Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Easy Come

Easy go.

This morning, I was walking through the dining room and I happened to glance up at the ceiling at the spot that had been repainted (not matching the color) that we had always wondered about. There was a dark spot right in the center of it that had not been there before. I poked my finger at it. It was squishy.

Having a squishy ceiling in your dining room is never a good thing.

We called our realtor to ask if she could find out from the previous owners what exactly it was that prompted them to repaint that particular spot in the dining room, and, more particularly, if they knew from where the leak was coming.

The previous owner called me back a couple hours later and said that if there was water in the dining room, it was the master shower leaking from the caulk joint where the walls meet the pan. She said this had happened to them twice, but not in the past couple years, and gave me the name of the plumbing company she used to fix it. I mentioned how having to recaulk something every year to keep water from being in the dining room was the sign of improper installation, knowing that they are the one who had the house built. She said nothing.

We called a different plumber (one recommended by our realtor). He came out and discovered some interesting things. First, he notes that the drain pipe was not properly strapped and could be pushed out of the drain if you poked it with a screwdriver, and how there was some kind of funnel-like contraption silicone caulked into the drain that appeared to be trying to hide this problem. That funnel-like thing was only 3/4" in diameter, whereas code calls for a 2" drain pipe, which is why the shower did not drain fast enough to support the double-shower heads that were installed. To fix this, he would have to open up the ceiling in the dining room.

Second, he noted that there were a number of hairline cracks in the floor pan radiating from the drain. He didn't know if they went all the way through. He would have to open up the ceiling in the dining room to tell.

I had measured it out this morning, and the wet spot was not under the drain of the shower. It was under one of the walls. But water can travel on a pipe or subfloor or joist until it hits the magic spot where it drips. So we were hopeful.

He opened up the ceiling under the drain. He fixed the drain. He noted that the cracks (of which there are at least three) were also visible on the bottom of the drain pan, so they went all the way through. However, there was no sign of leakage around the drain or the cracks. The water coming through the ceiling was not from either of these problems.

So he pulled back the carpet around the shower and noted one corner was soaking wet underneath. When he poured a cup of water down that corner of the wall, it came out on the subfloor. He could not figure out how it was getting there. I came home and looked, and I can't firgure it out either. It's almost like the drain pan is pourous in that corner. It doesn't seem to be running through any cracks or any gaps in the caulk. My best guess is that it is finding its way to a mounting screw hole for the glass shower door track, and going down there. But I can't see under the track without taking out all the glass.

Investigation of the area at that corner by me indicates that this subfloor is going to have to be Section 1-ed (for those of you who know California real estate law, it means active rot that needs immediate attention), as the subfloor is pretty squishy, as is the wall under the baseboard. And since this leak has been an ongoing problem, and even if we can find and fix it, the cracks in the pan are only going to get worse, I'm going to have to have the shower pan pulled and replaced. I think we'd have to pull it out anyways to see the extend of the water damage. From underneath, it looks like it's just around a hole where a vent pipe goes through (which is what the water came down through), but who knows from up top.

This is going to cost me a fortune. On the bright side, though, we are using it as an opportunity to add a body wash to the shower, and to expand the depth of the shower by two inches. What we have now is a non-standard sized pan, and if we go 2-inches deeper, we can hit a standard size and save a lot of money by not having to have a pan custom-formed.

The other nice thing is that I logged into my bank account today and saw a 6-figure balance. I got my money out of the other house today. Whatever happens from now on (like if the buyer walks away for whatever reason) is no longer my problem. The relocation company now owns the house, and they deal with closing the sale to him. So I can at least afford this new shower.

I'm wondering what other little surprises await.

Monday, August 28, 2006

HannieC, Arteest

HannieC decided to explore her artistic side tonight by taking a bunch of photos with the digital camera. She was inspired by the sun poking through the clouds while she was talking to C&D on the phone around dinnertime.

This first picture is what she saw from our kitchen window. You may need to click on some of these pictures to get the full beauty. HannieC insisted we put them all on CherkyB (well, I talked her down to 23 pictures from the 39 she took), so I insisted she help with the captioning. She got tired before we finished.

HannieC: "I like that there are all those clouds, and suddenly there is this white spot where the sun's coming in."

HannieC: "It beautiful, and there are all these big plants."

HannieC: "I like all the design in the clouds and the colors."

HannieC: "I like that it's a closeup of me."
Me, CherkyB: She took that herself.

HannieC: "I really like all the designs in the clouds. All the shapes."

HannieC: "I really love Freddy."

HannieC: "If you go from the top, there's all these black clouds. Then suddenly when you're almost to the very bottom of the picture, there's this yellow and orange spot."

HannieC: "All this prettiness of all the picture. It's just so pretty."

HannieC: "There's just all this blue, then as you go in to the center, when you're almost to the center, there's this white circle of clouds. That's why I even took that picture."

HannieC: "There's all this clouds. Then, when you're almost to the bottom, there's orangish-white."

HannieC: "There's just this little peek of sun."

HannieC: "The white fishy is hiding from me."

HannieC: "The fish are circling around together."

HannieC: "Three fish are chatting, and one is just swimming alone."

HannieC: "The white fish and the orange fish and one head are swimming together."

HannieC: "Two whole fish, and two bottoms of fish are swimming together."

Sunday, August 27, 2006

The Mrs. Slaves Away

Today started badly, the way most Sundays do. It started with MaxieC squirming around in our bed, making a pest of himself, and The Mrs. saying to him, "Stop. I need to get some sleep."

I think I've covered before that she isn't actually talking to him when she says this. Instead, this is wife-speak for, "Husband, get up and take this infernal child with you so I can sleep." The Mrs. rarely speaks directly to me anymore. Instead she speaks to me by saying stuff to The Childrens like, "I bet Daddy wants to go out on the trampoline with you," or, "Daddy is really good at changing poopie diapers." It's very hard to follow, as The Mrs. neither makes eye contact nor pauses when she changes whom she is talking to. So I am required to listen to all her conversations with The Childrens and post-process the speech to determine whether she was actually talking to me or not.

I am required to do this even when I am asleep in bed on Sunday mornings.

I used to be annoyed by this, but I've observed it in so many mothers that I assume it is biologically-programmed behavior. So I don't take the hollering at personally anymore.

I stumble out of bed and take MaxieC down to the fambly room. I plop him in front of the TV and turn on whatever dreck it is he likes to watch in the morning. PBS Kids Sprout, mostly. Then I crash out on the couch. Every now and then MaxieC makes a demand, like he needs a drink of water, or he needs a snack, and I stumble around to get it for him. I do all this without completely waking up.

Much much later, I'm snoozing on the couch still and MaxieC is sitting in my La-Z-boy watching Bob the Builder, and The Mrs. wanders through. She says, "I thought you were supposed to be watching him."

I open my eyes, he's right in front of me where he's been all morning. I say, "He's right there."

She huffs and announces that she's going out to prune the rosebushes.

More snoozing goes on.

eventually, MaxieC gets hungry for real. I decide we're going out to get some donuts. I don't know where there's a donut shop, but I know that there are two supermarkets down the street that sell donuts. I head over there. A beautiful little town called "Windsor". I drive all the way through it looking for a donut shop. I find none. I drive back slowly, visiting every strip mall. Nope. No donut shop. I stop at King Sooper and get some donuts.

