28 February, 2006

The Cage: A Haiku

Tuesday, cleaning day
Zoe Pig gets a clean cage
and then dirties it.

I guess that's the circle of life in captivity, huh? I feed the pig, the pig poops in the cage, I clean the cage, and then it starts all over again.

'City Slickers' Moment

I may have to watch City Slickers some time in the next two days. Why the sudden yearning for cowboy comedy? Well, you see, there's this great part of the movie where Mitch gets smart with Curly and gets off his horse to rope a cow. Curly whistles and the cow takes off, dragging Mitch behind her. And Mitch, flopping like a sport fish on a line, gets dragged away yelling,

"I'm on vacation!"

Luckily for me, my vacation doesn't involve cows. Just sun. Lots and lots of sun. Maybe I'd be better off at a dude ranch...

In non-vacation news, we had our new schedule bid today. Despite being one from the bottom of the seniority totem pole, I got the days off that I wanted and actually ended up with a slightly earlier line.
And did I mention that I won't have to set foot into that building until March 8? Life is sweet.

27 February, 2006

Never Nuke a Donut

Today I realized once again where I get my blonde-ness from -- my mom.

Scott bought a box of chocolate iced, cream filled Krispy Kreme donuts from Publix. Of course, we all know that you shouldn't buy Krispy Kremes unless you are at the Krispy Kreme location. Once they have been delivered to another store, they lose half of their taste. But I digress...

After lunch today, my mom grabbed one of these donuts out of the box, took a bite, decided it was a little stale and all it needed was a few micro-waves. So she put in the microwave (without so much as a paper towel underneath) and set the timer for 9 seconds.

Apparently 9 seconds was about 6 seconds too long.

The cream had melted and oozed out of the donut. Seeing that there was a puddle of cream under the donut, she decided that she needed to act fast - grab the donut and turn around to lean over the sink to eat it - and leave blobs of cream filling on the stove, the oven handle, and the floor before losing the rest of the filling into the sink and all over her hands. It took her longer to wash the ooey gooey mess off of herself than it took me to wipe down the microwave and stove.

Oh how I laughed!

And I shall never let her live this down.

26 February, 2006

Sassy Feet

My mommy came up today and took me out for a pedicure for my birthday...

... and now my feet are officially sassy!

The color, though it looks like ordinary fire engine red in the picture, is actually a dark pink with glitter. I should've gotten the original color I picked out, a hot pink, which would've looked super sassy with my flip flops, but I always second guess myself.

Anyway, now my feet feel all refreshed and energized. Sadly, I had to put hosiery over them and will be shortly slipping them into a pair of ordinary black flats to go to work. I just couldn't justify calling in, although the message would've been great...

"This is Jamie. I'm calling in sassy... I mean sick... for the next two days. My feet are just too fabulous for work shoes!"

25 February, 2006

Does This Mean I Have Bad Taste?

Columbia House sent me an offer I couldn't pass up: buy the two remaining selections I need to satisfy my commitment and get two free, plus free shipping. The movies that satisfy your commitment have to be $19.95 or above. That sounds like a lot, but if you play Columbia House right, it ends up being a great deal. You just need to buy when they do buy one get one free sales, or buy one get the rest of the order at half price sales. These add up.

but I digress

I went on the site and couldn't think of any modern movies I wanted, other than Rent. And since I recently discovered Scott's love for classic musicals (Guys & Dolls has been on AMC a lot recently. Scott likes the music, I like the younger hotter Marlon Brando!) I figured I would look through the musicals and see if there were any I wanted to own. And I found three, right off the bat -- Guys & Dolls, Singin' in the Rain, and Little Shop of Horrors. Unfortunately, all three were only $14.95. This didn't really help me with my commitment. So I searched through romance... suspense... family... and none of the movies I really wanted were $19.95. Some were only $9.95! Really - do I just have bad taste in movies or what!?!?

I ended up buying Rent and Goonies (which I had just gotten from NetFlix - it has a ton of special features), and got Singin' in the Rain and Little Shop of Horrors for free. And I am no longer beholden to Columbia House. Time to cancel my membership and then sign back up!

Sugar-Induced Musings

Toothpaste Taffy: all the flavor of Colgate without the annoying health benefits!

Is there anyone out there who likes the mint flavored saltwater taffy? They're totally marketing it as toothpaste flavor. Why else would it be white with blue stripes? It also tastes more like toothpaste than chewing gum.

On the bright side, the licorice taffy in the same box was green licorice. Which I love. Why would anyone eat black licorice when green is so much tastier?

I'm delirious... should really go to sleep. But first I leave you with this happy thought.

24 February, 2006

Zoe At Peace

The one treat that can lure Zoe Pig out of her chube long enough to take a picture is timothy hay. She loves it. My next trick will be taking a picture that's in focus!

Guest Blogger: Mr. ParkHopper

It is now almost March. Scott and I both signed up for an Flexible Spending Account (FSA) during health insurance sign-ups last fall. Basically here's the way an FSA is supposed to work: they take a fixed amount out of your pay every week pre-tax (in our case $10 each) and send you a pre-paid credit card (with $520 on it) to use on medical expenses including doctor visits, eyeglasses, dental things, bottles of tylenol, etc. When we hadn't gotten our cards by the beginning of February, Scott called and talked to a really nice lady who found out that our apartment # had been cut off and the cards were returned to the company. They got our address straightened out on both accounts, and about a week later, I got my card in the mail. Scott still has not gotten his. Below is his account of his phone call today, after being on hold for about 5 minutes:

They are telling me our address is too long, and that's why it didn't come. I told her, "well my wife's came without any problem." Oh, that was her card, and not yours... "Yes, I understand that, but what I am trying to tell you is that I did this the last time I called, and was told everything was taken care of. She got her card, I never got mine." Well, your address is too long, so I am putting your apartment number on a second line. "Oh, so that will take care of it, and I will get the card in 15 business days??" Yes sir. "okay, if this happens again, how do I get my money back from the program and cancel it?" Oh, you can't cancel sir. "SO! If I never receive the card, I am out 520 dollars?!" Oh no sir, you can submit claims! THANK YOU FOR YOUR HELP, GOODBYE

So I just put a countdown on my office calendar for 15 days starting Monday. On March 20th, 00 day, I have a note that says "bet you still don't have an FSA card!"

