Thursday, January 31, 2008

TV switch-over info

For anyone concerned about the 2009 switch from analog to digital, here's more info that just might save you some money (you just might not have to buy that HD tv your husband is trying to talk you into). CNN link

For the Allergy Sufferers

So last night, Fox News DFW ran an "article" (can you call them that? newstory is probably better) about the explosion in office visits to allergists in the last month. "A good number of those calling on allergists have never had allergy symptoms before." Yeah, well, imagine what it's like for those of us who have had allergy symptoms for most of our lives! Welcome to my world, folks. Anyway, back to the story. Apparently, the weather has been the "perfect storm" for all kinds of blooms - mold, fungus, trees, grasses, flowers, etc., etc., etc. And all of the wind we've had, particularly since it's changed direction with each front, is blowing in new allergens as well as typical allergens for our region. So it follows that even if you're one of the fortunate ones without allergies of any kind, this kind of assault on the shnoz makes everyone's nose run, sneeze,wheeze, and stop up. Wanna hear the best part? "Once the wind finally dies down, the dust, mold spores, fungus, and dust mites will finally settle. And those who are allergic to them will really begin to feel the effects of the latest batch of wind storms." Oh gee, I'm giddy with glee over THAT one! So if I thought I was miserable the last week, what will I feel like next week?! Stay tuned to find out.

Right now, I'm calling my allergist. (Ironically, it's time for my annual check-up.)

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Blustery

Good lord. Windy isn't really strong enough to describe how crazy it was yesterday & how it's supposed to be today. Yesterday's winds were gusting to 60 mph. Can you say batten down the hatches? It was next to impossible to walk in the wind. Hold on for dear life, I'd say. More strong winds are predicted today, though they're only supposed to gust to about 40 mph. Poor birdies! Yesterday brought to mind Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day. Anyone seen that? Poor Piglet gets blown around like a feather. That's how it felt for me yesterday. Seriously. I really needed a tether.

And of course, all of this wind (and change in wind direction) means that we allergy sufferers are miserable. Absolutely miserable. Can I just live in a HEPA bubble? Okay. Thanks. That would be great. As it is now, my head feels like it's going to explode. And in these conditions, drugs don't really help. There's just too much assaulting the system. *sigh* Just call me Snuffy.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Stupid Is As Stupid Does

From Quick today:

Man mistakenly kills self
A man accidentally shot and killed himself at a West Dallas party early Saturday, police said. {Name withheld by blog author to protect the stupid}, 20, was in the 3400 block of Iroquois Drive when he shot a few rounds into the air. He thought that he'd discharged all of the rounds, so he put the gun to his head and pulled the trigger, police said.
As if firing the gun into the air wasn't stupid enough, let's just put it to the temple & see what happens!

And that's why Forrest Gump can say with certainty - stupid is as stupid does.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Weekends are Exciting!

At the Fox household, you just never know what kind of excitement awaits you on a (typical) weekend. For instance, this weekend we continue on my resolution - 08: the year of the closets. Today, we are working in Derek's office, which for all intents & purposes has become the repository for all things "crap." Don't know what to do with it? Throw it in the office. Can't put it where it really goes? Throw it in the office. Need to put it on the non-existent bookshelf? Throw it in the office. Need to file something? Throw it in the office. Seriously. It's ridiculous.

In order to spur the mass cleaning effort, I ordered a really nice sofa to go in the office which will arrive on our doorstep in approximately six weeks. Surely we can handle a six-week cleaning? Yes, I think so. We've made some pretty good progress today. We had to clean out the actual office before we could even begin to address the office closet. Oh my goodness! If I thought the office was a repository, it doesn't hold a candle to what has been stuffed, crammed, wiggled, thrown, and perched in that closet! Seriously. Breathe on the piles in there and you're asking for a quick & (mostly) painful death as the mountains of crap come raining down on top of you.

So...we've found a home for the Ikea chairs & ottomans that were living in there. That gives us six weeks to find someone in need of (purchasing) a really nice DLP tv stand. Right now, we're on our way to Ikea to buy the bookshelf I found. We decided rather than piling up everything that needs to go on the bookshelf, we'd go ahead & make the trek to purchase it. So it can be assembled & ready to go for the evening cleaning session(s).

