Well, here's a thrill for us...apparently our loan expires on Monday, and if we don't close on the house by then, we have to extend for 15 days, all for the low low price of $2250!

Are we having fun yet?


Did you hear all those bad words floating past you on the air today? Things like $#@$ and &^%@##(* and $%!^. That was the Spouse Thingy and I, when it got to be late enough in the day that it was apparent that we were not going to close on the house like we were supposed to. And we won't tomorrow either. We might close next week. Apparently no one can track down the person from one of 3 banks that needs to sign off on the whole deal.

Adding to that joy, when we got home from running errands, there was a Notice of Trustees Sale taped to the front door, so the Spouse Thingy got the joy of calling the landlord and letting her know in so many words, "Congrats! You've been foreclosed on!" Date of sale is Jan 20th, so we kind of need to close soon enough to be moved out by then.

Bad words, bad words, bad words...



Meet Butters


Butters is the Boy's newly adopted puppy; he's a 10-11 month old Chihuahua/French Bulldog mix, and we finally got to meet him today.

The cats were not happy; they both got a good look at him and then tore upstairs to hide under the bed, and when Butters was gone Max showed his displeasure by barfing all over the kitchen floor. The Spouse Thingy and I, though, found him utterly adorable. He's cute, he listens to the Boy and follows him around, whines when he cant find him, and didn't seem to have a problem jumping up on my lap, curling up next to me, and licking my face.

Now, the Spouse Thingy loves dogs. If we thought Max could take it, we'd likely be getting one when we move into the new house.

Butters, unfortunately, has a problem with strange men and was very slow to warm up to him (but he did happily take treats!) and there was not as much petting as the Spouse Thingy would have liked. When Butters was distracted by Buddah coming downstairs to see if he was still there, he finally let the Spouse Thingy pick him up....but only for that minute.

Butters is definitely a rescue dog; the Boy got him from the shelter, and it's very apparently that he was abused before the shelter got him. He shirks away from the hands of men he doesn't know enough to trust, and at one point when the Boy was throwing a toy for Butters to chase his hand moved too fast and barely brushed Butters' cheek...and the poor puppy bowed down and cried out--he was terrified he was going to get hit. That damn near broke my heart. It still does...I choke up thinking about it.

Anyone who makes a dog feel that way deserves a huge kick to the nads, and I'd happily provide the service free of charge.

The Boy got Butters about 3 weeks ago; he'd gotten another dog a few weeks before, a Beagle named Molly, but the situation that put Molly up for adoption (owner went into assisted living and was not allowed to keep her there) changed, and her foremer owner really wanted her back. And the Boy, in site of wanting to be selfish and keep her, took her back, understanding it was better for Molly, and better for her Person, who is elderly and needed Molly.

And then came Butters. After watching them today it was pretty clear...Butters was supposed to be the Boy's dog all along. They were meant for each other. Butters never has to worry about being hit again and the Boy has the patience to teach him that he doesn't have to be afraid. He has friends and roommates that will treat Butters well...and now we have a grandpuppy to spoil.

Well hell yeah. Don't think for one minute that Santa isn't leaving Butters a couple of spiffy things for Christmas.

But look at that face...if it doesn't make you say Awwwwwww then you're a meaniehead ;)


You know it's too cold in the house when you wake up with two kitties--who normally won't sleep on the same bed--plastered up against you so hard that you have two kitty sized numb spots on one side of your body.

Yes, I will be nice and turn the heat up a couple more degrees tonight.

I admit, I was a little cold last night, too, and I have a heated mattress pad...


File this under WTF? =or= Why do I have such freaky dreams???

Max wanted to go to the bookstore. So of course, I loaded him into the car and took him to Borders, where we shopped for books on Cheetos, and then went to the cafe for a donut and iced tea.

I don't know why Buddah wasn't there.

Max was curled up on the table and I broke up the donut into tiny cat-sized bites, when a woman at the table next us announced "I hope my husband dies before I do. He has good insurance."

I got up, went over to her and ordered her to stand up. And she did, without asking why.

Then I curled both hands into fists, and punched her in the boobs. "You're mean and you suck," I told her.

After that, she sat down and I went back to my table and continued to feed Max donut pieces. He watched as a little girl walked past the table and to the counter, where she bought a giant Rice Krispie treat. She stopped at the table next to ours and asked the woman there "Would you like a bite?"

"There is no Santa Claus," the woman replied.

Max got up, jumped over to her table, hunched over her scone, and pooped on it.

Before he came back, he balanced at the edge of the table and leaned out to lick the little girl on the cheek.

"He says HE'S Santa!" she squealed. Max jumped back to our table as she ran off.

I think I asked Max if he really was Santa, but that's whan I woke up--because Max was knocking on my forehead with his furry little paw-fist.



You have the right to be stupid. As far as I know, there's no specific law forbidding innate stupidity, and the acting upon thereof. Freedom of speech and Freedom of Expression insure your right to open your mouth and let a whole lot of stupid fall out. Vast amounts of stupid. Those rights insure that you can extend your stupidity into how you name you children, even if you chose to saddle them with the weight of Nazi-embracing names.

I'll state it upront: it is my not so humble opinion that these people are stupid beyond belief. They named their kids Adolf Hitler Campbell, JoyceLynn Aryan Nation Campbell, and Honszlynn Hinler Jeannie Campbell.

Um, yeah. Stupid is not a strong enough word.

In my opinion, of course.

Little Adolf is turning 3, and the parents tried to purchase a cake from a ShopRite with his name on it. Like lots of parents do. Only in this case, the store refused, citing, "We believe the request to inscribe a birthday wish to Adolf Hitler is inappropriate."

I get that. And looking around online, LOTS of people get that and are cheering ShopRite.

While I think ShopRite is right, I also think ShopRite is wrong. I admit it, initially I was thinking "Hell yes! Go ShopRite!" But then I took the time to really consider what was happening...ShopRite has the right of refusal, but in doing so they gave a public voice to something insidious that shouldn't be given easy media access.

Look, those kids are going to be screwed over for the rest of their lives because of the names they've been burdened with. There's a good chance that once their peers learn to associate those names with the people that made them infamous, the kids are gong to get the crap kicked out of them on a regular basis. School will be torture. Even if they change their names when they hit 18, they'll suffer the damage for the rest of their lives.

But that's only part of it.

When their parents named their kids, they had to understand what they were doing. And by refusing to put the little boy's name on the cake, ShopRite then gave them a platform to spew their particular form of bigotry--and hell yes I think it's bigotry on a major scale--and gave them a public voice. People are talking about them. Most people are pointing and shaking their heads sadly, but some people are going to embrace their stupidities as righteousness...and that's sad.

If they'd just made the cake with no fuss, the parents would not have had a reason to raise a fuss and draw attention to their children, and to their racist, anti-Semitic views (of course it's anti-Semitic. What else could it be?)

The parents are claiming "it's just a name" but we all know better. brings to the center of attention someone who isn't old enough to defend or defy his parents.

The little boy is only 3 years old. Don't start dumping this on him yet. He's going to have enough to deal with when he's older. Don't give the parents a media platform. Don't give them what they obviously want. Save it for dealing with adults who deserve the outcry that results.

