Thursday, December 18, 2014

Weekday Catch-up

My schedule has been so strange this weekend, I keep forgetting what day of the week it is.  Monday is a blur.  On Tuesday, I could have sworn it was Monday.  On Wednesday, I worked from home and took my mother's car to get an oil change.  I was going to go in to work later but it was raining and it was really nice to be able to work in sweatpants and slippers so I kept working from home all day.  In the evening, I drove out to the shelter to help my friend, who is a dog groomer, groom some of the shelter dogs.  It was fun to be able to help out.

Today I took the morning off to go to the Christmas brunch at my dad's care home.  They had a waffle and omelet bar with a chef who made them to order.  The eggs were holding up the line so I skipped ahead and just ate the waffles.  Dad seemed to enjoy it and there was a big turn out of family members for the residents.  It was good to see people visiting.  Usually, I only see one or two visitors on the weekends.  When I got to work I had 23 missed calls and a ton of emails.  That is one thing I hate about taking time off, it means I have to do twice as much work when I get back.  Tomorrow is the day when everyone will be trying to get their problems off of their desks before they go on vacation.  I am doing my best to solve what I can and to throw the hot potatoes back at other people.  I'm looking forward to a quiet week next week.

Monday, December 15, 2014

A Little Peace and Quiet

I was so busy, I forgot to post yesterday.  On Saturday, I took my puppies to the adoption event.  I waited for an hour and then decided to take my mother's car to get an oil change.  I thought that it wouldn't be busy since it was raining.  I guess everyone else had the same idea.  There were 8 people ahead of me so I made an appointment for Wednesday and went to Big Lots to use my $5 coupon on toilet paper.  While I was gone I got a text that said both of my puppies were getting adopted.  It seems they have more adoptions when I am not there.  I was planning to go Christmas shopping but it was raining harder and getting colder.  I should have gone home but instead I went back to the pet store to hang out with the dog people.

The next day I took my kittens back to the shelter and picked up a new dog for me and one for a friend.

The house is a lot calmer without the puppies and kittens.  I need the break.  I wish I could take 2 weeks off like so many of my co-workers do but I am too worried that I will need those vacation days later on in the year.  At least the office will be very quiet starting on Friday.  I'm hoping that I can work from home a couple of days too.  That's almost as good as a vacation day. 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

My Brain Needs an Off Button

These days are so busy, it makes me wish for the boring days of January, February and March, when there are no big holidays.  It seems like everyone at work is trying to clean off their desks and finish those end of year projects and suddenly I am very behind.  I keep thinking that I can catch up when our plant closes for 2 weeks at Christmas and I won't have any interruptions.  I'm not looking forward to working through the holidays but I want to save my vacation days for a less buy time when I can get some of my projects done.

Whether my nephew comes back to live with me next year is still up in the air and I am thinking about hiring some help to turn the mobile home in to a livable space so that I am ready if he does come back.  The plan would be to put plywood on the floor, drywall on the walls and ceiling, and run the electric through conduit on the inside of the walls.  Paint it, polyurethane the floor, add a door and I will have a nice little clubhouse.  We could live there during the week so that we have access to the school bus and then go to my "vacation home" on the weekends for hot showers and laundry.  It isn't ideal but I think it could be done quickly if I needed it.  I keep waking up at 1am thinking about how I can make this work if he needs to come back.  He would be a junior in high school and I don't know if they are allowed to drive but when he is a senior he could drive himself to school so we could live in my current house.  I'm just trying to think of all of the possible problems and solutions.

In the meantime, I have not done any Christmas shopping.  I have no idea what anyone wants.  If they wanted puppies or kittens then I would have some ideas but, sadly, no one that I know wants puppies or kittens.  I think this is going to be a cash and gift card holiday, as boring as that sounds.

Two more days until the weekend when I get to take my foster dogs to an adoption event.  I'm sure the puppies will get adopted.  I'm not too sure about their mother.  If she doesn't get adopted then she will have to go back to the shelter because the next adoption event isn't for another 4 weeks and she will have a much better chance of getting adopted at the shelter.  I'll make her a nice poster advertising all of her best qualities.  People like the posters.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Maybe 3 More?

