Sunday, July 31, 2005

When The Moose Go Marching Out

So I don't know if I mentioned it when we first moved in, but we had some goofy moose marching across an upper wall in our bedroom.

I was sort of dreading the impact these moose would have on my life, because I thought I was going to have to sand them down, primer the whole wall and paint to get rid of them. But Lo! And Behold!

The moose all came off in one piece! The moose practically jumped off the wall! The moose didn't like being up there any more than I liked them being there! Yay! Good moose!

So now that all of the walls in the bedroom are done, we are free to start installing our NEW FLOORING! So the OH SO FUN first step is to remove the twenty year old carpet. Ick. I love me the dirt piles that accumulate underneath carpet!

Wait, wait, is that gross enough? How about an asian meditation garden in dirt...

But, I would like to say that this is all SO worth it. Take for example, the dining room... Before: Brown and Butt-Ugly

After: Airy Ikealicious

So I'm off to roll out some foam underlay and hem some curtains. Have a lovely day!

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Wherein I Turn Into A Cantankerous Old Fool

Try as I may it seems that I might be losing my ability to adapt and change with the times. The latest example of this has to do with climbing. See, I've started climbing a tiny bit again, and let me just mention here, that it has been quite a while since my climbing glory days. It seems the times, they have passed me by.

I've been climbing with a fresh young whippersnapper from the Hub's office (Hi Rachel!) and it has been lovely to get out on a semi regular basis and fling myself at the rock again. Rachel is wonderful and sweet and, well, more than ten years younger than me. So here's where I get the teenyist bit cantankerous. Gospel was, in my day, that you did not, let me repeat, DID NOT EVER, use DEET bearing bug spray anywhere near climbing equipment. The theory was (is?) that DEET eats through nylon. Not only are climbing ropes made of nylon, so are the harnesses, webbing and cordolette that connect you to the rope. So back in the good ol' days this meant that you just didn't use bug spray while climbing. You just wore long sleeves and transcended such pesky things as mosquitoes. But evidently now-a-days I am the only ornery old coot that said young whippersnapper has ever encountered that suffers to such a great extent for some supposed edge in safety.

So what could I do, but turn to the All Knowing, All Seeing Internets! And what did I find? Nothing but conflicting answers, of course! It seems to be common knowledge that DEET dissolves plastics, but then again, one climbing rope company supposedly did a study where DEET was shown to not affect rope strength at all. Of course my new rope is not made by THIS company. I'm also seeing on the chat boards (chat boards, who trusts chat boards?) that it supposedly doesn't affect Nylon 6 or Nylon 6,6. Hmm, it seems that my new rope is made of "Polyamide 6 (Nylon)". Is that the same? And despite my best efforts I cannot actually find a copy of the procedures and results of the Blue Water test. (Did they test only on the day of exposure, did they test a month later, etc?) And all this seems crazy to me in light of the fact that it has been proven that using a sharpie pen to mark the center of a rope can reduce the strength up to 50%!

Okay, so in conclusion, do I stick to my old fashioned guns (and my comfy luddite-ness) here and still say NO! to DEET, or do I give in to progress (albeit slightly sketchily documented progress) and go with the flow (of toxic pesticides)?

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

My Fledgling Is Out Of The Nest. Again.

The MollyFuzz seems to be healing up pretty well, so far no face-fall-offage. Knock knock. She's been getting pretty cranky hanging around inside the house (now, who does that sound like?!) so I let her outside this morning. Lets hope she has learned her snake lesson. Speaking of lessons, I am all submerged in the new Harry Potter book, and I'm not sure I'll be able to get anything done until i finish it... If only I could swish and flick my magic wand WHILE reading.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Horror. Take Two.

So Molly, my Fuzzy, my Precious, did it for real this time, and got herself into a fight with the business end of a rattlesnake. BAM! Right between the eyes. And still, not a peep out of my little scrapper. She was acting odd, and running around the house, and when I went to look for her she was hiding under the tarps on the bed. (Still painting in there...) She was definitely freaked out, bleeding from the bridge of her nose and drooling a bit. Bad news.

So, back to the old drill, we paged the vet, but unfortunately she was out of town this time, so we were directed to the next closest, about an hour away. I think I made it there in half that. After having me sign not one, but TWO, release forms that okayed charges up to $900 they got her all antivenin- and IV-ed up. And then I proceeded to loose my shit, and weep for the next two hours. The docs were holding their cards rather close to their chests at this point, and told me to come back in a few hours to check on her progress.

