Friday, June 27, 2008


It has become the irritation of my life.

I've never lived anywhere it was reasonable to NOT RUN THE A/C in the summer. I'm completely enjoying having the windows open and the breeze blowing. The cats love it. The bank account loves it.

And 6-8 times a day, clouds of headache inducing, throat scraping, lung spasming cigar and cigarette smoke come through those windows from my neighbor's patio. The cigar gas is new. It's disgusting.

There's a 6 foot high, 5 foot long piece of wooden fence and about 6-8 feet. I'm getting all this because of those same lovely breezes. They tend to blow from that direction. I have no ground upon which to complain. They are on their patio, with full rights to do what they like. And I am allowed to have my windows open to enjoy the nice weather and save electricity.


Questions like this have no good answers.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Today I asked my husband the following question:

"Did you just fart Shave and a Haircut?"

He admits nothing.


Just heard from The Husband as he went upstairs:

"If someone has just peed in my bag, I'm going to be upset!"

(*I* have been on the couch the whole time. Wasn't me.)



Him: You're just a fragile flower of femininity, aren't you?

Me: And you're a delicate mushroom of masculinity.

Him: I'm a MAGIC Mushroom of masculinity, thank you!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Done List

Things I did this week.

1) Went to the post office to mail off stuff I've traded away on Title Trader
2) Found the bank and made deposits, twice! Went in the "out" lane once.
3) Found the compound pharmacy that makes the special meds for the special cats.
4) Found where to pay the power/water/garbage bill and paid it.
5) Reveled in a power/water/garbage bill that was less than $150
6) Went to the library and checked out four books.
7) Read one of the books (!) and started reading another

That last one might seem pretty minor, but I've been complaining for weeks now how I haven't been able to concentrate long enough to read a book. Once upon a time I read avidly, finishing at least 2 to 3 books a week (sometimes more, since once I had no life and no interwebinets). I churned through probably a hundred books a year or more. For the past 10 years, I've been lucky to read 30 books in a year. It bothered me. It bothers me now. I've read five books this year. That's just sad, but I have about a dozen books parked with bookmarks in them. I've not been able to finish one.

Today I did. I went to the little front porch we screened in, turned on the fan, got a drink, and sat in the flimsy camp chair I put there and read. It was perfectly lovely. Somehow, I had lost the skill of just sitting and reading. When I finished, I did a few chores. I didn't wander aimlessly around blogs, I didn't play endless games of Spider Solitaire. I read a book (a biography, actually, on Humphrey Bogart, the second I've read). The other books I picked up are the latest in the Dresden files (which is on 2 week loan so I have to read it soon), a biography on Edna St. Vincent Millay, and Robert Ludlum's The Bourne Identity.

I'm about 50 pages into the Ludlum book. We'll see how this goes.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Meet the Vet

Today was "Met the New Vet" day -- hauling all five cats to the new veterinarian. Not QUITE as close as our old vet by about 3 minutes, but still an easy drive. Everyone is apparently in good health. LaGuz, the oldest, is obviously on the downhill slide, but at 17 I can't say it isn't expected. Nothing seriously wrong at the moment, but some time in the next year or two she could develop any number of problems. Or she could do like my old cat Precious did and toddle along fine and dandy until the day she decides to die. As pet deaths go, that's my preferred. Our goal is to keep her happy and comfortable until that moment, when ever that is.

To that end, we bought some special cat milk that's supposed to help with joint inflammation and so forth (for her and Ophelia, who are the only milk drinkers in the first place) and some tarter control catfood we can dole out as treats (already quite popular with Pooty, for whom it is intended -- everyone else's teeth are fine). Pooty also has a hairball stuck inside, for which we have meds already, but it explains some violent vomiting yesterday (I still haven't gotten the stain out of the carpet).

Between dragging cats from under furniture, several trips up and down the stairs, hauling cats, holding cats, and soothing assorted cats, we forgot to get their toenails clipped, so we have to do that tonight. I'm already tired and the day doesn't look promising for getting anything else done. I'll decide this afternoon.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Big Doin's (not)

My days progress in such a dull, similar pattern that it hardly seems worth reporting. Yesterday I found the bank and made deposits, mailed stuff, and went to Wal-Mart. That afternoon, I didn't make it to the pharmacy to pick up cat meds because our neighbor 2 doors down came in desperation to my door -- her garage was invaded with THE ANTS, her young son was asleep upstairs, her husband is deployed, and she needed ant-killer. She's allergic to the things and the hives were already all over her arms. So, after some hunting around, I found our bottle and she went forth with vengeance on her mind. When she returned, we talked a bit in that way people who have little interaction with the world will talk to each other. We have little in common except a lack of people to talk with.

