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Thursday, March 30, 2006

The sewer saga continues...

Oh my... does it continue.

Okies, let me give you the low down on the situation. Grab a stiff drink (or two. Hell just let the bartender know you'll be needing more). It's going to be long and it ain't at all pretty.

1. Our bank (the one that holds the mortgage) won't help us because our credit fell behind because of all my medical bills last year.

2. The credit union at work won't either for the same reason.

3. USAA's credit union won't either for the same reason.

4. USAA's Home owner's insurance won't help because it is considered a 'wear item' and has not damaged the house, nor completely backed up into the house.

5. Three other banks that deal with people in our credit sitation won't help because there is not enough equity in the house.

6. The Department of Health can't help because they do not have any programs in Alamance county (where we live.)

7. The Rural Development Office won't help because it is not a septic tank.

8. The USDA won't help because we make too much money.

9. The city of Mebane won't help because they are not allowed to do work on private property (even if I am willing to sign a waiver.)

10. Out of 12 plumbers we called, only the one would allow payment arrangements and would take $2,000 off the bill if we did the digging ourselves. That brought the bill to $2250.

11. The Army Corps of Engineers only helps businesses.

12. The Clean Water Trust only helps businesses.

13. The Department of Social services won't help because we make too much money.

14. The County of Alamance won't help because it's not a septic tank.

15. The state of North Carolina won't help because they don't have a program for that sort of thing and recommended the USDA.

16. The VA won't help because they only do home loans.

17. The EPA won't help because it is not considered a disaster area.

18. FEMA felt the same way.

(You thoroughly depressed yet? No? Oh you wait... it gets even better! *nodnod*)

So where did that leave me? Digging.

So let's roll back the way-back machine to this past Tuesday evening. It's about 9pm when I hear a knock at the door. It's my neighbor. He proceeds to swear and yell at me, then threaten me if I don't get this fixed.


He proceeds to scream at me that he's been patient these past three months...



Three months? I only noticed the problem on the 19th of February. (Now keep that in mind...)

So as he proceeds to just get louder and more beligerant, Eric comes down and calmly pulls me back into the house and tells our neightbor that he can call whomever he feels he needs to call and closes the door. Eric saved me.

So of course, I'm naturally upset. I can hear my neighbor out there screaming and yelling to his girlfriend. Yes, the same one that works for the City of Mebane and the same one that gave me all sorts of hell when I asked her to send out someone to diagnose my problem. (Keep that in mind too...) I can see the flash of his camera and he continues to yell for a few minutes.

About 9:30pm I hear a knock and lo and behold, it's a police officer. Yes people, he called the frigging cops on us over our sewer line! So I let her in and begin to explain to her the situation. And that's when I lost it. I began bawling (and I mean bawling) and sobbing because all the helplessness and rejection that I had endured this last month all came crashing back all at once. And like I told the cop, I only noticed the problem on the 19th of February. If it had been going on for three months... why hadn't he said something sooner? I was home the -entire- month of January recovering from my surgery... he could have knocked on the door then. Right?

So there I am, sitting on the end of the bed, just bawling and sobbing. Once again, I was so thankful Eric was there. He explained everything to the cop and by the time she left, she was saying:

Cop: *in a -thick- southern ladies' accent* "Oh you poor thing! Oh! Bless your heart! You've been trying, you really have. Bless your heart."
Me: "Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!" *schniffle and schnort* "Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!"

So she leaves and I hear her talking to our neighbor and after a while all is quiet.

I didn't sleep but three or four hours that night. But I did send an email to the Director of Public Works (my neighbors' boss) and to the City Manager, begging for help. And I mean, begging.

Now a quick side note, when my neighbor was all huffy with me last month, I had sent an email to her boss letting him know the situation. I said:

Dear Sir,

I wanted to let you know about a situation that occured with one of your staff when I was trying to get some help with a problem at my home.

