.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Hybrid Thoughts


This blog is officially closed!

It's been exactly a year since I posted. I'm overwhelmed with updating another blog, which is more important to me. That blog details my new life as an adoptive parent of three little adorable children.

I will no longer be posting on this blog. I'm keeping it only for my own self. One day I may delete it.

Thank you for checking in.


Wassup - Eight Years Later...


Rest in peace

I'm totally shocked at learning that Michael Crichton died yesterday from a battle with cancer. I'm deeply saddened by it because I absolutely LOVE his books, and I make it a point to check if there are any new books every time I visit the bookstore. Now, I'll feel an empty space as I go through my routine check for his shelf and realise there will be no more new books from him.

He's one of my favourite authors. One of a handful.

Rest in peace, Mr. Crichton. Thank you for writing the most wonderfully imaginative books I've ever read. I will really miss reading more from you.


My First Elections

This is a real catchy tune and cute kids, too!


It's a boy, it's a girl, it's a boy

As you all gathered, I've been terribly busy lately.

This will very likely be my last post before I disavow any connection to this blog in fear of my children finding out.

Yesterday my husband and I said "yes" to the adoption of three adorable siblings.

It's a boy (6)
It's a girl (4.5)
It's a boy (3 - TODAY!)

I've been busy updating my private blog on the adoption process for the past nine months. If you've been reading this blog for a while, you're more than welcome to drop me an email if you'd like to follow up on my private blog. It's only by invite due to privacy laws.

It's been a fun journey with this blog. It kept me busy during many hours of boredom.

I will now be spending my hours of boredom catching up on sleep.

Thank you all for visiting!


Spam email

Every so often I get spam in my inbox that doesn't go directly into my spam folder. I got one this week that intrigued me, so I decided to respond back.

Here's the original email:

From: franklin brown <ruptures@wanadoo.fr>
Date: Thu, Sep 25, 2008 at 1:44 PM
To: undisclosed-recipients

I am Franklin Brown son of Mr Kassim M.Brown Diamond exporter in freetown, Sierra leone.althought my father died recently and he has contacts in the miners clubs in the Uk of whom i can not contact because i lost the sheet of paper on which his name and contact details were written and i have always wanted to be a Rotarian.

Am currently in Dubai in the United Arab emirate because my uncle triedto take my life because of two boxes filled with diamonds that my late father left behind.So i shipped the boxes down to Dubai because its theonly place i could go without visa problems and the boxes are here in the airport waiting to be cleared of which i don't have the means to clear them.I want you to help me in this regard so we can clear and sell the diamonds anduse the money to help people in need all over the world.I am hoping to hear from you in this regard.


Well, I felt really bad for the guy, so I responded back:

Dude, I am SO sorry, but I won't be able to help a brother out. I've got my own two boxes with diamonds from the guy from Nigeria who promised me a nice inheritance. I'm still waiting for him to come pick up his shit.

I eagerly await his response.

Hey, has anyone seen Burn After Reading? Since I live here in DC and work with the government I found this movie absolutely hilarious. I highly recommend it to all my readers!


Premature Hot Flashes

Four more months before I turn 40 and my body has decided it's time to make history again. Back in 1979 I made history by being the youngest child diagnosed with Crohn's disease in South Africa. And now I'm about to be a typical case of premature menopause caused by an autoimmune disease.

At least that's what I suspect these hot flashes are all about.

My conversation with my husband last night:
Mybrid: "I called for a doctor's appointment. I've been having some serious hot flashes past few days and I think it's menopause. It just came out of no-where. No alerts, no notices."
Ybrid [knocking on the wall]: "Hello, I'm menopause, I'm here to see you."
Mybrid: "Idiot!"
Ybrid: "Now I TOLD you not to answer the door when someone knocks and only answer when they ring the bell!"

My conversation with my husband this morning before going shopping:
Mybrid: "What's the weather like outside?"
Ybrid: "Ummmm...is this a trick question?"
Mybrid: "Oh yeah. Never mind. Doesn't matter anyway. Forget it!"

I know some women are ashamed of talking about this in public or even mentioning hot flashes, as if there's a stigma that once you get them you're way old and are closer to death than to being alive. But hey, I don't care. I already have Osteoporosis, so why not Menopause.

Here's to some exciting posts about the thrill of going through hot flashes in my late 30's.

Now would someone open a window or something?!


Time Off

I'm sure you've all noticed I hardly update my blog. My personal life is taking a huge toll on my time and I can no longer find time to sit across a computer, let alone post on a blog.

I do miss reading everyone's blogs and commenting, but I just have no time.

I'm not closing this blog entirely, but I will no longer feel obliged to post every so often. I'll just post when I feel like it.

Thank you everyone for coming by and reading my boring posts so far.


A Scientist and a Rapper

If this were my daughter, I'd be SO PROUD!!!

Heck, I think all lessons should be taught like this.


America's Got Talent

I don't know why I stayed up to watch this show, maybe just curiosity after watching the ads during the Olympics, but I was delighted to find the DC Cowboys get this far on a national show.

I saw them perform in DC during the Gay Parade in June 2006. Loved them! Or maybe I should say, loved watching their bodies...