In the process, we'll be making bigger messes in order to get the closets cleaned. But in the end, it will all be worth it! Oh the fun we have!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Congrats

Congrats to SarahJ on the new job! The rest of us in blogville hope you still have plenty of time to tell us all your funny Sarah-isms even though you'll be bringin' home some bacon.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Speaking of Annoyances

My friend Maggie Katzen posted a little blurb about being harassed by Dell Financial Services. Funny that you should mention a financial department looking for someone with a similar name but without matching identifying info.

A couple of weekends ago, we started getting phone calls from Conn's Financial Division. "We have urgent information regarding your account. Please call us as soon as possible at . . . ." So I call them back, get through the automation, hold for a while, and finally get a person.

Agent: Thank you for calling Conn's, this is ____. How can I help you?
SF: Yes, I just received an automated telephone call from you saying that I needed to call immediately about my account, but we do not have an account with you.
Agent: You don't have an account with us?
SF: No.
Agent: Hold one moment. I'm going to have to transfer you to another department.

More waiting with the cheesy on-hold music.

Agent: Thank you for calling Conn's, this is ____. How can I help you?
SF: Yes, I just received an automated telephone call from you saying that I needed to call immediately about my account, but we do not have an account with you.
Agent: You don't have an account with us?
SF: No.
Agent: Hold one moment. I'm going to have to transfer you to another department.

On hold...again...with the cheesy music.

Agent: Thank you for calling Conn's, this is ____. How can I help you?
SF: Yes, I just received an automated telephone call from you saying that I needed to call immediately about my account, but we do not have an account with you.
Agent: You don't have an account with us?
SF: No.
Agent: What's your name?
SF: S__ F___
Agent: That doesn't pull up any information. I'm going to have to transfer you to another department.

Seriously. More cheesy music.

Agent: Thank you for calling Conn's, this is ____. How can I help you?
SF: Yes, I just received an automated telephone call from you saying that I needed to call immediately about my account, but we do not have an account with you.
Agent: You don't have an account with us?
SF: No.
Agent: Your name?
SF: S___ F___
Agent: What about your husband's name?
SF: D___ F___
Agent: Do you live on Midway Road in Dallas?
SF: No.
Agent: Have you ever lived on Midway Road in Dallas?
SF: No.
Agent: What's his middle initial?
SF: __
Agent: What's the last four of your husband's social?
SF: xxxx
Agent: We have a D__ F__ in our system, but the middle initial, social, and address do not match. I guess our research department found your phone number when searching for a D__ F___. We will remove your phone number from our system.
SF: Thanks.

But the next day, they called again. This time, Derek went through the song & dance to tell them what I had told them the day before. "We will have to send that to our research department." Really. Well, in the meantime, QUIT CALLING ME!!!!!

So, MaggieK, I understand why you might ponder unplugging the phone for a while. Or hey, even blocking the number. Whatever. Just make the phone stop ringing.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Unique

My quote-a-day calendar turned up this one for today

Making a difference is as close as the hand.
Just as each of us has a unique fingerprint,
we also have unique talents that can leave
a mark where they are needed.

What a terrific reminder for each of us. I have been blessed with the ability to sing well. So often people will say to me, "I wish I could sing like you." And so often, my response is, "I'm sure you have other talents that I don't have." And I do genuinely mean that.

If we all could sing, who would sew or cook or clean or run a company or play the cello or .... well, you get the idea. We are each branded with different abilities all of which work together for the good of the whole, assuming we employ them. What's your gift? Are you using it to the good of the whole? If not, it's guaranteed to be missed. Remember, you are unique.

Monday, January 21, 2008

One Down...Kinda

It's been a nice weekend thus far. Friday night, I got part of the house cleaned and then we enjoyed a night in front of the tv. Saturday's scrapbooking class that mom & I attended was great. We enjoyed the group of girls we scrapped with, and the kit we worked on was awesome--K&Co Peppermint Twist. Thanks, Jessica & Diane, for a terrific class & great fellowship! Yesterday was pretty busy. Derek worked a good part of the day, and I sang two church services. We went over to the neighbors' to watch the game (Boohoo. But I don't really want to talk about it. Stupid officials.) and enjoy a visit with our friend Pineapple who's in from Hawaii.