I live at XXX XXXXXXX Street in Mebane and just this past Monday, I called the Public Works office and talked to a lady named (name removed to protect the moronic). I informed her that I had what I thought was sewer water bubbling up out of the ground and running down mine and my neighbor's yard and I asked her to send someone from your office over to figure out what was wrong. She huffed at me. (Literally huffed!) And then she informed me that if it was between my house and the meter it was my problem. If it was between the meter and the sewer, then it was the city's problem. I told her I didn't care if I had to pay for it, I just wanted someone that knew what they were doing to please come out and figure out what the problem was. She huffed again. (Literally, a huff!) I had to nearly beg her to send someone out there. She huffed one more time and then put me on hold so she could talk to someone. When she came back on the line she sounded like she could care less about the whole situation and was rather rude to me.

And I can tell you, if it's the (name removed to protect the moronic) I think it is, then she's my neighbor! Yes, the one that has this water running down her yard. She's sicced the City Police on myself and my husband before about the height of our grass (on three occassions) and never once did I complain. My husband is a disabled veteran and sometimes has a very hard time doing any work around the house, let alone yard work. All she had to do is knock on our door and ask why our grass was a bit tall (well within the legal height I might add) rather than get the city police on my husband's case.

But I digress, I had to push her to send someone out. And when they came out Monday, they informed my husband that they were unsure of the problem and would have to come back. When they came back Tuesday with a lot more equipment, they realized that part of the problem was ours and part of the problem was the responsibility of the City of Mebane. Those men were extrememly nice, and very quick! I have never seen such good work. If not for the hay that is on my yard, you'd probably never notice that they were out there with a back-hoe yesterday. :)

So I wanted to let you know, that I am glad that I had to force one of your employees to do her job and send out a work crew because if I hadn't I wouldn't know that I had major issues with the sewer lines to and from my house and the city meter. It jsut made me so angry that my taxes go for her salary and she was so rude to me when I asked for a service that is supposed to be provided immediately when asked for by a homeowner.
I thank you for your time and hope you have a pleasant day. And I'm sorry that I even had to email about this sort of situation. All my other dealings with the City of Mebane and it's employees have always been courteous, professional and kind.

Mrs. Lisa P

He called me the very next day to tell me that he had talked with the City Manager and with my neighbor and even read her my email and told her that he felt she should not have treated me that way. He then apologized for her conduct. I accepted.

So back to the situation at hand, like I said, I emailed him again along with the City Manager. When I called the City office on Wednesday morning, I ended up speaking with the Assistant City Manager. She was very courteous but like before, told me that there was nothing she could do that the city can not do work on private property. I broke down again. I've just been so stressed about this! So I told her I'd sign anything it took. I pay what ever I had to, just please, please help me.

She said she'd see what she could do.

An hour and a half later, after I'd still been on and off crying because I had been calling other offices trying to get help, I got a call from a plumber. He was the first one that had given me a quote. But he wouldn't do payments. But lo and behold, now he could. See, the Assistant City Manager had called the City Manager on his day off as he was reading my email and they got together and decided to call in some favors. They told this plumber of my issues and asked him to help us out. So he will. He will be by on either Monday or Tuesday to replace our line. (I need to send that woman, the Assistant City Manager, a thank you card. Maybe even flowers too.

And we'll actually be able to afford it.


That's my story. Now go slug another drink before you keep reading. :)

So it's all pretty much taken care of. But of course, these people are still my neighbors and man, I want to stick it to them! So... as I pondered over my Falling Leaves sock yesterday at lunch, I decided to call my neighbor in her office. Yes. I really did. I informed her that she could tell her boyfriend that the repairs would be done on either Monday or Tuesday, and that I had only noticed the problem the day before I had originally called her office. I then said "Have a good day." And hung up.

I can't believe I was so calm. I really, really, really wanted to just scream at her. But I'm better than that. I've been looking at fencing. Very tall fencing. One that maybe has the 'one finger salute' in bas relief on the side...

Of course, my day at work on Wednesday, I looked something like this:

Upon seeing me like this one of the women in my office gave me this:

A Guide to Stress Management

Just in case you've had a rough day, here is an 8-Step stress management technique recommended in the latest psychological texts. The funny thing is that it really works.

