Thursday, June 29, 2006

house shopping!

Well, today was a long day. Looked at the inside of about 10-12 houses, I think. I have them all separate in my head. I had ranked the houses based on description and on exterior appearance. Oddly enough, the first ranked house was still the first ranked house at the end of the day. The only concern that the realtor brought up was that this property might be slow to move should I decide to re-sell it. The last time he sold a house in this neighborhood, the prices were higher than they are now. With that said, this could be a market correction. Furthermore, my mom pointed out that even if I sell the house for exactly what I paid for it, however many years down the road, I will have lived there for free in the meantime. That is still a whole lot better than paying rent for the equivalent amount of time. And I still get the fun of messing around in the yard and the learning experience of being a home owner. If nothing else, I can find out if I even LIKE owning a house. Personally, I think I'll like it, based on how excited I am about the idea. Well, that is once I get beyond the sheer terror of buying PROPERTY.

House buying score so far:
Mary 0, Panic attacks 3

So tomorrow I'll go back through the three houses I like the most. Frankly, I think I have already made my mind up. The only close decision was between what I have come to call the "cheap" house and the "expensive" house. "Cheap" has a larger lot and more space, but needs carpet cleaned and kitchen floor fixed/replaced. The LR is being painted a color I don't particularly like, but that's fixable. The "expensive" house has a ceramic tile kitchen floor, good thick carpet throughout, but the yard is untidy. It's actually the messiest house in the neighborhood. The "expensive" house is about 10K more than the "cheap" one. But I think the yard in the "cheap" one would be more fun.

I drove through the neighborhoods of each place. In neither location could I walk to some place where I could do anything. No walking to the library or the store, for example. I have lots of country roads for walking, running or biking. Better view (to me) at the "cheap" place. The "expensive" place has a view of a fenced back yard and the back of other houses. At the "cheap" place, the lot butts up against a farm, complete with shed which contains at least a few tractor/implements and some round bales of hay. IT's an actual, honest to goodness farm (corn, horses, cows). The only thing I can really walk to from the "cheap" place is Mitchell's Store, which advertises soda and ammunition (the conservation police officer was hanging out there this morning) and the county fire station (which is unstaffed until there is a call). There really isn't anything to walk to from the "expensive" place other than a different, older subdivision.

Either location puts me about 15 minutes from work and about 10 minutes from the grocery store, drug store, etc. That's about the sort of time I spend getting to work in C-U.

As far as the finances go, I can afford either house. The trick is that I'd be more comfortable with the cheaper house. I wouldn't have to be quite so strict with the budget. It would be nice to be able to relax a bit about my finances. I would be able to spend money on things like a retirement fund, new work clothes, whatever the house might need (like a different color of paint in the living room) or a vacation. Afterall, just because I have a loan approved for more than the "cheap" house is worth doesn't mean I have to use all of it.

Speaking of financing, I opened a local credit union account today. The teller girl had to look up my credit score and she characterized it as being a "do anything you want" score. Guess that is a good thing. (And here I was worried about what my score might be. Silly me.)

Off to try and sleep now..... more tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Back in the South again...

My latest adventure has centered around finding a house to buy. Today we made a list of houses and checked out the neighborhoods of more than a dozen. We have narrowed down the list to half a dozen houses. Tomorrow we'll go see the insides of the houses and then I need to pick one of them so I can make an offer. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I pick a good one. I think my realtor will offer some good advice. He's been quite helpful so far, showing me the various neighborhoods and telling me about their characteristics. He just doesn't know that I need to make an offer SOON so that I can close by early August. By the end of the weekend, I'll be on my way to buying my very first house!

My Penultimate Adventure:
On the trip down, I took a bit of a detour. I didn't do it intentionally, but it turned out quite well. I had a bit of a scenic trip through part of the Shawnee National Forest and ended up in Metropolis. Yes that's right, the home of Superman!

