Thursday, October 29, 2009

Sleepy Car Time

This week has been kinda sucky - despite the fact that today is my birthday! Argh. So, I'm posting pictures that make me smile. Muffin. Asleep. In the car. Adorable.

Pictures were taken with my camera phone - and I only recently learned how to email them to myself. My little girl, she can sleep through anything - in any position. Gotta love it.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Weekend Roundup

Wow, when you have to work five days a week the weekend seems WAY too short! Just saying…

This weekend was pretty busy. Muffin and I drove three hours back to Hampton Roads in order to get my hair done. I love my hairdresser and thought “Hey, three hours isn’t THAT bad” but I was wrong. Because, it’s not just three hours. It’s three hours to GET THERE, another two hours for hair dressing and then three hours to get back home. And frankly, that’s insane. I was insane for even thinking it. Needless to say, I told Brenda (my lovely hairdresser) that I probably wouldn’t be making the trip again. She agreed and said she thought it was a little “crazy” to drive so much for a cut and color. Yes, yes it is.

So that pretty much ate up all of Saturday. At least my hair looks awesome. On Sunday Muffin and I laid around the house until about lunch time. Then we went to Target (does anyone else pronounce that store Tar-jay? Kind of with a French accent? Just me? Oh well) because Muffin needed a plastic pumpkin in order to trick or treat at BOO at the Zoo. I tried to tempt her with an environmentally sound eco-bag – but she wasn’t having it. Plastic pumpkin or nothing in her book.

After Target we went to DSW because home girl needed some boots. I have to say, not wearing the uniform anymore is both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, I’m not restricted to an ugly outfit the color of cat sick. On the other hand, I have to buy all new stuff to wear. Still, it has really forced me to spend some time and money updating my woefully unfashionable wardrobe so I guess it’s a win/win all around. I bought three pairs of boots. They are awesome. I’m going to wear the crap out of them this season.

Finally, it was time to get home and get ready for BOO at the Zoo – which started at 5:30PM. I got Muffin in her costume and managed to get us out the door a little after 5PM. She looked adorable and I guess I was distracted by her loveliness because I plum forgot the tickets. We had to turn around and by the time we were back on the road it was nearly 5:30. We rushed into the Metro station where I was accosted by a man trying to get home. He asked for a dollar and I gave it to him. I’m a sucker for a sob story. Anyway, we hurried to the platform only to discover that the train wasn’t leaving for another ten minutes! Crap.

Once on the train, the Metro ride was pretty uneventful. Muffin attracted some attention – after all, she was the only princess on the train. We had to switch trains and that ate up some more time. Then we had to walk three blocks to the Zoo entrance. By the time we finally got there it was 7PM. And dark. So, we didn’t see any animals but Muffin scored a bunch of candy. Next year, I’m going to budget some “metro” time into the planning phase because I had no idea it would take as long as it did.

In unrelated news, I want to give a special shout out to Safeway. Yesterday after work I stopped by the store for some wine and stuff and when I was trying to tote said wine up to the third floor apartment I am staying in, the bag broke. Probably due to the bottle of Sprite that was sharing the flimsy bag. I am not even kidding when I say that some really colorful language followed this disaster. My wine was now a puddle and I was pissed. Here are some pictures I took with my phone for “evidence.”

I put the rest of the groceries away, packaged up my broken wine and drove right back to the store. The whole time Muffin and I were in the car I was having a mental argument with the store manager. I just KNEW they were not going to replace the wine and I was ready for a fight. Never happened. The lady at the customer service desk could not have been nicer. She took the offending shards away, told me to get another bottle and TRIPLE bagged it! Thanks Customer Service Lady! I hope the universe does her a good turn.
Ok, well - that's it. Hope everyone has some spook-tacular plans for Halloween! Can't wait to read about them!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sunday Classics - Smetana's Moldau

Ah, the return of Sunday Classics!

