Monday, May 31, 2010

Another reason why I love my job

Free food.

The junior class somehow won a steak/chicken dinner and a movie. An email went out to staff, and those of us who could get there fast got free steak.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Infernal Revenue Antiservice

I've debated about this post; do I want to risk bringing the IRAS' wrath upon my head? Audits? Fees? Lies?

We bought a house last year. My name is on it. I haven't owned a house in over 10 years. We qualify for the homeowners' rebate that the IRAS trumpeted about so much in the last year.

I'm convinced that the IRAS has done everything possible to make it almost impossible to get this rebate. In spite of urging everyone to file electronically for everything else, to apply for this rebate one had to send in reams of paperwork. While other people were getting their normal refunds within days, this one takes weeks.

No, wait, it's been over two months since we sent it all in.

And it gets better.

There's a web page where one can check his refund status. I check that page daily. At first it told us that we'd have our refund April 27. Then May 15. Then it said that we needed to call them. So Tom called. They didn't have any of our paperwork. We had to send it all in again. However, somehow they knew that we'd sent it in, but they couldn't find it. Doesn't make sense to me, but then the IRAS makes anything but sense.

So Tom faxed all of the papers again. Soon the web page said that we'd been approved for the rebate and we'd get it around June 1.

Then June 15.

Then the page again said to call them.

They've decided that we don't qualify. We can reapply, but we have to wait until they send us a letter about it. Around June 7.

As each stalling technique appeared, I became more and more convinced that this program is all a big lie. Now the news is so excited that homebuying was UP because of the rebate program. I'm betting that many of those excited homeowners are also finding out that they don't qualify. However, with the possibility of an $8000 check being waved around our noses, we'll all jump in and keep trying.

Lemmings. We're all lemmings.

P.S. Our accountant says that 80% of the rebate requests are currently being refused. Why am I not surprised?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Betty and I have lots of things in common, being sisters who were born only 15 months apart. Besides the good stuff, we both went on a really low-fat diet in our middle thirties and lost our gallbladders as a result. We both have chronic coughs. This past week we've shared a respiratory virus. And we both have cysts on our heads.

They start out really small, but eventually they grow and become annoying, as well as really unpleasant to look at. Betty's had two removed and one that will soon need to be removed. I had one that grew recently right on one of my cowlicks on top of my head. I decided to have it removed before heading to life in South Florida.

The doctor injected lidocaine and epinephrine (to constrict the blood vessels) and went to work. It took less than half an hour from start to finish, didn't hurt a bit (and a xanax beforehand helped me to relax), and I ended up with an incision that is pretty much invisible. The stitches are the same color as my hair, and it hasn't bled. And it has a bit of an unexpected bonus----

My face feels a bit tighter, especially around the eyes.

I guess mine was in just the right place.


On the Idjit front, he called again last evening and offered $6000 less than he knows we'll accept. Stoopid.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Still crossed and getting crosser

It's been a long few days here in Idiot Wants to Buy a House for Far Less Than Owner Is Willing to Take land.

The guy has to be out of his house by June 14, so he wants to start moving things into our house. By the 12th. Without even signing a contract or closing or anything.

Every time that Tom talks to him, he changes the price he's willing to pay. Up, down, up down updown. He knows what we'll take. Tom is tired of dealing with him, so it's back to the real estate agent who doesn't know what she's doing. He's complained to her boss; we'll see how that plays out. That woman does not deserve $50 for selling that house.

We figure that it costs about $14,000 a year to just let the house sit: mortgage, insurance, taxes, electricity, gas for heating. We're willing to take much less than we originally priced the house 9 months ago, but we're not willing to lose money on the deal.

That's where that stands.

In other news, I finished my Petrie on Saturday. No photos yet; the creeping crud I caught a week ago has turned into bronchitis and I wasn't exactly a ball of fire this weekend. Petrie ended up being a little snug, which I kind of expected, because I wasn't sure how the measurements worked; measured under the bust or over? That makes a big difference. I went with under, didn't work. IF I lose those 25 pounds, it might work out. Anyway, the yarn knit up wonky again, it twists the entire thing at an angle, even before it was sewn together. I had that problem when I used the yarn for the Tropical Tee. Blocking doesn't help.

So I started another one, this time using Feza Cayenne, I think. I bought 19 balls in assorted colors back in the winter at $1 a ball, and it should take about 4.5 balls.

