Monday, June 25, 2007

Blind Dates?

This week could be interesting. A couple of Jimmy's poker buddies will be in Houston for a little visit. We have never met. Of course Jimmy "sees" them allmost everyday when they play online poker. Jeff and his wife will be here later in the week. Jeff's in-laws live in Houston. Since Jeff and his wife are moving back to Alabama they will stop by during their move. Jeff and I have some things in common. We both have lived in Alabama and we both are Crimson Tide fans. They recently sold their house in Phoenix and will be moving near Birmingham. He misses Alabama and his wife is lucky enough to be able to transfer to a job there. They won't be here long since they are on the move.

Jan is another story. She will fly in here tomorrow evening. Of course the weather will be rainy the whole time of her visit. When Jimmy IM'd her about the weather, her comment was that she'd be on the plane the whole time stuck on hold. Well...she might be delayed as things go. I just hope that Jimmy will be able to take a couple of days off. He has not had a vacation in over six years. His usual statement about taking a vacation is "too much work..." I don't really know anything about Jan. According to Jimmy, she likes coffee and wine. Well, that makes two things we both like. She is a CPA with a firm in the Washingtion, DC area. That just makes my head hurt. Of course taxes make my head hurt! She has some good clients I guess. Since I know really nothing about Jan, I feel a little like this is a blind date. What do we talk about? If Jimmy can not get the time off, what will we do until she leaves on Friday? Only time will tell. Come to think of it I've never had a blind date. Guess I need to stock up on the wine. Cheers, chaps!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Exempt From the Rules? Abolish It!

Oh my, oh my. I almost choked when I heard this. The National Archives Information Security Oversite Office is charged by presidential order with insuring the proper handling of classified information of the executive branch agencies. So Henry Waxman says that Vice President Cheney should be subject to this order. This is funny. Cheney says his office is not part of the executive branch so he is exempt. Waxman Questioned Cheney's office saying that it is could be a matter of national security if Cheney's office does not comply. So then Vice President Cheney apparently tried to have this office abolished. So what is going on? Is this just another fight between the Republican and Democratic parties? Or is Mr. Cheney correct and he and his office should be exempt? After all Mr Cheney has been, according to some, difficult and unco-operative in some things. This story has been around for a while so why is it being discussed now? I do question the idea of if someone in a high position would consider abolishing something because they don't want to adhere to an executive order. What next?

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

How Long is This Gonna Take?

Ever notice how much time we spend waiting? I'm sure that someone has put together a book of things which make us wait. As kids we can't wait until we are 16, then 21. When we are about to become parents it seems to take forever. Then we wonder if the children will ever grow up. We spend time waiting for the spouse to get dressed to go somewhere. We can control these things, sort of, maybe.

What about those things that we didn't realize would take so long. We all know that water on the stove won't boil until we are busy doing something else. Red lights seen to take forever to change. Traffic? What traffic? I've seen snails move faster than some of the traffic around here. How about the dryer? Why is it when you are in a hurry to put away the clothes, the dryer just keeps going. Leave the laundry room and the dryer will finish. For me that would mean another trip upstairs. So the other day I'm in the middle of laundry when I find myself waiting for the washer. I was downstairs when I heard the washing cycle change. I went up stairs ready to put the liquid softener in the rinse cycle. I wait and wait and wait. Why does it seem that the last few minutes take so long? Finally, the washer was ready for the softener. Back down stairs. Well, I guess I could call it exercise. Then the spin cycle starts. Finally after a while it's now almost through,I think. Back up the stairs, I find myself standing at the washing machine, watching and waiting. The spin cycle indicator shows that is almost at the end. The needle has moved nearly to the end. I continue to stand there as the washer continues to spin. Any minute now, right? It continues to spin. It is still spinning while I stand there tapping my fingers on the top of the machine. The indicator moves on and on. Why is it when I am not paying attention the wash will be done in no time. I will be in the middle of something and realize the washing machine stopped. Yet when I am standing right in front of the machine waiting, it spins forever. How long is this gonna take? Just as long as it takes for me to get involved in doing something else. If I go downstairs it will immediately stop. If I stand there it will keep going... So I wait. We're going to have a little contest here. I'm going to outwait this washing machine. Aw, man, now the phone is ringing.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

The Half Eaten Hamburger

I guess it won't be long before we get new neighbors across the walkway. I noticed a painting company vehicle in the parking lot a couple of days ago. Yesterday two separate company SUVs visited. Apparently someone looked at the apartment in the morning and another one looked at it in the afternoon.

