Ants again

Aug. 26th, 2010 01:50 pm
norsegirl: (Default)
Same places as last time. Had a professional in for an estimate again. This time I asked for what it would cost to treat regularly over a year instead of doing it once and hoping they don't come back (because that strategy worked so well last time). As it turns out, it's expensive. Jason is balking at the price. I'm starting to think that this is just part of the cost of living here. In the same way we have to pay for AC and property taxes are outrageous, pest control seems to be just part of the cost of living in this climate. Last time I was the one balking at the price and the poisons and it took a bazillion bites to convince me otherwise. I'm wondering if that's going to be the same situation this time, that it will take something to push him over the edge before he comes around. And if it's him getting bit, well it was his choice. I'm just worried that it will be Georgia or I that suffers because we're the ones here most of the time.

In the meantime I've been reading up on non-toxic solutions... so far all have been debunked. I tried one of these non-toxic "solutions" on my mother's suggestion and as it turns out I've just been feeding them corn meal all morning. It will do nothing to kill them. Rats.

Anyway, G's nap is done. Updates to follow I'm sure.
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Today has been ups and downs. We started the day very early driving Jason to the walk-in clinic. He's just got a bit of bursitis in his elbow. No big deal, but a bit of a crimp in our schedule. On the bright side, Jason is being treated and we have a new family doctor (our last one moved out of the city and closed her practice here a few months back).

After dropping Jason off at work Georgia and I headed down to the local yarn shop for their monthly sale. Today it was anything in balls. I decided to take the plunge on some expensive Noro. I don't really like the feel of this yarn but I'm hoping it feels better once knitted, and to get the bright colours I was looking for this really was the only way to go.

This evening I wasted an hour or so doing what I always do when I buy a yarn without a very precise idea in mind. I know I want to make a scarf, but that still leaves it open to a lot of possibilities, so I stash the yarn in ravelry, and then look and see what other people have done with that same yarn. Sometimes you get an "ah hah!" moment where you see the PERFECT application. But more often than not you see a lot of examples of women grinning ear to ear in frumpy, mishapen knit disasters. It appears that it is a rare woman that can admit, after wasting hours of spare time, that what she has produced is in fact an atrocity that should not be allowed out in public. My personal favourites are the boldly and horizontally striped sweaters/coats/tunics/shells/shrugs/tank tops. Horizontal stripes are rarely flattering, make them a riot of mutiple colours and it is even less so. There's a special place in my black little heart reserved for the woman who knitted herself a large and unflattering sack 4 sizes too large and in her notes stated "Need to wear this with slim black pants/capris or a slim black skirt." Oh honey, that is soooo not going to help. Then there's the women who knit themselves "shrugs" that just look like they are re-purposing a garment stolen from their 4 year olds, complete with stretched-to-breaking fronts held together with a single button that is threatening to ping off and re-create that moment from the Incredibles trailer. Bonus points if their profile pic is of an adorable toddler, to whom they should probably return their "shrug". I'm tempted to post photographic evidence, but I'm not quite cold-hearted enough to mock a fellow knitter by name. Talking about these poor, tasteless, misguided souls in a general sense is one thing, but identifying them, even if they never saw themselves here, is a bit low even for me. Totally tempted though...

After the yarn shop, it was a beautiful day so I tossed my coat in the car, secured Georgia in her Moby and headed off to walk the strip. South Congress is an interesting place in which most of the stores give off a painful "trying too hard to be hip" kind of vibe. There's a lot of junk (they call it "vintage") shops, and stores selling crappy imported stuff (cheaply made jewelery and nick knacks), and then there was the back-alley record store that slavishly sold only vinyl. There's also the local food scene, which varies from nicer restaurants down to trailers flogging everything from tamales and BBQ to cupcakes and pies.

Most of the stroll was quite enjoyable, but I have learned an unpleasant thing... I can no longer shop in thrift stores. It's not that I ever did terribly well at these places. I lack the patience to sift through rack after rack of strange smelling garments for the perfect pieces. I did get my sewing machine from one of these places though, and at $35 for the machine and the table it was mounted in it was a total steal. I think I've been using it for 3 years now without so much as a single tune-up. Based on that success I keep holding out hope that I'm going to snag a really nice desk, dresser or mirror, so I poke my nose in if I happen to be close to one. In the length of time it took to walk from one end of this store to the other (just walking, not stopping to look at anything) I had 3 people try to touch Georgia. Complete strangers just sauntering up and trying to pet her like she was a chihuahua in my purse or something. The first woman simultaneously touched her sleeve and reprimanded me for letting her head flop forward (she's asleep, comfortable and none of your damn business lady). The second came out of nowhere and without saying a thing to me reached for Georgia's face. She barely brushed it before I swatted her hand away and she then shot me a look like *I* was the rude one in this exchange. As I passed the counter on my way out an old lady behind the counter exclaimed "she's so cute" and started rushing out from behind the counter. I high-tailed it outta there as I can easily outpace a senior citizen, even with 15 extra pounds and a door to contend with because the look on her face (and of course the bolting out from behind the counter) made it quite clear that she was wanting to reach out and touch.

