Thursday, April 04, 2013


My youngest daughter has a fish. She won him at the Octoberfest carnival that our school puts on each year. Instead of winning a baggie of water with a goldfish in it like when I was a kid, she won a little slip of paper that she needed to take to the pet store to claim her prize. It turns out that these fish would cost $0.20 if purchased outright. And the ticket to win the fish cost $1.00.

She won 14-tickets.

Two years ago, these $.20 fish cost us at least $25 per fish because we just had to buy the little tank, rocks, food and those drops that keep the fish from dying from Chlorine in the water. This year, I was able to dig out the tank and fill it up. The costs were much less, though we still had to purchase food and the drops.

Anyway, with 14-tickets, we've filled the tank up a few times. Being only a gallon tank and the fact that no one like over-crowded conditions, we only put in a couple/few at a time. Then the tickets expired and heaven forbid we should pay that $0.20 for more once they're no longer "free".

The current fish has been hardy enough to last quite a while. My daughter named him Mr. Gold. I call him Ernie (though Earnie would be funny, too.) Officially then, he's Mr. Ernie Gold.

This fish loves me. He follows me around the room. No, he can't walk around the room, but he can swim to each corner of his little tank to be as close to me as possible. And given that the tank is a rectangle with two clear sides, he faces me depending on which side of the tank I'm on. I haven't noticed that he does it for anyone else.

I don't know if he does it because I feed him and change his water or that I'm the one who spends the most time at home. Maybe it's because I'm probably the only one who pays any attention to him. The cat doesn't even pay attention to him anymore. It doesn't really matter, because I care about the welfare of this little guy now. I didn't want anymore pet fish, but now that I've grown attached to Ernie, I'm okay that he's still around.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Unclogging Things

I've been sick. It was just a cold and it came and went so quickly I thought I was 20-years-old again. But it didn't actually leave. I have something still or again or now that is like a Part Two version of my earlier easy ailment. Based on experience, I have the makings of bronchitis and a sinus infection.

My nose has been filling up so much that when I blow it, I swear there is an echo in my sinus cavity. It feels empty and lonely up in there. That sensation doesn't last long, but being empty is almost as uncomfortable as being stuffed up. I'm going to give the old Neti Pot a twirl pretty soon here. I've been downing Odwalla Vitamin C Monsters for days now and probably eroding my teeth in the process.

I don't feel as knocked down as I did with the cold, but I'm definitely not at 100% right now.

In the meantime, however, I fixed my washing machine all by myself! I have a front-loader, which I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE. My only complaint is that it doesn't get the clothes out of the hamper by itself, nor does it transfer the clothes into the dryer, but those are minor complaints in the grand scheme of things.

The other day when I was doing laundry (I swear, I'm not making this up, I actually did laundry!) my washer showed an error message. I ignored the message, got the washer to stop whatever it was doing, threw the clothes into the dryer and moved on.  (Who knows if they were even clean!) Two loads later, I got another error message. This one was f21. I couldn't find my manual, which should be no surprise, so I Googled it. The forum I found said it was a clogged something or other and that it was simple super complicated to fix. This made me want to do it myself.

I unscrewed the three nuts on the front panel, and this was seriously the hardest part. I had to make several trips to my tool boxes to figure out which wrench to use. The nut called for a socket and I found sockets, but not the wrench to attach them to. I ultimately found the Very Cool screw driver that we got for Christmas last year and promptly misplaced (putting it where it belongs does not guarantee that I'll be able to find it when I want it.) This screw driver had a socket set with it and one of the bits fit!

The Internet instructions said that when you un-do the thing that you're supposed to un-do after the front cover is removed there will be lots of water. Yes, I unplugged the machine. No, I didn't turn off the water main. The instructions said to have towels. A bucket would have been better, (it's on a pedestal) but no worries, I'll get the water sopped up soon.

The error message was from a clogged drain catch and sure enough, there was enough crap in there to choke a washer! Mostly it was just clumps and clumps of dog hair. And 5-quarters, 4-dimes, 2-nickels, 5-pennies, a 100-FRW* coin from Rwanda, and a small pebble. That means, that instead of hiring a plumber or washing machine repair man, I got paid $1.80 and whatever that coin from Rwanda is worth! I threw out the dog hair. I don't find that it's that valuable because there is so much of it here.

The clothes that were in when the error occurred are getting washed again and the towels used to sop up the mess are next. I'm feeling quite proud of my self-suffiency. That was quickly negated by the smoky fire I made in the fireplace without opening the flue. All in all, I think I'm still ahead, though.

*It turns out that this is a Rwandan Franc and at today's exchange rate would bring me $.16 making my grand total $1.96.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Pieces Cobbled Together to Make a Whole

It's a funny phenomenon that when I post more, I have more to post. And in this case, the opposite is true. I sit at my blank screen with a dearth of ideas. A part of me wants to say something about gun control, but I've been avoiding even thinking about the tragedy in Connecticut because it makes me too sad.

