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And then our house blew up

I was going to go on about this, but I think the email I sent just now covers it. Only addition: Seriously? Does this rental agency only handle properties owned by slumlords? Let's see... random cabinets are hung backwards, the bathroom doesn't vent (the only ventilation is a window over the bathtub, so you can't have it open when anyone's actually using the shower or bath or toilet) so the cheap cabinet in there has absorbed so much water over time that it was warped when we moved in... which makes its door hang crooked... for that matter, the baseboard is warped behind the toilet, which CANNOT be good... the walls were moldy or mildewy in the bedroom next to the bathroom when we moved in... they didn't clean the inside properly and they left a neatly collected pile of glass on the ground in the tiny backyard.... OH, and my favorite, all the blinds are either breaking or broken and one set that had been URINATED ON (by an animal) was on the floor in the back (moldy) bedroom when we moved in. (Or was that curtains? I think that was curtains, in which case we've since washed them in scalding hot water.)


Subject: Serious problem with the wall heater at [address redacted]

The pilot light went out. Not a problem. But when PG&E came to re-light it last night, they noticed that somebody (not us) had re-wired the heater at some point to disconnect the vent auto-shut-off. The PG&E guy fixed it and stated that usually this is done when a heater is not venting properly, in order to avoid having to do the work of making it vent properly. He warned us that if that was the case here, the heater would shut itself off automatically when it wasn't venting enough rather than when it got warm enough. In fact, now it doesn't even come on.

It's freezing; can somebody please fix the heater ASAP?

Also, there's a gadget plugged into the wall in the kitchen that Shane had thought was a carbon monoxide detector, but PG&E confirmed that it wasn't - it's the doorbell. I thought I'd better pass that on in light of the heater problems and the upcoming carbon monoxide detector laws for rental properties. I guess that for multi-units it doesn't kick in until January of 2013 though.

Thank you!


It's missing the air of quiet menace that I had wanted, but perhaps that is for the best.

Moving with Cats

Well, we are all moved in to our new home, even though we are not all moved out of the old one. Movers came yesterday and took all our stuff, which took FOUR HOURS!, and then we moved the cats. Brian yelled at us for the entire 6-minute car ride, with Sparky echoing him in her little high-pitched cheerleader voice every time he stopped for breath. So we got "MYLOWWW."
"MEOW!!"
"MELOOOYY#WW@#%#^@."
"MEOW!!"
"MOWWWRRR."
"MEOW!!"
the whole damn time.

Or: "WHY THE HELL ARE YOU DOING THIS ARE YOU CRAZY?"
"YEAH!!"
"LET ME OUT OF THIS DAMN CAR RIGHT NOW."
"YEAH!!"
"I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU MOTHERFUCKERS."
"YEAH!! LISTEN TO BRIAN! BRIAN'S ALWAYS RIGHT! YEAH!!"

Then we got there and every other cat was like "I don't know about this," and SPARKY was like "OH MY GOD THIS IS THE BEST PLACE EVER THANK YOU FOR GETTING IT FOR ME!!!!!!"

Seriously, we had THREE cats hiding, traumatized, between the sofa and the wall (and that includes the two biggest cats, who should in no way have been able to fit back there), one under a bench (pupils the size of dinner plates), Marty and Jesse asleep, and Sparky is rolling around in the sunlight on the sofa purring and nuzzling us. She's never been able to sit right under a window and look out of it at street level before, and she is pretty sure this is heaven. Especially when the sun comes along. And since the other cats all disappeared, she was also pretty sure that it was her house and not anybody else's, I think. (We don't count, we're here to pet and serve her.)

Marty, by the way, went to sleep in his cat carrier before we were even starting to corral them at the old house. I zipped him in and he didn't even wake up. He woke up a minute or so before we left and I walked in to find him flipping around like "How the hell did I get locked in here??" And then we got to the new house and he went back to sleep!! I don't even know if he knew how he got there, since it was like five minutes of driving sandwiched in between some 4 hours of naptime. He's like, "Oh, you changed the size and shape and look of the place! I like it!"

