Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Thieving Bastards at Comcast

It COMPLETELY sucks to be between DSL service areas. I talked with our university's head of network planning and he explained the whole stupid situation with me. Comcast is the only option I have until our neighborhood gets DSL, unless I want to poke along on 56K dialup.

Comcast seems to know they've got us over a barrel. $200 just to get set up!!! And $50/month after!

I wonder how successful I'd be at running an ethernet cable across the street from the university (where we have our own fiber network) to my new house?


Sunday, July 29, 2007

Bike Trainer Meltdown

Well, it's official. My bike trainer is dead.

A few weeks ago it developed a crack in the part that regulates the tension, but I had been finding workarounds that kept things spinning normally. Today, though, the tension crank came off in my hands and the actual spin part would not work properly. It either shrieked or made a grinding sound, neither of which was something I cared to listen to for the duration of a two-hour workout.

So the trainer is dead. Damn it. A new trainer is so not what I wanted to have to buy right now, with all the lease-breaking/house-buying expenses. But exercise and good health are cheaper in the long term, so me and my Visa card will just have to buck up and hit the bike shop.

At least all the little plastic bits that showered out of the dying trainer inspired me to vaccum the bedroom. Small blessings.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Moving Plans

Another crazy week at work! My right-hand gal has been on vacation, as has one of my managerial counterparts, and we’re heading into fiscal year close, etc, etc. Everyone should be back next week, though, and our boss has said no vacations in August. Luckily she made an exception for me to have a day off for moving. We want to move the furniture on a Friday, when the parking lot outside our apartment will be empty and the van can pull up close. And of course, once your furniture is gone, you might as well be gone with it!

So with two weeks to go, moving plans are speeding up. It’s scary how long I had to spend on the phone to get electric service transferred, vs the almost magical speed of dealing with the gas company. We also found out there’s no DSL in our new neighborhood. WTF? Our house is a block from the third largest university in Texas and NO DSL??? I’m skeptical, so I’m going to ask the university’s head of network planning if this is true. In the meantime, Serious Packing has begun.

My father is home from Spain and we’ve talked on the phone a couple times. He had a fantastic time and we’re going to go see the pics tomorrow. We’ll try to arrange for him to see the house sometime next week, since he’s going back to New Mexico soon.

I have a feeling the next few weeks are going to be crazy-busy. I’ll be doing good if I can just keep to a workout schedule and hold onto my sanity. I’m cocooning tonight, knowing it won’t be so easy to get down-time in August. I'm sometimes embarrassed at how much alone-time I need to stay sane, but I used to try pretending to be someone I'm not, and it always ended badly.

I did the Memorial/Chimney Rock/Tanglewood run again today, since after next weekend, I’ll have to drive to get to a place to start that particular route. It just doesn't seem right to drive in order to run, so I’ll probably stick with routes near my house after the move. So Tanglewood it was! It was an unusually cool morning for almost-August, although the humidity was bad enough that gills might’ve been useful.

After that, it was quality time with the bun while I iced my legs, then a long hot shower and soon Dan and I were on our way for Indian food! We were going to drop by the house afterwards to see the new varnish on the hardwood floors, but we were so full and lazy afterwards that we skipped it and took an afternoon nap instead. Good times!

Recent Workouts
Monday: 30 minutes elliptical, 10 stairmaster
Tuesday: 4 mile run
Wednesday: 3.5 mile run
Thursday: 30 minutes elliptical
Friday: scheduled rest day
Saturday: 13.5 mile run

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Who's Busy?

I don't know what the fuss is all about. Nothing to do here!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Searching for Normalcy

I had another nutso week at work. I’m trying to finalize a project that I inherited, which is always a challenge, and there have been a lot of complications along the way, including that it’s a moving target with data changing almost daily.

This week I was told to work with our department’s budget guru on certain aspects of the project, and while Budget Guru is brilliant and accurate, she and I might as well have grown up on different planets. We have completely different ways of approaching matters and communicating about them, so that even though I like her, it seems that whenever we have to work together, I find myself spending a lot of time wanting to strangle her.

I only barely escaped having to pull office time over the weekend. I would’ve been deeply unhappy with some people if that had happened, considering I brought work home with me nearly every night this week and worked part of July 4 and the Saturday after that!

The house is coming along nicely. Dan stopped by on Friday and said most of the sheetrocking and painting is done and it looks fantastic. I can’t wait to see! We continue to drop things off at the garage apartment, which is our staging area. It doesn’t seem like much, but it’s something. The house should be ready for move-in the first week of August, but we’re not scheduling anything until we have a firm date.

Dan keeps going on and on about the things he wants to do with the house if we buy it. Replace this, add that, update the other. It makes me nervous, because he has a poor sense of money and it gets us in trouble. Furthermore, I don’t like how this whole deal is setting us back financially. If we weren’t having to break our lease and pay on two places in August, we would’ve been financially clear again by now, with the exception of the student loans. Instead, we’re throwing ourselves right back into debt again, and there will surely be other expenses that I’m not even aware of yet. There always are when you move. So every time Dan starts babbling about wanting to rip out the cabinets and put in new ones, I get twitchy.

