Tuesday, January 30, 2007

XM Radio

I found this promotional code to get three free months AND waived activation fee (a total savings of about $50) on XM Radio. R has been bugging me for a few months to get this--and until now, I just couldn't justify adding yet another monthly bill (no matter how "small"). But, R's been going down to Gulfport (for work) at least once a week for the past 3 weeks, and I know that the Talk Radio he likes will help to keep him (safely) on the road. Besides, even if we do realize that we don't use it as much as he thinks we will, it's free. For THREE months.
Do any of y'all have XM (or any satellite) radio? Do you like it? What are your favorite programs to listen to? If you don't have it, but are considering--maybe, if you ask me real nice, I might share my promo code...
Sorry for posting so blah today, it's just been a rough day and I still have to get the laundry done (at the laundrymat).

One Dollar

At R's favorite store, I found this cute little Pet Pop-Up Tent. I wasn't sure if the kitties would actually play in it, but a dollar isn't much when it comes to a few hours of entertainment. This was actually the second picture, but I wanted to save the better (first) one for next. Here's my little angel, Nabi in what has already been claimed as Reina's domain!

Like I said, this was taken first. I had thought that Nabi would be first, but Reina jumped right in and only came out to beat up Nabi when she got too close! :) When I put the little door flap down, she bats her paws at us and looks too cute!

This has absolutely nothing to do with the little tent, but it's so cute how Nabi will sit and sit right.on.top of the heater vents! The magnetic paw prints are to block some of the hot air (in the attempt to make it continue down the line to the next vent).

Friday, January 26, 2007

Anti-Nesty (aka Antsy)

I have this overwhelming urge to pack things. In the process of fixing up our living room, we've removed (packed) most of our nick-nacks and wall hangings, and it feels weird. I'm used to having my family's pictures over there on that shelf, and the big mirror up there, and the gazebo picture right there, and grampa's cross on that nail by the door. I jokingly say that we're going for the "minimalist approach," but really I just feel weird. I even brought home a few more boxes from the lab (they've been in the back of the truck for 2 days). Maybe I'll use those for my books and little stuff from the kitchen.
We've discussed getting a small storage unit to move some boxes and "toys" out of the shed. I think when we finally do get around to trying to sell the house that will make it look a little nicer. Also, our clothes dryer gave up the ghost last weekend, so we're looking for another one.
Ha! And, I can say all this with a straight face--knowing that I still haven't had a job offer. Here I am, making plans on how to get out of here, and I don't even have the logistics of the whole thing! Hey, maybe while you're reading your morning paper, you could keep an eye out for job postings--for a Microbiologist, Lab Technician, Scientist, or any combination of those words... I've already applied to jobs in NM, CA, CO, MT, WI, GA, MD, NJ, WA, OR, ID, PA, and ND. Obviously, by this point, I'm open to any suggestions!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Of Mice and (Wo)Men, 4

Okay, so this really isn't the continuation of the Mouse Brother's story. Instead, it's my explanation to you that yes, we really did have mice (or at least a mouse). And, they were in our walls, and did chew through our electrical wires. And, we did catch one in a trap.
We started hearing them back in mid-November. It started out as little scratches in the walls. Then, the cats became interested in the noises, and started stalking all the little nooks & crannies (and in-floor heater vents) in the house. We'd usually hear the wall-scratching at night (sometimes it would be so loud I'd even wake up, and I am a heavy sleeper). But, it wasn't every night, just sometimes. And, we'd hear scuttling in/on the ceiling/roof, but would just say it was squirrels or birds or our imaginations. Oh, and I guess I should say that, yes, we do have 2 cats, and no, the mice were never seen inside the house (yuk).
Then, on New Year's Eve Eve (yes, 2 days before the New Year), I was in the living room watching tv (or maybe on the computer) when I heard a strange whooshing or popping noise in the wall next to me (behind the Christmas tree). Then the lights went out. Not all of the lights, just the ones in the living room and kitchen (i.e. all the big lights). I checked the breaker box, but nothing had flipped. About an hour later R called on his way home from work. He was planning on stopping at his favorite store, and blah, blah, when I heard the noise again--from the same spot! I told him quickly about the noises and lights and that I thought he should get home now. He was there 10 minutes later. He checked all the same things I did (different light switches, wall outlets, and breaker box) and found nothing new. We had a spare outlet, so he decided to fix the first one on the circuit (located in the exact location where I heard the noise). He fixed it and tested it--and it worked! But, the next one down the line still didn't. He ran off to Lowe's and bought another new outlet to replace it. Afterwards, it still didn't work. So, the problem had to be somewhere in that 6 foot stretch of wall between the two outlets.
The next day, Sunday, was his day off, so we decided to just start pulling off paneling and find out what the heck was going on. Lo and behold, not 6 inches from the first outlet, we found an area of singed wood!! (That's singed, as in freaking burned!!) The wires had been entirely chewed through and were poking out enough to short the circuit and burn the wood (in our walls--in a 30-year-old trailer)!!
Since we had already pulled down some paneling, we decided to go a little further down and see if there was more damage. We found one other spot that had been chewed to the wire (but not even close to as bad as the first spot) and a few others that had started being chewed! By now, it was Sunday evening, and New Year's Eve, no less. But, we decided to give our insurance people a call anyways--that's what insurance is for, right? They took our info and said that someone would call us Tuesday. They did, and set up a time for the guy to come check it out--in a week! So, there we were, watching tv in the dark (thank goodness that was on another circuit) for 1.5 weeks!
Not going to complain, though, because we were approved for repairs and compensated for our time and materials. Compensated enough to do all the stuff we had been planning to do in the living room anyways (replace wainscot, window trim, and paint)! I thank God that we were here when all this happened. I mean, if we had been gone (stayed in Gulfport longer after Christmas, or gone to NM to visit my family) who knows what could've happened! And, now we have the living room looking so much better than it has in the 2.5 years that we've lived here (and probably even longer than that)! The walls are fixed, windows re-framed, wainscot up and painted (1st coat last night), and we have wood outside for the window trim, "chair rail," and floor kickboards. We finally took down those two stupid lights that were always in the way, patched the million little nail and thumbtack holes, and painted that weird section of wall that falls in the no-man's-land between the kitchen and living room.
The place is looking pretty good, and we owe it "all" to that/those little mouse/mice!

