Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Well, I stole this from Abi, who stole this from someone who... well, you get the picture...
Interesting list. Interesting what I have and have not read on the list... It is also what did and did not get put on this list. Several classics and classic school books didn't make it. Like where's any Mark Twain? Issac Asimov or Ray Bradbury? How about Three Musketeers or any of Shakespear?
Like I said, interesting.

-Highlight books completed
-italicize books not completed
-underline books read for school
-star books you liked or would read again

Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell
Anna Karenina
Crime and Punishment
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Wuthering Heights
The Silmarillion I need to pick this one up again....
The Life of Pi: A Novel
The Name of the Rose
Don Quixote
Moby Dick - Had to read part of it for an English class... didn't make it through the assignment...
Ulysses I know I had to read at least part of this in school.... ugh
Madame Bovary
The Odyssey I know I had to read at least part of this in school.... ugh again
Pride and Prejudice
Jane Eyre
A Tale Of Two Cities I picked this one up off Dad's bookshelf in high school or college. I didn't get too far.
The Brothers Karamazov
Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies
War and Peace
Vanity Fair
The Time Traveler's Wife
The Iliad
The Blind Assassin
The Kite Runner * I enjoyed this book. Not sure I'd read it again, some of it was a little too traumatic and still haunts me 2 years later... I do recommend it though. I don't know if I could listen to it on audio or see the movie...
Mrs. Dalloway
Great Expectations
American Gods
A Heartbreaking Work Of Staggering Genius
Atlas Shrugged
Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir -I've heard about this one and would like to read it some day
Memoirs of a Geisha
Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West* Was an entertaining take on the Wizard of Oz. There are more in the series I'd like to read.
The Cantebury Tales
The Count of Monte Cristo * The book was good. The new movie was acceptable, the movie Mr. Doyle had us watch sucked.
A Clockwork Orange
Anansi Boys
The Once and Future King
The Grapes of Wrath
The Poisonwood Bible: A Novel
1984 * Very creepy, but good
Angels and Demons
The Inferno
The Satanic Verses
Sense and Sensibility
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Mansfield Park
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
To the Lighthouse
Tess of the D’Urbervilles
Oliver Twist (Does being in the 5th grade production of Oliver count?)
Gulliver's Travels
Les Misérables
The Corrections
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time* This one and Kite Runner were both suggestions by my Dad. Not our normal genres, but enjoyable.
The Prince I think I had to read part of this for a class
The Sound and The Fury
Angela's Ashes: A Memoir
The God of Small Things
A People’s History of the United States : 1492-present
A Confederacy of Dunces
A Short History of Nearly Everything
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
Beloved I somehow got my hands on this at age 9 or 10... didn't get too far....
The Scarlet Letter
Eats, Shoots and Leaves
The Mists of Avalon* Interesting take on King Arthur. I like her other works too.
Oryx and Crake: A Novel
Collapse: How Societies Fail or Succeed
Cloud Atlas
The Confusion
Northanger Abbey
The Catcher in the Rye I had to read this in high school and think I accidentally skipped something, because about 2/3 the way through I got very confused.
On the Road
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores The Hidden Side of Everything
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values
The Aeneid
Watership Down *
Gravity's Rainbow
The Hobbit * Tolkein, need I say more?
In Cold Blood: A True Account of Multiple Murder and Its Consequences
White Teeth
Treasure Island
David Copperfield

Peace to all and may you have many books and many adventures

Monday, April 28, 2008


Well, today was a good day for a Monday.
The day started off well at any rate. Gak and I took a tour of a daycare that's about 1/2 a block out of his way on his walk to work. It's a really nice little place. They are only able to take 25 kids total at a time. It is in the lower floor of a church. It's not part of the church, but has been in that building for something along the lines of 20 years. The woman we were talking with this morning has been there 8 years and most of the other staff has been there quite some time as well. She was very friendly and was watching the kids while talking with us, and knew what was going on. All of the little ones in her room seemed very happy to be there and well taken care of. The one who has the infants and toddlers in the morning admits that she sits and rocks the babies as much as she can. You can just feel the love of the staff for their little charges when you open the door. Sure, it's not full of bright, shiny new toys and computers like Goddard and I'm not sure what the pre-school is like, but there were several happy kids there and kind staff. I'm willing to give up new toys and computers for friendly and happy. We've got computers at home and I'm sure we'll have more learning games than Boo will know what to do with. (And parental supervision of course!) We're thinking it over, but I think we may just have found the afternoon hangout for Boo. What's great is that once they reach the age where they're eating table food, the center provides morning and afternoon snack as well as lunch! This is nice because they get a hot lunch and looking at the menu, a good lunch.

