grrgoyl: (Dylan apoplectic)
We're having neighbor problems again. Not Tracey, but the people below her. A single mother and her teenage daughter, who I originally thought were decent people when they immediately jumped into the battle against Tracey within a week of moving in. They're still "decent," but lately there's been no sign of mom and daughter has been having more and more friends over.

Which of course she has a right to, except it seems the longer these "friends" stay, the more chance there is of a screeching, eye-scratching catfight to erupt. I don't fight like that with my friends, so I don't know what's going on. She had a male friend over for a couple of weeks a short while ago. Then one morning at 7 am we were awakened by their screaming argument followed by him slamming the front door hard enough to shake the teeth in our heads.

Since the only common denominator is this girl, I have to assume she's just really hard to get along with.

Yesterday she had several friends over, and just as I went out on the balcony to clean my bike chain the argument had escalated to such a level that every other neighbor that was home was out on their balcony to see what the hell was going on -- the Asians below her, the grandmother across from her, even the 20-something drug dealers (suspected -- they play videogames night and day, and have many different "visitors" who only stay for five minutes at a time. What does that suggest to you?) were out. When you're bugging the drug dealers, you know you're out of control.

Ridiculous. I marched down to put a stop to it, gratified to see the grandmother marching up to join me. The daughter came to the door. Grandma asked if her mother was home. She wasn't. We asked her to quiet down (or at least close her windows, I added). She sheepishly agreed to do so.

As I resumed my work, her party moved to the balcony, where they weren't fighting at least. Instead they were conversing rather loudly, with generous helpings of "fuck" and "nigga," etc. in the conversation (from what I've seen, all her friends are African-American, so this is perfectly acceptable; unless, of course, you prefer peace and quiet and not so many inflammatory, violent words in your space).

I wrote to the HOA to complain. I hope grandma did too -- she has an adorable grandson, 4 or 5 years old, who visits often, and I'm sure she can't wait to hear him start throwing those terms into casual conversation. I guess I've officially become an old fogey. "These kids today..."

~*~

I'm sure many if not all of you are waiting on tenterhooks for the next chapter in the Comcast battle (I'd love to say "final" chapter, but I'm becoming less and less naive with each confrontation).

I got online with one of their reps determined to get rid of that damn cable I'm not using that I'm sure is the root of the problem. I was equally determined not to be distracted by their pretty offers of promo deals for six months.

I got one guy who began his routine of pleasant banter. However, as soon as I explained my situation and made it clear how very unhappy I was, he turned me over to an "account specialist" so fast I almost LOLed.

I explained it all over again to "Andres," who expressed his rehearsed regret at my inconvenience. They all sound oh-so-sincere which, after going through this three times with zero results, only infuriates me even more.

He promised to return me to plain old high-speed internet (what I had before all this nonsense), but I had to call directly to cancel the cable. Whatevs, Andres.

I then launched into my first meltdown of the day. I said I wanted to trust him, I really did, but after going through this three times I was becoming a little distrusting and cynical. I actually begged him. "Please Andres, PLEASE don't tell me you're going to make the change and then do nothing. I'm not being unreasonable. I just want my plain old service back. PLEASE."

He typed back what was probably meant to be goodnatured laughter, but in my near-hysterical state could just as easily have been sly, knowing chuckling ("Sure I'll downgrade your service! No problem! NOT") and an attempted reassuring "I'm here for you!" No Andres, no you're not. As soon as we close this dialogue box, you disappear into the bowels of the Comcast work pool and I'm left holding the bag.

At least he gave me a confirmation number, and I informed him I would be printing out our conversation. I wasn't trying to be threatening, but I'm sick of being left with no recourse.

As soon as I left Andres (still sniggering behind his hand), I called Comcast, eager to again re-enter the fray (NOT). I got what sounded like a nice young woman. I AGAIN explained what had happened thus far (story gets better each time I tell it) and said I wanted to cancel cable, that was all.

After receiving her rehearsed regret, she made a big deal of looking up my info to try to figure out where everything had gone so wrong. Unfortunately for her, because the longer she talked to me, the more worked up I became, leading to my second meltdown. I didn't want to take it out on her, but I did use my phrase "universal employee incompetence" from my previous post. I've heard it doesn't help your cause to get abusive with them. I don't like being mean if I can avoid it, but we can all see how far being nice has gotten me. I pay my bill every month. On time even! I am a model customer. I shouldn't be treated this shoddily.

She seemed quite taken aback, which is surprising; based on the huge volume of complaints on comcastmustdie.com, you would think they would take every call fully prepared to deal with another customer who had reached the limits of their patience. In fact, if they don't go through some sort of special training to deal with the equivalent of trauma victims, I firmly believe they should.

She agreed to remove the cable. THANK YOU. I apologized for venting to her, but hoped she could understand my frustration. She laughed warmly and reassured me. I actually started to fall for it, until we went a little astray by her offering, "I can still get you that Blast Internet deal if you'd like..." NONONONONONO. I told her, with fewer capslocks.

When she said she had made the change, I again begged her as I did Andres. This is what you've reduced me to, Comcast. You've stolen my pride for lousy high-speed internet. To calm me down, she gave me her initials (not her actual name) to track her down for any more problems. This seemed odd, but since I can't exactly hold them hostage on the phone for a month until I'm sure the change is made, it was better than nothing.

I asked her what my new balance would be. She couldn't tell me because the system takes 48 hours to update. Which gave me an opening for my other complaint, the fact that the website balance never changed but the phone line's did. I said "I don't know what kind of games you're playing there."

"That's actually no game," she said. "Unfortunately the website doesn't update as quickly as our main system does." Which I might buy if it were lagging by a few days. But a few weeks? Your webmaster sucks, Comcast. And what about that phone balance? "You're seeing it change daily because of all the changes you've been making." Oh, that's just plain bullshit. If I'm changing from $68 to $29.99 (or even $19.99) a month, why is it going down in $4 increments? Are you trying to find the money elsewhere a bit at a time to cover it?

So I left "RBJ" and hoped for the best. I gave it a week, whereupon the phone balance seemed to level off at $50.45 (online still $68.78). I paid that, but who knows what will happen next month. I'm fully expecting right now to be writing a follow-up post, so you have that to look forward to.

My "Dylan apoplectic" icon was born to handle my Comcast posts.
grrgoyl: (Dylan apoplectic)
EXTRA, EXTRA: Got a double feature today, because I was lazy and let all this stuff accumulate. But I'm breaking it into two posts, or I'll drown you all with my words, which neither of us want.

Whole lotta anger goin' on.


First, to my astonishment, the other day I spotted ex-neighbor Jennifer pulling into the parking lot. She was the hoarder with the five cats, thinking of getting a puppy, but thank god bought a house and moved away?

She was coming back to take her garden as the final stage of her moving out -- which is crazy talk to me, but I don't know a lot about gardening. She saw me and eagerly filled me in on all that was new with her (while throwing a bag of garbage in our bin, which I thought was a bit rude since she's not a resident anymore).

She then asked if I still went to the gym. I said no and started to tell her why (the mountain of hospital debt my money has to be spent on rather than luxuries like gym memberships), when literally she got distracted by the daisies that had started coming up and walked away from me.

I escaped back home without even saying goodbye, half relieved to get off so easily (conversations with her tend to suck large segments of time and for the most part usually focus on her -- kind of like talking to my family) but mostly really irritated at how unbelievably rude she is. I mean, "Me me me me me. What's new with you? Oh look...daisies!" Whatev. Thank god she moved.

I did make the observation, and Tery agrees, that it's pretty bizarre considering my unrelenting cynicism concerning people and their endless capacity for selfishness, that I'm simultaneously relentlessly optimistic and always surprised to be proven right.

~*~

BIG happenings in Tracey's world. She has a new neighbor under her, a woman named Nina, who is very outspoken and has no intention of taking any shit from her (literally, with Tracey's "balcony trained" dogs).

She's been here two weeks and is already fed up with her. She's prepared to go to the HOA, Animal Control, the police, President Obama himself to get her evicted. I didn't think eviction was an option, mainly because the HOA likes to paint itself as powerless against her, but Nina assures me it can be done.

I thought I hated Tracey, but compared to how Nina feels about her, I might as well be her Facebook friend. She is really, REALLY angry.

The problem is Nina's beef isn't with the barking during the day, but the galloping around at 3:30 a.m., which we can't exactly assist her with since (blessedly) we can't hear it. Plus she told me she still has urine dripping onto her balcony (EWWWW). "I don't think I've ever seen her walk the dogs," she told me. "Well why do you think you have urine on your balcony?" I asked her, lightheartedly because I get the impression Nina is someone whose good side you want to stay on.

She said there is an unbelievable amount of damage both to the balcony and the inside of the unit because of the dogs (and who knows what other activity), and Mary, the owner, is preparing a lawsuit. About bloody damn time. I've seen enough court TV shows to know she also has a good case for loss of rental income the way Tracey drives people out of there.

I really hope Nina stays, and that she's the final nail in the coffin. Just leave, Tracey. Have mommy and daddy buy you a house where no one will bother you, or at the least a ground floor unit somewhere. Anywhere else but here. We'll have a block party to celebrate your departure.

EDIT: Nina went to the HOA meeting, bringing with her a pal who runs the board at another complex. Two things of interest popped up: a) There seems to be the possibility that Tracey's (and when I say "Tracey" I mean "Tracey's mommy and daddy") insurance company never received full disclosure about the meth lab (or maybe she meant the dog situation. It doesn't seem possible that such a major detail as a felony arrest could be kept hidden). If they were to find out, Tracey might become uninsurable and lose the unit that way.

Also b) not just a possibility but a fact is that Tracey's mommy and daddy's names are on the title, not hers, which makes her in the eyes of the law a tenant and not a homeowner. Which makes her far less impervious to eviction.

(I have to wonder why this was all news to our own HOA and what the hell we're paying them for. It seems to me if I was going to run a property management company, one of the first things I'd like to learn about is how to deal with problem neighbors.)

Nina seems very excited about this, so we'll see. Christmas might come super early this year.

~*~

I was angry about a new policy at my transcription job whereby essentially we would be penalized financially because of ESL (English as second language) docs, but then they unexpectedly gave me a raise -- my first in two years, and I didn't even have to beg for it.

In case you'd like to know the details of the policy that makes me hate my job, in here you'll find a vile, obscenity-filled rant, only interesting to me and anyone curious about the seedy, dangerous underbelly of medical transcription.

::Proceed with caution:: )

Of course none of this stopped me from puckering up my lips to kiss some serious ass when, shortly after starting this program, they offered a $1000 gift card for the best 500 or less word essay about how great it is and how much it will help the company and the MTs. Four years as an English major left me with a bachelor's degree and some mad bullshitting skillz, at least on paper. Might as well see if they'll pay off.

~*~

Finally, this just in today: I was behind a woman whose car was covered in breast cancer ribbons and bumper stickers. Which I didn't have a problem with until I noticed a puff of cigarette smoke come out of her window. Really? Guess lung cancer is okay? If you ask me they both sound like rather unpleasant ways to die.
grrgoyl: (Donnie frankLOL)
Soup:

In traffic on my way to the hospital my eye was caught by a GMC Jimmy with all of its doors off. Imagining itself to be a war-time Jeep? I'm not sure, but it looked pretty damn silly. I thought I'd give the driver the benefit of the doubt -- perhaps he'd lost them all in an accident. The way some SUV owners drive it wouldn't be impossible. Then he moved ahead of me and I saw he had one of those scrolling marquee signs over his license plate, reading "Show me your boobs!!" Oh, just an ass then. An ass mistaking Denver for Ft. Lauderdale.

~*~

Appetizer:

I realize how pathetic it sounds, but getting mail is the highlight of my day. This is why I compulsively order stuff online, so I have an almost constant flow of mail to look forward to.

So maybe you can appreciate why my world came crashing down Thursday when I realized the lock on our box was broken. The tab inside that latches it closed was missing the nut holding it on the bolt.

"No problem," I thought. "I'll just replace the nut." After fishing around I found one that seemed to fit, except wouldn't hand-tighten properly. "No problem," I thought. "I'll just get a ratchet wrench." It seemed to be going swimmingly until suddenly the whole damn bolt snapped right off in my hand. Okay, THAT was a problem.

This was at 7 pm, so no hope of calling anyone. First thing Friday morning I called our post office and described my situation (leaving out my attempted DIY). His first (and second) question was did I know who did it? "No one did it, the bolt was really old and just snapped," I answered. Choice B was "I suppose if anyone 'did it' I did." Choice C was "Even if it was a criminal act, how the hell should I know? It's not like I monitor the mailbox (most of the time)."

