Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Results Show

I got my report back from the evil biometric testing I underwent in September as part of the new mandatory Kersh deal at work. I was wary to open it since I expected it to say something like "Death is imminent, make preparations." Instead I was pleasantly surprised. I could stand to lose some weight (duh), my blood pressure's a little high (as it has been every time it's taken), but everything else looks fine. Even my cholesterol is in the acceptable range. Whew! That's not to say it's all wine and roses (or whatever that saying is.) I know I need to be more aware of the crap I eat and make a concerted effort to move around more. But it's good to know I'm not a complete medical catastrophe.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Mundane stuff (and random cat pictures)

An interesting week thus far. Monday night I handed out our party invitations at bell practice so hopefully a few of them can come this year. We play for the first time on Sunday. At 11. When no one will be there because the Packer game is at noon. Excellent. We regained a member at the last practice. Julie, who had been out since the end of the 2006 season due to medical reasons, has come back. As long as she remains in good health, she plans to continue to ring. This is a good thing. She took back her spot next to me so I no longer bounce between positions. Nancy can take the big C and D and we have all the bells covered.

Tuesday morning was the IMA breakfast meeting. We had 15 people and a mountain of food from Festival. The speaker was perky for it being 7:30 in the morning. She spoke about New North, a multi-county economic collaboration in northeastern Wisconsin. I got ambushed by the nomination committee to be VP of Administration next year (hence, president the following year.) I wasn’t really expecting that. I turned them down, but offered to be VP of Membership since I do pretty much everything under that office anyway. I get the feeling this isn’t the last I’ll hear of this. I have no desire to take on the president role. Ever. But we’ll see how things play out. I guess it might look good on my resume. *sigh*

We went to see the Capitol Steps last night at the PAC. We went out to dinner at Good Company. It had been awhile since we’d been there. Our waitress was kind of flaky and I had forgotten how spicy their onion petals were. Other than that it was a good time. We stopped at Intermezzo, a tiki-themed bar in the Paper Valley Hotel, for a drink before the show. We had box seats again for this performance, on the second level, right side. I have a feeling I’ve either seen this group before or heard them somewhere. The backwards talk (kind of like deliberate spoonerisms) seemed familiar. In any case, lots of smart political satire.

The rest of the week is pretty empty. Month-end starts again on Friday. Office trick-or-treating is that afternoon. I believe Neenah’s trick-or-treating is that evening. I hope to be able to take a drive down to a Marshall’s or two on Saturday. It’s been a bit since my last trip although Adam’s gone solo a few times. Sunday is bells and football.

Next week is, of course, the election. Hallelujah! I don’t plan to vote early, but will head to my polling place on Tuesday morning (Adam already voted.) Hopefully it won’t take a ridiculous amount of time. We also have our annual enrollment informational meeting next Wednesday. I can’t wait to see how much insurance will be increasing. Ha. Our assumption is we’ll continue to enroll as singles on our separate plans for the coming year.

Looking ahead there’s not a lot of exciting things going on here. We have our Very Important Meeting With the Lawyer on the 13th, after which we can both die in peace knowing we’ve signed our paperwork. :) Potential jury duty, Thanksgiving (which has yet to be worked out on the Paalman side – they don’t really plan ahead.) Our next PAC program isn’t until the end of December. I have some vacation I need to burn, but really no good time to do it. Same old stuff.

And now, a montage of how the cats insist on ruining many of the pictures I take of them...

by not looking at the camera:

Or by doing something...inappropriate:

Or by walking out of frame as the flash goes off:


Sunday, October 26, 2008

No Title. Because my brain hurts. That's why.

For what was supposed to be an uneventful week…

Dinner on Monday was fun. It’s too bad Adam couldn’t come because I think he would have liked the restaurant. Hopefully we’ll have a chance to go back again and bring him along. Catherine (the sister) called my dad to wish him a happy birthday as I was preparing to head back home so we spoke a little. Kind of. I’m not a telephone person.

I didn’t get called in for jury duty on Tuesday either so not only was I stuck with the auditors, but I also got another letter in the mail putting me on the list for the week of November 10th. We’ll see what happens in round two. As far as the auditors go, it was only a two day deal. It’s difficult to explain the archaic methods I use to value our inventory. It’s even more difficult when the person you’re trying to explain things to isn’t getting it. I wish we could have the same guys each year. It would save us both a lot of time. All in all it wasn’t too bad of a visit. I did end up in the basement pulling invoices from 2005 though. Hopefully they got what they needed.