The rest of the day was normal wrapping up reporting month crazy. Hopefully it'll wind down smoothly, but I'm not counting on it. I gave Bill a lift home this evening since he was going to leave "early" for a change. He'd gotten enough flack from some management type people (well, namely our current boss) that he was fed up and just wanting out. That and seeing everyone else just bail after 8 hours (including said boss) and him putting in as many hours as he does doesn't sit well after a month of it. I just hope it can all be peacefully resolved. Bill agrees with me that the knowledge base has gone through the floor in the last few years, even if none of the management are willing to see it. I have no idea what next reporting month will be like, and part of me doesn't care. I mean, I won't be there to witness the carnage. But, that's what makes me wonder. If Bill truly is able to escape into his new role (which we're both doubting will happen during reporting month) there will only be 2 people in the department remotely qualified to run the reports for our contract customers and answer the questions of everyone else. And of course, one I'm not sure really can, and the one who really can works from Michigan and that makes it much harder to help the guy here in PA.
Oh well, Not really my problem. But you know I'll worry if only because I care about our customers.
Well, I think I'm going to log into the game for the first time in over a week.
Peace to all and may you find what you're looking for.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Week Wrapup

Well, it has been a long week. I tried to get a post in yesterday at lunch, but got sidetracked by a work call I'd been waiting for.
Let's see... where to start....
Tuesday was the worst day of the week, it really did get better from there.
I did get a lot of things accomplished this week at work. It still amazes me how little some of the other people have picked up. I mean, I don't expect the two newest to be experts at anything, but I expect the other two newer people to have a bit more of a clue than they do. It is almost as if they don't want to know. Or like they can learn how to do a set of tasks, but can't apply that knowledge to the larger scheme of things. I'm not sure. I do know it's getting a bit frustrating for me. After this month Bill will mostly, if not totally, be out of the department. That scares me. Then it leaves me and Mike as the only two with a real grasp on the reports and a third who can muddle through specific tasks, if we're lucky. At one point in time, we had four people out of the eight in the group who were competent to very proficient with these regulatory things. Now, it looks like I'm probably the one with the most knowledge in the group. That scares me.
Anyhow... that was work. I did inherit a new "best friend" customer which will be trying, but other than that, it's just been trying to get this month wrapped up and everyone able to submit.
I'm not sure if I posted about it before, but one of Gak's long-time steady customers at the UPS store is a rep for Medela. A few weeks back she dropped off well over $100 worth of nursing supplies. My jaw dropped when I saw the pile. Well, she was finally in again yesterday and Gak told her thank you from the moment she walked in the door to the moment she left. Apparently she's "getting us a pump". I'm not sure if this means at her dealer rate or what. I'm floored. Medela is the leading brand and what most hospitals use. I've only heard a few bad reviews, but I'm guessing that these were either from mom's who weren't really able to for whatever reason or were expecting something else. I just hope I'll be successful with this. It'll be a heck of a lot cheaper than formula. If you want sticker shock, go look at formula cans in the grocery store.
Not to mention possibly safer. I'm not sure how many of you have heard the news about Canada stopping sales of bottles made of polycarbonate. Yes, Lexan. Apparently, when heated, especially over time, they can and do release a chemical that is an analogue to estrogen. It has been shown to be bad in mice. What the levels are and what it really means to people, I'm still not 100% on. You've got people saying "it's about time" and also "it's all scare tactics hype". I'm thinking the reality is somewhere in the middle. Yes, we'll have to use bottles while Boo is in day care, but if the rest of day he doesn't have to, that'll be better.
In other baby news, we have an appointment at a daycare that's literally a half block out of the way for Gak on the way to work. It just so happens that our landlady is friendly with one of the owners. I hope this place is nice. I liked the other place we looked at. (We're still playing phone tag about setting up an actual appointment there...) But, if we go there, it'll actually be cheaper with the cost of gas the way it's going for him to do full days. Not that it would be a bad thing, but if we've got Gak home for half a day, we want to use him for Poppa time. It'll be great for both of them (and make me pretty jealous some days...)
As far as the upstairs neighbor goes, well, they had their day in court last week. The landlady pretty much got what she wanted. The tenant has 10 days (less now) to move out or appeal. And she's got to pay the court fees. I'm not sure about the rest of the rent money, but I think the landlady was able to get at least some of it out of the deal. It's a good thing. This means that our landlady will be able to rent out the apartment to someone who won't tare the place apart and hopefully make good neighbors. I'll just settle for quiet neighbors. I mean, it would be great if we were friendly, but if we can all live in our own little worlds and coexist without problems, that'll be just fine by me.

Last night was the first time I'd been to the Nature Center in just about 2.5 years. (The last time was to help with the Haloween trail a few years back...) It was a good evening. I had a good group. The fire lit and stayed that way. I got a S'more. Overall, a good night. I can't wait to be able to do more of these!

Well, I'd best wrap this up. I've got a few things to do around the house before I go pick up Gak from work. We're heading to BabysRUs to pick up a stroller and some other things with the money that his mother sent Boo.
Peace to all and may it all work out in your favor in the long run.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Monday on a Tuesday?

