(20:04)
mieke: Argh! I heard a bird. *INSIDE*. Right next to me. Loudly. And Weasley is sitting here, quietly.
mieke: Where's the bird?!? I can't find it...
john: Uh oh.

(20:11)
mieke: SHIT
mieke: It's a squirrel. Flattened itself behind the cabinet.

(20:25)
mieke: Doesn't want to go. And I have nothing that'll fit all the way behind the cabinet. Sigh.
mieke: Ideas?
john: The polehook.
mieke: Dust cleaning sprayer?
mieke: Polehook is too big to fit behind.

(20:26)
mieke: Am using handle of fuzzy duster-on-a-stick.
mieke: Cabinet is too heavy to be moved.

(20:29)
john: (Sigh) I'm going to check on patient... Just a minute.

(20:39)
mieke: OK. One TV antenna died in action, and 1 caught (and released) squirrel.

(20:43)
john : Good!!
mieke: Weasley caught. Was running after squirrel, outside.


tally - Weasley +1 squirrel, alive.

(welcome to our world...)
I overslept, so we had to runrunrun this morning to barely get in on time. Karin had a rough time letting go at daycare this morning - it's so hard to walk away when she's crying at the door, wanting to come with me. Palmtop broke; physical case break, so will have to send it in for repairs. The spare one we keep around for situations like this is not set up yet, and has been sitting on the mail table since _it_ came back from getting fixed. My mac at work seems to have its networking misplaced. It's down to the checking of physical wire connections at this point. All the work I did Friday to get something fixed was for nought, since it had gotten re-assigned to someone else, without anyone letting me know. We just had a fire-alarm with those wonderful, head-splitting, screeching, warning-hoots.
Happy Monday.

KAWA

Aug. 2nd, 2006 01:09 pm
A bat. A bat! How in the world did our cats catch a fullgrown, seemingly undamaged (no visible puncture wounds, no blood, no missing limbs) bat???!!! At first we thought it was dead, seeing as it was lying on the ground, not moving, and the cats weren't playing with it. When we tried to clean it up* it twitched. So, we picked it up gently, and released it in a tree limb behind a fence where the cats can't get to. Sigh. Maybe it's time to make notches in their cat-tree.
Tijgetje - Hamsters: 1 alive**
Tijgetje - TwistTies: umpteen
Weasley - Mice : 30+ alive, 10+ dead
Weasley - Birds: 3 dead
Weasley - Bats : 1 alive

What's next? I'm almost afraid to ask....

* Yes, with a barrier between it and us, for protection. We never touch dead critters with bare skin.
** Yes, a hamster :)

Tax Day

Apr. 19th, 2006 04:21 pm
Yet another year, yet another tax day*. This year, we ended up doing our taxes ourselves, for the first time since we were married. Before then, I'd always done them myself, because they were pretty straightforward. After that, between buying a house, refinancing a few times, having a family addition, and switching jobs (in name only, but still two W-2s etc) I was glad to have a tax accountant to deal with that stuff. Although, last year the IRS did slap us with an extra payment on our 2003 taxes, for an oversight the accountant really should have caught. Grmbl.
In any case, we acquired TurboTax Premier this time (supposedly better at deductions and such than the Basic or DeLuxe one). And, like usual, we got yanked away to many of our lives' emergencies. To the point that we only got to look at taxes some time last week. Things looked up, actually, when it seemed like we had almost finished entering everything. Saved, saved a copy (you never know) and decided to finish Monday or Tuesday, after we were back from NJ (visiting in-laws over easter). Of course, when J tried to open up our last saved version, it was missing a large chunk of the changes we had made. So much so that we basically had to re-enter most.

In the end (after many hours of calculations and fixing errors and basically removing all but the bare minumum of deductions and trying to find appropriate categories and forms. Oh, and then of course printing problems and frantic searching for large envelopes) it was all printed, signed, attached, taped shut, and ready to go. To the one and only 24-hr post office in Boston. So, time for yet another RedBull, since I was craving sleep (John too, but remember: only 1 person at a time may drink these nasty things!).
Off I went, on the scooter of course, since there is virtually no parking there, especially on Tax Day. Why do I know, you ask? Because this is not the first time we're doing this!!

Once I was there, life didn't seem all that horrendous anymore. We weren't the only ones. On the corner of Summer and Dorchester, outside of the post office, there was a mailman. Standing there, bag over shoulder, IRS envelope in hand, waving at passing cars. Or rather, crowding cars. He was taking envelopes right out of car windows, where (no doubt desperate) people were handing them to him. Then a little further, the police and postal workers directing traffic and people in the correct directions. And a post-woman standing on the sidewalk between the street and a mailbox, doing something similar to the first mailman: taking envelopes out of car windows, only to put them straight into the mailbox. Almost surreal. And then inside.... oy. Tons of people in various states of dishevelment. Waiting in line, writing on envelopes, tax forms; getting stamps from the stamp-machines, looking for help. It was amazingly efficient though. Someone (postal lady) came up to me when I was just looking around, trying to figure out what to do (in my mind, a little voice was going "Run! Run like hell!"). She suggested the stamp-machines, get a booklet of $0.39 stamps, and put on as many as the scale (right next to it. Someone actually thought this through!) said it needed. Or round up to the nearest multiple of $0.39. Wow. Blindingly simple. Considering that I was braindead by now, this was a great suggestion. She even helped me do math, since at this point in time I had no clue how many times 39 would fit into 87. I slapped 3 stamps on both tax envelopes, watched them actually manually put their official-looking round red stamp on them, and heaved a sigh.

