Genealogy

Some genealogy documents I’d ordered from the Ohio Historical Society came in the mail today. Death certificates, to be precise. Even though the family information on them isn’t always precise, they always tell a story, and I love that. A few of the ones I got today are absolutely heart-wrenching.

There’s one woman whom it turns out I’m not really related to, after all, but her story is still a rough one. Helen was widowed in her mid to late-twenties. Shortly after her 29th birthday, she died by carbolic acid poisoning—suicide.

Then there’s Harvey, the youngest son of my great-great grandfather. His clothes accidentally caught fire from the fire grate, and he burned to death. He was two years old.

And we have Edna, the eldest daughter of another great-great grandfather. Not long after she married, she developed tuberculosis. She died after about four months of illness. Edna was almost 21.

Of course, there are always the standard “this is the way death should be” records, like my great-grandmother Margaret. She lived the last 25 years of her life as a widow, and died at the ripe old age of 90, while living at the home of her eldest son.

Still, though, just those few words and dates on a page can really bring to life (so to speak) the person they’re about, despite the fact that they lived and died generations ago. I think—no, I know that this is why I do genealogy. It’s my own weird form of religion and ancestor-worship. Think about it: how often do we console ourselves and one another by saying, “He’s not really dead, as long as we remember him,” a la Dr. McCoy in Star Trek? Part of me believes and acts on that premise. I could be the only person on the face of the Earth who has thought about a given ancestor for years and years, and they deserve better than that. They deserve to be remembered. These people didn’t leave any lasting legacy besides their own progeny, and I owe them, if not respect, at least acknowledgement.

I wonder what my descendants will think of me, someday…?

Neener, neener, neener…

Well, I did really well getting to work on time for the past two weeks. Then, yesterday and today, I came in at ten minutes after eight. And, of course, when my boss brought me into his office to give me a couple projects to do, he called me on it. He tried to be “friendly” about it, asking if there was something that was holding me up in the mornings, maybe dropping someone off somewhere or something… but no, it’s just me being late. *sigh* Finally he said that, if necessary, he would look up the procedure for giving verbal and written warnings, but that he didn’t want to go there. He’d rather just keep it a friendly reminder. I agree wholeheartedly.

That really put me in kind of a pissy mood all day. Matter of fact, it kind of felt like High School, to tell the truth, and it kind of gave me a new perspective on my recurrent attitude problem when I realized that. I felt kind of put-upon, like he knew that extra five minutes wasn’t a big deal, and hadn’t I been doing well for two freakin’ weeks straight? And hell, I see all sorts of salary people coming in at the same time I come in, so how is that fair? And on and on.

But, finally, I realized that I was feeling unreasonably oppressed. I mean, hell, who’s the one who’s coming in late? Me. All I need to do is get the fuck out of bed fifteen minutes earlier, and I’ll be just fine. I think I get feeling like that when I know it’s my fault, and I know I could have done something simple to remedy the situation, but I didn’t because I was a lazy-ass, and I resent myself for it, but I don’t want to admit it, so I turn the resentment outward.

Or maybe I’m just overanalyzing. I’ve been known to do that.

So, I’m just going to set myself a goal to a.) not be late for the rest of the week, and b.) clock in before 8:00am at least once next week. We’ll see. I’m going to have to get up much, much earlier when we live in Toledo and I actually have a commute, so I’d better get used to it.

In other news, I faxed a 28-page monstrosity to John from NOIC, containing all our little worksheets, landlord info, W2’s, bank statements, and pay stubs. Aaron, meanwhile, finished calling around and comparing prices for homeowner’s insurance, and ended up going with Allstate. Incidentally, no one seems able to beat our auto insurance with Progressive, since most of the insurance places wanted to try to give us a deal on both. Anyway, we’re pretty much set on the house thing, and just need to wait for everyone else to do their jobs and schedule a final date for the closing.

I’m also beginning to liquidate all the crap I’ve been meaning to eBay for a while. Check it.

