Friday, July 31, 2009

Home Improvement

No, not the show (but excuse me while my 12-year-old self wipes the JTT-induced drool off her face).

Our furniture arrived today! Of course, not without event. The headboard was dinged up and they brought the wrong size of rails for the bed, so we sent them right back to the warehouse to procure undamaged and properly sized pieces. A different delivery crew came trudging back several hours later, well past 7, and finished the job. Right now I feel like it's very crowded in there, like we got too much furniture for one room. But we'll see. I need to get used to it first. I do love it, I'm just still rather shocked to walk into our room and see such a giant ark of a bed.

We have to let the foam mattress "set" or "rise" (depending who you ask) for 24 hours, so we can't sleep in the new bed tonight. We'll just sleep in the spare room/my office tonight, like we did last night. We set up our old bed in there yesterday. The cats were so excited and perturbed about the change of sleeping arrangements that they started running around the room wildly the moment we went to bed last night, so I had to lock them out for the first time since we've moved into base housing. They woke me up at 4:30 this morning crying outside the door. Drama queens, I tell you.

Since any hopes of an evening out were dashed by the delivery crew's late return, I had to come up with a dinner plan--a meal I was not prepared to make. Jason's plan was to stand there with the freezer door open until something thawed enough to leap into his mouth, but I was too hungry to wait that long. Enter sausage, peppers, and quinoa!

I cut a package of Lightlife chorizo-style Smart Sausages into coins and sautéed them in a pan coated with olive oil, then added in strips of green, yellow, and orange bell pepper as I sliced them. My rule for cooking quinoa is two cups of water for every cup of uncooked quinoa. Bring water and quinoa to a boil, reduce to low heat and cover for 10-15 minutes or until all the water is soaked up.

This dinner was a success, especially considering that Jason wanted steak. He liked it enough to have seconds--no leftovers tonight! The sausages were delicious, with just enough spice to balance the sweetness of the peppers. I recommend them for vegetarians and meat-eaters alike.

Tomorrow I plan to make our bedroom picture perfect so that I can post pictures of it without having to be embarrassed by our usual mess chaos "lived in" decorating style. There are pictures to be hung, knick knacks to be arranged, and new beddings to be fluffed! It will look like something out of Better Homes and Gardens.

Yeah, right.

Monday, July 27, 2009

cinquante trois

Wait, what day is it? July 27? Shit.

Today is my mom's birthday. Sadly, I don't get to spend the day with her like I did last year. And come to think of it, I didn't get her a present this year, either (and I sold the veil she's holding in the picture, so she can't have that).

But she's back home in Michigan whooping it up playing musical cottages with various family members up north where they don't have things like postal service or those cell-you-lar telephones that give you the cancer in your brains, so it's not like she'll notice anyway.

Well, OK, they do have cell phones, but you have to go to the top of the special hill to get any reception and you'll only be able to make out every third word so you'd better hope the person on the other end says filler words like um, uh, well, like, and you know a lot. They probably do have mail service, too (by pony express), so I'm out of excuses.

Luckily for me, my mom and stepdad will be venturing west in September to check in on their rogue California-moving children (my stepsister lives here, too), so I'll get the chance to be a good daughter then.

Perhaps I'll drag her out into the desert to spy on the Bunniculas. What? It's obviously a great present. She'd love it!

Want to know the kicker? She transferred $100 into my bank account today. A round of applause for my mom, yes?


Happy birthday, Mommy! We love you!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Out with the old, in with the new

Furniture, that is!

This week we took the plunge and bought a completely new bedroom set. It's something we've been wanting to do for a very long time, since all of the bedroom furniture we had, apart from the knock-off Tempurpedic space foam mattress and box spring we splurged on a few years ago, had been hand-me-downs from our families. We got a California king space foam mattress/box spring and a black furniture set--headboard and footboard, dresser/mirror combo, tall chest, and a "man's chest," whatever that is. The total price tag was $3200. Yikes, kind of--but considering that it was on sale, tax free, and no interest for a year at Mor Furniture, we decided to go for it. With the money we're saving not having to pay for utilities in base housing and the deposit we got back from the fail apartment, we'll be able to pay for it in no time.

I had planned to post a picture of the furniture, but it doesn't seem to be posted on the store Web site. I can show you the bedding we got at Target, though--also on sale! The furniture's getting delivered next Friday, so you'll have to wait until then to see it--once we get it all set up, I'm going to film my second Cribs episode. Trust me, this one will be so much better than the fail apartment episode.

