30 November 2008

Thanksgiving 2008

Jesse and I both had four days off for the Thanksgiving Holiday. It was the worst and the best timing ever. The worst because the stars could not align for us to go to North Dakota. We had held out hope that we'd be able to go, and gave serious thought to driving the 54 hours there and back. But we still would have missed most of Thanksgiving Day. So we decided against it. But we were really close.

The break was the best timing for our move though. We got the keys to our new place a week ago, and got our bed Tuesday. We moved most of our stuff Wednesday, and were able to have a little Thanksgiving on Thursday. It reads easy enough, but trust me when I tell you it was an ordeal.

Going back to Wednesday, I had a doctor's appointment after work. It was not gallbladder related (although I see that doctor tomorrow) but it was more than halfway across town. I did not schedule it that way - the doctor apparently changed her mind about where she wanted to be. Must be nice.

By the time I got out of the office and found my way back to our temporary place, it was 4PM. We packed, loaded the car, illegally parked, dropped off our stuff, and went to the grocery store. I don't think Jesse had ever been to a supermarket the night before Thanksgiving. He thought we would be able to get a flyer, make a list, and shop. We couldn't. We didn't. We left.

So there we were - hours from having my Thanksgiving hopes ruined. We had no food, only half our stuff, and no plan. We went back to our new place, found a legal parking spot, and decided to try again Thanksgiving morning.

I don't remember what time we got up, but it wasn't too early. There were significantly fewer people at the grocery store and more game hens, which is what I decided to make. Optimism was restored.

Back at the new home I was ready to get to work, but couldn't. My hens were frozen. There was nothing to do but bathe them in hot water and wait. I had lemon and rosemary to put in their "cavities," and frozen birds don't give an inch. I did take time from the bathing though to learn how to properly peel garlic. I had always stopped at the papery part. Jesse showed me they're actually quite smooth.

Eventually they warmed (and opened) up to me. I stuffed them, and roasted them with garlic, olive oil, white wine, and chicken broth. I also mashed potatoes and made peas. We had ice cream for dessert and everything was delicious, although minimalistic.

We don't have a table. We don't have chairs. We don't have serving dishes or other grown up things. We have boxes. And one storage bin which makes a great table for formal dining.

I think we made the best out of what we had. We have plenty of leftovers (the recipe called for four hens) and haven't been nibbling too much (our microwave is still in Vegas). I have a lot to be thankful for this season, specifically Jesse - who keeps me sane, my new job - which keeps me employed, our apartment - which keeps us warm, our family - which supports us moving all over the country, and our friends - who read my blog and just care about us.

26 November 2008

All I Could Stand

I had all I could stand Tuesday afternoon. I came home from the gym, and wanted nothing more than to make a nice dinner for us. I thought of picking up some chicken and making a pasta medley. I would also have to pick up frozen vegetables, as our freezer is too small to keep more than three things frozen.

This is the kitchen in our temporary place. The silver thing under the counter is the fridge. There is storage above and below the sink and the only counter space is next to the sink. That's where we prepare food, dry dishes, put the bowl when we want to pour cereal. It's a miserable situation for two people who like to eat together. Today the prospect of making due in that kitchen made me inactive. I stared at it and couldn't think of a plan of action. I wanted to be out of there and since the only thing stopping our move was a bed, I went bed shopping.

I compiled a list of all the mattress stores in our area. I plotted them on my google map, and headed out. I spotted Dirt Cheap Mattresses on the way to my first stop. It appeared to have exactly what I was hoping to find, so I went inside.

