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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Pics from Our New Place

This post will likely be interesting only to far-flung family, but if you're not one of them and still want to hang out, then pull up a chair and we'll begin the presentation.

When I was taking pictures today, I noticed two things:

1) Now that we have storage, we use it! Our enclosed storage places are crammed to the gills with stuff; it already looks like we've been here for years. Then again, we did get about eight months' worth of cleaning supplies on accident this week. On the other hand, we were very minimalist about our open spaces, keeping them... well, open. Even though we have more square feet here, we got rid of several items of furniture. I think we were just ready to be able to move around without having to skirt inanimate objects.

2) Our apartment looks kind of like my college apartment, when I would do things like make a stylized wall mural of a garden out of construction paper during my down time at work. Some of my friends post pictures taken inside of their houses, and the homes look like they could be in a magazine, or that their art could be hanging in a museum, or that their furniture was goblin made and will only attract that which imbues it with more power. Or something like that.

Our place isn't like that. It's full of things that have sentimental value to us, or make us happy. I looked around and saw things made by my mom, James, Daphne, myself, James' mom (a LOT of stuff), my friend Jana, my niece Mackenzie, a lady here in Austin I've never met but feel like I know because of her awesome Etsy store, a talented artist we had the privilege of meeting in Haiti, and even a quilt started by my dad's mom and then finished by his stepmom when his mother passed away. Then there are things that used to be James' grandmother's (our couch, the toaster oven, that wobbly green cup), or things in Mal's room that were Daphne's, mementos from our wedding, the Wall of Awesome II (Team Dave's version), gifts to me from James, toys from both James' and my childhood, etc.

And our place will never be in a magazine, but it's "us" and I love it. I hope you like it, too!

P.S. It occurred to me AFTER I took the pictures that I could have turned on more lights in the front rooms and they wouldn't have looked so "blue," but I never turn on the lights in those rooms and didn't think of it! I <3 natural light!

The entryway, with an homage to The Nuthaus. That awesome old chest has all of our games in it, and since my dear housemates will take off their shoes at the door (here, it's better for the carpet, anyway), we're putting them on top of the chest.

Needlepoint of my favorite Bible verse by my mom, key holder by James when he was in maybe middle school, picture and other Nuthaus remnant from James' mom, and an homage to the RV my friend Lauren gave us before we left Sherman. Good stuff. Oh! And an entry closet for coats and our vacuum. I know that might not be exciting to you, but it's pretty thrilling to this gal!

The living/dining/kitchen. Carol reluctantly welcomes you.

Right as you walk into the main part of the apartment.

Above the couch is our "Haiti wall": Three pictures I took when we were there, and then a painting by Cadet Richard. To keep the country in our thoughts all of the time, and to remind us that we need to go back as a family. 

To save floor real estate, we stacked! Here, there's a bookshelf that used to be in our bedroom on top of a shelving unit that was in the dining room. Then we also put one piece of a bookshelf from Daphne's room sideways, the only way it would fit. It works!

The kitchen...

...with all of its glorious cabinets! Oh, and we ordered plate hangers today. James' mom gave him a set of plates from the 25th WDW anniversary, and we're going to display them above the top cabinets.

I have a pretty awesome view from the kitchen, not counting the cat's butt.

The kitchen features a real, live pantry, believe it or not!

And the laundry room is the most ridiculously packed place already! Washer, litter box, recycling, and dryer.

Plus our cleaning supplies, tools, Christmas stuff, memorabilia from James' and my 40 years of pre-married life... 

... more cleaning supplies, cat provisions, bags (you have to take your own to the grocery store in Austin), and beer-brewing supplies.

Then there's our room. we bought a king-sized bed. We realized, finally, that Mal will probably be sleeping with us a bit longer. We put the bookshelves that used to be in the living room in here.

Have I mentioned that we have a great view?

All by Daphne: pencil, marker, and ink tile.

The print on the right is one James had bought because he loved it, and I had it framed for him last year (after he'd had it for several years!). It's called "Leaning Lovers." so I paired it with a few of our own things; two photo books, one from when we first started dating and one from our wedding; the rose and ribbons that were attached to my wedding dress; and the heart we saw a blacksmith make at a Celtic music fair.

Next to the bookshelves is a set of doors that looks like a little closet.