Another work Christmas dinner came and went.  I wonder how many more of these are in my future?  Three, I hope.  Maybe four.  I always fret about what to wear, try on numerous combinations, sneeze a lot from trying on fancy clothes that I never wear, and then remember that these expensive restaurants always have dim lighting so I could throw a black coat over just about anything.  I ended up wearing green pants and a red jacket with faux fur.  It looked fancy when I was sitting at the table.  I sat by my boss' wife and we chatted about animals from cats to goats.  The boss and his wife are planning to retire on a mini-farm and they spent one of their vacations at the Mother Earth News fair learning how to raise and eat their own chickens.

The food was good but I would never go there if I was paying.  I ordered the $38 beef tenderloin.  The garlic mashed potatoes woke me up numerous times during the night with heartburn.  I brought the rest home and had it again tonight but this time I mashed cauliflower in to the potatoes.  So far so good.  Hopefully I will be able to sleep tonight.  I get to sleep in tomorrow because I am picking the boss' wife up and taking her to the airport at 10am.  I am also attempting to transport my chihuahua family to their vet appointment after I drop her off.  I hope she doesn't mind sharing the car.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Not So Little Lost Dog

I'm beginning to wonder if Petey the PT Cruiser doesn't like me.  After over-heating on Thanksgiving, and leaving the car with my mother so she could drop it off at the shop, the mechanic couldn't find anything wrong with it.  He even drove it home and back but he couldn't make it over-heat.  They didn't charge me except $10 for gas because of all the driving.  My mother is going to keep if for a while until it is convenient to exchange cars.  Until then I am enjoying the great gas mileage of her Toyota Camry.

On Monday, I needed to pick up antibiotics for my kittens after work.  It is always risky to go to the pound without a dog because I usually leave with one.  I prefer small to medium dogs but the dog that needed a foster home happened to be a pony-sized Great Pyrenees.  He was calm and friendly so I thought I would give it a try.  Well, he wouldn't get in to my car.  It took me over 15 minutes to coax him in to the back seat and I had to get in to the back seat myself in order to do it.  He rode in the car really well and everything was fine until we got home.

My terrier hated him.  My little dog would not stop barking.  Finally, I left the big dog in the living room while the rest of us went to bed.  All was well until the morning when I almost stepped in the very large puddle.  Next, I did some early morning mopping, and managed to get everyone fed.  The new dog did not want to go outside but I finally got it to go out a side door.  He was too big for my dog door so he was going to have to stay outside all day.  I went to work and hoped everything was fine.

Later, my boss arrived from his business trip and I got to leave early to drop him at his place.  On the way home I stopped at the grocery store and bought more chicken for my pony-dog since that was the only thing he wanted to eat.  I came home, put the chicken in a pot, fed the puppies, and looked outside for my pony-dog.  My dogs were there but pony-dog was gone.  Ugh.  Not knowing what time he escaped or what direction he went, I had no idea where to look.  I sent out the usual lost dog notices to Craig's list, Facebook, called the pound to file a report.  My printer chose to run out of ink so I had to make up primitive Lost Dog signs with a sharpie pen.  It was dark and starting to sprinkle but I posted some signs in the vicinity.  There wasn't much else I could do besides wait for someone to call.

I was sound asleep when the phone rang.  At first I thought it was my alarm but I figured it out.  The caller said that her friend found a dog that looked like mine hanging out with her horses and she took it to the Humane Society.  I was wide awake after that.  I couldn't get back to sleep until 3am.  When my alarm went off at 6am I was not ready to face the day so I sent a text to my co-worker that I would be late and went back to sleep for an hour.  It would have been convenient if my computer would connect so that I could work from home but I still haven't figured out that problem.  The Humane Society doesn't have humans to answer the phones until 9am so I had to be patient.  Finally, I talked to a human and she confirmed that the dog was there.  It is ironic that the finder paid $70 to drop the dog off at the Humane Society when she could have dropped him at the pound for free.  Everyone at the pound would have recognized him.  I wasn't sure if I was supposed to go get him out or what.  I really didn't want to bring him back to my house because I would have had to leave him in my house alone and he wouldn't have like that.  Finally, I called the pound again at 3 and they told me that the Humane Society wanted to keep the dog.

