Houston, We Have Broadband...

I can now irritate you on an almost daily basis. You're thrilled, I know you are.

I bet you're as thrilled as Buddah is, now that he's found places to play that make me dizzy by merely contemplating being up there. What he really wants is to figure out a way to the highest part of that wall...sooner or later the how of it will occur to him, but he might not figure out how to get down, leaving us to wonder whether we go out and buy a long ladder, or leave him there forever...



Tired...very tired.

Old house is empty and clean. Very clean. Who knew I could clean like that?

New house is packed to the rafters and untidy and not clean at all. But once we put all our stuff away, it'll be very spiffy.

The cats are settling in; Buddah had an entire afternoon of OHMYGAWD but Max just explored. Buddah crawled up inside a recliner--way up in the back where he was determined to stay forever, until the Spouse Thingy reached in and pulled him out after a couple of hours--while Max sauntered through the place like an old pro, looking for the fun stuff, probably knowing there was no going back. I worried about Buddah being as freaked out as he was (I took him upstairs to show him some familiar stuff, and he trembled so hard it damn near broke my heart) but after several hours he took a good look around and discovered there are places high up, places that with a little creativity he can get to. Places that make me take a deep breath and mutter "please don't fall, please dont fall..."

And thusly did the new house become one giant toy for Buddah, calming him down more than a good dose of Prozac could have. If I can find my camera, I'll take photographic proof of him giving me a heart attack.

Comcast was supposed to come on Monday between 3-5 to connect the cable and give me much needed Internet access. At 5:15 the Spouse Thingy--remembering the fiasco of the last move, when they went to the wrong house and we waited until after 10 p.m. for someone to show (and they didn't. not until 5 the next day...)--to inquire about whether or not they stll planned on showing up. Tech person on the phone radioed cable guy, who claimed he had been at the house at 4:40 but no one was home. Ah, no, we were home at 4:40. He described the house as "white with a brown door." Ah, no, that doesn't describe any house on this street. Tech person offered a huge discount and rescheduled for Wednesday between 3-5.

Need I say that no one showed up then, either? Supposedly they'll be here Friday between 3-5.

I should be putting stuff away right now, but I'm exhausted and am taking most of the day off from lifting and sweating and wondering how long my back will hold out (no complaints, it could be worse; I could be the Spouse Thingy, who has hauled and lifted and hauled some more, and who now has to work 5 ten and twelve hour nights in a row) so I'm sitting in the Vacaville library, leeching off their wireless signal.

Keep your fingers crossed we don't have to do this again for a very long time. I dont wanna move again.


The movement of large pieces of furniture and the Ticking Off The Kitties begins tomorrow...and since we won't have Internet access until Tuesday, it's not likely that I'll post or be blog surfing until then.

Don't cry. I will be back. I promise.

Or is that a threat...?



I am tired.

We moved quite a bit of stuff today, enought that's I'm sure that when Saturday rolls around--UHaul truck day--we'll have all the little things out of here and over there.

I uploaded some pictures to Flickr...You can see how nice it'll be--and we have a *really* nice back yard, complete with a swingset for the Boy. He's only 23, he might still use it... Just a few pix of the Ick Factor. Like, the oven. IckIck.

Peek at da house, if ya want... (and I hope that link works...)


Not quite a year ago we moved into this house, and were underwhelmed by how clean it was. I mean, I had to surgically remove boogers from one wall, the owner's dog had peed copiously on the carpet, the kitchen was only so-so... It just wasn't clean.

Or so I thought.

Today we got the keys to the new place. New Place makes This Place look like it had been scrubbed raw. The carpets are a mess. None of the bathrooms had been cleaned, not even close. The kitchen is, well, ick. And not just your garden variety ick, but ICK OHMYGAWD how could someone leave the grease traps so loaded that they're oozing, the inside of the microwave encrusted with last months' meals, and the oven coated in ack. Yes ack. Because that's what I said when I opened it. ACK.

So now we move, truckload by truckload, and between now and the end of the month I need to scrub two houses from top to bottom, and I'm tired just thinking about it.

Ya know, I am not the best housekeeper. I frankly suck at it. But I would be mortified to leave a place in that condition. When we hand over the keys to this house it will be as clean as I can get it (which even at my standards is a lot cleaner than when we moved in) because I'm not going to inflict my every day sloth onto other people.

Am I just expecting too much...? Is an ick free house one of those pipe dreams?

Inquiring minds want to know.

(My mood is not improved by the realization that the bedrooms are much smaller than we originally thought, and our stuff must might not fit...)

((Once clean, it will be a very nice place, no matter how much I'm whining now...))


Ya Don't Say...