Edit: I found the notes I’d scribbled at work about my plight, and here they are, unedited and without grammatical additions:

Start times were fine last week—late last 2 days. Got called on it—hate it, but probably good for me. Feel all high-school again, resentful

Oh, yeah, and my computer won’t cooperate.

All this has really put me in a pissy mood and unfortunately, since I get pissy so seldom, I tend to almost revel in it. Part of me doesn’t want to shake it.

I’m beginning to remember why H.S. [High School] was such a big deal. Little things grow in your brain over the course of the day and make you think too much.

Rollins in Ann Arbor

Need to get my shower and get to sleep, but I just felt the need to update. It’s been a few days.

Went to see Henry Rollins do his spoken word thing in Ann Arbor on Sunday. I was worried that the drunk bastard sitting behind us would ruin the entire show instead of just the first 20 minutes, but he mercifully passed out and didn’t wake up until the show was almost over, nearly three hours later. I swear, we can’t get away from the drunken fucks even when we pay for reserved seats. —But drunken debauchery aside, Rollins was on top of his game, as always, with tales of his recent USO tour in Afghanistan and of a would-be burglar “running like a scared bitch,” as one Abe-lover I know would say. 🙂 Gotta get a Rollins fix every couple of years, just like Clutch.

While we were in Ann Arbor, we stopped by the anime store (of course), a couple record stores, and a couple of book stores. I ended up buying Nichelle Nichols’ autobiography, Beyond Uhura, a book on the making of Star Trek entitled Star Trek Lives!, and a trade-paperback edition of an Asimov-universe book that Aaron had already bought for me in small paperback form for Christmas. I felt kind of bad buying that one, but the size and artwork matched the two hardbacks I have for the other books of the set, and I just couldn’t resist. I may eBay the other paperback, but I may not. It was a present, after all.

Incidentally, I am absolutely hooked on Nichelle Nichols’ book. I can’t put it down.

I ordered some new candle scents that should be arriving soon: ginger, chamomile, green tea… and marshmallow. I also ordered tealight tins and wicks, so now I can pour a bunch of little candles and burn them together to test-mix fragrances. I still need to get some additives and a couple more dyes before I get going full-steam again, but I’m looking forward to it.

OK, my 20-minute session of Pilates kind of whipped my butt again tonight, so I’m hitting the shower and going to bed. Of course, once I’m there, I’ll probably read for a good half-hour before I actually go to sleep…

The future Schnuth abode

4651 Ventura Drive. Three-bedroom, one-bath, tri-level single-family dwelling. Now with a clean bill of health, apart from a few ungrounded electrical sockets and a mishmash of other minor (and easily fixable) flaws. (Photo above taken by Aaron at the home inspection today, with our new-to-us digital camera.)

Now, we have to wait until the appraiser and surveyor do their job, and get all our silly busywork to the mortgage lender… and wait. Closing is on or before March 5th, and as I’ve said multiple times before, I hope it’s before rather than on. I still need to call the Smiths and let them know we won’t be renewing our lease, but I’d rather do that once we have at least a closing date, and preferably a solid date of possession.

Moving on to things-not-house-related… I’ve decided to track the things I should be doing on a daily basis, mainly just to remind me to do them. Thorough tooth-maintenance (brushing, flossing, Stimudent-ing, mouthwashing, gargling, and rinsing), exercise, mellophone practice, and… well… showering.

Yes, everyone, surprize of surprizes, I don’t bathe daily. I bathe every other day or every third day (a.k.a. “European standard”). I’m guessing you all knew that years ago. Especially Amy. 🙂 However, with my excuse of “my hair gets too dry to wash it every day” about to be thrown out the window by—gasp!—actually conditioning my hair, I’m going to make a concerted effort to shower more frequently. I know, you all had that figured out in Junior High. So I’m a late bloomer. Shoot me.

I feel empowered by having admitted my most embarrassing downfall in public. Aaron just found out my second-most embarrassing one a couple months ago, and I’m not sharing that one. It’s just too gross.

