Friday, October 29, 2010

My Uncle Died

Last Saturday. 1:06pm.

My father's brother.

Cancer. We're assuming.

He'd been in poor health for years: diabetes, heart disease taking the biggest toll on his body.

He was also morbidly obese, which just doesn't help things.

Needed a wheelchair to get around. I think that was more a result of diabetic complications (foot sores) though.

Earlier this year he found out he had cancer. Not sure what kind, but he decided to forego treatments.

This uncle, he & my dad didn't get along. At all. Never reconciled.
Not sure how it started, but I suspect when my father left the Catholic religion it didn't help things. Or maybe that's when it started.

I don't really know because my family generally doesn't talk about these things.

Makes me want to get along better with my siblings.

The Memorial Mass is tomorrow.

I'm not going.
We had already planned to take FireGirl to her first UC football game (it's Homecoming), paid for tickets, etc.
My dad said he wouldn't want FireGirl to miss her first UC game for it.
So we won't.
I ordered flowers to be delivered for it. After confirming with one of my Catholic friends that it would be acceptable.

Oh, yeah. I didn't know if it were acceptable or not because it's not a funeral.

He donated his body to science.

So it's a "Memorial Mass".

So I wasn't sure.

I know Catholics tend to like their traditions & rituals, and wanted to make sure I was respecting that (even if I don't agree myself).

I feel like I should say more, but I don't have anything else to say at this point.

Although there are pages & pages of thoughts still swirling around in my head.

This is all I've got for now.

Later.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Cabinets & Water & Mortage... oh my!

Kitchen Cabinets

Well, Monday night we did get the kitchen cabinets from Surplus Warehouse. Oak ones, at that. They are lovely, and I can't wait to see them installed.

How are their prices on cabinets? Great.

So... here's a rundown of our cabinet-shopping experience:

Originally were only going to get three new cabinets & refinish the rest. Shopped at several different home improvement stores and came up with about $500 for three decent quality, but pressboard cabinets. So... averaging approx. $165 each, right?

Then FireMan remembered Surplus Warehouse.

And when he saw their prices on oak cabinets (real wood, not pressboard), we talked & talked, and negotiated, and did math, and talked, and...
decided to get new cabinets throughout the entire kitchen.

For our entire kitchen, which means 11 cabinets & a pantry (we don't have a built-in pantry, which is one of the reasons we need so many cabinets), our total was roughly $1200. So an average of $100 each. But the total includes the pantry, which was our most expensive purchase. Take that out of the equation and you're looking at an average of $85-$90 per cabinet.

*note* I don't have the breakdown with me, so our cabinets include sizes from 15 in to 42 in, base & wall. Just so you know what it includes. It's a pretty good mix, but your cost might be higher or lower depending on what specifically you need.

Considering our per-cabinet price was significantly lower than any other store we found, and the quality of the cabinets is better... I definitly think it was worth the drive.

The best part? Last night when FireMan was removing the old cabinets, the ones we were originally gonna keep? He found that the very backs of the cabinets were beginning to deteriorate. That just reinforced our confirmation that in the long run, we are gonna be much happier paying more now to get all new, higher quality cabinets.

Water

Well, the county hooked up our water. Sort of. They put the water meter 15 feet from where the water line is that connects to the house. So FireMan spent his remaining daylight hours last night digging a ditch from our water line to the new meter, so when the plumber comes out he can hook it up right away & not charge us for labor for all the digging.

This means that we might actually be able to do laundry soon! Woo hoo! I'm sure my mother (aka laundry service for the past four weeks) will also be glad for this development.

So I spent last night preparing the laundry room for painting. We had saved it for last because: a) we didn't have water anyway, b) we plan to use some of the leftover paint from the rest of the house to paint it (ie not really picky about the color of the laundry room), and c) it's been a really nice place for FireMan to store all of his junk tools while he works (which I now have to find new places for so we can get the room ready).

