Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. It's  been said that one small positive thought in the morning can change your whole day. Do you think that's true? Do you find that an easy exercise most mornings? What's something positive you told yourself today? If you missed that boat, what's something positive you could tell yourself tomorrow?

Sadly, I don't believe I start out by telling myself something positive. I could tell myself "go get 'em tiger" for job hunting. I could tell myself a few things, but I think the stresses just wear me down and I don't think about them as much. That's what happens sometimes when you're unemployed, fighting with unemployment, packing without knowing where you're going, waiting to hear back about a house loan, looking for houses, contemplating going back to school, filling out job applications and never hearing a single thing back, and worrying about how you'll pay your bills when they come calling in a few weeks.
2. There will be karaoke at the next party you attend...are you in? Or will you be faking a sore throat?

Sore throat!! lol
3. January 29th is National Puzzle Day...what's something you've found puzzling recently?

The fact that I've sent out at least 20 applications for positions I'm qualified for and not one freaking phone call. Seriously?!
4.  Jigsaw, crossword, acrostic, logic, sudoku, word search...what's your favorite kind of puzzle, and when did you last work one?

Word search for me. I usually only do those when I travel, though. So it's pretty rare that I do them.
5. Recently a writer by the name of Amy Glass ruffled feathers with a post she wrote saying she looks down on young women with husbands and kids and she's not sorry. Among other things, she says women will be equal with men when we stop saying house work and real work are equally important. You can read the whole piece by clicking here.
What say you? Do you think men and women are equal in the 21st century? Why or why not?

We are and aren't equal. I doubt we'll ever be truly equal. It will always be a debate. But I don't believe women should look down on other women because of the life they chose. You don't have a say over my choices and I don't have a say in yours. If I choose to be a stay-at-home mom, that is my choice. If I choose to have a career instead of a family, it's my choice. If you don't like my choice, tough cookies, it wasn't yours to make anyway. I know women that do the stay-at-home thing, and they're constantly busy. I know women that work part-time so they can be at home part of the time for the family. I know women who could care less about getting married and/or having kids because they are focused on their careers. I know a gal who was so sure about never wanting children, she had a procedure done that makes her sterile. Do I agree with it? No. I don't. But I don't judge her for it - it was her choice to do it and she's happy with it.
6. What's a product you've noticed in the grocery store that you'd like to try, but haven't yet?

I can't think of anything that I've seen recently.

7. The author, Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll) was born this week in 1832 (January 27th).  Which character from his celebrated novel, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, would you most like to meet, and why? Here's a link to a character list if you need help on this one.

Probably Alice so I can ask her why she followed a random rabbit, agreed to a tea party full of crazy creatures serving who knows what in the tea, agreed to eat mushrooms from a "stranger", not to mention she listened to a cat who sometimes only appeared as a head. lol
8. Insert your own random thought here. 

Boyfriend is waiting to hear about a potential loan so we can buy a house - hopefully. I'm job hunting like crazy. And I'm considering an online school for medical transcription. With my science background and my 60 words per minute I think I can totally do the job. It's the tuition I'm a bit worried about. They still cost more than I'd like.  

Monday, January 27, 2014

Living With Grandma

Last fall when Boyfriend and I started looking for places to move to, Boyfriend brought up an idea to me. To move in with his Grandma. That way we could afford to rent a house with a couple acres. His Grandma was living in an apartment complex which was becoming overrun with extremely rude college kids BBQ-ing at midnight and serenading the complex from the hot tub room at 2am.

I agreed that we could all help each other out, so to speak. And in all fairness, Boyfriend did tell me his Grandma could be a terrible person. He did warn me.

Again the old adage is true - you don't know someone until you live with them. Nor can you know or understand their insanity.

It started about two weeks after she moved in. She called Boyfriend a bully and told me what a horrible housekeeper I was.

