Tales of waggin' tails, no tails, and tail feathers . . .

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Moxi Goes Nite, Nite

   I absolutely HATE Moxi's bedtime.  I have read countless articles and done an abundance of research on parrots to know that they need anywhere from 8-12 hours of good sleep each night. 
   Being jobless, my schedule is not always very firm, but I try to keep the animals on somewhat of a schedule.  And Moxi's bedtime is around 11:00p.  This is when I can tell she's getting tired.  She gets a little ancy sometimes pacing back and forth on the couch or fluttering down to the floor repeatedly and then she'll settle into one spot.  I'll take her to her room put a piece of a pretzel in the brim of the big yellow cowboy hat she sleeps with in her cage, turn off the light and say, "Nite, nite.  I love you!"  Then I shut the door for the night and I make it a firm practice not to enter her room until I wake up (usually late) the next morning. 
   I've read a number of horror stories about people putting their birds (and/or toddlers) to bed who will shriek and carry on refusing to go calmly to bed, and seriously I don't get any of that from Moxi.  Typically she is ready for her 'nite-nite treat' and she lets me calmly place her on her comfy perch, where she side-steps over obtain her treat.  But the reason I hate bedtime, is b/c I know that I am going to be up for several hours after she goes to bed.  And I can't help but miss her.  Sad I know, but she is just soooo sweet at night.  After her little agitated phase, she'll hop down on my shoulder, burrow into my thick hair, and snuggle up next to my neck softly cooing.  As if I'm not hooked already???
I think it's so cute when she tucks her little beak behind her wing for a lil nap

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Hit Woman for Hire

   Jamie is under the misconception that I am trying to kill him.  Well, that's just blatantly false.  Not only to I love him, but I NEED him . . . I mean who else is gonna suffer through all of my eccentricities, be willing to eat Mexican food nearly every day of the week, rush back to the market for a bottle of wine after a rough day, make me laugh so hard that I get hiccups almost every day, and sprint through the house and up a flight of stairs when I scream, "BUG!"  (As you've been made aware, the dogs are completely useless in this arena.) 
   But, never the less, he thinks I'm out to kill him.  One might wonder what would give him this horrific idea?  Am I perhaps trying to poison him?  (Easy on the cooking jokes here!)  No.  Am I trying to electrocute him?  No.  Am I trying to stab, shoot, or strangle him?  No, no, and no.  (Although, occasionally he does make me wanna strangle him . . .) 
   No folks, the method I'm apparently using to do him in is: shoes.  Shoes, bookbag, roller skates . . . sometimes the vacuum, just depends.  I have a terrible tendency to leave shoes most likely on the bathroom floor or in the bedroom at the end of the bed . . . and since Jamie usually goes to bed after me, it can be a little treacherous for him to make it to his side of the bed in the dark.  It's no picnic for me either to awaken from a dead sleep to a to a tall, dark figure lurking around my bedroom: THUD, stumble, stumble, EXPLETIVE!  I tried to help him out with a nightlight, but he kept unplugging it saying he couldn't sleep w/ it on, and I have gotten much better since I've gotten rid of so much clutter to move. 
   But then the other night all of the lights are on and Jamie is walking through the TV room when he kicks the dog bowl (which lay empty and had been shoved toward the middle of the floor by the dogs), and trips forward.  He turns around to look at the bowl, then gives me a glare: "Are you trying to kill me?"  First, the dogs put that bowl there.  Second, there are so many lights on right now you could probably see that bowl from the Hubble.  Third, I have some theories of my own: I'm kindof thinking that maybe you're just a little clumsy or perhaps too tall to actually see all the way down to the floor, or my personal fav theory your feet are just clownishly large . . . Whatever the reason, it is my solemn vow that I'm not trying to kill Jamie.  I mean I watch CSI, I would never get away with it.  How would I hide the body?  I mean I can't even lift an 80lbs bag of concrete!

Jamie and Me

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Cheap Thrills

  I finished off the last of the peanut butter and saved the jar to give to the dogs.  The result was priceless!  Conker said, "We don't need no stinkin Kong!"  Kindof makes me think back to the days when Adam and I were little and my mom would wash out her empty Windex bottles and give them to us as squirt guns . . . aaah memories.
But the video of Gumbo was the best:

Conker and the PB Jar

Gumbo's tongue is just ridiculously long!

Chiquita REALLY got into it!