As I went into the grocery store this afternoon I made note of a table off the to side of the entryway, far enough to not be obtrusive, but close enough that the wares the girl scouts were peddling could be noticed. I made a mental note of "maybe" (because I had bought some earlier in the day at another location, I am a sucker for those little girls all excited and willing to ask people to buy stuff, but really, how many cans of cashews does one need?), went inside and got my box of au gratin potatoes, and trailed behind a tall guy about 30 years old as I headed for the door.

The door swung open, he stepped out, and a little blonde about seven years old smiled and said "Hey, mister, you look like you need some nuts!"

Oh yeah, I bought more nuts.

And I made sure I didn't wet myself laughing until I was safely in my car...


I'm Already Tired, And We Haven't Even Moved Yet...

  • We get the keys to the house on Monday.
  • We rode by it today; current tenants are still moving out.
  • Property Management Guy's person says the carpets will be cleaned this weekend, no problem.
  • I did not notice there were any carpets...
  • We have packed up at least 70% of our chit.
  • We want to move yesterday.
  • No one has come to see the current house...heh.
  • Max seems to know what's going on, but I don't think he cares.
  • Buddah sees all the boxes and thinks "toys!"
  • I see all the boxes and think all I wanna do is go for a ride.
  • I rode today in my spiffy new bright orange armored shirt and bright orange vest.
  • Can ya see me now?
  • It's Thump-o-ween!
  • I am considering taking some classes next semester.
  • Online applications aren't being accepted yet.
  • I have no idea when they'll start taking them for next semester.
  • I'm not sure what classes I'll take.
  • Maybe real estate...I like snooping in peoples' houses.
  • Well, I think I do. I like to watch HGTV alot and snoop virtually.
  • I can ride my bike to school!
  • Buy me some saddlebags. Go on, you know you want to.
  • If you live nearby and want a pool table, lemme know. we don't want to take it with us to the new place.
  • It's in good shape, we just won't have room for it.
  • It's not a GOOD pool table, just one you can get from Sears.
  • But this one is free.
  • Fall is coming.
  • I love fall 'cause I can wear sweatshirts, but I hate that it's getting dark so early.
  • I don't wanna be night blind anymore.
  • Mebbe I should have eaten more carrots as a child...?
  • But I'm pretty sure I ate a lot of carrots.
  • Still reading?
  • Take a cookie on your way out. They're really BIG chocolate chip cookies. Really!


The One Where Thumper Nearly Wet Herself With Joy...'s squealable-nice. Thousands of brand new books, new chairs to sit in, bright lights and pretty colors on the walls. AND a Seattle's Best coffee shop where I can sit and write if I'm so incined. I'm sure I will be so inclined many, many times.

I bought 3 books (then got home and realized I already had one of them, but it was free [buy 2, get the 3rd for free], so I'll just pass it on to a friend...) and wandered up and down the aisles, dazzled by all the pretty colors while the Spouse Thingy tried in vain to find one particular book.

I would have stayed and admired it some more, but I didn't think he'd be very happy about that.


Because I am really nosy, I poked around and found the real estate listing for this house. I'm not terribly happy that they took a picture with my car in the driveway and then posted it online, but you can't see the license plate, so it's all right.

They want $499,000 for it. They might get $475,00, if they can get anyone to come over and look at it. After we're out...I can't see anyone wanting it with all our boxes piled up all over the place, hiding the things that really are good about this place.

But dang, real estat listings can stretch the truth...

fully landscaped...sure, except for that huge patch of nothing but dirt right out by the front door.

all laminated floor downstairs...the cheapest laminate available, installed by someone that had no clue what they were doing, hence all the odd little "finishing" pieces that look pretty crappy.

formal dining area is raised...and you will trip over that rise at least 22 times in the first six months you live in the house.

backyard overhang for privacy...created and installed by the same guy that did the flooring. Ignore the fact that the wood wasn't treated and is now brittle and warping. Or that the upper slats are an inch apart each, so there's no shade.

Fireplace, wood burning...jammed into the corner in the family room, pretty much unusable if you intend on having any furniture in the room.

It really is a good house, and someone out there is absolutely going to love it. But there's a lot to overlook, especially for half a million bucks.

And there are at least 6 other houses within sight of it for sale.


Good luck to the owners.


I am excited.
Why am I excited?
Because there's a new bookstore opening up nearby this week.


:::runs around like tail is on fire:::

You wouldn't be this excited?
Well Phffffft on you.

On the day it opens I am going to go there and buy a book even if I don't need a new one, and I am going to stand there in the middle of the store with my mouth hanging open as I drink in all the sights and smells of brand new books just waiting for someone to open them and read. Oh, and I hope there's a cafe thingy in it where I can go and sit and write and watch people...

It doesn't take much to make me happy. Books and internet access and a bike to ride and dinner out 5 times a week the occassional Jack In the Box chocolate milkshake.

Oh man.

Now I want a milkshake.