Mortgage

Our first mortgage payment on our new house is due next week. And it's really bad timing. Not that paying a mortgage is ever really good timing, but...
FireMan's business got it's first big job. So instead of working his usual overtime at work, he's been dedicating all of his spare time to this job. Once the job is finished & we are paid, it will be really good money. But... we have to wait for it. And in the meantime this means that FireMan's paycheck is much smaller than usual, since he usually has a good amount of overtime and this check he has none.
And... The bank still hasn't released the final check of our renovation money. Basically, in order to protect "their" asset, they give you the renovation money in stages, each time requiring proof of the work that has been done. So you have to front the money for everything, then get reimbursed. We can't get the last check until our water is hooked up & running, which is close, but not here yet. So right now we've fronted a lot of money for these renovations, and are waiting for this last check.
So long story short, things will be really tight for a few weeks, but then after that we should have a large influx of funds, both from the family business, and from our final renovation check. The timing is just a little off for our liking.

Sorry this post has been so long, but as always, thanks for checking in!

Jena told her first real lie yesterday

Uh oh. We're in for it now.

I mean, she's told stories before, and she's a great actress, which I consider play, but yesterday..

She was drinking milk out of her sippy in the car driving to meet my parents at my work. Shortly before arriving she started saying "uh oh" and pointing to her lap.

When we got there, and went to get her out of the car, I asked what was wrong & she pointed to her lap.

Me: Oh, did you spill milk on your skirt?
Jena: Nope
Me: You didn't? But there's milk on your lap
Jena: {looks down}
Me: It's okay. No big deal. Did you spill milk on your skirt?
Jena: Nope
Me (starting to smile): You didn't?
Jena: Nope
Me (trying not to smile too much): But there's milk on your skirt. How did it get there?
Jena: Tess
Me: Tess?
Jena: Yep
Me: Tess spilled the milk on your lap?
Jena: Yep.
Me: Okay.

So, yep. Somehow Tess, who was not even in the car, managed to spill Jena's milk on her lap. I was cracking up. Couldn't help smiling at my little fibber. It was just so funny & cute to see her thinking things thru. She definitely didn't want to fess up to it, and you could practically see the moment when she decided to blame Tess.
But oh... we're in for it now.

And so is Tess. As Jena's pet, I get the feeling she'll end up being Jena's primary scapegoat.

Poor kitty.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wishlist Wednesday



I wish our home renovation were D-O-N-E.
The renovation is taking much longer than expected. And as excited as I am to see the improvements coming to fruition, I'm sick of living in a home that's being renovated.

I wish we had county water hooked up at our new house.
After seven weeks, it looks like it might happen soon. They've marked up the road in front of our property, and the end of our driveway. Hopefully that means something's about to happen.

I wish we had internet hooked up at our new house (mental note: call cable company to follow up. Again.)
Six weeks and numerous phone calls later, we still don't have internet. We got a note on our door about 10 days ago saying "Pardon our Dust" because they'll be installing an underground line for us (kinda cool), but no date, no estimated date, nothing. And haven't heard anything since. And unfortunately we can't find another broadband provider in the area. Grr.

Sometimes I wish we had a television.
We haven't owned a television in seven weeks. Our old one got damaged in the move. Actually before the actual move, but during the packaging, etc. It's been surprisingly easy to give it up. But then there are times... like last night. FireGirl was tired & cranky, and I just knew that if I could find something halfway interesting for her on TV, we could cuddle up on the couch together instead of her taking turns throwing her toys into the ground as hard as she could.
Or when I want to check the weather. Waiting for the page to load on my blackberry is just annoying (but at least I have that!). It'd be nice to just be able to flip on a news show & see.
Or like when I'm home alone. The house is just too dang quiet, and I would love to have the mindless drone of TV voices & soundtracks on in the background.
Oh, and before you suggest it, we don't own a radio either.

a beautiful new bedroom set

Growing up, I always got hand-me-down or yard-sale furniture. I didn't get my "own" bedroom set until I was 27-years-old. For some reason, this meant a whole lot to me. I spent weeks shopping until I found the perfect one. I paid for it myself, and my parents generously purchased my mattress set, as a Christmas gift. And I loved it. It was beautiful. It was exactly what I wanted. And it was mine.
When I moved in with FireMan however, he declared that he didn't like it, and we eventually sold it on Craigslist.
We recently sold "his" bedroom set on Craigslist, as I declared that we were starting out in our new home in a new bed.
But for now, we are bedless. Sleeping on a mattress on the floor.
FireMan wants to get one off of Craigslist. And while I know this is the more financially practical choice... there's a big part of me that longs for a brand new, picked it out ourselves, never-anyone's-but-ours bed.


I've also already started my Christmas List for this year.

