Archive for June, 2005

Back From Vacation

June 27, 2005

We returned from Myrtle Beach, SC late Friday night. Despite an hour long wait for our bags (and a brief moment of panic when the airport mis-announced that all the bags from our flight had been put on the carousel) we made it home without much excitement. The trip was far better than I had originally feared; the nephew that was so dreadful two years ago has really turned his life around and it was really pleasant in the house. He and his girlfriend even came with us to take all ten kids to mini golf. I am not sure what we were thinking; they were 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 12, and 12. We took them to ice cream afterwards and there was a couple at the ice cream shop who said, in a hushed, horrified voice “oh my gosh there are *ten* of them!). It was pretty hilarious since only one child was ours and our nephew and his girlfriend don’t have any kids.

The highlight of the trip was that Melissa and her daughter, Ursula, came down for the last two nights. It was great fun to meet in person and watch her daughter experience the beach for the first time. I had a wonderful visit and it made me sad that Charlotte, NC is so far away!

Luke seems to have gone through another large developmental growth spurt while we were gone. This has happened in past years. The first few days he wouldn’t go past the second step in the pool, despite the fact that he’s tall enough to stand in the 3′ end. Finally, on Thursday, he got all the way in. Maybe it was because he saw Ursula in the water having fun and she’s almost 2 (vs. his 4.5 years). I don’t know. But he loves the pool now and I took him again yesterday after we got home. I’ve signed him up for swimming lessons and those will be starting next week. He has also gotten over his mortal fear of dogs. My neighbor has the most awesome golden retriever, Oliver, and in the past Luke has been terrified whenever we see them. Yesterday we went over and he didn’t want up, he walked right over to Oliver and played with him. We went with them to the park and it was amazing to see the transformation in my child. I’m hoping that he’ll consider going on the two “big” rollercoasters at Legoland now, too, but I’m not going to push it. Yet.

Well, I’m exhausted and I need to go pick him up from preschool. He started in the “big” class today-the pre-k class. He was so excited this morning. I just wanted to write a quick update so no one thought I had disappeared or anything. 🙂

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Water Drama

June 16, 2005

Living in a townhome or condo sucks for many reasons. The reasons I had before last night were pretty understandable: no private backyard, shared walls, a crappy home owner’s association that continues to raise fees but doesn’t actually *fix* anything. Well, two nights ago I noticed water on the kitchen floor seeping from the baseboard, and last night I have developed a new reason for wanting to move out of the townhome and into a “real” house: sharing a common wall with a renting tenant that doesn’t fix anything.

I was a renter for many years and I feel I was rather conscientious. I always took good care of my home (even if it was a run-down hovel near the beach) and we fixed little things (drawers, toilets, etc) as they needed fixing. I know that not all renters are inherently bad. But the ones next door…I don’t know if the problem is that they don’t call the owner to fix things or the the owner is negligent, but I suspect it is the former.

I noticed the water Tuesday night. Jay checked under the sink (since the water was seeping out just below the sink cupboard) and it was dry. He checked all around the various items that require plumbing: dishwasher, washing machine, water heater, all dry. So he goes next door. The common wall has our kitchen and laundry room and on their side a half bath and their laundry room. They have probably three times as much water standing in their place, and don’t seem in a particular hurry to do anything about it. We mop it up on our side, they mop it up on their side, and we decide to wait a day to see if it comes back/determine where the leak is originating. Yesterday morning there was no water; last night, there was a small lake covering our entire kitchen. Thank goodness we have real tile and not linoleum. I love our tile; it was my favorite thing when we bought the place. But I digress. Jay arrived home first since I had to pick up Luke at preschool, and he noticed the water because he saw Abby (one of the kittens) go sliding and splashing across the kitchen.

So, he goes to see the woman that is on the HOA board to find out what to do since it looks like a problem in the wall between the units. She says it’s not the HOA’s problem (we later find out this is true because each unit has its own water lines coming from the garage, but I’ll get to that). We call the plumber who is, thankfully, very familiar with these townhomes, having lived in one himself years ago. Since Jay called the plumber (had we waited on the next door neighbor it never would have happened), they came to our place first. He looked around and listened to the pipes and spent maybe three minutes there and then went next door. The leak was in their upstairs bathroom piping somewhere. The neighbor’s water main is stuck so they shut off water to the whole building (we had to deal with a pissed off neighbor later because they didn’t tell anyone they were turning off the water, they just did it). Finally it is repaired and we have water again a couple hours later.

There are a few things that really bother me about this incident but the biggest one is this: we leave in two days for Myrtle Beach. It was obvious that the neighbors weren’t going to call their landlord or a plumber or do anything about it. What if this had happened while we were gone?! Our whole kitchen would have been ruined (except the beautiful tile). Thankfully we have someone house-sitting for us since we have the kittens, but I would have hated for her to have to deal with that.

So I have GOT to really work hard to pay off our bills so we can move before something else happens in that place. This isn’t the first incident with the neighbors. Their kids are out of control; I’ve come home from work to find them *on our roof* throwing basketballs at each other. There is no supervision. I cannot wait for the day that we get to move to a real house and leave the townhome/condo drama behind. Then if there is a problem it is OUR problem and we can deal with it promptly and correctly.

