grrgoyl: (GQ fuck)
Tery has returned home after her 3-week vacation, and no one is happier than me -- except maybe her. She was supposed to arrive Monday evening, until her plane leaving Rhode Island was detained on the tarmac for such an extended period of time (no explanation given) that she missed her connection, leaving her stranded at JFK for about 13 hours.

I myself have had plenty of travel mishaps, but that was back in the day when the airline gave you a meal, or sometimes even a hotel, voucher for your inconvenience. This was Tery's first, and she received nothing of the kind -- not that it would have done her any good, as JFK, despite being situated in The City That Never Sleeps, essentially shuts down in a retail capacity at 10 p.m. They did upgrade her to first class for the flight she eventually took home, which almost made up for her getting about 10 minutes of sleep in JFK's really-not-made-with-sleeping-in-mind seats (keep in mind sleep is challenging for Tery under the best of conditions. I would probably have been out like a light, a sentiment she didn't find particularly helpful). She documented most of it via camcorder, in increasingly bleary-eyed, miserable testimonials that looked more and more Blair Witchian as the morning wore on.

She actually burst into tears when my car pulled up to the curb to pick her up. I couldn't really blame her. I've been there too, and I've done that (when we first got together, I was already committed to a 2-week family visit in California. My flight home was delayed probably this long too. I left her the message from the airport, where I couldn't hold back the tears of frustration; here I finally had a girlfriend, someone I couldn't wait to get home to, and I was stuck at stupid John Wayne airport. Tery later told me hearing me cry on the answering machine was the first moment she realized she loved me, so it wasn't all bad).

This excursion to the airport marks the first time I got to see Denver's newest and most controversial public artwork, the Mustang. It was kind of unsettling at sunrise, and really not much less so in daylight.



Standing 32 feet tall, it's located at a spot where traffic zips by at such velocities that there's no chance of stopping to admire it -- or verify that it's not alive and won't start chasing you. Artistic embodiment of the fierce spirit of the West, or Emissary from Hell which will be your last earthbound sight if your plane crashes? You decide.

There are plenty of people criticizing it on the sites I found, but the funniest was someone's proposal that we petition the Convention Center's Big Blue Bear to come chase it away:


Denver: We've got a thing about gigantic blue animal sculptures.



~*~

I spoke earlier about vast accomplishments in Tery's absence. The second of these is another stained glass window, this one in the kitchen:



Whereas the masterpiece in the loft took about six months, this one took about six hours (or less) once I decided on a design. It serves two purposes: 1) I think it's awful purdy, and 2) our kitchen window has a direct view into our neighbor's living room due to an unfortunate lack of planning by the condo builders, and despite knowing how rude it is, we're simply powerless to avoid looking. With the help of the crystal clear glaze panels, now our neighbors are just fuzzy lights, not very compelling at all.

Funnily enough, Tery brought home this new rug from Ikea, which complements the red circles in the window perfectly:


Coincidence or freaky lesbian psychic connection? You decide.


~*~

Sunday night, with Tery's return imminent (or so I thought), I went upstairs to play me a little Rock Band, only to discover my Playstation suddenly refusing to read any of my discs. What the....? I searched online for answers in vain, apart from instructions on cleaning the lens. I wasn't optimistic, given a.) the console was bought from a pawn shop to begin with, so age unknown and warranty status grim, b.) the previous weekend actually Washburn had gotten 75% through the hole behind the entertainment center where the cords exit. I discovered him thrashing wildly and salivating desperately. I pulled him out without difficulty, but he had managed to displace most of the electronics inside the cabinet. I assumed he must have knocked the lens out of whack or something. Either way, I figured I was looking at a new (or close to new) PS2.

I spent most of the night cruising eBay and Craigslist, only to discover that most PS2 consoles in any kind of like-new condition were selling at like-new prices as well. My search was worth it though when I discovered one joker looking to trade his PS1 (which, the seller confided, is going to increase greatly in value very soon) for a PS3, Wii, or XBox 360. Yeah, good luck with that buddy. You can have my $400 PS3, and I'll take your PS1 that people are selling (or trying to) for around $15.