My Latest Adventure:
Also involved getting lost. I attempted to find Humboldt, TN. By driving out Old Humboldt Road. Which probably would have worked, if Old Humboldt Road actually went to Humboldt. I would have known this if I'd had a map at the time.... I did eventually find my way back, albeit by using some roads which go in loops. I knew which general direction in which to go. The problem was that not all the roads I chose went the direction I needed them to go. I did, however, drive past several very nice farms. Found a couple of roads that might work nicely for bicycle rides. And found a couple of really nice estate-type houses. Eventually I will own a large house on 5-10 acres. I really will. That would give me room for a pony, just like Hyacinth's sister. :o)

I had another smoked turkey panini at Jason's Deli again. And once again, the staff were unfailingly polite. I really like that place. I am starting to think that exceptional politeness is required of the staff there, except that the woman who was the cashier at Books A Million was every bit as polite. Maybe I just caught everybody having an exceptionally good, polite day. Or maybe it's just a sign that the people in Illinois are just all crabby and rude and a lot less polite.

Now it's time to go veg for a while and then to bed. Right now I'm watching The Breakfast Club. Tomorrow I'll go open a bank account at the credit union. Woo woo! This whole job and move thing is becoming more and more real as the days go by.... :o)

Monday, June 26, 2006


It's a Birthday Party!! Apparently the statue at the library is celebrating its first birthday.

Here's the latest news:
My new job is now officially mine. I have an official start date of August 16th. I'd have picked the 14th, but the 16th is actually the start of the pay period.

So now all I need to do is find a house, buy a house and move. How hard can that be?

From the past weekend:
There was a SAA fly-in at Frasca Field. Mr.
Frasca had all of his "toys" out and so did his friends. I didn't see the Zero, but the P-40 was there in all her glory.
And the Corsair and the Spitfire.

Plus a plane whose tail had been signed by Paul Tibbets, the captain of the Enola Gay.

There were fly-bys at a couple hundred feet too which was a lot of fun to watch and hear. I didn't get to see any of the WWII birds fly, but it was really cool to just see them up close.
At work:
This past weekend, I worked with Tom and with Doug. Tom and I had a patient who probably had another stroke. Doug and I had a patient who OD'd on heroin and benzodiazepines. It wasn't clear at the end of the day if the patient had fried his brain, so was unable to respond after getting two doses of Narcan or if the extra benzos were keeping him down after the heroin was neutralized. I'd bet on the former.

Remind me to tell you about how it's a good thing to be a hedgehog. :o)

Getting ready for the moving:
I'm exhausted. I finished the mortgage pre-approval stuff. Haven't yet called the realtor Christie recommended. I desperately need to make a list of things to do to finish up here and then to get started in Jackson.

I think I'll drive down to Jackson tomorrow and check out the neighborhoods for a day or two. Maybe I'll get myself another sandwich at Jason's Deli. I still remember how delicious that was. I also need to track down the locations of the following: the Farmer's Market, the library and Pringles Park (Home of the West Tennessee Diamond Jaxx).

Friday, June 23, 2006



Look what I "found" in my backyard today. And I have the scratches on my arms as a "souvenier" for when the berries are devoured. I picked about 2 cups of black raspberries this evening. I tried to be good, but still ate almost half of them. There should be another 1 to 1 1/2 cups ready tomorrow. Perhaps I'll make some raspberry pancakes for dinner... In any event, I'll have some berries on my Cheerios in the morning. YUM! YUM! YUM!

In other news:
Not much else to report, I'm afraid. Work was rather uneventful. The Hispasian and I tried valiantly to find a garage sale to go to, but were unsuccessful. We did go to the Dollar Store and discovered the entire building had no air conditioning. It was beastly hot inside. I bought some Cracker Jacks.

You know it's a good day when....
You get not one, not two, but THREE prizes in your Cracker Jacks. I initially only found two prizes, so I gave one to The Hispasian. He got a pencil topper with a scary space alien on it. I got some sort of monster mouth that opens when you pinch the paper just right. I was, I'll admit, mostly unable to get it to work right. It did, however, come with a couple of really bad jokes printed on it, which I'll share with you shortly. The third prize is a picture of Benjamin Franklin with some info on the back about what he accomplished. Pretty cool, huh? :o)

The Jokes:

What sort of thing do planets like to read?
Comet books.