All right, looking back on what I just wrote... there's a whole lot of wrongness and very little right. One could easily argue that the store was more right than not because if you don't take a stand on a birthday cake, you might never take a stand.

I just keep coming back to two things; it's a little boy, and he has stupid parents.

They don't deserve the publicity. And here we are, giving it to them.

Sadness all the way around.


Because the blades to my hand mixer seem to have vanished into thin air (or quite possibly into the kitchen-drawer-version of What Happened To That One Sock That Was In The Dryer?) and I have a need for a mixer this weekend, I braved the Holy-Carp-Christmas-Is-In-Less-That-Two-Weeks Weekend shopping crowd.

At Walmart.


As I stood in line waiting to use the self checkout, I heard two women behind me discussing things in a fairly bad stage whisper.

"Look. She's getting someone a mixer for Christmas."

"Oh. That's like the worst present ever!"

I suppose in the frazzle of holiday shopping, trying to figure out how to buy gifts for 10 people when you can only afford gifts for 5, or just the stress of that many people in one store at a given time, might make a person not realize that other people are not necessarily gift shopping. I didn't say anything because, hey, nothing says Happy Holidays like judging what other people are buying.

(And come on, who amongst us has never looked into the junk food packed cart of someone seriously obese and harbored an unkind thought or two? Sure, they might be buying for a part, but what you see is a very large person and 320,955 calories. We all do it, even subconsciously.)

So I didn't say anything. Let them have their Shopping & Gawking Fun. It's a harmless past time while you're being slowly tortured by the unwashed masses all there to purchase really cheap crap at Low Low Prices. Later they can mock me while they have dinner, "OMG! U should have seen it! This old lady got her MOTHER a MIXER for Christmas!" (Well, who else would I be getting it for?) ((And no, my mother need not worry about getting an electric hand mixer for Christmas.)) (((She should worry about getting spoons. And bendy straws. Because I'm not very creative.)))

I scanned and paid for my shiny new mixer, and left.

But truly, I wanted to turn around and say "Nice isn't it? I'm donating it to Toys For Tots."

Okay, it was funnier in my head.


Ummm...if you email me with questions about a book I wrote over 7 years ago, asking about character motivation and the underlying subtexts, it's only fair to tell you upfront...I dunno. I only wrote the book, it's not like I read it....


Ya know, it feels a little bit like a bargain when you find out that the people who owned the house you're buying paid $200,000 more than you are...

Three weeks!

:::snoopy dance:::



I bought a bottle of Benedryl last week and set it on my desk.

Tonight, I went to open it, and behold--someone has already opened it.

The cotton is still in it, but the seal has been ripped off.

Now, it might have been the Spouse Thingy, but he's not home, so I can't ask him.

Have I ever mentioned that I take it every night for sleep issues related to FMS?

I don't dare take anything out of that bottle.

It's gonna be a long night...



Tis the season...

I felt my jacket--which was wadded up beside me on the booth seat--move before I saw the rather large and hairy hand that was (and not as stealthily as I presume its owner hoped) reaching into the inside pocket.

I glanced over when I felt the movement that should not have been, saw the awkwardly long fingers snaking into my pocket...and slammed by elbow into it.

With that, I heard two things:
What the FUCK are you doing?"

I looked up and there was a fairly tall, very pissed off middle aged man storming towards me from the direction of the restrooms. I didn't wet myself, but I wanted to. He looked ticked enough that snapping me in two would have been no problem for him.

Mouth open--I didn't know what the hell to say--I turned in my seat and saw to whom the rather large and hairy hand belonged to.

He couldn't have been more than 13.

I had just executed a very hard elbow strike onto the hand of a kid.

I was pretty sure in the moment that the middle aged Ticked Off Person was his dad, and I was about to become shreds of my former self.

Nope, bot gonna wet myself.

He barely looked at me, though. He brushed past my table and lit--verbally--on the kid. "What the hell? What the hell were you doing?"

Face red, tears now pooling in his eyes, the kid stammered "I don't know."

Dad looked at me.

"All I saw was a hand reaching into my jacket. I didn't stop to see who it was attached to."

Dad started to apologize, had the words "I'm sorry" formed, but the kid whined, "My hand is BROKEN!"

"Good." (The Dad, not me...I was keeping my mouth shut at that point. I'm not stupid. Exactly.)


"Yeah, and it's gonna hurt you a lot more when you're paying me back for getting it fixed."

"But that's not FAIR!"

Dad put his hands on the table and leaned forward, gritting his teeth together. "It'd be FAIR if she called the cops."

The tears spilled over. "But I didn't really take anything."

(I did not point out that the only thing in that pocket was a cheap pen.)

((He would have been a disappointed thief.))

(((If the contents of my pocket had occurred to me 2 minutes before, none of this would have happened. It was a pen for freak's sake.)))

"But you tried to steal."

"But you won't let her call the police...?"

"Like hell I won't."

Now the kid was crying hard. No, I did not feel bad about that. Just because there was nothing worth more than a dollar in that pocket, that didn't excuse his intention--which was, apparently, to rip off the lady in the booth before Dad could get back from the restroom.

"I'm not calling the cops," I finally said. What good would it do if I did?

Um, yeah, he had his hand in my pocket and even though there wasn't anything much in that pocket, I whacked him as hard as I could with one of the strongest bones in my body, and now want him arrested. Toss him in with O.J. That'll learn him.

Dad let his breath out, as if he had been holding it for a long time, and sighed "Thank you," as he did.

The kid's hand was at that point very swollen, and a couple of different weird shades of red.

As Dad picked up their uneaten food and dropped it onto a tray he mumbled, "Come on, let's go get that looked at."

"You can't tell how it really happened!"

"I won't."

The kid sniffled his relief.

"You will."

He was made to apologize to me, to the staff at the counter, and to the other lone person watching in seeming disbelief.

I don't think junior is going to have the happiest of holidays. He's about to get a clear understanding of what it's like to have parents seriously disappointed in him.

Dad was crushed. Seriously crushed.

And my elbow hurts.


Brain Fried Friday Bullets

  • When I got a jury duty notice a few weeks back, I didn't think anything about it; I don't mind serving.
  • When Agent Kevin (real estate dood) scheduled out home inspections for today, I didn't think anything about it.
  • I didn't think about anything...until I realized both were on the same day.
  • However, last night when I checked in with the county court system, I got notice they did not need me, and my obligation is done for another year.
  • I will not whine if I get another notice in the middle of the year, as I would like to serve.
  • The inspections went well, other than finding out the house has roof rats.
  • Home Inspector Dood was clued into this by finding car parts in the attic. And giant droppings. Oh joy.
  • Otherwise, the house just needs basic maintenance.
  • See following yard picture for exception...side yard is a WTF Do We Do With This? thing.
  • Really...WTF do we do with all that ivy?
  • If all goes well, we close before the end of the year.
  • The cats will be so thrilled.

side yard's alive...alive!

New living room


We should all bow our heads in mourning, as Michele has decided to retire her most awesome blog. This bums me out mightily, as it was one of my near daily online highlights, and most of my blogroll is comprised of blogs I discovered through her weekend Meet & Greet. I totally understand that sometimes a blogger feels it's time to move on, but dang dooods*, this sucks.

If you've ever enjoyed playing the games at Michele's, please hop over and say goodbye, and wish her well.

* Thanks, Max, 'doooods' is now part of my vocabulary...


