Thursday, January 28, 2010

Puppy Pictures

The video is 384 mb - 284 megabytes larger than the limit and I'm too lazy to edit the video with software (that I would have to download, etc, etc, etc). Instead, here is a bunch of pictures of the puppy with his older "sister" hanging out with him. He's a bigun for 12 weeks.

(Lookin' all relaxed)

(passed out)

(They seem to love the stairs)

(Chewing on some cardboard - you can see the nail-hole patches on the baseboard, still need to be sanded and painted)

("Good Sit!")

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Pied Piper of Lost Dogs

I swear, that is us. This morning, we had Lost Dog Number Three run up to us during a walk with the dogs to the little park down the street. The last time this happened (2007), it was 8pm and 22 degrees (yes, in California - it was the winter where our state lost most of its citrus crops to frost). One dog followed my husband into the garage from the mail box and as we drove around with the dog looking for a potential owner, another ran up. Both without tags. Both turned out to be from the same house, one in heat. Yeah, and this was the day after Nikki had surgery to repair a gash made by our other dog when they had an all-out I'm-going-to-destroy-you fight. Very far from ideal to have two more female dogs to have to put up for the night. So far from ideal that it resulted in Nikki getting attacked by our other dog again (with 4 female dogs together, one in heat, it was a dog-pheromone disaster waiting to happen). But anyway. I digress. I will bitch about shelter hours later.

So this morning, a little shi-tzu ran up to us, all wet from the grass and wherever the heck he ran from. He had a collar and a tag with a phone number! I figured we'd find the owner lickety-split. Um. No. The number on the tag was no longer in service. Seriously? Why have tag then? At least put your damn address on it so I can maybe find you that way. Not only was he wet but he managed to get dog crap on him, likely his own, on his paws. Me, not really realizing it, after carrying him down the block, just threw him in the car to drive around and see if anyone in the neighborhood recognized him. Of course, no one did. Then my car smelled like dog crap since he managed to flit about to every seat, smearing it everywhere. I spent 10 minutes trying to clean febreeze it in a HURRY seeing as I have a day job I had to get to that doesn't include dog rescuing and shit cleaning.

It's pandemonium enough that we have a new puppy that is still not entirely housebroken, and an older lady dog that is still coming to terms with sharing her humans, so we weren't going to attempt to keep the dog and find the owner ourselves. I felt bad that we had to drop him off at the shelter, but as far as I know, our local shelter is no-kill. Also, if his owner his stupid enough not to claim him, a cute little shi-tzu like him will get adopted pretty quickly.

And speaking of shelters, I really don't like their hours. I'm not saying they should be open like Wal-mart, but both times I have "found" lost dogs, it has NOT been between the hours of 10am and 5pm. And both times, it has been inconvenient (the first time nearly catastrophic for Nikki) to house the dog(s). And there is no way to drop the dog off outside of those hours, unless it's rabid and violent (then you call the police and who knows what happens - maybe they kill it, I don't know. I'd be lying to the cops if I said it were any of those things, anyway). It's ridiculous to expect all people who find dogs to "house" them overnight. Some can do it, others can't and the alternative is to leave the animal outside to potentially get hit by a car? Freeze in 20 degrees? Get eaten by a coyote? I don't know. I just think there should be one shelter per county or something where you can drive and drop the animal off at any hour, if you're in a situation where you can't house the dog. Maybe that's crazy talk, but, it seems to me it would be better for the animals and people might be more apt to turn in strays if they weren't emotionally forced to keep strange animals during off-hours.

I was gonna post more puppy picturesfor you guys but, seriously, this puppy is monopolizing my time. I was happy just to be able to fold a basket of laundry that I had been done this past weekend. Nevermind get the camera and download the pics to the computer, upload, etc, etc, etc. Maybe I'll just do one post of a bunch of pics - the hubby even took a video, so maybe I can put that up too.

Friday, January 22, 2010


Is what I am. Behind on just about everything. Reading blogs (something like 100 posts), cleaning, laundry, guitar & piano practicing, baseboard and molding, etc. Why?

