Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Hunt Continues

As you may have read in this post, Sterling is on the hunt for the perfect place to lay her furry little head.  The hunt continues...

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

"Well, Let Me Get the Crowbar"

I was going to call this "The Tragi-Comedy of Shannon Schinagl: Part 8," but 1) this happened to my Mom, and 2) this quote was too good to pass up as a title!

My poor Mom.  As I am at work playing with children, Mom is supervising construction workers, movers, and appliance deliverers.  This story involves the appliances.

On Tuesday, Home Depot arrived at my home to deliver a few new appliances, including a stackable washer and dryer which will go in the basement of my house.  When the truck pulled up, my first-floor neighbor came running out of the house.

"You didn't tell me that the appliances were being delivered today!" she exclaimed.

My Mom looked at her.

"I didn't think you'd care," she replied.

"You know the washer/dryer can't be taken down the inside stairs," said my neighbor.

"No, I didn't know that," replied my Mom, wondering how the second-floor neighbor's existing washer/dryer had gotten down there.

"Well, let me get the crowbar," my neighbor said, running back into her house.

You can imagine that my Mom was a tad taken aback.  "Let me get the crowbar"?  What kind of response was that?

My neighbor came back out and led my Mom and the delivery guys back to her porch.  At this point, she moved all of her porch furniture and leaned over a crack in her porch that we had never noticed before.  She jammed her crowbar in the crack, and voila!  Two big doors opened, like doors to a storm cellar.  My Mom's jaw dropped.

Under these doors was a set of wooden steps that led down into a...root cellar?  My Mom wasn't sure.  The stairs were covered with dirt and debris, and looked like they hadn't been used since the house was built.  One of the stairs was missing a board, leaving it about 6 inches wide.

At the bottom of the stairs was a door.

"We can't open the door from the outside," said my neighbor, going back inside and, presumably, down the inside stairs.  From the bottom out of the outer stairs there was a creak, a groan, and the entire door fell off, the frame and everything!  One of the delivery guys ran down to make sure the door didn't crush my neighbor, and they set it to the side.

The most interesting part of this so far was that no one but my Mom seemed amazed or concerned.  Neither my Mom nor the delivery guys even blinked, and my neighbor ran off for docent duty somewhere.

The delivery guys hauled the washer/dryer down there, my Mom begging them to be careful every step of the way (especially the guy going down the stairs backward).

Once the washer/dryer was settled, my Mom and a delivery guy worked to get the door to fit back in the nail holes in the wall that it came from.  This proved impossible, so they did their best, but the door is somewhat leaning against the wall.  Then they went back upstairs to put the floor doors down, and my Mom moved all of the porch furniture back.  Then the delivery guys were on their way.

My Mom was flabbergasted every moment of this adventure.  Our only conclusion is that many of the houses in the area must have similar access points, and the delivery guys were used to it.

It may be awhile until we are.

Piggie and Chickens and ... Purple Beans? Oh, my.

As you may have deduced, what with the "Tragi-Comedy of Shannon Schinagl" I haven't been able to explore the area much so far.  However, I did find a fantastic place: Tendercrop Farms.  It is so stinkin' fun there!  Allow me to demonstrate:

They have live animals.  Not for slaughtering, but for admiring.

The llama:

The goat:

 The silliest, fluffiest chicken I have ever seen.  This is not a baby chick!  This is how the chicken actually looks!  Those of you who have chickens probably know all about this breed of chicken, but I hadn't seen one.  She makes me laugh every time I see her!

The turkeys are in the next pen, and apparently this chicken and turkey have serious issues to discuss.

These are not good pictures, as this chicken would acknowledge my request to move closer, but this chicken has feather bloomers!  If you look closely at her legs, you can see the dark puffballs that go down her legs and puff biggest at her feet.

I'm sorry for the obsession with chickens, but these chickens are too wild!  Here, a chicken with a white afro!  As you can see, no one was listening to me today, so this is the best shot I got.

Oh, my heavens to betsy: piglets!

