Thursday, November 22, 2012

Proof That My Cats Love Me

Here is the undisputed physical proof that my cats love me and want me to know. And what better way to communicate this to me than using a medium that they have to use every day and that I have to scoop every day. 

I get one or two of these every month!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Neighbor TV

I don't know about you, but I have access to a free channel that is sometimes way more interesting than regular TV or cable. It's called Neighbor TV. It comes with some caveats, the main one being you really shouldn't be caught watching it by the lead characters and the other is that you are likely on someone else's Neighbor TV.

Now I don't have a house directly across from me which is an advantage but I can watch the two kitty corner across the street. The male leads are just plain weird and have no common sense. The jury is still out on the women who married them. Don't get me wrong, as far a neighbors go, they are nice but they do make me go hmmmm a lot.

Channel One consists of a mom, dad, and two teenaged kids. They do a LOT of things together - they are always going on walks as a family, eating out on the porch, and driving off to places at all sorts of times. They usually are one of the last ones to mow, the father did it until the girl was old enough and then when she went away somewhere (college?), the boy took over and he's clearly not interested. They tend to wait about 2-3 weeks between mowing. Their poor dog, he ends up spending his time lying on the pine needle sections they never bother raking up. And I'm not sure why they got a dog, they really don't seem to pay any real attention to him until he barks to let them know someone is running or biking down the street when they yell his name/clap and put him back inside. They also don't really shovel their snow despite getting a snow blower, the bottom of their driveway is always a mess in the winter. The dad did let me borrow their roof snow rake indefinitely as he got it but didn't ever use it and noticed me (see what I mean about being on their Neighbor TV?) up on my ladder. One day he came over and asked if I had a circular saw, he was making repairs to the front porch. Now I'm no carpenter but I really could not figure out what the hell he was doing.

(An aside: Speaking of raking, I was watching them do this with leaves one recent afternoon and while it was amusing to watch their rather uncoordinated efforts with no real methodical whole yard plan, I did get a good idea from them. Typically I rake my leaves into piles and rake them onto a tarp/drag to the compost or let them sit for a week or two to have the frost break them down/stick them together/put them in the wheelbarrow - both methods = many trips. This year I borrowed a leaf (pun intended) from them and after raking them into piles, I shoved the leaves (using my awesome rake hands my mom got me one year) into my outdoor garbage can, smooshed them down by stepping in the can to maximize amount of leafage, and dumped them into my compost. Worked great!)

Channel Two consists of a mom, dad, one bio-child, and one adopted son who is now an adult and only comes home on vacations and never mowed or did chores around the house. I have been watching the bio-child since he was a toddler and he just gets stranger and stranger, apparently he still has doozies of tantrums. While the Channel One kids played outside/do chores and the teenager still does some stuff outside with his friends, bio-child is NEVER outdoors and when he is, he's clearly got some issues and he never does any chores outside. One day his outside activity consisted of walking fast around their car and pressing his face on on every window several times. The mom seems normal - she does yard work, she walks the dog, she has people over, and she always waves to me when we see each other on the street. The dad, now he's a different story. He never really completes anything. Some days he will "clean" or "rearrange" the garage which consists of removing everything, standing outside of it staring into the garage, hitching his pants up constantly in between fixing his hat or tweaking his shirt - almost OCD or tic-like while moving one thing at a time back into the garage and no matter how many times he does this there is never any room in the garage for their vehicle. He will wait several weeks to mow too and then do it in parts or leave off in the middle and pick it back up later. He makes big fires in his charcoal grill which is REALLY close to the house, seriously I have seen the paint peeling off the porch when he left it unattended and it was very windy. They have one car and they are constantly leaving home, coming back, leaving home, coming back ad nauseam.

I have seen several "aww" moments between the parents (each set at a different time), it was nice to see the affection between them altho I just don't get it! 

Oh, and just so we're clear, I don't watch them ALL the time, just when I'm taking a break during reading, watching real TV, or just emptying my brain from the day. But I have lived here almost 12-13 yrs and it's hard not to see alot in that many years.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Causing a Crow Fight

I had some bread that I was just not going to finish so I decided to throw it out in the yard and let the critters enjoy some unexpected abundance. Oh, and some stale popcorn too.

