furryforestcritter

Warning: Weirdness and personal details contained within. Mostly weirdness. You've been warned.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Again, Mom is waiting for me to post to my blob

I have a terrible sense of time, as you can probably tell from my intermittent postings. 

I planted a garden in Aledo, a goodly portion of it even came up (!!) and then we moved to Katy, a suburb of Houston.  Work has been talking about transferring us here for months and it finally happened.  So, still in Texas but hotter and more humid, and about an hour from the ocean.  Our house in Aledo hasn't sold yet but is under contract for the end of this month.  We've had a few buyers back out for various reasons so at this point we just want to be done.  Plus we have a bunch of plans for some of the money, various small things on the new house we want to change, furniture that needs replacing, etc. 

We bought a lovely house that's half again as big as our last one, and we were already knocking about a lot in the last house.  The new house has a lovely and welcoming back yard with space for a garden, which was my goal, and 3-car garage for Jay as he does a lot of 3-D printing and project stuff in there.  We wanted to make a decent investment, and this house is in a golf course community so should be good for resale (crossing our fingers that doesn't happen again any time soon).  We're fancy upscale golf people now!  (none of that last sentence is true, except maybe the people part)  We did have to replace the roof, which we knew about going into the purchase, so shiny new shingles!  Which took out almost all of our savings, hence the hoping for our other house to sell.  I'm not terribly comfortable without my safety net. 

I inherited a fish pond with the back yard and am now the proud owner of 3 koi - they're about a good trout eating size, which the previous owner told me would be expensive to replace.  I haven't killed them yet, they seem pretty easy to take care of so far (feed every day, clean filter about once per week), and since it's Houston I don't have to worry about wintering them.  I'm a fan of easy pets.  Probably the biggest issue is going to be evaporation of the water this summer.  Because Houston. 


Work is stupidly busy, because oilfield work is starting to make a comeback and only a dozen or so people moved from Fort Worth from our product line.  Since we're still feeling the effects of the oilfield downturn, the company wouldn't agree to hire more people until those ones were gone, so there was no cross-training of jobs.  This has meant that, besides doing my own job, I have also had to figure out and cover for the jobs of people who left, with poor documentation and few resources.  So far it's been extremely frustrating and will probably get worse before it gets better, as we have a lot of new people starting, meaning a lot of training will be on my plate as well.  I keep hoping this will all be worth it...

Saturday, December 03, 2016

My mom says I haven't posted to my blob lately

I didn't tell anything about the Wedding Do (it was fun, saw lots of friends/family we haven't seen in a long time, were busy running around trying to get official pictures taken in various locations and so didn't get to visit with quite everyone and was therefore full of the guilt and frustration but such is life, didn't take any pictures ourselves so you'll just have to imagine it). 

My dad's cousin and her husband were here this fall, they came through with their adorable little RV on their annual fall travel trip.  We had a great visit.  I hope we'll be as interesting someday when we're retired.  We didn't end up going to the aviation museum (mental note: I'm an idiot - pay more attention to dates when checking out visiting hours on websites) so we played cards and chatted instead. 

We're currently getting ready to go home for the holidays: baking, making/buying gifts, trying to clean all the things.  Not sure if everything on the list will get done, hopefully nobody will be super insulted. 

Work has been ridiculously busy and disorganized, it's filling my OCD soul with angsty teenager torment.  I don't deal well with stress, I tend to get grouchy and vocal (in a not-so-politically-correct sort of way, at a time when opening your mouth can lead to being the next to be laid off if you're not lucky).  If I don't offend the wrong person it'll be a Festivus miracle. 

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Are you feeling lucky, Punk?

No.  No I am not.   All I can say is, America, you have nobody to blame but yourself.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Not dead yet

Ahoy there folks!  How's things?

