Sunday, November 25, 2007

Redesigning a House

So yesterday after breakfast I asked David if he wanted to hear my ideas for redesigning the house - my virtual tour of what could be - and for the most part, he thought it all made sense.

But boys are different than girls - especially when it comes to redesigning a house.

He thought the master bedroom would make a really great office - for him. It's the second largest room in the house - a nice big, square room that would make an ideal kitchen (compared to the glorified hallway kitchen we have now), providing ample room for long counters, cabinets, and a center island cook/work station.

Or, it would make an ideal boy's office/play room, with ample room for his big corner desk & cabinets, and the game set up on the other side. I can imagine what he's thinking and he's right - anyone would love an office that big. And it's right next to the bathroom - bonus!

But since we don't have a nice big budget or a team of workers, we reorganized the living room instead. This is always fun because he always comes up with an idea I didn't think of.

The trick is maintaining focus - not changing main goal of the room as we go - because sometimes his ideas drift into the land of "ultimate play space," which I think he would like to incorporate into every room in the house.

The one idea he had that I wasn't sure about ended up to be a great solution. I'd almost totally shot down his idea, but he convinced me to try it out. As I moved my stuff around to accommodate the new layout, I said, "OK, I secretly love this." He secretly loved it, too.

And while it's fun to talk about all the changes we might make to this place, we also think about the ease of just moving to a house with a better layout and one without a mental case across the street. I think we're leaning toward the reduced mental case option.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Shopless Friday

And what a lovely day it was. Slept in after staying up too late - we were wondering, lying in bed at 1:30am wide awake, is ham loaded with amphetamines? - and spent the whole day in our sweats catching up on reading and listening to music (or playing lots & lots of games, because that's someone's job and he needs to stay current on all things gamey).

And in the afternoon, I took a nap. Then I had some pumpkin pie & coffee. Then I did some dishes and after that, read some more. Didn't leave the house, didn't buy one single thing - not even online - and we won't be shopping for any Christmas crap.

This will be our third year of Festivus with our added feature of the "No Stuff Christmas," which means no store-bought gifts of any kind. The exceptions being gifts of consumables and even better, consumables bought from companies that do good things for the world, like Greyston Bakery and Jennifer's Homemade- different Jennifer, but just as fantastic.

Better still, no "gifts" at all other than the gift of getting together for games like Celebrity Taboo or Who Took My Pants?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanksgiving Already

Crapatoa - it was just summer a few weeks ago. On one hand, I don't mind, because with Thanksgiving, Christmas and the New Year all flying by in a blink, it's that much faster we'll be back to springtime and summer.

I like the golden light of late afternoon summer sun, not needing a jacket, wearing flip flops everywhere, iced coffees, and the smell of grass after it's baked in the sun all day. I don't enjoy being cold or the short days and long nights.

But in the spirit of Thanksgiving, there *are* things I enjoy about this time of year and life in-general, so here's my list of what I'm thankful for, in no particular order:
I'm sure I'm forgetting many other things, but this seems like plenty for now. Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


I just read a great story by Rooty about a metro performer, the likes of which I don't think has ever graced the rails of our systems.

The best "color" I ever experienced on a Bart train packed with tired commuters on their way home one dreary night was from the train operator himself.

After he made the usual announcement about the current stop and that the doors were about to close - words you don't even hear because you've heard them a thousand times - he said, as we were about to enter the transbay tube, "Sit back, relax, and enjoy a smooth cruise through the groove tube."

From where I was standing I could see many faces look up from their books and newspapers with quizzical expressions as if they were thinking, Did I really just hear what I thought I heard? I'm not sure, but I think that's what we all heard...

I don't know if I ever rode on his train ever again - that was the only time I heard his fabulous late night FM deejay-tastic announcement.

My friend Miriam enjoyed a whole other type of color on Caltrain one night, and I'm sure I don't remember all the details accurately - forgive me Mir. But to summarize, she ended up seated near a guy traveling with a tool/tackle box, sprawled in a double seat by himself.

He'd been drinking from a bottle he was keeping in the tackle box and between pulls from his hooch, would doze off in his double seat.

When the train shifted or something else disturbed his nap, he'd shout with a slur, to no one in particular, "I'M OKAAAY!" or "I'M ALLLRIIIIIGHT!" and then go right back to his nap.

After Miriam shared this story with us one day while working at the shield, it became part of the department lexicon and at any given moment you'd hear an overworked interaction designer shout, to no one in particular, "I'M OKAAY!"

Sunday, November 18, 2007

My Cuticles Hate Me

I can't stop tearing up my cuticles. I hate my cuticles and they hate me.

