Thursday, September 29

To them, it is that easy

So, Bank of America has decided to start charging 5 dollars per month for using a debit card as a debit card. What the hell, Bank of America? We figure that, since we've got two debit cards, the bank will, of course, charge us twice for them. That's nifty. Ten dollars a month to make purchases and spend our own money. This, in addition to the other fees we're paying. Brian asked me if I wanted to change banks, and I considered it.
Ridiculous reasons why I wouldn't change banks over this:
1. Really, it's only 10 dollars a month. Not a big deal. But what pisses me off is that, if there's but 500,000 people in Phoenix that will pay that, Bank of America's sudden influx of cash is $5 million. And that 500,000 is way less people than they have in the area, which could triple and quadruple that money. And they complain about not making any money? Fucking parasites.
2. I've always been a customer of Bank of America, and I resist change.
3. I don't like Wells Fargo, though I have no reason not to. Is it the horses? The crazy, cowboy voice from the commercials? Or is it the orange. I don't know. I'm just not a fan.
4. We owe money to Bank of America. I have the chilling feeling that if we take our checking and savings away, they'll get bitchy and increase our interest rate to 45 percent or something.
5. But, we're moving to Texas, and in Texas, I suppose you go with the bank that has the horses, so, once we get there, a change actually may be in order. And then, I'll write a letter.

Wednesday, September 28

You know, a Wednesday

You know what I think might happen? I think I might go to bed on the early side of 10 p.m. I've got nothing I need to watch on television tonight, and I'm about done with my computer activities already, too.
Stuff from today:
I don't want to wear flip flops anymore. I wore tennies to the railroad park with Sydney this afternoon, and it felt good to not have the flipping flopping. Yes, they were warmer, but it's all good. I think I'll dig out my Toms, as well.
I was a persistent wife, and made Brian make phone calls and send texts in preparation for our life in Houston. I may have news for you all tomorrow.
We watched 127 Hours. I knew I wouldn't be able to watch, open-eyed, the arm-cutting-off part, but I did my best to see most of it. From between my fingers. As my hands were covering my face.
I'm finally finished with the house's loads of laundry. Boring. Also, I watered my plants.
CAR NEWS: I did call the body shop today. The quarter panel is off and the new one's ready. The adjuster came by to take pictures of, and approve the work on, the passenger doors. So my good friend, Garth, tells me that I may have my Jetta late next week. Unfortunately (or not), I got a call from Enterprise today wondering about the awesome, dancing-hamster, Kia Soul. It seems as though they sold the car in their re-sale program, and need it back by Friday. As I won't have my Jetta back until probably next Friday, I agreed to bring in the Soul tomorrow morning and get a different car. I'm so excited to see what they'll have for me!! (THAT was sarcasm. I really miss my car, and I want it back, like, yesterday. This is beginning to piss me off big time.)

Tuesday, September 27

Ciao ... to the dance floor

And the Italian model/actress goes home. I am perfectly okay with this. I gotta tell you, I think that the judges were all over the place last night, and there was no rhyme or reason to any of their scores or critiques. Which is really saying something. I mean, when the Dancing with the Stars scoring is more out of control than normal, there's something weird in the judges' water. So, on to next week.
CAR NEWS: I didn't call the body shop today. I'm going to tomorrow morning. Tomorrow afternoon will be a full week that the car has been there. I'll be looking forward to seeing how much "progress" they've done over that time. Also, I called the Explorer's insurance this morning, only to be told that she sent the letter on the same day as the accident, and has since spoken with State Farm, so she didn't need any information from me. One less thing to worry about!

Monday, September 26

Tea? Still a good thing!

