Tuesday, October 25, 2005

SHHH - be vewy vewy qwiet

The last two weeks have been very long at work; nothing's going on except clean-up for the move next month, and testing of patches for our ERP systems. I hate testing. It's always such a convoluted mess, mainly because it's controlled in our California office, and that 3-hour time difference is always to our disadvantage. And the boss seems to keep needing to take days off, leaving me the only one here, while my co-worker is still out recouping from her surgery. She has her doctor's appt. today, so she might be back this week, if he'll release her; she was mopping her floor last week when I talked to her - sounds well enough to me. I sure hope she's back; I would really like to have Monday off. He conveniently forgot about me not being here Friday - in our dept (can a group of 2 grunts & 1 supervisor really be considered a department?) meeting, he wanted me to send an e-mail to schedule time to go to one of our contract manufacturers, to see if we can't figure out why they are having problems getting to our data. He said if he needed to go, he wouldn't be available Friday; I looked at him for a minute, and said "Uh, I won't either?". He squinted at his calendar and said "Interesting". I have no idea what that means. Whatever. I will not be at work on Friday - either by his leave, or if I have to call in sick, I will. It's bullshit - I knew about those 2 days a month before she scheduled her surgery, so maybe they need to live with it, not me. I am always at work - even if I take a sick day (it's never for me, it's always for one of the boys), I am there making up as much as I can. That's why I have 2 floating holidays, 44 hours sick time, and 32 hours vacation time right now. I am taking a sick day on 11/9 - I have my yearly check that morning, both boys have physicals that afternoon (I blew them off during the spring, when they should have had them), and just happened to get DH a dentist appointment, too - I have to go with him, or he won't go. Let's see anybody else manage appointments that well. And I don't really consider all those appointments as time off of work - it's work to get that all coordinated and taken care of. I need a couple of days off, people, okay? I don't think this is a hard concept to follow. I get 2 days off, or people start getting hurt. Pretty simple.

In other news, my 12-year-old scored the winning goal in his game this past Saturday!!!!one!! It was the coolest thing I've ever seen; he had a direct kick - forget what the call was now - it's unimportant. He was 5-10 yards from the center line of the field, and just nailed it. It arced right down, just over the tips of the goalie's fingers, nothing but net. It was just like you see on TV. The whole team ran over to him and pounded him on the back and such. It was total redemption for the loss to this same team during the season-opening tournament - you know, the one where the stupid-ass coach showed up, after his suspension was over, and fucked it all up for us. I am pretty sure they came up there, expecting to just walk all over us, and at half-time, we were down 2-0, but man, second half, we came out and kicked ass. You could see it on the faces of the other team - when we scored the first goal, they were all like "UH! You're not supposed to do that! You guys are supposed to suck!" And OMG did they yell at the ref every opportunity they got. If I was that ref, every time one of them opened their mouths to dispute something, big old Yellow Card for you, Sir! As bad as our reffing has been all year, this guy did an okay job - at the very least, he was very involved in it. After it was over, he gave us his interpretation of the Handball - it was partly bullshit, but whatever. I think he needs to brush up on his Offsides calls, too. We won 4-3, but one of their first couple of goals was totally offsides - that's like 5-6 against us this year that were obviously offsides. It's getting old.

During the game, one of the parents I absolutely despise (yeah, Carla, I mean you) made some shitty comment about my boy passing the ball back to her retard son, who flubbed it and lost possession; she just couldn't understand why on earth you would pass the ball back when you are moving forward. Uh, the fact that my kid had 2 guys all over him, and were about to force the ball out, plus he ending up having his back to the goal, keeping these guys off the ball, never occurred to her. It's called passing to an open player when you are stuck, you stupid idiot. That's why there are 9 other guys (10, if the goalie's not busy) on the field. So I looked her in the eye (I had my shades on of course, but I think most people know when I'm giving them the eye) and said "He was about to be forced out, I'm sure". She then said, "Well, it didn't look that close to me" - this from the coke-bottle-glasses-wearing, 5'0" person who wouldn't know in if it smacked her in the head. I said "Well, why don't you just ask him when he gets over here". She didn't say anything to that. And after the game, this same moron said that if they hadn't won this game, they were not going to go to the Savannah game this coming weekend. Now, if we weren't already in danger of not having enough players (1 quit, 1 can't play because his grades suck, 1 is who-knows-when-he'll-show-up, and others we know only go when we make special effort to get them there) and having to forfeit, I would've said, "Yeah, well, whatever - it won't matter". But we had exactly 11 for a home game, and we know very specifically 1 will not be going to Savannah - they are NOT driving 6 hours for a game, and have bitched about ever since they had the schedule handed to them - so I can't really discourage them from going. I'm going to be really pissed if we make all these plans to get down there, and come Saturday, we have no team show up. Okay, we're making a long weekend out of it, because we usually go to Savannah in October anyway, but the whole point is this game, especially now, when we are able to make up some ground in the standings, should we win (and we should). It's not like having to travel to games is unusual with Select soccer; what are they going to do if we end up playing in Gainesville, FL, or Jacksonville? They have some of the biggest tournaments in the SE - that's kinda what we expect to be doing at this level, people; we signed up for it, remember? God, people kill me.

