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Tabloid footprints in your hair

I can't even remember the last time I updated. I barely check in on myspace, and I haven't been to livejournal in a solid month or more. I have just enough time to keep up with facebook, but in the process, it seems I only post those little comments and not anything substantial. With that said, let's see if I can think of what I can post.

Life is consumed with work. I've been teaching a lot. Even had an extra class last term, which, since I'm salaried, didn't equal anything extra except used time. This term, I'm working seriously on an admin project I need to get done, and I'm really making some progress. Now to see if I can finish it in the upcoming few weeks.

On Saturdays, I watch Zoey. On Sundays, I mow the lawn and sometimes run the weed eater. Some evenings, we watch part of a movie, but lately, we've been burnt out on that, so that's slowed down. Besides which, we saw a few that weren't all that good, so it didn't help the outlook. TV shows have also fallen by the wayside in many ways, with rare exceptions, and it's summer, so we're not even trying. Lately, I've turned back to reading when I have spare time.

William Alexander (baby Xander) is due in mid-late-September, so we're gearing up for that. Amy's slowing down and feeling worse this time, too, and I can't blame her. Zoey's at her most talkative (and frequently wearing), which leaves us even more tired. And then there's all the time I'm at work, so Amy has to deal with Zoey by herself.

Not that Zoey's been terrible. But she's 4, and 4 is a trying age. On the good side, Zoey did a dazzling dance recital this time, since there were only four girls, and only Zoey danced the whole time. She's gotten so good, and she's so clearly more focused and serious about it than the others.

We got the armoire today for Xander's room (thanks, Link, for the transportation). We'll still have to get the glider rocker, and we're working on figuring out how to fit everything into that room (it may have to involve quantum), but then we'll be closer to ready for September. We've decided the full-size bed in Xander's room has to go to Zoey's, and her twin bed to Xander's, for the space to be closer to working. For that to work, we need new sheets and comforter (and plastic mattress pad) for the full bed.

Really, in most ways, things are moving along according to plan. I wish we could speed up parts of the plan, or at least win the lottery so we could afford the plan, but we're getting there.

We've moved Zoey into They Might Be Giants' music, which is a nice break from Chipmunks and whatever else, but now I'm stuck with so many songs from Flood (and not the ones you'd expect) in my head. I guess there could be worse problems to have.

I'm tired all the time. Nothing much to do for it, 'cept sleep, I guess. If I'm out past 9, people ask if I'm okay because of my eyes, though. Nope, that's about normal.

We went to Gina's party last night, and it was fun. Really nice to spend time talking to Ryan and Tod and the like. When we have the cookout here, they'll have to come.

Speaking of cookout, we'll have to find a time and declare it to be happening. We'll make some ice cream and light the grill and invite people to join us. It's nice to occasionally be social, after all.

Anyway, not much else to tell without going into tremendous detail. If I've missed anything on here, you'll have to let me know.

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I'm still lost

It's been a good-size piece of forever since I last posted, and I have no idea where to begin.

Teaching three classes instead of two this term has totally kicked my butt. I'm always preparing for class or grading papers or forgetting to copy something or grading tests. I'm pulling it off, but I blame that for the lack of time to even log into a website, much less blog.

I'm possibly going to do three classes again, though, in the next term. I have two weeks off first, which will be spent at my desk, but there's a clear lack of English resumes, so there's likely a clear lack of teachers in my area. For some reason, we're not advertising for them yet. Not my decision...

Michael Jackson is dead. I can clearly state that, in the last few years, I've just wished he would go away, because every time he showed up, things just got annoying and embarrassing. But really, I didn't wish him dead. Thriller was out when I started listening to the radio, so I was a moderate fan at the time, but I never just adored everything he did. Yeah, he was tortured, blah blah blah. I have no strong feeling of loss, just a bit of speculation and a minor amount of respect for what he managed to do in his lifetime (though not the recent part of it).

New son in about three months, and I'm thinking more and more about it. We need to do quite a bit, like setting up the room for him and buying a wardrobe and glider rocker and clothes, but I'm pretty at peace about it so far. I spend spare moments thinking about holding a newborn, though I'm sure that pleasant thought will disappear quickly by early October.

We're having a yard sale on July 4 and 5. It's the only time Amy's ever off on a Saturday, so we're going through with it. If you're local, drop by. Lots of baby clothes and a fair amount of other stuff. After that, we'll have a bit more money for setting up the nursery.

It's starting to be a hot summer, and I really expect it to get worse. We got the air conditioners in the windows in late May, though, so we've been doing okay so far. We wanted to buy a new one this year, but it hasn't worked out. Maybe if I get a bonus, after all the car repairs are paid for. I still want to replace this computer, but I don't have high hopes.