I heard this one on the radio last week. It is a fantastic, moving piece composed by Bedrich Smetana back in 1874. He called it a Symphonic Poem - and that's what it sounds like to me. Here is an excerpt from his program notes:

"The composition depicts the course of the river , beginning from its two small sources, one cold the other warm, the joining of both streams into one, then the flow of the Moldau through forests and across meadows, through the countryside where merry feasts are celebrated; water nymphs dance in the moonlight; on nearby rocks can be seen the outline of ruined castles, proudly soaring into the skies. The Mouldau swirls through the St. John Rapids and flows in a broad stream towards Prague. It passes Vysehrad [ where an ancient royal castle once stood ] , and finally the river disappears in the distance as it flows majestically into the Elbe. "

Awesome. Enjoy!!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Of Houses, Tragedy and Weekend Plans...

It looks like I might be a homeowner! I’m so excited! It felt right when I walked through it last weekend but I tried not to get my hopes up because of my recent contract failures. The housing market in this area is pretty tricky. Especially with the first-time-homebuyer tax incentive going on. Most homes in my price range are sold within days of being listed. This one had been on the market for over 50 days. I confess to being a little concerned about that fact. Was there something wrong? Were the neighbors psycho? Was the house in a flood zone or something?

Turns out the house is perfectly sound. It was a combination of things that led the house to stay on the market so long. Ready for some drama? Here it comes.

First off, the owner is retiring from the FBI and would not let her realtor put a lockbox on the door. Wouldn’t let the home be seen unless she was present. Didn’t even let the realtor have a key. This, I can understand to some extent – I mean, that lady has probably seen enough spooky shit to make her reasonably paranoid about having strangers walking around her house and poking through her things. Still, it makes the home extremely difficult to show and if clients can’t see it – they won’t buy it.

Secondly, and tragically, the realty company that listed the condo was a small mother/daughter business and the daughter passed away in August. When my realtor called the listing agent she noticed that the lady was sniffling. She expressed sympathy for a supposed cold and was told that the lady’s daughter had passed away in August and that she just cries sometimes. Well! I can totally understand that!

Turns out, the daughter was bi-polar and had been battling depression that may or may not have had something to do with a bad boyfriend. She couldn’t sleep, had no appetite and resorted to self medicating with wine and OTC pills. She eventually overdosed on a PM pain reliever and was found in her bathroom. Horrifying!!

Naturally, that kind of tragedy can lead to some work related issues. Not only was the mother grieving for her daughter, but she was trying to run the business single-handedly. Also, it turns out that the daughter was the IT brains of the business and the mother couldn’t operate some of the IT equipment. My realtor held her hand and walked her through the process. What woman wouldn’t feel torn up over a story like that!

So that’s the story. I believe the combination of concerned homeowner and grieving realtor led to the house not being able to be seen by many homebuyers. It is a sad tale and I feel kind of mercenary for having something good come out of it. I got the news last night and I hope to be in my new home after Thanksgiving.

In other drama-related news… I spoke with Muffin’s dad last night. He had called to see if we were still on for a Muffin swap this weekend. I said that I would be willing to go through with it - but explained that we would not even be able to meet him until 9PM, at the earliest, on Friday which would put them getting home around midnight.

Then, I offered another option for his consideration. Veterans Day. Four day weekend. No midnight drives. He was a little sad at not being able to see her, but I think relieved to know that there was a viable alternative. I also pointed out that he would be getting her for Thanksgiving this year and that there was almost always a three day weekend each month that we could work around. He bought it.

Then, he told me that he was sitting in an emergency room because his four year old had hit his two year old and now the two year old’s EYEBALL was bleeding!! GEEZ! Does the fun ever stop?