Scott's advice: NEVER USE AN FSA!!!!

Longest Week Ever?

My mantra tonight was "think about next Thursday..." That's how I made it through. Thursdays are generally tough at work because not only is it my Monday, but we're also short-handed at the Help Desk.

Of course, things are pretty tight up at the desk right now. I feel rather bad for our management. There's A, who quit; B, on vacation through this Satuday; C, on bereavement leave until next Thursday; D, whose husband is in the hospital, ME, whose vacation starts Tuesday, and E, F, and G who are contemplating moving out of the Help Desk if they don't get a bid they like next week. *gulp* Keep in mind, we're a team of 15. That's a lot of drama for such a small group!

Anyway, by this time next week I'll probably be asleep (a sweet daquari-induced sleep), more than halfway to Nassau, and I'll be 27!

Of course, in order to get to this time next week, I'm going to have to work four more days (although calling in does sound more pleasant!), babysit on Saturday plus Tuesday and Wednesday, finish packing, and find a kitty/piggy sitter (hoping Beth will return the favor since I've been watching her place while she's been off gallivanting across the country getting married and stuff).

Time to turn those daydreams into real dreams.
Good night!

23 February, 2006

American Idol - Week One - Guys

It's much harder for me to predict which guys will do well. After all, I've grown up as a female vocalist, and my ear is much more trained to pick up on what's good vs. what's bad. That being said, I think that only two of the guys have any chance at all of making it to the final show. The other four? Just fillers.

* Elliott Yamin - Simon proclaimed his voice the best of any male ever on American Idol. He was good... but 'best ever?' I think Simon has forgotten my boy Anwar from AI4!
* Taylor Hicks is Scott's favorite. I think he's interesting, but I'm seriously convinced he has musical turret's. He'll make the top 12, but I doubt he'll make it much farther than that. C'mon - the guy has gray hair. It's American Idol, not Father Figure Idol!
* Jose "Sway" Penala picked an awkward song to start off with, but he's got confidence and a ghetto superstar vybe that carries him through to the next round.
* I had a hard time deciding between Will Makar and Gedeon McKinney for this spot, but I'm going with Will. Paula compared him to Bobby Brady, and I think she nailed him on the head. Ultimately, I think Will will be carried by the powerful voices of millions of teenage girls with cell phones and speed dial.

and the two I think have a real chance:

* Ace Young has an amazing voice. He picked a great song... and he's just gorgeous. He's part rugged-handsome, part pretty boy, and part natural superstar.
* Chris Daughtry did an amazing rendition of a Bon Jovi song tonight. It's not an easy feat, but the guy has a natural stage presence and a definite rocker vybe. I think Bo Bice's fan base will push Chris far into the competition.

Anyway, I'm not going to revise my predictions in any way, and probably won't devote another entire entry to Idol until the Top 12 start their performances. You're welcome. :o)

22 February, 2006


I have long had a love affair with sparkly shoes. In high school, I made myself a pair of "magic acting shoes" for every play I was in. They were regular canvas sneakers, painted with silver glitter fabric paint, and accented with a different color for every play. I wore them to rehearsals, and always said that they helped me remember my lines.

Also in high school, Mom bought be a pair of kick-@$$ high heels that were sparkly black. I wore them for homecoming junior year, my senior solo, and to two formals in college.

Back in 2001, my roommate Cat and I bought coordinating sparkly flip flops at Wal Mart. Hers were purple and mine were blue, and they had glitter on the straps and straw bottoms. We both got out $3 worth out of the purchases because we wore them all the time.

Today, in continuing with that long and storied tradition, I bought myself a pair of sparkly flip flops for the cruise. I wanted them in blue, but they didn't come in my size (although judging by this picture, I probably could've fit into a 7-8). The sparkles on the straps are actually tiny "crystal" flowers. And they make my feet feel sassy! Of course, my feet will feel even sassier when I find some great bright pink nail polish and paint my toenails.

8 days to go!

Good for You - You Deserve It!

Scott and I love to watch Dirty Jobs on the Discovery Channel. The basic premise of the show is this: the host with rugged good looks goes around the country and finds out first-hand what it's like to do some of the nastiest jobs in the country. He's worked gutting fish, cleaning septic tanks, inseminating horses and pigs, and all sorts of other fun jobs. I love the show because it really makes me appreciate the fact that I don't have to do these jobs.

I thought about Dirty Jobs this morning when I found out that the 8 co-workers who split the $365 million Powerball jackpot worked in a meat processing plant. I say worked because only three of them showed up for work yesterday. These people are taking home about $22 million each. I guess that's enough to live on, especially if they invest wisely. At any rate, I'm not jealous. I'm happy for these people that they no longer have to handle dead pig.

And I'm glad I never had to handle dead pig!

21 February, 2006

Road Trip!

Somehow Scott and I slept until after noon today. This never happens. Maybe me or him, but not both of us! Anyway, we had a late start, but managed to squeeze in quite a full day in a few short hours.

