Monday, July 28, 2008

IMA Planning - Done

The last IMA board meeting of the summer is over with and I get a month off before the 2008-2009 program year begins. I’m not too much more involved than past years with planning and execution of meetings. I prefer sticking to what I know and not committing myself to anything that requires me to call people I don’t know. Heh. In any case, we’ve got a good mix of topics and some interesting speakers lined up. We even have a tour of the Post Office planned in April. Fun. We’re going to only one new venue this year so that makes that part of my job easier. I do plan to track things more closely this year though so my budgeting process is smoother and I can spout off relevant information about attendance and how much money we’re losing each meeting. Heh again. Hopefully we can drum up some interest in the community with our big awards ceremony in October and our ethics workshop in January. We’re also always working on trying to convince UWO that the CMA matters. *sigh* It’s an uphill battle.

There’s a core group of dedicated IMA board members and we have a good time together. I just wish other people would see it’s more than boring accountants sitting around talking about taxes. That hardly ever happens. For national CPE purposes we have to plan a certain amount of educational content, but I’d say at least half of each meeting is for mingling, networking, and talking to associates within the business world – and not necessarily about business. There have been many dinners where the table conversation never even gets close to boring accounting talk. Like the meeting where we talked about nothing but Tupperware and the benefits thereof. Good times. It’s a shame that so many of our members choose to miss out on these meetings. We have over 200 members. Average meeting attendance is 30. That’s depressing.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Duck Saga Continues

Didn’t do much this weekend. No major home renovations, no exciting trips. Saturday was normal shopping and Atonement. Adam rearranged the living room again. Sunday Adam went golfing and I watched The Other Boleyn Girl. I made a Bacon Potato Puff and a Spinach Beef Macaroni Bake and Skillet Cornbread. That’s really about it.

We are monitoring mama duck and her growing nest of eggs.

Last count has us at 7, although she was there again this morning and at lunch so who knows how many more there might be. I can always tell when she’s come back because all the cats jump up in the window and stare at the nest. There are so many fascinating things out in the backyard that sometimes I’m afraid the cats are going to go into sensory overload and keel over. We’ve got all kinds of birds, squirrels running up and down trees, chipmunks on the deck, mama duck, a family of rabbits, and numerous insects. And these are just the critters I know about. Sometimes JC will freak out and I don’t see anything out there, but apparently he does. Or he’s crazy. That’s possible as well.

Another One Down

Watched another Oscar movie this weekend: Atonement. Aside from being soooooo slow and Keira Knightly being generally annoying, the movie was pretty good. Interesting story – kind of reminded me of the finale of "Roseanne".

Here there be spoilers, in case you were planning on watching this movie. Or "Roseanne".

So, the “twist” is that in order for Briony to be able to make this “autobiographical” book come to be, she had to take some creative liberties and bend the truth. She royally screwed up the lives of her sister, Cecilia, and her sister’s lover, Robbie, by accusing him of raping her cousin. This was untrue, but at the time she didn’t recognize the consequences of her actions. Robbie gets sent to prison and then to war. In her book, he comes back and reunites with her sister and Briony is able to apologize and correct her mistakes. In reality, Robbie dies during the British evacuation from France and Cecilia dies in a water main break in an Underground tunnel bomb shelter. Briony never speaks to either of them, doesn’t have the chance to apologize or make things right, and therefore spends the rest of her life wallowing in her guilt. Uplifting it’s not.

Similarly, during the final episode of "Roseanne", the viewer learns that the whole series was the invention of Roseanne Conner and her writing. Things didn’t really happen the way we had been seeing. Roseanne wrote “revisions” to make it how she thought it should have been. Becky really married David while Darlene married Mark, but Roseanne explains that she always thought they would have been better suited the other way around, and this is how they were presented throughout the show. Dan had a heart attack in the previous season and in the show, he recovers. In reality, he died. But Roseanne didn’t like that so she changed it. There are a few other bombs dropped in the final minutes of the series. This is kind of like the “it was all a dream” cop-out used when a plot-line spirals out of control. But in these cases, it’s so final hour that its impact is much greater. Every time I see a re-run of "Roseanne" (and it always seems to be on – kind of like "Saved by the Bell" and "Seinfeld") I think of the finale and how everything changed after seeing it.

This is also similar to "Dawson’s Creek". Once you see the finale and find out Joey ends up with Pacey, the whole back and forth, endless struggle between Joey and Dawson loses something.

Anywho, this ended up being a lot longer than I had intended. Bottom line, not as horrible of a movie as I expected. I also watched The Other Boleyn Girl. I’d been meaning to see this one for awhile. It was what I expected. I like both female leads and although I don’t know how historically accurate it was, it was still entertaining to watch.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Garages and Movies and Ducks (oh my!)