Once I convinced him there were no suspects he could bring in for questioning, he said only, "Okay, I'll send Maintenance out today." Oh, cool. That was easy.

Except of course it wasn't, because I'm still me and they're still a government agency. After neither of us did anything more about it all day, I called again at the end of my shift to find out the deal. I spoke to someone else, who told me I had to come in, fill out a lock change form and pay a $25 fee. Huh. I wish I had known this 8 hours earlier. I also felt slightly less nervous about covering up my vandalism since I would be paying for it.

I rushed in before they closed to jump through their hoops. Fortunately the clerk was really friendly and funny, or it could have gotten ugly. As it was, I couldn't resist asking why guy #1 couldn't be bothered to give me correct information. "I hate to say it, but he was probably a supervisor. They don't know what's going on." I snorted. "So how did he get to be supervisor?" He shrugged. "If you can't do the job, you get promoted?" We both had a chuckle at The Man and I promised I wasn't taking his name or anything.

Nice guy told me 2-3 days, might even be done Monday. That wasn't bad, even if I had to suffer a weekend of essentially two Sundays.

Except it wasn't Monday. Or Tuesday. Wasn't in fact until Wednesday. But let's not be too hasty, I didn't actually get the call until this morning Thursday. I wish nice guy hadn't raised my hopes falsely. But hey, what's the point of complaining? It's not like I can threaten to go somewhere else to get my mail delivered.

~*~

Entree:

About two weeks ago Ryan invited me to a downtown thing, "La Piazza," some kind of pavement chalk art (I at first thought it was trompe l'oeil, but no); well, I should say he forwarded me the ad, and when I asked about inviting MyFriendDeb, he copied me on the email asking John permission (when if you ask me it should've been John begging us to be included. Thank god they broke up for good before we had to deal with THAT bit of awkwardness).

It took place this past weekend, and Ryan at the last minute sprang the idea of bringing Lucy along (you remember my pal Lucy?) It didn't thrill me, but I couldn't really say no.

I worked all night and got up to meet Deb about 10:30ish. Ryan texted me because he was having a hard time getting going, they'd be a little late, sorry. Whatever, Ryan, Deb and I were on the train halfway there already.

It turned out to be full of awesome:


Just after seeing this we passed a guy wearing a Max t-shirt in the crowd. We asked if he planned that. He laughed nervously because he hadn't seen the piece yet (then 15 seconds later put it together)


::More over here -- slightly bigger cuz they're purty:: )

We sort of regretted lingering respectfully over every little piece in the beginning, especially when it became obvious that the threatening rainstorm was no longer a question of "if" but "when." As big fat drops started plunking down, two guys with a ladder and a camera were dashing madly through the crowd, desperately trying to capture the masterpieces before they were washed away. Heartbreaking, but Deb assured me that was the point of the medium: the transient nature of beauty. (Deb's favorite was under a makeshift canopy so hopefully most of her survived.)

Did I say rainstorm? It began as a torrent and turned into hail. Kerrrazy. The kind of cool thing was the rain only washed away the loose chalk dust, leaving a subdued but perfect glassy image underneath:


Sad washed-away Bear.


We joked that such an event would be impossible in a place like Seattle, unless the pieces were all postage-stamp sized. I said a 4" x 6" piece would be the height of ambition. She laughed as I mimed frantically finishing a Polaroid-sized square before the rain hit.

Ryan never actually showed, instead bothering me with a stream of increasingly anxious texts asking about the weather and whether there was any point in them leaving the house. There wasn't, and I don't know if it was because I didn't have to see Lucy or because of my new self-protective, do-what-you-want attitude I've had to adopt towards Ryan, but I really wasn't that concerned.

Same thing with working out yesterday; Ryan teased me with an email asking if I minded if he rejoined me. Of course I didn't. Then he texted me all apologetic that he'd had a bad day and couldn't make it. Oh, Ryan, Ryan...I don't know what's sadder, the fact that you still think I'm actually counting on you for anything or the fact that I have to refuse to do so to avoid having my heart broken time and time again.

~*~

Dessert:

We've had just about all the foolishness from Tracey's dog(s) that we're going to take. Out there 24/7 barking their heads off at EV.RY.THING (which I grant you isn't as annoying as when they bark at NOTHING). Our only recourse is to keep fining her, and her only recourse is to keep paying the fines (presumably) and still not do anything about the underlying problem.

So I turned to Amazon, in search of a bark-stopping device you can put on your own property and not rely on your neighbor doing the right thing. It emits a painful (?) whistle only the dog can hear whenever they bark. The hope is that they're smart enough to make the association and think twice before barking again. Which is not at all a given here -- if these dogs had any trace of intelligence, surely they could learn after five years of watching the same people march back and forth twice a day that we aren't intruders or a threat (unless they can read our minds and see the murderous BB gun fantasies therein). But better get Board approval first -- they'd rather have a vicious dog barking at all hours than a bleeding eyesore of a radio device (it looks like a tiny birdhouse).

In addition to the numerous and occasionally humorous horror stories in the reviews that make us think maybe we don't have it that bad, there's a fair share of people expressing concern over punishing the animal when a bad owner is to blame. Fuck that. Until someone invents something that lets me inflict pain on Tracey without being prosecuted (voodoo doll? ski mask and a baseball bat? Doesn't need to be high-tech), I'll happily take it out on her dog(s).

Yes, I "love animals," but some animals need to work a little harder to earn it. Dogs most of all.

~*~

Aperitif:

I saw S. Darko. Being such a huge fan of Donnie, how could I not? Despite the massive online fan protest (which I wasn't aware of. Hell, I'd probably watch it even if I was).

Immediately afterward I had a detailed, thoughtful review planned out, most of which I have now forgotten. I'll cut anyway in case of inadvertent spoilage, and because after-dinner cocktails should be optional.

::What do you think God's farts taste like?:: )

In conclusion, it's obvious this was a labor of love (the screenplay was written by a guy who calls himself "Donnie's #1 fan"). But in his attempt to stay unswervingly true to the laws of Donnie's universe, he became too fearful to bring anything new to the table. I don't think it deserves the vitriol being heaped upon it by the faithful -- it should be seen by Donnie fans perhaps to satisfy their curiosity. Anyone else will probably leave hopelessly confused and wondering what all the fuss with the first movie was about.
grrgoyl: (Vendetta Evey)
This weekend was the judging of the Christmas lights in our complex. Tery went even more crazy than last year, but her secret weapon was something I bought for her -- one of those boxes you plug the lights into that makes them flash in time with musc. They were originally $100 and I said "Oh, HELL no," but then after Christmas when the markdowns start kicking in I bided my time and watched and waited, finally swooping in when they were 75% off. That was quite a coup.

(I was a little hesitant about buying something meant to be blared loudly into the neighborhood, but since most of our neighors are literally dead and gone it's not such a big deal anymore.)

Good thing, too, because she actually had some serious competition this year. The renters below Tracey FCW (and also evidently her friends -- she solved the problem of how to shovel dog shit off her porch without her neighbors complaining) had a really nice display up since last week. Tracey herself was out literally two hours before the judges came around, frantically hammering and drilling to get her stuff hung. Two problems -- they were the exact same decorations she had last year, and the eleventh hour installation kind of defeated the purpose of the contest to encourage people to get into the holiday spirit (if history repeats itself, she'll take them down again tomorrow).

Tery invited her bar friends and our neighbors Mike and Anna for an anticipatory victory celebration. Tery was pleased to see parents from the neighborhood bringing their young children to view her work. Anyway, she took first ($75). Second went to the renters ($50) and third to Tracey ($25). Justice was served, and I guess that isn't too shabby for an hour's work. We invited the judges in for some food which I was glad for, so they could see our spirit extends to every possible inch of our house, not just areas visible for judging purposes.


Award-winning display


I think the only way Tery can top herself next year is to hire a chorus line of snowbunnies or something.

Tery also outdid herself for the party, making an enormous amount of hors d'ouvres for us. My favorite was a Martha Stewart idea, pea pods with Alouette cheese and tomatoes with pesto.


It's a Christmas tree! I had to snap this before it got completely decimated


Christmas also came a little early in the form of someone finally closing our neighbor's door downstairs. Thank god.

~*~

Funny thing is, I was talking to neighbor Anna about how the only thing I really hate about working at the hospital is never knowing what I'm walking into. I had to leave Tery's party to go into work, where I discovered Dr. Norton still present; I hate finding anyone there when I arrive -- it typically means they had a last minute emergency come in that would be left with me. Not the case, however, she was staying with a seizure dog, Colby, who had been there a few days already who she was afraid to leave alone. Terrific.

It turns out this dog was on a continuous Valium drip, absolutely crucial fluid maintenance. We were also having a Valium shortage, never having to administer it in the massive doses this dog required. Dr. Norton hinted if we didn't control the seizures soon, we'd have to send him to an emergency 24-hour facility (so I spent the rest of the night praying for just that to happen).

In the ten minutes it took her to explain everything to me we started having pump difficulties. I was nervous, because in my experience once a pump starts giving me problems, it's nonstop all night long. We thought we had fixed it and she went on her way.

She hadn't been gone ten minutes when the pump started again. Normally I'd do everything I could to fix it myself, except liquid Valium can't be exposed to light or it loses potency, so the tubing and connections were wrapped up super tight, making my troubleshooting work twice as challenging. Rather than futz with it I decided to call her before she got too far away. She came back, fortunately.

Again we had it licked and she left, and again it started alarming on me. The second time she brought a pillow to stay overnight. I felt terrible, she'd already worked a full day, but she insisted.

The trouble with Colby was he was a 4-year-old lab, and when he wasn't seizing he was strong and willful and impossible for one person to do anything with without him fighting to get away. Dr. Norton eventually decided to re-lay the catheter, succeeding after two attempts. This made me feel much better, as I would never have been able to do this myself. The one she removed had a defect in the line that puzzled her.

But that wasn't half as puzzling as when we got him hooked up again and the pump STILL complained about an occlusion. There was no reason in the world for this that we could see and the doctor was stumped (again, making me feel better about keeping her there).

We finally got it going, though it was a tentative victory at best. She went upstairs to try to get some sleep, I tried to accomplish something else on my list of duties. The other trouble with Colby was he had occasional very violent sneezing episodes to boot, during which he would smack his head full force against whatever surface was nearby. The recurrent head trauma couldn't have been helping his condition, and from the next room sounded identical to a seizure, making me dash back into Recovery about every ten minutes.

He had his first seizure since my arrival at midnight. The head smashing with sneezing was nothing compared to what he did while in the throes of an epileptic fit. I fetched Dr. Norton and we sort of nursed him through it. He had a second one about fifteen minutes later. The good news was when he was post-ictal he immediately became sleepy and passed out, making him much more manageable. We pulled him out onto the floor where he seemed more comfortable and she again retreated to her office.

I gave up the idea of doing anything else that night and settled in beside him. The fluids would still inexplicably stop flowing occasionally and need some messing around to restart so I had to keep an eye on the drip. Let me tell you, if you ever suffer from insomnia, don't waste your time with pharmaceuticals -- try staring at an IV fluid drip for about 20 minutes (or perhaps a more practical substitute might be a steadily leaking sink faucet). I absolutely couldn't keep my eyes open, and settled instead for checking in every five minutes or so.

Also for obvious reasons, there would be no setting up my cot that night. By about 3:30 a.m. I was so exhausted it turned out the desk chair with my feet propped up felt just as good. All told I slept about a half hour that night, and I really felt it the next day. Hard. But these medical reports don't type themselves, you know?

Colby was okay the rest of the night (except for more of those alarming sneezing runs), and I was extremely happy when 5 a.m. finally arrived. I called Dr. Norton through the intercom and she sounded as cheerful and refreshed as if she'd slept a solid 8 hours. I asked how she did that, and she replied, "Many years of practice."

She still had to stay, as the next seizure was due in the next hour or so, judging by the previous trend. I felt just as bad leaving as I did making her stay, but she's not hourly so wouldn't impact Tery's payroll the way I would. It turned out the morning doctor let her go home and come back later in the afternoon rather than work through.

Reportedly the kid who owns Colby has no money, so it will be interesting to see what becomes of the bill resulting from essentially four days of intensive around-the-clock care for this dog. Also the kid was going to pick up the dog the next morning, but then leave town at 2 p.m., trusting his roommate to watch over him in his absence. The Valium was all used up at that point, so they sent him home with rectal suppositories to administer if (when) he seized again. I'm sure the roommate was thrilled.