I had not really given the visits much thought until I noticed two things. First they opened the patio window blinds. Then after the second visit someone decided not to finish the hamburger he was eating. How do I know this? When I came out the door to walk Daisy she ran right to something in my little garden area. When I looked to see what she had discovered, I was angered. Apparently one of the painters had decided that my little flower garden in front of my patio was a place to toss garbage. I wish I had seen that. Hey buddy, does my flower garden look like a garbage can to you? I find trash all the time along the side yard which borders the street. People just love to throw trash in the ditch as they drive down the street. But my garden? That is off limits! I picked up the offending item and took it to the street where some of the trash cans sit. It took my a long time to clean up the garden area because the previous tenant had let the airplane plants grow wild and cover the entire place. For some reason people in this area like to use these plants as borders and then forget about them. I finally got most of them out and I am growing a few flowers and caladiums. After all the digging and pulling I had to do to clean it up the last thing I want is for someone to throw trash in it. I know somethings will blow into it. But to just throw food in it because a person is too lazy to find a trash can is disgusting. I'm on to them now. The next time I find their stuff in my flower garden, they will be surprised to discover it has moved right in front of their faces! Like I used to tell my kids, "It's not nice to fool Mother Nature".

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

A Break is a Break, However Little

Yet another day in the city. It is so hot and humid that even the dogs are not begging to go outside. The little bit of lawn around our building is seeding. Lady and Daisy nearly disappear in the seed stalks as they walk around. Right now these seed stalks are almost up to my knees. That makes great fun for us, right?

The weather people keep reporting that we will not have rain. Then they hedge their statement by saying that some people on the east side of town are more likely to get rain, if it rains at all. Naturally I am in the northwest side. Now if I lived on the east or southeast side the weather people would have said that it would rain on the northwest side. I guess the day will be another rubber stamp Houston day. Late in the afternoon I went to check on my plants at the back of the building. I had planted some elephant ears next to the windows. I also have two tomato plants and a couple of bell, and sweet pepper plants in the middle of the yard. Man, I guess I will have to water them again. Then I heard a strange low rumble. Could that be? Not a chance, no way. Wait a minute, that big heavy black thing is a storm cloud. I remember those. Rain? Could it? Nah, it will probably just go around like it usually does. Back inside, I say down to watch the news. I heard a rumble. Daisy began to bark. She must have thought someone was at the door.

Daisy stood at the door barking. I tried to covince her to stop. After all it was just thunder. I tried to tell her that no-one was at the door. Yet she still stood there anticipating company. After a few minutes of barking she got her wish. Company had come to visit. The wet kind of company. She used to bark at thunderstorms when she was a puppy. I guess she had forgotten about that.

As I looked out to the patio I saw how wet the walkway was and noticed that the water was pouring off the roof next door. This makes a very deep rumbling noise. Yes! Rain had indeed come to visit. Thankful for the small favor, I thought to myself I won't have to water the plants. Better yet, the temperature fell to a tolerable level. It was a nice break for about an hour or so. I won't complain. A break is a break, right? Now if I could just teach Daisy to bark for rain again.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Alone Again, Naturally

So went the lyrics of a long forgotten song. Here I sit by myself in the early morning. Jimmy had to go back to Round Rock, near Austin to do some more work there. We got up around 4 am and he left about 5 am. Amanda left for work around 6:30, I don't know what time she will come home.

I love the early morning. Guess I'm just a sunrise kind of girl. I'm not much for late nights but I like early mornings. When we were renting a house I used to sit on the patio sometimes in the early morning. There is just something about having a cup of coffee waiting for the birds to wake up. First I would here the cardinals, then the doves,next the sparrows and then the blue jays had to get into the act. Irritating creatures they are. Sunrise and birds songs before the rush begins to end the quiet.

But here I have discovered totally different songs of the morning. While upstairs, I can hear the neighbors in the front of the building opening and closing doors and drawers as well as either their tv or radio. I wonder if they hear our tv. Downstairs I hear the activity in the kitchen as they get ready for work. As I sit in the chair checking the news on tv, I hear the shower running in Amanda's bathroom. Does she really use that much water? As I flip through the tv channels I am made more aware that the rest of the area is in motion. I hear the cars and occasional scream of police cars or fire equipment. That really makes walking the dogs a challenge. Being really close to those sirens is painful to my ears.

