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Collecting smiles

Random happy things, in no particular order.

My ceiling isn’t leaking anymore, so the patch my landlord put onto the roof is working.

I got a little clip for my badge at work so I now have a new toy to play with (snap, snap, snap!)

This new position I volunteered at for at work is turning out better than I expected and I am realizing that I really can handle administrative stuff even though I wasn’t sure.

I have a solution to a difficult problem and it is such a relief to know what to do about it. (Thank you, M)

I actually filled out the application for personalized license plates that say ‘JENIPRR’. Of course, they have to be reviewed, if the website is to be believed (I have yet to figure out exactly what is so controversial about JENIPRR), but I’m being optimistic here.

I can finally telnet through the firewall from my worksite, and my mush withdrawals can cease. Yes, I’m pitiful.

I have finally let go of my impatience to buy a house and have, instead, worked out a plan for the next few years for what to do with my existing place, as well as how to prepare for when I *do* get my own home.

Raindrops keep falling on my hall

It rained today. All day, actually. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing – it’s been an unseasonably warm and dry winter and there’ve been dour mutterings of drought, and a horrible hot summer, and high air conditioning bills.

However. I was visiting a friend this weekend. So my nice new car was not parked in its warm, snug garage like it normally is (well, that is assuming I’m not off in another state and it’s sitting in the airport parking lot. But I digress). It was parked on the street. Near a storm drain. Which clogged. So when I went to get into my car this morning, I realized that this was going to be a larger challenge than I had thought because it was now sitting in the middle of a small lake.

I ended up standing on one toe of my boot and leaning forward to open the back door and toss in my things, and then I did the same little awkward ballet pose to open the front passenger door and sort of leap into the car. Scootched myself over to the driver’s seat and I was all set.

Not that that was the end of my ‘fun with rain’ for today. It was pouring as I drove home – a situation which always makes driving fun because visibility becomes nil. And when I got home, I was confronted by the lovely sound of dripping from the hall ceiling.

I immediately jumped into action. I grabbed the largest pots and bowls I could lay my hands on and stuffed them under the three leaks. I grabbed all the cats and stuffed them into a bedroom and shut the door. I did a quick scan of the front rooms of the house to make sure that it wasn’t a complete and utter mess. And then I finally ran across the street to get my landlord. He came over and wormed around in the crawlspace while his wife and I peered anxiously up at the ceiling listening to him mutter to himself. Then we both got to peer anxiously up at him while he climbed up on the roof to do some sort of water sealant patch work because some of the shingles had blown off in the last wind storm.

It worked out well – the ceiling has stopped dripping and he didn’t see any of the cats…um….because I was being a considerate person and getting them out of the way so we wouldn’t have to worry about any escapees when he was traipsing thru the house (yeah, right. More that I have more cats than the lease states).

He says he’ll need to come back in a few weeks once it’s dry to do the final patching, and I’m a bit anxious about that because I’ll have to find something to do with a few of the cats on that day. But I can worry about that when the time comes.

Bits and pieces

Walked out of the office last night and stopping to look up at the sky. Caught the sunset at just the tail end, when the sun’s completely gone, but the sky looks like an odd landscape, night-shaded water, and the clouds are shadowed islands, with another coastline off in the distance, and watching it disappear.

Driving to work this morning. Crossing the overpass and catching the sunrise and feeling disappointed that I had to keep driving and I couldn’t stop just to look.

The hawk that came out of nowhere and zoomed across the windshield of my car a bit later. Kamikaze owls I’ve dealt with, late at night, big white shapes that zip across the road right in front of you and you can swear you hear them laughing. But never during the day. The adrenaline rush as I swerved, afraid I would hit it. The relief when I saw it winging away to terrorize someone else.

Watching the line of cars on the two-lane road undulate open and closed as the ambulance and firetruck screamed by and being ridiculously proud of the other drivers that everyone was following the rules and pulling over to the side to let them by.

The car they were headed for, front end completely smashed in. The woman I saw running toward it. The fireman standing beside it. The look on his face.

The little toddler in the donut shop when I stopped to pick up breakfast for the crew. I didn’t catch her face, I think it was a girl. But just the purposeful way she headed into the back, and the way her mother ran after her.