My point is, the dog is only four years old and having these problems, with an owner who has no money. I think the kid is going to have to make some very difficult decisions very soon about what he plans to do with his pet.

Fortunately I only had two boarders that night, one of which looked like the American werewolf in London:


Kasey the Keeshond, who was actually much sweeter than her cinematic counterpart


~*~

Finally, Tery is very interested in seeing the movie Slumdog Millionaire, but since she hates leaving the house on her day off and it wasn't available on Graboid, instead we watched Milk which WAS on Graboid.

I won't bother cutting, I don't have much in the way of spoilers or length. Sean Penn did a predictably outstanding job as Harvey Milk, first openly gay elected official. Well, he was a bit more buff than I'm sure Harvey was, but he had the voice, the accent, the hair, everything else down. Josh Brolin was also perfect as Dan White, the insecure, frustrated co-worker that ultimately assassinated him -- if anything, he was a little underused. I didn't really get any idea of why White was driven to commit murder. The scenes between him and Penn, with the knowledge of how their relationship ended, seemed very tense and charged to me.

I think hanging out in the [livejournal.com profile] boy_touching community has completely inured me, as I saw nothing at all titillating or unusual about watching Sean Penn and James Franco kiss. Perhaps if the rest of the world joined, two men together would no longer be such a controversial event.

My one complaint (apart from Penn's bordering-on-prizefighter physique) was the first scene of the movie; Penn passes Franco exiting the subway, and greets him warmly. At this point the viewer isn't sure if they are already together or not, and the rest of the scene really does nothing to clear it up. They talk like old friends, then they share a passionate kiss. It turns out that no, they were complete strangers and this is the first time they hooked up.

I didn't buy it, until coincidentally while browsing Netflix's "watch instantly" selections as our afternoon entertainment, Tery chose a documentary called Gay Sex in the 70's (making it quite the theme for the day). This is full of aging queens reminiscing about all the free gay love before AIDS hit the scene, when the community was pretty exclusively about random anonymous encounters, and hooking up really was as simple as walking down the street. So I'd like to think this quick scene in Milk was a brief nod to that time.

The end of Milk, obviously his assassination and the famous Candelight March, had me predictably crying like a baby. It was very understated and very well done, no over-the-top Hollywood dramatics. Tery, equally predictably, reacted not at all. She chastised me for crying so early in the day, as if crying was the same as drinking. As usual I did my best to ignore her.

The movie was very relevant to our time, portraying a major step in our as-yet unwon struggle for equal rights. In particular, I think about Obama's much-criticized choice of evangelical homophobe Rick Warren to perform the invocation at his inauguration. No, it doesn't make me happy, but this is how I see it: It's a two-minute prayer, not a cabinet position. Obama is trying to bring the two extremes of the political spectrum together, not an easy or enviable task, because right now our differences are what is tearing the country apart.

Milk operated the same way. In the film, he challenges one of the biggest anti-gay rights proponents of the time, John Briggs, to a public debate. But he does so with an extended handshake and a warm smile. Because screaming at each other is getting us nowhere. Because if you can't shake your enemy's hand and look him in the eye, how can there be any real communication?

~*~

Is this what it's like getting old? While flicking around, Tery stopped on something called "Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour." I watched this young, not particularly talented chick leaping all over the stage in front of thousands of squealing teenage girls and asked, "Now which one is she?" Tery rolled her eyes. "They're the same person, goofball."
grrgoyl: (Alan Alone)
This past weekend it was -8 degrees in Denver. MINUS EIGHT DEGREES. I was obsessed, as I am every year, with draft-proofing our house with the cheap, generally ineffective measures available at Lowe's -- until the tragic news story of a family of four found dead of monoxide poisoning in their home. MyFriendDeb said these fancy new houses being built are so well insulated that it's much more of a threat, whereas our older, leakier home paradoxically is much safer. After that I decided I'd rather just put on an extra sweatshirt to combat the chill. We made an emergency run to Target Sunday for a space heater for the bird, the only creature Tery is really concerned about staying properly warm.


This is what happens to the inside of cheap, decades-old windows in minus eight degrees. Yes, Virginia, that's ice. The brown part is the color the frame normally is


We've decided the next time we have a large cash windfall (ha) we're looking into getting some better windows. Cuz dayum.

I contented myself instead with putting up a black-out curtain over the balcony door, the largest culprit. It does a fantastic job of keeping out cold. Unfortunately, it works equally well at keeping out light. Deb would never tolerate such a measure, afflicted as she is with seasonal affective disorder (which is actually year-round).

The nice thing about -8 degrees in Denver is the 6% humidity, which means the snow covering my car when I got out of work Sunday morning was as dry as fine desert sand. Fell away with barely a touch. That's what I love about Denver.

I don't let the cold get me down. When we bought our Christmas tree it was literally 70 degrees and we wore shorts. THAT'S fucking depressing, if you're as concerned about global warming as I am.

We're also concerned about pipes bursting, mostly because for the first time we have two empty units below us (and when you walk barefoot in our place you can tell. I used to think our place should be warmer with heat rising from Kent's place underneath us. Now I see the difference. We miss you, Kent). I highly doubt the families have the heat turned on. Whereas I can't blame them for not wanting to pay to heat an empty apartment, if the pipes burst they'll have one hell of a mess on their hands. We'll fortunately only suffer the inconvenience of being without water.

However, the bottom unit, which belongs to the elderly woman who went to a nursing home, has had the inner door wide open for weeks now (outer storm door closed and locked). I've called the property company no less than three times about it. They keep saying they're having trouble reaching the family. So if pipes DO burst, the off-site families most likely won't be reachable for that either, in which case we WILL have a problem on our hands.

Again, it's mostly my inability to control the rest of the world that's the real source of my frustration. That and the unbelievable depths of stupidity and inconsideration the rest of the world is capable of.

~*~

I mentioned a few posts ago how this Christmas is cursed. My poor sister who had her boyfriend's gift stolen didn't get a scrap of sympathy from the seller, who basically said, "It's not my fault since you didn't ask for insurance. And no, I can't knock a couple of dollars off another one for you." I'm an occasional eBay seller and that really surprised me. I personally would have tried to work with her a little bit, even if she wasn't my sister. As a buyer, at that point I would have said "Sayonara, bitch, and thanks for nothing" but Amy was so convinced this was the perfect gift for him that she swallowed her pride and ordered a second one.

(For the record, this is what she was trying to buy:



Yeah, nothing special about it, except Amy's boyfriend I guess really likes beer and finds that tag line humorous. But the price of the auction with shipping came close to $20, both times, just because it's framed up all nice (because lord knows it would be unbearably tacky to hang just a bare beer ad). Except it's not even an original, just a laser inkjet printout of the ad, making $40 an outrageous price. The auction it turns out doesn't claim to be an original, but holy rip-offs, Batman, it takes some stones to charge that much for a fucking photocopy. Twice.)

I had ordered three things from asseenontvguys.com. The package came quickly, sadly containing two things I hadn't ordered and missing one thing I had. They fixed the problem quickly, but still. I thought I was safe from going anywhere near a shipping facility until some time in January.

I thought I had finished my shopping finally, when I received the email that my order for my other sister's present had been cancelled by the Amazon seller -- forcing me to track it down elsewhere.

I hope Christmas gets here before anything else goes wrong.

~*~

Watching Nobel Son has reawakened my obsession with Alan, which was never really dead, just waning a bit. I've been rewatching all my old favorites, even ordered Truly, Madly, Deeply from eBay (a film that didn't particularly impress me back when I wasn't sure how far my love for him would take me).

Via my f-list, I wandered over to check out this video of Alan signing autographs after Jimmy Kimmel. The video itself isn't as interesting as the comment section, wherein I felt the need to defend him to someone snidely mocking his aging features. "Yep, and if you're honest, you dream of having half his sex appeal when you're his age" I smacked them down.

I've garnered quite a little fan club from this (well, two people), which makes me happy. Mostly because I'm still having trouble convincing Tery of his appeal. I was sharing in the Rickman love with one of them when she made the observation, "If I met him in real life I'd be resisting the urge to rape him or something." Whoa, stalker girl. That's going a bit too far. If I ever were lucky enough to meet him, I'd have trouble making eye contact, never mind considering anything remotely sexual. I think he'd be enormously intimidating in reality, between the English reserve and his built-in gravitas.

Via the same F-list person, Alan might be apartment hunting in Manhattan. I'm not sure how this was deduced from the pictures posted, but it's thrilling all the same. My theory is he's getting lonely with Daniel stuck in New York for months and can't wait any longer for him to come home to London (no disrespect to Alan's actual partner, of course).

Speaking of Daniel, this one is for my Equus peeps (from the Gypsy of the Year awards, where Equus won the top fundraiser position):



~*~

Tery got the word today that their sister vet hospital had to fire both their medical director and hospital manager, for letting a girl known to have hepatitis C (and possibly a drug user) live on the premises (where narcotics are kept) for an unknown length of time. Which I feel really puts my fifteen-minute Heelys practice into sharp perspective, not that we'll say as much to Tery's medical director.

~*~

Finally, Kitten Mitten has suddenly, after two years living here, noticed the ledge that runs around our kitchen to separate it from the living room.


She can do whatever she wants when she does that little head tilt thing (and she knows it)


Here are more to give you a better idea:




She really is the most beautiful cat in all the world.
grrgoyl: (Barack the Vote)
I blame this guy here.    I didn't even know adult Heelys existed before seeing this video (on a side note, watch all his other videos.  Hell, subscribe to them, you won't be sorry.    He's one of the best things on YouTube.  Ever.)

So anyway, Heelys are the skate shoes with the wheels in the heel, for cool people on the go.  (not the retractable wheel.  Those I understand are knock-offs and not recommended)    All the videos on YouTube demonstrating their use looked like so much fun I HAD to have a pair. 

Instead of doing the logical thing and looking on the site where Toby got his, I had to check every other route -- which turned up lots of information and advice, but no shoes in my actual size.  I have gargantuan feet -- men's size 10, even 10-1/2 depending on the shoe.  I couldn't even tell you if I have a women's size, as I've never in my life shopped for women's shoes (I usually wear Doc Marten's to dressy occasions like weddings, etc.)    Finding Heelys in this range is nigh impossible, even on the sites claiming to have adult sizes.  Everywhere I looked the largest size on offer was a men's 8.  Which men wear a size 8?  Men with pixie feet, that's who.  Men who should be shopping for glass slippers, not skate shoes.

During the course of my virtual travels I happened on a guy's review that explained different models of Heelys actually had different types of wheels, and that for maximum stability he advised the Mega kind rather than the far more common Fats.  I was thankful for his words, even if that meant, taking into consideration the wheel type, sasquatch size and something without pink piping, I actually had only two models to choose from.

After wasting my entire work day searching every site I could find, I ended up on the site Toby lists in his video, adultheelyshoes.com.  I placed my order and excitedly sat back to await their arrival.

Trying to predict UPS shipping time, I thought it would be really, really nice if I had them before the weekend, since the privacy of the animal hospital with its long hallways seemed an ideal practice spot.  Only about 6% of our condo floors aren't carpeted, and I didn't think I'd be ready for sidewalks straight away, so if they didn't come by Friday I'd have to wait an entire week before I could even try them out.

So naturally I received the email cheerily notifying me the estimated shipping date would be Monday, November 3rd.  And from experience I know that UPS is meticulously accurate about their shipping estimates.

Then imagine my surprise when they came Friday morning?  Hell, YEAH.  It was clearly fate.

I couldn't resist giving them a quick test spin in the kitchen, just to make sure they fit and everything.  Wow.  These things are a DEATH TRAP.  All those YouTube videos of 6-year-olds zipping around without a care in the world are only because they DON'T have a care in the world.  Or a fear of their own mortality.  Or a lack of health insurance, probably.  I remember too vividly the agony I felt when I threw my back out by pulling my chair away from my desk once and couldn't move for a week.    I really miss being invincible.

Still, there's enough of a smattering of videos made by older people like myself to give me hope, including this 60-year-old guy (though it looks like he might be living somewhere full of health care professionals).  Don't ever underestimate my determination when I make up my mind about something.  For at least a week, anyway.

I practiced both nights at the hospital for as long as my energy held out.  You can actually watch my efforts here, though I warn you, they're pretty boring even after I cut out all the interstitial periods of catching my breath.  Definitely involves a lot of building up of stamina and skill, though I think the most important step is just letting go of your fear.  But every time I try I can feel that back spasm like it was yesterday and how I practically screamed in the middle of the room in front of all my co-workers. 