So, I have a free day. I won't have to fix supper. I can flip tv channels to my heart's content. I won't have to listen to the constant sound of the poker game on the computer since Jimmy won't be home to play it. I won't have to wait for him to finish his tournament before eating supper. Oh wait! I don't have to fix supper at all! I can sit here at the computer all day if I feel like it. I still will have to take the dogs out. They just don't seem to want to walk themselves. Daisy has yet to figure out that the caged rabbit sitting in the back is not for her enjoyment. The neighbors on the other side of us got the rabbit for Easter. Poor rabbit. Oh well. It should be a nice quiet day. I'm thinking of turning off the phone ringer. That way I won't have to listen to the people who want to talk to Amanda. They never want to give her a message anyway. Now if Time Warner would just stop calling my cell phone. Sure salesmen have to earn a living too. I think I'll have another cup of coffee and enjoy the quiet for a while. It will be a quiet couple of days as I have the time to be alone again, naturally.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Let Me fan myself while I Complain

I am beginning to think my ex-neighbors had the right idea. I hope it is cooler there. I walk out the front door and am hit with the humidity. This is at 6 o'clock in the morning! The temperature has not yet gone up much past 85.Sigh. Well I once heard that the humid climate here is good for the skin. Who said that? I don't wear much in the way of makeup, so I have to wonder about all the women who wear a lot of it. Seen a woman with makeup melting? Alice Cooper is the look. Summer has not even appeared here yet. No, let me correct myself. Here there is Summer and a few minutes of Spring and Fall. That's it. The calendar say it is not Summer yet. I see that right there on the calendar on the wall as it curls up in the kitchen.

No wonder "Gone With the Wind" was so long. Margaret Mitchell had to use the pages as fans. I grew up before central air conditioning was in every home. This not good for a Southern Belle. Now, let me see, which witch melted in the "Wizard of Oz". I'm going to look into my freezer. Maybe I'll move there.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Over-reacting or a Sign of the Times

There once was a time when I knew one thing for certain. The mail would come, usually with bills. I could always expect that somewhere between 11:00am and 5:30pm the little old mail truck would swing by my mailbox. It was almost comforting to know they were coming. Sometimes I felt that I could almost tell what time it was because of when the mail came. Once in a while a truck would break down or for some unknown reason the mail would be very late. Since being in Houston I can say, other than during Allison, the mail got to it's appointed rounds. I only had a couple of occasions when the mail was delivered after 5:00 in the afternoon. That is until now. All this week our mail has been coming later and later. One day it was after 6:00pm when it came. Then it continued to get later. One day I checked and finally got the mail around 7:30 after walking to the mailbox nearly every hour since 2 in the afternoon. Yesterday the mail finally came after 8:30 at night.

Maybe there is a new mailperson running the route. Maybe the truck broke down again and again. Maybe equipment at the substations was not working. Maybe the US Postal Service doesn't have enough employees to handle the load of a growing city like Houston. I don't know. Maybe I am just hypersensitive. Maybe it is a sign of the times. Yet another government service that is falling down on it's responsibilities. I should remain positive. I will surely get my mail by 4:00pm today, or maybe 9:00pm.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

They DO Have a Pulse

I have not watched an Astros game all the way through this year. For the most part they have been depressing. It seems to be the same annual story. No offense and sometimes shakey pitching. At times the team has made me want to take a nap. I'm not saying they are boring, but I have seen these games before. Flashes of brilliance combinded with hours of dullness.

The Astros are a team with nice people. The manager is a laid back kind of guy. Rarely do they have cross words with anyone. In the past if there were problems or a player thought others were not performing up to standards, meetings were behind closed doors. The Astros are not a team that is going to have players fighting with each other in the dugout, especially while cameras are rolling like the Cubs did recently.

Last night's game looked like another so-so game. Then things changed. Lance Berkman hit a sixth inning double which gave the Astros a 2-1 lead against the Rockies. In the eighth inning Berkman thought he had drawn a two out walk. But the third base Umpire said he was out after a checked swing call. He usually happy,smiling Berkman Yelled "No Way!" from the first base line. Oops! Then he really go mad and was ejected from the game. Clearly frustrated, Berkman did something I have never seen him do. First he threw his gloves, then he threw an equipment bag onto the field. Berkman was clearly very angry.

Then the situation continued to get ugly as the Rockies reliever Manuel Corpas hit Carlos Lee with a fastball to start the ninth inning. I guess you could say that Lee and Corpas weren't happy because obvious angry words were exchanged as Lee went to first. Then Phil Garner was ejected. Benches emptied. What was really funny was the Rockies bullpen players. By the time they managed to get to the field the fight was over.