What did the aliens say to the plant?
Take me to your weeder.

Ok, so they're not stunningly brilliant jokes, but I bet they made you smile. :o)

Elsewhere today:
The weather today was much cooler. I haven't even turned on my A/C today. Woot! It's quite cool out this evening and is supposed to get down into the lower 60s. I can't wait to sleep with the window open and the fan blowing on me.

Knitting this week:
I made about one more inch of progress in my alpaca scarf. A few weeks ago I tore out several inches due to a dropped stitch and other mistakes. I made a boo-boo about two rows ago. I left it all sitting on the couch.

While at Mom's house last weekend, I worked on my red lace socks. I tore it back from halfway down the foot to the beginning of the gusset. I had managed to miss a line of the lace right at the ankle joint. Right where I'd notice it every time I looked at my foot. And where it would show above a pair of clogs or Birkies. So I ripped out several inches of rather fiddly (to me) lace. And started it again. So far, so good and no errors. I think I've ripped out that section three times now. I haven't looked at them since.

On the schedule for next week:
I have the week off. I should go house shopping. I have not yet managed to apply for loan pre-approval. I also have not contacted a real estate agent. This is largely because I'm afraid of starting the process before I get an officially approved job offer. Perhaps I'll take a second week off in July. I suppose I could go down there next week just to play tourist and look around a bit.... I dunno. I could also just pack some more stuff.

Mitch update:
He's back from his Spy School Meeting. Where he saw lots of people with lovely automatic weapons and had to get special clearance to go climbing around the catwalks of the convention center. Of course, that was mostly because there was a Special Ops conference going on and had *nothing* whatsoever to do with his meetings for SC06. But it sure sounds cool, doesn't it? It's not every day that you crawl around the catwalks of a convention center and find a well-dressed, clean-cut man with a briefcase that contains an MP-5. On the other hand, any purse snatchers are likely to be shot. :o)

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Packing it in...

Probably better described as packing it up. I started creating my own cardboard cubist sculpture in my living room today. The good news is that it looks a bit neater to have the four sheep's fleeces in boxes rather than sitting in bags in front of the television. The bad news is that I'm afraid it will soon start to look messier than ever once the boxes begin to take over. I'm starting with boxing up the stuff I'm not likely to use and which won't really be in the way if I do box it up. I also cleaned out my desk a bit more and have a stack of stuff for the GoodWill drop box. I really need to clean out my coat closet. It's mostly full of craft stuff, power tools and miscellaneous bags (tote bags, luggage, etc).

Quote for the day:
Dont think of it as menopause, think of it as your inner child playing with matches.
Not that I'm there yet, but it's a nice thought, don't you think?

I very nearly abandoned my newly purchased gallon of milk at Wal-Mart today. The clerk followed me out to my car to give it to me. A few months ago I tried the same trick with my orange juice.

Yesterday, while calling Mitch for no particular reason, a car pulled out in front of me to turn, then proceeded to turn at 3 mph. Of course, I began to swear at the car and discussed the (male) driver's inability to operate a motor vehicle in a rational and competent manner. Approximately two minutes into my grumbling I realize that I'm still talking to Mitch's voice mail. Oopsie. The message ended rather sheepishly when I realized I was still talking tot he voicemail. He found it highly amusing. Well, at least I remembered what I was supposed to do when it beeped. Some days it takes me a minute or so to figure out it's time to talk, which, of course means I've now forgotten whatever it was I was going to say. :o)

Off to the Picture Show:
Headed out in a little while for a bit of food and a movie. Deb and I are going to see The Lake House. It should be fun. It's been a while since we went to a chick flick. I feel kinda bad not getting more packing done tonight, but I did make a good start on it today, I think. I can certainly keep going after work this weekend. I think it will get easier as time goes by. I'm really not looking forward to boxing up the books. Ugh.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


The beginning of summer was today as is the beginning of shorter days. The weather turned out to be particularly hot and humid.