To cut to the chase, she made it through the night just fine, pleasantly dazed on lots of kitty painkillers. She looked good this morning (despite her slightly swollen Frankenstein brow), and even managed to eat some breakfast. Therefore, I was allowed to take her home early. There is still the danger of infection from those bacteria laden snake fangs, so she will be back on antibiotics. Her favorite. There is also the horrendous possibility that the flesh on her face will become necrotic and, well, fall off. Ugh. I'm just gonna ignore that possibility for now, as she hasn't shown any of the bad bruising that typically precedes it. So we are home, a bit worse for the wear, but thankful.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Essay In Ants

Ant Social

Hey this stuff is tasty!

Ant Fest

Hey Dude, come join in!

Ant Orgy

Mmmm, slurp, glop, mmm.

Update: now mostly dead ants. Yay!

Is The Magic Number...

Once is an occurrence, twice is a coincidence, and the third time is a pattern. So hopefully I have made a pattern for myself of going for a road bike ride on occasional mornings. Of course, it took me as many weeks (as rides) to establish this iffy pattern, and there are a few things about the pattern that I would like to tweak a bit. For instance, I've been trying to get out of the house around the seven o'clock hour, but due to circumstances each time, I don't actually leave until 8:30 or quarter to 9:00! Which means one thing. Hot. Ride. Home.

The circumstances yesterday were due to a flat tire. Being the handy-dandy* gal that I am, I whipped out the pump, patch kit, and tire irons and fixed said pesky hole. Not well enough though, unfortunately, 'cause the $#% tire still didn't hold air for more than a minute and a half. But being the determined creature that I am, I found the other patched spare and performed the operation yet again and was finally on the road.

Speaking of road, did I mention that I have to ride a quarter mile on the dirt/gravel road on my skinny tired road bike before getting to actual pavement. I guess it is no surprise that I've been getting flats. All this is better than the first ride of this baby pattern, where my chain fell off, my foot got stuck in the pedal and I fell over and did this to my knee.

Auspicious start, eh? Good thing it was only a flesh wound!

Speaking of patterns, we have also been busy installing our IKEA laminate flooring. Anyone who claims that this is easy is full of, well, big awkward pieces of fiberboard laminate flooring that don't really want to click together and stay together. Moving on, there was one very exciting outcome of the entire flooring adventure. I've found that it is the perfect way to describe a chaotic dynamical system. Cough, GEEK, cough.

See, you start with whole boards, laying them across one side of the room, "snapping" them together as you go. Then you get to the end of the room where a whole board won't fit. So you get out your handy-dandy* table saw and chew through the last board like ants through cat food. Then your board chunk fits in and you take the remainder to start the next row. Then you proceed to fill in with however many full boards will fit until you are, again, at the end of the room. Only now, the oh so simple IKEA cartoon picture directions throw you for an unexpected loop. Now you have to make sure that the end board is NOT LESS THAN 15 inches long. Huh? It, of course, is. It is only about 4 inches long.

So in order to have known this in advance of laying an entire row of incorrect laminate flooring, you would have to work out Chaos. Mathematically meaning that you have some formula of how many boards you need to cross the room, then take the remainder from that row add it to the next row, THEN apply it to the same formula, figure out that remainder, and again, and again. ITS CHAOS! Literally. I got really excited about this and wanted to write a computer program to figure it all out for me. And I still may, but it will have nothing to do with how the floor comes out, 'cause its a Double Wide, so I just cheated and used the 4 inch chunk. Whatever. Its better than 20 year old brown stickerball studded carpet. But WOW, how cool what that whole chaos seminar! Again, with the living on the fast paced edge of society. Wheee!

*word of the day.

Monday, July 18, 2005

The Flight Of The Suziebee

Okay, we are having an issue here.

And here is our current attempt at kill, Kill, KILLING these pests...

See, they seem to have discovered that our house is a veritable font of sweet things to eat. This all started with an appalling attack on those blasted hummingbird feeders. (Although it does seem logical in retrospect that they would like red sugar syrup, the thought initially never crossed my mind.) And then there was an unfortunate incident with a spilled honeyed ice tea. Now they've moved onto to bigger and better things. Like cat food. (??) They are itty bitty, but there are millions, bazillions, gajillions of them. I hate them. And they are coming to carry me off, I can hear their marching drums and teeny tiny war calls. To arms my comrades, to toxic Terro arms!

Friday, July 15, 2005

Morning Has Broken. Ouch.

So a little while ago, when I said that the back porch doubled our living space, I was SO not kidding.