So the whole garage door thing has been figured out. Best Adam and his dad can tell, the previous door’s opener was installed too high. This caused the track to bounce and buckle when the door was closing, somehow tripping it to go back up. In any case, some sawing, banging, and bolting later, the opener is moved and the door works fine. It’s so much quieter than the other door! And I no longer fear being crushed by a collapsing garage door on my way out in the morning. Ah, peace of mind. I believe the plans for the old door involve the local junkyard. Apparently these outdated wood version doors aren’t accepted by second-hand/community outreach stores. So sometime this week(end) Adam will take a trip there to dispose of the door. And the armchair that stinks like cat pee. Finally.

I watched yet another Oscar movie Tuesday night. This one was August Rush. I had no idea what it was about and the blurb on the sleeve from Blockbuster Total Access was generally unhelpful. It was an interesting story: kind of a mix of Oliver, A Beautiful Mind, and Once. With some Mr Holland's Opus thrown in for good measure. I was somewhat distracted by weird directorial choices (especially the constant filming directly into lights and then having something (an arm, a head) block the light for a few seconds and then move again. Argh!) but overall it was lovely. I won’t comment on the horrible fake cello playing. Or guitar playing. Or organ playing. Or piano playing. Anyway, the end is sappy, totally predictable, but makes you retain hope that the world isn’t completely messed up. Yay. So, down to six Oscar movies on the list: 3:10 to Yuma (ugh), Across the Universe (hopefully not as horrible as I am Me), The Assassination of Jesse James (ugh #2), Atonement (Kiera Knightly = so annoying!), Into the Wild (this might actually be good), La Vie en Rose (probably would have watched this eventually regardless.) So yeah, mixed bag.

Tuesday morning while I was in the bathroom combing my hair Adam yelled for me to come look at something. I went into the living room and he pointed out an egg that was laying in an indentation under the bush by the window. He asked me what kind of egg it was. I asked him why he thought I’d know. He stated he didn’t think it was big enough to be a rabbit egg. I informed him that rabbits don’t lay eggs. Oh yeah. I went back to the bathroom to finish getting ready. As I did my final sweep, checking on all the animals before I left for work, I discovered the source of the egg.

There was a duck standing in the middle of the yard. She walked toward the egg, sat on it, flipped it over, and then walked away again. From the other angle provided in the living room we could see the male behind a tree.

Ah, l’amour. When I came home from work, the egg had been partially buried and there were no parents in sight.

There are now three eggs in the nest though so apparently they're doing something. They returned for a bit that night but they were gone again in the morning. Strange behavior in my eyes, but I’m not a duck. Maybe that’s how they do it. We’ll keep an eye out for them and wait for the baby ducks.

A Forgotten Milestone

For some unknown reason it just occurred to me that I completely missed a rather important anniversary. Well, actually TWO anniversaries. They both flew by uncelebrated, unnoticed. My bad. And my apologies to the most expensive purchase I ever made. Happy one year anniversary, house!

It seems unbelievable that it’s been (over) a year since I signed not quite as large a mountain of paperwork as I expected and made the house mine (and then ours a few months later.) Yet, May 31st was the day and it’s come and gone. Also unbelievable is the fact that we moved out of our apartment (more than) a year ago. But June 16th was the day we rented a U-Haul and moved our stuff in the pouring rain. It took a couple more weeks to get everything over to the house, but we were out well before our June 30th cut-off.

It’s been a year of home improvements, landscaping reconfiguring, furniture and pet rearrangements, and some unexpected replacements and repairs. We started with a total makeover for a few rooms before we moved in and our most recent endeavor was replacing the garage door. There are still many other projects on our list, some major (like our siding/grading/new deck plans), some less so (like repainting those ugly stencils in the kitchen.) But it’s kind of amazing to see how much we (ok, so mostly Adam and his dad) have accomplished. I wouldn’t say it looks almost like a completely different house, but in some areas it does.

Home ownership is definitely a mixed bag. One the one hand, you can paint walls, tear things apart, replace things all you want. On the other hand, you have all kinds of maintenance you never had to worry about before. Luckily Adam takes care of most of that stuff. On the one hand, you have a rather impressive asset to add to your books. On the other hand, the economy could tank, sending your home’s value plummeting to less than what you owe on your mortgage. Yeah, that sucked. On the bright side, this means our taxes should be lower this year! There’s no question that owning a home has definitely been more expensive than renting was: The mortgage payment is 150% of what we were paying in rent. We have higher electric and water bills. We have to pay for heat where it was included in our rent previously. We had to get a landline phone. We have to pay property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, PMI. But being in our own house, being able to have kitties, being away from the crazy Indian neighbors? Priceless.