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Fill 'Er Up

  I loooove going to places where you get to fill up your own drink.  I fully admit that I am one of those annoying people who makes their very own special drink concoctions at the soda fountain.  Little bit of this, little of that, sip . . . little more of that, sip: perfection.  I've found that the best concoctions always include a healthy dose of Root Beer and just a pinch of fruit punch.  This is why Jamie refuses to stand by me when we go to fill up our cups.  I think it embarrasses him.  He once told me that was something a five-year old would do.  I thought about it a minute and said, "Well, that's just silly.  I mean can a five-year old even reach the soda fountain?"  This is also the reason he stoutly refuses to allow me to refill his drink.  I usually try to sneak a squirt of something else in his Mountain Dew just to 'enhance' the flavor, and ya know to see if I can get away with it, so far not yet.  Don't judge me, I'm poor I gotta my kicks in where I can. :)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Keepin it Classy

   Woke up this morning with a crick in my neck.  I guess I just slept on it wrong.  I had job interview today (yay), but I'm fairly certain I didn't get the position (boo).  I was the fourteenth candidate that they had interviewed!  I digress.  On the two hour drive to my interview I could feel the tightness escalating in the right side of my neck and shoulder.  I tried massaging it and stretching it to no avail, so by the time I was on the drive back my neck felt like it was in full 'riggor.'  Don't you just hate that?  Makes the simplest things difficult.  Just checking my blind spot to change lanes turns into a whole body experience.  Because instead of just being able to turn my head and the neck, I now have to turn at the torso.  I have to say I'm sure it adds a creepy vibe for that person driving in the lane next to me . . . And just FYI pulling a U-turn apparently takes a great deal of neck maneuverability - trust me, I know.   Of course, I didn't realize this til I was already committed to the turn and ouch.  I made the most awkward and jerky U-turn in history today in the middle of Wade Hampton Avenue.  Kinda glad I don't live there.    
   When I got home after my hard day of not bringing in a paycheck, I asked Jamie to return to the market for a bottle of red wine (is he a catch or what?).  Here I am sitting on the couch Indian style in mismatched pajamas, blogging with a heating pad wrapped around my neck, drinking my coveted red wine.  (I know I paint a sexy picture, what can I say?)  And I'm not gonna lie, it hurts my neck/shoulder to even bring the glass up to drink. (insert pitiful whimper here)  Sooo, I'm thinking of how practical it would be to get a straw . . . or a sippy cup perhaps . . . no, I think a straw would work better.  Yeah, cuz we like to keep it classy here.  I would NEVER suggest this otherwise, but desperate times call for desperate measures . . .

Monday, September 13, 2010

Primed and Ready

   Over the course of the last year or so I have painted just about everything.  I've painted every room in my house (some of them twice . . . in fact, most of them twice).  I've painted furniture, appliances, a couple of paintings, and even my shower curtain rings.  What can I say?  I get bored.  So, this last week I embarked on my latest whim: painting my bedroom furniture.  The nightstand especially needed to be painted.  It went perfectly in my old bedroom that was lime green on the bottom and even limier green on the top.  (But apparently lime green walls are a turnoff to the vanilla people who have money to purchase a house, so I had to paint it neutral: as in beige as in blah.)  After that was completed my charming little nightstand stuck out like a sore thumb. 
   Previously, some brilliant aspiring artisan (who may or may not read this very blog . . . :) ) had painted the nightstand white w/ green accents and purple flowers.  But alas I finally decided it was time to paint it to blend in with it's surroundings better, hopefully help sell my house, and b/c, quite frankly, I've painted everything else.  So, I emptied the nightstand and dragged in out into the TV room onto a sheet in front of the television.  This way I could sand AND watch football: shizzam! 

   I sanded it down, and then a couple of days later I primed it.  I did the body first in a basic, white, fast-dry, water based primer (one that I've had in my garage for years and I use to prime everything).  I had just finished painting the drawer when Jamie popped in to check on my progress and give me some words of encouragement.  So, he was standing right there when it happened.  (As if I needed a witness to my crazy.)  Having painted all sides of the drawer I was balancing it on two fingers judging just how I was going to set it up to dry, when I lost control.  It started to lean precariously to the left, so I quickly over compensated pushing it to the right.  There I was bobbling this wet nightstand drawer like a hot potatoe.  Wet nightstand in front of me and a cardboard box by my foot, all sitting on top of a drop cloth spread out a yard around me on all sides . . . but noooooo I fumble the drawer end over end away from all of those safe places and it lands wet side down on my couch.  Crap.