Aaron took a buncha pictures of the house during the home inspection today. If I feel saucy, maybe I’ll post them on my main page this weekend. I love our digital camera. 🙂

BTW, my PC is still down for the count. I haven’t really made any sort of effort to resurrect it yet, since I haven’t really wanted anything I have stored on it in the past couple of weeks. Aaron’s Dell and my Mac are doing a fine fill-in job for now… and I don’t have to put up with the damn thing being continually unstable. I think I mucked it up at some point. If I thought it would help, I’d consider installing XP on it… but I’m afraid it would muck it up even more.

Hmm… anything else? Oh, yeah, yay for dead presidents. I get the day off Monday.

The house-buying saga continues…

How sweet. Aaron just called home to see how my trip to visit the Teamster Legal Fund went today.

See, the Teamsters Union has a lawyer on retainer at the Union Hall. Teamsters can consult with the lawyer for free with minor matters—it’s included in Union Dues—and pay only a small co-pay for cases like non-contest divorces and… home closings. And that is the capacity in which I was utilizing the Teamster lawyer this evening.

The meeting was fairly uneventful, and the Purchase Agreement looks perfectly fine. The trip to and from the Union Hall, however, involved me getting turned around and going down wrong streets multiple times. That part of town, up the Anthony Wayne Trail close to downtown Toledo, is a weird place. But I got there in time and got home in the end, and that’s all that matters.

So, we’ve signed the Purchase Agreement. We’ve had it looked over by our lawyer within the three-day period after signing. We’ve paid the appraisal fee for the home appraisal and land survey. The home inspection is on Friday at noon. Closing will be on or before March 5th (hopefully before), after which we are required to give the current owners 30 days to vacate.

Which puts us five days beyond our current lease.

That means that next on the agenda is giving our landlady, Mrs. Smith, a call to appraise her of the situation. We’re really hoping she’ll be nice and extend our lease by a couple weeks or a month. Actually, we haven’t made any provisions for what might happen if she refuses, so I really hope she’s OK with that. 🙂

Once all the boxes are unpacked and we’re in our new house, we’ll definitely be hosting a big party. It may not be until well into the spring, but you can count on it sometime. Oh, yeah, and we’ll have at least one extra bedroom, a big finished basement, and one air mattress, in case anyone gets too… jolly.

*crossing my fingers that the home inspection doesn’t turn up anything bad*

New house and old chops

My weekend:

Saturday was house shopping day. We met Rebecca the Realtor at her office at 3:00 and headed off to look at the seven houses on our list. The first one, which we’d initially thought was one of the more promising ones, turned out to be just too damned small. Nice and bright and clean and open, but just too damn small. The other two that we’d thought would be just perfect from the exterior photos and their descriptions were actually the most skanky inside. Nappy carpets, smelly, and generally run-down. There was one tri-level that had some serious potential, though—of course, that house was owned by a cat-lover, and I made friends with the longhair in the cat window-seat. 🙂

The house after the cat-lady’s, though, was almost identical. The owners left music playing for ambience—sounded like something mellowish you’d hear on 94.5. At any rate, I think it helped our opinion of the house. As did the glass-pane door (French door?) down to the finished basement. We liked it so much that Rebecca inadvertently referred to it as “our new house” several times before we were even finished looking at the rest of the houses.

So, after we were done, we ended up going back to Rebecca’s office and making an offer on the house on Ventura. (!!!) After that, we went out to dinner with Kris and Jamie at Ruby Tuesday’s (yummy low-carb cheesecake…), then went home and began agonizing over whether the sellers would accept our offer… Well, not really agonizing, per se… well, not really at all. More contemplating how much more furniture we’re going to need to buy to fill up our new house.

Sunday was my day to drive up to Clawson, Michigan for the LakeShoremen brass rehearsal. Saturday night, I’d crammed for half an hour, getting the notes “under my fingers,” as they say. I hadn’t played in seven years, so I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to read the music as well as I should.