So far it consists of:

an ironing board cover
My father-in-law had the gall ingenuity to use my (we got as a wedding present and I loved it) ironing board as a tile-cutting-table when they were installing our, well, tile floors.
I've cleaned it pretty well, but there are some stains that aren't coming off, as well as some... grout? plaster? I don't know. Some plastery-looking stuff that has hardened in two places and won't come off.
So I'd like a new cover. And while I'm at it, I'd like a cute one.

a laptop
FireMan keeps saying I can have his old current one, and he'll get a new netbook.
I don't like this for two reasons:
#1 - I think it's impractical.
With both of us working for his business, I think it's a smarter idea for both of us to have laptops
#2 - I don't want someone's hand-me-downs.Even FireMan's. Even if it were more practical, if we went with his idea basically he would get a new computer two years in a row (laptop in Nov. 2009, netbook in Dec. 2010), and I would get his hand-me-down.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Update

Well, we did get approved for our homeowners insurance, so.. yay!

There are lots of paint marks on the road in front of our property, and on the end of our driveway, so we're hopeful that this means our hookup to county water is imminent.

Did I tell you the dogs are officially banned from the house? After weeks of trying to get everyone to get along, Hydrant got her mouth on FireCat and two days later FireDog got his mouth on FireKitty. And this happened while we were there, so... I can't imagine what would have happened if we hadn't been there. Well, yes, I can imagine, and it ain't pretty, so... our doggies will remain outdoor doggies, and our kitties will remain indoor kitties. My dream of everyone living in harmony is crushed, but I'm much more interested in keeping all five of them alive, so...
Oh, there were no serious injuries (thank God!), although FireCat did appear to be bruised under where Hydrant's mouth made contact, and was in a state of shock for about 12-14 hours after the incident. It was really quite heartbreaking.
side note - Spots has yet to commit any serious offenses, so he will come in as the temperature drops. Chihuahua mixes don't tend to do well in cold weather.

The house is looking pretty good. Well, I think if you just walked in not knowing, you would think it was a disaster. But if you knew what we started with... it looks pretty darn good.

Last week we had our first (and 2nd, and 3rd) fire(s) in the fireplace. It wasn't terribly cold, but our furnace is not yet in working order, so a wood-burning fireplace is currently our only source of heat, and we do have a toddler in the house, so sometimes you just have to make it warmer.
I've never had a fireplace before, and am learning. It'll take some getting used to (like check your shirt for ash before you climb into bed), but so far, so good. I like it. And I love the smell!

We hit Lowe's up last night. Another four-cart shopping trip. It's amazing how many things are still left to be purchased this late in the game.

Tonight the plan is to go to Surplus Warehouse to look at and (hopefully) purchase kitchen cabinets. After much effort getting the existing cabinets to work in our bastard kitchen, we both agree we'll be much happier if we just rip them out and put in new. So that's the plan.

Break from "deep" Blogging

We had a death in the family over the weekend, the circumstances of which have left me heavy.

I have a whirlwind of thoughts and feelings surrounding me right now, many of which I need to deal with but am really just avoiding at this point (which is why, even if you know me IRL or are my FB friend, you haven't heard mention of said death).

And so, with all this heaviness around me, I find the need for some levity; for something a little lighter. For some not-so-serious posts.

To that end, yes, I deleted my last posting. Mostly because I'm not ready to deal with the comments I'm sure it will draw. So I've saved it off-line so I can post the content at a later date (although possibly in a different format).

I don't know when I'll be ready to face such serious issues as we've been discussing on this blog again. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe next week. Maybe... a little longer. But for right now I'm taking a break from it on here, because my "real" life is overwhelmed with too much seriousness right now. Too much sadness. Too much heartache. Too much... bad.

And even writing this is making my mind wander to some deep places, so... I'm done now.

Thanks for checking in.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

How I Know There's a God

Because I know Him. I have a personal relationship with the Lord.

A few days ago I saw a bumper sticker with this graphic:


And it bothered me on a couple of levels. Mostly because it's just disrespectful to the millions of people who believe in a higher power. Even if you don't believe in God, there's no reason to be disrespectful about it. And then, it's troubling because someone whose mind is that closed to the possibility of a higher power, well... it's just frustrating to see anyone's mind closed that tightly.

So how do I know there's a God? Because I know Him. I have a relationship with Him. I talk to Him & He talks to me. I feel His presence.