On the hobby front, I have just placed a huge bead order via my Yahoo group; it's not that much stuff, but it ended up costing a lot more than I expected, since the beads I use for my twister strands have all doubled in price this month. That still freaks me out; they are pretty much static for at least 5 years, and as soon as I go about the business of opening my own business using these as the base, they double. I have either the worst luck of anyone I know, or the gods really are conspiring against me. I think it's a bit of both. But since I can't get any work done on my website for various reasons, I guess I shouldn't get all worked up about it. I just want the website ready to go - that's the biggest piece; after that, it's just a matter of maintaining that and taking care of business, both of which should be no-brainers, as they are totally in my control. I really need it ready for me to start adding the text - the picture-thing still isn't worked out, but that's why placeholders were invented - it's going to take me a few tries to get it where I like it, or at least can live with it. I just really hate when people make commitments that they can't keep. If you don't have time, you just need to tell me, and I'll take it somewhere else. Especially when I've done so much of the leg work already. I'm on a schedule here, and I intend to keep it - I've spent way too much brain power the last few months to let it all go now. If I had the time, I would just figure it out myself, but I plainly do not have the time; yeah, I need another thing I have to do each day before I lay down to sleep. I don't have hours on end of free time - I have 10 minutes here, 15 there, in between stringing beads, cooking dinner, doing homework, doing laundry, you know, running a household and working a full-time job, both with no help.

Anyway, I got my cranberry potato pearls knotted and strung; they are very cool. I'm not real thrilled with the earrings - I couldn't find any gold or gold-filled bead caps that would work - but they are okay. If I find caps later on, there's no reason I can't redo them. That's the great thing about making your own stuff; if you don't like it, or later find something that will work better, all you gotta do is re-do it! A little time and energy, and that great feeling of satisfaction when it finally goes together the way you imagined it.

We got the Halloween stuff out finally; I decided to not mess with the plug-in pumpkins and the little hay bales they sit on - don't feel like cleaning that up this year. I got all of my fall wall quilts out and up, my haunted house X-stitch with the glow-n-the-dark thread. I didn't get my new pumpkin x-stitch done yet, and the other fall one I finished stitching is still hanging on my bed, waiting to be finished/framed/whatever I'm going to do with it. I want to get these pumpkins done so I can get back to my castle; I want to get that done so I can start planning my Scarlet Quince design. I'm going to do a bit of a sample of it first, to decide what fabric I'm going to do it on - I am going to try over 1 on 28 ct, and see if that will cause me to lose my mind. I bet I won't end up doing that - it'll either be over 2 or done on the smallest Aida I can find, so I don't have to count threads, just find the holes. 130K stitches - I must be crazy. And I better get a floor stand for Christmas - we can start with the cheap one at Wally World first, and make any necessary modifications after that. If I could just get my dad to look at a good one and build me one - he is a mechanical genius, after all - it should be a piece of cake for him.