I'm no "Suzie-Homemaker" by any stretch of the imagination. However, I clean house once a week - this includes cleaning the kitchen, vacuuming, dusting, and mine and Boyfriend's bathroom. I keep a decently clean house. Is it perfect? Not by a long shot. But then again, I was working 7 days a week. We're all just lucky I had the energy to do anything. As for Boyfriend, he's not a bully and I'm not sure where her insinuation came from.

Things were okay for a little bit. Shortly before Christmas, Boyfriend brought home a kitten from one of his employees. The poor thing was only about 6 weeks old. Boyfriend bought a litter box for him and some canned food to get him through a few days. I bought some kitten chow, a collar, and a few other things for him. Eventually the kitten started pooping behind and underneath the Christmas tree. Grandma had said we should put the litter box under the tree. I made a comment about how I'd rather the cat box not be under the tree. My thinking behind that was that I'm the one who cleans the damn thing, I don't want to climb under the tree to do so. Ten hours later, she completely blew up at me and threw my apology back in my face so hard I'm pretty sure I got whiplash. She said it was obvious that I didn't know how to raise a cat because of the one that hides in my bedroom.

Now, pretty much everyone has been told how I came to be Miss Harriet's human - she was dropped off at a Petco in Sacramento. One of my friends that worked there took her home and hounded me until I took her. Miss Harriet is the kind of cat that prefers to be the only animal in the house and prefers to have only one human in the house. More than one human means it's too noisy and whatnot for her and so she'll often hide. Whatever her issues, she's a decent cat and I've had relatively few issues with her. I had to get used to her neuroses and learn to live with her. And whatever her faults, she's been my cuddle-bug for the last 9 years and something I can come to.

(now come to find out the previous owner of the kitten had the litter box under the damn Christmas tree. had I know that when we first got the cat . . . . oh and once the tree was gone? Kitten stopped pooping in the corner under/behind the tree.)

Boyfriend kept telling me to not take anything that Grandma said personally, but I can honestly say it was very hard not to do so.

Christmas turned into a fiasco where Grandma wouldn't sit with the rest of us at the movie theater - I'm pretty sure she didn't want to see near me because she still wasn't speaking to me.

Things were okay after the new year for a short bit and suddenly Boyfriend's mom told us the things Grandma was saying about us. We were terrible to her, wouldn't talk to her, stopped talking as soon as she came in the room. She was convinced I was sneaking into her room and opening her bedroom window to freak her out. I'm still a terrible housekeeper and I'm not good enough for her grandson. His poor mom got thrown smack in the middle of everything.

Last week Grandma gave her 30 days notice and is basically sticking us with $1600/mo rent. And we found out about her leaving by accident. I was home alone and answered the phone to find out it was a local retirement community calling her in regards to her "interest" in their community. I left her a message about it. When she got home I could tell she was pissed. Pissed that she got caught plotting behind our backs. She didn't talk to either one of us for two days. But his poor mom heard about it.

So, Boyfriend decided he wanted to buy a house. He has a lot of money saved up for it and he'd like to move up to the area he now works, about 45 minutes west of Redding. We've looked at one so far and we're hoping to look at another one or two this week. He's working on getting a loan, so hopefully that will come through. The only thing that could prevent anything is that he's only been at the water company for two months.

There were a few days where Grandma treated Boyfriend like crap and I was her BFF. Now it's the opposite and she won't speak to me. Again.

We had tried to help her get out of an aggravating situation. Now we're just "using her for her money" and "ignoring her" and all sorts of things. Boyfriend and I are both very upset as to how all of this turned out. I'm not excited about moving again as it's only been three months since we moved in. I've already started packing a few things, but it's hard to know what to pack and when until we find out about the loan.