I was the only customer in there and the sales guy was really nice. He made suggestions in my price range, and pulled out mattress after mattress for me to try. I flopped and prodded and found one I really liked. And I got a woman discount on it.
There are certainly cons to buying certain things as a woman. There are pros as well though. He gave me $150 off the price he originally quoted me for the bed. He took $50 off the quoted box spring price, and gave me the frame for free. Delivery was another $75. So for $500, we got a queen sized bed, box spring, frame, and same day delivery. I'm pleased with my purchase, and with the fact that Jesse was happy for me to be happy. Part of me was worried he would have wanted to be there to make sure I wasn't getting ripped off. I don't think I was though, and that's good enough for him. He's so perfect for me.
Jesse and I went to the new place to wait for the delivery guy. While we waited, we took measurements and discussed floor plans Jesse had designed. We talked about paint, decorations, and how we are going to move. We listened to music, played card games, and shared a $5 foot long. I called the bed store, we paced, and I started blogging. Eventually the delivery guy showed up. He was 18 minutes late, but it felt a lot later, as I'm usually in bed at 7:30.
As soon as he left, we tore into the plastic, assembled the frame, and almost fell asleep there. The bed is high, and really comfortable. It's also on wheels, which will be a problem on the wood floors. The bed and I slid as I was diving onto it. We'll have to get little feet for it, just to keep it steady.
Now we have a bed. It's more exciting than finding a parking garage for my car. We're going to start moving this afternoon, and my first order of business will be to give my bus fair to a Salvation Army bell ringer. 'Tis the season to be thankful. And we really are.

25 November 2008

Saturday & Sunday | Time Lost

Saturday Morning in Vegas came really fast. We stayed at the Venetian, which appears to have an awesome pool. I was really full from my 5AM sandwich and fries, and more than a little hungover. Kate called for breakfast and I just couldn't bring myself to do it. The thought of driving, and the act of walking, made me swoon. All I wanted was water. And after four cups of sink water, I realized I would have to leave the room to get it.

Again I thought of driving. My head was steadied by what I know to be the price of water, and by what I could imagine the hotel would charge. My laziness won, and Neena and I went to the first kiosk we found. I paid $15.50 for two large and one small bottle of water. Even as I paid, I debated driving. But I looked and felt like crap, and if $15.50 was the only price I had to pay, that wasn't a bad deal.

Eventually I had to leave to run errands. The most important of which being a stop at our storage unit. I am pleased to report our belongings can fit in one van. No truck needed here folks. I repacked one box and grabbed a bag of exercise equipment to bring back with me. I then went back to the hotel to get ready for a much more relaxed night on the town. Me and my ridiculous intentions.

I met a small group at the Pink Taco for dinner and drinks. I wanted a time to see just the faces that made me smile the most. It was a fantastic idea, because I could talk to everyone and not feel pressured to make rounds every five minutes. At the end of the night, there were just two of us. I didn't know the Pink Taco closed, until they turned on the lights and gave me a water. Ian (my late night drinking buddy) and I went to the Circle Bar and had a fantastic discussion about medical maladies, misconduct, affirmative action, preconceived notions, and family gossip. The cab dropped me off at the hotel at 4AM Sunday. I thought that was plenty of time for a nap before my 735AM flight. I was wrong.

I woke up at 623AM, with Melissa standing over me saying "oh you are still here." I proceeded to scramble. I knew I could physically get on a flight in an hour. But I wasn't so sure about filling up the rental car, dropping it off, taking the shuttle to the airport, and checking a box and a bag. I was sure there were other flights for me to catch, but I really wanted the one I already paid for. So I went.

I called Southwest as I drove. The woman told me she could not check me in, and that my next flight option was $173. I paid $60 for the flight I was about to miss. In fact, I don't think I spent $173 the two nights I was in Vegas. I skipped the gas for the car. Dollar Rental charged me $25 for that. It was even more motivation to not have to pay for another flight. My issue - and what ultimately screwed me - were the things I brought out of storage. I had to carry the box from the rental car drop-off site to the shuttle bus. The box was heavy, and there were no carts to help me. I had to take a break once, and I couldn't walk as fast. Time lost.

I also had to put the box in a little cage for the shuttle ride. I then had to grab it from the bottom of said cage when it was time to leave. Of all the shuttle drivers in the world, mine was a woman. She was older than me and in worse shape and I was not about to make her do my heavy lifting just because it's her job. Time lost.

The shuttle drop-off point is close to the edge of the terminal. Unfortunately Southwest is close to the other edge. I carried the box to a kiosk, where I checked in, but couldn't check my bags. I carried the box some more and decided to buy a luggage cart. I've never used a cart kiosk before, so it took me at least a minute to figure it out. I was hampered by a woman who offered to help, then gave me the wrong instructions. Time lost.