I discovered it's much more fun watching videos of Heeling than trying to Heel.  Then I came across this guy, who hates Heelys, or at least the kids who wear them, enough to make this expletive-filled video rant about them.  Plenty of F-bombs, but no real explanation why he hates them so.  He hints that the kids "think they're so bad-ass" wheeling around, but then says "You might as well use a skateboard or rollerblades instead," as if skateboarding, of which he appears to be an aficionado, is nothing more than a sensible form of public transportation and has nothing at all to do with looking "bad-ass." 

I don't put much stock in what he says anyway, since in this video he sports two lip rings despite posting an equally nonsensical video rant about people who wear lip rings not a month earlier (I was even tempted to leave a comment asking if he bought Heelys a month after making this video). 

So to sum up, I have Heelys.  It might take me a bit longer to get the hang of them than a 6-year-old, but I'm determined.

Oh, and for the latest Kitten Mittens videos, see ::below the cut:: )

~*~

How was my Halloween?  Completely uneventful.  But my sister made these fabulous Sweeney Todd costumes for herself and Russell:


He doesn't look as much like Johnny as she'd like, but we all work with what we've got. He does have the pallor down from living in front of his computer during all his free time (like I'm one to talk)


And Tery made these Cat in the Hat outfits for the hospital contest (took only second place because people thought the whole thing was photoshopped instead of just the background):


Oh yes, and Tery finally banged on the door of the poor shih tzu below us, who is now left on the porch 24/7 with the blinds drawn shut so they don't ever have to look at it, when s/he started barking at 1 a.m. for three hours straight.  She left a note too about what terrible owners they were, inhumane and selfish, and how if they didn't want the damn dog they should give it to a family that does.  If you knew Tery, this is the equivalent of her punching them in the face, she hates any level of confrontation that much.  I'm so proud of her.  The dog has since vanished, though I refuse to believe it became a beloved family member (as it should be) overnight. 

I just think of my Minky Schminky stretched out on the desk in front of me all day as I rub her belly and kiss her face while she purrs contentedly, and I feel sad that not every animal is as adored as she is.  Not even yours.

~*~

Finally, a rant about my co-workers.  Not the animal hospital but my fellow transcriptionists, again.  I was told I had to attend a mandatory conference call.  They have to make it mandatory because I would never willingly subject myself to this ordeal.  Remember these co-workers can't possibly be as idiotic as they come across, they probably just suffer from not getting to talk to another living soul all day long, which I consider a plus but not everyone is as introverted as me.

The purpose of the call was simple enough, to get out the news that they were eliminating the quality control department that usually gets our reports when we can't find the correct date of service.  Why on earth this couldn't have just been addressed in an email I'll never know.  We were assured we'd be reimbursed for 30 minutes of our time, which completely failed to take into consideration how much time is wasted on conference calls with all the interruptions and small talk and people taking off on wholly unrelated tangents.

The call was moderated by our new supervisor, Tracy, who began by taking roll call.  The first few names went off without a hitch, until we got to Carol Ferris.

Tracy:  Carol Ferris?
Woman with bossy, irritable voice:  Carol Siemen.
Tracy:  (pause)  Carol Ferris?  Is she on the call?
Carol Siemen:  This is Carol Siemen.
Tracy:  I'm looking for Carol Ferris?
Carol Siemen:  Ummm, this is CAROL SIEMEN.
Tracy:  There's more than one Carol, Carol.  I'm waiting for Carol Ferris.
Carol Siemen:  (finally shuts her yap)
Me:  (rolling my eyes)

Then shortly after the roll call Carol Ferris DID turn up, and Carol Siemen commented snidely, "Are you sure you aren't Carol Siemen?" thinking it was a grand inside joke between everyone but poor Carol Ferris, guilty only of sharing a first name with her, but I just wanted to get through this and back to work. 

So basically we were being instructed on how to choose the correct encounter for the report based on certain clues, which would now be solely our duty without the QC department to fall back on.  This involved going through the search process which I'm sure we all had to be aware of, but it meant throwing terms at people that might have been unfamiliar, causing widespread panic (and the accompanying babbling and interjections) until we realized that Tracy was describing something we all do about 30 times a day. 

I almost LOL'ed, though, when she ended this portion with the option of hitting "Accept Just Patient," which fills in everything on the screen except the billing number so the hospital can choose it on their end.  This caused a solid ten minutes of confusion, people trying to explain to each other and ignoring Tracy completely, until the smoke cleared and one woman said, "Oh, well when I want to do that I just use the 'Accept Just Patient' button at the bottom."  Through gritted teeth I murmured, "That's. What. Tracy. Said."  Like I said, they CAN'T be this stupid.  I just think they all freak out a little when suddenly thrust into a conversation with six strangers.  Which is more proof that it should just be handled in an email.

She tried to move onto a new feature of the program called the "submission history," a term she barely got out of her mouth when Carol Siemen snapped, "What was that again?"  "The submission history," Tracy repeated.  "What the heck is that?" asked Carol Siemen.  I'm pretty sure Tracy was just about to tell us exactly that info when she cut her off.  It's pretty hard to imagine there are people out there with even worse social skills than myself.  I might have been projecting, but Tracy's patience seemed to be hanging on by a string at that point. 

Then I finally thought we were in the clear, I could get back to work (this was the 45-minute mark now), when Carol Siemen asked with no attempt to disguise her bitterness, "So with all these changes, are we MTs going to be blamed for even MORE stuff now?"  Oh yeah, Carol Siemen had a bad attitude and didn't much care who knew it.  Tracy said she didn't know what she meant, which Carol Siemen took as her cue to vent all kinds of pent-up issues.  Meanwhile, tick-tock, I don't care about this shit and I'm not getting paid to listen to it.  Tracy did her best to placate her and end the call.  It had now been a solid hour.

I sent an email to Tracy making sure I got credit for the call (I wasn't on the roll since I signed up only a few hours before), and to diplomatically express my disappointment at essentially losing 30 minutes of work.  I pretended I didn't mind calling it a lunch break (even though I very much minded) because I didn't want to be a problem child like Carol Siemen.  Carol Siemen doesn't seem aware of how lucky we are to even have a job nowadays, and that bad apples are usually remembered as such if it ever comes time to chop a few branches. 

I've said enough.  It just reminds me yet again how happy I am to have not one but two jobs that, for the most part, involve no interaction with anyone else on the planet but Tery. 

~*~

Of course it goes without saying you all better go vote tomorrow, people. But only if you're voting for Obama.
grrgoyl: (pale man)
I haven't had any more shenanigans with the youts, thankfully, which leaves me free to focus again on the more welcome annoyances of my canine charges -- and the less welcome of my daytime co-workers. Yet again I am reminded that the biggest problem with common sense is that it's not at all common. I'll illustrate my point with another amusing poll (a previous one can be found here if anyone missed it).

So....do YOU have what it takes to succeed in the exciting, glamorous world of kennel assistance? Take this quick poll to find out! Don't despair if you don't do well, though -- every question was inspired by someone who already works in the field and got it wrong. Ability to recognize sarcasm might help you out on most of the answers too.

[Poll #1284466]

Okay, I'll give away an answer. That last one actually happened. Someone left that mess for me. I know someone knew about it, because most of the detergent bottles had been put up onto the sink to escape it. Now that's just plain rude, if you ask me (the mess, not the salvaging the bottles).

The weekend before I had two puppies. Remember how much I hate puppies? It was getting down to the end of my shift, I was just finishing up walking everyone, when they both pooped in their kennels, twice each. First one did it. I had no sooner got it cleaned up then the other one did. Got that one cleaned up, then 10 minutes later the first one did AGAIN. I cleaned that one up, turned around and THE SECOND ONE DID AGAIN. I'll admit, I had a bit of a mini breakdown. It wasn't pretty, but damn do I hate the smell of puppy poo, and I felt like I would have it in my nostrils for weeks. And unlike my day shift counterparts, I can't just walk out knowing I'm leaving a huge mess behind.

Speaking of dogs, I was shopping for one of those bark stopper devices after seeing one in the Sky Mall catalog on my trip. Tracey still leaves her dogs out on the balcony, where they bark very loudly at irregular intervals. I figured out they have a clear view of the mailboxes, where of course every single resident comes at least once a day. However, after reading the reviews on Amazon for the unit I was considering, I realized we didn't really have it that bad. The comments are one tale of woe after another, of neighbors with dogs that bark nonstop for hours, of neighbors who go on vacation for weeks and leave their dogs in the yard, of people losing sleep night after night from dogs barking. We don't suffer any of that, so I decided to save my money. I did take comfort in the fact that it isn't just us who hates barking dogs (in some cases even owners were searching for a solution -- novel idea). It also struck me how often non-owners know more about how to take care of a dog (and how much work it involves) than the stupid people who actually get dogs.

Also,


We've got some big-ass flies in that hospital, yo


I killed this Sasquatch as he was sauntering down the hallway like he owned the place.

~*~

I recently discovered graboid.com, a site that provides links for downloading theater-release movies from the internet (I don't see how it can be legal, but their FAQ insists it is). Consequently I've been watching a hell of a lot of movies (unlike before, when I just watched a whole bunch of movies), which makes for nice filler while waiting for Netflix to ship my next Angel discs.

I'm just going to put them all under one big cut, whaddya say? Check out my tags for titles, if you're interested. There's a lot, so they probably won't get nearly the treatment they deserve. But in some cases it will be more than they deserve. ::Week of a Thousand Movies:: )

~*~

Finally, in the absence of any new Kitten Mittens material, I leave you instead with "The Minky Schminky Song." It's short and features the Mitten herself, purring despite the look of disgust she's shooting the camera.



Go ahead and sue me, John Williams.
grrgoyl: (jayne calm)
Ahhh, July Fourth...the holiday when everyone in America but me (and [livejournal.com profile] swankyfunk) get the day off to celebrate the birth of our country, and when the stupider Americans lose various digits after buying illegal explosives that shouldn't by right be sold to anyone but professional event coordinators.

Normally Independence Day is only a source of moderate irritation to me. But that was when I didn't have to work the kennels. This year the Fourth fell squarely onto my shift. Imagine taking care of 16 dogs. Now imagine doing it in Baghdad.

I could see a few public displays far off in the distance. These were not the problem. The problem was at least two neighbors behind the hospital setting off large (and quite illegal) shows of their own, only a few blocks away, not to mention still more across the street at the Taco Junior. I watched a few rockets with trepidation, as they seemed likely to land right on top of me.

Some dogs were completely unfazed by the noise, like this monster of a Bassett hound, Waylon Elvis.


Bassett-zilla


Others didn't play it so cool, like Sharkey, a standard Schnauzer who attempted to climb on top of my head in terror. Or Sissy the chihuahua, who needed desperately to pee but had to do so while running back down the stairs. Poor things.

As much as I pride myself on having mastered the attitude of calm assertiveness preached by Cesar "Dog Whisperer" Milan necessary to be a pack leader (actually had it even before we started watching him), that only takes you so far when you're essentially a complete stranger to the dog, unfortunately.

I hustled through everybody as fast as I could, promising to make it up to them in the morning. Back inside, I followed Tery's advice and set up a radio in the ward to play soothing music for the dogs, although it took the better part of a quarter hour for us all to agree on a station. Finally I found the auditory equivalent of Xanax (lite jazz) and went about my work.

There seemed to be an abnormally high amount of emergency traffic whizzing by all night. As each one passed, I made a silent prayer that it represented another idiot mutilated beyond recognition. The air inside the hospital had the metallic stink of gunpowder even with all the windows shut.

By about 11 p.m. it seemed to be mostly over. I poked my head in the ward and actually heard some dogs gently snoring over the sound of the radio. Well, that wasn't TOO bad, I thought.

In the morning I got a bit of a headstart, looking forward to giving the dogs some extra quality outdoor time after our hectic evening schedule. My plan was working well until about 4 a.m., when, to my complete incredulity, the people behind us decided it was the perfect time to set off some residual mortars they had left over. Setting off personal fireworks at dusk on the Fourth of July is annoying, but at least in the celebratory spirit of things. Doing it at 4 in the morning is just you being a douchebag.

"God DAMMIT!!" I screamed at them, but they either didn't hear or didn't care. So, whereas I tried not to rush the dogs through as I had done previously, they still had to perform under a certain amount of duress. Why can't I work at a cat hospital?