Newly decorated couch.
   First words out of my mouth, "Weeeell, that was unfortunate."  And, indeed it was.  Primer does not come off of anything, even in the best of circumstances.  Jamie tried to get the spotbot on it, but it dried rather quickly.  I suppose we'll just have to artfully drape a throw blanket over that part of the couch when we go to show the house.  Everytime I look over there I can't help but to sigh balefully.  I mean do these things happen to other people, or is it just me?  But looking on the bright side I have been wanting some new furniture . . .

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Fast Learner

  Of course as Moxi's doting owner I have to say she is extremely intelligent.  She is such a fast learner, sometimes, much to my dismay.  For instance, one morning Moxi learned how to pluck the keys off of my computer keyboard.  Then that afternoon she executed the what I refer to as the "Pluck and Run."   And that evening, she finished perfecting her escape technique by running in a zigzag pattern while I'm in hot pursuit screaming, "Drop it! Drop the 'J' key this instant!"  Then when I did catch the little mongrel she stoutly refused to turn over the key.  She had that 'J' firmly between her beak, with her two spindly little legs firmly planted, and she was NOT giving it up!  Thought it was going to take the Jaws of Life to get it out!  Never fear I did get the key back and popped it back into place on the keyboard.  Whew.
   So, since I got my new laptop (an awesome refurbed Asus, thanks Jamie for finding it!) by edict from Jamie, Moxi is no longer allowed to perch on the computer.  Nooooo problem.  We would never want to be guilty of breaking Jamie's 'One Rule' . . . .

She's merely looking for something she lost . . .
Bird on the run.
Moxi: "This never happened."
Moxi: "I was never here."

She's just so cute here!
I mean seriously can she get any cuter?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Insurance Woes - The Prequel

   O the stories I could tell . . . about a year and a half ago we had torrential rains and I had recently dug up my front yard area inadvertently funneling water toward the house.  So, our basement took on some water.  Naturally, I moved to file a claim with my insurance company . . . . and, naturally, it wasn't covered.  That would've been fine I understand that, but it took the insurance adjuster nearly three days to come out and survey the damage just to tell me, and meanwhile I have standing water in the corner of my basement.  Not only that, but in the course of me asking the adjuster to come out sooner (as in ASAP) he lied to me. 
   At the beginning of the convo he tells me that the people ahead of me had their appointments in the books for several weeks.  When I scoffed and asked him if they could not then wait a few more days he changed his story.  He said these were homes that flooded in that same heavy rain and they just filed ahead of me . . . riiiight.  When I asked him just how it was that they knew their homes were going to flood that they could make an appointment w/ him several days in advance . . . he stuttered, backtracked, stuttered some more and then started in on what I like to call "The Insurance Two-Step" (not invented by, but most certainly perfected by Nationwide) when I hung up on him. 
   At this point I don't care who pays for it, I just want my basement back.  And I have to say that having insurance with a nationally known and recognized insurance carrier I pay top dollar premiums for top dollar service i.e. in the event of a freak heavy rain, having an adjuster come out QUICKLY, and which last time I checked did not include lying.  Grrr. 
   To top it all off I filed a complaint with Nationwide about the lying adjuster and the delay.  The phone operator took my complaint, asking me a couple of questions and said, "Thank you for your imput.  We will look into this matter, and be back in touch with you in two business days."  I kid you not they called me back a month and a half later.  The guy gave me alllllll kinds of excuses, apologized profusely, but in actuality did nothing about the lying little weasel. 
   The gentleman made the comment that he had listened to the recording of my complaint, and was citing a couple of random things I said.  For instance, he decided to dilligently defend the fact that the adjuster's voicemail greeting was annoying, seriously?  Finally, after losing several minutes of my life to this looooong phone conversation that was in the fast lane to no where I cut him off saying:
"Wait, wait . . . didn't you just say you listened to the recording?"
"Well, uh, yes ma'am.  I did -"
"Could you tell me, then, what the operator told me at the end of the phone call?"
"Well, I, uh, believe you were talking about .-"
"No, the very end, please."
"Uh . . . he said someone would contact you in two business days . . . "
"Really?  You're kidding!  Hah!  I, for the life of me, thought he said two weeks!  And yet here it is six weeks later - that's gotta be some kinda record in horrible service.  I mean you're calling me back weeks late about a complaint I made for 'inattentive' service.  Bahaha!  You know I didn't think it was possible, but Nationwide, you continue to underwhelm me.  I believe this conversation is over - good day." Click.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Insurance Woes

This week I call to inquire as to my insurance coverage. A tree has fallen on my house and I would like it removed as quickly as possible - why do I have such high hopes?