Oh, and speaking of fun… I’m taking Muffin to “Boo at the Zoo” this weekend! (yes, I had an ulterior motive for keeping her this weekend). The national zoo opens its doors to little ghosts and goblins for three days, puts out candy stations and lets the children trick or treat with the animals. How fun is that!! As a Matter Of Fact, I think another Mommy should check it out. *hint, hint*

Ok, I guess that’s enough for now. Ya’ll have a good weekend! I’ll post pictures of my princess and the animals next week!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

TV Talk

I’m going through a phase right now. I’m obsessed with home-buying shows. I’m glued to the tv whenever House Hunters or Property Virgins comes on. I am an addict.

I suppose it stems from the fact that I’m house shopping myself. I usually tend to drift towards shows that are paralleling my own life. When I was pregnant I couldn’t get enough of “A Baby’s Story” on TLC. God, it was scary. Scary, but fascinating. When I was selling my house I watched “Designed To Sell” over and over and over. Thank goodness it’s been on so long – there were tons of episodes!

In addition to house hunting shows I have become addicted to the “crime procedural” show. Specifically, NCIS and NCIS LA. When I was in the Navy I shied away from NCIS. Not sure why, maybe I just didn’t want to be reminded of work when I was at home. Now, I have changed my tune. I try and catch both shows on Tuesday night. Have you seen NCIS LA? If not, you should. Especially because of this guy:

And to a lesser extent, this guy:

Yeah. Totally worth watching.

Heck, I even like the psychologist dude (the guy in the middle).

So far, I’m pleased. Now I have something to watch every night of the week. I think I might need to go to Target and pick up a life. Sounds like I could use one.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Conspiracy Cleaners

Mary shared a story earlier this week that concerned a certain unsanitary client who happened to be in the house cleaning business. I commented on her post that I had a house cleaner story as well! So, without further ado – the Conspiracy Cleaner.

You may remember that I house-sat for a friend of mine this summer (the whole “homeless” ordeal). It was really great and I wanted to have her entire house cleaned from top to bottom right before she came home as "Thank You" for letting Muffin and I stay in her home. I checked around on the internet and found a seemingly perfect cleaning company. Their website advertised the fact that the owner was a former Army Sergeant and that leant the company credibility in my mind. Heck, I know the Navy taught us how to clean as part of the boot camp process – I felt certain that the Army had done the same!

I called and made an appointment for a “one time” cleaning and scheduled it for 2PM. On the day of the appointment 2PM came and went without a sign or call from the cleaners. Finally, at about 3:45PM a car drove up and two men got out. One was considerably older than the other and as it turned out they were a father and son team. Dandy! Get to work!

I explained what I wanted done, showed them the areas to concentrate on and asked them to stay out of the room I was staying in as well as my daughter’s room – I even closed the doors to emphasize my point. Sounds pretty straight forward right? Imagine my surprise when I came upstairs to check on Muffin and found the son coming out of my room! WTF? Before I could ask him what he was up to my phone rang.

I went downstairs to answer the phone and when I had completed the call the older man started talking to me about conspiracy theories. No lie. He went on about the fact that there are something like 25 major families in the world and they are trying to poison the rest of us via bottled water so that they can take over and start humanity from scratch. Yeah, that was just one of his cuckoo theories. I’d list some others but they were obviously politically motivated and this blog isn’t about that. I started to pray for my phone to ring again so that I could away from the crazy man!

Then the son came downstairs and noticed my PS2. He started trying to sell me some kind of hard drive for the machine that would allow me to load games and never use a disc again. I’m not sure, but I think that might be illegal or something. Like either of them had any credibility at that point! The father started in on another conspiracy, the son embellished it and neither of them did any damn cleaning! I was starting to get a little freaked out. I mean, it was just me and Muffin against a wacko former Army Sergeant and his wacko son!

Finally they said they were finished. I paid them and locked the door behind them. Then I watched them drive away before I called my friend to tell her what kind of nut jobs I had unwittingly let into my friend’s house. While on the phone with her, I went through the house and determined that not only were the two men nut jobs – they were piss poor cleaners! They didn’t even touch the bathtub in the guest bathroom! The mirror in the downstairs bath still had splotches on it. The kitchen had been mopped with a washcloth that was stuck on the end of a stick! Basically, I had to do nearly everything all over myself – and I was PISSED!