We eat donuts. They make me sleepy. The three of us crash in the family room some more while The Mrs. goes about straightening up the house. When she next rousts me, it's to announce that she has the dining room "all set up". I say, casually, "Our dining room furniture is in the eat-in kitchen, and we didn't buy any more, so there is nothing to set up. The room should be empty."

"Why should we have an empty room when The Childrens could use it as a play room?"

"You mean you've turned a third room in the house into a playroom?" 1) The pool table room, 2) the 4th upstairs bedroom, and now 3) the dining room.

Turns out it is a theme room. Little people junk.

This little person doesn't seem to object.

I had some caffeine at this point, and felt much better. Well enough to go out front and add water to the Koi pond.

Then, for the hell of it, we went joyriding on the mower again. I don't care what you commentators think, nothing is more fun than taking your kid for a mower joyride. We did that until lunch, about a half-hour.

The Mrs. spent a lot of the day straightening up. She was very proud of her results, and made me take pictures to post. Here is the fambly room, all cleaned up and arranged:

And a couple shots of the kitchen.

It's monsoon season here, which means we get a little storm every night. As I was sitting eating dinner, I was struck with the view of the sun peaking through the clouds over the mountains, so I took this picture through the window from my chair at the dinner table. I'm not sure the picture does it justice.

The Inimitable MaxieC

Yesterday when we were on our way into MickeyD's as a peace offering to The Childrens, the parking lot outside the door had a big puddle of soapy water in it from employees who had been washing the windows. MaxieC looked at it and said,

"Uh oh. Someone spilled all their beer."

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Just Puttering Along

I got up this morning and charged out the front door to inspect the lawn situation. Everything was soaking wet from rain we had all night long. Darned rain.

The Mrs. made us go out shopping. We returned the rental car, stopped at Lowe's, Pier 1 Imports, Target, Sportsman's Warehouse, McDonald's, and Swings'n'Things.

We were mostly unsuccessful in our shopping endeavors, though we managed to spend over $400 nonetheless.

And The Mrs. managed to get lost in the one mile between our house and the gas station. She was following me to return the rental car, but she decided to follow some other guy instead. It was strange, since I said, "I'm going to stop at the gas station right before the highway," and she decided to turn left at a county road that goes to the fairgrounds. A road called "Fairgrounds Blvd." Not a road called, "Gas station right next to the highway." I had to call her on her cell when she didn't show up at the gas station.

Finally, though, we got home after lunch. MaxieC went down for his nap, and I headed to the garage. I pushed the tractor out of the garage before starting it, as The Mrs. made it plainly clear that she does not want me starting it up in the garage.

When she cleans up the garage enough to park her minivan in there, I'm going to insist she push it in and out of the garage without it running as well.

Though I am sure she will ignore me. If there's one thing The Mrs. is good at, it's making rules that don't apply to her.

At any rate, I started in on the front, left side of the lawn. This section of lawn has a lot of obstacles. There are numerous planting beds, there is a ditch, there are sharp corners with fences, and there's even a sprinkler head that is a couple inches too high that the previous owner piled river rocks around. I figured I'd get my feet wet with some low speed maneuvering over here first, and then open her up when I hit the flats out back.

I was thinking to myself, "Self, you should have someone taking some pictures here. You know you're going to need them for the blog. Nothing draws in the ad click revenue like pictures." But I didn't want to trouble The Mrs., since she was trying to get MaxieC to sleep and trying to get HannieC to do some of her homeschool work.

Then all of a sudden, The Mrs. pops up with a camera in her hand. Well well well. You never can tell.

Here's the maiden voyage of the lawn tractor. I'm about 50 yards into the mow, and I'm edging along the planting beds.

Pretty good turning radius on this thing, for a tractor. The claim is either 16" or 18" depending on which version of the manual you read. It's not a ZTR, but it did pretty well.

Now see this here corner is a problem. Got a little peninsula of grass bordered on two sides by rocks and a third by a fence. You have to go forwards and backwards a bunch to mow it. This is the point where I decided to kick in the reverse mow override. By federal law, lawn tractors are not allowed to mow in reverse by default. Mine stalls if you go into reverse without shutting off the blade first. I'm pretty sure it was a Democrat who thought up this law. Especially since it's a total do-nothing, feel-good law that allows you to mow in reverse just fine as long as you have to hit a switch to do it. Once you hit the switch, you can mow in reverse forever until you shut down the engine. Then you have to hit it again after restarting.

How retarded is that?

Now I'm over by the swingset doing one of those things that the manual tells me not to - mowing across a slope. But it's just a little slope, and I didn't come close to tipping over.

As far as I know.

This is the one I like to call, "Hey, wait a minute. Isn't this the tree with the giant wasp nest in it?" The pumpkin vine is dead ahead, encroaching on the grass area. There's actually about an 18" diameter pumpkin right there, but you can't see it cuz the tractor is in the way.

The Childrens sit on the deck to spectate. It's about an hour after I started, and MaxieC is up already. You may have to double-click the picture to see them. They're eating ice cream sandwiches.

If you look closely, you'll see a big smile on my face.

Now I'm way over there, but still smiling!

After I finished mowing (about 1 hour and 45 minutes - but I'll do better next time), I taught HannieC how to drive the tractor. She's quite a hot dogger.

MaxieC tried to drive, too, but he couldn't turn the wheel. No power steering on a lawn tractor.

I had a great time. The tractor did well. If I could change one thing, I'd ask for more speed in reverse. Seems it doesn't go over about 2mph in reverse, but gets up to a blistering 5.5mph going forwards. The 20hp engine performed well, and it seemed to use about 1 gallon of gas for the two hours I was out there running it.

I may have to see if I can beat my time tomorrow.

Friday, August 25, 2006

I love you, too.

This morning I got up, went to put oil in the tractor, noticed that it was already full of oil. Checked it three times to be sure, since they assured me that they would remove all the oil before delivery. Then, I put gas in the tractor. Then I started it up. I ran it for like 30 seconds and shut it down. I didn't drive it out of the garage, cuz I checked my watch and noted that if I didn't leave for work soon, I'd be late for my 8:30 meeting.

I had a big grin on my face when The Mrs. came in the garage. Always there to share in my happiness, she put her hands on her hips and exclaimed, "Now the garage stinks!"

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Oh. There it is.

These idiots showed up at 8:30. We were the second delivery they had scheduled, and they left the shop at 5:30. I called at 7:45 to see if they were coming. The guy seemed very confused, "Uhhh...they're not there yet? They only had one delivery before you, and they rolled out of here at 5:30." He had someone call them on the cell phone and then return my call. The story was that they had just left their first dropoff and were 10 minutes away.

So, Lowe's is 2 for 4 right now. I enjoyed my buying experience, and they actually tracked down the driver and called me back. But, the first time I called Lowe's on Saturday they told me they did not sell riding lawnmowers, and then the delivery guys were idiots.

2 for 4 is a much better score than The Home Depot gets.