But it's actually a magic portal into another dimension. Well, okay, it's two closets and a bathroom.

The closet to the left, jammed tight with all of our clothes. We needed to save the other closet space...

...for James' office!

And here's our bathroom, home of the best shower curtain ever, and one more of the three litter boxes. (And, yes, I LOVE our new litter boxes!)

The hallway going to D's room and bathroom (which is also the guest bathroom).

Daphne's humble abode.

The new desk ended up being a perfect fit with her bed! And she can look at herself in the mirror if she needs to reference a facial expression. She just has to access her closet through the right door.

She downsized a lot of stuff when we moved! But there are probably close to 100 stuffies in her closet. She loves her stuffed animals.

Little buddy's room.

What? How did this happen?! Two Mals?

Since Mal's just a baby and doesn't have an opinion about that kind of thing, his closet became storage for a lot of our stuff. James' guitars, amps, a heater, and some other stuff is in there. Also, several cool toys D has outgrown but that I want to save for him, and also all of the free Pull-Ups (8 bags) that we ended up getting for free (see previous post).

Of course, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the patio. I'm just going to post some pictures and you'll get the idea. Thanks for touring our new place! 

Okay, this is technically the view from Mal's room. Nice, huh?

Sunday, June 28, 2015


Sorry for the yelling, but OH MY GOSH, what a week. We had the Bungo Boxes unpacked by Tuesday afternoon (thanks to my awesome parents who spent the weekend hanging out with Mal, then keeping him busy Monday morning and THEN kicking bootay unpacking Monday afternoon), and this weekend, James got his book situation handled, so we're in and it's already home!

There will be pictures within the next couple of days, I promise. This is the textual account of our move. :D

It's actually been a sort of on-and-off stressful week, but nothing that we can't or haven't handled.

Movers moved our stuff Monday. As I was coming up the stairs to let them in, a sweet older lady from downstairs came out and called to me, "I'm going to need you to come down here so I can see that baby." I guess she and her daughter (who is probably a bit younger than my parents, but not by much) had been watching us move in over the past month, and she wanted to meet Mal in person. I love her already, and now that we're all set up, plan to visit her after I bake some brownies or something. She is the person on whose patio I saw the cardinal who inspired me to get a bird feeder! She also puts out carrots, so she ends up with rabbits. Seems like an interesting lady.

Monday night, we realized that our water heater's pilot light wasn't on. Tuesday morning, I tried to turn it on, but to no avail. A maintenance person came to turn it on for us, and don't ask me how we didn't realize our hot water wasn't working until Friday afternoon, but we didn't. I know I took at least one more shower between Monday and Friday, but maybe the water was "un-cold" enough, I just didn't think much about it. Another maintenance guy came out Friday afternoon and said the pilot light was still lit, but the heater had to be turned up all the way or the water wouldn't get warm. Well, guess what? It's still not warm!

That is the one and only good thing about moving during the summer: It hasn't been too offensive, cold-wise. I've been taking Haiti showers, using a cup and bathing with Mal to kill two proverbial birds. Friday night, we boiled two pots of water to take the edge off. Tonight, it was again "not cold," even though it wasn't hot, either. It wasn't even lukewarm. It was just tolerable. So I'll have to call them again tomorrow. At least we know they respond quickly, as we've had a few issues.

The next thing is that Saturday week, we were supposed to get a Prime Pantry order from Amazon. We didn't, though they said it was delivered. I asked our neighbor if they'd taken it, but they hadn't. Monday, my dad checked the mailbox (where the USPS said they'd left it) and there were no keys. Using the Amazon app, I requested a replacement, which they sent, no questions asked. It was supposed to be here Thursday.

Another thing that was supposed to be here Thursday was a wi-fi signal booster for D's room. She hadn't been able to connect to the internet on her desktop since we moved in. This is a big deal for my gamer/social media girl. She had been hardwired at the house, so this was already a huge change.

Thursday night, I get the notification that the stuff has been delivered, so D and I drove down to the mailbox (it's more than 1/3 of a mile from the apartment, and we were expecting a big box) and guess what? Nothing. I called Amazon this time, and they said they'd replace both, and that the Pantry box would be here by Saturday and the wi-fi booster would be here by Monday. Ugh. No. I told them to cancel both orders and I'd just go to the store. He asked, "Are you sure you want to do that?" I told him that of course I didn't! But why was I to believe that they would be here this time? He said they were sending them UPS, which delivers to the door, but I canceled, anyway. Ugh.

