Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Excepting Quite Contrary

The "30 days has September" song is stuck in my head. The part about February. Which has 28 most of the time. As I typed out today's date, it earwormed me and now I need to wrench it out. I bet it is now stuck in yours. Heh.

I am having misgivings about Pink House. It crossed my mind, that we'd pay taxes on the land beside the house, land that we couldn't use, develop, put a big assed pool on top of... all so some developer can put houses on the land. We'd get the tax burden for who knows how long... and possibly get nothing to show of in the end. Well, nothing except the coolest freaking house on earth.

The losing sleep over what-ifs is something I rarely ever do. But I'm doing it. Sort of like losing sleep over what-ifs when it comes to the pool and drunk high-school students doing what I used to do and pool hopping through Huntington Bay at 2am. We threw an entire patio set into an in-ground pool once. It was fantastic because the table with the umbrella landed on the bottom of the pool completely upright. The bottom of the umbrella holder was weighed down with sand or concrete or something. And the umbrella being open slowed its descent.

Good times, good times. All at someone else's expense.

So I need to check with our realtor to see if this is a stupid idea. The neighbor cousin still hasn't called us and he's had our number for a week. She (neighbor wife) called this morning to ask if her daughter could walk to the bus with us because she wasn't feeling well and I welcomed the company. But she hung up before I could say, by the way -- what's up with --{click}

Something I've neglected to write about here is on the horizon for January 2007. Details forthcoming. No, it isn't a baby. Shut up.

Barenaked Ladies will be having one of those fan cruises (Dave Matthews just had one earlier this month) and I am so going. I don't care what anyone says. Jess is going with me. Kay and her mom say they're totally going. I just have to make sure we have money socked aside or a credit card with plenty of available ca-ching so I can buy tickets. I asked Doug if he wanted to go with and he scoffed and was all "uh, NO." Fine. Mister no fun pants, you stay home with boy. Because if you aren't with me, he can't come. He groaned.

I'm stoked beyond imagination. And the painful thing is I don't know the details, I don't know the dates, I am freakin' out (as Ed would say in his podcasts) about this... not with fear or worry but giddy girlie anticipation.

So if you're a BNL fan. ..... keep your eyes to the journal here, and I will post what the details are when they are announced.

Speaking of podcasts -- if you are an iTunes user (and even if you are not, there are alternatives for download) the boys have been doing nearly daily podcasts "live from the studio, freakin' out!" Sometimes they are live from Ed's bathroom. They're very funny at times, incredibly nerdy, filled with Ed talking about his favorite Xbox and Flash computer games (N), and a detailed discussion on Steve's recent snip-snip operation. Good times, good times.

Visit BNLblog.com for more details, and the one-click free subscription to the podcasts.

Another thing I completely neglected to mention or think about is Pinewood Derby. Our cub scout pack runs their derby on March 18th, and weigh-in for the cars is this Friday. Have we started ours? Well, as of 6pm yesterday... no.

Doug went down to the basement and cut the shape out for the car. Geoff has been sanding his hands off smoothing the thing out and thinking of other shapes for it. We will paint it tonight or tomorrow, wheel it up, and it'll be good to go. I picked a rider for it (a penguin) and Doug thinks that is stupid. Geoff and I are in disagreement. Geoff couldn't find his Bong-fu Alien, that is who he wanted as the rider... so the Penguin may be having a ride. That'd be awesome.

Details and photos to follow, I'm sure.

Well, I just wanted a quick note here as I wait for the truck to heat up. I'm off to work. It was negative eight million yesterday. Today it is only negative seventy five, so it isn't too bad.

Have a good day, all y'all.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

A Tale of Two Houses

We looked at three houses yesterday. It comes down to two of these three.

Pictures are in the House Hunting Set on Flickr if you're interested.

One of them, the one on the Dead End Street near the conservation lands, which I was most excited about, was a new view to us. We'd driven around it a million times, scoping it out. I love the location, love the dead end street. mls 70326056 geoff enteringBut, we're ruling out totally. It needs way too much work. It has subflooring, no real floors for one... There would be benefits to moving over there like dead end street, conservation lands, nice and quiet, but the amount of work we need to do over here is far less than what needs done over there. We'd be better off staying here and fixing up this place and staying.

We went to see busy street house again, because Geoff wanted to see the interior. He "100 percent loves the house" in his words. He picked his bedroom. He is totally stoked for the house.

His enthusiasm helps me see beyond the busy street. I know he'd be very happy there. I actually began to really think about layout, furniture, where stuff would go, backyard, front yard... and the price is absolutely right for us. We could swing this one and live there forever, drinking pina coladas in the pool for many summers to come.

So then we went to see a brand new house to the market. It is still under construction. A 19th century farmhouse on a dead end street, right up behind the one I fell in love with in the first place.

All I have to say is:

Oh, my, God, Becky. Look at this house. (Bonus points for the reference there kids).

mls 70333482 exteriorIt is, by far, the nicest thing on planet earth.

It has a dead end street with a hill down to scary main road, which makes me nervous but I need to give my bike-ridin' son more credit that he can handle that. So I get my dead end, less traffic life choice. Okay. The house is pink. My husband can handle that. And so can I, without singing John Mellencamp songs.

