half.com order, I received my last two books. I’m very very pleased at the condition of the books I’ve received in this order, as well as the prices I paid. Half.com definitely has my business from here on out – except for the Harry Potter, Janet Evanovich, and Sue Grafton books, which I can’t possibly wait for (for which I can’t possibly wait, that is). Being the incredibly NICE gal (ha!) that I am, I agreed to come in for a couple of hours each day next week, because Rachel’s not quite confident enough that Quickbooks is the way it should be to go it alone, she told me. So tomorrow is my official last day, but I’ll be there each day next week, and then on the 1st of May I’ll be there most of the day as she does all the first of the month reports and hands out paychecks. Just when I think I’m almost home-free, the sticky tentacles of the office reach out and suck me back into the fold… —–]]>


End of Days last night. Due to the usual interruptions – we had to stop so the spud could get her chores done, and then again because someone called and yammered at Fred for forever and a day. I finally had to bitch at him to get OFF the freakin’ phone because I wanted to get the freakin’ movie over and done with so I wouldn’t have to deal with it any more and could simply forget I’d ever seen it, except for that personal note deep in my subconscious which will read End of Days. Sucks. Gouge your eyes out and run naked down the street if anyone tries to make you watch it. The whole freakin’ movie was one cliche after another. At the beginning of the movie, Arnold sits in his apartment with a gun to his head, unshaven and teary-eyed. One patented Mel Gibson scene, check. We find out later that his wife and daughter were killed because he was testifying against some bad guys. Pain and self-loathing, check. His partner shows up to accompany him to work, and Arnold walks around putting everything in sight into the blender – coffee, old chinese food, ice cream, you get the point – blends it, slurps down a big mouthful and says – WOOP! WOOP! WOOP! ANY PREDICTIONS HERE??? – "They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day." Well, hit the pause button, y’all, ’cause I HAVE TO HOLD MY GUT FROM BURSTING WIDE OPEN FROM THE DARK HUMOR OF THAT WHOLE SCENE – HAW HAW HAW! I-am-too-cool-for-words scene, check. The whole crap-ridden movie was like that from beginning to end, and if Fred had bought the movie instead of renting it, I would have taken it out back and shot it to put it out of it’s misery. As it was, he had to wrestle me to the ground so I wouldn’t set it afire before some poor other sap could wander innocently into the path of pure banality that is this movie. Hm. I thought I said I don’t do movie reviews… I can’t possibly be done with this job soon enough. Sitting and watching Rachel correct my fuckups in Quickbooks all day long is the most mind-numbing thing I’ve ever done. Well, working as an order taker at LL Bean’s is a very close second. At least today I was free to randomly get up and wander through the office. It’ll be a lot better next week when, if she has questions she’ll write them down and then ask them all at once. Oh, I can’t waaaaaaaaaaait. Two more days! —–]]>


Melissa, whose entry made me smile and become misty-eyed. Squooshiness begets squooshiness, you know.


Isn’t she just the cutest thing? I had to refrain from picking her up and squeezing her to bits. So I went online last night to check prices for plane tickets. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this, but the spud will be going to Maine to stay with my sister from the end of June until the beginning of August. Debbie and I are going to meet somewhere in Pennsylvania in June to pass off the spud, and the plan was for me to fly to Maine at the beginning of August, spend a week, and bring the spud back with me. A round-trip ticket from here to Portland is $330, which isn’t a bad price. But guess how much a one-way ticket from Portland to here is? $705. Is that some shit, or what? I came up with the idea of buying two round-trip tickets and just using one of them one-way, but when Fred called Delta and asked, they told him that that would be a "breach of contract", and they could come after us. Conversely, we checked to see how much a round-trip ticket would be for the spud if she flew out there in June and back in August, and guess how much? $900, because she’ll be out there for more than 30 days. Is that some total bullshit, or what? So I guess I’ll fucking well be driving to Maine in August. Which is a two-day drive each way. I just refuse to spend $700 on a one-way ticket for her. Grrrr. So, I started the virtual tour of our house, but only got as far as the front yard and the entire downstairs today. I may do more next week, but it’s Easter, so don’t hold your breath. I’ll get to it eventually! The tour starts here. It has lots of pictures, and they’re pretty big.