That night, Daphne and I went to Best Buy to get a booster. Mal was not please, apparently crying the whole time I was gone, except for 30 second breaks here and there (poor James!). Also, the booster didn't work. James worked on that for a while, too, and said that her network adapter was the problem, so we ordered a USB network adapter antenna. Yes, from Amazon. I didn't have the heart to get back out.

The next day, Mal and I went to Target to get some cleaning supplies that were supposed to have come in the Amazon haul.

When we got home, both James and I received an email from our apartment office that three boxes had arrived for us (cue "I see what's coming"). James went over to pick it up, and, sure enough, it was TWO identical (except for padding) Prime Pantry boxes, and that booster.

First, we'd already given the booster up as a bad job. But the cleaning supplies! Good gravy. We have 4 Swiffer Wet Jet refills, 3 duster refills, 3 Swiffer dry refills, 2 boxes of trash bags, 2 boxes of recycling bags, about 10 hand soaps, 6 boxes of Pull-Ups, 2 boxes of night Pull-Ups, etc. So. Much. Stuff. Fortunately, I don't like going to the store, so storing them is actually preferable. Then there's the fact that except for what I bought at Target, it was all free. That's right, they'd already processed my refund before I received all of the stuff, but since the delivery person messed it up, we're all square. And I'm mostly happy with Amazon again, nasty vacuum cleaner notwithstanding. I just wish they'd always use UPS.

A beautiful picture to break up the monotony. This happened Tuesday afternoon.
So, Daphne's internet. Saturday, we got the USB antenna. Guess what? NOTHING. Late that evening, my super cool brother-in-law came over and did two things: First, he brought two of his older kids, who entertained Mal and me for half an hour or so. That was great. But second, he fixed the problem! He actually hardwired Daphne's computer into a power outlet, and it works because science, I guess. I wasn't there, I don't know. All I know is that I haven't seen Daphne in 24 hours, as per usual, so that must be a good sign, internet-wise.

Actually, since we moved in, Daphne has hung out and chatted with me almost every day for an hour or so, and that's a huge change. We let her put her computer in her room with this move (I know; all child development experts say don't, but she stays up so late, we don't watch her online for several hours per day, anyway... and we can see what she's seen because, again, science; and she knows we can always change that permission), and I think she's being more sociable on purpose, so we don't decide she's too much of a hermit and pull the computer back out. Honestly, it works better for everyone. It was difficult for her to make Skype calls (which she does when she's gaming a lot) in our living room; either we had to be quiet, or she couldn't really have a conversation.

Anyway, I love talking to her. I love her perspective. I love that she has opinions she's actually researched. She's a pretty cool kid.

Mal has been probably dealing with this move, some teething, and tons of milestones this week, which has made him cranky, restless, and demanding... except when he's not. When he's happy, he's happy and darling. But he's deciding not to be a lot right now. I think he was also a bit sick for a while, and the whole thing has been blurgh. I'm hoping for a better week for him, and by extension, for me. I'm just grateful he was so terrific on moving day! A lot of that was because there were two other very enthusiastic adults watching and playing with him. He really connected with Nana and maybe especially Pappy this weekend, so I have high hopes when we go see family this winter that he'll warm up to them in no time!

Milestones: actually looking at/"talking" about pictures in a book; doing stuff he knows he's not supposed to by checking that we're looking first, grinning like the cat that ate the canary, and getting on with it; removing and putting back on a defective lid on one of his cups (he saved this one for James, who I'm glad got to see it first!). Probably more, but I'm running out of steam!