Of course I wasn't the only person leaving Vegas on a Sunday morning. I had to wait in line to check my box. Twenty minutes before departure I told the woman taking my box that I was about to miss my flight. She said I had to actually miss it before she could book me on another. That kind of gave me renewed hope. I gave her my box, took my two bags, and had to find a place to ditch my luggage cart. Time lost.

Security was not a breeze either. I didn't have time to get all my liquids in the baggie. I couldn't find the baggie anyway. I left a nice bottle of lotion on the counter. My bags started coming, then stopped on the belt. The TSA guy took my bag of exercise equipment and told me I could not bring weights on the plane. Yes, I had been carrying two 8lb weights along for the ride. I told him to take them. He asked if I wanted to check them. I looked at my phone and it was 734AM. I told him my flight was leaving at that moment and there was no time for checking. He then explained that weights are technically "clubbing items" that cannot be carried onto a plane. They should put that up on the picture with the pocket knives and lighters. He then slowly unzipped the bag and took his time taking out the weights. He asked me which gate I needed. I told him. He said it was on the other end of the terminal. He then asked again what I wanted to do with the weights, if I wanted to mail them to myself.

First of all -- the post office charges by weight. Why would I want to send myself weights?

I then explained (again) that I had to go. And that he could have the weights.

I got to the terminal at 739AM. Too much time lost.

My original flight had me going to LA and changing flights. I was put on the 825AM flight to LA. That flight landed and taxied for 10 - 15 minutes. I got off the plane at 935AM, just in time to hear my name paged for the 950 flight to San Francisco. I made it with minutes to spare.

I had been texting Jesse from the check in line, and from the security line. The text that woke him up though, was the one that read: "Here."

24 November 2008

Party Like It's Almost 2009

I went to Vegas as a tourist Friday and I had a blast. Most of my friends from my last job got together to celebrate a birthday. It wasn't just any birthday - it was Melissa's 30th birthday. That means it was a big deal. And I think we did it right.

I flew Virgin America Friday afternoon (so far nothing from their customer service department about that other issue) and I thoroughly enjoyed the flight. I enjoyed the fact that Virgin is in the International Terminal at SFO, and that I didn't have to take the airtrain to get there. I enjoyed that the staff pushed the passengers to be friends with Virgin on Facebook. I enjoyed the colors on the plane and I (not having any cable of my own) especially enjoyed the television.

There weren't very many channels, but I passed the time just fine with CNN, The Disney Channel, and VH1. I flew to Vegas without missing the latest on the what Congress did not do for the big 3, a new (to me) episode of Phineas & Ferb, and a Rock Doc on the last days of Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes. Thank you Virgin America for an enjoyable 90 minutes. Your customer service is still lacking.

I arrived just before six, got my rental car, picked up a purse from storage, and met Melissa at the Venetian. I showered, ironed, and proceeded to paint the town, as they say. A group of familiar faces met at the Hard Rock Circle Bar. I don't know if that's the official name, but it's a circle, and it's a bar. It's also a place we frequented when we all lived here.

It wasn't the same Circle Bar I remembered though. The bar itself was the same (still circular) but everything around it had been upgraded to be more rock & roll, more jiggly, more stereotypical Vegas. I don't think I liked it. It's just not the place where we made our memories. It's okay though - we made new ones.

We're all a bit different too. Once strong relationships have fallen apart. Once cordial associations have cemented. There were a lot of things that went unsaid but also a lot of good conversation. Thinking back to my first year in Vegas, I'm amazed at how much is different and at how much is still the same when we get together. We still like to party.

We went to LAX just before 1 Saturday morning. We were out until 4, when four of us decided to have "girl talk." we went to our room, got comfortable, ordered room service, and passed out before it got there.

From there, confusion ensued. I woke up maybe an hour later, thinking room service either didn't come, or came and left because we didn't answer the door. Everyone else was asleep on different corners of the bed. I got up to look for a blanket and there it was: a spread of tortilla chips, sandwiches, and french fries. Room service came through. That only confused me more. Who let them in? Did they just take the money off the table? Can they do that? Turns out they can't. Three of us slept through room service coming. The fourth double tipped. I sat up, turned on CNN, ate my sandwich, and went back to sleep, using a towel as a blanket. Viva Las Vegas.

