Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Tougher than teenagers…..

Living with my Mom is not going to be boring. I wish it would be a bit more so! I was having a busy Monday at work, away from my desk several times. When I came back, the message light was on but whoever called had not left a message. We don't have call ID at work or any way to track who has called unless they leave a message. Several hours later, at 1:00, my son called.

“The cops brought Grandma home”

“What?” I said, a bit too loudly into the phone, completely stopping any work.

“She had an accident. Oh, don’t worry, she’s OK though.”

All sorts of things ran through my head, the chief being—why on earth had she gone out anywhere when it was snowy and slippery? And thank God she was OK and so was everyone else.

“She hit the window at the bank. She broke it and banged up the car pretty good too.” He continued.

“And she’s OK, she didn’t get hurt?” I asked anxiously. “She called her insurance?”

“The cops and the bank MADE her call her insurance company before bringing her home. Then I had to walk and find the car. It was hard since she couldn’t tell me where it was at, couldn't give me street directions.”

Even though it was a terrible thing and could have ended very badly, I resisted the urge to giggle. “At least our new town is flat and small. It could have been worse (to find the car).

“The car doesn’t drive well any more. And that window at the bank…..” he said.

“Was it a drive up window?”

“No, the lobby window.” He said. "Grandma said there were lots of witnesses. She tried to call you first right after the accident, from the bank while waiting for the police."

“What’s Grandma doing now?” I asked.

“She’s sitting in her room and doing a jigsaw puzzle.”

At that I laughed so hard I cried. It was sort of a laugh and a cry. It was so awful and yet so funny (since nobody had gotten hurt). My son was relieved to hear me laugh. We both were so tense and concerned.

“Yeah” he said, “They probably thought she was distracting them so bank robbers could sneak in the back!”

I think she was lucky to not get in the local evening news. And, of course VERY VERY lucky to not hurt herself or someone else.

Then after dinner we went to a documentary movie shown in the nearby library by the Greens. My Mom really got into the discussion part. At first I was happy she was so engaged, but soon was trying to find a way to get her to come home with us (son came too) or at least not comment about every other comment. My Mom is outspoken, while son and I are usually quiet in a group. You gotta admire that. But this is going to be a lot harder than I had thought. Someone once told me taking care of aging parents is "Tougher than teenagers….." and I think they may be right about that.

Favorite co-worker told me about some of the things her poor grandmother had done and we laughed so hard we cried (again, for me). It's so sad, stressful and scary but yet parts of it are hilarious. Got any good stories about a parent or a grandparent?

Monday, February 27, 2006

Weekend Ended

Yep, another Monday, the start of another week. This week has no holidays or vacation time, no time off. The weekend went all too fast, cooking things, going to the laundramat and watching the Olympics. Did you watch the Olympics? I think they’re kinda fun. But by the time I really start getting into them—they’re over. Did decide I like speed skating now, though. Used to think it was as boring as NASCAR, competitors going ‘round and ‘round. Our cute guy did OK, that Apolo Ohno guy. He was fun to watch. I liked Sasha Cohen in the ice skating too. If you watched the Olympics, who did you like? OK, gotta make Ms. Mac laugh—who did you ROOT for?

We three went out for- I guess it was sort of a late lunch, yesterday. My son had to get ready for work first and my Mom and I got all prepared to do the two basketfuls of laundry after the meal. It was fun to eat out together, don’t remember when or if we’ve done that before. We won’t be doing it too often, though because it was quite expensive even though we went to the cheap little hotel restaurant that SLA and I go to eat. They have good specials.

Never did get those area rugs down, nor move the furniture around in the living room. I shoveled the sidewalk and steps late Friday night (which was a piece of cake compared to what I was used to in the country!) and walked to get the Sunday paper and to return a library book, so got some exercise this weekend.

So, what did YOU do this weekend?

Friday, February 24, 2006

A welcome to the new city/state

I had coffee with my Mom this morning and barely had any time to blog. So I'm writing this at WORK! Living dangerously again...

When I went out to the jeep this morning, one of those three-wheeled little police vehicles was rapidly pulling away (when the driver saw me). And coming up to the jeep, I saw why--I had a ticket on my windshield! Whaaaat? At first I couldn't figure out why I'd received a ticket, not on the wrong side (sides switch for snow plowing) not blocking a sidewalk or near a fire hydrant. At work I deciphered the smudgy ticket and it was for "facing wrong way" for $16.00!! Grrrr, I wasn't the only one doing that but appeared to be the only vehicle who received a ticket! Of course I still have out-of-state plates on the jeep, as I'm waiting for the holy grail of a clear title.