Jesse has made tremendous emotional strides since I last moved with her 10 years ago. That time, she sat underneath a chair and hissed at me every time I came near. This time, we explained to them repeatedly what was happening, and she totally took it in stride. She complained about the cat carrier and the drive as much as she usually does... no, maybe less, because Brian was making enough noise for everybody, or maybe he just drowned her out!.... but once we got there, she just checked the place out, gazed at us with these big trusting "As long as you two are here, I don't care where we live" eyes, got up on her favorite tower of boxes and went to sleep. (She was also a huge fan of having the majority of the cats hidden.)

And the lesson of the day: Carrot is only agoraphobic when he's in a cat carrier, not when he's in a one-inch-wide space between the sofa and the wall with his butt up against the loveseat and Brian's head wedged under his chin.

Also, next time, we're sedating them.

Getting a new phone!

I know. I too remember the huge hassle involved in getting an iPhone in the first place. I wanted it SO BAD. And only two years later, I am already talking about getting a different phone?! Not even a new iPhone?!

Yes, it's AT&T's customer service again. Also their PRICING. But also: the world has changed a little bit.

Two years ago, the iPhone was the best smartphone by about 1,000 miles. Now we have Android. And I have loved my iPhone. And I have very much wanted a iPad. And one day I was looking around at tablets, and seeing if there is anything out there that is cheaper and better than an iPad. (Short answer: You can evidently get an eBook reader of your choice, like the cheapish Nook, and install Android on it, and BOOM you have a really cheap tablet that works pretty well. It's no iPad, or even Xoom or whatever. Also: in a few years this post is going to sound so ridiculously dated.)

And suddenly I realized. This is not the world I grew up in, where your choice is either an expensive and AWESOME Apple product that comes in one form (ONE laptop, ONE phone, ONE desktop computer, and maybe a few sizes of each if you're lucky) or a much cheaper and HORRIBLE Windows product that comes in a thousand different forms. (Tons of Windows 7 phones, plenty of incredibly cheap laptops, et cetera.) Because Apple is super-proprietary, and Windows lets anyone put it on their hardware, so for any given product you have lots of great hardware choices with a shitty OS on them or ONE great hardware choice with a great OS.

This is a world Android has changed. In which your choices are basically ONE Apple product, or a trillion Windows products that suck, OR A TRILLION ANDROID PRODUCTS THAT VARY FROM EHHH TO AWESOME.

I still struggled with the idea of getting an Android phone. I realized that it would make sense if I wanted to eventually get an Android tablet, because of course I want my computer to talk to my phone. (Although I will grant you that my phone and tablet wouldn't talk to my laptop. But this laptop is already 5 years old and makes funny noises in the hard drive region despite a recently replaced hard drive, and... don't get me started about planned obsolesence.)

But I am loyal to Apple! I have been loyal to Apple for most of my life! AAAAPPPPPPLLLLE!!! How could I switch away?

Then I remembered that Android is GOOGLE.

I love Google! It fills the same place in my brain: Apple is to Windows as Google is to horrible Yahoo and MSN. For a while I was always getting them confused, in fact, Apple and Google.

Now it's easy! I can just switch the loyalty thing in my brain over to Android!

But what is the point? Is there an Android phone that comes with a better and cheaper carrier than AT&T?

So I was looking at what the best Android phone was. (Right now, probably the HTC EVO, fyi. god, I want that huge touchscreen and EIGHT megapixel camera.) And how expensive the plans were. (Expensive.) And I thought to see what Android phones Boost had. And Google was like "Have you checked out Virgin Mobile?" And I was like "Oh my god, I forgot Virgin Mobile even EXISTED. They don't advertise!" Then I remembered they were my first carrier and I was like "How did I forget that?"

They have Android phones now. Including a pretty good one they just got: the LG Optimus. 3.2 megapixel camera. (It's no 8mp, but my iPhone has a TWO megapixel camera, and the lens is flush with the surface of the phone so it's all scratched and blurry.)