Agent: "Call a tree guy and get an estimate. Here's a name."

Called that tree guy - took a day to call me back just to say he doesn't do that anymore. Called the tree guy he recommended. He doesn't call me back. Finally I google'd somebody. He gets right over the next morning.

Me: "Called the tree guy. Here's the estimate. What's covered?"
Agent: "Blah, blah, blah. Some about a tornado ten years ago . . . blah, blah, blah -"
Me: "No, I just need to know what's covered?"
Agent: "Blah, blah, blabbidy blah. Something about the great ice storm of '96. More blah."
Me: "Soooo, is this covered?"
Agent: "Well, yes and no. We'll have to get an 'approved' guy out there to look at it and give an estimate."
Me: "Another guy? You couldn't have told me that guy in the first place?"
Agent: "Blah, blah, blah."
Me: "Ugh, ok. Fine."
Approved Guy: "Yup, that's a tree . . . . and it is definitely on your house."
Me: "Estimate?"
Approved Guy: "Hard to say . . . . I'll have to get my tree guy out here . . . "
Me: "Get out."

   Needless to say it's Friday now, and I'm just a prayin my luck holds out and strong breeze doesn't come along this weekend and send this tree through my living room. I think I have 'em figured out - stall and annoy until I give up and just do it myself. O, tricky, tricky insurance companies - I'm on to you!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Mall Madness

  One may have noticed that I did not make a post on Labor Day.  One might assume that I was in some sort of distress, and that I was somehow unable to post.  And One would be correct.  I had a very distressing day on Monday - I went to the mall.  Gasp!  I know, I know . . . the obvious question being: what would possess me to venture out into the depths of the shopping jungle on what (unbeknownst to me) is considered the 14th busiest shopping day of the year (ya know following the 12 days of Christmas and Black Friday)? 
   It is common knowledge that I am looking for a job and being jobless I have no money and having no money clearly I should not ever being going to the mall on any day of the year.  But, in my defense, I have some job interviews lined up (yay) and I needed something professional to wear (blah), and all that talk about 'big Labor Day sales' drew me in like a lamb to the slaughter (eek). 
   I already knew this wasn't going to be a pleasant outing due to the fact that I might've gained a few pounds over the summer (apparently, blogging does not burn many calories . . .) and as anyone w/ half a brain could tell you a woman would rather chew off her own arm rather that go up a dress size.  So, begrudgingly I set off to go to the mall. 
   I should've known that it was going to be helter skelter the minute I pulled into the parking lot - there wasn't a parking spot to be had.  I circled around, swooped into the first one I saw, and trudged into the nearest department store that shall remain nameless (but it starts w/ a 'D' and ends in 'illards').  The second I walked in the door I knew I had just stepped out of cozy, comfy Columbia, SC and directly into the seventh circle of purgatory.  There were people EVERYWHERE.  To my left the handbag area was in tatters and to my right the shoe department looked like a shoe-bomb had exploded.  Then as I tried to skirt around the shoe department chaos a child came out of nowhere and flung itself onto the floor directly front of me in what appeared to be a full body-convulsing rage of a tantrum, screams piercing the air (shudder).  It was madness I tell you, madness . . . needless to say I did not find anything before I simply couldn't take it any longer and I scurried home. 
   So, yesterday I went back to the mall (I know, glutton for punishment, right? ) . . . but it was completely different.  It was like that fantastical, mythical place you hear about in fairy stories . . . the parking lot was empty, things were neat and tidy in the stores, there wasn't a mass of people crowed around me cramming into me on all sides, no screaming children.  It was downright blissful.  Of course, I got in and out of there as soon as I could: no use pushing it.  And yes, thank you for asking, I found a pair of pants.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Apple of My Eye

