Interstellar Adventures

December 10, 2008

Still Kickin’ It

I’m sure this place barely has a pulse. And this is probably a lame attempt at CPR. But, nonetheless, here I am. My friend Ben decided to check up on me and pushed me just enough to get me to post. I like it when people care. 🙂

Since we moved, Pop passed away, the kids started new schools, Nick went back to school, and work started kicking my ass, I haven’t been inspired to post much. Many of my thoughts made me sound like a whiney-ass bitch, and though I am, I still don’t want to sound like it.

Elle’s birthday came and went and we had a slumber party with 10+ 9-10 year olds. I realized several things that night. First, Elle has some serious bossiness issues, and I (privately) told her she was acting like a brat at her own party. Second, I wanted to tell about 5 other girls at the parties that I thought they were being bratty, but they were not my kids, so I just reminded them to play nice. Thirdly, I wished I could tell 5 other parents that their preshus babees are brats, but they are soccer parents and we have to play nice. Fourth, I hoped that Elle never acts the way these girls did when I’m not around. Fifth, it will be a long time before I have another slumber party for little girls.

Zed nearly failed algebra (8th grade honors math) last six weeks. This was the first time I’ve ever really had to ride him about his grades. He has taken on a lot more school work this year, with 3 honors classes, and he has been involved in athletics, which takes extra time. But he also lazes around a lot. Mostly he’s been a great teenager though. So far. Knock on wood. He picked it up, and we haven’t had any issues since. I know it will make you all jealous, but the worst problem I have with him is that he leaves his bike in the driveway. I know, I know. He’s too good!

Nick has been having some health issues, and near the end of the summer was diagnosed with Hemochromatosis. Basically my baby is Iron Man. Literally. He retains high levels of iron in his blood, which is extremely toxic, and can cause life-threatening side effects and diseases if not treated. Fortuately his diagnosis was made very early (I can be very persuasive) and tests revealed no damage to organs commonly affected. He has visisted a stream of doctors as a result, and we are still trying to get everything into balance through regular treatment. But he is still plagued by some of the side effects of the disorder, but is actually getting better, though some days it doesn’t seem that way. He has also gone back to school, and is working on finishing his associates before transferring to a four-year program.

And I have been working my tail off. And staying at very nice hotels when traveling. And meeting really cool people while I’m on the road. I’ve been sticking my neck out into some uncomfortable territory, creating a role, and lining myself up to be promoted into it. Which, as brave as I appear to be on the outside, I am really a scared little chicken-shit on the inside. The first time I gave my pitch I finished with a very wet shirt back and waistband. I hate it when I get all nervous and my voice wavers and my hands shake. I can do this dammit!

My birthday has come and gone as well. I’m now in my “mid-thirties” and I think I’m starting to show my age. Seems like the skin on the cheeks isn’t as smooth and shiney as it used to be. And my hands are starting to look old too. I’m moisturizing like a mad woman, trying to get back that baby smooth feel.

So all in all, yes Ben, I’m OK. Just busy living, turning my new house into a home, trying to bring home more bacon, and loving my family more and more every day. I’ll try to do a better job of being around. Things are staring to get interesting again, and I’m feeling pretty good after this post. Mwah!

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August 15, 2008

In Beijing it’s a stomach bug

Filed under: It's Me, Lass,Training — by InterstellarLass @ 10:35 am

Perhaps the Olympics inspired me. On Monday, I started boot camp. I wasn’t nervous, though it seems I should have been. I wasn’t too excited about our first ‘activity’. It seems there were some birthdays for some of the ladies in the class. So, at 5:30 on a Monday morning, there were 20-30 grown women running around a parking lot like crazy fiends, with balloons tied to our shoes, trying to ‘pop’ others’ balloons, while protecting ours from danger. This is not how we get me to participate in things – by starting off with goofy-ass games I mean.

Our workout was quickly interrupted by rain, so we moved from the parking lot to a semi-covered but partially flooded pavillion. The rest of the workout was typical I thought, and when I left, I felt that I hadn’t worked hard enough.

Oh silly me. By the time I got home, my muscles started to ache, and I could tell that I had put in enough effort. Way more effort than I should have probably. This was total head to toe pain. By the time I got to work, getting in and out of my chair was a workout itself.

On Tuesday, my phone alarm at 4:30 am brought a groan. Still sore and barely able to don my sports bra and tie my shoes without grimacing severely, I still made it to boot camp. I actually enjoyed that morning’s workout, even though they were called ‘suicides’. But at home, things quickly went from bad to worse. The pain in all my muscles was constant and throbbing. Not a good sign. By the time I made it to work, I knew I was going to come down sick. And, just as I predicted, that afternoon I started running a fever.

