There are worse things…

Than sitting in an office on a Wednesday evening, watching a co-worker's pet spider crawl around it's teal plastic container. It's a wolf spider, so, harmless, but I hate spiders, and yet, even so, I'm oddly compelled to peer at this poor captive creature.

It must be the cold meds.

On the other hand, I have two loans of my own funding this week, in addition to the override I get on everyone else's loans and my own base, so, that's a good thing, because the new mortgage is about $1200 / month more than the old mortgage, and while the number isn't that scary, really, I don't like to be under financial pressure.

It's 5:22, and if I'm lucky, Fuzzy will be here by six.

I still feel icky, but tomorrow's Halloween, so it'll be almost like a day off, and we're having pumpkin ravioli for dinner, which I love, and I'm taking Friday off completely to spend some time with Mom before she returns to Baja Sur.

And I'm babbling, sorry.

Pathetic Whining

I have a cold, and my head feels disconnected from the rest of me. That floaty actifeddy feeling does not mix well with work.

At the coffee place this morning, I barely touched my bagel or drink.

I want to go home.

Inspired by “Rainbowbinky”

When I was a kid, Asbury Park, NJ, was still a place of innocence. The perfect beach-boardwalk amusement park, with roller coasters, spinning tea-cups, skee-ball in the funhouse, and the best salt-water taffy on earth. It changed at about the same time I got old enough to see beyond the magic of twinkle lights and coastal breezes, declining first into despair, the funhouse turned into a drug-den, and the ticket booth plastered with posters advertising the next rave, and then becoming a relic, a shadow of its former self.

When I was nine, my mother and I spent a year living in a 2nd-story walk-up flat carved out of someone's old summer house in Ocean Grove, the next town down the boardwalk, or up the highway (35? 36? I never remember which is the coastal one and which is not). While there were no actual train tracks to be on the wrong side of, there were gates, because Ocean Grove was privately owned by the Methodist Church, and every summer a tent city bloomed colorfully in the poorer side of town, as everyone same for the religious equivalent of a girl scout jamboree.

The differences between Ocean Grove and Neptune City/Asbury Park grew more marked with every day that passed, or so it seemed. Within the gates, it was an idyllic place to be a child. The beach was clean and safe, there was an old-fashioned soda fountain in the stationers store, and you could trick-or-treat at all the stores on Halloween, on the way home from school. Outside the gates, suburbia was being paved over, and high-rise apartments were replacing ages-old Victorians – summer homes now occupied year-round by senior citizens who wanted to spend their last days at the Shore.

The last time I saw Asbury Park, it was mid-winter, and I was 21. There was no snow, but it was grey and foggy, and it made the entire landscape seem haunted. I snapped pictures, but I don't think I ever remembered to develop the roll of film. But I remember wandering through the empty husk that used to be the funhouse, half convinced that if I knew how to look, I'd see the twinkle lights, and hear the noises from the arcade again.

It didn't work, of course, so I went to sit on one of the empty benches that faced the sea. Even the Atlantic looked gray that day – starkly beautiful, but somehow sad. Old. I watched a couple of leftover sea gulls playing in the sky, kicked at a candy wrapper with my sneakered foot, and in the roar of the waves and the wind, I heard it. Just as parents tell their small children you can hear the water when you hold a shell to your ear, I heard the echoes of summers past, the sound of young kids screaming in delight when the spinning tea-cups seemed out of control, of the ubiquitous Springsteen music that became part of the soundtrack of my childhood, of young lovers huddled under the weathered wood of the boardwalk itself, of grandmothers shouting to their charges to come out of the water Right Now because Your Lips are Turning Blue.

I smiled to myself, as I left the bench, and headed to the local coffee shop for a bowl of minestrone to take the chill away.

My dog walks on water.

No, really. He does.
Yesterday we covered the pool in order to be able to mow the lawn without getting grass in the pool, and my dogs, neither of whom care that the pool is there, when it's uncovered, both trotted over to investigate.