Kitty Christmas could be cheap this year...

Mmmm x 2

...since apparently just a donut will make him happy.


Ya know, when you read in the newspaper that normal Friday trash pickup will be on Saturday, you should not then wake up to the sound of the trash collection truck thundering down your street at 6 a.m. on Friday morning.

(It might help if the paper you read that tidbit in was actually the newspaper for your little city and not the neighboring one, but still...)

I hope we don't generate much trash this week.


Both the Spouse Thingy and the Boy have to work today; ST doesn't have to leave until 7:30 so someone can be there to meet your anesthesia needs, and the Boy s working a double shift so someone is at Carino's to meet your waiter needs--and he took the extra shift so someone else wouldn't have to work today. We'll technically spend some time together today when we wander over that way for dinner, but chances are the Boy will be our server and not able to sit down and eat with us.

While we'd prefer he could take 20 minutes to sit with us, it doesn't really matter. We have a lot to be thankful for this year. We're all relatively healthy, family seems to be doing well, we have our insane kitties, and after so many years of military housing and places that "will be ok for a year or two" we're finally reaching the stretch that will give us Home.

Or, as Max would put it, "the place I'm going to DIE."

Happy Thanksgiving, Peoples.



They accepted--without any counters to it--our offer on the house. Tomorrow we go sign some paperwork, and next week the inspections and stuff begins... We probably won't be in the house before Christmas, but for sure right after the start of the year. That suits us just fine.

So, yay! Barring any complications, we're getting our first house!


Nope, no score to report since I blew the game at just over 31 million points...

Max's new book

I got the proof copy for Max's newest book today, and it looks pretty good. A few typos that were missed, even after going over the manuscripts dozens of times, as well as the galley, but I'm not about to pull it and redo the whole thing over a couple of typos.

There are even paw-drawn illustrations.

You know how hard it is to get a cat to sit down and draw roughly 100 pictures? It's a lot like getting a 3rd grader to sit down and do his math homework when all his friends are outside playing in his yard.

Oh, don't be a doubter. Max's name is on the book, you know...

It's not up at Amazon or the other online bookstores yet, but I've ordered a box and Max is taking direct pre-orders now. We should have the shipment in about a week, maybe a week and a half because of Thanksgiving.

In other news, we're still waiting to see if the offer we made on the second house has been accepted. I hate waiting. I'm immature that way.


I don't have any writing to work on.
Max's book is at the printer.
No editing to do.
So this is what I'm doing while I wait to hear about the house:

I don't know how many hours it's taken to get this far.
It's definitely my high score so far.
And the game's not over yet.
Now that I've shown my score...I'm going to totally blow it...


One hurdle down, who knows how many more to go.

Countrywide approved us for a loan we don't need and don't want, but at least that means they will now look at our offer. We made a really good offer, the only hitch might be that we asked for 3% of the purchase price back at closing to go towards closing costs.

We should hear by tomorrow, late afternoon, if not then by Monday.

Then the fun begins...


Buying a house should be a lot easier than it is. Holy carp. We looked at several houses yesterday, including one that would require the purchase of a riding lawnmower because it was like a freaking park, and then went back to the very first house we'd seen.

Wow. The house grew some appeal when we were looking at other things. Perfect size, not a big yard but enough to have to mow, on a quiet court with a 3 car garage. The price was lowered this week, which made it that much more appealing. We looked around carefully, went to see another house, and then went back again. It felt like it would fit us quite nicely.

So we wrote up an offer.

Then we found out the mortgage is held by Countrywide. And Countrywide, no matter who the lender you're going to use is, preapproved for a billion dollars or not, requires you to get preapproved through them if you're trying to buy one of their foreclosures.

Doesn't matter if you tell them there's no way in hell you're getting a loan through them. If you don't at least apply for a loan, they won't even look at your offer. You're free to use whatever lender you want...after you apply with them.


So now we wait some more to see if Countrywide will offer us a loan we don't even want just so we have a shot at a house we do want.

Whole thing should be illegal.

We should know tomorrow about their preapproval (don't see why not...) and hopefully whether or not they accept our offer in Friday. When they do, our offer on the first house will be officially withdrawn. I feel bad about that--not because we won't get that particular house--but because the people trying to sell it have been totally hosed by their lender and will likely wind up in foreclosure because of a clerical error.

Can't make that our problem, though...

If we get this house there will be some fun places for the kitties to climb, I'll have my very own office, and if we want later we can screen in the back porch so Max and Buddah can go outside.

Of course it's all about the cats.

Sheesh, did you think we were buying a house for us?


This was pounding in my head all night long...

I don't know why. I haven't heard that song in years but it would not go away and would not let me sleep...



WTF is the little dude doing with that tape...?

Seems civil enough...

Looks like we may have to start looking at other houses. Apparently the credit union )of the sellers we're trying to by from) sold their loan to Fannie Mae, but something is hosed up and neither wants to admit they own the title (and thusly will have to take the loss on sale...) We're not withdrawing our offer yet because it might resolve, but we're going to start looking again. Dangit. We really like that house...


Ok, everyone put your forehead against your monitor and start thinking sign the offer, sign the offer, sign the offer so maybe the credit union holding the mortgage on the house we're trying to buy will finally sign off on it...


Dear Max,

Ya know, I like it when you plaster yourself on my lap, especially when I'm cold and you're purring. I don't mind it when you jump up on my desk and try to head butt my hands off the keys of my laptop, and I can live with never having on fur-free clothing.

But 4 a.m. is not the time when I want to cuddle with a kitty. It's all right to plop down on top of me to steal some warmth; it's even okay if you pet my face with your clawless paw. But please...I don't want to make out with you. I don't want you to rub your face all over mine and I don't want you wiggling around, squishing the unsquishables. And I especially don't want you rubbing your lips all over mine.

Please let me sleep.

Pretty please?

Your Can Opener



I never, ever believed I would see a ballot proposition that would ask voters to strip basic human rights away from a select group of citizens. I found it difficult to swallow that anyone would want to rewrite a state constitution in a way that allows outright discrimination and condones the political persecution of anyone. It didn't seem possible that people would vote their ideological comfort over the civil rights of others.

Yet here we are.

Truly, I am mortified, and embarrassed to be a Californian right now.


Yes, because we're going to buy a car with that...

Spouse Thingy is in the bank; he walks up to the teller and hands her a check for a mere $4.06

ST: Just deposit it into savings, please.
Teller: Would you like cash back from that?
ST: blink...blink...

And yes, we voted today...if you don't vote, you suck.


The Christmas before he died, the Spouse Thingy gave his dad a bright pink t-shirt; as the present was opened and the color noted, his reaction was pretty much what the hell did you DO? (Spouse Thingy actually giggled a lot in the store when he found the did I. Because it wasn't just pink, it was PINK.) Then he finished opening the package, unfolded the t-shirt, and saw what it said.


And indeed he did. One of our favorite pictures of the Spouse Thingy's dad is him in his bright pink t-shirt, and now the shirt itself is hanging on the bedroom wall. No one else will ever wear it again. It just wouldn't fit anyone else, even if it did.

In my head, my father-in-law was always Superman There's no other way to describe a man who could seemingly do everything, who was liked by everyone, and who left such a big hole when he was gone that there's still nothing to fill it.