I read something yesterday that stuck around in my head. Some person on Twitter said, "I stopped drinking my calories..." as a way that they lost weight. I liked that a lot, and got motivated to change up my daily drinking habits. But, here's what's interesting. My first reaction was to point a finger at my morning Starbucks green iced tea. I prefer it unsweetened, and in a venti cup. So, I checked the handy, dandy Starbucks web site. My unsweetened iced green tea, to my delight, has no calories at all. In fact, the nutritional information is littered with zeros and "0%." This makes me incredibly happy. I had a thought, earlier, that I may have to live my life without my morning tea. These nutrition facts make me a happy camper.
CAR NEWS: I did a lot of chatting with insurance people today. Not that there are any problems. On the contrary, I am having an incredibly good experience with State Farm in regards to this. They're on top of everything. I got a letter from the other driver's insurance company (the Explorer I was pushed into) asking me to call them to fill in some more information for them. I was a bit concerned about talking to them, specifically because I didn't want the possibility of them pinning any of the damage on me. But State Farm gave me the police report number, and told me that Louann has already gone on record as being responsible for all damages to all the cars. Tomorrow, I'm going to call the body shop and find out what progress they've made on my car. I suspect that that conversation will annoy me.

My Dancing with the Stars voting (11 votes allowed):
Hope Solo ~ 2 votes.
Carson Kressley ~ 2 votes.
Ricki Lake ~ 2 votes.
J.R. Martinez ~ 2 votes.
David Arquette ~ 1 vote.
Chynna Phillips ~ 1 vote.
Rob Kardashian ~ 1 vote.
Chaz Bono, Nancy Grace, Kristin Cavallari, Elisabetta Canalis ~ 0 votes.

Sunday, September 25

Lots of points, less money for food

We used our ASU-points discount at Dilly's today. Forty-three points in last night's game equals a 43 percent discount! I had the Beauty and the Beef sandwich, which is, of course, roast beef, portobello mushrooms and provolone cheese on sourdough. Dipped in some au jus, and the sandwich is kicking. Brian had the Hawaiian 5-O, which had pineapple, jalapenos and some cheese, as well as a meat that I can't remember.
Also, Brian made the best fried chicken for dinner tonight!! I'm so glad I married a man who can cook so much better than I! And, he even cleaned up his oily, spattered mess in the kitchen!!

Friday, September 23

Hot coffee on a HOT day

Today is the first day of fall. To celebrate, I ordered a hot coffee drink at Starbucks this morning. It was surprisingly good on such a warm morning, so I am pleased with my decision. I'll admit to being happy for hot drink weather, but also will bemoan -- LOUDLY -- the fact that my hot drinks are twice as expensive as my cold drink. Damn. Still, it'll be warm for a while, meaning that the cold drinks still will be the choice for my morning stops at Starbucks.
Also, the high temperature tied a record for today in history: 108 degrees. This makes it decidedly less autumnal.
CAR NEWS: The insurance adjuster visited my car yesterday and wrote up most of the estimate. Yes, just most of it. You see, while Louann's description of the incident covered the damage to the rear of my car, her report didn't specify the damage to the passenger side of the car. So, he was going to call Louann again, and get her to specify the reason for the damage on the passenger doors. (This is an issue in my head, but my insurance agent tells me not to worry, and that their claim information covers the doors, and to not assume a problem before there is a problem.) So, the damage to the rear is an estimated $7,148. The doors, of course, will add to that. Also, the repair should only take two weeks to two-and-a-half weeks to complete. More importantly, they can begin the repairs to the rear of the car now, and just add the doors when they are added to the insurance estimate.

Thursday, September 22

I wait ... with bated breath

There's a special kind of torture involved in getting a new book you really want to read, and knowing that you can't start digging into it for a couple days. My new Frankenstein book arrived at Barnes & Noble yesterday, and Mom and I stopped at the store this morning to pick it up. It's the third in the series, and I already have the fourth and fifth. So, really, it's only because of how happy I am for Mom's visit that I'm not locking myself in a dark, little corner of my house to read until they're all done. But still, the book. It sits on top of my To-Be-Read Pile, silently calling to me. Alas, it will have to wait until Saturday night. Or maybe I'll prolong the suspense by finishing the other book (Brad Meltzer's The Inner Circle) that I started when I finished the second Frankenstein book and had no third Frankenstein book to move on to. SO. MANY. BOOKS.

CAR NEWS: I haven't heard anything in regards to the car's condition, or about any visit from the insurance guy to the car. So, my first order of business tomorrow is to call my new friend, Garth, at the body shop. Depending on the information gathered from that phone call, I'll call Tony, the insurance agent of the lovely woman (Louann) who SMASHED into me, to get him to move this along. If they think that they'll be able to drag this for months and months, they've got another thing coming.

Wednesday, September 21

So, this happened.