21 November 2008

We Have Keys

Jesse picked up the keys to our new place today. I met him there after work and I'm not sure I can describe how good it feels. It's only our second time inside, and there are things we didn't look at closely when we toured. We both assumed we'd be able to look at it again before we signed the lease. We envisioned a walk through with the landlord where we could talk about anything that might need to be fixed or replaced. We're dreamers. That's just not how it works in San Francisco. We signed the lease the day after first seeing it and didn't see it again until today. We still love it.

The bedroom and kitchen are huge. The living room is s good size for a living room, but small for a living / dining area. There are wood floors in those areas, linoleum in the kitchen, and my least favorite kind of tile floor in the bathroom. There are a lot of windows, natural light, and kitchen storage. There is only one closet.

I firmly believe we can fit all of our stuff inside (even the 10 boxes of books) if we get creative. We're taking any and all space saving ideas.

I'm excited to make that place ours. It's the first place we've picked together and it'll be the first place we design together. When we moved to Vegas, I picked the place and got there first while Jesse finished his lease. I had months to decorate and somehow it felt like he was moving in with me, instead of us moving in together. That's all different this time around and I'm really excited. I know he is too. Go us.
~ Danie D.
Courtesy of my Verizon PinkBerry

Virgin America | Today's Disappointment

I don't know what it is about me that attracts poor customer service. I try to be pleasant enough. I wait on hold and I make people laugh. Yet I'm still waiting on a Nevada Power refund that's two months old. And now my exciting time on Virgin America is being clouded with frustration.
I had so much trouble booking my flight, I had to call customer service. I had error message after error message that prevented me from booking once I had selected my flight and my seat. That was weeks ago. This morning I tried to check in, and got two different error messages. I tried 8 times to both check in and log in to my Elite account. It didn't work. I called customer service and the woman was abrupt and rude. She didn't offer to help me troubleshoot, and honestly I don't know if there was anything she could do. Still, I was not prepared for her to tell me to just check in at the airport.
So I wrote a letter. I had to shorten it for their character allotment:
I tried to check into my flight this morning, and received two different error messages. I first tried to check in through a link sent to me via email. That resulted in an error message saying I had been gone too long and that my session had expired. I then tried to check in on your website. I tried more than five times and received an error message each time. I then called customer service, and was not offered any help. The woman told me to check in at the airport.
I had the same problem with error messages in booking my flight. I called customer service and was helped.
I'm frustrated with your website and affronted by the customer service I received. The call did not last more than a minute. I was able to get through to a person quickly though, and I do appreciate that. I don't know if the woman on the phone was training, or if she did not have web experience. I don't even know if there was anything she could do. I felt rushed and as if I did not get the proper attention.
I have high expectations from Virgin America. First of all, I'm now a local. They're based here and I was hoping to get the most out of their rewards program. More importantly, I flew Virgin Atlantic years ago and loved it. I raved about it for years after and always said I couldn't wait to fly Virgin again. I was excited when Virgin America started, and even more excited when I actually had a reason to take one of their flights.
This flight better be good.

20 November 2008

I Used To Like Mitt Romney

I really did. I must have been thrown by his charm. He's against the auto bailout and therefore against America. If I get laid off because the automakers stop buying TV ads, I will be writing to Mitt and explaining. I will also write to all those people focused on private jets.
Although -- begging for money after getting off a private jet was a stupid idea.
Still, I watched a story on CNN explaining people in Detroit can't afford funerals. Bodies are stacking up at the morgue. That's today. People will be found frozen to death in their homes this winter if General Motors runs out of money.
I really don't get it. I don't understand how people can use rhetoric to deny help. Someone at my job told me Californians are against helping Detroit because they want a punishment for the lack of fuel efficient cars. Leave it to rich people (who think they're so socially aware and progressive) to boil it down to a slap on the wrist. I'm disappointed in my government and in my new home state.
Other than that, things are going well. I have a birthday party in Vegas this weekend. It's not for me, but you know how I love birthdays. We move when I get back -- or as soon as we get a bed. I have a lot to do before I leave, so I better get to it.

