Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Wicked Awesome Poem Wednesday

The Nebula

Before I slept, I saw the nebula
of your ashes swirl in the sea
and smash into stars on the sand.
For hours after I hunted the shore
listening for your voice in shells
that went mute in my hand.
When I begged the sea for your face
the fog came in.

Now you surface in my sleep.
Hoarse cries sound in the bay of my ear.
You chip my eyes with rock
and lids split open like mussel shells.
I see you floating on the swell
and spill, crowned with kelp
and sleek as the sea itself
you preen and dive and glide.
I am honored beyond song.

-Katherine Doak

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Back in the Saddle

Aah, where to begin?  Let's see, I put an offer on my new home at the end of March, but, because it was in probate, wasn't able to close on it until early June, which was excruciating. In the meantime, the Bruins won the Stanley Cup!!!!  BOO YAH!!

Once the house was mine Mom and Dad moved into it and did extensive work (painting, electrical, etc.) while I stayed in the apartment a few blocks over and worked.

Once I was able to move in (isn't it adorable?!? and built like a brick shithouse, let me tell you), I was finally (FINALLY!!!) able to get the four-leggeds shipped out ... 366 days after leaving them behind in MO.

I was so nervous that they wouldn't recognize me! But they all did, immediately, so that was cool. There were a few issues, in that the girls were no longer house-trained (we had to go through crate-training again) and one of the cats was deathly ill (Vonnie was hospitalized but is all better now). Oh! And the yard wasn't fenced in for about the first 3-4 weeks they were here, so I spent many, many, hours walking the girls around the house.

Nope, not the block ... the house. They'd always been fenced in, and weren't all that well leash-trained (yes, we were that comical troupe of walkees and walker entangled every which way possible in leashes and legs and leaping dogs) ... so we didn't venture much further than the curb at first, and by the time I was comfortable taking them around the block, the fence was finally installed.

And what a fenced-in area! Four times the size of the dog run in MO, with a HUGE 50 year old Sugar Maple smack dab in the middle, and a 12' paved section with a dog house, and a 5' berm leading up to the neighbor's back yard, and two gates (we'll get back to the gates later). 

They. LOVE. It.

It's now December 17th and I can count one hand the number of days the girls have spent indoors while I've been at work. Cold doesn't bother them, sun doesn't phase them, they scoff at rain ... it's really just active snow they don't enjoy (so our first snow just had ot be sticky). I try to get them to come in on days I think the weather will be imclement, but they rarely pay attention so end up outside for the day.

I was worried the neighbors would hate them, because our old neighborhood in MO was dogville ... almost every household had at least one dog. Here, I am one of four households (out of 12) with dogs. And the girls are definite watch  dogs. And people who are bothered by barking dogs are REALLY bothered by barking dogs.

But I lucked out (again) because my neighbors love the girls (they're Labs ... it's tough not to love 'em) and appreciate them barking at strangers. It's a close-knit block, so that's good. And now the girls are house trained again, so they have beds of their own.

The traffic here is an all-out nightmare; it's pretty much bumper-to-bumper all the time. It's so bad they open the breakdown lane to traffic during rush hour. I counted almost a three week stretch where there was an accident every day. Every. Day. These people can't drive!

This house is much smaller than my old one in MO, and doesn't have the storage space, so I went out to Craigs List and found a bunch of pieces of furniture that has helped. In one Saturday afternoon fell swoop I got two new (to me) hutches, dressers with mirrors,and book cases ... as well as a diningroom table and chairs set, and an entertainment center. Now all I have to do is finish unpacking boxes from the move.

We knew the house wasn't suffuciently insulated, so a few weeks ago everybody came over and the guys (Dad, brothers, and nephews) insulated both my attic and my basement.

The difference is unbelievable! This house is so toasty warm it's just not funny.

And I've had a couple adventures, most notably being Wednesday of the week before last, when I got home from work after dark and discovered the back gate open and the girls gone ... on a day they were not wearing their collars. I was devastated ... nothing like this has ever happened before! Gate was wide open, yet still padlocked.

In the course of my search I learned a great many things: 1) the girls escaped 10 minutes after I left that morning; 2) they played with the neighborhood kids on the way to school; 3) no-one could catch them; 4) many people tried; 5) a lot more people know who I am (and where I live) than I do them ... and they all love the girls; 6) the girls ran round the neighborhood visiting the other dog homes for hours; 7) none of my neighbors had my number to call; and 8) the girls are travelers, as they were picked up by Animal Control the next town over ... at noon.  But because they didn't have collars, no one knew who they were.

So I spent that Wednesday night looking for the girls (until 4:15am) and going bonkers thinking the worst. I called my local Animal Control and Police ... they hadn't collected any dogs that day (now I was REALLY worried); so then I called and emailed the neighboring Animal Control officers.

I went up to the grade school the next morning, because the school was the last place anyone remembered seeing them, and just as I parked the car the phone rang. Next town's Animal Control had picked them up the day before and brought them ... get this ... to my vet. MY. VET. Which is where the next town houses it's strays.

