Crazy Lady in Target

We needed to get a few things from Target and didn’t have a chance to stop yesterday. Since Saturday at Target is always a shit show, we decided to go early this morning. Not early enough, apparently, since there were a disturbingly large number of cars in the parking lot less than twenty minutes after they opened.

I only needed a few things, so I largely stood by the cart, browsing on my phone while my husband did his shopping. From several aisles away, I could hear a woman holding a loud, one sided conversation with some hapless team member. She’s a fixtures at this particular Target on Saturday mornings. I felt sorry for her captive audience.

As I am standing by the cart talking to my husband, shaking our heads over this craziness, a woman approaches us and starts talking about the crazy lady. If she had just made a comment and walked on, I would have thought nothing of it. But she kept talking and sharing a lot of personal information, including showing me a photo of herself before she lost a tremendous amount of weight.

My husband beat a hasty retreat to continue shopping, but I had to stick by the cart, nodding along to this woman’s dialogue. She finally wandered off. As we headed to check out, we couldn’t help but wonder how she failed to see the irony in criticizing someone else for crazy talk and how long it would be before she was the one yelling at team members on a Saturday morning. Maybe she’s just waiting for the current crazy lady to die, so she can assume the crown.

I Touched My Camera

I had a YPC photo shoot yesterday. That’s the first time I’ve used a camera since February. Which, coincidentally, was also for a YPC photo shoot. The creative muse has flown the coop. The photo shoot was a total shit show. It was a large cast of teenagers with zero attention spans. The actual director couldn’t attend, so someone else was reading through his notes and attempting to direct the photo shoot. Multiple costume changes were involved.

It took twice the normal time and I was completely exhausted at the end. At least the season is over now and I won’t have to do another one of these until September. By which time I hope to have a semblance of a life back. Meanwhile, rapid progress on our new home continues. We had a low voltage walk-thru on Tuesday, discussing the division of work between my husband and the company that did the wiring. We kept dodging drywallers, painters and trim guys.

We rented a truck yesterday in order to transport my husband’s tools to the site today, so they could be loaded into the workshop. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get the 500 lb table saw up the ramp into the truck, so that’s staying in our garage for now. Our builder is going to contact some movers to see if they can get it loaded for us. My husband needs to get going on his woodworking projects for the house.

I’m still vacillating between elation and terror on the house. We’ll make the show, but that first weekend will be a scramble and there will still be a lot of work going on afterward. It’s not going to start settling down until the end of July. Everyone keeps telling us it will be worth it in the end. I hope so.

I Hate Utilities

I received our final Phoenix bill from Southwest Gas last week and was somewhat disturbed to find that they had charged us through April 26th, rather than April 10th, when I requested the service be terminated. I filled out their “contact us” form online to inquire about this seemingly obvious mistake. The response to my note was “call our customer service number.”

Great. I really wanted to avoid waiting in a call queue and having to speak to a human, particularly a human working for a utility monopoly. When I did get through to someone, the “explanation” I received consisted of some bullshit along the lines of “no one was home, so we couldn’t do the final meter reading on that date and just sent you the bill at the end of the cycle.” Huh? So, to recap, they read the meter remotely on all occasions except when you terminate service and then they need physical access to the meter?

Nothing about my service termination request (for which I received an email confirmation) suggested that was a requirement. No effort was made to contact me about this so-called need. I call bullshit. But just try arguing with a utility. They didn’t take a reading when they were supposed to, so we’re fucked. The bill for the whole month was $40, so we’re out roughly $20. No, it’s not a big deal and I don’t feel like wasting any more time, energy or righteous indignation over it. But it still really pisses me off. I hate utilities.

We’re in the Show

As I’ve mentioned previously, our new home is supposed to be featured in an upcoming home tour, hence the remarkable progress being made recently. I’ve checked the tour’s website a number of times and only found the list/profiles of the featured builders/remodelers. Until yesterday.

There’s now an online brochure for the tour, as well as web pages for each of the featured homes. So, I guess that definitively answers the question as to whether or not our house will be done by June 8th. Spoiler alert – it actually won’t be done done. It will be done enough for the occupancy permit and to look good for show, but there will still be work remaining.

There’s a triage process and things that don’t absolutely need to be done for the show won’t be done. Things like our roof deck and sauna, both of which were called out in the description of the house. The left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing, apparently. I thought I would be excited when the brochure came out, instead I find myself annoyed and a little bit terrified.

