Friday, July 27, 2007

He Didn’t Get Away

Ron and I have put a lot of fish into our fish tank. Unfortunately, not all have survived. For example, we have purchased a total of 10 angel fish. Right now, one remains in the tank. When I hand feed the fish, I make sure the angel gets his fill.

I don’t know what we’re doing wrong, but we can’t seem to keep some of our fish alive. The angels were one type, and out of 18 tetras that we bought, none survived more than a couple of weeks! This is truly disheartening.

I’ve finally thrown up the white flag. I give up! I refuse to buy more fish, just to end up flushing them down the toilet and feeling like a failure. When they all end up flushed, Mike’s getting the tank back. (Although, the one bright spot has been our plecostomus, Fred. He is almost to the point of being bigger than a turd, hence too big to flush!)

Most of our fish are live bearers, meaning they don’t lay eggs but instead give birth to live fish (called fry). The live bearers could have babies every couple of weeks. That’s a lot of breeding especially since in the five months or so that we’ve had them we haven’t seen hide nor hair of any babies. So, we’ve decided to try to help things along in order to help keep our tank populated. We bought a breeder tank. This is just a little tank that hangs inside the main tank. When you see a mom fish ready to burst (and that’s absolutely what she looks like before she has the babies!) you take her out of the tank, put her in a smaller tank and let her have her babies. Once the babies are born, you take mom out and put her back in the main tank and then the babies are separated so that they don’t become breakfast for the rest of the tank.

In a perfect world, the fry would stay in the breeder tank for a few months until they were bigger and had a better chance of surviving in the main tank. Keep in mind that we’re new at this and this is definitely not a perfect world. I know this is hard to believe, but a fish that is less than two inches long is extremely hard to catch in a 65 gallon tank! She will run and hide and zig and zag and it’s almost impossible to snag her without giving her or me a heart attack. Our first attempt was aborted short of ripping up all the plants in the tank and taking them out as well as any shale or driftwood. Ron tried again when I was out of his hair and on the road. He was much more successful. He was able to get mom into the breeder tank the night she had her babies. In the morning, in an attempt to get mom out of the little tank and back into the main tank, stuff happened. The darn breeder tanks are really cheap pieces of plastic and well, it sort of fell apart. But, before it did, Ron was able to see a bunch of babies heading towards the rocks in the bottom, so we were hopeful that at least some survived.

I feed the fish in the morning when I first go downstairs. I turn the light on to wake them up and also so that I can watch them for awhile. This morning, I was a little worried about my lonely angel fish. He was at the bottom, with barely one fin fluttering. Was he too tired to get up so early? Or was something wrong? Oh man, I was worried this morning. I don’t want to lose another fish, especially one that has more than doubled in size since we got him and so far seems healthy and thriving.

I just put some fish flakes in, and watched all but the angel come to the feeding zone and chow down.

I stood back and just watched the tank. Mike was nice enough to cut a mirror for us and it is now on the back of the tank. First, that makes our 65 gallon tank look like 130 gallons! Secondly, I can look in the mirror and get a better look at all the fish, since the mirror takes away some hiding spots behind plants and things.

I was looking at the angel fish in the back of the tank when I saw movement in the mirror. The movement was closer to the front of the tank, behind a plant. Guess what? It was a FRY!!! One lonely little teeny tiny fish! This little thing was barely ½ inch long. He was mostly transparent but did have a bit of an orange glow to him. That means that he is either a red wag or a yellow wag platy! WOW! I ran upstairs and woke poor Ron up at 6:30 this morning to tell him that we really do have a baby! A live baby! I saw it with my own eyes! I watched him swim for awhile and then as I came in closer to the side of the tank to get a better look at him, he went down into the gravel at the bottom and looked to be playing dead. No matter! I saw him!

I finished getting dressed, while telling Ron all about the new baby, then went downstairs to leave. As I was walking up to the tank, I saw it. My precious angel fish was CHASING something really small! And, um…well, let’s just say I can’t see the little fry any more. AARGH. I was so disappointed I wanted to yank that angel right out of the tank and go down his throat after my little baby fry!

Talk about the highs and lows all in one morning. I think the angel fish fell off of my favorite fish list and now is in the dog house so to speak. Hopefully there are more fry in the tank, other than the one that didn’t get away.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Million Dollar Question

I have been working from my local office last week and the first two days of this week. That is a tough assignment since I’m wedged in a small office between dufus # 1 and dufus # 2. But, I digress.

