Thursday, April 27, 2006

any excuse for a new toy

So, we're off to Iowa for Brent's spring training. And no, he's not a baseball player. Twice a year, spring and fall, they bring everyone back to the home office for training. Anyway, every spring they have a banquet. For some reason (probably because of my hatred of clothes shopping) I get it in my head to sew myself a skirt for the occasion. So after the skirt is completely constructed, I sweet talked Brent into helping me measure out the hem so I can finish. So, armed with a yardstick, the most level piece of floor we can find in the 125+ year old house, and pins, he sets to work. And then says, "you know this would be so much easier if I had a laser level..."

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Too Much Drama

So, it's been an interesting past few days. We live in a two-flat, which means we have upstairs neighbors. One girl signed the lease and moved in about two weeks after we did, along with an "official" roommate that's not on the lease, but technically needs to be. And then it began.

It's her first apartment. Her first place on her own, away from mom and dad. And it feels like it's a freshman dorm. Loud music at any given hour of the day or night. People coming and going all day, even when the actual tenants (official or not) aren't around. And some of these people have their own keys. Smoking when the landlords and the lease expressly says no smoking.

All of this is annoying, but we can deal. Not ideal by any means, but we've tolerated stuff like this before. However, one of the reasons we chose this place is because it was in a nice, quite neighborhood and not an apartment complex of any sort. Maybe we were being naive. I just don't know.

But the landlords, who were completely burned by their last tenants, have a right to know what's going on. We've talked, and determined that pretty much half of the stuff the tenant says is a bald face lie. She must think we're stupid or something. Most of it is just minor stuff, usually trying to be the moderator and smooth things over, but if she's constantly being caught in a minor lie, it is likely that she has no problems lying about more important stuff. It's not hard to be honest if you have nothing to hide.

And then things escalated. Music was being played so loud that one of our neighbors could hear it in his living room, windows closed, tv on. So on Friday, he called the landlord to complain and the landlord called and asked me what was going on, and I filled him in.

He was furious. He came straight over, marched up to the door, and knocked, twice. Then he let himself in to find the pseudo-roommate who had just arrived a mere 15 minutes prior to his arrival, the two friends that arrived with her, and (I assume) her boyfriend, who had been there all day long. They had locked themselves in the back bedroom, smoking and playing video games, and claimed not to hear the knocks. I think they've taken to hiding when they know they aren't suppose to be there, so they know what they're doing is wrong. Otherwise why would four people lock themselves into a room during the middle of the day?

But anyway, the landlord loses his cool. I could hear him yelling perfectly, clear across the house. He says his piece, and then under the premise of fixing a faucet (which he does need to fix) come and fills me in. Nothing I didn't already know or suspect.

However, after he leaves, things get even more interesting. I'm in the kitchen, making up a batch of cookies, and I can hear them in the farthest back bedroom talking. And from the snippets I hear, they're talking about me. I didn't feel comfortable and just had to get out of there. So I re-introduced myself to one of my neighbors I had only met in passing and we hit it off and ended up talking for 4 hours, so at least there was one positive thing coming of all of this drama.

The weekend comes and things are surprisingly calm. Of course it helps that we were gone most of Saturday, and she was gone Saturday night and most of Sunday.

I was just thinking that things could be calming down for good. And then three big black guys, perfect strangers that I have never seen before, yelled something at me while I was in a neighbor's back yard, talking to her and her two little kids. This was after they had walked up, strutting across our front lawn (we're responsible for the lawn care, so it is indeed our lawn, not the other tenants by any means) like they owned the place and went in to the apartment above, apparently to see the boyfriend of the pseudo-tenant. I'm not sure what they yelled, since it took me a moment to register that they were yelling at me, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't a "hello, and welcome to the neighborhood" sort of thing.

So I've reached the breaking point. I'm not comfortable in my own home. Brent's not comfortable with me being here by myself. Other neighbors aren't comfortable with the situation and have offered me a safe haven if I feel I need it. It's a gorgeous day, and I don't feel like I can sit out on the deck and read a book. I've become hyper-aware of other people's comings and goings. I've even taken to writing down the plate numbers of what cars are outside. I don't trust these people. Since half of what comes out of their mouths is a lie, trying to be civilized adults and talking things through makes no sense at all. I feel like an annoying nosy neighbor, but I feel like I have to be on my toes.

The landlords are not approving the application of the pseudo-roommate, so that's one step, but they may have a harder time getting the other tenant, the one with the lease, out. But even with one gone, I don't think things will change that much until they're both gone since they're friends and I don't know how well our landlords will be able to enforce things.

I love the house, I love the location, I love the rest of the neighbors...if we wouldn't be moving in two years, we'd probably be buying this place (oh, it's currently for sale, which means that there's showings, and that is a whole different story in itself). But if things don't change, we're going to be moving. It's getting to the point that it's us or them.

And once again, cookies and gold stars to all that read this far. And yes, I will owe people a bunch of cookies, and I want you to know I'm good for them. But as of right now, you have to come and collect. Or maybe we'll seriously have to plan a weekend reunion thing or something. I'm only 4 hours away...