Some of my students, though, gave me a box of four ties. Two were Christmas (one generic, one Warner Bros), one general Warner Bros, and one of Buckwheat. No, I can't wear that one to work, or really, anywhere, but it's a nice thought, I suppose. One new tie for now, two more around Christmas time (along with two more I'd picked up and the one I already had, gives me enough for a work week). A bunch of new ties as a gift from students, though? That's one of the nicest things I've had students do for me...

Father's Day was fairly nice. I got colored pictures (Zoey has really taken to coloring lately), a #1 Dad sign (hanging in my cubicle at work), and a picture frame of Zoey and I at the Indy Zoo. If you push the button on the frame, Zoey's voice says "Happy Father's Day. I love you." It's too adorable. It's no tie like last year, but they couldn't find them anywhere, and apparently, Crayola doesn't make them right now? That's too bad. I wanted a series of those, one per year. Anyway, after gifts, I mowed and ran the weed eater (it WAS a Sunday), then we had a nice dinner and went to Riverscape so Zoey could play in the fountains. It was really nice to spend time with the family and just relax, but I think I overheated with the yard work for a couple of days.

Amy's pregnancy is moving right along. She failed her first glucose tolerance test, which she also failed with Zoey, but the second test came back fine. She's just into the third trimester, I think, and she's to a good point in the whole thing. She's still tired a lot lately, but that's because of all the doctor visits and such.

One of the doc visits was for Zoey's once-broken arm, to make sure it's working correctly now. She's fine.

Zoey's birthday was fun, though held in parts. On June 6, her actual birthday, I had to get my car's air conditioner fixed (it was a Saturday) so we could drive on the 7th. We bought her dance clothes (she's been taking ballet classes ever since, and we think she's really enjoying them), took her to Logan's Steakhouse (yum), then took her to Jumpy's. It was a blast, especially for her. On the 7th, we went to the Indianapolis Zoo, which we expected to like better, but we didn't. Zoey had a great time, though.

On the 14th, we had the big birthday party here. She got a wading pool and a t-ball set and Color Wonder stuff. It went really well, and she had a good time, but we're looking forward to next year, when she starts having friends her own age at the parties.

We've finally stopped using the babysitter. Amy's finished with school until she takes nursing classes starting in January, so she's keeping Zoey at home and we're saving the money for preschool payments. Our semi-rare (for now) babysitting needs fall on Amy's mom, who's good with that, but it's going to be quite a distance.

Lots of good movies from the library in the last several weeks. Gran Torino was a stand-out. This Film Is Not Yet Rated was a fascinating documentary on the MPAA. Taken was great action. Girl With a Pearl Earring was okay, but I expected more. Children of Men was interesting as a good dystopia story. Bride Wars is worth skipping, though He's Just Not That Into You was decent. Boy A was blah. Underworld 3 could have been better. Honestly, Fanboys could have been better, but it wasn't terribly bad. I had built that one up in my mind for too long, though.

I've tried to read Twilight for the last couple of weeks, but it's just not my thing. I may slog through it yet. Meanwhile, Amy's reading the last one now, when she's not crosstitching "Xander" for his room. I read Cormac McCarthy's The Road a few weeks ago, in anticipation of the movie, and it was touching at times but bleak all the way through. I don't know if I recommend it, but it was interesting.

It's been a while, but it's also been pretty dull around here. I've hit the highlights for you, I hope.

More News (slight reprise)

I also went to the eye doc yesterday and ordered new glasses. Yay for family eye insurance (trip was noticeably cheaper), boo for the two-year requirement on frames. The flex frames I bought last time snapped after a year, so I had to pay for my frames this time. I got some good-looking ones (with bonus sunglasses attachment that you can't spot easily) for a minor discount, but I still should haven't had to pay THAT much for 'em. C'est la vie.

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"I will never understand"

I don't even remember when I last updated. Work is seriously keeping me too busy to think beyond "What do I need to do next," whether that's a work or a home "next" list. I'm tired and not in a good place mentally, and things just keep piling up. Amy's car has three oil seals that need replaced (for $1400). I'm stuck teaching three full classes next term (for no extra pay, since I'm salaried). All sorts of little things keep falling apart, and then Morgan was crying as he pissed last night. This, of course, prompted a trip to the vet today, where they diagnosed him with both cystitis (trouble peeing, needing antibiotics) and diabetes.