I've has asthma symptoms on and off all week, likely a combination of stress, having carpet (which I LOVE), and all of the crap we're stirring up in our unpacking. Earlier this week, I knocked it out by taking a bike ride. This morning, it was worse, and I was so tired, with Mal being so fussy, that when I tried to strap him into the baby carrier, I couldn't close the latch behind me because holding my arms up to do so smothered me; I could not breathe. So James spent the day trying to find an OTC asthma remedy I'd used before. My last albuterol inhaler ran out earlier this week, but the final couple of dozen doses did nothing for me, and even the first didn't help a whole lot. Back in the day, sucking on an inhaler felt like a miracle at that first puff. You could just feel your chest loosening, airways opening up. Not anymore. It's so so stupid. I'm pretty sure the CFCs in those inhalers did not have much of an environmental impact, Plus, some people's asthma is bad enough that they die, so making meds less effective seems counterproductive to me.

Anyway, James came back with ephidrine tablets, so I'm on those and loratadine until this clears up. Feeling much better tonight. AND I got another bike ride in.

Riding around here is going to be a challenge. It's all hills. Tuesday, I rode around the complex a couple of times, then up into a neighborhood behind us, and around a loop trail. Today, I was going to repeat it, only backwards, but where I should have turned into the loop, someone had a big dog I didn't feel like going around, so I stayed on the trail and ended up in the back of their neighborhood. I was able to ride around and get back home, and it was about the same length as my first ride, but with different scenery. Lots of gear-shifting, even using gears I practically never use. And Mal loves it.

At this point, we now know the mom/daughter who live caddy-corner under us, the family of what I believe to be a mom, young adult daughter, and young adult son who live next door, and a couple with a 7-year-old daughter who live directly beneath us. That's it for our end of the building. I also met a gentleman who lives on the other side of the building as he was out walking his dog last night and Mal and I were on the balcony. It's cool to know so many people already!

Off of the balcony, we have seen many birds, including cardinals (at least one couple and another few assorted males and females) and, yesterday, a woodpecker; rabbits; squirrels; and yesterday, a beautiful coyote! The cats have all gotten outside and enjoy it immensely. I hope they see the coyote sometime, lest the get the idea that they should go on a walkabout in the trees!

Then there was the rainbow the other afternoon, and there has been lightning pretty much every night since we moved in. Our view is beautiful, and I wonder if I'll ever get tired of watching birds, and clouds, and whatever else pops up out there.

On with the adventure...

Advice to a Recent Father

Tonight, I ran across a discussion while I was digging back through mailing list archives to try to see what I've been missing. I haven't had much time lately (even less than usual, thanks to the move).

The basic gist was open-source politics. One respondent really wanted to help, but he has a 4 month old baby. I started this as a PM to him, then changed my mind and decided that it'd make a lot more sense here:

My baby just turned 9 months old. He's starting to have a personality and interact and actually be fun.

I think he had colic from about 2-5 months. I loved him then, but he really was neither interesting nor fun. Then he jumped straight into screaming about his teeth.

I'm pretty sure he started growing molars this week, which is miserable. But...he's turned into a little person who's exploring the world, figuring out ways to do things that we don't want (and laughing about it!), and is
way easier to *like* than that squalling infant who wasn't mobile enough to get into everything we thought was safe.

I'm not saying it's any easier (I'm sure it is, but I've forgotten most of that time frame*). But I started getting positive feedback a month or so ago. And now he's starting to figure out basic mechanical stuff.**

I don't know anything about you or yours, so I really hope that I'm not stepping into something noxious by sending you this out of the blue.

But you should be on the short part of the uphill slope before the ride starts getting enjoyable.

I'm really hoping we're actually past that part, though the past week suggests otherwise.***

Then again, Mal's had a rough week.

* This part was a lie. I vividly remember pacing back and forth our block, with Mal in his carrier, screaming, so Laura could get a shower

** Tonight, he managed to pop the top off his universal straw thing (it lets him hydrate at any angle, but the lid that hides the straw wasn't built very well), put it back on (which, according to Laura, is a first), and then open and close it a few times. Laura's ready for him to stop having these sorts of milestones for a while so they can get some sleep)

*** Moving's tough on everyone! This is the point where I decided to publish here instead of sending a total stranger notes about my parenting (such as it is).

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Caught in the Act!

Last week, I got "caught" twice.

The first time was at Trader Joe's.

This song was on the PA system in the store.

I was looking at the fruit "Walked into a Bar" section, and it got to the part of the song that picks up. I spun around and looked at Mal, singing and dancing to, "You... tellin' me the things you're gonna do for me. I ain't blind and I don't like what I think I see--" Then I heard, "Woo hoo!" I looked over and an employee who had been heading to the stockroom door had stopped and was yelling and applauding for me. When I looked at her, she said, "I love it when people dance when they're shopping, and I especially love it when they're dancing with a happy baby."