Someone arguing with me that God does not exist is like someone trying to tell me that... I don't know... my daughter doesn't exist. Or any number of people that I have real, tangible relationships with.

I see His work in my life on a regular basis (details coming in a later post). I have literally felt His presence.

I know that for some of you, who have never experienced this, that this is difficult to grasp, hard to understand, and I'm sure someone out there will read this and think that I must be crazy, but... it's real. God is real.

Look at a sunset, and tell me that was a happy accident of nature. Fathom the complexities of the human body, and tell me that no higher power had a hand in its design. God is, and God is everywhere.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Insurance Guy Came Today

To take some more pictures and try to prove to the underwriter that we do indeed live there.

It should be easier this time, since we have the refrigerator & stove and some furniture moved in. So... we'll see.

Three Years Ago Today...

... I married my love.



 We've definitely had some ups & downs. Big ones. But I can honestly say that I am more in love with FireMan now than ever.

He's my love.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Moved Boxes in Last Night

Everything has been stored in our garage. And we've finally started moving things into the house proper.

Refrigerator & stove - check
dining room table & chairs - check
loveseat & chair - check
FireGirls dressers - check
assorted boxes - check

Not anywhere close to being done, but feels so nice to start really moving in.

And I cannot say enough how much I love having FireGirl live in our new house. Shuffling between relatives had taken its toll on all of us, and it is just so awesome to be living together as a family again.

FireGirl's 2-year-old Pics

Because my blog has been ridiculously void of pictures lately, and my kid is adorable.

All pics taken by The Picture People.

Thank goodness FireMan thought of dragging this toy into the frame. It's the only way we got her to start smiling.



This is one of my favorites. It's just so... her.

This face says "if the photographer says one more word to me I'm gonna cry". Which she did. But it's still a cute pic.

Monday, October 18, 2010

FireGirl is moved in (sort of)

She's living at the new house! Finally! I'm so excited!

We finished the floor in her room late Friday night, had her birthday party there Saturday evening, and that was her first night in the new house. It. Was. Awesome.

Today & tomorrow we'll start actually moving furniture in, but all I really care about is that we can live together as a family again.

Stress level = decreased.

yay.

Paying for (Fire) Service

This is my response to this news story:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/39516346/ns/us_news-life/

Here's my paraphrase, for those who don't feel like clicking the link:
Guy lives in a rural area. Said area does not have its own fire dept. Neighboring town allows surrounding rural residents to use their fire dept, if they pay an annual fee of $75. Guy "forgets" to pay. His house catches fire. He calls 911. Dispatcher informs him the fire dept will not be responding since he didn't pay for fire service. Fire spreads to neighbors house. Neighbor had paid for fire service. Neighbor calls 911. Fire dept responds and puts out fire on neighbors property, but not on initial guy's property. Now this guy & the media have decided the firefighters are big meanies for not putting out his house fire.

As a firefighter's wife, this story hits home, and I feel compelled to respond to it.

#1 - fire service is very expensive. One used, but working firetruck will easily run upwards of $100k. But then you'll pay for more maintenance & repairs, which are costly, as there are not a huge number of companies who repair emergency vehicles. A new firetruck you'd be lucky to find for $300k. And that's just for the truck. Then you need to provide safety gear to protect the firefighters who will be responding. Oh, and don't forget the building this all needs to be housed in. And training, so your firefighters know what they're doing. And if you want them to also have EMT training, add on some more. And that's just to have a volunteer dept. If you want the reliability of having a paid fire service, don't forget to add on salaries & benefits. The salaries aren't much (FireMan's hourly wage isn't even in the double digits), but they still have to be paid.

#2 - somebody has to pay for said expensive fire service. In the neighboring town it was paid by the taxes of the residents. Since the rural area was outside of the taxable limits of the town, the town chose to graciously extend their fire service to the surrounding area, provided the citizens pay an annual fee of $75 to help off-set costs. That alone was a decision the town's leaders never had to make. They could have, reasonably, refused the neighboring areas to use their fire service. I say reasonably because one truck & crew headed out of town takes said crew away from the tax-paying citizens of the town.