The problem with these idiots showing up at 8:30 is that it's too late for me to try out the mower. First off, it's already dark (though I have headlights, I'd like to make the maiden run during daylight). Secondly, MaxieC is already asleep, and his bedroom is right above the center of the garage where this bad boy is parked. Thirdly, half the neighborhood is already asleep.

So, you figure I gotta wait until tomorrow. Nope. No such luck. We have a dinner engagement at the neighbors' house tomorrow at 5:30. These are the folks over to whose house The Childrens went when the movers were here. Given that I get out of work around 5:15 best case, and it's 6 miles to home, I'm betting that leaves me not a whole lot of time to goof with the tractor.

My only hope is to sneak out of work early.

Every day I see my neighbors mowing their lawns on their lawn tractors, and I get insanely jealous. Soon that will be me. Soon. God willing.

Strange thing about that - I live in kind of a fancy-pants neighborhood compared to the old one, and everybody here mows their own lawns. This despite the lawns being close to an acre. Back in San Schmose, there were, I believe, a grand total of two people on the street who mowed their own lawns. Me, CherkyB, and D, of the famous C&D neighbors who took care of The Fambly while I drove FreddyC and the truckster out to Ft. TomCollins. (Oddly, in the comments, usually this couple is identified as D&C. A rather unpleasant medical procedure I am told.)

I wonder is the price of third-world labor higher here, or is it just a lot more fun to drive a lawn tractor than it is to mow a 2000 sq. ft. patch of lawn with a walk-behind. I'm betting the lawn tractor is fun. So much fun, people mow twice a week.

I've fallen behind, not having mowed at all in the 2 weeks we've owned the house.

While I was outside milling around looking for the Lowe's truck, I tried to photoblog some of my battle against the yellowjackets. Now, I'm not a sophisticated in my insect-blogging as The JohnnyB, so all you're getting is a couple snapshots of the yellowjacket traps. The first was hung up about 1.5 days before the second, I think.

Note how this tree came with Christmas lights already attached. A sign from God?

The Mrs. tells me that inside these traps are "meat prongs" in case you decide to go nuclear on the meat bees. You put some deli turkey on them then sit back and watch the carnage. I'd try that out this weekend, excepting every time I check these bad boys there are 4-5 alive yellowjackets inside. I'm not sure if I can install the turkey if'n there's live wasps in it. Probably have to open it up.

Maybe I'll send The Mrs. back to Ace Hardware to get a couple more traps. She's a regular there already, and the staff knows her.

I'm pretty darned sure my house in San Schmose is sold. Still need to see the money.

I went to the cupboard to get some popcorn, and came back with a Jack and diet black cherry vanilla Coke. Sheesh. I already had a beer. This is the problem with blogging from the bar. And whoever is googling "jack" from my google search bar: here - I'll give you a link to it. Hell, here's a link to Diet Black Cherry Vanilla Coke, too, since you seem to be a big bunch of idiots. I give you these out of the goodness of my heart, since I don't get paid a dime if you click on them.

The black cherry vanilla mixed with jack is a sublime drink. It goes real well with the Starburst Fruit Chews I'm munching on. I'm not sure how old they are. We found them when we packed for the move.

MaxieC had his first gymnastics class today. He did well, apparently. I'd be happier if he were taking hockey class. Or rifle class. But since I am now a very positive person due to my direct connection to God as well as to the lack of oxygen at these altitudes, I like to look on the bright side. At least The Mrs. didn't enroll him in ballet.

Oh yeah - I'm definitely sneaking out of work early. The Mrs. looked at the tractor and she said, "It's big."

But I didn't say, "Is my fly open?" I've completely lost my edge.

HannieC insisted she be the first person to sit in the seat of the tractor. She got all ready for bed, and then waited. I let her sit in it first. She needed for me to explain all the controls to her, and The Mrs. got annoyed. She didn't want HannieC to know what the controls did. Fear that she'll decide to drive it to the park, I imagine.

I should go to bed now. I have to work in the morning. Got a meeting at 8:30. Ugh.

My New Lawn Tractor

Here's a picture of them unloading it from the flatbed at the end of the driveway:

And here's where I parked it in the garage. I kinda had to wedge it in between the kids' toys and the recycling bins for now, until we get the garage unpacked and put away.


Wednesday, August 23, 2006

We Have Achieved Broadband!

Well, moderately-wide band, at least. It's a lot slower than the SBC DSL I had in San Schmose. But I also live out in the boonies now. The Mrs. is now catching up on like 2+ weeks of email.

I think we sold our house today. To the same guy as before, only for slightly less money. Oh well. A bird in the hand is worth two in your bush. This offer had no contingencies and a 10 day close. I should get my money pronto.

I found the digital camera in the truck arm rest. I also installed the software, but didn't try it out. Maybe tomorrow I can post a picture of me on my new lawn tractor.

I found the CD

Yes sir-ee Bob, I found the CD with the digital camera software on it. Poked through a bunch of unopened boxes in the "office" at home, and I found it in about the sixth one. Just in time, since I got my new laptop today. Unfortunately, I don't remember what box it is in. I also don't know where the digital camera is. I brought it with me, and even took a couple shots during the drive, but I haven't seen it in a week. Hmmm... Maybe it's in the tuck arm rest.

In theory, today is the day my DSL modem/router arrives via UPS. I haven't gone home yet to see if it's there. If it is, perhaps I can start to blog from home again, and you'll get the long, rambling posts you all know and love.

They're resealing my street tomorrow. I'm hoping this does not interfere with the delivery of my lawn tractor. The streets are supposed to be open by evening, which is when the deliery is. It'll be interesting to see what happens given that the street will be closed when the garbage truck comes. The Mrs. was going to call about that.

My vacuum is still in the shop. It'll be ready tomorrow.

The hot water heater is now fixed, to the tune of $200+. The old part is sitting there next to it, and it's definitely broken. The impeller of the pump is missing basically all its blades. Cheap plastic crap.

I spent a little time last night hunting yellowjackets. The house has maybe 20 big nests under the eaves, but the wasp spray doesn't shoot high enough to hit most of them. I'll have to get out the ladder. On Saturday, I soaked a big mud-dauber nest under the trampoline, but last night there was activity (albeit drastically reduced) in that nest again, so I hit it again. Yesterday, I hit a nest that was inside a bird feeder. About 15 wasps jumped out of it, but only 2 made it out of the feeder. They dropped straight to the ground and writhed around a bit. Die die die.

The Mrs. has hung up two yellowjacket traps in trees. After one day, the one by the trampoline had about 20 wasps caught in it. The other, which was hung the next day, had about 6 after a couple hours. I'm wondering if I can win this battle. As it is was before the battle began, I couldn't comfortably eat outside because of the "meat bees".

I gotta go home now.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Ring Ring

Me, CherkyB: "Yes ma'am?"

The Mrs.: "There's no hot water."


I head home. I had been on a boondoggle, first out buying a lawn tractor, and then checking out the town of Windsor to see what was there. I had been in the Ace Hardware store when The Mrs. called with the joyous news.

First thing I check is whether the gas is on. I turn on the burner, and whoof, it lights right up. Wonderful. So the problem is with the hot water tank.