Monday morning I decided to quit faffing around looking for a used machine and just bought a new one at Target. Damn you, Rock Band. I can't just walk away.

Well, the new PS2 had the exact same problem. What the....FUCK. I gave up trying, applied to Sony for a service return request, and left it for a few hours. When I went back upstairs later, suddenly they BOTH worked again. GodDAMMIT.

I'd return it to the store, except I'm certain the minute I do the old one will start acting up again, and I gotta have my Rock Band. Especially with the new one coming out in a few short months.

~*~

Finally, some very quickie movie reviews, a pretty odd grouping, but that's how I roll when left on my own too long. ::Angel, Tipping the Velvet, Death Sentence:: )

~*~

Last but not least, it's only September and already I've had it up to here with the political ads. Although it is mildly amusing to watch the Republicans steal Obama's promise of change without the slightest hint of irony that the change the country is crying out for is from their party. Please America, don't be that stupid again. It might help if they weren't so SMUG, acting for all the world that it wasn't a Republican that got us into this mess to begin with. I tried to watch the RNC, but just couldn't stomach all the snideness. I had to resort to my Daily Show filter to get through it. I could go on and on, but it's so exhausting. Wake me up on November 5th, preferably with good news.
grrgoyl: (max)
Some loose ends to tie up:




  • I love London, but it's just so vast compared to Denver (or any city I've visited). At this point in my life I've spent almost an entire month there and still feel like I haven't seen half of what it has to offer. Jeff and his family are thinking of coming to America next year sometime and I feel like I have to start planning NOW how to entertain them in Denver, because there's just no comparison. I mean, most of the city shuts down at 10 p.m.!



  • Londoners have absolutely no sense of personal space, I noticed almost immediately. They're used to being surrounded by lots of people all the time. I am not. I feel I adapted pretty quickly (riding the tube everywhere helped), but I'm really a small-town country girl at heart and I need to breathe; Denver is really as "big city" as I can handle on a full-time basis. Though I did admire the convenience and efficiency of public transportation in London. Denver still has a ways to go in that department unfortunately.



  • Here's one picture I forgot to post:



    Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
    Daddy's Little Girl




    Roxana was the sweetest little girl when she was happy and smiling. But like with most 2-year-olds, when she reached her full fury, I wanted to be several continents away. I decided that the worst 10 seconds in the world are those between a child's first tantrum cry, and the second one while they're taking a really, really big breath. Fortunately this didn't happen very often. As with most children, it took her a day or two to warm up to me, and thereafter she couldn't get enough. I worried about traumatizing her with my departure, but Jeff assured me within 12 hours she would erase me from her memory completely.



  • One thing I forgot to mention was the delay in my plane taking off from London. After a half hour of waiting at the gate, the pilot announced that a passenger had "gone missing" and they had to remove their luggage from the plane as a security precaution. Don't know what that was all about, but I'm thankful the Brits were on top of it.


~*~

As much as I loved England, I missed sleeping in my own bed, and I missed especially my internet. I arrived home to discover all these things had been released in my absence. I leave for a few days....

  • Marilyn Manson: Eat Me, Drink Me -- I know Marilyn's not very popular in my circles, but I still keep buying his stuff. I loved Mechanical Animals (where Marilyn first discovered melody) and keep hoping for a return to that. In this CD I finally got it. The catchy melodies of Animals style combined with Tim Skold's industrial guitar riffs work well, and it sounds like Tim also talked Marilyn into venturing into the world of guitar solos for the first time. Throw in Marilyn's growling vocals and this was love at first listen for me.

