Monday, December 31, 2007

December 29, 2007, 6:44 p.m., CST

The day and time which shall live in infamy, as that is the time my cable FINALLY came back on. Not without some further hassles with Cox, to be sure, including some incredible rudeness from the line tech which may have to be reported, but IT'S BACK. And just in time. I was really about to lose my frickin' mind. With the lack of cable aided and abetted by a little too much Sudafed last week, by Friday evening I was a jittery, nervous, restless, sobbing MESS. ( could never be a cocaine addict or speed freak. Give me Valium or Xanax any day.)

I had a little gathering to attend at some friends' house Saturday evening, just after the cable came back, and it was oh, so tempting to blow it off and stay at home to watch TV, but I didn't. I wasn't that far gone. And the gathering was nice...low-key and informal, with lots of music being made, cheese being eaten, beer being drunk. And I got to spend a lot of time with their 7 ("And a half!")-year-old daughter. I hadn't seen her in a while, and she was pretty much my shadow all evening. Plus they have a new golden retriever puppy, and what's cuter than that? It was worth the delayed cable gratification.

I have no big plans for this evening. I'm just hoping 2007 slips away smoothly and painlessly, and 2008 is even better.

Happy New Year, all!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Cox Communications Sucks

I'm not even going to do them the favor of referring to them as "Mox"--I welcome the search hits. Bite me, Cox.

Suffice it to say that I still don't have cable. I just don't know why not. Every call I've made this week--and there have been several, with LOTS of hold time--has netted me a different answer. Nobody there knows anything about anything. The Cox customer service robots are forced to answer the phone with "This is Insert Name Here--I can help you." I have started responding with "I seriously doubt that" or "Well, you'd be the first." They always seem surprised that I'm calling. "We don't show you in an outage area." It's beyond frustrating, and my chat this morning with a supervisor did nothing to alleviate my pain. She was as clueless as her employees. I informed them that if my cable doesn't come back on this weekend, I'm changing to DirecTV or Dish on Monday. They didn't seem to care. And why should they? They've already got my money for this month, and I'm sure they'll take their own sweet time giving it back if I disconnect.

I'm not heartless, really. I know they've had a big job the last three weeks. And for the first two weeks, I was as sweet and patient as I could be. It's only since they began telling me, alternately, that I'm "not showing as an outage" and assuring me that a "service call has been scheduled" that I've become livid.

Okay, deep, cleansing breaths, in and out through the nose. In, out, in, out.

How was my Christmas? Okay, I guess. Non-eventful. (Does that sound better than "boring"?) Lots of gift cards given--even by me. I didn't even have the holiday spirit necessary to stir up my usual "gift cards are not real gifts" rhetoric. I just caved.

I did get one actual gift. A new cellphone, which has the capacity to do so many things it makes my head spin. (Note: capacity, not ability. Ability will require the purchase of some accessories, which a little birdie told me he would like to do for my Christmas present. Don't know when that might happen, though, since that particular little birdie is currently enjoying a long Christmas break with his children, and I don't know if I'll see him until after the New Year. And no, the prolonged absence, combined with the lack of cable, is NOT helping my mood.) Eventually it may function as not only a phone and a camera, but also an mp3 player.

Here's the pretty phone:

(Note: that is a promotional picture from the website. I do not actually know the soulful young man playing the guitar. And yes, it really is that color. Apparently it was that or orange. "Lime" is better. Though seriously, what kind of diseased lime was EVER that color? Hee.)

So, that was Christmas. There was no yelling or family dysfunction, and I did get gift cards that will enable me to go clothes-shopping this weekend, so that's good. My wardrobe is in serious need of enhancement.

I haven't been invited to any New Year's Eve parties, which is fine, since I probably wouldn't go, anyway. I can't even remember the last time any of my friends threw one, actually. It may have been the eve of Y2K. I remember that one, since it was notable for a couple of reasons. A) I was actually dating someone at the time, and hence had someone to kiss at midnight, and B) we made jokes all night about whether we had enough potable water and canned food if the world indeed came crashing to a halt at 12:01.

I find the older I get, the less desire I have to be out among the crazies on that night. And besides, it sucks to find yourself at midnight, the only single person at the party, trying to be inconspicuous in the corner as people begin kissing all around you. Awkward! So I guess I'll stay home and watch the ball drop on TV. Or will I? (Damn you, Cox!)

All in all, not a great end to 2007, which has, for the most part, been a pretty decent year. (The Year of Liz! With a trophy to prove it!) Fingers crossed for 2008! (And, oh my word, how has so much of a decade passed by so quickly? Those lame potable water jokes were made just yesterday. Yowza.)

Friday, December 21, 2007

Thanks, Secret Santa! "Bawk, bawk!"