My car got all crunched up this morning as I was driving home after dropping Sydney off at school. The lady who hit me, Louann, wasn't paying attention, and smashed into my back corner, having barely had the time to touch her brakes. We figure she was going about 40 mph when she smacked into me. With the force of her hitting me, I moved into the right lane, bumping up against an Explorer. The driver of the Explorer saw the whole thing happen, and unfortunately, wasn't able to stop or maneuver out of the way. So, I got smashed, called 911, calmed down my mom (with whom I was on the phone when the accident happened), called Brian, freaked out quietly, and then, just hung out.
~ So, the car is now at the body shop. I should hear tomorrow whether it's totaled or fixable, and then how long until I get it back (or get a check).
~ I'm driving a Kia Soul, the car with the dancing hamsters in the commercial.
~ I have a bit of a sore neck, which I know will be worse tomorrow, but I don't think I was actually injured.
~ I am so glad, and have thought about it so much today, that Sydney wasn't in the car with me. The back window shattered, and the step stool was thrown from its place on the floor to being wedged between her seat and the seat in front of her.
~ All my "car stuff" is shoved into the trunk of Brian's car, and I need to sort through it to pull out all the necessaries for the Soul.
~ And I'm tired. I didn't think my day would be as troubling for me as it has been. And I'm looking forward to my mommy getting here tomorrow morning.

Tuesday, September 20

Laker, be gone

I'm beyond frustrated, and I have only Facebook to blame. I hate it when they change the format, in general, but these changes are ridiculous. Top stories chosen by some computer and not me? That ticker? AWFUL!!
I so hope they make it go away. I got so frustrated tonight, that I physically waved my arms and hands at the screen to block my eyes from the page so I couldn't see it anymore before it changed back to the Yahoo! page.

Also, tonight, we said goodbye to Ron Artest/Metta World Peace from the ballroom on Dancing with the Stars. He seemed to be gracious. Again, I watch the results show on a fast-forward clip, so I see most all of the segments in a blur. And in a super quick way, Artest/Peace was asked to leave and not come back.

Monday, September 19

And with that, TV is back

And tonight begins the hard-core return of television. I mean, The Vampire Diaries and The Secret Circle last week were just one night. This week begins tonight, and rolls through Friday. I won't get into the specifics of what I'm watching, because I'm not sure I'll be watching them next week or the week after. Monday night is easy though: Dancing with the Stars, Castle and Hawaii Five-0. I've got Two and a Half Men on the DVR downstairs so I can watch that tomorrow (I'm giving Ashton Kutcher the eyeballs I never gave Charlie Sheen. I'm being spiteful).

My Dancing with the Stars voting (12 votes allowed):
Hope Solo ~ 2 votes. Once again, I am cheering for the fantastic Maks, though I certainly found that Solo was fun, too. Maybe Maks will win when he's got the athlete. We'll see!
Carson Kressley ~ 2 votes. I am in love with Kressley and his partner, Anna. He is, at this moment, my favorite contestant.
David Arquette ~ I'm surprised how much I liked Arquette in this. He was personable, gallant and funny. I'm impressed.
Ricki Lake ~ 2 votes. I never watched Ricki Lake's talk show, but I do love her so much from Hairspray. She's awesome, and I love that she was so excited to have Derek as her partner. I think she's gonna be fantastic this season.
Rob Kardashian ~ 1 vote. I'm surprised I like him as much as I do. I'm not a fan of his sisters popping off and acting like they're all that during the show, though, and I hope someone tells them to keep their mouths shut.
Chynna Phillips ~ 1 vote. She's still awesome, though the name dropping of the Baldwin was pretty cheesy.
Chaz Bono ~ 1 vote. I didn't think he was much of a dancer, and may not be one for the next couple weeks, but if voting for him upsets all those close-minded people who are freaking out about his inclusion in the show, I'm voting for him to keep him around.
Ron Artest ~ 1 vote. I don't know why. Because he's doing it for his daughter, who asked him to compete.
Nancy Grace, Kristin Cavallari, J.R. Marinez, Elisabetta Canalis ~ 0 votes. Not that I have anything against them, I'm just giving them no vote love.

The Emmys!!