Until then, we are trying to get through each day. Trying to be quiet enough for her, trying to not piss her off somehow, you name it. It's a pretty sucky situation. Lucky for Boyfriend she's apologized to him as to how things turned out. I doubt I will get one so I'm not going to hold my breath. She's yet to accept any apology from me, so it's pointless to keep trying. I am sorry to see things go south and I'm upset by what she now thinks of me. I take it personally even after Boyfriend's mom says that she (Grandma) has interfered in all of Boyfriend's past relationships in a similar fashion. I just hope that someday, she won't feel that way and things will be as they were before we all moved in together.

So, here's to moving. Again. And keep your fingers crossed about that loan. We need all the good loan juju we can get.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

For One Moment, I Knew How An Extreme Couponer Felt

And let me tell you, it was freaking awesome!

Way back in December (for some reason it feels like eons ago), I was out Christmas shopping with Mom. Every Christmas we pick a day and it's just the two of us, hanging out, catching up, and shopping. Just a nice "girls day".

It was kind of towards the end of our shopping day and I was looking for a couple more things. One of them being for Boyfriend. So Mom and I popped into Kohl's  to see if they had any t-shirts. I knew it would be impossible to find the shirts I was looking for, it being December and all (and supposedly winter, however Mother Nature has completely screwed us over this year).

Instead of t-shirts, I found a really nice zip-up hoodie with fleece lining. Since his new job at a small town water district is awful cold, I figured it would help keep him warm. I looked at the price tag and gasped. $80!! I looked up and sighed with relief when I saw that it was on sale for 50% off. Niiiiiice.

Mom had a couple Kohl's coupons in her wallet that she'd let me use and said she'd put in on her Kohl's card and I could just pay her back when the bill came in. We were all set.

As the cashier was ringing up the sweater and discussing coupons with my Mom, I suddenly remembered that I had a gift card to Kohl's from the previous Christmas. The cashier looked at me like I was insane. I pulled it out of my wallet and said, "There's probably only $5 left on it or something, but whatever."

The gal scanned it while I wasn't paying attention (because I was putting my wallet back in my purse) and suddenly Mom was elbowing me saying, "They owe you money! Holy shit!"

I looked up all confused and the cashier said, "There's twenty-four and change on here. Did you just want to go ahead and use it all up?"

I stared - dumbfounded - at the register screen. The ($80) sweater (after all the coupons) came to $22 and some change. The gift card still had $24 and change on it. The store only owed me $2, but still.

But STILL. The store owed ME.

That never happens.

So I went across the street to Best Buy and bought Boyfriend "The Hobbit" since I didn't have to spend any of my own money on the really nice sweater from Kohl's.

And for one brief moment in time, I finally knew how one of those extreme couponers felt when the grocery store owed them money at the end of it all.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Details of the Asshat Neighbor

I left off with the Restraining Order after the douche bag trespassed on our property because Boyfriend asked him to keep is damn dogs quiet.

In our research for all of this court stuff, we have come to discover the true identity of our neighbor. We know his name and the names of his wife, two daughters, his son and his grandson. We have also discovered that he is, in fact, a pastor - at the local Pentecostal Church. His predecessor is currently serving time in prison for child molestation. His oldest daughter is just 21, has a two year old and another on the way; possibly divorced as she has a different last name but lives with her parents.

Boyfriend's Grandma works with someone who knows a Pentecostal who attends this church. Evidently they pay for their pew in church. Some people have to borrow money, refinance their homes or whatever, to pay for their pew for the year. They are what some might call the "holy-rollers" - the kind of church where they raise their hands, some fall to the floor while caught in their love for God, believe in the "heeaaalin' power of the lord" and in some cases, play with snakes.

Sort of explains the fact that he lives in a million dollar home and wears alligator boots. Courtesy of his parishioner's so it would seem.

We also know the name of his church and exactly where it is. In fact, when Grandma filed her complaint with Adult Protection Services, she put his work (church) address and phone number, considering we don't know his house phone.