The runt.  I tried to get a picture of it next to one of his/her brothers or sisters to show how small he/she is, but he wouldn't comply.  (Perhaps he/she'd been talking to that uncooperative chicken?)  If it helps, but Mom thought he was the same size as her seven-pound Chihuahua (though we weren't sure this piglet weighed even seven pounds).

Mama has had enough, so up she goes.

Poor little runt.

Just so you know, we asked, and nothing bad will happen to the runt.

Now, as promised, purple beans!  I have never seen such a thing.

Here is a view of one small corner of the store.

I am a tomato-lover, so this area made my mouth water.

As you may have noticed in the picture two up, Tenderfoot Farms has tons of dried flowers and herbs hanging from every rafter.  Not only does it make the store beautiful, but it smells heavenly as well.

Outside in the nursery there were tons of flowers, plants and trees for sale.  My Mom and I were particularly taken with these massive hibiscus.  Hopefully you can tell, but in case you can't, these flowers are the size of a salad plate.  I don't normally pay much attention to flowers, but my Mom said they are the biggest blooms she has ever seen.  Gorgeous.

As I start exploring, there will be more to come!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Who Needs the OC, When You Have the LC?

I'd like to recommend a friend's blog.  She lives in the LC (otherwise known as Lake City, a neighborhood in Seattle).  My adventures cannot compare to hers!

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Movers Are Going to Be Sorry

First of all, Andresen Movers, my arch enemy, is a contractor with United Van Lines.  (I am referring to "The Tragi-Comedy of Shannon Schinagl: Part 5.")

Second of all, I just got an e-mail asking me to rate my experience.  Get ready, United Van Lines.  I am going to pull no punches.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Small Town Life: Example 7

My contractor came to the house this morning before I left for work.  He told me that he was meeting with another client and mentioned to this client that he was working on the home of a new librarian in town.

The client responded, "Oh!  The new children's librarian?  The one with the broken leg?"

Granted, it's a broken foot,!  I feel so famous!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Um, What Kind of Dentist Are You?

In a previous post, I complained about a spa called Aaqua.

Today, I saw this:

First of all, "Artisan Dentistry"?  What the heck is that?  I looked in Mirriam-Webster, and it said:

1) A worker who practices a trade or handicraft: craftsperson

2) One that produces something (as cheese or wine) in limited quantities often using traditional methods

I can almost get behind definition number one, but definition number two?  "Traditional methods" makes me think of having a tooth pulled with a pair of pliers with nothing but whisky for a painkiller.

I'm not sure what this dentist was going for, but I don't think he got there.

Second, "Striving for Excellence", his slogan, gives me pause.  Why does he feel the need to tell me he's striving for excellence.  Does he know lots of dentists who don't strive for excellence?  That's worrisome.  Would he not strive for excellence if he didn't have his own personal reminder?  Also worrisome.

Anywhere, I'm just not sure where's he's going with this statement.

It's all very troubling.

I Almost Have a Kitchen!


For those of you wondering about that brown door in the ceiling, those are the stairs to my loft!  I have a loft!  It is so cool!  At first there was an actual ladder that went from the loft to the middle of the living room floor.  Well, my living room is pretty small to begin with, so we thought pull-down stairs (like some people have to the attic) would save space.  And be a little safer.

Those of you with kids, they will love my loft when you come visit!

I Wasn't Kidding

In a previous post I mentioned that my Mom, spasming because she can't unpack my moving boxes, chose to hang art in desperation.  I wasn't kidding.  Here are examples:

Ah, yes.  On the left (you can barely see it from the side), my "Wizard of Oz" movie poster at the top of the stairs.  In the middle, a Dr. Seuss print.  To the right, a mirror.  Everywhere else?  Boxes.

This was a hard picture to take.  I'm not even sure how my Mom got back in there to hang my print of the Literary Festival of Oxford, England.  (Hi, Kendra!)  But she managed it.  Oh, yes, she did.

You Can't Lay Your Head Just Anywhere

As those of you with cats know, it's extremely important for a cat to decide what her official napping/sleeping/sprawling place will be.  Sterling has, so far, tried out the following options:

This is bedroom closet #1.  Poor Sterling.  Once I can actually unpack, this won't be nearly so cozy.