  • Linkin Park: Minutes to Midnight -- Another band most of my friends will probably be appalled to know I listen to. I can't help it. Chester sounds like the lovechild of a Backstreet Boy and Trent Reznor. A very angry boy band, if you will. I haven't listened to this all the way through yet, but I'll bet some fans will be disgusted by it. It sounds softer than previous albums, with lots of whining about the war and the terrible price paid by the poor who have few options other than to enlist. Like these guys know anything about it.

  • South Park Season Ten -- Most of the episodes in this season are kind of hit or miss (for instance, when Oprah's minge and asshole not only talk (in male British accents, no less), but take hostages in hopes that she'll stop working so hard and play with them once in awhile. Seems like Matt and Trey can afford fancier designer drugs with all their fame. Don't even get me started on the Al Gore "Manbearpig" episode). But this season includes the World of Warcraft episode, which is absolutely brilliant and worth the purchase price alone. Even funnier than when the boys become anime ninjas!

  • Last but absolutely not least, Serenity 2-Disc Collector's Edition -- Whatwhatwhat???!!?!!?!? How did THIS slip under my radar? (especially considering I've been shopping for Firefly stuff for weeks??) The website gives no indication of how gorgeous the packaging of this disc is. The front of the case is a plastic panel with just River, and the case beneath has Mal and the ship. The back of the box has a classy monochromatic holographic picture of some of the characters in action poses. This version thoughtfully includes all the features from the previous release (if the industry MUST double dip, I prefer they do it this way so I don't have to keep multiple copies of one movie on my shelf). And Joss and Nathan Fillion should do commentary for every movie ever made. That's all I'll say about that.


~*~



Finally, a movie review. [livejournal.com profile] lizzieloudotcom asked if I planned to endure Perfume: Story of a Murderer in the name of my Rickman love, and I did. ::Here's what I thought:: )

In summary, the movie is gorgeous to look at, the story is enthralling and the acting is superb (even the non-Rickman actors), until that stupid orgy scene at the end makes it all unravel. I didn't like it enough to buy it, but certainly enough to copy it. 3 out of 5
grrgoyl: (Black Books children's book)
Okay, where was I?

Day Five (London Eye, Star Wars Exhibition, Spamalot!)

::I can't think of anything clever for this cut:: )

~*~

Days Seven and Eight (Edinburgh Fringe Festival)

::We were going to go to Ireland, but...:: )

~*~

Day Nine (Stonehenge, Avebury)

::where the banshees live, and they do live well:: )
~*~

Day Ten: Going Home

My journey home was notable for a few things. First, Jeff's maddening lack of urgency (coupled with getting a bit lost) got me to Heathrow later than I would have liked. Not a big deal, but it meant my only option for seating was a middle seat, a far cry from my luxurious flight in. Terminal 4, which apparently handles all international flights, looked like a Cairo street market, with lines forming for who knows what and people EVERYWHERE. Jeff hung out for my check-in, but left me to the security line, which stretched down the entire length of the terminal.

Once on board, I was squashed into the middle seat. To my left, a Connecticut housewife type whose husband and two sons occupied the row behind us. She saw nothing wrong with hollering conversation at them over the top of my head throughout the flight. She ordered white wine with her meals, then spewed forth horrible obscenities when she couldn't quite negotiate her way out of the seat to the restroom with the glass perched on her tray table.

To my right was a mousy, unassuming British man. He seemed normal enough, but then the plane took off and he stuck his head between his knees anxiously. He relaxed once we were at altitude, but then started watching one of the movie channels. Whatever he was watching caused him to emit high-pitched, cackling giggles and made him twitch and stroke his goatee compulsively in a heightened state of excitement I'm quite sure was never anticipated by the moviemakers. I wasn't at all reassured when he covered himself neck to toe in his blanket and I could still see fidgety movement underneath in the mid torso region. He fortunately stopped this behavior long enough to wolf down his lunch in about 30 seconds. Then almost immediately upon him finishing, the plane hit an unusually big pocket of turbulence, lurching and dipping sharply. At this, he again put his head down, moaning and grunting alarmingly. So help me, I was sure he was going to vomit. Why god? Why me? He didn't, which is about the best thing I can say about this leg of my adventure.