Annoyed because of the errors and some grammatically awkward sentences in the description, and terrified because there’s still so much work left to be done. I’m hoping to get to the excited stage in the near future.

Gaining Speed

At various points during our new home construction, we were told that “things are going to start moving really fast now.” Never happened. There were brief bursts of rapid activity, but nothing sustained. Now, with less than six weeks remaining until the Artisan Home Tour, there is truly a flurry of activity. It’s about time.

Our cabinets were delivered, almost completely filling our enormous garage. Day by day, more of them are being installed. Meanwhile, drywall finish work is nearly done and priming/painting is in progress. Outside, final grading was done between the house and workshop. Then they needed to pause, as the ground on the north side of the house still contained frost. The landscapers started last week and finished our first segment of gabion wall in a few days.

The basalt landing outside of the front door and some of the basalt treads were installed. The remainder need to wait for the metal section of the staircase to be fabricated. Speaking of staircases, the installation of our interior one started today. It came like a massive flat pack piece of furniture from Ikea. They had to install a pulley on the ceiling of the stair tower to install it. The elevator installation also started yesterday.

It’s beyond gratifying to see significant progress when we stop by every day. The house is large enough to accommodate multiple crews working without getting in each other’s way. Parking is becoming a bit of an issue, though. Most of the time we have to settle for a spot at the end of the block. It’s a small price to pay.

Shouldering the Burden

So, after months of ignoring the pain in my right shoulder, I finally went to get it  checked out. I’ve had pain off and on for months. I thought the three month break I took from working out while my trainer was on maternity leave would totally resolve it. Instead, it just flared up worse than ever when I started up again in January. The massive amount of packing and box lifting I needed to do while we were getting out of Phoenix just exacerbated it.

When it went from hurting while I was using it, to just plain hurting all the time, I finally had enough. Saturday my arm throbbed and my hand felt numb. I went online to look up the orthopedic center my mom visited for her broken elbow, intending to schedule an appointment. Instead, I found they offer an orthopedic version of urgent care. I showed up ten minutes after they opened at 8:00 on Sunday. There were at least six people in front of me.

After a relatively short wait, I was seen by a lovely doctor who poked and prodded me, asked questions and ordered x-rays. My final diagnosis – tendonitis. Which is a huge relief. I went through the same thing with my left elbow, which lead to my first experience with acupuncture. It was totally healed after five weeks of twice weekly treatments. I called a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) clinic on Monday morning and was able to get an appointment immediately.

I had an intense hour session, followed up by cupping. So now I look like I was attacked by a giant octopus. I’m going back on Wednesday and intend to continue three days a week for the next 2-3 weeks. Hopefully that will knock it out. Fortunately, my trainer is headed out of town today for the next few weeks, so I can just focus on healing. Gardening season is right around the corner and I need two functioning arms. Fingers crossed.

Spring Came

IT HIT 60 DEGREES TODAY. Finally, finally, spring has made its long overdue appearance. I was astonished to look out the window and see my daylilies bravely poking their heads up through the snow. The foot of white stuff we received less than a week ago is vanishing at break neck speed. It can’t be gone soon enough for me.

I’d like to say we took a break after our grueling Phoenix trip, but that would be a blatant lie. There are way too many house tasks remaining. Tuesday we went shopping. First we visited a carpet store to look for a rug to put under our pool table. My (cheap) fervent hope was that we’d find a nice remnant we could have bound. Instead, we found a “meh” remnant and so we ended up ordering a custom carpet rug that was much nicer and (sigh) more expensive.

Then we went to look at mattresses and (of course) ended up buying the top of the line from Tempur-Pedic. At least we ticked a couple more items off the list. Another accomplishment this week – I filed our revised stormwater management maintenance declaration at the county recorder’s office. I had a moment of panic when the person behind the desk pointed out that our names shouldn’t have been crammed onto a tiny line on the form by the notary. I was terrified he would make me return with a corrected version.

Fortunately, he took pity on me and accepted it after lecturing me on the proper way to fill out the form. Almost made it worth the $21 I had to pay for 38 minutes of parking in a ramp. Almost. I practically sprinted to the watershed district office to hand in my receipt. Less than seven weeks until the home tour now.