Wednesday was another day with the auditors. By the time I left for the day all I wanted to do was go home, feed the cats, and sit on the couch and veg. So when I got home, hit the garage door opener, and nothing happened, I was kind of ticked. I figured perhaps the battery had died. So I got out of the car and punched in the code. Still nothing. I called Adam. I got into the house through the front door and discovered that the garage door opener engine had most likely died. Fabulous. I fed the cats and then headed up to meet Adam. We went to Menards and found a “whisper drive” opener that was on sale. On the way home I stopped and picked up some dinner while Adam called his dad. They installed the new opener and all is good. Such handy guys. It really is a lot quieter than the old one. Not so excited about the unexpected $200 expense though.

Thursday was a better day. A relatively unstressful day at work and we went out for dinner. Adam had been noted that we never go to Mexican restaurants. Since I’m not really into that cuisine it’s not necessarily on the top of my list when I schedule a night out. But I figured we could try it. We went to Zacatecas downtown. It was not crowded at all, which was nice. Some free chips and salsa and a couple margaritas got us off to a good start. I usually avoid the salsa because it’s either too hot for me or has cilantro in it (or both!) I ordered the night’s special – chicken fajitas (resisting the urge to order it as fuh-ji-tas as Adam (mis)pronounces it) and Adam got some seafood enchiladas. Delicious all around. And as Adam observed this morning, it must have been good Mexican food since neither of us had a terrible mid-night bathroom experience. Heh. We caught up on some DVR programs when we got home.

The weekend didn't have too much going on. We got some wood and closed off the bottom of the box spring in the guest room since the cats had started tearing that one apart. We also had Lakshmi’s dinner party yesterday evening. Lots of spicy Indian foods - a very interesting experience. Today is pretty much free. We had the AT&T installation this morning, but that’s it. We plan to sit by the fire and do nothing for the rest of the day. Of course how often do things go as planned? So we’ll see what actually happens. I baked some cookies and made another cake (with some help from my friend Betty) this morning. Adam found a drunken chicken recipe that we’ll try on the grill for dinner.

I took new pictures for my frame at my desk so I figure I can post some updated ones here as well.

Here's Mo

and Einstein

JC attacking the cat scratcher

Ted eyeing me suspiciously

Conner looking all intense

Ted and JC hanging out on the box spring. They tipped it over about 2 minutes after I took this picture...

JC by Adam's Taz slippers

Monday, October 20, 2008

Moving On

This past weekend was draining, in all ways possible. Last night was tough. Adam took the dog back up to Appleton. Her sister, Sugar, was there and from what he tells me they were delighted in their reunion. This, in some ways, makes our decision seem like the right one. She needed to be around another dog, not cats who loathed her. He also stopped and returned as much of the dog stuff as he could. We got back about half of what we shelled out. We gave most of the toys to Katie and Chris. We gave the puppy food to the next door neighbor. We declined to take back the adoption fees from Savings Paws because we felt so terrible about the whole thing. Adam told them he hoped that someone could take both puppies together and to use our check to give the adopters a deal. All in all, four days I’d rather erase from my memory.

So I find it somewhat fortuitous that I ran across this website this morning. Seeing as how our cat has a propensity for hanging out in the sink

this site made me smile. And a smile was definitely needed.

I was summoned for jury duty this week. I wasn’t on the list for this morning but I have to call back tonight to see if I need to report tomorrow. As fate would have it, PWC auditors will be in town tomorrow and Wednesday. Wouldn’t it just suck if I ended up being gone both days performing my civic duty? Totally.

Tonight I’ll be heading down to Sheboygan to go to dinner with my dad and Cheryl for his birthday. Adam still works until 6 these days so he won’t be able to make it. Although if rumors are correct, he’ll soon be moving to east coast accounts and will switch back to a nicer 8-4:30ish schedule. This coming weekend there’s a dinner party on Saturday that I’m still trying to convince Adam to go to with me. On Sunday we’ll have AT&T U-Verse installed. Nice, the way it worked out to have our installation on the Packer’s off-week…

There are a few other things coming up: IMA breakfast meeting, Capitol Steps at the PAC, Halloween. Before you know it Thanksgiving will be here and then we’ll be fighting with the cats to keep ornaments on the Christmas tree. I’ve got some vacation days coming up and I’ve still got two out there to schedule. With month-end, year-end, and the crappy SAP schedule that has people out of the office a lot, it’s going to be difficult. Compared to last year, it’s strange having all these days and nothing to do with them. Perhaps we’ll have to try and plan a more extended vacation next year to use the days up. So far this year I’ve used 7 vacation days, 3 sick days, and worked 184 days. Kind of depressing when you look at it that way.

