Thursday, December 22, 2011

Long Winter's Nap

I'm not exactly known for being a high energy bundle at the best of times. If competitive sleeping were a sport, I'd be an olympic athlete. I have no problem with getting up on Saturday, feeding all the animals, and then going back to bed for five or six hours. And then I might take a nap after lunch.

But now it's going to be even worse. I bought an electric blanket for the bed. No more shivering for ten minutes when going to bed, and there's really no incentive to ever get out of bed. Really, the electric blanket could be the downfall of civilization.

Wake me up when it's Spring.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

So Demanding

You know how rockstars go on tours and have riders in their contracts that specify all kinds of odd things (eg, two pounds of M&Ms with all of the red ones taken out, an E-Z bake oven in the green room, etc.)? I'm trying to figure out how to get that kind of thing written into a contract if I have to become an employee.

Because, let's face it, becoming an employee at this point would majorly increase the suckitude of my life. I'd have to leave the house five days a week, I'd be expected to answer my phone again, and worse yet, I'd have a yearly review. If I'm bad at my job, just fire me, or tell me there's a problem the minute it comes up. Don't save it up to spring on me once a year. That just causes stress. (Clearly I'm not cut out for management. This comes as no surprise to anyone.)

On the plus side, I'd get to keep my job, and since I absolutely hate changing jobs, that's a big plus.

So anyhow, since I probably won't be able to actually affect anything important like wages if I get hired, I'm thinking that I ought to try to get a list of outrageous demands included somehow. I just need a suitable list.

In case anyone needs me, I'll be reviewing contract riders for the next few weeks...

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Village of Idiots

People think I'm kidding when I say that both of my dogs are stupid, but it really is true. Ginger looks like a rocket scientist compared to Molly, but they both belong on the short bus. (Please note that I'm not saying my dogs aren't lovable and sweet -- they're great pets and I don't have a job for a dog that needs constant stimulus.)

A few weeks ago I did an impromptu intelligence test just to see what would happen. While both dogs were watching, I filled two short cardboard tubes with kibble and folded over the ends. Again, both dogs watched me do this. I gave one tube to each dog and observed the results.

Molly took her cardboard tube into the living room and proceeded to eat it, cardboard and all. She even ate the pieces that hadn't made contact with the kibble.

Ginger ignored the tube and stared at me, with the same intense stare she uses any time she thinks I might give her food. After a few minutes I shook the tube (nothing), then I opened one end (still nothing), then I even shook out a few pieces. She gulped down the kibble that was on the floor, but still wouldn't look at the tube which still had one or two pieces in it.

Finally Molly came over and took Ginger's tube into the living room and ate her second helping of cardboard.

Apparently life really is like a box of chocolate. Especially if you don't even bother to open it before eating.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Next Career Probably Won't Be Carpentry

In an attempt to bring order into my chaotic life (and why exactly do I still not have a personal assistant?) I decided to put together the second dresser that has been in pieces on my bedroom floor for the last... six months? nine months? some embarrassingly long amount of time anyhow.

The dresser has four drawers, three of which are the same size. So while I continued my "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" marathon (don't judge), I put together the first two. I even used wood glue this time, because the front of the large drawer fell off on the one that I built last year (or whenever it was).

I got to the third identical drawer and ran into a snag. No matter which way I turned the pieces there were two right sides and no left. (I'm guessing that this was why it was still in pieces on my bedroom floor although quite possibly I hadn't noticed and it was just due to pure laziness.)

A more organized person would still have the receipt, original packaging, and inclination to return the dresser to the place I bought it. I, on the other hand, remember how heavy the damn thing is, and I have no desire to try to explain why I let it sit for a year without returning it. Besides, I'm an engineer (more or less) and my belief is that I can fix anything. (I have a lot of broken things in pieces around my house and garage that belie this idea, but I'm strong in the power of denial.)

