Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Labor Day!

Yesterday marks the first holiday from school since we started a few weeks ago.

My bus route is fairly short, but also simple, once you know what color mailboxes you need to be stopping at. I end up doing a short little circle, then sitting at the middle school for an hour before doing a very similar circle for the elementary. To pass the time, I've brought my knitting bag. My first sock is somewhat ugly filled with mistakes, but finally complete! I've started on the matching second sock.

I need to learn how to bind off. Despite being what i thought was careful to do it loosely, the edge it still tight and restrictive. It takes some wiggling to put the sock on over my heel :(

This new route is out of the other terminal, which means I'm no longer riding Zoomie to work everyday. I miss my bike, but at the same time- yay I get to drive Sagra! The little New Beetle is practically perfect, and it makes me happy to drive around. The air conditioner is broken, but it doesn't bother me because I zoom along everywhere with the windows and sunroof wide open. The leather seats bother me because I stick to them. If I'm not careful, it can be quite painful to sit on them if the sun has been baking that black leather too. I've learned to park facing West in the morning, and East in the afternoon to avoid that particular complication.


...and moon! 
They were out together one morning.

I believe the next class starts on the 9th? I could be wrong.
This sign showed up one day on the gates around the terminal.

I just HAD to stop and take pictures. 
I'd been passing these flowers for days thinking what a great picture background they'd make.

Because I now take the car to the far bus terminal, this means I usually end up having to take Jamie to work and pick him up at night. So far we've only had one issue where he needed to be in to work at 7am and stay until 5pm. We left the house at 5:30 and he dropped me off instead, then came to get me when his shift ended. Other than that, I usually drop him off at noon. I don't need to leave until about 2pm, and so I've started taking Grunt on rides. After 4 days in a row with Jamie working 12-9, he had a day off. You can NOT tell me that dogs have no sense of time. It starts getting close to noon, and every time one of us moves to get a drink, or even just to adjust our position in the computer chair, Grunt got excited. It actually took me a minute to figure out why, and then I laughed at him and felt bad at the same time.

Waiting for Jamie, peoplewatching.

I has a smell.

Since Grunt and I love doing stuff together and I miss bike rides, guess what else we've been doing?

There is a little lake right here with a 4 mile trail circling it. About half is on a gravel trail, the other half is sidewalk. Grunt can run around the whole thing, and will protest loudly if I try to make him ride in the trailer. Ask me how I know :)

I attached a light to his harness. With it being so hot, I don't want him to burn his feet so we can't go out right when I get home at 5ish. The evening is also a little bit cooler overall, but it gets dark fast. So- lights.

And THEN comes this weekend. My little sister had her second child Friday morning, so we enjoyed our Monday off and went to see everybody.

Everybody, meet little baby Eli, my nephew.

He coos like a little dove while he sleeps. Even baby snores are adorable?

His lack of a chin is cute. 
I see he gets his nose from his mom for sure.
TINY little finger nails!

After the hospital visit, we picked up some things and regrouped for dinner at my dad's house. We had taco salad.

I got to ride in the back!

Jessie and I exchanged gifts-for-no-reason. She got me a little froggy ear cuff that I have to figure out how to wear, and THIS!

It's actually kind of funny. She said we could put it out like this to let people know that there is a short little car parked in the space, that it's not empty. My roommate tried to park in Sagra's spot just a day before this! He made derogatory bubble and escape pod comments, then did the same thing with a spot that had a motorcycle in it. 

We lingered in Colorado Springs far too long, and today I was rather slow. Thankfully, tomorrow is a perfectly-timed Late Start day, so maybe I can sleep in. AND after work we have a promising lead on a rental house, which we're supposed to go look at. Cross your fingers for us!

With a holiday on Monday, this week seems like its going to be pretty great.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Welcome Back To School

Last Friday, we had the welcome back gathering for our school district. I blame laziness to go and grab the phone cord for not posting about it earlier. Today happens to be the first day of school, so I shall combine events. They are related, anyhow.

Just like last year, I caught a bus ride to the school where the welcome back was being held. It was definitely interesting to bike to the terminal from this direction instead of from our old apartment. I don't know how google knows about it, but there an itty-bitty barbed-wire lined pass-through from a cul-de-sac to the train tracks, which you cross to get the the ponds and the Greeenway proper. On the way home afterwards I also discovered the hill which caused Jamie to curse very much through text messages to me the day he went to do drug testing. It IS quite difficult, because it is so long and pretty steep as well. I felt the lack of summertime pedaling, for sure.

