Saturday, August 30, 2008

Baths, Cats, and Knees

I was running water for a bath this morning, and the tub has a quarter inch of water in it, when my cat Scot jumps into it! It takes him about 15 seconds to realize that he's just gotten his feet VERY wet before he jumps out, runs to the door of the bathroom, and begins licking the water off.

The problem with taking a bath over a shower before I go to work in the morning is that they're pretty relaxing... I find myself wanting to go back to sleep in the tub! (Maybe I should take a bath at 3AM.)

And if anyone wants to know how my knee is doing: pretty well. Yesterday, it was able to support my weight pretty well, and I've missed no time at work. Today, I think I might be able to take a little run on it.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Yesterday, I went to Wal-Mart to buy groceries and socks. (Okay, I know Wal-Mart is evil, and want to shut down the awesome small businesses, but heck, it's the only place to get socks, milk, bread, cheese, crackers, peanut butter, jelly, and beef pot pies in one stop that's also close to where I work.) While looking for socks, black color required by my job, the only type I could find are called "No Show" socks... Seriously, I have big feet, and I grabbed a package and later bought it.

Early this morning, I put them on and find out they hardly make it over my heel. When I go to work, some of my coworkers ask "Where are your socks? Why aren't you wearing socks? Isn't that a critical violation? So, TWICE, I have to remove my right shoe and show them that I am wearing socks, you just can't see it!

Tonight at cell group, we were missing most of the group. Everyone was doing something else, out of town, or couldn't make it. It was just the group leader (and his wife and son were out of town), myself, and two other people.

They decide to do something fun since it's just us, and we decide to take a spin on some scooters. The issue? It was my first time. Fortunately, the group leader sells scooters and happened to have a few in his garage. He showed me how to use the kickstands and start it...

I really... really... REALLY... am not good at having my hands doing so many things at once, and once, the scooter even fell over. (No damage to me or the scooter, I stood up and gently set it down before getting it back on.)

But early on, I was trying to walk it, when I hit the gas, burst of speed, and my left knee joint now hurts pretty badly, so I'm walking with a slight limp now... But I think I got the idea of how to ride a scooter.

Oh, geez... I limp, I get tired quickly, I listen to gentle music, I hardly watch TV, and can complain about technology.

I'm only 22! I'm too young to turn into a crotchety old man!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Audrey and Shaun

Last weekend, Audrey and her fiance Shaun came down to move a U-Haul load of their belongings to the empty bedroom of my apartment. Getting to see some of Shaun's stuff would be enough to ensure anyone that he's not some weird psycho who'd cut out your kidney and sell it on eBay.

Shaun, in my opinion, would be a welcome addition to the family, but not everyone agrees. Mom pretty much hates him. Whenever he is brought up in conversation, she does not say one positive word about him. Maybe it's because he's marrying her little girl, maybe it's because he has the guts to actually ask her why she doesn't like him (though she tried to side-step actually answering that), maybe it's... I don't know. I just decided "I'm washing my hands of mom's crap." I don't want to be involved with it anymore.

I don't know what dad thinks, he stays pretty quiet about this matter. My oldest brother Aaron and his wife Jessica both like Shaun, but my brother Drew is even worse at telling us his thoughts than dad...

While we were moving stuff, Shaun, Aaron, Jessica, Audrey and I all got in a few laughs and jokes and got to know each other a little better. After that, Shaun and Audrey went with Aaron and Jessica to get some Chinese. (I did not accompany, as I annoyingly have to get up early in the morning, and I really don't like Chinese, especially as it upsets my stomach.)

The next night, Audrey and Shaun and I hung out for a couple hours, first coming over to the apartment for awhile, then we went over to the new Super Wal-Mart Supercenter. We walked around and looked around for about an hour and a half, looking through wedding supplies, electronics, books, magazines, and the baby section, because Audrey and Shaun decided they definitely want kids.

We also went to Andy's Frozen Custard, where we all got concretes. (I bought my own. I didn't expect them to pay for me, and they didn't offer, and I like being independent... Just need some transportation...) Shaun and I both thought it hilarious when he and I began to discuss Marvel Comics-based movies and Audrey protested that she was being "geeked out!"

I'm looking forward to them moving back to Springfield. They're a fun couple...

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Inflation Hits Home... Literally

Today, the apartment manager slid an envelope under my door. It was a packet of forms to sign to renew my lease on the apartment, as it's about two months until my lease expires.

Upon looking, I noticed something: my rent is going up to $390 a month. It was $375.

Here in Missouri, inflation rates are pretty slow, like I told a friend in Scotland in a recent Instant Message session. (He told me his apartment, converted to USD, would probably cost $900, and he also pays electric.) Back in 2005, minimum wage was $5.25 an hour, now it's $6.65 and expected to rise soon. They tell us this is because the "estimated cost of living" has increased, though I didn't notice an increase until after the raise in wage.

I really need to find a better-paying job now, or get a room-mate. And seeing as I currently have no room for a room-mate...