Various work things:
Still no word about the "new" job. This is making it rather hard to make plans for finding a house and for securing a loan. I am planning to go house shopping next week. I am really nervous about this. I have no clue what I'm doing. I don't know that I should even go do that since the job isn't officially mine yet. I don't want to waste the time and money if there's no point. I just don't know whether or not there is a point.

At the current job, the not-so-favorite person doesn't say much to me or even seem to notice I exist. Rather a distinct change from a year ago, isn't it. I can just imagine the lovely things he says about me when I'm not around. I keep reminding myself that T rather spontaneously said he was going to hell for how he treats people, so it's not just me that's noticed the change in behavior/personality. Then again, perhaps this is what he's really like and what I saw before was just an act.... Hmmm.....That's food for thought...

Packing and moving:
I have some things packed. Like half of my filing cabinet. I've decided to go buy some more boxes tomorrow and get my fleeces boxed up and out of the living room. I have book boxes here to pack things with. I just don't want to have to live in an apt stacked high with boxes for the next two months. I think that will drive me nuts, but I don't know that I have any choice. I really don't know where to start with the packing. Everywhere I look is stuff that will have to be packed up. Logic indicates that I start with stuff I'm not likely to use in the next two months and that's pretty much everything. I don't need much to live off of. Guess I should go to the U-Haul store and buy a big stack of boxes tomorrow and get cracking.

Tired, stressed and overwhelmed feeling mostly. Ugh.

My "Projects":
I have decided on what my personal projects will be. The first is to finish the knitting projects I've started in the past several years. By the end of the summer I *will* finish sewing up the cotton polo top I knit ten years ago but never got around to sewing up. All that remains is the assembly of the silly thing. I've got two sweaters of my own design in progress (the Blueberries pullover and the blue multi pullover). Plus an orange tank top (started >5 years ago), a gray funnel neck (also started >5 years ago), a green ski sweater, Jo's black/white sweater (started 10 years ago), navy Steam scarf, the purple vest, the recycle silk purse, the cottage tea cozy from Knitter's Stash, red lace socks, gray ribbed socks, "fruity" lacy socks, baby Norgi and three baby sweaters needing buttons or seaming or both. And then there's the couple of pairs of handknit socks that need toes lengthened or darned. That should keep me busy for a while. My "reward" will be to start the Peacock Shawl or one of the other sweater kits I have stashed away for me. But first, I want to finish at least 75% of the UFOs I have already.

Second project: writing up a book proposal. I've already started this one. It's easy enough to outline the format at work. The actual research will take some time. I figure I can get several chapters written, then get a proposal put together and start sending it out. I'll keep you all posted on how things go.

Well, time to find some more tylenol. I've had a headache most of the day that won't quit. Maybe it's the weather.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

And the winner is....

Apparently me. :o) As you recall, I was named the Volunteer of the Year at the PD. The awards banquet was last night. I wasn't able to attend due to being at work. But several co-workers asked me if I was the person mentioned on the news when they announced the officer, employee and volunteer of the year. Today at the PD when I went in to work, I found out that *both* local TV stations were at the banquet and at least one of them wanted to interview me. So, today they gave me the plaque and one of the floral centerpieces. Right now it's sitting on my coffee table. Very nice. The chief also stopped by to say congrats and thank you.

The Omen
Went to see The Omen today with Tom the Hispasian. It wasn't too bad. In fact, it was a whole lot better than I expected. It got a bit long and dragged a bit in the middle, but overall it was pretty good. I knew what the overall plot was for the film, but the actual execution kept me guessing in places, which was fun. I was really thinking they'd succeed in offing the evil child, but alas.... On the other hand, the movie did indicate that evil will arise from the political world. Then again, it did not rule out the finding of evil in any other profession, so I suppose you can't exactly rule out everything else as being/having evil.