Well, this is why:

Yes, in a moment of weakness the Husband relented to my repeated requests for a second dog. And I ran with it, as I normally do (impetuous, much?). In the end, we wanted another miniature australian shepherd (and there are none available to rescue in California, or even Nevada or Arizona), so we went with a puppy. This little tank is 12 weeks (and 12.5 pounds - he is pretty big for a mini aussie at this stage).

He requires constant attention because he has yet to figure out that when we are yelling angry no's as he is peeing on the wood floor that he is, in fact, not supposed to pee on said floor. Compared to the female puppies we've had, he is learning at a much slower rate. By now (5 days since we got him), both Nikki and Savannah had figured it out. He is maybe 20% there. He is not crapping in the house, so I guess that's a bonus.

So, yeah, this little bugger has occupied any time I have at home. The only thing I am not letting slide is my running - I am in the peak week of my half marathon training, and by God, I am not sabotaging the hard work I put in. I don't have two black toenails because I like the ugly bruised foot look.

The other thing complicating matters is that is has been raining like crazy. Like, build an ark and collect two of each animal, crazy. We are on day 5. Last night it poured for 6 straight hours (on top of the pouring that happened during the day). I drove through hail on Monday evening. Also hyrdoplaned. The 5 North was also flooded. We lost power at the office Tuesday afternoon for more than 2 hours (in the midst of having entirely too much work to do), along with a tornado watch. Yes, tornado. In California. Seal Beach had one touch down that flipped several cars over. When it rains in So Cal it's ridiculous. It can't be normal rain it has to be extreme with 50-70 mph winds. So housebreaking a puppy when you have a veritable swamp in your back yard with high winds is a bit of a challenge.

But he is cute as all puppies are. How can you not love a soft furry playful puppy? (Except when they are chewing your shoes or peeing on your floor, then maybe you can not love them.) Anyway. I just wanted to give you guys an update as to why I am MIA on comments and everything. At least now the gender balance in the house is totally even.

Friday, January 15, 2010

My House Is Spoiled

Spoiled like a bratty 5-year old who screams bloody murder when his parents won't get him the toy he wants. Apparently, all the new upgrades the house has gotten (new kitchen, new copper plumbing, new fireplace facade, new flooring throughout, paint, etc) haven't been enough for it because it demanded a new water heater. Wednesday, our water heater decided to spring a leak and who knows what else was wrong because even after shutting off the water to the heater after we drained it, somehow filled back up made a minor flood in the garage so we had to shut it off around 11:30pm until the plumber came the next morning. We had no water for 12 or so hours so that was fun.

Now, I'm complaining, but not all that seriously, because at least I could access water somewhere (at work, the Y, etc) unlike the poor people in Haiti. So my problems don't compare. But I will tell you that cold showers are miserable - I took one after my run on Wednesday (before we realized the flood issue in the garage) and I had to keep telling myself that at least I had water and I wasn't in Minnesota where cold water is REALLY COLD in January. I kept repeating "Suck it up! At least you have water." Oh it was cold.

Without further ado, here is the new tankless water heater:

A tank water heater would have been cheaper, but there is a 30% tax credit this year for the tankless variety and I try to do what I can as far as helping out the environment. This unit will use less energy and eventually pay for itself. Plus, it lasts 20 years versus the 10 year lifespan of a tank water heater. Takes up less space, too!

Total cost was painful, to say the least:
(1) Plumber labor - $695 (which is apparently lower than what he normally charges, so he says)
(2) Tankless water heater and all the required trimmings and 8.75% state tax- $1339.

So, $2034 to replace our defunct water heater with a tankless. We'll get back $600 next year via tax return so effective cost is around $1400. A traditional water heater replacement would probably have cost around $700-900.

Things to note about tankless: they require more stuff. Venting and exhaust has to be bigger since when it does heat water is uses quite a bit of energy. Like a mini furnace. Our heater is natural gas powered and needed a 3/4" gas line. I don't think we had that before so that had to be changed by the plumber. There was also a special install kit - not sure what was contained in it, but the actual price of the tankless heater was around $950. There was about $200-$300 of extra stuff on top of just the heater.

