Random Stuff from My Life

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Trying times

Seven days make one WEAK. At least the last seven did. Things were pretty much awful at work. Someone said that it's the general state of the world. People are scared about the economy and they're acting out in weird ways. Maybe that's it.

I also found out why we hadn't received our refunds. The tax preparer didn't put the initial "0" in our account number, so Bank of America kicked the money back. The State of California (unbelievably) issued us a paper check, which came on Friday. But the IRS was apparently waiting for us to call them and politely ask for the money. Once we did that, it was too late to get in this week's check run, so they'll mail our money on April 24 - conveniently the first day of my 10-day out of state trip for work.

I was going to go into the office today, but the Husband got a call about picking up an extra shift at one of HIS jobs. So I'm stuck at home without a car, which gives me time to play on the web, clean the house, and start packing for Friday's trip. Oh, and make arrangements to send condolences for the two more elderly family members who passed this week.

I'm ready for a break!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Hippity Hoppity

Easter's on its way... past. At least we're supposed to have a new episode of "Amazing Race" tonight. I was a little ticked at the country music folks last weekend. Meanwhile, I think the new crop of kids on "American Idol" may be the best yet. Although I may just have a new can't-miss TV show: Amy Poehler's new "Parks & Recreation." I saw the first episode on Thursday and it was great!

Other than TV, not much exciting going on right now. I have a mountain of stuff to do at work before I leave for a conference in less than two weeks.

We haven't gotten our tax refunds yet (yes, we're actually getting money back this year), which is starting to annoy me a bit. I suppose if I had filed earlier...

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Community Standards

My dad likes to tell the story that when he and Mom were building their house in 1976, the banker asked him why he wasn't putting a two-car garage on it. After all, it was a three-bedroom, two-bath ranch-style home, the quintessentially middle American abode. Such homes almost uniformly had two-car garages. (Nowadays it would be a three-car garage if it were in an even passably upscale neighborhood.) No, my dad insisted, he wouldn't build a two-car attached garage. There was a large shop on the property (pre-dating the house by several decades) with room for two vehicles. Besides, he said, "I've never met anyone with a two-car garage who could actually park two cars inside. Bigger garages just become junk-storage magnets."

Fast forward 33 years (geez, was the Bicentennial THAT long ago?): Since we moved into this place, we've been the only couple on our little two-duplex lane that has been able to park a car in our garage. Now, however, I fear that the peer pressure may be too much for us.

Okay, so it's not actually the peer pressure. Really, it's our own ability to accumulate crap. But still, I think we are about to kick the car out of its warm and cozy home. See, we wanted to buy art. I found a couple paintings I really liked. But the Husband couldn't be bothered to go by and look at them (despite my nagging) until after the place they were displayed had switched to a new artist. And of course I didn't write down the name of the artist I liked. And I can't even describe accurately how many weeks ago I saw these paintings. So, we seem destined to remain art-less for the foreseeable future. But then the Husband noticed that our favorite furniture store (of the leather couch - which, incidentally, the cat has yet to destroy) was having an anniversary sale complete with the 12 months/no interest/no payments special. Enter the new bedroom set.

So, we now have to find a place to put all the cheap homemade/K-mart/Ikea crap that WAS in the bedroom. (At least until we get rid of it, which in reality will be never.) Thus, we may be subjecting our $18,000 automobile to the weather in order to provide space for $200 worth of furniture that we don't like or need. Makes sense, right? As much sense as the neighbors' storage of an old refrigerator, I suppose.

Anyway, I guess I could detail the Texas trip while waiting for dinner. I don't think I ever actually said, but the ostensible reason for the trip was the South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin. However, we didn't end up buying passes for the festival, so we decided we'd do a few (ha!) other things, too. We packed WAY too much into a week's time - over 2,000 miles on the rental car. We visited my nephew in one city, my niece in another, and my parents two states away! Then, on the way home, we had a three-hour layover in San Fran and ran into a friend from Palm Springs who was flying home. Of all the gates in all the terminals in all the cities... what are the odds?

Oh, and thanks to being in Central Time, I was able to stay up late enough one night to watch the new Jimmy Fallon show. Yeah... we're gonna chalk that up to "he's still finding his rhythm." Either that, or I'm having the same reaction that my parents had to Letterman. No, I can't be that old. I just can't!