So I beat the odds and got my babies back, and now they wear collars all the time, and I've chained and bungeed the gates to supplement the locks.  Also figured out Boogie popped the gate in the first place by lunging at it.  She's tried a couple more times that I've seen, but can't budge the extra precautions.

Then last week I made sweet potato casserole for the office Christmas party, and Saturday noticed the kitchen sinks wouldn't drain. Enter the plunger. No dice. Call plumber. Snaked the drain, all is well again.

And that's where we are now. Since things are finally calming down at work, I'm hoping to start back up on the blogging ... this time around so the folk I left out in MO can keep up on my shenanigans (at least, waht they don't read about in facebook!).

Monday, May 30, 2011

In Memoriam for Those Who Have Fallen for Our Freedoms

A Take on Blake's "Jerusalem" - Elizabeth Moon

This for the friends we had of old,
Friends for a lifetime's love and cheer.
This for the friends who come no more,
Who cannot be among us here.

We'll not forget, while we're alive,
These hallowed dead, these deeds of fame.
Where they have gone, we follow soon
Into the darkness and the flame.

Then we shall rise, our duty done,
Freed from all pain and sorrow here, 
We'll leave behind ambition's sting
And keep alive our honor dear.

And they will stand beside us then
All whom we loved and hoped to see
And they shall sing, a glad AMEN,
To cheer that final victory.

Bring me my bow of burning gold
Bring me my arrows of desire
Bring me my ship — O clouds unfold
Bring me my chariot of fire.

We shall not cease our faithful watch
Nor shall the sword sleep in our hand
Till we have gone beyond the stars
To join that fair immortal band.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

BOUGHT!!! (Well, Almost Bought)

Hello again.  Been so long since I last posted regularly that I'm having trouble remembering how to do it.  Well, that and the changes to Blogger that I haven't had a chance to dig into.  In a nutshell:
  • Put an offer on a house in MA and, after a wee bit of haggling, Seller accepted.
  • Roof failed inspection ... asked Seller to replace and, after a(nother) wee bit of haggling, Seller accepted most of the cost.
  • Been quite merrily painting and repainting pictures of the rooms in my soon-to-be-new house via various you-paint-it websites.
  • Making a list of things to do to the new house ... now to the tune of more than I've offered for house in the first place!  Not really, but you catch my drift.
  • Am waiting in unadulterated glee for house to be mine so I can get in there and fix it up and have a fence installed so I can get my babies back from friends who are caring for them in MO (I really, REALLY miss them!).
  • With any luck am rounding out the worst best year of my life on a positive note, as things just keep getting better and better.
That's it for now; will post pictures as soon as it's all presentable!

Sunday, December 19, 2010


Okay, so I KNOW it's been a r*e*a*l*l*y long time since my last blog, but I've been Busy.  Incredibly Busy (hence the capital "B").  So Busy, in fact, that I've neglected la isla d'lisa horribly.  So I figured I'd give you a quick update.

Best news first: sold my house!  YAY!!  Closing January 5th.  SO HAPPY!  Not perfect, because selling price ended up being less than I paid seven years ago ... but good, still, because it's more than I owe, so I'll have something for a down payment on a new place to call home.

My lovely home was on the market slightly more than 4 months ... pretty much sucked.  I love that place.  Cannot for the life of me figure out why it took so long for someone else to fall in love with it.  Not very many people in the market this time of year, housing market taking a huge hit, foreclosures increasing, I get it, yada yada yada.  So listing price dropped.  Dropped again.  And again.  And finally that last time.  Sigh.

But someone new does now love my baby, so it's all good.  I hope they're a young family just starting out; but even if they're not, that's cool.  So long as they love that house, that's all I ask. 

So I'm setting up to bring Vonnie and Duders back East with me after the closing ... Boogie and Kaia will be awhile longer, because I'm in a loft right now and, although they allow dogs, not large breeds.  Labs, especially these two big galumphs, certainly qualify as too large for this place.

With the new job I've been putting in 12-plus hours a day for five months now.  Five. Months.  FIVE.  Since July 26th.  Do you know how much that sucks?

Very much.

And most weekends (and holidays) either going into the plant or working from home (until 2:30am this morning, in fact ... then starting up again before noon).  Made worse by the fact that every day, when I finally do drag myself back to whichever temporary housing I'm in (e.g., hotel #1, hotel #2, apartment, hotel #3, or loft), I have no babies to snuggle, and I love me a good doggy or kitty snuggle while watching the boob tube.

No Duders underfoot every moment I'm in the house, tripping me up everywhere I go (I don't tend to look down much).  No Vonnie setting up stealth attacks from the top of the refigerator, or the tv, or the armoire ... or from under the bed, sofa, or desk.  No Kaia happier to see me than anyone else in the whole wide world, and equally happy I've moved into another room, and equally happy I've let her up on the bed, and positively gleeful I've let her out, and in, and out again ... displaying said glee to all the world by bouncing up and down on both front legs.  No Boogie pretending to ignore me but somehow ending up in whichever room I am headed toward before I get there, quickly checking out the area and giving me a quick doggie kiss on the hand before moving off to her throne ... er, couch ... in the kitchen.

Man do I miss them!  But not for much longer.