I still miss Superman.

I still miss him...

Yes, it's pink.
My father-in-law was tough that way.

I suspect if he saw the new ink he would ask What did you DO?
I embraced the pink, old man. I'm trying to stuff part of that hole with it.
Oh yeah, this tattoo hurt more than the last one.
It was totally worth it.



My comments...they be broken and Haloscan is "working on it."

So in the meantime, instead of offering me these glowing comments about how wonderful I am, go enjoy two of me new favorite sites. Not Always Right and It's Lovely, I'll Take It!

They make me giggle. :)



Beware the F-bomb...

Yesterday I went for a nice little ride around town, zooming up streets, zipping down others. I had no real destination, other than when I left the house I decided it was to gas up...and it only took me 45 miles to find the gas station just 2.4 miles from the house. It was a beautiful day, not too hot, not too cool, and lots of bikes were on the road. I passed a gaggle of hard-core Harley boys; one pointed at the scooter and they all lit up with smiles. During the 45 miles I was pointed at (happily) waved at by kids on the sidewalk, given the thumbs up from an old guy in a minivan at a was kind of cool.

But I just needed to run to the grocery store, and I had an overwhelming need for a taco. And gee, Taco Bell is right across the street from the grocery store. How fortunate. But while was munching on my quite tasty Big Taste Taco, a couple of wanna-be bad asses (you know...the guys who wear the leather on weekends but you know they wear pocket protectors Monday through Friday) were gesturing towards my scooter in the parking lot, discussing who "the douchebag who rides that piece of shit" probably was.

In their discussion--which I couldn't help overhearing because they were sitting right in front of me--they dertermined it was the skinny little guy in the corner. Probably someone who was too chicken shit to ride a REAL bike. Because the skinny little guy apparently had no balls, he was a "douchebag," "chicken shit," "fairy," and "pussy" to boot. The kid in the corner was oblivious, and I had no reason to destroy their little fantasy world, so I kept my mouth shut. In just a few minutes I learned that no REAL biker would EVER be caught on a scooter, that anyone who even has one as a second ride is just a douche, and that it's perfectly all right to run the little faggot-mobiles off the road. They wadded up their trash--and then left it on the table when they got up to leave.

Yeah, I was rolling my eyes alot.

But then I get out into the parking lot, and there by my scooter stands Tweedledumb and Tweedledumber. I popped the seat open to get my jacket, and the nerdier looking of the Wannabees marveled, "Well it's a chick. That's cool." I still didn't say anything.

But THEN...they leaned against the rustbucket-pickup I had parked next to--they weren't even ON bikes, just wearing bike jackets--and as I zipped up, Nerd2 asked Nerd1 how late into the season he thought he'd ride. "Probably mid-December. Too fucking cold after that."

That's when I laughed. And Nerd1 in his infinite intelligence grunted "Whut?" Nerd 2 added "Let's see you fucking ride when it's so cold your nuts hurt."

I fired up the scooter, and tilted my helmet down so they could hear me. "Only time during winter I wouldn't ride is if there's ice on the road. It just doesn't get that cold in California."

(In my head I added "Who's the real rider now, pussy!" to that, but I didn't have the guts to actually say it...)

((I kinda wish I had, though...))

On the whole, I think I prefer the hard core Harley boys who have sense enough to appreciate the absurdity of a 3 wheeled putt putt ridden by someone in full gear. Tweedledumb and Tweedledumber...those two are probably garage queens who spend five times as much time washing and polishing their bikes than they do riding them.

:::sticks nose in air::: Yes. Yes I AM better than they are.

Shuddup. I am!


If you were selling a house, and someone made you an offer for your asking price, wouldn't you accept it, like, RIGHT NOW instead of making them wait to find out?

Granted, the real waiting starts once their bank has the offer, but still...I wanna know!


Thumper, looking upApparently, one must keep looking up whilst house hunting. I found myself doing this a lot, and am embarrassed to admit that I was looking for high places for the kitties to play.

Last week we saw seven or eight houses, and were very drawn to two of them. Yesterday we went for a second visit on one of them, and looking at it in a new light pretty much crossed it off our list. It was a decent house, and the floor plan was really nice, but we kept finding all these things we'd have to work on or replace: all the appliances, the carpet, the house fan, and the worst of it, the giant front windows. The bathrooms were seriously dated, with a Roman tub in the master that looked just plain uncomfortable...we liked it, but it felt like we'd be settling right off the bat--not to mention the roughly $20-30,000 we'd need to sink into it.

Today we went back for a longer look at the second house. It was like night and day. This one has brand new laminate throughout the house, the kitchen was completely remodeled 2 years ago and some some of the nicest touches I may have never considered before, I would have a big office, and it's got a 3 car garage. That will make our bikes happy. It's turn key...we wouldn't have to do anything.

The giant back yard made the Spouse Thingy happy, as he envisions someday having a pool put in. I envision him mowing the grass.

We're going to try to hook up with our agent tomorrow (his assistant took us today) and put in an offer. It's a short sale home, so there's no telling how long it will be before we get an answer...I have high hopes, though.

So keep your fingers crossed. The lender has to approve our offer, then it has to get through not only our bank's appraisal, but the VA's appraisal. I really want this house.

And CONGRATS to my best bud Sandy! She just got her FIFTH degree black belt in TKD. Yes, say congrats, because if you don't, she's entirely capable of kicking your ass ;)


Ya know, it doesn't matter if it's a Saturday night. If the neighbors can not only hear your bass thumping music at full volume, but feel it through the floor, it's too freaking loud! And the riding of the sport bike in high revs, so high it was like a dental drill on steroids, up and down the street at midnight...I hope a giant cat poops on your pillow.


Man...who would've thought that every single house for sale in a given area and price range would be either a short sale or a foreclosure?

In any case, the hunt is on...


Early this afternoon we strapped a helmet to the sissybar on the Spouse Thingy's bike--facing backwards--and dropped the passenger pegs, and headed out for a ride. We were headed for a doctor's appointment, but that wasn't our primary objective; today's ride was a memorial for Conor Murphy. He was never able to ride a motorycle himself, but he did ride pillion (heh...otherwise known a bitch) with his son Ian frequently. (Aye, son, I'll be yer bitch today.. )

"If it feels like someone is pinching your nipples," Ian warned, "it's him. He always did that to me when he thought I was going too fast."

To be fair, I did pass along the warning to the Spouse Thingy, lest he wonder at some point why it felt as if he was being molested at 55 mph. But, apparently we were not riding too fast, as neither one of us got a weird little thrill along the way.

Overall we went a little more that 55 miles, with a stop in the middle to get my wrist x-rayed (sprain, no big deal) and to have lunch (Panda Express...yum.)

All weekend we had winds here that were too stiff to bother taking the bike and scooter out, but I was determined to ride for Mr. Murphy no matter the weather today. We got up this morning, and the gusts of the weekend were gone... nothing but calm, and the temperatures in the 70s--perfect for a long ride. Nice.

I have to wear a wrist brace, but wasn't broken. Nice.

And tonight we got a pre-approval on a mortgage, so as long as we can get out of our lease, we'll have one more move to torture the cats with, and never again. Verrrry nice.


All right...who broke Blogrolling? How can I pursue the fine art of housework avoidance if I don't have my blogroll to surf through?