I would never DREAM of touching anyone's child if they were not someone I was familiar with. What on earth would make these people think that is acceptable behaviour? Outside the thrift shop many people complimented me on how pretty she is (people especially like her eyes and eyelashes) but not one of them ever got within a foot of her. They didn't even bend down to get a better look much less reach for her. And some of them I even chatted with for a while!!! And right now, while we're dealing with the whole swine flu thing (we still have it here, Jason's bosses were both sent home for 2 weeks last month to recover from it) do they not get that physical contact with strangers is ill advised to say the least, especially for the young with their immature immune systems? The ill manners and over-familiarity must be something to do with the common background of these people. There has to be a pattern to the 3 attempted touches in 5 minutes I was there vs none in the other 3 hours I spent on the street and in other shops where I actually spoke to people. The only pattern I can discern is that we were in a religious charity shop. So it's either socio-economic class or religion. Am I more likely to encounter this kind of over-friendliness if I go to a Goodwill or a church? I don't spend a whole lot of time in either of these places so I wouldn't have had a chance to notice a pattern myself. And of course this is the first time I've set foot in a charity shop with a baby. So can I still comfortably wander into thrift stores if I confine my hunting to Goodwills?
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Yeah, "snow" is just not the same here as back home. Not that I'm complaining at all. It gets a little chilly, the sun is still shining and there's all these beautiful fluffy white flakes swirling around in the air but nothing even touches the ground much less stays there. So everything is still dry and green and pretty but there's this sparkly-white beautiful going on in the air.

That was Friday. I bundled Georgia up and took her out for an afternoon walk in the sun and wind. By the time we got out the snow had stopped, but it was still very pretty out. I conceded to zipping my coat up and wore my new hat not because I needed it for the cold but because I need excuses to wear it. Georgia wore a fleece, footed thing that was supposed to be PJs I think and a hat. I don't have any mitts for her. Maybe I should knit some. I ran into one neighbour who complained bitterly about the weather. He had an old pick-up with a towel for a window on one side and was wearing flip flops. I'll give that it's not like being in Edmonton where your wardrobe choices are a matter of life and death (or at least losing digits) but if you dress for the weather then you won't have anything to complain about. I also watched at least 5 people (many were children) climb into that pick-up and there was no second row of seats, so what we have there is definitely an idiot of a few varied stripes.

Last weekend we had the neighbour who lives behind us over to play Rock Band. That only took a year from the initial invite to the actual occurrence *laughs*. Georgia fussed through the whole evening though, so it was just him and Jason playing while I watched and entertained our daughter.

I started writing this on Saturday so I think I'll just post it and start a new entry for today's thoughts...

Busy day

Jul. 29th, 2009 05:19 pm
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Got up early this morning and made french toast for myself while Jason finished the last of the waffles. Ate it out on the back patio on the lawn furniture. We've made a bit of a routine of it and this has become about the best part of my day.

Pics of my patio behind the cut )

Then while Jason was showering and getting ready for work I ran out to Lowe's for some supplies to make inkle looms. I'm teaching a class on Thursday and rather than finish up the weaving that has been on my looms for ages and letting people borrow my good looms, I figure I'll toss together a teaching set and people can buy one if they like, or just borrow one, up to them. Makes sure my looms don't get all bogged down with other people's projects at least. They're bogged down enough with my half-finished junk.

Anyway, I got home just in time for Jason to take the car, but while I was out, he had noticed that we were supposed to have our property tax assessment today. Ooops, totally forgot about that, so no woodworking for me today. I had to drive Jason to work and come in to his office to make copies of all our evidence without having so much as brushed my teeth. I didn't mind looking like that at Lowe's, but I felt kind of embarrassed slumming around Jason's office looking that way.

Came home, put all the baby laundry away and got washed and dressed with plenty of time to make it to the hearing. Hearing was a success. Having a recent sales document on the property in question pretty much guarantees success. Apparently things like comparative sales numbers from other properties and professional appraisals don't guarantee anything of the sort though, as someone from Jason's office had tried that route and gotten no where. We were lucky to have purchased at a down time, and that it was a foreclosure. Got the value of our house knocked down 20% from their estimate, so that should take a nice bite out of this year's taxes. Also got them to revise the description of the property to remove the fireplace that we clearly do not have.

