Thursday, July 27, 2006

Who are they?

Can you give the names of these members of Pat's "Major Hottie" list?


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Wednesday, July 26, 2006

W-W-W-Wednesday

Yep, I showed up for work today in grubby shorts and a semi-decent/semi-grubby shirt so that I could work on packing things away and stay cool and not worry about what decent clothes I was destroying. I did, however, iron the t-shirt. It's a sickness I have, really!

I got three of the four computers disassembled and put away onto maintenance carts, and most likely won't do my own (the one I'm on now) until relatively close to the last minute. Looking around, there's so much to do that it seems quite overwhelming. I'll get it done, though. Somehow.

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Our new floor still isn't in, and I'm starting to get pissed. We ordered it on July 7th and were told it would take 7-10 days for it to come in. In order to not be disappointed, I told Lisa we'd assume they meant BUSINESS days, so figured it should be in by July 21 at the latest. Lisa called yesterday and was told that the ship date had been changed to July 28. Of course, we already got the first bill on the credit card we were given to purchase the floor with...

Amazing how that part of any system always works best, eh?

So we have plywood for floors right now. Everything is in a temporary state and I'm sick and damned tired of stepping over and squeezing around things. My house is completely chaotic and I don't have the floor to UN-chaos it!
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I let yesterday slip by without even thinking about the fact that it was the 31st anniversary of my first marriage. A lifetime ago.

We met in Okinawa while stationed there for the Army. We hit it off right away and dated intensely for about 6 months. Then, when the Department of the Army announced that, in an effort to conserve funds, all overseas tours would be involuntarily extended for three months, we decided to get an apartment and live together.

LeRoy was a proud, stereotypical Hispanic male -- somewhat possessive and jealous, but he was a gentle soul as well. I would have to say that my biggest complaint was that he just didn't know how to show and give affection, something that we all need. At one point he told me that it was MY job to provide for the family's emotional needs, and his job to provide for their physical needs.

Through it all, we had a good companionship, but we didn't really have a good marriage. We grew in different directions and had different dreams and goals. Or rather, I had dreams and goals, he had none. Finally one day, after 12 years of marriage and 3 kids later, I woke up and realized that I couldn't raise happy, well adjusted kids if I wasn't happy myself.

I filed for divorce. And I wanted it over as soon as possible. I saw the lawyer on September 29th and we were in the courtroom on October 29th, our divorce final on February 28th. Looking back, the only thing I'd do differently is give him more time to digest and deal with the impending divorce. Two months after we split, he attempted suicide. A year later, he threatened it again.

We parted on relatively friendly terms and through the first dozen or so years after our divorce, we remained good friends. It made life so much simpler for the kids that way. I didn't have some axe to grind about their father, making me badmouth him to them, and vice versa. I always told the kids that we just didn't have a good marriage and decided to get out of it before it got to be a BAD marriage.

He remarried about 7 years later, and divorced not quite 2 years after that. During that marriage, his wife had issue with our friendly relationship, so things deteriorated a bit. In 1998 he married his high school sweetheart, an absolutely wonderful human being, and the status quo remained for a little while.

Throughout all this time, from 1988 until 1998, you could set your clock by his calls every Sunday morning. He called the kids on their birthdays and the holidays, too. And I had the kids call him to share whatever was going on in their lives as well.

In 1999, #2 daughter left home in a snit because I refused to pay any more tuition for her after she got her Associates. She was out partying every night and I just didn't see her taking college seriously and, as I told her, she made no effort to improve her grades to get financial help. She moved to Colorado to live with Daddy.

A year later, his wife was transferred to California and I got an email from him telling me that he'd be giving half the child support to #2 daughter. No way, I told him. And we fought bitterly over him wanting to help her out and me refusing to just hand over money to her when she could have worked harder to earn more financial assistance.

So much for remaining friendly.

He stopped calling Joe. He said it was because he didn't want to talk to me if I answered the phone, so I told him that we had a customized ring system, and Joe had his own phone number. His line had a triple ring so I knew when the phone rang that it wasn't for me, and I rarely, if ever, answered Joe's line. He still didn't call.