And besides that, not a whole lot has happened that strikes me as worth writing about. At least not a whole post. So instead, I'm going to string together a bunch of minor things:

The other day a spider suddenly made a spastic appearance right next to me as I was typing away on my laptop. It could have jumped or fallen for all I know. I looked over and it was moving very quickly like it was trying to get away from fire.

Another, other day I was driving up my hill and one of my neighbors was driving down my hill and we almost got into a head-on collision. I got home and five-minutes later my heart was still racing. Other than that, I don't remember anything remarkable about the event at this point. Unfortunately, near-misses are not uncommon at one particular blind-curve near me.

My dining room chairs have gotten extremely uncomfortable. So has my couch, actually. While I'm sure I'm sitting entirely too much, I think it's time for me to re-upolster these chairs and add some padding. Maybe my behind has too little padding now. Maybe not. I can't do anything about the couch. That's not a padding issue, but more of a posture issue.

I've been more prepared for Christmas earlier this year than in the last few and it still seems like it's flying to hit me in the face. Perhaps because by "more prepared" I don't mean that I've got my shopping done. We got our Christmas tree early this year, which I LOVE! I've been listening to Christmas carols more. I ordered my Christmas cards early, though I didn't order enough, so some people are going to get something else. I wish I had a job, which puts a damper on me going overboard for my kids like usual, but there is still time for me to lose my senses.

Oh! I had a flat tire last week. I didn't change it myself, though. I pay about $50 a year to join the motor club and it's totally worth it. That, and by being a member I get my insurance through them and it's cheaper than the alternatives.

I'm going to go meet my husband for lunch. I'm excited. I don't ever meet him at work because we're something like 25-miles away, but I wanted to take advantage of my ability to do this before I start work again. If I ever start work again... Perhaps I'll post about my adventure, or my meal, or something weird that I see today. I guess at this point, you can only guess!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Barky Boulevard

I was going to write about another scary topic - lice! And how we discovered that we had it again this morning. But that only one of my daughters had it and even though I was itching like crazy it was only in my head not on my head and I was free and clear.

Instead, I'm going to tell you about my afternoon on Barky Boulevard. There is a woman who walks up my street talking on her cell phone. I'll say she does it everyday, but I've only noticed it the last two-days in a row. She walks up the street chattering away and as soon as she passes my house, she sets off the Bark-A-Thon. My dog barks and the neighbor's two dogs bark and it doesn't stop until she turns around at the top of the hill and comes back down again. Those two dogs don't need any encouragement either, let me tell you.

My neighbor is great and I'm trying to be understanding, but this is really too much. The dogs bark like there is a contest to see which one of them can go the longest and they are both too competitive to lose, if you know what I mean.

The fact that I was standing out on my front deck sweeping didn't have anything to do with their state of frenzy, I'm sure. But while I was there, clearing the front of my house out from under the pine needles washed out of the tree by the recent rain, I was thinking about Halloween decorations again. I'd like to put my man out there, but with the rain, I don't want soggy, mildew-y clothes come next week.

And for the record, the dogs are still barking and I've been inside as long as it's taken me to write this.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Scary Season

I love Halloween! I love just about everything about it, too. When I met my husband, he told me that it was his favorite holiday, which I thought was quite clever. In fact, we officially started dating in late October and we saw Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein on our first date. I did think it was odd that the first Halloween we spent together he didn't dress up, but we walked around the Castro district back when hundreds of thousands of people used to show up for the party. Maybe they still do, I wouldn't know.

Anyway, I feel a little lame-o since our only decoration - so far - is a skeleton hanging on our front door, especially since most of our neighbors have gone all out with the spider webs, fake tombstones, body parts and crashed witches in their yards.

Walking the dog today, I was admiring a yard with two skeletal hands emerging from the grass when I tripped over a dead body. You know when you step on something that gives a little and you know it's not right? It was quite shocking that the body would be laying in the street unmolested, perhaps a little warm still. And my dog didn't even notice it! Not that he's in the habit of being attracted by the dead. 

Considering that it was amidst so many holiday decorations, it would be easy to imagine that it was part of the scenery or even fake. But no. It was definitely a dead thing and it was very real. I kept going, ignoring the poor squirrel because I wouldn't know what to do with it. Should I have carried it home with me to put in my trash bin - or better yet, perform a small burial and funeral ceremony to commemorate what was most certainly a short life?

I did nothing. I walked on thinking about diseases that jump from animal host to human and tried to recall that rodent-borne one's name. Is it Heppa? Hanta? Hinta? (Hantavirus) And my reward for my cowardice? Further along in my walk I came across a small patch of fur. It looked like some poor critter was scalped. Very disturbing. Very apropos, unfortunately, in this scary season. My lame-o decorations seem just a little bit more fine now.