Need to call Mom again tonight - I got through to her today, but got the answering machine. I called last night, but got a busy signal - I didn't try again, as I figured it was like last year, all the lines in Florida tied up when the bottom half of the state gets wiped out. At least they have power, as evidenced by the answering machine. They must not've gotten much of Wilma. Good - they had enough last year. You know, that's what kills me with the hurricanes this year; we had four go through last year, and the gas prices didn't shoot off the charts and all this panic and crap - tell me it isn't all oil company hype. The whole Katrina debacle can just go stick itself, as far as I'm concerned. Do we really need to rebuild the cesspool formerly known as New Orleans? Somehow, I think we can live without it. Of course, all the poor black people will move here - most of them are here already, so whatever. Welfare works in whatever state you're in, doesn't it? At least the Mexicans are busting their asses doing some work every day; these folks that think they are "entitled" to something sure don't lift a finger except to point and throw race cards at every opportunity. Again, people kill me. Repeatedly.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Death of a Hamster, by KL Williams

Biter came to our house as a replacement for our dear friend, Shelly, who had died an agonizing death after 2 short years. Shelly had been a replacement for Henry, who had died a similar death before that. At first, Biter didn't have a name; the little kid kept coming up with silly, fluffy names, like, well, Fluffy; we don't have no stinking fluffy names for our animales (ask Booger, the patriarch of the bunch), so she continued to go nameless. Until one night, when I got her out of her cage after the boys were in bed (that's the only time I could play with her in peace); she was still new to us, and hadn't really gotten used to being handled yet, but I thought she was coming round. Boy, was I wrong. I had her sitting on the flat of my palm, and I looked away for a second, probably talking to DH, when all of a sudden, I heard this sound like nails punching through leather. I turned around, and the little monster had bitten right through my hand, right up there on the fleshy bit right below where my middle and ring finger separated from my hand. As I looked, I felt it - a burning, right through to the knuckles of both fingers. I was later surprised to find I didn't just automatically throw her through the air towards a wall; I calmly put her back in her cage and ran to the sink to douse myself in antibacterial soap and alcohol (rubbing, not drinking. You know, to disinfect the wound). The next day, the upper half of my palm was a black and blue mess, and I couldn't quite make my fingers work right. But at least the houseguest now had a name: Biter.

Apparently, Biter didn't care for the taste of people; right after that, the boys seemed to finally take an interest in her (yeah, you bit Mom; man, that's so cool! Some day, I'm gonna bite the shit out of her, too, right when she's yelling at me to clean my room). Little kid had her out of her cage almost every day, and didn't have any trouble with her. I stayed away from her, though I really did want to pet her little fuzzy body, and play with her little ears - they were so cute!!11one One day, Little Kid just dumped her in my lap, and I froze; please don't bite me again, or I WILL toss you, I said to myself. Well, she must've heard my plea, though she did give me a look like "Don't move a muscle, lady, or the hand gets it". Then I thought, hey, this is a rodent; what do rodents like best? Food!!! SO I very carefully carried her out to the kitchen, and put her on the bar. I dug in the fridge and found some veggies - boy, she loved that! Then I went for the cereal shelf - Honeycomb! WOOHOO! That silly rat shoved 10 of those whole honeycombs into her cheeks, and would've kept going if I hadn't taken her back to her cage. She then yakked them all out in a corner of the cage, and went and got a drink. We were pals from then on. FoodMaster = yummy goodness.

A few months later, I was sound asleep in bed, when suddenly, I heard a little scratching sound coming from somewhere in our room. I sprang instantly awake; it's coming from the bookshelf. I thought to myself, "that damn hamster is in here". I waited until I heard the scratching again, then I jumped up and turned on the closet light. I stood still until I heard it again, then got down on the floor in front of the bookshelf; she was right back there, I knew it. I moved a couple of books, sitting on the floor, out of the way, and watched. After a few seconds, a little pink, wiggly nose stuck out from behind a copy of "What to Expect When You're Expecting"; AHA! I had her. I scooped her out, and carried her back out, all the way to the other side of the house, to put her back in her cage. Along the way, I woke up Fat Ass, Booger, and Ripley, all sleeping in the hallway or the living room. What a bunch of completely useless animals - a 5 oz. hamster got down to the floor, without disturbing the lid on her cage one bit, I might add, and got all the way to the other side of the house, with 3 cats in it, one of whom (we're not sure which one, but think it's Fat Ass) likes to eat the heads of rodents, and leave the bodies under our cars for us to see as we pull out of the drive. And made enough noise to wake me up out of Mommy-sleep; DH to this day cannot believe I woke up knowing that little tiny sound was that of little hamster feet on shiny dust cover. Try it sometime - it makes a very distinctive sound. So back to her cage she went, and to keep her in it at least long enough for me to get back to sleep, I piled some books on top.

