Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas in Arlington

It's 6pm on Christmas eve, and I'm sitting in the den of the Arlington house, happy to be warm.  We woke up this morning to a dead furnace, and it took all day to get hold of the tradesman that works on it for us.  He got here around 4:30, and had it working in under an hour. One of the good things about living in a rural area is that this repair on Christmas Eve cost us under $200 part and labor, and the repair was done by the man who installed the furnace, and is familiar with everything about it.  In Memphis, assuming I could have found somebody to come out, it would have cost at least $500 for the same repair, and would have been a stroke of luck if they had the part available.

I've scheduled the best local plumber to come in early next week to get started on fixing the mess that my father in law managed to create when adding a new bathroom/laudery room.  The drains are slow, and we get sewer gas back into the house every time a toilet is flushed. I'm hoping that this guy, who comes very well recommended, can get everything working for not too much, and in not too much time. We also have some other things we need done, and he should be able to get it all knocked out at the same time.

This house is in need a a lot of work.  We need a new roof, and we really need to replace the old fuse panels with breakers. Actually, we can probably get all the work we want done to this house done for under $20k. So, I'll be planning on getting the quotes and getting a home equity loan for the work, and with any luck we'll have it all done by the end of summer. We'll also be painting the inside of the house, to get rid of all the pink walls that still make me cringe when I see them, and removing the matching pink (or salmon, if you're a designer) carpets that are covering quite lovely hardwood floors.

Happy holidays, and best wishes for the new year!

Monday, December 19, 2011

twas the Monday before Solstice, and all through the house....

I spent the weekend in Arlington with Gayle and Lola, which actually went pretty well.  I think my mother in law is slowly getting used to me being around, or at least not in mortal terror of me.  I even made her laugh by telling the cat there that she was going to kick his ass.

This cat was Gayle's fathers cat.  Supposedly it was a domesticated kitten, but I think that it was a feral barn kitten that someone gave him. This cat is scared of his own shadow, and flinches at any movement. He actually reminds me of a cat I got as a kid.  We brought it home from my grandmothers in a large cardboard box, and he didn't make a sound the entire 60 mile drive. We got to the house, I opened the box and was greeted by "claws of fury" as the cat made his escape. By the time I'd scabbed over pretty well, he'd let me get close, but not touch.  I never did figure out why he hung around the house there at the beginning, as I expected him to be long gone when he got out of the box.  Instead, he grew to be the best cat of my childhood, a large orange tabby tomcat that kicked the ass of ANY dog stupid enough to come into our yard, and was content to put up with me for petting and play.

All that being said, I think that there may be hope for Stupid...maybe he'll quit flinching and get used to being around people.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The "On Call" ball and chain

This is my week to be on call at the clinic. Due to an overdeveloped work ethic, I actually take this seriously.  That means that I cannot be more than an hour away from the clinic, in order to respond should anything go wrong. Now, since I'm the systems admin, this generally means that I respond to major systems outages anyway, but when on call I try to schedule tasks that have to be done during the off hours. So, today I got to go to our Collierville office to swap out a dead printer.  To me, this is what a career in IT means...  unconventional hours, being the only person in a huge office building, and the satisfaction of doing a good job. The boys I work with look at it from a different perspective. The last 2 weeks saw the one on call at least 200 miles away from the clinic, and very dependent on the generosity of their coworkers should anything have gone wrong. Bad examples from their parents, or just a product of their generation? Also, as far as I know neither has ever intentionally scheduled work for themselves for the weekend that wasn't specifically requested by the boss. Yeah, I know...pretty big talk for a baby boomer, the generation not known for their work ethic.

Well, I think that the beginning of the new year will change these attitudes, as we'll now be getting $150 for each week we're on call. Will cash work when everything else has failed? Stay tuned...

Saturday, December 3, 2011

A Long December....

Just read Gayle's blog, with the picture of the snow they got this week. I just hope this isn't a preview of how this winter is going to go. While I think snow is lovely to look at, there's way too many people who have zero idea of how to drive in it. With my plans to be in Kentucky most weekends, that'll definitely be a consideration.

I woke up the morning after getting back from the holiday/funeral in Arlington with a scratchy throat. It's progressed from that to a full on cold, with coughing, runny nose, etc. Gayle says that everyone up there is perfectly healthy, so I guess I'll either have to blame the girl that served me food at the drive through on the way home, or my pet sitter that I get to watch the boys when I'm going to be gone for more than a weekend.

I'll be starting to pack up the apartment this weekend, and will hopefully get the upstairs pretty well done.  I'll need to see how Gayle want's me to handle her clothes closet...which will probably be me hauling the contents up to her in Arlington the next time I head up.  This won't be til Christmas, as the weekends before that will be taken up by company holiday party, an on-call weekend, and my family's get together in Oak Ridge on the 17th. I get the Friday before Christmas and the Monday after off, so that'll be a nice long visit. After Christmas I'll be in Kentucky pretty much every weekend that I'm not on call at the clinic.  The boys I work with might not take that very seriously, but the IT manager and I both do.

Along with her clothes, I figure I'll get at least one of Gayle's spinning wheels up to her. She always does best when she's got busy hands, and spinning will be better than PC solitaire!

Both cats have been sleeping with me for months now.  The biggest problem with that is that Mikey will plop down on my left side, and stretch out trying to see if he can get all of his back from tail tip to head touching me. Then Jules will do the same on my right side, except he prefers to lead with his rump. This pretty well leaves me  a body width area to sleep in, when I should be having the majority of a queen size bed to toss and turn on. Since switching to my winter sheets and comforter (t-shirt material sheets, and a heavy comforter over that) this is entirely unacceptable.  So, I spend the first hour of the night saying no, and shoving cats away. Eventually, I get to sleep, only to wake up to plaster cat on the left, butt-print cat on the right, and me unable to move. This results in cats being banned from the bed, at least until I'm back asleep.