I threw it out when I got home and then forgot about it until I heard a ruckus outside which Hobbes and Doodle were very interested in.

I looked out my bedroom window and some big-ass crows were fighting over the bread! And when I say fighting, I mean fighting - there was sneak attacks, stealing, low-flying buzzing each other, grabbing, and yelling over the bread.

Once the bread was gone, one crow methodically jammed popcorn in his beak one pop at a time until he couldn't hold anymore, then he'd (or she'd) fly off and in 5-7 minutes swoop back to pick up more. He/she did this about 5x, cleaned up all the popcorn except for a few random ones which were gone when I woke up. Watching that crow was too funny.

Good to know.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

DIY Project

I spend my time, when not reading or contemplating my navel, on ways to try to help keep my heating costs down. 

  • I already keep the house temp during the winter at a crisp 57degrees with the occasional 60degrees when I really can't stand how cold it is when I get out of the shower but then back down it goes once I'm dressed.
  • I've made dowel rod frames covered in bubble wrap as added insulation for the upper parts of my windows - idea I saw on a home show - which helps.
  • I cover the outside doors with curtains and the French doors to the deck have lined curtains.
  • I divide my home between two zones: the back of the house is the cool zone where the bedrooms are and the front of the house is the warm zone, this is done by putting lined curtains up between the two in the doorframe.
  • I have every available afghan/blanket I'm not using rolled up and placed along the bottoms of my windows.
  • I wear about 3 layers on top (thermal/sweatshirt/wool sweater or fleece) and two layers on bottom (thermals/flannel pants) and big heavy wool socks.

So I'd been kicking around ideas for the basement and a closet upstairs and today was the day to do them!

I went to HomeDepot earlier in the week and got a LOT of insulation, thickest for the basement idea and thinnest for the closet idea.

Measured and cut the thin insulation and stapled it up on the living room closet walls that are on the outer corner of the house because I noticed that closet gets really cold in the winter and the cold air wooshes its way into the living room and the couch is right there. We'll see if it works. Not sure I'm all that happy with it right now because the insulations smells and makes my living room kinda stinky but I have to keep the door open because the cats potty in there, and no it's not stinky because of them, it's definitely the insulation.

Next up I proceeded to cover myself thoroughly (long pants/long sleeves/hat) and tied a dish towel around my nose/mouth so I could cut the thickest insulation into 6inch wide strips  - and boy was that some fun with a carpet cutter, that shit puffs the hell up as soon as you unroll it and cut into the first layer! I methodically worked my way around the entire basement and filled in every section between the house flooring above and the foundation. Took about 2 to 3 hours. And I could not wait to get in the shower! 

Here's hoping it makes a positive difference!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Going Way Outside My Comfort Zone

Halloween, my favorite holiday!

When my bestest friend J still lived in Maine, we had a blast every Halloween - planning on our costumes, trickORtreating, decorating the house/daycare classrooms, and parties. Oh snap we had fun! 

Then she moved and I went into hermit-mode so I just did Halloween vicariously by watching scary stuff all month, planning out my trickORtreats, and giving out treats the day of.

Then I met my friend L and for the past several years, she's invited me to join her and her circle of friends' Halloween celebrations which has been great! I got to dress up/go to adult parties once again and have a blast with some seriously funny people. One year one of the friends was "hosting" a German bunch of people and they joined right in with the festivities.

This year tho, my friend L was on the fence about celebrating and her circle of friends were all doing separate things, one of which was a pirate-themed party/live band at a local pub. I told L I would go if she did but I was NOT going as a pirate as I already had my costume, really wanted to wear it and wasn't changing. She told me I HAD to be a pirate. I said I did not as my costume was colorful and pirates are colorful and who gives a flyin' F what I wear because it was going to be crowded and everyone would be drunk anyway. She insisted on the pirate costume and ultimately decided against going because 1) she couldn't find or afford a costume and 2) didn't feel like going out. So that meant I wasn't going out because I wasn't going to a pub by myself.