I wasn’t feeling like a long run this morning, but since I always feel like having lots and lots of Indian food, I slugged out 13.5 miles. It’s a bad sign when you need to give yourself a pep talk in the early miles. Not much happened on my run, other than that I saw the most amazing spider web at Turtle Pond when I stopped for an electrolyte/water break. It was strung between a tree and light post and I was baffled how the spider accomplished it. I guess a spider the size of a quarter can jump pretty far!

My father is scheduled to return from Spain on Monday, so it looks like I’ll be busy with family stuff soon. I’ll want to see his pictures and hear his stories. And I need to take him to see the house and find out how much of a down payment he wants to help us with (since he offered). He’s only in town for two weeks, so with house, family and a busy work schedule, I hope I can just keep myself pulled together. I’m not one of those people who gets energized by being around a lot of people and having a big long list of must-dos. I need my down time or I start getting bitchy and neurotic.

It’s turning into such a crazy summer, and that doesn’t even include the creative projects I’ve got going on!

I just keep telling myself that all these demands on my time are temporary. It will pass and life will return to its normal rhythms. I really only have to get through the rest of July, and then August. Then, if luck is with me, I can settle in, start repairing the financial damage, and find a new peaceful routine to settle into.

Recent Workouts
Last Sunday: 90 minute spin
Monday: 30 minute elliptical
Tuesday: 30 minute elliptical, 10 minute stairmaster
Wednesday: 4 mile run
Thursday: 30 minute elliptical
Friday: scheduled rest day
Saturday: 13.5 mile run

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Refreshing Run!

Okay, so fourteen miles isn’t most people’s idea of refreshing. But the morning was overcast and cooler than is typical for this time of year. And much of the time, I ran in a light sprinkling of rain, which helped regulate my body temp, even though it didn’t do much to keep me from getting sweaty and stinky. But at least it never really rained, for which I was grateful. With such fine running conditions, I was able to get through my long run at a pretty good clip, feeling strong at the end.

And then the weather indulged me by staying overcast all day. Had we gotten a real rain shower, it could’ve been a problem. The ground is still saturated from all the wet we got last month. But instead, it just sprinkled on and off all day, with lots of cloud cover to keep our a/c from working so hard.

At the office, I was boss-free this week, and didn’t have to bring much work home, either. Very nice. But my hopes of making up for working part of the Fourth of July holiday and part of Saturday didn’t come to much. I had forgotten that I had approved vacation time for one of my employees, and another is on summer flex time. I don’t like to leave one of my employees playing Lone Ranger for more than an hour, unless it’s for a work-related reason like meetings. It just doesn’t seem fair to ask someone who earns significantly less than me to run the place solo while I take personal time. And since one of my managerial counterparts was also on vacation and the other was busy with meetings, there were several afternoons when I was the only one in our entire business office who could make Important Decisions (as if there were any to be made!) and Sign Things.

Well, maybe things will work out for some other time.

At least I got some things moved to the house. With all the work being done on the house itself (painting, new sheetrock in areas that need it, etc), I’m staging things in the garage apartment. I’m taking the attitude that with so much to do, anything I do will help. Therefore, I try to take a few items to work each day and drop them off at the garage apartment before going home. My hope is that by the time we’re ready to move in early August, we’ll only have furniture and essentials, like toothpaste, left to haul over there.

On a psychological level, doing something every day is also quelling the occasional waves of panic I still feel at the thought of all that needs to be done so we can move. I keep telling myself that there’s a bright side to having so much to do—I can do anything and it will be an improvement. Even if it’s just dropping off the waffle maker at the new place. Hey, that’s one less thing to take in August, right? And who needs waffles, anyway?

Recent Workouts
Monday: 30 minute elliptical
Tuesday: slacker, non-scheduled rest day
Wednesday: 30 minute elliptical
Thursday: 15 minute elliptical, 15 minute run
Friday: scheduled rest day
Saturday: 14 mile run

Monday, July 09, 2007

Meme Monday!

Hay, there! Tidbit, here.

My human has been pretty busy lately, so she asked me to do a couple of these "meme" things for her.

So here goes:

Eight Random Facts:

  1. I used to belong to a child who liked to hold me close.
  2. I ended up at a dog pound, but I’m not sure why.
  3. I lived with the dogs for nearly three weeks (in my own cell) before I was taken to my new home.
  4. I don’t like being locked up. I stomp my feet and throw things around with my teeth until I get let out!
  5. My favorite food is carrot greens.
  6. My favorite hobby is digging holes in the carpet.
  7. I like chewing perfect circles in the male human’s shirts, when he leaves them on the floor or sofa. It’s my way of reminding him to pick up after himself.
  8. My favorite hay comes from the Oxbow company in Nebraska. My humans say I’m pretty fancy to require special hay, but I think I’m worth it.

And here's the next meme:

What were you doing 10 years ago?

I wasn’t even born yet!