And not having anything that is mine ... the first two hotels, then the temporary apartment for three months (fully furnished, but not my stuff), then moving into the 3rd hotel for a week (I had accumulated enough stuff in three months at the apartment that it completely filled the truck ... well, actually Mom, Dad, and I had brought enough stuff back from MO on various trips back-and-forth that it completely filled the truck), and now in the loft, with, you guessed it, rented furniture.  Well, I've bought some of my own that will be delivered next week, so at least I can really feel at home.

That last full week I was in MO, wrapping things up at the KS plant, I had put an ad on Craig's List giving away free furniture Saturday morning ... and within five minutes got my first call.   

In a little less than six hours I had given away most of a house and then some ... complete master bedroom set (bed, bureau, dresser/mirror, end table), kitchen (table and chairs, microwave, Foreman grill, shelving unit), Living room set (sofa, chair, coffee table, end tables), television, bags of clothes, etc.

I figure it's good karma, especially hearing the stories of some of these folk; the family of five who's dad was on disability, the stay-at-home mom trying to keep within a strict budget, the single mom freshly escaped from an abusive relationship who's brother saw the ad and sent her over with their mom to pick up everything that was left (she had run from her creep with her kids and little else).  It's kind of an awesome feeling helping people out, you know? 

I highly recommend it.

And work, which has been extremely long-houred, is getting better under control, with the installation of new systems that will make for far few manual processes (yay!).

So that's pretty much it in a nutshell.  I promise to post a little more often, seeing as even though I am now "back home" with the rest of you, I've not been able to see many of you very often yet (this will change once we've got all our new systems up and running at the plant).

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Oh Maaaaan ... Bummer

They canceled My Boys.  Fuckers.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Not Enough Time in a Day ...

Okay, so ... I'm moving.  One of the reasons I haven't been bloggerating much in such awhile.  Terrific and great things have been happening!!  For reals, people.

But also crazy-making-with-the-busy things.

So, getting the house ready for market (how serendipitous is it that the siding just got done? very, that's how) with just a shit-ton of help from Mom and Dad, without whom this whole thing would be virtually impossible.  Im. Paw. Sibb. Bull.

And training two folk at old job in taking over my duties (yeah, I think it's funny that it will take two people to do it, too!).

And learning my new job from the dude who is doing it now (while navigating the minefield that is internal politics at a new job).

And going back and forth between the two jobs in the meantime.

And having all expenses paid, but not really, because they're really reimbursed and oh-by-the-way-did-you-know-that-means-you-need-a-credit-card?

Which I do not have.  For a reason.  Which I do not want.


Then there's the truck, and the friend who got in an accident while using it last week.  Right in the middle of my needing it desperately.  The friend who hit a parked car with it.  The friend who only has liability insurance (which, to be fair, is all I have, too, so I really should just shut up).  The friend who also doesn't have the funds to pay for the relatively expensive repairs to my truck (my poor truck ... I love that thing!).

And the ... ahem, choose your own adjectve here ... insurance agent who apparently didn't understand when I told him last week to make SURE he cared for the party who's parked car was hit (all I need is some kind of lawsuit over that), since he called me today to let me know that the party is getting pretty upset her car hasn't been looked at and she's got a rental she's paying for herself.


Did I not tell you to take care of her?

"Oh, well yeah, but I thought you meant try to get friend's insurance to cover it, and I haven't been able to get her to answer her phone."

NO!!  Get it taken care of!!! 

Sheesh.  That poor so-and-so with the smashed car.  Can you imagine?  I mean really!  For crying out loud ... I'm fully covered in that respect: car repairs, rental while car is out of service, injury (thank goodness there weren't any!), the whole nine.  I can't believe this guy.

He also keeps telling me on and off that friend's insurance will pay for repairs to my truck, then no that it won't, then yes that it will, then no it won't ...


Antway, lots of travel lately, and hotel stays, and company, and trying to figure out how on Earth I accumulated so much junk?!  And does anyone want any of it?  Please?  Got a full walnut bedroom set here, and a living room set, and a butcherblock kitchen set ... it's like I have a duplicate house! 

And the books!  It is so hard to get rid of any!  I once gave my entire book collection away (to my old school) and have regretted it ever since, as I truly loved some of those books and have never been able to find replacements.

So this time around I am in full-on agita just thinking about losing some.  Although I did go through them and came up with a carton that I can (gasp!) live without.

But I can't just throw them away!  They're BOOKS!!!  We don't throw away books!!  We can't!!  So I'm thinking of dumping them in the book return at the local library.  Is that lame?  I can't tell.

I've taken photos of most of the stuff I'm not taking, to see if anyone at work wants it ... if not, I guess it's Salvation Army or something.  I mean, it's all good stuff, I'm simply downsizing.  Perhaps there's a yard sale in my future after all! 

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wicked Awesome Poem Wednesday

She Walks in Beauty

She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that's best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellow'd to that tender light
Which Heaven to gaudy day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impair'd the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o'er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
How pure, how dear their dwelling place.

And on that cheek, and o'er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!

-Lord George Gordon Byron

Friday, July 16, 2010

RIP Madeleine, 1995-2010

I am bone-crushingly tired and just plain worn out. It's been crazy these past few weeks; a real roller coaster of emotions and stressors. And today I am just worn out.

