Sunday, December 28, 2008

USA Todak

I ate lunch at Chilis yesterday alone and entertained myself by reading through a copy of USA Today that was laying nearby.

There was an article about landmark presidential eras, mentioning several important and historic dates.

One paragraph referred to 1961 and the "Bag of Pigs."

I'm shocked that I couldn't find anything else on the vast interwebs about this typo.

It caused me to nearly shoot Arnold Palmer from my nose as I snorted loudly and other restaurant patrons looked at me in wonder.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Frustrating Friday

I have come to accept the fact that we will most likely never see the money from the former landlord without taking legal action.

Today I got a call from Fed Ex. I had sent my 2nd letter to the landlord's GA address and apparently they are wintering in the Keys so the letter was not delivered.

And here I've been PRAYING SO HARD all week that they would get the letter and just do the right thing: hop on over to pick up a cashiers check and send it back to me with a smile.


I am not expecting this money. But we need it.

To cheer myself up I made cookies.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

99 Experiences

I generally don't do Memes, but this one was very interesting to me so I decided to hop on board. I got it from A Little Off Kilter.

The items in bold are things I've done. The items not bolded, I haven't.

1. Started your own blog (April 4th, 2006 for BT, and also started Warmskunk and Gonnaeatthat this year)
2. Slept under the stars (MANY times. I was in a group called Pathfinders as a kid and we camped a lot.)
3. Played in a band (Three Days Waking, The Swing Sisters, Ella Mental)
4. Visited Hawaii (Maui in 2003.)
5. Watched a meteor shower (Maybe once, in high school I think.)
6. Given more than you can afford to charity (Recently even a dollar is more than I can afford, so yes.)
7. Been to Disneyland/world (Yes. Love them both!)
8. Climbed a mountain (Back-packed around Mt. Hood when I was 11 or 12 with my Pathfinder club.)
9. Held a praying mantis (Yep)
10. Sang a solo (Lots. Some of the fun ones: the part of Josephine in “HMS Pinafore”, one of the Three Little Maids in “The Mikado”, some great ones at church and fabulous Swing Sisters tunes.)
11. Bungee jumped (Not yet.)
12. Visited Paris (Not yet.)
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch (Quilting, embroidery, painting with acrylics, scrapbooking.)
15. Adopted a child (No, but it’s not out of the question! We’ve actually started the research...)
16. Had food poisoning. (Yes. And I can never eat egg salad again.)
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty (No. Still haven’t been to New York. We drove past it going from Boston to DC but it was foggy that day and couldn’t see the city at all.)
18. Grown your own vegetables (Oh yes! Lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, herbs.)
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France (Haven’t been to Europe at ALL!)
20. Slept on an overnight train (Nope)
21. Had a pillow fight (a few)
22. Hitch-hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill (Back in the day when I let my significant other affect my life too much, yes. But that was over five years ago.)
24. Built a snow fort (YES! At Big Lake in the winter on a Pathfinder trip.)
25. Held a lamb (No, but I’ve petted a baby camel...)
26. Gone skinny dipping (lots as a kid.)
27. Run a marathon (Ick. No.)
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice.
29. Seen a total eclipse.
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset (Sunsets, many. Sunrise, only a few.)
31. Hit a home run (does this really count if you were playing kickball with kids while on staff at a daycamp?)
32. Been on a cruise.
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person (July of 2000 when I was in Toronto with the OAMC.)
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors.
35. Seen an Amish community (Only on TV.)
36. Taught yourself a new language (VERY basic Spanish, while living in Key West. I’m trying to keep up the learning curve…)
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied (Enough is being able to pay bills, eat out once in awhile and take care of other people that need help.)
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person.
39. Gone rock climbing (On a couple of rock walls and some REAL rocks once or twice.)
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David.
41. Sung karaoke (My go-to song is “Piano Man”.)
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt.
43. Bought a stranger a meal in a restaurant.
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight (Many times. The Oregon coast is BEAUTIFUL in moonlight!)
46. Been transported in an ambulance.
47. Had your portrait painted.
48. Gone deep sea fishing (With my ex-husband and his family just off the mouth of the Columbia River. It was my first and only time fishing and I caught the biggest fish of the day!)
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person.
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower.
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling (Snorkeling on my trip to Maui.)
52. Kissed in the rain (I’m from the Northwest. This is kind of a given.)
53. Played in the mud (Oh yes and I love it!)
54. Gone to a drive-in theater.
55. Been in a movie.
56. Visited the Great Wall of China.
57. Started a business.
58. Taken a martial arts class (Taekwondo self defense class in 8th grade.)
59. Visited Russia.
60. Served at a soup kitchen.
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies (No, but we did can-collecting in Pathfinders...)
62. Gone whale watching.
63. Gotten flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma (Several times.)
65. Gone sky diving (Probably never will. I’ll stick to bragging that my grandfather did on his 70th birthday.)
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp.
67. Bounced a check (a couple of times.)
68. Flown in a helicopter.
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy (I have several of them still – one is Tuxedo, the first penguin in my collection.)
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial (I think I saw it when we were there...)
71. Eaten Caviar (NO THANK YOU.)
72. Pieced a quilt (Two or three.)
73. Stood in Times Square.
74. Toured the Everglades (Driven past parts of them many times going from Key West to Miami and back.)
75. Been fired from a job (Twice.)
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London.
77. Broken a bone (My left forearm had a greenstick fracture in 4th grade, and I’ve broken several toes.)
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle (Been ON a motorcycle, but Uncle Murray went at an appropriate pace around the campground.)
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person.
80. Published a book.
81. Visited the Vatican.
82. Bought a brand new car (1999 Honda Civic EX in November of ’98. I leased it. BAD IDEA TO LEASE. Loved the car so much that years later I bought another of the exact model.)
83. Walked in Jerusalem.
84. Had your picture in the newspaper (Twice. In 2nd grade a 1st grader threw a birthday party at the OSF in Portland and we all dressed in our parents fancy clothes. There was a reporter on hand and my feet in my mom’s heels made it into the paper. I was “Citizen of the Day” in the Key West Citizen about two weeks before we moved away.)
85. Read the entire Bible (The WHOLE thing only once. Bits and parts, many times.)
86. Visited the White House (Free tour. I believe I was 10 at the time and really annoyed when I found out I wouldn’t be seeing the oval office.)
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating.
88. Had chickenpox (Twice. When I was three and when I was six.)
89. Saved someone’s life.
90. Sat on a jury (Once but managed to get myself excused. The defense attorney treated the entire jury and courtroom like we were idiots and I felt I wouldn’t give his client a fair trial because of it.)
91. Met someone famous (Michael W. Smith, Rebecca St. James, Audio Adrenaline.)
92. Joined a book club.
93. Lost a loved one (Great-Grandparents, and one of my best friends in 2003.)
94. Had a baby (Not yet, still trying!)
95. Seen the Alamo in person (I’m assuming that renting a car from Alamo doesn’t count...)
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake.
97. Been involved in a law suit. (Not yet but I may have to.)
98. Owned a cell phone (Many phones, but still the same and only number!)
99. Been stung by a bee (I stepped on one and it stung my foot, sat on one and it stung my bum, swallowed one after it stung me in the roof of my mouth, been stung in the ear.)