Well, that all worked out and the only damage was some trampled tomato plants where he jumped over the wall.  I have peace in my house once again, until the next dog.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Good-bye, November

November, I won't miss you.  Last week was delightfully short but busy.  On Monday I picked up my car from the mechanic and paid the $700 bill.  Tuesday was a dentist appointment.  No bill and no new issues but I have a couple of sensitive teeth that need to be dealt with some day.  Wednesday, well, I don't even remember Wednesday.  I think I bought cat food.  Thursday, I drove to my mother's house and my car's radiator was boiling again!  Yes, the same car that I just paid $700 to have fixed.  It was making all sorts of hissing and bubbling noises.  Of course, the auto shop was closed for the 4 day weekend.

Thanksgiving lunch at the church was fine but it didn't feel like Thanksgiving.  Afterwards, we went to visit my dad and watched TV until he fell asleep.  My mother graciously switched cars with me since mine is still drive-able for short distances and she lives close to the auto shop.  I'll have to call them on Monday and make an appointment.  Friday was my first day to relax and I did just that.  On Saturday I was planning to go out to my property and rat-proof the dog door in the mobile home but I was having such a nice time relaxing so I put it off until Sunday.  I had planned to take at least 3 of my kittens back to the shelter to be adopted but they all started sneezing again on Saturday.  My hopes for being cat-free soon faded so I went to the feed store to buy more horse stall pine pellets for the litter box.  They are really cheap compared to the feline pine products sold for cats.  Unfortunately, they told me they were out and didn't know when they were getting more because their supplier burned down.  Oh well, I had to switch back to clay litter which I don't like because of the annoying fragrance and dust and it is just too heavy to cart to the car and then out to the trash.  Other than my quest for cat litter, I finally had time to collect seeds from my morning glory plant and my pole beans.  The pole beans came from the seed library and it will be fun to be able to return some seeds this year.

And finally, today, I loaded up the momma-cat because she was not sick and took her back so that she can be adopted.  Then I met up with the person who was adopting my foster dog.  After that, I wandered the rows of dogs looking for my next foster but I didn't get a new one yet.  I am trying to wait until my chihuahua puppies are adopted which will be another 2 weeks from now.  I like this fellow but there are a lot of other dogs that are more in need than he is so I probably won't get him.

Next I headed to my property to cover up the dog door hole with an old campaign sign and some caulk.  The plastic sign was perfect because it was easy to cut and lightweight so it could be glued in to place.  The white part is the plastic sign and the grey part is what is left of the door flap.

Luckily, there was no new pack rat activity inside.  As I looked around, I thought, "If only I had a few days to spend out here to get things organized...oh wait, I just had a 4 day weekend".  Oh well.  I grabbed a few things and was headed back home in under 30 minutes.  And that was my 4 day weekend.  Time to set the alarm and start December!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Borrowing From Myself

Wowza.  This is an expensive month.  Monday morning I got a call from the auto shop.  Turns out running over the rake didn't do any damage even though it sounded horrible.  The problem was the thermostat and hose connection so all of the antifreeze leaked out.  While they were checking for damage under the car, they noticed that a motor mount was broken.  Grand total: $700, $400 of that was labor.  So, now I have the $500 vet bill and the $700 car bill, right before Christmas.

Now, I could take $100 out of the maintenance and dog budget until I pay myself back or I could skip a month of extra mortgage payments.  I think I will wait until January to decide.  Next month is a big step because my extra payment will put me in the 40's!  So exciting!

I made it to my 4 day weekend so I will try not to dwell on the fact that I owe myself $1200 and just enjoy my long weekend.  Tomorrow I will spend time with my parents, then I don't have any plans except rat-proofing my mobile home and trying to return as many kittens as possible.  They keep randomly sneezing and  really want then to be well so I can return them for adoption.  The first thing I want to do, though, is sleep in, at least until the dogs tell me they are hungry.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

More Car Bills

Well, so far my long weekend isn't going as planned.  First, my dad broke his arm on Wednesday but he was back at the nursing home by the afternoon so I headed down on Thursday for Thanksgiving lunch.  I was almost there when my mother called me and asked me to pick her up.  I turned around since I had already passed her off-ramp and was sitting at a red light when I heard a rumbling sound.  I thought  maybe it was a motorcycle engine and there was a motorcycle across the street but it was too far away to sound that loud.  When I pulled in front of her house, I turned the car off and I could hear the radiator boiling and smelled antifreeze.  Last weekend I ran over a rake on the highway and I was hoping there wasn't any damage but it looks like I didn't escape  unscathed.  Luckily, the auto shop that recommended to me was only 2 blocks away so my mom followed me there and I dropped off my car.