And if I wanted to, I could use it as a wireless hotspot, so in theory I could have a tablet, or even the current laptop, run off of the wifi that the phone generates. (The "in theory" is because supposedly, and very likely, that is in violation of The Rules. No phone company likes it when you use their phone as a wireless hotspot/"tether" with it. Uses a ton of data and doesn't get them any more money. I still did it with the Samsung Blackjack; now I just have to remember how I argued the ethics of it in my head. I think my argument was probably that I would be HAPPY to pay for tethering if foul AT&T would just give me that option, but their website offered it to me for literally like a second and then it disappeared.)

The app store is comparable to Apple's now, which was one of my big barriers before. The Android app store is growing like crazy, and every app I like that I've looked for so far is on it. Most of mine are not paid apps, either, so I don't have to worry about paying a ton of money to replace apps I already have. (And the ones that are paid are worth much more to me than 99 cents, so paying a total of $1.98 for each one over time is not a big deal.)

It comes with basically no memory, but you can add up to 32gb - compare that to the 8 gigs that my iPhone allows. Plus, it acts like a camcorder without me having to scour the app store for a camcorder app that goes with my particular phone - which is what I have to do since the iPhone 3GS was not meant to record video. (Despite the fact that the hardware totally records video just fine.)

The battery has a talk time of about 11 hours. More than twice what the HTC EVO says it has. (I forget what my iPhone gets you, but I don't think it's any 11 hours.) Well okay: it's supposed to have 11 hours, but CNET said it did 5.5 hours in their tests. Ha.

The video records at 640x480, which is not quite the EVO's 720p, but pretty good all the same considering it's a PHONE. Someday I expect that we will see Hollywood-quality movies being made with people's cell phones. But not yet.

Screen is 3.2 inches, which is no EVO either but which is very good considering the whole phone is 3.5 inches. Compare THAT to the big swath of wasted space around the home button on my iPhone.

It might suffer from the 600mhz processor, compared to the 1gig (1000mhz) processor on super-high-end phones. But I watched a speed test of the phone and it seemed right in line with my own phone. One commenter pointed out, in discussion of the Optimus versus the Samsung Intercept, "The intercept is actually at a sizable disadvantage processor-wise. Even though it has an 800mhz processor, it doesn't have a Adreno 200 graphics chip, or a modem processor like the Optimus does. The intercept's 800mhz processor has to do it all. The Optimus also has twice the RAM the Intercept does. Even if they were both running the same 2.2 side by side the Optimus would be faster."

Okay, I think that's about it as far as the comparison goes. Good phone. People like to call it a cheap smartphone because it costs $150, or less if you find a good deal. But it's a good medium-high-end phone.

Now here is the really, really cool part. Are you ready?

With AT&T, right, for a SHARED 700 minutes (yes, that's SEVEN HUNDRED between two people, which we don't even use all of) per month, and unlimited texts/email/data, we pay about $193 a month.

With Virgin Mobile.... *drumroll please*

If we each got 300 minutes a month (SIX hundred between two people)... and unlimited texts/email/data....

We would pay $50 a month.

I guess if we bought the top-up cards at Target, we'd pay $55 including tax. On the other hand, Annie works there part-time now and gets a discount, so we would actually pay $46.64 after tax.

If we sprang for the FORTY DOLLAR a month charge for 1200 minutes, and just bought two of those every other month for 1200 minutes each, we'd be paying $37.32 a month after tax.

That means that for a phone just as good as our current phones - better, in practice, because it doesn't have a cracked case from years of uncased dropping, or in my case a still-crushed screen - we'd save about $156 a month.

$156 less a month!!!!!!!!

AND we'd never have to talk to AT&T's customer service again. I mean, unless something happened to the essentially unused (except for DSL) landline.

What UP!!!!!!!!
As a mega-nerd, I love Robert's Rules of Order. But mostly, I love them not because they give me lots of interesting details to learn and geek out about, but because the more I learn about them and use them, the more I see how functional meetings become when we use them right.