Things are moving along here.  Our parents have been working on details for the Wedding Do this summer so that's definitely happening.  About 125 people coming, local catering, people bringing campers, should be a good time.  The most exciting part to me is that someone else is dealing with most of this.  I hate organizing things.  I'm good at it, but it's definitely not on my list of Things To Do For Fun.  Or At All.  We're going to drive up and then I'll fly back and Jay will stay another week or so to visit more.

In other news, we have FINALLY!!! finished putting up the tile in our shower.  It's so pretty.  We used far more of the slate tile than we originally planned, so we'll only have enough left over to do the entryway floor instead of doing backsplashes around the bathroom.  There's still grouting/sealing/door installation, but the end is in sight!  So exciting!  Here's what it looks like now:



My garden has been in for a couple months and is doing... okay.  Most of the seeds I planted didn't do well, we had some hot dry weather early in the season and they weren't able to get established.  Lately, though, we've had tons of rain, so all the greens are doing well.  Anything that's fruiting/veggie-ing is pretty much on hold though, waiting for more heat.  We're supposed to have more next week so I'm expecting those to start going crazy.  Tomatoes, man, they're going to be where it's at.  I accidentally bought 2 plants, and last year with only one plant producing we had a bazillion.  I predict that pasta and enchiladas and tomato-based everything are going to be popular.  I also unwisely planted a summer squash seed, not really expecting it to come to much.  So 3 guesses which plant is starting to produce already...  Meanwhile, all of my broccoli, kale, zucchini, and the first round of brussels sprouts all died.  None of the funky seeds that my friend from India gave me even came up, except maybe a jalapeno (unless it's a weed.  Which is quite probable in my garden).

Happily, all of the plants that I bought are doing well - tomatoes (have harvested a couple and there are more turning yellow/red now), a red pepper (one pepper on it so far that's starting to turn red), strawberry (runners are starting to take over, we'll see how it holds up through the heat), snap pea (actually, this is now dead, I think one of the cats may have sat on it.  It was doing quite well for a while, I even ate a couple peas off it), chocolate mint (had to pull some out, it was taking over the world).  The much-mauled catnip plant has pulled through (so far).  That one gets rolled on by the cats every couple days, I'm very surprised it's alive.

We went to see a production of the musical Spamalot (based on Monty Python's Search for the Holy Grail), it was awesome.  Enough changes from the movie to keep fans interested, and lots of humour in general.  On the same day, we had tickets for the FW Symphony in the Garden (symphony in the botanical gardens where you can bring lawn chairs and adult beverages and a picnic).  It wasn't exactly our type of music (Gershwin), but it was nice weather and we had a good meal, so when they lost power just before the halftime break we left.  Also because it was 9:00 on a Sunday and I'm old people.

Where did that last 6 months go?

Hi people!  If there are any people left.  So I started this post a while ago, and things have since changed, but I'll leave that for my next post.  (Late) update from a couple months ago:

So, things have been going along approximately like normal.  I work in oilfield, so lots of layoffs have happened.  Turns out it's an opportunity to learn things! Because you have to, what with all the people gone and all their work to do!  Unfortunately, now I'm the only one who knows how to do some things.  I pretty much always have a pile of things that I don't have time to do.  I mean, I always used to, but now the pile is even larger and more varied than it used to be.  It'll look good on my resume, or so I tell myself.

To add to the feeling of not getting enough done, this past weekend Jay had ear surgery.  Just like last time, I forgot that I wouldn't have time during the surgery to get things done.  We also completely forgot to get his prescriptions filled beforehand, so I ran out during the surgery to do that.  Added to that, there were minor complications - his IV came out of the vein during surgery and his hand puffed up HUGE so they kept him in for extended recovery.  Good news is there were no lasting issues.  But the surgery unexpectedly took up the entire day, plus we'd been up early which threw off my sleep schedule, so I didn't get a lot done over the remainder of the weekend besides napping and trying to make Jay comfortable-ish.  Jay's anesthesiologist was able to get his wake-up cocktail right though, so Jay didn't have the extended grogginess and nausea that he's had previously, and his recovery since has been going really well (knock on wood).  Plus now I have a house husband for a few days!  Who is recovering and sleepy and can't lift things, so is pretty much useless.  But he's cute, so I'll keep him.