* Yes, on the 18th. Since the 15th was a Saturday, it got bumped to Monday. Due to the Patriots Day holiday, residents of Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont and the District of Columbia had until Tuesday, April 18. Not because it was a holiday in those states, but because for those states the place to send it to is in Massachusetts**. And therefore closed.
** Well, most of those states. Apparently some people in NY send to elsewhere (I forget where), but to make yet another exception for those would be too confusing. Don't you love rules and regulations?

Crippled

Feb. 15th, 2006 06:49 pm
Damn. Double damn.
On the way home today I managed to injure my ankle. Somehow, between getting out of the bus and onto the train, when I stepped off the curb I stumbled and heard a crack.
Almost fell over, and immediately felt nauseated.
Quickly, instructed K to get back onto the sidewalk as fast as she could. Then, after putting my 300kg* knapsack next to her, hauled me, myself and I (and my knapsack and Karin) to the bench at the bus stop. Relief. And pain. Ow.
After a few minutes the nausea and the pain subsided some, and I managed to hop, stumble and walk to the train and home. With a bouncy, energetic preschooler. Thank $DEITY that she's been doing better every week about behavior in and around traffic.
Made it home just as J and A were pulling up into the driveway.
Am now sitting on the couch.
With a bag of frozen peas and a pillow under my foot.
Occasionally cursing under my breath.
Triple damn.

*Rough approximation. Objects in the rear-view knapsack may appear heavier than they are.

KAWA

Jan. 11th, 2006 12:07 pm
KAWA stands for "Kill All With Axe". It's an acronym that we've used for a long time now, and has been adopted by others as well. I have no clue where it comes from originally (nor does a quick google search reveal it). It's quantifyable, of course:
KAWBA -- Big
KAWFHA -- F***ing Huge
KAWFHDSA -- F***ing Huge, Double Sided. You know, for those really bad days.

Somehow, there are many, many days that require the use of it. Things done wrong. Idiots that just don't get it. Designs with major flaws-- that nobody caught. PEBCAKs. Lying vendors and drug reps. Un-usable tools. Scheduling F-ups.

Today is definitely one of those days. A plain KAWA one, but still.
[..] GOP leaders urge a probe into a possible leak of classified information about secret U.S. prisons for suspected terrorists overseas. [...]
(original article)

How about a probe into the prisons themselves?
I almost want to stop reading the news. It makes me want to emigrate to another planet.

(*)
[...] The IRS has warned a prominent liberal church that it could lose its tax-exempt status because of an anti-war sermon a guest preacher gave on the eve of the 2004 presidential election.
The Rev. George F. Regas did not urge parishioners at All Saints Episcopal Church to support either President Bush or John Kerry, but he was critical of the Iraq war and Bush's tax cuts. [...]

(full article from which I quoted is here)

It just blows my mind. As my office-mate said (after I started sputtering when reading the article), if the sermon had been pro-war, there would not have been any problem.
There's nothing that says "ya shoulda stayed in bed...." like opening the bikeshed and discovering a flat tire, after you've just fed the (now caged) mouse that the cats dragged in the nigth before.

Want to pull the blankets over my head and go "lalalalalalalalalalalalalalala...."
Sigh. J's parents got flooded out - the lake nearby (Deal Lake) overflowed. The suspicion is that someone didn't open floodgates to let water out to the ocean after hurricane Wilma passed, and her accompanying heavy rains. Their whole basement is destroyed - computer, piles of old pictures, books (including some old, signed, first prints), washer, dryer, furnace, hot water heater, dad's filing cabinets full of papers (the water had knocked them over), and lots more. Oh yeah, and both their cars.

They found out when dad woke up and wanted to check email. The DSL connection had disappeared, because by then the computer in the basement had already shorted out. Technology doesn't do too well when standing in a puddle. The sump pump managed to almost keep up for a while, but there really was no chance. The power company turned off the electricity when too many things started to short out. So the sump pump stopped working. Not that the water could really go anywhere - the sewer was overflowing too, and the streets were rivers. The water in the basement reached higher than the washer. The garage in the back with loads and loads of furniture they were still sorting through was flooded as well. They got rescued by boats. After the water receded, they ended up basically shoveling out their basement. Literally. Nothing was salvageable.
At least the (full) bathroom in the garage was still fully functional. That hot water heater had survived being flooded.

Note that the flood happened on October 14th. And they didn't tell us. We only just found out because they sent halloween cards to A and K, each with a printout of a picture in there. One of Dad being rescued. And one was a view from the boat looking down the street to the lake (street all under water, of course). That, of course, prompted John to call them.
They hadn't called us!!! Well, you know, they were busy, and they knew we were busy and J was too stressed and if they called he would come down, and they didn't want to take our time, and, and.....
By now, they have a new car, new furnace, and new hot water heater. The basement will still need to be all bleached clean.
Even deeper Sigh.

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