Of course, the bed.  Can you tell that she had a really exhausting day.  She felt the need for true sleep after napping all day.

This will be Sterling's personal dormer window, though it won't be nearly as hidden (she's actually behind a wall of boxes) once I've unpacked.

Closet #2!  You can sort of tell, but the side she's chosen to sprawl in is the side where all of the clothing (and scarves) drag just a little on the floor.  Weird.

Once again, this won't be nearly so cozy once the boxes aren't there.

Poor Sterling.  Once I am unpacked and settled in (that will happen one day, right?), she's going to have to start her hunt all over again.

Many of you have met Sterling and know she is not the cuddly type.  Here are a few bonus pictures of me torturing her with love.

As you can see, she looooves hugs.

She hates having her tummy shown, but isn't it cute?  You may be amazed, but I did not, in fact, lose a limb after I let her go.

Small Town Life: Example 6

Apparently Small Town Life extends even beyond the Small Town itself!  My Mom was at the closest Home Depot (in neighboring Seabrook, NH) for about the 1,000th time.  She got to talking to one of the employees there, and it turned out he had grown up next door to the home I just bought. 

Good grief!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Small Town Life: Example 5

Before the movers arrived on Friday morning, our electrician arrived.  The city inspector was coming to review the electrical work.  The electrician realized he had forgotten a part, so called his Grandpa Joe, who brought it to him.  Obviously, he met my Mom.

On Saturday, we were unpacking and heard a knock at the door.  It was Grandpa Joe!  Just visiting and making sure we were okay after the storm.  Just stopped by.

This is actually a very nice and thoughtful thing to do.  I'm just not used to people popping in to visit.  This Small Town Life is going to take some getting used to.

The Tragi-Comedy of Shannon Schinagl: Part 7

Friday night, after a full day of work for me, and the trauma of the movers for my Mom, we went to bed pretty early.  We were both awakened by a violent storm that seemed to come out of nowhere.  Thunder, lightning, vertical rain -- it was all there!  As I lay in bed, there was a deafening explosion accompanied by huge flash, followed by what sounded like another explosion and fireworks.

I ran to the window to discover that lightning had struck a tree in the neighbor's yard, and part of the tree fell on the power lines, pulled them all down, and fell across the street.  Immediately we lost power.  No fans, no AC.  Sigh...

About an hour later the rain was over, and we had an hour of chainsaws chopping up the tree and being loaded on to a truck.  Fast, huh?  I've heard the Mayor lives on my street. Ha!

The next morning we learned that not only had the tree pulled down the power lines, but because the tree was right next to the house, it yanked the power box right off my house.  The power box that houses all of the power wires, cable lines, and phone lines.

Poor, huge tree.  One-third gone in an instant.

The remnants of our house of wires.

Well, it's been hot as all get out here, with about 1,000 percent humidity, so my Mom and I were not about to stay home.  We ran a morning and afternoon of errands, came home, and voila!  Power!  Yahoo!

At this point, my Mom started twitching.  She wanted to unpack boxes so badly (those of you who know her know how much those full boxes affected her), but we were limited in what we could do.  The construction guys had packed all of their stuff away into the three living room closets and we still had no kitchen.

I unpacked my desk, and my Mom hung art. What, you say?  Your Mom hung art?  Yes, she did.  My place looks like a bomb went off, but art is hanging on the walls!

Sterling was still behaving and, in fact, thrilled with all of the boxes and furniture.  She is treating it like her personal playground, and reveling in her ability to squeeze into places we can't.


Will Shannon and her Mom be able to unpack any more boxes before Mom can't take it any more?

Will Sterling continue behaving?

Keep reading...

Small Town Life: Example 4

The workers doing the construction on my place had removed the railings from the second floor to the third.  The railings needed to be painted, as well as the walls.  This meant that my Mom and I were using the outside stairs.  If you recall, I have a bum foot, and my Mom is still recovering from a hip replacement.  We needed railings.