There's nothing sexier than a good looking guy dancing half naked!


With a Little Help...


Israeli singers

Believe it or not, but they don't sing only in Hebrew.




Today is "Dec. 14, 2007"

Nine months after starting my new job and being told that the project I was put in charge of is due for completion on Dec. 14th, 2007 - the project is complete!

Well, okay, not entirely. Just Phase II. But this is the phase that everyone has been asking about for an entire YEAR!!! It's the part where a population of several hundreds has asked - "When do we get to eat proper food and not a bag of chips?"!

After a week of waking up at 4:30am, including this past Saturday and Sunday - the dining facility opened up this morning.

Only problem was that we honestly did NOT plan to open a huge building with only one air conditioner on the hottest day of the year at 98 degrees. We planned on opening it on June 9th. Who knew?! Needless to say that my success was slightly trodden over by the excessive heat in the building and the constant barrage of complaints.

But, on the plus side - it's DONE! I finished the most critical phase of the project, and I pushed the contractor to get it done to MY level of perfection (poor soul!).

Admittedly, none of it was without a tremendous amount of frustration and phone calls to higher ups along the management chain, but I'm just happy it's over with. For now.

If I could write here all my frustrations from this past week, it'd fill an entire blog. It would also get my blood pressure back up on a really hot day in a very hot computer room. So instead I'll focus on the good things.

You know how they always show sexy construction workers on TV? The muscled toned guys, with the one million dollar smile? Yeah, well, that's in Hollywood. Out here, in the DC metropolitan area, you get the short and wide Latino guys who are shorter than me. I swear I have nothing against Latinos other than the fact that the ones on my jobsite are short and nothing to look at. But anyway, I digress. Last week, in an effort to get my project done to my satisfaction, the contractor company sent a new guy in. A drop dead gorgeous guy! I've been finding excuses to drop by the jobsite and take a Fanta break.

I wouldn't have mentioned this guy if it was just his looks, but he turned out to be the absolutely best construction worker I've ever come across as far as quality of work, communications, professionalism, you name it! The guy is absolutely outstanding. He moved in to the area two months ago from Detroit because of lack of work and got shafted by joining this dud of a construction company and was made superintendent overnight, probably because they noticed right away that this millwork guy also has brains.

At least my last few days on this project have been a little more enjoyable in having to deal with not only a competent construction worker, but with someone who is easy on the eyes.

I actually reached a point where I was going to text my husband and ask for his permission to flirt with the guy. But then thought better of it, because I knew my husband was busy playing Indiana Jones Lego on PlayStation and would very likely complain about me asking a stupid question since I should already know his answer.

So I flirted. Or..hmmm...I suppose it's MY version of flirting. I bought him three bottles of water today because I felt bad for him working out in this horrendously unforgiving sun in 98 degrees as he fixed a gazebo.

In my next phase of flirting, I gave him my business card and told him to call me. I had a good and innocent reason for it. I swear.

Then I saved him the call, by simply introducing him to my boss and asking my boss to use his contacts with other construction companies and get him the fuck out of this freaking construction company he fell into and to a better company that will appreciate what they got!

I think tomorrow instead of a Fanta break, I'll offer him a diet coke.

Labels: ,


Where does the time fly?

I think it was a week ago when I celebrated New Year's, and then a day later it was Passover, and now summer is almost over. I have no clue where time if flying, or what on earth I'm doing with my time.

My life is consumed by...life. It's as simple as that. All of a sudden I have a ton of things to do with my free time. Ranging from visiting friends, through cleaning my house. Of course it helps that my health recently has been outstanding. Needless to say, I live every day to its fullest and try to do everything possible in one day. I have a lot to make up for.

In the last tally of friends who had kids or are pregnant, this is where I am:
My best friend in Baltimore had twins on April 2nd. Boy and Girl. Adorable!
My former boss/friend in Maryland had twins on May 8th. Two girls. Too tiny to give an opinion.
My friend's wife is five months pregnant and at home.
My best friend's wife is due next month.
My best friend's wife in Israel had her baby two months ago.
My friend from my support group had her baby three months ago.
My cousin's wife is three months pregnant.
With all the above, I had one odd week with: a birthday, a wedding and a funeral. The cycle of life all condensed into one week of my life. The emotions run amock when that happens. You just don't know when to be happy or sad. It's all intertwined.

Then there's my job. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love my job. My contractor, on the other hand? Oh, we're getting closer. Yesterday morning he came beaming to me and said, "I got that bench stained for you. I wanted you to be proud of me!" Yes, we're into that type of relationship now. I've learned a lot about how to motivate a young superintendent.

My project is about to reach a major milestone on Monday, June 9th. I'm buying breakfast. Hopefully, I'll find the time to post here a couple of photos to show everyone what I've accomplished.

My house - I'm proud to say, it's not a mess! I've made major progress on the computer room, and I think with three more weekends of intensive work, I should be able to take a good photo of it and post here the results. My living room is presentable. My kitchen is awesome. Can't complain.