But this is not just any hot water tank. No, this is a Lennox Complete Heat system, which is a combination hot water tank/furnace. If you google it, you'll find a lot of discussions of class action lawsuits regarding it and people having problems with them not lasting very long, etc. But I didn't know that at the time.

I took the side off the machine and noted that it was flashing a "watchguard" code that instructed me to power cycle it and then write down the code it flashed when it powered up. That code was "limit switch open".

There are stickers all over this thing from the company that installed it, and so I called them. It was about 5:45, and so I was directed to an afterhours pager number, and then to call another number if it was more than 30 minutes without a response from the page. I paged. I waited. I dug out the manual to see what "limit switch open" meant, and if it was fixable. Turns out that, yes, I can turn off the power, hit the reset button on the limit switch, and then restart it.

Naturally, no discussion of where the limit switch is or what it looks like.

I wait. 45 minutes, no callback. I call the other number, which rings me through about three switchovers before I end up with the voicemail of someone named "Mike." I leave voicemail. I wait. I wait some more. I page again.

Then, I start poking around at the top of the tank where all the goodies are. I find a thing that looks like a sensor that has a button in the center of it. I can't reach the button. I dig around and find a pen. The phone rings. It's Chris from the HVAC company. I describe the problem to him. He says I can reset the limit switch and have hot water tonight, then they can come out tomorrow to do the repair, and then I don't have to pay time-and-a-half for an afterhours call.

I say, "I'm right now trying to reset the limit switch, but I'm not sure if this is the right thing."

"It has two blue wires coming out of it."

"Yes, that's the one. OK. I just push this button?"

"Yeah. It will click."

Turn the power back on, and the burner lights right up. He tells me I need a new recirculation pump, that the pumps wear out with about how old my system is (he had me read the serial number to him which tells the model year), and they don't circulate the hot water enough and the heat builds up at the top, which trips the thermal limit sensor. Call back tomorrow to schedule a service call.

We got hot water about 20 minutes later. Wonderful. The Childrens had already taken cold baths. HannieC was unhappy that we had hot water after she had taken a cold bath.

But on a happier note, I galavanted around a bit yesterday looking for a lawn mower. After much consultation with my oldest brother, DougieC, who owns the largest plot of land amongst the C clan (as far as I know), I decided to take a close look at Craftsman. I did a little web research, and I learned about some features I hadn't heard about before, such as "step-through design" and "electronic power take-off". I also learned that the Craftsman lawn tractors are all really Husqvarnas, and that they generally score pretty well in comparison reviews. Sears isn't all that far from work, so I slipped out for an hour to go look at what they had.

Everything was on sale. Big sale. $300 off everything other than the bottom-of-the-line, which was only $100 off. A guy came over and asked me if I needed help. Yes indeedley-doodley, I need some help. I see here 5 lawn tractors, and I see 11 prices. Which are the prices for the models you have here, and what are the differences for all the other models you don't have on display?

"Well, I kind of wish the person who worked this department wasn't out right now, cuz he'd know the answers. But we can probably figure them out by reading the signs."

This is not exactly the kind of help I was looking for. See, I'm a fairly bright guy, and I can read signs as well as the next guy. Perhaps better. But we muddled through it together. About 15 minutes into it, the guy who worked in the department came back, and he answered a few questions we had remaining. Like if mulching kits were available. Also, we noted that they sold both the Craftsman and the Husqvarna-labeled models, and they appeared to be identical in every way including price except for the color and design of the case, and that the Husqvarna had an electronic power take-off, and the Craftsman had a manual one.

I also noted that the $300-off sales price seemed awfully similar to the normal price I had seen on Lowe's website. And upon further review, it was, and it was in stock at the local Lowe's. Now, I have a 10% off coupon at Lowe's that I got from Century 21 for being a new home buyer. So I high-tailed it down to Lowe's and bought one at 10% off. They're delivering it on Thursday.

Tomorrow, maybe we get the DSL working, and I can post more often.

No, the house isn't sold yet. But soon, I think.

Friday, August 18, 2006

I should move more often.

I've gotten unprecedented pageviews since the move. Slightly more than double the daily pageviews I got before the move. Sadly, it's mostly people hitting "refresh" a lot, and not new visitors. And it doesn't seem to have turned into any additional ad revenue.

Still no Internet at Home

ETA is now Wednesday.

Spent some frustrating time yesterday trying to get my modem/router hardware to connect up to Qwest's DSL. No luck. I had done a little google research on it from work, and I was anticipating a less-then-50% chance of success. In particular because Qwest uses PPPoA, and none of my hardware supported that protocol. A couple people had gotten PPPoE to work, so I tried that, but no dice. The tech support guy was helpful and said he could see that my modem was connecting fine, but that I wasn't getting authenticated. Then we had a long chat about the various kinds of hardware Qwest supports and decided on a $99 2Wire modem/router/WAP. I ordered that, and it will arrive Wednesday, maybe Tuesday.

I learned last night that I have a switch in the family room that controls one of my waterfalls. The waterfall hadn't been working since the day after I moed in, and I was wondering why. On a lark, I turned on a bank of 4 switches that had not appeared to do anything before. The waterfall came on. Then I turned them off one at a time to see which one it was. Second from the left. I did not figure out what the other three did.

Tomorrow, I am hoping to buy a riding lawn mower. I'm not sure what kind or where, but I'll need one soon. Or, I could pay someone about $25/wk to mow for me.

On Tuesday, I get a new laptop. That's very exciting, excepting I got to thinking to myself.

"Self, do you have any idea where the CD that came with the digital camera is? Without that, you won't be able to get pictures from the camera onto the laptop and then onto Me, CherkyB. That'll be a problem."

So now I gotta keep my eyes open for the camera software.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Everything is broken

I'll have lots of stuff to keep me busy for the next bunch of months.

The igniter for the left two burners on the cooktop doesn't work.

The igniter for the built-in grill on the patio doesn't work.

Yesterday, HannieC opened two kitchen windows, and the control rod mechanisms fell off their pins so that we couldn't close them. I was able to get them back on long enough to close them, but they are missing their little retaining ring clips.

I have 32 zones for my sprinkler, and I can't get the ones along the back fence to turn on.

But hey, at least I hooked up the DirecTV receivers yesterday and achieved television!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

I'm still alive

Thanks for asking.

I'm going to put up a quick post from work. I don'tlike to post from work, since I'm supposed to be working when I'm there, but I still don't have the DSL working at my house. Qwest did a major bait-and-switch on me, where they signed me up for DSL but did not set me up with any of the hardware required to use the DSL. I called yesterday and asked why my "self-install kit" included nothing but a CD, and they said, "You didn't ask for a modem. If you want one, it'll be $99 or $8/mo to rent it."

I asked the tech support guy whether my SpeedStream modem from Covad/SBC Yahoo would work, and he said, "Yes, but you'll have to figure out how to configure it yourself. We do not support configuration of anything but our own Qwest-branded DSL modems."

I plugged it in, and it connected according to the front lights, but since I didn't have either of our compooters unpacked (and I didn't want to install their software on my work compooter, since that is against the rules), I don't know if I'll get it working or not yet. The compooters get unpacked today, but probably not set up for another day or two.