Okay, my Emmys thoughts in bullet points. I promise nothing deep and engaging, or even rational! But that's how you know it was a fun night, right?
* Who did Charlie Sheen, or someone else dependent on him, pay to get him on stage last night? That he was there was a shameless ploy for water-cooler talk, instead of paying tribute to television. It was painful to see him up there, being all contrite when he really wasn't, all for the hope that someone in the audience might give him a job.
* Jane Lynch was awesome! Though I enjoyed last year's opening monologue and musical number with * Jimmy Fallon much more, this was a good one. I think they dropped a ball not having any of the Glee kids in it though.
* Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel were freakin' funny! I loved the tussle!! Fantastic!! 
* I enjoyed the Entourage boys standing up on the stage together, too. Also, I like that Boardwalk Empire didn't win anything. That show, to me, looks like it was put on the network for no reason other than to win Emmys, and I like that it isn't. 
* Modern Family, right? That's such a good show, and the accolades are totally earned! I'm intrigued that they swept the awards, and that's great for this year, but I hope they give the other shows a chance next year!!
* The genre montages, I thought, were done quite well. But the singers, while very good, were a bit overkill during the memorial reel.
* All the actresses up for Best Actress in a Comedy Series getting up on stage was inspired! So great!! And that Melissa McCarthy won (more, I believe, for her Bridesmaids performance than for Mike and Molly) made it all better!
* Also, I guess I should have watched Friday Night Lights. The show, I have heard, is so good, and so well acted, that it's really a shame that I have no idea what everyone is so excited about.

Sunday, September 18

Tired from doing nothing

I don't like it when Sunday night rolls around and I feel like I haven't done anything but sit on the sofa all day. Especially when I haven't done anything but sit on the sofa all day. Between football games and the Emmys, it was a day for television, not for activity.
Thankfully, my little miss is able to entertain herself quite well. However, this means there's quite a bit of cleaning up of toys. No biggie. My anal-retentive tendencies make it fun for me to separate, tally and section the dinosaurs, Little People, puzzle pieces and coloring implements.
I don't have any comments on the Emmys right now, and may or may not blog about it tomorrow. I'm tired, and my after-awards shows blogs are always so long and involved. Definitely maybe tomorrow.
But, here we are at the beginning of another week. Awesome things for this week: Sydney's school pictures being taken, The Lion King in 3D, hopefully getting Syd into a different swim class, more new television, and bestly, a Mommy visit.

Saturday, September 17

Tomorrow, I go out for coffee

I locked myself in the bathroom this afternoon so I could sit on the floor and read my book in peace and quiet. Daisy tried to push the door open. Oliver stood at the door and whined at me. Sydney tried to open it, but the lock held. Brian's text asked, "You okay in there? It's quiet, hon." My reply, "I'm reading." It's such a bother when you can't even sit in a chair in your own living room and read a book without someone crawling on you, laying across your book, or whining at you to get them a treat. What's weird, and a complete portrait of my life, is that all three of those things were done by all three of my kids. It got so frustrating that I literally stood up, climbed my stairs, and locked myself in the bathroom. No one would leave me alone, and I did the only thing I was capable of doing without screaming. Next time, I'll bring a cushion in with me so my butt can be more comfortable as I lean against the cabinet.

