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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

It's Christmas!

the stockings
downstairs tree
Beloved Rudolf
upstairs tree



















I am so thankful that my one true love (whatshisface) is as much in love with Christmas as I am.  He even indulges me a second tree in the loft.  Sunday, we decorated our primary tree, put up our stockings and had a little misty moment when we hung the stocking for Lucy.  (Yes, she hasn't been born yet, but that doesn't mean she isn't getting presents.)

I moved our housekeeper appointment from the day after Thanksgiving to Monday so there was lots of incentive to get all the x-mas boxes put away.  I know, it's silly to clean the house before the housekeeper comes but I've said it before I want her to clean the floors and bathrooms and not pick up our junk.

There was one very sad casualty, during the decking of our halls.  The fun (and not at all cheap) ornament that my MIL (mother-in-law) purchased for us during the summer to commemorate our dinner at Teatro Zinzanni didn't even make it out of the packaging before it hit the floor and died a sad death.  Poor thing died before it got to live on the tree for a single year.  I felt really bad and made Jason tell his mom.  I couldn't do it - the shame was too much.

The Lucy Ornament
After a quick ornament funeral complete with vacuum cleaner salute, we finished up.  We make a good team, I hang ornaments until I think the tree can hold no more and then Jason swoops into action and adds the other 900 ornaments.  He makes some adjustments such as moving the most beloved ornaments to prime real estate.  He apologizes with every adjustment, but I think it's related to some childhood trauma for him.  I am thrilled he is so involved and know that when Lucy wants to help that he'll have the patience to let her decorate part of the tree.   Will I be able to let her touch my "perfect" tree upstairs? The one that is exclusively red, silver and white?  We'll see.   

Monday, November 22, 2010

Damned KING5 news. Alyssa Hahn is "reporting live" in Issaquah. She makes a big point about the lack of traffic on Gilman (a major road) but as the camera pans back we can see she's standing at the 100 yard stretch that goes to nowhere. (2 businesses but no residences or services.). It's like she's standing on the freeway NEAR the airport and reporting no planes are taking off from her location.

We didn't need that light pole anyway.

So, I'm settling into my work this morning and heard a significant crunch outside.  I run to the window in our bedroom and see something that looks fishy, then I hop into the bathtub in our master bath and yank the shade to see that a gold pickup has crashed through the neighbors yard taking out the light pole, their happy little tree and has come to rest about 3 feet from our fence.

The kid (probably 16) is ok, walking around his car, and trying to get his mom on the phone.   I do my duty and call the Renton PD (who I'm pleased to say were on the scene in less than 10 minutes even though I said the kid didn't seem hurt.)

The neighbor in the yellow house that you can see in the first picture came storming across the street to yell at the kid for doing 60 on the street.  I didn't see it, so I can't comment other than those damn kids from the high school do tend to drive fast.


I was able to snag a few photos that I thought might be fun, especially considering how LITTLE snow there is, and that the kid is fine.  His airbag deployed, and while his truck is munched, he'll suffer little physical damage other than maybe a smack on the head from his mom.   The Renton Light people were on the scene in less than 15 minutes and are already working out a new light.

This is the kids mom, who arrived in about 22 minutes comforting him with the mom hug.  I didn't realize that I captured this picture, but it is rather sweet. Go MOMS!!!!
I got to meet some of the neighbors and exchanged some phone numbers.  It seems smart.  Thankfully the power pole was there to stop his forward slide or we would be posting (much later) pictures of his truck in our yard.  We've talked about a rock retaining wall and if there's ever another incident we'll certainly move in that direction. 

Oh - I got distracted and took a picture of our house and my flowers in the snow.  How pretty.

Friday, November 19, 2010

hey could you...

This has been my week (month) for having to reschedule appointments to accommodate others.    One work meeting has been rescheduled no less than 6 times to adjust to the schedule of the "key" participant.  Doing the meeting without him was pointless (it FINALLY happened this morning) and since he's in the UK the time difference leaves us with a one hour overlap or a 6am meeting for the West Coast US staff. 

I've also had my latest hair appointment moved because Amy, my wonder stylist doesn't work Fridays anymore.  Her lame excuse is that she had a baby and will only be working part time.  WHATEVER. Lazy Lady.

My last two OB appointments have been moved because Dr. Kristen feels that it's like oh so important to be able to schedule and conduct Cesarean Section procedures on OTHER pregnant ladies according to their medical needs.  WHATEVER Only I count!

The darned baby classes (that I scheduled work and personal events around) was moved because there were only two or three of us to sign up and it wasn't cost effective for the hospital to conduct.  SHEESH - keeping expenses down at a hospital - WHATEVER.

I had to move my date to see Harry Potter because they released the movie on the same weekend that I already had plans to be out of town.  What the heck is up with that???