A couple of days later, as we were waiting in line to get free ice cream sandwiches at Moojo (highly recommend, even though you'll have to buy them now that they're officially open), and I was trying to keep a stroller-bound Mal amused (with copious help from his brousins Travis and Tian). I did a little jig thing, then turned around and wiggled my backside at him.

A man coming out of the store walked over, laughing, and asked Mal, "Are you just going to let her twerk at you like that?" Actually, I'm more than a little flattered that he recognized that as twerking, since I don't have that particular skill set, nor am I endowed with much by way of a bootay.

Uck. There was going to be more to this post, but I'm super tired. We're still mid-move, even though the hardest parts are actually done. I'll post more when I'm back to regular tired.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Review: Try the World (another box subscription service)

You can read the site itself, but the basic idea is that you get a box "packed" with treats from a different country every other month. It's $33-39 per box, depending on how long you commit.

I have contemplated ordering a half-price box before, but was waiting while my husband was out of work. As he started a new job, though, I happened to get an email for a free one! So I went for it.

Here's what the website promises: 6-7 artisinal delicacies, a card describing the products and ways to use them, a culture guide.

The inside of the mailing box was cute!

Oh, but how I hate this paper crap.

What it looks like on the website.

What I got. Ehh. It's as much stuff as I was supposed to get.

This is: two Amserdam wafels, a tin of violet mints, two packets of culinary sauce, a jar of sweet onion pesto, an envelope of truffle oil, another envelope of truffle ketchup, a jar of Colman's mustard, and a pouch of coconut chips.

First, I couldn't remember what country this was supposed to be. I looked on the back of the "Thank you for joining 'Try the World'" to see... and it was blank. I rifled through the whole box and there was zero documentation. No identification of the country. No explanation of the items. No recipes. No cultural notes. Nothing.

So I have two packets of culinary sauce that might be awesome, but all I know about them is that I'm supposed to heat them in the microwave for 10 seconds. I can't tell the ingredients, and there's no other information on the packet, so I don't know whether they're good for fish or chicken or vegetables or what. I suppose I can look it up. The truffle ketchup and oil is easier, but I still have to investigate on my own, no promised suggestions.

If I'd paid nearly $40 for this, I'd be angry. If I'd paid nearly $20 for it, I'd have been mad. In fact, even though it was free, I was disappointed. I was looking forward to a whole international experience.

The wafels were good, but I can get them locally. Same with the mustard and coconut chips. My favorite thing is the sweet onion pesto. Can't wait to use it.

If anyone's had a better experience, having received a box that had the promised documentation and seemingly worth $30, let me know. For me, the best thing this did was magnify what a great deal my $17 a month Citrus Lane box is!

Speaking of that... when it expires in August, I'm going to renew Citrus Lane. I know I promised to post a box each month, but things got crazy there for a while. I'll post next month's, though, and follow up. It's on its way!

For Try the World, though... I give it a thumbs-up in concept, but a HUGE thumbs-down as I experienced it. Boo.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

So. Very. Tired.

I'm about to tell you about last night. Before I tell you about last night, and the stuff leading up to it, here's what I need for you to know: I don't desire sleep training advice. I really don't. I am 100% confident that what I'm doing is right for my child and our family, but that doesn't mean I don't have days and weeks when I'm just exhausted. That's part of being a parent. And I appreciate the opportunity to vent about it and to record it for posterity's sake without being told what I "need" to do. Or "should" do to make my life easier.

In all seriousness, I'd be tempted to take Mal to the doctor if I hadn't seen online that this is prevalent enough for there to be all sorts of mommy posts about it. It's a developmental thing and he'll grow out of it... but, dang, the meantime is really hard.

Okay, thanks for hanging in.

For all of his other difficulties, Mal has always been a good night sleeper. From about 2 months to about 6 months, he was waking maybe 4-5 times a night to feed. That might sound like a lot if you don't both nurse and co-sleep, but it's pretty normal for babies who know they can "snack" not to take a full nursing and just to drink a little to put themselves back to sleep. It wasn't any big deal because I could just go back to sleep once he'd found what he was looking for.