First thing this morning I headed up to the vet's to say goodbye to my sweet little Maddie, who was simply the most lovable little thing I've ever known. This was supposed to happen last night after work, but some complete asshat got in an accident and the traffic was terrible and I was late. I guess. I mean, they were supposed to be there until 6:30, yet I arrived at 6:18 to a dark and closed-up-tighter-than-a-drum animal hospital.

Which completely set me off on a crying jag, as my sweet little kitty now had to spend yet another night caged and funnel-collared, alone in a scary place.

Anyway, I went up this morning and they brought her to me, and I tucked her up on my shoulder, under my chin, and petted and soothed her until she relaxed, recognized me, and started up with the purring. Smelling of sickness and urine - but underneath that, of herself. I breathed deeply of her one last time; we had ourselves a confab for a bit, then Awesome Doc came in and sedated Mads. She fell deeply asleep in my arms, sighing into it one last time, while I put the pats on her the entire time.

Then came the final shot to the heart, and it was over just like that.

I'd had Maddie fifteen years ... rescued her from the ASPCA in Edison, NJ, back in 1995, when she was about 6 months old. She'd been picked up after having been hit by a car in the dead of Winter. Lost most of her tail and the tips of her ears to frostbite. I had been recruited to adopt her because she was too ugly (!!! I ask you, look at that picture and tell me, was she ugly?!? NO!! she was ADORABLE) and had been there a few months with no interested parties (she was said to be feral).

Of course I took her! Benny and Joey were three, and we had recently lost our rescued Persian, Tia, to some incurable unknown horror show. I knew the boys would be fine with another feline ... just didn't know how long it would take this newbie to warm up.

Got her home, prepped the bedroom for her (rule of thumb for introducing new cats: keep them separated in their own room a week, allowing for interaction under the door with the rest of the pets) ... she would have none of it and had escaped into the living room with the boys within the hour. Within a half hour, really.

They fell in love with her right away. No hissing. No spitting (from any of them). From then on, if one cat was sleeping anywhere, the other two were piled around. Maddie never once exhibited typical feral cat behavior: she loved people and attention immediately, and was extremely vocal right from the start.

She moved to RI with me, then out here to MO, and I was fully planning on taking her back home to New England with me, but it was not to be.

And maybe that's okay. All the kitty-siblings she came out here with (Benny, Joey, and Annie, our adopted barn cat) have died here in MO ... my Maddie's spirit certainly will not be lonely!

It's just the shock of it all ... I had plenty of time to prepare for both Benny and Joey, who had thyroid issues that slowly burned them out. Annie was sudden and completely unexpected. But Maddie was fine; she's never been sick a day in her life, and only ever been to the vet to be spayed 11 years ago. I went on vacation and when I came back ten days later she was gravely ill. Gravely. Hadn't eaten, scabs all over her body, pulling her own fur out in an effort to scratch some itch.

The first hospitalization seemed to go well; she got steroids and antibiotics and started eating and talking at me. She was home three days, going strong, then just stopped eating on the fourth day.

While taking steroids ... which should have made her ravenous. She weighed 7.2 lbs last week, and 6.5 lbs yesterday. Almost a 10% weight loss. In a week. When she should have gained weight. With all the tests and whatnot, Awesome Doc couldn't figure it out. Said she's only seen something like it once before, and hadn't ever figured that out either.

The second hospitalization did not go so well. They had to put the funnel collar on her, she was digging into her belly so bad. They had to hydrate her sub-q, because she started vomiting everything she drank. They tried to feed her, but she wasn't interested. And still all her tests came back negative, with only a slightly elevated white blood count.

I feel guilty. If I weren't moving back to New England shortly, I may have had Awesome Doc try more. But. I couldn't bring Maddie with me into temporary housing like I had planned - she'd not have survived the trip. And I couldn't leave her here under a sitter's care - that's asking too much, and the sitter didn't notice a problem the first time around (not her fault ... two dogs and four cats are difficult to watch when they're not yours and you don't know everything about them). And I can't afford to hospitalize her.

I couldn't stand the thought of her steadily getting worse; I knew my responsibility to this little one I have cherished, and that wasn't to turn my back on a difficult situation and hope it went away.

So I said goodbye to my little cat this morning, and I'm feeling blue. As my big brother said, it's been a rough year for cats over here. But I'm positive Joey met her at the Gate, and took her off in search of Ben and Annie. They're all sharing one huge succulent salmon right about now. Or maybe roast beef ... the kids did so love roast beef.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Wicked Awesome Poem Wednesday

Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

-Dylan Thomas

My Passing Familiarity with "Bittersweet"

This has been a strange few weeks, with some absolutely awesome things happening, and some terrifically hidious things happening, all kind of rolled up in some oh-my-word-I-am-so-effin-TIRED.

So. Not very long ago a friend in the business asked if I was still interested in moving back home to New England. I replied in the affirmative, and explained the various places I've been looking for work.

He had an Inside Scoop, and passed his contact to me. Who I promptly called and e-mailed. She forwarded my info to the hiring person, who seemed shall we say less than interested in the wonder that is me.