Fucking COSA uses Roberta's Rules of Order at the international level. (I mean: local meetings don't necessarily use it, but the annual decision-making shindigs and the Board do.) My personal opinion of Roberta's is what it has been for the last decade or so: that it is touchy-feely crap that people automatically assume must be better because (a) it's named after a woman and therefore must be some feminist updating of Robert's Rules, and (b) it's newer, therefore ditto. The book for Roberta's gaily promotes this fuzzy thinking, babbling about consensus and the dreary terrible structure of parliamentary proseedcake. I also suspect that the main reason COSA uses it is that it's mostly women (at least at that level) because people also fuzzily assume that men are the sex addicts and women are are the codependents, so men are scared to go to COSA and women are scared to go to SAA.

My experience with it has been that it promotes a lot of sloppy crap. The way we tend to use it is wrong, first of all. There are a whole lot of rules and guidelines it has that go straight out the window in COSA: it's supposed to be for smaller groups than ours (around a dozen people or fewer) because the whole premise is that you don't really need to use a lot of rules in a small group; there's no need to second a motion, which people compulsively do anyway because they're used to doing it; people are supposed to take turns being an "egalitarian", a person who makes sure everyone's being heard and taking turns to talk and whatnot, which we don't do at ALL. I mean: nobody takes that role. And once you've spoken, you're not supposed to speak again (on a particular issue) until everyone else has had a chance who wants to, which gee is exactly what they do in Robert's Rules too and gee we don't do that either.

Basically, what we do is an even more lax version of Roberta: the chair tells us what the next agenda item is, and we talk around it, generally focusing on obsessively small details that are totally unnecessary and not at all our business, and then we "vote" by saying whether we're red, yellow, or green on it, and then everyone who is red or yellow says what their problem with it is, and then there's usually more discussion about whether we can resolve those problems, and then we have the final vote where majority rules.

UUUGGGGGHHH IT IS TO PUKE.

There's no need for two bouts of discussion. You know what they do in Robert's Rules? You discuss it up front and if you don't voice your concern then, too bad. There's no "Ohhhh, I WOULD have voted for this if you changed this and this and that about it." That's passive-aggressive crap.

The real idea with Roberta's, as I understand it, is that people don't make motions up front. The theory that people like to spout about it is that Robert's assumes there's a problem and that the person saying there's a problem is right about what the problem and solution are. And ROBERTA'S... doesn't. A solution gets to emerge naturally in discussion.

Which is FILTHY stupid, because the reality is that solutions emerge naturally in discussion in either situation. If the solution is wrong in Robert's, somebody suggests an amendment or nobody seconds it or people in discussion say that the whole thing is wrong and suggest voting it down so that they can propose a different thing and then everyone does. I've seen it happen. Or the person withdraws their motion.

It is midnight so I forget what I was going to say about that. The real problem with Roberta's, I CAN say, is that there are no seconds.

I realized this tonight. I can't tell you how many times I have seen groups go into obsessive stupid discussions about a proposal (you have PROPOSALS in Roberta, not motions, even though that's basically the same exact thing - only difference is that when you change what the proposed solution is, you don't call it an amendment) only to find out that nobody opposed it and there was no need for the obsessive stupid discussion.

Not having seconds means that there's no point at which people can just avoid a whole proposal by not seconding it. You're basically forced to discuss it. I suppose if people had the self-control necessary, they could just not discuss it and then when they voted they could just say why they are red or yellow. We've begun experimenting with going straight to the vote, at least, which is something.

The real problem with Roberta's Rules is that I hate being on the Board. I hate the lack of structure that you can see in the way that we misuse Roberta, which also shows up in a real lack of clarity about who is supposed to be responsible for what. Like, we discuss and vote on a fair number of things that usually would be the decision of a specific committee. I hate the fact that there is major resistance to requiring that everyone on the Board have worked all 12 steps. I hate the fact that people don't put the program first; that people say "We can't require the meeting delegates to have worked all the steps because we on the Board only have to have done the first 5 steps" instead of "It's really important to have recovery in our program, how can we make sure that people at these levels have recovery." It just rips my heart out and whacks me over the head with it that anyone would come down on the side of the Board only being required to work the first 5 steps, and nobody else having the suggestion to work any of them. And it's a vicious circle where that lack of recovery leads people to continue underemphasizing recovery.