He started getting really heavy. Turning over started to become more challenging, but still doable.

Then Mal got mobile.

First of all, Mal has never been a still baby. For as long as I can remember, ask anyone, when you hold him, he jumps. He wants to be up and around. Remember this from when he was maybe a week old?

Picture courtesy my crappy old phone camera. Who was that skinny baby?!
Always looking around, always noticing things and moving. He's very sensitive, which is one reason I think he has had difficulty navigating the lighter sleep periods between deep sleep cycles.

Well, once he started scooting, and then crawling, things got complicated.

First, I really wouldn't care if Mal stayed up until midnight, if he were in a good mood. But there comes a time each night when I can tell it's bedtime. He gets very clumsy and fussy and it's just over. If we let him stay up later than that, not only are we all stressed ourselves, but he's likely to get hurt.

So he'll be sleepy, and I'll get him ready for bed... but once I lay him down and start nursing, he'll drink a bit, then look around. He'll roll over. Now that he can crawl, he'll crawl away. Sometimes, he'll get up and play some more, but inevitably, he'll mash his fingers in something or inexplicably sit three feet from me and bawl, as if to say, "I'm so tired and so hungry! Why aren't you feeding me and putting me to sleep?!"

Again, you can Google "wrestling your baby to sleep," and there are a surprising number of returns (including one woman who wonders if it's abuse as she pins her kid's limbs; I don't, and I have the arm and leg bruises to prove it! He's a flailer!). It's exhausting, because it's basically: Lay the baby down, nurse him, when he starts to wonder off, gently pull him back (against his wishes), put him back into position, and nurse him... ad infinitum until he falls to sleep. This can take ten minutes, or it can take over an hour.

More recently, say in the last 6 weeks or so, he's started doing this not just at bedtime, but EVERY. TIME. HE. WAKES. UP. And two nights ago, that was about a dozen times. Last night, it was every 15 minutes or so. Only this time, it was accompanied with crying, trying to climb over James and me, and just worse. worse. worse.

This is us, right now, via my crappy webcam.
That was actually us about an hour ago; he woke up after a backpack nap of maybe 20 minutes.

James is great. He took Mal this morning so I could try to go back to sleep, but it was 6:15 and I was famished after the all-night workout. Now James is sleeping to catch up, and I don't resent it at all. I just wish I knew someday I could catch up. Nearly 9 months of this is a long time.

You know how sometimes your kids just fall asleep in the middle of what they're doing? Mal has never done that. He's never been sitting playing and keeled over. He's only ever even lain in his crib and cried until he fell asleep once, back in February, after our vacation. He has to be walked (wrestled) into sleep literally every single time he ever falls asleep. Whether it's nursing, repositioning, carrying him (and he won't nod off in the house very often anymore; I have to walk around the block or to 7-11 or something), or having him in the car seat... He doesn't have whatever it is that helps him get from wakefulness to slumber. And managing it sometimes takes its toll.

I'm writing this, again, for posterity's sake, so maybe someone will simply say, "I've been there and it does get easier, but God bless you," and so you'll understand why there are times when I can't remember the word for that metal thing that makes the car turn on.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Starting Our 4th Year

Three years ago yesterday, Laura forced her way into my life.

I was in a really bleak pit of despair at the time. I'm still more than a little shocked that she just bullied her way through the layers of funk that I'd built up to defend what was left of myself. Especially since she really wasn't in a great place herself.

It had all the trappings of some sort of horrible tragedy that centers around co-dependency.

Except that we'd been friends who deeply respected and cared for each other for about a decade and a half.

Laura loves to tell the story about how I blew her off that entire time. But my side of it is that one of us was in a relationship every other time the other one got free.

And neither of us is a cheater.

We've had a thing for each other since high school, but it would have been a betrayal to act on it before we did.

I'm sad about all the years we didn't spend together because of our inherent fidelity. Well, mostly hers. In the years of her previous marriage, I'd have happily indulged any inclinations to affairs she might have had (she didn't).

That could never have led to a serious relationship that's based around trust, sharing, and mutual support. I'm sure it works out for some people, but I can't imagine building a real relationship on a foundation of betrayal.