When we finally landed in Denver, I realized there might be an unexpected perk to sitting in the middle: I could choose which aisle to use to leave. However it didn't quite work that way. The line to the right (British freak side) wasn't moving at all. To the left (entitlement housewife) people were moving swiftly, practically running past us from behind. But Wifey wasn't making any move to get up at all, probably hanging back until her entire family was ready. I suddenly decided this was intolerable, stood up and asked, "Do you think maybe I could get out?" To my surprise, she snapped irritably, "Well, yes, if you'd just give me a chance to stand up first!" Rich, when as I said she wasn't making the slightest move to get up before I said anything. I thought after almost 10 hours of wrestling for some armrest space, trying to time my bathroom breaks to her convenience and being kicked in the back by her stupid offspring, if anyone had a right to be snippy it was me. "Thanks very much, bitch" I said as I escaped, making damn sure she heard the last part (although looking back, I almost wish I'd used the "C" word). She made no response, or if she did I was long gone. I'd like to think there was none to be made, since I was after all only calling a spade a spade.

Not the best ending to my trip to be sure, but I have plenty of other happy memories to counter it.

That night I was a bit tired, and thankful Tery had replaced me at the hospital. Saturday I felt right as rain. Sunday my jet lag hit me like a concrete wall. It came over me so suddenly Tery was consulting WebMD.com with my symptoms (as with every other condition, their advice was to seek medical help immediately. Not a terribly useful site), but it turned out I just needed sleep very, very badly.

So that's it. My London Extravaganza 2007! Hope it was as enjoyable to read about as it was to experience.
grrgoyl: (Black Books children's book)
I'm back from England, in case anyone was becoming concerned. The truth is I've been frantically trying to get the whole trip down in my handwritten travel journal before my memories slip away permanently into the ether. Today it occurred to me that can be done anywhere (i.e., the hospital), whereas updating my LJ with full photographic illustrations can only be done here.

I had a really great time an awesome time an incredible time Words cannot describe what a good time I had. In the words of Calvin & Hobbes, the days were just packed! Every day we stumbled home exhausted and fell into our beds before getting up the next and starting all over again. This may have been a result of both of us fast approaching 40, but there's not much to be done about that.

I haven't figured out the best way to break this down, so bear with me. Behind the cuts are many, many photos, all resized and humorously captioned. Please have a look and not let my hard work be in vain.

~*~

Day Zero: Flying

First, I have to give a shout-out to British Airways. If you ever have the opportunity to fly with them, I can't recommend it highly enough. They gave us two complete 3-course meals, a dazzling array of free in-flight entertainment with a seat-back screen (choice of several current blockbusters, American or British TV channels, and even video solitaire. Coolest of all, a map screen showing exactly how far along we were on our journey, including time left to destination) in addition to the eye mask, socks and travel toothbrush. I somehow ended up alone in my row despite the plane appearing otherwise full, and when the attendants talked to me they'd bend their knees and murmur gently as if I was an 8-year-old flying alone for the first time.

I made it through Customs and to Jeff in no time at all, even though I was asked a lot more questions than my last trip pre-9/11. We headed home. Jeff lives in Acton, London, a fair-sized bustling suburb that's a bit dodgy, but mostly quiet and easy to get around.

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Jeff on his street (okay, so this caption isn't my best work)


I didn't have the time or the energy to do anything else this day, so onto day one.