But...books! The bookstore opens this week!


Chances are, if you don't ride a motorcycle, one of the first things that pops out of your mouth when one of your friends decides to learn to ride is "there was this guy I knew, and he rode a Harley, and he was hit by 5 different cars ALL AT THE SAME TIME and now he's a vegetable."

Or something like that.

A little probing generally reveals that the rider was on his bike without a helmet, or he was wearing a t-shirt and shorts, sometimes even flip flops; nothing to protect his body from a crash. Or he was a self-taught rider, never took a safety class. Or there was alcohol involved.

Riding is risky, but there are things a person can do to minimize the risk. Dress for the crash, not for the ride. Take a basic rider's class, don't learn from Crazy Uncle Larry. Wear a helmet. Start on a reasonable bike, not a 1300cc sportsbike.

The majority of motorcycle accidents involve untrained (whether they have years of experience or not) riders, riders not geared up, and riders who "just had one beer."

There are exceptions, though.

Sometimes the stars just don't align right, and something Really Bad happens.

The day my father-in-law died, the boyfriend of my closest friend's daughter was on a motorcycle; one car hit another car that hit him. He was fully geared up, he knew how to ride, and had years of well trained experience. But it happened anyway.

At first it sounded promising; he had a few broken bones and some brain swelling, but it was survivable. The pressure in his skull was reduced, some internal bleeding was resolved, and it seemed like it was just a matter of letting him heal.

But then things went horribly wrong. He developed pneumonia. One lung collapsed. He became septic. When all those things were resolved his blood stopped holding onto oxygen. His family and girlfriend watched helplessly and waited, holding hope against hope, and praying ferverently for the outcome they wanted.

His funeral was 2 days ago.

He was 24 years old.

I know the risks of riding; he knew the risks of riding. I know that even though I do everything I can to protect myself that something might happen. You can do everything right and something might still happen. A rear tire might blow at 50 miles an hour. Someone in a car might blow through an intersection. Someone turning left from a center lane might not be looking past the van headed their way and might turn as soon as it passes, not realizing there's a motorcycle behind it.

I'm still going to ride.

I don't know if I have a point. Maybe it's just that bad things happen even when we do everything we can to prevent them. It doesn't seem fair, but there ya go.

Life isn't always fair. We suck it up and go on.

If you do ride, do me a favor and put your passenger pegs down and take a ride around your neighborhood in memory of a 24 year old named Justin, a kid who did it as right as he knew how.


Wherein I Verbally Regurgitate Onto Virtual Paper =or= A Little Something For The Insomniacs...

It hit me earlier today.

I'm 45.

Yeah, I know I had a birthday and did grasp the fact that I'd hit 45 years old, but today the little lightbulb went off over my head.


My life is probably more than half over. Well, I might make it to 90; my grandmother almost made it to 100, but I'm not counting on it. I'd like to, seeing as how dying is my #1 fear, but I know the odds probably aren't in my favor.

So it's likely more than half over. It's at this point a lot of people sit back and panic because they haven't done what they wanted to to. My problem is that I sat back and panicked because it occured to me that I have already done the things I wanted to do.

I wrote a book. Heck, I wrote more than one. Feedback on them has been favorable, including Most High Praise from my father-in-law, who said to me not 2 months ago that Finding Father Rabbit was his favorite. Since it's my favorite, too, that meant a lot. Getting rich off them was never a part of the picture, so not hitting the New York Times Bestseller list has not been a disappointment. It would have been nice, but... I never wrote for money. I still don't. Although I would accept payment, for sure.

I raised a kid and didn't screw him up too badly. And the Spouse Thingy and I are still together, and so far I don't think either of us has harbored thoughts of spousal homicide.

Ok, I haven't. I shouldn't speak for him.

I've had a really good life...but I've done what I wanted to do, I've hit the high points that you dream about when you're too young to have a full grasp on what Real Life can do to a person.

There should still be a whole lot left to want at 45, right?

(Aside from material stuff. I have a long list of crap that y'all can chip in to buy me. Heck yes I can be materialistic, and I'm not ashamed. I like toys. Big toys.)

But in the grand scheme of things, there should still be things I want to be. But I'll be damned if I can think of any.

That should make me happy, right?

It does...but since I'm not done, I don't want to be done.

I'm still writing, fighting the same story I've been fighting for at least a year (it's slowly worming its way out) but I think I want something different.

Like a job.

That's not exactly being something or reaching for IT, but it's something. The problem with getting a job is that requires asking for a job, getting through an interview, and I completely, totally, overwhelmingly suck at those things.

Beside, what could I do?

I have no skills, really.

I'm 45 and I've done all I really wanted to do, and I have no skills to show for it.

Unless someone out there wants to hire someone who is obviously verbose, which obviously I am, because this is going on and on and on... This is what happens when I think out loud.