Friday, September 16

I didn't flip out ... at all

Two things happened today that, typically, would have sent me into a bit of a tizzy.
1. I spilled about two inches of fresh, iced green tea in my lap, in the car, in the drive-thru at Starbucks this morning. The transfer of the drink in my reusable cup went perfectly well. In fact, I even got the top mostly screwed on. And there in is the problem. Mostly screwed on means that it's not all the way screwed on. I went to set the cup in my cup holder, holding it by the top itself, and it slipped off. The cup bounced, and the tea and a whole bunch of ice went up and down, in, and then out of the cup and all over my lap and the seat and the parking break handle. It was cold.
But, I held myself together, didn't cuss at all, and pulled over into the Taco Bell parking lot. I got out, dropped as much ice as I could get onto the ground, fished a towel out of the trunk, and dried myself off. And still, no cussing. Not even a bad or angry thought. I got a giggle out of it, and called both Brian and Mom to tell them about my wet pants.
2. Sydney found a not-at-all-for-kids movie on Netflix tonight, and watched about 10 minutes of it before she brought the iPad to me because the activity was concerning her. By way of explanation: Sydney knows how to spell "dinosaur" and does searches on Netflix for dinosaur movies and television shows all the time. Mostly, she finds cartoons, but every once in a while, she'll find a documentary or science special, and watch those.
Tonight's search yielded the far more disturbing, "A Nymphoid Barbarian in Dinosaur Hell." The scene she brought me was of three cavemen knocking down, and holding down, a "nymphoid barbarian." During this struggle, Sydney brought the iPad to me, so she didn't see the end of the scene, even though it didn't get much heavier than the fight, but one of the men was on top of her. I stopped the movie. We had a conversation about how she can only watch dinosaur cartoons. That didn't go so well, since she's convinced that every dinosaur movie and television show is automatically okay for her to watch. Still, I didn't freak out, even with Brian's assertion that our daughter had been watching porn.
I dealt with both of these incidents without any raised voice, and with no undue mental somersaults. I feel like I was incredibly even-keeled today. Not bad for a Friday.

Wednesday, September 14

Mushrooms and mustard

I have developed a taste for mushrooms and mustard.
I'd run with the alliterative there as a fun little turn of phrase, but really, these two things are food items that I've not liked since childhood. At 38, I'm enjoying them, and it's kinda freaking me out.
MUSTARD: I never liked it as a condiment, as a smell, or as a taste at all. I always scraped any of the mustard off my hamburgers, refused it on my hot dogs, and denied it on all sandwiches. Then, one day several years ago, I discovered that a little bit of mustard tastes okay on a bologna sandwich. I have experimented, and find that mustard also tastes good on any number of other sandwiches. That led to a taste of mustard on my hamburgers a year or so ago. And a couple months ago, I ate my first bratwurst properly, with mustard. Tonight, Brian barbecued some bratwursts for dinner, and I ate it, properly, in a hoagie bun and with mustard. It's weird that I'm feeling the desire to try mustard on a regular hot dog. My whole world is tilting.
MUSHROOMS: This one is completely and totally Brian's fault. He likes mushrooms, and he also likes making me taste things that he orders at restaurants. So, it all began with the stuffed mushrooms at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse. They're really good. Those were, for the longest time, the only mushrooms I would eat. Then, he grilled some portobello mushrooms and soaked them in olive oil. Yummy. Then, a couple months ago, we ordered the stuffed mushrooms at Oregano's. They were stuffed with sausage and red sauce, and topped with cheese. They need more cheese, but aside from that, they're super yummy. And not long ago, we ordered some sauteed mushrooms -- straight-up sauteed mushrooms -- and I ate a whole bunch of them. And I tried one of Brian's sandwiches at Dilly's, and it had mushrooms in it. The mushroom, I have decided, is no longer my enemy. I'm enjoying them. My world is whirly.
Tomorrow, I think I'll eat some mushrooms with mustard atop them.
Ummm.... maybe not. That just made my insides quiver a little, in a not-good way. But the point is this: I'm eating some things that I haven't liked before now.

Tuesday, September 13

Lanterns are pretty

I got nothing. I don't know why I'm writing right now. I'm filling up empty space with nothing at all interesting. I've stared at this blank space for a while. Still, nothing. It took me forever to come up with a non-status on Facebook.
I search for inspiration. I'm looking for my muse.
And, I'm denied. I'm missing my muse.
Actually, I think my muse is sleeping.
Laying on the bed, next to Daisy.

Monday, September 12

Can I go reddish-blonde?

I feel like I've been getting headaches lately because my hair has gotten too long. You know how I get headaches when my bangs are too long and hanging too heavy on my eyebrows, but this is a different kind of headache. It's like there's a weight hanging from the back of my head, and instead of the pounding of a "bangs headache" at the front of my head, it's a dull ache from the back of my head. Now, to be called a "heavy hair headache."
The solution? I think it may be to just chop all the hair off. Also, a new color. The problem here is, of course, that no one but Malia gets to chop and color my hair. Malia is in California. I am not. So, to wait for my next trip to Cali means waiting until late October or even early November. Mom says I should just roll with a ponytail until then, but I may have a really hard time waiting that long. You all know me well enough to consider a six- to eight-week wait not a really plausible option. I am not a patient person, especially when I've got a whim on my crazy train.
Hmmm.... But I also remember that I want to grow out the hair, and that every time I think it's time to chop it, I should just color it instead. I can always re-color a lot faster than I can grow out the six or eight inches I'd cut off on my whim. I think coloring is the way to go.
Goodness. Indecisive much?