Then, when I got Joe a cell phone, I gave that number to his father, telling him that there was no excuse for not calling his son now. He still doesn't call.

He and his son are so estranged, it's not even funny. When Joe graduated high school, he turned 19 the same day. He got an envelope in the mail from his father -- not a card, just an envelope which contained a POST-DATED check (dated June 31st) for $600 with a post-it stuck to it that said "Happy Birthday and congratulations."

Two years ago, at Christmas time, Joe got a card from his father that contained a $100 check that was post-dated to January 1st. When Joe cashed the check, it bounced.

The following summer, my ex informed me that he was sick of being broke and was going to stop paying child support. These days, his paycheck is garnished for the support.

This man was once fiercely committed to his family and felt personally responsible for his children, never missing a child support payment. He went from that to a father who hasn't spoken two words to his son in more than 5 years. For a while, Joe called him, telling me "I maintain contact with Dad because I have friends who don't have that choice." But when you're conducting a one-sided relationship, it grows old, and Joe stopped calling his father. He still sends him Christmas gifts (and sends gifts to his step-mother, too), but that's about all. His father has become an annual obligation. How sad.

That man can never buy back all that he's missed with his son. In my book, his actions (or lack thereof) have truly made him a

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Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Bush Pilot (with English subtitles)

This explains a lot....

Tool Time

Friday evening we went and picked up our new dishwasher -- a nice Frigidaire product with the Quiet Pack III feature. Our old one made so much damn racket that you couldn't hear yourself think.

So, Saturday we got up and installed it -- or rather, Lisa installed it while I assisted in whatever way she needed it.

After we got it all in, we realized we'd forgotten one tiny detail. We were going to tear out the kitchen floor while the dishwasher was uninstalled! DOH!

So, we tore out the floor and the luaun underneath, being extremely careful to not damage the dishwasher's setting or it's appearance. We got the floor torn out, but have some really bad jagged edges from the luaun around the cabinets and the dishwasher. Now, I don't know about you, but we weren't up to the ass-ache of taking out the cabinets, so we decided to clean up the debris and think out the situation.

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Last night, I asked Lisa if she could use her Dremel tool somehow to trim off the remaining wood and stuff so that it would be squared off enough to install the new floor in there. Since she'd used the Dremel for that very task when we did the entry way, I remembered that, while it worked well, she burned up several disks doing it. It just wasn't meant for that sort of project.

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Then I had a DUH moment and said "Well, there are so many different attachments for the darned thing, let's see what they've got." I went up on the Dremel website, and guess what I found for $19.99? A mini-saw! It's like a circular saw only it's just a little thing, cutting to a maximum depth of only a quarter inch, but it was deep enough for what we needed.

Lisa ran right out to the Home Depot and bought one and, when we went to bed last night, everything was neatly trimmed against the cabinets and dishwasher. Lisa always says "The right tool for the job," and that's how she came to have such an extensive tool collection as it is.

She's really been hankering for a router table -- my Uncle Bob gave her a router last winter and she's not been able to use it yet. Now that she's doing more and more woodworking, she's wanting "toys" that are more and more expensive. I'm thinking a router table for her birthday (which is September 2).

We've decided we're going to use the same very light blue color on the walls in the kitchen, only a high gloss finish would be more appropriate there. Then we'll do the cabinets in a contrasting dark blue (colonial blue) color.

What started out as a simple re-do project in the entryway has turned into this monster. Fortunately for us, we've not spent a lot of money on it as we've earned lots and lots of points through MyPoints and redeemed them for $50 Home Depot gift cards. We've earned six of them thus far since we started the project in February and it's really cut down on the cost of this rennovation (other than the new floor for upstairs). Simply put, MyPoints is a program whereby you can earn points by reading emails and shopping through the MyPoints website. I've been a member since 1999 and, to date, have earned just shy of 100,000 points. With the points I've earned, I've gotten two $10 gift cards for The Olive Garden, and FOURTEEN $50 Home Depot Gift Cards. Not bad for 7 years -- that comes out to about $720 in rewards.