Back to the Mouse Brothers story. So, since we caught that one little guy (almost 2 weeks ago), we haven't caught anything else, or heard any more noises. So, the jury is still out whether it's because:
1. They didn't like the cold weather (the average temps have been about 15 degrees lower since that weekend).
2. They came in the house (through the big hole we made) and the cats ate them.
3. Seeing their dead kin scared them off.
4. There was only one mouse.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Where did the week go?

Wow, I can't belive it's already Friday! And, my last post was on Monday! Well, I'll continue the story of the Mouse Brothers later...
I've finished 3 more job applications, that puts me at 18. I had that first rejection, then, the phone interview I had before Christmas... well, I finally emailed her and she told me that they had someone who was "more qualified." I also had that 2nd interview at the beginning of the month, but haven't heard anything (they said to be expecting a call-back at the first of Feb). I also received one rejection letter in the mail. It was a job that I kinda knew I wasn't qualified for (GS 12!), but I figured what the heck. So, at least I know that I WILL be hearing back from the federal jobs I applied for (the rejection letter was a standard government form). At least 4 or 5 of the jobs closed in the last 2 weeks, so I'm expecting some responses soon.

Although the work I'm doing in the lab now isn't my own (I'm helping out with some bacterial stuff for another grad student), I'm enjoying it. At least I can add this up with my Total Work Experience. It feels weird to still be here, I really hoped I would be long gone by now. But, realistically, I know that, on average, it takes 3-4 months to find a job. (What was that, like 4 commas?!) And, since I only started in December, I shouldn't be expecting anything real until at least next month. I have a time limit here, though, and I need to make sure that I don't overstay my welcome. I may have said it before, but this "Intermittant Worker" position I'm in is only allowed to be available for 3 months (max). And, at the beginning, I was told I might only be funded for 2 months.

Okay, it's almost 5 (4:59 to be exact) and I normally would be rushing to get home (of my own accord, plus at the insiting of R), but I'm not. R is in Gulfport (or, hopefully, on his way home) and probably won't be back until 8 or 9. He had to take a work truck down there, and got the okay from his boss to stop and visit his mom if he wanted (of course, yeah!). It hasn't even been a month since we last saw them (Christmas), but we're starting to realize that we're running out of time to do these little quick visits. (Maybe) Soon, our roles will be reversed and we'll be seeing my family all the time, but only being able to visit his a few weeks out of the year. Of course, things could go according to our original plan, and we'll be splitting our 2 weeks of vacation between NM and MS!