The other day I thought I was taking off just a little dry sliver and in half a second part of my finger was gone. Gajeebus that hurt, and it wouldn't stop bleeding/oozing. What the hell had I just done? What is wrong with me?

I slapped a band-aid on it and went about my day. The next night it was throbbing like a mother sister, and sure enough, it was infected. Not only am I stupid enough to tear apart my own finger, I'm even 'stupider' to not properly clean it up.

What if now I needed a tetanus shot!? Don't those hurt worse than the injury itself? What the hell *is* tetanus? Last time I got a physical my doctor told me I should really get a tetanus shot and I asked why.

He said if it had been more than 10 years since my last one, it was time for a booster. I asked why again. He said I should have it. I said No, I'd really rather not. That was four or five years ago. He hasn't brought it up again since. I go out of my way to avoid rusty nails and deep puncture wounds.

I found the hydrogen peroxide and got it all cleaned up, then 'neosporined' it and it's healing well. And so far, no symptoms of lockjaw or cranial spasms, other than the usual.

Friday, November 16, 2007

I'm a Falconer...

...Of sorts. Henry and I have a new trick.

I was cleaning in the bar the other day and Henry was on his play perch in the front room. He really wanted to be where I was, so he flew the 30 feet or so to me from his perch, but couldn't quite figure out how to land on me or my hand, so he made a u-turn in the air and flew back to his tree.

Last night I'd been working in my office for a spell and when I came out into the bar, in he flew, right to me, but this time he landed on my hand when I held it up!

I was so impressed with his new skill, I practiced with him today to see if he could do it again. I stood in the bar and called him, and after just a few calls, he took off and flew right to my hand. Then I sent him flying back to his perch by saying Go home! and he flew right back to his tree.

We did this a few times and he never missed, which is impressive when you consider he's had very little flying experience in his nine years. He's almost always clipped, but after this last molt, I let him continue growing out all his flight feathers.

I don't like getting him clipped when he hasn't grown out all his feathers - there's always the risk that they'll cut a blood feather and then it's just a stress-fest until they get it pulled. Gah - no thanks. I'm sure he'd agree.

For the past few months he's been flying around the house now & then, which isn't really a good thing, because there's always a chance he could fly into a wall, a window, or an open toilet or some other hazard, but I've noticed he is really agile and able to maneuver well around doorways and avoid the ceiling fans.

He needs to be clipped, but this is way too much fun!

Monday, November 12, 2007

No End to the Bob-ness

This week brings us another installment in the Crazy Neighbor Bob Chronicles, because we know, CNB Fans, that you've been anxiously awaiting the next chapter.

Last Wednesday I spent half the day in Santa Rosa on a photo shoot, most of that time in the car to and from. On the way home, my Check Engine light came on, and even though I checked the engine and all seemed OK, it was stressful driving home. I called my mechanic on the way and got on their calendar for first thing the next morning.

Bear with me - there is a Bob story in all of this.

When I arrived home late in the afternoon, I gathered up all my gear and a few other things I didn't want to leave in the car. My arms were full of bags and jackets and things as I made my way into the house. With all the schlepping and worrying about my car, I paid no attention to the yard.

The next morning I walked out of the house at 7:30 and saw that a large area of the yard near the front of the house had been weed whacked, and in the process, a once-thriving rose bush had been destroyed as well as a garden light.

I stood there, mouth agape, for at least 5 minutes, feeling the anger boiling up inside me. Goddamn that lousy piece of shit. He'd done it again. After I told him in no uncertain terms we could not allow him to come into our yard and do any yard work, especially when we're not at home. I picked up the broken light and chucked it onto the lawn where I could pick it up when I got home.

Angry but unable to do anything about it at that moment, I got into my car and let it warm up. A minute later my other neighbor came out and I asked her if she'd seen anything. She hadn't, but said that the likely culprit was right across the street.

I drove off to my mechanic filled with frustration. Not only was our yard chopped up, but now I had to talk to him again, something I never enjoy. And if you ever find this post Bob, I don't like talking to you because you're rude, you don't listen, and you make me and many other people uncomfortable.

Walking home from the Bart station I saw him driving up the street in his stupid truck. He waved and I raised my hand in return and kept walking. He returned home about an hour later and I went over to talk to him.

In my nicest, non-teeth-grinding, happy voice I asked "Hey, are you my mystery weed whacker?" to which he blurted out, "What? I didn't take a weed eater out of your yard!"

What? That was an interesting response, seeing as how the last time our yard was attacked while we weren't home, I told him we couldn't allow him to do that, and a few days later our weed eater was stolen out of our yard. We'd never had anything stolen out of the yard before and haven't since.