Celebrated my victory against the bureaucracy by hitting a Wal-Mart a bit further from my house to hunt for the sports bra I like. No luck on said bra, but I did manage to get some infant gowns on clearance, so that's nice. I'm not going to run a load for 4 little pieces of infant wear, so they'll just get tossed in the drawer and I'll wash them with the first load of actual baby laundry.

I've taken some pics of the nursery, but as I have to run out the door to pick Jason up from work and I haven't had a chance to edit them yet they'll probably come up in the next post.
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Dr. Phil did a show on ADHD and ADD today and part of the show was "simple things you can do to help your child with ADHD or ADD"

1. Stick to a schedule
2. Organize
3. Be clear and consistent

How do these things only apply to children with this condition? My experience is that all "simple" creatures benefit from these treatments. Everything from children to pets appreciate those things. And heck, when you get right down to it, most adults are more comfortable with those things than without them too. Sure, we like a bit of spontaneity, but for the most part we appreciate schedules. And of course we all feel better when our homes are clean and organized. When it comes to anyone who claims they love the chaos I deeply believe they're just making excuses and justifications because getting organized is a lot of work (and I totally get that because it is). And isn't having a boss that isn't clear or consistent a major complaint among unhappy workers?

Why is this sort of advice put out there as something only for "special" kids when the truth is that it helps ALL children (and all relationships with other living creatures)?

Again we're just reinforcing my idea that doggies make great practice kids. The fur-babies wake at the same time every morning and expect to be let out. They expect to eat at the same time every night. And they head upstairs for bed at the same time every day. Any change to the schedule definitely gets them upset. And any time you want them to follow a rule, consistency is key. If you let them get away with something once they'll try it again and again. I'm not sure they care as much about things being organized. They are just dogs after all. All their worldly possessions would fit in one plastic bag.

Parenting isn't rocket science. Sure I expect to make some mistakes along the way, but I'm thinking the basics are pretty easy to grasp. It amazes me how many people don't think those simple three things are obvious and applicable to all children.

In other news we got our estimate for the ant treatment. It's a bit of a hit to this month's budget, but it has to be done. They'll be coming to do it tomorrow and as soon as it's done we'll head out to an SCA event for the weekend. Hopefully camping in the record-breaking heat won't be too bad. There aren't nearly as many ants around now, but there's still a few and there's an absolutely horrid ant mound near the AC unit outside, so it will be good to have them all dead. I found out what they like about fresh, clean laundry... apparently there are proteins in detergent and fire ants like protein. So it wasn't the fabric softener after all. And again, I guess this will teach me to put it away.

I really should go and get something done, but I really am exhausted from this whole week. I just want to curl up and sleep and do nothing at all. I'm hoping I can do some more creative/fun things next week since this week has been a whole lot of not fun.

More ants

Jul. 8th, 2009 10:01 pm
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They have now spread to the kitchen garbage (which is now out on the back porch) and are eating all the glue out of my wooden cutting boards, so I now have many thin slats of wood instead of BOARDS on which one can CUT. No, the garbage and cutting boards are not in the same cupboard, but they are both in lower-level cupboards.

*sarcasm* I can't wait until tomorrow when I get to discover what new way they can make my life suck. */sarcasm*

The pest control company is sending out their inspector (and estimate-giver) tomorrow, so hopefully we can get them poisoned and dealt with quickly.

In other news, one of the power locks on the van is making an annoying noise. Apparently it requires a new $200 "lock actuator" and all the air filters need changing too, to the tune of $300 altogether. And of course I was out getting away from ants so I didn't approve the repair in time to get it done today. This is going to be a very expensive week.

So what did I do today that didn't suck? I went out and had a lovely lunch with Rhonda (my treat because she'd bought the last time and she was chauffeuring me around) and then we went shopping at Ikea where my sole goal was to purchase $100 worth of stuff I'd bought last week so I could get the $20 gift certificate and then immediately turn around and return it with last week's receipt. Mission accomplished, gift card in hand, I found out the estimated arrival date for the next shipment of my crib is in three weeks (oh joy if it's right) and I also got cinnamon buns. I was very good and did not purchase another orchid. Then it was on to Babyearth to inspect a toy for [ profile] eliskimo where I bought a Snoogle for myself. I really, really, really hope this helps me sleep because I am so very tired of being this tired.

Off to test out the Snoogle. Wish me luck.
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That's it, I've had it, we're calling in the professionals and the commercial-grade poisons. I wanted to be all environmentally and pregnancy friendly, but I have my limits, and this morning the ants found them.