Conor Murphy once bemoaned the fact that eulogies were offered after the fact, when those who might like to hear them no longer could. So on October 27, 2004 I posted this:

Eulogy For Someone Still Living

Murf’s dad, as was mentioned to me in recent email, bemoans the idea that everything good will be said about him after he dies. People wait until there’s a corpse before they screw up the nerve to say things that might be better said while there’s still a pulse, and some reasonable amount of comprehension. It might be a good idea, he thinks, to hold ones’ wake before one reaches an age where mental faculties might be a bit degraded, or before the wake is really a wake.

And it might be nice to see how many people will come, and who, and which of those in attendance will get royally drunk and puke in the nearest potted plant.

And he’s right. We shouldn’t have to be dead before people remember us. So for Mr. Murphy, a eulogy for someone still very much alive:

I was 12 years old the first time I saw Conor Murphy. I was walking down the street, headed for the 7-11, and he was lying face up in his front yard, arms folded behind his head. I must have hesitated, because he piped up, “Ah, ‘tis all right. I had a bit of the drop, and am just a wee bit fluthered.”

Not knowing what to say, I thought about turning and running.

“Mrs. Murphy thought I should come out here and face God Himself and explain why I felt a Guinness was a good thing at three in the afternoon. And I heartily think Himself approves.”

At hearing the name “Murphy” I relaxed, because I knew his sons from school, and I laughed because I didn’t have a clue what he was talking about, but it sounded funny.

Mr. Murphy was “fluthered.” Not drunk. Not tipsy. He was fluthered.
And as you can imagine, very, very Irish.

I had other introductions to Mr. Murphy. And while he wasn’t much more that 2 or 3 inches taller than I was at the time, he always seemed to be a giant of a man. Always friendly, pretty much gregarious, he was still this huge presence that hinted that behind the friendliness was something with a spark of danger. Not danger in a bad way; he simply gave off the feeling of someone who would not tolerate mistreatment of anyone, and someone who could take care of it if he had to.

And he did. The next school year, the day after a teacher had openly humiliated two students who could not, because of their religion, stand for the Pledge of Allegiance, he stormed into our home room class to remove his son, letting her know in no uncertain terms what he thought about her intolerance of others’ religious beliefs. If we had dared, the rest of us would have stood up and cheered. It was one of our first lessons in civics, and it was given in less than two minutes.

Conor Murphy was also a cop. His intention to make it his career was cut short…not by the bullet lodged in his back, but by the fall he took just two weeks after being shot on the job. It was a stark reminder of the gentleness of his nature; he fell from a ladder while trying to pull the neighbor’s cat from a tree—not because the cat couldn’t get down on its own, but because there was nest of baby birds in that tree, and he didn’t want them to become a feline feast in his back yard. He could have gotten out the hose and chased the cat from his tree, but he didn’t want to hurt the cat, either.

He fell onto his back, bullet fragments shifted into cracks in his spine, and he was left unable to walk. He had feeling in his legs—mostly pain—but he couldn’t support his own body weight. His career as a police officer ended in his back yard, the neighbor’s cat sniffing his face.

The Murphy’s house was the first I had ever seen with a wheelchair ramp. Mr. Murphy was the first person I had known who needed a wheelchair, and he was not shy about zipping down the street in it. In the mid 1970s, that just wasn’t something one often saw, but he turned his bad luck into a bright lesson for the rest of us: the disabled are People, and there’s not a thing you need to fear from them.

My family moved away not long after that; we headed for California, and for a time I forgot about the Murphy family.

Years later, when “getting online” meant that one subscribed to a Proprietary service such as America Online or Prodigy or Compuserve, in the days of the 300 baud modem and Crayola-Colored graphics, Ian Murphy and I reconnected. We remembered each other differently: I recalled him as being a wormy little PITA, he recalled me as being the one person who made sure he was included. But I remembered his father clearly, the gentle Irish giant who let his kids paint his wheelchair with fluorescent paint.

Over the last 10 years I’ve realized that Conor Murphy is the man those of us with sons hope for them to become. He’s tough, he’s strong, and he’s very gentle. He loves his children and grandchildren with open affection—I remember the teasing Ian and his brother took for calling him “Da,” and for the goodbye kisses Da insisted on before getting out of his car before school—and he’s never ashamed to show it. He fought through all the pain of his injuries and a few years ago had surgery to remove scar tissue and bullet fragments from his spine—and then spent another few years building enough muscle mass to be able to stand and walk a few feet at his grand daughter’s wedding, so he could give her away. When Ian’s mother died in ’97, followed just a few weeks later by Ian’s own heart attack, Conor Murphy held everyone together through the strength of his nature and outspoken belief that God has a purpose for everything.

A few years ago, when I was in the middle of my own fight with pain and found myself needing a wheelchair to get around, Mr. Murphy emailed me with this message: The wheels are but a tool, and you can use them to hide behind, or you can use them to build strength.

Conor Murphy never hid behind anything. Not even on that day over 30 years ago when he was plastered on the grass in his front yard, just a little bit tipsy a little too early in the afternoon, looking for God’s approval. And from where I stand now, I think it’s safe to say “Himself” approves.

I'm glad he got to read it.

Conor Murphy died in his sleep last night. He was 76 years old, and had recently told his son that he was tired and ready to go home, and that when he did he wanted as few tears as possible. He wanted the people who cared about him to tip back a Guinness in his honor, share as many happy memories as thy could recall, and to be happy that he was reunited with the love of his life, dancing on strong legs, without a moment of pain touching him.

L'chaim, Mr. Murphy.

May the good earth be soft under you when you rest upon it,
and may it rest easy over you when, at the last, you lay out under it,
And may it rest so lightly over you that your soul may be out
from under it quickly, and up, and off,
And be on its way to God.


You don't often see a twelve year old girl walk into a public place making deft use of a white cane; I didn't stare but I couldn't help but notice. From where I sat at a table in Burger King, I watched her enter through the side door, her mother a few feet behind her, quietly giving her directions. Small child to your left. Ketchup packet on the floor to your right.

Mom never touched her, but instead let her navigate her way to the front counter. To your right. In two steps to your left.

They got to the counter and Mom stepped back. The thought ran through my head that this was a prearranged visit, as the manager gently motioned the cashier aside and took over; the young lady asked for a Braille menu, made her choice and ordered, and then reached into the purse that was slung carefully over one shoulder while resting on the other hip. She withdrew her wallet and reached in with nimble fingers, touching bills. When she found what she wanted, she paid, and then waited at the counter for her food.

Mom still hung back; her daughter held her cane in one hand and picked up the tray with her food in the other, and turned, waiting for direction to the soda fountain.

It was the only thing she really needed help with, figuring out where the ice dispenser was, and where she needed to hold her cup in order to fill it.

As they finished capping their drink cups, I got up to get a refill of my own, and as they turned the girl squealed, "Mom! I can see that! What's that big fat yellow blob?"

Um. That would be me.

Me and my hi-viz, neon neon neon lime green sweatshirt.

That big fat yellow blob.

(I was going to leave that part out, but, well...when I told the Spouse Thingy at dinner he damn near choked enchiladas out his nose and if I left it out, he'd surely add it to the comments.)