Following lunch at Cracker Barrel, we drove down 192 all the way into ghetto Kissimmee. We were looking for a pet store. Why? My guinea pig bedding of choice isn't available at Wal Mart. This stuff doesn't have a smell, is super absorbent, and is softer than wood shavings or corn cob. Plus, it's what came in the starter kit, and I used that stock up today (weekly cage-cleaning day). I knew of a Pet Supermarket allll the way down in the shopping center across the street from my old shrink's office, but figured there MUST be one between here and there. There wasn't. And then Pet Supermarket didn't even carry what I wanted (but I did get a little bag of cotton fluff - her poo stuck to the fluff that came inside the Chube, so I threw it out)! We stopped at Target on the way home, and wouldn't you know, they had exactly what I was looking for - at only $4.99/bag. So I bought two bags. This ought to get me through at least a month!

After Target, Scott dropped me off at Fantastic Sam's and he went down the strip mall to the library. I got 1/2 to 1" of dead ends cut off -- Scott can't tell the difference, but it looks so much shorter to me! Plus I got shampooed - one of my greatest joys. When I win obscene money in the lottery, I'm going to get a full-time shampooist. Ahh... scalp massage...

Looking back, maybe it wasn't such a full day after all. But there was a two-hour American Idol to watch, cheese steaks for dinner (thanks, Scott!), and the trauma of cage cleaning (I cleaned the cage while Scott sweet talked Zoe... thanks again, Scott!). Plus we got some laundry done.

It looks like my babysitting services are going to be needed next Tuesday and possibly Wednesday, so Scott and I are going to do a little pre-vacation shopping tomorrow -- chapstick for me, ear plugs for Scott, sunscreen for both of us, and who knows what else?

Vacation: so close I can almost taste it!

American Idol - Week One - Girls

Well, we are at that time of year when Scott has all the computer time he wants on Tuesday and Wednesday nights, because my eyes are glued to the TV. It's American Idol's Season 5. It's too early to pick my winner, but I do want to go out on a limb to name my 6 picks for female finalists:

* Paris Bennett - the 17-year-old with the tiny sweet speaking voice, and HUGE singing genes. I worry that song selection may ultimately do her in (like Anwar from AI4), but her Midnight Train to Georgia tonight was spectacular.
* Kellie Pickler - she has humble roots (daddy in prison, raised by her grandfather) and southern charm, and she's got the Miss Congeniality award in the bag. Plus, she's the only one tonight who admitted being nervous. Likeability carries her into the top 6 girls.
* Lisa Tucker - the other 17-year-old the judges go ga ga for. She's like Whitney, before the drugs and wife-beating.
* Mandisa - she's got a big butt and an even bigger voice. And she's got enough pre-vote buzz to carry her into the finals.
* Who needs Idol? Not Ayla Brown! Besides having the coolest name in the competition, she's already got a scholarship to play basketball at Boston College.
* Katharine McPhee (no relation to Nanny) had a built-in voice coach growing up: her mother. Simon proclaimed hers the best performance of the night, and I'm sure she'll still be around for the finals.

I know that most of my readers don't care about Idol, and I thank you in advance for sticking with me through the deluge of posts to come over the next few months. Watch the show... then at least you'll know who I'm talking about!

ParkHopper OUT!

Wash Your Door, Lady?

Yesterday I was unloading the dishwasher (no, that's not the interesting part of the story!!) and heard a strange scratching at my door. So I went over and looked out the peephole and there was a little Puerto Rican man with a squirt bottle washing my door. Two thoughts immediately went through my mind:

1. Is the door locked? No. OK, lock it very quietly so he doesn't think I'm paranoid.
2. Is he employed by the apartment complex to be washing doors? Maybe I should call and find out...

All I could think of was those homeless people in cities who wash windshields at red lights. I thought this guy was going to wash my door and then knock and ask for a tip! I didn't bother calling the office, and he ultimately left without knocking. I was glad I locked the door when I did though, because he washed the doorknob a minute later and it jiggled a little bit and I totally would've freaked out if the door wasn't locked.

20 February, 2006

Bumper Sticker

...courtesy of my mom

I'd Rather Hunt With Dick Cheney
Ride With Ted Kennedy

This message has been brought to you by the three Republicans in the country with a sense of humor. We now return you to the Religious Right.

19 February, 2006

Leaving With a Bang

One of the other Help Desk girls walked into work today, stayed about 15 minutes, took a Release of Shift (left without permission), handed in her ID and quit. Apparently she and her husband have been planning to move back up north for a while. They sold their house and had a big check and they were in a big hurry to get it into a bank in Ohio. So they left. Anyway, only a few people knew that they were even selling the house, and no one expected her to just quit with no notice -- no card, no going away party, not even a goodbye e-mail. A very strange way to go!

Speaking of very strange, I had a guy call today saying that he booked with Car Rental Company A, even though Company B would've been cheaper, because they were "our" official rental car company. He reserved a 7-passenger minivan (by the way, he's driving this rental car from his home down here one-way... don't ask me why), but the company only had a station wagon. Because all of his luggage and their stroller wouldn't fit, he suggested that I comp. him a stroller for the 8 days he's here. I suggested he go to Wal Mart and buy a $10 umbrella stroller instead. He didn't really like that response too much, so I connected him to the front desk of the hotel he'll be staying at because he thought the $80 for stroller rental should be taken off of his room rate. I only hope the person at the front desk managed to hold in their laughter until the end of the phone call!

The only reason I was answering calls tonight at all is because one of our less competent managers switched my scheduled duties around. When I walked in today, she told me she moved me. Rather than ask why (I knew why... but the other managers at least ask for input before they screw with us), I rolled my eyes, said "ok," and went to get my headset. And then I called Scott and told him how pissed off I was. Had this manager been one of our night managers tonight, I would've taken an ROS after everyone else's lunches. But since she left at 5, I decided to stay. Really, it's not that I have a problem with authority. I have a problem with managers who need me to do all of my job and part of theirs because they just don't understand what's going on in the big bad world around them. She really doesn't have a feel for the operation, which shocks me because she's been there forever. Or maybe she just plays dumb to get others to bear the brunt of the work load.