Here's hoping today isn't a Monday.
Yesterday was actually almost a good day. I was able to close several things, including one of the oldest tickets I've got. Hopefully I'll be able to be productive today too.
Although, I'm strongly beginning to suspect that I woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning. I just can't seem to do much right.
Actually, it probably started last night. Gak had thought that I had finished a book, so took it with him yesterday. I hadn't. The only thing I said to him last night when he got home (and I was 3/4 asleep) was to inquire about the book. He'd brought it home, so no big deal. I just remember hoping against hope that I didn't sound like a total whiny bitch when I asked him about it. I think I succeeded, but I'm not sure since I wasn't very awake.
Then, this morning, Gak's trying to share something that he's interested in on a forum and I just don't care. And told him so. Not in the most nice of ways either... I was pretty blunt. You see, he's all but stopped playing Gak and has a new monk on another server and is in a fairly well known guild and is enjoying himself. I have absolutely no intention of following. I've worked too hard and like Addey too much to abandon her and I'm not paying $50 or whatever it is to have her moved to a different server. I still have friends on Guk that I enjoy talking with and I really do like the guild she's in at the moment. I do miss playing with Gak, but either I'll get over it, or I won't.
The third strike this morning was when I was leaving for work. I asked if he'd had a chance to call the daycare yesterday. I was just inquiring, not trying to be snotty or anything. I'm guessing I didn't succeed. He snapped at me that he didn't because he walked in the door yesterday and didn't stop until they closed. (Mind you, I'd call, but he's got the number with him at work...) Ok, no big deal. Well, maybe a big deal. If we decide not to go with this place, we're back at square one and running out of time. I keep kicking myself for not doing anything about this sooner. Of course, part of the problem was the fact that we just didn't know what was going on with either of our schedules, especially his, and really had no idea what kind of care we'd need.
Yet again, I'm wishing one or the other of us made enough that the other could stay home closer to full time. It's not going to happen. Probably not ever with the way things are going. (I mean, I put $50 of gas in the car yesterday and only got 3/4 of a tank! And the mileage we're getting is down for some reason....grrrr....) There truly are some days that I have no idea how we're going to make it. This is one of them.
Maybe it's just the hormones making me moodier than usual. Maybe it's reporting month getting to me. Maybe it's the fact that Boo just won't lay off my right hand ribs for more than a few moments at a time here and there while I'm at work so I'm in pain most of the day. (And as anyone who's had pain of any kind can tell you... that makes paying attention to what you're doing pretty hard...) Maybe it's the fact that it's the primaries here in PA today. It could be all of the above, or none I just don't know.

At least we've gotten good news about Dad's health. I won't go into it here and now, but just to say, things have been a bit scary off and on the last several months but it looks like it's not as bad as it could be and we'll have some answers to work with soon. I hope so, because the last thing this family as a whole needs is another big health issue.

Well, I'd best be getting my work day started. Oh, Mom told me that Gak's home town actualy made GMA this morning. Apparently they had a huge hail storm yesterday. Guess we'd better call and see how everyone fared.

Peace to all and may you not wake up on the wrong side of the bed.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Made the Map?

First off Happy 30th Birthday Jon!!!

Well, yesterday was uneventful compared to Thursday. I think Thursday just burned me out. Yesterday was tough, mostly because I was too tired to be as productive as I wanted to be. Ah well. You'll have this.

But somehow, my small town seems to have made the big-time political map. Don't ask me how. I honestly didn't think we were that important. I mean, yes, we live about halfway between Allentown and Philly. This is both an affluent area and an area with many Hispanics and farmers and others who may or may not be in the middle class. This is a traditionally fairly conservative area too.
So, for some reason we've attracted the Democratic Party in full force.
Monday night I get a text from Kat warning me traffic could be a bear Tuesday afternoon/evening because Bill Clinton was talking at the high school at 3. Luckily for me I didn't have to go anywhere near the high school Tuesday.
Today, on my way home from doing laundry and running a few errands I got another political surprise. The Obama office for the county is about 2 blocks up from the apartment. I'd seen some crowds there when they were doing some last minute pushes to get voters registered. (Yes, I'm registered. Independent... which means I can't vote in the primary here. I could have changed to a party, but was mostly just being contrary and didn't.) Well, there was a pretty big crowd standing there. As I pass by, I suddenly recognize the tall, grey-haired guy in the middle of the crowd. None other than John Kerry himself.
I must admit, it made my already "small town" looking downtown look even more "small town" and hmm... stereotypical doesn't have the right connotation.... and neither does quaint... fake or staged or something is almost right...
When in the world did we get onto the political map and how do we get off it?
Not that I don't care.
I do care, I just like being able to park in front of my apartment. (Especially these days...) I also don't like being bombarded with 50-million calls from the candidates' camps trying to get me to vote. If I wanted to vote in the primary, I would have registered as a party. I registered independent to try and keep these kinds of calls and mailings to a minimum. Bah, so much for trying not to get spam.

well, this evening is Zoe's birthday party. We're going bowling and then for pizza! I think I'm going to go take a nap before I have to go pick up Gak from work.

Peace to all and may you have calm and beautiful days (the weather is summer-like today!) and only the political involvement you want.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


Warning: Work Gripe Ahead!