A Much Better Day

June 14, 2005

Sunday got worse before it got better; I finally had my last load of laundry in the dryer when I heard a loud pop and the power went out. I went outside to see what had happened, and the transformer across the street had leaked oil, overheated, and blown up. So, we wait for EIGHT hours (2:17pm to just after 10pm) without power. I finally finished my laundry shortly after 11pm, and things are back to normal now.

Yesterday was substantially better than the weekend. Jay took the PGA playing ability test (PAT) again yesterday and passed. He didn’t just PASS though, he passed with five strokes to spare and shot his very first par. Last night we broke out the bottle of Dom that we had been saving for this occasion, and so I’m a little sluggish today but fortunately he drank more of the bottle than I did so I’m not too under the weather!

I had a good day yesterday, too. There are many times at work when I don’t feel like I have it together. It isn’t that I’m incompetent, it’s just that my closest peers are 10 years my senior, and it is hard to make up for 10 fewer years of experience. There are moments of clarity however where I feel justified in calling myself an engineer and I really understand and feel like I’m in my element. Yesterday was one of those moments. I was discussing an upcoming design with a co-worker (whose *kids* are almost my age, but anyway…) and I just GOT it. I know how to proceed with the design and can make good progress on my own before the next design review. It was a great day.

We have so much to do this week before leaving for Myrtle Beach on Saturday; today we have to take the kittens in to get their next vaccinations, Jay has TWO dentist appointments this week, Luke’s new bed will be delivered on Thursday (which means I need to drive down and pay the remaining balance in person tonight because stupid Jerome’s won’t take payment over the phone), and of course I need to straighten the house somewhat and pack. It will be nice to be on vacation though, even though I’m hoping to get some software that I need to work remotely (a little bit). I am looking forward to my sister-in-law’s peach dacquiris. 🙂

Miscellaneous Weekend Post

June 12, 2005

Thanks everyone for your kind words. I thought we were out of the woods last night and then I ended up sleeping in Luke’s room and woke up at 2:45am to him throwing up *in my hair*. Most unpleasant! He seems fine today, but I am keeping him as mellow as possible. We borrowed Star Wars episodes 1 and 2 from a co-worker of mine, so he’s watching tv right now. I try not to let him watch too much tv, but if it keeps him still for awhile so his body can recover, I am okay with that! But my goodness, I am so sick of doing laundry.

On the stitching front I finished some things recently. When I try to insert pictures here it screws up my formatting (I need to change the sizing in my template soon) so in the meantime here are a couple links:

Dr. Seuss piece for Luke’s room and Truswell’s Winters Reflections.

I’m working on Mini Mystery H (halfway done) and Taj Mahal Garden right now. Despite the fact that I spent most of my day yesterday cleaning the house, I did get a fair bit of stitching done recently.

We leave next Saturday for our trip to Myrtle Beach, and I just found out two days ago that Jay’s oldest sister’s kids are going to be there. I am so disappointed. If it was just the girl it would be fine; she’s real nice and just a little younger than I am (Jay being older than I and the fourth of five kids). The boy, however, is trouble. He always brings a bunch of people with him and they are drunk and stoned the whole time. Jay made it very clear to his parents that if they’re using drugs in the house then they are GONE. It complicates sleeping arrangements because both of them are bringing someone, but it will work out in the end. (Don’t worry Melissa; Jay assures me that we’ll still have room for you and U, and there are two unused rooms at the house where his parents will be. I’ll e-mail you this week to work out details.) Last year they weren’t there and it was such a peaceful time in the house.

Oh yes, and there was an earthquake this morning about 50 miles (or so) away from here. It was a 5.6 so it woke me up (I don’t usually get to sleep in past 8, but with the 3am ordeal I couldn’t force myself to wake up yet). Luke was awake playing in the living room and I realized to my chagrine that it’s been such a long time since we’ve had an earthquake that I hadn’t taught him what to do in one.

Well, I think I’ll take advantage of Luke’s downtime and stitch some. The kittens have discovered the computer (they like to chase the cursor) and Abby is sniffing around on the desk. It makes it difficult to type when you have kittens trying to attack the screen!

Home Today…

June 10, 2005

Luke threw up in my car last night and continued to throw up throughout the night, so I have been home with him today. The (dis?)advantage to having a flexible job is that I am the one who gets sick duty the majority of the time. Oh well. I did bring some work home but I have not accomplished much. I borrowed Episodes 1 and 2 (Star Wars) from a co-worker so I let him watch those today. At least it kept him still so he could get some rest, even if he wouldn’t sleep.

Not much else is really going on right now. I’m very worried about getting the stomach flu this time since last year he was sick just before our trip to Myrtle Beach (annual in-law trip) and I got it too and it was horrible. We leave a week from tomorrow. I can’t believe the trip is only a week away!

Well, I need to move the laundry and try to get some work done. The kittens have been sleeping for quite awhile; they should be up and about soon. All three of them slept with Luke last night. It was really sweet since he was sick; two were curled up on his pillow and the other one was at his feet. Well hopefully I won’t end up with the flu this year; there is just too much to do in the coming week.