I'm standing in the shower and I feel a sting on my foot. I figure it's a phantom bite because I've got ants on the brain, just like when you spend too much time looking at or cleaning up after bugs you start to feel like they're crawling on you even though they're not. Slowly I realize that no, this really, really hurts and I bring myself to look down and sure enough, there's an ant on my toe, biting me IN THE SHOWER!?!?! I kill it and finish my shower and get bitten again when I step out. I look down and they're all over the bath mat. So I managed to drive them out of the laundry room and up into my master bathroom, perfect. I get down on my hands and knees and start smushing them all with my bare hands because I am soooo very pissed. I know that killing them one at a time doesn't do a thing about my problem, but in the moment it feels good to take out 30 of the little bastards. Also it clears enough space on the mat for me to actually get out of the shower.

So now I've got a swollen toe from the one bite this morning, and my power lock on one of my doors went this week so the car is in getting fixed, and our passports expired and we finally this morning found a studio that could take a picture formatted with Canadian passport requirements (after asking around at SEVERAL different places). It's been a shit morning/week all round. Fuck it, I'm going out to lunch and getting some retail therapy with the neighbour. If anyone needs me I'll be at Ikea. I think I may pick up some cinnamon buns too, I need to spoil myself.
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Ants appear to be gone. Jason sprayed them with raid and put down traps and they spent most of yesterday carrying bait into their home in the wall (or outside, I'm not sure where their base of operations is). Our birthing class coach gave us some organic pesticide (clove oil suspended in inert things like olive oil, water and other food-grade products) that he sprayed outside and which I put in the kitchen a bit. And we got all the sheets and towels washed and de-anted. They survived the washer (bastards) but the dryer killed 'em good. As of this morning there were one or two stragglers wandering around the floor, but that's a typical number so I'm okay with it. Nice to have that cleared up quickly.

The beagle on the couch epidemic on the other hand seems to be getting worse. I had to yell her off the couch when we got home last night. She came over and greeted me and then as soon as she was done with her greeting hopped up to get settled on the couch. This morning Jason came down after his shower (he lets them out in the morning and then goes back upstairs to get dressed) and found her on it. She's obviously not getting the memo here. I'd rather if she stayed off it all the time, but with reduced exposure it doesn't smell doggy like the old couch did, so I guess it's not the worst thing in the world if we have to keep correcting her.

I managed to get the kitchen cleaned last night but still have the main floor vacuuming to do, so I'm off to get that done and then maybe I can spend my afternoon doing something creative. That would be lovely. The house is actually clean enough right now that I wouldn't be mortified if guests dropped in. That's a nice feeling. Here's hoping I can maintain it.
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Some weeks ago we'd found a few ants hanging out in dirty dog towels I left on the floor in the laundry room. No biggie, I washed them and put them away and decided no more dirty laundry on the floor. I just figured the ants were attracted to crumbs the beagles had left on their bedding and not leaving it around would solve the problem. We put down an ant bait but didn't see another ant.

This morning I sent Jason down to fetch the clean sheets to change our bed. I'd washed them a few days ago but I just put them in a basket rather than folding them and putting them away as we were going to use them again shortly. The basket of clean laundry was ENTIRELY FILLED with fire ants. After getting bitten a bunch of times he threw the laundry back in the wash (incidentally, fire ants survive the washer, but they do not make it alive through the dryer) and got out the raid and baits. There are now hundreds of dead ants in the laundry room and a steady stream of live ones going to and from the baits. I will vacuum them up later, for now I don't want to disturb the ants bringing the bait back to the colony. It's killing me not to get out the vacuum though.

What I can't get is what attracted them to the fresh, clean laundry? What would be in there that they would want? There's no water, no food, I'm at a loss.

This morning I got lots of stuff done. Most of the upstairs has been vacuumed (didn't get to my closet, the junk room or the games room but I did the rest) and I cleaned the ceiling fan above our bed. It was really gross so that was nice. I've got about 2 hours left before Jason gets home and I'm trying to decide what to tackle next. Vacuum the main floor or clean the kitchen? I really wish I had a self-cleaning house. That would be awesome.
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My Mum was very sad to leave this morning. I thought the fact that the weather has taken a turn for the worse would make it easier, but she disagreed saying driving in rain is crappy. I kind of like driving in a light rain, it's less hot in the car without the sun beating in on you. When they left it was just a drizzle. It is now a total downpour. It's actually raining so hard that my neighbour's houses are just blurry blobs through my sodden windows.

I was kept extremely busy throughout my parents' visit. Probably I'll run off and have a nap as soon as I finish this entry. Just wanted to write about some of the things we did before I forgot.

Busy week behind the cut )

This afternoon I may tackle the downstairs curtains. The ones for the family room are pre-fab, but need to be shortened to the right length. For the dining room I'm making my own, but I've got the fabric all pre-washed, so that shouldn't take a long time. The place is starting to look like we've moved in, but there's still lots around here to keep me busy.
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Finished assembling the furniture. One of the seat cushions is stained and the table top is a bit of a mess (neon yellow wood-glue showing through the urethane in one spot and the hardware installed wonky so it closes with a gap) so we'll have to go back and exchange those bits, but it's mostly done. I can live with it for the week my parents are here anyway.