We were 1/2 hour late for the lunch.  Our food was room temperature but it wasn't bad for nursing home food.  At least if wasn't bland.

Dad's arm was hurting and they only had Tylenol to give him so we waited for the doctor to arrive and he gave him a prescription for Vicodin.  The nursing home said they would fill the prescription so we headed to Walmart to buy supplies for my dad.  Then I fixed some things at my mother's house while she delivered the supplies to the nursing home.  I was expecting my mother to be back any minute when the phone rang and it was the nursing home saying that there would be a $12 delivery charge for the prescription.  We didn't want to pay that so when my mom got back we jumped in the car, went back to the nursing home to pick up the prescription, waited at Walgreens until it was filled and returned to the nursing home AGAIN to drop it off.  By this time it was 7pm.  I had hoped I would be home before 5 but I couldn't leave until we finished all of the errands because I had to borrow mom's car.  It was almost 8pm when I got home and the puppies and kitties were hungry.

On Friday, I expected to hear something about my car.  I waited around until 1 and then called them.  They said it was next to be looked at.  I waited some more and they never called.  They aren't open on the weekend so I won't hear anything until Monday.  Meanwhile, some family friends wanted to meet my foster dog so I took her out there.  I didn't realize that they lived 40 minutes away.  Turns out they didn't think I was coming because of my car situation.  I stayed for dinner and they kept the dog for a trial weekend.  I don't know if the dog will like such an active household.  They had a lot of kids.  Since I didn't have a dog to take to the adoption event on Saturday, I offered to go back to mom's house so that she could visit dad or run errands but she said that she could find a ride.  I suppose I should have gone out to my property today but my motivation kind of disappeared under the black cloud of unknown car bills so I stayed home.  I did the usual cleaning, cooking, playing with puppies, and attempted to fix my computer's antivirus.  After removing my nephew's games I finally got the antivirus to scan my computer but my work's software still won't recognize the antivirus so I will be sending emails to the IT department on Monday.  I really want it fixed so that I can work at home again.  It is such a great perk along with being able to wear jeans every day and taking dogs to work.

Tomorrow, I will take my 6 week old puppies to the pound to get their shots.  I was hoping to take at least 3 of 5 the kittens back to lighten my number of fosters but only one kitten has reached the 2 lbs. goal weight so it doesn't seem worth it to only take back one.  Hopefully, 3 of them will weigh enough next weekend so I can take them back to get fixed and adopted.

So, that is my weekend so far.  I hope tomorrow goes well with no bad surprises.  I am so glad this is a short week coming up but I need to get my car back, pay the huge bill, and go to the dentist so I'm looking forward to those parts to being over.  

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Mortgage Update for November 2014

Woo-Hoo!  It's my favorite day of the month.  Mortgage update day!  This month I put an extra $1,100 towards the principal which brings the grand total of my mortgage down to $50,947.  So close to the 40's!  Just one more month.  $1,100 is less than I was previously paying because I took $400 to pay my savings account back for buying the car.  Next month I should be back to putting $1,500 towards the mortgage if I don't go too crazy with buying Christmas gifts.

My mortgage should be paid off in 2 years and 11 months, or faster if I don't have more expensive emergencies or buy big ticket items.  And, for some more good news, I got a 4% raise this year!  That's around $100 a month after taxes and subtracting the increased charge for health insurance.  If I put that extra $100 towards my mortgage, I could take another 2 months or so off of my timeline.