I stopped short; what do you say to that? You don't take offense, because hey, the blind girl saw something. It's not like she knew it was you and was slinging an insult. She saw something colorful, as much of it as she could see, and was excited.

No offense taken.

It was a nonevent, really. Mom was curious where I'd gotten the sweatshirt; outfitting the entire family in hi-viz lime green seemed like a reasonable thing to do when out in public. She wrote down the URL from which I had ordered the sweatshirt, thanked me, and followed her daughter to a nearby table.

I filled my cup halfway, swigged it down, and headed back out to my scooter.

As I zoomed around town I pondered their BK excursion; it seemed to be a very ordinary thing under not so ordinary circumstances. Anyone who has had kids has been there, standing back while our child takes those steps towards some semblance of independence, even if it is simply placing the order at BK and paying for it. The difference here was that this child couldn't see, and Mom was allowing her the practice with a sense of grace and a palpable amount of patience.

But later, when I was telling the Spouse Thingy about the girl, how she managed her way through Burger King, placing an paying for her own order, the thought occurred to me--that was less likely practice for a twelve year old girl as it was a letting go for a dedicated mother.

The daughter surely had rehabilitative training, teaching her how to move in public, how to cope with the loss of sight. But Mom? You can offer all the rehab you want, but it's hard enough to let go when your kids are fully-abled. Surely it takes some practice when all your child can see is shadows and indefinite shades of gray...and neon neon neon bright lime green.

I'm not sure I could do it.


I tried to watch the VP candidate debates last night, I really did...but ten-fifteen minutes into it I realized if I had to hear Palin schmooze that folksy "darnit" one more time I was going to put my fist through the TV. Today I will spend a huge chunk of time surfing online for non-video highlights and lowlights so I can find out what happened/what was said/is anyone sucker punched anyone else.

It is truly a sad, sad day when the newspaper forgets to include the comics. Almost as sad as the fact that the first thing I read in the newspaper every morning is the comics.

Gah...ya know, as much as I covet that pretty bike, I can't get past the $15000 price tag. For that you could buy a couple of small cruisers. makes me squeal, or at least the pictures do. I have high hopes it's one of those things that photographs nicely but looks really bad in person.

MK asked in the comments of the previous post Do you have any ideas for a good first bike that's not a Rebel, because it's too small for me.

There's always the Kawasaki Ninja 250; sporty but would give you a little more leg room. Or the Ninja 500. Kaw makes the Virago 250 and I understand it's physically a little bigger than the Rebel, too, and it's a solid bike. There's the Honda Nighthawk...I don't like the drum brakes on it, though.

And soon there will be this:

The Suzuki TU 250. It's a standard, has a higher seat height than the Rebel (30" to the Rebel's 26"), and will only run you $3500 (plus freight, assembly, tax, title, license, the fee to use the dealer's pen, cost of breathing air while in the showroom, and a nominal charge for using their bathroom during the 3 hours it takes to buy a bike...) I like its retro kind of styling. Taller riders are going to like not having their knees jamming into the bars.

Really, any cruiser under 800cc, and any sport bike under 600cc should be reasonable to start on. But take the MSF basic rider's class before you buy anything. You'll get to ride a small bike and see if riding is even your thing.


See this?

I have coveted this bike for two years. I've had a hard case of I WANT THAT ever since I saw pictures of the concept bike; I was hoping Santa would bring me one even though it wasn't even in production yet.

Want, want, want, want, want.

Last year it went into production--in Europe. Everything I read suggested it wouldn't hit the U.S. market for years, if ever. For whatever reason, the European bike market gets tons more in terms of bike selection and variety, where the US gets bigger and bigger bikes while the smaller bikes bite the dust.

So I kind of assumed we'd never get it, or I'd be too old for it by the time it got here.

But then...Honda announced the 2009 lineup, and dammit, there it is.

And I just bought the scooter. I love my scooter and will keep it forever, or until the wheels fall off, whichever comes first, but dangit.

Seat height is low enough for me to still swing a leg over.


In lieu of more whining, I share with you a picture sent to me by my oldest sister, from whom this would never have been expected. Laugh amongst yourselves, and if you're, I'm upset about the bike, so I'm not real concerned :)



I have no where in particular I need to go today, no errands I have to run, no appointments to dash off to...but the battery in my scooter is dead and doesn't seem to want to recharge, the Spouse Thingy has the car, so now I have to get out of the house. If I don't, my brain, it will implode. I now need to go Bell or out for a smoothie or even just the grocery store to buy macaroni and cheese.

This is totally the battery's fault, and surely not mine for leaving the trunk open...


Because he is so generous, Max is giving away another book--actually five copies of a book. If you want a chance to win Chicken Soup For The Soul: Loving Our Cats, click on over and leave him a comment!


I'm not sure what the heck I ate last night, but I had this especially weird dream (nightmare?) that I came back from a business trip in outer space to find that Max had cloned himself, and there were a dozen tiny little Max-kitties running around the house. A dozen little furry fiends complete with his attitude, appetite, and temper. A dozen little monsters stomping all over my body at Way Too Early in the morning, demanding to be fed.

I am totally taking away his credit card, just in case he gets ideas...


Thumper's Thought For The Day

Just because someone tells you something, even if it's someone you trust completely, that doesn't mean that it's true.

This concludes Thumper's Thinking Thought For The Day.


Edit 9/19/08: I edited out the images, which were screwing up the page for people with older monitors using lower place are links to click if you want to see the pretty graphs...

Yesterday the Spouse Thingy and I went to a very enjoyable lunch with my mother-in-law (Olive Garden! Endless Pasta Bowl! But mine ended with one bowl...), and then we set out towards a suburb of Sacramento to see if we might like living there. Housing prices are reasonable, so we figured why not? It looks like it would be much less of a commute for him, and lots of the houses have 3 car garages. I would love a 3 car garage. Our bikes would love a 3 car garage. Someday, we might own more than one car.

As we tooled around we were commenting about how nice the neighborhoods looked, how well laid out it was. And while the traffic was Horrendous (capital H necessary) it wouldn't take any longer for the Spouse Thingy to get to work.

At one point we passed a whole bunch of cops going into a house, but hey, maybe there were there for a late lunch with a buddy. Cops eat together, right?

We agreed it was a doable place, and then we braved the traffic home.

And then I got online, and as I was surfing with the television on my desk tuned to the news, I heard a story about all these houses in that little suburb that were raided right about the time we were there. Drug houses right by the elementary school. But maybe that was an anomaly. Surely.

So in my surfing around online, I looked for crime stats for where we already live.

Vacaville Crime Graph

Then I looked for another area we're interested in.

Dixon Crime Graph

And then I found the ones for the suburb we were wandering around, admiring all the pretty houses.

Elk Grove Crime Graph


I feel a whole lot better about the crime rate in Vacaville, like the little town of Dixon (the only reason their murder rate looks high is because they actually had one last year, their first in who knows how long; it skewed their stats) and oh yeah, we're taking suburban Elk Grove off our list of Maybe There.

Now it's more like, Oh Hell No Not There.

'Course, we're looking and thinking and starting to really hope, and we're going to be stuck in our lease until the house sells...and then New Owner will want us out in 30 days. Cause that's our luck.

(Ok, not really...overall we're pretty fortunate people. But when you're whining, that's what pops out.)


How to avoid any kind of real work...