#3 - Mr. Cranick didn't pay the fee for fire service this year. This is a fact which he admits. Maybe Mr. Cranick really did forget. Maybe he decided he'd rather keep his $75 instead of pay it, on the chance that his house wouldn't catch fire. I guess maybe he forgot. We all have those moments, right? But considering the town has had this fee for over 20 years, I just have a hard time believing that he paid it for the past however many years, and the year his house catches fire he just forgot. Whatever. Either way, he didn't pay it.
We've seen this mentality again & again in our area. Fire levies routinely fail. I've actually heard people say that they don't vote for fire levies because they don't think we need the existing fire service. Not voting against increasing the fire dept, they vote against keeping the level of protection they have.
I've also seen victims of house fires & other tragedies rally behind their first responders and fight to get them the money they need.
Fire Service, like many others, is one of those things that no one wants to pay for until it affects them directly. The only problem is that if you wait until then to decide to pay, it's too late. This type of service has to be kept up 24-7 in order to be effective to the greatest number of citizens. And that can't be done without... money. Money that has to come from somewhere.

#4 - the responding firefighters were following orders. Regardless of whether or not you agree with those orders, take it up with the Chief & the leaders of the town. In the fire service, rules & following orders saves lives. To villify the responding firefighters is ridiculous.

#5 - no one's life was in imminent danger. Mr. Cranick had notified the dispatcher that all residents were out of the building.

#6 - firefighter's hate watching buildings burn. Being married to a firefighter, and spending enough time around a number of firefighters, I can all but guarantee that they hated letting that building burn. Running into a burning building is in their blood, and to just sit & let it burn... yeah, I can all but guarantee they didn't want to. But not only were they following orders, they also probably knew (or found out shortly thereafter) that the homeowner hadn't paid for their services. Be honest: how many of you would continue at your jobs if the people you worked for "forgot" to pay you? Honestly? Now, what if doing your job also put your life on the line? But the people you worked for "forgot" to pay you? Be honest........    I didn't think so.

#7 - stop blaming somebody else, and accept responsibility for your own actions. I am so sick of this part of our current culture. It seems like no one accepts responsibility anymore. Mr. Cranick chose not forgot to pay the fee for fire service. It was his responsibility as a homeowner to make sure it was paid. He didn't pay it. That means the lack of response by the fire department is his fault. No one else's. His. Just because something bad happened to you, doesn't mean you get to pass of your responsibility and blame someone else.
By the comments of read on several news stories about this situation, I am gathering I'm in the minority. Why, I'm not sure. But this is my blog, and so this is my two cents on the subject.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Thoughts on Religion (and a tiny bit on government)

Jene's comments on my Polygamy post have had me thinking. A lot. So these are some of the thoughts that have run thru my head. Consider this kind of a condensed version of a stream of consciousness. Because to post my actual stream of thoughts on this issue would be many, many pages    :)

First of all, I really don't like the word "religion", at least not in the traditional sense, and not when it relates to me.

Why? Because I'm not religious at all. Really, I'm not. Although I was raised as an Independent Baptist, I do not currently claim any religion as my own.

Why? Because religions are created by men, and men are by nature flawed. Because in my experience, religion tends to be a set of man-created rules, regulations, traditions, & rites that just get in the way of getting close to God.

So what word do I prefer? Spiritual.
From dictionary.com I like the definition of "of or pertaining to the soul, as distinguished from the physical nature"

I don't believe what I do because it's in my religion, or because it's what I was taught. Because believe me, a lot of things I believe contradict what I was taught. I believe what I do because I have a personal relationship with the Lord. Something I really should talk more about.

I don't pretend to know all the answers. I don't. People like to say that the Bible is very black & white, but... it's not. Do I believe it's inspired by God? Yes. Do I think our flawed human minds sometimes misinterpret, misuse, or misunderstand the words written therein? Yes.

So how do I read the Bible? Well, through the years I've learned that very few things are actually specifically spelled out in Scripture.
Salvation - pretty clear.  Baptism - pretty clear. Spreading the Word - pretty clear. Women wearing pants - not so clear. Divorce - mostly clear. Death & eternity - very clear. Second Coming - mostly clear. Evolution - blurrily clear.
If things are spelled out clearly, I take them at their word. If there is some... blur, some gray area - I search Scriptures, perhaps even read a commentary, talk to other Christians, but mostly pray about it. Do my best to follow His will concerning that area, but don't close my mind to other interpretations. And I do use my mind. God gave us intellect for a reason, and if things just aren't adding up... then I keep digging.
This has been especially important in my relationship with my husband. Although we were both raised in Christian homes, they were very, very different. I have been challenged to review some of my beliefs. There are some areas that I still don't have an answer to.