The move is going swimmingly. We have no carpet in the dining room or living room because the carpet measuring guy forgot to measure those rooms and only ordered enough carpet for the rest of the house. But the carpet removal/instalation guy did not forget to remove the old carpet in that room.

Right now, the unpacking crew is at the house. They had the kitchen, master bedroom, and HannieC's bedroom unpacked as of lunch. Still have, I would say, well over half the stuff to go. Close to 2/3, if I were to guess. The great thing about the unpackers is not necessarily that they unpack, but it's that the haul away all the empty boxes and packing material. We had around 400 boxes, and our recycle bin is one of those tiny milk-crate kinda ones you get from towns that aren't really serious about recycling.

HannieC has made a new friend already. Diagonally across the street is a family with three kids (two boys and a girl), and the girl is about a year older than HannieC. They came over yesterday to visit, and then the mom took The Childrens away for a couple hours while we got some semblance of order to the house. The movers were just about done unloading, and we were trying to clear paths to the kitchen and bedrooms and such.

The Mrs. got all worried that this woman she had never met before was taking The Childrens
away to her house to play, so she tagged along for a few minutes. All was well, so she came back. Later, The Childrens missed their parents, and they came back with the neighbor girl in tow and played on the swingset and in the sandpit and on the trampoline for another hour or so.

That is all for now.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

And They're Off!

Off their rockers.

Our DSL got disconnected on Thursday around 9:30AM, which is why you haven't heard from me. It was supposed to be disconnected on Monday, but whatever.

The movers had everything packed up and ready to go by 10:30AM on Friday. I spent most of the rest of the day patching and touch-up painting. When you remove all the furniture and all the earthquake straps and picture hooks, you sure end up with a lot of area that needs painting. I had a couple little 3"-wide disposable rollers, and they worked really well. Towards the ends, The Fambily went across the street to C&D's house, where they will stay until Monday's flight to Denver, to go swimming. I cleaned up the paint equipment, then ran out and got cash from the ATM, gassed up the truck, and picked up a six-pack of beer. Then I high-tailed it home and headed over to C&D's for some beers.

But then my daughter started hollering to me from MaxieC's front window. Uh oh. The fambily wasn't in the pool anymore. They were back home. I trudged back, beers in hand.

The childrens had to take their baths, then we all had to go out for sushi. I was a-gettin' annoyed cuz I wanted to get to bed early, and the truck wasn't packed. And the stuff to pack in the truck wasn't packed. It was strewn all over the house and garage in multiple piles.

But off we went for sushi, given that we figger there ain't no decent sushi up in FC. It was sad, because all the waitresses always dote on The Childrens there.

When we got back, The Mrs. dumped MaxieC over at C&D's and plopped HannieC in front of a DVD on her portable DVD player (a godsend those are - once again the hand of God assists in the move), and she proceeded to supervise the packing of the truck. She is apparently "really good at packing" as was claimed many many times.

She managed to get everything in there, including a suitcase she was going to check as baggage but decided to just send with me in the truck. There was even a tiny bit of room left over.

After all that, we went bacl to C&D's to put The Childrens to sleep and to have a last round of beers. I was going to have just the one beer, but somehow D kept insisting I drink 3 cuz, "You can drive with a headache, no problem."

Well, I know what you're thinking. CherkyB doesn't get a headache from three beers. He's a trained professional. But well, I had, let's say, more than one beers at the sushi place, and I'd been operating on about 6 hours of sleep a night for the last two weeks when I normally need 9 to not feel grumpy. I normally only get 7.5, which I why I'm always grumpy.

I managed to not get to sleep until 11pm. I got home around 10:30, took a shower and settled in, but the dog was spooked. Apparently, sleeping on the floor in the middle of the master bedroom in a house with absolutely nothing in it except a suitcase, a sleeping bag, and a pillow is disconcerting. He kept barking and walking on top of me. Then finally he settled down lying against me around 11.

He was up again at 2:30 barking like he thought someone was coming in the house. And I was thinking, "Self, you've the pistola all packed up in the garage. What are you going to do if someone is in the house? Jab him with your toothbrush or try to smother him with your pillow?"

Luckily, false alarm. Did get up in the morining to find the back door unlocked, though. I woke up with a headache. It was 5:21am, and I jumped out of bed. I had planned to be on the road at 6am.

Took a quick shower and loaded up everything that was still out, like the sleeping bag, pillow, towel, and suitcase. Then, as I got in the truck to start it, I said to myself, "Self, go make one very last run through the house to make sure you got everything."

Sure 'nuff, the master bathroom medicine cabinet had never been packed. The Mrs. and I had been through the house like 3 times each before that, and we never noticed. Threw all the stuff into ziploc baggies and tossed it in my carryon bag. FreddyC was waiting in the truck. We managed to pull out of the driveway at 6:03am. Not bad.

The drive today went uneventfully. Many thanks to The Mrs., MommaC, and BrainkyP, all of whom called during the trip to see how it was going. I really enjoyed the solitude for most of the drive. I didn't play the radio or CDs. Just silence.

Well, silence mixed with the deafening roar of a Flowmaster 50 series at 80mph up a grade in 3rd gear.

The old truck performed quite nicely the whole way. Only a couple times could I have used More Power. In particular, there is this one climb as you come out the east side of Salt Lake City on I-80 where I had it floored and we were barely able to maintain 60mph. It was down in second gear revving like crazy. A lot of other vehicles were not able to maintain 60 in that stretch. A turbo really would have helped, given the altitude, but there is no turbo kit for my engine.

Right now I speak to you from The Comfort Inn in Evanston, WY. It's quite a nice motel, really. Clean room, nice facilities, pretty new. It gets bad reviews online because of its location: behind a restaraunt/lounge/drive-up liquor store (yes, the the liquor store is actually part of the restaraunt/lounge - and there's another just like it a block from here) and next to a porn store. We're three miles from Utah, and apparently a lot of people come across the border for liquor and porn. There are also fireworks stands all over the place. And about 20 different hotels.

This hotel is about 840 miles from my SJ house. I expected it to be 860, but I took a slightly different route out of SJ than yahoo had told me to. My realtor suggested a different route that he said would save me 20 minutes. It looks like it saved me about 20 miles, which is damn close.

Let's see - what else? Oh, we closed on the house in FC right on time on Friday. I thought the close was scheduled for 10am mountain time, so I was expecting a call from our realtor there at about a half-hour later. Instead, I got a call a half-hour earlier. This threw me into a panic, as I figured the title company had started to prepare the sign-off and noticed a problem.

But noooo...the sign-off was scheduled for 9am MST, not 10am. Argh!

I have about 400 miles (401.7 according to yahoo) to drive tomorrow, or about 5.5 hours. That'll beat the hell out the the 12 hours of driving today. The truck can't quite make 400 miles on one tank, so probably I'll go the 300 to Laramie and stop for gas and a dog walk and lunch and then head on in. I'm not planning to get up too early, so I'll probably roll into town around 5pm. No DSL at the new house until Tuesday at the earliest. Might update briefly Monday AM from work.

Oh, and the buyer backed out of the deal for my SJ house. Hopefully, we'll scare up another soon. There were some people looking at it today.

I think I'll go to sleep now, since I have nothing better to do.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Two Steps Forward

One step back.