The place has been carefully and lovingly restored with period details, while being completely updated for the 21st century. The laundry room is up in the second floor kids bathroom. So I'd never have to go outside to go to the basement to do laundry again, nor would there be any schlepping upstairs of baskets of laundry. Can you Imagine THAT!?

There are two staircases -- one to the "master suite" off the kitchen, and one up to the kids area. When I was growing up, my friend Jen H. had two staircases in her house, and I thought that was the coolest thing I'd ever seen in my entire life. I loved their house.

They also had a formal livingroom with a baby grand piano, but. That's neither here nor there.

One bedroom has very high eaves so Jess could live in it and not bump her head. It has a large walk-in closet, and is laid out beautifully. The front bedroom has 2 nice sized closets and is a lovely size. Bigger than what Geoff has now.

The "master suite" kicks bedroom ass. It has a gorgeous high ceiling and windows that are up five feet in the air for great privacy. I can totally see my bedroom set in there, whereas at the busy street house my bedroom set doesn't match the walls and I'd so have to paint. It has a 3/4 bath, which I've never seen before -- a HUGE shower stall that many people can dance in, and a lovely tiled floor. The entire house is wide pine flooring, except the master bedroom which is bamboo flooring. And it is just simply gorgeous.

The supports in the basement are trees. Old cedar trees. The originals. They're amazingly cool.

The kitchen is totally fabulous, with a wicked island and stainless steel appliances. A dishwasher, y'all. I've never had a dishwasher. I've been married for going on 15 years and have washed dishes that entire time, with a little help from the other three people in my family. I'm ready for a dishwasher.

There is a livingroom, an office/den, and dining room in the house too. The dining room is directly between the kitchen and livingroom, and we'd need a really pretty table and chair set in there to make it pop... What we have now would be okay for the eat-in area of the kitchen, but this house needs some nice furniture

See, it's like the whole "orgy friends" thing I wrote about when we bought our bedroom set last month. I'm already buying the couch, the area rugs (because the wide pine HAS to show or it wouldn't be worth it) the tables, the artwork, the everything.

There are so many beautiful little details in this house.

The only fly in the ointment is: There is a large lot next door, which comes with the house. The builder is working on plans to put in 2 more houses on this lot. Whoever buys the house would sign documentation agreeing to "sell" the builder back the land in 1 or 2 parcels. He may or may not be permitted to put up two houses. He may only get permitted to do one. May get permitted to do none. That's still up in the air. But. If he gets permitted to do both, we'd have a .23 acre yard. If it worked out that he can only put up one, or none, the huge lot is ours.

That would be my preference.

I love this house. It is more than I wanted to spend though. And that makes me somewhat anxious.

And it comes down to this, like a bad 80s John Cusack Movie, I'll make my analogy in the form of possible boyfriends for our heroine:

Busy street house --This place is like the best friend from elementary school you've known your whole life, but he wears that stupid hat and rolls up his pant cuffs to show off his Chuck Taylors (which are two different colors) and wears suspenders and a sport jacket with a T-shirt. You've known this person for a long time as and are really comfortable with him. He just told you he loves you, and you're scared but you are on the verge of being ready to take that next step into relationship. He will never betray you, he treats you right, and you fit together perfectly. He is attainable, it is just right for you, in fact - better than you initially thought, but it took some time to see the great qualities. (ie: fourth bedroom and a finished basement to get off the analogy). No one else wants to hang out with this friend because they can't see past the flaws they've discovered on first impression. But you see past those, and you really like this friend.

Pink house -- is like that guy you fall in love with in high school who is just perfect, but out of your league. You have all the same things in common. In class you crack jokes and he laughs, he likes Monty Python and Death Cab for Cutie, and so do you. You worked on a project together and he showed you his vulnerable side, and you gave him support because his dad is such a jerk! But. He's in with that group of people who hate you, the popular and perfect crowd. So he doesn't pay attention to you outside of class. You dream about this guy. You know that you'd make a perfect couple. But he is just out of reach.

Which one do you pursue? Do you try for that John Cusack or do you fall back on Jon Cryer?

Doug and I crunched some numbers and we could make pink house work for sure. But if something happened where either of us lost our jobs we'd be screwed. Busy street house we could live in forever. It's attainable immediately.

So much to think about.

Anyway -- there is an open house today and I'm going to go and take Jess and my girl C will join us because I want her to see this one. I wish my mom and sister could come see these right now. I hope the open house isn't too crowded. I don't want to get in there and be all "Squeeeeee!" with other potential "Squeee-ers" around me.

Friday, February 24, 2006

The Dog and the Sleepless Gulag

My dog woke me up at 3am this morning. Jack doesn't bark. He doesn't whine. He paces and may throw in a whimper, and he pants loudly. Lucky for him he's just noisy enough to wake me up. But there have been times that his quiet routine hasn't roused me until it is almost too late, and we get out the door and make it a few paces off the porch and he explodes.

He needs to learn to be a little more vocal. Kinger would stand next to the bed and put his chin next to my face on the pillow and whine gently. Missy would whine loudly and sometimes bark if we weren't responsive or tried to ignore her. Jack is just too quiet.