A visit to my chiro gave me brief respite. Bless the stim machine and hot pads. I continued to run a low-grade fever Tuesday night into Wednesday morning. I emailed in sick to the boot camp instructor and my project manager. I didn’t go to the doctor. After Nick made me take a cold bath, my fever broke, and I thought I was on my way to recovery. Then the throat started to hurt.

Wednesday night I tossed and turned on the couch, trying to stay away from Nick so my sickness didn’t spread around the house. My throat felt like I was choking down hot, spiked coals. I didn’t sleep well, and when I looked in the mirror, I looked like a puffer fish. OK, slight exaggeration, but that’s what it felt like anyway.

Thursday morning I called my Dr and got an appointment. The rapid strep test came back negative. On Monday the lab culture will come back to confirm the negative diagnosis. I shoveled four ibuprofen and some Mucinex D and headed to work. People looked at me warily, and I croaked around all afternoon.

Before I sat down to watch the hours and hours of Olympics coverage on my DVR, I shoveled another 4 ibuprofen and some Mucinex D. Then I tossed and turned on the couch, the hot, spikey coals having returned. We are talking excruciating pain when I swallow, from the bottom of my jaw, up to my ears, which feel like they are stuffed with cotton.

I’ve missed 3 days of boot camp, which wasn’t cheap. I’m sure the instructor thinks I’m a total flake, making excuses because I’m a pansy. I assure you this is not true. I haven’t been sick in years, and now I’ve got this strange, random throat issue. Ibuprofen dulls the pain and swelling to a bearable level, but I’m not getting any better. One of the ladies at work mentioned a throat virus that’s been going around, saying it last weeks, ebbing, then returning. I am not cool with this. I don’t have a couple of weeks to be sick. I have boot camp and the corporate challenge going on this next month or so, and I don’t have time to be sick!

So, for now, I’m probably going to OD myself on ibuprofen and Mucinex D, gargle warm salt water frequently, and pray that my mystery illness magically disappears. My one hope is that if I’m not better Monday, my boot camp instructor will let me move to the next session so I can recover and not lose my investment. I can bowl for the corporate team with a sore throat, but other events like kickball, the bike ride, run, swimming, etc. I can’t do while I’m down without making myself worse.

It’s days like today when I wish I had access to the Olympic physicians and trainers, and thankful I’m not being dope tested.

August 2, 2008

How’s that now???

Filed under: It's Me, Lass,Rants & Opinions — by InterstellarLass @ 11:11 pm

I spent part of another day at my mom’s house today, helping her reduce from a 3/2 home to a 1/1 apartment. The going, she is slow. But, we are making progress. One of the things I am taking from the house is my mom’s dining room furniture, china, crystal, and flatware. My mom is a little sad, because it’s the one ‘super nice thing’ that she has, but apartment ‘dining’ rooms are, let’s say, tiny, and it just won’t fit.

So, today I was there, helping her pack it all up. We did an inventory of all the items, looked up replacement values (for insurance purposes), and packed and wrapped and boxed. I quickly figured out the packing stuff I had purchased at my local UHaul place just weren’t going to be enough, so we went to the one by her house.

I had a long wait at both UHaul locations today. It’s 105 in Texas, and people still have to move. UGH! So, we grabbed the extra dish kits and glass kits we needed, along with the boxes, and stood in line forever. Please note my use of the word “kit” in the previous sentence. This is where it gets fuzzy.

On the packaging, the ‘kit’ says it includes the packing foamy pouch thingys, the box insert forms, and a box. The thing is, the boxes are also sold separately, which must have just caused a ton of confusion for our UHaul Salesman #2. Salesman #1 at my store was quite competent, and rang my purchases up, no problem, even getting the boxes for me that were included in my kit that I neglected to pick up.

I knew I was in trouble when Salesman #2 asked me how many boxes I had. “I have four boxes, one for each kit I bought” I replied. “Well, they’re not included you know, so I have to charge for those.” I raised an eyebrow. “Really? Because on the package here it says (pointing): Kit includes: Bullet Point 1 – foam pouch thingys, Bullet Point 2 – box insert forms, Bullet Point 3 – Box.” To which he replied, “Yeah, I know that’s what it says, but the box isn’t included.”

I was floored. Clearly on the packaging it said box included. Salesman #1 told me box was included, and did not charge me for box. Salesman #2 obviously has issues with interpreting the written word. “I’m sorry, but I really believe the box is included, so I need you to ask someone else about this.” So, he whipped out his cell phone and called his manager. “Are boxes included in the dish and glass kits?” he asked. “Oh they are, for reals?” I about fell over.