The Astros are currently 9 games under 500. This is not good. Obviously this year has not started well for them. The team frustration came to a head and maybe got the Astros blood boiling. At least they still have a pulse. After in 2005 they were given up for dead, then went to the World Series. Sometimes the "Good Guys" just have to get into a fight. Wake up Guys- you do have a pulse. Time to get moving!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

So That's Why They Were Bad

There is a story in the news this morning about children of divorce and use of Ritalin. According to a study done in Canada, children from broken marriages are twice as likely to be prescribed Ritalin as children whose parents did not divorce. Maybe I should have used that excuse when my kids were little. They are not being bad, they need to be on Ritalin. And all this time I thought it was me.

The researchers started the study in 1994. This study was of more than 4,700 children whose families were intact. The study followed the children and their families to see what happened over the years. They were especially interested in what drugs were prescribed.They apparently found that more that more than 6 percent of children from divorced families were prescribed Ritalin, while only 3 percent of children of families who stayed together needed Ritalin.

According to University of Alberta professor Lisa Strohschein, "It shows clearly that divorce is a risk factor for kids to be prescribed Ritalin. Yeah kids have a hard time when parents divorce. Maybe the parents should have been put on Ritalin. So many times parents stay together for the sake of the kids. I know this first hand.

So, since those of us who have had kids and been divorced now have to deal with the idea that the public looks at us as a problem. What I thought was just bad adjust ment to the divorce should have been diagnosed as a problem which required Ritalin?

All this time I just thought my kids did not pay attention to me on purpose. I just thought they were being average bratty kids. Should I have taken them to the doctor and had him put them on Ritalin? Nah, just a few times being grounded worked just as well. Next time I remember some of the trouble they all got into as kids, I'll just tell myself they should have been on Ritalin. Personally, I think my kids were just being kids. Then again, maybe I could use a new excuse for their behavior when they were kids. So what about now? Can I say if they have issues now, it is because they didn't get Ritalin as a kid? I think the jury is still out on this survey.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Well That Just Makes Me Crabby.

This morning I had a few things to do. Naturally this means getting in the car to go from place to place. First of all, a guy switches lanes into mine nearly causing an accident. Good thing I wasn't on the phone! Then another driver decided to pass the semi but forgot to look where traffic was, or should I say me. Just another day in the wonderful city. I was still irritated because the Astros lost (again) last night. Well at least we are getting a good laugh at Roger Clemens expense. Who me? Nah. Finally I go to the grocery store for a couple of things. Jimmy needs more nosedrops. So why can I only find nasal spray? But what really upset me was that when I got to the check out stand I lost 20 dollars. I had a 20, 10 and a one in my pocket. I had all in my hand when I handed the cashier $11 for my purchases. Somehow my twenty dollar bill took flight. Naturally it did not stay on the floor or where it was for long. Why me? So now, knowing how far(or not so far) a twenty goes these days I was angry with myself. This is not a good time to be short of money. Crap! Maybe the person who found it needs it more than I do. I hope so. I sure would hate to see my hard earned money go to waste. Now I am going to sit down and wallow in self-pity and ice cream. What a day!

Friday, June 01, 2007

North to Alaska

Talk about a long road trip. Our neighbors across the way left last night to move to Alaska. They have been having yard sales for the past several weeks to make extra money for the move. They sold just about everything they own. Furniture and tv's, etc. He works for U-Haul. You'd think U-Haul would give them a discount but they are going to have to pay just like everybody else when they move what little they are taking.

Why are they moving? Getting away from the noise, traffic, crime, etc in Houston is their reason. They visited Alaska on vacation once and decided to move there. Personally I dont think there is enough liquor in the world to make me move with two little kids, a dog, and a pregnant wife. Moving across town would not be a problem, but eight days cramped all together on the road to Alaska? Must be because they are young. Both of them are under thirty. She's only twenty-four with a 4 year old and a 3 year old. Never mind that she is 6 months pregnant with another little one.

Then we have the puppy, a pitt mix named Angel. Is she really going to be an angel on this trip? I dont think they have any doggie diapers so who knows how many times they will have to stop to let the dog out.

They left after midnight last night. I know they think the kids will be easier to deal with if they travel at night. I have a news flash for them. A kid can will wake up and find a McDonald's two miles away. "I'm hungry daddy" will be something said over and over and over. Kids have radar when it comes to fast food. An adult may not see it but a kid can spot those "golden arches" from anywhere.

So off to Alaska they went. Prospecting for a new future in the wide open (cold) spaces of the wilds of Alaska. They plan to live in a small town near Anchorage. I guess traveling for over a week one way to a strange place is ok for some people. Some people just live for adventure. Let's see,husband with pregnant hormones raging wife, two little kids asking a million questions over and over, and a young dog along for the ride and everything they own going to Alaska. Yup that has all the makings of the road trip from Hell. Think I'll go get another cup of coffee now.