So... I believe what I do, but I don't force my beliefs on others. Just because someone's say... Jewish... doesn't mean that I wouldn't recognize their marriage or family or traditions or what-not. It is what it is. I think, generally speaking, that especially marriage & family are very personal things, and what you do is what you do, and I don't believe that it is my place to challenge anyone's marital or familial status. Period. I do believe that marriage is between husband and wife and God. Whether you acknowledge Him or not.

As far as wanting religion out of marriage versus wanting government out of marriage - the difference is that religion is as much a part of your life as you choose it to be. You choose your spiritual beliefs, and how much you will implement them into your life. Government? Not so much. Short of emigrating, there is little choice. Except what we have at the polls.

So after much thought, I think ultimately that's what the major difference is. Choice.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I Love my Breasts (possibly TMI for some, but probably not what you're thinking)

I really do. My breasts rock.

But... I also have a strong family history of breast cancer.

So, several weeks ago, when I was putting on deodorant and felt a sizable lump in my right armpit, I was... shaken.

And when I saw my family doctor two days later, and he didn't know what it was, and felt a second lump deep under the skin in the same armpit...

I'm not gonna lie. I was freaked.

I chose not to tell anyone except my husband. Why? Because I knew the worry that would ensue, and didn't want to put anyone thru that until I knew, for sure, what was going on.

My doctor ordered a mammogram of both breasts, and an ultrasound of the right auxilliary (armpit) area. Before I could get into the hospital for my tests, the second lump showed itself.

Oh, did I mention that? These were so big that although upon palpating them they were obviously deep under the skin, they were also so large that they were visible.

The mammogram came back normal.

The ultrasound showed two large, fluid-filled cyst-type masses. The radiologist who read them met with me personally, and told me he believes they were the result of a "bad infecton" but appeared that they were now draining on their own, and to see my family doctor for an antibiotic if I were concerned or if they didn't go away.

Sure enough, within a couple of days they had significantly shrunk in size, and now they appear to be all gone.

Still kinda curious about this supposed "bad infection". But anyway...

My family doctor called to follow up a few days ago. Said if I wanted to have said masses removed, he would recommend a general surgeon. I told him "not at this time".

And then, two days later another lump showed up. So I've changed my mind. I really don't think it's cancer, as even I know it's not acting like cancer usually does. But I also really don't think it's an infection, as the radiologist said. And I know from my past of working in the medical field that whenever a mass is removed surgically, they almost always send it off to pathology just to be sure.
And so I'm thinking that surgery might be the only way I find out what this is, and know for sure that it's nothing to worry about.

Of course I tried to call my doctor's office yesterday during lunch, and after being on hold for over 13 minutes had to hang up, and by the time I realized I could call again they had closed.

And today? The third lump is shrinking.

I'm not sure what to do. Go ahead & call? Wait to see if another one shows up? Just not sure.

I love my breasts. They rock. And I plan on keeping them for a very long time.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

TEAM MIGHTY MAX !!! - Cincinnati Walks for Kids

Click here to go to Team Mighty Max's donation page and sign up to walk, or just donate to a very good cause.

If you're not familiar with Max's story, click here to be redirected to The Mighty Max Fan Club.

Thanks in advance!

the ABCs of me

inspired by JenM

Guess it's about time I told ya'll a little bit about me, huh?

A - Age: 33

B – Bed size: Queen

C – Chore you hate: floors (vacuuming and mopping)

D – Dog's name: Buddy (male Anatolian Shepherd, approx. 9 years old), Tootsie (female chocolate Lab, 10 years old, and Flopsy (male Chihuahua / Rat Terrier mix, approx. 5 years old
E – Essential start to your day item: toilet (LOL!)

F – Favorite color: I always say blue, but lately I've noticed myself favoring purple

G – Gold or Silver: Silver

H – Height: 5'6" (I've shrunk over an inch, ask me how!)

I – Instruments you play: trumpet

J – Job title: Professional Staff. Also known as Contracted Administrative Specialist.

K – Kid(s): Jena, who turned two this month!

L – Living arrangements: Ugh. Tough right now. Jason stays at the new-under-renovation house when he's not at the firehouse. Most nights that he's there I try to stay there. Jena spends most nights at my parents' house, and when Jason is at the firehouse, I spend the night with Jena at my parents'. And it's getting old.