We went like that for a few weeks, but now that she had discovered the secret to freedom, she was constantly banging the hell out of the lid of her cage. Hamsters are nocturnal, like most rodents, so of course, this was going on at night. And since the whole damn house could blow up around these other people that live here and they wouldn't know, I was the only one to hear all this carrying-on. After a couple of weeks, I told DH that we had to come up with some other arrangement; if I didn't get a full night's sleep, soon, someone was going to get hurt. Then it came to me. Several years ago, I bought a 75-gallon fish tank and stand, thinking it would be nice to have a really big tank, so I could have schools of neon tetras and such, not realizing that it would cost me $500 at least to get it set up with the best low-maintenance stuff I could. Well, needless to say, it had been sitting downstairs, unused and empty. What better solution to the Amazing Escaping Hamster? There's no way she would be able to get out of there! Now, where to put it? Well, Little Kid is the animal collector, so we rearranged his whole room, and with just inches to spare, jammed that huge tank and stand in there, and outfitted it good enough to house a hamster Queen. And mover Biter right on in.

She lived in style for I can't even tell you how long; I'm guessing she was here for at least 3 years, which is a really long time for a hamster. She had a wheel, she had a ball, houses of legos and kleenex boxes and Play Doh volcanoes; we gave her treats all the time, honeycomb cereal being one of her favorites. One of our greatest family things was to gather around her, sitting on the bar, and counting how many pieces of any kind of cereal or sunflower seeds she could jam in her head at once; if we split an Oreo in half, and gave her just the cookie part, she could get that whole thing in there, in one piece! Her head would be all deformed and stuff, and it was so funny. Then the boys would take her to her house, and would be totally fascinated by her yakking it all up in her stash in the corner. Some of the faces she would make, or the gyrations she would have to go through to dislodge some of it were pretty comical. She was our pal, and better yet, she didn't seem to upset the cats. Except Zeke; if she was in the living room in her ball, and he walked in, she would just plow into him as many times as she could, until he would finally get his Fat Ass up and leave the room, always with a look of complete disgust on his face. Nobody likes a grouchy cat, especially a grossly fat grouchy cat.

Then a couple of weeks ago, I was in there, doing something (putting clothes away, cleaning the turtle cage, looking for the source of the smell) when Biter came out of her house. She didn't look too good - her fur was all out of order, she was not walking around with her usual spring. I waited for her to come fully awake, and stuck my hand in there to give her a pet - it had been a while since we'd had her out - and when she turned to see what was attacking her, I noticed her left eye was funny. She definitely didn't want me messing with her, so I left her alone. She went to her water bottle, and seemed to be having trouble getting anything out; I gave it a tap, to see if I could free up a drop for her, and it appeared to be working okay. I got another good look at her, and it kinda looked like she might've had a little hamster stroke or something. On the side with the funny-looking eye, her whole face wasn't right - her ear was a little droopy, her mouth was loose, and she didn't seem able to use the legs on that side of her body very well. I figured she wouldn't be around much longer; she just seemed to have gotten old over night.

DH was in there one day last week, and hollered that she was gone. She had crawled out of her little house, gone up to the front of the tank, and died right there where we would be sure to see her. I had just gotten an order of beads, and had just given the empty box to Little Kid; I had an argument with him to get the box back, so we could put Biter in it, in the nice piece of teal tissue paper that comes with all of my bead orders. She's down in the garage now (I hope not stinking), waiting for her funeral, out back where Shelly and Henry were. She was a good hamster, once we got past that first bite. I don't think we'll be getting another hamster again soon. Actually, I'd like to get that tank out of that room, and give Little Kid some room, though more room = more mess. 1 down, 10 more to go (KittyKitty, now KiKi, I guess, is officially a resident, though she still isn't allowed in overnight; I don't know why I waste my time and energy on saying no - it never works). I want new carpet and furniture!!!!

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Fall Has Arrived!