   Even though I probably spend the most time with Chiquita, she doesn't get a lot of face time on the blog.  She's just so well behaved.  Let's face it, she's an angel.  She's such a sweet girl, even as I sit here typing she's curled up on my lap and from this angle I can just barely make out the circle of light revolving directly over her beautiful head, aah.  She has her moments, but she hates to get in trouble.  I very rarely have to yell at her, and I'm sure it's been years since I popped her on the butt - Conker on the other hand . . . not so much. 
   Not unlike me, Chiquita is extremely food motivated, and we've pretty much ruined her w/ people food.  No doubt she spoiled us even, b/c she has an cast iron stomach - again Conker . . . not so much.  She can eat practically anything and HAS (much to my chagrin).  Of course she would never even think of eating roach poison - Conker (sigh) . . . not so much. 
   While she's never been an obese chihuahua, she did lose a few pounds when one of my roommates moved out.  She adored Chiquita (as everyone does) and she always shared her food w/ her.  One day I came home to find them both sitting on the couch watching Jerry Springer eating Thai food. 
Roomie: "A noodle for you . . . a noodle for me.  A noodle for you . . . a noodle for me . . . " 
Me: "Ugh, I thought we talked about not feeding her so much people food?"
Roomie: "But Thai food is her favorite!"
(Insert eye roll here)  Yeah, right.  My roomie said that last time about the hummus and crackers the night before . . . needless to say Chiquita misses it.  (And, for the record, everyone knows cheese is Chiquita's fav, duh)

Trick "Sitting Pretty" which
for Chiquita is redundant
since no matter how she sits,
she's always pretty!

Chiquita all curled up: yup still pretty
  The other night I was eating an apple that I had cut up (saving a sliver for Moxi, of course) I was taking a bite of the last piece when it squirted out of my hand and landed on the floor.  Man!  No way I was 'dusting' that puppy off and eating it, no matter how bad I wanted to: I've told you how hairy my house is.  But before I could pick it up Chiquita pounced on it, took it into the middle of the floor and started to chow down.  I found this amusing and snapped a few pix of my little 'rabbit.'

Chiquita eating and apple.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Bird vs Man

   Jamie and Moxi have kindof a love-hate relationship going on.  She was a gift from Jamie, that doesn't necessarily mean that he was in favor of adding a bird to our little collection of beasts.  He just can't fathom what kind of joy I could get out of owning a bird that you can't get out of owning a dog (or three).  I try to get them together at least once a day, b/c it's good for Moxi's socialization.  Both of them tried to fight it.  The minute she would lean in to 'taste' Jamie as birds do to get a feel for things automatically, "See.  She's trying to bite me . . ."   

Moxi with a peanut
   He's also wary of the fact that you can't discipline a bird like a dog i.e. can't pop her on the nose with a newspaper when she's bad (as that would probably kill her) or yell at her when she shrieks (that's just encouragment for a parrot, and he still hasn't quite figured this one out . . .).  I've also noticed that Jamie tends to want to 'tattle' on Moxi.  For example, Moxi has clips about her cage for clipping food/treats on the side and keeping the doors closed when need be.  He'll observe Moxi in the cage for a few moments then turn to me and say something like, "She's trying to unclip the doors you know."  
   Then there is the fact that Moxi is a super quiet little bird . . . until Jamie tries to talk.  For whatever reason, she likes to talk when he does (over him really).  I think he should take this as a compliment, clearly this means she just finds the deep timbre of his voice alluring: Jamie just finds it irritating.
You talkin to me?
   There was also that time that Moxi went to investigate his dinner and got a little too close for comfort (not for her comfort, she was quite comfortable, but too close for Jamie's comfort).  He had microwaved some jambalaya and was just sitting down on the couch to eat it when Moxi sidled over to investigate.  I know it's wrong, but I often let her eat with me pulling out a noodle or a veggie for her.  So, naturally, she smells his dinner and expects to get some.  Jamie, however, had no intention of sharing.  Both of us start to shoo her and instead of moving AWAY from the food she dodges us and moves towards the food, well, through it actually.  Much to Jamie's dismay.  There she went like a South American tribesman trotting over hot, firey coals!  She raced across his jambalaya rice and sausage dinner.  Oops.  Needless to say Jamie was adament about not eating it exclaiming hurtful things like, "She walks in her own poop!"  So, I removed the top layer of rice and he managed to suffer through the rest of his meal, but not without shooting Moxi several dirty looks.
   But the other night, the unthinkable happened!  Moxi fluttered down off of the couch as is seemingly this has become her nightly ritual: to get ancy about an hour before bedtime.  But instead of heading back to me, this time she veered to the right towards Jamie.  She walked over to him and stepped up on his big toe, much to his surprise, climbed up to his shoulder, and remained there contentedly for about an hour or so before heading back to me.   Aaaah, harmony.  Until Jamie realized she had pooped on his hat . . . sigh.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

"Whatcha Doin?"