Anyway, I should probably learn to hide my lack of respect a little better. But for now, I'm off to take some anti-cranky remedy (Tums and a glass of water) and go to bed.

18 February, 2006

A Package!

Last night, we came home to a UPS package slip on the door. Neither of us had bought anything online, and were really curious about what it could be. So Scott went down to the rental office this morning and picked it up -- it was our Cruise documents!

Why is this exciting? Because usually when you book the super-cheap rates, they don't tell you your stateroom in advance, and they make you print off your documents online (which I had already done... guess I can shred them!). So imagine my surprise when, for the first time, I got the actual cruise booklet, complete with luggage tags that show our room assignment!

The good news: we're on the 6th deck. This means we're above and below staterooms. Last time I went on a cruise with my mom, we were below the nightclub and stayed up at night playing Name That Tune through the ceiling.

The bad news: we're in a wheelchair accessible stateroom. This generally means there's a shower, but no bathtub. The only other real difference is that things are a little lower - towel bars, peep hole, etc - to accommodate someone in a wheelchair.

The good news about the wheelchair accessible stateroom: it's bigger! I can't tell from the little floorplan of the ship whether it's just the bathroom that's bigger, or whether it's the rest of the room as well. But it's definitely larger than the standard stateroom.

I'm so excited... I just can't wait to get onboard!

Best Year Ever?

I'm thinking about starting a new blog. Yeah - just what I needed, right? But this one might just be great for me. I think I need to create a new blog called Best Year Ever, and post something positive every day.

*gag* right?

My theory is that when I post negative things, I look back on them and remember negative things. What I write here is pretty much all I'm going to remember in a year or five or ten about my day to day life, so why not record only positive things? Plus, it would be quite a powerful exercise in positive thinking.

For example, if I were writing about the 17th of February, instead of starting out with "Mr. Undependable called in again today. We were short-handed and, as always, the overtime hog who doesn't actually like to *work* for her time-and-a-half stayed to 'help out,'" I would write, "We had a call-in tonight. Luckily, we had plenty of overtime help. Plus, I prefer staying busy... it makes the night go by so much faster!"

The truth, as always, lies somewhere in the middle.

Anyway, I'm mulling this one over. Any thoughts? I figured I would start it after my birthday... with back-dated posts that start on my birthday. (why? the cruise will be a completely internet-free vacation. we are cutting ourselves off from the world. unless there's an emergency, in which case you should feel free to call and pay the $15/minute phone bill!)

Oh yes, and on a completely unrelated note, we have named the little furball. Her name is Zoe Pig. Scott and I came up with Zoe separately within 12 hours of eachother, and it's really the first name we've agreed upon. I, however, keep calling her Piggy, so I decided to keep Pig as her middle name. I showed some of my co-workers her picture and told them, "she's a hamster now, but she'll grow up into a guinea pig." Of course, another girl I work with just had a baby and named her Zoey... so we're not going to tell her my rodent and her firstborn share the same name.

17 February, 2006


With my husband working 7 days this week, I've had to pick up some of my own slack. Yesterday I cooked lunch (ok, I nuked noodles & sauce). Today I'm doing laundry and cooking lunch. It's just one load of lights, but it's nice to know that every now and then I can remember how to do something productive! The jury is still out on lunch - it may be another pack of noodles & sauce.

Scotty come home!

16 February, 2006

Piggy Madness

I had a formal request from Matthew for more pictures on the blog. Here ya go Matt -- a little baby love just for you!

She looks absolutely terrified in the picture, and she probably was. I had just finished changing her food dish and water bottle and she's not used to me swooping in and stealing her stuff.

In case you're wondering, she's sitting on top of the yellow fleece hat I put in her cage so she'd have something warm to snuggle with. She generally sleeps inside or under it, and it's so cute to see her little face poking out the side. And if I put fresh hay in the cage while she's in her hat, she moves the hat over and then you just see pieces of hay disappear underneath it.

Good news on the Chube front: she seems to like it. She's rearranging the fluff on the inside, and has found it a convenient hiding place when Scott or I invade her personal space. And if I can get a picture of her inside it, it will make a great addition to the (now re-titled) Pets in Boxes calendar I keep threatening people with.

15 February, 2006

Honesty Really IS the Best Policy!

Scott needs a suit -- or at the very least, a sportcoat -- for work this week. Don't ask me why - I could tell you, but then I'd have to kill you. Of course, if you e-mail him, I'm sure he'll tell you. He found this out yesterday. I refused to spend Valentine's day at the mall, stressing with Scott over fashion. So we set out today when he got off from work to find a jacket.

"Everyone at work" recommended the Burlington Coat Factory, and told him that there was one at the Prime (formerly Bells) Outlets on I-Drive. So we went there. There was no BCF. So we called Reyna and asked her to look it up online, since she has a job with free time and internet access. The closest one was over by the Florida Mall. We went, and struck out. So we hit the mall. We started at Penney's (didn't I say I wasn't going back there again?) and struck out there. Then we went to Sears expecting to strike out again... you know... because it's Sears.

Imagine my shock when Scott found exactly what he was looking for! There, with angels singing and spotlight shining down, was the almost-perfect black jacket. "The" jacket didn't have a tag on it, and there were two types of jackets on the rack - one with tacky gold buttons priced at $99, and one like Scott's with black buttons for $145. We were really tempted to bring up "the" jacket and a $99 jacket to ring up, figuring they wouldn't notice the minor difference, but decided to play it honest. Imagine our shock when the cashier rang up the jacket with the tag that said $145 and the price was only $79! We laughed about our good fortune all the way out to the car. The sleeves on "the" jacket are about an inch too long, but it's good enough for right now. We may take it to the local dry cleaner and have the sleeves taken up later on... but it's us we're talking about... we'll probably forget!