1. Picture yourself near a stream.

2. Birds are softly chirping in the cool mountain air.

3. No one but you knows your secret place.

4. You are in total seclusion from the hectic place called "the world."

5. The soothing sound of a gentle waterfall fills the air with a cascade of serenity.

6. The water is crystal clear.

7. You can easily make out the face of the person you're holding underwater .

8. See! You're smiling already

In response to comments:

Stephanie said:
I was 8 months pregnant and they forced me to endure that. I was sick all week, but since I'd deferred earlier in my pregnancy, I couldn't defer again. (Thank goodness for zofran or I'd've been puking all over everyone.) I was swollen hurt all over for a week afterwards.

Oh my goodness! You are kidding me?! I thought no matter what, if you were pregnant, you could defer. What state do you live in?

Marlene said: How WIERD! I've been called for jury duty too. And I'm rather looking forward to it! What if I'm sequesterd? Oo! All expenses paid...in a cheep motel...oh well. It was a thought.

*laugh* I thought the same thing too!

Marlene also said: Seasonale? Do you have to take it every day? If so, I'm out. If I were on regular birth controll, I'd be sooo preggers right now.

Yup, once a day. See if I had to get the shot, I'd probably be pregnant. I can barely remember to get my allergy shots.

... Dammit! I have to go get my allergy shot! (I was supposed to go yesterday.) *sigh* See you all later!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

One! One sock! Ah! Ah! Ah! Ah! Ah!

I love the Count. :)

So yes, I have finished one of my sockapaloooza pal's socks. See...:

I'm pretty pleased with it. No matter how much I swore at it. And man did I swear. Released the inner sailor at least a few times. At least four! Four times! Ah! Ah! Ah! Ah! Ah!

... sorry I had to.

So can I also say I'm a happy camper because I didn't get my period today? Oh yes I am! *struts* And I'm not worried at all that I am pregnant. Oh no. I'm on Seasonale baby! This is the first month and it's so wonderful I could cry! But I'm not... cuz I'm not PMS'ing either. ;)

When I had my yearly 'fun with stirrups' appointment last month, I asked my nurse midwife about Seasonale. I was worried that I wouldn't be able to take it because of my maternal reproductive history. But she informed me that in fact, I was a perfect candidate. So they gave me a nifty little bag (which is now a sock knitting bag) and three months worth of pills.

Check it out...:

Fang was just as happy about it as I was! :)

Well off to knitting I go! *waves!*

Monday, March 27, 2006

Weekend and sock update

Weekends go by way too fast some days...

I didn't have jury duty this morning though. I called in last night as the jury summons noted so that I could confirm if they needed me for today at all, and I got the recorded message that everyone was dismissed. Doh. I was actually kind of looking forward to it. I've never been on jury duty before. I have friends that have had all sorts of odd stuff to sit and deliberate over. Dang it, I wanted my turn.

...Especially since it was gonna be prime knitting time! :P

Oh well, maybe in a few months I'll be called again.

(Yeah I know... I must be sick in the head if I want to be called for jury duty. I'd rather be nuts. Being normal is overrated anyway.)

So instead of enjoying my free, paid knitting time, I'm here at work... and getting lots done can you tell? ;) I just wish I could knit in my office when it's not lunch time. *shrug* Oh well.
So instead of sitting here in this dark and dreary office, I decided to go outside. Mainly because Eric recommended it as I was feeling a little down in the dumps in this office. I just wish I could see the sun... So here's a few pics of the trees out front:

And here's the 'petal snow' I talked about. Isn't it lovely?:

So feeling a bit refreshed, I decided to pull out my knitting real quick and do a few sneaky rounds. (Yes... sneaky... with my feet up on the desk for all to see. Totally hidden from view I am.)

... and if anyone had anything to say about it, I'd tell them it was this or take up smoking. I'm cranky enough as it is, you don't want me to smoke -and- knit. Whoo! Someone could get a size 3 needle in the noggin.