This past weekend we celebrated our neighbour's 50th birthday. It was a great opportunity for my husband and I to get aqcuainted with the Party Store. Our neighbour returned from the party, to a bunch of blown up flamingoes up in trees, and inside her mailbox, plus a few balloons, and some other old people's decorations. I think her laughter woke up the entire neighbourhood. Her flamingo looks a bit anemic now. But still very much pink.

I honestly don't know where time flies, but I'm beginning to think that American Idol stole quite a few hours of my week lately. I'm rapidly gaining them back. So I may be able to write more on my blog. That's if my husband ever does something to the insulation in the attic, because right now I'm sweating from the heat in the computer room.

Labels: ,


An International Conference

This past week I've been home alone. My husband was out of town last week and three weeks ago. This week he wasn't out of town, but he was definitely not home. He had an international conference to host in DC. Back in November (Thanksgiving) he attended a similar conference in Australia. This time they came here.

The international conference included delegates from US, Australia, Canada, UK and New Zealand.

Every single night this week they've invited him out for Happy Hour or dinner, and he'd come stumbling back home after 10pm.

He's out at Happy Hour today, as well.

As I enjoy my time alone, I've been surfing the blogs and trying to catch up with old posts, when I came across
Colonel's post from this past weekend.

Since this post had several very funny jokes, I'll post the one I liked:

Last week we took some friends out to a new restaurant, and noticed that the waiter who took our order carried a spoon in his shirt pocket. It seemed a little strange.

When the busboy brought our water and utensils, I noticed he also had a spoon in his shirt pocket. Then I looked around and saw that all the staff had spoons in their pockets.

When the waiter came back to serve our soup I asked, "Why the spoon?"

"Well,"he explained, "the restaurant's owners hired Andersen Consulting to revamp all our processes. After several months of analysis, they concluded that the spoon was the most frequently dropped utensil. It represents a drop frequency of approximately 3 spoons per table per hour. If our personnel are better prepared, we can reduce the number of trips back to the kitchen and save 15 man-hours per shift."

As luck would have it, I dropped my spoon and he was able to replace it with his spare and said, "I'll get another spoon next time I go to the kitchen instead of making an extra trip to get it right now."

I was impressed. Then I also noticed that there was a string hanging out of the waiter's fly. Looking around, I noticed that all the waiters had the same string hanging from their flies. So before he walked off, I asked the waiter, "Excuse me, but can you tell me why you have that string right there?"
"Oh, certainly!" Then he lowered his voice. "Not everyone is so observant. That consulting firm I mentioned also found out that we can save time in the restroom. By tying this string to the tip of you-know-what, we can pull "it" out without touching it and eliminate the need to wash our hands, shortening the time spent in the restroom by 76.39 percent."

I asked, "After you get "it" out, how do you put "it" back?"

"Well," he explained, "I don't know about the others, but I use the spoon."

I liked this so much that I decided to email it to my husband, knowing that he checks his crackberry every two minutes, and told him it's a good joke to share with his international friends at Happy Hour.

Half hour later, this is the response I got back from him:

They loved it. Had to explain that fly was a zip. Also had to translate that Australians do not know how to use a spoon, the UK does not know what a spoon is, and that the Canadians have outlawed spoons in the current healthcare system as drug paraphenelia.

Edit: My husband just got back home and asked me if I understood his response. I told him I don't understand why an English joke requires translation to English. He said, "we're five nations separated by a common language!"



Hurricane in DC

This has been an exciting week for me at work. Some of you may assume that any time a fictional hurricane hits DC must be very exciting, but actually that wasn't the reason why I had more fun than anyone should be allowed to have.

Last week we were told to be prepared to participate in a government wide exercise. We were told that an email will be sent out and if we don't respond within two hours, we will receive a phone call. I'm not sure whether I was just too busy to pay attention to the dates, or whether they decided to start it sooner, but I was taken by surprise when my employer called my house at 9pm on Monday.

I don't get phone calls from anyone that late, and most definitely not from my employer. So the first natural thought that ran into my mind was, "I still haven't finished my two projects, I'm about to be fired!" A couple of days later when I exchanged thoughts with a coworker who got the same call a few minutes after me, I found out that HIS initial thought was "oh, that's nice, she's calling to chat." Men!

When I answered the phone and she said, "this is a level 3 emergency," I stupidly answered, "what do you want me to do about it?" Thankfully, it didn't come out in those exact words, but I was definitely thinking that.

The following day was frantic all over. Upper management was attending emergency meetings throughout the day, and everyone was scrambling about doing everything possible to help them out by preparing different lists, presentations, etc. I did my share and helped when I could. The atmosphere was definitely intense for everyone.

Hey waitaminute, did I mention my contractor from hell? You all must be thinking, "ummm....yeah, but he was supposed to be done!" Well, he's not. Not only that, but since my post, he's hit the Gas Main (forgot to call Miss Utility), and revealed that they may not be done with my project by April 21st. (DUH! It's freaking May 2nd, I could figure it out by looking at my calendar and watching your construction trucks outside).

Ok, back to my hurricane level 2 (yes, we've progressed since the phone call on Monday. Hurricanes don't wait for anyone). So what comes into my inbox at 2:30pm, as my office and everyone is in a state of "emergency"?