He had gone out at 8pm as usual, so I didn't know what his big deal was. Normally fluffyass makes it the whole way through the night to about 7am without needing to go out again. Last night was a different case. I'd given him a piece of left over haddock mixed into his dogfood, and I guess it was saltier than I thought. He ran out the front door and jumped right into the creek and drank for about 10 minutes while I stood there cursing at him. When he came out, he did his regular doggie business, and we went back in where he stood next to his water dish and looked pathetic. I filled his water dish and began thinking of the books I've been reading lately. I read "An American in the Gulag" by Alexander Dolgun and am currently reading Solzhenitsyn's "Gulag Archipelago" because I wanted to read another account of the experience.

In the books both writers talk about dehydration due to salted fish. The starving inmates were crated onto trains and were handed fish to eat. Some of the other inmates would say "No! Don't eat it! They have filled it with salt and will not give you water!" They knew from experience. But the first timers - they were starving. They were hungry. They ate the fish.

Hours later many of them were begging for water while the guards laughed. The fish indeed was heavily salted, the torture of the ride would continue for hours and hours.

And I bet that's how my dog felt last night.

I got back into bed and stared at the ceiling, thinking of how horrible it would feel to experience that. I was no longer angry at Jack for jumping in the creek and coming back soaking wet. I thought of all the millions of Russians and other nationalities who suffered tortures as recently as sixty years ago. It began to run in circles in my mind, thinking of all the atrocities and all the suffering that was experienced, and for what?

Three hours later I fell back asleep.

This happens to me a lot. I wake up around 3am on my own, without help from Jack, and stare at the ceiling thinking of things that I can't control and can't make go away so I can fall back asleep. Sometimes I get up and play an hour of Playstation just to make my head stop running, and I'm able to go back to sleep, but invariably it is rarely before 5am, and I curse the alarm when it goes off.

The big sleep think lately has been of houses, obviously. And the big fear factor is swimming pools. I don't think about Geoff drowning, I think of other people coming into my yard, complete strangers, high school kids on a pool hopping mission, either while we're asleep or while we're away, and getting into our pool and drowning. I hear the William Shatner 911 call in my head, and imagine the terror of finding someone at the bottom of the pool when I just go out there to take the dog out to pee. How their hair would look all standing up and floating around their face. What clothes they have on. I toss and turn and eventually, 3 hours later, fall back asleep.

Maybe we can't get a house with a pool. I may never sleep again.

Speaking of which, we are looking at 2 houses tomorrow and taking the kids back to see the house by the elementary school, the house with the in-ground pool and porno paneling shag carpeted basement. I will remember to take pictures this time.

My kids came home from Grandma's last night. Turns out Geoff accidentally broke my mother's Nintendo Game Cube. D'oh! He opened the top to change games and didn't wait until the disc inside stopped spinning, and he reached down and stopped it himself rather than wait. Sproing! Broken.

My mom bought a new one online at Bestbuy and I'm mailing her a check today.

There goes Doug's birthday money right back to her. Oh well. She told me that she didn't freak out at him, that he felt badly and told her immediately that there was something wrong rather than hide it. They tried to fix it together, and he was in typical Geoff fashion devastated. She told him that was okay and they went online together and she bought a new one to have shipped to her, and he felt better.

If it had been me and I was 9 and did that? I doubt I'd be sitting on my buttcheeks right now. Yikes. Grandmas aren't the same as Moms.

It was nice to come home from work and have them back here. While I enjoyed having time without them, I loved having Geoff curl up on the couch beside me and wrap his arms around me while we watched "Everybody Hates Chris."

I have the day off today. I brought work home with me, and the laptop, so I can keep myself busy and do stuff that I don't need to be at my desk for. I'm glad to have the day away from the office. Our office is so noisy and busy lately that it makes my head explode, and you know that's not good. I don't have adult ADD but if I did... voof.

I am supposed to work for cateringman at some point, but he has not called. I have a doctor's appointment at 2 as well. I haven't had a physical since before Geoff was born... so I scheduled one. It's about high time, no?

The good news is I put myself on a diet right after Geoff's birthday. I've lost 20 pounds, but I'm still a humongous lardass. In 2004, long time readers know I lost about 35 or 40 pounds on Atkins (or, Fatkins as Ed from BNL calls it). I went way off the diet in September of 2005 and gained most of it back in a few short months. So I'm back on the carb detox, but not as strict as I was the first time around. I find that if I deny myself carbs wholly I end up craving them and go on a carb bender. So I'm pacing myself a bit differently and it's going alright. The doctor will still tell me that I am 100 pounds over my target weight. In essence, I'll be happy if I lose 30 more. And get to a certain point where I'm comfortable.

Ick. I let my coffee get cold. I need to call cateringman and get the day figured out. Guess it is move-along time here.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Houses and Futons

This is the fun part, right? The looking, the scheming, the driving around at night and seeing one of those little signs at the end of a street that makes you go "OOOH! that's a new one!" and you delay heading home so you can take a peek.

Saturday we spent a couple of hours with our buyer's broker looking at three houses. And in typical over-detailed fashion, here is what we saw:

We'll start with number one, the house I fell in love with, the one that started this whole process. To sum up completely: Wonderful for someone else. Not for us.