Does anyone else remember the old Cadbury commercial where the little boy in the chicken suit says "Thanks, Eas' Bunny! Bawk, bawk!" No? Just me? Sorry. I'm old. But that kid was frickin' hilarious.

At any rate, my Secret Blogger Santa, Allie (thanks to LSass and RA for setting that up!), came through with a package this week that included:

  • A little book on good karma
  • A lovely scarf, which I am wearing at this very moment
  • A heated ice-scraper that plugs into your cigarette lighter


I plugged in the ice-scraper to see just how it worked, even though we're having lovely weather right at the moment (that will change tomorrow, they say) and, in my typical "clumsy oaf" style, managed to touch the heating coil with my palm. Let's just say it heats up very, very well, and one should not attempt to test out new toys with heat when one is driving. (Note: this incident in no way diminishes my love for the ice-scraper. It rocks.)

I obviously need the karma book, as well, since apparently the universe is unhappy with me for some reason, the proof being that MY CABLE IS STILL OUT AND WILL BE UNTIL AT LEAST DECEMBER 27! Sorry to yell like that. I'm distressed, as you will note that that date is well past the end of the "24 Hours of A Christmas Story" marathon. Gahhhhh!! And, fool that I am, I went ahead and gave New Guy his key back a couple of days ago, so I can't even sneak off to his place for some illicit TV viewing while he's out-of-town. Sigh.

I have coupons for both Borders and Barnes and Noble, so I'm planning to just go stock up on new reading material. I can't afford to buy DVDs to cover that extended a period, so I figure my best bet is to just find some nice, fat, juicy paperbacks to sink into for a few days. Reading is Fun(damental)!

I'll be away from the internet until the day after Christmas, so I will take this opportunity to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, or Festive Festivus, or Sparkling Solstice, or Kickin' Kwanzaa, or Dysfunctional Family Gathering, or whatEVER you choose to celebrate!

"Bawk, bawk!"

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Careful. It's fra-gee-lay.

Who cares if I don't have cable? Okay, I do, but I do at least have the great joy of having been awarded A Major Award from the delightful Sauntering Soul. Thanks, SS! Back at you. And if you haven't checked out her blog, you should, and drool over the pictures of her lovely porches and deck. And give her some love for having survived TWO rear-endings this month. And for being willing to share actual photographic evidence of her "awkward" years with the blogosphere.

Okay, in the spirit of Christmas, I'll pass this award along to a few others, as well. Narrowing down is hard--I love everyone in my sidebar! But I'll bite the bullet and single out a few leg lamp recipients.

Stefanie is smart and funny and all-around fabulous and sends music and trophies and sometimes reminds me of my younger self. (You know, if I had somehow managed to NOT surround myself with more animals than any sane person should.) One of my new goals in life is to someday sip cocktails with her at a tiki bar! It should be your goal, as well.

Stinkypaw, my friend from the north, sent me maple syrup and assorted Canadian trickets, and amuses me regularly via I.M. (And she checks in on me when I go a little too long between blog posts. Thanks, Stinky!) Plus she always posts a Friday Smile!

3carnations is raising a wonderful child, and letting us all be privy to those "darndest things" kids say, through her stories. I don't know who she "really" is, or where she lives, since her husband thinks we all might be psycho liars/stalkers here in the blogosphere, (which in and of itself makes me laugh, imagining that anyone would invent MY particular blog persona for themselves--I mean, hey...I talk about cat poop) and for all I know he may be right, and I admire her prudence, and thank her for sharing what she can. (Unless...maybe SHE'S the liar, and "she" is really typing those lovely posts from a maximum-security men's prison or something--hee!)

-R- will definitely be invited to the tiki bar to sip wine from a juicebox, and maybe she can bring her husband H to give me advice, since he's the self-proclaimed "next best thing to Ann Landers." She regularly makes me laugh, and she's willing to post pictures of herself with finger guns. She organized the fabulous "Blogger Exchange." Need I say more?

Noelle is dealing with orthopedic surgeons and still managing to keep me entertained with her posts. Kudos! I love hearing of life on the Christmas tree farm, and the landlesbian (and water lesbian--hee!). Is it insensitive of me to give a leg lamp to a person with a broken leg? Well, maybe...but I feel sure she'll see the humor in it. ("It's A Major Award!")

LSass runs more miles in a week than I've run in my life, I think. She's smart and funny (and "craftier" than she thinks!) and just got accepted into grad school. Go congratulate her! And if you didn't take part in her shared brainchild "Secret Blogger Santa," you should be kicking yourself, and making plans to do so next year, should the tradition continue.

Okay, I'm stopping there, though I could go on and on listing wonderful bloggers, 'cause it's lunchtime, and a girl's gotta eat, right?