really good day at work today! The new office manager really knows what she’s doing, when it comes to Quickbooks. She came in around 8:30 and then went to the bank with me. Then we went back to the office, and I had to leave to go see Nice Dr. D and have my hearing tested, and she looked through Quickbooks and my files and stuff while I was gone. My appointment with Nice Dr. D went well; they did a hearing test, and my ear is about up to normal, hearing-wise. I have to go back in August for another hearing test, and I’m not sure what-all happens after that. She said the tube would only stay in for a few more months, but I’m not sure if it’s supposed to fall out by itself, or if she plucks it out next time I see her, or what.

I may or may not get around to part one of the virtual tour of my house I’ve been planning. If I do put it up, it’ll probably be Sunday afternoon sometime. You could always join the notify list, y’know.



Three Kings last night. I liked it a lot, though I probably would have liked it a lot more if we hadn’t had to keep pausing it – first because of phone calls, and then because Fred wanted a swim break. The pool was 62 last night, by the way, and it was raining rather heavily, but because he’d had a big dinner Fred felt he needed to work it off in the pool. Good movie, though wasn’t I surprised at the very end that David O. Spanking the Monkey Russell had written and directed it. For some reason, I’d gotten it into my head that Spike Jonze had; obviously I got it mixed up with Being John Malkovich. Which incidentally comes out May 2nd, and I can’t wait to see it. Fred just called and informed me that we’ll be getting a cable modem on Monday. We’ve been waiting for what seems like forever to get something faster than our dial-up access, and they finally made it available in our neighborhood. It’s $50 for each of us, but since we won’t need those ISPs or extra phone lines, it’ll all work out. Bargain, eh? Of course, I’m so clueless when it comes to that sort of thing, that Fred had to boil it down to simplest terms for me: "You know how fast everything is at work?" "Yeah?" "This will be twice as fast." Now that, my friends, is wickedly fast. Just in time, too, since I’ll have all that sitting-around-and-surfing time on my hands in a few weeks!


did tell him I’d call!" My husband, the diplomat. So, Fred is on a reading kick. He can go for months without reading much, and then go on a spree where he reads a book a day. Over the weekend, he took the spud to a used bookstore and bought a bunch for he and I to read; she bought three or four for herself. Instead of watching Pushing Tin with me last night he sat in the bathtub (we have an oversized whirlpool tub) and read. He didn’t miss much in that movie, I’ll tell you. I really wanted to like it, because I like Billy Bob Thornton and REALLY like John Cusack. But it was excruciatingly pointless and by the end I was yelling "Fucking christ, END ALREADY!" at the TV. The irony is that I rented the movie because I thought Fred wanted to see it. One of our government customers is driving me nuts. She called this morning and placed an order for software. Then she called back and wanted to know what exactly they had paid for. I explained fifteen times that they were paying for software five of their employees had downloaded several months back. "I thought I was buying a license," she said. "Well, yes, a license for the software they’re using," I said. "They downloaded it in December, and now you’re paying for it, so it’s legal for them to keep using it." "But I was paying for a license, not the software, I thought." "You paid for the software; the license is proof that you paid for it." She just didn’t get it, and I couldn’t find the magical words to make her understand. Two more weeeeeks, two more weeeeeks, twoooooo mooooooore weeeeeeks. I can’t be out of here soon enough, folks. —–]]>