It has 1 full bath which isn't even a full bath because it doesn't have a tub, it has a shower stall. It's a nice spacious bathroom. But we would want at LEAST a half bath somewhere in the house for those times when someone just can't hold it. The downstairs is bright and airy. The kitchen is a dream. There is a family room or fourth bedroom on the first floor. It has two decks. It has a view to the river. And the second floor is untouched from like 1910. We thought about what it would take to put a bathroom up on the second floor. One of the three upstairs bedrooms would have to be gutted for the addition, and it would become a hallway or closet in the process. It is doable... But. It would take too much work. It is a lovely house though. Seriously -- If I weren't a lazy ass and if I didn't have kids but wanted to have a house to prepare for the oncoming of the kids -- this would be the house. Scratch that one off.

Second house is Busy Street by Elementary School. The house is awesome. Full finished basement. Garage the size of Jessica's bedroom. Four bedrooms upstairs, eat in kitchen, family room, breezeway/mud room closed in connecting the house to the garage. Inground pool. Half acre of yard even with the pool. Usually pools eat up 90% of a back yard. This has tons of yardage... Treehouse. It wants for nothing except getting the ghetto/porn star shag carpet and paneling out of the basement.

It would be perfect. The only problem is that it is on the busiest street in the universe. And part of my goal in this is to get away from the busy streets in life. Geoff loves it because he could walk to school, and ride his bike in the empty parking lot safely, with little or no worry on mom's part (I do tend to hyperventilate when he's out riding his bike near the road).

Doug said we could buy it, live there for five, and flip it once Jess was in college and Geoff was in high school. I'm not sure the investment would be worth it, and the kids both really like this house. This could be our house and I'd just have to keep an eye on the dog as I lounge in the swimming pool sipping my pina colada.

Third house is the pool and a pond house that we investigated last week on our own. Gorgeous. Five bedrooms, woodstove, huge assed family room with gorgeous bow window overlooking the pond. Master suite upstairs. Two full bathrooms and a half. Amazing. The kitchen is a little small, but the expansion possibility would be a simple wall knock out and some cabinet relocating. The asking price is a little high for what we'd want to pay, but we could swing it if we made a reasonable offer and it was accepted.

It is also on a very busy street, but if I had a pool and a pond (pond's good for you -- name the reference!) it'd be a good thing and I'd be happy, I could live with it.

Another problem is while it is still in our school district, it is in another town. I don't want to change Geoff's school -- he's got a great system in place and he's expressed anxiety about changing schools, changing cub scouts, changing everything. I think it would make his head explode if we did that to him. We have school choice in the district so any kid can go to any elementary school. But. We'd have to drive and pick him up. And there is no way we could do that for three and a half years.

Doug and I decided last night that we really need to stay in the town in which we currently reside, and we could move to one of the other towns in the regional school district later, once Geoff is up in the Middle School.

One of the original listings our broker gave us was pooh-poohed by Doug when we drove past. It's on a dead end street way out in the woods of our town here. The land all around is conservation land and won't be developed. It is way out in the country livin', but easy access to the next town over to get to the grocery store and other good stuff. It's got five bedrooms, 2 baths and about a half acre of land. But it has no porch, no deck, no garage, no shed, no woodstove or fireplace, nothing in the way of stuff that makes a house. It's a box with rooms in it.

I'd told Doug when we were looking at it that "You can add a woodstove. You can't take away traffic." I guess he gave that a lot of thought because we spent a ton of time checking it out and driving around yesterday. I'm interested in looking at it. I love the dead end street and in my mind sang an old Jon Svetkey song over and over as we drove about the area. I can see Geoff riding his bike up and down the road, and hiking across the street in the conservation area. It could rock. We will go look at it next weekend.

Yesterday Doug went out hiking. I decided it was too cold and Geoff was feeling a touch under the weather so I wanted him to stay home. So on behalf of our team, Doug hid a geocache and ran Jack like a mental case through the forest.

I set up Jessica's futon frame. Finally.

Back when my parents moved, my sister passed Jess her futon. Since then, the futon mattress has been on the floor and the frame has been standing up against the wall. I figured it was time to set the damn thing up. It was a bitch to do by myself. Geoff helped as best he could, holding wrenches while I lined stuff up, pushing screws into holes until they met resistance and I could adjust and get things lined up. It took the better part of two hours, with Geoff's encouragement and guidance. We make a good team. After we finished, he put his hand up for a hi-five and it slayed me. He can be so encouraging and sweet sometimes. He said "We really accomplished something big here today!" as he helped me put the futon cover on the futon mattress (so unfun that it made me cry). He even helped me push the futon into its final place of standing. It looks good, and Jess was thrilled when she returned home from Kay's house.

Now she has to finish cleaning her room so we can start to get organized. There is so much to do if we're going to move. It makes my stomach hurt just to think of it.

Anyway -- Today is Monday, it's a holiday for some and not for others. Some being me, others being Doug. We put the truck in the shop for a checkup, so I'm without wheels. Cateringman wanted me to come help with the project we're doing but realized his wife had today off too so they went skiing instead. So I got off the hook for that. We're taking the kids to my parents' this evening. They'll spend 2 days with Grandma. We're supposed to go pick them up on Wednesday night, but Doug took off Thursday so maybe he'll go down in the morning and get them then.

