Sunday, October 28, 2007

A Relaxing Saturday Afternoon at Home

(note the Tazmanian Devil slippers...)

Friday, October 26, 2007

Emerging from the Black Hole of Lapsed Blogging

It’s been a rough couple of weeks. And it’s not over yet either. I’ve been fighting a cold for a long time now. It keeps traveling up and down from my head to the chest and back again. Right now it’s back in my nose. I’ve not been sleeping and Adam’s not been sleeping so we’re generally crabby most of the time. Makes for great heart-warming times when we clash on the weekend. Anyway, I hope eventually I’ll recover from this super-sized bug and get back to normal. It’s no fun walking around in a DayQuil fog all the time.

Adam made me go to the doctor last Thursday and other than getting a prescription for a curiously strong cough suppressant (a narcotic (woo!), which didn’t work) so we could sleep, he pretty much said, “You have a cold.” *sigh* Of course with the coughing comes a runny nose, headaches, unexplained hot flashes and sweating, and a general dislike of everyone and everything. Argh. But I survive.

In any case, luckily not much of importance went on over the last two weeks so I haven’t missed much. I was able to come home and collapse most evenings and the weekends were pretty low key with some light yard work and a shopping trip thrown in. I was pestered by internal auditors all last week and the guy assigned to inventory insisted on getting up uncomfortably close to me even though I told them all I was probably contagious. This week was a calm before the storm kind of week since next week is month-end and we’ve got external auditors coming too. Fun stuff. I plan to start doing some baking on weekends soon. There were a bunch of good recipes in the Taste of Home magazine I picked up and I also want to make tiramisu again.

I don’t know that I mentioned this before but Adam put a flagpole up a few weeks ago. He also got a fireplace cleaning log and lit that so we’re good with our homeowner’s insurance. He’s had a few fires over the past two weeks with the colder weather and is definitely enjoying the fireplace.

Name change is almost complete. All the important things are done: banks, credit cards, ID, insurance, etc. I’ve just got my library cards, a few other cards I rarely use, a few utilities, and, oh yeah, the house. I need to get on that last one. I also need to investigate changing my passport. I don’t know that we’ll be taking any trips in the near future that will require me to have one, but I might as well do it now when I’m thinking about it. Unfortunately since I got my passport back in 2003 I’ll have to pay the $97 to renew it rather than sneak in the name change for free. Oh well. I also ordered a new nameplate and business cards at work so I should be able to stop confusing people relatively soon.

Open enrollment started for me on Monday and Adam’s begins next week. We get to pour through health care premiums and coverage to decide if we want to go with a family plan offered by either of our employers or if we want to stick with the separate coverage we have now. I have no attachment to my doctor so it will really come down to cost and benefits. It will be interesting to see what our best option will be. I’m not sure if Adam has a FSA option but I think I can have that here without being on the medical insurance plan. I’m pretty sure they are two separate options.

And with that I might fall into a black hole again for a while. We'll see how it goes.

Cat Update

The cats are crazy. Over the past week or so they’ve made an appearance more and more during the day and in the evenings when we’re up and about, even sleeping on our bed when we happen to leave it unmade and especially kitty-friendly. But it always seems to be in a creepy “kitty stalker” kind of way. Or maybe I’m just paranoid. When I’m making dinner I’ll look up and there will be a cat sitting in the hallway, staring at me. When I sit on the couch in the living room watching tv I’ll look up and there will be a cat sitting by the dining room table, staring at me. When I’m in the bathroom a cat will sit outside the door, staring at me. When I’m on the computer, a cat will sit on the other side of the bed by the door and stare at me. You get the idea. It’s not that they want attention. The minute I stand up and move toward them they jump up and run away.

I almost had a heart attack the other day. I was in the bathroom, smartly closing the door behind me having learned that I’d have an audience if I didn’t. I was going about my business when there was a loud thud against the door. Then a paw shot in underneath it. Apparently Ted had gotten a hold of one of my earplugs and was batting it around. It got away from him and went under the bathroom door. He obviously failed to notice the door was closed and ran right into it. He then stuck his paw under it to get the earplug back. Scared the crap out of me. (I’d say “literally” here, but that’s kind of gross and TMI.)

Speaking of bathrooms, for some reason both Ted and Conner just love the bathroom. Ted is particularly fond of the shower stall in mine. Right after I’ve taken a shower. I thought cats didn’t like water but apparently I was mistaken. He sneaks into the bathroom before I’m even completely dressed and prances around in the wet tub. Then he scampers back out onto the carpet with his wet paws. Grrr. I even caught him in the kitchen sink a few nights ago. Conner prefers sitting on the toilet or the rug in front of the shower. That’s much more appropriate cat behavior. Although the one time Ted tried to jump up onto Adam’s toilet was the one time Adam had forgotten to put the seat down so the cat got a little wet. Somehow I don’t think he minded too much given his other forays into the water but he was probably a little surprised.