Monday, December 15, 2008


It's been a tough week and it's just begun!

I worked nine hours tonight and will work another nine tomorrow starting at 9am. I should be going to bed but need to unwind first.

We haven't heard anything yet from the FL landlord, and I haven't had a response from the former renter either, but I Carrie is going to be in the area where he works for a few weeks, so she and an attorney friend are going to see if they can help me at all.

In the meantime we'll have a meager Christmas, all our presents are pretty much home-made. Fortunately our friends and family are exactly that: people that love us and understand our situation.

Friday, December 12, 2008

All Caught Up

I do sincerely apologize to my mass legion of adoring fans.

I've been actually WORKING this week - lots of hours at Pier One and striving to impress the right people there in the hopes of at least becoming a full-time employee.

Our house is a wreck, although it's a lovely Christmas wreck... Here's some shots from LAST Friday when I put up the tree and hung the stockings...

And I must put forth an apology. I didn't intend to make Carrie T. look like a crazy vacuuming freak show... even if she is one! She just "really appreciates a clean floor." Having animals, I suppose I have become somewhat immune to layers of fur beneath my socks.

Carrie, you are welcome to vacuum at my house any time you want! I promise to do it myself during the three weeks you are gone...

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Girls' Weekend

I'm spending the weekend in Aiken, SC with Carrie. We're doing Christmassy things and being lazy.

I didn't have to work Friday, today OR tomorrow, so Carrie came over around 3pm yesterday and we trekked to Home Depot to pick up a Christmas Tree.

On the west coast I'm used to getting a Noble Fir for Christmas, having been brought up on the sparse look. Here in the east the closest thing I can really get without sacrificing an appendage and going on a wild goose chase is a Fraiser Fir.

The first year in Key West we got a small potted palm tree and decorated it for Christmas. Last year Steph helped me get a Fraiser at Home Depot.

I managed to get about a six-foot tree for $20 and got it home in the back of Carrie's Subaru. It took about two hours but I got the whole thing decorated and the living room cleaned up and the stockings hung up.

Carrie vacuumed (she has an odd obsession with vacuuming floors) and we took off back to Amy's house.

We watched Mixed Nuts and ate leftover mac n cheese, mashed potatoes and green beans.

Today we slept in and then went into "town" to hit the Hobby Lobby and a few other stops. We plan to spend the afternoon knitting and watching White Christmas.

Scott asked "Are you mad at me?" when I told him I was going to stay here tonight as well. I assured him that I'm not trying to get away from him, just spending some time with a good friend before she leaves for Washington for three weeks.

Friday, December 05, 2008

2nd Attempt

We are not going to cash the check. It is now evidence in what may have to be a small claims court case.

I composed the following to send back to him... (this is just the important parts....)

December 4, 2008

We received your response letter and check in the amount of $1,305.36 today.

We are acknowledging receipt of your check but will not be cashing it for several reasons.

1) It is a personal check, and we specifically requested a cashiers check or deposit directly into our account.

2) The check was not signed. As I’m sure you are aware, this makes it impossible to deposit or cash. (see attached picture of check to verify that there is NO SIGNATURE)

We are taking this as an intent to draw out these proceedings further.

As I mentioned in my previous communication with you, Florida Landlord Tenant Law Section 83.46(2), F. S., states

“…the landlord must either return your deposit within 15 days of termination of the rental agreement, if the landlord does not intend to impose a claim upon the security deposit; or justify in writing by certified mail, to the tenant's last known mailing address within 30-days upon termination of a rental agreement, as to why they are keeping a portion of or all of the deposit. If the notice is not sent as required within the 30-day period, the landlord forfeits his/her right to impose a claim upon the deposit…”

You referenced a telephone conversation made on October 25th, at which time you were in Colorado, still within the United States of America. The only assumption we made from this conversation was that we would be receiving funds in good time. We asked if you had our address and you verified such. You did not imply that we would have to wait until you returned to the country to solve this problem.

As to the claims you made in your response letter, please again note the LAW of FLORIDA which states you must make your claim in writing within thirty days of termination of the lease. That would have been by November 18th, 2008.

YOUR CLAIM TO THESE FUNDS is FORFEITED by your delay in submitting your claim.