I love the way Petrie knit up. It's easy and quick in spite of having to sew the side seams. The first one is a little too big in the armholes, so I'm taking them down an inch. I'd added 1" to the length, so now I'll add 2" to make up for that loss in the arms. This yarn is worsted weight instead of DK, so I'm using a slightly larger needle but knitting the same size as before, hoping it'll end up a little bigger. We'll see.

Nothing going on in the job-hunt front. If the house sells it won't be quite as crucial to have a job waiting for me, but I'll still need one.

It's wait and see, all around.

*UPDATE* The Idiot called twice this morning, first to make an offer of the amount we'll actually take, then almost immediately after to retract that offer. Huh.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

My rounds

Friday started The Week of Doctor Visits for me. I put off making doctor appointments as long as I possible can, because I hate making phone calls. The appointments themselves don't bother me that much. But the phone calls.....

So a couple of weeks ago I made a bunch of calls one right after another and set up a mammogram (I swear I had one a few years ago, but their records go back 10 years....), a physical (so I can get my drugs), an appointment with my retinologist, and one with a head surgeon to remove a cyst on my head. Right on the very top of my head. I bet it'll leave a bald spot.

The new digital mammogram is so much more comfortable than the old film one, even though it squeezes every bit as hard. So that's one down.

Tuesday I saw the head doctor about the cyst. Seems they run in families, and we're one of the lucky ones. That'll be removed on Tuesday morning. Yesterday was Retinologist Day, and, as it turned out, Long Needle Stuck in My Eye Day. That pesky ol' Wet Macular Degeneration is acting up again so I got another Lucentis injection. See, the good thing about that blind spot in the center of my left eye is that I can't see the needle coming at it.....

Joan met me at the office and drove us to lunch at Olive Garden afterward. We had a nice, leisurely lunch, until I could see again, then we went our separate ways home. How about that; a needle in the eye at 1:45, drive home at 4:45. Without an accident, at that.

Already my vision is better than it was yesterday. When I made the appointment my vision felt the same as it has since the last checkup 15 months ago (because I'm so bad at making appointments after I cancel one), but Friday I felt like something wasn't quite right, and it's a good thing the appointment was so soon afterward. I'll have another injection on June 17, then on the 18th Betty, Joan, and I will leave for Florida, where we'll spend a few days at the beach before Betty and Joan fly home and I spend a few days with Jennifer and kids in Orlando, then on to my new life in the Keys.

This afternoon my eye is achy, but the scratchiness that is usually pretty painful after an injection just lasted a couple of hours, not until I went to sleep last night, as it usually does. Maybe my eyeball is getting tougher. I didn't take as much percocet as I usually do, either, and no xanax before the procedure. Most of the time I spend the night with Mom and Dad after the injection so I don't have to drive home that evening, or Tom drives me, but they're all in Florida now so Joan and I just hung around for a while. And it was nice.

In an hour I have to be at the doctor's office to wait for my physical. There must be 50 doctors in that practice and they're all running late all the time. The waiting room is always filled with sick people spewing germs all over everyone else. I've had to wait as long as 3 hours for my doctor (ONLY because I was out of cough syrup and I have to appear in person to beg for another month's supply); the shortest time was maybe half an hour. Once. I hate that place. I'm hoping that this will be my last visit there ever. Maybe this time I can share my allergies/cold/bronchitis/whatever the hell I've had this week with my peers in that waiting room.

I think that's my first illness this year. I had some bug a while back, but since Christmas I've avoided colds. I hate colds. I get very angry when I have one. I don't know why. The flu doesn't make me angry, maybe because it's acceptable to stay home when you have it. But a damn cold can hang on forever and I just don't have that much sick leave.

Because I'm saving it to take off early for the beach. And my new life. In the Keys.

P.S. Cross your fingers, legs, and eyes; we're negotiating with a man who really, really wants to buy our WV property; he just doesn't want to pay enough for it. We might just persuade him to see things our way, then we'll be FREEEEEEEE! of a mortgage. Not much left over to work on our place in the Keys, but enough to save each month to get things done.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

And I didn't even know what today is

Holding my breath--again

(Aside--Hey, I hit 700 posts with that last one! On May 7 even. Seven is my favorite number.)

(I remember when I wore a size 7.)