The closing papers for the FC house arrived today in the morning. We signed the all off for an hour from 11:30-12:30 and overnighted them back with a cashiers check. That should lead to an on-time close. Joy.

The packing up of the house got completed today right on schedule. They even packed up the liquor. Joy.

The buyer of our SC house apparently did not read the disclosures fully before signing them and failed to make note of something that he is not happy with. Now he is reconsidering the deal. He can do this as he has a 4-day contingency clause. His people have told my people they will have a decision tomorrow morning. Sadness.

Naturally, I will spend all night lying in bed being upset over the sadness and not happy about the joy.

The Mrs. went out with the girls tonight. I had to put MaxieC and HannieC to bed. It was complicated by the fact that the beds are now just matresses on the floor with sleeping bags and pillows. MaxieC does not lke to go to bed without Mommy, and he screamed about it for 1.5hours. He insisted she was home because he could see her minivan parked in front of the house. They had carpooled, and a neighbor was driving.

HannieC sucked it up and went to bed with less fuss than expected. She can sometimes be a really good kid.

Dennise got the guy who packed my nightstand to find my glasses. Joy.

I had a going-away happy hour today with pretty much the rest of the folks I'll never see again. At one point, The JohnnyB and I ended up sitting there saying, "Yup," since there was not much conversation. Everyone is worried about the layoffs that are rumored to be announced Tuesday.

The layoffs are not rumored. The announcement being on Tuesday is.

Tuesday will be my first full day at work in FC.

Oh, The Mrs. is home. FreddyC is barking like an idiot.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Have I Lost the Faith?

It's been a while since I spoke about my direct line to God, a thread that started here. Last night, I sat and stewed and I got to thinking. And I thought to myself, "Self, let's say for a minute that you really believed that God wanted you to move your family to FC. Something certainly not out of the realm of possibilities given the bizarre set of coincidences that lined up for the briefest of moments to allow this to happen. Now, Self, you were raised a Catholic, and the Catholics, well, they tend maybe to dwell on the suffering part of religion more than your new church does. But, one thing that is fairly clear throughout most accounts of it is that God very rarely makes following His path easy on you. The path to heaven is a bloody one. Have some faith, cowboy."

Faith, as it turns out, really benefits from having a good cellphone plan.

The packing crew showed up today, right on time. Did a great job so far. The move coordinator called me yesterday to say when they were coming, then today to see if they had arrived, and then later to get a progress report to make sure everything would be ready for the moving van on Thursday.

I did a dry run of packing my truck for the drive last night. We put everything is, and it was about half empty. So we decided to take even more stuff, given that we'll be living in an unfurnished house for up to 5 days. (Arrival of the moving van is quoted as 15th-19th, with FreddyC and Me, CherkyB getting there on the 13th and the fambily showing up on the 14th.)

We picked up some Coleman air mattresses at Target. They roll up into a tiny little pack. They're way cool, and a lot cheaper than that web site has them. We can use them if we ever decide to go camping, too.

There was a gigantic last-minute flurry of activity between the title company and the bank today because the home equity line that I'm using for short-term financing (until I can get the cash out of my SJ home) for some reason did not like the way the title insurance policy was worded and refused to sign off on it. But they reworded and got it back to them, and the paperwork got in in time for the title company to assemble it and overnight it here for tomorrow (Weds) delivery. That's prefect, cuz we can sign off, attach a check, and overnight it back in the included envelope in plenty of time for the 10am close Friday. If it had slipped one hour more, we'd have had to slip the close some, which would have slipped the carpet installers, too.

I got approved for 10 days in a hotel in FC yesterday, also. In case anything goes wrong.

Oh, and it looks like we old our house today. Got an offer yesterday, countered it today, and got acceptance at 9pm. Paperwork comes in in the morning. The way my relo works, with the particulars of this offer, assuming nothing goes awry, I should have the money in my bank account somewhere around Tuesday. I don't have to wait for the close.

The way my relo works, saying, "assuming nothing goes awry" is a lot like saying, "assuming the sun doesn't come up tomorrow."

I forgot to set aside my glasses in the "don't pack" pile. They're packed in the box with my nightstand stuff. I'm going to have to dig through there tomorrow. I can see the keyboard to type, but not the screen. I don't think I can live with just contacts for 10 days.

Assuming nothing goes awry in the next 4 days, BrainkyP is going to find himself the proud owner of a KitchenAid Superba refrigerator, assuming he can haul it the hell out of here.

Here's a funny thing: I still had 3 of the 5 bottles of liquor I needed to finish off up in the cupboard. They packed them. They also packed the bottle of red wine sitting on the bar. So, I snuck the liquor back into the pile of boxes that we packed that's in the garage. They have to repack everything - not allowed to move anything we packed - and I'm hoping they pack it right up. I may stash it in the PODS in the morning, as they haven't looked in there at all.

Still no home for the 2-cycle gas. Anyone want some 2-cycle gas? Comes with a free 2-gal gas can.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

A Fair Day

All things considered.

All's well that ends well, I always say.

Ok, I never say that. Mostly I say that false hope is better than no hope at all. And that's true as long as you don't question the validity of the hope.

No one bought our house today. This was the last open house for a while, and it was sparsely attended. I can't imagine why, given that there have only been 5 other open houses of this house in the last 4 weeks. Today's open house was to tout the "price reduced" status. But if you've already seen the house, I don't know why you have to re-see it if the price changes by 2.5%.

Today, I don't think we saw anybody for the last time. At least, not anybody we'd seen before. It's getting very close to the end, and the stress is really starting to build. Normally, I'm the first one to go down with anxiety, and true to form, I've been a wreck for the last 3-4 days. Maybe more. Last night, MaxieC woke me up at 4am yelling in my bed when The Mrs. angered him by telling him to go back to sleep. He screamed for a while, then I picked him up and took him back to his bed. He went right to sleep there. I'm not sure why The Mrs. is incapable of reinstalling The Childrens in their beds when they show up in our in the middle of the night, but there it is.

Then, naturally, I lay awake for an hour and a half. I started to worry if the packing crew would show up on Tuesday given that I haven't had any kind of confirmation call or email on it. I worried that having the PODS picked up on Wednesday was too soon (in the morning, The Mrs., after first belittling me because of my concern, agreed that we should have it picked up Saturday and changed the appointment). I worried that at the last minute, the bank was going to demand proof of sale on my current house to get the financing on the new house. I worried that we wouldn't get the electric and gas rolled over to our names in time to live in the new house. I worried that I was going to fall asleep while driving to Evanston, WY, on Saturday, crash my truck, and burst into flame. I worried that I wouldn't be able to fit all the stuff we planned to fit into the truck and would have to rent a trailer. I worried that since I'd never pulled a trailer before, it would slow me down, making the trip to Evanston more than 12 hours. Or, worse yet, I'd go sailing sailing over the guardrail when climbing through the Sierras on the way to Reno. Then, I worried that I was going to give myself a stroke with all the worrying.

That occupied about an hour and a half of sleep time.

The Mrs., apparently having either read my blog or having been overcome with guilt when I noted to her that she never got up first anymore, let me sleep in. She let me sleep in a total of 18 minutes, at which time HannieC started screaming at he mother downstairs, then came upstairs and woke me up. She told me she wanted to go out for breakfast because she wanted crepes, and The Mrs. claimed we did not have the fixings for crepes.