I need to finish all the laundry they need and my dryer is only spinning three articles of clothing a time. It won't spin otherwise, which pisses me off. I've got 1,000,000 pieces of clothing down there that need to dry. Grrrrrrrr.

Friday, February 17, 2006

It's Fun and Funny

Some blog terrorist I am. Leaving you hanging for four days without any updates. You probably thought after the blizzard that we'd all been eaten by our neighbors when they came over to steal our milk and bread. But we survived, and now it is 55 degrees here. It will change quickly, but all the snow is gone, just about, and everything is mud and wet.

As for life, it's been all work, all driving around and all Geoffrey for the past several days due to a bus suspension (he got into a fight and got a 3 day kickoff, which he deserved).

But that's over. Thank Gord. Whew. Time for the weekend.

It will be all about looking at houses on Saturday. We could be putting cart before horse, because this place is nowhere NEAR ready to sell, but we're getting the feel for the water. I'll be taking pictures because, ya know -- blog terrorist.

red jessie kissables Valentine's Day we went off our diet and did the same thing we did last year -- chocolate martinis. It was fun and funny and we watched curling on the Olympics and yelled at the big rock. We made fun of the fact NBC calls Turin "Torino" and it sounds like Rob Schneider's Copy Guy on SNL.

There are pictures in Flickr if you're interested. Some came out really cool. Start here and move through the red.

I completely forgot it was Valentine's day on Tuesday. I drove Geoff to school and we were sitting in the line watching all these kids get dropped off with bags of valentines for their classmates, and moms carrying in cupcakes for the big party. Kids in red and pink and white... and my son is in Black and Gold in the back seat.

"Um. Geoff, did you do valentines for your classmates?" I asked, knowing that he didn't because I didn't make him. Come to think of it, no list of kid names was sent home, so there was no way for me to know how many to make and how to spell some of the names (Kids have weird names with stupid spellings, and the minute you give something to Breahannah and it is spelled Brianna, you are the stupid head jerk face who screwed up, not her parents for giving her something that looks like it was spelled by the Houyhnhnms).

"No. Valentines day is a stupid made up holiday made up by girls so they get chocolate and kisses from boys and I didn't make valentines and if I get one I'll scream."


"No, if you get one you'll be kind and say thank you. I think you're off the hook for not making any, but I wish you'd remembered to remind me. I'm forgetful like that."

"It's stupid and I hate it."

I stopped and bought chocolate for his teacher and sped aide, and his reading and math specialist because she has inspired greatness in Geoff. I think he's in love with her. He was psyched to give her the chocolate when I picked him up, and she made a big deal of it.

He did get Valentines and he apologized to the other kids each time they gave him one that he didn't have one for them. They all said that's okay.

Still, a letter home with names would have made me remember. But it's third grade -- time to move on I guess. So I don't feel too badly, like I did the night before Easter last year when I forgot to do Easter Baskets for the kids.

Not much else really to report other than hey -- we're alive and busy. I'm sure a huge assed report on house hunting will be posted this weekend, so stand by. It's fun and funny.

Monday, February 13, 2006

The Aftermath

So with 15 inches of snow (it caught up to us last night after I'd posted my snarky entry) on the ground, everything looks really pretty, and all the roads are really clear. So our school isn't cancelled today. Everyone ELSE around us has no school. But our school is open. Both of my kids are royally pissed. Especially the boy. He cannot for the life of him understand why town A, town B and city C are right next to us and are all closed, and we're not. I told him to not worry about it and eat his non-King Kong cornflakes and then get dressed.

before & afterYesterday turned out to be fun. The guinea pig ran up inside the back of Jess' sweatshirt and we couldn't get him out. So we laughed our asses off while trying to figure out that puzzle. Geoff and Doug both got their hair shaved. Doug needed a haircut and he does his own hair, so he did that and then pulled Geoff in. Problem is his clippers are not very sharp right now, so Geoff's got some spotty coverage. We'll let it grow for a while, get the clippers sharpened and even that out. I like his hair long and crazy. It is curly and cute. But the short hair is cute too, and it will grow back in nicely I'm sure.

What else -- we played cards and watched some Olympic snowboarding coverage. I went to bed before Shaun "the Flying Tomato" White won his gold. I couldn't stay up past 10:15. All that blizzard coverage and being snarky wore me out. Plus, there was something about watching the event that made me dizzy. No, it wasn't the bodies spinning in gnarly mctwists and 1080s, but the type of film or digital recording they are using made the lines in the halfpipe shake and shimmer whenever they panned back and forth with the snowboarder. Jess noticed it too. And after watching for about an hour I felt sick. It was similar to how I feel with that migraine thing is coming on, and the frosted glass edgeyness creeps into my field of vision. I can't quite explain it. Perhaps they are recording in HDTV and because I don't have it on my television it looks shitty. I can't imagine that enough people in the world HAVE HDTV yet, so it kind of makes me wonder what the deal is.

So I went to bed with a horrible headache. Glad to wake up to the news that not only did the boy win but he is looking to hook up with some ice skater chick who is in a watch commercial. He's 15. Good for him. Aim high.

Well. I need to get ready to go to work and Geoff needs dressed. We are driving to school today so we have to go get all the snow off of the truck. Lest we be late.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Storm Watch 2006! Continues!