So, I'm super flexible and the entire world seems hell bent on taking advantage of it.  What's next - the baby will come on her own damn time and not on a day that works for me????  Not gonna happen  (riiiiiight, you keep thinking like that.)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Scan This!

I'm all for safer travel, I buckle up, I remove liquids from my carry on luggage and never ever joke about bombs while even thinking about the airport.  However, I'm not very thrilled about the new body scanning that TSA is doing now.  I don't quite believe the reports that the radiation that you are exposed to during the scan is less than what you experience for 2 minutes on the airplane.  It smells like false reassurance to me.

I am also not really feeling comfortable with the new "enhanced" pat downs where the super professionally trained TSA dude or dudette gets to rub his or her hands over your private parts. Trust me, if I'm going to hide an explosive on my person and kill myself anyway, I might as well use the Get Smart version of the tampon bomb.  They aren't going to detect that on me with a touchy feelly grab between my legs.  Maybe the next rule will be that menstruating women won't be allowed to fly oh, and we'll let those people sporting the sassy Depends Diapers skip the trip to the kids house too. 

What really irks me is the idea that these "tools" can't be used in conjunction with what seemed to be acceptable security practices, not 30 days ago (or in the case of the SeaTac airport today at Gate C.) Why not pass EVERYONE through the regular scanner and if you set it off, then you get the option of the invasive pat down or the "look at how tiny his penis is" body scan?  (Seriously, if I do have a penis it is tiny.)

I know that eventually, I'll be forced to make a choice between the scan and the mini-date with an ugly TSA lady but for now, I'm thankful that at SeaTac I can jump to a different line and avoid the scan.  Whilst I continue to be pregnant you won't catch me in the scanner booths.  I really only have one more trip on the books before I won't be allowed to fly anyway, but the whole idea of the pat down stresses me out.  The previous pat downs made me uncomfortable and they were localized to my torso, arms and pretty high up the leg.  The boob and crotch grab feel like a personal violation. 

Will TSA be grabbing my kid's crotch if I refuse to let them scan her little baby body when we go to Denver to visit Grandma & Grandpa?  I'm pretty sure she'll be in a diaper and thus what kind of assurance will TSA get that I haven't stashed something nefarious in that little absorbent pad?  Maybe they'll want the kids to go through naked or have mommies and daddies remove the diapers for the TSA agents.  I tell you if we're asked it might be a challenge for me not to save the poopiest diaper for that experience.  "Here, let me store this poop side down on your table while you inspect my 3 month old daughter."   I'm guessing that Jason will help me fly right and not get arrested for stinking up the security line with Lucy's poop, but in my head it feels like a nice 60's era type of revolt against "the man".

Too True









This may seem like a silly cartoon, but the idea that departments all over a company stop thinking about the bottom line and rapidly spend their allotted budget at the end of the year is not untrue.  I've seen it at multiple companies and wonder if there isn't a better way.  Instead of letting the finance people hold a department "flat" meaning, what you spend this year you get next year and no more, why not budget for what they need and if they manage to save $$, then reward them for their efforts. 

 I know, me and my silly ideas.

PS - I'm in trouble with whatshisface over having watched my movie girlfriend's Glee performance.  Oops.  Sorry honey.  I still want to watch the show - it won't kill my enjoyment.  HONEST. 

Glee

I must confess that my movie star girl crush did a bang up job on Glee.   Here she is with Mr. Shue knocking it out of the park with a mashup of Singing in the Rain and Umbrella.  (love it)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Brain Damage

This post should probably land in the baby blog, but since it is mostly non-baby, and this poor site is clearly neglected I shall leave it here.

There are multiple symptoms (side effects) of being pregnant.  I've been lucky in that my list of unpleasant pregnancy issues have been few and far between.  I have an aversion to some smells and am now getting heartburn at night time.  I am also being plagued with itchy skin (which I assumed would be localized to my belly, but NO SUCH LUCK) and then there's the brain damage.

Yesterday I was in San Jose, packed and ready to come home.  I took my carry on bag and my nifty little backpack with my laptop to the airport.  I checked in and then rolled up to the security gate.

I was proud of myself for noticing that the screening line nearest the id checkpoint was backing up, but that four other stations were open, so I walked the 15 extra feet to avoid standing in line. 

Once through the scanner, I loaded my laptop back into the backpack, put my shoes and sweater back on and then met my fellow Seattle travelers for a diet coke (they had beer and wine) at the "San Jose Wine Bar".  (did you catch what happened there?)

About 30 minutes later I heard my name over the airport PA system asking me to come back to security for a 'left behind item'.  Strange - what on earth could that be.  I checked, I had my laptop and my id, so I was truly confused.  Upon re-entering the security bay it dawned on me that I didn't have my suitcase. 