Not much showing up on the jobs front. Summer in this area is slow, and the university won't be putting up its job postings until July. This didn't stop me from hitting the mall on Sunday for more "work clothes" -- and plunge bras that come complete with their own little air filled "enhancers". I tried one on under a top I was considering. The Husband approved. It's the first time in years he's shown interest in any lingerie I wore. I bought two. I didn't find out about the little air filled extras until I got them home and decided to wash them. The "extras" went into the drawer, but I'm keeping them. The bras don't fit right otherwise, nyah.

The discovery led to a little discussion with The Husband about bras and "false advertising", after which we concluded that all clothing can classify as "false advertising" -- wear the right clothes (good fit, good color/pattern/cut, right underthings) and you look better than you would naked. Wrong choices can make you look far worse. Only very specific things will make you look exactly as you look naked, only not naked (like that see-through suit the alien kidnappers made the Stainless Steel Rat wear in one or the other book).

All of this has lead me to a deep consideration of my wardrobe. I have a closet of very nice, well fitting and reasonably flattering clothes, almost none of which I've worn in the past 2 months. Instead, I live in a small collection of shorts and T shirts, some of which are approaching "ratty". Why? Because on any given day, I am cleaning litter boxes, planting flowers, toting boxes, vacuuming, ironing, assembling/disassembling furniture, or sorting things in dusty boxes -- none of which I am going to do in heels and dry-clean-only. Nevertheless, it bothers me that everything that fulfills my clothing needs in the "nice clothes" department is either black or white. I go looking for color and pattern -- I find black, white, and solids. I don't get it. I spent years trying to weed overwhelming black from my closet -- in the early 90s, I had gone unintentionally Goth except for the black fingernails (rare then) and the LJ(didn't exist). Now, I'm being forced back.

Last thing to note is I have joined Title Trader, a nifty little system for changing your stuff around. That is, you can list your books, DVDs, CDs, or whatever for trade to other people. You pay to mail it, and you get points that you can use to get other stuff from other people who will pay to mail it to you. It's not so bad, really. I'm unloading stuff I don't want and looking for things I do -- technically not buying new books or DVDs. If I don't use up my points for myself, I may use them to get gifts at Christmas.

Yeah, I'm cheap like that. I am thinking about another of those bras.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Things I'm not Used To Yet

1) Sharing a wall with another family. I haven't lived in an apartment or anything like it since I was 12. The mysterious thumpings and bangings that come through the shared wall still make me jump and wonder what the cats did.

2) Dramatic Neighbors. A family across the street have regular knock down drag out fights that make it to the street. Today the local police attended the event.

3) Trains. We live VERY close to active train tracks. Trains run mostly at night. Since the tracks run parallel to the main road where our street is, and we are close to that road, they cross a lot of other smaller roads, and so they signal frequently -- at every crossing. Sometimes I can feel the floor or the bed shake when a particularly heavy train goes by.

4) Easing around furniture. Yeah, I miss having space. The whole "charming, cozy space" thing is lost on me.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


The Husband earned more points.

We have auto-watering fountains both upstairs and down. The upstairs one is in my bathroom. Last night I went to fill it. When I picked up the reservoir, little black ants crawled on the plastic. They massed under the lid. I noticed something black in the bowl -- ants. They filled the water fountain inside. They were all over the sink vanity. Hundreds, maybe thousands, of little black, crawly, uninvited ants. There's no food in the bathroom. They were just after the water.

We'd been invaded.

The Husband swung into battle. Armed with ant killer spray (they tried to invade the garage and our patio earlier) he hunted ants everywhere. He found mini-nests inside the waterer's plastic body and under the tray where I keep my hair bands. Little black corpses littered the floor and the sink.

We aren't sure why they chose my upstairs bathroom, except that there is a drain pipe on the outside of the wall. He checked everywhere he thought they could be. So far, no more nests.

However, we both feel completely crawly.

Update: Scott, look here for the fountains. We haven't had any feline urinary tract problems since we got them, so I'm saying they are all good (and much cheaper than vet visits).

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Theory of Local Plate Tectonic Effects on Driving Distance

The Husband burned a few of those Husband points he earned on Sunday with today's Driving Adventure.