~*~

Day One: Tate Modern Museum, St. Paul's Cathedral

::cut as promised, even though not much inside:: )
~*~

Day Two: Buckingham Palace, Parliament, Westminster Abbey

::onto the tourist traps:: )
~*~

Day Three: Brighton

::every summer we can rent a cottage in the Isle of Wight...:: )
~*~

Day Four: Camden Market and Highgate Cemetery

::Of Gargoyles and Gravestones:: )
~*~

Day Five: Harrod's, Speaker's Corner, the Comedy Store

::Last stop this entry:: )

That brings us almost exactly to the middle of my trip. I'll let you nosh on these for awhile. I'll finish later this weekend.
grrgoyl: (Greg Egg)
Weekend the First: Kennels. I had many, many, many bad, bad, bad dogs this weekend. I had Ruffles, the uncontrollable chow, back with a new brother, Horatio the German shepherd puppy, who made Ruffles look like he belonged to Cesar Millan by comparison. This is the same crazy family with 5 cats and a handful of birds besides. I guess it isn't a hardship to get another dog when you aren't going to train that one either.

It needs to be said: I hate puppies. They're like babies, great to visit for short periods of time, but a pain in the ass to live with. Puppies don't know that the outside is for pooping. They don't know that the nighttime is for sleeping. And they don't know that some people need more than sheer cuteness to tolerate their shenanigans. It irritates me because we aren't running an obedience school, and I'm not paid nearly enough to train your puppy for you.

I had Bogart, a min-pin who pooped with clockwork regularity, unfortunately every single time in his kennel. Even after 8 hours with no food, he pooped. So much poop I thought he had to be smuggling it in from other dogs. And he wouldn't just poop, he would poop and then dance around in it, tracking it everywhere. Then go outside where it was raining and become this huge primadonna, tiptoeing around the puddles gingerly. Bogart was 6 years old. If a dog isn't pottytrained at 6 years old, that's the sign of a bad owner. Tery told me he was owned by an elderly woman who probably couldn't walk him properly. Compounding the problem was the fact that, fed up with Bogart's recalcitrance, what did the stupid old woman do but go out and get a 6-month-old bull terrier (who as of yet doesn't poop in her kennel). Bogart probably doesn't poop outside because he spends the entire time fending off the very enthusiastic bull terrier. I simply don't understand.

Oh, how I wished that this was the weekend I left for England, not next.

Speaking of England, Weekend the Second: Today the cheapest fare going is $1313. This is a complete reversal of my usual luck, which in the past would have had the prices plummeting in a steady downward slide, until the day before I left they'd be advertising for paid volunteers just to fill the plane.

Spare PDA battery: Check (I'm worried about keeping my electronic entertainment juiced for the entire flight. Even though I'll likely pass out and sleep the whole way anyway). Gobs of new Snarry to fill my PDA: Check. Period: Check (one of the major deciding factors when I chose dates, because I sure as hell wasn't flying to England with a suitcase full of maxipads. As a bonus, this was one of the shortest, most painless periods of my entire life. I attribute it to the awesome power of the Bowflex changing my metabolism).

Finally, haircut: Check. Which should be a good thing, except I hate it. HATE. IT. Easily one of the top five worst haircuts of my entire life. I don't know what the lady did, but the only way to fix it is to grow it out. In just a week. Grrrrrr.

Weekend the Third: We did Parade of Homes again this year with MyFriendDeb. The theme this year was, of all things, New England. As we shall see, these Coloradan designers have some pretty peculiar ideas about New England. I'm cutting for massive amounts of pictures and equally massive snark. And you can thank this atrocity of a haircut for me not appearing in any of them.

::Dial-up users, come nae further!:: )
grrgoyl: (firefly take me sir)
I finally bought my plane ticket, not because I found a great deal but because I realized my $500 dream fare was simply never going to come. I wonder how many things in my life get accomplished from me saying, "Fuck it, I'm tired of worrying about this"?

I opted for British Airways, who has a nonstop from Denver to London -- which I anticipate being so luxurious and stress-free that I'll wonder why I haven't always insisted on nonstop. (How can BA get there in 9 hours when all the other airlines need 15? MyFriendDeb figures everyone else has to pull over to let them through, since they have "British" in the title.) Apart from some shenanigans with my debit card not being good enough for their website, I'm pretty much good to go. Lucky thing, because it was only after buying it that I noticed that there's actually only two weeks before my travel dates. Two more weekends at the kennels, and I can already feel the countdown on my pressure valve. I'm hoping my last night of work before leaving goes significantly smoother than my last trip.