But I digress... Here's how the socks for my sock pal looked when I was at work this past Friday:

Here's a close up of the stitches:

And over the weekend, I got a lot done:

Yes it was a rough path to this point but I think I am finally happy with how this sock is coming out. I re-did the toe twice. I ripped out the first lace repeat once and then in my infinite wisdom, I turned the heel after measuring one inch too short. So of course, I had to rip that out, knit a few more lace repeats and then turn the heel.

But here we are! Yay!
Now my only hope is once this sock is done... I hope its mate will look as good. :P

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

And even more reasons why I should not be allowed out in public...

Picture if you will... it's this past Monday. It's 4:45, I'm at work and in about 15 minutes, I'll be heading home. I walked to the receptionist's area to put some letters in my colleagues mail boxes and as I did so, I happened upon a strange odor. See, this is not uncommon as I work in the School of Medicine and there are active labs right down the hall.

So of course I comment on this to my two colleagues that are sitting there.

Me: "Is it just me or can you smell that stuff that people line like hamster or rabbit cages with?"

Jeri and Bernice (My colleagues): *sniff the air* "No."

Me: *ponders for a second* "Man, I can really smell it!" *sniffs again*

This is when the student that is sitting in one of the chairs, filling out some paperwork, pops his head up and says:

Student: "Oh do you mean cedar chips?"

Me: "Yeah! Yeah that's exactly what it is!" *smiles at the fact that I know what I am smelling now*

Student: "Oh well, I was playing with my gerbil this morning."

Me: *insert stark, embarrassed stare here*
Me: *blink* "Oh. "

Me: *stammering pause*
Me: *blinkblinkblink*

Me: "I mean it smells nice..." *panicked pause* "Maybe it got on your bag?"
Me: *promptly flees back to my office.*

So after all that, I'm obviously ready to head home.

It's now 5pm and it's about a half mile walk to my car so I start on out and enter the mass of people all heading to the Craig Deck where I park. About half way there, I realize, the crack of my ass is itchy. And I mean -itchy-! I had on a new pair of panties and the tag was still stiff. They had only been through the washer the one time so of course, the tag still has some sharp edges. So picture it if you will... I'm wearing cotton dress pants, a trench coat, and this itch is not at the top of my crack. Oh no. It's way down in there. Deep. See, Victoria's Secret puts these huge tags on their panties for some reason that I still can't fathom. And my crack is so itchy now, I'm starting to shake and I'm sure, now I'm starting to walk funny. I try to do the 'shift my legs while I walk' dance, to alleviate the itching. No good. I try the 'pull the pants up' trick to alleviate the itching. Nope that only makes it worse.

So here I am, pondering if I want to run back up the hill into one of the bathrooms in the hospital just to scratch this itch, or if I want to do it right there and then in front of all those people (Curse my manners or I'd have done it!), or if I think I can make it to the privacy of the elevator in the deck. See the distance from where I was to the hospital and where I was to the deck, was pretty much the same. Oh it was a tough decision let me tell you...

I decide to sweat it out and nearly speed walked to the deck. Of course, this happens to be the time that the elevator is packed and I am the last one on. *sigh* So I'm breathing almost like I'm having contractions (it was ITCHY!) and when I get to my level, I fly to my car. Once in the privacy of my vehicle.... *scratchscratchscratch*. I'll bet you dollars to donughts everyone passing by could hear my sigh of relief. I even put my head back and closed my eyes. Yes, that scratch was that good! :)

So once I'm all happy and relaxed I think to myself, "hmm... that was only two things that made a fool of me today. It's normally three. I lucked out!" And happily headed home.

Yeah... well that's when I found out what the third thing was.

I got home, hugged Eric, said hello to the kitties and then turned around to head into the bedroom to change out of my work clothes. Just as I am at the door to the bedroom. Just as I am nearly completely comfortable. Just as I am pondering what lazy, comfy clothes I am going to put on and how this bad afternoon can not possible get worse because I'm home after all... I hear Eric say:

Eric: "Hey did you know your pants are split?"