Also stated in Florida Landlord Tenant Law Section 83.53(2 & 3), F.S.:

“…(2) The landlord may enter the dwelling unit at any time for the protection or preservation of the premises. The landlord may enter the dwelling unit upon reasonable notice to the tenant and at a reasonable time for the purpose of repair of the premises. "Reasonable notice" for the purpose of repair is notice given at least 12 hours prior to the entry, and reasonable time for the purpose of repair shall be between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 8:00 p.m….

(3) The landlord shall not abuse the right of access nor use it to harass the tenant.

(landlord's brother)’s visit to the premises was not lawful, as he is not the landlord of the property under any written agreement or notification AND we received no notice of his visit. Furthermore, his “inspection” of the A/C filter and its state cannot be proved. We cleaned the filter monthly, AND cleaned it again before we departed the premises.

Furthermore, your claim of $619.32 for “lost rent from October 20, 2008 to October 31, 2008” is not legitimate. We turned the keys over to the new tenant on Saturday afternoon, October 18, 2008. It is not our responsibility when the new lease began or when they chose to move in. You asked us to surrender the keys to the new tenants.

I do not believe there is any agreement within our lease that stated that we would pay advertising fees upon vacating the property, therefore we also deny your claim for $52.00.

We have the final bills for water, sewer and garbage and have been intending to pay them with the funds we were expecting back from you. If you wish to deduct the $123.32 we WILL accept that deduction.

Any issues with your A/C unit are not our responsibility, as we cleaned the air filters faithfully. Furthermore, I believe that your house has a mold problem, as evidenced by the fact that I developed a fungal infection ON MY FACE within about a week of moving into the property and even after a doctor visit, steroids and anti-fungal remedies it did not clear up until vacating the property. At no time did I request compensation for these medical fees or time lost due to the fact that I could not work some days because upon awaking my eyes were SWOLLEN SHUT.

Per Florida statue 83.51 section 1, a:

…Comply with the requirements of applicable building, housing, and health codes…”

And section 2,a,1:

…Unless otherwise agreed in writing, in addition to the requirements of subsection (1), the landlord of a dwelling unit other than a single-family home or duplex shall, at all times during the tenancy, make reasonable provisions for:

1. The extermination of rats, mice, roaches, ants, wood-destroying organisms, and bedbugs. When vacation of the premises is required for such extermination, the landlord shall not be liable for damages but shall abate the rent. The tenant shall be required to temporarily vacate the premises for a period of time not to exceed 4 days, on 7 days' written notice, if necessary, for extermination pursuant to this subparagraph.

2. Locks and keys.

3. The clean and safe condition of common areas.

4. Garbage removal and outside receptacles therefor.

5. Functioning facilities for heat during winter, running water, and hot water. …”

This type of issue is an EPA and health code violation and I have no qualms about adding it to our suit should it become relevant.

I am again requesting payment. Please do not take this request lightly. You have FORFEITED your claim to our money by not serving your claim IN WRITING by November 18, 2008.

Once a cashiers check or deposit is received, we will return your unsigned check to you. In the meantime we are holding it as evidence in what will end up being a small claims court case if this is not resolved immediately.

...And I cc'd the attorney I spoke to yesterday at the bottom. I really don't want to have to go to small claims court, the court fee would be $300 and it would cost us money to travel to Key West to GO to court. But if we have to, we have to.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Anyone Know a Good Lawyer?

Sometimes things get worse before they can get better...

I sent a letter out to the former landlord last week via certified USPS. Following is the majority of that letter:

This letter is to formally request the immediate refund of our security deposit in the amount of $1,000.00 (one-thousand dollars) and the final month’s rent in the amount of $1,600.00 (one-thousand, six-hundred dollars).

Under the Florida Landlord Tenant Law Section 83.46(2), F. S.,

“…the landlord must either return your deposit within 15 days of termination of the rental agreement, if the landlord does not intend to impose a claim upon the security deposit; or justify in writing by certified mail, to the tenant's last known mailing address within 30-days upon termination of a rental agreement, as to why they are keeping a portion of or all of the deposit. If the notice is not sent as required within the 30-day period, the landlord forfeits his/her right to impose a claim upon the deposit…”

At the time that we notified (landlord) of our intent to move from the premises, we were informed via a telephone conversation with (landlord) that a new renter would need to be found to take over the remainder of the lease in order for us to receive a refund of our final month’s rent (deposited at the time we moved in to the premises). A new tenant was found shortly and we complied with multiple visits and phone calls from said incoming renters to facilitate their moving in to the premises immediately upon our vacation of the premises.

(landlord's wife) made reference to some cleaning reportedly done by the incoming tenants upon move-in. We spent the entirety of the day on Saturday, October 19th cleaning the premises, which in fact was why we did not vacate until 7pm. All floors were swept and mopped. The bathroom and kitchen were scrubbed and walls and windowsills were wiped down. Earlier that day we handed over the keys to the incoming tenants. Said incoming tenants asked us to leave the rear entry to the premises unlocked when we left and we complied with this request.

To our understanding, the accusation of necessary cleaning is based completely on claims made by the incoming tenants, who provided no proof of said issue, and not verified by any legal landlord or landlord’s representative.

As we vacated the premises at 7pm on Saturday, October 18th, 30 (thirty) days have passed and we have not received either funds representing the security deposit and final month’s rent or a written notification of intent to impose a claim on said funds. (landlord) was informed via a telephone conversation during the week of October 20-24, 2008 that the premises had been vacated and also of our forwarding address. We were assured that funds would be forthcoming. We therefore require funds in the amount of $2,600.00 (Two-thousand, six-hundred dollars) deposited into our account immediately (see information at the end of this letter) or a cashiers check sent by priority mail to our forwarding address (see below).

Delay in this matter has caused us extreme financial hardship and therefore if we do not hear a response from you by November 28th, 2008, we will turn this matter over to our attorney and be requesting interest in addition to the funds requested above.