M – Milk: 2%
N – Nicknames: nothing interesting

O – Overnight hospital stay other than birth: back surgery in 2006

P – Pet Peeve: drivers who don't use their turn signals

Q – Quote from a movie: "In case I forget to tell you later, I had a really good time tonight" -- Vivian (played by Jula Roberts) in Pretty Woman

R – Right or left handed: Right

S – Siblings: one sister & one brother, both older

T – Time you wake up: too early, but apparently never early enough. Lately it's between 7am-7:30am

U- Underwear: yes

V – Vegetable you dislike: beans

W – Ways you run late: Jena! and I'm pretty easily distracted

X – X-rays: abdomen, back, head, full-body scan. Pretty much everything but my arms & legs

Y – Yummy food you make: marinated grilled chicken

Z – Zoo animals: the cat house! and the manatees!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Half-wall & kitchen cabinets & insurance, oh my!

Well, our main (FireGirl's) bathroom really looks like a bathroom. Meaning we now even have a shower curtain & bathmat, and regularly keep items in there.

FireMan spent most of the weekend building the halfwall that will contain our kitchen, while still giving us the open feel that we both love.

I spent yesterday defacing, cleaning, and painting kitchen cabinets.

And... we received a letter from our homeowners insurance informing us that they are cancelling our policy. Eleven days from now.
Due to "premises being unoccupied".
Which we find interesting, since FireMan lives there full-time, and I live there part-time. And even FireGirl stays over every now & then.
Not sure how they're defining "unoccupied". FireMan's job for today was to call them and politely give them what-for.
In fact, since he's taken off so many days to work on the house, he's actually occupying it more now than he will when it's finished. So....
Needless to say we're very aggravated.

We've reached the point where we don't need to have tools & supplies out and about much anymore, so we're hoping to actually "move" in for good - including FireGirl after thiscoming weekend. Something we are all very much looking forward to. Not having our entire family live all together for five weeks has definitely taken its toll on each of us.

Thanks for checking in~!

Plagiarism

Recently, MckMama posted a story about how she lost a source of revenue for her family because several years ago she forgot to cite the author of a photography tip that she posted in her blog.

Let me start of by saying that I do not disagree with the decision for that particular source of revenue to terminate their agreement with her. She messed up. They have assets to protect. It makes sense. I am not in any way saying that they shouldn't have done so.

I am also not saying that she was blameless. She messed up, which she fully admits in her posting.

What I am saying... is that I understand where she's coming from. I feel for her. And yes, I feel badly for her.

Reading her post rushed me back to my senior year in college. As a history major, the majority of our work was researching & writing, writing & researching. One of my professors, my favorite at the time, whom I had much respect for, and whom I'd had for several past classes, accused me of plaguerizing.

I had not plaguerized anything.

He could not provide me with a particular reference from my work that was plagiarized (probably because there were none), but insisted that I had. We argued, albeit uneffectively, mostly because I was simultaneously in shock and crushed.
I received a zero on the assignment, which was a large portion of our grade, and busted my butt to squeak out with a D+ average for the class.
His claim of plagiarism went into my file at the university, and I was informed by the department head that if I had any other such claims during my time there I would be kicked out of the department and denied my degree.
Such stiff penalties, yet the professor was not required to provide any concrete proof of the supposed offense.
I was mortified.
Yes, I was worried that another professor could decide they didn't like me, make such a claim, and then my years of work would be down the drain as I would be denied my degree.
Yes, at the moment it happened I was worried I wouldn't be able to pass the class, which was required for my degree, since this zero was now such a large portion of my grade.
But mostly... I was mortified that anyone would think that of me.

It still haunts me at moments, like when I read MckMama's post. That feeling inside, that someone would think you could possibly do something so unethical. That someone else thinks you are a horrible enough person to intentionally steal another's material. That sick feeling in your stomach when you know that no matter how innocent you were, or at least your intentions were, that it doesn't matter at all, and some people are just gonna think that you really are that awful. And there's nothing you can do about it.

It stinks. It's a horrible, horrible feeling.

And I suspect that, although she had no intention of plagiarizing, that she will think of this incident for many moons to come.

Because I think of my incident, still, over ten years after it happened. It still haunts me on some level.

Friday, October 8, 2010

No High Places for FireDog

Our Anatolian Shepherd, FireDog, needs a high place to roost. It's in his blood. That's what Anatolians do.