The past few nights I’ve been sleeping in the computer room in an effort to allow both Adam and I to get a decent nights sleep. With the never-ending cold I’ve had for the past three weeks it’s hard for me to breathe and I apparently snore quite loudly and disturbingly. The first night this confused the cats a little since they were used to having the run of the house after the lights went out. I only got jumped on once and I think both the cat and I were equally startled. Last night was better and they got comfortable enough we me being in the room that they even sat in the window and ate while I was there.

We were in litterbox limbo of sorts last week. We got tired of the mid-night poop fests the cats enjoyed sharing with us (they’d take a frighteningly huge dump and then not bury it so it stunk the entire house up at about 2 am) so we decided to try an automatic litter box to see if that might eliminate the smell a bit. Unfortunately we got one litter box for two cats and apparently one of them wasn’t able to figure that concept out. We had a couple “presents” dropped in the corner of the living room before putting one of the old litter boxes back up. I guess male cats don’t like to share. And ultimately I think the one cat that did use it used it more as a big toy. He'd jump around in it to set off the sensors and then sit and wait and watch the rake move back and forth. So we scrapped that idea and returned the fancy electronic litterbox for these Omega Roll 'n Clean ones. They are enclosed litter boxes that you tip over and the poo drops into a removable drawer thing. It's pretty neat and so far seems to be working quite well.

We continue to slowly make progress. Adam is still bummed that we don’t have cuddly lap cats yet but I’m hoping eventually they’ll be a bit more personable.

Here's Ted. Conner wasn't feeling photogenic this afternoon... (ok. so he was hiding under the bed. That's almost the same thing.)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Movie Reviews

I’m sucking over at Rotten Tomatoes and maybe I’ll start up again there eventually. But for now I’ll just post a couple more movies I saw recently.

Little Children came in the mailbox thanks to our Blockbuster Total Access subscription. This is a movie from the Oscar list that I actually wanted to see so I was excited. It was a pretty good movie. I liked most of the main actors and the plot was interesting. It reminded me of a lot of other films while I was watching it though. Like when Patrick Wilson’s character was in the truck with the crazed ex-cop and he said something about castrating the released sex offender all I could think of was Hard Candy. (If you haven’t see that movie, I’d recommend it, but with a warning that it’s pretty messed up and disturbing.) Anywho, an enjoyable movie with a not-too-complex plot. And Kate Winslet gets naked again. Just saying…

Second movie for the weekend was The Last Time. I had run into this while browsing the New Release Wall on It looked interested and I liked the people in it. It was nothing like I had expected. But it was still a good movie. Reminded me of a combination of Derailed, In Good Company, and a John Irving novel. Michael Keaton is a top sales person for some generic tech company, despised by everyone. When Brendan Fraser’s character arrives, fresh and naïve from Ohio, Michael is pegged to teach him the ropes. Things get messy when Brendan’s fiancée takes up an affair with Michael. But there’s a twist and it’s like many other movies wherein after it’s over you want to go back and watch it all again because nothing is what you thought it was. Good movie, and unexpectedly dark.
Fall has definitely arrived. It went from 80 one day to 53 the next. Wisconsin weather is harsh. Anyway, Tuesday evening Adam went out and raked our backyard. Partly to get rid of some aggression, partly because there were a lot of leaves there and the city comes around to suck them up with their big vacuum trucks on Wednesdays. After dinner I joined him with a tarp and we hauled the leaves to the curb. It was incredibly windy but we still managed to get most of them in the pile.

Impressive, eh? And that’s just the first installment. We’ve still got most of the leaves on the big tree directly above the deck to deal with. They’re still on the tree though, so we have to wait.

In pet news, the cats are slowly (and I mean VERY slowly) warming up to the idea of coexisting with “the humans.” They have nightly stampedes back and forth from the computer room (their room) to the living room. It’s amazing how noisy two eight-pound furry things can be when they run. We got a cat playhouse contraption from one of Adam’s co-workers and they seem to enjoy it. Ted regularly hangs out in the teepee and Conner lounges one level above that. They both have started to venture further out from underneath the bed when Adam and I are home. We haven’t gotten to the point that they’ll let us touch them, but hopefully that will come soon. They’re letting us get closer and closer to them before they turn and run. Ted has taken to sleeping on our bed during the day, usually on my side. It’s cute, and as long as he doesn’t pee on it, I’m fine with him making himself comfortable there. We were warned when we adopted them that the other Katrina kitties had taken about two months to adjust to their new homes. We’re almost to the two month mark so we’ll have to determine what we want to do from there. Of course, we don’t want to take them back to the shelter. But we also don’t want cats who hide from us.

The guys of rodent persuasion are all doing fine. Although Mo seems to have a guinea pig version of PMS (yes, I realize Mo is male, but work with me here...) A while back he stopped eating and I got worried about him. Then he went back to normal. Now he’s not eating again. Grrr. I think it might be a ploy for attention. We have to keep the door to their room closed so I think he’s feeling deserted. I try to say hi every morning and before I go to bed and I cuddle with both Mo and Einstein a few times a week. I don’t know. I worry about him, but there’s not a good solution to the door issue. Einstein isn’t bothered by it. And Howie, Gus, and Barry seem to be more annoyed by my presence than pleased by it. Hopefully it works itself out again like it did last time.