We got a response in the mail today. It was two pages of claims as to why he is keeping $1,300 of the funds, about 80% of which are totally unfounded and complete bull. Some of the reasons aren't even things that I think are lawful. He claims that we owe "lost rent" from the time we moved out to November 1st because that is when the new tenants moved in. The new tenants accepted the keys from us THE DAY WE LEFT. In my world this means taking over the property. I don't care WHEN they moved in their stuff, they were responsible for the house once they had the keys.

Also in the letter was a check for the other $1,300. A PERSONAL check, UNSIGNED.

I am having some pretty severe anger issues today.

It's Official!

My background check at Pier One came through and as of this coming Sunday I will be a "Sales Leader" and get a raise!

When I got home today there was a USPS notice in the mailbox that we have a certified letter from the Key West landlord. We're praying that it is a check and not just a nasty letter telling us we can't have our money back.

It's been a long and emotional week. More on the emotional bit once I can look back at it in a more constructive manner, right now I'm going to finish the little bit of Marmite that's on my fork and go to bed.

(If you're wondering, I ate it off the fork because we're out of bread.)

Monday, December 01, 2008

Movin' On Up

I was initially hired on at Pier One as a seasonal "limited" time employee - meaning that I'm not supposed to work more than 20 hours a week.

When I spoke to my Manager on the phone before my interview she said that she was only hiring for temporary seasonal employees but that it didn't mean I couldn't stay on after the holidays. I told her that I "fully intend to kick ass" which she liked.

I have worked five or six shifts in the last ten days and a couple of days ago the regional manager was in the store to check things out. Apparently I made a good impression on her and she and my direct manager both are interested in training me to be a sales leader and in charge of the logistics of unloading the truck deliveries. They also have given me more than 20 hours this week, one shift is part of a display/visuals seminar tonight from 6pm to midnight.

I am REALLY excited about this, for several reasons. As the GM at the pet store I feel like the things I excelled at most were cleaning up the displays and general appearance of the store - in an organized way AND organizing projects.

Logistics, organization and visual style are things I am pretty natural at, so it's actually fun for me to "have to" reorganize an entire display.

Our Pier One store apparently was pretty disorganized before my manager arrived and she has been having to clean up in many ways. It's exciting and fun for me to be in on this level of turning things around. I feel like I always do better in a situation where there is a goal and a significant amount of pressure to succeed.

All of this can only benefit me in our dream to eventually own and run our own pet store.

As for working during the holiday season? I love it. The one exception is that the muzak loop at the store has what I believe is a Miley Cyrus rendition of "Holly Jolly Christmas", and it's HORRENDOUS.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday

Our dinner turned out fabulously, we will be posting pics and some recipes over on Are You Gonna Eat That? - our new food blog.

Buster got to enjoy some Thanksgiving dinner, and he was quite happy about it. Even the cats got a tiny bit of potatoes, stuffing, turkey and gravy - although they didn't really eat much besides the turkey and potatoes (and I'm sure that's because the potatoes were loaded with butter, goat cheese and sour cream).

We spent the evening watching TV, napping, snacking on leftovers and surfing the internet.

When I picked up a shift on Wednesday afternoon, my boss asked me to work today from 11am to 3pm. With that in mind I set the alarm clock for 9:30am and went to sleep around 2am.

At 8am my phone rang and it was my boss. Apparently I was actually scheduled for an 8am to Noon shift and she had given me the wrong schedule. She asked if I could come in right away and I complied.

I raced through my ablutions and managed to get to the store by about 8:40am.

For "Black Friday" it really wasn't bad at all. I helped a few people find some things, cashed several people out and did some unpacking of freight in the stock room - then it was time to go home!

I ate some more mashed potatoes and gravy and then took a several-hour nap.

Scott started on a batch of hot sauce this afternoon and I've been working my way through mass amounts of laundry.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Dinner?

In honor of one of the cooking-est days of the year, Scott and I have started a cooking blog together!

You can find it HERE.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Big Task

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day (US).

Today is/was Wednesday.

Today I worked a four-hour shift at Pier One mostly putting together furniture. I'm enjoying my job there and hoping to work hard enough that they decide to hire me as a full time employee and put me on salary.

Yesterday Amy, Carrie and I spent the day in Aiken, SC. My first order of business was getting two very important letters mailed; one to our former landlord requesting all of our money back since they did not send us anything in writing within thirty days that they were intending to keep some of it, and the second to a former renter that still owes me $750. I'm hoping it will scare him enough to just come up with the money right away.

After that was taken care of we went into the downtown historic area and spent a little time in some of the galleries and shops. In an art gallery we saw an entire exhibit of paintings of places in Key West! It made me even more Key-West-sick than I have been lately (which is quite).

Once we were done window shopping we continued to Hitchcock Woods to hike and take pictures. Some of the paths were more sand than dirt so our legs got quite a workout. As we were arriving there was a group of fox-hunters coming out of the woods. The horses AND dogs were beautiful, and I admired the outfits of the riders as I am more used to seeing western saddles and dress than the english version.

As it started to get colder and a little darker we made our way back to the car and then on to Moe's, a wonderful mexican grill fast food joint. As I had eaten a sandwich right after my business at the Post Office, I wasn't as hungry, so I contented myself with a big bowl of guacamole, fresh chips and an icy Cherry Coke.

Finally full (and warm!) we were off to the Hobby Lobby, which I had never experienced before. For those in the northwest it's similar to a Craft Warehouse only even BIGGER if you can believe that! The selection is just incredible. We had a great time just browsing through everything and I spent a little of what little cash I had to buy two 8x10 frames for a couple of our wedding pictures.

Carrie took a lot of pictures of ornaments and Amy trying various ones on her head while I marveled at everything around me. Once we pulled ourselves away from Hobby Lobby we went to Lowes, where we acquired ten 50-lb bags of gravel that Amy and Carrie are putting down in the back yard (it WAS all mulch, but the dogs keep digging it up). Our final stop was Kroger where the girls stocked up on groceries and by the time we left the parking lot I was well packed into the back seat!