How to make friends with your neighbors

I got up this morning with about 15 minutes to spare before I had to leave for work. My fault for swatting the snooze button so many times, but I ran into a few friends online whom I hadn’t seen in a long time and so I stayed up too late to catch up.

So I was not entirely awake when I headed into the garage and opened the door to the car. I’m not sure what exactly happened. Maybe I hit a button somewhere, I don’t know. All I know is suddenly I’m reeling from the very loud honking that is emitting from my car because the alarm went off!

When I bought this car, it had a basic security system in place. Nothing fancy – just a panic button on the remote, and a dire warning that if I lock it with the remote and anyone should try to open the car from the outside without unlocking it, the horn will blare.

I suppose I should feel relieved to know that it works. But this morning all I could think about was that:

1. I had no idea how to turn the darn thing off!

2. My neighbors were probably going to kill me for blaring a horn at 7am.

In retrospect, it’s amusing. Me frantically pressing random buttons on the car remote, dashing into the house to grab the spare and pressing random buttons on that, trying to start the car to see if that would do the trick (it didn’t), flipping hastily through the manual to see if it mentions anything in there (it doesn’t). Eventually the honking stopped. I’m not sure if it’s because I managed to do something, or if it just ran its course.

And it’s such a lovely testament to the effectiveness of these car alarms that make noise. As I reopened my garage door and pulled out onto the street, no one was there. No one had even bothered to come out to see.

Another thing to add to the list of what I do for fun

Yesterday I got the cleaning bug. Well. I’m not sure it was so much cleaning as it was sorting. But I had a lot of sorting to do. The sad part is that I *still* have a lot of sorting to do. At least some of it is done now. And some of the bills are paid. And I suddenly remembered that now that the Big Fish has swallowed my previous company, we only get paid once a month instead of twice and I had really better remember that sooner next month so I don’t start counting on getting a paycheck on the 15th again, shouldn’t I. Eek.

Which reminds me that I haven’t submitted a timesheet for the past 4 weeks now and I’m actually rather surprised that noone has sent me one of those lovely little reminder emails. Gee. I guess I know what I’ll be doing today when I swing by my office (my real office, that is. The one in which I have a desk, but I’m never there because I’m always at a customer’s site, but that actually has a nameplate. And I mean an office. Not a cubicle. Four walls that go all the way to the ceiling, windows, and two doors – one leading to the outside. Yes, you cube moles, I said *windows* and *doors*. You may be jealous.) But where was I?

Oh yes. Sorting. Or cleaning. Or some hybrid between the two. It’s part of this process I’m going through – this lengthy multiple-step process I’ve set up for myself – I must have these things all done so that when I move from this house I won’t have to scramble madly. Surprising even myself, I’m actually well down that path. I’ve cleared out my garage. No, really. There’s tons of space in there! Not like before, when I had carved out a little chunk of room to park my car, and then promptly went and bought a bigger car, so that either I could open my door or any passenger I had could open his/her door, but not both of us. Hmm. My car, my garage. Guess who always won on *that* decision. Heh.

And I’ve been going through other stuff too. Although I must admit I’ve been good. Haven’t rearranged the living room furniture now in over a year. This may have something to do with the fact that I now have a piece of furniture that is a bit too heavy (and that’s an understatement) to move by myself. 2am or no, there’s no way I can drag the china cabinet around. Everything else – piece of cake. You do know that 2am is the best time for moving furniture, by the way. That’s when inspiration always hits. I remember doing this on a regular basis when I lived in apartments back in my college days – I’m sure the downstairs neighbors always loved it. In hindsight, I wonder just what they thought my roommates and I were doing that early in the morning, with the sounds of heavy things being dragged across the floor?

But I digress. Again. Which may have more to do with the fact that I am at work at 6am and my caffeine has not kicked in yet. So I was cleaning. Lots of cleaning. And it was actually kind of fun, going through everything, sorting out stuff, filling up the paper recycling bin, rearranging the files on my dining room table (What? Use the table to *eat* off of? You must be joking! Where else can I stack things? Besides, my grumpy tortie cat needs somewhere to lounge.)