Jeffy has set about planning my entertainment with a vengeance. There's talk of hopping over to Ireland, Stonehenge, Buckingham and even Spamalot. MyFriendDeb had mentioned a Harry Potter tour that sounded appealing. Jeffy hadn't heard of it so I Googled. It turns out there are lots of Harry Potter tours, all of which are designed to siphon as much money from vacationing American pigdogs as possible. The cheapest one I found was $400. !!!!!!! That gets you a private taxicab that ferries you to all the shooting locations of inner London. Other packages go up to $2000+ and last several days, encompassing Scotland and a ride on the Hogwarts Express as well.

Extortionate. But would YOU want to be the one to tell your excited little darlings that it's too expensive? I figure I've got an advantage over the average tourist in knowing a native. Nothing can stop us from visiting some spots on our own. In fact, the Hogwarts library was filmed at Oxford, which is Jeffy's alma mater.

So in short, England is a go! I'll be sure to come back with proper documentation for my avid readers.

~*~

If I had bought my ticket first, I might not have gone on the massive internet shopping spree that I did just the day before. 300 is coming soon so I wanted that. But Amazon has a way of pricing everything tantalizingly close to, but often just below, the $25 mark that gets you free shipping. So to save $3 in shipping, I also ordered The Official Firefly Companion Volumes 1 and 2 for an additional $30. Don't judge me, I was planning to buy these eventually anyway.

While browsing, I stumbled across the DVD Done the Impossible, a fan-made documentary about how the intensely loyal fan base made the movie Serenity happen ([livejournal.com profile] kavieshana, see me after class). It arrived Saturday and I made Tery watch a bit. I had hoped seeing people talking about their love for the show would push her over the edge into giving it a chance. And, well, done the impossible indeed...we just finished the pilot and she agreed to watch more (her tentative favorite is Kaylee). Will she be #6 in my conversion tally to the Browncoats? Only time will tell.

~*~

This weekend at the kennels had the usual amount of excitement. I come with two photos.

You've got the cutest little...


This is Baby Face the greyhound. I've heard that most retired greyhounds are affectionate, obedient and stoked to live a life not being forced to run constantly. Baby Face is the first greyhound I've dealt with, and all she wants is hugs, kisses, and love love love love love. I was happy to provide all of these as much as possible.

By contrast, here is Snuggles the cat:

Snuggles weel keel u


Despite several attempts, mere camera phone technology is pitifully inadequate to capture the almost demonic malevolence emanating off this cat. Either Snuggles' extreme homicidal tendencies developed after it was too late to change his name (but really, don't all cats only deign to recognize the names we choose for them when it suits them?) or his owner has a deep-seated sense of irony. Just walking past the door of C ward was enough to incite his warning hissing and spitting, and actually opening the door of his kennel to clean the box or bowls got him speaking in tongues.

I was perfectly content to leave him be. Message received, loud and clear, little man. Except he had this habit of pooping in his blanket, and that I couldn't just walk by and ignore. I changed it once at terrific risk of loss of limb, not that I got the slightest bit of gratitude for my trouble. Then in the morning I noticed he had done it again. Well fuck me. That I left for the day crew to deal with.

Because the day crew is on my list again. Saturday night I came in to find for a second time, mind-blowingly, less than a month after my plea to everyone at the meeting, the back door wide open a full four hours after the last person had left. Because come closing time, the day crew happily starts their weekend and doesn't give a second thought to anyone or anything else because they are lazy, thoughtless and useless. If I sound a little harsh, think for a moment how you would feel walking into a hospital full of dark rooms where someone could easily lie in wait. The solution offered by the stupid cow of a medical director was for me to call for a police escort -- except I don't notice the unlocked door until I'm already inside, when it would already be far too late if someone got in.