As we pulled into Amy's driveway Scott called, wondering if I was ever coming back... I assured him that I would be on my way shortly.

Scott and I are planning to cook Thanksgiving dinner for just the two of us (and the animals). I had invited several friends and family members from near states but they all had previous plans, so it will just be us.

Our Menu:
Turkey (Scott is making this and he and Buster will eat it. I may try a bite if it smells good.)
Stuffing (We are each making some, winging our own recipes. Mine is sourdough & mushroom.)
Salad (just a plain old green leaf lettuce and whatever veggies are on hand)
Mashed Potatoes (with goat cheese, cream cheese, sour cream, chives and butter)
Gravy (my uncle's recipe in which there is white wine and mushrooms and a few other things)
Pumpkin Cheesecake (it just went in the oven)

We're watching various tv shows thanks to our Comcast dvr and I'm pausing them to cook now and then.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Life Grinds Slowly Back Into Gear

I started orientation at Pier One today.

I was scheduled to have an interview there at 2pm on Friday. Yesterday at about 4pm I realized that it WAS FRIDAY.

I should have deduced that it was Friday because I watched CSI the night before, wished a friend happy birthday only to have him tell me "thanks, but it was yesterday", but it took looking at the TV Guide website telling me it was Friday to figure it out.

Fortunately my interviewer was understanding and when I called to assure her that I am NOT a total flake, she told me to come in for the interview right away.

It's nice to be working again, although it makes me very store-sick for the pet store in Key West.

This afternoon Scott and I planned out our Thanksgiving Day meal and then went to the grocery store to stock up, first having dinner at a Thai restaurant next door to Publix.

During dinner we talked about ideas for a poor-economy Christmas and came up with some rather good ones, I think.

I got started tonight on one of the major projects, I would say I'm about one-fifth of the way done with it and haven't spent a dime. I'm hoping that the recipient thinks it's as kickass as I do... if someone made this present for ME I would LOVE it.

The other highlight of the evening was when Scott discovered that it's a bad idea to feed The Stink from the couch. This results in her constantly wanting up to see if there's more and then wanting down to look for it herself.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Little bit of Martha...

This is the Martha Stewart version:

It is done with weatherproof paper and tape and hung on an outside door.

I liked the look of the idea, and goodness knows I love to be crafty, so I started digging through my Christmas bins to see what I could come up with.

While in Key West, the only store that had reasonably priced Christmas decorations was K-Mart, and so I chose items in the silver and purple vein both years.

Since I can't afford to buy all new Christmas decorations this year, I'm going to go with what I collected in Key West, so I figured a silver and purple wreath would coordinate nicely.

I had plenty of silver stuff, but not as much purple. Carrie and I ended up taking a trip to Dollar General, Target and Michaels looking for purple wrapping paper, which apparently is so Last Year.

I made do with some pieces of purple scrapbooking paper instead and then came home and wrapped a bunch of small boxes - some from Michaels but most were either empty gum display boxes I got at Food Lion or cream cheese boxes from my fridge.

Carrie helped by wrapping the base in silver paper and putting in her two cents about which boxes should be where.

We were very pleased with the final product...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Photo Therapy

It always makes me feel better to have some sort of artistic outlet.

Carrie and I took another photo/walking tour of downtown Augusta today and got some fun shots.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Sketchy and Hopeful

I'm thinking that I may not want to work at WS. I picked up the paperwork on Thursday last week and they had mentioned then that there was no rush because the company that owns the mall is declaring bankruptcy.

You would think that if they are volunteering this information to applicants, that they would also tell the employees. You know, so they can look for other jobs if it turns out that the store is going to close.

When I handed in my paperwork to "June", I mentioned that because of the "situation" with the mall I was still looking for other positions. She asked me "what situation." I filled her in.

I don't know that I want to be employed at a place that keeps their employees in the dark about whether they will have a job next month.

I have also realized that if I actually wish to get a job in retail this holiday season, I will have to suck it up and work evenings. Scott and I were hoping that I could work days so we could have our evenings together, but I have a feeling that if I want any response at all I'm going to have to be available for the prime shopping hours, which makes sense.

I stopped by Pier One this afternoon to let them know that I AM available in the evenings, and I changed it on my application at Bed, Bath and Beyond as well. I discussed being available with the manager at Michaels when I handed in that application.

Since we were nearly out of wet dog food (Buster is a spoiled old man) I stopped at PetsMart and talked with the manager there. I mentioned that I had applied online before we moved but hadn't heard anything, and referenced my year plus experience as the GM at the pet store in Key West. He said he'd check out my info and get back to me if he can scrape any hours together.

Once I got home I realized that it was PetCo I had applied to online and not PetsMart, so I hastily remedied that situation and gave the manager a call to let him know that he will find my info later today.

I really miss the store in Key West. I miss the people and the animals and just WORKING.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Turn Around

Fortunately, my bank did indeed catch the error before I was up on Friday morning. That was a big load off of my mind.

I was also able to pay the mortgage payment online, which was another time and energy saver.

Saturday evening I went application hunting just in case the Williams Sonoma job falls through. I completed a Pier One app there in-store and brought home apps for Michaels and Bed, Bath & Beyond.

I would very much enjoy Pier One or Michaels, and I'm feeling really good about Pier One.

Tonight I joined Carrie and Amy at the theater to see "Quantom of Solace", the latest 007 movie. I have to say I really enjoyed it.

Once I got home I cleaned the entire kitchen, set the counter with two place settings, and made Scott's lunch for tomorrow. I've also been hanging pictures on the walls and getting clothes hung up in the closet, in addition to clearing space in the garage so I can park my car in it.