Sunday, September 11

So much stuff

I was struck this morning by how much stuff has happened in the last 10 years. I could try to be cute about it here, using cheesy punctuation, section headers and fancy alliteration or innuendo.
I could be serious about it, but that would make me cry in both happiness and sorrow.
I could try to negate the incredibly bad things that happened with the amazingly good things (SYDNEY!!) that happened. But that seems like an emotional cheat.
As it is, a decade sounds like a long time, but when looking back on one, it goes by in a blink.

Saturday, September 10

Pick a Dilly's sandwich

Dilly's Deli has officially become our day-after-an-ASU-game lunch spot. I'll tell you why, but only Facebook fans of the local sandwich shop chain know about it. For every point that ASU scores in their football games this season, Dilly's gives that percentage off your meal the next day.
Last week, ASU scored 68 points. The following day, lunch was 68 percent off, after saying "Fork 'em," to the cashier. Last night, ASU scored 37 points. Today, we got 37 percent off our lunch for saying "ASU blackout."
Last week, I had my usual, a BLT on wheat with no cheese. This week, I tried something different, the Blazing Buffalo, which is seasoned chicken breast, pepper jack cheese, tomato and lettuce, with ranch and wing sauce. I passed on the cheese and the wing sauce, and the sandwich was close to perfect. (I don't know what would have made it better, but still, it wasn't perfect. That's okay!! It was really good!!)
I'm pretty excited for what is in store for the next few weeks. I vow to try a different sandwich each week. That is so against my "modus operandi," which is exactly why I'm doing it. I have no idea why I pick some of the things I do to switch up to make my life more interesting, but going rogue in the sandwich shop is among my more brilliant ideas.

Friday, September 9

It's still just so ... sad

I'm sucked into my second show about the attacks on September 11. I'm watching 9/11: The Days After on The History Channel. It's a good one because it's using raw footage from amateur photographers, as well as no narration beyond what the photographers and the subjects are saying to the camera, in the background, or to others near them.
As Sunday marks the 10th anniversary of the attacks, the weekend will be filled with remembrances, specials and documentaries. It'll be an interesting couple days to be hanging out in front of the television. My heart still jumps when I see those towers fall, and my stomach lurches when I see the second plane fly into the tower. The entire thing is incredibly painful, and even though it'll break my heart every time I see it, I won't be able to not watch it.

Thursday, September 8

Once again, a daily Daily Show

So, it looks like we may get some real information soon about the move to Houston. The lease for the space is being signed tomorrow, and once that's done, we'll have an actual timeline for construction and opening. This is pretty exciting, though I'm hesitant to get too giddy, because really, there's still plenty of time for things to go wrong. Pessimistic? Perhaps. Realistic in light of our last several months? Definitely.
I've rediscovered the random joy of having a couple hours to myself during the day, and it is watching The Daily Show and The Colbert Report with no one to bother me. I'd missed the shows during the summer, and since Sydney stopped napping. Now though, I have the time to watch both shows the morning after they've been on, and in the quiet of my own empty home. It actually feels decadent. I turn up the television so I can hear every inflection change and innuendo from the hosts. I laugh out loud without worrying about waking anyone else in the house. I stop and rewind bits that I want to hear better or understand more, allowing for more giggles. I knew I had missed the shows terribly, just not how much.

Wednesday, September 7

10 Things About Today

In no particular order, except numerical, of course.