Firsts First pet. I was an Air Force brat growing up, which meant that no sooner would we get a dog than we’d have to give it away when we moved. The first pets Debbie and I got – for Christmas – were a couple of female hamsters we named Laverne and Shirley. Laverne was mine, Shirley was Debbie’s. We had hours of fun, teaching them to climb steps, and shutting our bedroom door and letting them run around. If I recall correctly, we even had one of those hollow balls you put hamsters (or gerbils or mice or rats) in and let them run around safely. Those hamsters lived forever, it seemed. We got them when I was about 10, and I’m pretty sure Laverne was alive until I was about 14. Laverne was the first to die, and Debbie and I were hugely traumatized, but took solace in the knowledge that Laverne had died doing what she loved most – eating. She died with a piece of food hanging out of her mouth. Before we got the hamsters, though, we got Taffy, who also lived a long, long time. 15 years, maybe? Taffy Every evening just before we sat down to dinner, Taffy would be fed, and while we ate, we could hear her eating. We knew she was done eating when she belched loudly. After she ate, she’d wander around under the dinner table hoping to find crumbs of dropped food, and licking any bare toes she saw along the way. You could figure out where she was by the disgusted "Taffy!"s spoken by the lucky lickees. She was a great dog, always willing to go for a walk with you, and always eager to chase down the squirrels in the back yard. She was our little guard dog, always howling frantically when someone came to the door, whether they be friend or foe. Except for the time someone broke into my parents’ house in the middle of the night. Taffy let out one bark, and then Debbie yelled "Shut up, Taffy!" (since Taffy was prone to bark at nothing in the middle of the night) and Taffy crawled under Debbie’s bed for the duration of the break-in. First love. Donny Osmond. Oh Donny, the pain lingers; how, oh, how could you have forsaken me for that chick you married? I had a pillowcase with your face on it. I bought every magazine that ever thought about printing your name. I LOVED you Donny, with a white-hot passion, and you have the nerve to not only marry someone else, but be happy lo these many years later. She’ll never be as good to you as I could’ve been, Donny. First kiss. I was 16 and had finally gotten over Donny Osmond (okay, maybe it didn’t take quite that long). I went out on a date to the movies with the boy who ended up being my very first boyfriend. After the movie, we went back to my parents’ house and talked. I waited, but he never kissed me. The next night, as I was leaving work, I invited him over again. We sat out in the back yard on the picnic table, and FINALLY he turned to me and said "Can I kiss you?" Yeah, it sounds all sweet, but it was really dorky and I was horribly embarrassed. He was a very bad kisser, of the sort who would come at you with his mouth gaping wide open like a dying fish gasping for air. Gah. First job. My first job (aside from the babysitting of my youth, of course) was as a carhop/ waitress at The Hi-Hat III Drive-In. I was paid what I was told was "student minimum" wage, and my boss was a total control freak. The best night I ever worked there was the night he was gone to a wedding. The customers were pretty cool, except for the families who would come in with five kids, have excruciatingly detailed orders, and then leave a fifty-cent tip. Though in retrospect, it was probably all they could afford. The food at The Hi-Hat was hardly haute cuisine. I worked there for about 8 months, until I got my driver’s license and got a job at McDonald’s. First car.