Right now Scott is trying to fix the kitchen table.

I feel better in general about things.

Tomorrow I'm planning to collect sticks and leaves and lay them out in the garage to dry so I can hot glue them together into wreaths, finish filling out the applications and deliver them and my Williams Sonoma paperwork.

Friday, November 14, 2008

When Life Gets You Down...

Today I deposited a $2000 check into my checking account, in person, at a bank.

When I got home and went online to schedule some online bill pay stuff, it shows that the teller credited me $200.

Today I also went in to Williams Sonoma (I received a voicemail on the 6th that they want to hire me) to do "paperwork."

When I got there they handed me a packed and told me to fill it out and bring it back "whenever" because the company that owns the mall is declaring bankruptcy. SERIOUSLY?

Our Florida landlord legally has fifteen days to refund our deposit and last month's rent. He legally has thirty days to notify us in writing if he intends to claim any of the deposit.

Our Florida landlord is currently in Nicuragua with no phone and no power.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Auntie ReesePie

This is my new nephew. He's our first one. He is the first grandbaby for all of his grandparents.

Scotty is very proud.

The baby's name is Jackson.

He complied with our plans and arrived about 36 hours after we arrived in Seattle to see him.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


Scott and I are heading to Seattle early tomorrow morning.

Actually, since the plane leaves out of Atlanta at 7:15am we are just staying up and leaving for Atlanta around 3am.

Carrie is house/animal sitting while we're gone.

I had my interview today at Williams Sonoma. It was a group interview, which was odd. I'll either get a phone call or a "thanks but no thanks" card in the mail sometime in the next two weeks.

In the meantime we're heading across the country to welcome a new nephew into the world.

Voting Day

No, I didn't.

I watched a House marathon instead.

And got my Georgia driver's license.

And don't try to get all politicky with me, I won't discuss it.

I said Good Day!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Scarves and Boots!

Moving to Georgia during this time of year has been fabulous. I have been able to immediately start wearing some of my favorite parts of my wardrobe... sweaters, scarves and boots!

Even Buster has a new winter jacket and a new sweater for Christmas.

And yes, we dressed him as a skunk for Halloween. He loved it.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Beautiful Day for a Picnic

Amy and Carrie and I spent the day together - meeting first at a cafe in downtown Augusta for Coffee, then we drove out to the New Savannah Lock and Dam (not actually IN Savannah) for a picnic lunch on a dock. Then we all came back to our house and Scott and I handed out candy on the front porch to all the neighborhood kids.

Buster was in a skunk costume and Stinkerbell was (briefly) dressed as a pumpkin. Those pics will come tomorrow... but here's some from today.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

On The Hunt

I had an adventurous day yesterday.

A friend since high-school lives about 40 minutes away in Aiken, SC and we've been hanging out a bit. It's good for both of us to have a friend out here where we know so few people.

Yesterday we went to the Augusta Mall where I collected eight job applications. As I was gathering one from Williams Sonoma the manager took my name and number and called me right away to schedule an interview next Wednesday at 2pm.

I got a blister on my finger filling out the rest of them last night.

After our job hunt, we went "downtown" Augusta and took pictures.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Traveling Zoo

Thirteen hours according to Google maps is really more like 16 or 17 in a Honda pulling a 4x6 U-Haul trailer.

We departed Key West at about 7pm on Saturday (a week ago) and made a few stops... one for gas, another stop on Big Pine at Rob's Island Grill for the best gardenburger in the Keys.

We made it to our approximate halfway point - a Clarion motel in Titusville, Florida at about 4am Sunday morning. It took us about a half hour to get all the critters and their stuff in the room and then we went to bed. We put the big baby gate up across the bathroom/sink/closet area and put Stinkerbell's house under the sink, with the cat litter box in the bathroom itself.

We managed to get all the animals fed and once we went to bed everyone pretty much quieted down and went to sleep.

Scott got up around 1pm and I got up around 1:30pm and we loaded up and headed north. We stopped for gas and food somewhere near Jacksonville I think...

I had everyone but Scott in the Honda with me, the cats' litter box in the trunk with the back seats down and Buster in the passenger seat. The cats and Stinkerbell got to run free.

Chou likes to ride in the floorspace up front and since there was a bunch of stuff and bedding in the passenger side floorspace, he chose mine. Fortunately he stayed out from under the pedals and didn't mind if I shoved him back with my feet when he encroached on my space.

Minx was a little bit everywhere, mostly starting to yell about five or six hours into both days. At that point I put on my ipod and was able to tune her out.

Maui split his time snuggling with Buster and sitting in the cat bed in the back seat.

Stinkerbell was either asleep in the front seat with Buster and Maui or in her bed (sometimes underneath it). She managed not to bite anyone, which is usually her modus operandi when in close proximity to the other animals. The picture on the left shows Buster, Stinker, Maui (right above Stinker's tail) and Chou (on the right - in my armpit) all in the front seat which lasted about ten minutes. Then I kicked the cats and skunk out so Buster wasn't so cramped.

Won-Ton initially was on the dash, with two of the feet of his travel tank on a "non-slip" pad that is meant for cell phones and such. After two incidences of the tank flying off the dash and dumping water everywhere (the second time requiring me to pull over, call Scott and have him bring a bottle of Evian to refill the container) I took the handle off the container and rigged it with a bungee cord to hang from my rear-view mirror. Sounds silly, but he was safe for the rest of the trip (when Buster wasn't trying to drink him).

The drive on Sunday was a lot easier. We had both had at least eight hours of sleep and were a lot less anxious about what time we were going to arrive.

Fortunately the realtor that helped us find and lease the house only lives about fifteen minutes from the new place and was willing to meet us when we arrived at about 10:15pm to let us in. He knew we weren't going to have water or power until Monday, but he was able to turn our water on at the curb and his wife sent a bunch of her candles over so we could see enough to get our mattress and the animals in the house.