In other news, it's the nicest time of year here in Texas, everything is green.  My garden is doing pretty well now that we've had a bunch of rain - I picked the first 4 beans a couple days ago, there's a tomato growing, and one of my corn plants is a foot tall.  I had to let the arugula I planted in the fall go to seed because it was taking too much effort to pick all the flowers off every day.  The swiss chard I planted last spring is still going strong too.  I started some asparagus this year and it's doing pretty well, I'm excited for next year when I'll be able to harvest some.  I also planted a peach tree, which was my biggest goal for living here (yep, even the dreams are bigger in Texas).

Shower status: it's ongoing.  This is, as always, our biggest issue - if there's no pressing need for it, renovations take forever.  It takes a lot of time because we don't do this very often, and so we don't want to do it, so we put it off, which makes it even harder to get back into working on it.  Did I mention it seems hard?  It's not really, we're just old people, mostly in the knees.  But it is going.  The tile is so pretty.   SO PRETTY.  And it'll be awesome once it's done.  Some day.  

Saturday, October 10, 2015

And on with our story

This summer we went back home to my cousin's wedding.  She lived a couple miles from us growing up, I used to babysit her and her siblings.  It was a pretty big wedding, held on their farm, and I got to visit with a lot of family and neighbours.  It's always nice to see everyone again but I'm not a big fan of weddings.  Too many people, I find it overwhelming.  Plus there's usually dancing and I don't like dancing.  I feel like an idiot.  I'm aware that I look idiotic doing most things, but when I'm dancing I FEEL like an idiot, makes it that much worse.

My nephew broke his collarbone again jumping on the trampoline at the morning-after breakfast and had to be rushed to the hospital.  I felt really bad for his sister, she's a tenderhearted person and felt responsible even though it wasn't her fault at all, so she was crying some.  She's such a sweet kid.  He was back playing with his cousins a few hours later, a bit subdued but still having fun.

Jay and I got married last month.  He's in the middle of the green card process and they said it'd be easier to process mine at the same time if we were married.  So we (romantically..?) tied the knot.  I have a tendency to giggle when I'm nervous, the wedding really put that to the test.  It was just us in a courtroom and the judge told us to look at each other.  And also brought up something about god which made me want to roll my eyes (I refrained, which was almost as difficult as not giggling.  I think I need a medal or a cookie or something for that).  But it's done, so there's that.  I had to fill out a form yesterday and it asked about marital status.  I had to think about it.

We're going to plan a post-wedding do at the farm for next summer.  At least I assume that some day we'll get around to working on it.  We have a plan but have been busy getting some other things done so haven't actually gotten around to doing anything concrete.  For example, we finally got almost all of the green card stuff done (had to get a ream of shots and a medical, plus a whole whack of paperwork).  Not sure how long it'll be before we hear the verdict though.

We are currently busy working on redoing the shower in our master bathroom.  The grout was worn out when we bought the house and we hadn't even used it.  The grout lines were super small, we couldn't even fit a grout knife in to refresh it so we tore it out.  So it should have been easy, just replace the tiles and get on with our lives, except the concrete underneath came too.  Plus the cement board backing on the walls.  And we wanted to replace the lovely gold fixture too, which meant adjusting the plumbing for the valve which was just different enough that we couldn't reuse it.  So last month we re-cemented the floor, Jay redid the wallboard and waterproofed, and last weekend we tiled the shampoo niches and the floor.