Onward and upward.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

An Expensive Mistake

I had reservations about even posting the last entry since things were not going well and we kept going back and forth about even keeping the dog. She kept chasing the cats, making messes, she pooped in her crate three times. She started biting us this morning after howling again for a large portion of the night. We ultimately decided that our house and situation is probably not her ideal placement. She needs constant companianship and would probably be happiest in a house with multiple dogs. We called the foster home back again this morning (we had already called them yesterday to ask for advice) and told them we felt it would be best to return her to them and let her find a more suitable home before any of us got too attached.

We feel horrible about this, but I guess this was a hasty decision that likely needed a "let's sleep on it" pause. It is a costly decision both financially and emotionally: almost $600 in adoption fees and supplies, with uncertainty as to how much we'll recoup, and the guilt of letting an adorable puppy into our home and then kicking her out again. We don't know if we'll head down this dog road again. I know I'm definitely a cat person. But if we do, we'll aim to make a wiser, more informed decision before we leap before looking again.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

It's a Girl!

I don’t even know how this whole thing started, but a while back I mentioned that if we got a dog, I’d want a cute, small one. Preferably with floppy ears. Maybe a beagle. This inspired Adam to immediately go onto and search for adoptable beagles in the area (can we say “impulse control?”) We even filled out an application for one in Manitowoc and went down there on a Saturday (the dogs were all quarantined so we couldn’t see them). We didn’t hear anything back, and had already begun having second thoughts anyway so we figured it was a sign to wait.

Then I heard about the Saving Paws Halloween fundraiser earlier this week. When I asked Adam if he wanted to go, he poked around their available pets and found that they had some beagles. Wednesday night while I was at IMA he went to their foster home to meet them. Although her teeth somehow found a way onto his chin, he was taken by Tinkerbell even though we originally thought we’d be more interested in Sugar, her sister. On a side note, he doesn’t seem to have much luck with meeting pets – when we first met Ted and Conner he was scratched by both Conner and another three-legged cat that was wandering around. Anyway, Thursday night we went back up together to check them out. And being the big softies we are, please meet the newest member of the Paalman household:

She’s 10 weeks old. A beagle/hound mix. We shortened her name to Bella since Tinkerbell was just too much for me. Plus, isn’t she cute?

We introduced her to her cousin Lulu on Thursday night. While Bella was eager to play, Lulu apparently isn’t much for doggie interaction and took to flopping on the floor and rolling on her back. Whatever works. We also stopped up at Adam’s parent’s house. His mom is still laid up a bit from her hamstring injury, but they both got some puppy love. We spent some time in Petsmart getting all the things a dog requires. We met Rachel, the dog trainer Katie and Chris recommended (we start puppy training November 15th), and she helped us pick out the crate and food. Bella charmed her by barfing at her feet. Awesome. Since there hasn’t been a repeat performance we figure it was nerves (or maybe the random food that was on the floor that she ate.) After spending a ridiculous amount of money we headed back home.

I got home before Adam and started unloading the car (we had taken two cars since I drove up to meet him after work.) Then Adam passed the leash off to me and I walked her around the backyard while he assembled the crate. She got cold after a little bit and although she seemed to enjoy attacking the leaves, I brought her into the house to warm up. JC was standing in the dining room when I let Bella in the house. He eyed her suspiciously, crept towards her. She was bouncing around, apparently oblivious to the fact that she was being hunted. She paused for a moment and JC sniffed her and then bonked her on the head with his paw. She was unaffected by this assault and just ran around the kitchen. JC hid under the table. Ted and Conner were nowhere to be found.

We got the crate arranged, took her out once more and then said goodnight. She whined. She howled. She barked. She cried. But after about 15 minutes she quieted down. An occasional sad yip and then nothing. She was quiet until about quarter to six this morning. Pretty impressive. Adam was afraid he’d have to sleep with earplugs.