I probably should have called and complained but I was afraid of the psychos so I sucked it up and cleaned after the cleaners. I learned my lesson: Forget trying to save a buck and just go with the nationally advertised house cleaning services. Or, better yet, just clean the damn house myself.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Wake Up Call

About a month ago I visited the VA in order for them to assess me. Loads of fun, right? They look through a military member’s medical records and determine whether or not service in the military caused any sort of disability. It’s always a good idea to get the assessment because even if the VA doesn’t feel you are “disabled” per se, they will document that certain injuries or illnesses occurred during your military service and if they become worse – the VA can reassess you and help out.

I was going in to have my hip and back assessed – you may or may not remember the multitude of shots and shit I had to get for my piriformis area (aka: my ass). One of the lovely parts of the assessment is the weigh-in. I confess, I was dreading it. I knew it was going to be bad. How did I know? Because I had been sitting on my piriformis area for roughly three months and not doing much else except watch CSI re-runs and eat pizza bites. Hey! I was celebrating my release! For nine weeks. ahem…

Yeah, turns out that particular combination can cause weight gain. And in my case, it was a lot of weight. Like nearly 20 pounds. Uh huh, I about had a heart attack. I now weigh more than I did when I was pregnant. And believe me, that’s saying something.

After that depressing event, I was sent to wait for the doctor – who was a very, very nice man. He checked me over and while listening to my lungs discovered a heart murmur. WTF? Why had no one else in my entire life ever picked up on that? So, he scheduled me for an Echo Cardiogram and some other thing. An EKG? Maybe. I had both done the next day. The Echo was kind of neat. It’s basically an ultrasound of your heart. The technician showed me my leaky valve and said that it was pretty small which would mean that I could probably manage without surgery or meds. HOORAY!

I’m glad that the heart thing turned out ok, but naturally furious with myself over the weight gain. I don’t know if the weight gain led to the heart murmur – but I sure as hell know it’s not good for the rest of my body. Now that I have a more positive outlook I intend to take much better care of myself. I need to. If not for me, then for my daughter’s sake. My mom looks awesome and she set a great example for us (not that I followed it much) so I want to the same for Muffin.

Guess that means I’m going to have to cut out pizza bites.


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Holy Cow - Has it been that long?

I can't believe it's been almost a month since my last post. Time flies when you're busy I suppose... I'm finally relocated and currently sub-letting an apartment until I can find a place of my own. I started work one week ago today and am very happy with my new job. It's a small organization and everyone is very friendly. The workload is just right and keeps me busy all day long.

Muffin and I moved all of our stuff (with the help of Mom and Dad) two weeks ago. I had a few days to try and get her back into public school but that turned out to be too much of a hassle. Apparently, it takes an act of Congress to enroll your child in Fairfax County schools if you do not have a permanent address in the area. Thankfully, there are a few private schools around and they don't really care where you live - just as long as you pay.

So, that's where we're at. Muffin is going to a private daycare (temporarily!!) and I am still trying to find us a home at night and on the weekends.

In fun news - I took Muffin on her first Metro ride last weekend. She LOVED it! Though, I'm sure the fellow metro riders where ready to see the back of us. She chattered and pointed and exclaimed and was generally a lot more animated than the majority of the riders. I was happy to see her so enthused. Sadly, the three hour mall trip didn't hold her enthusiasm for long. Still, she behaved as well as I could expect considering that the Fashion Center at Pentagon City doesn't have a Disney Store. :)

All in all, I really like the area and I really like my new job. The cooler weather and changing leaves makes everything crisp and lovely. I'm very happy that I had the opportunity to relocate up here. Looks like I'll be doing most of my blogging and commenting either at lunch or after work. See you then!