Cleo, a 25-pound mutt whom we refer to as the Barking Bitch of Beelzebub, mostly affectionately, jumped onto the plastic cover making a sound sort of like this:
*thu-splash-squawk!* She walked a couple of steps then fell off the edge of the cover, into the deep end, and Fuzzy had to bail her out.

Then Zorro, who is a 9.5 pound Chihuahua/JRT mix, decided it was his turn. He went to the opposite side of the pool from where we were comforting Cleo, and and hesitated, backing off a bit when I said in that Warning Tone that pet owners and parents both develop, “No, Zorro.”

But temptation was too great.

He leaped.
He landed. There was no discernable splash, only a perturbed expression on a small doggie-face when he realized his footing wasn't solid. Not even a little. Another couple of bounding steps, and he was on the ground, on our side of the pool. His feet hadn't even gotten wet, till he landed in Cleo's dripped water.

Note to self: Leave pool uncovered when dogs are home alone. It's safer.

An Invitation

Yes, this is shorter notice than we planned, although I think some of you knew about this in advance.

Anyway, beginning at 3:00 PM this Saturday the 26th of October, we're having an open house/ housewarming party, and we'd love for you to come. Feel like bringing people, go ahead, just give me a head count by Friday please.

The address: 440 Halsey Avenue, San Jose, 95128 (nearest cross streets are Stevens Creek and MacArthur, or Bascom and Scott). Telephone info: Home: 408-279-8507 / Me at work: 408-557-9880 x 204 / Fuzzy's Cell (cuz I never remember to turn mine on): 408-594-1112.

We'll be serving grilled chicken and spicy hot dogs, as well as assorted finger foods, so bringing things is not required unless you have specific dietary requirements. The pool is NOT heated, but if the day seems warm enough, folks are welcome to swim, in which case, bring suits/towels.

Because we're both terribly busy, and indecisive, we're tacking paint samples on the walls of several rooms, and begging for thoughts about color.

If I know your email address, you'll be receiving an evite as well, from '' most likely.

Happy Monday.
Make it a great day.

Bits and Pieces

I haven't been around much because I've been busy – so busy – both at work and with the new house. Finally, on Thursday, we were given the go-ahead to use our third bedroom. Yes folks, it has a floor.

This morning, we had carpet installers at dawn. Or something like that. The old carpet was pink, which is awful in and of itself (I hate pink, you know), but also infested with fleas – yuck! My poor Cleo-dog has nearly chewed her tail off in her desperation to be flea-free. Top-spotting, combing and bathing seem to have no effect. Ugh. But, a vet visit's happening in the morning, and we'll beg for something stronger. And I'll refrain from commenting about the staining on the carpet that was pulled out. Just…ick! But, anyway, we now have pretty blue carpet, and can put the bedroom completely together. This weekend, I plan to paint the pink bathroom and the pink trim in the bedroom and dressing room. I'm not sure of colors yet, but…NOT PINK.

As I've been unpacking, it's been driving me absolutely crazy because many of my possessions are things I first saw as a child in my grandmother's house, or in my mother's collection of personal treasures. In an effort to keep Cleo from standing at the front window with her paws on the sill (adorable as that is to come home to, I've put one of Grandma's marble-top tables in front of the window, and arrayed some family favorites: A pair of pewter quail that intrigued me when I was little, a tile my parents brought me from Catalina, one of my grandmother's cut-glass vases with a few flowers, and a framed needlepoint my aunt did at the beach one summer.

What's really frustrating is this: I want to write about each piece, share the memories here (I had a whole mental essay written about napkins and picnic coolers at the beach, and another about men and garbage, for example) and I still don't have net-access at home, except for dial-up which is excruciatingly slow, and I'm sure is really an illegal form of torture in many countries. BUT, things are brightening on that front. Fuzzy reported today that we're go for getting T1…our price: $130 / month. YAY FUZZY.

Between work insanity and unpacking, I've been trying to remain rational at the thought of my mother arriving on Wednesday. Now, I love my mother, and I adore her visits, and now that she'll have her own room (as opposed to my living room), all will be much more comfortable, but I still have that mental time-travel thing going on, where she steps through my door, and I'm seven years old again. Please, please, someone tell me how to keep my head when my mother is here? Or tell me I'm not alone?