My new city, new state gave me a parking ticket! They're notorious for giving parking and speeding tickets to people from my (former)state. There's a rivalry between the two cities and thus the two states. My speeding ticket I got six years ago was also in my new state. And with the same scenario, plenty of people doing the same thing, and I was the one to get pulled over because I had out-of-state plates!

Yes, I know any parent has heard that argument from their kids and it's really NOT okay to do something just because everyone else is doing it. But somehow it's not totally fair, either. The ironic thing is that my former state/city is kind to out-of-state plates, in fact forgives or doesn't even issue parking tickets as part of a "hospitality" program.

It's kind of like (and I may be starting trouble here by saying this) when I was a kid the Lutherans would always be talking so badly about the Catholics, saying all sorts of true and untrue bad things. Whereas the Catholics never said anything bad about the Lutherans--which just made the Lutherans madder! It wasn't because the Catholics were kinder or better than the Lutherans, but because of a sort of arrogance that they didn't deign to even NOTICE them! This city vs. city rivalry is sort of like that.

Friday, Yay! Friday! Have a great one!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Shhh, Mom's still in bed

Geez, burned myself in the shower this morning. Can't remember when I last did that--like pre-teenager maybe? It was a dumb thing of turning the cold water off instead of the shower (all three handles look exactly the same) so the hot water got really really HOT, ouch! But I've showered here everyday since moving and that's been a while now. Guess I qualify as an idiot too, like the guy downstairs. Must be something about this building, ha ha!

In other breaking news, my son had a girl over last night! It's someone he's been with for quite a while but never brought her by our old little house. I can't blame him, we lived rather primitively. My Mom and I cooked up the dinner and invited them both to a "mystery meal" and we kept laughing about it. The two wisely declined because they said they'd eaten right before they came in. But I wonder... Anyway, I can see where I get my cooking skills from, my Mom. She has the same attitude as I do, can't find the sugar? Throw in some maple syrup!

But last night was the third night in a row that I cooked and ate dinner, did the dishes, then ended up on the couch asleep just an hour or two later. Don't know if it's because of being awakened so early or just that the effort of either cooking or help cook an entire large dinner every night is wearing on me! I'm used to throwing together a couple of things and putting them in the microwave. Wraps with various foods inside are good for that. Baked potatoes with cheese and vegetables on top are too. These large meals are wearing me out. Except--maybe it's because I've been EATING a large meal! But I can say that three people can produce an awfully lot of dishes and that usually I'm the one to do them all. I think I'm just spoiled at having (previously) so much non-work time to myself!

My blogging time coincides with time with my Mom, too. So sorry if I haven't been very good at reading and keeping up with everyone's fascinating continuing stories! Maybe Saturday I can catch up a bit, normally do that.

Another funny thing is that my Mom is kinda weird about the dial-up. She wants a dial tone on the telephone all of the time and is nervous about internet usage. My son had speed internet installed this week and will hook up mine soon. "What if some one was trying to call us?" she will say.

"Not likely at 5:35 a.m. Mom." I will reply. But it's a no win conversation and it will be good when we both can be online and Mom will still have her dial tone! I think that anyone who's trying to call can just call us back. Maybe that's kind of arrogant but I'm not worried about missing phone calls. In fact I really HATE call waiting! Amanda has it and will put me on hold several times during a conversation (that she called ME) to get the other calls. She must be like my Mom, cannot stand the thought of missing any phone calls!

How are you about missing phone calls? OK with it or want to talk to everyone who calls?

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Things up and down the stairs

Not much new here. We're settling in and it's comfortable. I like it here, I really really like it here. The neighborhood is nice. Not as in luxurious, but cozy, friendly, handy. It's great to come home from work and have someone to talk with, same in the morning--great to sit with my Mom to have a cup of coffee and start the day.

Yesterday was my first day back to work in quite a while. It was pretty busy, of course. There is trouble brewing, but I'm not involved (usually am not)so it's not as stressful to me as to the participants. At the staff meeting we did look at the layout for the new office again. Every time I see it, I get depressed. My desk is out in the middle of the floor. I'll be on display, and I HATE that. Am really going to miss my office with a window and a door. Oh well, we aren't there yet. August is the target date.