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Another reason to celebrate

I know everyone will be busy celebrating Zimbabwe's Independence from the Brits a mere 26 years ago, but during your feast of ostrich steak, eland stroganoff and crocodile tail in cheese sauce, please remember to raise your glass of Chibuku and toast another momentous event that took place a quarter of a century ago today.

Happy Birthday, Anne!

Saturday, April 15, 2006

New Address

Hey everyone!
My wife and I finally moved off campus from a apartment smaller than your average classroom to a reasonable thing closer to work. If any of you are in the area, feel free to stop by!

1847 Cambridge Park Place apartment 103 Springdale, AR 72764 My wife's cell is 479-236-2414 My cell is 479-236-7657

This Day in History

April 15:

1452 - Leonardo da Vinci, Italian artist born (d. 1519)

1865 - Abraham Lincoln dies after being shot the previous evening by John Wilkes Booth.

1912 - The British passenger liner RMS Titanic sinks at about 2:20 a.m. after hitting an iceberg in the North Atlantic almost three hours earlier.

1924 - Rand McNally publishes its first road atlas.

1940 - The Allies start their attack on the Norwegian town of Narvik which was occupied by Nazi Germany

1955 - The first McDonald's restaurant opens in Des Plaines, Illinois.

1981 - Jay Collman first graces the world with his presence.

Happy Birthday, Jay!

**info courtesy of Wikipedia**

Thursday, April 13, 2006

A post of it's own

So, as I alluded to in the comments, I am this close to having a job. In fact, I have a job lined up if I want it. A job that would be just a job, but not completely misery inducing. Of course, today things got much more complicated. Gather round, folks, it's story time.

As our story begins, our intrepid heroine is looking around her new home, quite impressed with the fact that everything (5000 lbs. according to the movers) was unpacked and in its place within a mere two days. But now how was she to fill her time? It was time to find a job.

The search began with the websites of area libraries, as our heroine was considering going back to library school. There were many openings for people who already had that precious piece of paper that declared them a "master," but there were a few that didn't. And better yet, there were a few that were nearby. So she applied.

Time passed, but she heard nothing. She figured competition would be tough in this metro area, so she decided to apply for something else -- something that wouldn't be her first choice, but something that wouldn't be too horrible. Nothing to do with food or the serving there of. She was far too klutzy for that. Retail, she thought. Those jobs are always in abundance. So on Monday, she turned in four applications.

At one stop, a craft store, when she handed over her application, she was immediately given a time for an interview. On Wednesday, already. So on Wednesday, she went. And apparently, she was witty and charming (or at least not horribly annoying and demanding) so she was offered a job on the spot. Since she was taken aback by the quickness of the whole process, she asked if she could have some time to process and it was agreed that she would give an answer by Friday.

Still hoping something may come from the applications she had sent out just a week before, she was hesitant to take the position. After all, it wasn't a career, it was just a job. Just a job cutting fabric or framing art and photographs. As "just a job" goes, it wouldn't be bad, but if she took it, would she be missing out on something bigger and better? Something she really wanted?

After she was talked down out of her over analytical, semi-frenzied state by objective parties, she decided to accept the job. Accept it, but still keep an eye out for what she really wanted. That next day, Thursday, she called the manager to accept, but the manager was out until Friday. However, as she needed to visit the store to purchase some supplies for a project she was working on, she could talk to the other manager if she happened to see her.

While in the store, she saw the other manager up near the registers. For some unexplained reason, she was nervous and seriously contemplated hiding in one of the aisle until the other manager moved along to a different area of the store. However, she sucked it up and walked up register to ring up her purchases, and mentioned to the other manager that she had decided to accept the job offer. However, when she got to the car, she listened to the voicemail message she had received since cell phone reception was limited inside the store. It was from a library, wanting to set up an interview with her.

Her brain went into overdrive. She began to formulate a plan:

Be honest, and say she's still interested, but there are other opportunities that could lead to a long term career. As these opportunities are also part time, there is a possibility that she could still work at the craft store, but her availability would go from completely flexible to not so much. All she needs is more time to go through the interview process and hear back. (And if these people aren't willing to work with her through this process, does she really even want to work for them, she asked herself).

Then she gets two more phone calls from two other libraries, also wanting to set up interviews.

And then her head exploded.

Craziness, I tell you. Craziness.

ten points, a gold star AND a cookie to anyone who has read this far.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

American Council of good-Looking Uncles

There you go.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

How To Fold a Fitted Sheet

My mom was taught by her mom many years ago, and she found the description online!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

My Hand Raised

Survey: How Many of Us Can Say We're Going to Be an Uncle?

Let's see a show of hands.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Some more pics

I can't resist!

Family Guy

Yes, I recently got engaged! I met Hope when she started attending my small group (Bible study) last August, and we've been together every day since! She has a 20 month-old daughter, Elisabeth, who I love to death. Here's a picture of the three of us (it was drizzling, sorry for the fuzziness).

I proposed earlier this month, and we are getting married on August 26th.

Jay, don't you have some news to share with us?


I heard some news about you a few weeks ago. Are you going to let us know about it?