As much as I'd love to unleash my fury on the guilty parties directly, Tery won't let me, so I'm forced to do it to her and hope she can sufficiently pass it along. But as much as I love Tery, she doesn't really do anger, not as effectively as me at least.

Two more weekends, two more weekends...

~*~

Finally, cut because I'm sure no one really cares all that much, ::The Search for John Gissing:: )

In summary, for Rickman fans this is a 5/5. For the rest of the world, 3/5.
grrgoyl: (jayne calm)
You know how it is when you're close enough to vacation to taste it, and everything at work suddenly seems absolutely intolerable? Like, the stupidest things that you deal with on a daily basis set you off because my god, you need a vacation and you need it now? Well, imagine that feeling and then apply it to the night I had last night. I unlocked the front door to find a dog sitting there waiting for me. Highly irregular, but not in itself a big deal. Until I realize this dog still has an IV line attached to its leg and the hospital is now literally a bloodbath. This dog has been free for probably close to an hour judging from the mess, and has taken the grand $10 tour of the facility. There is nary an inch of floor that has not been spattered, dripped or pooled upon. Every door is covered in bloody claw marks. I imagine crime scenes are less grisly. The fact that this dog is still standing is a Christmas miracle.

The same is true upstairs and downstairs. And I was concerned that I'd forgotten to bring something to read and I'd be bored all night. I've got three dogs total on fluids and within my first 2 hours of work, ALL have managed to pull out part of their line. Alllllllllllrighty then. Funnel collars for everyone!!! After battling briefly with tubing clotted with dried blood in two of the dogs, I finally think I've got the situation under control. I've barely begun the Herculean task of mopping when the fluid machines start alarming about every 12 seconds, one after another, for no apparent reason. Also right about now one of the dogs on fluids begins this loud, wheezing, whining, gasping/panting sound and shows no sign of stopping. Are you having a heart attack, dog, or are you just a huge fucking baby? Hard to tell. The machines are beeping, the dog is gasping, the plastic funnel collars are scraping against the walls of the cages, even the healthy dogs are barking insistently (haven't been able to walk them yet 2 hours into my shift), and I feel a critical something in my psyche almost audibly snap. I call Tery and have a very major breakdown. A breakdown of such alarming proportions that she immediately hits the road to come help me. She'd do the same for any of her employees, true, but it's so rarely that I'm reduced to a gibbering, screaming, weeping mess that it terrifies her when it happens.

She arrives bearing cupcakes and ice cold milk for me, because that's the kind of great boss she is. Even though I've finished most of the upstairs, she comments on the heavy stink of blood still in the air. Don't I know it....it's under my fingernails, smeared across my face, soaking into my clothing. She finishes the mopping while I finally sit down with my paperwork at 1 a.m. She folds the laundry while I watch exhaustedly. One of the dogs, after successfully removing his funnel collar not once but twice, yelps sharply and we discover he's pulled his entire catheter out. The bad news is it's beyond our skill to replace it. The good news is it's one less dog on fluids to worry about. We try giving him a little water and he immediately vomits. His puke smells exactly like shit, which I think is weird.

By the end of the night I can barely keep my eyes open and I feel like I've been trampeled by every kind of stampeding beast there is in Africa. I fall extremely gratefully into my bed. The next morning Tery gets a call from the hospital. The same dog got out again after I left, yet this time managed to not turn the place into an abbatoir. The vet tech instructs Tery on the proper way to secure the dog's cage. The same vet tech that had locked things up last night.