And maybe THIS will be the time that I walk through the door at home and have cable again! Fingers crossed. I'd LOVE to stop whining, and if I don't have cable again in time for the "24 Hours of a Christmas Story" marathon...well, it ain't gonna be pretty.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy...

I was awakened yesterday by the strangest atmospheric phenomenon. "What is that?" I wondered. "It sort of hurts my eyes. Is that a ball of fire in the sky? Is this armageddon? Oh wait...that's just sunshine." The sun was out! Whoo hoo! We hadn't seen the sun since December 5th, according to the weatherman. That's just way too damn long. Just a little sunshine has lightened my mood considerably.

We have power again at work. Whoo hoo! By the way, if my previous post made my boss sound like a evil bastard, that really wasn't my intention. He was here in the cold right along with the rest of us. And I work for a very small, family-owned business that just really couldn't afford to be closed any longer--loss of income hurts us all. (I work partly on commission.) So I was, well, if not HAPPY to work in the cold, at least WILLING to do so.

Schools are back in session for the most part, we're down to about 30,000 customers without electricity (yeah, "only" 30,000), and there does seem to be some light at the end of the tunnel. Thank you, linemen of the counties of the country, for driving long distances and working long, cold hours to help us out! You rock.

I still don't have cable, and the cable company is refusing to even give estimates on when I will again. They won't give credits for the time without service until AFTER all service has been restored, so I had to pony up $79.36 to pay my bill today, even though I may not have service again for weeks. That galls a bit, I must say, though I suppose I understand it from a bookkeeping perspective.

Okay, how ending up with a nice bulleted list?

Things I Have Learned from the Great Power Outage of 2007:

  • Living through "history" is no fun. (This was the largest power outage in the history of the state.)
  • If (when) there comes a true cataclysmic disaster, I will be a whiny baby. A highly functional whiny baby, to be true, but inside...I'll be whining.
  • It is possible to be at one time both incredibly grateful for heat and lights, and incredibly pissy that you can't watch TV.
  • I now know how to dismantle and reassemble my electric garage door opener. (With a big nod of thanks to New Guy, who walked me through the dismantling over my dying cell phone, even though he's never actually had an electric garage door of his own. Before he had a music degree, he had a degree in industrial technology. Yay for handy guys!)
  • Even though I lived for 40 years without a cellphone, I am now panicky beyond belief at the thought of driving anywhere without one. (My battery was almost out, my car charger wasn't working, and I drove to New Guy's with only the tiniest sliver of a bar left, hyperventilating that I might need to call for roadside assistance and be unable to complete the call.) How quickly we get attached to our conveniences.
  • When my routine is disrupted, I don't deal well. For example, one might think that a week of being without cable and internet, having nothing to do but watch DVDs, might lead one to get really aggressive with the workout and yoga DVDs. But I'm used to working out BETWEEN work and whatever comes later, and when that BETWEEN time never comes...well, let's just say I haven't worked out this week at all. (And yet, somehow I lost a couple of pounds. I didn't eat much, really.)
  • My dog is very well-behaved. Even better behaved with a hefty dose of Benadryl. Heh.
  • Feral cats are very smart, and if they disappear for a few days while the trees are falling, they are undoubtedly holed away somewhere safe. Leave food out, and try not to worry about them. They are most likely NOT trapped under the downed tree next door.

Wow, I've learned a lot this week, huh?

Friday, December 14, 2007


I won't make this long, since doing so would require typing in gloves, and that? That's not so easy. At least if you value accuracy.

I'm back at work, but only because my boss finally located a generator. We've got a few computers, the phones and the fax machine working. NOT much in the way of heat or lights, mind you. So it's a bit chilly here at the old desk. If by chilly, you mean "I'm wearing several layers of clothes, a coat, a scarf and my gloves AT MY DESK." That kind of chilly.

Power is still out to much of this part of town. I'm lucky enough to have heat and lights. Cable? Well, that may be a while. I'm trying not to whine about it, when people are still living in unheated homes. Driving is an incredible hassle, since many of the stoplights are out, and you'd think that after 5-6 days people would get a little better at that "uncontrolled intersections are automatic four-way stops" thing, but you'd be wrong.

We're expecting snow late tonight/early tomorrow, and I can't tell you how happy I am about that! (Sarcasm duly noted, I assume.) At this point it's not expected to be too much in the way of accumulation, so...fingers crossed.