Got up early to let the dog out, and while I was out there, shoveled the sidewalk up to Mom's car (which was further than "our" area). Last night after work I stopped at the storage shed to retrieve my area rugs. I could not get the door open, so banged on it like the woman from the office had done the first time. Then I couldn't find my grass rug, my very favorite, the one special-ordered from Pier 1. I vaguely remember offering it to someone, a long time ago, so suppose I don't have it anymore. None of the area rugs would fit into my little house, of course. But did find the beige one and the green and beige one and the runner, so took them out, home and dragged them up the stairs.

The library people have not come to get the seven boxes of books in the hallway. They were going to call and then pick them up yesterday. Wonder if I'll have to lug the books to the car and into the library? Hope NOT! I'm very tired of carrying things, especially heavy things up and down those stairs!

But the apartment is shaping up. I saw my son's room last night and it looks very nice. His is the L-shaped one. Mine is currently full of rolled up area rugs but minus a lot of books! Hey, is it Wednesday already? Happy Hump Day!

Monday, February 20, 2006

The idiots beneath us

Well, the cold weather has warmed up. It's Monday and yet I'm off work, home, and enjoying the holiday! How cool is that? Much to catch up on for writing, but maybe I won't take the time to review everything that's happened, as that would be tedious for both you and me.

Saturday the landlords came over and fixed both closets. Now my Mom and I can both hang up our clothes, yay! I had a dream last night that my son's closet collapsed! We were all three planning to go to a movie on Saturday afternoon. My Mom hasn't been to a movie for 20 years or more and I haven't for awhile, either (but not THAT long!) so we picked out "The Pink Panther" with Steve Martin as one we all might like, also one that my son hasn't seen yet. He sees a lot of movies with his friends. He had to work right after the movie would be done, so needed to get totally ready for work before we went to the movie.

Turns out there was no hot water and he really needed to shower before going out or going to work! We had heard clanging and banging in the "secret room" bathroom right before this, so he went downstairs to ask the guy on the bottom floor if he was fixing something, had the water heater shut off, etc. When he knocked on their back door, he said a voice said "Come in" so he went into their kitchen (and saw the weird winding stairs up to the "secret room" bathroom) but nobody came to talk to him even after he said "Hello" "Hello?" loudly many times. So he went back up upstairs.

My Mom was putting on her boots, apparently not understanding exactly what was going on. "I don't think you'll need to do that yet, Mom" I told her, "We probably aren't going." So I went to knock on the downstairs' front door. A boy of about ten or eleven answered. I asked him about the hot water and he said, "We don't have hot water either." and that he'd go ask his Dad. I also asked him (to ask his father) "Should I call the landlord?" I didn't really want to bother them again, they had just fixed our closets a couple of hours previously.

The boy came back and said something about having separate water heaters, which really made no sense to me so I said, "So both water heaters are out? Should I call the landlords?" I was really wishing the darn father would just come to the door, I could hear him and a woman talking in the recesses of the apartment but neither came to talk to me. So I went back upstairs and called the poor landlords, feeling quite a pest. But it was necessary because we needed some hot water.

The husband landlord showed up quite quickly. He first went downstairs to talk to the guy (who is a friend of theirs) before coming up to talk to me. Turns out the stupid guy had spilled or poured wax down the drain. He had been banging and clanging on the pipes (which were clogged) and running hot water for over an hour and had run the hot water tank out! Now why didn't that idiot just 'fess up in the first place and let us know? What an **s to not tell us so we called and bothered the landlord. I'm not impressed. Pretend that I just typed some more bad language and insults against him!

Saturday I took my Mom to her bank and to the pharmacy to get her prescriptions filled. Sunday I took my Mom to her new church. We found the handicapped parking the the handicapped-access door. I stopped and picked up the Sunday newspaper before stopping to pick her up again after church. Later we went to the local mall to get food for Ricky, the chinchilla. They only had the pellet stuff in the pet store and Ricky won't eat that stuff, no matter how hungry he is. So I asked which would be the next closest, rabbit food or hamster food, as both of those had dried vegetables in them, which Ricky loves. It surprised me the hamster food is the closest to chinchilla food, so I bought that and some more ferret food.

Then we went to the laundramat which is only a block away from us. It had new machines that I had to figure out, but we purposely hadn't brought a lot of laundry. This was sort of a trial run before bringing the dirty bedding and the LOTS of laundry creating by moving. After our one load of clothing was clean, dried and folded, we went out to eat at the cheap little hotel restaurant where SLA and I often go out to eat. My Mom liked the food and had a box of chicken pieces to bring home as leftovers. I had steak and eggs and ate all of mine! No leftovers.