In anticipation of the new furniture's arrival, we had to figure out how to get rid of the old stuff. We decided to keep our old queen bed and toss Jason's childhood twin bed, along with a couple of old dressers that originally belonged to the people who sold my mom the house we lived in when I was in high school and college. The base housing people told us they'd come haul it away for $80, so we set that up for yesterday... then they never came. Turns out there was a mix-up and they did come, but left because the furniture wasn't on the curb. Thanks, base housing people, for not telling us that we had to put it out there ourselves! So we hauled it out there in the evening and an office girl promised us someone would be by that night to get it, but nobody ever came. So when another sailor rang the doorbell to ask if he could have it, we were thrilled. I feel so much better knowing that all of that perfectly good furniture will be used by someone who needs it. We're getting our $80 back, too, so I'm chalking giving it away up to karma points for helping out a man in need and keeping all that stuff out of a landfill.

The unpacking is still in progress, but moving a lot faster now that we've been forced to get organized for the furniture delivery. I can't wait to put my clothes away in my new dresser! And hang up my pictures! I also got my work area set up in the spare room. Working from the couch is comfy, but kind of a pain in the butt. I love my desk! At some point in the next week we'll have to take apart our queen bed and transfer it to the spare room--I have my fingers crossed that everything will fit in there. It's going to be a tight squeeze, but I'm pretty sure we can puzzle-piece it so that there's enough room to walk around.

In other exciting, non-furniture news, I saw a Bunnicula ON BASE. I let out a squeal so ear-shattering that I probably cracked a few windows and made dogs howl. They're coming for me, people.

In kitty news, I've had Jasper in to the vet twice in the past couple of weeks for blood work and a check-up. The insulin injections are controlling his blood sugar fairly well, so that is good news. Unfortunately, he seems to be having circulatory problems in his legs--common for both diabetic cats and humans. It's not a big deal right now, as it only causes him to be somewhat clumsy, but it's something we need to watch to make sure it doesn't start to prevent him from moving around. Ah, the trials and tribulations of having cat-children. On the other hand, our veterinarian here is so much cheaper than it was in Massachusetts that paying the vet bill is almost a pleasure.

And finally, in ant news, we seem to have run them out of the house once and for all. They're still outside in crazy, swarming ant army proportions, but as long as they stay out there, I'll survive.

Sunday, July 19, 2009


Those of you who grew up in the 80s might be familiar with the young adult series of books revolving around a vampiric rabbit named Bunnicula. My sister had the books, and I would go so far as to say that they got us interested in bunnies before we had a real one.

Last week when we were driving home from Oakland we decided to stop and see a movie so as not to be stuck in Bay Area commuter traffic. Consequently, we didn't get home until well after 1 a.m. Driving down I-5 through farms, desert, farms, more desert, and more farms, I saw a rabbit-shaped object on the side of the road. Bleary-eyed from having my contacts in all day, I figured it must have been a copycat bush or tumbleweed. Then... THEN! I saw another, and another, and another, and ANOTHER! I started to get excited. No way were there five random bunny-shaped shrubberies chilling on the side of the highway. These had to be the real thing. A moment later I spied another... and ANOTHER. There's just no mistaking those ears, and plants don't have glowing eyes.

But what were these desert rabbits doing out at midnight? Shouldn't they be snuggled up asleep in their burrows? Weren't they frightened by the roaring and rumbling of passing 18-wheelers? What possessed these rabbits to sit on the highway shoulder in the pitch black night?

The only valid explanation I could come up with is that these rabbits MUST be Bunniculas, and that there is an entire tribe of marauding desert vampire bunnies inhabiting the San Joaquin Valley. I saw at least eleven of them, munching roadside grasses in a most ferocious manner.

That, clearly, was the most logical conclusion. Vampire bunnies using the cover of night to grab a snack without revealing themselves to the world.

They just didn't count on me and my bun-dar rolling through their turf. It's OK, Bunniculas, your secret is safe with me. I respect rabbits who have a vicious streak a mile wide.

There are Bunniculas everywhere. Some hide out in plain sight, and can be identified only by their evil, glowing eyes.


Monday, July 13, 2009

No one talked about cheese.

It's my policy not to talk about my job. It's generally better that way because most people do not understand my line of work. AT ALL. And that is why I so thoroughly enjoy being around those who do understand it.