New Guy headed south to see his kids yesterday--I can't blame him. He was getting cabin fever, they don't know when school will resume (he's a teacher), and there was really nothing keeping him here. What, entertaining me wasn't reason enough? (I kid. He made the right call.) We did spend some time together before he left, so I'm not feeling too deprived. And he left me a key to his place, should an overwhelming need to watch actual TV overtake me at any point. (Extremely possible.) He's been incredibly sweet to me through all this, even letting me bring my ginormous dog to spend the night at his house the one night my power was off. (Pudge was very good, by the way. I was proud of my boy. The cats? Well, I left them a big pile of food, some running water, threw an extra blanket on the bed and hoped for the best. And they were fine. They didn't even seem to hold a grudge.)

Ice sucks, basically. S-U-C-K-S SUCKS!

On the good news front, Steve the stray cat has a new home. Whoo hoo! (Always looking for the bright side, I am.)

On the bad news front, I have never been less prepared/interested in preparing for Christmas. All the holly jolly has just been sucked right out of me. Bah humbug. (Quick, get that girl a dose of "A Diva's Christmas Carol" right now!)

Okay, I'm going to put my gloves back on now. Hold a good thought for my cold townspeople.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Walking in a Winter Wonderland. Or, you know, total winter devastation.

In case anyone was wondering, I am alive and well here at the epicenter of the great ice storm of Ought-Seven. I have electricity again, but no cable or internet. My workplace is still powerless, as are many of my friends, and about half the city. New Guy lives in a part of town that still has all the amenities, so I'm checking in from his place.

This is the worst ice storm I've ever seen. And the strangest. It never iced the streets. Only the trees and power lines. My part of town looks like a bomb went off. My backyard is full of the neighbor's trees, but I'm one of the lucky ones. My neighborhood got its power lines buried last year, so I only lost electricity for a day, and I was able to kiss the cats, grab Pudge and head to New Guy's house for a night. I'm very lucky. It may be several days before many of my friends have warm houses again.

Okay, I still feel a little sorry for myself not being able to watch TV or check the internet, and I can't help fretting a little about whether Friday's paycheck will be arriving, but I am completely ashamed of myself for feeling that way. I know I'm lucky, trust me.

Please hold a good thought for all those here who are still in the cold and the dark. I'll check in again when I can.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

It's beginning to feel a little like Christmas

I have no explanation for why I haven't posted in nearly a week. Time just got away from me. (It's December already?!) That or I'm lazy, I guess.

So, what's been going on? Let's you want to hear about how New Guy and I ate pizza a couple of nights ago? No, I didn't think so.

There have been some fun Christmas-related things happening.

Over the weekend, I went on one of those limo Christmas light tours with my "drink and bitch" group. We wore Santa hats, drank, looked at lights (the Griswolds are alive and well and living in Tulsa, by the way--I'm hoping to get photographic evidence at some point), and attempted to sing Christmas carols. Only the Jewish girl could really remember most of the words, though. (In defense of the rest of us, we were drinking more than she was.) It was great fun.

I decided to take part in the Secret Blogger Santa organized by LSass and RA, and the first week's gifts have been successfully sent and received. I received a "virtual" cat named "Noel," and she's delightful--except for her insistence on peeing on the bed. (Seriously--was the programmer just having a little fun? 'Cause when you hit the "pee" button, she just meows and lets loose right there. Hee.) Big thanks to my Santa, whoever he/she (oh, who am I kidding...male bloggers are few and far between enough around here that I'm pretty sure it's a "she") is! Now I just have to come up with something to send next week that tops this week--oh, the pressure!

I can't believe we're a week into December, and I have not bought a single Christmas gift. I have an idea for my brother-in-law, and I'm just drawing a giant blank for the rest of my family. At this point I'm tempted to just get them all gift certificates and let them knock themselves out being philanthropic. (I made a donation yesterday that finished funding a project, and the teacher emailed me back almost immediately, telling me the entire class just stood up and gave me a cheer, and she herself was crying. about your warm fuzzies.)

We've got a chance of freezing rain this weekend, and I am not happy about that! New Guy is already freaking out at the thought of wintry precipitation--I may not be able to get him out of his house at all if hears the words "freezing" and "rain" in rapid succession. Heh.

My landlord has arranged to have the trim on my house painted and fixed up, and some shrub-trimming done that was beyond my reach, and he let me choose a new color for the front door (we're going with cranberry), and he's called every day to make sure they're doing what they're supposed to be doing. That may not sound like a big deal to you, but having a landlord that actually CARES about the property is still very new and exciting to me! (I once went without water in my kitchen sink for THREE MONTHS in my old house. THREE MONTHS! Why did I stay in that house for 11 years? It was oh, so cheap.)

Oh! I almost forgot! Steve the stray cat is going for a trial run at a potential adopter's house this weekend! She's very nice, and I really, really, really hope this works out! Cross your fingers for Steve!

That just about catches you up, I think. My life is so exciting--try not to be jealous. Heh.