Now, don't get me wrong. I am all for everyone believing what they wish. Our neighbor has every right to attend or minister the church of his choice. What I have a problem with is the fact that he's not abiding by the county ordinances regarding barking dogs. I also have a problem with his smug and I'm-better-than-everyone attitudes. Just because he has found Jesus and believes in the healing power of Him doesn't give him the right to be an asshole and encourage his dogs to bark, trespass on other people's property, and bully everyone into silence.

Grandma actually tried to file a Restraining Order against the pastor since he bullied her and trespassed on our property, but she couldn't afford the $425 filing fee. So that didn't happen.

After finding the chain to our pasture gate cut and finding a dead chicken, the only thing the Sheriff's Office would do was "recommend surveillance cameras and motion lights". So Boyfriend spent $300 on security cameras and positioned them around the  property. We have caught nothing but our charming selves doing yard work for the past three weeks. Although the other day we found one of our three "no trespassing" signs ripped off the fence. It had been screwed in and the screws are still in the wood.

I called the Sheriff's Office last week after the dog had been barking for five hours and the deputy kept telling me to call Animal Control. I was quite persistent in stating, "We're caught in limbo here. I call you to report a nuisance and disturbance of the peace and all you can tell me is that I need to call animal control because your office doesn't respond to barking dogs. I call animal control and because I live outside the city limits it's an unmanned office with ONE person manning it. I'm lucky if I get a returned phone call. They don't do anything because they have higher priority abuse cases and the like. What the hell am I supposed to do?"

His response? "Call animal control during business hours."

My fucking taxes pay your fucking salary asshole. Thanks for upholding the law and keeping the peace.

Anyway, back to the good pastor.

We've also discovered where the "dead dog" is. Tonight, standing on the front porch, we saw one dog on the front porch laying in front of the door. We kept hearing barking, but it wasn't the dog on the front porch. The good pastor has a kennel in the back, which is where the other dog was, barking his head off. It would seem that we've only been seeing one dog running around and that he's trying to "hide" the other dog.

Somebody's trying to be sly.

Next time I really will tell you what happened at last week's court date.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Neighborhood Asshatery

I left off with a so-called dead dog still barking and a trespassing jerk.

Just after Thanksgiving, a Sheriff's Deputy shows up looking for Boyfriend, saying he has a complaint that he needs to respond to. The complaint, of course, is from the good pastor neighbor. Boyfriend was at work when the deputy stopped by and he explained to Grandma that Boyfriend would just need to respond in writing or he could go to court if he wished. And that he'd swing by another time.

A couple days later, a Restraining Order shows up. The good pastor had filed the RO against Boyfriend, claiming he's a violent person and had threatened his family.

Say what?

We had a couple of weeks to respond to the temporary RO, and set about getting letters from our landlord. Grandma had written a letter to Adult Protective Services about the situation with the good pastor knowing and willingly trespassing on our property and included a copy of that letter in our response. Boyfriend, of course, wrote a letter. I wrote a letter. Our landlord wrote a letter. A fairly damning one. 

The landlord stated that the pastor has never had permission to be on the property. In the past, the pastor bullied one of the previous tenants to allow him to put his horse in the side pasture and the pastor refused to get a specific insurance policy and he flat-out refused to do so. The landlord then told the tenant he had to have that specific policy. The landlord also stated in his letter that the good pastor had often walked his dogs over to the property we now rent just to defecate on the property. Also on several occasions, the dogs would bark at the landlord while he was on his own property, menacing him and forcing him to stay in his truck (on his own property) until the dogs finally got bored and left.

We discovered the day that the good pastor was informed about the investigation by APS as he forced his dogs to bark the entire night. Like we all could hear the dogs get quiet and then hear them yelp in pain and start barking again. Obviously somebody wasn't happy that APS didn't like him bullying a senior citizen.

Our written responses weren't ready quite fast enough so Boyfriend had to go to court no matter what. He met the good pastor and his whole family there. The commissioner asked the pastor if he still wished to pursue the RO and he said he did. She asked Boyfriend if he still contested the RO and he said yes he did. She looked at the evidence presented by both sides and set a court date for January 15th.