Today, I've actually accomplished part of what I set out to do--cleaning closets. I started with the smallest closet in the craft room. Turns out, most of what's been hiding out in there is nice crystal decorative pieces that don't really go with my current decor. Anyone interested or know someone who might be? I have some really nice (and expensive) pieces that need to go. I'll probably take them to the next church garage sale if I can't find any takers. I also have oodles of small wall shelves (for nicknacks) that I no longer need. And I found my Beany Baby collection too. I think I'm going to see how many of those I can pawn off on the neighbor's kid before sending them to church to be loved by kids there. Once I went through everything, I put back in the closet what will eventually find new homes b/c I don't want it sitting out making the place look junky.

Next, I think I'm going to tackle the guest room closet. It's actually pretty organized but it's just hard to wade through it right now b/c of some "stuff" Derek put in there. Really, he needs to go through those boxes & toss. Maybe I'll wait on that closet--he's gone to work....again. (It's supposed to be his day off.) If I wait on him, that delays the whole closet-cleaning project. But I suppose I could do a closet a weekend for the next couple of weeks. That would get it done in pretty quick order. The office & office closet will be the biggest project. It will definitely take both of us to get that one tackled. And then it will be on to the garage. (Sigh.) That will be several weeks' worth of work. 08 is the year of clean everything. And I'm going to attempt giving up being a packrat....for the most part.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Holiday Weekend

As predicted, Derek has been busy since the rest of the guys left for the sales meeting. He didn't get home until 9:30 or so last night. On the upside, three of the four cases were actually his. Most likely, he'll be working late the next two days since the big cutters are on call. We'll see. Once the guys get back in on Sunday morning, Derek's duties are officially done & he can relax a little. He's taking Monday off to recuperate.

It's a busy weekend for me too, sorta. Tomorrow, I'm going to a scrapbooking class with mom. I have to pick her up around 9:15, so it will be an early day. But we're both looking forward to the class a lot. We're making a Christmas album. Can't wait. So tonight I have to get the house clean since everyone is coming over to watch the big games on Sunday (Go Packers!). We finally got the big smoker from the ranch to Rowlett (thanks, Dustin). And the boys are just itchin' to cook on it. I think they have plans for ribs, brisket, and pork shoulder. Who knows what else will end up on there.

Monday's a holiday, and I'm looking forward to it. It begins the quest to get the house in order in 08. It's something we failed to accomplish in 07. The stuff I've hidden away in the closets is really junk. Some of it is in its original moving box, which means it's been tucked away for almost 5 yrs. I think it's safe to say that it can go. I'm looking forward to having usable storage space when it's all said & done.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Tuesday Musings

So it turns out, Derek doesn't have to go to the National Sales Meeting this weekend. At this point, their branch has no trauma associates so that left a rather inept bumbler to handle the entire branch's territory while everyone trots off to the annual meeting. And ultimately, there was a serious question about just how much of that territory would be left when the reps got back. Technically, it's company policy that each rep attend the annual meeting. However, this is under the assumption that there's a slew of associates at home tending the herd. So Derek made the appeal to his boss and his boss to the corporate boss that two reps stay home to handle the entire territory while everyone else is meeting it up. Big boss said the two senior reps could stay behind - they've been to several meetings & wouldn't necessarily gain or lose by staying behind. Of course, this means Derek will probably be uber busy, but he wasn't very excited about going to the sales meeting this year since he fell short on his PTQ - that's still a bit of a sore point despite the fact that he had an awesome year.

I finally got around to telling one of my favorite choral conductors that I wouldn't be coming back to chorale as I'd planned. It's a one-way 45-minute drive, for one thing. And the price of gas is astronomical, for another. I would just prefer to put my money elsewhere, ya know? But it doesn't make dropping the bomb any easier. I felt like the first spring concert was the one that could be missed without them really missing me since it's a combo with a local children's chorus. I'll definitely be going back for the closing Broadway concert. I loves me some Broadway! And I need to be there to learn whatever music we'll be taking with us on the summer tour to Ireland.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Winter Weather?

Another weekend come & gone. They seem to fly by these days. But I had a lot to do around the house, so maybe that's why. I have avoided any major cleaning in, I'm ashamed to say, a few weeks. So to say that it took me a while is an understatement. Actually, I've only gotten the front part of the house done thus far - the part of the house where we & our guests spend the most time. Derek was sweet enough to take bathroom duty - you know, my whole issue with household cleaning products & difficulty breathing. I also tackled a fair portion of the laundry & it's actually folded and put away. *Gasp* Yeah, I know. Shocking, if you know me. So I tackle the remainder of the cleaning & laundry tonight, I hope, since there's nothing on tv, I have nowhere to be, & there are tons of leftovers to eat.