But there was good to all this: A) At least I was making time and a half holiday pay. B) At least Honus, the beagle who makes my life hell even without a good reason and who had been boarding just the weekend before, had gone home. And C) I had my favorite dog, the dog I would steal if I thought Tery wouldn't notice, Baby Face the greyhound, who chatters her teeth when she sees me, stretches like a cat and just wants me to wrap my arms around her in a big hug. I love her so.


This is her idea of posing


I also had this pair, Megan and Morgan:


Cerberus sans a head


They're Rottweiler/German shepherd mixes (how many different guard dogs can we squeeze into one body?) and obviously twins. The only difference between them is 3 pounds and the color of their collars, with no indication anywhere of which is which. Smart, huh? They snarled and barked quite savagely at me the first weekend they arrived, but now we're best of friends.

~*~

Our neighbors are still annoying, surprise surprise. Reggie has all but vanished since our little run-in, but occasionally we'll see Clarence, his father? older brother?...I don't know, but he's far less pleasant than Reggie and uses the balcony for EVERYTHING. He'll come home at midnight, get on the phone and carry on a conversation, you guessed it, out on the balcony. Tery told me he had a knock-down screaming fight with his girlfriend (?), on the balcony. It's like the 1000+ square feet of condo he's got behind the balcony simply doesn't provide the living space needed (despite being devoid of furniture). Thank god they're only renting -- if they owned, I wouldn't put it past them to stick the toilet out on the balcony just so he could feel a breeze up his ass when he takes a dump. Am I hostile? Sure. But some things are better not done in full view of all your neighbors, no matter how nice the air feels.

THIS JUST IN: Apparently they feel their balcony also makes an ideal staging ground for Roman candles. They set off two of them FROM THEIR BALCONY before Tery threatened to call the cops and they stopped. The city of Aurora won't even permit full-size barbecue grills on balconies, why on earth do they think it's okay to set off fireworks?? The HOA has been notified, I'm sure there will be a nice little fine in it for them. Neighborhood police, springing into action!

Then there's Tracey, our beloved FCW. We're still trying to give her the benefit of the doubt, even in the face of increasingly odd activity. Like the night Tery noticed she had filled the stairwell landings with computer monitors, so many Tery wouldn't have been able to leave if she needed to. Clunky old CRT monitors that she got from god knows where, to do god knows what with. Then Tery said 15 minutes later they had all been whisked inside her unit. Strange. Possibly suspicious.

She also has attached a little trailer to her Chevy sedan for transporting who knows what. Which wouldn't really bother me except when she isn't using it, she has it propped up between the curb and her car. Which also wouldn't bother me except that when she goes out she leaves it there so no one else can use that spot (our complex doesn't have assigned parking, which I thought was a good thing until now). And of course it isn't a spot out along the periphery of the lot where no one else ever parks, but a real primo spot practically in front of the mailbox. I guess she just isn't happy unless she's pushing legal boundaries somehow, though granted I prefer this parking infraction over the meth lab.

Tery tells me she noticed a towing company's ticket on her windshield, and although it apparently didn't do much in the way of immediately rectifying the problem, I feel better knowing someone else is stepping up to the plate. It's exhausting being the only stool pigeons in the complex.

~*~

Now, to finish on a happy note, I give you the boys:

grrgoyl: (ferrets attack)
Bah, more neighbor woes.

Reggie (of the murderous dog and the fresh beats) loves to entertain in this hot summer weather. Sunday his guests were out on the balcony for a good five hours or so, growing increasingly drunk and loud by the minute. I didn't have to put up with it as long as Tery (her own fault for refusing to attend Pridefest), so by the time I came home she was already well fed up. The guests in question seemed to be exclusively female, young, and with a marked volume control impairment.

We listened to them chatting and laughing so loudly that we couldn't hear our own TV. We tried making fun of them, mimicking their screeching outbursts, but, as is the case with the totally inebriated, they remained completely oblivious.

I tried consoling Tery that it could be so much worse, that they could be blasting music on top of the screaming, but she would have none of it. My little Tery, who wouldn't speak up if she were being murdered, had reached her limit.

So I attempted diplomacy. I went outside and very politely asked them to please keep it down, as the level was becoming quite disruptive (important to note is that Reggie was inside for this). They appeared to comply, but ten minutes later, as in the case of the totally inebriated, my civil, reasonable request was forgotten and they were screaming again. I stormed back out to retrieve Kitten Mitten, growled in frustration "Fucking PEOPLE," whereupon Reggie suddenly appeared outside, acting befuddled that there was a problem. I slammed our sliding glass door, but it seems my admittedly childish performance did the trick and the party was over.

Tery wanted a letter written to the HOA stat, not just for the noise but because earlier in the party one of the guests was freaking out about something and screaming long strings of profanities at the top of her lungs that could be heard by anyone with an open window -- another infraction of HOA rules. I was not so eager to start another mini-war like we had with Tracey, so again pointed out the lack of music and the relatively early timing of the incident (9:30 pm. If it were after 10, yes, they would be in clear violation).

The next day as I came up the walk, Reggie was kneeling on the ground playing with a little boy (presumably his son?) I approached him and attempted to explain how I had first asked politely to keep the noise down, a crucial fact I was certain he was completely unaware of. His answer was "I'm with the little one right now. We'll talk later." I see. When he has a little one we should all be responsible adults. I'm assuming therefore the little one wasn't around last night when his guest was cursing like a sailor about god knows what.

A few minutes later he came to my door. We had a long talk. Some key points:

While I agreed that he should certainly be allowed to entertain guests, I felt the noise level had gotten a bit excessive. He disagreed, couldn't believe they were louder than our TV. Furthermore, if it were truly that bothersome, we could have just closed our windows. "Your peace is found in your home" he pointed out. Oh, that's beautiful, brother. But it's a bit hard to find peace while sitting in a puddle of sweat in 100-degree heat while the rule-breakers are outside enjoying the evening breezes. He did agree that he didn't realize how hot it truly it is on the third floor (standing and talking for ten minutes with me set him straight on that account nicely), so hopefully that will make him a bit more sympathetic to why we don't just close our windows, never mind the inherent injustice in the proposal.

Argument #2: He works very hard and has a right to relax how he sees fit. Apparently he thought Tery and I were trust fund kids who hadn't yet earned our right to not be disturbed by his relaxation. He was quite astonished to learn that I work two jobs, and that just because I work from home doesn't automatically mean I own my own business. Yes, feel free to make assumptions about my life. You know NOTHING about me.

He asked why I complained about his dog when Tracey's continue to sit on her balcony and bark at anything that moves all day. Again, feel free to assume that this neighborhood's history began when you showed up. I told him about the meth lab (not the best selling point if he's looking for somewhere nice to raise his kid, for the first time possibly working in our favor) and that we go back a long way with her. And be fair, we complained before we realized the dog wasn't staying permanently.

He asked halfway through the conversation if we were planning to sell soon. I couldn't figure out the reason for the question unless he was trying to determine a.) whether we owned or rented, and b.) if there was any chance of us leaving so he could do whatever he wanted without anyone complaining (the only other neighbor that might have backed us up was the Alcoholic, who would have lived above him. Now there is a pair of very nice people renting there who probably aren't eager to make waves before they finish unpacking). Sorry to disappoint: Yes, we own, and furthermore it would take us a lot longer than 20 minutes to move out if we were leaving. We'll be around for a long time after you move out, Mr. Can-Only-Afford-Lawn-Furniture-And-All-The-Forties-You-Can-Drink-Every-Night.

He promised to try to be more considerate from then on, pointed out that the people below him have a brand new baby so they'll be even quieter, so we'll see. I felt the matter had been dealt with, however, Tery saw it as "Mr. Man" coming into our neighborhood and talking me out of righteous outrage. I disagreed, but then my brain, which is so much more comfortable with anger than compromise, wouldn't let go of his "I work hard so my method of relaxation takes precedence over yours" attitude. I composed an objective letter to the HOA (okay, I couldn't resist a wee bit of sarcasm re: us not working hard enough to earn peace and quiet) just for documentation sake. So if there are any future problems we're covered.

I wish to god our other neighbors would speak up, but the elderly woman downstairs is in a rest home never to return, our neighbor below us literally wouldn't say shit if he had a mouthful (though we can easily imagine being interviewed by the 10 o'clock news after his surprise killing spree), then there's Tracey who's only home at 2 am and probably not exactly waiting for the chance to jump to our aid, and a bunch of renters who probably aren't even aware there are actual rules about disturbing noise levels. Making us once again the neighborhood police.

~*~

Speaking of neighbors, a different one asked me to house-sit for her while she took a weekend trip to Oregon. She had seen me walking with Francesca Sofia outside and figured I like cats. She seemed like a nice, normal woman so I agreed.

Serves me right for making assumptions. She has five cats, a rabbit, and not nearly enough cleaning products. Plus she wanted me to feed the squirrels and birds outside, which I think understandably has taken bottom priority in my list of chores. Five cats and one litter box -- and it's not even a proper litter box but rather one of those large tubs you store sweaters in. And it's the scented kind of litter, which I think smells worse than the actual waste. "Nasty, nasty, nasty" is all that goes through my head as I scoop it into the large litter bucket she stores it in until it's full. The cats seem generally happy with this arrangement, except for one who will only pee on a paper towel in front of it. N, N, N.

Five cats and they'll only drink out of a tiny saucer placed in the middle of the bathtub, which needless to say is bone dry every time I go over there. Those cats have her trained really well. Five cats, three of which are long-haired, so every day there are fresh piles of vomit everywhere on the floor. Nasty, nasty, nasty.

Plus she's the "daughter my mother never had," as Tery put it. She lives alone, so she hoards crap; she insisted she was selling it all on eBay, but I mean literally you couldn't walk through the place when I visited. Before she left she at least cleared a path for me. Triple nasty.

My payment for all this was supposed to be a gargoyle she had seen at the "Merchandise Mart," whatever that is (sounds like a flea market). She indicated a fairly large size, but then on Sunday she called to see if I minded her staying until the end of the week, an extra three days. So I'm hoping for maybe two gargoyles for my trouble. Tery is supposed to get a bottle of wine out of it for helping me.

~*~

Finally, Gideon the ferret had to be put to sleep. After a year of battling adrenal cancer, he finally wasn't getting better and Tery decided it was time. Don't be sad for me -- after having as many ferrets as we do, I've learned to distance myself when I see the end coming. Tery thinks it's awfully cold-hearted of me, but can you blame me for not wanting to get too invested only to be utterly devastated once every six years? (average lifespan)

She swore she'd wait until Gideon's ashes returned from the crematorium, but then she saw a little guy up for adoption at the local shelter. She went to visit him and it was love at first sight:


Ferret LOLZ


What is this little scamp's name, you ask? I'm glad you asked.


Malcolm Reynolds and Washburn "Wash" White Whiskers -- because every Firefly captain needs a pilot


As with every other ferret I've ever seen, getting along is never an issue:


Muskrat Luv
grrgoyl: (Buffy Giles headache)
Oh, so much to say.

Murderous!dog is still around, though not for much longer. Sunday I had spent a peaceful, quiet morning in my hammock with my Mitten, until the stupid beast emerged and immediately began its usual noise, again for no discernible reason other than perhaps it noticed the sun shining. I tried to ignore it, but the mood had been utterly shattered. Stupid bloody useless creature, and I didn't hesitate to yell as much across the short distance between our balconies, before angrily stomping inside, Kitten in tow.

Then a couple of hours later our doorbell was rung by our neighbor. He had come to apologize and explain his family was in town for his son's graduation, and they (and the dog) would be gone by Tues. Furthermore his mother was allergic to dogs, explaining why it was so often shut out on the balcony. He agreed that "she's crazy" (the dog, not his mother, presumably) and that he personally preferred Yorkies. I thanked him for speaking to us about it, and said as long as it wasn't permanent we could put up with it for a short while longer.

I regretted being such a bitch, but was also thankful we hadn't actually filed a complaint against him yet.

~*~

The Things I Do in the Name of Obsession


I had decided some weeks back that my thirst for more Alan couldn't wait for the November release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and that there was nothing to be done but buy Sense and Sensibility, a movie I'd seen once with MyFriendDeb but that obviously didn't make too much of an impact on me at the time, other than Alan was completely edible in it.

I found it cheapest online at DeepDiscount.com, for $9.66 and free shipping. A mere few days after placing my order, I received a text from [livejournal.com profile] kavieshana that Target had it for only $5 (pure coincidence on her part, she didn't know I had ordered it. She's very insightful that way). I flew back to DDD, only to find the price lowered to $5.99. Worse and worse. I emailed them outraged, demanding a partial refund, threatening to return my order and buy it elsewhere. Within 12 hours they had complied, to my huge relief.