What were you doing 1 year ago?

About what I’m doing now—eating hay, playing with the cat and wishing my humans would give me more of those delicious pellet things.

Five snacks you enjoy:

1. Raisins
2. Just Carrots (dehydrated carrot bits)
3. Tortilla Chips (when the male human drops them on the floor)
4. Apples
5. Timothy Hay Cakes

Five songs that you know all the lyrics to:

1. Here Comes Peter Cottontail
2. White Rabbit (Jefferson Airplane)
3. Rabbit Run (Eminem)
4. The Bunny Hop
5. At the Hop
Plus, I like anything by Echo and the Bunnymen.

Five things you would do if you were a millionaire:

1. Buy the Oxbow Hay Company
2. Donate to local animal shelters
3. Donate to Houston Bunny Buddies
4. Invest in an organic carrot co-op
5. Help my humans pay off their student loans so they’ll quit threatening to sell me to the circus

Five bad habits:

None! But here’s what my humans complain about:

1. I like digging in the carpet
2. I taste-test the computer cables
3. I chew books and magazines (easier than reading that small print)
4. I scatter my food (makes it look like there’s more)
5. I shed

Five things you like doing:

1. Snuggling with the cat
2. Digging in the carpet
3. Eating
4. Getting ear-rubs
5. Lounging

Five things you would never wear again:
I wear my fur coat everywhere, and nothing else!

Five favorite toys:
1. my bell
2. my cardboard box
3. my cat
4. my fleece rabbit
5. my humans’ shoes

I hope I did this right. If not, blame my human!

Saturday, July 07, 2007


What a total aberration of a week!

We were given a ridiculously narrow window for our managers and CIO to make decisions on merit adjustments for some 230+ employees for the upcoming fiscal year. I spent part of last week and all of this week running numbers and getting data for the decision-makers. On Tuesday, I was supposed to start entering data, but the people who were supposed to help only gave me the run-around and I spent half my Fourth of July holiday working on it, instead.

But there was still a lot to do, and it all hinged on the CIO’s final decisions. He didn’t get those numbers to me until Friday morning, and the deadline for entry was 5 pm! Well, it took most of the day just to get the data in (with three other people helping), and by 5 pm, we were still trying to balance the new totals. (Long dull explanation of university fund accounting available upon request.) It didn't help that the accounting system was overloaded and I couldn’t get my reports. I found myself doing manual person-by-person data checking against my spreadsheets.

Budget took pity on us and extended the deadline to noon Saturday.


So I re-arranged my weekend and met my boss at the office this morning. And yes, it took until noon. And no, some of the reports never did run, but enough did that I was able to test my work-around and find that my numbers were balancing. At noon, we got locked out of the accounting system, and my brain was mush, anyway. I came home.

Since the cranberry scone my boss had brought to the office for me contained at least 8,000 calories, some kind of workout was in order. But with the first glimpse of sun after weeks of rain, I was in no mood for an indoor workout. Even though I have a long run planned for tomorrow, I had to run today or I would die!

And so I did. At 1:00 in the afternoon, in the sun, heat and 112% humidity. I didn’t care. I have good heat tolerance, and I really needed to be outdoors!

But tonight my whole schedule feels out of synch. The mid-week holiday started the confusion, and already July 4 feels like two weeks ago. Thursday felt like a Monday or Tuesday. And Friday was confusing because I worked late (6 pm) and didn’t do the laundry. I didn’t do a morning long run today, but went to the office instead. And now I’m doing laundry, with a long run and Indian food planned for tomorrow.

Monday is going to be so confusing. That’s if I can even keep straight when Monday is supposed to be!

Oh, and as for wrapping up the merit cycle—my boss found a little “extra” money toward the end of the day Friday. Among other uses she found for it, she doubled my merit increase. Double of something small is still pretty darn small, but sometimes it’s the thought that counts!

Recent Workouts
Thursday: 45 minute spin
Friday: rest day
Saturday: 7.5 mile run

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

My Fourth

Although technically I had the day off from work, I ended up working half the day from home, doing the things I would've done at the office Tuesday if so many people hadn't been wasting my time.

But the evening was pleasant. Some friends from work met us here and brought their kids. We went for a walk along the bayou and then watched the fireworks from the top of the apartment complex parking garage. We were able to see four different shows, and it was pretty amazing, even though the downtown show wasn’t up to par due to the weather. It’s been nothing but rain lately and tonight the humidity and a lack of wind made the smoke from the fireworks linger, obscuring some of the show.

In all, it was a nice day. I wasn’t happy about having to bring so much work home, but it wasn’t hard work and I was able to do it at my own time and at my own pace. I just hope people don’t waste my time the next couple days, too, because I have a 5:00 Friday deadline to meet and I’m still waiting on information from my CIO. I’m not going to have much time to spare if anything hits a snag.

Recent Workouts
Sunday: 2 hour spin
Monday: no workout; wasn’t feeling good
Tuesday: 30 minute elliptical
Wednesday: 1 hour gym workout—treadmill and elliptical