Most days I’ll bring my lunch to the office and sit and read for awhile and just not answer my phone during my quiet time. Other days, like today, I’ll just grab a sandwich somewhere, pick a deserted piece of a parking lot and read and eat my lunch. Besides, it’s gorgeous out today so the windows were open, and the piece of parking lot I chose at least had a view of the valley to the west of me.

My sandwich was finished, and I was working on finishing the last Harry Potter book. (HOLY CRAP! What a book!) Suddenly, this elderly woman who was barely tall enough to look over the steering wheel of her car pulled up in front of me, the drove in a circle around me until she pulled in the spot next to me with her driver’s window right by mine.

She asked me if I lived around here. I said, sorry, no I don’t. I know the area around here a little bit, but not that well, so I was afraid to ask what she was looking for. No worries though, since she offered it up anyway. She said she was meeting some friends and she couldn’t find the restaurant. It was called “Steve’s something or other with a couple of more words.” Hmm. Yeah, that helps. I told her I didn’t know of any “Steve’s” and she really looked sad. She said she was really looking forward to meeting her friends.

Believe it or not, I had a brilliant idea! I know, that’s unbelievable, but it’s true!

I told her to hang on, and I pulled my Garmin GPS unit out of the console. I said to her that if she waited for the GPS unit to boot up, I might be able to find “Steve’s something or other with a couple of more words”. She looked at me kinda funny but waited anyway.

Once booted, I went to restaurants and typed in STEVES. It brought up an automotive repair shop first, and I didn’t think that was it. Then it brought up a Steve’s family restaurant and I asked her if that was it, and she said maybe . . . but then I realized that was over 20 miles away. She said no, that it was supposed to be around this neighborhood somewhere.

So I said well hang on, it’s still searching. She asked what I was holding and looking at and I gave her a quick explanation of a GPS. I said I travel a lot and this thing tells me how to get where I’m going and then back home again. I also added that it has a feature to help me find restaurants, or hospitals or places of interest. I told her that at that moment it was still searching for restaurants in the area that matched “STEVES” and the info was bouncing from the satellites so it was taking a minute. I swear, she must have thought I was an alien or something! She was absolutely astounded!

I think for a minute she thought I invented this contraption. I told her that no, I just bought it like everyone else from the store. She asked me how much one of these things would go for and I told her and she was shocked. Ok, I agree with her on that part. Anyway, after a minute or so, I had a nice list of “STEVE’S” in front of me and started rattling them off to her. I got to Steve’s Dakota Grill and she yelled YES! I had a winner! Once I saw that name, I actually knew where it was, so I gave her directions to just drive two miles south on the road right in front of her and she’d see it on the left.

She was so happy with me. I did my good deed for the day I guess! She said she was going to mail me a check for $1 million. I told her that needs to go from her mouth to God’s ears! She might have been a crack pot, or she might just have been a nice old lady happy for a little assistance from a crazy machine or the crazy lady reading her book in the silver Honda. Either way, I’m watching my mailbox for the $1 million. Just in case!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Harry's HERE!

My new best friend, the UPS man, just delivered my new Harry Potter book!! I KNEW I got up early this morning for a reason!

Now I'm curling up with my book and I don't plan on moving until I know all of the secrets it holds. Wish me luck!

Close Call

Thursday evening, I really think I had a near death experience. Or, at least as close to death as I want to come for the time being.

I am actually in town for a couple of weeks. On the way home from the office Thursday, I was thinking about dinner. I decided to heat up the leftover city chicken, but after that, I was at a loss for what to have with it.

Then I remembered Fenik's Produce stand. They are locally renowned for their sweet corn and I drive right by them on my way home. Bonus! What a great idea! 'Tis the season and all that. I know the stand just opened within the last few days and I was anxious to christen the place.

The stand is close to the road, and on the north side of the stand is a small parking lot. I pulled into the lot and went to look over what they had. I ended up with a pound of green beans and a half of a dozen ears of corn. Sounds great for dinner. With my bag of produce in my left arm, my right hand is holding my car keys. I am walking through the small parking lot back to my car when it happened.

This b*tch in a mini van just started to back up, rather quickly I'd say, and I was RIGHT behind her. Before I could think of anything, my right hand immediately went up and she hit my hand and my keys clanked on the back window glass. Luckily she heard it and she stopped immediately, what seemed like inches from my face. (Believe it or not, my right hand alone did not stop a mini van.)