Then I waited. And waited. And waited. Saturday, close to the 2-week mark, I had decided enough was enough. Free shipping or not, 2 weeks? From Illinois to Colorado? Was it coming by wagon train? I checked the Target website where it was listed for $7.49. Slightly higher price, but if my principles demanded I fight for a $3 refund, they also didn't mind paying another $2 to prove a point. My life is so complicated, and all by my own design, but I believe a life without principles is no sort of life at all.

So Sunday I bought it from Target (win-win, it was actually still only $5), and sure enough, it arrived today from DDD, Monday afternoon. It's almost as if someone was watching me, planning out an elaborate and completely unfunny joke. So it's going back, along with a hefty piece of my mind, and I'll certainly have second and third thoughts before ordering from them again, free shipping or not.

::Again, cut because no one cares except maybe one:: )

~*~

I'm including this part at Tery's insistence. My newest hobby is faux stained glass -- glass painting that comes close to stained glass at a portion of the cost. One of the simpler projects that I just completed is a lampshade. I thought it would make a cool idea for Christmas gifts, so I looked into buying cheap lamp parts to create a lamp from scratch. I found a base on eBay and a lamp kit on a craft site. I hoped by buying a kit I could avoid having to wire it myself, but in vain.

Today all the parts arrived and I tried to build a lamp. Despite following instructions I found online, it wouldn't turn on (leading to many nerve-wracking, but ultimately anticlimactic, attempts). I called Tery to tell her yet another tale of me biting off more than I could chew, leading to this exchange eventually (cookies to who guesses the movie first):

"I'm an idiot because I can't make a lamp?"
"No, you're a genius because you can't make a lamp."

I'm currently communicating with the eBay seller to see if she can talk me through wiring it, or returning the base if I can't. We'll see. Why can't things ever be simple for me?
grrgoyl: (equus)
I simply don't understand it. I order things online all the time, partly because I can usually find them much, much cheaper than in stores, and partly because I enjoy having a steady stream of incoming mail. But it's uncanny how the most exciting packages consistently arrive on either Friday or Saturday (when I can at least enjoy them on Sunday), or more likely, on Monday afternoon when my weekend is mostly over. Consistently. I could order something on a Monday morning from one state over and it won't arrive until the following Monday.

So I sit, waiting for two DVDs -- one of which I ordered on May 3rd, but since I opted for free shipping it went into the "take your own sweet time" bin at the post office. Oh, it exists. I'm sure of it.

Yet these have arrived, that were supposed to take 6-8 weeks and that I can't truly enjoy until Oct:



(So, [livejournal.com profile] swankyfunk and [livejournal.com profile] minikitkatgirl: how about stimulating my economy, if you know what I mean? ::suggestive eyebrow waggle::)

Speaking of Equus (or, "that potter nudity thing" as it's been dubbed by Tery's brother), for one thrilling day I thought Ryan was actually going to come with me to see it. We spent a day frantically e-mailing back and forth, figuring plane fares and hotel rates, before it all came crashing down the following morning because John didn't want to go. John wants to go to Vegas, which will be there next year, whereas Equus is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Ah well. It's his prerogative, but I think he's crazy. Hopefully one day he'll learn what Tery and I are convinced is the secret to a successful relationship: That there's something to be said for some quality alone time. We've been together 15 years so I think we're onto something. Her idea of a fun night is drinking and watching football. Mine is watching Alan Rickman movies in an endlessly repeating cycle. Not really much room for compromise there, hence alone time. Thank god this extends to cross-country trips as well.

I think it's just as well. It would have been a logistical nightmare organizing things for the two of them, plus my sister coming down from Boston, plus Amy and Meisje, plus Tery's brother in there somewhere. Still, it would've been awfully fun with Ryan.

~*~

We have a new neighbor who is perhaps more mysterious than Tracey. He's in the building across from us one floor down, so we have a perfect view of his balcony/living room. He doesn't own a stick of furniture, unless you count the massive electric grill smoker he cooks with once a week, sending great billowing clouds of smoke up to us. Sometimes he has kids there that jump on an air mattress. Once he had a party, his guests sitting on folding lawn chairs in the living room. Once he had a black lab puppy. Now he has some sort of Akita mix, full grown, that barks at every blade of grass that's stirred by the wind. And not just a normal stupid-dog-barking-because-he-can bark, but a vicious, thundering, I'm-about-to-tear-your-throat-out kind of bark. My poor Mitten is afraid to go out onto our balcony with that murderous cacophony going on.

We'll just see about that. He's a renter, so the odds are on our side. Hopefully this dog will last as long as the black lab and the kids did.

~*~

Finally, I've about had it with my little transcription board, the one I go to for help with blanks in reports. The last two posts I made quickly devolved into people screaming at me for the stupidest little things.

Lemme 'splain. A lot of times people will ask for help for example with a medication, saying only "It sounds like 'chlamydia,' what do you think it could be?" In this case, and rightly so, people start yelling "CONTEXT!!" because yes, knowing what the patient is being seen for might provide some sort of clue to the medication.

I was doing an operative report, surgery involving the semitendinosus muscle. At one point the doctor started referring to the "semi-T's." I asked the board how to pluralize "semitendinosus" to try to spell it out. Well of course "semitendinosus" is an adjective and you can't pluralize adjectives, but that's beside the point. People started screaming at me, "CONTEXT!!! WHAT'S SO F-ING HARD ABOUT GIVING US CONTEXT???" I responded that I didn't think context would really help, but if you insist, the sentence is "I used #1 Vicryl to repair the semi-T's." There. Better??? I asked how many different uses of "semitendinosus" there could be, really, but by that point the insults were flying and no one was listening to reason. I had one soul who agreed with me that it was quite ridiculous and some people just wanted to create drama. I ducked out quietly, finished my report as best I could alone, and signed out for the day.

Then just yesterday I asked for help with a medication. It was in a list of allergies so I didn't think I had much context to provide there either. "_____ causes psoriasis" was the complete sentence. I also mentioned that the patient was diabetic, trying to be as helpful as possible. Miraculously, someone offered a suggestion that made sense when I researched it and discovered it to be an anti-hypertensive, and the patient did have a history of hypertension. Thinking I was being helpful in confirming the answer, I came back and said so.

BIG. MISTAKE.

"ARRRRRRRRRRRGHHHHHH!!! HYPERTENSION IS CONTEXT!!!!!" they screamed. "WHY DID YOU SAY YOU HAD NO CONTEXT??????" I apologized profusely, but again it just got more and more out of hand. When I suggested that perhaps people were overreacting, I got called a "newbie" and was told that "maybe you don't belong in this profession." Why, because my head doesn't explode every time someone makes a mistake?

I was going to ask how people who work from home could be so freakin' tense, but I realized that not every MT works from home. And talking to my sister later that evening, I realized something else: most people go to work and are surrounded by co-workers that they backstab and stress about. These MT's working at home don't have that, so this board is their drama outlet. Personally I work from home precisely because I can't stand the drama and the cattiness, considered myself well quit of it when I realized I could support myself solely working from home (well, the vet hospital helps). I should have realized that where there are people, there is stress. I will never be free of it until I die.
grrgoyl: (greg skatch)
Our excitement this weekend had nothing to do with the kennels. A couple of weeks ago I came home from a shift and noticed our elderly neighbor's dome light on in her car. Seeing her living room light was on, despite it being 5 a.m., I decided to take the chance of stopping her heart and ringing her doorbell to let her know. She didn't answer though. The next day the light was still on so I tried again, with the same result. Ah well, much longer and it would be a moot point, so I gave up.

Then we never saw her again in the subsequent weeks. Her car stayed in the same spot day after day, even when we were ordered to clear the parking lot for sewer line work. Tery saw half-full drink glasses sitting untouched on her coffee table. We tried not to think the worst, but she was very old and sickly (had a stroke last year, and is a devoted smoker). On the other hand, she also has family that visits her occasionally; surely they were on top of the situation?

So it was with great trepidation indeed that I came down the stairs on my way to work Saturday night to see three uniformed policemen struggling to get into her front door. They asked me if I'd seen her lately and I had to admit no. They asked for contact numbers, anything, so I called Tery to see if she could help them after I left. She called me regularly to keep me updated. She gave them the HOA emergency number, thinking they had to have personal information, but apparently all the numbers they had for her were disconnected. Tery said she heard them knocking on everyone's door looking for contacts, even the FCW's (Tery said, "I was going to tell them not to knock on that door unless they wanted to open a whole new can of worms," because yea verily Tracey is back to carrying things into her unit in covered plastic bins and, one memorable night with a large male friend's/customer's help, muscling some sort of very heavy air conditioner-size piece of machinery up the stairs and inside. Of course, it might have been an air conditioner).

There's a happy ending, sort of. When Tery told them her name they were able to put out an APB to the hospitals and found her in one. Not good news that she's been there so long, but certainly better than dying alone in her condo and going undiscovered for weeks.

It's very stressful living near elderly people.

~*~

My love for my dentist remains intact. I saw him yesterday. He's still hot as ever, but the point is he looked at my mouth, declared it to be in "good shape," and admitted that my bridge was still functionally sound, it was just a matter of aesthetics whether to replace the missing tooth. He said there hadn't been many advances made in bonding porcelain, and if he tried sticking the original back on I'd be back within a week after it falls out again. The other alternative is ripping out the entire bridge and starting over, and that sounds expensive and hugely unappealing. So I said if it was just a question of aesthetics, I'd live with the missing tooth. He shaved down the rough edges, charged me for the visit and the x-ray and sent me on my way (after insisting that I really should still have a yearly cleaning, which I plan on now).

~*~

Speaking of my love for older men, I finally got The Barchester Chronicles from Netflix, a very early BBC series (well, 1982) featuring the Rickman. Hoo boy, guess there's no avoiding the truth anymore: I am obsessed. ::cutting because I'm absolutely positive no one cares about this but me, with possibly one exception:: )

I thought all the scenes without Alan were unfathomably dull, but there are scores of rave reviews over at IMDb, which I suppose makes me an uncultured heathen.
grrgoyl: (Eelaine)


Here's the picture of the week, brought to you once again by my lazy day shift counterparts. What appears at first glance to be some sort of horrific monster is only a horrific few months' worth of accumulated hair and dog poop stuck to this mat that I pulled out of the gutter that runs under the ward. I gleefully sent this pic to Tery's phone. She was angry and I expect the parties responsible will truly catch hell come Monday (she's trying to be a more proactive boss). She asked me to photograph it for her for later printing and example-making; I offered to go one better and leave it as physical evidence, but alas, she wanted me to clean it up. Please keep in mind that my concept of hell is carpeted with this stuff, only it will be wet and I'll be forced to spend eternity barefoot. After wasting 15 minutes in what I knew would be a fruitless search for a Hazmat suit (the best I could do was a set of latex gloves), I scrubbed it clean, but a small part of me died while doing so.

~*~

If there's anything that I hate more than stupid dogs, it's stupid humans that treat them with cruelty/neglect.

Our ground floor neighbors when they first moved in had a parakeet that they kept in a cage on their balcony, as far as we can tell 24 hours a day regardless of the weather. Not surprisingly, the bird disappeared a few weeks into winter, his cage left sitting empty. Parakeets aren't really known for their sturdiness.

Then a few months ago they got a cute little shih tzu puppy. Well, it WAS cute until it ate their screen door. Now puppy's all grown up and spends about 12 hours a day banished to the balcony, gazing sad and lonely at passersby.

Here's the conversation I imagine took place between its owners (names changed obviously, though in my head they have distinctive Southern accents (unfair stereotype, sorry, can't help it)):

Beavis: Well, lookit that, Butthead. Puppies sure can do some damage when they're alone and bored all day.
Butthead: No problem, Beavis. We'll just take down the screen door. Little fella can't do much to glass, right?
Beavis: Gosh, you're sure smart, Butthead. Awww, but look. He just spends the whole day with his paws on the door looking in at us.
Butthead: Well, then, we'll just close the shades. Now we can't see him!
Beavis: Gee, I don't know why I didn't think of that! Ummm.....Butthead? Why did we get a dog in the first place?
Butthead: Well, DUH, Beavis. Because we LOVE dogs!

I can (very begrudgingly) understand Tracey keeping dogs for security -- they sit behind her front door and growl and bark menacingly at anyone in the stairwell. However, I very much doubt any intruders would be deterred by a shih tzu that's obviously confined to the porch.