Yeah, for reals, they are included. But wait! There’s more!

While Salesman #2 and I are having our training session, a girl who had previously been at the counter interrupts our discussion, needing to provide whatever thing she didn’t provide before in order to vacate the premises with a truck. Salesman #2 finishes the call with the manager, hangs up the phone, backs out my entire transaction, and finishes off the young *ahem* lady, then re-rings me up. I still can’t figure out why he couldn’t back out my four boxes, charge me, and let me leave.

Customer service. Don’t expect it at UHaul. But hey, at least I didn’t pay an extra $20 for boxes.

July 28, 2008

Feels like…what?

Filed under: Interstellar Casa,It's Me, Lass — by InterstellarLass @ 9:28 pm

We’ve been in the new house for 6 weeks now. Well, one month and seven days anyway. And it still doesn’t feel like home yet. I mean sure, there’s the unfolded laundry on the bed, the dishes in the sink, and who knows what the kids’ rooms look like. But the feeling of ‘home’ eludes me still.

I haven’t gotten to my routine of grocery shopping and cooking yet, meaning we’ve been eating out way too much. I have made a few meals here on my new gas stove. And the gas stove still frightens me. Especially when I use the oven. I know the inspector inspected it and gave it all thumbs up (heated to a perfect 350F when set at 350F), but the on and off noises freak me out. And things cook faster, and handles get hotter. I still haven’t rearranged the kitchen from when my sister-in-law helpfully unpacked.

Our bedroom is done, for now. I have a drapery issue to overcome. But the painting and furniture is done. The new living room furniture is all here now. The backordered ottoman/coffee table arrived last week. The kids rooms are 80% unpacked. Nick’s office is shaping up nicely. My office has picture frames and books on the floor still. I’ll move my mom’s dining room furniture in the next week or so. The guest/craft room upstairs will continue to have it’s door closed. The guest/storage room upstairs will continue to wait on Nick to find the bed frame screws. I have about a hundred billion spackle spots to sand down (and then paint) on all the walls in this house. And I still have screws to pull from the high spots on the stairwell landing.

I will continue to look at my yard and it’s complete lack of landscaping, combined with it’s pleothora of weeds and cringe at the thought of trying to do even a little yard work in our sweltering 100+F degree days. Mowing is a pre-dawn activity around here. And the neighbors don’t get mad, because they’re all up doing their own yards. I continue to look at my back yard and laugh at myself that I thought I was going to get a garden planted back there next spring. I’d better start saving my sheckles.

Maybe it will start to feel more like home when the kids come back next week. July has alternately dragged and sped by. They’re staying a couple of extra days since we needed to juggle the weekend visitation schedule so they’re with their dad the weekend he gets married. Am I the only one that thinks 13 and 9 are too old for a ring bearer and flower girl? Not my event though, so I bit my tongue at that news.

I’m not sure what to do ‘next’ on the list. It all seems to happen on a whim. I’ll walk in the door from work, get an urge to hang a picture, get tired of looking for the hammer, grab my sanding block and sand a few spackle spots until my arm is tired, and then move a box from one room to another before sitting down, exhausted and go to bed watch a few episodes of Deadliest Catch off my DVR. (Sig & Phil are my favorites. Sig’s brother Edgar is totally insane, but is the closest person I can think of to a real-life MacGyver.)

It will all get done over time, I know. But my perfectionist ‘get it done right now!’ attitude is irritating me. And if I can’t make it perfect, I’m not going to bother to do it at all. Yeah, I know. I’ve got a sickness. And it wasn’t even all my years of therapy that helped me figure that out.

July 21, 2008

Fun & Educational

Filed under: It's Me, Lass — by InterstellarLass @ 9:22 pm

The brilliance of putting things into a blender is on par with watching CDs flash lightening in a microwave. But when it’s educational too, I give it an extra rating star.

Update: Trying to update the link. Sorry this hasn’t been working.

Who knew you could do this with sugar?

July 19, 2008

Flashback

Filed under: Blast from the Past,Interstellar Casa,It's Me, Lass — by InterstellarLass @ 9:12 pm

So, my mom is moving soon, and all four of us kids still have stuff at her house. I went over today to help throw old stuff away, and find anything remaining that might be mine. I didn’t find much, but what I did find put me in the Way Back Machine.

When I was a wee Lass, I read voraciously. Seriously. I read all the time. Nick doesn’t believe me, because nowadays, if I read a book a year, it’s a miracle. It’s not that I don’t like to read anymore, but time is precious and my attention span has withered. But when I was a girl, I would read 3 or 4 books a week, depending on how long they were.