This is the best bed in the house, its on wheelie rollers, so we can trundle it out under the stars every night.

This is our cozy seating area, because who can resist dining on the deck? You may note that our little candelabra (who looks disturbingly like Lumiere) has been de-tapered. That is because THIS happened when we were in LA.

And you know what, that isn't quite enough for me, I think y'all need to see the close up of its pitiful flaccid candle self. (With bonus arty shadows!) Enjoy!

So anywhoo, what all this outdoor livin' means is that this morning I woke up earlier than God. Seriously! See, straw one is that we're pretty bug free here most of the time, except for that 15 minutes immediately before the sun comes up. Then those skeeters gotta get their gettin' while the gettin's good! And then there's that whole sky getting bright thing, did you know that happens BEFORE the sun actually comes up?! And well the final straw is those charming little hummingbirds that I spend an hour every three days washing and filling feeders for. We seem to live on the I-5 of Hummingbirds, the Autobahn of Hummingbirds, the Indianapolis Hummingbird Speedway for pete's sake! They ride in on their little mini Harleys and souped up Datsuns and squabble amongst themselves as they pull up a stool at the Red Nectar Bar. I guess it could be disturbing, if they just weren't so frickin' cute. Squeak, flap. Buzz buzz, hummmm. Squeak.

Showdown at the Syrup Corral

Thursday, July 14, 2005

I Survived The Hospital-Smell-Panic, Sort Of...

Well, we are home from LA. It wasn't too bad of a trip. We had some nice visits with the Hub's gramma, where she was interactive and even eating. It seems, however, that she has completely forgotten that she ever spoke English, and now only communicates in garbled Hungarian. I wish our gramma was around to chat with her, but The Hub managed to dredge up some phrases from his childhood, and definitely got reactions to them. The day we left however, she was refusing to eat anymore. I can't say as I blame her though, since all she gets to eat are clear brothy liquids and jello. Bleah. So she may hang in there for a while, or she may be gone soon, there's no telling with her, being the tough little tiny woman that she is. The Hub was glad that he got to spend some quality time though, so it was all worth it. Sorry. Bit of a downer entry.

Monday, July 11, 2005

The Grand Dame

It looks like we are leaving to go to LA. The Hub's 90-something gramma has just been hospitalized. The prognosis is sort of grim, but she has lived a good life and the family just wants to send her off with respect and dignity. I tried to whinge my way out of the trip (bad wife!), but got some sense talked into me by Robbyblog. So talk amongst yourselves, and I'll be back in a bit.

Guilty As Charged...

I have a few things that I need to confess to you, the great absolver of our generation, the internet. We didn't go through with the sale of our beloved Tabitha. Due to the fact that we are in the process of buying six whole acres that will need clearing and managing like any good manifest destiny-ish landowner should perform (and the fact that we are in a high fire danger area, and therefore need to clear the land to within an inch of its life) AND the fact that there is no trash pickup in this neighborhood, we bailed on the sale and have kept her around for the weekly trip to the dump. The dude who was going to buy her is completely fine with our Kerry-esque waffling, as he realizes that Tabby is probably too old to do all the four wheelin' that he wanted to do with her. So we are now, cringe, a three car family. Yeah sure, we can sorta justify each one of them, but it seems so horribly materialistic. It isn't quite my Environmental Engineer's dream of living where we could walk and bike to excellent public transportation and live a petroleum free (or at least petroleum-lite) lifestyle. Ah, well. Hopefully we'll get around to installing some solar panels, or a windmill or something. And a gray water re-use system. And maybe a wildlife rescue center or two, maybe that would even the karmic scales, right? Maybe?

And speaking of wildly materialistic, guess what we did AGAIN! Yes, we did it. We went to IKEA a second time. Exonerate me, oh All Seeing Internet. See, the first time we were there, we stumbled upon the fact that they carry a Pergo-esque flooring material, for the paltry sum of 99 cents a square foot! And after a week of (you guessed it) waffling, we decided to give it a go. And of course we had to pick up a few other (thousand) things while we were there, including the world's sexiest (slightly damaged, wildly discounted) dining room set. Our dining room will ROCK! I think. If we can manage the laminate install... So here I go to rip up some carpet. Or to paint a bathroom. Or to build some bookshelves. Ah, the fun things I get to do now that I live in nature's playground...