Diabetes? Caspian has diabetes, but we've got his down to just special diet, which Morgan already shares. Now Morgan needs shots, twice a day, and vet visits to make sure his blood sugar is settling. The vet visits will eventually calm down, but we've got to get him "right" first. So it's back to insulin. The vet said it's rare to have two (out of two) cats with diabetes, but the receptionist claims it isn't. They're both old and not too active, so they both had gained weight. Another risk factor was the mixed breeding. At least one website I saw listed that as an increased chance.

I'm frustrated at how things are(n't) working out lately. Things WILL be fine, I'm pretty sure, but it's all the "two steps back" that are ruining my mood.

In the positive category, I may be up for a raise AND my potential bonuses in early July. I was hoping a bonus would go to a new computer, since this one is struggling so much, but now Amy's car is taking precedence. Right now, all I can hope for is that the bonuses WILL come through, as there's no other way we can afford to do things like making Amy's car work.

I only have time to mow on Sundays, so if it rains, it won't happen for a week unless I find/pay someone to do it, and there's no money, really, for that.

See, I hate feeling like I have to dwell so much on money all the time, but I do it anyway. I didn't mean to complain so much.

I need to go sweep and vacuum. I'm not really motivated, since the air conditioners aren't in the windows yet in particular, but I know it needs to be done. I may also cook out tonight. That's the plan anyway. The landlord painted the back porch yesterday morning, and it's oil-based paint, so we've been giving it lots of time to dry by using the front door, but the grill's by the back. I *think* it'll be okay to walk on by now. Either way, I expect to cook out tonight (yes, I'm early...maybe I'll grill again on Monday).

Anyway, I guess I'd better get to that broom.

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Marvin would agree

Life just keeps on, doesn't it? I take Zoey to Gwandma's so they can attend a banquet together, I get home, and I'm told my grandfather has died. Amy is told she gets to come home early because they're overstaffed, then they withdraw it 15 minutes beforehand. We get a nice dinner, go see the new Star Trek (amazingly good), and my glasses break for no reason whatsoever 2/3 the way through the movie. I put on my old glasses, and they give me a headache.

Despite all of this, I had a wonderful evening (and day today) with my lovely wife.

Today, we bought flowers and various gardening implements, and Amy and Zoey planted flowers out front. I'm still buried in stuff for work, but I'd like to think things are going well, except for losing three close relatives in 18 months. Grandma Abbott probably doesn't have long, either, but you never know. At 89 and Alzheimer's-ish, she's still pretty active, just constantly confused.

Don't talk to me about life.
William James Abbott, my grandfather, just passed away today. No word yet of what causes, though he was (we didn't know this) in the hospital. He was in his late 80s, I think.

I can't think of any way to make the funeral, but I'm still going to be thinking of him.

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Madness Around Here

It's crazy talk! Insane troll logic, how things go!

The short form goes kinda like this: Morgan started peeing on the floor again and yelled around the time he did, so we suspected a urinary tract infection. We got him to the vet today, and sure enough...Antibiotics and anti-anxiety pills for a few days, and he'll be back to normal, I think.

Tonight, while I was at work, Amy and Zoey were playing frisbee, and Zoey fell on her right elbow. She was screaming, and Amy got her some Motrin, then went to Children's MC and called me. I left work early and followed and helped as best I could. By the end of the time there, and it was actually a short visit to the ER (less than 3 hours), Zoey walked out with a splint and a sling, and Amy calls in the AM for a cast appointment. Broken elbow/arm, same arm as the broken wrist two years ago.

There are so many other things going on, like taking Zoey for her first mini golf game, which she played about half of. After we were done with it, we went inside, which was a huge funland area. Zoey wanted to play on the giant playplace, but I had to pay first, and Amy went to the bathroom. While we stood there, in line, a dragon and king wandered by, so she followed them and ended up in the middle (like, key spot) of a birthday photo for kids she didn't even know.

Amy's car no longer makes the squealing noise, as the shop finally figured it out. They were told by the dealership that Amy's car is extremely rare, maybe 1 out of 100 still out there. It wasn't built with AC, but it was added at the dealership, which makes several parts extremely rare. But now that the part was replaced (for free, thank the service warranty for not getting it right the first time), it's driving silently. Now if we can afford to get it to stop smoking and stop randomly dying...

The big news right now, though, is Zoey's broken arm. Gonna get things put away and hope for a peaceful night, but I'm pretty sure it may be a rough one.

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"You're not the only god in town"

I’m a really slow and sluggish thinker right now. On top of that, I’m moody. I have no idea why. I sit down to write, to think, to talk, and I’m just stumped. I do fine with teaching classes, but it’s a problem to do much else sometimes. I want to suspect it’s just being tired, but I can’t swear to that. I get as much sleep as I usually get, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t stressed myself into needing more or some such. Add to that the fact that I feel I never have time to spend with/connect with my wife and daughter meaningfully, and I’m just ridiculously moody.