I walked to the driver's side of the car to find a woman probably in her sixties luckily with her window rolled up. I yelled something like "THANKS FOR LOOKING!" to which she shrugged her shoulders and said something like "you better not have scratched my window".

Hmm. That's when you find out what you are made of. I just wanted to kick her car door. Scratched her window?? Is she for real? She almost ran me over and now she's actually threatening me? Gee, so sorry. Too bad I didn't leave blood and guts all over the back bumper.

I was shaking. She continued to back up and started to drive out of the parking lot back onto Lake Avenue as I just stood there, staring at her. If I could have at least got an "I'm sorry" or even an "oops!" from her or some sort of remorse for almost cutting my life short, I'd have felt better. But for her to just shrug her shoulders and tell me that her window has better not be scratched was too much for me.

Now that I'm writing this two days later, it seems like it wasn't such a big deal. But at the time, wow. I really did see my life flash before my eyes!

This incident is not going to stop me from stopping at Fenik's Produce for sweet corn. However, I will make sure that there isn't a silver mini van in the parking lot first. After all, even good corn isn't a good enough reason to give this b*tch a second chance at finishing me off.

# 300!!

I opened up Blogger to talk about a few things on my mind when I saw it! THIS is post # 300!!! I can't believe it! Who'd have thought that I could ramble on and on about 300 topics! Ok, probably anybody that knows me.

This blog started on 8/18/05 and now less than two years later I'm 300 blogs into it.

That was so awesome, I had to devote a whole blog just to that fact!

I have a lot on my mind today, so stay tuned. We'll be on our way to 500!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

It's Ron's Fault!

Ron is always right. At least that’s what HE says! Ok, if I’m being honest here, I guess most of the time he is right. However, every once in awhile when he’s WRONG, I do need to sing about it! Guess what?? Yep! This is one of those times!

Let’s talk about laundry. Most times I do laundry on the weekends, and just spend a few hours running up and down the stairs every 30 minutes to move clothes from washer to dryer and fluffing and folding. I hate wet clothes left in the washer.

This week however, I took the weekend off. That just means that now I seem to be doing laundry all week long. I put a load in the washer in the morning, after work I go downstairs and put them in the dryer and fill up the washer again. Maybe before I go to bed I move another load around. I can’t seem to be as diligent about it if it’s not the weekend.

Last night I had a surprise! I had put a load of Ron’s blue jeans in the washer before I went to work. After work, I went to throw them in the dryer. There was crap everywhere! I know sometimes Ron gets his hands into ookie stuff. He’s played with glues, paints, solvents, cement, yes, all kinds of ookie things. So when I went to grab a pair of his pants out of the washing machine, this “stuff” went flying everywhere. The only thing I can liken it to is when you wash a Kleenex. That crap gets everywhere. Sort of like that, but brownish.

I immediately called Ron to come downstairs to look at it because I was afraid to touch it. He came running downstairs to find a half hysterical me holding a pair of jeans over the slop sink. Smart aleck takes one look at it and says “oh, I think I left a pack of cigarettes in my pocket.” Say it with me, people! EWW!

For anyone interested, the tobacco in cigarettes is pretty long. I found this out as I picked all of the long stringy thingies out of the washer. Also, after a full wash cycle, the cotton filter part of the cigarette remained completely intact. Interesting.

From now on, I’m gonna start checking his pockets. And, any money I find in there . . . I’m keeping!

Monday, July 16, 2007


Four years ago Ron and I moved in together! Wow! Can it really be four years already??

Happy Anniversary, honey!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

The Good The Bad And Me

There are good neighbors and there are bad neighbors. Hopefully in all of our lives, the good outweigh the bad.

We have been lucky to have a few good neighbors. Our neighbor immediately next door has been VERY good to us, letting us hook up to his water when we moved in when I was too stupid to know I had to go to the water department and have the water turned on. They have been great to us since day one and I am truly thankful that we are lucky enough to have them as neighbors. Most of the rest of the neighbors around us are nice and we are on first name basis with all of them. They are the neighbors that will stand and chat with you when you're outside, or will wave as they are coming or going. Yes, our immediate neighbors have been nice.

Except for the red house across the street.

We've lived here three years and to honest, I thought only teenagers lived there. (These are the teenagers who believe they have the right to play in OUR yard!) I don't think I've ever seen an adult there. Until recently.