1. I picked up the second Frankenstein book this afternoon. But since I can't go into a bookstore with my kid without also picking something up for my kid, she walked out lovingly clutching a new dinosaur encyclopedia. She refers to it, and all the other dinosaur encyclopedias, as a "field guide." She's happy, and armed with another 250 pages of dinosaur information.
2. I've become quite addicted to my iced venti unsweetened green tea in the morning after I drop Sydney at school. There's a Starbucks right around the corner, and I like stopping there. I had a yummy tea this morning.
3. Oliver and Daisy got their mid-summer haircuts this morning. They're nice and cool, as well as incredibly adorable. Daisy's lost one of her bows already, and Oliver's is barely hanging on atop his head.
4. Target's grocery aisle is fantabulous. My current obsession: red pepper hummus and pretzel chips. It's good stuff. Try it. Really.
5. I am disappointed that our cooling trend of highs in only the upper 90s for next week has devolved into lower 100s instead. I was looking forward to the cooler temperatures. Honestly, 95 is like, sweater weather.
6. I'm watching the last few episodes of last season's The Vampire Diaries tonight, since there's nothing else decent on television right now. I can not wait until this show is back in a couple weeks. It's so good.
7. Sydney is loving school this week, as it is the week of "D." D, as you know, is the first letter in the word "dinosaur." This fact features prominently in the week's activities in school, which makes her incredibly happy. Today, they made dinosaur footprints on paper out of paint.
8. I still haven't gotten my car washed. I had decided that I would do it today, but then changed my mind. The car remains dirty.
9. I'm lacking a delicious ice cream in the freezer. I've been good, you know, and haven't replaced my Americone Dream by Ben & Jerry's since I finished it a few weeks ago. I've still got a couple pints of different flavors in the freezer, but nothing that I am really enjoying. This is okay, per the diet, but not so much for my dreadful willpower.
10. I'm kinda bummed it took me so long to think of 10 things!!

Tuesday, September 6

Shall we dance ....

I really have little to no interest in Dancing with the Stars this season. I'm not, so far, in love with any of the contestants, and don't know who a number of them are. (Once again, I cheer for Maks to win, and with an athlete for a partner -- the soccer player, Hope Solo -- he may just have a real chance this season.)
Let's see who we've got: Solo, the soccer player; Chaz Bono, son of Cher and Sonny Bono; JR Martinez, someone I don't know; Elisabetta Canalis, ex-girlfriend of George Clooney, as well as other accomplishments I don't know; Carson Kressley, one of my favorite Queer Eyes; Chynna Philips, one of the fabulous Wilson Philips girls; David Arquette, movie star and ex-husband of Courtney Cox; Kristin Cavallari, one of those reality television people; Nancy Grace, the crazy talk-show lady who yells a lot; Ricki Lake, who we all still love from the original Hairspray; Rob Kardashian, brother to all those Kardashians; and Ron Artest, who needed something to do while the NBA is in lockout.
As I look a the list, perhaps I am liking a few of these "stars." But my insistence on watching the show right now has more to do with all the people refusing to watch it. I can't believe that there are people in the world so upset that Chaz Bono will be participating on the show that they're planning to boycott the show.
"Don't watch," scream the ignorant people. "Don't let your children watch! They'll be traumatized forever!" Here's my solution to that problem: don't tell your kids that Chaz Bono used to be a girl, and they'll never question that who they're seeing on television is a man.
I think it's a great thing to have Bono on the show. I like that the cast is always such a culturally diverse group of people. I like that this year they're mixing it up even more with a transgender contestant, an openly gay contestant, and a member of the Kardashian family, which, as far as I can tell, is a group all of their own.

Monday, September 5

Monday's list, which I had named Sunday

ITEM!: We went to the zoo this morning, in what may be counted among one of the least intelligent things we've done this summer. I like to space my zoo visits by a few months during the summer season. You know, a visit in May and then a visit in November. Sure, it's quite some time between visits, but it's also much cooler outside. So, today, we played with fire, almost literally, and took a walk around the zoo. It was hot out. We sweat ... a lot. Really, the heat can make a relatively short trip (90 minutes) to the zoo a very painful one.
ITEM!: I finished my Frankenstein book this afternoon. It was good, and ended on a cliffhanger. Looks like I'll be hitting Barnes & Noble at some point this week. I had forgotten that Dean Koontz is a fan of the short chapter. It makes the book move along so much quicker!
ITEM!: I have no information on the state of our move to Houston. We haven't talked to Jon in a while, and I have no idea what's going on out there. I have a vague idea of our timeline. I don't like living like this, a life without a plan, and it's getting more frustrating simply because I feel like I'm losing time with every day that passes.
ITEM!: I may have made a new friend today. The mom of one of Sydney's classmates from last year e-mailed me the other day about Texas, as they had moved to Texas this summer, and she had heard that we planned to, as well. She wrote a very nice note wondering on where we were in Texas, because she thought it would be fun if we lived close to each other. They actually are closer to Dallas, but still, a couple hours isn't too bad to visit with some people. I responded with a friendly e-mail, and hope that we can have some kind of correspondence until we get out there, and then maybe we'll get together. I feel like a little kid though, waiting to hear if my new friend is really going to be a new friend. Weird.
ITEM!: I honestly can not believe that it's September already. This year is flying by.