19 November 2008

Fight For Detroit

I've been thinking of composing an argument. It would be an argument so profound - deeply researched and strongly cited - that it would answer all rebuttals before they were submitted and bring the world to my side. The argument (had you not guessed) would be for federal aid to General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler. But such an argument does not exist in my world. Gathering facts could consume me before I even started writing. This is my blog, and therefore only needs my opinion. So that's what you'll get.

Recently I wrote about what I see is the necessity of a bailout for American automakers. My idea was countered with some points that made me rethink my idea. In the end though, my opinion remains the same.

Yes, Detroit missed the call. They should have been building more fuel efficient vehicles in the 70's. There's nothing wrong with building vehicles for farmers and construction workers and other people who use large vehicles. But it's just bad business to ignore the parts of America that don't. The Big 3 did and yes, that brought them to where they are now - in part. It doesn't help that auto sales across the board are down more than 40%. It's not that people are buying hybrids. It's that people aren't buying at all.
Detroit was already playing catch up before the mortgage crisis caught the country with its collective pants down. In the best of financial situations, it would still be a struggle for them. What we're in now paints a much bleaker picture. Management can be blamed, as factory workers build what they're told to build. But leadership at two of the three has changed in the last two years. New people signed on and began implementing change. Those changes take time. We can't expect 30 years of mistakes to disappear in just two.

The auto industry is asking for a loan. I know I call it a bailout (because that's how I see it) but it's money that would be repaid. Without it, they'll go into bankruptcy, and so will their suppliers. The result will go far beyond managers learning a lesson. It will lead to starving families and homeless children. That's the reality I see. A government that will do nothing to prevent extreme poverty, won't do anything to stop it once it's rampant. This is not about saving face or reprimanding. It's about the people to which the government has a responsibility.

Part of that responsibility must include accountability. Congress should ask for guarantees. There should be deadlines and penalties for missed goals. No one should be getting a free ride.

But where does it end? I don't know. We shouldn't have passed the bailout in the first place. We should have let the economy plummet to looting and homeless children. That would have been the way to right the situation. But we didn't. We (and I feel like we all did it, as those fools were elected) passed this bill, gave $250 billion to banks that are still hoarding it, decided not to buy the bad debt, gave more to AIG, and stashed the rest. The bailout is already a disaster. The auto industry needs help. The money is there. It's not being given to homeowners who are upside down on their mortgages. Banks aren't using it to give credit. At least the auto industry can use it. It's my money as a taxpayer, and I demand it go to Detroit.
~ Danie D.
Courtesy of my Verizon PinkBerry

16 November 2008

Lessons For Spectators

Jesse and I were determined to watch UFC 91, Couture vs Lesnar. We were also determined to make it as smooth and as cost effective as possible. We went to a place called The Dirty Martini for the last fight. It cost is $10 to get in and while there weren't drink specials, there was plenty of seating and the fight was on every screen. But The Dirty Martini is not in our neighborhood. It's not even close. So we looked for another bar Saturday, and still ended up back at the DM.

We found a nice looking bar near our place, but the cover was $20, and that didn't include any food or drinks. We're not the type to go to a sporting event and just sit there. We like to get in on the whole experience, with the eating, drinking, and yelling. Twenty dollars (we felt) was a mighty high starting point. Instead, we decided to go Hooters. We read they charged $5 and assumed it was because of all the food people buy. However Hooters is right across the street from the DM - as in not close. So we headed back up to Fisherman's Wharf.

We waited 30 minutes for a bus that's supposed to come every five. We saw one of the buses detach from its power lines. The driver was in the middle of a turn when it happened, and ended up blocking four lanes of traffic while he sorted it out. Once our bus came, it was extremely crowded, and remained so for the majority of our trip. We eventually did get to Hooters though, where we learned they were *not showing the fight, just delivering food to people at The Dirty Martini. With no other ideas and a half hour before the fight, we decided to pay the $10. But when we got there, the cover price had doubled. We spent $40 just to get in the door to see the fight. Typically we would have spent the same on Pay-Per-View, but we would have also had our own food and drinks. Three hours later we were entertained, but out of $130.

The fights were all really good. I enjoy watching what I call "hungry" athletes. When they want it, they really fight for it. I object to Brock Lesnar in the UFC, because I think he's setting a ridiculous bar. He weighs 300 pounds. Fighters shaped like regular human beings don't have a chance. I also wish he had a better standing game. How is it fair to fight someone 35 pounds smaller? I'm looking to Dana White and Lorenz Fertita to think about that. The Lesnar fight did bring in a lot of money though, so I doubt they will.