The weekend before this little court date (still in December) we discovered the chain Boyfriend put on our pasture gate to keep people out (*cough*pastor*cough*) was cut and one of our chickens was dead. No other neighbors appear to have been vandalized and we knew who it was. We called the Sheriff's Department and they told us that there was no evidence that the good pastor did anything. And the only thing they could suggest were motion lights and surveillance cameras.

(And we have discovered that something must have happened to one of the dogs because we've recently only been seeing one dog around their house instead of two. However, Boyfriend says he never touched the dog and I believe him. We do get coyotes and mountain lions around these parts and it's very possible and probable that mother nature got to him instead).

Next up: the January court date and the ruling from the commissioner.


Monday, January 13, 2014

How to create a cluster-f*$#

Step 1. Be scheduled to work your part-time job on weekends.

Step 2. Work Saturday.

Step 3. Decide on Saturday night that you wish to not work on Sunday because you and Boyfriend need to go cut a Christmas tree and also to see where Boyfriend now works. And also to learn a bit how things operate. Not to mention you've been working seven days a week for four months and you need a break. (also not to mention, I rarely do something like this.)

Step 4. Call the store on Sunday morning and tell them a simple story of, "I tripped in a gopher hole on the way to the chicken coop that was still covered by two inches of snow." (totally feasible).

Step 5. Email your manager to let her know the same story, saying, "All will be well by next weekend." Keeping the story the same just in case the store is audited by the company I work for and trace it to my district managers.

Step 6. Enjoy the day off with Boyfriend, spending a few hours watching him work and learning in the process. Cut down a Christmas tree that is only 13 feet tall, even though you've told him several times that you really only need a 5' tree. Enjoy the setting up of the tree - discovering that it's too big for the tree stand and instead have to use an orange 5 gallon bucket.

Step 7. Go to bed, tired and happy after a nice "play hooky" kind of day spending it with Boyfriend.

Step 8. Receive email Monday from an HR person at weekend job saying that she's sorry to hear about my "twisted ankle" and that I've been put on medical leave until a doctor releases me back to work since my job requires standing and walking for four hours at a time. Email back and forth with gal, trying to reason with her that a doctor visit will cost me $100, which I don't have. Nope, doesn't work.

Step 9. Scrimp and save and try to find time for doctor appointment. Call around to walk-in clinics only to be told the same thing - the price is over $100 just to have a doctor sign a piece of paper. Between the holidays, my (so-called) full-time job and trying to get a spare $100, it takes 3 weeks to find the time.

Step 10. Face the music, visit doctor, pay $107 for a physician's assistant to sign a piece of paper. At least she thought it as ridiculous as I did after I explained them forcing me to go to a doctor when I hadn't been hurt on the job. Go back to work the next weekend.

And that, folks, is how you create an award-winning cluster-fuck.

Lesson. Learned.

Monday, January 6, 2014

The Neighborhood Asshatery Continues

Continuing the Asshat Neighbor story . . . Last I left off, Boyfriend and I had gone over to the neighbors house to ask them to quiet the dogs only to be met with disdain and hostility. From the daughter.

The week of Thanksgiving, while I was at work, Boyfriend was fixing a flat on his truck. He had found a screw embedded in his tread. A fairly small screw in thick off-road-tire tread, which he figures couldn't have penetrated his thick tires under "normal" circumstances. No proof, though. He fixed the tire and decided to take his truck for a quick drive to make sure.

According to Boyfriend's Grandma, she watched the neighbor walk down his driveway while Boyfriend was still working on his truck. After Boyfriend left, the neighbor and his son came to the front door. Grandma answered the door and the man introduced himself "John Doe" (he said his first name and refused to give his last name).  He told Grandma that he wanted to walk the property line as he wanted to put his horse in the pasture to the side of the house. Grandma told him point blank she did not want him on the property. He rudely told her that we only rent the land the house sits on and that he had permission from our landlord to do so. Grandma asked him to not walk the property until she could confirm permission from the landlord as we, the tenants, had not been informed. The good pastor said he wouldn't wait and proceeded to walk to the pasture.