I'll readily admit I haven't been making as many attempts to learn my way around here as I might. Those $4.75 gas prices are part of it. An evil knee and no faith whatsoever in the generosity of drivers on the shoulderless/sidewalkless roads are keeping me from riding my bike or walking anywhere. So, The Husband is the Pathfinder and I follow his lead to find places.

Today I have proof he's messing with my head. Remember the thing about "all roads are triangles" a few weeks ago? He's doing it again.

This morning we went to get our South Carolina's driver's licenses, but neither of us brought anything to prove we were residents in the state, so we had to go back home(I didn't have to do that in Florida, so it didn't occur to me and he didn't think of it either -- maybe Florida doesn't care.) We were going to get car tags so we drove separately (can't -- have to pay a property tax on the cars first. It's complicated around ehre). The Husband lead the way to the DMV on the first trip, going down a little neighborhood road that connected to the highway where the DMV was. When we had to drive back home to get evidence of residence, instead of turning back the way we came, he took a DIFFERENT route.

At first I thought maybe he decided to make a stop at one of the stores we would pass (I recognized the route from our errands on Saturday) and I wasn't sure of the name of the little road that connected to the highway, so I followed. He didn't stop, and he didn't call me to tell me of any change in plan. As I followed, I wondered if perhaps he had developed a compulsion that forced him to make three right turns for every left turn, or perhaps some kind of graduate student paranoia had settled on him so that he could never take the same path twice. In any case, we drove in a big circle from home to DMV to home again. Once back at the house, I cornered him.

"What was THAT all about?"

He stared. "What?"

"Do the tectonic plates around here shift quickly enough so that the shortest route to a place changes once you get there?"

He gave me the "questioning dog" head tilt.

"Why didn't we go back the way we went?"

"Oh!" This was a signal to me that he had no particular reason except, perhaps, to exasperate me and was scrambling for something that sounded rational. "I wanted you to know the other way to go."

"I don't know the way we got there in the first place."

"Well, I only find things by wandering around."

"That's great, but it's more helpful for me to learn one route at a time." (I'm slow like that.)

He rattled off the names of the roads on the first route, then came up with something else. "I wanted to see if the other way was faster. Did you think it was faster? I thought it was faster."

"More traffic and more lights didn't make it seem any faster to me. If we'd each driven one route, then we could compare." We went into the house. "You're just trying to confuse me."

"No, I'm not. That's just a side benefit."

We have to drive to Wahalla to get the tags, probably on Thursday. Oh, and I have my own shiny new library card, too.

Monday, June 09, 2008

How to Earn Husband Points

The Husband earned himself some points on Sunday. Part of our plan to economize is to use our Netflix account instead of buying DVDs or going to movies. We have a nice, cheap Netflix account that allows us unlimited streaming of all their "instant play" stuff, which is a pretty nice collection. The crux of this plan was to hook the old desk top computer to the flat screen TV we got the Christmas before last, since we didn't need to hook printers to the desk top anymore (which is good, because, in computer years, the desk top is a senior citizen).

So, The Husband set about making this come to pass. The center of the plan was a sexy new wireless keyboard . However, after a first connection, the desk top refused to have anything to do with our wireless network. He fought with it for a few hours, then remembered we have a long, long, long, LONG network cable. He pinned that neatly down the stairwell and along the ground floor ceiling.

Now I can sit on the couch with the keyboard on my knees, cruise movies on Netflix and other locations, and feel very 21st century. Oh, and he gets Husband Points.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Wide, wide world of bored

I'm not posting much because there's not much about which to post, and I can't come up with a good rant or bit of silliness. Seriously, this was a very slow week. My big adventures were reupholstering couch cushions and nursing my tendinitis. I've played a lot of Sims 2 because I have all this house design/decorate energy and no where to use it.

Today's big deals are planting roses and possibly putting up shelves. The roses, shipped bare root, looks like sticks, and will continue to look like sticks for some time, so it isn't worth taking pictures. It is hot outside and we have at last turned on the A/C, although it's only set to 79. With fans on, the house stays quite cool. I'm worried about the power bill. I'm trying to put together a resume. I vacuumed.

Thrills and spills, I'm telling you.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

How I Know I'm in South Carolina

This is not an oxymoron.

These are in the bakery cooler at the good grocery store. (Yes, a dog cake...or a cake dog.)

In multiple colors.

This is not irony. It's branding.