OH MY GOD! Dateline Massachusetts, 1pm. Sunday February 12th. Possibly the last day we'll ever see on this earth.

Six inches of snow have fallen. Many millions of people are desperate, trapped inside watching basic cable and running out of Pepsi and cigarettes... Will the madness EVER END! Stay tuned. We'll bring you up to the second reports of how nothing is happening! How one car skidded off the road, but managed to pull back on the road after the near death experience, and it just continued to drive on! We'll bring you reports of powerlines that aren't crushed under the weight of white fluffy powdery snow! We'll bring you pictures of the causeway in Nahant, which isn't flooded! Yet! But it could be any second now!

Six damn inches and the universe has ground to a screeching halt. People. I thought we were hearty New Englanders? What the hell has happened here? The news media is making it sound like we're all going to be blown off the face of the earth by 30 mile an hour winds. This. Is. New. England. The wind was blowing 30 miles an hour one of the times I went geocaching this fall. There is something so wrong with how the media plays things up around here these days. I've long held that the panic attack-having screeching Cassandras of the media are underwritten by the bread and milk companies.

Anyway, I'm only writing right now because I don't feel like cleaning Geoff's room, and because I posted some pictures from two of the houses we went to look at yesterday. If you want to see them, I posted them at flickr.com, and if you have access to MLS listings, I provided the listing number so you can see more about them.

Flickr is awesome.

We looked at a bunch more, but I didn't take pictures of them. These two properties were vacant, and we spent about an hour at each one, skulking around hoping the neighbors didn't call the cops.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

A Category Four Kill Storm Approaches

This just in...

It is 8pm. Get to the market NOW people! They're never making bread or milk again! This time, it's real! I know, I know, the other four times this winter that we've told you a storm was coming it didn't happen. But this time we're not messing around. Go! Get Hoagie Rolls and Raisin Bread! Buy all the milk products you'll need to last a month. If you don't! You'll! Regret! It!

Guess what folks, it's going to snow in New England. I was busy today, so I found myself at 6pm realizing we were out of milk and cream.

So I had to do it. I had to go to the market. *shudder*

The parking lot was packed, even the overflow to the loading dock side of the building. At least seven cars were parked in the fire lane, these people are far more important than you or I ever will be so I bowed to them and averted my gaze, lest they make eye contact and steal my soul.

There were three gallons of whole milk left. Obviously they will never milk another cow again. I was lucky. In hindsight, I should have grabbed all three of the gallons. I could possibly live to regret it when we have no more milk for cornflakes.

Speaking of cornflakes, they were OUT of boxes with King Kong on the front and only had boxes with Cinderella on the front. Oh hell no. All the boys in Groveland, Haverhill, Plaistow NH and West Newbury MA got the King Kong Cornflakes. I couldn't come home with THE GIRL CORNFLAKES! So I bought Market Basket brand cornflakes. He'll never know the difference, but he would have known there was a problem if some girl was gazing back at him from the box.

All the Eggo waffles were sold out. And there were only three small containers of ground beef.

I'm glad I got out of there with a bag of pizza rolls for the kids and some steak tips for dinner tomorrow. I just hope that the incredible amounts of snow don't sock us in so badly that we run out of food. Will it be weeks? Perhaps a month? Oh. I can't bear to think of it.

I, oh -- oh no. I just checked the liquor cabinet. We, oh God no! NO!


I hope the store isn't out of THAT too! I may have to hurt someone. Or... turn tricks for a bottle of cheap paint thinner quality gin. Or. I might have to drink something with carbs in it. Well, cross your fingers kids. I'll be back in about an hour.

You knew that last part was a joke, right? Yeah. Like Doug and I would ever run out of gin. Ha.

I guess that the bulk of the storm is supposed to land on my mom's house. 15 inches and the news broadcast is making it sound like the freaking apocalypse is coming to the southeastern part of the state. Initially one model showed us getting the brunt. Doug said it's okay if the south shore gets hit hard because "most of them down there are real assholes."

Today was an interesting day for us. Not sure if I'm really ready to spill a lot of the details out here, but what with me being a world wide well known blog terrorist and all I may as well say something.

You recall, dear longtime reader, about five months ago my neighbor approached us about a project where we'd take our garage down and he'd buy the land in a stripe going back along our property so he could have enough frontage to build a house out back. Town requirement for him to be able to put up a house is 50 feet, he's got 44. Our garage being torn down and him getting the bit of land under there will give him 50 feet. He will in turn side our house, build us a shed, and give us land going back from our house, an amount yet to be determined.

He's still working on that plan with the town, and trying to find out if it has to be done that way, or if there are options. But knowing we're willing to help him out makes his life a lot better.

We took it a step further last month. We offered to sell him our house for the appraised value, and then he could do anything he wanted with it. He could rent it out and make money to finance the building project. He could tear our house down, absorb our .5 acre lot into his, and have enough frontage for two houses back there, one of which he could sell and make boatloads of money on. If he tore our house down, he would instantly have brand new Newpro windows to put in the new house(s), two new furnaces, two new waterheaters, and a septic system already in the property, all he has to do is repurpose the connections to that beast and he's all set.