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Sunday was my birthday. My younger daughter, Linda, surprised me by calling. When he left for work in the morning, Joe left a big box on the computer table chair, on which he'd scrawled "Happy Birthday Mom from your favorite son." It was a gorgeous slate tabletop water fountain, the kind where the water runs over a wall. Beautiful. Lisa went to the store and bought two pounds of Alaskan King Crab for dinner and fixed them, along with a nice rice pilaf and a salad. It was a nice, quiet birthday, all things considered.

I found this cool web page and determined that Bill Haley and the Comets' "Rock Around the Clock" was number one on the day I was born. What was Number 1 on the day you were born?

My son, Joe, works at a garden center. It's been hotter'n Haedes throughout the entire country, with record setting heat everywhere. Hot, hazy, humid -- noplace has escaped it, least of all the Northeast where we're just not used to it being that hot. I worry constantly about him getting enough to drink while he's at work in this wretched heat, but he plunks change in the machine in the breakroom several times each day for a cold bottle of Gatorade.

So yesterday, he sees a couple of his co-workers and "John" from the customer service counter all standing around a Ford Escape. He walks over and asks what's going on. "John" tells him to just listen. Joe hears the shrill screams of a baby crying. He looks into the Escape and sees an infant, about 6 months old, sweating profusely, crimson-faced, screaming and crying. No adults other than the employees of the store were anywhere near this poor child. "John" had already called 9-1-1.

Joe ran over to the fence and picked up a hook he uses for loading things, and ran back over to the Ford. He figured it would be easier to deal with any repercussions on breaking a window than to have to live with himself if he'd stood there and let that poor baby cook. What infuriated him was that he was the only one who had taken any action at all, other than the kid who reported it to "John," and the 9-1-1 call. Just as he was raising the hook to break the window, the fire department's EMT truck entered the parking lot. They broke into the vehicle somehow and got the baby out and began administering first aid. They asked "John" how long the baby had been in the car and "John" looked at his watch and said "At least a half hour since we found her."

About ten minutes later the police cruiser arrived and shortly after that, Mom and her female friend arrived at the vehicle, all concerned and asking what was going on. From the time the baby was first discovered until Mom came out, approximately 40 minutes had gone by. When she cried out "Oh my God, what's happening?" one of Joe's co-workers snarled "You left your baby in the car to cook like a turkey in an oven you stupid bitch."

The police arrested Mom on the spot, while the friend stayed with the baby until a family member could get there to take custody of her. Why they didn't arrest the friend is beyond me because, according to the law, anyone who knows of any abuse is obligated to report it. And, if she didn't see anything wrong with leaving an infant in the car to cook in sweltering heat, then she's just as guilty as Mom.

Someone was watching out for the little tyke, though, if they let her go home without transporting her to the hospital. But it sure as hell wasn't her mother...

They're going to be re-doing the carpeting and painting in my office starting next week. Apparently there's asbestos tile under the carpet, so they have to remove that as well. I have to start packing up the office today -- everything. Contents of cabinets, desks, files, etc. because the furniture will be moved out into the hallway and left there while the work is being done.

I have to find someplace to stash 4 computers with monitors, a honkin' sized network printer, and our $800 chairs so that none of them grow legs and walk away while the work is being done.

Without an office for more than a week and a half, I'm not sure what I'm going to be doing, or what the faculty will do either, for that matter. The idiots I work for are clueless, believing that the "warm breathing body" concept applies to our department, so I guess things are just going to have to pile up until I get back to them after the ruckus is over.

So, appearances here may be sporadic.

Best to all!

Monday, July 24, 2006

Something real!



OK, so you've seen all those schmaltzy emails saying that some little kid is dying of cancer and wants something and it turns out to be a scam. This one isn't. If you click on the title to this post it will take you to the local news article about this amazing little girl.

This is the email that her teacher began about her:

Hi Friends, Family, Colleagues and Random People who got on my email list!