Ok, now that I've got the disclaimer out of the way...
There are things I've missed about working in the service department. These include the general camaraderie and partnership by the people in the group, talking to the same customers more than once and the challenging nature of the work.
There are things that I definitely haven't missed. These include being looked down upon by management and every other blessed group in the building. This includes putting in 50 or 60 hour work weeks and being told we're not working hard enough. This includes being pulled in 7 different directions by 10 customers who all wanted (or needed) things yesterday but didn't bother to call until the last minute.
Right now the bad is beginning to outweigh the good.
This week I've had to try and figure out how to put together some totally custom training and get it all printed by tomorrow, generate federal reports for some customers who don't have all the information we need, do projects work for a customer that should have been closed 6 months ago, coordinate training at three or four sites... hmm.., I know there were other things on my list this week....
And I've got it easy. At least compared to my friend.
We deal with regulations, a lot. Heck, you can boil down all of our products to one thing; compliance. That's what we sell. Our latest regulatory specialist left almost a month ago now. My friend has been trying to do that job and his. He normally takes the lion's share of report related issues and this is a reporting month. This means he normally puts in a 60-70 hour work week. Well, he's been having to do another 40-60 hours a week of the regulatory stuff as well. Both our current boss and the other departments are demanding 100% of his time.
I have no idea how he's doing this and staying remotely sane.
He didn't go home last night, but worked right through and won't be leaving until at least 6pm tonight. I think he saw his son for a few minutes last night when my friend's mom brought a change of clothes to him.
To top it off, he, and the rest of the team, were told we're not "utilizing all our available resources" yesterday. In the, what, 4 weeks since I've been back here I haven't heard a good word said about this group.
I admit, I haven't been at the top of my game. I also admit we're working from a loosing position. In the last three years we've lost three people (including myself) from the department that really knew what they were doing. We've also had a lot of turnover in the interim. This is one of those jobs where it takes at least a year to even begin to feel confident.
Out of 8 people, we've got four who've been here for 5 or more years. We're about to loose one of them to the regulatory department, and one of them is me and I'm really rusty on some of this stuff and will be leaving again soon for a bit. The third long-timer is notoriously lazy and tends to take the easy way out. And the fourth works out of a remote office in Michigan, so isn't always easy to get ahold of. We've got one who's been here about 2 or 3 years, but he's not really pulling as much weight as he could be. He's also very good at complaining, but a nice person. Of the last three, we've got one who's been in the department only for about a year but is more a network specialist. He was one of our network guys back in the "old days" before we became part of big corporate. Therefore, he ends up doing a lot of network stuff and isn't so good on the software stuff. The last two are very new. One's only been here a few months. So, as you can see, the knowledge base is gone. And we're not the only department where that's happened.
The department hasn't grown one bit in the number of people in the last, oh, 6 years. Yet, our install base has grown tremendously.
And people wonder why we're so far behind.
Yes, I'm feeling very bitter and cranky about things right now. Like I've said before, I love this job, but this place seems to be going to hell in a hand basket. I really feel like in some cases it's rats abandoning the Titanic. It's probably not that bad, but it feels like it some days.

OK. Rant is over now...

On a more positive note, I got a call out of the blue from Great Vally Nature Center. I've really missed that place the last three years. They actually need me back. At least for some overnights on occasion. I told them I could do a few, but that I'm expecting a baby at the end of May. Lynn was supper excited to hear that one! I'll be doing my first program there in almost three years on Friday evening. I'm so excited!

Oh, my doctor's appointment went well today. I've only got a handful more to go. Eek!

Well, I'd best finish this up and get a little more work done before I head out the door.

Peace to all and may you be appreciated and work be rewarding.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Well, Mom sent me some of the photos from the baby shower on Sunday. Almost all of me! Eeek! Yes, normally I hide behind the camera, not in front of it.

Oh well. I'll live.

This bear cake Mom made and decorated. She even did the bib freehand! (Not the dragon, that was a piece of clipart Dad found.) Yes, my mom who gets migraine headaches from chocolate made a chocolate cake with chocolate icing and brownies for my shower. You'd think she loves me or something...

You can see some of the others that she sent over on my flickr. I guess I should post this one though, it's of me and my big ol' belly. I'm not sure I realized exactly how big a belly I've got right now until I saw this picture! Of course, what do you expect with only, what? 6.5 weeks to go! (Eeek again!)

Oh, and Mom confirmed for me that Kat did most of the work on the shower and was the one who bought Boo the overalls. (I still say they're way too cute!)

On slightly other news, Userfriendly's current story line makes me laugh. A lot. Luckily I haven't been in this position too many times. Check it out! (You'll have to go back about a week or so to the start...)

Oh, and for anyone who cares, I just noticed that this is post number 300 on this blog. (Eek a third time today!) Wow! I started this thing just about 2 years ago, in May of 2006. Amazing!

Well, this morning Gak and I are going to (finally) go check out that other day care and see if we like it and if it'll work.

Peace to all and may you have lots of friends and good times.