We celebrated our good fortune with $11 worth of all-you-can-eat pizza and Sprites from CiCis, and then went home at watched Idol (my early picks - Paris and Kelly. Scott's pick - Tyler) and played with the nameless pig. She sat with Scott for about 20 minutes, but he was nervous that she was nervous, so I took her. She ate a piece of hay from me, and then pooped not 30 seconds later.

Speaking of the baby, I'm really not feeling like she's a Milli. I say the name, and it just doesn't fit. You just shouldn't name a baby you haven't met yet! I like Uma Sophie cuz then her initials are US - great for Olympic Spirit and for "us." Or maybe Valentine, but that's *so* cliche!

I bought her a Chube today. What's that? It's a glorified giant toilet paper roll with fluffy bedding inside. She can run through it, sleep in it, climb it, chew on it... it's an all purpose accessory! Or she can just stare suspiciously at it from underneath the fleece ski cap that I gave her before.


Crisis Averted

I found my birth certificate folded inside a copy of our marriage license in a "hurricane proof" rubbermaid box in the bottom of our bedroom closet. I couldn't look there last night because Scott was already asleep. It was actually a pretty logical place to look - much more logical than the glove compartment of my car (which is where my baptism certificate is!).

On the bright side, while tearing apart the living room last night, I found a book I think I got for my birthday last year from Shirley or Janette. It looks amusing... can't figure out why I never read it... probably because it was still in the gift bag it came in. I also came across two expired Disney tickets, the memory card for my camera, and a handful of wedding cards.

Our storage bins really need to be cleaned out!

On the bright side, I think I can start packing now... or at least start planning.

Buyer's Remorse

OK, so I did some things without really thinking them through all the way.

It turns out that guinea pigs are social, and are happiest in pairs. I think (Milli/Uma/Sophie) is going to just have to be content as an only child for the moment though. She seems to be adjusting ok to her new home. She hasn't met the cats... and I think that can wait until she's more settled in.

Also, the "everything included" starter kit that I bought was missing the WATER BOTTLE of all things, and I had to make an emergency run to Wal Mart to buy one.

She and I are bonding. Or she's really cold in our apartment and sitting with me is the lesser of two evils. Or she's too afraid to try to get away from me. At any rate, she sat in my lap for over an hour while I watched TV. I'd pet her, she'd coo, and my heart would just melt! And when it was time for dinner, she climbed up my shirt trying to stay with me. She also pooped on me. She pooped a lot today!

And as for the cruise, I can't seem to find my birth certificate. And I'm not 100% sure I can get a copy within 15 days. I think the birth certificate is with the marriage certificates. If only I could remember where they were... Let's guess what Jamie will be rummaging for after she gets some sleep.

...if she gets some sleep.

Hopefully tomorrow I'll have some baby-at-home pictures to show off. :o)

14 February, 2006


I admit, I should really be in bed. But Scott brought me a Coke with dinner tonight, and I didn't finish drinking it until almost 10pm. Yikes!

Anyway, I just found the coolest thing over on Scalzi's blog: the Johari Window! Here's the short version: I picked 6 adjectives that I think describe me. Then you go and select your own 6 adjectives to describe me (leave your real name or a made-up one -- I don't care). The result is a neat little chart broken up into what's known by me vs what's known by others.

Please go visit my Johari Window and tell me how wonderful I am!

List of Stuff

Happy Valentine's Day!
I came home from work tonight, and there were roses on our counter. Red ones. I didn't think you could actually get those in the month of February. Guess I was wrong! I went in the bedroom to kiss Scott hello, poked him, flopped on the bed, and kissed him on the cheek, but he never even twitched. That must mean these early shifts are finally starting to get to him. I guess I'll have to wait til he gets off work today to thank him.

It's a Girl!
I believe I have thus far failed to mention the new addition to our family. Since she's arriving tomorrow, and since I have pictures (already? sheesh...I must be good!), I thought now would be a good time to announce that we're getting a guinea pig.

She doesn't really have a name yet. Originally, I wanted it to be Milli because Millimeter went along so well with Miles and Kilometer, but I work with a Millie. She doesn't like me very much. So then I thought about other measurements of distance -- inch, foot, fathom, league, yard -- but none of those really match such a cute little thing. So what about a play on Milo and Kilo? There's Lilo...that's not such a bad name. Or maybe I should let Scott name her (I, of course, would still get veto power) since I named both the cats. If anyone has a suggestion, throw it out there. Like I said, she's coming home tomorrow and can't be the Nameless Wonder forever!

We're Going on a Cruise!
Wait...isn't this old news? No!!!! I got a super cut-rate discount cruise today that happens to be over my birthday - departing on the 2nd, returning early enough on the 5th to catch a nap before the Oscars. We already had the vacation time reserved, so we went for it. Of course, this means Scott's new TV is going to have to wait a few more months, but I'm so excited!!! Only 17 days!!! As of now, we still plan on taking the longer one (4 night -- the one next month is a 3 night) in December for our anniversary. My goal for the year was to get the heck out of Central Florida and by golly, we're doing it! If only I could remember where my birth certificate is...