I had this car from the age of about 17, until I was 19 and the transmission got itself majorly fucked up. I went wild with the bumper stickers, as you can see, and the banner across the inside of the back window says "Ollie for President." That would be Oliver North. To this day, I have the license plate memorized (back in The Day, when you used your Gulf Oil credit card to pay for gas, you had to give them your license plate number with your signature). Back in my Diet Pepsi days, I left a full plastic bottle of Diet Pepsi on the floor in the back seat for the entire winter. One spring day, my former friend Denise was sitting in the back seat, and Liz was sitting in the front seat – I, of course, was driving. We heard a tremendous bang, and after much screaming and shrieking, discovered that the Diet Pepsi bottle had exploded all over Denise, fortunately not maiming her. Oh, it was a brown Chevette, but I’m not sure of the year. ’82, maybe. First concert. Judas Priest and Great White. I was a Freshman in high school, and my parents bought tickets to the concert for us; I think it was a birthday present to Debbie. I haven’t got a clue in the world why they bought us the tickets – I was never a fan of Judas Priest, then or now. All I really remember is chewing a pack of gum, a piece at a time, and then spitting the old gum out onto the people sitting in the rows below us. Mature, eh? Oh, now that I think of it, my first actual concert was Shaun Cassidy. Debbie and our cousin Kim were big Shaun Cassidy fans, and weren’t we excited at the thought of seeing him play in Portland. My mother and aunt Nikki went with us to the concert, along with my brother Tracy. Shaun came out dressed as the janitor, adjusted the microphone – which tipped Debbie off to the fact that it was Shaun – and then tore off his janitor uniform and began singing Hey Deenie. First place you lived (that you remember). The first place I remember living was in base housing at Kinchloe Air Force Base in Michigan. I don’t know how long we lived there, but it seems like a good three or four years. I can close my eyes and remember almost the entire layout of the house, along with the backyard, and the route to school. That’s where we lived when I started school, and I recall walking to and from school. I’d love to go back there, but I heard that they closed the base and made it into a prison. First place you lived ‘on your own’ The very first time I moved out was the summer after I turned 18, and graduated from high school. One night, I said "fuck it", packed my bags, and moved into a dilapidated house with three guys in Durham (note to the interested – Durham is where Stephen King grew up). I was working third shift – midnight to 8 am – at a convenience store, and my rent was $25 a week. As you can imagine, this place was a real prize. There was a huge gap between the door and the frame, and it wouldn’t have surprised me to wake up and find field mice wandering through the living room. Since one of my roommates worked 9 to 5, he let me use his bed to sleep in while he was at work. On the days he didn’t work, I slept on a crappy couch in the living room. I made it about two months before I called and asked my Mom if I could move back in. First plane trip. I’m fairly certain the first plane trip I ever took was from Los Angeles to Guam, where we lived for two years. I don’t remember much about the flight, except that we had a layover in Hawaii for a long time, and there was a woman flying alone with a girl my age (7) and a baby, and my mother – for some unknown reason – thought she’d help out by keeping the girl occupied, and offered her my coloring book. The girl then found the ONE PICTURE in the entire coloring book I’d been saving to color when I could do it justice – obviously much pain still lives on in the memory, people – and the girl SCRIBBLED ON THE PICTURE. Yes she did, the little bitch. My life has not been the same since. It was a picture of Bambi and Thumper. First alcoholic drink. It was my 17th birthday, and my friends took me out to dinner at Pizza Hut. We ordered a pitcher of Pepsi, and in a completely unsubtle manner the ringleader, Wendy, poured rum from a bottle in her purse into a cup, and dumped it into the pitcher. When we left Pizza Hut, I was claiming that my legs felt funny and my lips were numb, and I couldn’t have possibly had more than a shot glass worth of rum. Yes, I’ve always been a lightweight. —–