Today my Mom drove out to her old house to get a couple of light things, like her pills and to meet with her friends for coffee. She hasn't driven by herself anywhere since the move. Although she would come into the city once or twice a week before that and can find her way around here. She and her friends meet for breakfast every Monday morning and while she may not keep going out there every week, she wanted to this first week, at least.

So she's gone for a few hours and my son is sleeping. Ahhhh. This is turning out to be quite an adjustment for me too, although I'm basically enjoying the company. My Mom (no offense to her) is turning out to be quite a lot of work for me. There's a lot of things she can't do and she needs a lot of help. This move was a good thing as now it really scares me to think of her living alone out there! This was good timing. Even though I was visiting every week some of these things I had no idea were becoming difficult for her and that there were some problems.

Have a Happy Monday!

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Cold weather hits

Wrote this late last night, but didn't finish to get it posted:
Just got back from the super store, went to get a few things like milk, a mop, carpet cleaner, oatmeal, bananas and stuff like that. It's -20 in temperature here and -41 with the windchill. We normally get cold temperatures in the winter, but have been spoiled all winter so far because of record warm weather. You better believe I filled up the gas tank of my jeep before returning back home! The jeep HATES cold weather. In fact, since I can't plug it in, I'm going to have to go out again around 2:00 a.m. or so and start it up to run for awhile. I also ran my Mom's car for a bit, too. My son is at work. His car starts no matter how cold the temperature. I should have kept that car! But it wasn't a good car in the country because it would get stuck in deep snow. My Mom is exhausted from her house closing and went to bed even before I left. My brother is gone too, to stay in his new house. All of that went well. We went out to celebrate after the closing was done. They came to pick me up at the apartment, since I didn't go to the closing.

Today (Saturday): Had a nice cup of coffee with my Mom. I really like sitting in our beautiful, sunny kitchen and just talking. Son is still sleeping because he got home late from work. I got up early and cleaned my room the best I could. We had to put the rattan couch in here, which has scrunched things in a little. Plus I have boxes and boxes of books that I've sorted through, stacked on the floor. I'm going to call the Friends of the Library, who are having a book sale to benefit the library (which to two blocks from here!). I really hope they can come and GET them! I don't want to lug them back down the stairs and into somewhere else. But I will if I have to do it.

Duggie is doing amazingly well. Thanks for your concern about him! Both Son and V-Man are really good with animals and had/have been nursing him and doing ferret physical therapy! Duggie can walk around now. He still drags one of his back feet. And he can't eat very well. My Son bought him some high-end canned cat food that smells really good! But Duggie's mouth is burnt and sore, so he barely touches it. We think he bit through his tongue while he was convulsing from the current, too. Yuck, poor thing. But he's doing quite well for a little creature who had stopped breathing for over a minute at least. He doesn't want to play at all, of course. So that leaves Nebby in a playful mood--he tackled my feet in the bathroom. Ouch ouch! The ferrets play pretty rough.

I went down this morning after getting up, and started both cars. My Mom's car started up pretty well considering it had been used to the shelter of a garage. But the jeep barely started, so I had to sit out with it and babysit until it got warmed up (and I got really chilled!)

My Mom's closet collapsed when I had barely begun to hang up her clothes. So I've called the landlords and they will come this afternoon to fix both her and my closets. It'll be great to have a place to hang our clothes! My son's closet was the only one that didn't collapse, and I think that's only because he hasn't unpacked and hung up much in it yet.

Well, have a great Saturday! I hope it's a lot warmer wherever YOU are!

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Everyone is still alive

An update:
Well, Duggie is still alive and none of the movers killed each other. Miracles do happen! My Mom is sleeping in her new bed in her new room that we put together for her. Son is bringing Pseudo Son back home, V-man went home to re-light his woodstove. All is well. This move was much easier than our move but was still a move from hell. Aren't they all?

Caught in the Middle

Gee, I don't know where to start. Maybe an apology in advance would be good, for this is going to be yet another whiny post. Writing about my woes is so therapeutic and really helps. Reading about my woes...probably not that interesting. Sorry about that!

This is (or is supposed to be) moving day for my Mom. She's all set, getting a bit nervous about leaving the place she's lived in for almost 60 years! I wanted it to go well for her and not stress her out any more than possible. Well.

