It's three in the morning as I begin this entry, and will doubtless be even later when I finish, especially since G. just messaged me to tell me to giggle at Boytaurs and I succumbed. (Yes, go look, then return.)

My parents are sleeping on the sofa-bed in my living room, so I can't wander downstairs for bad television and hot tea, the way I usually do when I wake in the night. (It's funny, really, because I have a television here in the computer room, and we have digital cable on both sets, but it never occurs to me to turn this one on at such times.) So I'm babbling in text in the hope that I can clear the last of the leftover dreamstuff from my mind.

I've written in passing that my mother's first husband, the one man I ever called “Dad,” threatened to hunt me down and kill me, as we pulled away from our old driveway in Colorado, and headed toward a new life in California. Adult, rational, daytime Zoetrope knows very well that this was a powerless man's attempt to sieze power, and feel less lost. But the residual eleven-year-old inside me still remembers the cold hatred in his tone, and my overactive imagination goes to work far too often using that memory as a jumping point.

Oddly, the dream that I woke from wasn't at all scary in and of itself. I remember bumbling thieves, a scheme to steal cashiers checks, a sword, and someone singing “Big Bad John,” quite sarcastically. And then a noise from outside (probably the neighborhood possum encountering a trash can lid) insinuated itself into my dream, and I woke, momentarily terrified and disoriented, convinced there was a gunman waiting in the computer room to murder the lot of us in our beds. I vaguely recall the sound of an obviously touched murderer laughing and saying, “Bang. Definitely bang. Yeah, bang.” in a voice not unlike Dustin Hoffman in Rainman only sinister instead of sweet.

Of course…the dogs didn't react. This is always a reassuring method of proving that it was, in fact, just a dream. My dogs can generally sense a cat padding across the deck, and will growl from the depths of sleep if this occurs. An actual noise would have had Zorro on alert, and Cleo pawing at the ground and barking. (I remain convinced that, should we ever actually be attacked, my dogs would save the day by licking said attacker to death. They're such wusses. Cleo and I have regular conversations, albeit one-sided, about the fact that wagging her tail while she's barking visciously at someone ruins all credibility.)

And so I sit here, typing like a madwoman, and no doubt convincing any readers that I'm truly psychotic, and not merely mildly eccentric, and a little obsessed by work and houses.

Adventures in Househunting

So, we opted not to make a full price offer on the original house. It's just not worth 575k in this market. There are houses that are bigger, on better streets, and less expensive.

One such house is this one which we've called on, and are going to see tomorrow at 1:30.

We did look at several today, including a 4/2 in Pruneridge that was listed at 999,000 (it's so not going to sell for that), and one of what I call the “Stepford Houses” – they're the ones that are used as in-fill housing. Zero lot-line construction, in small carved out neighborhoods, with twisty-turny private drives that all culminate in cul de sac's, where you find five or six homes in a semi-circle, all of which are one of three designs. (For locals, the new construction at Rivermark is a prime example of these).

What I love about my neighborhood is that, with a very small enclave as an exception, there are no tract houses, and no Stepford homes. Just really interesting, vintage houses. The one we're hoping to offer on tomorrow, for example, is a cottage built in 1925, but it's been updated to have air conditioning.

So, the hunt continues.


Update 3:34 PM: I WANT THIS HOUSE. Ok, the kitchen's small, but it's so cute. It has the original phone-niche from when the house was built, and the detailing on the fireplace is so cool, and the front bedroom opens to the living room with folding doors, so is perfect for a computery-officy space. And and and.

The master bath is what they used to call a 3/4 bath. A shower, sink and toilet. Grey ceramic tile floor. The main bath is black and white tile. Brass and porcelain fittings. Small, but functional. And a real (as in not molded plastic) tub. There's bougainvillea (or however you spell that) on a trellis out the living room windows.

We drove around and looked at other stuff, of course, including a listing on Morse that was really cute, but only a 2/1 – not big enough. But the agent is not only an old friend, but also represented our newest neighbors here when they bought, so – yeah, that works. She can list this place.

Please everyone keep fingers crossed.

Hand Me Down…

So, everyone else has done this, and I guess it's a change from ranting and whining.

You have a good imagination, and often exhibit sensitivity to others.

At times, you may tend to be overly sensitive to criticism. You can be excessively cautious or narrow in your outlook unless you receive the right kind of encouragement.

You have plenty of inner ambition.

The general flexibility of your character is a useful attribute. At certain times in your life, you may have romantic conflicts and difficulty maintaining friendships. You will overcome these problems after a little introspection.

Sometimes you feel jealous, and must avoid becoming overly possessive in your relationships.

There may be times in your life when you give in to feelings of sadness or depression.

Your personality is dynamic and attractive to most people. The more branches you find in your heart line, the more friends and lovers you will have. Your sincerity and compassion make people like you even more.