And Finally...
Being here in Florida, not buried by 2 feet of snow, I try to not really say that it's cold. But when I left work tonight, there was a solid coating of permafrost (this was some thick frost!) over my entire car. I had to let it run with the vent on high heat, full-blast for five minutes before there was a big enough hole in the ice to see through to drive. No matter where you are, 30 degrees is cold. And when Florida gets that cold and the oranges freeze, who is going to supply the rest of the country with flu-easing orange juice? brrr

13 February, 2006

It Is Done

I have my car back. I paid them $535 (ouch), asked about the warranty (starts fresh as of today), asked about the radiator (doesn't need to be replaced, but I decide I want to do it, I should give them a call and they'll price it and do the work for me. lol), took the key, and drove away.

Eric says I should be good to 200,000 miles. I told him I'd be grateful to get to 70,000. Then of course, I'm back under warranty to 75... so I really shouldn't sell the car short!

Of course, I drove Scott's car over there, so it is now in their parking lot. Not to worry - he'll be able to pick it up on his way home this afternoon. Notice I didn't say 'tonight?' Must be nice to get off of work at 4pm. I'm sure he'd say "must be nice to not have to work until 4:30pm." Perception is everything!

Well, at least now I have my car and I'll be able to drive out to get ingredients to cook dinner tomorrow... and buy a card. It is, after all, a Hallmark holiday. What's on the menu? Wouldn't you like to know!

11 February, 2006

Wrong Filter

So I called the transmission guys back at 11:00. (you know, since the car was supposed to be ready "in an hour" from 8:00) Imagine my surprise when Mike said that they had the wrong filters, and they have to wait for the supplier to open on Monday to get the part. He actually said the car takes a "screwball" filter that even the auto parts store at the other end of the strip mall doesn't carry. This, of course, means that the car will not be ready until Monday. And since Scott is working at 7am on Monday, I don't even know when I'll be able to get it back.

I also asked Mike the all-important money question. He didn't know, but promised to have Eric call me back. Imagine my surprise when I came back from the store and actually had a message from Eric on my phone. The total for parts came to "$530, but I'll round it down to $500." Well thanks for your freakin' generosity!

I don't know if they did anything with the radiator or not. If they didn't (which I assume), then I still need to find a reputable mechanic to take a look at it. Apparently it's cracked somewhere. So in case anyone is keeping track, the total I've paid to these bozos in the past few months is currently $1902. After this $500, it'll be up to at least $2402, (more if the $500 doesn't include tax). I'm starting to wonder what a new transmission from the dealership would've cost in the first place. Keep in mind that I still need to get my brakes taken care of. I should probably take care of that this week on one of my days off.


I called in sick from work yesterday. There's some wicked germs flying around (you know - like stomach flu), and since I had a host of other maladies, I figured I'd choke down lots of Airborne and spend the day relaxing. It worked. My stuffy nose and sore throat are much better. I'm ready to go back and conquer the world.

...right after I finish babysitting!

Scott called the transmission guys this morning around 8 and was told the car would be ready in an hour and that they'd call. I figure I'll give them until 10 before I call back myself.

In other news, Scott came home last night with a present for me that I've been looking for for months -- "Johnny in my Pocket" -- a 7" Captain Jack Sparrow action figure with removable hat, pistol, and rum bottle. hahaha! It's not sold on any Disney website, but I found it on ebay. He's sitting on top of the entertainment center where I can see him while watching TV. It totally made yesterday worthwhile.

That's all for now. Time for breakfast, shower, and harassing phone call. :o)

09 February, 2006

Weekend Assignment: Web Surfing!

Weekend Assignment #98: List the most useless website you have ever visited.
Honestly, if a website were completely useless, I doubt I'd go back. The site that I chose is the most useless one in my "Favorites" list:

The entire site is full of cute kittens. They show you two at a time, and you vote for which is the cutest. I actually have a picture on there, with a 59% win record.

That's it -- cute kittens. That's the entire site.

Extra Credit: Tell us all about why you can't stop going there.
I don't go there often, but when I do, it's usually for an hour or more. I just can't stop myself! It's also amazing to see what some pet owners classify as "cute."

The First of How Many Long Days?

Scott and I are looking at a 12-hour day today. He starts work 3 1/2 hours before I do, and that means I'm there 3 1/2 hours later than he is. Luckily for me, I may be able to start early... and if I can't I'll just go see a movie.

I think I'm over the whole "make the best of it" thing. All I really want is to get my car back. Oh yeah - and to have it work properly. Really, I don't mean to whine. I'm just really consumed by the whole predicament.

In other news, Scott and I went out and had dinner with Matthew and Kristen last night. It was so nice to see them. Well, nice to see him... and meet her. We were going to go mini golfing after we ate, but the golf people closed early. Probably because it was about 40 degrees outside! And I know it won't be another year before I see Matthew again - they are already confirmed to come out for my birthday. yay!

08 February, 2006

Head in the Clouds

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Show off a picture of some really interesting clouds. The only caveat: don't use pictures you've previously posted -- make them new, or at least new to the rest of us.

I wish this Photo Shoot had come up in the summer. Florida has the best clouds in the summer. However, it's been cool here the past few days and the clouds have been less than stellar. Yesterday, though, was cloudy and I got this shot waiting for the ferry boat to the Magic Kingdom.

Looks pretty ominous, doesn't it? It barely sprinkled, but it sure was cold and windy. And silly me - I wore a t-shirt and didn't carry a jacket!

Actually, we had a pretty great day of Park Hopping, despite all of the nonsense going on with my car and its "voided warranty." We started at MGM, with lunch at Prime Time (by the way mom, Mary and Lorraine say hi. you wouldn't even recognize Lorraine - she's lost half a person!), and then wandered around looking for places to take silly pictures.