When we got up yesterday morning, Adam took her outside while I arranged her food and water. She had managed to last the whole night without making a mess in her crate. She bounded back in, a ball of energy. She continued to explore the house while stopped to grab a mouthful of food every once in a while. JC once again warily followed her around for awhile and hit her once or twice. She really doesn’t seem to mind. She sniffs him and then moves on. She did have one accident on the carpet by the fireplace, but it was relatively easy to clean up. Much easier than cat poo… I took a shower while Adam occupied her. He took her for a longer walk around the park. When I was dressed and eating breakfast Adam hopped in the shower. I was kept busy trying to keep Bella from eating the cat’s food. I took her out once while Adam was in the bathroom since she started whining by the door. She peed outside! Yay!

I left for work, leaving Adam to deal with her final trip(s) outside and confining her for the day. He called me a couple times this morning. Apparently Bella met Wags, the cute dog from next door and their new dog, a golden lab.

I went home for lunch since Adam called to tell me that he forgot to put the cat’s food back on the floor after moving it up to prevent the dog from eating it. I had also forgotten to bring the wad of cash I collected at IMA on Wednesday that I needed to deposit into the bank. I had to go into the bedroom where the crate is so I probably made the dog a little more hyper than she might have been. She was still howling away when I left to return to work. JC was hiding under the table again. He definitely doesn’t like the dog noises. Conner, on the other hand, was sleeping at the foot of our bed, completely unaffected by the ruckus. He’s getting to be such a mellow cat. I stopped to use the bathroom before leaving and as I walked by he just lifted his head a bit, (in my mind, said “oh, it’s you”) and went back to sleep. This with the dog freaking out in the background.

Last night was a little rough. I got home from work and went to get Bella to take her out. Between when I checked on her at lunch and when I got home she had managed to crap in her cage and roll around in it. I took her outside for a while wherein she managed to get all wet (it was raining) and jump all over me, covering me in wet dog and poop. I carried her back inside to avoid too much of a mess and took her directly to the bathroom. I gave her her first bath, unofficially since we didn't have shampoo yet. She wasn't thrilled and kept trying to jump out of the bathtub. I dried her off as best I could and let her out. She was crazy. I put her dinner out, which she completely ignored. I fed the cats except none of them would venture out past the barking. Bella was more interested in their food than her own. JC kept trying to get into the dirty crate. I was getting increasingly frustrated, so I called Adam and asked him to come home early. Which he did.

He took her for a walk. I cleaned up the mess she made when I stuck her in her room for a few minutes so I wouldn't commit a crime. I started to clean up the mess in her crate but soon realized we'd need to take it downstairs to the utility sink to get it clean. We decided to feed the cats after we put Bella in her crate for the evening. She finally calmed down a bit and we were able to watch a couple of the shows on the DVR. All three cats appeared at some point in the evening. None of them have gotten very close to the dog, but they're aware of her presence. We put her in her crate around 9. She barked again. For four hours. Then we got about three hours of quiet and then she was at it again. We finally gave up and got up around 5:30.

Adam took her out for a walk around the block while I got her food ready. This morning has been ok. Not spectacular. She's spent some time chewing on things, taunting the cats, being annoying. She peed a bit in the hallway. Adam took her up to Petsmart again to get a few things we forgot and was able to chat a bit with a vet who was there. We're now armed with bitter apple spray and chew toys.

It's going to take patience though. I know I don't do well when I get little to no sleep. I have a constant headache and I get crabby. We'll see how it goes.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Help Saving Paws!

If you're from the area (or can get here) consider going to the Saving Paws fundraiser. This is the shelter where we got all three of our cats.

They are wonderful people working for a wonderful cause.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Two, two, two weeks in one post!

I swapped out Amadeus for the Sex and the City movie. Since last Saturday afternoon was pretty much shot with a plethora of sporting options for Adam, I figured I’d have plenty of time to watch it while he was otherwise occupied. And watch it I did. It was neither spectacular nor horrible. I read lots of reviews and comments about it when I was wrestling with whether to see it in the theater or not. Many were over the top in either direction. I think my review would have been more mid-excitement level. There were some funny moments, some stupid moments. Overall I think they tried to jam too much into one movie and therefore missed out on any kind of meaningful, coherent plot. Oh well.

Otherwise, Saturday was shopping in the morning, sports in the afternoon. I made a macaroni and cheese for dinner that made us both sick and ruined any going out plans we may have had. Oops, my bad.