But, it was entirely worth going to the event. Just like last year, I came home with a goodie bag full of stuff. It's like trick-or-treating, but with office knickknacks.

There are small handy bags, key clips with important phone numbers on patches sewn right on them for quick reference, sticky notes, pens galore, dry erase markers that are fantastic, hand sanitizer and wipes, and eyeglass kit and little bandaid containers, another little sticky dart man like last year's, another jar opener that is doomed to a life of serving as my drink coaster, tons of highlighters, and some clips. No magnets this year.

I'd like to submit my suggestion to the universe- please don't shove the most popular booth at the very end of a tight U-turn in the hallway! I'm not entirely sure who thought that would be a good idea, rather than just lining the hallway, but it created an intense hot human traffic jam. I always go counter-clockwise- as if I'm driving. You pass people on their right. But most other people were going left... and then of course they would stop dead in their tracks and gather up all the goodies from the booth. Then, they are stuck there by all the other people wanting to get to the booth, and they have to figure out a way to es-cah-pay!
Anyway- BAD IDEA.

The bandaids and hand sanitizer are already in little pouches behind my driver seat, and one of the black satchels is now hooked onto the swivel seat arm- it fits there perfectly and will collect lost and found items for me- such as the small tupperware I discovered today.

And now speaking of my bus!
It's an International, flat-nosed (transit type?), with the engine tucked up in it's face. I crawl over the engine cover hump to get into my seat, but its actually a wide low hump. It does not make me into a contortionist just to achieve a seated position.
If it follows me home can I keep it?

Brown seats. 
Aren't they so warm and inviting compared to the dull depressing navy blue ones?
And I love the floor too, though it needs a good scrubbing to remove oldness dirt from nooks and crannies.

The dash cluster. I had to give it a good smack this afternoon- the speedometer thought it would be funny to snooze on the job. 

This bus was NOT happy to get up so early in the morning. Took quite a bit of cranking and starting and sputter-dying before it would start and stay running. It seriously looked as though I'd have to get another bus, not for that issue. I didn't think I could reach the pedals! The seat does not seem to move forward very far at all, and I was very much concerned. But, after desperately wrenching on the lever and rocking violently, only to be rewarded with the barest smidge of dashward movement, I settled into the seat to check, and was surprised. My feet did touch the pedals. I experimented with the gas pedal. That might be doable, if I don't have to mash it down to attain highway speeds. I punched in the parking brake and set the bus to reverse. Hmm, I could stop the bus ok, it seemed (oh and good, the beeper works). So off I went, with no issues. The pedals have a nice ledge on them to keep my foot from slipping, maybe, which I like.

This morning as I walked out to do my pre-trip.

I managed to win one of 8 available routes up for bid between the welcome back and today, which meant I was doing brand new stuff, and in an area I was only vaguely familiar with. That is to say- I knew one road going north-south, which the terminal was on, and the two east-west roads that you needed to take to get to it from town. 

I did my first school, a middle school, perfectly. I didn't miss a stop, I was on time to all of them, and no wrong turns. Then, there is an hour layover (OOH! built in paid time to scrub at the oldness dirt!) before I start picking up for my next school. Today I threw out all the broken pens, old meaningless papers, and accumulated dust in the bottom of the pouches in a slipcover behind the driver seat. I am now the proud owner of a packet of metallic star stickers, an envelope of bandaids, and a diabetic kit including a VERY rumpled diagram explaining symptoms, gloves, and a tube of cake gel. I need to verify whether or not it is still safe to keep, and turn in the slip with the student's name on it. The kit was from the 2009-2010 school year.

Oh, I was greeted at my first school with a doughnut, too. I thought that was awesome, and I chose one with chocolate frosting over a plain glazed one.

During my leisurely cleaning and organizing bout after I ate my doughnut, I managed to waste the whole hour. My next route looked simple enough, but I knew better. One road had a list of addresses down it, and I know from experience that those are generally royal pains in the behind to locate accurately the first time you're trying. Well, that part was hard, but what really got me were the road names. The county I was driving in is still growing. It used to be nothing but farmland, and then they had a numbered grid system, and then people started living there and didn't like nice easy numbers. So now you get roads like Birch/Silver Birch/County Road 11, and yet the directions say 11, and you drive past the Birch sign. Then you hit 13 and go "wait a SECOND!", and have to turn around and figure out what went wrong. 