Star Wars, Episode 3

June 8, 2005

I have a friend who I used to see most weekends who has become particularly flaky this year. In the last two months we’ve seen each other twice, and had tentative plans to do something the last two weekends but she heads out of town with her new rock climbing friends, not calling until Sunday evening. It’s been really frustrating, and I’ve been trying to be nice about it because I know she’s had a rough couple of years. Anyway, when she called this past Sunday apologizing for another “disappearing act”, she offered to come watch Luke this week so Jay and I could go see a movie. We hadn’t seen Revenge of the Sith yet, so we took her up on it and went last night.

When I picked up Luke from preschool yesterday he and two friends wanted to climb on “the rock” (it’s a giant rock in the parking lot that really lends itself to climbing). So I chatted with the two other parents for a bit. Both of them had taken their boys (ages 4 and 5, respectively) to see the movie in the theater. The one with the 4 year old hadn’t seen it ahead of time, either. I have to say I am completely shocked. I know that Luke is completely enamored with Star Wars, but after all I’d heard about it, there was no WAY I’d take him to see it, especially without watching it myself first. I’m not super conservative, nor do I try to shield my child from everything; in fact he’s seen episodes 2, 4, 5, and 6, and Pirates of the Caribbean. I just think this last one was too graphic for a 4 year old to be watching. Now, when it is out on DVD I can see skipping the gruesome parts I guess, but I am just stunned that his best friend’s mom took her son to see it. He comes over to our house a lot and he is always starting things, is a little bit more violent, etc.

Oh well; I know I’m not the perfect parent either. It just really surprised me that she would take him to see it without having it seen it herself first.

It was nice to get out for the evening for a change; I can count the number of movies I’ve seen in the theater since Luke has been born on both hands and when I was pregnant we saw movies nearly every weekend. It has gotten a bit more expensive since then, though! I think for the most part we will be waiting for the DVD’s to come out from now on. The movie sure was depressing, but I was expecting it at least. I am glad I saw the movie since I have seen all the others (numerous times), but it was painful to watch.

A Movie Tag

June 5, 2005

Well, Terri tagged me a few days ago and I am finally getting to it. It’s been a busy week, between work, kittens, and the stress of my mother visiting for the weekend. We have a complicated relationship and even 5 months of therapy is not quite enough I guess. Well she’s on her way home now and it is so quiet. I think she is not comfortable with silence; that or she likes to hear herself talk, I don’t know. What I do know is that it is completely exhausting. Well, on to the tag:

1) Total number of films I own on DVD/video:

We have very few movies on video/DVD. In fact, I can probably name them all: Star Wars Trilogy on DVD, LOTR Extended editions, Pirates of the Caribbean, Reno 911 season 1, Malcolm in the Middle season 1, Napoleon Dynamite, Cool Hand Luke, and Monty Python and the Quest for the Holy Grail. That’s it. Well, and the Veggie Tales/Thomas the Tank Engine/Ewoks DVDs that Luke has. I have a handful of movies on VHS that my mom bought for me but since we no longer have a VHS player in the living room, they rarely get watched.

2) The last film I bought:

Star Wars Trilogy (episodes 4-6). I went to five stores to find it for Luke last weekend and ended up paying far more than I should have since the only place that had it was Borders. Oh well, it was worth it.

3) The last film I watched:

On DVD: Return of the Jedi. At the Theater: The Bourne Supremacy (yes, it’s been almost a year since I went to a movie at the theater. We’re going to see Revenge of the Sith though).

4) Five films that I watch a lot or that mean a lot to me (in no particular order):

Lord of the Rings: I’ve been a Tolkien fan since the first time I read the Hobbit and LOTR when I was in 6th grade. Though I wish the movies had been exactly like the books, they are still my favorite movies ever.

Dangerous Beauty: I really love this movie; it is one of the few that I have on VHS that I plan to replace with a DVD. This was probably my favorite movie before LOTR came out.

Star Wars: As an engineer (read: nerd) I really enjoy the Star Wars movies. It’s hilarious now to see the “high tech” features in 4-6, but still they are classics.

Indiana Jones: I love Harrison Ford and IMO these are classics also.

Ever After: Okay, not a wonderful movie, but a fairy tale and it has Drew Barrymore. If I need a chick flick moment, this is the movie I choose (hmmm, maybe it should be replaced on DVD too…)

Tag 5 people:
Since this one has been around for awhile I’ll refrain from tagging. I intended to get to it sooner but it’s been such a busy week. Now if you all don’t mind, I think I need to play with some kittens.

A Few Kitten Pictures

June 2, 2005

I know that Terri has tagged me on the video subject and I’ll get to it soon, really. This is going to be a very quick post to share some kitten pictures. We got them last night (finally!!) and it was soooo hard to make myself go to work this morning. Abby is the tortie, Felix is the black kitten, and Oscar is the orange tabby. We’re going to have our hands full with this motley group!

I tried inserting the pictures but they’re too big and screw up my page formatting. Until I size them down at home (tonight? tomorrow?) here is the link. Click on any of the thumbnails for a bigger picture!

kittens