Bose Wave radio – as long as I remember that, the rest of the stuff can go hang. I spent half an hour or so at Office Depot picking up office supplies for the new marketing chick who starts on Monday – stapler, tape dispenser, rolodex, stuff like that. Exciting, eh? Then I spent another half hour cleaning out the supply cabinet – good god we’ve got way too much crap crammed in there – and yet another half hour ordering a second supply cabinet to put all the extra wires and keyboards tossed around the supply room in (does that sentence make sense?). I’m embarrassed to admit that I really like the new Kid Rock song "Only God Knows Why." I’m not the slightest bit of a Kid Rock fan, but I really really like this song, with the electronic tickles all the way through. Which reminds me – I ordered a bunch of books from half.com yesterday (Kid Rock reminds me of half.com because I went there to see how much his cd would cost there) (just so you know I’m not the kind of gal who goes off on wild tangents for no reason – ha!) and didn’t notice until Fred pointed it out that apparently half.com will be handing out my home address to a bunch of strangers. I’m not the spaz Fred is, so I’m not worried that some mad book-seller will come and murder me in my sleep (besides, we have an alarm system), but next time I’ll definitely use my work address. Yes, I know it won’t be my work address for much longer, but Fred will be here and he can bring my packages home like a good servant boy. With all the rain we got over the first part of the week, the pool filled almost to the top, and on Wednesday Fred decided it was time to drain some of the water off the top. So he started the draining, and went inside and messed around on his computer and checked on dinner and talked to his father, and pretty much forgot to stop draining the pool. Luckily, it was only about three inches lower than he’d meant to drain it. Then he and the spud went swimming yesterday, since the pool’s up to a sultry 66. Another 9 degrees, and I’ll be swimming! It’s supposed to cool off this weekend, though. I was taking a bath last night, and the kitten was walking around the edge of the tub losing her mind because she’s fascinated with water, just totally mesmerized, so she’d sit and dip her paw in the water, then shake off the excess water and lick her paw, then jump to another corner of the tub and do it all over again. I had stopped watching her, was just sitting there reading, when I heard a splash and felt a frantic kitty paw on my back. She’d been trying to jump from one corner to another, not realizing the corner she was attempting to jump to had boxes of bath beads sitting there, and so instead of landing where she wanted, she jumped, hit the boxes, and fell into the water. As soon as I figured out what was going on, I reached back and helped her out of the water, and she jumped down onto the bath mat, looking like a drowned rat. I yelled for Fred, who came and dried her off, and then she sat there for ten minutes or so grooming herself. Wet cats are just the stinkiest things in the world. The funniest thing is that she’d just fallen in the tub when Fred was taking a bath the night before. You’d think she’d’ve learned her lesson. —–]]>


This particular article is excellent, in my opinion, but don’t bother to go read it if you’re not interested in the Elian Gonzalez brouhaha. The weather is driving me nuts. Tuesday the high was 55. Yesterday, 65, and today it’s supposed to be 75. I have ivy I need to plant, and I’d like to get my catnip and morning glory seeds planted and put out, but there was a fairly heavy frost yesterday morning, and I’d rather my ivy not die as soon as I get it planted. It’s APRIL, for crying out loud, isn’t it supposed to be in the 80s every day here in the heart of dixie? Fred spent an hour on the phone with his father last night, trying to figure out why his computer wouldn’t work. By the time he hung up, he was swearing up and down that he was never going to buy his father a computer again. His father was impressed, though, at the extent of Fred’s computer knowledge. I think when you’re a parent, you assume you know more than your kids do, and I bet you keep assuming that as they grow up. There’s so much Fred knows about computers, in an area where his father is clueless. I bet it was a little humbling. Could I have used the words "bet" or "think" a few more times in that paragraph? I bet not, I think. Okay, I know y’all are only here for the cat stories, so here’s one. I don’t think Fancypants’ neutering "took", if you know what I mean. He’s the horniest acting cat I’ve ever seen. I caught him trying to mount the kitten again Monday, and then when I was sitting in the living room reading before work Tuesday, he jumped up beside me and fell back against me so that I could rub his tummy. The spud put her backpack and sweatshirt on the couch and wandered off to get something out of her room, and while she was gone the kitten jumped up and settled down on her sweatshirt. You can’t leave anything warm and soft sitting anywhere for more than ten seconds in this house without a cat taking it over. Anyway, Fancypants eyed the kitten, hopped up beside her, and then leaned back so that his hind legs were sticking straight up in the air. Slowly, he began licking himself until something interesting, uh, came up. Lifting his head, his pupils all big and dark with desire, he gave her an amorous come-hither look as if to say Want some candy, little girl? She gave him a blank look, with a cartoon question mark hanging over her little head. That’s when I threw a pillow at him and ran him off. Gives me good practice for running the boys off when the spud gets older. ]]>