Rack up 22 million on Bookworm.
Sadly, I blew it just before I reached 23 million.


A few weeks ago, a representative from the Hatchette Book Group contacted me with an offer to read and review a copy of Dewey the Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World.

Of course I said yes. It was a free book! And about a cat!

Of course, having much more traffic and those being cat lovers, the review was better suited to Max's blog, and being the generous sort of cat that he is, Max is giving the book away.

So, if you want a chance at winning a copy of Dewey for yourself, click on over there and read his stellar review (I think he'd give it 4 out of 5 paw prints) and leave a comment to enter.


Bulleted for your....annoyance

  • I have tinnitus. It's at its worst at night, when the house is quiet. I can't be normal and just have ringing in my ears; I hear things that aren't there. Because I know they're not there, I can almost ignore them. I routinely ignore the sound of a TV turned to horse racing or an auction in another room, Dan Rather's voice droning, and meowing (though it took a while before I learned to separate real meowing from tinnitus inspired meowing.) However, I now hear a phone ringing, and that is hard as hell to ignore. Makes me wanna stab my ear with a Q-tip.

  • The house is now up on the MLS; it's selling for $105,000 less than the owner bought it for (approved short sale.) At that price it just might sell...I like how upbeat the listing makes it. "Maple wood floors" instead "cheap ass dark laminate." I am, however, annoyed the listing does not state "Do not disturb tenants" as we had requested.

  • We're looking online at houses, trying to figure out where we might want to live. It would help if we had a clue when we might be moving, if we can get out of our lease under the circumstances, or how much time new owners will give us to get out if it sells fast. Lots of questions spring into your head when you might be moving soon and might be trying to buy.

  • buyers, if we seek out a real estate agent, when we actually buy a house, who pays the agent? Us? Or do they split the sales commission with the seller's broker? I think I know, but I'm not 100% sure.

  • Will someone's head explode before this is all over?

  • Lots of Hell's Angels riding around here this weekend. They are headed towards SF for the funeral of the HA SF president, it seems. This only became a personal issue when approached by a couple of rough looking guys in the Wendy's parking lot...they wanted a closer look at my scooter, deemed it "trippy" and walked away. I am very glad I did not see the backs of their vests until they were leaving, otherwise I might have peed myself a little.

  • Ever notice how bikers wave to each other? It's often a two-finger wave, fingers pointed towards the ground ("keep the sticky side down.") There's this one guy around here, he rides a bright red Harley, dresses in all black no matter the temp (and I am impressed to see a rider in black leather when it's 110 out) and rides no matter the weather. When I first started riding the Rebel, he gave me a thumbs up the first time he saw me, waved after that. When I got the SV, he waved. Today...he flipped me off.

  • :::shrugs:::


Dear Presidential Candidates,

Please stop telling me what the other candidate will do wrong. Start telling me what you're going to do right.


Ya ain't got my vote yet...


Because she really was that hungry...

Taco Bell. One man ordering, one woman behind him. I walk in. No one is at any of the table. Man pays for his order gets his drink cup, steps aside for the woman to order.

Woman: I need thirty soft tacos, thirty crunchy tacos, sixty bean burritos, and one large drink.

Cashier: Is that for here or to go?


I had every intention of getting up before 7 this morning to take a long ride, but I got sucked into a book and didn't realize what time it was until my bladder nearly burst at 1 a.m. Even then I thought if I scrambled to bed, I would get enough sleep to not be a danger to myself or anyone else; the ride was intended to timed with the funeral across the country of someone I never met personally, but admired greatly. She was an avid trike rider, wonderfully supportive of brand new riders, offered gentle advice when asked, and was just an all around awesome person. While I don't have pegs to put down in her honor, nor a way to put a helmet on the passenger seat facing backwards*, I would have known the intent of the ride, and that's all that mattered.

I went to bed...and was wide awake. Sleepy, but my brain would not shut down. It was picking through options; we learned yesterday that this house is a lot closer to foreclosure than we thought, and even though CA law is on our side in the matter of a sale--the lease goes with the house--we're going to wind up moving. Chances are the house won't sell with tenants insisting on staying, and if we refuse to move...well, sooner or later there will be a notice on our door stating we have 15-30 days to vacate. We don't want to be those people...the people who are so enraged about their own rights that we'd be willing to torpedo someone else.

There are all the technicals--technically we don't have to allow the house to be shown without 24 hours notice; technically we can demand that notice be in writing; technically we don't have to clean the house before anyone sees it; technically we can be real assholes and let each and every potential buyer walking through think that we have no intention of going anywhere until the lease runs out. Technically, we can be so mean and demanding, we can be such major jerks, that a sale won't be possible.

We're just not Those People. We don't want to ruin someone else (even though technically she made the really bad decision to buy at the height of the market, to then rent out the house for half the mortgage payment, and to sign a 2 year lease--where did she think the other half of her mortgage payment was going to come from? She didn't let us know a long time ago just how badly she was struggling [though we suspected] and if we'd know it might not feel like SUDDENLY we have to move) but we also don't want to be doormats. In the same sales situation it's not uncommon for renters to be given monetary compensation for their inconveniences of the house being kept clean and the parade of total strangers streaming through. I doubt the landlord has anything with which to compensate us for our time and effort.

She'd have a much better chance of selling this house if we weren't in it. Yet...why would she give up the rent? It doesn't cover her mortgage, but it's better than nothing. Houses are sitting on the market for a long time right now; she probably understands that a sale is a long shot and it's going to foreclose anyway, so why not keep even a little income? We've considered making the offer that if she'll give up back our deposit, we'll move. But why would she bother?

If we don't get the deposit up front, we'll never see it again.

A year from now, when our lease is supposed to end, we'd be in a much better position to buy a house. We were counting on another 6-12 months. But..what if? The Spouse Thingy is eligible for a VA loan. No down payment required. Closing costs can be written into the offer. The only thing holding us back is past stupidities (do not, do not, DO NOT ever pay things like tuition and books, dental work, or medical bills with credit cards. Never pay cash for those things and then live off the cards. It will bite you in the ass later. Figure out another way. What seems like an investment in your future ((tuition)) takes far too long to pay off when paid for with a CC, and then other things pop up. Other things always pop up.)

Do we take a hit on our credit score by even applying for a loan, or suck it up and move into another rental...and then move again in a year?

Maybe start buying lottery tickets in a frenzy and hope? The odds seem about the same.

Yeah, my brain nearly fried itself, and just when I was about to fall asleep in spite of it, my stomach growled and I was awake all over again. I wandered downstairs to shut my stomach up, annoyed the kitties, and finally drifted off around 3:45. I didn't set my alarm so that I could get up and ride; I'm might not have a tons of smarts but I'm not stupid.


It's supposed to hit 103o today. I think I'm staying in where I have running a/c...

*It's a biking custom; if you see a bike with the passenger pegs down, and a helmet on the passenger seat facing backwards, the rider is likely on a memorial ride for a fallen fellow biker.



Why does this keep happening to us?


We still have another year left on our lease; in CA I'm pretty sure that whoever buys the house buys the lease with it, but in the meantime our lives get turned upside down by people traipsing through the house, upsetting the kitties. The Realtor is not going to like the Spouse Thingy's schedule, which effectively wipes out any chance of holding an open house. We're not going to allow a lockbox to be put on the door, nor allow the house to be shown without at least one of us here...