First, today we had a ferret emergency. I had bathed them in the bathtub after my shower and they were so cute that I was laughing outloud. Not for long. I couldn't find any of our own "dog" towels despite the fact I went through every box in my bedroom last night to make room for the rattan couch, and didn't want to use any of our good towels or my Mom's towels. So I didn't dry the ferrets off but let them slither around all wet. It was so cute. Until Duggie went behind the gas stove and (must have) bitten something. There was a yelp that sounded just like our little dog and I thought it was from her, at first. Duggie was convulsing behind the stove and I couldn't get him out, and I got quite a jolt just by touching him. I tried the soft end of a broom to get him out and then a large towel (which I should have used to dry him off) but nothing worked. So I had to get my son up, who had worked late. He leaped out of bed and to the rescue. He had to move the stove, put on thick winter gloves and lift Duggie out from where he was stuck.

The poor little ferret revived a little and started panting. His mouth was bleeding. I went to Walgreen's and got some baby teething pain stuff and some baby painkillers for him. Who knows how a ferret will react to that stuff but at least it made him more comfortable. He was in terrible pain and breathing hard. We wrapped him in a towel and talked to him. The painkillers seemed to ease him but his back legs were still limp. My son went back to bed after Duggie was stabilized. But the fact that Duggie had been lying there with the electricity going through him and had stopped breathing isn't good. Sadly he probably won't make it.

Before he went back to bed, my son insisted (as he had late last night) that today is a terrible day for moving and that we really ought to postpone the move. He went on and on (both times) about it. I'm feeling stuck in the middle here. My Mom is all nervous and steeled for the move to happen TODAY. I don't really want to cancel it and make her go through all of that again. Not to mention that we are getting a U-Haul, she wants to be moved BEFORE the closing tomorrow, and I took today off from work.

Vegetable Man IM'd me while I was writing this. I told him about poor Duggie but not that the last family member to help is now trying to get out of it! The V-Man is going to be really mad if my son starts talking about cancelling the move in front of him. When he were engaged, like ten years ago, he and my son had their problems. They are somewhat competitive and both can have really bad tempers when pushed. I don't want to be in the middle of all this. I just want the move be done with and take place TODAY!!!

Well, hope you have a lot more peaceful day than it looks like my day is going to be!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Valentine's Day Eve and the Jeep Title

Well, hope you had a good Valentine’s Day! I did: Chinese food, a rose and a red VELVET heart-shaped candybox. I love heart-shaped things and love velvet, too, so what a great combo that was. I brought the candy to SLA’s apartment next door. Her relatives were visiting and they ate most of the candy, which was good. One of her teenaged nieces was going to take the box but that’s when I snatched it back and went home! My box, My Precious….

I had just had two Monday night dinners over there with those same relatives. They’re a fun bunch. The first time I was invited it was very last minute so I didn’t bring anything. This time I made deviled eggs and brought candy hearts and a jug of sangria. It was a fun pre-Valentine’s Day party. Valentine’s Day Eve, as we called it.

Now we are planning a wine and cheese-head party, as we have decided that we need the proper headgear to live in this town. I’ll have the party at my apartment, when my Mom gets moved in and we get it arranged and cleaned up. So--the party won’t be anytime soon! Maybe by the next football season.

Oh, the jeep title story. Oh dear, where do I start? Perhaps back a couple of years ago when I bought the vehicle. I wondered why I didn’t receive a car title and was told by the dealer that the lender was holding it until I paid it off. That sounded rather strange to me, as I’ve bought several vehicles and have always received the title, but it has a lien on it until the loan is paid off. So I called the lender and was told the same thing. It was a new policy they had just started. I figured that was that and since I never had any problems in getting new tabs for the Jeep, I didn’t even think about it again….

Until I was at the lender’s office with the check from the sale of my house in my hand, ready to pay off the loan. I did pay it off and received a receipt, but they couldn’t seem to find the car title. It was late in the day and the person in charge of such things was gone so they promised to call me the next day. They didn’t call, but I called them to ask about my title. They said that “something was funny about the title” but won't tell me exactly what and promised to mail out the lien release form and check into the title situation.

When I received the form, I called again about the title. The loan person suggested I take the lien release to the Motor Vehicle Department to get my title. This sounded even stranger to me, but I did, hurrying after work to reach the DMV before they closed. The woman at the counter was puzzled, “But the title isn’t in your name.” she said, “I’ll need a lien release from ___ ___ (name of total stranger) as well as this one from the lender.”

I stared at her, “But the title was never cleared after I bought the vehicle?”

She shook her head, “No, apparently not. They never cleared the title when they sold the car to you.”

“But I wouldn’t have paid it off had I known that!” I cried. “What do you recommend that I do?”