Really, though, how hard can it be to turn a right panel into a left panel? Remember, everything I know about carpentry I learned in orthopedic surgery, so you know I must be good at it.*

I drilled some holes for the dowels and a few screw hole guides. It was all good until I got to the doohicky that ties into some sort of toggle bolt that is supposed to hold the front of the drawer on. (We didn't use toggle bolts in any of my surgeries, so I have no idea what this thing is called. I do know it doesn't work very well, which is why the front of the big drawer fell off.)

Anyhow, it required me to drill a large-bore hole halfway through the wood. The hole was bigger than any of my drill bits. I almost got it, but then it turned out something was a fraction off, so I finally gave up and decided that the wood glue was just going to need to do double duty on this drawer.

So... all of the drawers are together now. They might even stay together. We'll just have to see how things go when the glue dries.

* Just as a note, my very last orthopedic surgery was on a barn owl with a fractured humerus. I put in an intramedulary pin with an external tie-in. The post-op x-rays were beautiful. The six week checkup was great. I pulled the pins and then the freaking owl got his wing caught in the corner of the flight cage just before being released and the whole wing shattered into a bazillion pieces and I euthanized him. There's your feel-good story of the day.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

My brain, it's like a squirrel running on a wheel. Eating cookies.

I got home the other night and was getting ready to go to bed when the thought hit me -- there was still one cookie left.

Yes, I intentionally put the cookies on the top of the refrigerator where I can't see them in hopes that I will forget about them. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

In this case, once I thought about the last, lonely cookie sitting forlorn in the wastelands of my kitchen, that's all I could really think about. Funny video? Sure, but oh yeah, there's a cookie in the kitchen. Email from my friend? Nice, but there's a cookie in the kitchen.

So finally I said (literally, I said this out loud) "Screw it. I'm eating that cookie." And then I took down the box and found out that there was not one, but two cookies.

At that point there was only one thing to do. Yes, again out loud: "Screw it. I'm eating both of those cookies."

This is why I can't bring home things with sugar.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Leaves Me Alone

The slogan for my hometown is "City of Trees" and this really becomes evident in late Fall when there's always one week when all of the trees shed their leaves overnight. This year, that was Wednesday. In my fairly small front yard, I raked up a pile of leaves that dwarfed my car. Sure, you can argue that it's not that impressive because I have a Honda Civic, not an SUV, but I still find it hard to believe because none of those leaves were from any of my trees.

Apparently complaining about other people's leaves falling on your lawn is genetic because when I mentioned this to my parents, they told me that my mother's father complained about the same thing. I may not have inherited the skinny height and wiry strength, but I got the complaining gene.

Anyhow, I've decided that raking leaves is a good upper body workout, justifying the ingestion of an extra thousand or two calories for the day.

I'm blaming my neighbors and their damned trees for all the weight I'll be gaining over the next few weeks.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Safe Harbor

It's always a good sign when your not-really-a-boss asks if you might want to take a year off.

The answer is yes, but only if someone else is paying my bills. Since that seems a little unlikely, I'll do what I always do and ignore the issue until it either goes away or I have to do something about it.

It could be worse, of course -- I could be harboring a budding juvenile delinquent like my nephew Liam. Somehow I made it through all of my schooling without getting in trouble for anything other than my unwillingness to do homework. (This despite the fact that I remember getting in a few physical altercations -- my theories: 1) nobody in charge saw anything, 2) nobody in charge felt compelled to report anything back in the dark ages when I was in grade school, or 3) nobody felt compelled to report anything because why would they report a boy and girl fighting if the girl didn't lose?)

The nephew, on the other hand, hasn't managed to make it through first grade before getting his first "green card", a really poorly-named infraction notification sent home for his parents to sign. It sounds like it was named by a teacher who was into the whole self-esteem thing. Or someone who had no children involved in the immigration system.

Anyhow, if he wants to continue his life of violence, he should probably pack on a few pounds since I'm sure even his shorter classmates outweigh him. On second thought, with his coordination, he should probably just learn to run faster than everyone else. But that would require effort.

I'm going to start calling him Bruiser.