Monday, April 14, 2008


I'm so floored by my friends and family.
Yesterday was my baby shower. I was wondering if it was going to be yesterday. I knew Michelle's schedule this spring was going to be very tight, and this would probably be the only time she'd get up here before Boo is born. I knew she'd want to be involved in a shower for us.
She did come up Saturday to help with the furniture. We got the crib and wardrobe put together Saturday night and Sunday morning. It looks great! It really looks wonderful with the yellow walls. I can't wait until the landlady and her husband get the trim done and I can finish putting things where they belong.
Sunday we were supposed to go over to Kat's to play Killer Bunnies at around 3. We had a semi-late lunch at Friendly's and wandered around Jo-Ann's for a few as well. We ran back to the apartment to pick up Bunnies and a few things I needed to take to Kat and stop and pick up ice tea.
I was semi-suspicious that something was up already. What made me realize that something really was up was the fact that there were balloons on the mailbox and that Scott's truck wasn't there. I could have sworn that Gak had said Scott was going to be there for Bunnies.
Well, I walk in and I was right, there was everyone.
And the biggest surprise of all, Abi came down!!
I can't begin to tell you how blown away I was that Abi drove all the way down from RI to stay with my mom overnight and come to the shower. I'd been bummed for a while that it didn't look like we were going to be able to get together again before maybe Thanksgiving or so. What with Boo's birth soon and the mess with her house situation it looked like the summer was shot, and spring was almost gone.
I can honestly say that Gak and I have a lot of friends and family who love us. And I love them all.
We got lots and lots of neat things. There was a ton of clothing. (Apparently the invitation told everyone to bring an outfit that was then hung on a line in the living room.) There were so many cute little outfits! I can't wait to see him in all of them. I have no idea what my favorites are, but Stuart actually picked out a really cool outfit, that wasn't even a set and of course, someone (mom I think...) bought a pair of denim overalls. My favorite outfit of choice really. (That and on babies that are crawling, they make good handles...)
What made me cry though was the blanket I got from Gram. Back when I was born, she bought two identical hand knit baby blankets. She was fully intending to use one as a shawl, but never did. It ended up getting put away and declared as going to the first great-grandbaby. I still have my blanket. It's thin in places, was lovingly mended when I was in high school by Gram and quite gray, even after a good bleaching. I knew I was getting the blanket, but actually receiving it brought back all those memories and all the love I have for her and the love I know she'd have for this little one. It was all good tears though. Tears filled with love and good memories. (Man, I'm tearing up now just thinking about it...)
The other heirloom we received was from Gak's mom. She sent the first pair of booties Gak ever wore as well as his first pair of shoes. They're too cute and I appreciate them. I can't wait to see them on the feet of baby Boo.
I don't have any pictures, but Mom should be sending me some Tuesday when she gets into work and gets everything downloaded from her camera. I'll post a few then.
I just can't say thank you enough to all my friends and family who I love so much and who loves me and this unborn little Boo boy. Gak and I are so lucky to be so loved.
Peace to all and may you have lots of love in your lives.

Saturday, April 12, 2008


Who turned on the sauna??
Overall this week the weather has been nice to downright gorgeous in the afternoons/early evenings this week.
Last night it thunder stormed. Now, even though the weather feed on the computer tells me it's only 64, it feels like a steamy 76 or so to me. And I don't have any shorts (at least not ones I can wear in public) that fit right now. Ugh!
Who turned on the sauna?

On the home front, we got our first coat of paint last night. A nice bright white sealer. It looks great. Right now, as I'm typing, my landlady's husband is working on the yellow coat. It's so nice and bright and cheerful! I hope it dries this nice color. Almost like a light lemon meringue. It'll be a perfect color in that room. The room itself tends to be a little dark, since it doesn't have any outside windows of it's own, but two on the wall between the bedrooms. These will be open almost permanently from here on out I'm guessing. That and leaving the adjoining door open is about the only way we can get any air into that bedroom.
This is one of the reasons I don't feel the overwhelming need for a baby monitor. There just isn't going to be that much space or closed doors between me and Boo. At worst, I'll be at the other end of the apartment in the kitchen or bathroom. If I'm in the bathroom, there's probably not much I can do to get to him faster. Besides, I've seen it with plenty of little ones that I've sat for, let them cry a few minutes and they'll often just calm back down and go back to sleep. Yes, it'll be a bajillion times harder when it's my boy doing the crying... but....
Well, I should probably do a few other things around the house before I have to go pick up Gak and Michelle gets here. Just felt like posting a quickie right now.
Peace to all and may you not have a sauna unless you want one.

Friday, April 11, 2008


Well, I feel like my brain is about to dribble out my ears. I don't think I've worked so hard, on so few things, in a very long time. Strange as I am, I pretty much enjoyed it! Today was one of the first days that I truly felt productive at work. I was able to get to some of the oldest things assigned to me. I put in a good 4 or 5 hours on the project, with another hour or two more that I need to put in on it as well. It took a lot of brain power, and I'm exhausted.
I also got to another one that's been hanging around for a few and that someone who recently left the department ignored/messed up royally and I get to fix. That one should just about be done. I'll just need to confirm with the guy on Monday that he accepts my explanations and things are working to his satisfaction.
I might not have closed any tickets today, but I put in a solid almost 9 hours and it was all doing something and it feels good. Days like this is why I had a love/hate relationship with my last tenure in the service group.

This weekend is looking to be a good one. Tonight my landlady and her husband are coming up to start painting Boo's room. I can't wait to see it! I'd offer to help, but three people in that room is pretty crowded when trying to paint. That and I'm not sure if I'm really supposed to be too close to paint fumes right now. Not like I'll be able to escape them with the way the apartment is set up. It's good that it is warm enough that we'll have the windows wide open. I just hope it doesn't rain before the morning.
Michelle is also coming up. She'll get up here around 4 or 5 tomorrow afternoon. She's got to work a bit in the morning and then head up. I'm so looking forward to seeing her. We haven't had the chance to get together since New Year's. That reminds me, I've got to wrap her birthday present this evening. Gak found something that I'm sure she's going to love. We'll work on furniture tomorrow evening or Sunday, whichever. All I know is that there will be a large reward of chocolate when we're done. Maybe chocolate ice cream. (We really should just treat ourselves with Rita's, but that's almost healthy!)
Well, I'm going to wrap this up so I can do some more documentation and head out the door soon. My brain is about to melt, but it feels good.
Peace to all and may you have good, productive days and fun filled weekends.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Interesting Week

First I want to say EEEEK!!! 50 days!!!