To make matters worse, the bag itself didn't have my name on it.  The poor TSA guy had to go through the bag and all the pockets in search of anything identifiable. Thankfully, I didn't toss my boarding pass from my Seattle to San Jose flight from Monday and they were able to work with Alaska Airlines to figure out that I was checked in for the 3:45 flight. 

I am horrified that while my bag was 90% packed neatly there was a pair of very obviously used underwear stuck right on top of the handy clothing folder thing that I use to keep everything in check.  Oops.

I chalk this bag oversight to a newly addled brain.  Keeping track of everything and keeping the baby alive is clearly too much for me.  I guess it's a good thing that the use of alcohol is frowned upon during this "special" time. 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Help

I'm trapped in a hot, airless and windowless hotel conference room. This is day two, and while the content of the meetings have been interesting and applicable to my worklife I'm ready to be free.

It has been nice to meet all the people on the team where I work. When you only deal with folks over email or the phone the human aspect can get lost. This is especially true if your person has different goals than you do.

One of my "growth areas" in my professional life is to not assume that anyone who pisses me off is a total douche. I need to accept and move on.

There were people at MegaBank that I would go out of my way to not deal with. I don't want there to be a group of people here that fall into that category. Admittedly, the only thing all these "irritating" people have in common is me. But, there's no way that I could possibly be the issue. I mean, I'm so perfect and easy to get along with. <<birds chirping>>

Speaking of MegaBank. They sent out some information to (former) shareholders regarding the bankruptcy. I'm not an attorney but it seems like the notice is 10 pages that simply say. "yer stoopid if you think/hope that you'll ever see any money.". Mostly these notices serve as a big knife to reopen the financial wound and then liberally pour salt onto it.

On one level I appreciate that there are people suing for "what is right" and yet it all seems so futile that i feel like I did in high school the boy I liked started dating someone he liked. No amount of complaining would change the hard cold facts. (She was am evil shrew who "stole my man". Er, that he was honest with me and kindly told me he valued my friendship, but didn't have romantic feelings for me. (oh the angst of high school...)

see, the lack of fresh air has totally derailed me from the point of my post. You're use to that though.

The good news is that I get to come home tomorrow. Yeah.


Terri

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Post Election Blues

When the issues that I think are important fail at the ballot box I have to wonder why am I so out of touch? 

I'm ok with the failure of the income tax initiative and the second booze initiative (had there been only one, to allow private retailers to sell booze too it might have passed, but by confusing the issues - they were doomed to failure) but the repeal of the candy/water tax makes no sense to me.  Are we unwilling to fund our services?  Do the people who vote not see a correlation between our tax revenue and public services?   Our state will end up having to make dramatic cuts in expenditures, which on the outside seems like a FABULOUS idea.  Government shouldn't be bloated and a cash cow for some.  However, since 70% of the state budget is "protected' the 30% that is discretionary is going to take a whopper of a hit.  It's going to be ugly for "optional" services.

Reading the 10% budget cut proposals that have been submitted to the Office of Financial Management for the 2011-2013 (http://www.ofm.wa.gov/reductions/2011-13/#affected) is daunting.  Some smaller groups, like the commission of elected officials that 10% represents training and printing budget.  Other areas, like the Department of Social and Health Services the 10% represents the elimination of 49 positions and the closure of a ward at Western State Hospital.   This could have a much larger impact on our community.  The Eastern Washington Historical Society claims that this cut would kill their program entirely (a cumulative effect of previous years cuts and loss of community support.)  It's a bummer that we'd lose a museum, but if executed well the artifacts and information wouldn't be lost to our community.

One thing is clear when reviewing these initial proposals (that were submitted in the August, September and October time frame) is that the primary way to cut is to eliminate staff.  Efficiency and waste are not quick budget wins.  Jason keeps saying an entire tax overhaul is needed in our state, but that also means a holistic look at services that we pay for should have to be fully evaluated.  I don't see how it would be possible.  

I heard last night on the news before sulking off to bed was a commentator talking about Dino Rossi.  He basically said that it's clear that Dino could run for King of Eastern Washington and rule for years and years, but the voters in the more populated counties won't let it happen.  I think that is true, but similar to how votes are split in other areas of our nation, folks in the more densely populated areas tend to trend towards Democrats.  Maybe we need some sort of exchange program so we can see and understand the needs and concerns of our fellow citizens in other areas.  Can we meet the needs of populated and rural areas at the same time?

Last night I read something that made me really angry. Some fella who had just won a seat in the US Congress, where the majority shifted from Democrat to Republican vowed to block all Obama's legislative attempts.  REALLY!?  Rather than vote on each item on its own merit and for the value and benefit it may bring to your country the plan is to stonewall and do nothing.   It's that kind of "all X are bad" mentality that makes me hate our political system.  (That us and them crap isn't localized to Republicans - Democrats do it too.)   Maybe it's time to abolish the parties altogether and let our leaders lead based on their smarts.  I guess, that's a silly idea. 