The search for a domain name goes on. More on that later. Or something.

I'm still at work, and it's seven on Friday night. After a summer of insane rate-dropping, this week they've begun to climb at the worst possible time. Two more files, and then I'm free till Monday.

Flying without a Net?

So, this weekend we unpacked more boxes. I think other people sneak into our house while we're at work and add more boxes, personally, because no matter how many we unpack, there seem to always be more.

Since we bought a new TV (not big, or anything, only 27 inches, but it has built-in DVD and VHS), on Thursday when I replaced my smooshed laptop, we went looking for TV stands on Saturday, as a break from opening boxes. We'd planned to buy a basic black stand, but they were ugly, and anyway, no one had the model we could live with. Instead, we bought a corner stand made out of pear wood (which blends nicely with our collection of mostly-teak furniture) and steel tubes, and, while it doesn't have nifty drawers in which to hide discs and tapes, it does look cool in the living room, and only blocks a few inches of the front window.

We went looking for guest room furniture, because my mother is coming on the 23rd, and it'd be nice to have a bed for her to sleep in. Cort's clearance center has an entire Mission-ish bedroom suite for $500. And they deliver. Yay, Cort. (If you've never heard of them, they furnish corporate rentals and rent to movie studios and magazines, for layouts and such, then they sell off the used stuff. Inexpensively.)

Yesterday, I felt jet-lagged, and kind of unwrapped some of the pots and pans, stopping when I'd found my quarry: The peanut butter. And we gave the dogs baths.

We still don't have net access, hence the title of this. I feel so crippled without it. So much so that I actually signed up for a dial-up account, just to check mail, but the slowness was too aggravating, so I didn't stay online.

So far, wrt access, our results are this: DSL – too far, and our lines are weird. Ask . He'll explain that in technogeek. Wireless: Too many trees between us and the nearest tower, and we're too far from all the mountain towers. Satellite: The home solutions don't support networked computers (at least DirecTV doesn't, and Sprint no longer sells new access), and the corporate version is $1795 to set up + $119/month + extra if you want tech support, and they won't guarantee a speed. Cable: Not available in our neighborhood. Which leaves us with wrangling low prices for T1. Fuzzy says he might get $240 month as an employee at his company. I can deal with that.

Moving Sucks

As if everyone doesn't know that. So, I'll be nice. I won't bitch about the fact that the sellers weren't out by noon on Thursday as per our stipulation for not charging them two days of rent-back, and so, on Friday, we ended up paying three men to have lunch. And I won't bitch about the fact that we had to call them at 9:00 PM on Friday to make them come get their dogs (one was a wolf hybrid) so that our dogs could use our yard unmolested.

I won't whine that the termite work is going to stretch through the whole week, that we apparently have wiring for FOUR phone lines, and therefore half the house is not yet accessible by phone, or that we still haven't resolved some cable issues.

I certainly won't complain that we've been living there since Friday, and still haven't managed to go grocery shopping (though we have to tonight because we're out of dog food), or clean the jacuzzi tub to the point where I'm willing to sit in it, as opposed to merely showering, or actually swim in the pool (and I *so* want to swim in my pool).

No. I won't do that.

Instead I'll share that Kerry from Kilroy Pest Control is the most wonderful amazing man on Earth, is funny, and smart, and spent an hour capping off the feeder line from the seller's icemaker when they finally moved their fridge out, and also offered to turn both of us into expert caulkers, and helped move the appliances.

I'll admit that I'm still in love with our new Neptune washer and dryer, so swift, so silent, though Jacobine was right, and they do sound kinda funny.

And I love that almost every room has a ceiling fan, and the kitchen has so much cabinet space, and we have an abundance of closet space, and, and, and….

So, this week, we're s-l-o-w-l-y unpacking and rearranging. We're supposed to be done with the termite work by Friday (new floors in both bathrooms, and replacing the wood floor in one bedroom), and the carpet people have already measured the bedroom and dressing room for new blue carpeting to replace the scary pinkstuff.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel.
And no, it's not a train.