Sunday morning we lazed around in bed for an hour. That’s unheard of in this house! When we finally hauled ourselves out of bed, I made pancakes for breakfast and we read the paper. Then we got to work cleaning down in the basement. It had gotten kind of out of hand with recent additions and the hasty rearrangement that was done back in June when we had the sump pump issue. So now everything is organized (at the expense of many spiders) and we got rid of some stuff at Goodwill. Did you know they take Christmas trees? Awesome. We also stopped at Menards while we were up in Appleton so Adam could find some cheap carpet to cover the floor in his workshop when he paints things.

We got home just after the game started. Another horrible game. With interceptions. Boo. Eventually we stopped watching that game and flipped to the Brewers instead. Much happier game there. With champagne. We ordered Chinese food for dinner and watched the previous night’s "SNL". It wasn’t even the slightest bit funny. It actually kind of sucked. They need to work on that. We also watched premieres of all the new shows on Fox. Throughout the whole evening Adam was online checking out AT&T U-Verse since apparently we no longer get Fox since the local channel couldn’t reach an agreement with Time Warner (well, ok, they gave us a cheap antenna so we kind of get it.) We’ve got an installation appointment scheduled for a couple weeks from now so we’ll see what happens. I think we’ll probably switch even if WLUK works things out. AT&T has more HD channels and is cheaper than Time Warner (even with the $10 you have to pay for the HD channels. Take that, puppies.) We can even switch our phone number over.

This past week kind of sucked. Wait, let’s try and put a positive spin on things. Monday wasn't bad - a normal day with handbells. But it turns out all the new people aren't actually joining so we're down a person instead of down one, up three. Tuesday was inventory day. Ugh. Wednesday was day one, the day I usually stay late. But it was also the first of our PAC performances – Hamlet. I left work at 5:30 and we picked up dinner on the way to Appleton. We had our usual box seats, one level down. The play was...bad. Weird lighting, a Hamlet who yelled all his lines, an over-acting ghost/player, a Polonius who had memory problems. Add to that the fact that I had to be at work at 6(ish) the next morning, and leaving at intermission was an easy decision. Thursday was day two and I got to work at about 6:15. I had my estimate (due at 10) to Katie by about 10:10. But the rest of the day was challenging. I told Karen, the payables person who sits next to me, that I felt like Sisyphus. I brought home some railcar and silo paperwork and did that at home Thursday evening.

The best thing about working at home:

The worst thing about working at home:

Friday was more of the same although I somehow managed to finish WIP, raw materials, and finished good valuations. I brought home some of the reserve files to work on this weekend. I haven't looked at them yet, but the day is still kind of young. And there's a lot of sports this afternoon to occupy Adam's attention.

We hit our new favorite spot - The Monkey Bar - on Friday night. It was, once again, completely not busy. Kind of strange, although the bartender (the same as last time) said it was still kind of early. Another couple came in a while later and we had a good time. I told Adam on the way back to the car that we should have gotten their phone number. They seemed to be in a very similar place in life - recently married, just bought a house - and were a lot of fun. Are there dating sites for couples? (And I don't mean that in a weird sexual way - I'm being serious...) It's hard these days, with all the people our age having kids and being boring. *sigh*

Saturday was networking day. As in Adam spent the whole day pulling wires and setting up a monster network throughout the whole house. I got to stick my hand through walls, pull on a coat hanger, hold a spool of cable, hold a flashlight up so he could see when wiring, yell up when I saw lights blink, and be generally helpful when possible. I also baked a cake. With some help from Betty Crocker. Ok, a lot of help. After dinner (crockpot beef roast! yum!) we did some shopping. Dropped some major coin on pet supplies and a new safe.

Today we lazed around again. Seems to be a new Sunday tradition. We ate breakfast, read the paper, and then Adam went to Menards to get his workshop furniture. I vacuumed. And here we are.

In hair news, I went out and got some smoothing, anti-frizz gunk to put in my hair. It seems to be doing its job and so far I haven’t noticed a rash or incredibly greasy result. I also bought hairspray. Yes, I didn’t even own hairspray. Gasp. I’ve been playing with an off center part, going back and forth between which side I like better. Lately though I've chosen to part it on my right side in an attempt to cover up the huge gash in my face. Last Friday night JC decided to fall off the bed in the middle of the night and scratch me on his way down. It's almost gone, but it made me look great!

And as if there needed to be something else mundane that the cats freak out about, here's JC with the box from the buttload of ramen we got last week: