of green paradise under your bare feet on a summer day is sweet... but it really shouldn't take that much time. And I see guys out there working it and working it -- all for what? So they can sit on the deck and drink a beer and look at it, and yell at the kids when they run across it.
I also don't like using chemicals on the yard. We've got the dogs and the kid, and the kid and the dogs, and the barefeet and the licking. And the glavin and the mavin, nice lay-deee!
Sorry, I morphed into Professor Frink there for a minute.
The vast majority of you know that I'm registered republican. So you'd think I'd be all up in the yard with chemical warfare and the like.
We've both got the same mindset about chemicals and grass... they don't mix. No matter how "safe" the chemicals allegedly are, we won't use any of them unless it's dire end of the world or else need, which after 7 years of living here we may be up against so I'm cringing and reluctant.
All I need is one of my dogs walking in all this stuff for weeks and licking his paws clean, and then he's got oral cancers or something. Not to mention -- the boy. He is the king of bare feet on any surface, and I don't want him walking out and about on unsavory substances.
Doug developed his dislike for such chemical compounds while in graduate school. He read a lot about speech therapy needs for rehab on guys who had oral cancers, not from smoking but from golfing.
They'd hold their golf tees between their teeth or kiss their golf balls or clubs... and years later, they've got no lower jaw and no tongue due to the spread of insidiously wicked cancers and they're in communication therapy so they can learn to communicate with people without their voices...
So -- if you're a golfer, keep your mouth off your club, m'kay?
And if you know one, let him or her know.
A lot of golf courses have gone "organic" in the past several years, using chemical free or organic compounds on the greens, and they are leaving the fairways to just do their natural thing. It isn't as pretty and lush to do it that way, but it's a lot more environmentally responsible.
But not enough golf courses do. I knew I guy when I worked at my last company, and his parents were scientists who invented a safe and organic fertilizer for use specifically on golf greens. They were working their asses off to market the stuff and sell it, but so many golf organizations didn't see it as an issue. They went at it from an environmental safety issue, and when I told Todd about the oral cancer issue, he informed his parents and they researched it, and added that to their marketing scheme. I wonder how they're doing with their product these days?
Anyway -- I digress. As usual.
We don't rake or or clean up the mowed grass when we're done mowing. We leave it there, in little rows, all over the yard. The wind takes care of it, and spreads the grassy seed love around. Doug's dad hates when we leave the grass clippings in the yard. I think he thinks we do it just to bug him.
By the end of summer, the yard looks magnificent... just by cutting it and letting nature do her thang. Know what I'm sayin? Never ever say we're lazy. We love the earth y'all! (She says as she gets into her big Dodge Truck that gets approx. 18 mpg. Mwuff. Sorry).
The past couple days have settled down for us. Geoff did have to go back to the orthopedist to have his cast put back on. He was in school yesterday and pulled his hand out of his cast.
The doctor's office said they'd never seen anyone do that before.
They called him Houdini.
We figure his arm had been swollen, and the swelling subsided enough that he was just able to yoink his hand out of the cast.
They panicked at his school.
They weren't sure how badly the bone was broken (it isn't broken all the way through), and he exhibited no signs of pain or distress, and they didn't think they could yoink his hand back in, that would probably hurt. So they got ahold of Doug and Doug left work early to go grab him and bring him back to the doctor.
"Listen," said the doctor as he recasted the arm, "you will leave this one on, or I'll give you another one that goes up to here," doctor marks just below Geoff's armpit and shoulder with the circling of his fingers, "and I'll make it pink."
Geoff's first cast, which I signed and didn't get a picture of, was a very pretty blue. This one, as you can see, is Incredible Hulk Green. It makes me dizzy just to look at it. He likes it though, and he's being very serious about it. The doctor made quite an impression on him. I had to wash his hands for dinner last night, and he got all crazy with me when I tried to wash his left fingers. He was worried that I'd get the cast wet, and the "doctor said if I get it wet it will STINK and I don't want to STINK!!!"
I see a trip to CVS to buy a fingernail scrubber and handi-wipes of some sort in order to keep that left hand clean. I see that trip sometime today.
I guess that's about it. There is really no other news to talk about today. I know I'm procrastinating getting out there and getting my feet and hands and ass all dirty sitting around preparing the garden and the flower beds. Sigh. I feel like I could crawl back into bed... but there is so much to do.
Part of me doesn't want to put in a garden or rake where we got tons of winter sand and dirt (front of the house). I've seen everyone up and down my street doing it all spring, and I keep saying "yeah, we have to do that..." but I feel so unmotivated to get started. Part of me still thinks we're going to sell this house and move (I know, I know, we probably aren't) and I just don't feel like making an effort for someone else to enjoy the bounty of in August.
This spring has been long and cold and dreary... I feel like the little flowers will never show themselves. And I don't feel I'm the Mary Sunshine to bring them out. Wish me luck. I'll let you know how it all goes... if it goes at all.
Thursday, May 15, 2003
The Summer of the Emergency Room continues. First Jack, now Geoff.
I got home from work around 5:15 yesterday afternoon and Geoff was in his room crying. Doug told me he had fallen down while playing kickball nextdoor with our neighbor girl (her dad was playing too). Steve, the dad, had walked him home and said he fell backwards and put his arm out to stop the fall, and said that his wrist and arm hurt. So Doug looked at it, and it didn't look bad at all. He (and I) thought it was Geoff's usual histrionics at work. He carried on for a while, and I went in to see him.
He was on his bed, on his back, and was just pathetically crying. "Can you pick your arm up so mommy can see?" I asked him, thinking I'd just be giving him some extra mommy love and then I'd get his mind off the subject and we'd move on.
"I can't lift my arm up at all!" He cried. So I reached down to lift it for him. He tried to scoot away like a small injured animal. When I lifted his arm, all around the wrist was swollen like nothing I've ever felt on a kid before, and when I flipped the wrist over to look he screamed and cried.
This was for real -- I called Doug in. Doug took one look and we both said, "Huhyeah. Emergency room."
Doug got an ice pack. I got G's shoes back on and Doug put his arm up in a sling with the ice. Once we did that he mellowed out... and we got into the truckster and went to the local hospital.
We were in and out in 90 minutes. Record time for an emergency room visit. The physician's assistant on call was really nice and explained to me after seeing his X-ray that he has a "green stick" fracture. I'd never heard of it, but essentially it's the term they use when a bone is fractured the same way you'd bend and try and break a young stick or twig or branch. It doesn't break all the way through, but you see splitting and twisting on the branch. That's exactly what it looked like on the film.
She splinted him up and he has to get his permanent cast on today...
This picture is hysterical. His "Oh NO!"
Kevin in Home Alone hand on his cheek slays me.
His sense of humor was not sprained or injured. On several occasions he had the hospital staff in stitches (pun intended) with jokes and just plain Geoffrey-esque comments.
We were waiting in the X-ray area, and he walked up to the front desk there and said "Excuse me ma'am, I'd like to place an order. I'd like a double cheeseburger with doublesized fries..." and everyone started laughing.
When the PA was splinting him, he very casually said, "So, you fix people up here a lot?" And it sounded like a pick-up line. So funny.
Another nurse came in to help, and he looked at her and said "I'm sorry. You'll have to come back later. We're busy." with this deadpan facial expression. The nurse and PA laughed and laughed. They all hugged him when he left.
It was quite a fun experience. Nice nursing staff and great doctor... sorry I had to meet them.
Anyway. The bummer is that today at Geoff's school they are doing their annual Bike-A-Thon to benefit St. Jude's children's hospital. For the past week Geoff has been getting psuper psyched to go to school and ride bikes with his friends. He invented a bike gang of all his school mates called the "BikeRiders" only he doesn't spell it like that.
This is the Bacraders. You can hear the accent, cool and slick:
He just came up behind me and told me the Bacraders don't ride bikes anymore. They just sing songs.
I love that picture... notice there are no bikes. But notice also the guys with other guys standing on their heads, and the cool watch that one guy has. The Bacraders are the coolest gang around!
Aaron said that Geoff's new nickname is "Snappy" now. And with Jack being "Crunchy" you can actually sing the Itchy and Scratchy theme song with their names in place. "The Crunchy and Snappy Show!"
Doug is taking the day off of work to take Geoff to get his cast on. He gets Paid Time Off and I don't. So I'll go in to work and be all schmoopy and sad for my baby.
Geoff's in good spirits. He slept on the couch with his arm elevated, woke up at 3 and we gave him more acetaminophen and he went back to sleep. He got up at six, his usual haunting hour, and has had breakfast and snack and is trying to play his gameboy one handed.
And the wonderful thing is, he's a lefty and he broke his left wrist. Great. So the remainder of this school year is luckily four weeks, and the cast will probably come off by the end of school, I'm thinking.
I will leave you with this thought...
One of the Journalspace journals that I was reading proposed this notion: You cannot go a day in life without a monkey reference crossing your path.
For instance, he cites you hear a Gorillaz song on the radio. Or Homer Simpson sees "Apes A Poppin'" on video and is all happy. Someone calls GWB a chimp.
I realized this guy is right. You cannot go a day without some sort of monkey reference! And remember -- this includes Chimps, Apes, Monkies, Gorillas -- anything... well, monkey.