Ok. I'm better now. (Well, I would be if Boo would lay off the ribs... or more specifically my right hand ribs. He doesn't seem to like the left at all....)

It's been an interesting news week. Well, more like interesting news days.
Yesterday we got two interesting bits of news. The current rumor at Gak's old job is that his former boss, even though demoted and moved to another store, may just end up getting fired. The reason, not doing his job. According to a former coworker, he knows what he's supposed to do, but he just doesn't do it. This is nothing new really, since that's more or less the bigger story that drove Gak out of there.
The second bit of news is that the upstairs neighbor has been kicked out. This is good news in my opinion. I mean, I do feel at least a little bad for the landlady. She's got to go through the work and expense of finding a new tenant. I hope we get nice neighbors like we had before this last one. Even with the 3-year-old and the baby, they didn't cause much fuss, didn't cause much noise and were nice when I would run into them. They left because of a job offer in another state. Can't blame them there.
Hopefully our landlady will be able to get the full year's rent from this last girl. She told Gak her lawyer said she could due to breach of contract. Here's hoping.
I also feel a bit sorry for the tenant that got kicked out. More like pity really. She just doesn't get it. She's 20 and has screwed up her life this badly. Even I haven't made that big of a mess of things. I mean, in some cases I got pretty lucky, but I learned quick and always realized, even in the middle of things, that I was messing up. I somehow doubt this girl ever will. And an eviction won't get her a place on her own any time soon. I really feel for the girls mother. She's got to be torn between helping her daughter and making her clean up her own mess. At least I would be. I also worry for the kids. I'm not as worried about the 3-year-old since he mostly stays with his grandmother. I worry more about the baby. I do worry about the girl too, it doesn't sound like the boy who was over all the time was exactly nice and respectful. (Gak's heard a rumor that he's been in and out of corrections.....)
Oh, yeah, I also finally got my new work computer yesterday. I spent most of the day getting it set up and then again today. I still have a little bit left to do, but it can wait until tomorrow. (It's got to be done by Monday at the latest though... since I need it for the training I'm doing Tuesday.) It's a beast. 3 GIG of RAM. Yes, that's right, 3 gig. It's sweet, but heavy! I won't be lugging this puppy back and forth much.
So that was yesterday.
Today when Gak was leaving to walk to work, he saw something taped to the outside door. It's a court summons for the upstairs neighbors. (He checked to make sure it wasn't something odd for us...) We'll see how that all turns out. Like I said, I hope the landlady doesn't get burned too badly on this. She's a nice person and does the best she can.
Well, I'm starting to ramble and I've got to wrap this up and head out...
Peace to all and may the world be on your side some days.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Holding My Tongue

Be proud of me.
I know I am...
Despite being overly tired and cranky when I got home, I didn't go "super bitch" on the upstairs neighbor.
I could have. It would have been so easy. She got home the same time I did. She had the baby with her, so I guess that helped me hold my tongue better.
What made it hard was the fact that I was in a very tired and cranky mood. I had to park down the street because the street in front of the building was full again. I was hauling four bags of groceries and as soon as I opened the door, all I could smell was cigarette smoke. And it wasn't my fault. And the person who's fault, directly or not, it was was walking up the stairs behind me.
I should have opened my mouth. I could have just said something like "man it's smokey in here today, it shouldn't be". Or something like that. Some observant comment without blaming. It wouldn't have worked. She wouldn't have gotten the point and I wouldn't have stopped there but let fly.
It would have been ugly.
The landlady would have been on my side though, but I don't want to put her in that position.

Well, the painting that was supposed to start tonight, isn't. The landlady's husband has a conflict, so it's being pushed back. That's OK. Everything is out of the way at any rate. I can't wait for it to be done, but I'm just going to have to be patient.

Work is going. I'm still spinning my wheels a bit, but it's more lack of focus and sleep than anything. I'll get there. I'll figure out this balance and all the new tricks that have come up in the last three years.
Of course, right when I do, I'll go out on leave. But that's life.
Well, on that note, it's back to the grindstone. I've got more things to poke and prod at if I can figure out the priority and time it'll take to do them. (Provided I can actually connect to some of these sites...) The rest of the week is a little up in the air, as either this afternoon or tomorrow I'll be getting my new laptop finally. (I only put the request in back in January...)
Peace to all and may the little override switch in your brains work from time to time...

Monday, April 07, 2008

So Close...