Also, Home Depot, at least in our area, doesn't carry them in stock, you have to order it which isn't very helpful when you don't have any water heater at all to use while you're waiting for it to arrive. Lowes carried only one model and literally only one physical unit (so, our local Lowe's didn't have one but the next town over did). Beyond this the models and prices at Home Depot and Lowes are not great. Luckily, our plumber dude took The Husband with him to his plumbing supply store where we got a heater with 50% more capacity and cost $100 less than the unit at Lowes (they had a 6.x gallons per minute Bosch for $1099 and ours is a 9.x gallons per minute Noritz for $950 - we probably don't need 9.x GPM, should have gone with 7.x for $200 less. Oh well.).

If you have hard water (we have very hard water - lots of mineral deposits), it's not ideal for tankless. You can install a filter at the point before the water gets to the heater, but we decided to wait a few months and get a softener so that we'll have less hard water all over the house and not just the hot water. That way our dishwasher will work better, our pipes will be happier, the water heater will be happy, we can use less soap, etc, etc.

Yet another spendy month. Boo.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

15K Was A-OK

I would be lying if I said I wasn't nervous about this training race which is just a "training" exercise for the real damn run. Therefore stressing for it is stupid, but I can't help it. I wasn't sure if my goal of 1:59-ish for a half-marathon was really doable and if I couldn't maintain 9:09 or better in today's race, then my fear would be confirmed.

At 4:40am the alarm when off and I got up after one snooze (seriously, 4:40am, I had to snooze once), had some PB on a pumpernickel toast and took a quick shower to wake myself up. Dragged the Husband out of bed at 5:35am (he's a good sport) so he could drive me and also hold my shit at the race. Not literally, my shit, just my stuff. Yeah.

As you would imagine there was no traffic at that hour so we made it down to Mission Bay in less than 40 minutes. Weather was perfect, around 55 degrees. Did my business at the porta potty (at races, I actually prefer them to regular stall bathrooms -- aside from the occasional smelly-ness -- because they are totally enclosed and the lines are usually shorter).

(Kind of disorganized starting line)

It's hard to find a course flatter than one around Mission Bay and the scenery kind of kicks ass.

15K is 9.3 miles; it's not a common road race distance so it was my first race at the distance and I really had no idea what to expect. As you would imagine, it is harder than 10K easier than half-marathon. I know. Duh. If I had to say how I would race it in the future is just a wee bit less effort than a 10K. Otherwise if you go out like a 10K you'll quickly be hurting.

(I like this picture The Husband took because in the distance you can see the 15K runners trudging along and the cute little ducks in front)

Anyway, so I ran the ding dang thing and it was fun. Sure, there was a point around mile 7 where I almost peed myself and had to FOCUS on RETAINING (ok, a little bit dipped out. whatever). I'm sure the flat course helped it not feel like a root canal, but I like the distance. Too bad there are so few 15K races out there. I had my new Garmin with me and have yet to set up the automatic mile splits but it was tres useful in stopping me from hauling too much ass in the beginning. It's a swearing day today. Sorry. I have the old one - the 205 - it was my Christmas gift - a good $175 cheaper than the newest model.

Finish time? Honestly, I don't know. The race was small or rather they ran it like it was supposed to be small, but 1000 people showed up to run the races. There was no clock at the finish, and 15k, 10K, and 5K were all finishing around the same time (they staggered start times by 30 minutes). We merged with those runners at various points on the course which gave me a mental boost that I was keeping up them, and I was 3 and 6 miles ahead of them. At the end, there was a total pile up, so I have no idea where the real finish line was. We were all in one long line before the finish arch-sign thingy, so as soon as I stopped running I stopped my watch. I have to trust that my Garmin is more accurate than what the race officials are going to end up pulling out of their collective butts (we'll see when they post results, maybe the finish line was actually before the pile up but it was a secret finish line or something. Feh). They did have plenty of water stations and, overall, it was run very well aside from the finish, and supports an excellent cause so I am not all that bugged by the finish line traffic jam.