So I'm glad that we waited all these years so the one we have now could be based on bedrock.

Four years ago, I really couldn't imagine being involved in a stable relationship that lasted as long as six months. I just wasn't stable enough to even think about participating in that sort of thing.

And that was before my nose-dive into self-pity.

Laura likes to take all the credit for spending years working to get us together, and she deserves the vast majority.

She absolutely did take a huge gamble by driving to Tulsa, hoping that I'd check my email for a change and tell her where I lived. (This was complicated by the fact that road construction in Tulsa sucks and you had to know lots of back-road secrets that GPS and google didn't to actually find the place).

But she wasn't expecting anything more than a high school reunion before she moved to Austin. She might have been hoping for something magical, but I think she was pretty surprised when I asked if we could try turning it into a "thing."

Or maybe she just master-minded that entire thing so she could trick me into the longest relationship I've ever had (much less enjoyed!). I guess we'll find out at the same bat-time on the same bat-channel...

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Drama with the Speed Queens (and we haven't used them yet!)

As I've mentioned before, James decided we should get a Speed Queen washer because they have no electronics and the warranty is basically forever. I decided to get a Speed Queen dryer because matchy matchy and the warranty is something like five years shorter than forever. And so, we ordered them from Austex Appliance.

I placed the order online, and set up a time when I wanted them delivered, and paid for installation.

Two or three days later, I received an email from someone saying she'd tried to call me but my number had been disconnected. That was when my phone died and I had to get a new one. So, I called the office back and spoke with the lady, but she couldn't remember why she'd called. She said usually it was all online, but she couldn't see any notes. She posited that maybe she thought I needed to pay for delivery since it's not free until you spend a certain amount, but then she saw that I also bought the dryer and that answered that.

Two or three days after that, another lady called (Morgan) and we realized why the first lady had probably called. First, the washing machine I'd ordered was no longer being made, and they had none (it had been a really good sale). So I got one that was actually $100 cheaper, though not as nice because the first had been on clearance due to its discontinuation. Actually, the only difference was the number of operating modes, and I rarely use more than 2, so no biggie.

Second, apparently the website was out of date and installation wasn't $49, it was $100. James said he would have told them too bad, but I said, "Whatever. I'm on the second floor, and I need it to be brought up and installed." "Oh, you're on the second floor? Well, that takes two guys, so it's $150." WHATEVER.  The machine was $100 less, so we're back to even. And we were going for delivery on Thursday or Friday, May 28 or 29.

The first glitch came when it flooded on Memorial Day. I got a call a couple of days later, and she was very apologetic that, due to a bridge being washed out, they hadn't gotten their delivery on Tuesday as they'd expected, and they'd probably not be able to deliver by Friday. I reminded her that it was no problem; we don't live in the apartment, anyway, so the next week would be fine. She said they'd be there Monday, June 1.

I never got a call back after that, so wasn't sure when the units were to be expected. On Monday, Mal and I left the house about the time James left for work (Daphne was still asleep, natch). We got to the apartment about the same time the appliance store opened, and I called them to see when they'd be there. She said, "Oh, you're 4th on the list, so it'll be between 2 PM and 4 PM." Ugh, but whatever. She also said they'd give me about an hour's heads-up when they were on their way.

That day, I got a lot of work done, and was finished about 11:30. I packed Mal up and headed for lunch. He fell asleep in the van, so I ate at Sonic (I ate a LOT at Sonic: Chicago dog, fries, and Reese's Peanut Butter waffle cone sundae) then drove around to get a feel for the neighborhood.

We returned to the apartment around 1 and waited for a call. We walked the complex, visiting the pool, common areas, office, and even found there is a pet park on site that we'd never seen before.

The cats should love that, right?

We got back to the apartment around 3:15, when my sister and two of her kids came to visit. I had expected a call by 3, giving me the hour notice, so I called their office. It went straight to voice mail, which was full. FOR AN HOUR.

Finally, at 4, we left. I don't know whether you've ever tried to get from one part of Austin to a totally different part any time between 4:30 and 6 PM, but I don't recommend it.