So I think I have it out of my system now, at least for a little bit longer. The cleaning/sorting thing, I mean. My computer room is the last hold-out. It’s lurking back there, behind a door, taunting me with piles of paperwork, miscellaneous things I need to go through, empty boxes from computer hardware and software (what is this universal need to save these silly boxes? Why is it that people invariably hang onto these?), all sorts of SPCA things from when I was on the board of directors and since I’m no longer on the board, I’d gladly hand them over to someone else but noone wants them and so they are still sitting in my house. In my computer room.

But I’ll get to it one of these days. Really I will.

They give those away for free

My mom’s birthday was Friday, but we (family) decided to do the little get together on Saturday (yesterday) because 1. She wasn’t feeling well on Friday, and 2. We all could come on Saturday.

Since I’ve been working long hours all week, I hadn’t had a chance to go shopping at all. I knew exactly what I was going to get. It was so easy. A checkbook cover. Oh, there was a check inside – I’m selfish, I want my parents to update their computer to at least a fast enough speed that they can handle things like the internet. So off I go on Saturday morning, to find a checkbook cover.

Except that noone sells the darn things. I went all over. Hallmark stores and the equivalent. Office supply stores. Department stores. Paper stores. Noone had them, and noone had a clue where to find them. Oh, wait. Yes. There were some suggestions. It was almost amusing how I kept getting pointed in a circle. But one prevailing suggestion remained. “Go to a bank. They give them away for free, you know.”

Well, that’s lovely, except that I am not about to give my mom a cheap plastic bank freebie for a birthday present – regardless of the fact that it’s merely meant to be a carrier for what’s inside.

See, years and years ago, when I was still a young thing, apparently I gave my mom a checkbook cover. It’s one of those fabric ones lined with lace that you see sold at craft shows and such. It’s been falling apart for years but whenever my dad suggested she replace it, the answer was always “No! Jennifer gave this to me! She’d be hurt if I threw it out.” The amusing part here is that I have no recollection of giving this to her (see the ‘young thing’ note earlier). So I wouldn’t have cared one way or the other.

But it’s this reason that I decided that I would get her a new one. Sort of carrying on the tradition. Or something. Except that noone sells the darn things! And I mean noone. Nada. Zip. Ask someone where you can buy checkbook covers and they’ll get an odd look in their eye and invariably say “You know, I’ve *seen* them somewhere….”


At least she liked what was inside. When I left last night they were discussing options for computers.

And I still need to buy her a checkbook cover.

Waking up to green mice

There was apparently a great battle last night. On my bed. I was only dimly aware of it – there were cats wrestling and I kept mumbling at them in the hopes that they would take their skirmishes elsewhere and let me sleep (ha!). But they ignored me. Of course. So when I woke up this morning, I saw the aftermath. A small pile of mouse toys had been left on my pillow.

Back up a bit here. Since I was going to be gone over Christmas, I bought the furry horde that lets me live with them a stocking full of mouse toys. Little furry green ones. Little sisal wrapped red ones with fuzzy tails. Green and red cloth ones. You get the picture. I dumped about a dozen of these little things in the center of the living room and then dashed out to the car while they were all entranced with the new toys. Not that it worked – they all ignored me and gave me the guilt trip when I returned. But hey, I had to try.

So fast forward back to this morning. I open my eyes and am literally eyeball to eyeball (if these things had eyeballs that is) with a furry green mouse toy. There were more of them, but this is the first one I saw. And since this is not what I am used to waking up to see, I was a bit startled. Azrael, the 7-month old black puffball, purred at me triumphantly. I have a feeling he may have been the one to bring me the mouse toys in the first place. Meanwhile I jerked my head back and was immediately swatted by Rebecca, my grumpy old lady tortie-cat, who was *not* happy about the fact that I had moved and thereby apparently annoyed her.

I did the only thing a sane person who is owned by cats could do. I apologized to Miss Grumpy (who glared at me and then turned around on the pillow and settled back down with her back to me), patted Azrael and told him what a good boy he was (he purred at me and chewed on my nose), tossed the mouse toys onto the floor, where they were immediately pounced by two more, and then got up. No point in sleeping after that. They all knew I was awake.