We walked by our new apartment on the way home. It's in the back of the building, so we didn't see it, but I took a picture of our street. It was very quiet for a Saturday night, minus the hum of the streetcar tracks. We walked the rest of the way to our current place thinking about design ideas and vacations. I'm looking forward to a cruise sometime in 2009. Jesse has some crazy idea about taking me to Thailand. Either way, adventure awaits.
~ Danie D.
Courtesy of my Verizon PinkBerry

14 November 2008

Get More Of Me

I've made some changes to the blog. It just seemed like the right time.
First, I learned I have an official follower. Neesha has been following Pique A Boo since I don't know when, but I assume it's recent. Neesha and I go way back to Notre Dame Jr. / Sr. High School. I know there are a lot of unofficial followers though and I want to show them off. So I added a gadget that allows me to highlight my blog followers. I'm excited about that.
Now I have Joel too!
I also added gadgets for potential subscribers. If you subscribe, my updates will come to you. I'm not sure what that will do to my traffic though. Google Analytics is tracking my page, Jesse tells me. I had hits from 21 countries in the last 30 days. I'm going to pay more attention to international issues as a result. Anyway you can subscribe to all posts and all comments.
But the jewel of my new blogging crown is Twitter. Jesse has been encouraging me to Twitter for a while. There was talk about doing it at work and another friend gave me more selling points yesterday. So I joined. Twitter basically lets you share your thoughts in 140 characters or less. I've added my Twitter feed to the sidebar, so you don't have to go anywhere else to find me. I even downloaded TwitterBerry, so I can upload from my Pinkberry. I also have phone applications for Myspace and Facebook. I'm so connected.

12 November 2008

Other Political Tidbits

Before I became enraged over the Big 3, and the cold shoulder they're receiving from Congress (see below), I had planned to talk about my political observations this morning.
First: President Bush looks good. He did an interview with CNN from the USS Intrepid on Veterans Day and he just looked relieved. Of course short-timers always have a different outlook on life, and I have a different outlook on President Bush knowing he's a short timer. Still, he just seems more affable on his way out.
Second: Barack Obama is going to be living with his mother-in-law. She's expected to be moving into the White House. I just think that's funny.
Have you visited the official President-Elect website? Aside from updates on the transition, and job postings, there is also a blog. Barack Obama is totally my kind of guy. I also heard he's addicted to his Blackberry. We're kindred.

Hey Congress: This Is America

I feel like Congress is missing the big picture. Why is there any discussion about a Big 3 Bailout? It seems clear to me: Detroit needs help. General Motors can't stay afloat financially for the rest of the year -- and there are less than two months left. If cars aren't put together, car parts won't be manufactured. Millions of people will be dumped into an already overflowing pool of job seekers. America has the problem. American lawmakers have at least a temporary solution. Seems easy enough, yet it's getting to the point where lawmakers need a letter to encourage them to do what's best for the country.
Why are there doubts now? Why for the blue collar workers? It was all the rage not to long ago to take $700 billion for banks and lending institutions, despite their having profited from predatory lending. There was bipartisan support. President Bush sent messages to lawmakers through news conferences. It was an overwhelming thrust to spend money the country didn't have. I was against the $700 Billion Bailout, and I still think it's a bad idea. But the deal is done. It's too late to go home, so we may as well go big. There are still $350 billion in Congress' control. Detroit is dying. And lawmakers are dragging their feet.
But AIG got another $40 billion. And there was a $363,000 conference to commemorate it. Way to go.