It should have occurred to me that my weakness wouldn’t be my noodley-finger-speed; it would be my unused chops. Like, the actual real chops. As in, my lips. OMFG. After one third of the rehearsal was over, my chops were already gone. I have no range left, very little pitch memory, and I feel like I’m having to start all over again. Like my year in the Bluecoats was someone else.

My lip muscles are so underused (hey, be nice!) that, since I had no endurance, I started shoving the horn into my face. For non-brassers, this is how you are not supposed to combat fatigue, but it’s an automatic habit. After a while, I just started blowing air. I tried to play, but got nothing but air. And I was so pissed off, because I had everything under my fingers… I just couldn’t make it speak.

My lips are still swollen.

So, back to the saga of the house: After rehearsal, I called Aaron on the cell, and he said that Rebecca had given word that the sellers had rejected our offer and made a counteroffer. He told me what the offer was, and I agreed that it was fine with me, so he called Rebecca and she wrote up a new Purchase Agreement. Aaron and I drove up to her office today, separately, to sign the PA and send it on its way.

So, barring a piss-poor home inspection, we (almost) have a house! Next on our agenda is paying the appraisal fee, getting a home inspector, and talking to the Teamster lawyer about coming to the closing with us. The closing will be no later than March 5th (hopefully sooner), and we get possession 30 days after closing. If all the cards play out like they should, we may not even need to ask the Smiths to extend our lease at all.

How about that.

Clutch at Howard’s

Here’s a (slightly edited) e-mail Aaron sent out to our friends about the incredible Clutch show at Howard’s last night (Thursday):

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This Weekend: Curry and Silver

Over the weekend, I bought one of those videos of beginners Pilates (read: pill-AH-teez, not like who drives a plane). Did the workout this evening before dinner; my arms are sore like I worked out with weights, and my lungs and windpipe feel like I’ve been really breathing again for the first time in a long time. I wonder what this is going to feel like in the morning…

I’m also very proud of myself for making “real” food this weekend, too. Aaron cooked some chicken on the Foreman, and I made a curry cream sauce (with Atkins ThickenThin not-starch thickener instead of flour, of course). Mmm… curry… reminds me of my Memaw’s yellow curry rice. But, yeah, I made something that wasn’t alfredo sauce, tuna salad, or any number of pasta dishes I can no longer indulge in… and it was so, SO good.

Another weekend accomplishment: I scored what I believe to be a platter made of real silver. From Goodwill. For a dollar. Spent four bucks on silver cream, and probably an hour buffing and cleaning the sucker. Looks like silver to me, and nowhere on the bottom does it say it’s only silver-plated, like the other platter I found at the thrift (and didn’t purchase). Its only mark says “Oneida Silversmiths,” and, unfortunately, there’s no mark indicating it’s Sterling. 🙂 Anyway, even if it’s not pure silver of some sort, it still looks nice, and isn’t too gaudy.

Oh, and one last thing. I, like Beth, am not upset that I didn’t watch the StupidBowl, even though it means I missed Janet’s insanely nipple-pierced boobie. Yeah.

LiveJournal can be a damn pain.

So, let me share with you the epic saga of today’s LJ post. I’ve been using my Mac today, since my PC is still incommunicado. After finishing up reformatting and reconfiguring everything to work for me for the time being, I attempted to open a browser window and post all about it to my LJ. O silly me, thinking it could be just that simple.

No, LiveJournal decided to refresh the webpage after me entering a few sentences of text… then again after I tried to re-enter about half a sentence. So I said, fuck it. I’m downloading one of those clients for my Mac. No biggie. Downloaded the Phoenix client, which is the only one that works with “Classic Macs” (that is, pre- OS X). It’s a StuffIt file, of course… but my version of StuffIt Expander apparently won’t recognize it, for whatever bizarre reason.