Tomorrow I'm taking a half day to go have Thanksgiving lunch at the nursing home with my dad.  Unfortunately, he fell this morning and broke his arm.  I don't know if he will be able to enjoy his lunch or not.  On Friday I hope to go out to my property to finish rat proofing the place, after I have a leisurely morning at home, of course.  Those are my big plans for my vacation time and I am perfectly fine with that.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Dog Swap

It was a nice, relaxing weekend, but I just couldn't stay home and not try to get my foster dog adopted.  The pound had a big adoption event where they took 30 dogs to the pet store on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  I watched the adoption updates on Facebook.  So many dogs were getting adopted, I didn't want my dog to miss out.  The pound is 40 minutes away and I really didn't want to make the drive but then I found out that I could get more medicine for my kittens so that meant 2 errands could be accomplished at once.  I made my dog a poster and greeted people as they came in the door with "Do you want a chihuahua?"  Everyone thought he was cute and the third couple wanted him!  I couldn't believe it.  I was only standing there for 10 minutes.  I left to go look for a new foster dog while the people filled out the paperwork.    

Bye bye chihuahua!

Hello terrier!
By the time I got home, it was getting dark and almost 5pm.  My weekend was gone.  Time to feed the animals and water the plants.  I made myself a quesadilla and saved half for lunch, then went to bed.  Unfortunately, the caffeine that I drank kept me up past midnight.  I set my alarm for 10 minutes earlier so that I wouldn't be in such a rush and surprisingly, I got up without much trouble and made it through the day without falling asleep at my desk.  I think I am running on adrenaline because I am taking a half day off on Thursday and all day off on Friday.  I love short weeks!  Monday is already over and that just leaves 2 1/2 days of work.  That is totally do-able.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Vicious Viruses and Malicious Malware

I usually post something on Wednesdays but my antivirus for my desktop computer won't complete a full computer scan and I need that in order to log in to my work computer from home.  I've been trying everything I can think of, tried 3 different antivirus, asked my IT department at work, downloaded anti-malware tonight.  I started the scan again but I'm not optimistic.  I must figure this out, though, if I ever want to work from home again.

Work this week has been tolerable.  Last week it seemed like everything was my fault.  At least this week has been pretty quiet.  One annoying coworker decided to come in to my office and rant about another coworker.  When I didn't join him in complaining about the person, he decided that I must be plotting with the other co-worker against him.  He said if we tried to get him fired we would be out on the street.  I had to smile at that since not having to go to work sounded really good, after all, it is my ultimate goal.  And I wouldn't have to work with him anymore (added bonus!).

I am so glad tomorrow is Friday.  I don't have any plans for this weekend.  I love that.  I can just work on whatever projects I want to.  Maybe I will finally finish painting primer on the bathroom wall or plant my fall garden, or continue painting my kitchen.  I started painting it burnt orange and I left it for a few weeks to see if I liked it.  I do like it.  Maybe I only like it because "pumpkin" color is a fall color.  I was debating between orange or purple.  Whatever I do, I'm sure the weekend will fly by like it usually does.  I will try to enjoy it as much as possible.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Pack Rat Problems

On Saturday, I had every intention of dropping my foster dog off at the adoption event and then going out to my property to clean.  I got to the event late because I took my time and remembered to eat breakfast, then drove out and started chatting about dogs.  4 hours later, I decided that I really should go check on my property.  My little PT Cruiser was a trooper and made it down the dirt road.  I took the alternate way and used my neighbor's paved driveway to get to the back of my property.  It worked out well but in the future I will need to fix my driveway so that I don't have to use my neighbor's access.

The property looked the same.  I can't remember when I was out there last, maybe 4 months ago.  I figured I would just dust and sort some stuff.  Then I walked in.  To my dismay, I discovered that a pack rat (or many pack rats) had been partying in my mobile home over the summer.  I'm not sure how many or if it was just one but one unfortunate fellow had fallen in to a large trash can and was now a pack rat mummy (aren't you glad I didn't take a picture?).  I spent the next hour and a half scrubbing and disinfecting everything that I could reach.  I only had enough time to clean 80% of it.  I need to go back and move more things and clean under them.  It was quite disgusting.  I am sure it came in the dog door which I did not properly secure so I nailed up some paneling.  I need some thin sheet metal to glue over the hole on the outside.

4 o'clock came quickly and I went back to the adoption event to help pack up.  Unfortunately, my dog didn't get adopted even though he is awfully cute.

The next event is in 2 weeks.  Next week I think I will go back out to my property to see if there is any new pack rat activity and to finish blocking off the dog doors.  Right now, though, I wish I had another day off because I am exhausted.