Me: *turns around slowly with I'm sure was a look of disbelief* "No."

Eric: *points* "Well they are. Right on the ass."

Me: *I start to do that dance. You know the one... where you are spinning in circles, trying to look at a part of your ass you can't see yourself. Yet you keep trying.*
Me: *After about the fourth turn of this dance, runs to the bathroom to take a look at the damage in the mirror.*

And sure enough they were. A gaping three inch tear, right along the pocket seam, right on the center of my right cheek. I have no idea how long it was there. All I could think was... I was filing all day long. My ass just hanging out. Thank goodness I was wearing black panties (matched the pants) instead of the red ones I was going to wear. *schnort* Oh yeah... that would have stood out for sure...

So the moral of my story? Never even think about tempting Fate. Never question it. Just say you are ready for the third thing to hit you and just move on.

You'd have thought I had learned this lesson by now.

*shakes head*

In other news, I'm still working on my Falling Leaves socks. No pics today though. I haven't made much progress. I'll post some tomorrow once I get some real work done on them. I promise.

In other, other news, Ragan had this on her blog and well... I was tagged to do it so here goes!

Just for fun check the ones you have done.....

(x) snuck out of the house

(x) gotten lost in your city

(x) saw a shooting star
(x) been to any other countries besides the united states (Just Canada!)

(x) had a serious surgery (In January, I had ENT surgery)

(x) gone out in public in your pajamas (I have seen pictures of myself at a Pajama Jammy Jam at Aries Lounge in Raleigh and somewhere on the web, I'm sure I can be found. But I'll be damned if I can find any!) :P
(x) kissed a stranger

(x) hugged a stranger

(x) been in a fist fight

(x) been arrested (I was young and stupid. I pled guilty, paid my $250 fine and that's all you'll ever know! ) :P

( ) done drugs

(x) had alcohol

(x) laughed and had milk/coke come out of your nose

(x) pushed all the buttons on an elevator (I did it when I was young, and in one of the elevators in the former World Trade Center Towers in NYC.)

(x)kissed in an elevator

(x) swore at your parents but never to their faces (Hell I did it right to her face!)
(x) kicked a guy where it hurts (it was a -total- accident! After seeing the aftermath... I am now a testicle's best friend. ...Wow that just doesn't sound right...)

(x) been to a casino
( ) been skydiving
( ) broken a bone

( ) been high
(x) skinny-dipped
(x) flashed someone

(x) saw a therapist

(x) done the splits (I can't anymore.)

(x) played spin the bottle

(x) gotten stitches

( ) drank a whole gallon of milk in one hour

(x) bitten someone (just last week actually...) :P

( ) been to Niagara Falls
(x) gotten the chicken pox

( ) been to Japan (Not yet, but I really want to....)

(x) ridden in a taxi

(x) been dumped

(x) shoplifted (I was 7 years old. I got caught and took it back.)

(x) been fired (And boy howdy was I happy! I hated that job!)
( ) stole something from your job
( ) gone on a blind date

(x) lied to a friend

(x) had a crush on a teacher (7th grade. His name was Mr. Henry and everyone was in love with him.)

( ) celebrated mardi-gras in new orleans

( ) been to Europe (Not yet, but I'd really like to...)
( ) slept with a co-worker
(x) been married

( ) gotten divorced

( ) been pregnant

( ) saw someone die

( ) been to Africa

(x) Driven over 400 miles in one day (We moved cross country.)

(x) Been to Canada (Grew up 45 minutes drive from the border. Oh yeah... I've been to Canada.) :P

( ) Been to Mexico (Not yet but if all goes well, maybe sometime this year we'll go to Cozumel.)

(x) Been on a plane (Just this month too.)

(x) Seen the Rocky Horror Picture Show
( ) Thrown up in a bar
( ) Purposely set a part of myself on fire

(x) Eaten Sushi (I love sushi!)