Yesterday my neighbor's wife called and said his cousin is very interested in buying the house from us, and she wanted to know if that was still an option. I told her it sure was, and she said she'd have him call me.

Now, this is the thing. If we wanted to stay here, we'd have to put in a ton of money on the house, probably $50,000 worth of work, to make it THE house I've wanted to have. I want a single family, which means our tenants would have to mosey along. I was hoping that over the summer we'd have them go and we'd start converting the house back to a single family, and we'd get all the work done over the next year. It would be a great house with four bedrooms and 3 full baths. I'd have an interior staircase built down to the basement so I wouldn't have to schlep laundry out in the snow. I'd have all three bathrooms completely rehabed. I'd have a formal living room, and extend the kitchen.

It would be a lot of work.

Appraised value on our house is $331k. If someone wanted to take it off my hands so that I could walk into a single family house that HAS all those things, or has almost all those things that I want, I'd gladly participate in the deal. I know if we put the money into this house and get the work done, we could MAYBE sell it for $370. We'd have to live through the work though, and then, would the property values in this area still GET me that $370? I doubt it.

I think it may be the perfect time to see if this guy is serious. The price is for the house pretty much "as is." We'll have the major projects that NEED finished done (ie: ceiling, bathrooms, and septic tank inspection) and he can do whatever he wants. Paint everything, refinish floors -- whatever. It would be his to fix up and do whatever with. And because he's in construction, he and his cousin (our current neighbor) could probably do a lot more with the house than we ever could afford to do.

Doug and I have been talking about this for months. I have wanted to move for a few years, and when Kinger was killed this fall, that cinched it for me. I wanted off this street. I want to go somewhere that my kid can ride his bike and I don't have to worry about traffic and semi-trucks hauling trash from Haverhill.

I'm ready.

We had a huge discussion about the cousin neighbor offer, and then this morning Doug got on realtor dot com and started fishing around. He suggested we ditch the kids and go look at houses.

The houses in this area are all really nice, much nicer than what I am living in now. And some of them have laundry rooms on the first floor. Wow. What a concept. We have been driving by one house in particular for weeks, eyeballing it and drooling. Knowing the asking price and the fact that we could sell this place and have enough money left over to make a kick ass downpayment makes me smile. We poked around two particular properties that have a lot going for them. And then I called the buyer's broker that I spoke to about the house we've been eyeballing. We met with him, entered into agency agreement, and drove by a few more properties before it got dark. Some of them make me happy, some of them make Doug happy. I don't know that we're in agreement over which is happiest.

We shall see what comes.

In the meantime, I need you to pray. Pray that the right opportunities and pieces to the house puzzle fall into place for us. I know what I'd like, I know what my wants are. I'm looking for something that will make all four of us happy. Five counting Jack. And I know it is out there.

I'm not unhappy here. I think it echoes back to my favorite Neil Young line:

Is it hard to make arrangements with yourself
When you're old enough to repaint, but young enough to sell?

I'm young enough to sell. And will want to stay somewhere long enough to repaint it. Later.

Alright -- this entry has taken me two hours. Two damn longassed hours of my life people. Just for you.

Survive the storm. And remember, when your neighbors who didn't go to the market come to steal your bread and coffee. Kill them. You can do it. It is your right.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

The Steelers Did It!

Well, the Steelers did it and I could not be happier. All apologies to everyone who didn't think that Ben Roethilsberger's first touchdown was actually a touchdown -- They still would have won even if the touchdown was ruled not. Because they're just better. I had a hell of a great time watching the game.

By the way -- it was a touchdown and it's time for you to stop crying.

just take the stinkin picture maWe had a pretty good weekend.

We set out for some geocaching on Saturday. Satellite coverage was spotty at best at the Hampstead NH conservation area where we stopped for our first cache, so we ended up taking a nice long walk. We got back to the car, and satellite coverage improved so Doug wanted to go out the half mile in the opposite direction and find the cache. My throat was killing me (I have a really nasty cold) and I really didn't want to go but we pressed on and found the cache and made it back to the car before it started to pour down rain.

Geoff is pictured here in one of my "out takes" of him. He always gets frustrated with me when I ask him to look at the camera and not make a peace sign and not stick out his tongue. I'd taken four shots and he finally rolled his eyes and sighed in disgust and I took this shot. The next one was perfect. If you want to see it, go to flickr.

We stopped at the pet store and got our fish for the new tank. We have 11 tiny little fish who school together and freak out if the bubbler is turned on. They're cute and funny and I am trying to take pictures of them but it just isn't working.

You will have to believe me that they exist.

Sunday I went to the laundromat to dry all our clothes because our dryer broke (dryer repairman is hopefully here at 3pm). My daughter and I dried all the clothes and schlepped them back. I had to take Geoff to a laser tag birthday party at 3, and we had a really good time. Geoff sucks at laser tag but all his buddies made him feel really good about it, without mocking him. They played 2 games and he got negative 19 points in the first game. But he was able to make 90 points in the second.

The laser tag place was not really crowded, which was good. The place can be intolerable with the noise, crowds and music and I usually end up leaving with a head ache. The boys pretty much had the place to themselves except for a few odds and ends of people who got in on their sessions.