So today, when I opened a box and found these, I jumped up and down like a little kid at Christmas and yelled “Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh my God!”. For reals y’all.

The Sunfire Romance series. Distributed by Scholastic books, written by four or five of the same authors, and all about as formulaic as you can get. Young girl in historical time period falls in love with two guys, has to figure out which one is the right one for her. And I fell for them hook, line and sinker. Sad, pathetic, but I.LOVED.THEM. (No, I will not give back my Bachelor’s in English with a Concentration in British Literature, thankyouverymuch.)

I have several favorites. Kathleen, Caroline, Joanna, Roxanne. Some of the girls were like my best friends. They were all smart, stood up for themselves, and made their way in the world. All of the books have dog-eared covers, creased spines, and were read more than once. I thought I had them all, but it seems I stopped at book 27. I will be buying the last five in the series. Also, I am missing book 4. I know I had it, but I wonder if it fell out of the box at some point on the way home. I will have to look in the car tomorrow.

I found some other nostalgia today too, like a pair of my pointe shoes from my ballet days, and a few photos – like one of me and my first boyfriend. I also scored a box of vinyl albums that my step-dad didn’t take when he and my mom divorced. Lots of Willie Nelson, some Led Zepplin, Bee Gees, Elton John, etc. Nick like those best.

Our unpacking is coming along. Last week one of Nick’s friends (and some of his friends) came over to help us move some big stuff around that we didn’t figure out what to do with until after the movers were long gone. There are still a few boxes, and the kids’ rooms need LOTS of work. The rest is just organizing stuff that isn’t used everyday, so of course that will go on for some time to come.

Nick is just back from Target, with lots of picture frames for pictures we need to hang, and a new turntable (Zed has one on his stereo in his room, but that’s upstairs and it’s old and doesn’t work well) so we can listen to the vinyl.

Anyone else come across something lately from the way back yesteryears?

July 16, 2008

Her Big Sister in a Shining SUV

Filed under: Family & Friends,It's Me, Lass — by InterstellarLass @ 9:10 pm

This evening, my sisters and I were supposed to head over to my mom’s house and help her with some stuff. So I changed after work and was headed for the elevator when my phone rang. It was my mom, and I figured she was checking on my ETA. Instead, she informed me my sister had a blow-out, and was stranded on the side of the freeway. I immediately assured her I would get to her and get the tire fixed.

So I called my baby sister, and she was on the verge of tears. She’s young, and was somewhat unprepared for the situation. OK, totally unprepared for the situation. No spare, no jack. But, her phone was charged AND she had the tire key. I took control, came up with the plan, and calmed her down.

I located her, but due to some fouled up issues with the road, I was only able to get within about 100 yards of her car. Doh! So I called her and had her walk over to my car, then we toured the other side of the freeway and came back around.

Her tire was totally shredded. She’s really lucky she didn’t lose control of the car. So I got out my (manual! ugh!) jack and got the tire off the car with no issue. We drove to Wal Mart (yes, Nick, I actually by CHOICE entered a Wal Mart – it was for a good cause) and got the replacement tire.

We got back to her car, and I put the jack up all the way. But the tire wouldn’t fit. Crap. The angle of the car on the roadside put the right rear section of the car lower than the rest of the car. I decided to try to move the jack as far to the left as I could (about 4 inches), to see if that would give me the angle I needed. And it just barely did. Otherwise I was going to be calling emergency roadside assistance. All the nuts got tightened up properly, and she was ready to go.

And lest you all wonder if mankind is still helpful, they are. Before I arrived, four people stopped. Then, after I got there, another guy stopped (just as I got the tire off). And, as I was tightening down the last nut, another guy stopped. But, it’s all good. I had the knowledge and the ability.

So, the tire we got tonight will get turned into a full-sized spare that WILL be put into my sister’s car. We WILL make a trip to an auto parts store to buy her a jack. And we WILL be having a tire-changing lesson in the near future. And Elle WILL watch. Go Girl Power!

July 9, 2008

Monkey pajamas

Filed under: Elle & Zed,Family & Friends,It's Me, Lass,Mr. Wonderful — by InterstellarLass @ 10:08 pm

I downloaded photos off my camera the other day. There was a photo of Elle and Pop that I took a couple of weeks before he died. It was when we realized that Pop wasn’t going to get better, and I had to talk to Elle about dying. She was quite upset, and she said she wanted a picture of Pop. So I suggested they take the photo together. Elle was wearing her monkey pajamas Pop bought her (well, Nick bought on behalf of Pop) for Christmas. She’s worn the heck out of those pajamas.