So we hadn't noticed that the movers had left my inside door open.  (Andresen Movers).  Saturday morning, my downstairs neighbor was concerned for us (allegedly) since the door was open and popped right in!  Just right on in!  Around 8 am on Saturday morning!  My Mom, sleeping in the living room, was the one to discover my neighbor had invited herself in, so had just enough time to wrap a sheet around herself (we were both wearing summer PJs, aka a tank top and undies) before the neighbor came right up the steps.

I appreciated the concern, but...huh.

The Tragi-Comedy of Shannon Schinagl: Part 6

Friday.  Moving Day.  Well, Moving Day assuming all went well.

My Mom called periodically to give me updates.  Amazingly, everything went smoothly, even the hoisting, until the end.  I was in a meeting when one of my colleagues called to say my Mom was on the phone.  Oh, dear.  Something must really be wrong if my Mom called the library number.  She told me that the head mover wanted the extra money for the extra guys right now.  That very minute.  I had assumed I would be billed, or they would add the cost to my credit card.  This head mover -- get ready -- threatened my Mom by getting belligerent and threatening to have all of my stuff moved back down to the moving van if he didn't get paid right then and there.  He actually said that!

To add insult to injury, as my Mom was on the phone with me figuring out what to do, the head mover informed her that another half-hour had just ticked by, so the cost just went up as they were sitting there.

My Mom hopped in the car, raced to the library, I wrote a check, she zoomed back to the movers, and they left.

What assholes!  Actually, she said the movers were extremely nice, except for Patrick, the head mover.  Again, this was Andresen Movers.

Well, at least I had my stuff.  All my stuff!  Which was everywhere!

You can bet we moved a few of these boxes.  They're blocking part of the almighty air conditioner!

A bed!  A bed!  My air mattress was really, really nice as air mattresses go, but...a bed!

Sterling is still behaving, and quite enamored with all of the boxes and furniture.

Almost an Uneventful Day

Thursday was uneventful except by about 2:30, I did not feel good at all.  My foot was aching, and as sometimes happens when you are in physical pain, that made me have a headache and a stomachache.  My Assistant Director was very, very understanding and encouraged me to go home two hours early to sleep and told me I was a trooper.  I did.  I slept for about three hours, woke up for dinner, and then slept until the next morning.

Sterling was still behaving.

The Tragi-Comedy of Shannon Schinagl: Part 5

Wednesday!  Wednesday was a Big Day!  The movers were arriving!  I felt insanely guilty leaving my Mom to deal with the movers while I went to work, but I didn't have much of a choice.

I had barely arrived at work when my cell phone rang.  (My work has been very accommodating about my cell phone.  They know I am in the process of moving, and they know I have been a walking [somewhat] catastrophe.)  The movers had arrived, but they had determined that four items would not fit up the stairs.  They would come back on Friday.

What?!?!  Here's where I started to get pissed off, and the phone calls came fast and furious.  I had told everyone who would listen, who was part of the moving company, that my stairs were narrow.  Everyone.  Over and over.  They should have been prepared for this situation.  They should have sent someone over to my place to see just how narrow the stairs were.  (Answer: narrow.)  I had been told that local guys would meet the movers to help hoist those large items over the porch.  The local guys were, apparently, very used to this.

I was told that I would have to pay extra for the hoisting equipment and the extra guys.  What?!?!  Even though I had told people over and over how narrow the stairs were?  You see, I had signed a "binding agreement," which meant the movers could not increase the price even if my load weighed more than had been estimated.  However, apparently I was the only one bound.  The moving company certainly wasn't.

Folks, I was mean on the phone.  Flat out mean.  It was very hard for me, because I am not usually mean.  But I was truly pissed off.  Did my meanness have any effect?  No.  The movers would be there Friday, and I would pay extra for hoisting and the extra guys.  The woman on the phone had the gall to ask, "So, does that work for you?"  Duh.  I replied, "Well, of course it does NOT work for me, but apparently I don't have a choice if I want my belongings, do I?"  This was met with silence.