By this time (after you already missed one turn and are behind schedule) kids are out waiting for their bus (which you suspect is you) and you have to pass them, because you aren't supposed to pick them up yet. The parents pretty much confirm your suspicions by honking angrily when it's obvious that you are not intending to stop, and also yelling as you pass, while you can only hold up a hand in a gesture that you hope conveys both apology and a signal to wait patiently.

By the time I did get back to that road lined with angry parents, it was desolate. They'd driven their kids to school. I was fully expecting to get yelled at. But, in the grand scheme of things- kids got to school safely, if a bit late, and there were no collisions. It's a successful morning, though not in a great way.

This afternoon, I learned that the kids I have are most likely completely awesome (afternoons are always a better indicator than mornings). We started using the Zonar passes with mostly success. I'm sure for the first few days it will think that I'm abducting children- scanning on goes fine, but I'm almost positive a few students exited without scanning off before I remembered to run a litany of "remember to swipe your card as you step down" interspersed with happier goodbyes and such. Only one boy neglected to recognize his stop, and so a quick round-the-block got him to his driveway again only a couple minutes later than the rest.

I've hooked a really nifty rubbery tie thingy around the side visor so that the intercom is within reach. I've learned that I REALLY need to turn those fans around to aim them at me and not the windshield, because the cockpit of that bus is stifling. I'm really surprised, too, because it looks similar in design to most other buses I've driven, but somehow the air flow ignores the driver seat. So, I'll make my own airflow, with buzzing along with.

When I got back to the terminal, I got a mechanic to put new batteries in a dying flashlight, and I grabbed one of the few giant zucchini squash things that one of our drivers brought in. All the cucumbers disappeared. I jammed to a homemade CD entitled "Beetle Tunes" all the way home in rush hour traffic. 

The first day of school is over, and I didn't ride my bike. That feels a little bit wrong (though driving my Beetle feels very right). Grunt and I shall go for a trip around the lake, I think.

Happy Friday Eve!!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Moving sucks.

It's been a while!

Let's see, oh wow it's been an entire month. Since the last post my cold sore has healed up, and we've moved! We had to be out of our old apartment by the end of the day on July 8th, which was a Monday, and that meant Jamie and I were loading almost everything up by ourselves.

Oh god, I was sore. Not only was I an idiot by packing up my good (read cushy!) white sneakers, but all the standing, bending over, and carrying heavy things meant my sciatic nerve was acting up big time. It was difficult to comfortably stand, much less sit or relax during break time.

P90X is easy compared to moving!!

The stairs meant that my legs were getting a LOT of sudden heavy-duty exercise. Up, down, up, down, and all with way more than my normal body weight. After the first day I was sore. The second day, I had to get help to stand up from bed in the morning- my calves were so tight that it hurt to put weight on my feet with them flat on the floor. Luckily, they loosen up pretty quickly- it's kind of an important function to be able to walk!

I also found out the second day that it takes a lot of muscle to simply hold things without dropping them- my forearms filed their complaints too. And my right hip went completely on strike- I guess I was using it to brace things, and that very quickly had to stop- it hurt like a bad bruise but never turned colors. I got regular bruises in odd places- the biggest being two matching ones at slightly different heights on the front of my thighs. I told Jamie it looks like I was in a domestic dispute- which I was, but with my furniture!

My feet hurt most of all, though (next to that stupid nerve, which I can't do anything about). I was wearing my canvas flats without socks. The socks would have made things worse- that toe seam is always in the wrong place. As it was, achy feet wasn't so bad- when you take weight off them they stop complaining, but while you're standing all you want to do is make it stop. When we got to the new apartment I actually went barefoot- which was a big improvement, oddly. Maybe because my toes could spread out more?

The few steps leading upstairs to our landing are a rough pebbly texture, which can be shocking, but going barefoot is my new favorite thing to do. The carpet here is soft and wonderful, the sidewalks and pavement don't seem to heat up too much because there are lots of trees, and they also have the best thin-bladed soft grass ever. I walk barefoot as much as possible right now, because it feels awesome.

I had intentions of taking pictures of things during the moving process, and I completely and utterly failed, due to above mentioned physical issues. It doesn't sound like much, but I was SO happy to have Jon home to help with unloading, so not only did I have to make less trips, but I could carry mostly lighter things, and the boys could team up for heavy stuff to make it easier for them, too.

Here is what I did manage to get.

Grunt was ok with packing, and even with the first half of carrying things out. After that he started freaking. He was extremely happy every time we came back upstairs, greeting us with frog toy in mouth, and he REALLY wanted to follow us out the door. He listened extremely well, though, and never once tried to bolt out after us.