I know! Right? What was she thinking?!?!

Anywho, I advised I'd be in the area on vacation and quite happy to come in for an interview. No response.

In the meantime, colleagues, unbeknownst to me, were giving an earful as to the wonder that is me (thought I was just kidding about that, didn't you?). So then it was on. Can I just say "YAY!" right here?


I fly back home Friday night, and my SIL picks me up at the airport. On the drive we get a phone call: my 99 year old Nam, my last surviving grandparent, had passed. The Absolute Suckage.

Two days later, 80-plus loved ones got together for an all day celebration of Mom's and Dad's 50th wedding anniversary. It. Was. Spectacular. I was worried that Dad would have a really hard time of it but, as Aunt Sue pointed out: the family was all together. What a perfect time to have such concrete evidence of the love and support of everyone.

Three days after that I go on the interview. It. Was. Awesome. I wanted that job so much I could smell it. And I was offered it on the spot, with the official letter to come in two days.

Yeah, that day arrives (Friday before the long holiday weekend) and no offer letter. Nooooo! Now I have to sit all (long) weekend and wait for it! Will it be enough money? Will there be relocation? Temporary housing? What? What!!

On the 4th we have our annual reunion on the island, with 44 attendees this year. So fun!! Then I fly back West to work Tuesday morning. Still no offer, and no explanation as to the delay.

That's what bothered me the most: being left in the dark.

So, I get home from my 10 day vacation around 7pm Tuesday night, only to find my 15 year old cat Maddie gravely ill. I tell you I lost it, right then and there. My poor girl obviously hadn't eaten the entire time I was gone, and her entire body was encrusted with some kind of skin rash.

She crept out from under the bed on unsteady legs and collapsed on the floor next to me. She couldn't get up on the bed; could barely stand, actually, and had crusty scabs over 80% of her body.  The 20% without scabs was because she had no fur at all and the skin was clammy and fire-engine red. WTF? I pulled out a jar of baby food, and she devoured a spoonful. I waited an hour to see if she'd sick-up and, when she didn't, gave her another spoonful.

She ate half the jar (which is tiny) and collapsed in exhaustion. She kept waking up all night and snuggling into my shoulder like she was amazed I was really there. I fed her 1/4 of a can of cat food the next morning and ran her up to the vet (the Awesome Doctor Laura) who decided on the spot to keep her overnight.

I don't get it; I've been going back home twice a year for the past 10 years and she's never had a problem. I thought this was stress, but a week later she's back at the vet, dehydrated and with a 10% weight loss while on steroids. Makes no sense, as steroids make pets ravenously hungry and thirsty.

Anyway, while I've been going through Maddie concerns in the week I've been back here in Misery (she's up all night, vocalizing, which means yours truly is also waking up, all night, listening ... last night I actually slept in the spare bedroom so I could sleep through the night), I've also been going crazy over the (possible) new job.

I finally called hiring manager Wednesday to ask after the offer letter, which I had by the end of the day. For much less than I expected. Way less. As in, effectively a cut in pay less. But an awesome relo package.

But too little to actually live on, seeing as there's a 20% delta in cost-of-living.

So I crafted, with the tremendous help of Dad, my counteroffer and shot it off Thursday. And waited for a response.

And waited.

And waited.  Until Monday. Which was supposed to have been my start date.

So I called hiring manager, who was headed into a meeting and asked if she could call me back in an hour. Which didn't happen.

So I called back yesterday, we hammered out the pay issue, and she sent a revised offer letter.

But wait. Someone in the upper echelons has to confirm my years of service (this is a sister company) and health benefits will transfer with no breaks. Well, my HR thinks so, but can't be held to it; refer to hiring manager, who thinks so, but can't be held to it; refer to hiring HR, who thinks so, but has only been on the job three weeks so needs to investigate.

Needless to say, I stipulated to the bridge-in-service in my acceptance letter.

And now, it looks like tomorrow morning on the way into work I will be stopping at the veterinarian's to cuddle my dear sweet Mads as Awesome Doc administers the drug (they just cannot get a handle on what is wrong with her or why, and she's not reacting as expected to antibiotics or steroids; her eyes are now slits due to crust and light sensitivity and she's got even more encrustations all over that aren't clearing up). Sigh. This f'n sucks.

So: Nam passed, wonderful 50th anniversary, job interview, wait for job offer, wonderful 4th of July, wait for job offer, discover very sick cat, wait for job offer, get low-ball job offer, submit counter-offer, wait for response, cat gets worse, get revised job offer, very sick cat, wait for HR info, stressed out/no sleep.

Now have to get actual start date, temporarily farm out (surviving) cats and dogs, sell house, pack belongings, store belongings, buy house, ship belongings, transport pets, etc. I'm exhausted, but am pretty sure I'm bordering on happy in there somewhere. Just can't feel it right now. Have I mentioned I'm exhausted? Poor Mom picked up the phone this morning and was ambushed by me bawling over Mads (thanks Mom, and sorry Mom!).

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Please, Please, Please Be Careful. Please!