That afternoon, at 4:54, I got a call from the delivery guy telling me they were on their way. Um, no. I was already back at the Nuthaus. I explained to him that I tried calling the office for an hour, literally 17 or 18 times, and it always went to a full mailbox. He said they'd gotten held up at the previous location for two hours (thanks for letting me know!) and  we could reschedule for the following Monday, June 8, because he was going to take Friday, the day I'd suggested, off. Fine.

On Wednesday, I called the office to see if we could set some kind of appointment window. She asked, "Didn't they do that before?" I told her no, that until I called that morning, I had no idea. She said, "Well, let me see... We're going to be in Houston for training on Monday, and we're up in North Austin on Tuesday so if we can't do it tomorrow, it'll be next week... let me see if we can do it tomorrow. I'll call you right back."

Did she? No. At about 3:30, I called the office back and she was gone for the day.

The next day, Thursday, I went to the apartment just in case. I had some stuff to do, anyway, and Daphne really helped me. She stinking (literally; it's hot!) earned her $20 that day.

When I called the appliance store and finally talked to Morgan, she said she wanted to schedule it for Tuesday, June 9. I said that'd be fine, and asked for a window again. She said, "Well, usually they leave the warehouse at 9, but that day they're going to leave at 7. They have to go up to *somewhere* then Hudson Bend at Lake Travis, and you're third."

Well, that means nothing to me. But before we hung up, she said, "Ma'am? If you look on our website and enter this number - invoice number - you can see where the delivery truck is, and when your estimated time of arrival is."


So, yesterday, I got up and went to my sister's because my son had had quite the night, and was already into quite a morning. I needed reinforcements! Once we got there (and he got a tiny nap in the car), things were already better. I saw that my "window" was unfortunately 3:30 to 6:30, but at least I knew. Also, so much for the truck leaving the warehouse early. I could see it on the website, and it was there until well after 10:30.

Mal and I hung out with the Brownies, went to Costco and bought a membership, then got to the new place around 2.

We made a couple of trips upstairs and then I just sat with Mal so he could get used to being in the apartment and not freak out when I decided to do a couple of things. There wasn't a whole lot to do, so we chilled for a bit.

I noticed that all of the bird seed I'd put out was gone, and the hummingbird feeder was about 1/5 emptied! Later, we were playing on the bed (which is the exact height of the window, and has a great view!) and I saw a bird trying to find seed in the empty feeder. We replenished that (not fully; I want to save some for when we move, so I can enjoy the birds!), but not until I spilled a few seeds. Mal, who is in a growth spurt, enjoyed snacking on those. Whatever. They're seeds.

I watched on my phone and saw the delivery time change, getting later and later, from 4:15 to 4:45 to 5:30, then again pop back up to about 4:30. The delivery truck was leaving Hudson Bend and I was next!

At 4:15, I got a call from the apartment complex saying that there was someone calling their office who wanted to deliver a washer and dryer to me but who couldn't get a hold of me and was about to cancel the appointment.


I called them and Morgan said, "Oh, that's it. We had a '3' and it's a '4'." I said, because I couldn't not say it, "That's so weird, because this guy called me last Monday when he was on the way." She said, "But didn't your number change?" NOT SINCE A WEEK AND A DAY AGO.

Anyway, they were still heading over. I watched them go down the wrong street and get stuck on a dead end before they made it to the complex. Mal and I went down to show them where we were.

The first guy came up to assess the place and asked, "You just moving in?" I said, "Yes." He said, "Well, that answers my first question." I asked, "What was that?" "Whether you have any antibiotics." Wh-- huh? He pointed to his jaw, "I don't know if you can tell, but this is really swollen." "Oh, do you have an infection?" "Yeah. We went to the store so I could get something, but I accidentally took ibuprofen PM and I'm already getting drowsy." I said, "Well, I have some Aleve. Do you want that?" He indicated that he did.

Do I have any antibiotics? One doesn't help. Do you think I have a whole round of antibiotics to give you? What the??

Anyhoo, he took the Aleve and he and the other guy installed the washer and dryer and we got to leave about 5:30, which wasn't ideal, but Waze helped me get home without too much drama. (During the drive, a pop-up ad offered to change my voice directions to Colonel Sanders, so I had to go for it!)

Anyway, I could entitle this a review of Austex Appliance, but I'm hoping all of this was just a fluke for them. Maybe I'll do a complete review later, after we've used the washer and dryer for a while.