We saw some multicoloured slate tile on sale and picked up enough to do the floor and some accents in the shower, plus a backsplash around the sinks and soaker tub, and maybe enough to redo the floor in our back entrance.  We hope.  It's so pretty.  As we were tiling, we kept remarking stuff in that vein as we put them up.  It's definitely a lot more work than we were expecting though.  As usual.  We're kind of dumb, we forget how old we are and how hard it is to get on our knees, and how much physical labour is involved in things.  Don't worry, it's just a shower, we redid the entire house in Canada, how hard can it be?  Le sigh.  Here's the in-progress pictures so far:

floor and niche
first wall mostly done

In my defense, I have tried to post

The last few times I went to post, I was using the Blogger app since I was on mobile devices.  Turns out if you switch apps and then try to go back, the app reloads (older iPads) and loses all your typing.  And if you only post sporadically, you forget that, so you do it multiple times before it sinks in.  The last time, I had been typing for half an hour.  I have now sworn off the stupid Blogger app forever.  

Anywho bunny, I've done things since I last posted, things I tell you!  At least I assume so, or I wouldn't have tried to post multiple times.

So.  Cruise that I mentioned last time.  We went with some friends on a Carnival cruise that stopped in Key West and the Bahamas.  It was okay but just reaffirmed to me that I'm not that into cruises, at least with Carnival.  It's mostly about spending money on their ship drinking and gambling.  On a ship filled with people.  Nobody likes people.  The older I get, the more I've realized that I don't like crowds.  What can I say, I'm old people.  Get off my lawn!

We had been to Key West before, so we did a water adventure thing where we went parasailing, banana boating (I was way too old for this, it was really hard and everything hurt afterwards), swimming, and then jetskiing (well, I didn't, I hurt my knee swimming and felt ill so skipped out, but Jay said the jetskis were fast and fun).  Parasailing was amazing.  I had expected it to be windy and scary, but it was super calm and the view was amazing.  It was so quiet up there that Jay and I had a conversation without even raising our voices.  I would definitely do that again.

Our next stop was Freeport in the Bahamas, where our original shore activity got rained out.  So we went on a bus tour of Freeport.  It's really run down and there's not much to do.  It's basically there so Carnival can have an extra stop and get people to shell out money to do touristy crap.

Our third stop was in Nassau in the Bahamas.  We did an underwater individual sub "adventure" where they sent you down in an underwater motorized scooter with a diving tank that pushed air into the sub helmet.  Mine did not work properly.  The motorized scooter worked okay, but the air system wasn't working properly and I had to pop my ears every time I took a breath.  Frankly, I was terrified I was going to die the entire time.  Others on the tour complained of similar problems, plus scooters that weren't working (all of them had lived a long hard life and were barely hanging on).  One girl said the air system was working so poorly all she could hear was a high pitched squeal the entire time, plus hers was bucking up and down so badly in the currents that it made her extremely seasick.  The boat was very top heavy and tossed around so much on the waves that nearly everyone was seasick anyways.  We were glad to get back to the ship.

There have been other things too.  I'll post this for now though so that it doesn't disappear into the Blogger void.  

Monday, June 01, 2015

This is a really good article

http://www.cracked.com/blog/5-helpful-answers-to-societys-most-uncomfortable-questions/

Also, watch the mini pig video on page 2, it's adorable and hilarious.  In unrelated news, I now need a mini pig.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Yoshi update

I was just looking back through my last few posts, my last update about Yoshi was a while ago.  He's now grown a lot and is bigger than Roly.  He's also turned out to be a medium hair kitty.  His armpit hair is super long, and he has tufts of fluff sticking out half an inch between his back toes.  His tail, which is really long, is very soft and fluffy.  He likes to play with feather toys like the one behind his head there, is pretty cuddly, and loves sleeping on the end of the bed if we leave the door open at night.  Other than stealing the other cats' food and trying to play or cuddle with them constantly (Roly doesn't want Yoshi within reach, and Gizzie will play most of the time but doesn't really want to cuddle with him), he's a really good kitty.
Yoshi
Yoshi's fluffy belly

It's a Christmas miracle!

Oh hi!  You might (not) remember me from such blogs as this one, where I used to post things once in a while.  Fell off the earth for a bit there.