Grandma got on the phone to the landlord and his rental agent and left messages.

Boyfriend was driving on the main road and at one point while driving on this road you can see our barns and the back of the house. As he's driving back to the house on the main road, he sees two strange men around his old mud truck behind the woodshed. His thought was that Grandma was alone at the house and raced back. He grabbed his 9mm, kept it at his side and as he approached the pasture he recognized the good pastor.

Boyfriend simply said, "What the fuck are you doing on my property?"

The good pastor, making sure he was video-taping the entire thing, replied with, "Look there's (boyfriend's first and last name), brandishing a weapon for no reason."

Boyfriend said, "You're trespassing on my property."

Eventually the good pastor and his son left. Boyfriend went back to the house and Grandma told him what had happened. He put his gun away and went about his business.

A short time later, 4 Sheriff's deputies showed up. The good pastor made sure to watch the entire thing in the middle of the neighborhood street. They frisked Boyfriend and questioned both him and his Grandma. Grandma was pissed that they treated Boyfriend like the criminal when the pastor had been the one breaking the law. The deputies continued to question, Boyfriend and Grandma answered, and the good pastor watching from his ring-side seats.

Finally after much questioning, one of the deputies came out and said, "The good pastor says you shot his dog. Says he saw you do it."

Boyfriend replied, "Dog? I thought all of this was about his damn horse!"

The deputies then said that the pastor had been looking for his dog. Boyfriend told them that he hadn't killed anyone's dog and that the pastor wanted to look, the deputies could escort him around the property. That didn't happen, and the whole thing ended with the deputies talking with the pastor.

Grandma told the deputies she wanted to file a complaint against the pastor for trespassing. They told her it wouldn't be necessary as they had told him he had broken the law and to stay off our property.

Somewhere in all of that, both the landlord and his rental agent had returned Grandma's calls, stating that the good pastor has NEVER had permission to be on the property. In the past he has simply bullied previous tenants into allowing him to put his horse in the pasture. Which his horse has decimated the pasture and there's nothing but dirt in there now. Oh and lots of hose poop. LOTS. And damaged fence, which the good pastor told the landlord he'd repair and obviously has not.

And the story continues with complaints filed and restraining orders.


Oh, the so called dead dog? Still barking.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Here's One Way To Start the New Year

And it's definitely not the way a person would prefer to start out their new year.


No fucking shit.

My boss called me into her office on Thursday after the other gals went to lunch.

Apparently they are eliminating my position due to lack of work.

I have been forced to leave early most days for over a month because I don't have enough work to do. In the back of my mind I worried something like this would happen. Because I can understand a few days here and there, but nearly every day?

I cleaned out my desk and left. I deposited my final pay check.

And I drove to my parents house as I knew they'd be home. I spent two hours crying on their shoulders.

Then I drove home. Boyfriend's Grandma and mom were there and I told them. They were shocked.

Boyfriend got home about an hour later and upon seeing me home early (yet again), he jokingly said, "That boss of yours needs a talking to."

I replied with, "What boss?"

The look on his face was priceless. It took a few minutes for him to wrap his mind around it.

He gave me a big bear hug and told me everything would be okay.

He gave me a margarita and had me split help him split wood.

I am so thankful that I had the brains to keep my weekend pet nutrition job and of course writing for my grandparents paper. It may only be a few hundred dollars a month that come in from them, but it's enough to keep me afloat.

And on top of this.... I managed to get whatever nasty stomach bug that is going around.

Thank you New Year for kicking a girl while she's down. Not only did it hit me while I was out in town, but I had to have an embarrassing time in the bathroom at Macy's.

It is apparent that 2014 and I are not getting along very well as of yet.