"Chilled monkey brains" prop from Temple of Doom... and Scott "singin' in the rain"
We didn't ride any rides at MGM, but we did have fun. Maybe that's why we went over to MK. We actually did lots of rides at the Kingdom - it's that time of year when there's not really much of a wait for anything. We even rode Peter Pan's Flight. Oh yeah - and we had the fastest spinning teacup ever. Even Scott was dizzy.
It just goes to show - you can have fun even when the sky (and your mood) is gray... if you put your mind to it.

"The Warranty is Voided"

Excuse me? Did you say "voided?"

"Because the damage to the transmission was water damage, the warranty is voided. But I'm not going to charge you for the labor. And the parts shouldn't be too much. I'm hoping it's just the clutches that have gotten flaked away."

So I asked the burning question. What are the chances that you guys cracked the radiator when you put in my transmission? After all, there was no water in the transmission the first time I brought it in. And you guys messed up the interior of my car and weren't able to fix it.

And he said something that shocked me - not because I didn't believe it, but because I didn't think they would ever admit it: "We didn't do anything to the inside of your car. That must've been done by the kids who got into your car when it was out in the lot."

So he said when they pull the transmission out (today), they'll look at the radiator and see if it's cracked on the outside. If it is, "of course" the repairs will be on them. How freakin' noble!

Let's just hope this nightmare is almost over. He said he should have my baby back to me by Friday, which would be great since Scott is working days next week and that would've been a real mess.

So...straw poll... anyone out there think I should:
a) attempt to file a police report regarding the theft from and vandalism of my car sometime between October and December?
b) contact the BBB no matter what they make me pay this time around?

07 February, 2006

When WAS This Great Flood?

Well, when I WENT TO SEE ERIC because he didn't call me back this afternoon, he said he thinks that the water that had gotten in the transmission from this supposed cracked radiator must've done quite a bit of damage.

Based on what I told him, he says the clutch is probably shot and lord knows what else is corroded or otherwise damaged. He seemed awfully put out that he'd actually have to take the transmission out and check it all.

I guess this explains how they got the car back to me so quickly the last time. They found one problem and fixed it. They didn't really look very hard.

I wonder what they think I'm going to pay. In the original diagnostic of all of the transmission repairs that needed to be made. Water was never mentioned. If the radiator is cracked, I'm quite certain that they cracked it... possibly around the same time that they removed the center console of my car for no apparent reason.

So here's the game plan: I'm not thinking about the car at all until Wednesday. In fact, I'm going to turn my phone off and leave it at home. On Wednesday when I haven't heard anything, I'll call. I may rant. Sadly, as furious as I am, my job really has me conditioned to not raise my voice and to be polite no matter what. I have a feeling that Eric thinks I'm docile. He needs to stop pushing me around. And I may need to raise my voice.

But I'm not thinking about it for the next 36 hours. So don't ask.

Cat-in-the-Box, Irony Edition

Ever since Milo was a tiny kitten who liked to climb legs, I've wanted to get him one of those groovy cat trees. So when we were at Wal Mart tonight after work and I was depressed about my car, I decided that I needed some retail therapy.

Of course, it took about a minute after we got home to realize that retail therapy was not the way to go tonight.

Right off the bat, the cats were loving the individual pieces (treated with catnip). Milo was scratching at them, and Kilo went really batty. So Scott and I hurried to set it up and get them climbing.

The Cat Tree is missing at least one screw, but we set it up anyway.


We succeeded in leaving a large, empty, catnip-scented box on the floor unattended.

And what about the cat tree?

The tree stands alone.

Did you really need to ask?

hahaha -- I made a haiku!

06 February, 2006

You CAN'T Be Serious

"We're a single car family."

This is quickly becoming The ParkHopper Family Motto. And it sucks.

On the way to babysit yesterday, I stopped at a 4-way stop. When it was my turn to go, I hit the gas (because, you know, that's supposed to make the car go) and the engine revved a lot, then went ka-chunk ka-chunk ka-chunk while hopping and giving me whiplash, and then finally caught and started going again.

The car got me to babysit, and then got me to work (although I rolled through every stop sign inbetween). And then Scott drove me home.

Because of my lack of car and the fact that Scott had to drive me home, I missed out on 4 hours of OT last night, and both of us have had to change schedules tonight so that we can carpool.

Angry is an understatement. Furious and scared to drive my own car? Yes. So upset that I was sobbing in front of two of my managers and another co-worker? That's right!

So I called the transmission guys just now (I've been up for about an hour, but decided to do some relaxing deep breathing before calling). I talked to Mike, who put me on hold, and then I talked to Eric, who couldn't have sounded less happy to hear from me. He said there were three other people in his face and that he'd call me back within a half hour. He's got until noon, and then I'm going to put my hair in a ponytail, steal Scott's car, and go yell in person. So here's what I'm thinking:
  • I didn't call the BBB when I got my car back and the center console was all messed up and they were unable to fix the damage that they had done.
  • I didn't make a police report about the stolen CDs and the vandalism to the inside of my car.
  • I have paid a total of $1902 for repairs that have kept me on the road for about 60 days. That's $31/day. I think I could've gotten a long-term rental for less.
  • I will give them one more chance to fix whatever it is that's wrong with my transmission. If the car gives me any more trouble, they need to give me that money back so that I can put it towards a new transmission from the dealership or towards a new car. That $1902 was paid to fix a problem that obviously hasn't been fixed, I consider that breach of contract and I want my money back.

I'm fairly confident that right now Eric is having some kind of "what do we do now?" conference with the bosses. Hopefully we'll all come to the same conclusion so that we can get on with our lives quickly and never have to see eachother again.

05 February, 2006

Annoying On Line

As I type this, there is a little box in the lower right corner of my AOL window. The box informs me that my virus protection software has been updated. OK... I get it! I've clicked the red X, I've clicked the "thank you now please leave me alone" button. And yet still the box remains.