Well, we got through the end of the quarter at work, and from what we hear, did well. The bosses took us out for lunch Friday, at Roadhouse Grill. They brought us dinner steaks instead of lunch steaks - I did my best, but holy cow! I left half of it. It was good. That was payment enough for getting sw release CDs made and shipped. Now, for the next three weeks, I am a group of one; my co-worker is out for her third back surgery. Oh, goody, I get all the pre-move clean-up all to myself. Not to mention everything else. And I assume she won't be able to do anything with the move when she gets back, either; good, she can do all of the keying work, since I really hate data entry. She can have all the carpal tunnel she wants. I certainly hope I don't develop any of these health issues when I get to that age - if I'm not there, who will be?

Soccer this weekend was kind of a mixed bag; little kid lost (one of our players got lost on the way to the game, and never did find the place - we missed him); his other team won. And the big kid won one, lost one. And the loss was just plain stupid - ineffective coaching, again. Reffing was flaky again, too. Our trainer is really hot on the flat-back defense, and it just doesn't work for this team; we aren't fast enough for it. Every team we come up against who knows how to play through-ball just kills us when we have flat back. And we have lost 1 player for good, one just didn't show up at all this weekend (due to his bad grades, his mom isn't letting him play - thanks for the call, NOT), and one of mediocre players has all kinds of issues, and will NOT be playing on Sundays. And they haven't paid one dime for this season yet. And we've got one of the pokiest kids you ever saw playing up front. He needs to be sitting on the bench. And 2 of our 3 newbies are doing fantastic, but the third? Well, he makes mistake after mistake, but he plays the whole game. I do not get it. Well, I get it, but I'm not real sure why it's going on. We are reaaaalllllyyyy fed up with this team; we have some tremendous talent, but the coach just kinda seems to be punishing them, or something, and giving all of the kudos to the lame-os. Something has got to give; this isn't a Select team, it's a very talented rec team. But when this is all that shows up at tryouts, I guess you have to take what you get. Sad. Most of the talent pool in our area is living in poverty, so there's no way we can draw from them.

About time to kick into Christmas mode. I have ordered beads for a couple of presents, as well as for stock; I won't be getting them until mid-November, so when they get here, I'm going to be busy. I haven't gotten the Halloween stuff out yet; I don't even know if we are going to be here for trick or treating, or if we'll be in Savannah. I may get it out this week, unless I have to put in some OT, to make it look like we are really struggling with one of us gone. I'm sure I'll get asked to stay late, probably as soon as it is the most inconvenient. And I got a bunch of shit about wanting those days to go to Savannah, even though I knew about it before this stupid surgery was scheduled. You know what, I think they just might have to adjust - it's okay when I am the only one there, but it's not when the boss is? I think that's kind of crappy. They'll be SOL if I get sick, huh? Considering we've had strep and pneumonia in the house in the past few weeks, they're pretty lucky I've fought it all off, so far. I do get the feeling, though, that they don't see this, because somebody is always getting OT and I'm not. It's pretty unfair, too, I think; I spend 40 hours a week doing CM work, and other people spend 30 hours doing nothing, then find a whole bunch of extra work to do for other departments, justifying OT. What a load of crap. And I didn't get taken out for lunch for my 5-year anniversary, mainly because I just didn't say anything; the boss got guilted into it last year, and I thought that maybe he would remember on his own - he didn't. Alright, enough of that - don't want to go to work tomorrow; can you tell?

We got some rain from Tropical Storm Tammy - we got 5.65" from Wednesday through Friday. I hope the storms are over for the year now; I'm getting tired of the whole damn Katrina debacle. Hey, mayor and governor, you guys screwed up, huge; please just admit it and move on. Yes, it's a tragedy, but I have done my bit to help, as have almost everyone I know - stop yer whinin', and get to work, and stop looking for more cash handouts. Those stupid casinos aren't going to build themselves, are they? Looting police; by all means, let's knock ourselves out and help these people. Let's rebuild the prisons first, and it should be pretty easy after that. It's like I've said ever since we moved here; the South lost the Civil War partly because of their lack of railroads, but there are more damn train museums down here than any place I've been in the country. I expect some huge memorial to hurricanes and the ineffectiveness of the Republicans to respond to them to be erected in NO, so the "lazy" folks have a place to demonstrate and demand reparations from all of us. People kill me.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Another Weekend Gone

Friday, the washing machine decided to break; we think it is the switch that tells it the tub is full and to stop filling. We had 3 inches of water on the floor. Well, we have a bunch of dirty clothes now, but the laundry room floor is really clean. We have a new switch coming, tomorrow or Wednesday; I hope that fixes it. It took me a while Friday night to find a laundromat not in Little Mexico; the one we used to have in our town is now the Police Station (I guess they are trying to clean up. Bad, I know - blame my boss, he said it first). Just one more thing in our house that doesn't work. It's always something.