On the road toward employment...
Finally got my transcript faxed off. It only took 35 minutes for the silly thing to give me back a confirmation notice. But the Kinko's guys were fun, so that was ok. And at least the silly thing is there. So now all that remains is the official approval from the central office.

Talked to the mortgage person at the local credit union today. I got an estimate of how much house I can afford. She also gave me some general first-time buyer info and answered my questions on how to avoid getting scammed in the financing process. To top it all off, she offered to serve as a second opinion if something seems goofy with the mortgage/buying process. And my sister sent me her mortgage guy info. He can originate home loans in other states, so that's a financing option. I may try for a credit union that's in the new city first.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

R&R weekend

Mostly. I actually need to clean up my apartment a bit. And finish up some laundry. And wash dishes. And sort through some stuff that's been piling up at home.

Slept late today. I had the lights turned out by 10, I think. Woke up about 7am. Got up, cleaned up the kitchen a bit. Decided against going to the farmer's market (can't think of anything I wanted or needed to buy there). Took a shower and read for a while. Now I'm watching Bruce Almighty and planning how to clean up/de-clutter my apartment.

Discovered my rhubarb pie has started to go moldy. Icky. Of course, I didn't exactly need to eat an entire pie all by myself.

Future plans:
I've been reading a book entitled Unforgettable Journeys to Take Before You Die. It describes a number of trips that look very interesting. Like making a tour out of places in Antonio Gaudi's life in Spain. A number of buildings he designed are in Barcelona. Sagrada Familia is probably the one people have seen the most pictures of, but it's not my favorite. Personally, I like Casa Batllo and La Pedrera.

Or follow the Silk Road through China to Samarkand (that's in Uzbekistan, in case you were wondering). That journey involves passing through the Taklimakan (the Place of No Return), in the Xinjiang Province. Looks like a heck of a gorgeous drive. Taking the Trans-Mongolian Railway. Visiting Myanmar. The Swedagon Pagoda is pretty impressive looking in photos. There is a cruise on the boat "Road to Mandalay" that takes 7 days round trip. Follow the pilgrimage roads to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. I studied that building in a couple of architectural history courses. It's one of my favotie bits of gothic architecture. The most popular pilgrimage route is known as the Camino Frances. It starts at Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port in France (800 km away). They estimate the walk takes about 5 weeks, but anybody walking over 100km gets a certificate of completing a pilgrimage. A tall-ship voyage would be fun too, perhaps in the Mediterranean.

At any rate, the book got me thinking about what I want to do with myself once I get a "real" job and might have some spending money. I've decided I'd like to go visit the places I've always wanted to see. Like Italy and China. Go snowboarding again. Now if only the job part would cooperate....

I'm going through the miscellaneous piles of crap and tossing out all sorts of stuff. I have a tendency to hold on to scraps of paper with notes written all over them. I'm filling up recycling bins with extraneous bits of things. I'm throwing stuff in the garbage too. Too many little things piling upon on me. I'm being overwhelmed by stuff. Things I've been meaning to read, to get back to, to work on, etc. Stuff that I've never managed to get to. Things that just pile up and nothing ever happens, but it all has a hold on me. It all hangs over my head. So now it's all going away. I'm tired. I've lost my patience. If I haven't used it or thought about it in the last year, then it's gone.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Just shoot me....

Well, maybe it isn't *quite* that bad.... Afterall, I am presently sitting in a lovely air-conditioned room, blogging from the comfort of my couch and watching Tomb Raider on TV. (You gotta like a girl who doesn't compromise her principles and will kill you if you get in the way. Who wants to wait for the men of the world to take care of everything for you?) If I decide I can't stand the commercial interruptions, I have X2 on DVD and several other video/DVD selections from the library to keep the boredom at bay

It's been a rather "challenging" week, to say the least here's the saga:

The New Job
I got e-mail from the HR person telling me they need a copy of my transcript now, or they will be unable to submit the paperwork to get my appointment approved. So there's another delay. I had gotten what was supposed to be the complete packet of papers back to them by the beginning of the week. Now they won't have all the paperwork until Monday. Then it will be submitted to the central office for approval, which, I have been informed, may take up to a month. Grrrrr. I had intended to start the new job by July 1. That would mean having two week's notice in to my present job by, well, today. I had intended that on or around June 15 would be my last day. Not likely to work that way now as I am most definitely not giving final notice to my current job until the new job is absolutely positively approved and mine and all the paperwork is signed, etc. So now the start date is getting closer to August 1.