So, new house.  6 months ago, that is.  Here are some of those pictures I promised:

This is the back yard before we made any changes (this is in November, you'll notice the lack of snow).
The back yard when we first moved in
More lefter of the first picture

And this is after we took out the unsightly, rotting, chicken-wire-on-the-bottom-half fence.  And the deer feeder with the wasp nest in it.  And got rid of some of the overgrown trees/shrubs.  And mowed the lawn.



 I helped Jay build a garden cage to keep the deer and rabbits out and the cats in.  He also built a shed (you can see the start of it in the first after picture there).

Here's the before and after pictures of the bathroom facelift:
Before: Removing the hideous wallpaper.  Also, you can kind of see the leaves that were on the light fixture
After: This is more our style
I painted the mirrors flat black with some silver.  Jay cut the leaves off the light fixture and ground it smooth where they'd been, then I painted that flat black with a light sprinkling of silver.  We had thought about replacing both, but we would have had to fix the spots on the wall where they attached, and Jay had already worked hard to get the wall mudded smoothly enough to be paintable.  Did you know that when builders put up wallpaper, they don't bother making the wall look pretty, or even priming it?  We found that out the hard way.  Also, it was cheaper and easier to just use what was already there.

Mirror before
Mirror after
The house is pretty much in the same shape as when we bought it, except slightly worse.  The leak by one of the back doors, which we were aware of when we bought the place and thought was just by the door, actually extends all the way across the rear living room.  It's due to a crack between the foundation and the brick, and when rain drives in really hard the water comes in and seeps up through the living room hardwood.  This has only happened once so far, and it's been an unusually rainy year, so we're hoping it will hang in there till it stops raining/dries out and we can fix it.  Unfortunately, after realizing this, I got to looking at the rest of the hardwood in the house and realized that the same thing must have happened before in the dining room.  We thought, as did the inspector pre-purchase, that there had been a leak but that the previous owners had fixed it.  Apparently not.  So there's that.

As well, Jay had been playing around with the sprinkler system, trying to see where the different lines were, and left the valve on but unused.  Come to find out a month later when the utility company emailed me, there must be a leak somewhere - it used about 4 times the amount of water as usual.  So yeah, we turned that back off pretty quick.

We also had a bit of a scare, Jay was puddling around in the garage and noticed one of the cats sniffing at something:
Ever since then I've been rather paranoid.  More paranoid, that is.

Otherwise, we really like it here.  There are tons of wildflowers (aka pretty flowering weeds) in the backyard and general area, as well as wildlife.
lizard basking in the sun on the wood pile
roadrunner
Roly watching the deer during the very brief 3 days of  snow this winter
My garden is growing - the things that came up are doing pretty well, at any rate.  Not sure if I had some bad seeds, but my first round of beans didn't show up, only a couple of the carrots came up and they died off pretty quick, and the 4 swiss chard plants are sad.  But my beets are doing well, the summer squash is good, and the tomato plant is taking over the world.  The constant rains have definitely helped; until they started I didn't really have much coming up.  Here's Gizzie in the half-garden/half-weed/newly planted grass:
I have since pulled up most of the weeds in the foreground, they're mostly tree-bits.  We cut down, but didn't root out, the scrubby trees that were originally there, and it's probably going to be a constant battle to keep them from coming back.  The grass seed we put in there is doing well though.  The cats like it out there but still long to be out and free.  With the rampant cacti and scorpions.  We're only a bit protective of our babies.  

We also replaced the fence in our house in Fort Worth, which we're renting out at the moment.  It used to look like the parts of the fence that you can see in the picture below - old and rotting.  We replaced the rotting wood posts with metal ones, and put up the same panels that had been there before.
Replacing the fence
New fence and the shed Jay built last year
Turns out we should have gotten approval from the community association before replacing both the shed and fence.  Oops.  Not going back to do it now.  They were aggravating jerks when we tried to get approval for adding a covered patio in the back yard so I don't feel bad.

We also went on a cruise at the end of last month, but I'll save that for another post.  Hopefully it won't take as long as this one did to put in.  Sorry about that.