As many of you are aware, this past school year one of my kindergartners, Alyssa Bruno, was diagnosed with diffuse pontine glioma (stem cell brain tumor). She had a successful year of kindergarten, but took a dramatic turn for the worse at the end of the school year. As of now she has lost all movement in her left side and can't walk or talk. She has been on five different chemotherapy treatments and continues to be a little trooper! Everyone is praying that this upcoming week's dose of chemo will show some signs of improvement.

On August 2nd Alyssa will be celebrating her 6th birthday. I've been thinking for a long time about what to get for her, but she is very limited with what she can do right now. One thing Alyssa LOVES is to get mail. So I thought I'd email everyone on my list and ask for you all to send Alyssa a birthday card. How neat would that be for Alyssa to receive cards from all over the country and perhaps the world! I'd love it if you all could also forward this message to everyone on your list. (I'm not a fan of chain letters, but this would really make Alyssa's day!)

If you send a card please enclose a penny for "good luck"! I am going to have Alyssa collect them in a jar as a reminder of all the people who are out there praying for her. I know how busy everyone is these days, but sending a card to Alyssa would really help to brighten her long days during these next few hot months of summer. It will give her a little something to look forward to each day when she gets the mail. I've attached a few pictures so that you can put a face with the name! She's a cutie! :) Forward this along to anyone who you think might send a card.


Please post this on your blog or web site if you're of a mind to help with this project. It's real, and so is the little girl's illness.

This is Alyssa on the first day of Kindergarten:

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This is Alyssa in June:

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I can't emphasize enough that this isn't a scam -- and those of you that know me know that I NEVER EVER pass stuff like this along because I'm a die-hard cynic.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Entertainment

Here's an interesting ad by Vernon Robinson (click the link), candidate for Congress. Can you say INFLAMMATORY? Another politician with a bad case of cranialrectumitis.

Also, Dubya has a plan. Check it out.

Stephen Colbert pays tribute to Dubya.

And, for all of you feline lovers, does your cat talk?

God I miss this show!






Monday, July 17, 2006

Back, under duress

Yeah, I'm back from vacation, and VERY under duress. Everyone should take no less than 2 weeks off at some point during the year. It's a good amount of time and allows a great re-charge of the mind, body and spirit.

Like the rest of the country, we're expecting very hot and humid weather today with temperatures in the mid-90s and the heat index to go well over 100 degrees. I just can't truly articulate how difficult that is for a woman going through menopause. Sixty degrees feels over warm but with these kinds of temperatures, I truly feel like I'm melting away. I get this "whooshing" sensation in my ears and head, my stomach feels like it's about to have an explosion a la Aliens and all I want to eat is ice cream or something frozen. I can't focus, I can't function, and I'm motivated to do absolutely nothing.

We met a lot of our vacation goals, although not all. We certainly slept in each morning, not arising much before 9:00 on any given day. A couple of days, we even slept until 10:00 (of course, we were staying up later, too). Because of what we ended up getting into (details to follow), I ended up wearing a bra a lot more than I wanted to. Every single morning we sat out on the patio, sipping our coffee, and looking out over the gardens and just quietly chatting. Our anniversary arrived on the 5th without much fanfare and, while we acknowledged it, we didn't really treat it as a momentous occasion. We did buy ourselves a wooden pump/bucket setup for our gardens as a gift to ourselves, but other than that, it was a quiet anniversary (although we did have some quiet, private, intimate time). We ended up not going to the Gay Pride Parade and Cultural Festival. The couple we were going to go with had to beg off and, because we had things we could be doing (that needed doing), we opted to stay home. I kept my promise to myself and didn't check my email or voice mail until this past Friday. No phone calls from work, either. We gave absolutely no thought to the Renaissance Festival and, while we discussed camping a couple of times, ended up not doing that, either. Finally, I finished the baby blanket I was working on for my new grandson, Ethan, who is due in early September.

