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?