The woman at the counter was wise and helpful, unlike many. She said, “Yep, isn’t that the darnest thing? Take this blank lien release, go back to your lender and have them fill this out and notarize it. Then bring it back to me and I’ll see what I can do.”

I grabbed the blank form and bolted out the door. I had gotten off work at 4:00, arrived at the DMV around 4:30 and both the DMV and the lender’s office closed at 5:00! Lucky for me the normal Friday night banking crowds had thinned and I was at the counter presenting my blank form. The teller was puzzled but quickly understood my problem, apologized and made some notes in my loan file. She filled out the blank form and notarized it too! The wonderful thing about this is that she really wasn't supposed to do that, the form required the Jeep's original owner to sign. But she bypassed that bit for me (as the wise DMV woman had intended she do) and notarized the form which made it legal.

I raced back (across town) in rush-hour traffic to the DMV office. It was mere minutes until they closed. The original woman at the counter saw me and waved me forward, “Hey, you made it back!” she said.

“And without even speeding!” I cried, but that wasn’t totally true. I just didn’t WANT her to think I had been speeding. Another DMV woman came over to watch the transaction.

“This is the strangest thing.” The original one said to her, while processing my title request “The dealer and the lender never cleared the title for her at point of sale.”

The DMV didn’t charge me for the duplicate title (which normally costs a bit) and even took down my new address to be sure to mail the title to the right place. It was sure nice to have such competant people work to fix my title fiasco! Unlike the people I had bought it from, who had messed it up. All the time I had been driving with the jeep in somebody else’s name (the guy who had traded it in to the dealership) so good thing there had been no accidents! Geez. I don't know what the moral or lesson would be to this story! Maybe don't trust lenders or car dealerships, even ones you've ben with for a long time. But I thought I already knew that. Or maybe that there are some helpful and competant people even at the lender's office and the DMV!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

More vacation, yay....and Happy VD!

Hey, I'm taking two vacation days this week, Thursday and Friday! Actually they ought to be called "vacation" days, as Thursday is my Mom's move and Friday is her closing. My younger brother (buyer of her house) will be here on Friday, of course. I'm dreading it. He will not be pleased to see the stairs in the apartment and he'll be sure to scold me for it--privately, so Mom can't hear him. Oh joy, I can hardly wait. Am already nervous about how the stairs are going to work out for her. But I did my best, I swear I did, to find a ground-level three-bedroom apartment for us all that didn't have stairs. My brothers are both extremely happy that now they don't have to worry about Mom any more. Well, maybe they still do, but it's not my fault!

Neither of my brothers or any other family member besides my son and I are helping her move, either. Vegetable Man is furious about that and I hope he and my brother aren't going to run into each other at the apartment! We have a moving crew set of son, pseudo son, V-Man and me. That's not a large crew but will have to do. My Mom cannot carry any sort of boxes, heavy or light, of course. I still need to make room in my bedroom for the rattan couch. Otherwise my Mom's couch, recliner and other things won't fit into the living room. My closet is still broken, the landlords have not fixed it yet. The whole rod and shelf thingy came down when I hung up my NIGHTGOWN! Talk about the straw that broke the camel's back! But I can't put things in the closet, nor hang up my clothes in there, very inconvenient.

Oh, and have I told you the fiasco over the jeep's title when I paid it off? Maybe another day. As for the creepy room: remember how the landlords kept putting off my even SEEING the apartment because they were renovating it? There was a reason. They probably didn't want me to see that they were dividing the bathroom into two bathrooms, one for the DOWNSTAIRS guy and one for us!!! So the secret room, right in the middle of our apartment but inaccessible to us is a bathroom for the guy who lives in the ground-floor apartment. Apparently he didn't have one down there and had been using the one on second floor. Hmmmm, I was not happy when I'd figured it out but have since gotten used to it. It does explain why, when we first moved in, it sometimes sounded like someone was in our apartment! His bathroom is surrounded by our bathroom, kitchen and living room. Very weird. Nobody probably could have guessed that one.


Don't like Valentine's Day? (I love it, it's my very FAVORITE DAY!) Today is International Quirkyalone Day! Here's some info from quirkyalone.net

"Take this February 14 to discover what you uniquely love to do, alone or with friends, and create a great day for yourself. Be proactive. If you can't take the day off, so do something special at lunch or in the evening.

There are infinite ways to celebrate IQD. Here are a few ways to get you thinking.