Our old yard, which was on a semi-steep hill, provided him a great high place to overlook his domain, as I used to put it.

Our new property... not so much. Unfortunately the highest parts of the property:
  a) aren't that high, and
  b) are outside of the invisible fence, because
  c) they're in the woods, and our neighbors ("neighbors" meaning the guy who owns the 500 acres behind our property) hunt, and I'm chicken to let my dogs roam that area unsupervised

Which means he has no high place. Which is in his blood.

So... this morning I looked out the front window to find him sitting on top of our car, looking out over our front property, happy as could be.

Luckily it was the old car, but still.

I told FireMan I think we're gonna have to build him some sort of roost, or else we're gonna have a heck of a lot of scratches on the car(s).

I really can spell. I promise!

Drives me nuts when I look pack on previous posts and see that I've misspelled something. Really does.

Grammar... not so much. Usually I type so that things make sound the way I say them in my head. But spelling? I hate when I find I've spelled something incorrectly. Really do.

But I'm usually bloggin quickly during my work breaks, so... in the speediness of my typing, a wrong key is hit, or a right key is missed, and... I hate when I misspell worlds.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

12 Gallons of Paint / Primer

FireMan & his dad primed all of the rooms ( I think ), and painted the living room, fireplace room, dining room, and hallway.

I've only been in the house very briefly since it was done, so I haven't really had time to inspect their work, but according to FireMan, they got a ton done.

Moving Along.

Being Hypoglycemic and Trying to Cut Back on Eating...

... doesn't always work.

After my weighty wake up call last weekend, I have been making a concerted effort to eat less, and eat healthier.

It's going... okay.

My biggest challenge, and this has always been the case when trying to cut back, is that I'm hypoglycemic, meaning I have low blood sugar.

So already twice this week I have felt my sugar drop, and consequently had to find food.

Now, I did go out and buy a bunch of fruit to keep at my desk, so at least I have that. But I'm still struggling. I feel like I'm snacking constantly, just to not pass out.

I'm thinking of maybe buying a bunch of healthy snacks and maybe setting the alarm on my clock to go off every two hours for me to have a little snack. That should work, right?

Monday, October 4, 2010

House is coming along!

The main (FireGirl's) bathroom is all but completed! All that's left is accessories / decorations! Woo hoo!

Let me tell you, having a working shower, working toilet, and working sink in the house... priceless!

I met one of the neighbors on Friday evening, a ten-year-old girl. Kinda sounds like a rough situation, and I felt bad because it really seemed like she didn't want to go back home. Which always worries me. She talked to me for almost an hour, and said if we needed any help she "can work really good". {sigh} I hope my worries turn out to be completely unfounded, but from what we've heard about this neighbor guy (her dad)... I'm worried for her.

We spent most of the weekend getting walls ready for paint, and hopefully the house will be painted by the end of the week.

Also got the fireplace going for the first time. Kept the chill off of us while we were working.

Yesterday we took FireGirl to meet the neighbor that found our dogs when they got loose. The awesome, kind neighbors that found them and brought them home to us. The man & daughter were home, wife was not. Ends up they breed horses, and the woman is quite a renowned trainer & riding coach. Have already offered to let FireGirl ride. So FireMan offered some free heavy equipment (tractor) maintenance / repair. Seems like our dogs getting loose might have been the start of a great neighborly friendship. I hope so.

And... I think that's it for now. All the major stuff anyway. Thanks for checking in.

How is Polygamy / Bigamy Illegal?

Seriously. I can't figure this out.

I mean, I get trying to legally marry someone else when you're already married to your intial spouse. Sort of. But being legally married to one spouse, and then living with three other people and just deciding you want to call them your spouse... how is that illegal?
Sparked by this news story:
http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/39418047/ns/today-entertainment/

I just don't get it.

In a relationship(s) that involve all consenting adults, no evidence of abuse (spousal or child)... how is that illegal?

Anyone?

But consensual relationships amongst adults being illegal? With no signs or evidence of abuse, force, or coersion?

I don't get it.

Sleep with whomever you want, have lots of kids with several different partners, don't support any of them... legal.

Sleep with a few others in committed relationships, have lots of kids with them, you all live together, and everyone's supported financially... illegal.

Anyone else struggling with this?

Actually reminds me of one of my older posts on gay marriage.

Becoming more & more in favor of less & less government.
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