So, off I go to locate the latest version of StuffIt Expander that will work with OS 8.x, and I discover that my version is about three version numbers outdated. (Yikes.) I download version 7.whatever, which takes 20 minutes for a 9MB file. *sigh*

After a few restarts—and discovering that my Mac freezes after it’s been asleep—I’ve finally installed the new StuffIt, unstuffed the Phoenix LJ client, located the folder in which it was expanded (hiding under a window on the desktop), and fired this bad boy up.

As much as I hate to admit it, I may just have to rework my personal webpage to incorporate LJ as my main blog. This is kind of spiffy. Of course, that’s assuming I ever either a.) get my PC to power up again, and/or b.) get a copy of Dreamweaver for my Mac and just edit my site from the 6500.

I’m glad I have two passable computers for just this reason. I do still use Aaron’s computer for some things, but having my own that I can tinker with makes me happy. —Hmm. I mean, one that I can tinker with that *does* what I want it to do. And powers up. And doesn’t die in the middle of an icestorm. And doesn’t make me sad. And doesn’t make me whore out to my friends for tech support. Which I don’t want to do. Which makes me want to fix it myself. Which makes me more frustrated. Et cetera.

Aaron and I bought a digital camera off of a coworker of his for 75 bucks. It’s a Fuji FinePix 2400, with 2.1 megapixels of digital goodness. The max resolution is 1600×1200, or somewhere around there. Not bad. If my Mac had USB, I could hook it up and download pics to the 6500. As it is, we can hook it up to Aaron’s Dell and have XP automatically recognize it as new hardware, which is keen. Sure, it’s a little outdated, but it’s just what we wanted in a digital camera. We can take photos for the web and for eBay, and take it on trips to have a point-and-shoot along.

Oh, yeah, one more thing. We went to see our realtor on Saturday afternoon. She seems really nice, and we’re going to go check out houses next Saturday. w00t.

Wish me luck with the PC. I don’t know what to do with it, besides spring for a new freaking power supply and hope that’s the problem. Any advice would be cheerfully accepted (without directly propositioning anyone to help). Peace out.

I love my job… right.

My boss kind of pissed me off today. Me and my coworker both.

See, last week, my boss Tom was on vacation. My coworker Deb and I ended up having a question about the databases we work with, and since Tom wasn’t available, we asked the database guru, Rick. We’d only met him once or twice, in the company of Tom, but we knew he was the programming guy mainly responsible for the CIP (Client Information Program) database.

Turns out that Rick is so much better at explaining things that Tom is. Tom has been known to talk around a subject for 15 minutes and leave you no clearer on the subject. Rick, however, not only explained the process of updating the database, but also brought us back to his area and showed us the SQL databases that are the meat and potatoes of the front-end we work with.

So, naturally, when we came up with a few questions today, even though our immediate supervisor had returned from his vacation, we opted to ask the guy that we knew could answer our questions succinctly and thoroughly. We didn’t even consider asking Tom, because we doubted he’d be able to help. Turns out, though, that Tom came to get us for our Friday meeting as Rick was leaving from discussing our database issues. Of course, Tom asked why Rick was in our office, and then made sure to tell us as we were entering our meeting, “In the future, when you have questions, make sure you ask me first.”

OK, will do… next time I want a completely unsubstantiated answer.

I liken the situation to asking a scientific question of your local clergy vs. asking Stephen Hawking. Not that Rick is that much of a genius—he’s just your average forty-something, well-mannered, friendly and intelligent IT guy. But you know what I mean.

Does anybody know what’s wrong with my computer? There’s no fuse that we can find, which is weird. The fuse wouldn’t be on the motherboard, would it? How do I know if my power supply is hosed? Gyarr!

Aaron keeps telling me that enough is wrong with my computer, with it randomly freezing at startup and during normal use, and now this power issue, that maybe I should just pay the damn bench fee somewhere and get it looked at. I think I’d be embarrassed on some level, though… “Yeah, I put in the new motherboard and processor… —I did what? What did I fuck up? Oh, um, I mean, my friend put in the motherboard…”