The dad came knocking on our door about a month ago. Keep in mind, in three years we have never as much as gotten a wave hello, a nod or even the finger from this guy. I didn't even recognize him as a neighbor. He came knocking on our door at 10:00 on a Friday night, when there were no lights on in the house, and he's down there banging away until we answered. What did he want? Money. Can you believe it? To have the balls to knock on a dark house of people you have NEVER spoken to, just to ask for money. We found out that Ron is a better person than I am since I'd have kicked the guy to the curb.

The next Friday night, the same thing happened. He knocks on the door of a dark house, again, almost 10:00 at night and now gives Ron some sob story of him being out of food in the house and he really needs money.

I really had problems with this one. Every church in the neighborhood has a food bank. He could have gone to any one of them, asked for food and been helped out. No. He waits until 10:00 to knock on OUR door to ask for another hand out. Once again, Ron is a better person than I am.

Don't get me wrong, I believe in charity. We support quite a few local and national charities. If it had been any of my neighbors who are neighborly and actually give us the time of day, or a nod or a wave or even, dare I say it, say HELLO to us, I'd have gladly helped out any one of them that told me they were having a hard time. But for someone who has never as much as flipped me the bird to ask for money to me is beyond chutzpah.

So that's the bad neighbor.

Believe it or not, the good neighbor then came knocking on the door a few weeks later. He actually lives on the cross street a block to the south of us. He told Ron that he is a painter and he was currently between jobs and needed money. He saw that our three dormers on the house needed painted (BOY did they need painted!) and he told Ron he'd paint them for a price. The price was very reasonable and he was hired on the spot! Then Ron got to work negotiating even more jobs that needed done that we haven't had time to do.

Not only do our dormers look awesome, our front porch floor has finally been painted! That's been on our list of things to do since the day we moved in to the house! And, the garage was scraped, primed and painted and I'm tickled pink over here.

Not only did we put him to work, we helped him find more work. Right now he's working on our next door neighbor's garage and his next job is for our friend Larry. The guy is very good and very reasonable.

I have a lot of respect for this man. He didn't come knocking on a stranger's door asking for a hand out. He asked for work. I can sure never fault anyone for that. You can be sure any time this man knocks on our door again, we will always help him in whatever way we can.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

I'm Wild About Harry

I am a huge Harry Potter fan. I don’t think that’s a secret to anyone.

The newest, and unfortunately the last, Harry Potter book, book 7, is to be released later this month. Of course, I’ve long ago been to my buddy Amazon and requested that they send me my own copy of the book the day it’s released! In preparing for this great event, I have started reading all of the Harry Potter books again, from start to finish just to make sure I remember who everyone is and what’s been going on in their lives. I am almost done with book 5, The Order Of The Phoenix, then I’ll zip through book 6 and hopefully be ready the day I receive book 7.

When I thought of this plan, it sounded easy! When you get to the later books, I’ve forgotten how intense they are, especially at the end. I was flirting with finishing book 5 last night and I came perilously close. However, after working 11 to 12 hour days, I can’t stay up late to play! It was already midnight and my eyes were slamming shut and I wasn’t sure anymore what was going on.

I closed my book, grabbed my phone and called Ron to say good night before I fell asleep. Let me tell you, I was cutting it close! I remember talking to him, although I really don’t remember what we said. I was just totally exhausted last night.

I didn’t realize how exhausted I was until this morning, getting ready to leave for work.

I am up, showered, dressed and ready to walk out the door. I grab my laptop bag, and my work phone, but doggone it; I can’t find my personal phone. I know I had it since I talked to both my brother Jim and to Ron last night! It has to be in that room somewhere!

I started tearing everything apart looking for it. I finally got smart and just used my work phone to call my personal phone. Luckily, I knew I had actually turned on the ringer last night, so I should hear it ring this morning. Yes, I hear the tinny ring that is my phone! Unfortunately, it sounds like it’s coming from somewhere on my bed, which is a huge king sized bed with a luxurious thick duvet cover now all rumpled on the top of it. Yep, somewhere in all that white fabric is my phone.

I really tore the bed apart trying to find it and yes, it was in the duvet cover somewhere. So, that made for a little bit of a slow start to my day. Put me a little behind, as the dufuses were down in the lobby waiting on me.