This has the potential to be a miserable, miserable year...possibly capped off by getting the landlord from hell, should Mephistopheles be the one who buys it.

Why can't I win the lottery?

Oh kinda have to buy a ticket for that, don'tcha?


I sat down this morning to read the newspaper and glanced outside to get a quick look at the thermometer: 75o...little wind...bright and sunny. After the 115o I saw on that thing a couple days ago...well, let's just say I got a weird little thrill, read the comics like a excited 8 year old, and just about squealed with joy when I headed out into the garage with scooter key in hand.

Not too hot to ride. Not too windy. Just perfect.

I zoomed around town. I zipped up and down streets. I bumbled along at 20 mph and then sped up to 60. I enjoyed the wind rushing through the mesh of my jacket until I realized I had not eaten breakfast, and it was past when I usually ate lunch.

So I stopped at McDonald's. Nutrition.

But...but...when I left the Golden Arches (having gobbled down a small burger and small fries way too quickly, I'm not even sure I took the time to taste anything) there was a cop standing there looking at my scooter.

WTF did I do? Was he waiting to nab me because he'd clocked me doing 50 down that 45 mph road? I mena, I did, but my speedometer reads kmph and I get confused, dangit!) Did I not stop long enough before turning right on red? What did I do???

Ya know, once a cop spots you, you just can't turn around and run back inside and go hide in the ladies room...

So I sucked it up and approached. I was ready to sprout forth with all kinds of intelligent things to say, like "ummm," and "uhhhh..."

He looked at me and said, "Nice wheels. I've only seen a couple of these around."


But then he asked, "What happened to your sport bike?"

Oh holy...I have been pegged. At least one cop around here knows me by my bright bright bright neon yellow jacket. I can't tell them apart when they're at the side of the road with their radar detectors, or when they're putting along on their shiny Harley Road Kings...but one of them made the leap of logic that there isn't more than one rider with a blinding jacket*, white helmet, and a bright red "Support a Writer, Buy A Book" license frame.

I can never speed in this town again...

* Spouse Thingy has the same jacket but different helmet. And he doesn't tend to take meandering rides around town. But there's a possibility that if I annoy said cop, at some point he'll get blamed for it. That's comforting...


Double Down Or Split What?

Does it look like me?

It's as close as I could get...

Oh, and don't be impressed by the amount my blackjack avatar has...I started with $5000 and that bonus $27.50 took a couple hours to get to.

Tuesday we had some Family Fun and went to a casino. Nothing says Togetherness and Family Values like plunking down cash that you might as well flush down the toilet. We each took a hundred bucks, and while we know better, I'm sure each of us had high hopes for a big score.

I like the slots. Horrible odds, but all the spinning and flashing lights and intermittent reinforcement appeals to my inner toddler. I don't even mind losing so much, as long as I get to play for a long time. Usually I drop $20 in and get enough back in tiny bits to make it enjoyable...and frustrating.

The slots were not kind to me, nor to the Spouse Thingy. We didn't even get much in the way of the thrill of intermittent reinforcement. The damn machines ate our oney like candy.

After losing more than half my cash in too short a time, I wandered over and watched the Boy play Blackjack. I know the basics of the game but not the strategy, but I still stood there thinking I wanted to play. It looked easy enough, and the odds are better than playing the slots, but still...I did not join in because I just wasn't sure about betting and the players at the table were splitting and doubling down and I didn't know what the heck any of that meant.

So on the way home, we stopped and I got myself a gambling program for the computer. One with tutorials. I'm going to learn to play even if it makes my brain explode.

So far... It makes me feel stupid. It's very polite in correcting me, but I'm pretty sure my laptop is thinking to itself, "You're a dumbass. A third grader wouldn't make that move. DON'T DO IT! Why the heck don't you just go in the kitchen and bake cookies and leave the gambling to the Real Fake Men on your screen?"

I have every intention of getting not sucky enough to go back and lose a few bucks at the table instead on in a machine. And when I do lose, I now know they sell donuts there.

Nothing comforts a monetary loss like a stale donut.


I really didn't mean to sound like I was taking potshots at Twitter...I just don't get it and was hoping for some enlightenment. If I ever get it, I might try it. Better yet, sign my cat up for it and let him tweet at people...

In other news...

  • I think I sprained my wrist. All I did was lift one corner of my laptop and something went =ow= and now if I move it in certain ways, it hurts. Getting old sucks. An ACE wrap helps.
  • I think I was the cause of an almost-accident this afternoon. Dude in a giant gas-sucker was watching me in his side view mirror an driving a little erratically, I think trying to get a better view of the scooter. He didn't notice the light had changed and squealed halfway into the intersection when it occurred to him that, duh, everyone else stopped.
  • I think Buddah thinks I have a butt fetish. If I'm lying in bed and he crawls on top of me, he shows me his backside before he plops down. If I talk to him, he gets up, turns around, and shows me his ass. Try to pet his head...he shows me his empty nads. I'm not sure why he seems to think I want to see it, but he sure keeps showing it to me a lot.
  • I think I'm ready for Fall. I want cooler temps to zoom around in. All this sweating just makes my boobs itchy.

:::wanders off to scratch:::


So...apparently I'm way behind the curve because I cannot figure out what the worth of "tweeting" on Twitter. What is the point of Twitter? Seriously. I don't get it.

But then I still haven't figured out why I have a MySpace page and am on Facebook...


It's Max's territory, but what he doesn't know won't hurt him...

Buddah Gets The Window

Buddah finally gets to look out the front window, all by himself...


Like LOLcats?
Fail pix?

You gotta check out their latest...

Engrish photo that says unbelievable this is not butter
more the engrish!

On some level this is so wrong, but I admit, I was laughing my a$$ off. It's new, too, so there's not a ton of archives to go you probably won't wet your pants laughing...yet.


Yes, I let the Spouse Thingy ride it. I think he went all of 8 miles to buy a battery at Walmart. A good wife, I am.

I set up an MP3'll probably be boring unless you're really interested in the scooter. I'm not sure how long I'll keep it up, but long enough to get out my initial impressions of the MP3 compared to riding a motorcycle, how well I think it would work for a beginner, etc. That way this won't become a ride blog...granted that's about all I'll be doing for a few days, but I don't want to put everyone to sleep by going on and on about my new toy any more than I already have.

Nope, I'll do that by talking about my cats.

See how considerate I am?


Comment of the Day
(as given in the grocery store parking lot):

So...when do the training wheels come off?



'09 Piaggio MP3 400

I can finally quit whining

'09 Piaggio MP3 400

...which should make the Spouse Thingy happy...

This weekend while the Spouse Thingy sleeps I'll toot around the neighborhood, getting acquainted with my spiffy new toy--it's not exactly like riding a motorcycle, there are a few things I need to get used to--and maybe next week we can finally take a long ride.

He's now 99.9% off the hook for my birthday. ;)


Check it out:

We spotted this in town today...a Corbin Sparrow. It'll go 75 mph, has a 35-40 mile range, single seat, all electric...and they only made it from 1999-2002.

That kinda sucks, because aside from the Hey That's Cool factor, it would be a major seller today.

Not sure I'd want one, since it's a single seat vehicle, but it's still cool.