Dear Project Manager,
We were just notified by the command center that we've lost power to the surveillance video camera on your building. The one that points to the guard gate. We launched an immediate investigation team and discovered that the power cable was cut off inside your building. WTF???

Honestly, they didn't add that word at the end, but the question marks were there.

I swear I was ready to jump out the window at this point. Like I needed one more stressor on top of everything else going on. So my first reaction was to notify my immediate management of the emergency. Of all the days that this could have happened, this was SO NOT the right time!!! How do you throw in a wrench in the middle of an exercise that constitutes a REAL emergency? My boss got into panic mode and immediately emailed upper management, who by the way, were already on the road escaping the "Hurricane." I told him he should have emailed them saying, "Hurricane blew off the surveillance camera off the guard gate." He didn't find this amusing. Mostly because someone ELSE was selected to throw in the wrench into the exercise, and he would have been crucified for taking this guy's role mid-exercise. I can't imagine how everyone would react in a real situation...

After I've had some time to rehash what happened, I realised that somewhere out there, sitting across the security cameras, mid-exercise, there's a guard who noticed the screen go blank, and I'm sure he must have assumed that this was part of the exercise. I can only imagine the look on his face when he realised this is for real!

On the third day of the much anticipated hurricane, all of upper management was gone. Just my coworker (federal) was left behind to run the place. He explained to me that the guy who throws the wrench into this exercise calls people throughout and kills them off ("you've just been killed in a car accident."..."hurricane just flooded your office and you have no computer or phone to communicate."). Well my coworker was eager to get killed so he can stop playing exercise and can get some work done. Every few hours, I'd shout over my cubicle, "Hey, you still alive???" He'd answer, "yes" and I'd respond with "I'm sorry to hear that!"

I love my job!

It was a beautiful sunny week through Wed. The hurricane exercise ended yesterday afternoon. And THAT's when the heavy rains began! The government has to improve on timing.

Overall grade: C- needs improvement.

Labels: ,



[Note to my sister-in-law: Probably not the post you should read. Skip this one.]

My husband and I went to dinner this evening and as we drove back I saw this lady standing on the curb. I made a comment to my husband about her physique when I noticed she just climbed into the passenger seat of a car. That's when I put one and one together and looked in amazement at my husband.

Mybrid: "That was a hooker!"
Ybrid: "Yup."
Mybrid: "I've never seen one in action getting into a car!"
Ybrid: "Yup."
Mybrid: "Have you ever slept with a hooker?"
Ybrid: "Nope."
Mybrid: "Sluts?"
Ybrid: "Yup."
Mybrid: "Was I one of them?"
Ybrid: "Nope."

Slight pause.

Mybrid: "What are you going to teach our kids - hookers or sluts?"
Ybrid: "Depends on the economy."
Mybrid: "Huh???"
Ybrid: "In a recession - definitely, sluts! Why pay if you can get it for free."

Mybrid: "I can't believe we're having this conversation."
Ybrid: "About the economy?"



Lessons Learned from Passover

I do have a lot of reasons why I don't post as often on my blog. Last week's reason was trying to clean the house and prepare the Passover meal while my husband as out of town in California for a week.

Anyway, just thought I'd post a Lessons Learned.

Never hold a Matzah in one hand and a wood sample in another.

Labels: ,


A few enteries from my professional diary

Sept. 4: I started working for a new company. I LOVE my new employer!
Sept. 9: I've been given two projects to manage. I'm very excited. I LOVE my coworkers!
Sept. 15: I'm managing the construction of two dining facilities. Sweet! I LOVE my projects!
Sept. 22: I'm the project manager. Someone else is the construction manager. I cannot be blamed for anything. Awesome! I LOVE my position!

Oct. 15: I've been asking the contractor to provide me a schedule for two weeks now. I LOVE the commute!

Nov. 6: They found severe termite damage in my building. Structural Engineer's report says, "Building is supported on the stucco and siding. Do not proceed to work until proper support is put in place."
Nov. 14: Still no schedule. Contractor claims the project will be done by Dec. 14. Construction Manager sends a threat letter to the contractor - deliver or be fired. I LOVE my construction manager!
Nov. 30: I asked the contractor when he will complete the project. He said "Dec. 14", so I asked "and when do you plan to increase the number of construction workers on site. Like from one person to possibly two." I got the look.

Dec. 4: Woooohooo! I got the schedules! Bad news - one project's deadline is April 15th, and the other is July 21st. I announced to the world "unacceptable!" I LOVE my role in life!
Dec. 10: Contractor decided to core drill through the slab without x-raying first. Abandoned conduits were the victims. Core drill is performed with a diamond drillbit and water to cool it down. Water travels in conduits. Abandoned conduits typically end wherever the previous tenant cut them. Water finds three cubicles, two computers, one cellphone, tons of paperwork. My second floor tenant is not happy. But since my client trumps them by a few ranks, they don't file a complaint. I feel lucky. But I update my resume just in case.
Dec. 20: Plumber contractor comes across asbestos. Building is closed down until they perform asbestos abatement.
Dec. 28: I asked for a status on the schedule. Wanted to know where we stand with the recent developments and the requirements to crash the schedule.