   Despite the chaos that occasionally breaks looks in my house, it's usually pretty quiet here.  No, really.  For most of the day my dogs are fairly docile, and as of yet Moxi is the quietest bird I've ever known.  I wouldn't go rushing out to get a Quaker, based on that observation alone.  I did a lot of research on parrots and other companion birds before I decided upon a Quaker.  These birds have the capacity to be very loud 'shriekers.' 
   I think I got really lucky.  I remember the day I brought her home.  I had made several trips to the bird-man before, each time hanging about generally 'pestering' him and peppering him with questions while I played with all of the birds.  A jolly old man who adores his birds, he answered all of my questions and provided lots of advice and insight.  But the day I decided on Moxi was a crazy day.  I had dragged Jamie along with me that day.  There were several people in the tiny bird store when we arrived, including a woman with clearly more money than sense purchasing birds as pets for each of her three rambunctious children.  I picked up Moxi as she was trying her best to be ignored by the crazy kids hunkering down on a low perch.  It took a little bit of effort to convince her to get off the perch, but soon enough she was snuggled up against my chest cooing sweetly.  It was love.

The day she came home!

   I don't know if she'll get more vocal as she gets older, but right now she hardly ever shrieks.  The only times she has shrieking times is when there is noise in the house.  She loves to sit on the shower rod while I take a shower or bath.  She will make a lot of noise then yammering in her birdy talk about who only knows what.  But as soon as the water gets turned off she settles down on the rod happy and content to pick at the shower curtain or preen or chitter/coo sweetly. 

Moxi on the shower rod just a talkin away!

   Occasionally I play music for her to encourage her to talk to me, but this usually only works if she's in the mood usually around 3-4p.  I did get her first words on video b/c of this: "Whatcha doin?"  It's a pretty poor video b/c I took it w/ my phone and I was sitting on a bed on the other side of the room, she would clam up if I got close.  But you can hear her loud and clear on the video and you can also hear my giddy glee at not only getting her first words on record, but also making my first video.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Baked Potato Anyone?

   Everyone knows I don't cook.  It's not that I don't have the ABILITY to cook . . . . ok, so that's a bald-faced lie.  I can't cook.  I mean I've messed up Easy Mac before . . . sigh.  But I can't help from thinking that maybe deep down on some base level I was just not made to be a chef. 
   I remember when I was about ten years old my first failed attempt at cooking.  As a child I used to spend the summers with my Grandparents.  They had a cabin up in the Rocky Mountains near Pikes Peak and some of my most cherished memories of time spent with my Grandparents are from those days at the cabin. 
   Anyway, one day I decided I wanted a baked potato.  I had the potato.  I had a microwave.  I had seen my mom do this a million times.  The answer seemed obvious.  So, I threw the potato in the microwave and set the timer.  I stood there for the first few seconds w/ my face nearly touching the glass watching my potato slowly revolve on the the little turn table (probably absorbing detrimental amounts of microwave radiation), when of course something else (probably something shiny) caught my eye and I lost interest in the potato and wondered off. 
   A few minutes go by . . . a few more . . . . and then: BOOM! CRASH!  The little cabin shook.  Everyone came running to find me standing there just staring at the smoking microwave, completely flabbergasted all the way down to my toes.  I looked up guiltily to my grandfather, "Uh . . .that never happened when Mom did it . . ."  The potato had exploded - and I don't mean that it just made a mess in the microwave.  O no, I mean it EXPLODED!  It blew that microwave door clean OFF!  Potato guts everywhere!  The poor abused appliance door lying half way across the kitchen where it had skidded to a stop.
   Moral of the story: Apparently you have to poke holes in the skin of a potato before you put it in the microwave.  Who knew?