At certain times in your life, you may have romantic conflicts and difficulty maintaining friendships. These problems are not likely to last long.

There are inconsistencies in your energy level, possibly triggered by external factors or emotional changes.

You have a basically strong constitution, and should enjoy good health most of the time.

You were probably given a good start in life by your parents. This could be based on your general upbringing, or on physical characteristics you inherited.

No matter what other factors influence your personality, there is an under lying sense of practicality that you can draw on if you wish.

Xeni and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Week.

I think if tomorrow is any worse than the last three days have been I might just have to kill someone or something, just as stress-relief.

-Sunday, we took my parents to breakfast, and the folks at Hobees managed to not give back Fuzzy's credit card, which wouldn't have been an issue except that we didn't discover this until after they'd closed. Then on Monday morning, they told him they couldn't possibly go look and see if the card was there, he'd have to come by. Then when he called back, they hung up on him. (The card was there, but they hadn't bothered to call the bank or anything. Helpful folks. If only I wasn't so addicted to their salmon spinach scramble)

-Monday I got to the office early so that I could make sure my mother had all the tools she needed, but I'd forgotten to load Office on the laptop I gave her. So my stepfather said he'd bring my backpack with my laptop and software with him when he came for lunch. Well, he did bring the backpack, but first he managed to run it over in our Camry, and while my brand new camera and Rio Volt are just peachy, my less-than-60-day-old Vaio is dented, mashed, scratched, and dead. The LCD shattered. Auto insurance won't cover it, and while we have home-contents insurance included, which might have, in our HOA stuff (we're only six units, so yes, we have contents and structural through the HOA), I found out that someone had apparently cancelled the entire HOA policy. (I've emailed our treasurer, about that. I'm sure it's just an error.) And my parents are both mortified, of course, moreso since they're retired, and can't afford to give me $2300 for a new laptop. And don't even ask about Sony's warranty. I don't think they'd believe this was a tech problem.

-Today, all was going well. We made a verbal offer on The House. I don't think we'll get it, though our first loan is approved, because it's a little beyond our reach, and we're asking for a seller carried bridge second, and offering $40k lower than what they're asking (because their house is overpriced), and making it contingent on selling this. But, anyway, today's issue is more simple. My hard drive crashed at work. Hard. To the point where I can't even blow away partitions and start from scratch. Brian, our office manager, zipped right out and bought me a new drive (100 gigs as opposed to the original 40), but that meant I had to stay and set it up, because we don't have an IT person, or anything. Argh. Anyway, all was going well, and I had mail and web and everything working, except that I couldn't see the rest of the systems on our LAN. At 10:45, after making Fuzzy come look because I was tired to the point of hysteria, I realized the problem was a typo in the IP.

So, I'm tired and feeling stressed and stupid, and whining like, well, make up your own metaphor. I'm going to bed.

Fireworks on Ice

My mother and I share a love of figure skating, and it's become tradition that we go to both “Stars on Ice,” when it comes here in January, and “Champions on Ice,” when it comes every summer. This last January, my mother had the nerve to be at home in Mexico, so came with me, for which Fuzzy is grateful (he actually sleeps through ice shows), as am I.

Last night, my mother was here, though, and we had tickets to the evening performance. (Note to self: Never go to the evening performance when they've already done a matinee; unlike theatrical performances, skating shows show off the weariness of the performers.) Yes, it's sad, but true, there was a noticeable lack of energy last night.

-Suraya Bonaly is still an amazingly powerful skater, though she is still failing to comprehend that she should use that, and wear bold costumes and skate to strong music, and not attempt to be flirty and girly.

-Michelle Kwan looked so happy and elegant, she was a joy to watch. As always. Well, almost always.

-Rudy Galindo is as irrepressable as ever, and apparently, we have the same hair stylist. (No, really. My mother informed me of this last night. “You know, B. does his hair.”) Well, cool, or something.

-Phillipe Candeloro might still be a decent skater, if he ever stopped vamping long enough to actually skate.

-Elvis Stojko will always be adorable.

-Alexei Yagudin skated to Bond

-The hula-hoop woman, Irina Grigorian, was fabulous. Especially when she skated while wearing a giant slinky.

As to the fireworks? It's become typical since last September for performers to do some overly sentimental patriotic gesture, even in ice shows. This ice show, which has about 50% of it's cast from Russia and the Ukraine, managed to pull this off without being cheesy: They began with Jimi Hendrix's version of The Star Spangled Banner, and segued into Ray Charles singing America the Beautiful, and all of the cast was in either stars and stripes, or red, white, or blue. And while I still think it was a little cheesy, there's something cool about seeing all these Russian, French, and Canadian skaters wearing America's colors.

At the end, the American flag dropped down over the arena, and fireworks went off. Yes. Indoor fireworks.

It was quite a night. And I even stopped obsessing about the house while I was there.