Once at the new apartment, he was completely happy. Probably because he could plainly see that stuff was coming in this time, not going out. He was so good at staying in the house even with the door wide open, that we allowed him onto the hallway landing. It's kind of like our very own private front porch area- ours is the only door there. So he liked being able to step out and see us clearly.

I'm probably standing right outside our door. The stairs are behind me against the left wall.

Tiny little porch that Grunt loves. An air conditioner unit takes up a lot of space.

So, we unloaded the truck first, then the boys went back to get the disabled Caprice and the Camaro. Along the way, the key must not have been turned all the way in the Caprice, so the steering locked as it was being towed. I hopped in Sagra, picked up Jamie where he had stopped at the airport, and took him to the moving truck. He fixed the Caprice, and we went back to the Camaro. It's been sitting undriven for a long time and had a dead battery. 

A quick search using his phone, and Jamie found out how to access Sagra's battery from newbeetle.org, the forums that I'm a member of! I was very happy he could find what he needed so quickly- Beetle owners seem to be some of the nicest people out there- like Schwinn people.

Does this mean we're best friends for life?

The next day, it was time to get Zoomie. It might have been neat to just ride from one place to the other, but there was just no way that was physically possible at that point. So, Grunt and I took Jamie to work, and then we spent time leisurely loading up some bikes and taking them home. No rush, no fuss.

Yay, I get to go!

That folding seat sure is super handy. Behold the bike trailer.

I do NOT recommend hooking the straps up this way. Those top strap brackets were not originally wedged in the corner like that- they sort of migrated there. Also, there is a LOT of weight squashing the foam on the lower brace- I think I'll add more squishies for next time. Overall, though, this rack works fine on Sagra- the bikes weren't too low, no tires were near exhaust. Bumps were interesting (I took them VERY slowly), but again, different strap placement would prevent bouncing.

Now that we're actually moved in, I've got a project to do, which has taken up almost all of my time- I'm consolidating card collections and putting them in proper order. Jamie and Jon both play Magic: The Gathering. Jamie has decided to give all of his cards (some of which used to be my cards :D) to Jon, since Jon is the person he plays with anyway.

Did I mention that Jon's collection is MASSIVE?? He has also ended up with his dad's and brother's collection, and most of those haven't really been touched in a long while. There are bins full of binders full of cards, and then more cards in boxes after all that.

There is no dining room table. There is only Magic.

Those above are in the process of being sorted by edition, or set. Each stack is a different edition symbol. Some editions have so many extra cards that there are several extra stacks carefully rubber-banded (to prevent, /gasp, toppling) and sitting off to one side in a chair.

As of right this second, I have finally finished going through all the random boxes, nooks, and crannies, and each edition if now fully separated. Now, I get to further sort each edition. They get sorted into colors (colorless, then white blue black red and green) then multicolor with dual mana cost first and either/or mana cost second, then artifacts, then non-basic lands, then basic lands( plains islands swamps mountains forests), and finally any tokens or odd cards, and special printings like pre-release versions of cards. This part is slower going, but very methodical. I've cheated and written out the alphabet on a large newsprint paper from a sketch pad Jamie brought home from work. After millions of repetitions, it gets tedious for a brain to remember the proper order of letters! LMNO,  HIJK  RSTUV... Much easier this way.

Without work, it's suddenly very hard for me to consistently recall the day of the week. I've been meaning to go back to bike night, as well as finish earning a tandem bicycle by volunteering at the bike valet for the farmer's market, but so far I have failed. I need to set an alarm. I definitely need to get out of the house, though. Especially now that I'm doing nothing but sorting cards (which I AM getting paid for, but still)- I'm starting to go stir-crazy! Next week, it's happening. I mean it. There's bike night, plus the Dairy Queen "tour" has been rescheduled for Thursday, and then Saturday morning- bike valet. Must set an alarm...

And lastly, so that you're all up to date as of right this minute-

there is a giant moth outside our door!

It's been here since 1pm... hasn't moved as far as I can tell.

It's so fluffy I'm gonna die! 
(quote from Despicable Me)

A not-so-quick google search seems to think this is a female Modest Sphinx, or Poplar Sphinx. Boy moths have butts that curve at the end, instead of smooth like a candle-shaped light bulb. It's so fuzzy, I really want to pet it, but I have not. Oh well.

There you go! That's all- one whole month, and not a whole lot has been happening.
Until next time!