I'm telling you, it's enough to make our heads explode seeing that poor little guy out there day in and out. But we know from experience with Tracey that Animal Control can't do a thing unless he's not being fed. There's no law that says people have to give their pets attention, although you'd better believe there would be if I were in charge of things. He at least gets to come in at night for now -- who's to say that won't change once the weather starts warming up.


Hey there, lonely girl


Meanwhile I noticed the crazy Christmas tree neighbors had a couple of pigeons perched on their railing talking back and forth, looking for all the world like they were discussing the changes they could make to install a nursery. Of course, first to go will have to be the wreath which still hangs in the center. Those people will learn the hard way the lesson of tolerating pigeons.

~*~

Now another chapter of wacky names people give their unfortunate children. In this batch: "Moses Christian," who will probably be attending Catholic schools anyway, so he should be okay. Don't know that I can say the same for "Journey Melon." Then there's "Tyke." At first I thought this was a newborn infant; they're sometimes referred to as "Baby Boy" or "Baby Girl" in the chart if they have serious congenital issues and require treatment within days of being born. No, "Tyke" was 14 years old. How's he going to feel when he's a 50-year-old man being called "Tyke"? Honestly. I even looked for alternate meanings. The only one I could find was British, "A man considered uncouth or mean; a boor." Ah, much better.

And while I'm on the transcription job, I wish I had an extra dollar for every time a doctor wanted a copy sent to some vague, unspecified destination. I even had one say "Copy to patient's nursing home, I don't have the address." Sorry, doc -- at barely $9 an hour, you're getting a typist, not a psychic. Even more maddening are the docs who make me listen for agonizing minutes while they flip through papers and talk to themselves. If I'm not typing, I'm not getting paid. That's fine, take your time. No rush at all. It's all. About. You.

~*~

Finally in this long post about pointless things, my email spam filter is really disappointing me in a big way lately. It used to be ace, now I'm getting 15-20 pieces of spam a day. I tried bringing it to the attention of Comcast, hoping they were already working on the problem. All I received was their form bullshit letter about how they were as concerned about spam as I was. Maybe this would be true if I started forwarding the piles I'm getting directly to them.

I wish I could just have it filter by keyword. I mean, honestly, is there anyone who doesn't instantly recognize spam when they read the subject line? As big of a pervert as I readily admit to being, none of my friends ever send me mail containing the words "real women," "penetrate," "weapon in bed" or "fondle all her internal nerve endings." And for that matter, no one I correspond with regularly has an address with the number "5414527683334" in it. Knock it off, spammers. You're not fooling anyone.

~*~

If it's any consolation, I don't take any pride in this particular post. No, definitely not my best work.
grrgoyl: (Sweeney time for song)

Don't glare at me like that. I didn't tear your family apart


At last, it is mine. A bit later than I would have liked. Tery gets irritated when I shop for myself a week before my birthday and/or Christmas. So this time I vowed to be good, no matter how much it hurt. She had assured me she wouldn't wait until my actual birthday (Apr 8) to give me this present. However, she also wasn't terribly keen on going out at the stroke of midnight to get it as soon as it was on sale, as I would have done (even if the tables were turned and it was her birthday). She used the excuse that she had to go into work a bit earlier in the morning or else she would, but I know damn well she was up watching Big Brother anyway.

Part of me hoped it was all a bluff, that she'd sneak out after I fell asleep and leave it at the foot of my bed as a surprise (which is what I would have done), but no. Then I hoped she would leave early, pretend to go to work, then pop over to the store and back to surprise me (something else I would have done, failing Plan A), but no. My point is, she had ample opportunity, but instead made me wait until she got home from work (late), when she of course wanted to watch baseball. At least she's going out tonight so I can have the TV.

I have the DVD propped up staring at me while I work, kind of like a carrot on a stick. It's full of juicy extras, all of which seem to be trying very hard to ignore the fact that Rickman is even in the movie. "Depp! Burton! Depp and Burton! Burton and Depp! And Bonham-Carter!" *sigh* My man will never get the recognition he deserves.

DreamWorks isn't the only company guilty of this. I was excited to see a small article in this week's "Entertainment Weekly" about the long-standing affair between Burton and Depp -- that is until the author started heaping lavish praise on Johnny's singing, even comparing him to David Bowie, then had the nerve to add, "Rickman can't sing a lick." No, Alyson Hanigan can't sing a lick (BtVS, "Once More with Feeling"). Cameron Diaz REALLY can't sing a lick (A Life Less Ordinary -- her singing actually causes physical pain). Alan can at least carry a tune without murdering it, and I sent in a letter to them pointing this out. Tery rolled her eyes at my passion. "You're the only one who feels that way." She really likes to imagine I'm the only one who cares about Alan. This is what gives her joy in life (that and baseball).

Anyway, tonight is all about the Sweeney, so Do Not Disturb.

~*~

Another chapter in the People are Asshats book: I left the house once yesterday to get some milk from the gas station across the street. The place was pretty busy around 5:30 pm, people coming home from work and whatnot. As I pulled in, this joker in an SUV (yeah, surprise!) started pulling away from the pump. The angle wasn't quite right, however, and if one of us didn't stop moving we were going to hit. As I was the one entering the lot and already in motion, as opposed to just starting from a parked position, I felt I had the right of way and kept on my course accordingly. He FINALLY gave in, but not without him and his passenger making lots of violent, where'd-you-learn-to-drive gestures in my direction. Maybe they were just testy after dropping $50 into their tank, but I half expected them to follow me inside to really start something.

This is why I can't stand leaving the house -- because every time I do I step into this Bizarro World where the rules of the road as I learned them have been replaced with some kind of Mad Maxian society where the asshole with the biggest axles must be deferred to.

~*~

Our mystery Christmas neighbors have reappeared. Tery had a confirmed sighting of them on their porch. Which isn't to say the unit has been restored to a post-holiday condition. The lights and wreath still hang, and it might be my imagination but I'm sure I can still see the silhouette of a tree in the window behind the blinds. No, they were outside to clean up all the doggie mess from their Rottweiler. Remember, this is one of the complaints leveled against Tracey and her "balcony-trained" mutts. I don't understand why people think it's acceptable to just let dogs do their thing on the balcony, especially if you live anywhere higher than the ground floor. Nasty. And if you can't be bothered to walk your dog properly, maybe you should consider not getting one. Radical thinking, I know.

Speaking of neighbors, The Alcoholic has finally bought a house and is moving. From the day she told me she was closing it was practically a matter of hours before the moving van showed up and she was gone. She REALLY couldn't wait to get out of here (into a "nice neighborhood" she smugly informed me. She hasn't lived many places if she doesn't think this is a nice neighborhood, meth labs notwithstanding). She told me her unit was bought by a nice woman, fresh out of a messy divorce and just as desperate to move, also a vet assistant. Which I thought would be really cool to have as a neighbor before Tery pointed out the chances of her having a dog that will spend all summer barking at our cats on the balcony. We shall see. Stay tuned.

~*~

Lastly, this is what Cadbury has reduced me to by not selling their irresistible Creme Eggs year-round:


Every day is Easter now


This, my friends, is a box I salvaged from the 50% off cart. I plan to freeze them to tide me over until next Easter. I chose my checkout line carefully, trying to find a big, fat clerk who wouldn't judge me. Unfortunately, the woman I selected naturally went on break literally just as I got to the head of the line, being replaced by a petite teenager who probably weighed about 75 pounds soaking wet. She was just happy I had counted the eggs while waiting in line rather than making her do it. Hey, I'm an ex-inventory specialist. I still got the skillz.
grrgoyl: (UCB Dance for me boy)
Now, for another in my exciting Frustration Series. I hate turning my journal into a bitchfest, because negativity never got anyone anywhere, but I think this should be the last of it.

England: Only after returning and receiving my paycheck did I realize that I only got paid for half the days I took off. Yeeeeeouuuuuuuch. Damn that hurt. Though granted I'd rather not have known while on my trip, it would have made it much more difficult to enjoy myself. But still. I've been with this company for 5, probably damn near 6 years, "full time" (if you consider 40 hours a week full time -- they have a clever job classification that defines "full time" only as producing an impossibly high line count -- well, impossibly high if you work two jobs like I do), and the best I get is 5 fucking paid days off a year? Actually I shouldn't complain, before last year PTO was but an unattainable fantasy. "So go work for someone else" you're probably saying. Well, contrary to what the ads say, medical transcriptionists aren't in high demand, we're a dime a dozen.

I tried to argue my PTO. I could've sworn I read in an interoffice memo somewhere that we would be allowed to borrow PTO before earning it, which made great sense to me -- did they want everyone saving their time until December, then taking vacation en masse, leaving a month's worth of reports falling behind? Evidently, because the schedule supervisor had no idea what I was talking about. I'm reasonably sure I didn't pull it out of my ass. It's not like I dream about the fine print in PTO policies. Stupid. Stupid and nonsensical. However, careful review of the policy revealed that time could be carried over to the next year, while I distinctly remember being told last year to "use it or lose it" (of course, I also distinctly remembered the borrowing clause). We'll see. I consider this matter FAR from over.

Neighbors: I work from home, which is bliss. But unfortunately, some people take the opportunity thinking no one else is home to engage in very noisy activities. One of my neighbors ran a circular saw every day for about a week. Then yesterday I heard what sounded like a different saw, which I suspect was being used by Tracey's boyfriend (I traced the first one to the ground floor unit across the way). It could be worse I guess: A circular saw is a hell of a lot more annoying at, say, 9:00 at night than 1:00 in the afternoon. They could run them simultaneously, which would probably make me a leettle homicidal. But it's almost uncanny how I'll put up with it, and put up with it, and put up with it, and finally close my window. Then they'll stop. After a few hours I'll figure it's safe, open the window, and almost IMMEDIATELY they'll start in again. Oh, COME ON.

There's a new noise that I find almost as intolerable as the angry whine of the saw(s). Someone (impossible to determine who) has a squeak toy which they are unhealthily fond of. Whether it's a dog, or a baby, or an emotionally disturbed adult, I have no idea. But they will squeak this thing for a ridiculously long time. Picture it.

SqueakySqueakySqueaky....SqueakySqueakySqueakySqueakySqueakySqueakySqueakySqueakySqueaky....Squeaky....Squeaky.... SqueakySqueakySqueakySqueaky.... SqueakySqueakySqueakySqueakySqueakySqueaky... SqueakySqueakySqueaky. SQUEAKY! SQUEAKY! SqueakySqueakySqueakySqueaky...SqueakySqueakySqueaky...SqueakySqueaky...SQUEAKY!! SqueakySqueakySqueakySqueakySqueaky...SqueakySqueaky....Squeaky....Squeaky...SqueakySqueakySqueakySqueaky...SQUEAKYSQUEAKYSQUEAKYSQUEAKY!!! SqueakySqueaky...

After about 15 minutes, I snapped. "ENOUGH WITH THE GODDAMN SQUEAK TOY!!!!!" I screamed out the window (to be heard over it, you understand). Instant, complete silence, which was enormously satisfying to finally be obeyed.

Ogre. Destroyer of Fun. Sucker of Joy. These names and many others were used by Tery in reference to me. All true. But godDAMN. A circular saw is one thing. You're fixing up your place, building something, you need to use a saw. Fine. Squeak toy? Totally optional. Do you not have ANY other toys? Or, I don't know, CLOSE YOUR DAMN DOOR AND MAKE ALL THE NOISE YOU WANT INSIDE YOUR OWN HOME???

Tery also theorized that it was a squeaky circular saw.

~*~

After having it in our possession for an extremely long period of time (borrowed from Tery's friend), we finally broke down and watched ::The Departed:: )

It was enjoyable enough, if you like your movies bloody (Tery's favorite scene was Nicholson coming out of a bar backroom up to the elbows in gore, delivering his lines, then issuing the order as he disappears again, "Jimmy, bring a mop.....and a pail!"), twisty and turny. I can't count how many times I had to pause it to make sure I wasn't left hopelessly behind. Tery will not be buying it, proclaiming Goodfellas' title to be safe. Still, if you're sober and feeling up to the challenge, it's worth your while. 4 out of 5

In other movie news, after watching 20 minutes of Ultraviolet before leaving for work, I can't decide which is more incredibly bad, the dialogue or Milla Jovovich's delivery of the dialogue. I mean really, REALLY bad. I enjoyed her performance more when she didn't speak any English in Fifth Element.