Close but not quite....
That's a good phrase for yesterday.
The drive out to Elizabethtown was uneventful and nice. Gak actually stayed awake the whole time. This is a first aI do believe. What can I say, the car ride just puts him right out... and it was even gray! Here's hoping Boo does as well on log car rides, especially if we go down to visit Aunt Michelle in VA or up to Aunt Abi in RI. Those are long trips and will be much, much easier if he'll nap most of the way.
Ok, back on topic...
We picked up the dishwasher with limited issues. I tried not to panic when I saw the thing though, it looked a lot taller than I thought it was.
Our route down and back took us right past Redding, so Gak and I stopped at the VF Factory Outlets on the way back. Gak managed to find two pair of jeans and a new pair of sneakers, all for $70! Normally, it could have cost $70 just to get him either the sneakers or the pants. That made the gas usage worth it. We also picked up some books that were majorly on sale. Yes, we need to use the library more, but getting 4 books for $14 (three of which were hard bound...) is a steal we couldn't resist. Unfortunately, everything I tried on was close, but not quite. Most things had some kind of issue with the sleeves/shoulder area. Others might have been cute if I wasn't so pregnant. One looked great but was made of something that made me itch like crazy. Aargh.
Well, we finally make it home and get the dishwasher up to the apartment.
It doesn't fit.
I knew it was too tall.
I'd mis-read the dimensions. The others we'd been bidding on were all 21" square by 17" high. Well, this one is 18" by 20" and about 22 or 23" high. This would easily clear normal cabinets. Remember, I live in an old, funky apartment. We have 17.5" clearance between the bottom of the cabinets and the counter. And no extra clearance beside the sink.
Even though I was exhausted, we promptly headed back out to try and find a microwave cart or something to put it on. Unfortunately, this means we'll have to keep it right outside the kitchen door in the dinning room and move it back and forth to use it. Well, we couldn't find anything that had the right dimensions for the top of the cart.
I have no idea what we're going to do about this.
I (and especially Gak, the current dishwasher) were sooo looking forward to having the dishwasher. Well, technically we have it, but can't use it. To top it off, the seller from eBay is having problems with her account. I still have her email, but we'd have to drive it all the way back out. Or ship it, which would probably cost more than the gas.
I could turn around and sell it myself, but the likely hood of finding one of the others we were looking at for less than $200 is between slim and none. (They list at $200, but often the bidding will go quite a bit higher... silly people....)
Our landlady is coming by tomorrow evening to start painting Boo's room. Maybe I'll talk with her then about possibly removing the shelves at the side of the one cabinet. If we did that, then we could fit the dishwasher there with only minor overlap of the sink itself. (Yes, all four feet of the dishwasher would firmly be resting on something...)
Oh well. I'm trying not to be too down about this.
I'm also spinning my wheels going in circles at work. I think part of it is I'm fighting the "new" system of service calls. Partially because I don't want to like it. Partially because it's just too hard to do certain things. In the old system if I had a couple of things for the same person, I could easily print out all the tickets and see them all side by side. I haven't figured out how, or even if, I can do that with the new system. Of course, four of my oldest tickets are for the same customer and looking at them, there seems to be some overlap, but I'm not sure. I can't read them all side by side or even print them out.
Like I said, I'm spinning my wheels, trying to figure out how in the world to be productive in the first place and not getting anywhere.
No, it doesn't help that it is gray again today. Saturday afternoon was beautiful. There were moments yesterday that were bright and clear. But, for the most part it's been gray since Thursday or Friday. Bah.
Oh well, back to the grindstone.
Peace to all and may everything actually fall into place.

Friday, April 04, 2008

In the Works

I'm so glad that today is Friday. I'm looking forward to the weekend. I forgot how hectic this service gig could really be. Not to mention frustrating. Of course, I don't feel like I've been giving it my all and am still chasing myself in circles a bit, but that's more to do with the overlapping responsibilities and stuff like that. Hopefully it'll all get sorted out soon.
Anyhow... there's a few things that I just haven't posted about because they're in the works. I was going to wait and post about them when they were completed, but I thought I might as well put them out there now.
First off, we've got a dishwasher! Actually, we've paid for a dishwasher, but have to go out to Elizabethtown on Sunday to pick it up. Even if we spend $100 in gas, it'll still be cheaper than ordering it new. I'm so excited. Gak and I both hate doing dishes. I really want one for things like bottles and the like. (Yes, I know, according to the nurse who ran our baby class soap and hot water is just fine... but the dishwasher is so much more through...) Even though we'll still be doing pots and pans by hand it'll be a HUGE time and money saver. I mean, the thing does a 4-place setting load with only 3 gallons of hot water. I use more than that just doing a few glasses! This is one "luxury" item that we've been doing without and really, really want. I mean, having a washer and dryer in the apartment would be great too, but I'll take what I can get.
The other thing that's in the works is more daycare options. George at work heard me talking with Don about how much Goddard was going to cost and I had no idea how we were going to afford it. I mean, there are other options in the area, but that was our starting point. Well, George pipes up that his two go to a really great, small, inexpensive place about 5 minutes from work. They take infants for partial days even. It's a Montessori pre-school just like Goddard is when they get older. The kicker is, instead of $1150 or so a month, if we go partial days, it'll only be $400. Yes, that's right, 1/3 the cost. For just the amount of time we want to put him in there. Hopefully Gak and I are going to stop by Monday to check the place out. He called for a little more info and they do have infant openings in August. I hope this place works out. I really need to check out another couple around the house too.
So, it looks like it'll be an interesting few days. I'm dreading going home and writing the tax check though. I can't put it off any longer, as this is the last pay day before tax day. At least I've got a few good things coming up.
Well, I'd best get back to work before I get yelled at for wasting time.
Peace to all and may good things be on your horizon.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Dorm Life?