T-minus 18 hours until vacation, and at this point it feels like an eternity.
grrgoyl: (methree)
I'm not saying that Tracey FCW has been added to my T-Mobile My Faves™ circle so don't jump in my shit. However, she was decent enough to write back to us using our new door note system, apologizing for any noise she made and hoping we noticed that she took steps to correct the problem immediately. She even left her phone number at the bottom, which I felt showed good effort. This is in direct contrast to the email I received from the Alcoholic right about the same time:

It appears she’s up to some of her old habits. She’s back to leaving the screen door wide open and I saw the two dogs again this weekend. She hasn’t been leaving them on the deck that I know of. Anything you can add, Elaine?

Yes, we've seen two dogs going in and out of her place, which is against the new HOA by-laws. I was going to notify the administrator but Tery stopped me, pointing out that she would just claim one was her boyfriend's and not a permanent resident, and anyway apart from the occasional Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse impression they do in the stairwell when entering and exiting, we really haven't heard a peep out of them.

And as far as "leaving the screen door wide open," I say to that "Fuck-a-doodle-doo." Who the fuck gives a crap (besides the Alcoholic)? The best response I could muster to this weak attempt at a witch hunt was a very restrained, "Nope" which I'm quite sure is not what she was expecting.

In an uncustomary burst of goodwill, I wrote back to Tracey telling her we were willing to make a fresh start and we appreciated her being so nice about our request. I meant it. Since she's obviously here to stay, I think at this point we need to make the best of it and try to work on a more civil relationship, unlike the Alcoholic who wants to keep fighting her tooth and nail with petty little observations like the one above (all the while continuing to refuse to use her handicapped parking space). Again, we aren't asking Tracey to house-sit any time soon, but I'd much rather live with a reformed addict trying to make good and focusing on her own problems than with a plain old drunk who wants to regulate the precise angle that's considered acceptable to leave a screen door open.

Tracey wrote back AGAIN (okay, now we might be verging on BFF status here) thanking us, saying a fresh start would be more than fair, and she would try very hard to keep the noise to a minimum. Which is all we ever wanted from her. I feel pretty good about the situation now. I might be a godless, hedonistic bisexual who hates religion, but the Christians did get some things right: namely the Golden Rule, and whoever said "To err is human; to forgive, divine." (I'd add the "Judge not lest ye be judged," but the hypocrisy would make my hard drive burst into flames.)

To commemorate the occasion, I am hereby removing the "F" from "FCW." And until further notice, "Crankwhore" will be used strictly affectionately.

~*~

I was going through recent paycheck stubs in my quarterly paperwork organization when I noticed an odd column on them labeled "PTO." I know that means "paid time off" to people with real jobs, but I wasn't sure how it applied to me. I asked Tery if the "31.47" value printed under it was dollars or hours; before you think this a stupid question, keep in mind that I work for a company that pays out an "employee appreciation bonus" on holidays that amounts to roughly $3.87 after taxes. I wish I were being facetious.

So once determining that the 31 actually represented hours, I went on to determine that I had the choice to "use it or lose it" by the end of the year. Gah! No pressure. It's easy to make extremely last-minute holiday plans at this time of year.

Which, actually I found out that it is. Last minute is when all the best airfare deals pop up. Within a day I found myself booking a flight to see my favorite (well, she's got a 50/50 chance) sister in Boston. I'm terribly, terribly excited about this, not just because of the trip itself, but at the prospect of using Paid Time Off. I've got a REAL job now!



Of course, the cosmos looked down and saw my happiness and said, "Something must be done." Just tonight I discovered a packet on top of a pile of old mail in the back of my car. It seems the IRS feels I owe them around $2,000 and wish to conduct an "examination" on me, which I suspect is the new, less frightening term that replaced the word "audit." (Guess what, Mr. Taxman? Not a whole hell of a lot less frightening.) This news put a leeetle damper on my vacation high, but plane tickets are non-refundable so fuck it. I'm guessing (i.e. desperately hoping) this is just a misunderstanding, but it's nothing I can clear up right now. If they repossess my computer and throw me in debtor's prison, this could be my final post. Dun dun duuuuuuun!!

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December 2011

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