I don't know if that's good or bad. It may give me enough time to get a house purchased before I get moved in. Or at least to find a decent house to rent. I was giving serious consideration to just renting a house, since I may well not stay at this job longer than 3 years to gain experience. I dunno.

Wishing that things would just hurry up and come together....

Fire College
I'm only teaching one course this year--EMS Leadership and Management. Half the guest speakers cancelled late in the game. As of noon today, we didn't know if the med evac chopper was going to be able to make it or if the University would let it land near our teaching site. Fortunately it all worked out. The students said they all learned stuff. Everybody thought the chopper was great. It did make a lovely impression swooping in to land and taking off. Kudos to Lt. Dave Nelson for making all the arrangements. Technically, the spot they used is a LZ for when the Stadium is being used as a Surge Facility (in the event of a major disaster).

Now the class is over. I'm exhausted. I stressed about having enough material for the course. I made up almost 20 slides last night. The course evals said that the class was useful, which I'm happy about. They also said I was most excellent. :o) I'm glad I didn't disappoint anybody.

Working this weekend:
I have the opportunity to work a stand-by at FSI tomorrow. It would be 8 hours of hanging out in the ambulance, probably watching DVDs or reading or working on the mapbooks or the Firehouse guide. I could use the money. I could also use a day to sleep until I wake up, spend the morning in my PJs and just wander around my apartment getting things back in order. A mental health day. I'm leaning heavily toward taking the mental health day and giving up the money. I am completely brain dead right now. I could quite easily start drooling on myself.

As evidence of how braindead I am, I am giving up a free dinner at the Institute tonight and am going to forego the Open House festivities. No LP burn for me tonight. Or any other sort of fun. No hanging out and having fun with my FD colleagues. Oh well....

There's something to be said for vegging on the couch... I can be sociable later.

What to do this weekend:
I'm thinking pretty much absolutely nothing. I was thinking about going to the farmer's market in the morning, but that will entirely depend upon whether or not I feel like getting out of bed in the morning. Right now the answer is no. I have plenty of produce right now anyway. I even have strawberries again. Of course, the dessert of choice at the moment is rhubarb pie, but I have strawberries for my morning Cheerios, which is delightful, since the bananas at the grocery store were lime green in color and unacceptable to purchase.

Other things to do: read more. clean things, like the bathroom and the kitchen and the pile of crap on my dining table. Ride my motorcycle if it's not raining. Maybe go see a movie. Catch up on reading and knitting and maybe find a job, just in case the new job thing doesn't pan out, which I'm starting to seriously wonder about....

In other news:
Mitch is shooting fiber in Reno. Shooting as in testing it, rather than firing on poor defenseless spools of fiber-optic cable. They are inventorying the stockpile of fiber for SC06, testing it and figuring out what they'll need to get the job done in November.

Told my dad that I'm moving. Of course, now that may change, if they don't get their crap together. Gained 4 pounds in the past 10 days by eating out at lunch and not making the world's best choices when eating out. I also spent way too much money on lunch for the happiness of my budget.

Saw Over the Hedge last week. It was hilarious. Now Mitch and I are sending quotes from the movie to each other via text message. "You're the devil." "I'm not allowed to have caffeine." "Play?" "Have you graduated from Verminator Tech? I didn't think so." and so on.... Hammy reminds me of me on too much caffeine.

Well, time to finish drooling on the couch.... I suspect I'll be in bed by 9pm tonight.