Finally, I forgot how very, very funny the Upright Citizens Brigade is (Halloween costume potential: High). Dance for me boy, like your mama used to.
grrgoyl: (snarry imaginary)
The Search for John Gissing: Arrived. It came via DHL which, you'll remember, isn't my first choice in a delivery agent but it wasn't up to me. After yesterday they're even less of a choice. I toodled on over to the tracking site to check its progress, and you can imagine my astonishment when I saw it was marked "Delivered" and "Signed for" already. WhatWhatWhat???!!?! I immediately headed to the mailbox only to discover it sitting on my doorstep. Which means someone climbed 3 flights of stairs and put it there (or tossed it over the railing from below) but couldn't be bothered to ring the doorbell and deliver it properly. What is wrong with them? This isn't brain surgery. "Abandoned" is not a synonym for "delivered." Thank god it wasn't something truly valuable like, say, a passport.

Passport: Arrived! Just when I was ready to lie and claim I was traveling sooner than I was. I can't help but think it's no coincidence that my earliest date of travel on the application was July 23, which if it were would be cutting it very close indeed. I had hoped its delivery would coincide serendipitously with a sudden drop in fares, but no dice. Amusingly, the passport was packaged with a pamphlet cheerfully proclaiming, "With a U.S. Passport, the world is yours!" because you're an AMERICAN and therefore foreigners must defer to YOU. Or so I preferred to interpret it in my current bitterly anti-American state of mind.

Creepy old neighbor Louis: Is still spending every day out on his balcony. Which I don't care about except every time I pass the window, he's looking straight up into our house. When it gets this hot, I don't much care to wear clothing, and I don't want to don a shirt just to walk around my living room. So he gets a little peepshow every now and then, which I guess is incentive enough to keep him staring hopefully. Ewww. But when it gets this hot, my comfort takes first priority, even if it's giving an old man his jollies.

Speaking of crazy neighbors, I got cornered into a conversation with The Alcoholic, who can't believe Tery and I don't use our air conditioning every single day (we don't break down until it tops 100 degrees). She uses hers at the first hint of mugginess, she told me proudly. A bigger sweatphobe I've never seen. I explained that we're New Englanders and used to 100 degrees plus 95% humidity, so it really doesn't bother us that much. I gave the excuse that we're nervous about running out of freon and needing it serviced. 5 minutes after we returned to our respective homes, she called me excitedly, telling me to check the user manual for our AC unit. Hers doesn't specifically mention freon servicing, so she reckons it doesn't use freon. Yes. She believes she has the world's first totally environmentally friendly air conditioner, that she bought 10 years ago. I didn't waste time trying to correct her, as it's not likely to change her usage anyway. But this didn't do much to raise her intelligence in my estimation.

Harry Potter: Finished "Half-Blood Prince" (again) and am more excited than ever for "Deathly Hallows." Meanwhile Tery is more stubbornly in denial than ever. We were talking about something and she made the comment, "Whatever, it's just Harry Potter." She HATES that Harry is so popular because she is, as my tag so aptly describes her, a joy-sucking robot. Which is perhaps for the best, so we aren't fighting over the book when it arrives. I'm holing up all day Sunday and Monday, NO INTERNET/NO SPOILERS whatsoever, then Monday night plan to see Order of the Phoenix in IMAX with my friend Rebecca. I also expect to gloat my face off to her silly sister-in-law, who refuses to believe that Snape is anything other than pure, unadulterated evil -- no complex motives, no hidden layers, just straight up exactly what Jo has made him seem to be. That will be fun.

Gideon: Has an adrenal tumor (common among ferrets). Unfortunately the gland in question is wrapped by the vena cava so it's a very complicated surgery. Tery brought him to the premier vet specialist in Colorado, Dr. Fitzgerald:

Gideon's brush with celebrity


Some people might recognize him from an Animal Planet show called "Emergency Vets." He didn't want to do the operation at first, until he met Giddy and had to admit he was a great little guy and worth trying to save. He's still strong and healthy enough that he shouldn't have any complications. We'll see. Fortunately too Dr. Fitzgerald's hospital recently joined the VCA family so Tery can use her 70% employee discount.

That's all. Internet radio silence begins Friday evening just to make double sure to avoid spoilers. Will resume communication Tuesday morning. Over and out.
grrgoyl: (snape trelawney)
My weekend: A summary by Miss Elaineous

Not much excitement at the kennels, though I did resolve after the staff meeting to stop skating by doing as little as possible and go back to being the best damn overnight tech I could be. *in the style of Superman comics* I gave injections! I changed fluid bags! I hand fed sick animals! I temped ill-tempered cats! I filled out medical charts! I filled prescriptions! I swept! I mopped! I made surgical packs! Then on Saturday I was so sore and exhausted all day that I remembered why I was skating by doing as little as possible.

This little guy has been here for a couple of weeks and is doing much better:

PeeWee


He's such a good little puppy. When you open his door he runs (clumsily) up to you and wants only to be cradled in your arms while he licks your chin. Then when you have to leave to do something else, he quietly returns to his little bed and goes back to sleep. A dog that's only needy on your terms: hope he stays that way.

They thought he was a dump at first -- the number left by the owners was disconnected. They finally called when the bill was in the thousands to check on him, demanding to know why they hadn't been called sooner (it evidently never occurred to them to call us). Since he's still there, I guess he is now officially a dump (one of the techs wants him so there's a happy ending). Apparently this happens all the time according to Tery: people are really stupid enough (or think that the hospital staff is) to abandon a critically ill dog, pleading poverty, then call back when the dog's been fixed up thinking they can get him back for the price of an adoption fee. Tery's response is always, "No problem. It will cost $700 (or whatever the bill is) to adopt him." People are asshats.

~*~

I'm really cursing my luck. We've lived here for 4 summers now and I've never really taken full advantage of our balcony. Now that I have my wondrous new hammock and a full two days off every week, all our neighbors are crawling out of the woodwork. There's a unit across the way and down a floor owned by Louis, an eccentric old man who doesn't own a stick of furniture but instead has lots of weird sculpture thingies made of natural materials like rocks and scrap lumber, who we haven't seen in more than a year. This past weekend he suddenly returned from who-knows-where, bringing with him a daughter (?) and young children. They spend the majority of their time on the balcony, talking, laughing, yelling and generally destroying the peace and quiet. You tell me the universe doesn't have an especially sadistic sense of humor.

~*~

While searching for Harry Potter clips on YouTube featuring Snape (so far Conan has shown the only one, I've been watching Dan Radcliffe's interviews all week), I stumbled across this trailer:



It was made in 2001 and the filmmakers have been fighting ever since to get it released. Just this week they gave up and released it privately with their own money (can be bought here). Plus Janeane Garofalo...how can you go wrong? I now await its arrival with every bit as much excitement as I did Snowcake, because Alan gets shamefully few opportunities to flex his comedic muscles (but trust me, they're there).

~*~

Speaking of Harry Potter, tonight we're going: "we" being myself, Ryan and RYAN'S NEW BOYFRIEND JOHN. Thanks to a series of monetary snafus, I'll probably be paying for the boys, putting to rest the apparent myth that gay men have gobs of disposable income. Unless, as Tery postulated, all their money goes to buying lube by the case at Costco *juvenile snicker* I'm spending the rest of the week hurrying to finish "Half-Blood Prince" for the second time before the release of "Deathly Hallows" this weekend. This might be the closest I've come to O.D.'ing on Harry.....
grrgoyl: (Jayne momma's boy)
Our Fourth of July outing this year was everything that 2 years ago wasn't. Ryan invited us (me, Tery and MyFriendDeb) to the park in Englewood that he always goes to. This time we came prepared, packing sweaters and blankets (then the temperature never dropped below 70), snack food and drinks (then the park had food for sale, yummy roast corn-on-the-cob and turkey legs), and best of all, the show's start time wasn't dependent on the whim of a stupid baseball game. And we actually got to see a show this year, which was a huge check in the plus column.

Tery loves her a big ol' turkey legAs do I
Deb prefers a big ol' corn-on-the-cobRyan, like most victims of eating disorders, is seldom seen eating in public


And what a spectacular show it was! We selected a spot on top of a big hill (well, us and 1,000 other people) so we could actually lie on our backs with an unobstructed view, as if the show was being put on special for us. It was worth the difficult climb up an 85-degree slope. We worried about getting back down, until I pointed out that we'd have a crowd of people in front of us to slow our descent. Tery and I shared a knapsack for a pillow and held hands. Halfway through she whispered to me, "I wish Kitten was here."

It seemed rather brief, but we weren't complaining when it began to rain almost the second we got back to the car. A few seconds after it started it turned into a torrential downpour of hail that we imagined turned that 85-degree hill into a deadly mudslide for anyone that didn't get down in time. Ryan barely got us home alive. It was all terribly exciting.

~*~

Our neighbors (the ones we called the Fuzz on) have a shopping cart in their stairwell from the dollar store across the street. Now that really says "class," though not exactly "upper" or even "middle."

~*~

I'm writing this on my balcony, which is pleasant enough despite the conspicuous absence of a hammock. No, it hasn't arrived yet. On Monday, when I thought it might arrive, I received an email from the seller excitedly telling me that it had SHIPPED that morning. Oh HELL no. I shot off an angry mail expressing my dissatisfaction with this timeframe. Their response was "Good news! We've traced your package and it's scheduled to arrive on 07/09/07. Thanks again for shopping with us!" Here's a tip for would-be sellers: The way to deal with an irate customer is NOT to pretend to misunderstand their complaint and carry on like everything is peachy. If this isn't the best damn hammock I've ever sat my ass in, their feedback will go from neutral (where it's at now) to negative -- but they're a power seller so I doubt I'll be able to bring them down singlehandedly. Which is precisely what they're counting on.
grrgoyl: (Dylan apoplectic)
We have new neighbors that are making us yearn for the quiet days of meth labs.

We used to have a perfectly nice neighbor, Barb, who one day suddenly decided to sell. Her place has sat empty on the market for months now. 3 weeks ago, someone moved in.

We can pinpoint the exact moment they arrived, because they do everything very loudly. They laugh loudly, they sing loudly, they argue loudly, and they party loudly. Last weekend they partied until about 1 a.m., their windows flung wide and their constant outbursts of laughter carrying through the night. This is one thing I hate about summer -- I love the nighttime breezes, but am also fond of quiet when it's time to sleep. And why should we have to close our windows when we aren't the ones being loud?

This weekend, to our dismay, they had another party. It started mid afternoon and by 5 p.m. Tery was already cursing the children throwing "poppers" around below our balcony. I tried to get her to join me at Ryan's to watch Dexter, but she wasn't feeling very well. As I walked past the party on my way to the parking lot, the first thing I noticed was the walkway and lawn were littered with crumpled cans and McDonald's wrappers. Oh HELL no. I called Tery from the car so she could monitor the situation.

It was about the time Tery saw the kids pull down our neighbor's bee catcher and smash it with a rock that she called our property manager. It was about the time she saw them messing with the mailboxes, trying to yank them open and shoving poppers inside, that she called the police. She also broke out the video camera; after about 5 minutes of taping, the kids noticed her and hightailed it.

So it was that for the second time in our tenure here, I was greeted by the sight of a police cruiser in the parking lot upon my return home. Tery was talking to the two officers as I climbed the stairs. They promised to speak to our neighbors, but said the HOA was really the proper channel to take care of such things. Really? I thought tampering with a mailbox was a federal offense.

Our property manager was very interested in the party indeed. Mainly because he had no idea anyone was even living there. The last he knew Barb had lost the title to the bank.

If you were living somewhere illegally, wouldn't you do as little as possible to draw attention to yourself? And maybe it's none of my business whether they belong there or not, BUT. If you want to trash your neighborhood, go live on Colfax. And if you want a backyard for your mini-Visigoths to wreak havoc, rent a fucking house.

The funny thing is, through this entire ordeal the Alcoholic never showed her face. Tracey leaves her screen door open and the place is going to hell in a handbasket. These people were tearing it up and she couldn't care less.

~*~

I've had my fill of the lack of common sense exhibited by my coworkers, and Tery's had her fill of listening to me complain about them. Rather than subject you to another tedious rant, I've chosen to present it in the form of a poll, because polls are the best way to remind myself that people truly don't care about my posts.

[Poll #1010209]

Those last two were trick questions. Tery tells me they were more of a miscommunication (unlocked door)/laziness (heavy bucket) issue than common sense. Damn inconsiderate is what I call it, since I was the one left to deal with both.

If this seems unnecessarily condescending of me, I assure you at one time or another a person or persons has made the wrong choice in all these instances. I just wanted to demonstrate how ridiculously simple the blunders in question would be to avoid, IF people had more common sense. Think about it, won't you? Thank you.

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