Anyway, to continue the saga... I said No, this wasn't about a weed eater, but had he taken out the weeds or did he see anyone in our yard taking out the weeds, along with my rose bush and garden light. He said it wasn't him, but "some old guy, I think his name was John, who knew your grandmother."

Really? Really?

I said, Really? So an old man who knew my grandmother, who would have to be at least in his 80s and perhaps in his 90s - an old man we've never seen or heard of before, walks around the neighborhood with a super battery-powered weed eater to do yard work for former friends? Really?

He repeated this bullshit about an old man named John and his weed-eating ways, and how John also picked up all the leaves and put them in our green bin, saying, "We shouldn't let this green bin go to waste!"

Our green bin, that is, which isn't "going to waste" when it's sitting in our yard where it belongs, where we use it when we need it and pay the city to empty what WE put it in it, not what other people put in it, you stupid asshole.

I smiled along with this crazy bullshit, talking about "John" with him like this old guy actually exists, and asked him to please tell "John" next time that he can't destroy our yard and he needs to come talk to me. And then I walked away.

Such a lame ass lying weasel. It was a whole new low. Who, besides the mentally ill, waits for his neighbor to leave, then sneaks across the street to mow down a small patch of insignificant weeds and in the process, destroys a beautiful rose bush and breaks property, then LIES about it when asked about it? What a dick!

The kicker was, after I left that morning to take my car to the shop, he sneaked across the street AGAIN to prop up the broken light about where he thought it belonged, as if I wouldn't remember that it was actually broken. What a total dumbshit!

So, without proof or a witness, there's nothing I can do. But that afternoon I went outside and dumped all the leaves into the street, kicking them forcefully off the curb, making a nice big pile he'd surely see. Then I posted a sign on the front of the house:

To John, Who Knew My Grandmother:
About the unsolicited yard work ­— we must ask that you never do it again. You’re trespassing.

We don’t know you and have not given you permission to use your weed eater to destroy our plants and break our garden lights. Next time you’re seen doing such a thing, we’ll call the Boys in Blue and they can help you find a new hobby.
Thanks, The People Who Don’t Know You.

Good times, eh?
Bloody hell.

Friday, November 02, 2007

I Blame Drugs

It can't be that I'm incredibly stupid - it has to be something else. I blame drugs and Mark Knopfler.

I woke up this morning with what felt like the start of a crushing migraine or sinus headache, so I took a decongestant (from Canada, of course) and a few advil. Thankfully, that was all I needed and the headache dissipated.

And instead of a headache I now had slightly impaired motor skills, 'cause the pseudoephedrine makes me a little shaky. It also makes me a little drowsy, but nothing a strong cup of coffee can't help, which is good, to add a big dose of caffeine on top of the pseudoephedrine. I'm smart like that.

So, with my head taken care of, I began to prep for an afternoon meeting in Larkspur. I successfully assembled all the materials I wanted and then tried to unwrap the Knopfler CD I bought yesterday.

Big thanks to Borders for not removing the theft-prevention, fort knox plastic encasement. I've only waited weeks to get this CD, why would I want to actually open it or listen to it? I tried a screwdriver (the tool - later I would need the drink), then a hammer, then it was David's turn.

He chose his weapon wisely - wire snippers. Cut right through the stupid plastic, then it was just a matter of peeling off the stupid sticky tape thing at the top. Because you have to have both - the hard plastic encasement isn't enough deterrent - you must also have the annoying, only-comes-off-in-maddeningly-tiny-strips sticky plastic tape.

With that frustration behind me but not forgotten, I got ready for my meeting. After getting all cleaned up & dressed, I decided to wear tinted moisturizer sunscreen. It helps me look not so pasty.

I have two shades of the same brand - one for summer, one for winter - and since it's not quite winter, I tried to make a blend of the two. I thought it looked OK in my hand, then I put it on. Instead of a very subtle tanning effect, it made me look slightly jaundiced. I put it on anyway.

Out the door right on time, I was on my way northward. Traffic was OK - not too stupid - just me. When I got close to the office, I realized too late that it was on the other side of the street and I was in the lane that forces you to get on 101 north.

Onto the freeway I had to go. I got off at the next exit, hoping it would loop back around where I needed to be - it's all messed up over there - freeways, onramps and offramps all thrown around willy nilly in a crowded mess.

Thankfully, I did get back to where I needed to go, with a close pass right by San Quentin - how exciting! - and when I got to the stoplight, of course there's no left turn, because there's a freeway exit directly to the left and other oncoming traffic lanes all chucked together. And, even better, the stoplights weren't working, blinking red, so traffic was backed up for a half mile in every direction. Sweet!

I finally made it over and back and around and into the parking lot, only a few minutes late to my meeting and they were totally understanding about the traffic mess. And they're all so nice, they didn't even comment on my jaundice.