The steps and traditions are the most important thing in my life. I love them. I love exploring how they play out in all different situations and how I can better use them and carry the message about them in recovery. I love Robert's Rules mainly because it reflects those principles: that everyone is equal, that everyone's voice must be heard, that a certain amount of judicious structure is crucial, et cetera. I thought that being on the Board would mean taking all of that to the next level, that we'd have a lot of discussions that focused, even briefly, on the principles of the program and how they play out in whatever issue is up at the moment.


The only time I can think of that the traditions came up, it was because some rehab center wanted a meeting list so they could refer people to meetings when they left. Instead of saying "well, our primary purpose is to carry the message to the COSA who still suffers", people were trying to argue that it would somehow violate people's anonymity to give the meeting list to the rehab center. You know, because if people can FIND the meeting.... The clearest argument I heard about it was that there MIGHT be people on the list whose names are detectable in their email addresses, or who MIGHT not want to be meeting contacts to anyone who wasn't hand-referred from COSA itself? And now I can't even remember whether we got anywhere with it. I don't think we did. It's not like it's important, to be there for people.

Yes, I am struggling with resentment. Too much to work on my cookbooks and go to bed. It's more grieving than resenting; grieving for the image that I had in my head of what this level of service in recovery would be like. I struggle a lot with the fact that I've been slapped down or patronized repeatedly by one of my fellow Boardies, seemingly whenever I get into a topic that she feels is her business and not mine. Which everyone knows is not how it works. But she does it privately, in general, and if I respond she waits and does it again later. I feel jealous of a friend who is on the board in Debtors Anonymous, which has more recovery by far than this fellowship and which I imagine is exactly what I dreamed of, plus sparkles and lollipops falling from the sky. (Because what is jealousy without ridiculous fantasies about what you are missing??)

Today I was fantasizing that it would turn out that the only airport near the annual convention in May was the one (IAH, the George Bush one) that does the horrific groping/xray security crapola. And then I would say "I am not going to the convention! If that means that I have to resign then so be it!" But then I looked and it sounds like it's equidistant from both airports. But then it turned out that ALL THREE of the airports near me do it! (OAK, SJO, SFO. There is a list here: http://goo.gl/WvDaM) But in theory, I could drive to Sacramento somehow and get on an airplane there to go to it.

(I also do not understand why I have to pay to go to the convention and Board retreats, which are mandatory. In other fellowships, the fellowship pays for that stuff, so that it doesn't become a matter of "the people who participate are the ones who can afford to". COSA is supposedly working toward that, but I don't know how big a priority it really is. Hopefully once we have a way to do recurring donations via the website, which they are slowly working on, we will have more money coming in and it will become more feasible.)

I guess I can stop complaining now long enough to do my work. Bah and double bah :)

And lest I inadvertently give the wrong impression, COSA is a really strong fellowship locally, with great recovery in the meetings I've attended, which is always getting stronger. Eventually that will trickle up more. (Or down, I guess, since 12-step fellowships are an inverted pyramid structure with the meetings/members at the top.)

Whole-House Makeover: Update 2

1. CLEANING

Ongoing! And continuing. Actually, I cleaned out the spiderwebby kitchen cabinets a few weeks ago and donated most of the good stuff to the food drive, and threw out what was bad... pulling it gingerly out with barbecue tongs after a certain point so I wouldn't have to risk touching A SPIDER.

Last night I came home and cleaned out the rest of the spiderwebs and detritus (that is such a good word) and then washed the cabinet out with a sponge. And left the doors open to encourage the spiders left (I don't kill spiders) to perhaps find a new home elsewhere.

And Annie cleaned the living room and built the jewelry armoire that we just bought!

4. ORGANIZE THE CLOSET

DONE.

That's pretty much a miracle. I did this months ago. We decluttered probably another hundred books and I cleaned out the closet and installed the freed-up bookshelf in there and now folded clothes sit on it. Organized by tops and bottoms and work vs. casual!