Monday morning the power came on around 10am and the water heater made quick work of heating up enough water for about a five minute shower. Once presentable we drove to the bottom of our subdivision and had lunch at a Mexican restaurant in the strip mall there. We found a Food Lion and bought a few necessities before heading back to the house for a walk-through with the realtor.

Tuesday Scott managed to get a Georgia driver's license and we took a trip to Bed, Bath & Beyond, followed by dinner at Macaroni Grill.

Wednesday Scott went to work for the first time at his new job and Comcast came to hook up our DVR and internet. After he came home we went to Lowes and then Red Robin for dinner. (We don't have wireless yet and the ethernet cable isn't working for my computer, so I have to pirate Scott's when he's not using it.)

Thursday my friend Carrie (from high school) came over from Aiken, SC and we spent the day together, having breakfast (around 1pm) at IHOP and then a quick trip to Home Depot. I looked for herbs and vegetables to grow at the house but I'm guessing it's past season for them this far north because there was NOTHING edible in the nursery there. I bought three Hostas instead.

Friday I slept in and then did some unpacking and organizing and moving furniture around. Once Scott got home we went to Publix and did the REAL grocery shopping.

Today we had Apple turnovers for breakfast (something my family did every Saturday morning for awhile when I was young) and then spent the day alternately unpacking and watching TV and feeding animals and ourselves. I made a batch of Potato Cheese Soup with a few fat-lowering modifications. It's not quite the same since I am mysteriously out of Paprika and I used 1% milk instead of half and half, but it was still good and filling.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Just Peachy

We're here in Georgia and getting settled in.

The house is beautiful.

I've taken lots of pictures - most of our two-day trip up from Key West, but they are on my computer which for some reason is not connecting to the internet.

So in the meantime I will just say that I'm planning some great posts and have some fun pictures to go with them.

Most importantly: We're safe! Everyone loves the house, the dog and cats (including the "fourth") are having fun exploring and hiding behind boxes.

The movers brought our stuff yesterday morning at 8am and we've been unpacking ever since. I've got most of the kitchen put away and we're working on the bedrooms and living areas.

Comcast came today to hook up our digital cable and wireless internet. The cable works. The internet only works via an ethernet cable to Scott's computer. We tried plugging it into mine and that doesn't even work.

I'm going to attempt to solve the problem tomorrow when my brain cells are fresh.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Getting Out of Dodge Key West

The packer/movers left with all our stuff yesterday around 4pm. We started cleaning the house and organizing the remainder of our things and then got tired and hungry.

We decided to spend a couple of hours downtown as a last hurrah for our friends that wanted to say goodbye, with the added bonus of getting out of the house for a little while.

We ate dinner at The Rum Barrel and about 15 of our friends came and/or stopped by to see us and say goodbye.

We got home around 10:30pm and went to bed. Or tried to anyway.

The movers packed the fan we usually have running at night for white noise and without it every sound in our empty concrete house was doubly magnified. Stinkerbell was up and wreaking havoc every way she knows how: climbing onto our mattress, sliding off, getting into stuff that's packed, turning over garbage cans, the full gamut of her chaos repertoire.

Finally around 4:45am I was ready to kill every living thing in the house (including Scott - he snores pretty loud when there's nothing to mask the noise) so I got up and went to Walgreens and bought two box fans, some breathe-right strips and some ear plugs.

It was a good recipe for peace and I managed to sleep from about 5:30am to about 11:00am. Then we figured we'd better get in gear and finish cleaning the house so we can leave.

We've worked pretty hard in the three hours since, and then it started pouring rain right when I was actually starting to load the U-Haul.

And I mean POURING. Deluge. Sheets of Water.


I guess with both of us cleaning it will get done faster, right? And then all we'll have to do is wait for the rain to stop. If it doesn't I suppose we can move the BMW out of the carport and back the U-Haul in, then load everything out through the kitchen.

Friday, October 17, 2008


I'm sitting on our couch. On my right is the dog. On my left is a kennel with the three cats inside.

I'm watching a three-man crew pack up everything I own.

It's very strange to watch all this happening and not really have anything to do! I asked if it would be helpful if I brought things from the kitchen to them and they said no. They're pretty much saying "Stay Out Of The Way!" without actually saying it.

Right now the most useful thing I can do is take the turtle back to the pet store to go into the pond. Even Stinkerbell is in her cage and for once she's not upset about it... she's hiding in her bed.

We were planning to stay at a friend's house tonight on their futon, but all our pillows and blankets have already been packed, in addition to the fan I use for white noise so I can sleep!

I guess it's really happening!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Finally, a Plan!

The moving company called us back this morning and is planning to come on Thursday and pack, and then move on Friday.

We were really hoping to have them here tomorrow or Wednesday, but that is clearly not going to happen, so I guess we'll suck it up.

Also they told Scott to tell me to stop packing - for liability purposes they have to pack everything. So now I'm just trying to organize and clean. That sucks.

I dismantled and hosed out the hamster cage today, Tempura is going to live with my friend Kelle who LOVES animals and has been wanting a hamster every time one comes into the pet store, so I know she will spoil her and take very good care of her.

I just don't like feeling like I'm not doing anything to get our life progressing.

Monday, October 13, 2008


I happened to read about this while looking up Darlene Zschech on Wikipedia (long story as to how I got to her on Wikipedia but anyway...)...

I've always been impressed when American Idol contestants sing a Christian pop or worship song on the show. They are often judged pretty harshly for it, but I give them kudos for doing it at all.

I wondered how it was that I missed this episode and then I realized that it aired two days before our wedding and watching TV was the last thing on my mind right about then...

In any case, I am pleased that it was on the show.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Last Day

It's beginning to get light out on my last day of work in Key West. I'll likely go in on Sunday or Monday and do some computer stuff, but today is my last shift on the floor.