Friday, September 3, 2010

Conker Crisis

   Conker is just soooo bad!  People don't believe me b/c he's so sweet and snuggly and adorable but here are two specific instances (when really I have several examples): 
   One day I come home to find some purple tin foil pieces in the middle of my floor.  It looks as if one of the dogs as gotten into my roommate's Espresso Hershey Kisses.  Crap.  I look at all three of the dogs, "Who did this!?"  Of course, they all get that guilty look b/c I'm using my mom-voice.  Fine.  So, I smell Chiquita's breath: smells like dog breath. I smell Gumbo's breath: smells like dog breath.  I smell Conker's breath: smells like Starbucks - Ahah!  I watched him closely for the next several hours, and amazingly he never got sick (which is especially odd since not only is chocolate bad for dogs, but Conker has a pretty sensitive stomach)!   Lucky little snot.  Except, he did poop out purple flecks of tin foil for the next couple of days.
   The second instance happened only yesterday, his badness reached a whole new heart stopping level.  Jamie and I had gone for a late lunch and we had just gotten back.  I was sitting on the couch saying hello to all my darlings when Jamie walks in the room with it in his hand: on of those roach bait thingys.  We put them around earlier in the week especially out on the deck area where the Mutant Roach Spawns of Satan seem to be the worst.  You guessed it: this one has been chewed on and ripped open.  My stomach drops to my feet.  So, again: I perform the smell test (I swear, the things I do for my dogs . . . ).  I smell Chiquita's breath: smells like dog breath.  I smell Gumbo's breath: smells like dog breath.  I smell Conker's breath: smells like pesticide - Aaaaaaah!  So, I jump into action - we weren't gone that long, I immediately grab the car keys and head out the door.  I'm going to get hydrogen peroxide as it's an emetic.  I direct Jamie to find the poison box and call the 1-800 number that should be on there.  I drive the quarter mile or so to the nearest pharmacy with my heart in my throat.  I'm also calculating the enormous emergency vet bill in my head and which vital organ I'm going to have to sell to pay it.  On my way back I'm running through everything I can remember about toxicology and antidotes, in my haste I maaay have broken a few traffic laws. 
   I fly in the front door and Jamie has just gotten off the phone.  Jamie had a little trouble finding the box, he even went out and dug in the outside trashcan to get it.  He says we're safe.  The medical helpline said that the poison is specifically designed for insects and should not be harmful for dogs.  Until then I hadn't realized I was holding my breath . . . Whoooosh!  I just can't even imagine my life without the little troublemaker!  I picked him up and, much to his delight, covered him in kisses, lavished him w/ attention and told him how much I loved him and then how bad he was to give me heart palpitations!  He's our littlest dog and the most expressive.  He has so much personality, it's no wonder that he practically wraps everyone around his little paw w/in minutes of meeting him!

Taken last night.  He appears to be ok, as he is beggin for
some of my dinner here. :)

Taken last night.  Conker is pensive.  He's thinking
about how terrribly he worried me . . . he's really sorry.

At this point he just wants me to quit following him
around looking for possible 'symptoms' and snapping
pics of his 'miraculous recovery'

In Other, Totally Unrelated, News

   Watched the Gamecocks kick booty last night - Goooo Cocks!  But just before the half time, the announcers we're talking about one of the players and they said, "He's gotta lot of moxi!"  Another announcer wanted to clarify b/c apparently there were differing opinions of what "moxi" means.  Laughingly he explained that most times people say, 'He's got moxi!' when they mean that the player's got a lot of heart and passion, but not much talent . . . Bahahaha!  How much more perfectly named could my blog be!?!?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Telemarketer Joe

   Don't you just hate those annoying telemarketer calls?  We used to have BellSouth's people calling morning, noon, and night trying to get us to switch from cable back to DSL internet (you know back in the dark ages). Of course we maintained a stolid wall of silence, i.e. we had caller i.d. and we never answered the phone.
   One day my roomie and I were both headed out the door when the phone started ringing. We exchange a look, I roll my eyes and go back to check the caller i.d. Sure enough, it was BellSouth. By this time I'd had enough. I picked up the phone:

Me: "HELLO."
Teleman: "Hi, My name is Joe and I'm calling on behalf of BellSouth and -"
Me: "Not interested. Please take us off of your calling list."
Joe: "Yes, ma'am. But if I could just have a moment of your time I -"
Me: "We're not interested. Please take us off of your calling list."
Joe: "I could do that for you if I could just have a moment -"
Me: "Uuugh." (He's a persistant little bugger!)
Joe: "Well, ma'am, if you would just take a moment to consider switching back to BellSouth DSL internet -"
Me: "We're not switching back. Now please take us OFF your calling list."
Joe: "May I ask why?"
Me: "Why? WHY? I dunno, maybe b/c of the bad service, the internet constantly cutting out, or the hidden fees! I could go on."
Joe: "Oh, but there are no hidden fees. Everything is up front and -"
Me: "No hidden fees? Joe, BellSouth is practically French for hidden fees!"
Joe: "This month we are running a special promotion -"
Me: "We're not switching! Stop calling!"  (I may be starting to loose it at this point . . .)
Joe: "May I ask if you have any other reasons for-"
Me: "Yeah, I'm screwing the cable guy!!!"  (Ok, I've lost it.)
Joe: (Choking sound) "I . . . uh . . .well . . .pardon me?"
Me: "You heard me. I said I'm screwing the cable guy. So, really there's really no better 'promotion' you can offer me now is there? Not to mention the serious damper it would put on our 'relationship' if I switched back to DSL."
Joe: (Laughingly) "Uh . . . I see . . . " (more choking laughter) "Well, if you're ever not getting what you need from cable, give us a call here at BellSouth. Good day." Click.
They never called again.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Concrete: 1 Amber: 0

   My parents are the best.  I mean it. They are always helping me out, always there for me no matter what.  My mom and dad spend an inordinate amount of their hard earned vacation days at my house working their tails off at some cooked up home improvement scheme I have dreamed up, but just can't quite complete on my own.  They've helped me do it all. New doors/deadbolts: check.  Tree-trimming: check.  Painting: check.  Hardwood floors: check.  Fence: check.  Installing appliances, light fixtures, and ceiling fans: check, check, aaaaand check. 
   Take the fence for instance.  I plotted and planned it all out, I wanted a small fenced in area for the dogs so I wouldn't have to take them out on leashes ALL the time.  I was using cheap, pre-fabricated wooden picket fencing: just throw it up there and it's done . . . if only it were that simple. 
   First step is to head to Lowes for the materials.  We get inside, divide the list, and split up into our respective teams: Dad vs. Mom and Me.  Ready, set, go.  So, Mom and I grab one of those impossible to maneuver flat-cart thingys used when you buy lumber and we set off.  We grab the first couple of items on our list easy peezy, and then we come to the concrete. 
   We move over the the concrete aisle (and yes they have an entire aisle devoted to concrete).  My mother and I have a short discussion: despite all of the concrete being in different color bags, they're all the same, right?  I mean concrete is concrete.  So, we shrug at each other and I casually bend down to reach for the nearest bag of concrete, and WOW concrete is heavy!  I took a step back, and took a much harder look at the bag: 80lbs.  Holy crap!  That's ok, I got this . . . I mean I can squat more than twice that at the gym . . . Moving forward I try again this time 'bending with the knees.'  Straining and my face turning bright red my mother says, "Well, are you going to try or what?"  Grr. 
   Well, now it's just a matter of pride . . . so, I heave and I grunt, push, pull, tug, and finally through what I can only describe as an act of God I manage to get the 80lbs bag of concrete onto the cart.  Me: "Whew!"  My mother: "Good.  We need five of those."  Seriously!?  I'm pretty sure I'm on the precipice of a coronary and you want me to do that FOUR more times???  By the expectant look on her ageless face, clearly, she does. 
   Fine.  Round two.  Again I bend with the knees.  I get the bag of concrete into a bear hug, and I start maneuvering it to the edge of the pile.  Taking a deep breath I move in for the big lift.  I lift just slightly and pivot to put the concrete onto the cart.  Only I didn't make it the four perilous inches to the cart . . . and this is where things start to fall apart.  Instead of straightening as I intended, I start sinking.  Added to the fact that I'm no longer in a healthy and sanctioned squat position as well as standing on the slick surface of concrete dust on polished concrete floors my left foot starts to slide . . . and the slow sink is now a fast plunge.  By this time my dainty mother is trying, very ineffectively I might add, to help me, tugging at my arm.  I landed bum-first on the concrete floor with a THUNK!  All 80lbs of the concrete slamming into my chest knocking me backward. HUMPH!  
   So, this is how my father finds us: my mom sitting beside me leaning against the bags on concrete, me sprawled out on the floor of Lowes, both of us covered in gray concrete dust and laughing uncontrollably.  My dad casually walks over to us. Taking it all in, he says, "You know this is the wrong kinda concrete."