5. MAKE PLANTS BETTER

DONE. Seedlings repotted with the soil I managed to scrounge up at home from old pots and an almost-empty bag of dirt and stuff. We even have a hanging plant pot in the bathroom!

6. BARBECUE

Yeah we don't have that yet. Now it is COLD.

7. NEW LITTERBOXES

DONE, as I said last time, and I heard that clay litter is strip-mined so now we are trying chicken feed. Bought in bulk from the biodiesel station, $35 for 50 lbs. Organic, too! Doesn't clump as well, but it's not bad and it's better for the earth.

8. ROOMBA SCHEDULER

I will be honest and say that I've somewhat lost faith in the roomba/scoobas, maybe just because the ones we have always break so there are months of half-working half-cleaning for every month of actual functional robotry. I WANT it to work....

9. RUG FOR MY CUBICLE

Still not done, except that I have the two plants and now three pictures. I did decorate with cobwebs and spiders for Halloween, and I want to do lights and a wreath for the Solstice.

10. COIL-LESS MATTRESS I forget what I replaced that with in my head, besides "reducing EMFs". Getting the car cleaned?

We have picked out a new mattress anyway, memory foam and made locally I think, and I guess now we just have to save up for it.

Whole-House Makeover: Update 1

1. CLEANING

DONE. The House Shining people came over last Friday and did their best with the kitchen for four hours. We have a whole new kitchen! They will be back next month on the 17th to do something else for four hours. Eventually all the grime will be scraped away from the entire house and we can just do NORMAL regular cleaning.

2. AIR FILTER

DONE. This one is winging its way to us right now! I am REALLY looking forward to this, because there is just so much freaking cat hair floating around all the time. And smells.

3. GET RID OF ANNIE'S SPARE DESK

DONE. I don't know why this was suddenly so easy, except for that "things happen in higher power's time not mine" thing. Because before, I had posted it on craigslist for money (no bites) and freecycle for free (no bites) and twitter/facebook (no bites) and maybe even Berkeley Parents' Network. Nada.

This time, I was looking at my mail and decided to wander over to freecycle to see if the plant I saw was still available. And I logged in, and it was all, "you have one post active". And I clicked through to see if I could re-post the desk (nope, you have to cancel and re-send: bogus) and lo, the picture of the desk was right there waiting for me to download it and use it to try craiglist again. I stuck it in "free" and had something like 10 inquiries within five hours. And the first one we called came over that night and hauled it away to use for college!

PLUS I cleaned the desks off and we put Annie's new desk in that spot right away instead of being like "Great! We'll finish this up sometime!"

4. ORGANIZE THE CLOSET

Yes, yes.

Well, I used the closet-organizing money for other household stuff, so next month we'll do this.

5. MAKE PLANTS BETTER

HALF-DONE. Last Wednesday I went to my old office downtown to clear my desk out. I made sure to finish by like 11 so that I could sneak out and go to IKEA and buy plants, because the idea of trying to cram plants in my co-worker's car in the morning didn't really appeal to me and I'd rather do it on a day when I'm driving my own car to work. So now I have a tall-ish plant in my doorway and a little round succulent on my desk, both labeled "money tree".

Next: I still need potting soil and to re-pot a bunch of seedlings and to re-pot these ones! MORE MORE MORE.

6. BARBECUE

Yeah we don't have that yet. I WANT RIBS

7. NEW LITTERBOXES

DONE. These ones are winging their way to us! Next: we'll have to go buy clay litter in bulk and see how it compares to buying clay litter at Pet Food Express. Or we could just buy it at Pet Food Express, where the people are nice, the store is independent, and everything is "buy 3 get 4 free" all the time.

8. ROOMBA SCHEDULER

It's actually like $400 if we get one at Hammacher Schlemmer, which is a really awesome place to catalog-browse and which has an "unconditional lifetime guarantee". We'd have to save up for longer, but it would mean that anytime it breaks, (I've broken Roombas every possible way), they would just hand us a new one, no questions asked. So in the long run it's a lot of savings.

9. RUG FOR MY CUBICLE

And other decorations. Not done, except for the plants.