Scams Keep Getting Better

I’ve seen a significant uptick in scam/spam emails recently. I have to give the scammers credit, they’ve gotten a lot more creative. Take the below example (pasted verbatim). The person it purports to be from is a real person. Punctuation and grammar is still atrocious.
You have been gifted $2 MILLION USD in 2017 Donation Funds.
I hope this information reach to you well as I know you will be curious to know why how I selected you to receive a cash sum of$2,000,000,00 USD,our information below is 100% legitimate,I Mr.Amancio Ortega and my wife Rosalia fashion businessman and founding chairman of the Inditex fashion group,of Zara clothing showrooms around the world,I and my wife Rosalia mapping out this donation funds every Year to 20 countries all over the world where our company is been located in the world  please see the link below:
My wife and I decided to donate the sum of $2,000,000,00 USD to you as part of our charity project to improve the lot of 20 lucky individuals all over the world from our $16.5 Billion Usd I and My Wife Mapped out to help people before she died. We prayed and searched over the internet for assistance because i saw your profile on Microsoft email owners list and picked you. Rosalia my wife and i have decided to make sure this is put on the internet for the world to see. My wife has cancer and she died at Colchester regional hospital, my wife just didn’t die but she was a great person and I miss her so much and this is why I have decided to do one thing I promised her forever. As you could see from the web page above, am not getting any younger and you can imagine having no much time to live. Although I am a Billionaire Investor and we have helped some charity organizations from our Fund.
You see after taken care of the needs of our immediate family members, before she died we decided to donate the remaining of our Billions to other individuals around the world in need, the local fire department, the red cross, Haiti, hospitals in Truro where Rosalia  underwent her cancer treatment, and some other organizations in Asia and Europe that fight cancer, Alzheimer’s and diabetes and the bulk of the funds deposited with our payout bank of this charity donation. We have kept just 40% of the entire sum to ourselves for the remaining days because,I am sick and am writing you from hospital computer because I don’t  know when I will die. To facilitate the payment process of the funds ($2,000,000.00 USD) which have been donated solely to you, you are to send your below information to your assigned claims agent in Usa ( Rev Father Jonathan Moss on Email: )
Your full names……………..
Your contact address…………………
Your personal telephone number……………
Your Date of birth……………………….
Your Marital Status……………………….
Your Occupation…………………………..
One Passport photographs or any of your valid Identity
So that HE can forward your payment information to you immediately. I am hoping that you will be able to use the money wisely and judiciously over there in your country. Please, you have to do your part to also alleviate the level of poverty in your region, help as many as you can help once you have this money in your personal account because, that is the only objective of donating this money to you in the first place. I like to re-assure you of  the legitimacy of this services as we will not be involved in any fraudulent act and will never be.
Use the money wisely, we only want to feel good by helping people this time of the year, this is the only thing that makes my wife happy too even now that she is not here with me anymore, we have too much to give away as I only have a few months left on earth. I will advise you as the prospective lucky Person to be calm not to loose this great opportunity which millions of people are trying to entangle but the chances just couldn’t come for them because a lot of people are out there to discourage them as they don’t know how it works,
and have never seen such before.Thank you for accepting our offer, we are indeed grateful You Can Google my name for more information: Mr.Amancio Ortega.
God bless you
Mr.Amancio Ortega world’s 4th-richest man Billionaire investor.


Getting Ridiculous Now

We just needed one more day. If the weather could have held off until Saturday afternoon, everything would have been just fine. We could have finished the last little bit of unloading, cleaned out the truck and returned it by noon. But, no. Instead we had to park the truck in the driveway and let the snow fall on and around it. Watching helplessly as the blizzard raged all around us.

Normally the weather doesn’t get to me that much. But a blizzard in the middle of April? This is just so far beyond ridiculous. Minnesota will not cut us a break. By Sunday morning over ten inches had fallen and the drifts were up to two feet in spots. We shoveled out the giant mound in front of the truck and then I cleaned out the inside. My husband parked it on the street and we waited for the rest of our driveway to get plowed, so I could get my car out.

Our plow guy didn’t show up until almost 5:30 and by then it was too late to return the truck. So we parked it back in the driveway. Snow continued to fall into the evening, putting the official total over a foot and making it the snowiest April on record, with 23.5 inches for the month. We were finally able to return the rental truck this morning, thus putting Phoenix totally to rest. What a relief.