This not knowing is starting to get to me! I've said it before, and I'll say it again--I Am A Planner. I like to know what's going on, and to schedule my time accordingly. I like a routine or schedule, interspersed with random spontaneity. This whole living by the seat of my pants is NOT for me! Please, please, think happy thoughts for me and R! It really is time for us to move on and start our Real Life!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Of Mice and (Wo)Men, 3

Jerry tried to explain the extreme danger of the traps, but Mighty just couldn't resist the creamy Jif peanut butter. Late one night, he found himself under the house, following the nutty aroma. He grabbed a handful of the yummy stuff, and tried to step back carefully. But, the V-Snap Trap was too fast! Mighty fought with the spring, and tried to release himself. He was no match.
Early the next morning, after realizing that Mighty never made it home, Speedy and Jerry started a search party. They quickly found their big brother, stuck in the trap.
The remaining two brothers mourned the loss for several days. Eventually, they realized that revenge on the humans would be the only way to avenge the loss of Mighty. Jerry immediately started developing a plan...
Speedy was assigned to collecting several key components: 4 rubberbands, 2 small socks, 3 coke cans, and a new vacuum bag. Jerry hoped that these tools would be enough to perform the human and CAT sabatoge he was formulating. (He also thought it would help to keep Speedy out of his way.) In the meantime, Jerry had a lot of work to do. He began constant surveillance of the humans and mapped every corner of the human's residence.
Soon, soon his plan would be set in motion. Patience was paramount.

...to be continued...

Friday, January 12, 2007

Of Mice and (Wo)Men, 2

After passing on the living room, Jerry examined the next closest room, what the humans call the Computer Room. He found so many cool toys in there, but quickly realized that the lack of heat would not make it a nice place to live. Also, all the noise from the street was very startling!
In the meantime, Speedy was rushing from one end of the house to the other, collecting insulation and plastic for their home. Sometimes he was so busy that he forgot to be quiet--and the humans didn't seem to appreciate that! In all his running around, Speedy thought he found the perfect place to move in--the human's bedroom. He passed the message along to Jerry, who went along to check it out.
After a very brief inspection, Jerry agreed that the bedroom would be perfect! He immediately ordered Mighty to collect as much nesting materials as he could--and stash them in the wallspace. Jerry knew that they would be safe in the wall--because the CATS would never be able to catch them there! All day, while the humans were gone, Jerry, Speedy, and Mighty would work hard at getting their materials together. Once the sun set, the three would settle in their house-in-progress and play Rummy.
For the next several weeks, all was going well for the brothers. Their house was nearly completed, they had figured out the feeding schedule, and learned how to avoid the CATS. But, one day Mighty and Speedy got in a fight. Mighty started tearing up parts of the house and Speedy didn't know how to stop him (Jerry was nowhere to be found)! The two began to scuffle in the narrow wallspace and they were making enough noise to draw the attention of the humans and CATS!
The next day, Speedy found a "plate" of peanut butter laid out under the house. He snatched as much as he could carry, and ran back to tell Mighty and Jerry. Jerry studied the "plate" and tried to explain that it was a TRAP! The humans must have figured out where they were, and were trying to get rid of them!

...to be continued...

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Of Mice and (Wo)Men

Speedy, Mighty, and Jerry are brothers. Speedy is quite aptly named, as he has the quickest legs known to mousekind. Mighty is the brawn of the trio, as he is capable of lifting 100 times his own body weight! However, Jerry provides all the brain power for this operation. After establishing several mousetowns across Mississippi, Jerry has chosen a new location for his family to begin their new life...
the Phelps' Residence.
The brothers scoped out several homes in the neighborhood, but determined that this house would be perfect for them. Easy access into the home, nesting materials strewn about the property, and daily meals provided by the human occupants make for very cozy living.
The first thing the brothers had to do in preparation for Moving In Day was to collect small pieces of wood and cardboard for the foundation and walls of their starter home. Speedy was given the job of running through the ceiling to collect pieces of insulation soaked in asphalt--that would prevent the other critters (i.e. ants and spiders) from moving in, too. Mighty was told to scope out the broken pieces of particle board that were scattered under the home (these had fallen apart years ago when the old tenants let a small leak get out of control). And, Jerry began the initial survey to find the best location to build their home (nest).
First, he examined the most obvious location, the kitchen. Access to foods from all over the world (Wallymart, Kroger, Foodmax) and a constant supply of water were within a short distance, but the people seemed to already have this room safeguarded (borax, bug traps, and spray). Next, the living room might be a good option. It's right next to the kitchen, but the people don't seem to have as many barriers posted. Jerry tested the water by chewing on a few wires--he needed power to get his tools running to start construction. But, when the lights went out, the people had to break up his plan by tearing down the walls--and there were CATS in the house! Jerry decided that the living room was No Good!

...to be continued

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Maybe Time to Upgrade

Okay, so before I start, I know that talking about one's sleeping habits is a bit personal, and discussing said habits of one's spouse is probably entirely inappropriate, but I have to share this.
R and I sleep on a queen bed. It has been nice having that "extra room" you know, as opposed to a twin bed. But, apparently it's not enough. Maybe we need to knock down a few walls to make room for a King bed? You decide.
Let's start with Exibit A: In this cartoon diagram, you may notice that two equally-sized individuals find that there is indeed enough room for each person to maintain an expected level of comfort. This is how I would assume a nice, well-mannered couple would situate themselved on any average night of the week.