My BFF texted last night, asking that we pray for the son of one of her sister's friends, who was seriously injured whilst playing with fireworks.  Apparently he ... all of 21 ... and a friend were taping a bunch of sparklers together with electrical tape to get a 'sparkler bomb' in an effort to get a bigger bang for their buck.

Something a lot ... and I mean A LOT ... of people do across the country this time of year.

He's lost his right hand (surgeon's amputated at the wrist) and has serious facial injuries and may well lose the vision in his right eye (some reports say he already has, but in actuality he can discern some colors right now) ... physicians are waiting until Tuesday to see how well it heals before they decide on a next step.

The type of eye injury he has, which involves blood in his cornea, is the same type many of our young soldiers are getting overseas, due to bomb concussion and/or phosphorus burns.  The best surgeons for this type of injury are also overseas, serving in the military, where they have gained experience treating soldiers.

Unfortunately, there aren't a lot of surgeons within the United States with the expertise required to save his vision, and they certainly aren't going to throw just any old surgeon on that job ... this, my friends, requires a specialist. Which we do not have. So we wait for his injury-wracked body to heal a bit on it's own, with the support of modern medicine. 

What happened? He and his friends were in the kitchen, working on this masterpiece together. And don't get me wrong; if this had worked, it would have been a masterpiece and everyone who enjoyed it would have sang out in glee and awe at the experience.

But instead they got a different experience, and the singing out in glee will be much delayed, and most likely much muted, and entirely dependent on how far and how quickly he recovers.

The blast, most likely due to friction that may have been caused by a drill, actually knocked an external wall three inches off the foundation. In all, three of the four people in the house at the time were injured, although his injuries are the most severe.

So here's where I'm going with this: please say a prayer for his recovery, or think good thoughts, or whatever it is you do in these situations. Please also tell this tale to that person (or people) you know who are planning a similar activity.

Don't rant and rave that it's a stupid thing to do, or that they ought to know better ... we all know this to be true, we all also know that just because it's true doesn't mean anyone really wants to hear it ... just remind them that friction, of any kind, does not mix well with explosives.

In fact, it kind of triggers the reaction that makes explosives so very ... um, explosive. At least of the fireworks variety.

And if that still hasn't convinced them ... hide the fireworks.

I mean really; this kids' parents are freaking devastated over this. Devastated. In that way you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy. It is truly horrific what has happened here.

His hand is gone. GONE. He may lose not only the vision in his eye, but the eye itself. The EYE. Witnesses told the local news crews that there was blood everywhere, and his lower jaw was gone. Holy crows, his JAW. GONE.

As my SIL's mom says, "It's all fun and games until somebody loses an eye."

Then shit gets real serious real fast.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Best Informational E-Mail from a Boss, EVARRR!

Date: Weds, 30 June 2010

From: Matt Rutledge (CEO –
To: All Woot Employees
Subject: Woot and Amazon

I know I say this every time I find a picture of an adorable kitten, but please set aside 20 minutes to carefully read this entire email. Today is a big day in Woot history. This morning, I woke up to find Jeff Bezos the Mighty had seized our magic sword. Using the Arthurian model as a corporate structure was something our CFO had warned against from the very beginning, but now that’s water under the bridge. What is important is that our company is on the verge of becoming a part of the dynasty. And our plans for Grail.Woot are on indefinite hold.

Over the next few days, you will probably read headlines that say “Matt Rutledge revealed to be monstrous pseudo-human creation of Jeff Bezos.” You might even see this photo making the rounds. Rest assured that these rumors have nothing to do with our final decision. We think now is the right time to join with Amazon because, quite simply, every company that becomes a subsidiary gets two free downloads until the end of July, and we very much need that new thing with Trent Reznor’s wife on our iPods.

Other than that, we plan to continue to run Woot the way we have always run Woot – with a wall of ideas and a dartboard. From a practical point of view, it will be as if we are simply adding one person to the organizational hierarchy, except that one person will just happen to be a billion-dollar company that could buy and sell each and every one of you like you were office furniture. Nevertheless, don’t worry that our culture will suddenly take a leap forward and become cutting-edge. We’re still going to be the same old bottom-feeders our customers and readers have come to know and love, and each and every one of their pre-written insult macros will still be just as valid in a week, two weeks, or even next year. For Woot, our vision remains the same: somehow earning a living on snarky commentary and junk.

We are excited about doing this for all sorts of reasons. One, our business model is so vague that there’s no way Amazon can possibly change what it is we’re truly doing: preparing the way for the rise of the Lava Men in 2012. Also, our deal means that Jason Toon will finally be released from that Mexican jail owned by Zappos honcho Tony Hsieh. No, don’t lie, Tony, we’ve seen the paperwork. And we need a powerful ally in case Steve Jobs finally breaks down and comes after us for all our Apple jokes over the years. Don’t think of it as a buyout; think of it as NATO!

I will go through each of the above points in more detail later, but first, let me get to the top 5 burning questions that I’m guessing many of you will have.


Q: F1RST!!!!
A: Okay, that’s not a question, but it is a good place to mention that our forums will still be policed by a team of moderators, as before. And also, Woot’s previous and always-in-effect privacy policy will still be just as always-in-effect, so don’t worry, there are no plans to suddenly give up or merge your forum data.