The first time through one of the dads at the party went in to supervise the kids and make sure no fists got thrown out of frustration. That sometimes happens with a large pack of 9 year old boys. In their group was also a woman and her two daughters and 2 boys who were about 4 years older than our pack. According to the dad inside, our boys and the other boys kind of singled out the grown up woman and hit her a bunch of times. Which they thought was funny, but she sure didn't.

When they all got out of their game, the woman made some snarky comments to A, the older brother of one of the party guests. He's about 13 I think. She said that he was singling her out, and she didn't appreciate it.

He shrugged and said "I am just hitting targets as I see them, not sure what your problem is." So she got really pissy with him and the dad inside, in front of all the kids in our group.

They went in for a second game, and what does this woman do? She goes in with them instead of waiting for the next round.

Big. Mistake.

They singled her out mercilessly. The boys were following her, in a pack, just shooting at her target. I think that's how Geoff got 90 points. Once your shot you can't shoot back for like 10 seconds... I think A got 1099 points of that woman alone.

When they came out of the second game, I sat there and watched this woman FREAK OUT to the manager. I was sitting with another dad and both of us came to the same conclusion.

This woman was nuts.

"I paid money for this, and I didn't enjoy myself AT ALL."

Well lady, since when are we as humans guaranteed enjoyment for anything in life even when we pay money for it. And what else would you pay? Would you pay gummi bears? Would you pay wampum? Would you pay spam? Of course you paid money. The dad and I sat there listening to her fight with the manager, she wanted her money back and she wanted the boys punished. Eventually she left without satisfaction. I asked the manager what the boys did wrong, if they physically hurt her and he said "I get this 50 times a day. She got mouthy with them before they went in and they just did what boys do. They kicked her ass."

Of course they did.

It is the only time in their lives that they can aim a gun at a grown up, shoot them repeatedly, and not get arrested. They had a field day. She trash talked at them and they banded together and she couldn't fight back. She stepped into the viper pit. And got bit. Hard. Sore loser. I would have shot her too had I gone in to play. But I opted out. I had on clogs and it is hard to outrun a 9 year old in clogs. And I had on a white shirt. Which would have made me an even bigger target.

And I know what to expect from 9 year old boys. Mess with the bull? Not me.

when pyrex quits it goes We made it home in time for opening ceremonies for the Super Bowl. I made scallops wrapped in bacon and Doug made chicken wings. Right before the coin toss we heard this massive KABLAM! explosion come from the kitchen. Doug goes running in and there is smoke pouring out of our oven.

Not good.

Seems the pyrex dish he put in the oven exploded. He had the oven cranked to 500 degrees, and the rack was too close to the heating unit on the bottom. And it exploded everywhere. Doug managed to get a bunch of it out of the oven before the wings caught fire. But it is a total mess. We still have to clean inside the oven and get all the glass out. We had a good laugh, and I took a picture of it, of course, because I am a blog terrorist as you know.

I stayed home today because the head cold just is kicking my ass, and I pee when I cough, and I just didn't feel like sitting in the office. I called an appliance repair guy who will be here to fix the dryer (I already mentioned that, but I'm glad to have the time to be home and wait for him) and I am going to go take a shower now while I have a few minutes before the boy comes home.

I was going to write about the commercials and which ones were funny and which weren't but I don't really care. Having a cold takes the bite out of my blog terrorism. You can leave a comment and tell me which you liked best. Go right ahead.

Anyway -- more later.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

"And if it's a boy I'll call it Gordon."

The other night, we went to the pet store to get a hood and light assembly for our new fish tank. Doug mismeasured the size of the tank, or I should say he misguestimated because he never did measure it. So we came home with a hood and light assembly that was 18 inches too long. There are a lot of jokes in that in regards to guys never telling the truth about length or size, but I'll leave those to you, dear reader. I shan't make them, lest I make my husband mad at me. After all I am a blog terrorist, you know.

gordon jess 2Anyway -- what that meant was a trip back to the pet store to get the right size. The following night I went up with Jess to do the exchange and we ended up coming home with a guinea pig. Jack is, of course, freaking out. He loves to chase tiny critters in the woods. He and the local squirrel who feasts at our bird feeder have a long running feud. So here we go bringing a little wee one into the house. Jack is licking him and trying to flip him over, which makes the pig squeak and squeal. It's funny for a second and then it just has to stop lest pig have massive plotzing or heart attack on our couch.

Jessica named him Gordon, not for the song but for the lyrics to "Steven Page is Having a Baby" and "Ballad of Gordon" both by BNL. He is colored like a rottweiler without the brown eyebrows. We seem to gravitate to black pets, don't we? All told, he's about 100 times bigger than I wanted. I wanted a wee tiny one like the one we had last time. A baby that we could grow up. But she like him a lot in the cage and all the guinea pigs were huge and it was 8:30pm and I didn't want to go to another pet store. So Gordon came home with us.

He enjoys carrots and lettuce, and has only escaped someone's clutches once and gotten into the couch cushions. I gave Gordon a photoset on Flickr, which makes me feel guilty that I haven't done one for Jack and Kinger. Perhaps I'll do that one day when I've nothing else to do. So go check him out. He's really cool.

I think we're going to go geocaching today. So I'd better get my act together and get off the PC so Doug can search us up some geocaches.