Amy’s car is in the shop as I write this, as they try to fix something they’ve already fixed. Something to do with the pulley on the power steering, which is supposed to be fairly cheap and defective at times according to the mechanic. That doesn’t account for the smoking car (which they say is transmission, but you never know) or the tendency to die at odd times. I’m driving Amy’s car much more, since Amy shouldn’t be pushing a stalled car out of intersections, but so far, it’s not given me any serious grief (other than the smoking). I know, though, that it eventually will, and that we don’t have the money to fix it.

The student loans haven’t switched ownership to Direct Loans yet, though I expect it soon. Unfortunately, that means we’re stuck with another round of big payments to the current collection agency (last chance before full default) before DL works me down to smaller ones. Since I was in default, then it’s going to stay on my credit report as being settled through consolidation (instead of removed when I finished paying off for ten months), but I can’t just skip the lower payments and lower interest rates at this point, when we really need the money.

When I started talking to Direct Loans, I got a call from the collection agency that is merciless any other time. They wanted to talk to me about consolidation, which is what DL was doing. They wanted to send me a paper that I’d sign IMMEDIATELY (before DL could process, I’m sure) to set me up for consolidation with them instead. Not that they ever said it was to keep it away from DL, but it clearly was. When I asked DL if the paperwork was necessary (the agency paid extra mailing costs to get it to me quickly, after all), they said I should only if I wanted to consolidate with agency instead of them, which would mean less flexibility in paying and much higher percentages on interest. The agency that was so quick to be evil and reduce Amy to tears was desperate to be as nice as possible so they could get me locked in with them. The best part was that Amy was the one who, when they called back to see if I had signed the papers, got to tell them I wasn’t going to do any such thing.

I’m making a push, with my book, for libraries. Sales are slow, and my new Amazon review is blah. I just know that if I don’t do more sales soon, then they’ll slow to a complete stop with a really small run. It’s pretty frustrating to put that much effort into writing a book, promoting it, and getting so little back, but now I’m just whining.

I took Zoey to Gwanma’s work last weekend, where they had their annual Easter egg hunt. She did well, though it was a blah year for them, so she mostly got Tootsie Rolls and gum. She still had fun, and I had a good day out with her (Amy had to work).

We also just discovered that Zoey’s planned preschool was closing after this school year, so she has nowhere to go. At that point, Amy stepped in while I toiled my way through work, and she did the research to find new possibilities. Most of them weren’t quite workable, either because of hours and days planned or because of cost, but she came across a Montessori school that is only a bit more than we’d planned to pay, and we went to check them out. Amy’s going to watch class one morning in a few more days, and then she’ll decide. It looks good, though, so far.

Of course, then we’ll be paying for childcare for the new baby AND schooling for Zoey, but we’ve got a backup plan. Amy’s talked to her mom, who’s willing to watch the baby. The problem is that Gwanma lives 45 minutes away. This means that, if she doesn’t drop in on us, we’ve got to spend an hour and a half per day, each (one to deliver, one to pick up), in driving. Amy hasn’t discussed that yet, but I suspect we’d split who goes to whom (us to her, her to us) when we get there.

New baby’s definitely going to complicate our lives, in a good way of course. Speaking of which, we should know gender in another week and a half or so. No, I’m not saying which I’d prefer, though one of my students pointed out that if it’s another girl, then it’d be 75/25 against me. Okay, they’d get the dog, too, and I’d get two old cats on my side, so it’d be 4 to 3, and the cats aren’t exactly going to rally to my defense.

Of course, it’s been said before in my family that I have to have a son and carry on the Abbott name. My youngest uncle only had girls. My only male cousin doesn’t look like he’ll get around to reproducing, my uncle jokes, and there is nobody left to continue the Abbott name in this branch of the family. I’m not particularly concerned with it, but there’s always that to “consider.”

If we remember, we plan to bathe cats on Sunday, but I know that the best laid plans often don’t work out. If they don’t work out, the cats continue to stink, but at least we avoid the grief.

Speaking of grief, Zoey went for a walk yesterday in her new “sandals” (rubbery, semi-Croc style shoes) with no socks, and they wore blisters on her feet. I’d like to take her somewhere today and let her play, but I don’t think she’d be up to it. She whined and cried a lot yesterday, so I don’t think she’ll hold up for long in most activities. Maybe we can just run around the yard for a while.