When I'd mostly finished putting the table together and hit that 2-person step that all the larger Ikea furniture has (where you just need a second set of hands to support the weight of some long piece that's only held up by one end for like 5 minutes) I crawled back into bed to wake Jason. We had a few quiet moments, which of course meant the baby woke up, and he got to feel it kick! Finally it co-operates. Usually the second his hand goes to my belly it calms right down. We think it likes the heat. But this morning there was no stopping. All kinds of thumps and bumps.

Stinks to high heaven here. Apparently there's a massive 90,000 acre brush fire that has eaten up two towns up near Dallas. I'm amazed we can smell it from this far away.

I think I might go have a shower and finish off the last few things that need to be done in my parents' room. Then maybe tidy my room and the game room up a bit. And of course the kitchen is still half-done from earlier this week, so that has to get done too. That should keep me busy for most of the day until Jason gets home so I can go buy the step ladder and hang the downstairs curtains. I'm thinking I should reward myself with sushi tonight (vegetarian sushi with no raw fish, I know the stupid rules *sigh*).

All in all, I'm not going to get the entire to-do list done (I never really planned to) but I'm on target to have the place looking decent at least. Off to work...
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I posted the following message to the local e-mail list:

For those of us new to the area and new to the weekly PiP... is this
an in-garb affair, or a street clothed thing? If it is in garb, is it
optional, or is it one of those things where if you show up in
mundanes you're gonna get loaner stuff tossed on you?


I received the following response:
Actually, it would be best if folks showed up in clothing appropriate to
their persona.

With the drought and burn bans in effect, I'd be careful with garb...

(I've held off for about a year now so I was due)



I didn't get the second paragraph at all. I assumed maybe it was a poorly worded warning about standing too close to fires with billowing skirts or dragging sleeves because stop drop and roll is a bit harder in dry grass??? It wasn't until I received a bunch of off-line apologies for this guy's comments that I realized it was a poorly-worded jab. Seriously, if you're going to try to be insulting or snarky, the least you can do is be comprehensible when you do. What's the point of a snarky comment if it can't be immediately understood? Or am I just being dense (baby-brained) and missing something obvious?

Anyway, it made me look up the word "garb" that so many of the language nazis have so much difficulty with...

I was able to find a record of its use in an Etymology dictionary as follows:
"1591, "elegance, stylishness," from M.Fr. garbe "graceful outline," from It. garbo "grace, elegance," perhaps from Gmc. (cf. O.H.G. gar(a)wi "dress, equipment, preparation;" see gear). Sense of "fashion of dress" is first attested 1622. The verb is from 1836."

While that is solidly late period, 1591 it is certainly within the confines of the game we play by anyone's definition. That said, reading the entry, I was unsure that the word was used to refer to the object (the clothing itself) as we use it presently. (I'm wary to approve a word in SCA usage simply because I can find that word being used in period, that's how we get "dragon" being an "acceptable" word for car)

I was able to find another piece of writing, showing that the word was used by Shakespeare, which should be adequate documentation to most people, as his writings are generally accepted as being in-period for our game (though that can be argued). However looking at the lines cited, one can see that it is clearly being used to mean "in the fashion or manner of" rather than "clothes".

The author also states "Avoid the "clothing" sense in Shakespeare, for that did not evolve until a decade after his death.", which is problematic for me as he does not cite his source for the word being used this way. However, if we use this description with the 1622 attribution from the etymological dictionary above, we get it being used in the same manner as we use it today by 1622. It's decidedly late period, and may even be considered out of period to some (being both after the 16th century and after the death of Elizabeth R, both of which I have heard used as cut-offs). Dear readers: does this logic seem sound to everyone at least?

However, the documentability of the word is really beside the point.

1) this is an e-mail list. If you're being in-persona you should probably step away from the computer, or maybe throw it on the fire as the sorcery it must surely be. And if documenting every word that goes on the list is of prime importance, again, you have no business being around modern technology as it will obviously spoil your ambiance (and you should check your own words*).
2) since when does nit-pickiness come in as a higher virtue than courtesy? Especially when dealing with a newcomer!!!
3) He didn't use the word in the proper period manner himself - so there.

I am sooooo tempted to reply, but I really probably don't need to be drawing lines in the sand or making enemies this soon.

* From the etymology dictionary: "Colloquial folks "people of one's family" first recorded 1715". Folk would have been an acceptable period term meaning "people" if he hadn't added the "s".
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My sister comes to town next weekend, so I'm hoping to have all the unpacking and cleaning done by the time she gets here. It's going to be a tough goal to achieve, but worth it if I do.