I guess AOL really wants me to know that I'm protected.

Actually, I'm starting to get worried now. The box has disappeared and then reappeared twice now. Is this supposed to instill confidence?

04 February, 2006

The Quest for Pumpernickel

this is a copy of a post that Blogger ate. Let's try it again, shall we?

I signed up to bring spinach dip in a bread bowl to our Super Bowl party at work tomorrow. And today I actually remembered that fact so that I could make it today and let it mellow overnight. The dip is complete...and when I licked the fork, it tasted quite nice. I still need to find one crucial ingredient -- the bread bowl. I prefer pumpernickel, but if I go to Publix and they don't have any loaves that aren't pre-sliced, then I'll go with a sourdough-type.

....or I'll crack into the back-up box of Triscuits that I bought when I bought the other dip ingredients.

03 February, 2006

Stormy Weather

I woke up to a tremendous crash of thunder this morning - the kind that sets off car alarms. And then I went back to sleep. The pattern continued until noon when I finally got up, took some Tylenol for my monster headache, and got a bowl of granola to stop the Tylenol from eating my stomach lining.

Good morning!

It would be a great day to stay and home under a big comforter and watch movies. It's still all gray and rainy, chilly, and there's still the occasional thunder. Of course, I will have to get out and drive in this nastiness in a couple of hours. Have I mentioned that getting my brakes replaced is on the agenda for the weekend? It is time.

As you may have guessed, I have my car back. And it's driving ok. Yeah, just ok. It occasionally revs a little more than I'd like between gears, and I still plan to take it to AAMCO to have them tell me what's wrong with it that the other guys can't seem to figure out. But the brakes have to come first.

And the only other thing of note I'd like to mention is that we almost had to evacuate our office building last night. We had some third-rate carpet cleaners come in to deep clean, and they were using super-concentrated chemicals. And I work with a bunch of cry-babies. One girl puked. The rest had watery eyes, sore throats, and so on. So they had the fire department come with the air quality meter and tell us we were perfectly safe. Before they got there, I actually pulled the emergency preparedness tote box out of storage and started going over the checklist. The two managers on duty were the ones who generally expect the help desk to do their jobs on a *good* day, and I was determined to be prepared.

I think it's time to go enjoy the rainy day.

02 February, 2006

Really? So Soon?

Eric says my car is ready to be picked up.

I'll give you a moment to let the shock wear off.

He says that they flushed the transmission to get rid of all that water, and they installed a separate cooler for the transmission lines to run through so that they run independent of the radiator. The cooler costs $85, and I'm not sure whether he said they were charging me for that or not, but they're not charging me for the labor.

Frankly, it sounds like a whole lot of C.Y.A. to me. "Oops, we messed up something... let's make up a problem and then fix it for free." We're going to take the car to AAMCO or someplace similar and have them do the $20 diagnostic on the transmission, just to see if there's any other problems I should be aware of. But at least it sounds like I'll be able to drive the car there under its own power.

**fingers crossed** I'm going to pick up my baby!

01 February, 2006

Incredible Collection

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Take a snap of something in the house you're pretty sure other people aren't likely to have in their house. Pets and people are not included (we're pretty sure your pets and kids aren't in most other people's houses). For this photo shoot we're looking at things -- stange objects, curios, odd keepsakes and just generally weird stuff.

By far, the strangest thing I own is the Jefferson Davis decanter that I've used for countless other memes. But I haven't taken any new pictures in a while, so I decided to spotlight something different -- our assortment of Incredibles stuff:

There's a t-shirt, two happy meal toys, a backrest pillow, the DVD, the Playstation game, and a tin of school supplies (plus Milo...our incredible cat) pictured. What can I say? My incredible husband has really become attached to this stuff!

And on a completely unrelated note, I wanted to show off the new jacket I got today. The color didn't photograph well, but it's a spring green color washable suede jacket that I picked up at Target today on the clearance rack for $12.49. It's missing the bottom button, but came with a spare. I can't wait until our next casual day at work so that I can wear it with a t-shirt and a pair of jeans. It's so cute!

Auto Update

When I hadn't heard from the transmission guys by yesterday afternoon, I decided to go ahead and call them. I spoke with Eric.

Eric: Has your car been in a flood?
Eric: OK - there was water in your transmission lines and we were wondering if that's where it came from.

Riiiight...a flood...that's it. He then went on to say that if I hadn't been flooded, it's likely a cracked radiator, because the water "couldn't be coming from anywhere else" and that they had the car up on the lift then, and he'd call me in the morning to let me know what was going on.

So I waited until 4:45 this afternoon before calling back. When I called at 4:45, I was told that I had to talk to Eric, who was on a road test. Tim said he'd have Eric call me back within 5 minutes. I called back at 5:15, only to have Eric tell me exactly what he told me yesterday. He said with some amount of certainty that the transmission wore out because of the water, which meant the radiator was broken. I get the impression that no one has even bothered to look at the radiator. He promised he'd call tomorrow morning around 9 once he's checked on the price of a radiator and called his bosses to make sure that he was correctly diagnosing the problem. He also gave me a ballpark figure of around $200.

Honestly, I just don't think that 62,000 miles is enough to warrant two crapped out transmissions and a broken radiator. And if I wake up tomorrow and haven't heard from them by noon, I may need to borrow Scott's car and drive over there for a little face time. Perhaps Eric has a bunch of cars of his own and doesn't understand the concept that I need my car, I need him to stop dicking around, and I need them to be accountable for whatever they screwed up the first time around that has caused me to come back so soon.

That being said, I'll gladly pay the $200 if it means I can have my car back by the end of the week. Scott and I aren't working the same shift, and not being able to stay past 1 am on overtime is ultimately going to lower my paycheck.