Jan. 10: Freaking contractor calls in OSHA due to more asbestos. OSHA comes and tickets them for safety violation. Area is declared hard hat construction site. I LOVE OSHA!
Jan. 20: Still no schedule.
Jan. 21: Lead paint found in the bathrooms. Enough to make toys for the local Toys R Us store.
Jan. 28: I finally decided which trusses and which rafters will be painted and stained. I sent seven pages of a visual display of what should be the final result. I paid my sister-in-law to do her magic in Photoshop (she's a graphic designer). I LOVE my sister-in-law!

Feb. 1: Construction Manager told me one project will be completed March 1, and the other will be completed April 21.
Feb. 2: I told my client that one project will be completed March 31 and the other will be completed May 23.
Feb. 4: Plumbers found more asbestos in my building. I HATE these plumbers!
Feb. 10: I told the contractor that the two bathrooms each get two windows - one on each exterior wall.
Feb. 13: Painter started painting the rafters. Despite my seven page visual he painted the historical trusses which were supposed to remain dark. I started climbing on the scaffolding to slap him silly. Superintendent stopped me. I gave him the look.
Feb. 15: Future chef wants a take-out window between the kitchen and the waiter station. I LOVE my future chef. He's cool!
Feb. 20: We met with the structural engineer, architect, construction managers, contractors, and all of gods children. Future take-out window must be very carefully coordinated due to a diagonal structural beam running through the wall.
Feb. 21: I took some photos of future location of take-out window, put them in power point, pointed out where structural joist is, what height to put the window. I LOVE taking photos!

Mar. 3: I told the contractor that those new studs in front of the future windows in the bathrooms must go. I'm surrounded by morons.
Mar 5: My construction manager breaks the news that the contractor will not be done on Mar 1, and has been given a drop-dead date of Mar 14.
Mar 7: I move my office location to the job site in anticipation of performing the punch list walkthrough. Soon. I can't stand this cold weather out here. Only one more week to go!
Mar 14: I wear black for the funeral. Contractor hasn't dropped dead, but I'm about to kill him.
Mar 15: Construction Manager forgets to mention that the drop-dead date has been extended to Mar 21. I'm hoping he'll drop dead soon.
Mar 20: Spring is here. Bird entered the kitchen. I sent a ticket to get it removed. Security emailed back "which type of shotgun should we use?" Future chef emails me "how would you like your wild game cooked?"
Mar 24: Contractor covered future windows in the bathrooms with drywall. HELLO? Anybody in there??? Remove them NOW!

Mar 25: Contractor decided to try out a switch. It was the fire alarm. The entire building was vacated. Some really important people were inconvenienced for 45 minutes. Important people weren't very happy. They don't love me any more.
Mar 27: Contractor installs tiles over future windows. Ok, I swear to dog, if I have to tell this moron one more time that there are WINDOWS going in there, I'm going to freaking bring a knife and cut the windows out myself!
Mar 27: I walk the site with future chef. Future chef looks at take-out window installation and exclaims, "Wasn't that a structural joist?" I look over, and sure enough, freaking contractor has cut the structural joist straight through! I count to ten and call the superintendent over, "Sup, did you consult a structural engineer before cutting this beam?" He responded with, "No, but don't worry, I'll just put a couple of 2x4's right above, and it'll be fine." I took a deep breath and called Construction Manager. Told him, "I LOVE my job! I LOVE my job! I LOOOOVE my job!" Construction Manager said, "Oh cr@p, I'll be right over!"

Mar 28: That's tomorrow. I have to wake up early. I need to spend a couple of hours writing up a list of things that need to happen before I'll be willing to walk the site and perform a punch list. Like, I want the kitchen equipment installed. I want running water. I want the wall base down. I want the chair rail. I want the bathroom stalls. I want the wall paint done. You know, little things like that.
Mar 31: I need to bring a knife to work. Must commit harakiri. Promised my client project would be done. I already know it won't.

I LOVE my job!
I HATE my contractor!
I LOVE my employer!
I HATE the plumbers!

Labels: ,


Another Before and After

I just realised that I never updated you on the final product of our light fixture improvement project.

So here it is, the final product photos. I hope you'll all agree that this is a huge improvement on the funky light fixture that was there originally.

Some of you may notice that the photo angle is very limiting and not giving you the full picture. I blame these walls that are in the way:

This problem will be resolved tomorrow as a new contractor enters our house to perform some demolition. Yup, these walls need to come down. I need more open space, dammit.

And when it's all done, I'll be able to take better photos of the kitchen. Of course that's the only reason we're demolishing the walls - so I can upload better photos on my blog.
Everyone, please keep your fingers crossed that this contractor will be a tremendous improvement on the last moron that did our kitchen.

Labels: ,


Personal post

To my fellow sophisticated, cultured, intelligent, good-humored, charming Aquarian from Compuserve - please email me. Your email address was lost in the big PC breakdown.


Save your photos! NOW!

My PC is in the shop. Still. After erasing my hard drive, doing a restore and returning it back to us, we found it's still not working right. We returned the PC back to Best Buy, told them it's been through rehab and now needs to be hospitalized at the lab.