Work has been pretty busy this month so far. I just finished September and can concentrate on getting as much normal October stuff taken care of before the internal auditors show up for two weeks. After they leave we’ll have PWC auditors here right during month-end. Nice timing guys. Gah. Not looking forward to that, but really, when does anyone look forward to meeting with the auditors?

Not much else is going on. I have an eye doctor appointment bright and early on Saturday morning. Then we plan to go down to Middleton to do some clothes shopping at Marshall’s. That’s pretty much our weekend plans.

Monday, October 08, 2007

A Weekend in a Fog

It was a strange weekend all around. The weather was definitely strange: Humid, hot, in the 80s all weekend. And I did yard work. That’s pretty strange too.

Saturday morning we did some shopping, mostly for pet stuff and our weekly grocery run. I spent a good deal of the afternoon napping, trying to trick my cold into getting better rather than worse. As usually happens when I’m feeling crappy, Adam got into a “must clean the house right now” mood and vacuumed and mopped the whole place. Well, excluding our bedroom, which he was kind enough to leave for later. There was football, a movie rented, pork grilled. I don’t know. It gets kind of fuzzy in my DayQuil enhanced state.

Sunday morning Adam went up to Menards to get some yard care equipment. And then, on the hottest October day ever, we proceeded to stand outside at high noon in the sun and humidity and trim back some bushes and trees that annoy him when he cuts the lawn. I’d take pictures, but even I can’t tell that we did anything so what’s the point? I managed to have a tree branch fall on my face but escaped with just a (relatively) small gash under my eye. My glasses were actually thrown off, but luckily they didn’t break and Adam didn’t step on them. Whew. Although I’m about six months overdue on a new pair so perhaps that would have gotten me off my butt to make the appointment. Ergh. We dropped the brush off in Greenville (shh… don’t tell anyone!) and went back home for lunch. We were both pretty beat after the physical activities of the morning so we ended up taking a nap for a few hours before the evening Packer game. I made a few snacks for dinner (see the cooking blog for more on that) and I managed to make it to about 10pm before I retreated to the bedroom. I think I dozed off for a bit (I missed Chicago’s last touchdown) but I was awake enough to know the Packers lost. Oh well. And it started off so well.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Messed with Template...

What do you think? Totally obnoxious?

Can't Blog, Am Tired

Now that I've caught up on some of the pictures I've taken and things I've cooked I can move on to more important things. Like what? I'm not sure, but there has to be more to my life than an IKEA catalog and Rachael Ray recipes.

My new month-end responsibilies have me slammed for about a week at the end/beginning of each month. Tomorrow will be the first day I might be able to actually see the surface of my desk. The shipping clerk who brings me paperwork each day has just shaken her head and laughed at me every day since last Friday. It's an organized chaos. Really. I just need a bigger desk. The fact that this is also quarter-end and the knowledge that I have a visit from the PWC guys (them be auditors people) at the end of this month hanging over my head doesn't help any. Oh well. Keeps me busy and time flies by.

Outside of work I haven't really done much in the last week and a half. IMA had our first ever lunch meeting and while I suppose it wasn't a roaring success (we had 13 people attend) I had fun since two of the ladies I used to work with when I interned at Presto came. We got to chat a little and catch up during the meal. Apparently I'm quite the legend over there. They tell me that people still talk about me and I was "the best intern ever." Wow... I feel bad for everyone who got the position after me. I guess I'm a hard act to follow. But it never feels bad to have unsolicited praise heaped on you.

Last Friday was quite possible The Worst Day Ever in quite a while. It was the last business day of the month so that meant it was Inventory Day. One of my newly acquired responsibilities is to coordinate and oversee the entire physical count each month. I also get to stop and get the donuts. I left the house at 6:30 so I could stop at Festival (way out of my way, but it's what the people like) and get to work a little early to do some last minute clean-up before the 7:45 blast off time. I got to work at 7:45. Something about a semi overturned on the highway. I saw no semi, but I was stuck on 41 for 45 minutes. By the time I finally got to work I was so frustrated that I was glad I could just walk around the plant by myself for an hour and a half to blow off some steam. Luckily the rest of the day went better but since day one is always hyper busy after work I was totally ready to go to a bar and drink beer and play darts. And that's what we did.

This week has been more of the same. Handbells and I'm not quite sure where the rest of the days went. I'm getting a cold (from either Adam or all the hacking ladies at work) so I'm hoping it's a low key weekend so it goes away fast. With Adam being home every night I've been hard core on the menu planning so if I can keep up with the recipe posting the other blog might be more interesting soon.

That's about it.

It's a Good Read

But so tempting...

It's Definitely Fall

Grr. I can't get it to rotate. Stupid internet...

Pretty New Fireplace Doors

If you recall our "kitties in the fireplace problem", we decided to get the glass doors for the fireplace ordered and on sooner rather than later. With just a little, "oops, I broke another drill bit", Adam and his dad got the doors on and secured.