Saturday I also tackled grocery shopping. Unfortunately, I decided to do this after I cleaned, which meant I didn't hit the stores until 1:30 p.m. Ugh. I know why I make it my usual habit to be there before 8 a.m.! And with the playoffs under way, everyone and their dog really was out shopping. And, of course, shopping has to be spread out all over town b/c you just can't get it done all in one place. So there are still a few things that I have to get, but they aren't real necessities. So they can wait till next month for all I care. =)

Anyone heard anything about winter weather? When I came in this morning, I was talking to the bailiff who sits in our lobby. We always talk about the weather - he's cold natured like me except I actually like the cold weather while he's not a fan. Anyway, he mentioned that it may freeze Wednesday. I haven't seen any forecasts this weekend or checked yet today. I have to admit, the prospect of getting iced in is kinda nice. I have closets to clean out - one of those pesky "resolutions." But it seems they always get it wrong when they try to predict a freeze, so I dare not get my hopes up. Besides, next Monday is a holiday!

Yesterday we watched the Cowboys choke. Actually, in their defense, the officiating was absolutely horrible. There were at least two roughing-the-passer calls that weren't made for Romo, we won't even go into the holding that was going on, or the pass interference. And then you have Crayton's 500 dropped passes (I do exaggerate but not by much). Some of the guys I was watching with were surmising that he was paid to throw the game. And I have to admit, given the number of passes right in the numbers that he just happened to drop, it was a convincing argument. I hope he dreams about those drops all year b/c several of those were 7-pointers that never made it on the board! And then you have the whole Romo vacation PR nightmare. Seriously. If he had just run off with the boys and had his fun, the next week would be so much easier for him. But I rant.

Go Packers!

Monday, January 07, 2008

Back in the Swing

A nice quiet week this will not be. 'Tis the time to get back to the regular weekly appointments - rehearsals, voice lessons, work. But we did make the most of the weekend.

I took Ezmerelda back to the shop - she now has a front license plate & is all clean on the inside ... with many apologies from the dealership. I'm generally not a complainer. But when you pay that much for a car & a dealership prides itself on its service record, there are just some things that cannot be overlooked. The plate was a must - particularly since my brother refused to write me a note saying I didn't have to have a plate. (I did not, of course, really think he would.) The mess they left on the interior from the window tinting was the real issue. But I have to applaud Park Place for the speediness with which they attended to me. And this time, they took care of everything - the right way.

Saturday evening we went to my brother's house for Olga's birthday party. Why that girl actually likes hot dogs is a mystery to me. But I guess I got ruined on that the semester I took Foods & had to tour processing plants. There are something things you just shouldn't know about your food. I digress. There was a good turn-out at the party, and we all had a nice time visiting. And the food was good - even if I know where it came from.

The rest of the weekend. We accomplished absolutely nothing. Well, that's not entirely true. Derek accomplished nothing. I got a few things done. I started on the 16 thank-you notes that must go in the mail. And I went through all of my music in preparation for a recital sometime this year. Other than that, though, we were just plain lazy.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Birthdays

Happy birthday to my s-i-l Olga!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

I Resolve...

that I'm terrible at making (and keeping) resolutions. I laugh when I think about last year's list. While I was able to cross some things off, a fair part of my list still stares at me this year. So my list of resolutions is a "ditto" of 2007. I might manage to cross a few more things off the list this year. One can only hope.

We did enjoy our NYE celebrations. Our neighbor Dan hosted the festivities. Just about all of our neighbors popped in at some point during the evening. We had lots of food. The desserts, of course, were the biggest hit. We rang in the new year with a champagne toast. Slowly but surely the crowd dwindled. And then it was just five of us. We were enjoying our little chat. Next thing we know, it's 4:30 a.m. Yikes! So we all turned in.

I was up by 9 a.m. getting the beans in the crockpot and brisket in the oven. I did a little tidying around the house. But mostly, we vegged all day - watching the Rose Parade and football. It was really nice. And, of course, I took a rather nice siesta for about two hours in the afternoon. Several of the neighbors came over for dinner. The brisket was sooooo good! I sent everyone home with goodie bags. All in all, we tucked in early.

The rest of the week is quiet. Just how I like it.