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Insert Tab A Into Slot B

Here is the fun part of last weekend... The Hub and I made the (three hour) drive to our closest Ikea, shopped our brains out, and made it home in one piece with about a thousand pounds of bedding and storage furniture strapped to Janine. We did however, forget anything with which to strap our purchases to the car, so we had to use that free "twine" that they provide in the loading area. Poor Janine looked like Gulliver after the Liliputians got through with him. But it held pretty dang well, so I guess that stuff is stronger than the dental floss that it resembles. If only I'd known that before, I wouldn't have spent the entire three hour drive home with my arm out the window trying to tactilely judge whether or not the roof rack was about to fly off the car. You should see the insects stuck to my forearm.

We did, however, encounter a surprisingly rude officer of the law about three miles from our house. We were chugging up the curvy two lane road toward our town like the little engine that could, when we passed a sign that says "Passing Lane 1 Mile". About thirty seconds later a big SUV comes roaring up behind us. At pretty much that exact moment we also came upon the one "turnout" that is not marked with a quarter mile warning sign, so we weren't prepared to slow down and move over (without launching our load into the ditch) to allow the SUV to pass. We figured that this wasn't really a big deal since we knew that he (she/it) would be able to pass in a matter of minutes at the aforementioned passing lane. Unfortunately he didn't agree, and flashed us with his high beams and used his OFFICIAL POLICE LOUDSPEAKER to snidely comment that "That is what turnouts are for!" Is that official police business, making rude comments to law abiding citizens driving the speed limit? I DON'T THINK SO! Big meanie.

Regardless, we made it home safe and sound and spent the rest of the weekend, aside from the catpanictriptothevet, opening boxes and putting together new toys like the biggest and best Christmas ever! We've discovered crazy new inventions like a bed with a headboard AND footboard, so you pillows don't fall off the top and your blankets don't fall off the bottom. Neato. And storage space. Lovely gorgeous clean organized storage space. Love them Swedish. It also pleases me to no end that we now own a couple FLARKE's. So much so that I just can't stop saying it. Flarke flarke flarke. You try it! Do we know how to party or what.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Horrible Scare

We had a pretty good weekend of nesting activities that I'll get around to talking about this week, but on the actual 4th, my poor kitty, the feline love of my life, got herself into a fight with something. Originally we thought it was a rattlesnake, but a panicked rush to the coolest small town local vet EVER (who saw us despite it being her day off AND the fourth of July) allayed that particular fear. Sort of.

We still have no idea what happened, it could have been a good shaking in the jaws of some local mammal (which is even more horrifying), an unfortunate incident with a local car, or some sort of self induced injury due to her jumpiness in the enclosed space under the house. The outcome seems to be that she is not mortally injured, just deeply shaken, stiff, and bruised from her shoulders to her haunches. She's been hiding under the bed since we got back from the vet, except for about 5 hours when I prodded her into sleeping on the bed with me. She wouldn't eat or drink anything until 4:30 this morning when I hand fed her individual kibble nuggets while snuggling in bed. Yes, I love my kitty. I know the worst is over for now, but, well, I'm a worrier. So send out some good kitty vibes to her, and I'll pamper her as best I can.

Oh and Super Duper Big Thanks to the Hub for crawling under the house to the complete opposite corner where Molly had either been attacked or had hidden, and retrieving a rather reluctant injured kitty. You are a brave and noble soul. Thank heavens I married ya!

Friday, July 01, 2005

Oh No!

She retired.


Yesterday, despite it being hot hot hot up here, I got two projects done that I've been meaning to get around to. Of course before the projects get done there is the obligatory trip to the hardware store where I try and pretend to not be a total girl, and that I know the difference between a wood screw and a sheet metal screw. Which I have to say is not all that clear, especially if you are screwing sheet metal TO wood! But I think I got it all figured out, without asking too many inane questions of the grizzled cowpoke working the counter. Lets hope.

The first project was this nifty shelf that I put up in this otherwise awkward and empty space in our kitchen. The little handmade "brackets" were a housewarming present from a friend in Tahoe. (Thanks Blaine and Aimee!) Please ignore our old greasy toaster oven that looks like it should be taken out into the back yard and shot. He still works, so he's still around. And I have to say nothing works better for reheating leftover pizza than a toaster oven. Mmmmm, leftover pizza.

The second project was this hanging bike rack behind our porch. Designed and built by little ol' me! Yes, as a matter of fact, I am proud of myself. I got to work with power tools (okay, just a drill) on both projects which is always fun and oh so empowering! Nothing says I can do it more than a power tool!

So now all I have to do is finish painting the laundry room, the living room and the two bathrooms, unpack and/or discard all of our junk, and landscape the yard and I'll be set! Should take one, maybe two hours, right?