I need an adult beverage... but whine is all I get to indulge in these days.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

One other thing about Daly's

Some of my handiwork from the 90's is still lingering around the stores in the form of brochures and how to guides.  I don't think my intention was for them to still be in use years and years (over 10) since I left, but it's nice to know I have a legacy.

That legacy might really only be that when I ordered the faux finishing books that I ordered so many that when I die in 50 years that there may be enough of the HOW TO FAUX booklets still around to make a paper mache' coffin for me.  

I showed the one book to Jason and he wasn't very impressed.  At the time, my mom was excited...of course she was thrilled I had a job and wasn't moving home.

Whatever...

Blah to beautiful in 2 days

Wow, what a busy weekend.  After all the success and ease of painting the babies room I got a yearning to paint the guest bathroom. 

Saturday morning, we made a quick trip to the Daly's store in Bellevue.  I haven't been in that location yet and I thought it was really nice.  The old downtown location was nice, but this location has that "wow" factor.  Plus it is co-located near all sorts of home improvement retailers like Seattle Lighting.   There was a 3 day blinds store, but I still feel a sense of superiority about their store.  Not that I was ever a customer, but I don't get that quality feeling when I see their store.

Anywho, we knew we were after a happy and not green yellow and found one that we liked with relative ease.  The helpful paint dude mixed up our gallon and quart of  NOVO (no voc)  in short order.  There is a benefit to shopping early in the morning and on a October Saturday as opposed to doing your painting project in June with all the other home owners in the entire county.

We had a yummy breakfast at the IHOP near Crossroads.  I was surprised to see that the bacon at that IHOP was far superior to the bacon at the Issaquah IHOP.  I had given up ordering bacon at IHOP and since pancakes and I aren't really compatible IHOP is a treat for Jason and "just" eggs for me. 

Arriving home we started the prep work in our bathroom.  I will confess that I knew that painting the bathroom would be a lot more work than the babies room even though it is much smaller.  Our guest bath is divided into two rooms which means twice as much cutting in  because it essentially has three doors - front and back of one and the back of the other.  Getting around the toilet, shower and mirror is the primary hassle.  Jason and I make a good team and I do the taping and cutting in and he removes all doors, hardware and rolls out the walls. 

Yellow is a lovely color but it doesn't cover like a peppy green will, so the Jason's dream of a one coat application died pretty quickly.  This is another fact I strategically kept hidden from my helper.  See, I AM manipulative and evil. 

There's nothing like getting on the floor between the wall and the toilet to find the areas where the original painters were sloppy.  Thankfully, I'm not so pregnant that getting on the floor wasn't too uncomfortable.  We painted, and painted, cleaned up, had lunch and then painted again.  Sunday we popped back into the bathroom and were pleased to see that once dry the areas that required more attention were few and far between.  They were of course, hard to reach.  The corner above the toilet that can only be reached by standing on the toilet was one that took some effort. 

I circled the area one time with the ceiling paint and removed all the unfortunate glops on the ceiling (mostly were from the original painters and a few yellow glops from my fella who doesn't like detail work.)  Then, in a fit of maniacal perfectionism I pulled out the mill work paint and made the rounds by repainting all the areas where the millwork met the walls.  This made a HUGE difference in making our paint job look put together and finished. 

Then, because I already had that paint out I circled the house and cleaned up nicks and scratches on doors and trim work all over the house.  At one point, Jason found me on the stairs trimming repainting the banister.  I felt like the maintenance crew at a historic home turned museum where they paint the mill work every season to keep it fresh.  I might paint the banister every time I touch that can of paint. 

By Sunday night we had put everything back together, except the switch plates which we gave another day before reinstalling.   I must say it looks very sunny and happy in there now.  My desire to paint more rooms has been sufficiently squashed for a while. 

This project along with the painting that was done by our builder as part of our 1 year warranty work has left me with a desire for a put together house.  Of course, once the house is fully put back together (thank you Doug for helping move the furniture and replacing the heavy mirror) it will be time to drag out all the Christmas stuff.  That's ok, I'm looking forward to it.

Halloween at our house was kind of fun.  We put scary music on the outside speaker and spooked the kids.  We were out of candy by 8:30 and had to hide upstairs.  Next year we'll have to get more than one pack of Costco candy bars.  We're the kind of family that gives out full sized candy, but are rather parental about each kid only taking one.  I scolded one kid who was carrying a baseball bat and was happy to find that our pumpkin wasn't smashed on Monday morning.

I will post pictures of the bathroom later (stanley steemer is here cleaning our stairs and thus I'm trapped downstairs away from my own computer.)