11 November 2008

Things Are Happening

"Things are happening." If it's not the most useless sentence ever, it has to be up there.
I write it to say a lot though. We found a place. It has a kitchen we like in a neighborhood we wanted at a price that's agreeable. Apparently there is a push to get people moved in before the holidays. So we're paying $100 a month less than we would have if we had signed a month ago. Maybe we're paying more than we would if we had signed a month from now, but I highly doubt the place would have still been available.
We're really close to finding a parking garage where my car can be safe and monitored. There may be a parking spot available through the apartment building. If not, we found a garage with 24 hour access, surveillance, and that would give me my own remote to get to my car. If I'm paying for parking (and I would be with the second place) I want all of the above.
My computer is back in business. We picked up a virus during the move. It's been removed. I added more memory and now my computer is as fast as it ever was. We spend a lot of time in Starbucks and Borders, where we get free wifi. It's not ideal, but it's free and convenient enough until we get cable & Internet in our place.
I'll also be back to the gym this afternoon, which will be a huge relief. I've been stressing about living & parking arrangements and not working out. Jesse is the only one to feel the brunt of that. He deserves a gold star for sure. Stability is returning to our lives and I cannot wait. We move in the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. Then we just have to get furniture, find a laundry, and pick up our stuff from Vegas. We'll be back to Muay Thai and camping in no time. Things are happening!

07 November 2008

I Blog. Therefore I Vent

It seems like every time we adjust to or get around a problem, another one materializes. I'm ready to live a regular life, where I work, work out, and have misadventures on the weekends.
I now have a doctor (good) who is not rushing me to surgery (great) and who has given me a prescription for my blood pressure medication. Today I called to get that prescription filled through the mail order service. The woman told me my medication (Diovan) needs "Prior Authorization," where the doctor explains why I need it. I told her if I don't take it, I could have a stroke. And it really is that simple.
My apartment complex is now charging for overnight parking when there are no parking attendants on duty. I will now have to pay $10 for exactly the same service that led to my window being busted. It adds up to $490 through the end of my lease. Maybe I should tell that to the prescription lady who needs "Prior Authorization." I'm fuming.
I'm also sick. I have a cold and I know it's because I haven't been to the gym in two weeks and one day. When I don't sweat, I get sick. It's that simple. The gym issue is exacerbated by the car issue:
  • I park at work.
  • I have to remove my car after my shift.
  • There is no parking near my gym, so I come home where distractions abound.
  • I don't work out, I get sick.
I was so sick, I stayed home from work yesterday. It was my 5th time in my three jobs. I'm not good at being sick. I want to get things done in the time I should be resting. At the same time, everything takes a long time to complete, because my brain is muddled and foggy. 
I could go on, but my pity party is wrapping up. I have a date with happy hour this afternoon. Tomorrow I find a garage and get back to the gym.  There's also the issue of finding an apartment. Our standards may still be a little too high. Actually it's more accurate to say we have a little too much stuff.

04 November 2008

Counting Up To 270!

For the first time in my professional life, I spent most of the day out of the news room. I've been able to vote, watch others vote, and watch CNN uninterrupted. It's the best Election Day ever, and it's not technically close to being done.

We don't have internet at home, and we don't have cable. So Jesse and I are at a bar right now, watching election coverage. We were watching CNN, but some party of dudes (who reserved a table) had the bar keep turn to the Comedy Central special. I have nothing against Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert, I would just rather look at CNN, it' analysts and of course that awesome board. And did you see the Senate hologram? Amazing. So we're watching in silence, and about to go home so I can go to bed. I won't know the new president by then. I'm still not convinced Obama will really win. Projections are good, but it seems like such a solid win.

I'm also going to go to bed without knowing the outcome in the California election. There were several propositions on the ballot this year, and I'm curious about how people voted. Tomorrow will be a new day. That's a ridiculous statement if you think about it, so don't.

Hold on - VA went blue. Add 55 from CA and America has done the deed. I'm overwhelmed with pride.
~ Danie D.
Courtesy of my Verizon PinkBerry

03 November 2008

2nd Opinion Chooses A 3rd

I went to the doctor today. And I actually got to meet with him. My doctor is a older Italian man who I call "Doctor." He and I are going to be pals, mostly because he's in no rush for surgery.

When he first walked in, he asked "how can I help you?" I told him I was new here and that I needed a doctor and surgery, because my gall bladder doesn't work. He said "let me do my work," and hinted I should calm down. I explained about the move and the 10% functionality and told him I felt fine and didn't want any surgery at all. He said "let me do my work." I told him about the tests and he said he wanted to see them. I said I thought I had them sent. He looked at the chart and said "you did," and smiled.