Allergies are kicking back in, but thanks to the shots, they’re pretty mild. I still need to take a pill every so often (I missed one today, and I’m regretting it), but it’s not terrible overall so far (knock on wood, even though trees make me sneeze).

This winter has been hard on my body. I gained more weight, and it shows, than I wanted to. Of course, I dropped off the WiiFit craze around the same time Amy did, which was several weeks ago. Not that I’m blaming Amy for my laziness. I hope to be active enough to work my weight back down, but between work and everything else, I’m concerned.

I need to go get a replacement license, too. It vanished somewhere around the UD Litfest this year, physically, and I just know that I’ll need it sometime before I need to renew it in December. The problem is in finding the time to do that (which is the problem with doing anything, of course). You know, along with finding the time (and the desire) to go to the dentist or things like that.




Well, that was then...I've spent the day with Zoey, who doesn't notice the blister anymore, so she's been outside for as long as she could force me, which means my allergies are now fully awake. This doesn't make me happy, but I had a good time with her.

Gonna curl up with a box of tissues, I guess, and watch Dollhouse, then maybe finish a movie. Later...

More Thoughts On Supporting Poetry

I wrote another short article for gotpoetry...

http://www.gotpoetry.com/News/article/sid=33014.html
It’s between terms at work, with the new term starting tomorrow, and I’m getting ready for it. I’ve got my paperwork more or less in order, and my syllabi printed. The extra things I intended to print aren’t happening right now, as we’re having printer problems, since it’s the start of the term. This makes sense if you think about it: at the start and end of terms, more printing is done, so more wear and tear happens to the copier. That doesn’t make it any easier as you prepare for class, though.

I just got the new MLA Handbook (7th edition) in the mail today. As an educator, I get a free copy...If you teach and don’t have one, email me and I’ll send you a link…It’s everything I expected, though, so that makes me feel pretty good about it.

Amy’s car, after all the work we’ve put into it, is now leaking transmission fluid. That’s probably not a cheap repair, and our excess money is mostly gone, so that could be a tragic element to this drama. Meanwhile, we’re doing what we can to avoid driving it any distance at all.

One of my students gave me my very first ever diagnosis of pink eye last week. Tuesday, during her interview, she shook my hand (as all students did), and on Wednesday, she said she had to go home early because of her returning pink eye. Grr...I wonder if my handshakes after her interview spread it further.

Thursday and Friday, we had special training at the Marriott, which was good. I really liked it, but I treated it like it was a class. Many of the others in the training thought, “What a waste of time” and didn’t do much, but I really soaked it up as much as I could. It’s somewhat helpful both in my personal and teaching lives. Go, me.

In books lately, I’ve just read Belle de Jour’s Diary of an Unlikely Call Girl (which the Showtime series Call Girl is based on), which was an interesting book. It’s not a polite book, but I enjoyed it.

Movies? I caught Firewall last night (with Harrison Ford in it), and Amy swears we’ve seen it before, in the recent past even, but I don’t remember it at all. She said the same thing about The Da Vinci Code. If she’s right, which is possible, then it’s funny: I don’t often watch movies more than once, unless maybe I do because I don’t remember watching them the first time. I really don’t know.

Anyway, we also just watched Slumdog Millionaire, which was great but not brilliant for me; College, which was mindlessly funny; and Sex Drive (have I mentioned that one before?), which was funny. Especially of note in Sex Drive is Seth Green as a trying-not-to-be-sarcastic Amish man who helps fix the main characters’ car a couple of times, and Fall Out Boy, who play a couple of old songs and get picked on by Seth Green at the end of the movie.

Speaking of FOB, I’ve been listening to them a lot lately. I needed something a bit more upbeat, and they fit the bill well. I’m looking for new music at some point, but nothing has interested me lately on that front. Radio’s a wasteland in Dayton since we lost the Cinci station, so I never know any good new music except for the CDs out from the library, which usually aren’t so exciting.

Amy’s pregnancy is going well much of the time. There’s all the aches and pains that go with it at times, but things are moving along as usual. Zoey’s fine, though growingly sassy. Zoey has also moved into the constant question phase alongside the “watch me” phase. We hope preschool in the fall will help to push those phases aside.

Amy’s feeling good so far with her pharmacology class, despite the teacher’s reputation and her dread of it for so long now. I know she’s much smarter than she gives herself credit for, and I’m fairly confident she’ll do fine all term. Her first test (of four total for her entire grade) was this afternoon, and she thinks she did well on it.

Classes start tomorrow. So much for vacation...

I wish I had more to tell. I probably do, but I’m not thinking of what it is...

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