I told her she was a regular Veruca Salt and that she should go away.

You can imagine how well that went.

We ended up going out for breakfast. Then we went to the county fair, where a good time was had by all. We stayed there a might too long, and the kids went insane on the way home.

But we got to see a whole bunch of pigs.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

I was Happier Today

Not all that bad a day, really. I think it's because I kept busy. MaxieC decided to get up at an ungodly hour this morning, so I had to get up with him. The Mrs. and I used to take turns getting up early with MaxieC, but at some point she simply stopped getting up. We had made a deal that we would take turns, and further, that she would get up the day after Fat Camp if it was one of those Fat Camps that starts at 9:30pm and runs late.

But she just stopped doing it.

At first, she would just moan and beg for "another 15 minutes," but lately it has gotten brazen. First, she moves into the exact center of the bed such that MaxieC, who she keeps between us, is pressed up against me. Then she starts sighing loudly. Then she starts announcing in a voice much too loud to be meant for only MaxieC to hear, "It's much too early to get up. Go play with Daddy."

MaxieC then delivers the customary skull-to-skull head butt and pokes his fingers into my eyes to wake me up. Then he giggles. And then I get up.

The Mrs. is very clearly unilaterally terminating our deal. But that's OK, since I stopped paying her credit card bills a while ago.

Another day of lasts: I mowed the lawn here for the last time. I noticed how much devil grass had sprung up in the front, despite me having killed it all off with roundup multiple times and had 8 weeks of nothing but dirt before having the new lawn put in last year. I pulled it all out, but I didn't get that sense of winning a battle and losing a war that I usually get. I didn't care. I just didn't want the lawn to look like it was full of the devil.

I also trimmed a couple trees. One was touching my roof, and the home inspector put in his report to trim it. The other had a couple branches that were growing downwards, and they had gotten within five feet or terra firma, and they banged me in the head when I tried to mow the lawn.

While I was working in the back, a white Jaguar came by cruising very slowly with two guys in it looking intently at the house. I had just come through the gate to the front, but they didn't see me. I ran to the back door and told The Mrs. to look out front to see if they were stopping by without an appointment. She said, "I saw that car yesterday." Hmmm...

Well, they didn't stop, so I went back out front. When I got there, they had turned around and were coming back up the street and were right in front of the house at almost, but not quite, a standstill. The minute they saw me, the hit the gas and drove to the corner, where they hesitated. Then they turned right.

A little while later, I was still working in the front yard, and I saw the car come cruising slowly back past my street.

A little while later, an Asian woman came by in a Camry and did almost the same thing. Except when she saw me, she tried to execute a three-point turn in front of the house. As you can imagine, the pressure of this was too much for her, and she had to do a 5-point turn, with point number four being in our driveway. MaxieC was out playing on the swing, and he got all excited thinking we were having company, and he started out to the driveway to say, "Hi." I stopped him, but by then the lady was a complete, flustered wreck.

The Mrs. called our realtor for an unrelated question, then asked if they he anything about the white Jaguar. He told her that there was a lot of activity going on regarding our house in the last day, and a few people had even asked for the disclosure paperwork.

About an hour later, we were up a Big Dogs (which is two block to the left) having lunch outside, and the Jaguar came by again.

I have never gotten the disclosure paperwork on a house and not made an offer on it afterwards. If it's true that we have multiple people getting the paperwork, I think that's a very good sign.

I packed up my beloved grill and drove it over to AndyP's house. He will enjoy it and use it a lot. It will have a good home. Which will I miss more, AndyP or the grill? Might still see AndyP one more time if we do Fat Camp this coming Thursday.

Pretty sure I'll never see my grill again.

Drained the fluids from my lawn equipment tonight. Dumped the rest of my gas can into the truck's tank. Haven't got a firm plan for the 2-cycle gas yet. The guy across the street has a chainsaw - maybe he'll want it.

I wonder how many days I have to be a Colorado resident before I can get my CCW.

I just packed up the liquor. It took two boxes, small-size designation on the U-Haul scale. I left out 5 bottles that each had less than 3 drinks in them. Those, I will consume or dump. If I were a betting man, I know which side I'd put my money on.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Good News Always Comes in Bunches

Like today, for instance, when I got home and nobody was home.

And then there was a message on the answering machine that a realtor was bringing a client by at 3pm.

He left no business card, but clearly someone was in the house. And that someone was inspecting the light fixture in the kitchen, as the diffuser was not properly in place.

So I called my realtor. "Yes, there's a guy probably going to make an offer. But he's an 'investor' who buys mostly fixer-uppers and then flips them, and your house is very well maintained. Expect him to come in with a real low-ball price $75k-$150k less than you are asking. But maybe we can use it to get a god price from someone else."

Then The Fambly got home. The Mrs. informs me that the DVD player isn't working because "HannieC did something to it."

I take it apart. I find there are 6 DVDs in it. It only holds 5. I ask HannieC how she got the drawer to close with a sixth DVD, and she said she just pushed on it until it closed.

I put it back together, and it just keeps opening the drawer, spinning the carousel, then closing the drawer. Over and over and over. I take it apart again. I find mysterious little fragments of broken plastic inside. They look like teeth broken off a gear, but I cannot find from whence they came.

The DVD player is now in the garbage can. It lasted about 3 years, which is the longest of any DVD player I've had so far. May it rest in peace. Saves the trouble of the movers breaking it, I suppose.

I hooked up one of the portable DVD players to the TV. It comes with a little slimline remote control and everything. No S-Video output, though. Or progressive scan. My TV never could handle progressive scan. If I ever sell this house, I'll invest in a nice plasma TV and a surround sound system. That way, I'll enjoy my time off after they close the site and fire everyone.

FreddieC is outside barking right now. I was going to get him so that he didn't disturb the neighbors, but then I was overcome with a "screw 'em" attitude, and I just kept sitting here. The door is only a couple feet away. I could open it and call him in without even getting off my bar stool. Screw 'em.

Last night was, I believe, the last Fat Camp. I don't think I'll get to go next week, cuz the house will be at least 50% and probably closer to 100% on a moving van. Dr. A-berg showed up, which is unusual. I find it likely that I will never see him again, which is sad. Maybe he will bring the wife and kids to visit some time. Colorado is a great vacation destination. I plan to never set foot in San Jose again, but I know that is unrealistic. Work, at the very least, will send me here probably two or three times a year.

Yesterday was also my last guitar lesson with The Guitarist. I think it was around 9 years of lessons, since I know I started shortly after moving to the rental house next the bowling alley. I moved there in May 1997 and lived there for only 1 year. My career in guitar had a lot of ups and downs over those years. Probably more downs than ups, but The Guitarist hung in there with me. I had a great time, and he was a very patient teacher. If you're ever in the area and want to learn to play guitar, The Guitarist is your guy.