10. COIL-LESS MATTRESS I forget what I replaced that with in my head, besides "reducing EMFs". Getting the car cleaned?

10. GETTING THE CAR CLEANED OUT

DONE. It was so filthy you guys! The walnut tree above it gets all kinds of sap or whatnot on it, and plus I had filled the inside with stuff from Mandana. Crazy! Now it is clean inside and out, thanks to the sloppy-but-cheap folks at the 76 station on Broadway. It is SO nice to drive around in a vehicle with clear sparkling windows!

How's that for power and motivation?

Whole-House Makeover: The Project

Every time I go on a trip, I come back with visions for how much cleaner and neater our house needs to be. This time it's coupled with a higher household income, resulting in....


THE WHOLE-HOUSE MAKEOVER


Here are the projects I came up with so far:

  1. CLEANING

    We have the EcoMetro guide, which is full of eco-friendly coupons for local businesses and products. My plan had been to put aside the amount we saved using it, and use that money to buy another one, and put THAT money aside, and see how much we can make on it - buying stuff that we would need anyway, of course. So far I think that's added up to about $2, between being too busy to try new grocery stores and in too straitened of circumstances to buy most things in general.


    But now we can afford to buy things like... someone to come over and clean our house. It only makes sense that if everyone in the house is working all day, we trade the time that would be spent cleaning for money that gets someone else to clean. Especially if it's at a fair wage with non-toxic products.


    There are three coupons for this in the Guide: two for a discount on the initial mega-cleaning, and one for a discount on your second visit when you sign up for ongoing cleaning. We plan to use all three, in order, and then sort out what to do in a more permanent ongoingwise manner. Someone's coming over tonight from Home Shining to give us an estimate.

    Which sounds awfully drastic, to me, although I know from my own experience cleaning people's houses that it is a lot easier to gauge how long it will take in person than with people's vague mumblings about how clean it should get in which rooms. It's just that I don't CARE how long it takes; I'd much rather say "Oh, how much is it per hour? And we have a $25 discount? Okay, then just do what you can for x hours and we'll be ecstatic about whatever you do."


  2. AIR FILTER

    Seven cats and an old, badly sealed house (you can literally see daylight between the window frames and the windowsills in some places) equals quite a lot of dust. Also: smells, and not from the window frames.

    FROM THE CAT BUTTS.

    (Not to blame the cats entirely.)

    Tonight (cleaner is coming at 7, but Annie will be home by then) I want to go to Kohl's on the way home from work and return some stuff, the money from which can go to an air purifier. I have researched four, and I'm eyeballing one with a permanent cleanable filter for $41. Maybe we even get two of it. I wish they made them in fancy colors.

  3. GET RID OF ANNIE'S SPARE DESK

    For the love of god would somebody come take her desk away? I don't want to call Uhuru for it because apparently they have a habit of coming four hours late to the time that they said they'd pick things up. And the other place I called never called back. And nobody responded to the Freecycle ad. Do I need to put it on Craigslist? Does anybody want a large, multi-level, wide, blonde-colored desk (pressboard, natch) with drawers and filing cabinet space and a pull-out keyboard tray? You haul.

  4. ORGANIZE THE CLOSET

    I researched how to do this and apparently the easiest way is going to be to go to ikea and get a bunch of modular closet organizing things. First: measure and design. I realized that I really want my stuff to be folded on shelves, so that I can see it in attractive chunks instead of having to dig through drawers and an overstuffed rack of hangers to find it. If it were in chunks, when we splurged on fluff-n-fold we could just put it away instead of UNfolding half of it and hanging it up. And it would be a lot less effort to sort it into office/fun, or by color, or both. Plus also we could get little stick-on-the-wall lights so that we could actually see things in the closet for once. Plus if we do it right, we can close the closet door all the way like in days of yore.

  5. MAKE PLANTS BETTER

    I need a big plant for my office - and by office I mean cubicle - because right now anyone who comes in can sit and watch me for fun while they are waiting. And it is not uncommon, when the receptionist steps away to show someone where to go, for another customer to walk in and be like "Hi! Can you help me?" and it is moderately rude to say "NO."