This is day five of me monitoring my monkey references. And I plan on doing so. Mind you -- I cannot make the monkey reference and count it. Someone else has to, or you have to see a picture or commercial or TV Show. Here are my examples so far. And until I tire of counting these, I will post them.
1. Sunday: Homer Simpson watching "Editor in Chimp" at the video store on "The Simpsons"
2. Monday: BNL blog references them writing/recording a song called "Chimps."
3. Tuesday: Another Simpsons Monkey reference with Mr. Teeney, Howard Stern show repeatedly playing the "ma ma monkey" soundbyte when Gary was trying to explain something.
4. Wednesday: Doug said something about monkies while we were hanging out on the couch. I explained the monkey spotting theory to him, and he wanted to know why someone would even bother monitoring monkey references (I'm sure you're thinking the same thing about me right now). I think it's ... just because you can.
5. Today: Five minutes ago Geoff came to me and said he can't pick things up with his hand so he has to pick stuff up with his feet like monkeys on Discovery Channel.
Start monitoring your monkey references. I bet you find there are far more monkey references than say Horse references or ... well... Abe Vigoda references.I've gotta get ready for work. As sad as that is. More later.
Tuesday, May 13, 2003
So I pick out a house online in Sugar Hill NH that I want to live in for the rest of my life. I email it to Doug.
Mind you, the other day he had a phone interview with a health care company that would have him driving all over the state of Massachusetts and NH doing testing stuff on old folks in hospitals and nursing homes. The pay is really sweet, and he'd be pretty much in charge of making his own hours.
He emails me back, after I spend the afternoon salivating over this NH house, and I'm mentally driving the kids down the hill to the elementary and junior high schools, and I'm looking for a job in Littleton... and he says, pretty much, nuts to movin' I'm interested in this other job I interviewed for.
Right as I've got myself pretty comfortable with the concept of leaving here. Right when I have someone who maybe would be perfect for buying our crummy house. Right when I'm starting to get happy and giddy.
So he's going to schedule an interview with this health care company. And he'll probably get the job. And then we'll have to figure out something to do with the kids for the summer, but he'll be making good money and our finance woes will be no longer an issue, but, we'll not be living within eyeshot of Canon Mountain and the presidential range.
See, it's all still way high up in the air. I'm not looking to get excited or enthused or remotely interested in anything until the man himself says "Okay kids, start packing" or "honey, can you find a sitter for every day this summer so we both can work now?"
Such is life, no?
Oh. And by the way... when did Jimmy Kimmel leave his wife for Sarah Silverman???
I heard her on Howard Stern yesterday morning talking on and on and on about her boyfriend, and at the end of the interview (I tuned in late) I'm shocked to hear that the new boyfriend is the Man Show's Mr. Kimmel!
For those of you unfamiliar with The Man Show, it is basically Adam Carolla and Jimmy Kimmel and a bunch of half naked women jumping on trampolines. And they do a series of really dirty, sometimes painfully funny, sometimes unbelievably WRONG guy related things.
I'm not a regular viewer mind you, but I have watched, and if you are a guy, hetero, horny, homophobic, like beer and poon and porn, this is the show for you. Well, even if you aren't a guy, hetero, horny, homophobic etc... you may find some of the content amusing.
Jimmy used to be the "host" on Win Ben Stein's Money, and I guess at one point in life was on the radio. He has grown in popularity steadily over the past few years, I think that Ben Stein's show got him a lot of noteriety. So he hooks up with Adam Carolla, whom I love when he's with that dishy Dr. Drew on Loveline, and they do this Man Show thing. They also do another very wrong (and sometimes very funny but it gets rather repetitive and predictable) show called Crank Yankers. Puppets on acid.
And he has his own talkshow on ABC.
Anyway -- some of the stuff he does on The Man Show would qualify him immediately for having his wife walk the hell out on his ass. I wonder if that finally happened, or, if he just got hooked up with Sarah Silverman because she does some of the crank calls on Crank Yankers. And then they fell madly in love.
Needless to say, Jimmy's private life is ... well, his. But it looks like he's gone the same route as Howard Stern. Ditching the wife of umpteen thousand years, or getting ditched by her once she's had it.
All for the sake of some tittie jokes and beer. Oh well.
Anyway -- I don't find Sarah Silverman that funny, but was quite amused to find out her sister Laura is also a comedian and did the voice of the receptionist on Dr. Katz... which was one of my favorite shows. In squiggle vision. Just another useless piece of crap tidbit for you to file under "may never need this but what the hell, let's take up some memory space" in your head.
What else can I blather about. Well, that's pretty much it. I will keep the universe posted on what we end up doing for housing/work/life, but in short it looks like we will be staying put. And while I am happy to have a job, God... I'm so bored.