I'll have to find a guitar teacher in FC. The thing about me is that I have a hard time concentrating on something of my own volition. I need for there to be some kind of deadline in order to do anything. The pressure of having a guitar lesson is the only thing that ever motivates me to practice. Left to my own devices, I'd probably just play the first few measures of "Over the Hills and Far Away", the only measures I ever learned - and just about the only thing I ever learned before taking my first guitar lesson, and then go surfing on eBay to see if there's a good deal on a Martin 12-string, cuz it sounds so much better on a 12-string.

Over the last couple days, I've become a complete basket-case. I have become completely consumed with worry. I sit at my desk and worry. I eat lunch and worry. I come home and worry through dinner. Then I am up late at night worrying. They say moving is the most stressful thing that a person does. Honestly, I can't imagine it's anywhere near as bad as a divorce (and, knock on wood, I won't ever find out), but it sure is stressful.

Today, The Mrs. said to me, "In your entire life, you've never had a time where you had nowhere to live, have you? That's why you're worried. See, I have, and that's why I'm not worried. These things always work out."

I started to explain how it was one of my goals in life not to have a time where I had nowhere to live, and how I really didn't want for my kids to experience having nowhere to live at this early stage in their life, and how as a man I am genetically programmed to want to make sure my family had somewhere to live, but she would have none of it. Apparently, living on someone's couch for a couple weeks in college is a life-changing event that I just will never understand.

At work, people just come by nonstop to say goodbye and to talk about my "mansion" in FC. Everyone is secretly, or overtly, jealous. Except for the few people in denial. Most are also quite concerned with who will clean the mansion. It seems to be a universal talking point. Lemme give you a little tip here: if you come to talk to me about the move, don't bother wondering out loud how we'll clean the house. I'll give you the list of my canned answers:
  1. My wife will clean it. That's what I pay her for. It's not like she has a job.
  2. Clean? We have two kids and a dog. What would be the point of cleaning?
  3. I plan to lock the kids in the basement. The only flaw in that plan is that the bar is in the basement. Hmmm...
  4. I'm pretty sure they still have Mexicans in FC. I saw some when I went to McDonalds.
StinkyJ called me today on his way to the airport. He called to let me know that he just realized he would be out of town for the next week and will never see me again. Then he wanted to know what the best way was for him to get his wife, twin infants, and nanny to SFO. I'm always so touched when I talk to StinkyJ. He really makes one feel special. Too bad I'll never see him again. I predict one of the following three things will happen:
  1. People will soon realize that I have been carrying his ass for the last couple years while he took credit for my work.
  2. People will soon realize that he has been carrying my ass for the last couple years while I took credit for his work.
  3. Both.
My money is on #3.

Today was my mother's birthday. Happy Birthday, Ma! I gave her a call, but then I managed to make the whole conversation about me.

Tomorrow, I'll be giving away my favorite grill to AndyP. I will then likely never see him again. The new place has a built-in gas grill, and though I am ostensibly a charcoal purist, once the grill is built-in one feels compelled to use it.

I am slowly but surely drinking through my liquor stash in order to make room in the truck for stuff like sleeping bags and dishes that we will now need given that The Company totally bollixed up my corporate housing and I will need to live in the new house without any posessions except what I drive on the truck and The Mrs. flies on the plane until the moving van gets there.

But I'm not bitter.

No. Not bitter at all.

Bitter would require a level of concentration of which I am currently incapable.

Pepsi One tastes better than Diet Pepsi. I did not know that until tonight.

I should probably post this. I feel like I'm rambling. I don't feel like running the spell checker.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Gold-Plated Relocation Package

Fool's gold.

Another in the series of great disappointments that is my "don't worry, we'll take care of everything" relocation package occurred today. The corporate housing search came up empty. They have nothing available until the 29th, and that is just a 2-bedroom. I'm supposed to get a 3-bedroom on the 14th. So, it looks like we will be camping out in our house without any furniture or dishes or anything until the moving van arrives. That'll be 2 to 12 days after The Fambily arrives, but still before my furnished apartment will be ready.

I wrote to my relocation coordinator today to ask what, exactly, one is supposed to do when the plane tickets are bought and the moving van is scheduled, and then less than two weeks prior to the move, one is informed one will have nowhere to live for more than weeks upon arrival. Not that I have nowhere to live, having gotten a house and a fast close. But the theory here is that my relocation is not supposed to be dependent upon me finding the perfect house and closing on it fast.

I'm wondering what his answer will be. It was after 5pm when I got the email from the supplier telling me no apartment, so he was out for the day already.

Here's a strange thing: I seem to have lost my taste for beer. I have been able to muster very close to zero enthusiasm for beer over the last week or so. Sure, I've tried. I choked down a beer at Old Chicago with the FC boys last Wednesday, I had another two at the airport on Thursday while waiting for my 3-hours late flight, and maybe 4 at the going-away party across the street on Saturday. But I enjoyed each one of them very little. I'm beginning to think that I have something seriously wrong with me. Heck, I don't even own any beer right now. The Mrs. gave it all away while I was in FC last week.

I'm making good progress on the liquor cabinet, though.

Today, I had a meeting with a guy who used to work for me, then he kind of worked with me for the last six months or so learning what it is that I do at work. Training my replacement, as it turned out. We have weekly meetings where we discuss his career development and stuff like that. We call them one-on-ones, which we write 1:1. Anyway, since he's off doing something completely different on a new project now, and I'm off doing the same old thing but on a project in FC, there's not much call for me to work on his career development. So we decided to grab lunch and then hit the gun range.

Now, heading to the gun range from work is problematic. It's quite nearby (about 5 minutes away), but I work for one of those companies that fires you if they ever got wind that you brought a firearm or ammo onto the premesis, even if you keep it locked in your trunk and are legitimately going to the range. And I do not live in one of those states that is trying to make it illegal for an employer to do that. If anything, CA probably wants to make it illegal for an employer not to fire you if you keep a gun in the trunk.

So, not wanting to be fired, I never bring the guns to work for going to the range. Never never never. The problem here is that I am left with 3 alternatives:
  1. Go home to get the guns. A 40-minute round trip which pretty much eliminates the possibility of getting in some range time during lunch.
  2. Park on the public street so that I can have the guns without bringing them on to company property. Naturally enough, my company is located in one of those business districts that has no legal on-street parking anywhere near the building. It's about 2 pretty long blocks away before you can find any on-street parking.
  3. Rent the guns at the range.
When I go from work with a coworker, I more often than not end up with #3. I try to think of it as a chance to shoot something different, but I always end up thinking of it as a damned waste of money. Like today, we rented a .22 and a .40S&W, and the rentals alone totaled $25. With ammo, lane rental, eyes and ears, and a target, it was over $80. A total rip. Now, if this weren't spur-of-the-moment, I would have brought eyes and ears, and that would have saved a shocking $6.

This guy had never shot before, and he's been asking me to take him for years. So I got to kind of teach him how to shoot. On his first shot, he did something I'd never seen done before. He completely missed a 2'x3' target from 7-yds with a $1200 S&W target-model .22. We brought the target back in just to make sure. Yup. Clean miss.

He improved quite a bit, and was shooting the .40S&W (an HK USP 40, my personal favorite) quite nicely by the end of the hour. Then, of course, he did what all new shooter do. He took the target home to impress his wife.

Dropped the price of the house by $23,950 today. Nobody cared. Maybe they'll start to care tomorrow.