Oh, and I also got my electric bill today. The evil people who run the utility company caused me a bit of grief when they didn't make their online payment service completely secure, and I paid my electric bill with my debit card, and sure enough, my information got stolen. The fraudulent charges only came up to about $70 before I canceled my card, but it caused my bank account to overdraft (with fines) to about $260, money I don't have lying around. I was able to contact one place that had been charged to my account (a $20 charge) and got them to refund my account, but the other I couldn't contact and have to wait about three months before the dispute is over. In the meantime, I paid the bank $100 that I should get back when the dispute is finished. With provisional credit and refunds for the other charge, that equals to about another $100, so my account is still negative by about $60.

And we read in the newspaper last week that they want to increase our utility bill. I usually keep my lights off, but leave my computer on, and have the microwave, a clock, and the phone plugged in. (Oh, and my apartment has air conditioning.) My bill this month was $89.10, more than it was last month. Note that CU (City Utilities) pays hefty pensions to retirees... And they run the City Bus, which is also increasing it's fare from $1 to the odd $1.10, which is expected to increase again next year. (Last year, bus fare was $.75.)

They're already over-charging as it is, they don't need to increase the utility bills!

ARGH! And ARGH! again!

Monday, August 18, 2008

A Song For My Cat?

Okay, here's the lyrics for a short song I made up this morning when I found that my cat, Scot, had knocked over a large pile of books I had on the easy chair in my bedroom. (My bookshelf is too small!) It's short, it's stupid, it might even be funny.

Jumpin' on the chair
Swingin' through the trees
Causin' terror in the streets
Here comes Scot, goin' where he'll please,
Flyin' through the air with the greatest of ease.

This is what you can expect when I blog before I go to work...

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Speaking Out

Yesterday, I had an overnight visit with my mother, my younger brothers, my youngest sister, and their cat. (Yeah... And my cat's been pretty mellow today. Usually he's running around, clawing me alive and trying to eat my flesh, but today, he's been pretty tame...)

Usual run of the mill, they expect me to feed them (even though I have hardly enough for myself and am having a few financial troubles), take much more than they give, mom complains about any DVDs that get played, she complains about everything, tells me boring stuff about their life in Nebo, blah, blah, blah.

As it was a Wednesday night, they asked "There's Youth Group tonight, right?"

I looked back at them blankly, half amused that THAT little fact hasn't gotten to them yet. (With the exception of Arthur, who I told in June, asking him to keep it secret... Good going, Arthur!) Finally, mom came out and asked me why I didn't answer the question.

"You know, it's funny that people in Scotland and Australia know I haven't been with the Youth Group since March, and you don't," I told her.

(Yes, if you don't know, or are not one of them, I do have international friends...)

"Well, that's why there's a thing called communication!" she retorted.

I almost laughed. She hardly communicates with us, often I would get announcements that they were visiting the same day that they were coming. In fact, earlier that day, they had gone to CiCi's Pizza, Dad had even left my apartment to catch the bus there, and for some reason, no one said, "Hey, want to come?" (I even could have paid for myself, though, upon reflection, I wasn't really hungry.)

So, later she says to me, "I think I need to leave your Dad." She explains he "goes through the motions" instead of really loving her.

So... wait... he gave up a good job that let him provide for his family when you asked him to, he works hard at a night job and sends almost all of his check to you, always provided for his family, and you say he just goes through the motions. (Which by the way, was a terribly misunderstood reference to the brilliant Matthew West song "The Motions.") I think someone is just having some super-human expectations of their husband...

Later, she pulls a pack of index cards cut in half and asks if I want to play "Baby Trivia," which turns out to be trivia questions about her kids, herself, Dad, and my niece Amber. And many of these questions referred to events we'd rather forget. ("Which kid poured hot oatmeal down their pants?" Why don't you just slit my skin with a razor blade and rub in some salt while you're asking these?)

This morning, she asked me if I had a "Love Interest." (A reference to The Movie Hero, a brilliant independent film, that I'd let them watch the previous night.) She asked if I maybe had a secret girlfriend, or if I was admiring someone, and if that someone's name began with an "L," she had a pin I could wear over my heart. (Mom, I still care about Lindsay, but I haven't seen her in a very long time, and heard from her in less than that time.)

Right now, I have opted not to actively pursue a romantic relationship should anything happen where I might have to provide for another, or possibly two, people...

Besides, if I was dating or seeing someone, she wouldn't approve of them, so why bother telling her? She doesn't approve of Shaun, Audrey's fiance, or Jessica, Aaron's wife.

Oh, and this morning, while I just had a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast (as I usually do), they made French Toast with my bread, eggs, milk, and even my Imitation Vanilla. (Why do I even have that? Well, I guess Audrey bought it, but still, I've never used it.) And was I offered any or asked if they could use them? Nope.

I do appreciate that they cleared up the coffee and kitchen table and washed dishes, but seriously, is common courtesy now lost among immediate family? (Such as flushing the toilet or turning off ALL of the lights when you leave...)

But, I was glad I could finally tell her some things flat out, the Youth Group leaving, and also that they should consider moving back to Springfield. (Seriously, does she expect her marriage to work if she just moves to Tulsa to "start a homeless ministry" while she still has a Type-1 Diabetic child to care for?)

I would seriously not mind moving out of the country and just forgetting to tell them, just to tee them off... That'd be a blast!