1. Turn off your cell phone and go for a long walk by yourself. Reflect and enjoy.
2. Explore a new part of town. Be a tourist in your own city.
3. Go to a movie alone.
4. Rearrange your furniture.
5. Buy yourself a heater pad so you won’t cave in to a so-so relationship for a warm body in bed. (Call it “Henry Heater Pad.”)
6. Start a monthly potluck dinner or brunch with friends.
7. Make a list of things that are going well in your life.
8. Write a love letter to a friend and mail it.
9. Buy yourself a bunch of daisies. Daisies, being natural and cheerful, are the official flower of the quirkyalone movement.
10. Snuggle up with a copy of Quirkyalone: A Manifesto for Uncompromising Romantics.

...have a very happy IQD!!"

Have a great Tuesday and Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 13, 2006

Tale of the Secret (Creepy) Room: A Mystery!

This story goes back even further than the night before closing event. It was Wednesday, February 1st of the week from hell AKA as moving week and we had already used and returned the U-Haul for moving the large things and the furniture. Now we were doing the tedious task of conveying the smaller boxes and fragile stuff over to the apartment by car.

We had loaded up the two cars and parked on the street below the apartment. My son said, “You must have forgotten to turn the bathroom light off” for there was a small, square light in a window on the second (our) floor of the apartment building. He was quicker in taking a box upstairs and met me on way up on the stairs. “Funny,” he said. “The bathroom light isn’t on now.” So I looked when I came upstairs with my box and I had been right, our bathroom light was off. I went back down to the cars on the street and my son was pointing, “Look,” he said, and there was still the small, square window with a light on our floor!

He went back upstairs, while I stayed on the street. He flickered our bathroom light and the living room light The small, square lighted window was BETWEEN our bathroom and the living room, on the same floor! What the heck?

We figured it out from recalling (after the fact) things our landlords had said and especially (big clue!) why it had taken them so long to fix our bathroom to we could start moving in. What do you think the creepy light was from? Take a guess!

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Long, long ago: the night before closing

Well, I have an alternate phone or internet connection now! But it's quite uncomfortable: the monitor is on one chair, the keyboard on another, and I'm sitting on the couch leaning over the keyboard--in the middle of the livingroom. Hard on the back, I found out last night while trying to catch up a little in reading blogs, but better than nothing.

It's really old news by now, but I'd like to relive the last part of our move, 'way back on Thursday and Friday, February 2 and 3. Hard to believe we've been here a week already. Still lots of stuff to put away. Anyway, after moving from early in the morning until late at night on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, we were facing Thursday as the last day to complete the move and clean up. My son was at work, like most of the week, and I still had the storage shed to finish and had to clean the entire house, including shampooing the carpets. I was tired, no exhausted by then and doubtful if I'd ever be able to finish those last two big tasks alone. So I shamelessly begged for help. The Vegetable Man came over to help with the storage shed and Anton (of Amanda and Anton, my married friends) came over to help start the cleaning.

V-Man found lots of stuff he could use for the farm and even took the tires that had been in the shed when I bought the house (there was a lesson for me, here, to be revealed later). Anton vacuumed the house and collected my huge supply of plant pots (outdoors) to give to some non-profit agency. He and Amanda do a lot of volunteering. There was a lot of stuff we just put into garbage bags and hauled to the end of the driveway for pickup on Friday morning. The garbage service had been alerted that this would be a very large pickup.

After several hours of labor, the V-Man although extremely helpful (couldn't have finished without him) became a bit crabby and bossy, telling me not to drag the garbage bags down the driveway. I was so tired and exhausted that I nearly burst into tears at his long-winded railing and lecturing, but decided to go back into the house and clean with Anton instead. Yes I knew I shouldn't drag the bags but I was just too tired to lift them, they were so heavy and we were taking two at a time. (Later, V-Man apologized for that behavior as he realized that if he was tired and crabby after only a couple of hours, how was I feeling after four days of it?!)

Anton soon had to go and pick up Amanda from work, he said they might return later to help. V-Man had to get home before dark and chop wood for his woodstove, so I was alone again and the house still needed a lot of cleaning, top to bottom. I made another run to the apartment with a jeepload of boxes, carried them all up the stairs and drove back to continue cleaning the house. The long road back and forth was so familiar to me by now that I could drive it in my sleep (and just about did, too!) I hurried back to the house in case A & A showed up again to help clean. I was hoping my son would get off of work early at 9:00 or so, but he didn't. Finally, late as I was despairing of getting the place cleaned in time, A & A returned. They had gone out to eat and were fresh and fired up for cleaning. Amanda did the kitchen, I cleaned the bathroom, using bleach to try to take the rust stains (from our well water) out of the shower. It was murder on my hands, they were already sore to the touch and my palms were red like they had been burnt.