But I wasn't too worried, because I had used my new Black Friday purchase six weeks ago to backup all my emails and a few of the files in My Documents. Plus, I had most of my folders backed up on my Maxtor external hard drive (80gb) about a year ago.

The biggest possible loss would have been two critical files - my financial spreadsheet which I had just completed for 2007 so we can do our taxes, and my password spreadsheet which is where I track every single website's user name and password, registration numbers for appliances, and all other important information.

Good news first - financial spreadsheet - for some unknown reason I've decided to email it to myself, JUST IN CASE.

Password sheet - I have the last version of it on my laptop and only lost three months worth of registrations. Sucks, because I just registered our kitchen appliances and got warranties for them.


Yeah, millions of photos. From 1999 through this year. Okay, where was I supposed to have them again? Oh, Maxtor. No problem, let's connect the Maxtor to my laptop and get it all saved into my other Black Friday purchase (MyBook 500 GB).

About that...

Maxtor (80GB) is dead. Kaput. No longer working. Worked fine two months ago. Now is dead.

Do I have another backup of photos? Sure, I have CD's that I made a couple of years ago. But this still means I've lost a tremendous amount of photos.

Thankfully, I married a computer geek. He took an old PC apart, broke the Maxtor to its components. Reconnected the Maxtor with new cables. Connected my new WD Black Friday purchase to the US drive, and we began the process of saving everything from the broken Maxtor to the new WD.

48 freaking hours later, it finally finished backing up 80GB worth of files. (Did I mention it was an old PC we used?).

Now, I have two external hard drives hooked to my laptop - WD (160gb) and MyBook (500gb), as I transfer everything to MyBook.

I still don't know the extent of my loss. I've uploaded a lot of photos to the website, so I do have a means to bring back most of my stuff. But that's going to take a considerable amount of time to do.

What I do know - next time I make a purchase on Black Friday, it's going to come out of the box the following day, and used within a week. No more procrastination.

Lessons learned - save your photos NOW. Use CD's. Don't trust those external hard drives.



I'm not taking a break

I was forced to take a break.

You all remember my room with all the papers scattered around?

Three weekends ago we went to IKEA and bought two filing cabinets for all those papers. But here's the problem with IKEA - you go in for one thing, and you end up with something different. We ended up with a major plan of reorganizing the house furniture.

Two cabinets from the computer room had to be moved, computer table had to be moved, filing cabinets needed to be assembled, papers filed, etc.

Did you all catch the part about "computer table had to be moved"?

Yeah, it weighs a ton. So computer needed to be dehooked and rehooked in the new location. But in my zealousness for cleaning two weekends ago, and in my husband's eagerness to show me all the dust everywhere, he pointed to the dusty cover on my PC. Then he decided he needed to check how much dust is INSIDE the PC.

Needless to say, it was dusty. Very.

And what do you know, I had a can of compressed air used to clean keyboards, so why not use it?! Like Adam and Eve, I gave him the apple. He ate it. Computer innards were spotlessly clean when he was done with that can.

Then it was time to reconnnect the cables and boot the PC.

Yeah, you guessed it, $189 and two weekends later I still have no PC and Best Buy is making a study case of my PC. All their diagnostics indicate hard drive is perfectly fine. Problem is you can't reboot the darn thing!

Mind you, this is the PC I got a year ago because the previous one passed away while still on warranty. I paid $199 for this PC. Actually, no, I paid nothing for it. I paid $199 for a 2-year warranty. Which is wonderful, except that...ok, ask me when was the last time I backed up the information on that PC [not recently], and ask me how much it costs for a lab to backup your hard drive [$500].

Oh forget it, don't ask. I'm depressed as is.

Didn't get anything for my birthday. Yes, you all read that right. I got NOTHING. I did get a ton of phone calls and wishes from people I haven't heard from in a long time, and that definitely made me happy. Plus everyone's posts on my blog! That was awesome. You guys rock. But I got no presents. Did I mention I'm married? Yeah, he didn't forget my birthday, he just didn't get me anything for it.

I was almost ready to get the divorce papers signed on Valentine's Day. But 12 roses did magically appear on the dining room table behind my laptop.

I apologise for the lack of drawing on this post. My father's drawings are in another email account and once I log on to that account it logs me off blogger. Which sucks and aggravates the hell out of me. That's also the reason I often opt not to blog. It's just too much effort to log on to a different account just to blog. I wish they made it a bit simpler where it wasn't linked to an email account.

Done ranting. For now.



Sunset of my 30's

Last birthday of my 30's! Today is going to be a fantastic day. While everyone else calls it Super Tuesday or Fat Tuesday, or Mardi Gras - I'm celebrating 39 years of breathing air. As a special treat for someone born in 69, I get 69 farenheit outside in the weather forecast! This has got to be the warmest birthday I've ever had on the northern hemisphere (I have to state that because two years ago I spent a warmer birthday in the southern hemisphere).
Last decade I wasn't as thrilled about finishing my 20's. But I'm very excited about reaching 40 next year. It'll give me reason to tell people to stop calling me "sweety" or pat me on the head as if I was a teenager.
In celebration of my birthday my PC cr@pped out on me. It's in the shop now (thank dog for warranties!).
I better get some work done. Apparently, they don't give a day off for birthday.