Basically, I don't have any symptoms of a bad gall bladder, so he sees no reason to rush to surgery. My eyes & urine are not yellow. My tongue is clear and the stupid gall bladder doesn't hurt. The doctor pushed it really hard to be sure. So now we know I feel fine and look the part as well.

The doctor didn't say I'd never have to have surgery though. And he told the receptionist to leave my chart out for further review. And he told me to come back in a month after he showed my test results to a radiologist. I still have to avoid fatty foods and I should lose some weight. My advice to you: don't go to a doctor if you want to hear anything nice about yourself.

After the doctor appointment, I went grocery shopping. Say what I will about having a car, I couldn't buy groceries in the rain without it. Today my car was a plus, even though my windshield wipers were in Vegas a little too long and slosh rain more than actually wipe it away.
~ Danie D.
Courtesy of my Verizon PinkBerry

Vegas - Things Missed

I didn't just go to Vegas to party. I went to get some of our stuff out of storage and settle some retail issues.

Saturday morning I got up just after 6, went to our storage unit, bought white popcorn kernels (no store in San Francisco will sell them!) went to the post office and still had a full delicious breakfast with Kate and Melissa at Blueberry Hill. I then enjoyed the convenience of driving on less congested roads, two-way streets, and familiar drivers. I also enjoyed what I consider to be reasonable prices. I saved $1.50 on each bundle of peach cups pictured above. I also saved $2 on each bag of granola, and $3.50 on each container of nut mix. It cost $17 to ship. So I still came out ahead.

I know I can't keep going to Vegas for groceries. I've decided to buy the popcorn by the case, because it really is my favorite snack. It's high in fiber, and I eat it without salt or butter. I doubt I could find a healthier snack I like half as much.

I was going to turn to Amazon for the nut mix, but it was sold out. I can't give you more detail than that, because if you try it, you'll love it. And Jesse and just can't have that. I'm going to look into buying that in bulk, or online through target. I may have to suck up the cost of the peach cups and the granola. Although I have thought about placing an outstanding order through my mother. She objects to unreasonable food prices just like I do. I'm sure she would understand.

Anyway, by the time Saturday night came around, I was too tired to do anything, including keep my eyes open. I left under cloudy skies Sunday morning, ready to get back to the San Francisco grind. First up: take two at trying to get a referral to a surgeon.
~ Danie D.
Courtesy of my Verizon PinkBerry

Vegas - The Process

Nothing I plan is simple, even if I make it seem so. On Friday the plan was simply:
- Fly to Vegas
- Pick up rental car
- Go to Kate's, have dinner & change
- Go to party.

It took more than 7 hours. Taking the train to the airport was smooth - but the flight was delayed about a half hour because of weather. Once I landed, I got to the rental center and experienced Dollar Rental's popularity firsthand. And once I made it through that line, there was another just to get out of the parking garage. An hour and a half after I landed (6.5 hours after I got out of work) I arrived at Kate's. Once we had dinner, did hair, changed clothes, started driving, got lost, and found again, it was after 10. We were ready to party.

Crystal and Kyle hosted a fabulous event. I did take plenty of pictures, but there will be a delay in posting them, as they're on my camera and my computer is closed for renovations. You'll have to ask Jesse when it'll be ready. But there will be pictures. And they will be entertaining.
~ Danie D.
Courtesy of my Verizon PinkBerry

02 November 2008

Time For A Little Vacation

This Halloween I took a trip to Vegas. I flew US Airways and not only did I get an exit row, but there was no seat in front of me. That's probably the most leg room I've ever had. It would have been worth a longer flight, had I not been so excited to get to the business of the partying.

Kate and I first thought about it before I even moved. It wasn't concrete though until I couldn't go to my high school reunion. It was too soon into my new job for a day off and flights were to expensive for a Friday - Sunday trip. I was really disappointed and decided I was entitled to something not entirely responsible, but fun. So Kate and I hatched a plan for me to come to Vegas. And we only told Melissa.

Part of the fun was the party. Our friends Crystal and Kyle had a party, and the them was celebrity / movie characters. Kate, Melissa and I decided to go as the three girls from Clueless. It took a lot of planning, shopping, and glue to pull our costumes together. But they were a success. I'll post pictures as soon as I get home.
~ Danie D.
Courtesy of my Verizon PinkBerry