Elle & Pop

I love how Pop put on a smile for the camera. This was taken 12 days before he died. There was so much change in those last 12 days, but he actually looked really good in this picture. He still had the life in his eyes here. It was two weeks yesterday that he passed. We’re still in a fog.

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I traveled for work yesterday and today. After my obligations yesterday, I got to visit my grandfather. When I saw him in December, he was still himself, able to talk even though he didn’t make much sense. When I saw him yesterday, I was more prepared than before. And I think having seen Pop decline recently maybe numbed the shock of seeing my granddaddy. But he was much thinner, and has greatly lost his ability to speak. Supposedly he has been having small strokes, which mostly go undetected, but affect his cognative ability. He’s also stopped eating due to issues with being able to swallow. So, he’s had a feeding tube installed, which is keeping him alive. He’s had some therapy, but really there isn’t much more that can be done for him. I was glad to get to see him again.

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I feel like coming by here has been so depressing lately. It has been a sad time, but we aren’t just sitting around moping. We’re moving on with life as we should. We’re trying to figure out what the next steps for Nick will be. School is a possibility, which I think would be wonderful for him. We’re still exploring the options though. Right now he’s assembling furniture and moving things around. And being cute and sweet and stuff. Last weekend we celebrated the third anniversary of our first date (because we’re big dorks like that). He’s my sweetie.

July 2, 2008

Still unpacking

Filed under: Interstellar Casa,It's Me, Lass — by InterstellarLass @ 10:50 pm

Yesterday I had my suit pants and jacket. I couldn’t find the top. I dug in a box that seemed right. Found it at the bottom. *sigh* There are professional packers. Aren’t there professional unpackers?

I’m taking a four day weekend. Still going to a work-related happy hour tomorrow. Hey, free booze.

I’ll be finishing my bedroom paiting this weekend too. I’ve come to loathe painting.

The kids have gone to their dad’s for the month. Missing them and Pop sent me into some slightly moist eyes in the middle of Ikea earlier.

Nick and I are readjusting to alone time. We haven’t had a night out in over a year where we didn’t feel we had to rush back home. I feel guilty for liking that a little.

June 19, 2008

We closed, eventually

Filed under: Interstellar Casa,It's Me, Lass — by InterstellarLass @ 2:45 pm

Oh dear lordy. I woke up this morning with a pit in my stomach and a pain in my head. Today was closing day. The day we’d both been waiting for and dreading, equally. Waiting for this to be over. Dreading the issues we knew were bound to pop up.

We got to the title company early, and we signed our selling paperwork first. That was easy, and I ended up with a few more dollars (nothing to write home about) than I thought. Yay. The title company we selected for our sale rocks. As does our realtor. They are awesome, awesome people.

The title company we were forced to use for our purchase doesn’t so much rock. We were doing a ‘courtesy close’ at the same title company we used for our sale, and when they received the paperwork, they sighed and rolled their eyes and shrugged their shoulders. NOTHING was marked for signature. Thankfully our notary was a professional and she knew exactly what to do.

Then when we got to a couple of biggie documents, I nearly flipped my lid. Nick’s sister’s name was on several of the documents. She’s been difficult to work with on a couple of things lately, and I couldn’t figure out how her name got on our housing paperwork. WTF?!? So, I called my lender immediately and got voicemail. Left message. Commenced internal freak-out, meanwhile skipping those papers and continuing on. Called the lender again after about 15-20 minutes and this time she answered. Had to quick explain to her what was going on and who Nick’s sister was. She is on one of Pop’s joint accounts, and the ‘assumed’ she was Ed’s wife. Yeah, not so much. So, we had to wait for the lender to re-draw several documents and route through the other title agency.

Over three hours and two bouts of writers cramp later, we were done with our closing. We got a copy of our key, and went to the Home Depot to 1) analyze the layout to familarize ourselves with our new home away from home, and 2) make a new key. We decided we’d better change the locks on the doors after we move in, so we didn’t go hog wild with the key copies.

Tomorrow I am meeting a slew of service persons at the new home, starting bright and early at 8 am. Cleaners, fixers, and installers are my new best friends. Saturday the big moving van shows up, and we truck all our stuff 11 miles up the road. Seriously, we still live just off one of the same main roads, just north, and in another city. I now live further north of the DFW metroplex than I ever though I would, but the home is great.

Wish me luck with the movers and the weather. We can pay the movers to do a good job, but are at the mercy of the weather gods.

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