Saturday I worked on the kitchen. Got all the dishes that have been piling up out of the way and straightened out all the counters, so that was good. Still have a bunch of half-full boxes of food kicking around that I'm not sure what to do with though.

Sunday we went out shopping for garage shelving. With the loss of the basement, all that stuff that used to be in storage was really overwhelming us. The shelves are almost all assembled (one piece was broken, so Jason will exchange it and we can get it 100% done tonight). Most of the garage floor is cleared out, with just a little bit of clutter remaining. All the big stuff is arranged where I want it to be, so it's just a matter of doing little stuff, like filling up the pantry with glass stuff. This is good because I promised my sister she'd get some time on the torch this visit.

We also picked up a lawnmower, but by the time we got home it was too dark to do anything with it, so it's just hanging out in the garage in its box.

To celebrate our accomplishments we went out and enjoyed Thai for dinner - yum. In a strange turn of events at the Thai place... the chef served our dinner to us personally. I'm getting the impression that he's the kind of chef who likes to get out of the kitchen and socialize with his patrons, and I have nothing but praise for his food, but I still feel kinda awkward when confronted with the chef. I did take the time to compliment him on an appetizer we ordered from the "specials" though. It was nom nom. Mostly though, I'm there for the soup. If you like spicy, you need to hit a thai place and try Tom Kha. Best soup evah!
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Just got the funniest e-mail... my neighbor sent me a hello because she saw my name on the baronial e-list here and recognized it from when she brought my mail in over Christmas. What are the chances that my only neighbour (I'm otherwise surrounded by empty lots) would be in the SCA?

Okay, technically I have 2 neighbours if you count the guy behind us, and he's a massive computer geek, so I'm surrounded by "our kind of people" on all sides so far.

Edit: more funny... Stefan, of "Stefan's Florilegium" is also an Austinite. It's funny when you move around how many people you meet that you already kinda knew.
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I did not unfortunately see it live. Thankfully the news covered it.
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Feeling pretty good today. I managed to clean out the game room almost completely. There is still one box of my crap to be unpacked and a few boxes of Jason's CDs, which I have decided are not my problem. The floor is all vacuumed and everything. I even cleaned the windows and dusted all the windowsills when I was done. Of all the rooms in the house, I think that one was the closest to being done. Or at least the one where I had the best idea of how I wanted it to look when I was finished.

This weekend I'm setting a lofty goal. I'd like to see at least one room done for every day off we have. Seeing as this is a long weekend, that should work out to 3 rooms. I think with Jason's help that is entirely possible. Not sure which rooms we'll pick. I think it is definitely time that the master bedroom and bath became the sanctuaries I know they can become. After that I'm not sure what is the highest priority.

I do need to get this all done and out of the way soon because we need to file our claim with the movers. We know they broke our TV and one martini glass, and somehow a couple liquor glasses appear to have gone astray. But there's one box unaccounted for, and of course the listing that they recorded is pretty much useless, so we need to unpack everything, have a good look at what did make it to try to figure out what didn't. I wish we could just put in the claims as we found stuff, at least for the obvious thing like the TV. But instead we get just one shot, so we really have to be sure of it when we submit it. And of course time is running out on how long we have to get this filed.

Moving sucks.

In other news I purchased a new cookbook last week and finally got around to trying one of the recipes yesterday. Persian cookbook and what I attempted was apricot rice (which I'm pretty sure is what's pictured on the cover, though it doesn't come out looking exactly like that if you follow their instructions). It produced enough food for at least 8 people, which is a little more than we were aiming for. It wasn't exactly how I imagined it would taste, but it's still pretty good. I might modify it (at least to cut down the volume of food produced) and try it again, but I'm not sure just yet. We'll try the leftovers tonight and see how they rate.
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I'm starting to think that the only people I should ever send e-mails to are my very best friends. Everyone else seems to read all sorts of things into anything I write that I didn't mean at all. I'm really thinking I need to remove myself from every e-mail list I've ever joined as these things seem to be nothing but an invitation to experience the joys of e-mail flame-throwing for me. That and they are a tremendous time-sink with little to no reward. Someone on one of the e-mail lists I was on once had the tag-line "If anything I write could be interpreted two ways, and one causes offense, please assume I meant the other". So why is it that people never do that?

In other news, having a bit of a drag of a day. Arranged to go shopping with someone I met at Jason's Christmas party. I was late, mostly because I got totally and completely lost trying to find the place. I'd driven past it on the highway a zillion times, and on the highway there are clear signs indicating where to exit. Unfortunately, once you do, you're dropped in the middle of a bunch of office buildings and there are no further directions to the damn shopping. After driving around for a bit I actually had to ask a construction worker how to get to the shopping. She didn't seem to object too much to my late arrival, but let's be honest, no one really likes it when you show up late. Anyway, we only shopped for an hour or so when she suddenly said "well, my car's parked here so I'm going to leave now, bye".