(That was a longass time ago.)


A new charter elementary school is opening in Key West this summer. The first year it will have about 250 students, K-5, adding a grade each year till it's K-8. It's on 11 acres on the Navy base and will focus on marine and environmental studies including field trips and lots of time spent on the grounds learning things. Sounds just about perfect to me.

It's associated with the Monroe County school system, but it has its own pay scale and board of directors. The pay for assistants is about $6000 a year more than the starting salary for assistants in my present school system, plus health benefits and a 401k.

I wanna be an assistant at Sigsbee Charter School.

The application process included applying the usual way, which to my delight is totally online, but it also required that interested applicants email a SCS application with a cover letter and resume. I hate writing those things. Fortunately Word has a template for easy resumes, and fortunately Betty is a wiz at writing cover letters. Together we (well, mostly she) wrote the letter, I submitted everything last night, and I just received an email that said they'd received it and it has been given to the principal.

Would you mind saying a prayer or two and/or keeping your fingers crossed, whichever you prefer? They hope to have all the positions filled by June 1, and golly gee, if I'm asked to interview, I'd have to go to the hardship of flying to Key West and spending a couple of days in paradise.

I promise that I won't blow this interview. If I get it. And I really want to get it. Summers off, you see, plus decent pay and benefits, Christmas break, spring break, all the good stuff that goes along with working in a school. It wouldn't be nearly as easy as the job I have now, but it would be close. And it would be in Key freakin' West. If I have to work, this is as close as I'm going to get to the perfect job in the Keys.

I'm going to live in the Keys! Now let's see if I can work in the Keys.

Friday, May 07, 2010

My mom and dad are at *my place in the Keys* and I'm not

Sucks to be me right now, huh?

Mom and Dad are spending a week at The Cat House with Tom. Dad's a Renaissance Man and can do anything. At 80 he's more active and productive than I am. And he looks younger than I do.

Dad and Tom are building walls, from what I gather from the daily (sometimes hourly) phone calls. They're building a wall between (I think) the master bedroom and its closet. It already had a wall, but I want a pocket door in it to save space, so they've worked on that. They've made soffits for the air conditioning ductwork. They're going to make a closet in the upstairs bedroom. There are no closets upstairs; lots of space under the eaves of the house, but the ceiling is so low in those that only "short" things can be hung. Where did the people who used to live there put all their stuff?

(Actually, Tom found a big stack of shirts left in one of them. And a lot of junk was just tossed into the backyard and under the house.)

Mom has been cleaning windows and sweeping. Those floors catch and hold onto dirt and dust; they're down to the subflooring and it's not in good shape. The cats shed enough to create entire new cats.

On Monday they'll head up to their favorite vacation spot near Daytona and spend two weeks there with some of their friends. It used to be a little 40s or 50s Mom and Pop-style motel right between A1A and the ocean. Maybe 10 rooms. It's been sold several times in the last few years for increasingly insane amounts of money and will eventually be razed and turned into luxury condos. I hate to see the remaining pieces of Old Florida sold off and gone forever.

We first went to Florida in 1955 or '56, after Dad's parents, sister, and brother-in-law moved to Miami. I vaguely remember that first trip. I was convinced that the ocean was in Muck and Poppa's back yard and I was terribly disappointed when it wasn't. That trip is when my life-long love affair with Florida started.

We visited them every summer for two weeks. At that time we didn't have any friends whose families took vacations anywhere, much less 1000 miles south. We spent most of the time inside--they had air conditioning. We'd play in the yard, go to the beach a couple of times (Dad absolutley hates getting sand in the car), go shopping some (I mean, wow, they had a K-Mart back when there were none up here!), eat at the very old McDonald's nearby, take walks in the evening, play with the colorful snails that crawled up the shady side of the house.

At least once each trip, we'd all pile into the car and take a ride through the Everglades (mosquitos are BAD in the summer; I can't wait to go in the winter) or out to the (then) new Miami airport, or, once, to Key West. I was five that year, I think. I was not at all interested in the gorgeous water, palm trees, and other sights; all I remember is that I was really really thirsty, and I remember bumping across countless bridges. When we got to Key West, it stunk of fish. There'd been a recent fish-kill; we didn't want to stay long. I remember nothing else of the island.

And now I'm going to live 30 miles from it. I still don't quite believe it.