We had a decent soccer weekend; the little kid, who has had 3 ties in a row, won one, and his other team, won, also. I think we now have the winning combination for both of those teams. I missed his game, though, because I was at the big kid's game; we finally scored a goal! 3 in fact. We tied that game, and then, Sunday, he played again, and we lost that one, but it wasn't a shut-out. The reffing was really bad Sunday; there were some really blatant things that were not called evenly. We had a ref standing there, watching the game, and as I was commenting on calls, to anyone who was listening, somebody said something about home field advantage, at which point I said that doesn't work at our field. Came to find out that ref standing there was one of ours, and she was at this other park on most Sundays, and she said it was a compliment to them that our refs do not show any home field advantage. Well, it might be a compliment to the refs, but when every other field we play at definitely has it for their home teams, it puts us at the disadvantage. Whatever.

The team we played Sunday was one of big kid's buddies, who's dad is the coach; if all else fails, maybe we could consider that game a pre-tryout tryout, if the coach paid big kid any attention. If our coach doesn't make any advances in his coaching (or give up and let someone else take over the team), we will be going somewhere else. It's up to our coach whether it happens in January or July. I don't know if I can stomach the driving, but if we are going to continue on with this silly game, then I guess we'll have to do something; when you live in the sticks, your options are limited. Partly, I'd be willing to go somewhere else just to get away from a few of the parents currently involved. The first year we were with this team, there were the snobs and then the rest of us, including the Hispanic families, and it was very obvious there was a distinction between the two groups. Then last year, we all got along really well (mostly), except for the coach's wife, who has some kind of mental issue, we just don't know what. Now, we have new parents, a few of whom are quite sure us small-club country people don't know anything about the game, and spend the games coaching us on the rules and the politics of it. I'm about done. They spend more time correcting us parents (me, usually) and extolling the virtues of their children, because, though we were division champs last year, we obviously didn't have a team before they came to it. And as I don't like to sit near the chatterboxes either, there's no where for me and one other mom to be on the sidelines where we can just watch the game and have our tirades in peace. It's either suffer the chatterboxes (which I can do), or put up with the retards, who have no clue what is going on in the game, ever, or take the lectures from the newbies. Some of the guys stand off to the side, but I guess I can't go over there, either, because they all stop talking when I walk up - we womenfolk are supposed to stay in our designated areas, I guess, though I don't recall having read that rule anywhere. It's been a stupid season, so far; I'm hoping it improves this weekend. If not, it's going to be a long one, and then the dread of the Spring one will start in January.

And I found out Friday that 80% of the beads I have been planning on as the cornerstone of my web business have, just this past week, doubled in price. Man, I am still floored; they are glass. Gold and silver have both gone down; glass goes up in their place? So now, I have to rethink a whole bunch of stuff, and I have to do it before Wednesday, because the group I do bulk buys through has Wednesday as the deadline for first order (if we can just delete what I already submitted). I may have to rethink the way I was going to set up the site, to have options and color choices, and each thing custom made to order; I may have to go the more traditional route, and have finished things pictured and to be sold/shipped immediately upon request. Which also means that I can't wear them all myself. I was going to have the gallery for all of the one-offs of the ones I've made for myself and as gifts, some of which may or may not be re-created (sea beads, for example - I am doing one of those for my best friend's mom, adding some length to it, as I was able to find the dragon fly beads again), and it would have been on a check-with-me status; I can still do that, but that may be the bigger portion of the site now, which creates more work. And maybe it won't be as bad as I'm thinking; maybe, if it gets off the ground, I can build up my stock, and do what I originally intended - I just may not be able to start out that way. Too much to think about, too much stuff going on. And the Christmas crazies are just days away - I should get my club check this week, so I hope to be done in a few weeks - when the money runs out, I'm done, whether I'm done or not. Kids come first, DH next, then the rest. What a racket. Enough for today!