I understand that a first shopping meeting is a bit like a first date, you don't want to commit to anything longer than coffee just in case it doesn't go well, but that seemed REALLY short to me. I figured we'd shop until lunch, maybe have a bite to eat and then call it quits, or even just before lunch with the "I'm going to head home for some food" excuse. The abrupt departure kinda makes me think I said or did something wrong. Which leaves me with an interesting dilemma... if this was a date, the usual protocol is for the guy to call to arrange for another. I did call her to set up the first one, but she's the one who cut it off abruptly. Do I call her or do I wait and see if she bothers to call me?

This is the one major downfall of moving... finding new people to spend face-time with. Clearly, you all need to move to Texas as that would solve all my problems. Just let me know when to book your moving vans.
norsegirl: (Default)
We're a single-car family. Always have been. In the past, we lived close enough to Jason's work that it would have actually taken longer for him to get the car out of the garage and park it at the other end than it took to walk. This means that although we only had one car, we were never inconvenienced at all. Or very rarely.

Unfortunately, the housing around Jason's office here in Austin was either tiny, or nasty, or completely blew our budget. You could either get tiny condos right behind his office with no yard for doggies. Or behind them, single family homes in the half-mil range. On the other side of the freeway it was all 1960s ranches that were small and rather run down. Decent yards, but pretty crappy houses, and still rather spendy. So we ended up way out in the burbs, requiring a vehicular commute.

As a result, I've been feeling a little cooped up lately. Either I have to get up in the morning, drive Jason to work and commit to being available to pick him up after (often hanging around his office for an hour waiting for him to be ready to go), or I have to let him have the car all day. Most days I have just let him take the car.

On foot you've got a pretty short range. And in suburbia it almost never takes you as far as you need to go. On skates I could get further, but there's the inconvenience of having to carry some shoes and change on the way into each shop. And then there's the drivers that can't seem to figure out how fast you're going or that you don't really have brakes, and try to kill you by cutting you off. There's also the problem of uneven pavement and having to pick routes based on the smoothness of the road, rather than on what is more direct. So that's really a no-go too. The second car isn't really an option right now. We have some money, but not enough that I want to throw it away on a depreciating money-pit just so I can have the ability to pick up milk. Ditto for the motor-bike or scooter. It's cheaper, but it's still lost money and requires regular inputs of insurance and gas. That leaves the old, traditional bicycle.

Saturday morning I dropped Jason off at work and headed to the local bike shop. The salesman pointed me to the bike that he thought would work for me, given what I had told him I wanted it for. I tested several bikes on the floor and did in fact end up coming back to his first recommendation. After that came the accessory buying binge. I had to add fenders, a rear rack, lights front and back, a water bottle rack and bottle and a lock. I sprung for a fancy new pump that reads pressure for the tires. I also ordered some fancy saddle-bags to hang on the back rack, but it will take a week or two for those to arrive, so for now I'm limited to buying what fits in my backpack. After that I decided to invest a little money in Jason and brought his bike into their shop to be fixed. It's been sitting in our basement untouched for at least 4.5 years now. The last 3 or 4 of which it was sitting up on one wheel in a crawl space. Prior to that I'm not sure if he rode it the two years he lived with his parents after university, so it's probably been even longer since it's seen a road. And of course before that it was subjected to all kinds of abuse, being ridden in the rain and whatnot. The chain and gear box were all rusty, the tires are suffering from dry rot, one of the wheels is slightly warped and the whole thing was just pretty sad.

When everything's all said and done I think I probably just spent $1,000 on bicycles. It's funny spending that much money to be car-free, and yet, it's still just a fraction of what would have been spent if I'd given in and bought the second car that everyone here seems to think is a necessity. It's a lot of money, but Jason said it's okay as long as I actually use it. On the first day I rode it around the block a few times, getting used to the feeling of being on a bike again. On the second day I learned that I can in fact fit a 4L jug of milk in my backpack by taking it to the grocery store. I think today will be another grocery trip.

The last time I had access to a bike I was in Australia. It was a borrowed bike and I rode it every single day. I completely buggered my knees doing it, so I'm going to have to pay a lot of attention to my body this time around. The last time I actually owned a bike was a hand-me-down I had from the time I was 8 until I was about 14, when my mother got her new bike and I started borrowing that. I've never actually been shopping for, or purchased a bike for myself. It was a really nice experience. And so far riding it has given me that same feeling of freedom I had when I was a kid and used to ride it to the convenience store for candy runs, or when I was living in Australia. It's a feeling of self-reliance and empowerment that only comes from riding a bike as an actual method of transportation rather than purely for exercise or leisure. It's knowing that you have the means to get where you want and do what you want, and knowing that you're doing it under your own power, so you're getting that extra endorphin kick form your errands. The car is "mine" too, but it's just not "mine" in the same way that a bike is.
norsegirl: (Default)
I asked for my vacation time yesterday to go house hunting. After the vacation was approved late yesterday I went home and had a good think about when to give my boss notice. Having concluded that he is a very reasonable human being, I decided to tell him today, giving him lots of notice. It was very easy to slip it into our meeting this morning as he brought up the subject of booking my 3-month review so my raise would come through in a timely fashion. I used that opportunity to tell him that would not be necessary and explain my situation and Jason's transfer.

I still haven't given him a firm end-date as our move is still dependent on US immigration approving our visas. If some wrench gets thrown in the works and we wind up staying here I want to ensure that I still have work. He won't start posting the position until he has a confirmed final date from me, but at least I've let him know and I don't have to walk around feeling all sneaky and like I'm hiding something.

He actually seemed pretty positive and used the opportunity to talk about how he too almost ended up on that side of the border during his last job search. It went about as well as could be expected.

Over lunch today I called one of the major American banks to see what we could do about securing a mortgage. The only mortgage broker we've talked to so far made it sound like it would be terribly difficult as Canadians with no US credit rating. The guy at the bank made it sound like it would be dead-easy. When I asked if our rate would be worse because of our lack of credit history, he indicated that the 20% down payment should make that irrelevant. Here's hoping it really works that way. We'll hear back on Monday. I'll also give the US branch of ING a call to get a mortgage quote from them and to see if they want to work with us. Probably will do that tomorrow.

Tonight we're heading to Ashlie's place for fresh-fried Newfoundland fish and chips. The fish was caught by her (or her parents) and brought back (frozen) from her vacation last week. I am VERY MUCH looking forward to tonight's dinner. Jason hates fish, so this will be interesting - lol.
norsegirl: (Default)
It's been an eventful weekend

Friday we did all the appointments. Doctor's visit for the hubby and I. Chiropractic for me. Vet for puppies (they hated that).

Saturday we said goodbye to Kelsey. I'm really going to miss that little ball of fluff. She was incredibly time-consuming and always up to no good, but in those rare, quiet moments when she was tired and snugly she was really great. I know we did the right thing, but it still hurt. We then wasted the rest of Saturday morning sitting around feeling sad.

We finally left for the event in Bitter End very late in the afternoon. We didn't participate in much. Just set up a make-shift merchanting booth at one end of the parking lot and managed to get rid of a fair amount of old fabric I wasn't in love with any more. We still have some left. I might try to talk Kalira into bringing it to tavern or something, or I might just toss is in a Salvation Army donation box so I don't have to carry it. After selling what we could we ate feast, sat through court (Vik and Inga are banning tricorn hats - LOL) and made a brief appearance at the bardic circle. The bardic circle was, um, uncomfortable. It wasn't really THAT late yet, but everyone was singing lewd songs and smoking and there were still children present. I sang a single not-lewd song, which actually seemed to scare people away from the fire (I guess family-friendly songs spoil the mood?) and then decided to take my leave. By the time I left the site the fire had re-populated, so I guess it's a good thing that I didn't completely kill it. I went inside to the merchant area and sang a handful of songs for Thorgir (he had requested I do so) and then left my last Avacalian event. Or rather, the last one I will attend with my husband. I do intend on coming to the THUA in town on my own, but I will probably leave before dinner so I can get home to the puppies, so it won't be the same.

Sunday we pretty much just wasted. I had grand plans of getting all kinds of cleaning and sorting done, but we mostly just sat around and chilled. The beagles have been unconscious since Kelsey left, so I think they needed the rest too. I did get around to converting all my money into USD. We still had a few weeks to do it, but as our dollar kept getting worse and worse I figured I should just get it over with. Of course I got a terrible rate and this morning it has already started to improve. I hate making big decisions like that and I hate that I'm almost always wrong when I do. Ah well, it's done now. We did spend some time Sunday afternoon and evening reviewing the houses I had shortlisted. There's lots of choices out there and it doesn't look like we'll have to break the bank to make this happen. On one hand I'd like to post and share the ones I've found that I really like. On the other hand I don't want to jinx it :) We're a mere 3 weeks away from flying down there and looking at them in person and I am extremely excited about it. I'm about to turn my whole world upside-down and it just thrills me! Also, the closer we get to this, the more confident I am that I can make this work, no matter what gets thrown at me.

Have waited a while to post and the Canadian dollar seems to have slipped a bit, so I'm feeling a bit better about that now.


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September 2010

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