So, here’s to year #1, house. Only 29 more and you’ll be all ours. (Hrm, that’s kind of depressing.)

Monday, July 14, 2008

A Little Bit of Howie

You can't hear it, but JC was sitting on top of the cage (you can see his arm in the upper left corner), purring up a storm. Hence my "gees, Kitty" comment.

Ack, expensive weekend!

Adam got a VISA gift card as part of his bonus from work for being “Top Performer” for the quarter and he decided we should just use that for this week’s spending rather than pulling cash from the checking account. Works for me! So Friday night we did our grocery shopping. Not too bad there. No meat purchases to kick up the total, and the major category was dairy products: cheese, milk, eggs, etc. Yay inflation. Saturday morning Adam went in to work for a little bit. I watched another Oscar film (The Kite Runner – pretty good. Only 7 more to go!) and then went and got my hair cut. We decided to go see Get Smart (hilarious) and stopped to check some pricing for an external hard drive (for me) and some RAM (for Adam. Well, kind of. I stole some of his) on the way. (We ended up ordering them online.) We stopped up at Simon’s for some cheese before heading home. I baked some Snickerdoodles and S’more muffins. Adam grilled up some chicken for dinner.

Sunday morning we stopped by his parents’ house to drop off an extra paint tray (they were helping Chris and Katie do some interior decoration.) We then headed over to Menards to purchase a new garage door and accoutrements. One more stop at Walmart and we went back home. I did some cleaning and Adam made pretzels. He had just taken them out of the oven when his dad called, ready to help pick up and install the new garage door. That took them pretty much the rest of the day. And it’s not done yet – it mysteriously reverses itself and opens when it gets about halfway down. Gah. I spent much of the afternoon and evening watching the L&O:SVU marathon on USA. And being attacked by cats. I made Cheeseburger Buns and Onion Flowers for dinner.

Adam had started to get a cold on Sunday morning and it just got worse with him not eating and working all afternoon in a stuffy garage. So this morning he stayed home from work. I, on the other hand, got up and spent my Monday morning being poked and prodded during my annual doctor’s visit. I resisted as long as I could (ie, my prescription runs out this month) but they wouldn’t let me get away with getting a refill without coming in for an exam. Grr. Although the nurse said that if they didn’t require me to come in I probably wouldn’t. She’s right… She had trouble finding my blood pressure (not sure how that works, but she said it was really quiet?) and had to try three times. For the third year in a row I had a different person examine me. This time it was a PA and there were no babies to interrupt the proceedings. She sounded Russian, and was a nice enough person. She did give me a hard time about getting a tetanus shot. I know I’m completely overdue, (it’s been probably 14 years) but I hate shots. Eventually I’ll have to do it. We’ve got (required) biometric testing here at work in September so maybe they’ll do it then. *sigh* Other than that, it went well. Done for another year. Woo. Now I’ve just got to work up the motivation to find a dentist. I’ve been putting that off for over three years. I’m afraid they’ll try and pull out my wisdom teeth.

Anyway, nothing planned for this week. No meetings, no appointments. We’ve got a movie sitting at home waiting to be watched (Last Request) and some new recipes waiting to be made. I’m going to try and do some quality snuggling with the guinea pigs since I’m afraid I might be neglecting them a little. The cats take up more time and are more accessible so it seems like the rodents get second best attention. I’d also like to get a video of Howie going nuts on his chewing log. We’ll see how that goes.

On a Much Happier Note...

Happy first birthday to our nephew Gabriel!


Again, not a shock. Even before Barry, Gus was slowing down. But after Barry died, Gus stopped sleeping in his house, instead taking up residence under his water bottle. As recently as Friday I saw him up, eating. He had been having problems with his balance though and his eyes seemed to be shut all the time. Poor guy. Hope he and Barry are having a good time in hamster heaven.

Howie is still crazy as ever and both guinea pigs appear fine. We'll see who's next...

Monday, July 07, 2008

July 4th, the Non-Celebration Way

As 4th of July’s go, this one was uneventful. We didn’t even watch fireworks. We heard plenty of them though since our neighbors next door and some people a block over were setting them off pretty much all week.