I thought I was done with dorm living. I mean, I know we live in a fairly old building with little to no insulation between floors, but come on.
Like I've said before, we have a new neighbor upstairs. I'm used to hearing her 3-year-old run across the floor when he's there. I understand about being able to hear the baby cry. I know that when she walks across the floor in a hurry I'll be able to follow her footsteps. I even accept that I'll be able to hear the base line and possibly the music or TV itself some days.
Last night, on the other hand, was just plain wrong.
I don't think I even had this much noise when I was living in a dorm for 4 years.
It had started before we got home actually.
What am I talking about?
I'm talking about loud thumps and crashes that sounded like the people in the apartment upstairs were going to come through their floor into my ceiling. It sounded was enough to rattle the dishes in the cabinets and the hanging light in the dinning room. And the thumps were at the other end of the apartment.
Mind you, I'm all for having friends over and having a good time, but you have to draw the line somewhere. There have been a few times when we've had everyone over, including the kids, and it got a bit rough. But we always made sure the kids settled down by about 9 or so, even though there's only a business (closed at night) below us and neighbors above us. Noise doesn't travel so well up, but it does down, since it is a shared plane.
This noise continued on until almost midnight.
Gak knocked on their door (I'd asked if he minded playing Brute Squad) around 10:30. He pounded on the door and heard them yell that someone was at the door, but to ignore it. About an hour later, I heard him go out again. (Yes, this is well past the time that I should be asleep, especially since I actually have to be in the office by 8 these days...) They did quiet down a bit after that one. We still locked the deadbolt as well as the door handle. We've never done this in the almost 2 years that we've lived there.
Gak did talk to the landlady this morning. He's going to talk to her again tomorrow. (She wasn't in her office, which is the downstairs business, today, but will be tomorrow.) Part of tomorrow is to take her the paint color we decided on. It's a nice pretty yellow. Hopefully in the next week or two, they'll be painting. I'm impressed that she actually let us have a color other than white!
The funny part is, Gak did get an apology from the upstairs neighbor this morning. Apologies are all well and good, but useless if it happens again. I'm trying not to be too judgemental against her, but I have a hard time. She hasn't done anything to prove to me that she's responsible, and she's done a few things that have shown otherwise. (Yes, I'm referring to two kids by the time she's 20... and no stable relationship... I know, there are exceptions to the rule but.... I'm not holding my breath here...)
Anyhow, I hope she either realizes that she needs to be a little more considerate of her downstairs neighbors, wherever she lives, or she moves on. I don't really care whitch.
In other news, it looks like Michelle will be coming up the weekend of the 12th! (I got a message from her saying she's available to come up that weekend and to let her know...) I can't wait to see her, I haven't seen her since New Year's. Eep! That reminds me, her birthday is this week! I'd best get a card out....
Just took a break to rant a bit while I ate my lunch. It's back to work for me... maybe I'll get something productive done this afternoon. (haha, yeah, right...)
Peace to all and may you have considerate neighbors.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Getting There...

Well, we're getting there. All the appointments this morning went well.
Our doc gave Gak a prescription for some anti-inflamitories and is going to get a referral for an MRI. There's some swelling there and she thinks an MRI will give her a much better picture of what's going on. She's also referring us to a specialist. Hopefuly we'll get some relief. I know he says it doesn't bother him much, but he shouldn't have to live with constant knee pain and the fear of it going out on him.
Since I was there as well, she went ahead and did my appointment as well, so I don't have to go back in on Thursday. That's nice. She told me to take the cingulair if I need it and to call if I'm having any asthma symptoms. We talked a little bit about the pregnancy and she's happy things are going well. She also suggested a couple of pediatrician groups in the area she knows by reputation (hers doesn't work out of the hospital I'll be delivering at...) Overall, it was a productive bit of time.
We went to the one daycare center today. It's the same place Zoe went to, a Goddard School. I really like them, since there is additional oversight above and beyond just the annual state inspection. That makes me feel better. Infants are full-day only. We don't really need full day, since we can have someone at home until about noon each day. I know it's not too much longer, but it is to me. Also, if we can find somewhere that does only half days for infants, it should cost a good bit less. Goddard is about $1150 a month. That's more than our rent, and almost more than our rent and groceries put together. I have no idea where I'm going to come up with that kind of money in the budget each month. (If I'd been able to put that much away each month, I so wouldn't be worried about any bills and wouldn't be in the credit card mess that I am...) Also, they're looking full for August/September, but we'd probably be first on the waiting list. Gak is hopefully going to remember to call the other place we're looking at back and schedule a meeting there. I'm hoping they'll do half days. Or will cost less. Or some other miracle will happen. I really don't want to impose on friends and family any more than we have to.
I truly wish I knew of some way to not have to do daycare. I wish there was a way we could survive on just my income. Unfortunately, even though I've been at this job, and a good job it is, 7.5 years I still make below average for annual household income for the area. Gak and I together just barely make average. This is a tough area to live in. Anyhow, wishing won't solve anything.

Work went well for the most part today. I had some clear priorities in what needed to get done. I think the problem is the fact that most of the work assigned to me is so old, I just don't know where to start or what's been done. I can't even ask anyone really, because I think the person who had been assigned these things is one of the ones no longer here... and I don't mean Al. We'll be cleaning up her messes for ages.
Here's hoping I can keep this up tomorrow as well. I've got a list of things I want to get to, and hopefully there won't be any emergencies causing too many problems.
Yes, it's reporting month....
Hey, I can hope....

Well, I've got to document a few things and then I'm out of here.
Peace to all and may life be productive.