I feel SO much better now!

Some of you may remember my post about my little incidence of inconveniencing a few DC fire fighters.

Well, after reading about the internet breakdown in Asia, North Africa and the Middle East yesterday, I must say that I feel SO much better now!

Here's this guy on a boat, throws out the anchor as he's done probably hundreds of times in his lifetime, when all of a sudden two continents go dark. Can you imagine how this guy feels now?

Yeah, I'm feeling good about myself right now.



New Year Resolutions

Blogger finally has a Hebrew version of blogging. Yay. I can now start my Hebrew blog. Oh wait, that means I will only have an audience of 6 million people instead of several billions. Hmmmm....tough choice there.

As you all probably gathered, my new year resolutions for 2007 slipped a little into 2008. But I couldn't anticipate this horrendous housing market, so give me a break! I did accomplish every single item on my new year resolutions for 2007 and I'm very proud of my accomplishments. Now we're into 2008 and I have only one new year resolution. It's one that I will not be sharing on my blog. But I promise to share it in 2009.

Yesterday my husband and I decided to try out a restaurant that someone recommended. Since we never really celebrated the sale of our house properly (and separate from our anniversary), we decided this would count. So off we went to have dinner. $3,400 later we were stuffed!

Yes it is a bit of a pricey restaurant, but if you ever get a chance to visit any of these restaurants in the US - DO IT! It's called Texas De Brazil. The experience and the food is absolutely outstanding! Okay, don't worry, it won't cost you anywhere near how much it cost us. But this restaurant is conveniently located attached to a shopping mall, and we really needed a new refrigerator and a matching oven. That completes our kitchen remodeling project. (well, except three drawer faces that our freaking contractor has yet to deliver, and if I see the asshole ever again, I swear I'm going to slap him silly!).

Back to the restaurant - this is a place where you start off with a salad bar with the most delicious dishes you've ever tried. 100% of the dishes are unique and different. Then, you have this little coaster - one side is red, the other is green. Turn it green side up - and young cute waiters will come storming with long skewers of meat to your table. Each waiter with a different type meat. They load your plate up until you turn that coaster to red. You eat, you decide to try something new, you turn the coaster back to green. The food is absolutely fantastic! The service is outstanding. The atmosphere is phenomenal. The architecture is beautiful. The music is awesome. The professionalism and cleanliness of the place is commendable. We plan on going back to celebrate every birthday and anniversary.

As for the refrigerator and oven - honestly, they weren't as expensive as it seems, but once you add on to it delivery and the five year warranty plans on each, it all adds up. But we're going to recover some of the money by selling our old appliances on craigslist. I have two potential buyers, so I'm hoping they'll decide to take it off our hands tomorrow.

Oh, and the dishwasher we purchased last weekend - awesome. It's so quite that we can watch TV while it's running and not be annoyed.

We now have a fully stainless steel kitchen. I hate it, but since my husband will be doing all the cooking anyway, I'll deal with it. Why do I hate it? Because stainless steel shows every single finger print, and it's impossible to clean or prevent it. Not to mention I get static shocks from everything made of steel. I suppose I need to go on a diet anyway, so I won't be touching those appliances any time during the dry winter months.



The Reason We Moved

Above is a photo giving you all Reason # 1 why I wanted to move out of the townhouse. This was my computer room. The place where I spent most of my time in the house. The stress factor related with coming to this mess every day was weighing on me to a degree of insanity.
There've been numerous times where I snapped at my husband just because I could no longer tolerate to look at this.

I know some of you cannot even begin to imagine how a normal person can let their house get to this condition, but in 11 years we managed to let it go this bad.

This stressor in my life was unbearable until I finally came to the realization that the main reason this room is like this is because I have no time to clean it. Of course, who has time when you're wasting three hours of your day commuting back and forth to work, then you're spending another hour trying to calm down from the commute. By the time we got to the weekend, we had no energy to take care of our house.

The solution was to move closer to work.

Well, that was a year ago. Some of you may be curious as to what my computer room looks like right now. Well, here ya go...

Ok, ok, yes, I get it. This makes no sense to you. But seriously, this is fantastic accomplishment. You see, all these papers on the floor are actually piled by topic. These are only three years worth of bills. The other 8 years are in the boxes you see on the right. Tomorrow I'll have only one more year's worth of bills to lay out on the floor: 2007.



Oh yeah, then I get online and ask you guys - ok, my legal all knowing friends, for how long do you keep your bills?

Keep in mind, I had tremendous difficulties throwing away the ADT (house alarm) bills for the townhouse - so be gentle with your advice.

One major problem I'm already seeing is the Cingular bills. Those mf bills are about 20 pages long each! It's almost as long as the script to my phone conversations per month. They take so much space, it's just a crime against the environment.

Another issue I'm seeing - Blue Cross Blue Shield has GOT to learn to stop sending a piece of paper for EVERY SINGLE medical charge. They need to consolidate the charges per month and send me ONE statement per month instead of the 70 pieces of paper I have from this past year.