Sunday, September 4

Frankenstein is my new hero

I usually don't go for the scary, mysterious, horror books. But Dean Koontz, well, he's had me since Intensity. I read Intensity several years ago, when I was working in Woodland Hills, after the recommendation of a coworker, who was already reading it at the time. Ever since (that's been about 11 or 12 years now), I pick up a Koontz novel here or there, and remember why I dig his brand of creepy.
A few months ago, while wandering through Barnes & Noble, I came across a shelf of Koontz books, displaying his Frankenstein series. I won't beat around the bush, I was incredibly intrigued. The first book, Frankenstein, Book One: Prodigal Son, has been in my "To-Be-Read Pile" ever since. I've been carrying it around quite a bit, too, as it is always in the "next-to-be-read" position. Yesterday, I dug in. Currently, I'm almost halfway through it, and it's creeping me out in a good way, and I'm digging it. If this ends the way I'd like it to, I can see Books 2 through 4 ending up in my book pile very soon.

Friday, September 2

Letters, letters, letters

I'll start off by telling you that I did hear back from the apartment complex's corporate office today. I got a thorough and thoughtful response written by the regional vice president, who addressed each one of my concerns, and apologized for my complaints.
Again, I was told that the utility bills are what they are. To be clear: this is not the main crux of my issues. My problem is the place falling apart around me. But whatever. She mentioned the market for rentals, and how their rent increases are based on supply and demand. I get that. She offered us a $110 discount on our next month's rent to compensate for our inconvenience of the air conditioner and the toilet. Thank you, I'll take it.
She liked my idea about giving potential renters a heads-up on the average utility bills, and will be talking to marketing about putting that piece of literature together. She noted that Grant was not in the office for the majority of my conversation, that the guy in the office was maintenance man, Greg, and that had Grant known I was this upset, he would have come out of the office to talk with me. I apologized for the mistaken identity, but still pointed out that it must be just Beth then who is blamed alone for my treatment yesterday.
Then, the cherry on top: we have her permission to break our lease with no penalty, should we choose to. Just give them the 30-day notice. We may take her up on that as well, but we'll have to wait to hear from Houston first. Also, she asked, could this maybe temper my desire to spew venom on the message boards?
I replied back that I appreciated her taking the time to reply to me; would certainly take her up on the rent credit; understood supply and demand but that that philosophy does not excuse being rude to current tenants; apologized for blaming Grant for as much as I did due to mistaken identity; promised nothing about the web site reviews I'd write; and asserted that I'm not completely unreasonable, and that her e-mail did a lot towards making me feel better about the situation.
Not that I'll be going into the office ever again. Brian gets to deal with the front office from now on. I'm done.

Thursday, September 1

I guess that says it all ...

I got really mad at my apartment complex front office today. I was absolutely boiling over with rage. I was livid. I was shaking with anger. ... I left their building before I started screaming.
I wrote a letter to the complex's corporate owners. ... ... Hmmm, I'd love to copy and paste it, but it's more than 800 words, and that would take over the entire page here.
Let me figure something out.

I got it; I think I can create a jump here on the blog page. I'll post the letter after the jump.
As it is now, I feel really good about writing to the corporate offices, and according to their web site, I should hear from someone in the next two days.
In a perfect world, I'll be offered a 50 percent discount on my October rent. Or they'll reimburse me for my September rent. Since this is not a perfect world, I'll expect that they just forward this letter to the front office, where those people will become increasingly less likely to fill my upcoming maintenance requests, and will do something sneaky like cut off my Internet connection.
No kidding, I can't wait to get out of here. I HATE giving them money for this place!