    Also I want some little plants for on top of my shelfy thing and desk and filing cabinet. And I have a long rectangular pot that I can use to transplant some of my seedlings, but I think I need more pots and a bunch of dirt.


    We have a ton of coupons for discounts on plants at local nurseries, too. That would be nice, for the yard or porch or office or kitchen. I hung up a plant in the bathroom and promptly killed it. Maybe a cactus this time.

  6. BARBECUE

    They have one for $30 at Target and I want it. Why not just get Cola to come over with her notebook barbecue? Because I need a lid to make ribs. I have the best recipe for ribs and by god I am gonna make it. Probably repeatedly, until I get the hang of moderating the heat of coals. Rib parties!!!!

    And then I can put a padlock on it when I'm not using it, and a sign that says "Ha ha downstairs people, if you won't let us use the dryer you paid for then I'm not letting you use my barbecue."

  7. NEW LITTERBOXES

    No, I don't know why this is below a barbecue on the priority list. Oh, yes I do, it's because I factored in cost and the cost of six new litterboxes, with, I figured, carbon filters or engines that clean the litter for you or whatever, would be much greater than the cost of a barbecue. I've been reading this page on "The Litterbox From Your Cat's Point of View" though and I think we can implement some easy fixes to reduce stink and encourage Bluebird to leave the poor floor alone. I think the key will be to clean all the boxes twice a day, buy extra-large extra-deep boxes, and switch to a clay litter which will be less dusty. And which we might be able to buy in bulk.

  8. ROOMBA SCHEDULER

    Very much so. Seriously, if we can't be mature and grownup enough - or underscheduled enough - to sweep the floors regularly ourselves, then we need to pay the price. And the price is around $300 for a floor-sweeping robot that can be set to clean when we're not home.

  9. RUG FOR MY CUBICLE

    Also, to declutter some pix and posters from the house and move them to my cubicle at work. I think I could even get away with a bathmat or entryway rug in here. Just to dress it up a little bit and make people want to come in. (The rug says "Come in!" The giant plant says "GO THE HELL AWAY.") This is an easy fix too, but one that's low on the priorities because, hi, what the hell do I need a cubicle rug for? It is, however, higher on the list than my dream of going to Sacred Well and paying a couple hundred for an enormous standing chunk of amethyst for my cubicle.


    But not a LOT higher.

  10. COIL-LESS MATTRESS

    Because now they're saying that the coils in your bed act as conductors or something for the EMFs or radio waves or I didn't read it that carefully and promote cancer. And now don't you feel silly for a few years ago when you thought I sounded crazy for talking about the EMFs? Sure you do.


    (EMFs, or electromagnetic fields, for the record, don't cause cancer but are correlated with it because they speed up cell reproduction. Which increases the likelihood of mutation, for one thing, but also means that you don't really want to be around the EMFs if you already have cancerous cells that you'd like to have stop multiplying. There are other factors too: as with light, EMFs follow an inverse square law, so they drop off dramatically with distance. This is why you don't huddle next to the microwave for warmth, people. That and the fact that if your microwave heats up that much, you have a big problem. There was a great article in the New York Times a little while ago about this, but I can't find it now.)

    Actually, according to the comments on that Scientific American blog post, their whole article might be crap, so we might want to focus on reducing EMFs and energy usage in general instead of on the coils in the mattress, at least for a while.

What I twittered today

  • 13:42 Animal communicator says that Crindy is alive and well w/a family near the Bakery Lofts by our house and we should flyer more
    along Adeline. #
  • 13:54 Annie: (pulling out a bag of cashews) "Aw, nuts." Me: (rolling my eyes) Annie: "Wait till we have a farm and I'm always going, 'Hay!!'" #
  • 13:55 (Now I'm reading my tweet to her and she's chuckling some MORE. That's a joyful meatball!) #
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What I twittered today

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What I twittered today

  • 18:35 I know i live in the wrong city when I hear myself saying things like "This round of riots won't be as bad, right?" #
  • 15:44 Benefit of working in Fremont: went foraging in the empty lot next door on my break. twitpic.com/23v09y #
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