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 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.

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.

Friday the 13th

You’d think we’d be allowed to kick back and relax a bit after all our efforts over the last week. Not just yet. We did get a full night’s sleep in our own comfy bed, which was a plus, but then we had to pick up the Ripster from boarding. He seems to be doing better when we board him now, but he was still very clingy when we got home. After a few hours of quality time, we left to check on our new home progress and meet with our builder.

We arrived to find 8 vehicles parked outside and no one working in the house. It turns out they were all having lunch in the workshop. A massive crew of drywallers, taping and mudding all over the house. Two of our garage doors were installed while we were gone. They were ordered incorrectly (silver metal instead of black) but needed to be installed anyway because our cabinets were being stored in the garage. The basalt for our front steps and landing was also delivered. The drywall progress over the last week was impressive.

After the meeting we ran for a quick late lunch (tacos) before dropping the Tesla off for its annual service. Then home for a quiet evening with the fur baby. Today was even busier. A big winter storm is forecast to start tonight, so in addition to our separate errands, we both took turns unloading more things from the truck. The day ended with a trip to the tax accountant. Afterwards, we stocked up on food for the weekend and got home before the heavy weather started.

On the plus side, I never even had time to think about the whole “Friday the 13th” thing. Not that I’m very superstitious. We are well supplied with food and alcohol, so we don’t have to leave the house this weekend, during Minnesota’s (hopefully) last laugh for the winter. We also have a 20 foot truck parked in our driveway that still needs a few more things unloaded from it. It’s supposed to be returned by 9:00 am on Monday. Not sure how that’s going to happen.

The Great Unloading

Given our need to get at least a small amount of sleep, we didn’t head out to our secondary storage locker to unload the truck until after 2:00 yesterday. Sadly, we greatly underestimated the amount of time it would take. I mean, unloading should be way faster, right? Nope. Since we needed to store the entire contents of the truck in our locker and still leave room, the unpacking was pretty meticulous. It was nearly 6:00 when we finally called it quits and we still had stuff left.

Then we headed to our primary storage locker (the one closest to our new home) and offloaded the few small pieces of furniture we kept. We are trying to store items needed for staging in this location. It’s pretty much full now. And I questioned my husband’s need for getting one storage locker. Looks like we’re going to fill up two. By the time we finished that, it was nearly 7:00 and we hadn’t eaten much, so we decided to head straight home and order a pizza.

If there’s any reasonable excuse for throwing decent eating habits out the window, I think the amount of physical effort we have exerted over the last week certainly qualifies. We even got to eat our pizza in front of the TV, since we didn’t pick up our little fur baby until this morning. I also managed to squeeze in a load of laundry and get the paintings unwrapped and reasonably stowed. Pretty remarkable, all things considered.

So That’s Done

Starting our journey from Phoenix to Minneapolis at 1:20 in the afternoon, after a morning of relatively strenuous effort, was obviously less than optimal. Not that we had a choice. The truck was loud, uncomfortable and underpowered. The altitude and elevation we encountered during the first leg of the journey were killers. Despite keeping the gas pedal on the floor, there were times when maintaining 50 MPH was nearly impossible. No cruise control either.

When we reached Tucumcari NM at 1:40 am, after nearly 11 1/2 hours of driving, we called it quits. The normal drive time for this stretch is less than 9 hours, just for comparison. We didn’t get much sleep (maybe 4 hours), but just being able to lie down in bed for a stretch was enormously refreshing. After eating and gassing up, we were back on the road at 8:00 am. The tentative plan was to stop again north of Kansas City (around 8:00 pm) or Des Moines (around midnight), based on how my husband felt.

Did I mention that I married Iron Man? Despite the grueling driving conditions, he wasn’t tired enough to stop again. So we plowed through and arrived home at 4:00 am this morning, after 20 straight hours of driving. We unloaded the paintings and called it quits. I finally crawled into bed at 5:00 am. Now we just have to unload the rest of the truck and we’re done.

PHX in the Rear View Mirror

No doubt about it, yesterday sucked. We couldn’t pick up the truck until 9:30 because, Sunday. Then we needed to run to Lowe’s and pick up more rigid foam sheets. By the time we got to the storage locker it was 11:30 and getting close to 90 degrees outside. We loaded up a trolley and headed out to the truck, only to discover that the padlock from our storage locker wasn’t large enough to use on the truck. So my husband walked to a nearby Walgreen’s to purchase a larger one.

He found one that would work for the short-term task of securing the truck between loads, but would obviously need to be replaced before we could leave the truck unattended. It took two hours to completely empty our storage locker and secure everything in the truck. Then we needed to head to a hardware store and purchase a better padlock. It took two tries to get one that fit. We picked up sandwiches and drove home to eat. By the time we started loading again it was 4:00. We called it quits after four hours, because we could no longer see well enough to load safely.

I set the alarm for 6:00, but was awake before 5:00. After making coffee, I packed the last of the kitchen items and anxiously awaited the sunrise so we could begin loading again. I had to leave at 10:30, for an appointment at CarMax. The truck was pretty much loaded at that point, but we still had stuff in the house to deal with. So my husband kept working after I took off. He ended up leaving the house at 12:20, about 15 minutes after escrow closed and we were officially supposed to vacate. He missed running into the new owners by less than 30 minutes.

I know this because they managed to set off the alarm again when they went into the house. Our real estate agent called me as I was waiting for my check at CarMax. Fortunately I had discontinued monitoring today. I stood up with my check and looked out to see my husband had just parked the truck outside. Talk about perfect timing. Now we just need to get through the 30 hour drive home.