(my red face 15 minutes after the run - yes, not a direct picture because I looked like an angry smiling tomato with no hair in the other one The Husband took)

At the end, Garmin informed me I had run 9.39 miles - extrapolating to 9.3 on the software I came up with 1:23:39-1:23:51 around 9:00 - 9:01 per mile. This is excellent news ("Excellent, Smithers!"). Sure, I could have a butt-tastic race day come Superbowl Sunday (yes, I am running on Superbowl Sunday) but I am now a whole lot more confident that breaking 2 hours is well within my reach. I still have two more long runs to tackle (12 and 14 miles) so I should be even more ready in 4 weeks. I hope.

Anyway, time to go veg on the couch now.

Friday, January 1, 2010

2009 Recap

Edit: After re-reading this post I felt compelled to fix it because (a) the tenses were all over the place, (b) the formatting is a bit off, and (c) I said I wouldn't bitch much and I totally did, so I have to take that caveat out. Here goes.

I really can't say it was the greatest year, though it could have been worse. But I will still bitch about it because that's what I do. I am the Queen of Complaining.

January 2009 - Kitchen remodel continues

January 20, 2009 - Did the happy dance.

February 9, 2009 - Got laid off group-meeting-style with 70% of my coworkers. Started feverishly looking for a new job.

February 14, 2009 -Installed a new patio door to replace the broken 1987 original sliding door.

February 23, 2009 - Went to Houston to visit friends and also meet Girly Stuff and Woman Interrupted (who has since gotten sucked into baby-care vortex - where are you, chica?).

February 26, 2009 - Started working a contract job at a start-up after much hemming and also hawing.

March 2009 - Discovered that my former HOA sucks and falsely reported me to collections. Spent time and money fighting to get it off. Finally free of it a few months back. Butt-heads.

April 12, 2009 -Bought a new car (VW Jetta Sportwagen TDI) to replace our Nissan Sentra 130K+ miles. Timing of this purchase proved to be bitch-worthy.

April 14, 2009 - Husband gets laid off (see?) and we are stuck paying Cobra for health insurance (contract gig = no benefits).

April 15, 2009 - Saw The Boss at the Coliseum for the first time. Admitted to The Husband that Bruce Springsteen rocks.

Early May 2009 - Get called out of the blue by another company looking to interview me for a full-time position (upon which I, again, pontificated on ad naseum).

Late May 2009 - Get the job offer and decide to go for it 'cuz Momma's gotta pay the bills and get her herself and her huzband some health insurance that doesn't cost a mortgage payment. Contract job then told me to take a hike immediately after I kindly gave them two weeks notice. Decided to paint my parents' condo during my unemployment because I can't keep still.

June 13, 2009 - Ran a 10K in Idyllwild at 6000 ft altitude which was not fun.

June 15, 2009 - Started the new job.

July 2009 - Started tiling project that is still going (as I write this I am currently waiting for some sealer to dry before applying second coat). Went to see Coldplay down at Cricket Wireless Ampitheatre in Chula Vista = biggest parking lot exodus nightmare of all time. Replaced the downstairs toilet.

August 2009 - Started up with learning the guitar again and picked up a used Baby Taylor from a pawn shop.

September 2009 - Went over to the crazy side and purchase a brand new piano with cash while husband is still unemployed. Eh. Demoed the fireplace.

October 2009 - Installed wood flooring in the living room/dining room! Replaced upstairs toilets with water misers purchased from some lady who had 226 new-in-box toilets in her front yard.

November 2009 - Ran the local turkey trot and decided that my sorry ass is going to run a half marathon in 2010, three minutes faster than my best time. Finished all but the mantel of the fireplace.

December 2009 - Continued running and bitching. Finished my fireplace project by building, staining, and installing a new mantel. Built and installed shelving in office closet. More baseboard action.

Phew. There's probably more but that's all I can remember at this point. Resolutions for 2010? Nope. Don't do 'em because resolutions can be made at any time, like the learning the guitar and the training to PR in a half-marathon - had I waited until today, I'd be that much more behind! Make resolutions whenever you feel you need them!