Let’s brush ourselves off and move on. I get into the job site, sit down, boot up and start to work. It’s maybe 15 minutes later or so and I get a warning pop up on my screen that I am almost out of battery power and I had either better plug in or save all of my work because my laptop will shut down. Duh! I started to check my cable connections and sure enough, all were plugged in. The light on my monitor that lights up when it’s plugged in was lit, as was the external wireless card I have plugged in to the side of my laptop. If these items are receiving electricity, why isn’t the rest of the laptop? Hey, this is the extent of my laptop knowledge. While I was checking that all of the cables were plugged into the proper places, my screen goes to black. Crap. I again verified that everything is plugged in as it should be and hit the ON/OFF button. The first screen to appear when I boot up is the logo screen. It says “IBM ThinkPad” and in the bottom left corner it will say press F1 to boot up one way or F12 to boot up another. Yeah, right, like I have ever in my life ever contemplated doing something stupid like that! I waited and I waited. Usually that screen disappears after a few seconds and the Windows logo comes on. No windows, it’s just stuck on ThinkPad. I’m scared; really scared. I’ve been through getting a new laptop before and I DON’T want to do it again! (Ok, we never get “new” laptops, we just get ones that other auditors have turned in for whatever reason and IT has had a chance to hopefully fix them.)

I sat there looking at my screen praying for it to change. You know, you should really be careful what you wish for! It changed to a screen that I have NEVER seen before. It told me that there was no date or time programmed. The screen I was taken to had spaces for me to type in the date and time. Cripes, what more can they ask of me?? This is way beyond my expertise! But I sucked it up, and filled in all the little squares and hit enter. Then it was back to the ThinkPad screen.

Then I did one of the things that I do best. I called for help, first from my boss sitting right behind me and then a call to my corporate IT department guru. The guru wasn’t at work yet, as I was causing all of this trouble at the unholy hour of 7:30 am. My boss gave me a few suggestions, such as “try to reboot”. Ok, I might have come up with THAT one on my own! But, I held the button until the ThinkPad screen went away and it returned to black. I waited a few minutes and even rebooted the damn power strip! Then I pushed the almighty ON/OFF button again. It was slow coming around, and it stayed on the ThinkPad screen for a long time, but it did boot up.

I was afraid to touch anything for awhile! But, I got brave and started reopening all of my programs and working away. All seemed well after that slow start.

My guru called me back right after 8:00 and I gave him the lowdown. His response was “hmm, that’s unusual”. You have to know this guy. You could stick a firecracker up his nose and explode it and that would probably be as excited as he ever got. He’s not a Ben Stein type of flat, but more like that painter on PBS with the afro that used to paint happy little trees here and there! That’s our guru! Always calm, always cool and my panicking in no way makes him nervous! He’s awesome to talk through when bad things are happening to my laptop. Somehow, he always talks me through it and never loses his patience with me.

His answer unfortunately was to be prudent and send me a replacement laptop. NO! I don’t want to go through that mess again, as I’m the one that has to transfer everything then! I have put some of my templates, and letters and faxes and spreadsheets on a flash drive, but all of my Approach files are too big to put even ONE of them on my flash drive and I have at least 30 of them on here. Grrrr

So, I had a little talk with my laptop today. It was allowed one bad day. Now I promise to dust in between its keys and clean the screen more often if he’ll agree not to break down on me. We’ll see how this agreement works tomorrow morning. If all is well, I’m telling the guru I don’t wanna be prudent. Let’s throw caution to the wind and let me keep this laptop. This dang machine hadn’t better make me regret this decision.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Made Me Go "Hmm"

I had a few days off last week. Some people call it a vacation, but it was more than that. It was a mental health break. I didn't get much accomplished during my mental health break, but I did do one thing that has been on my list of things to do for about the last six months.

Friday I headed to Best Cuts for a quickie hair cut. I've been growing my hair, so it's not like I needed a "do", I just needed about 2-1/2 to 3 inches whacked off the ends to get rid of those darn dry and dead ends. Easy, right? Should have been a five minute job.

I jumped up into Mario's* chair and told him what I wanted. As he was running the comb through my hair, he immediately said "wow, you could sure use some color". Hey, gray IS a color! His tip was getting smaller and smaller by the minute.

He kept reinforcing in me that they were having a sale. Seven foils for $25.

Um, what is a foil and how do I know if seven of them are too much or not enough? Or, so I need to order three sets for 21? That sounds like a lucky number.

Ok, I was NOT going to admit that I didn't have a clue what the hell he was talking about. Yeah, I stuck with my story: gray IS a color. I'm keeping it.

*Mario's name has been changed because he's an idiot and didn't deserve the publicity of having his name out there to all of my three readers!