Stinkerbell is sleeping on my lap... when I got out of bed about an hour ago she got up and followed me to the living room.

All the animals are being extra-needy right now - Stinkerbell has never moved so she can't really understand the boxes, but Buster and the cats have experienced boxes before and are getting worried.

Buster tries to come with us anytime we leave the house now, he's afraid of being left behind!

We signed a lease today and faxed it back to the realtor, I'll post pics as soon as there's no way it can fall through. If I've learned nothing else in this recent chapter of life it's that I HAVE to take each day one at a time or I'll lose my freaking mind!

I did find an insurance agent in the area and have transferred our car and renters insurance, once the lease is confirmed I'll go online and transfer Comcast and do our address change.

I've packed a bunch of stuff - mostly clothes and bedding as it's clean. We're probably going to get rid of some stuff before we leave: two tv's we never use, our bed frame (since it's TOTALLY busted now) and all the crappy pots and pans since we've been collecting new ones from Crate & Barrell thanks to wedding gift cards.

I'm REALLY excited about the kitchen in the new house... once you see it you'll understand why!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Stay Calm

more animals

I'm sure that I will jinx the whole thing by talking about it - but I believe we're moving to Georgia. We picked a house tonight (I'll post pics as soon as the lease is signed) and are going to call tomorrow to schedule the movers.

I'm excited - I would love to go home to the northwest, but going anywhere new is cool, too. I'm hoping that we will be more free to travel "home" from Augusta than from Key West, I'd really like to be at my Family Reunion and Family Camping Trip next summer.

Of course, I'm having a hard time sleeping because my brain keeps making lists of things that need to be done before we move or in order to move.

And, there's a bit of added stress because someone is apparently illegal in Georgia.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Taking Action

This morning before I left for work Scott and I decided that if the company in WA doesn't call by the end of the day today, we're going to go ahead and go to GA.

He's picking a house now and getting his paperwork ready.

In the Meantime...

Since there's few things in my life at the moment I CAN control, I got bored and decided to cut and color my hair.

Granted, the light and color effects on these pictures make it look like I'm pasty white in the "after" pic, but I'm not...

I've really missed having dark red hair, so I decided to go back to it for awhile. Now if only I could force a decision in where we're moving to!

Friday, October 03, 2008

Packing and Waiting

Right now we don't know where we're going.

The company in Washington had a phone interview with Scott yesterday and the next step is for them to call him back and ask him to fly out for an interview in person.

We will continue with plans to move to Augusta until the company in Washington makes it clear whether they want to bring him on or not.

I'm just sorting and packing and organizing.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I'm Going to Lose My Mind

Today is Scott's last day of work here in Key West. We are narrowing down places to live in Georgia and have only 13 days before we are planning to leave.

Today the company in Bingen, WA emailed Scott and asked him to call for an interview.

I feel like my emotions have been run through a cement mixer and splatted out onto the road.

If that wasn't enough to make me just sit down and cry, last night my bosses told me they are pregnant. She is 36 and has been off birth control for about six months.

I'm 32 and have been off birth control for TWO YEARS.

I can honestly say this is the first time since we've been "trying" that having a friend tell me they are pregnant has bothered me at all.

I'm sure it's because I have so many other things to deal with right now, but I'm really having a hard time not being actively jealous.

Too Much Head Noise

It's 3:07am.

I tried to go to bed twice so far - starting around 10:30pm... I only have two more work days until I have four days off, then another 6 days on and that's it - we're gone!

Thanks to my fabulous in-laws, I'll be joining Scott on a trip to Seattle in November to (hopefully) meet our new nephew (if he cooperates with our schedule of course).

My mind keeps making lists of things to do and organize and pack... overwhelming.

Our immediate goal is to secure somewhere to live in the new town, there's a few possibilities lined up. Our favorite so far isn't available until the 21st of October and we'd like to be moved in before that, so we may have to go with something else.

My next goal once we have a new address is to work on new employment! I know it will be much easier once I'm actually in town and can walk in somewhere and convince them to hire me based solely on my brilliance.


Saturday, September 27, 2008

Packing Up

Things are far enough underway that I feel it is safe to announce our decision...

We ARE moving to Augusta, Georgia (unless we don't for some reason).

Right now we're planning to move around October 15th, we began showing our house here today and a rep from a moving company came to check out the house to see how much to charge Scott's company to move us.

We're trying to find someone to move in here as soon as possible so we don't lose our last month's rent.

Scott has been working very hard the last two days on cleaning the house while I have been working at the pet store. His last official day at work here in Key West will be this Tuesday.

My last day at the pet store will probably be the 12th or 13th and then we are anticipating having the movers take everything on the 15th.

Scott will take Buster, Tempura, Won-Ton and Zim in the BMW and I will take the three cats and Stinkerbell in the Honda. Should be an interesting 13 hour drive... Scott suggested that he and I and Buster go ahead and have Maui drive the other cats and the skunk.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I Give Up

I'm not blogging until our decision is final. Georgia is back in the running.


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

No Georgia.

As soon as we thought we were sure about something, it changed.

Originally we were told that if we took the position in Georgia, we'd make at least what we are making now and have a lower cost of living - giving us the ability to save up a significant amount of money.

The official offer came in today at quite a bit less than what we are making in Key West to account for the lower cost of living in Georgia. Basically we wouldn't get anywhere financially and would have about the same amount of money.

In my opinion that's just not worth it. We've decided that the only reason to move from Key West is either to get ahead financially (and by a lot, not just a little) or to move HOME.

So, we're going to take the offer from the new company in Key West and work on the Washington/Oregon opportunities, and take them as soon as they are something that is worth our packing up and moving.

If you are in the Portland/Vancouver or Columbia Gorge area and think you know of a good job for me, let me know!