Still, I was nervous about my trip to Oakland to spend a day in the office because what if the people didn't like me? What if it was totally different from what I was used to when I worked in the office in Virginia? What if I slipped and mentioned how I sometimes eat cheese on purpose accidentally? Worst of all, what if I couldn't find anything to wear?

Well, all of my worries were for naught, because my day was AMAZING. I loved my coworkers, and they loved me (and my outfit, which was totally cute and got compliments for matching the organization's logo). No one talked about cheese.

Plus, Jason got to come along and keep me company in my hotel room. It made up for all of those work trips he took without me before he reenlisted in the Navy.

Ok, so it totally didn't make up for the time he went to Jamaica without me. But it's a start.

The weekend's big excitement was buying three Rubbermaid trash barrels for our beverage container recycling. I even made labels for them today. Don't laugh--I take my recycling very seriously! Ask my mom, who used to have a corner of her garage in Michigan monopolized by recycling bins that we'd have to haul to the township drop spot whenever they filled up because there was no pickup. That was 5-10 years ago, though, so the trash company may do curbside service by now. When I moved to Virginia after college I brought most of my recyclables to work because there wasn't a bin at my apartment, but there was at the office (and Virginia doesn't do bottle refunds, boo).

Here in California, they recycle almost everything curbside (even little towns like Lemoore!), and the bottle return rules are different than other states (like Massachusetts and Michigan) that have bottle deposits. Instead of having in-store centers where you put the cans and bottles one by one into a machine that counts them by piece, Californians must take their beverage containers (including plastic water and juice bottles!) to stands (usually in grocery store parking lots) where they're weighed and you're paid accordingly. You can also do it by piece some places, if the workers can be bothered to count them.

Now that I have my lovely bins we'll be able to wait until the barrels are full to schlep them into town and receive our handsome reward for being eco-friendly (last time we got a whole $2.20). I had been throwing the empty beer bottles and pop cans into a plastic bag in the back seat of my car. This concerned Jason to no end, but I thought the clinking at stop signs was rather musical.

This afternoon I battled the ant hordes for a while (in anticipation of trash pickup tomorrow), shoveling loose dirt into the trash barrel so they have nowhere to live. I struck gold, taking out two nests of them along the front of the house. I also sealed up a crack in the wall inside the garage that they had been using in their to- and fro-ing. They still haven't dared come back into the house. I like to think that they fear me now.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

moving bits and pieces

Here's Jason with his masterpiece--the washer and dryer that he hooked up all by himself!

Jacob has been busy, too. He's no Maru, but he tries.

The only thing Lola's busy with is being pretty.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

ants and anniversaries

Things are coming along here. The basics are unpacked, but there are still boxes EVERYWHERE.

What is not everywhere, at least not anymore, are ants. The day after the movers brought our stuff in, I noticed ants in the kitchen--marching around the pantry, raiding the cat food, coming in by the sliding door and through two microscopic holes in the ceiling, and setting up shop IN MY BACKPACK.

Five bottles of Orange Guard, an ugly crying session, some super glue and a container of spackle later, I think we've kicked them out of the house. There are still giant nests of them all around outside, but at least they're not in the house. We already shoveled some of their nest dirt into the trash barrel, filling it to the top, and that was carted away this morning. I figure if there's nothing left for them to build homes out of, they'll move somewhere else where the dirt is plentiful. Right?

I hope so.

Otherwise, life is good. I like it here. It is by far the best place we have lived together, all things considered. And the cats are right at home, as you can see. I think once our belongings are fully unpacked and the pictures are hung, I might even love it.

Over the weekend we celebrated our third anniversary by attending a keg party thrown by Jason's boss. I enjoyed myself, actually, and had a good time socializing with his coworkers and their families. The only part I regret about it was drinking five Mike's Hard Lemonades. All that sugar made my teeth so sensitive that I could barely chew or brush my teeth. It is only just feeling better today. I'd like to say that I'll never do that again, but... I probably will do it again.

Later this week we're heading up to Oakland so I can spend a day working in an office--something I have not done since March 2007. I don't even know where my office clothes are packed. I guess I need to get on that. I'm training a new coworker and meeting a bunch I've never met before, including some bosses, so making a good impression is important.

Now I am off to brush my sore teeth with delicious non-cow water and sleep in my wonderful non-floor bed. That's progress!