Q: Is Snapster leaving?
A: Are you kidding? He’s out the door about ten seconds after that check clea- that is to say, Snapster will continue as CEO, just like before, and the rest of our staff’s not going anywhere either. Woot and all our various sites will continue to be an independently operated company full of horrible, useless products and an untalented jerkface writing staff, same as it ever was.

Q: Will the Woot culture change?
A: Amazon is interested in us because they recognize the value of our people, our brand, and our unique style of deep-tissue, toxin-releasing massage. And they don’t want to start changing things now. Amazon’s hoping our nutty Woot steez continues to grow and develop (and perhaps even rubs off on them a little). They’re not looking to have their folks come in and run Woot unless we ask them to, which incidentally you can do by turning off the bathroom lights and saying the word “Kindle” three times; a helpful Amazon employee will appear in the mirror. That said, Amazon clearly knows what they’re doing in a lot of areas, so we’re geeked about the opportunities to tap into that knowledge and those resources, especially on the technology side. This is about making the Woot brand, culture, and business even stronger than it is today, and we expect that any changes will be for the better or we wouldn’t bother with this endless paperwork.

Q: Where can I get one of those vuvuzelas?
A: Are you even paying attention?

Several months ago, when we were all sitting on Jeff Bezos’s bumper drinking orange Mad Dog and trying not to be noticed, we heard a voice in the distance yelling “You kids better not scratch my Mercedes or I’m calling the cops!” We ran. It was later that night when Amazon came by the house and said they liked our style and also wanted to get that money we owed them for messing up the chrome. We like to think that our relationship with Amazon will continue at this level for many, many, many years to come.

But we here at Woot are still a thoughtful company, so, at the end of the day, I watched the sunset, and its golden-hued glory made me think about two questions:

Is there really a universal deity?
Does such a thing preclude free will or are we humans in control of our own destiny?

After spending a lot of time falling asleep at the library while facing the philosophy books, I determined that the concept of destiny is a construct that allows man a gentle release from facing the terror of his existence, and that a Hyundai full of twenties would pretty much offer the same benefits. And so, I ultimately said YES!

This is definitely an emotional day for me. The feelings I’m experiencing are similar to what I felt in college on graduation day: excitement about getting a check from my folks combined with nausea from a hellacious bender the night before. I remember fondly that time when an RA turned on the lights and yelled “WHO OWNS THESE PANTS?” Except this time, the pants are a company, and the RA is you, and the sixty five hours of community service is a deal that will ensure the experience can continue to grow for years and years and years, like a black mold behind the Gold Box. Join us, because together, we can rule the galaxy as father and son. Also, there will be six muffins waiting in the company break room, courtesy of the nice folks at Welcome to the family!

Matt Rutledge
CEO, Woot

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Wicked Awesome Poem Wednesday


Hope is the thing with feathers ...
That perches in the soul ...
And sings the tune without the words ...
And never stops ... at all ...

And sweetest ... in the Gale ... is heard ...
And sore must be the storm ...
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm ...

I've heard it in the chillest land ...
And on the strangest Sea ...
Tey, never, in Extremity,
It asked a crumb ... of Me.

-Emily Dickinson

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Wicked Awesome Poem Wednesday

The Cure for Exhaustion

Sometimes, exhausted
with toil and endeavor,
I wish I could sleep
for ever and ever;
but then this reflection
my longing allays:
I shall be doing it
one of these days.

-Piet Hein

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Today I Am Actually Embarrassed by You

What a magnificent horse's ass you are these days, Mr. President:
  • Apparently you have forgotten, or never quite knew, the definition of "bipartisan". Look it up.
  • You have shown an almost complete lack of interest in British Petroleum's (as of today) 64 days of eradicating all life and livelihood in and around the Gulf of Mexico. Yes, I joke that it's become the Tragic Kingdom ... but then again, it's no joke at all, is it?
  • You've actually sucked up to the leaders of nations that care little for our way of life and who consider such sucking up a coup for them, or loss of face for the U.S. (do you have anyone on staff with an historical knowledge of international politics?). 
  • You either have no interest in proofreading your speechwriters, or none in how said insults ... er, speeches ... will come across to me and people like me (you know, the "little people"). "Islam has always been a part of America's story" indeed. Idiot. How difficult would it have been to have said "Islam plays an important role in America's ongoing story" instead? Duh. 
Now ... NOW ... you have the incredible GALL to be insulted by any comments made by General Stanley McChrystal?!?!?!

What you should do is offer a heartfelt apology to the man for leaving him hanging in the wind for months. You know, awaiting your response to his work on the action item with which you tasked him. Months, Mr. President!

Instead all we're hearing is that you're unhappy with the General's comments and have ordered him to attend the Wednesday morning SitRep meeting in person. We're all anticipating a dressing down of some sort, with the General probably in line to be censored or fired.

Because poor little pwesident (that's you) can't take it when someone is fed up with your inaction.  I love that you want us to keep in mind the central focus ... oh, we are, Mr. President ... if that central focus is, once again, you and your hurt feelings. 