I talk in circles, and put others to sleep.

You're welcome.

Ever Had A Day When You Felt Like This?


While I drove towards the store this evening--life is not complete without milk, hot dogs, and Cheetos (Mmmm, nutrition...)--I noticed a squirrel on the other side of the road.

And then I noticed several nuts in the road.

That, I surmised, is going to be one dead squirrel in about 3 minutes.

I went on, got my milk and hot dogs and Cheetos, and headed home. As I approached the intersection, I remembered the squirrel, and hoped I wouldn't see what I was pretty sure I would see.

The light went red, so I stopped.

Then I looked.

Mr. Squirrel was alive and well, and hauling bits and pieces of nuts off the road. He'd made himself a nice little pile about 2 feet into the dirt.

A nice little pile of freshly cracked nuts.

The light went green, and I slowly--because I did not want to be the one to run over Mr. Squirrel--began to move forward. He stayed safely off the road, munching on his deliberate roadkill.

That has to be the Smartest Squirrel Ever.

1 pile of nuts
10 cars rolling over them
1 pile of cracked nuts with no major effort

He knew exactly what he was doing.

We should worry I think.

If the squirrels unite, they might try to take over the world...


September already.

Time flies, eh...?

Last night I surfed into email, and off in the sidebar I noticed a little green dot, the one that tells me a friend--or just someone I email occasionally--is online. I'm not one to initiate IMs, because hell, why would anyone want me to interrupt their reading and writing of email, but I felt an impulse to click on their name and just say "Hey."

Before I could, an IM window popped up. "Heyya," she said. "Your month just sucked, didn't it?"

It was not the best month in the history of months, no.

"You still have to move? Did your landlord give you a reprieve under the circumstances?"

Hell, we didn't even ask. His realtor was extremely understanding and didn't even call back until a few days ago about letting someone in to see the house. And after losing the Spouse Thingy's dad, having to move seemed like a nothing kind of thing. Ok, so we intended to stay in this house for at least one more year and hadn't entertained the notion of moving, but the owner has the right to sell it. And he gave us more than the 30 days notice he needed to.

The looking for a new place to live, the packing and the clearing doesn't seem like much of anything at this point. After taking such a hard blow--and it still hurts, sometimes like a hot poker coming out of the blue--moving is just a detail. We'll take care of it, and quite literally move on.

We're looking at it as opportunity now. We get to move. We get to leave one really nice house for one that's probably even better. One with space that makes a little more sense for us. And we found it so quickly, like it was meant to be.

"I remember how all this feels," she tells me. Then I recall her own pain, just a few years old, when she lost her father to his 5th stroke. "All the sudden you feel like a grown up."

And you do. Death is such an adult thing to deal with, all the things that have to be taken care of. I stood on the periphery and watched others take care of the hard things: funeral arrangements, getting death certificates, and now the maze of life insurance and social security payments and What Has To Be Done Next. And I noticed the hard lines of sorrow and fatigue drawn on the Spouse Thingy's face, a weariness that could be measured in definite volumes of weight, clinging to him and pressing him down.

Then today I read this at Blogs Are Stupid: I would realize over the next couple days that grief paints time on peopleÂ?s faces; the canvas of our skin becoming a stark portrait of our mortality. It strips us of our pretenses and lays bare the awful truthÂ?that every hour of every day, we are getting older. It denies us the illusion of forever.

The weight of grief just wraps itself around you and strangles grownupness into you.

But gets better. "Give it a few weeks," she said. "You'll feel immature and stupid all over again. Inappropriate farting will make you laugh."

Don't fret Those Moments, she advised. The thoughts you'll have when you move into the new house. The crushing sadness of He'll never see this place. He won't see how wonderful his clock looks there. The kitties peeking at him through the rails on the stairway. Cry if you want to and don't apologize for it. And for God's sake, don't let anyone heap that "but he wasn't your father" crap on you. You were lucky. Not everyone gets to have inlaws that don't feel like outlaws.

We talked about heaven and hell; I believe in the former and have my doubts about the latter. There has to be a purpose to the lives we're given, and I don't think that our eternities are punished for the human mistakes we make. We get here, we grow, we learn; we either become good people or we don't. We get it or we don't. For the same reason you wouldn't ground your kid for 10 years for his teen stupidities, I can't see burning in hell for our all too human and very mortal idiocies. Maybe there's a celestial time out, maybe not.

It's just that in the grand scheme of things, getting kicked out of a house seems kind of trivial. It might not if we had no where else to go, I know this. But in the face of that strangulating grownupness, the murky watercolor gray that grief paints on every horizon, it doesn't really matter. We'll dangle pizza and beer in front of the Boy and his friends, and we'll take our stuff from one place to the next, and we'll deal with it all.

We'll just do it. Simple as that.