Enter Exibit B: Here you will see that one member of the aforementioned couple has a slightly irregular location and manner of sleeping. Please also note the presence of two smaller individuals (those are cats, in case you were wondering) who have unanimously decided that the individual on the left is an ideal heater, headrest, and comforter.

After close inspection of these diagrams, can one please explain to me why, at 2:00 this morning when I woke up and asked R to "please scoot over," he proclaimed, "I am at the EDGE of the bed, YOU scoot over!" ?? Help me out here, am I missing something?

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Celina, Interior Design

A few days ago my little sister, Ruthie, asked for my help (input, advice, ideas) for redecorating her room. She says that she's interested in a "retro, black & white" theme. So, I put on my thinking cap and googled every variation of her request that I could think of... and I came up with a few alternate ideas.
Before I get into those, let me tell you that R has been ragging me for my interest in doing this. I think it's partly because he's "jealous" that I'm focused on something besides him. He also keeps commenting on how "silly" it is for me to be "trying to be a designer" just because I see it on tv. Whatever!
Okay, out of these samples, only 1 is actually "black & white," but I think the others could be "altered" to a more "black & white" theme.

#1. First, is the pink and brown (very "retro," no?). I think this is adorable, but I would probably prefer a blue, green, or even orange with the brown. And, of course she wouldn't have the special built furniture or wall hanging thingys.

#2. Here is the only actual black & white room I found. In this room 2 of the walls are grey pinstripe wallpaper and the other 2 are the black with white stripes. I think the stripe idea is nice, but not so much the wallpaper. Personally, I think the black & white (& gray) would make me feel kinda depressed...

#3. This is a very simple "retro" look. I think the brown and turquoise is much better than black. I really like the way it looks much cleaner than the 1st brown room.

#4. This is a more kid-like "70s retro" design. Again, all colors except for black. And, the special-made headboard would probably not go over so well with mom & dad.

#5. This room is a little more "bubblegum" than I think Ruthie wants, but I really like the barcode stripe design. I think she could do this on white walls with black, gray, and maybe 2 or 3 other colors (lime green, purple, orange).

What do you think of these ideas? Do you have any suggestions? I told her that I need a few things from her: What furniture does she have, how big are the walls, is she going to put the doors back on the closet.
Well, this is just something silly that I'm working on, and I hope I'll be there soon to help her actually DO IT!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

So, Now I Have a Job

...in the same lab ... fooled ya, huh? Yesterday I started back here and got the run-down on what things I'll be doing. The thing that makes me most happy is that I don't have set hours--pretty much I can just come in whenever I want, as long as I do the stuff I'm supposed to do. The bad part to that, though, is that now I'm getting paid hourly. BLEH! And, some paperwork didn't get changed (from the previous intermittant worker) so my first paycheck will be less $/hour than I had hoped for. But, we will get the papers figured out for the next one. It still won't be much, but at least it's better than what I'd get just sitting at home ($NO/hour)! It actually feels kinda nice to have stuff to do (not just working on thesis stuff).
Oh, and some positive news: I had another phone interview with another company I applied to in Albuquerque! BUT, that just throws another "what if" into the Job Search Game... no word from the other job interview (the one back before Christmas), but I'm hoping it's just the weather that's preventing them from calling.
I haven't sent in any more applications, but I'm starting to think that maybe I should do just a few more, I mean, that way my chances of finding The Best Job will be slightly increased.
Okay, now that I'm getting paid by the hour, I probably should not be goofing off on the computer! :)

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Welcome to two thousand seven

It's a new year, but honestly, it feels like any other day. Last week, New Mexico was hit with record snow fall and this is a picture of my mom and dad's house! In the 5 years they've lived there, I don't think they've gotten more than 3 or 4 inches of snow at a time--this time they were hit with 1.5 feet! I know that's not much compared to placed further north, but for them it was HUGE!

I haven't heard back from that job prospect yet, but I think it's safe to assume that the weather may have some impact on their timing. I'm still very hopeful. Tomorrow I will be back in the lab, so at least I'll have that to keep me occupied until I hear something else.

Finally, I have this video I heard about on 20/20. It's about 5 or 6 minutes long, but if you're a fan of Pachebel's Canon and rock (YES, I said ROCK), check it out!! Oh, yeah... and HAPPY NEW YEAR! I hope it's a blessed and prosperous time for you and yours!