My son came shortly after midnight and with the four of us it took another hour to finish up. Then we drove over the bridge again to get some sleep. Remember, that postal exam was early Friday morning, and my son had his heart set on getting a job there. We were tired and sore and apparently quite slow to each shower and dress (I had trouble finding suitable clothing) as we barely made it to the test site on time. The doors were to be closed at 8:30 a.m. and we were the last two people to be let inside. If we hadn't (accidentally) pulled right up to the right spot at the hotel were it was being held, we wouldn't have arrived in time. I had to go to the bathroom and had been hoping for enough time for a quick trip. Also, we were supposed to bring two #2 pencils each, but I could find only two, total. So we each had one pencil, with a less than desirable eraser.

It was a long test, from 8:30 to noon. I had to forget my "needs" and concentrate on the exam. Two of the sections were memory ones, never my strong point, although I think my son did well on them. We survived that, and went home, me to get ready for the house closing and my son to get ready for work.

The closing was stressful, like they often are (I’ve been through many of them, six on my own as a single person) especially to the seller, and this one was no exception. The buyer is a real estate agent and knew all the angles and tricks, he wanted this and that, the two (my agent and he) would confer privately and come back with something else. Then my agent and I would privately discuss, the agent would take it back, and so forth. Some of the concessions I had to make were quite annoying. The buyer insisted that I deduct $400 from the selling price because of a large tire left in the storage shed (I had “inherited” the tire, and V-Man had cleaned out everything else from the shed) after dickering back and forth the deduction was cut to $250. And there were several other concessions and actions I had to make, including paying off the garbage company who had just picked up the load that morning! I had told them and they had my new address, but it didn’t matter to the buyer who, for some reason, was afraid he’d get stuck for the costs.

The surprising and happy thing was while we were (finally!) signing all those papers, the buyer told me that he is NOT tearing the house down! He asked a lot of questions about the neighborhood and the neighbors because he’s going to build on to the house. That made me very happy, as I am fond of my former little house!

My Mother is impatient to move in, so we will have a busy weekend of trying to put our stuff away to make room for her. Have a great weekend!

(added later) The lesson, as mentioned above? Never let the seller leave junk in the basement, storage shed, garage or anywhere else! Make them get rid of it before you will close on the house, or pay you what it will cost you to clean up. I didn't do that--inherited a storage shed of junk that became MY problem when I wanted to sell the place.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

A quick write

Hey, still no internet service at home so I'm writing this at work again. Things have been interesting both at work and at home. Wish I had the time and safety to write about them.

I'm sure that I'm MISSING interesting things that you are writing about on your blogs. Hope this gets fixed soon, I feel cut off from this intelligent and witty community! Every day there are new takes on things and new things to think about, oh well. Back soon, I hope. Have a good one...

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Living dangerously

Yes, I'm blogging at work. The IT guy is FEET away from me! Risky, as this is a good job I wouldn't want to lose. The pull of blogging is strong!

We still don't have phone service at home despite four calls to the provider. And the mail is messed up, too. Our address is a weird one that makes no sense, so both seem to be having trouble with it.

I have lots of stories to tell, but they'll be old news by the time I can blog (safely!) from home again.

Have a great day!

Saturday, February 04, 2006

I'm a Cheesehead now

Well, we're here, moved across the border. The move was horrendous. Never again do I want to do that (mostly) alone. My son worked (at his job, not moving) every day except Tuesday, when we had the U-Haul and moved the heavy stuff Other than that, I would start early, at 6:00 a.m. or 7:00 and work until 2:00 a.m. at filling and carrying boxes. By Wednesday I was sore from head to toe, but just had to keep going, to get it done.

As it was, I did have cleaning help at the end so we worked until "only" midnight on the last day, Thursday night. Geez, it was brutal. My hands are cut up and the palms are bright red and sore, like they've been burnt. The phone installation was messed up, so while we had hoped to at least get a land line by Thursday, we don't have a phone or internet yet. There's a story behind all of tha. I'm at a cafe writing this while waiting for the Scone Club meeting. I have a goose egg on my head from being clobbered with the push lawnmower wicked wooden handle. Ouch, it dropped me to my knees amd that's the only time I lost it and started bawling.

We have a secret room in the new apartment, another story, if I can bear to relive the move someday when we get internet service at home. Despite my complaining about the awful awful move--I love our new apartment!

Hope all goes well with you all, I've missed you. Happy Weekend!