Before you admonish me for saving bills for so many years, I'll have you know that the Class Action lawsuit against VISA/MasterCard and AMEX go all the way back to 1996. And unlike most normal people who will get $25 out of this lawsuit, I intend on submitting every single bill I have from my once-twice a year trips overseas. I've been upset about those exchange rate finance charges for YEARS and kept those bills just in case someone ever has the brains to file a lawsuit. I can't wait to find out how much this lawsuit will get me.
Last time I participated in a class action lawsuit I got $500 from Toshiba. That bought my first digital camera back in 1999.

I love lawyers!

By the way, this entire cleaning effort on the floor of my computer room is because I started looking for all those credit card bills. I figured while I was doing it, I might as well pile everything else appropriately.

But NOW what?



You Don't Mess with the Zohan

Note to self: Must see this movie!

Favourite quote from the trailer:
"I love my country. But the fighting - when does it end???"
"They've been fighting for 2000 years. It can't be much longer..."



Another dream

Last night's dream involved a unicorn shrimp.

Should I be concerned?



Home #*&@ Home and 1993

On Feb. 10th, 2007 we moved from our home of 11 years to a new home. We put the house on the market on March 2007.

We went straight into the housing market from hell.

The house has been on the market since then.

In November, my husband was sent to Australia for one week during Thanksgiving. The day before Thanksgiving we received an offer on the house.

The offer was horrendous. I had to wake up my husband and consult him on how to deal with it before Thanksgiving. We counter-offered. Day after Thanksgiving it was accepted.

Then we started a long ordeal from hell that drained the life out of our marriage, our lives, our beings. The reason I hadn't been blogging much was because I didn't want to jinx anything or take my anger out at the world only to find that this guy is handicapped or something.

So here's the short story of it:
The guy's original offer was $19K less than our price, plus he asked us to pay his closing fees - $22K.
We said, "sure, why don't we even throw in an extra $50K because we don't know you and we love your negotiation skills."
Our agent worked tirelessly to get a good counter-offer approved by the buyer.
Buyer says "ok. Settlement date is 12/27/2007."
My husband and I sadly agree, though we understood it meant no Christmas presents for any of my family-in-law.
House inspection goes by okay (well, we had to pay $700 for two trademen to fix something as silly as the heater and the sprinklers, but oh well).
Then we get a call on Christmas Eve - "we have a problem. The buyer's lender found out that the guy just purchased a car with $800/month payments and they need to reprocess his paperwork to get the loan approved. Settlement won't occur on 12/27/07. Possibly a day later."

[Fucker! Who buys a new car the week before freaking settling on a house?!!! Your freaking credit is already so low that the lender is demanding 6.75% interest rate and 1 point on your loan, because she's been working with you for several months to get your credit rating up, and because she believes she deserves the profit from this sale, and then you go buy a BMW???]

A bunch of frantic phone calls later and we decide that we have no guarantee that this asshole's loan will be approved even before the new year! "Tell him that after Monday 12/31 - deal is off."
From Christmas Eve till today we've been living from one day to the next, with ten phone calls to our agent, signing addenda upon addenda, faxing and scanning documents back and forth before noon "so we can close tomorrow" (rolling eyes), only to find that the loan has not been approved yet, or conditionally approved, or whatever other status the lender decided to whip out of her ass.
Then the buyer's grandma was brought in as a co-signer.

Closing was finally set for today. At a huge cost to my health. I have been in serious stomach pains since Saturday, unable to eat. Then to supplement this stressful period - I caught another cold. My sixth one since August. Suicide is not out of the question.

This weekend we decided to clean our house from anything we left in good faith for the new buyer (you know, things like two lamps, extra toilet paper, seven packages of wood floor, three packages of floor tiles, light bulbs). In a childish moment, I programmed the address back home on my GPS to announce the arrival to...
[I wish I had a video with sound of this computerized voice pronouncing this...]

Before closing today, we demanded not to be in the same room with the buyer. We couldn't bear to see him or his grandma after the ordeal they had us go through. We came half hour early to sign the paperwork and left.

Our agent stayed behind to get the check after the buyer's signed the settlement. The poor guy
had to deal with another last minute development during closing, when the bank announced that the loan has not been processed and it will take two more days, so they cannot give us a check yet. For forty minutes he walked around the building thinking how to break the news to us, before the bank called back to say "screw it, you already signed the closing documents."

Our agent planned on dropping by at the restaurant where we planned to have dinner so he can drop off the check and have a drink with us.

Because you see, today isn't just another day.

1993 is all my husband has to remember.

Then he puts the periods in the right place - 1.9.93 - and there you have it - today is our FIFTEENTH ANNIVERSARY!

We went to our favourite restaurant, where my husband had a surprise for me. When our agent joined us, he had the waitress bring it out. [Click to enlarge]

The bottle of wine is from our agent. We had an amusing exchange between him and us today. First we gave him a bottle of wine, then it turned out he had one. Then he came to the restaurant to give us a check, then we gave him a check in return because he put in money from his commission to compensate us for the delay in closing (which we didn't think he should have been penalized for), then when we got the check for dinner, the waitress revealed that he had picked up our check before he left to ...

celebrate his birthday!

A fantastic ending to a ten month ordeal. Our house is sold!


Labels: ,