May I state here that this was Andresen Movers.  Got that?  Andresen Movers.  Do not use them.  If you hear about someone considering them, dissuade them.  Andresen Movers.

Sterling was still behaving.

The Tragi-Comedy of Shannon Schinagl: Part 4

After work on Tuesday, my Mom picked me up after work and we decided to head to Target.  We had made a little list with enough items on it to make it worthwhile to go.  "Worthwhile to go!" you say.  It's  always worthwhile to go to Target!  I agree, except that my nearest Target is 20 minutes away.  And not 20 minutes of city driving, but 20 minutes of highway driving.  It's kind of weird in that it's all by itself -- no other stores, no restaurants.  Nothing but Target sitting in the wilderness.

I was exhausted after a day of working with my broken foot and new boot.  After getting our items we headed back to the car, where my Mom and I realized that neither of us had the car keys.  Oh, yes.  In my broken foot delirium, I had put them in the special pocket of my backpack that I take everywhere.  Everywhere, that is, except for Target.  My backpack was sitting in the car.

I called AAA, and while we waited my Mom did some more shopping (how could she do anything else while trapped in a Target?) and we had a delicious dinner at the Target Pizza Hut.  90 minutes later, AAA showed up, and the very nice AAA guy opened my car in about one-and-a-half minutes.

Home we went to our cozy air mattress and Sterling, who was still behaving.  Had Armageddon arrived?

Another day survived.


Has Armageddon arrived?

Can Shannon do anything without mishap?

And why isn't there a closer Target?

(That last question will not be answered in the next post.  I just wanted to toss that out there.)

The Tragi-Comedy of Shannon Schinagl: Part 3

Thankfully, the rest of Sunday was quite uneventful, including Sterling's behavior.  What is going on?

Monday morning, at the crack of dawn, I called the orthopedic doctor, hoping to get an appointment that day.    Success!  Until they realized I didn't yet have a Primary Care Physician to refer me.  Apparently the ER doctor was not enough.  Not success.  Then I started melting down on the phone, saying that I didn't want to delay going to the orthopedic doctor by trying to find a doctor in town, making an appointment there, going there, and then getting a referral to go to the orthopedic doctor.  The person on the phone took pity, consulted with someone else, and decided Blue Cross/Blue Shield would probably let meet a referral retroactively.  Success!  So we loaded up Sterling and "moved" into my place!  Finally!  Why is "moved" in quotes, you ask?  That would be because we moved in with an air mattress.  And suitcases.

We left Sterling trying to find a place to hide (not much choice with nothing but an air mattress) and headed off to the doctor.  The doctor confirmed that my foot was broken and told me that it would have to heal itself.  With this break, there was really nothing they could do.  And so I got the boot.

And then, off I went to work.  Everyone at work has been so nice.  Apparently there have been a lot of various foot ailments, because I've been getting a lot of advice and sympathy.  The people in the Children's Room, especially, have been going far out of their way to keep me from standing and walking.

While I was at work, my sweet Mama was -- can you guess? -- at the laundromat spending more than $30 and almost six hours washing every single thing that can possibly be washed to get the skunk smell out.  Had you forgotten that part of the story?  She did an amazing job, and all of the clothes were odor free.  Unfortunately, everything else still stunk: the suitcases, our shoes, magazines, books.  Basically everything that wasn't washable.  Those items would just have to air out over time, or we would have to go over them with Clorox wipes.

After the laundromat, my Mom picked me up from work, we both went home and fell fast asleep.


How will Sterling adapt?

How will Shannon adapt?

Will anything else go wrong?

Read on!

Well, at Least I Have Floors!

Stage Two!  I now have gorgeous floors, and most of my place is painted!

Compare to my earlier post.

Ooo, pretty, shiny floors.

Ahhh, pretty paint.

Hm.  Same kitchen.

Bye-bye, door!  Poof!  You are now a wall.

Yeehaw!  Air conditioner!

Sterling's litter box -- which she's using! -- on the shiny, pretty floor.  Sigh...