( ) Been snowboarding

(x) Met someone in person from the internet (I've met a lot of people that way. ) :)

(x) Been 'moshing' at a 'rock' show

( ) Been to a moto cross show

( ) lost a child

(x) gone to college

( ) graduated from college

(x) taken painkillers

(x) love someone or miss someone right now (Eric is a flight attendant... he's in the air as I type this. He'll be home in five days...)

Well back to work! I'll post some more updates later on when I have my camera.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

And the verdict is...

1. I love it here. I mean, it's March... it's in the 60's and 70's. And every day when I come in to work for the next month or so, this is what I get to see:

How can you beat that? When the petals begin to fall and the wind is blowing, it's like a sweet smelling snow falling on us. I'll try to remember to bring my camera with me when that starts to happen. It's just a gorgeous site to see.

2. I hate the toe on the Falling Leaves socks. It looked like poo. So I frogged it all out. *frog, frog, frog* and started again with the normal wrapping turn toe that I learned from Wendy's Generic Toe Up pattern. I guess I'm just partial to it. :)

So here's a quick toe:

I'll start the lace pattern soon.

3. I got called for jury duty! Who'd have thunk it? I've never been called before and actually I'm a bit excited. I'm not sure if I actually want to go. On one hand, I'm missing work and there's lots to do. On the other, that's seriously prime knitting time and it's helping serve the other people in my community. It has me thinking a lot about criminal justice lately. Especially since the incident at the Pit. Yes boys and girls, I was about a half mile away when that happened. I was at work. The Pit is a common area on the campus where students, staff, tourists, and whomever really, hangs out. My friend Jason (the one who published the Shab al-Hiri Roach) works closer than I do to where this attack occurred. Part of me hopes that the judge decides to change venues and bring the trial to Alamance county where I will be serving jury duty and part of me doesn't. I don't want to be sequestered but I would like to see this man. I wonder what goes through his head. What went through his head when he decided that this was a good idea. Three people in my office had just -left- the Pit not even 15 minutes previous. I can't think of what would have happened to them if they had been there...

*shrug* I just don't know anymore.

4. We're going to have to foot the bill for our sewer repair ourselves. Doh. So I called the plumber and asked him what the cost of the repair would be if Eric and I did all the digging. He said he'd cut the price in half. I'm in! So this weekend will be a lot of digging, digging, and more digging.

Hey I did say I wanted some exercise!

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Get your Roach!

I'm honestly proud to say that I know Jason Morningstar. He's a role playing game designer and he just published his first game. It's called the Shab-al-Hiri Roach. Here's a quick description for all of you from his website Bullypulpitgames:

The Shab-al-Hiri Roach is a dark comedy of manners, lampooning academia and asking players to answer a difficult question - are you willing to swallow a soul-eating telepathic insect bent on destroying human civilization?


Even if it will get you tenure?

Ye Gods I love this game! Eric and I are already signed up to run it at Origins and at GenCon Indy.

So I've added a link on my Links page but you can also link to it from here:

So if you are a gamer, or are interested in RPG's that are not your typical hack and slash, then click on over and buy yourself a copy. Me? Oh mine is waiting for me to go pick it up! :D And for the record, yes I love this game so much so that's why I'm helping him pimp it.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled knitting blog.

Friday, March 10, 2006

A sock update before bedtime...

Well it's late and I'm tired but my super long socks are done!

Check it out!

And here we are with the prerequisite 'comfy pose':

I'm so happy! No the pattern doesn't match but I think they're great anyway. And I have nearly a whole skein of the yarn left. I guess I'll have to make myself some ankle socks out of it too. :)

I guess I should start my Sockapaloooza pal's socks too! I'll start them tomorrow. :)

Well, bedtime! G'night all!

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Thems is some groovy socks, yo.

I love these socks! They -are- groovy!

I promised pics of the first long sock and here they are:


And like I said in my previous post, I cast on the second toe too. I turned the heel last night and here's the progress so far:

The pattern isn't matching up but it's really not that far off either. *shrug* I don't care. I think they are going to be great when they are done. :D

Not much else going on here. I think it's time for a cookie, some ginger ale and my knitting. ;)