Where we got into a bit of "trouble" was after the chiropractor appointment on Friday the 7th. There we were, minding our own business, when we decided to go to Lowes and see what they had in flooring, just for shits and giggles, for the upstairs. Well, to make a long story short, we actually ended up BUYING flooring because they had a deal whereby, if you applied for a Lowe's credit card and your purchase came to more than $299, you got ZERO payments and ZERO interest for a year. Well, since we were looking at just about 500 square feet of flooring, it came to a nice, tiday sum. But hell, I can pay that off well before the year is up. They told us the flooring should be in within 7 to 10 days. I figure it'll be in today, just because it's our first day back from vacation.

So, we got back home and got right into cutting up the carpet and its padding and removing it from the entire upstairs. Yes, the entire upstairs (minus bedrooms and a bathroom). Then we removed every molding, spackled the walls and went to the Home Depot for paint.

We did the ceiling first. It's cathedral style, and 12 feet at it's peak. No small feat to paint, believe me. We did the ceiling a flat white and, once we got going on it, we were amazed to see just how discolored the ceiling had been. I used to smoke and, for a while when my father lived with me, there was a lot of smoke filtering through that house. The ceiling is now so white, it actually seems brighter in that area now. It took us an entire day just to do the ceiling.

Then we did the walls. The eastern and western walls are a pale, pale blue (almost white) and the remaining walls are a buttery cream color. They look great against each other, and the cream color looks wonderful against the greens we did in the entryway earlier this year.

I got a first coat of paint on the stairs with the cream color as well, while Lisa finished painting the walls in the hallway that leads to the bedrooms. It was hotter'n Haedes doing it, especially up on the ladders where the hot air rises, but somehow we managed to get it done. We still need to go back and touch up some spots on the ceiling where I managed to "oops" with the light blue paint -- we'll do them with small artist brushes.

After we took up the carpet, we noted that there is a lot of drywall mud on the floor -- presumably from the builders who did the most recent work in the house, whenever that was. It was globbed up pretty good in a lot of areas and, with putting in a new floor, we were concerned about our ability to have the floor be level and not rock back and forth, so we spent a couple of days scraping drywall mud up off the floor. We've got that about half done. The scraping is hard on the hands, arms, and wrist as well as the lower back and knees. Probably the hardest task yet.

Right now, the house looks like a demolition site. Did you ever see the movie The Money Pit? The part where Tom Hanks tells Shelley Long "We're living in Swiss Cheese with doors!" could closely describe what our upstairs looks like right now. In fact, it's so bad, the cats don't even come upstairs because they're so weirded out by the loss of their familiar scents in the carpet, as well as the power tools, banging, painting, etc. that's going on.

Last Thursday we went to court to observe the arguments for our case. It's interesting to see how this process works. The judge is an ultra-conservative so I don't hold out much positive hope that he'll rule in our favor. Alternatively, the opposing attorney is a putz who seemed like he'd just read the case for the first time that morning and made ridiculous comments and even stated incorrect facts. We'll see, though.

I've received numerous letters from my father, almost at the rate of one per day. He's in the state facility in Elmira undergoing evaluation and it looks like he may be there on "medical hold" for a while until they figure out what they're going to do with him. His circulation is terrible in his legs and feet and, because of all the bypass surgeries he's already had, they're not holding out much hope that they can do any more surgery for him. For the time being, his spirits seem somewhat high and he's coping as best he can.

So, I'm back to work, with absolutely nothing to do. If it wasn't so damned hot, I'd ride my bike at lunch time to get a good workout, but with the temperature at 88 degrees currently, and the heat index at 95, that doesn't seem like a smart thing to do.

I guess I'll just sit here in the air-conditioned office (which, by the way, is at 85 degrees INSIDE) with the fans running and hope for the best.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Happy Anniversary to Us!


Five years ago today, we had our Vermont Civil Union.


Two years ago today, we were married in Niagara Falls.


So much time has gone by so fast, yet it seems like a lifetime that I've known and loved Lisa.

With a lifetime yet to go...

Have a listen to this song we had played at our wedding.