My week at work was busy and generally frustrating. Not only is it month-end, but it’s also quarter-end, which adds on to my workload with all kinds of extra pricing and reporting. As fate would have it, a lot of my regular inventory counters were on vacation including the guys who normally do my ink and resin counts. This made me nervous even before I saw the numbers their subs got me. It’s much more likely for auditors to pick a quarter-end to review so it’s best to be especially vigilant during those closes. First the ink guy counted everything we didn’t own rather than what we did. Then one of the silos had a faulty gauge so we couldn’t get the levels on inventory day. Then boxed resin counts are all wonky. *sigh* Everyone should be back today so hopefully we can get it all figured out. Luckily, all these issues only affect raw materials so I was able to get WIP and FG done on schedule.

Adam left work early Tuesday afternoon and had off the rest of the week. He spent some time working in the yard, laying sod in the back (here's a before and after. Adam took that second one so don't blame me.)

He also took a spur-of-the-moment trip down to Marshalls in Madison in the hopes that he could buy some hideous golf shorts that I had talked him out of getting when we were in Minneapolis. Luckily the stores he went to didn’t have said shorts so we’re safe for now. Really. They’re hideous.

On Friday Adam left bright and early to pick up the trailer and offload some of Chris and Katie’s firewood. While he was out I went and did some of our weekly shopping. He and his dad unloaded the wood and then they went back up to get Adam’s car. He came home with some old baseball cards and coins that his mother unearthed after he was reminded of their existence when he was going through the tote of old papers. He took some pictures to post on eBay but then decided that our camera was a piece of junk and we needed a new one. (Ok, not as impulsive of a decision as that made it sound. We'd been having problems with our Canon since our honeymoon and I'd been trying to eke out as much use before breaking down and buying a new one.) So he browsed the web for good deals and we headed up to Appleton. We went to American and found the camera we wanted. All the salespeople were busy so I suggested we look at the furniture while we waited. We walked into the dining room area and I spotted a buffet and hutch. It was everything we’d been looking for: shelves for glasses, drawers for accessories, some wine rack functionality. This one even had recessed lighting.

But even with their 25% off all furniture sale, it was still more than we wanted to pay for this piece of furniture. So we continued around the display room and back into the bargain center. And wouldn’t you know it, we found the exact same piece back there, priced $800 less than the one out on the floor. It was returned by a customer who special ordered a whole dining room set. So there was nothing wrong with it, but they couldn’t put in back on the sales floor as new. Score! After taking a break and wandering through the couch section we went back to pick up the camera. With the “help” of semi-competent sales guys we found out they didn’t even have the model we wanted. Well, at least the guy said they didn’t. So we went back to look at the buffet and hutch a little more. Since it was bargain center furniture it had to be paid in full (ie, you couldn’t use their payment plan) and picked up in three days. Adam called his dad and he came to the store to check it out. After a thorough examination he declared it fine and left to go back for their party. We left and found the camera we wanted at Walmart. Then we went back to American and got the salesperson to drop the price an additional $100. So we bought it:

Adam and his dad picked it up Saturday morning. We moved our glassware and booze Saturday afternoon.

The cats went crazy all day Saturday and into Sunday. They can fit underneath it and JC has already been caught up on the bar area as well as on the first shelf. Grrr. Even the cactus doesn’t deter him. So, in summary, we went in to buy a camera, we came out with a buffet and hutch. Whoops. And it’s totally my fault since it was my idea to kill time in the furniture department.

Anyway, after all the running around on Friday I was tired so we cooked out for dinner and stayed in. I think we were asleep before fireworks even began. We both woke up around 11 when the neighbors really let loose with the booming.

After picking up the buffet/hutch on Saturday morning, I rode back up with Adam and his dad and we went to Linens ‘n Things to get him some new pillows. Then we finished up our grocery shopping for the week. I’m not really sure what we did the rest of the day. Obviously nothing noteable.

Yesterday morning we were up at like 6. So sad. We went up to IHOP for breakfast so I could try their New York Cheesecake pancakes. Except they were out of cheesecake bites. Argh! So I was stuck with my usual Viva le French Toast. Boo. Then Adam dropped me off at home while he went to go golfing with his friend Jon. I watched Persepolis (not bad, funny but also depressing) and then returned it for Hairspray, which we watched last night. I stopped at Shopko for some shirts as well. I cleaned the oven (I had spilled meatloaf on the bottom and it was stinky) and spent time cuddling with the kitties while watching mind-numbing television (that would be E!) I also caught Ted and Conner in a compromising position:

Adam went straight from golfing to his grandma’s house to help fill in some concrete in her garage. She’s putting the house on the market so she’s trying to fix up some little things. He got back home in time for dinner – chicken broccoli calzones. Yum. We watched the movie after dinner and then called it a night.

And this morning was back to work for both of us. No more vacation until mid-August when we have our second camping trip planned. Hopefully Door County doesn't get flooded too. :)