We Might Be Moving

So, today I went to the fabric store with Mom, and then on the way toward lunch at Pomodoro, we saw some For Sale signs in our neighborhood. And on a whim, since one house was open, we went in.

And I fell in love.

We drove home and woke Chris and dragged him back.

It has 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms (well, 1.75, really) and all hardwood floors, and an office/game room that I told Chris he could hang his posters in, and hey, , read this line: An actual outdoor brick charcoal-burning grill.

This link should take you to the house.

And this link should be the aerial photo courtesy of MapQuest.

And the question I have is: What kind of bribery would it entail for folks to come help us a) get the condo ready to show, and b) move in about a month when we close escrow, assuming we make the offer.

(Also, if anyone wants a computer desk, please let us know?)

Map This?

So, and started playing the map game, and I guess it's my turn. I had to be pretty specific about intersection, hence this rare locked entry.

I think it's kind of cool that you can even see my neighbor's illegally parked car. Well, if you know where to look. :)

Map This

Optimum Distance from Parents is 2500 Miles

They've been here for only 12 hours and they're already driving me crazy. Last night, it was, “Haven't you gotten rid of that dog yet? She's a monster,” about Cleo, who isn't monstrous at all. Yes, she barks at strangers, but she STOPS once she figures out they're invited, and yes, she's overly affectionate, but my parents are failing to comprehend that, “She'll calm down if you ignore her,” doesn't mean they should talk to Zorro for three minutes and then look at Cleo and say, “You aren't calm yet.”

This morning, I was awakened by my mother's search for an iron. Now, I do love my mother very much, but she is a compulsive ironer. The woman irons t-shirts and pajamas, and I swear I caught her ironing socks once. Well, maybe not. And searching for an iron is no big deal, really (I remember seeing it, but we've been rearranging everything and I don't know where it is, most of my clothes don't require ironing). So I was awakened by her outside my door going, “Xenobia, Xenobia,” (well, no she was using Mom-ified endearments based on my real name, but if you think I'm typing them…well…never mind). Knocking, I suppose, which would have actually awakened me to the point of having brain functionality before coffee, was somehow beyond her capabilities.

There are suitcases everywhere, not stacked, just…everywhere, and the ironing board is still in the middle of the computer room, and none of the coffee mugs were rinsed, and these are the same people who are anal to the extreme about doing dishes at their house.

This shouldn't surprise me, though, because my parents are the same people who don't train their dog, and suddenly expect that she will know what “sit” and “stay” mean when they are visiting away from home.

I fear the day they have grandchildren.
I fear my sanity knowing that my mother will be working out of my office this week.


Yeah, that felt better.

Proof that I Really need Sleep

So, I was dozing on the couch, kinda watching The Crocodile Hunter, when I thought of it…

Anyone remember TinyElvis? It was a program, an applet, really, that gave you an Elvis icon, who would walk across your screen, make a comment, like, “Maaan, look at that icon! Wow, that's really huge.” And then wiggle its hips or dance.

So, there needs to be TinySteve. This would be the Croc Hunter himself, and he'd bounce onto the desktop, crouch and go, “Get a look at that icon! What a little beauty!” or “Danger! Danger! Danger!” at random intervals.

Um, yeah, I'm tired.
(And alcohol free, too. Be afraid.)

I Can’t Think of A Catchy Title For This…

…so anyone reading it is welcome to suggest things, or you can go without. In any case, yes, I am alive. Well, kind of.

Work is insane. Rates are low, which means the stock market is generally sucky. A tip: If you really want to invest in something, go buy a house. Real estate is hot-hot-hot right now. I know this because in the last week the five of us have originated 125 new loans. All of which I get to process. (Of course, I get a per-loan spiff, as well as commissions on my own originations, and a base, so, while I pretty much have no life during the week, it's worth it.)

The guys I work with appreciate me, though, and are supportive and generally cool. When asked what they could do to make my job easier, I retorted, “Buy me chocolate.” I was kidding, mostly, and they knew it, mostly, but for the last two days we've all been noshing on the three-pound box of See's they brought me. (I only eat the dark chocolates, and they pretty much all like milk, so this is good.)

Oh, and I have a private fax machine a mere three steps away from my desk, in my office with the token window. So, hey, at least while I'm going crazy, I'm comfortable.

* * *

And then there's the impending visit from my parents, who are currently in Palm Desert after driving up from Baja Sur on Sunday. They were supposed to arrive on the 19th, but now it looks like they're coming TOMORROW, and my bathrooms aren't really clean enough for parental company, and there's no time, and I finally decided I don't care. SInce they informed me, rather than asking, that they'd be coming, it's their problem. At least I don't complain about their neurotic dog who makes puddles of chocolate-pudding-like stuff on my carpets. (Yeah, you needed that image, didn't you?)

* * *

This sounds rather rant-y now that I'm re-reading it, but really, it's not. Just Xeni-babble. And yes, I can do this whole entry on one breath. :)