I "vented" about this at work and one of my younger co-workers said "come meet me in Portland at my radio station's big-ass Halloween party!"

Okay - this is so outside my comfort zone- 1) not familiar with where it was and I don't do unfamiliar very well, 2) lots of younger peeps and it's been a VERY long time since I've been out like that, and 3) my co-worker is super pretty and social which are areas I struggle in. But I decided to do it - change my life energy and step outside the Slambo-x and just. do. it. So I did.

I followed my directions, got there on time, parked in the parking garage as trying to find a spot on unfamiliar roads (which meant circling around) was so not happening, met my co-worker A and her friend, got my hand stamped, and swirled right into the beginnings of a party. We had drinks and about an hour later peeps started showing up and man, were there some wild costumes - everything from a Vegas showgirl with massive peacock feathered headdress/tail and rhinestones, all sorts of Disney characters, a Tron made out of cardboard who lit up, a Michael Phelps in only a Speedo and goggles (mmm), a plethora of Zombies (running the gamut to just-thrown-together to movie-worthy), a Hawaiian hula girl under a plastic cover with a hole at the top where she got her drinks delivered to her by her friends, lots of wenches and sluts, a pair of scissors, vampires and werewolves, and a mixed bag for the rest.

I was Japanese anime-like character. I had pounds of blonde fake hair with rainbow colored extensions, rainbow arm-warmers, rainbow leg-warmers, black tutu, major black high heels, and a black top with major cleavage and a rainbow choker. Oh, and fake eye lashes that took me a frickin' half hour to get on right.

I had a good time, I left before my car turned into a pumpkin and I was pooped, my heels tired my ass out. Overall, it was good to go outside my comfort zone. Thanks A!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Odd Happening in October

You'd think October, given it's the month of Halloween, couldn't be any weirder than it is.

Well, it got weirder...

I thought animals were supposed to be able to sense when natural events were going to happen or is that an urban, or should I say rural, myth?

So I'm sitting on my couch sort of watching TV with two cats snuggled up on my lap fast asleep.

All of a sudden it's like a huge-ass truck is rumbling by somewhere close coz the house is vibrating on low. Cats = not disturbed.

The vibrating changes to the whole house shaking and this awful noise from the basement like my furnace is preparing to frickin' explode. Cats = finally wake up.

I leap off the couch and like a dumb-ass head for the basement stairs to check on it because IF it was the furnace that would be the place to go. So I basically proved I have to stop yelling at the horror movie chicks because I'm just as dumb-ass as them.

Turned out the furnace is not making the noise, house is still shaking, and the cats = are up and tweaked out because I'm up and tweaked out. Everything stops and my blue glass and other breakables stop rocking in their places.

I throw on some shoes and run over to my next door neighbor's... she's not home, I run across the street and they aren't home... I need to talk to somebody so I run kitty-corner and that neighbor answers the door and we both start talking and saying the same thing at once - "did you feel the shaking, thought it was the furnace, do you think it was an earthquake, I thought I was going crazy" Finally we slow down enough to have a conversation and reassure each other that we are not crazy thinking our furnaces were going to rocket us to the moon.

Later on the news it did say we had a minor one. So much for the animal early warning system in my house.

Cats = not reliable natural disaster predictors.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

My Annual PseudoAuntie Outing

We missed our annual Octoberfestive Outing last year, but this year we made solid plans to go. We had the new farmy place all picked out as our usual place got all big + stuff and went all commercial + touristy and was just no fun anymore. We were all excited and both kiddos had to talk to me on the phone about our outing every time J2 called me with further details.

The Big Day arrived and we were rained out. Slopping two extremely busy kids through the mud and getting soaked in the process was not our idea of a "Day of Fun" so while in the car we immediately switched gears and decided to go to the mecca of Halloweenie-ness!

Come on, LET'S GO!

As you can tell, TJ found some of his kind!

E found a special friend of her own!

J2 got picked on by a ghost!

And I returned the favor!