This man (who, by the way, is doing much better at his job than you are at yours) expressed his frustration publicly. You're probably expecting him to apologize to you, then offer his resignation.

Shame on you, Mr. President. Shame on you.

You not only owe him an apology, but also the men and women serving in ou military, and their families and loved ones.

Be a man Mr. President ... or at least act like one.

Monday, June 21, 2010

BP, You ARE Responsible ...

Photo of the Gulf from space, or orbit ... whatever, from VERY FAR AWAY (06/12/10).

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Pssst! Hey Dad ...



You are the absolute BEST. Ever. Bar none. Period.
And when I grow up, I want to meet a man just like you.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Since When is Disrespect a Positive Quality?

There are a couple youngsters who are no doubt thrilled with themselves lately, but my opinion is they need a swift kick in the ass. I’m talking about the youths who accosted Congressman Bob Etheridge (D-NC) on the streets of DC. Yes, I’ve seen the footage … but I must have seen something different than everyone else, because I have no problem with the Congressman’s behavior.

From my perspective it sure seems like this gentleman was accosted by a couple rotten little pukes in an “ambush interview” and treated quite disrespectfully. Let’s see, he’s walking down the street and a kid says, Hi Congressman.” To which he politely replied. Then the kid asks, Do you fully support the Obama agenda?”

Okay. So now the Congressman realizes this is not just a polite young man passing him by … oh no! It’s an “ambush interview”! With a camera stuck in his face, and now there are two young turks giving it to him. Nice.

So he asks, Who are you?” Which is never, not once, answered by these horse’s asses, and that’s my issue. Yes, they said I’m here for a project, sir (notice the honorific, which we all know is universal code for non-orific), We’re just here for a project, and I’m just a student, sir.

The Congressman specifically said, at various times, Tell me who you are,From?”, From who?”, and I have a right to know who you are.” Which, guess what? He does. If you’re positioning yourself as somehow allowed to behave in this manner because you’re on ‘official’ business (e.g., working for a company, newspaper, school, etc) then DAMN STRAIGHT you need to identify yourself. And if you won’t? That just tells me you’re full of shinola, pal, and are undeserving of respect FROM me when you won’t give any TO me.

There was no reason, other than to purposely tweak him, not to answer the man’s request for identification. And anyone who thinks the generic, meant-to-annoy, wiseass sound bites these two provided constitute answers is woefully uninformed in general, if that’s their idea of the answer to a question. Either that, or they are easily mislead by basic subterfuge and oh, look! A BUTTERFLY! (scampers off)

Okay … that said, the neck grab. Yeah, the Congressman let his annoyance get the best of him. You can tell he realized it almost immediately, while still being quite steamed. But you know what? Little shitheel deserved it. And he still owes the Congressman an apology.

Now, before you start getting all pissy with me and my 'agenda' ... no, I am not a Democrat; yes, I firmly believe basic common decency and manners will get you a long way, and; yes, you better damn well respect your elders, period. These people have forgotten more than you've ever imagined and experienced combined.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Knock-Knock. Who’s There? 2 + 2 = 4, Duh

So it’s been a week since the house has been sided (vinyl over insulation over moisture wrap) aaaaaand … a week of uninterrupted sleep! Methinks the two may be connected.

It’s been so long since I slept through the night that I’d almost forgotten what it was like. I actually had forgotten that before this house (which is wonderful) sleepless nights were few and far between. Since this house? Seven years of up-all-night. I’d convinced myself that I’m just one of those people who sleeps so lightly that I wake up in between sleep cycles; and I sleep better at Mom’s & Dad’s because it’s VACATION AIR!! SALT AIR!! NEW ENGLAND ISLAND AIR!! Seriously.

So, you wanna know what it’s like to sleep through the night?

GLORIOUS!!! That’s what!! I LOVE IT!

But then I had to think … why would siding the house make a difference? I mean, I knew it would cut down on the noise, because it’s adding to the barrier between inside and outside … but how big a difference can it be? Seriously. How much?

Turns out; a whole lot. Turns out; all the pictures aren’t supposed to rattle against the walls whenever a train goes through. Yeah, this from me, who lives within a mile of a railroad track that has ridiculously looong 150-car trains through every night, in … yeah, you guessed it … two hour intervals: 10pm, 12am, 2am, 4am, and 6am …

I never put it together.

So now, this past week, the house is sssssilent at night, with that crackling, hissing, eardrum-crushing silence only a complete lack of noise can make. Would drive me crazy if I didn’t have a SOUND OASIS, which I only have because I thought the reason I sleep so well at Mom’s & Dad’s is because I can hear the waves crashing on the beach from my bedroom there, so that’s the sound I play back here in Misery.

Didn’t work all that well, by the way … but I stuck with it; frequently changing the sound level, thinking all it would take to work was for me to get it just right.

And it did, after I changed the sound from waves to crickets, and moved it under the window … now, although the window is closed, it doesn’t take much to imagine the window open and the crickets chirping away through the night.

All week I’ve been going to bed and not waking up until the next morning … sometimes not until the alarm goes off!! Cool.

Wicked Awesome Poem Wednesday: Trees, Joyce Kilmer

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the sweet earth’s flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Blog Widget by LinkWithin