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Conjunction Junction

Some books are mysteries (I just read a good one), some are romance, some are thrillers, and so on, right?  I mean, genre fiction – it exists.  Duh. A couple of the books I read recently covered at least two genres each, depending on how you want to categorize them.  They weren’t bad (I enjoyed them both), but I didn’t go into them with any idea what they were about, so it was a bit of a surprise to find that one was a Victorian mystery with vampires and werewolves and oh wait it’s a romance, too, and the other was a superhero book (that part I knew) with zombies (surprise!).  Are authors afraid their readers will get bored?  Or maybe the authors are bored?  I really did enjoy both books, but the premises sound so sensational, so ridiculous.  (Trendy?  Maybe.  Yes.)  You know what, though?  I don’t care.  I want to read anything and everything.  Mostly.  If it’s fiction.

I don’t feel bad about liking this version

Weird Al has been releasing videos from his new album over the last few days, and my favorite by far is “Word Crimes”, a parody of “Blurred Lines”.  It’s fantastic.

Of course, it puts the original back in my head (damn catchy tune), but I can go with these words and feel better about it.

Riley swears it was a beaver

After more than two months of trying to sell our house on our own, with only the two low offers right at the beginning, John and I decided to hand the work over to someone else.  We signed with an agent last Sunday, so now he’s in charge of marketing our house and following up with the people who come to see it.  He’s the guy who put us on the MLS for a small fee, and he’s been super helpful these months, answering all kinds of questions and providing advice, so we figured if anyone was going to get a commission from us, it should be this guy.  He hosted an open house for us today, freeing us up on a Sunday afternoon for the first time in a while, and our fingers are crossed that he’ll get our house sold.

We’re anxious to get moving, and not just because the life we have planned is going to be so cool.  We need to get out of this house before Riley destroys it.  He’s never been a chewer.  Really, never.  That was Roxy, and she was only destructive when she was a puppy.  Riley was never interested in chew toys, even, unless he was taking them away from her, and then he didn’t bother to eat them.  He just kept them away from Roxy.  So imagine our surprise (and horror) when we came home last Saturday morning to find this:

And this:

And this:

We were only gone for TWO HOURS.  And, of course, we had an open house planned for the next day.  We spent the whole rest of that Saturday fixing the house.  It’s all better now – no sign of the rampage Riley must have begun the second we got in the car.  He took a chunk out of another wall (similar to the last picture) a couple of days later, but he hasn’t done anything else like it since then.  We brought in a couple of sticks from the yard, and he seems to be focusing on those.  During the open house today, we took him to a pet store and he picked out a couple of chewy things (which was also kind of jaw-dropping – he’s never paid any attention to what’s going on in the bins in pet stores).  We don’t want to have to crate him all day, so hopefully the chew toys will work.

I prefer to call it laziness

Cat videos.  Because some days you can’t help yourself.  (Thanks, Jenny!)  I realize that linking to a video and then running away is cheating, but I’m doing it anyway.

I don’t get it

Sunbathing is not for me.  I don’t understand how people do it for hours on end.  I can’t even manage half an hour.  I figured I’d take advantage of an afternoon off to see if I could get rid of some tan lines before the wedding (strapless bridesmaid dress – it’s making me do crazy things, apparently), so I put on some sunscreen, laid out on the deck, set a timer for 15 minutes, and started to sweat.   It was awful.  And boring, even listening to Anne of Avonlea.  I flipped over after 15 minutes, but I didn’t make it more than another 3 before I gave up.  I was so uncomfortable!  So I’ll just have some (hopefully faint) tank top lines over my shoulders and two fairly pale legs.  This is what I look like.  I can deal.

Encouraging!

Today’s open house brought in more people, and three of the families that came through seemed pretty serious. We’re crossing our fingers for offers. We’re both so tired of this.

We’re off to Bonefish for seafood takeout, since we no longer cook in our kitchen.  Who am I kidding?  We hardly ever cooked in our kitchen.

She’s Canadian, not southern, eh?

I was looking for free audiobooks last weekend.  Something classic, maybe something I’ve already read, but definitely something I can read when a book in my hands would be impractical.  Googling “free audiobooks” got me to LibriVox.org, which is awesome.  I searched for Anne of Green Gables (it came up at work last week), found several versions, picked one, downloaded the whole thing to my phone (you can download chapter by chapter if you want), and started listening.  Then, because it’s Anne of Green Gables, I kept listening.  I took my phone running, I’ve been listening in the car, I’ve been listening in the shower – can’t get enough.  It’s not like I’m new to listening to audiobooks, but listening to this one is different.  Running while listening to someone read me one of my favorite books ever (EVER) is crazy relaxing and makes my run fly by.

One of the weird things about it (that I kind of like) is that these are not professionals reading the books.  Volunteers record themselves reading books, a chapter at a time, and I guess all of the chapters get compiled by someone.  I had assumed each book had one reader, but what I’m listening to switches readers nearly every chapter.  It’s interesting, and some of the readers are better than others.  Maybe better isn’t the word.  Less distracting?  Some of them are doing voices for the characters, which can be cool, but there’s one woman who gives Marilla a southern accent, and it drives me crazy.  Luckily, she’s only read a couple of the chapters.  Makes me want to volunteer, too.

Everything gets in the way

Things have been busy.  And stressful.  And sometimes, even when I have time to myself in the evenings, I’m so worn out from EVERYTHING THAT’S EVER HAPPENED EVER that I can’t do anything but sit on the couch and watch Scrubs.  Sometimes I can stretch my brain far enough for Mad Men, but that doesn’t happen as often as it should.  So I haven’t been here.  And I’ve been trying not to feel guilty about it.  I feel guilty about other things – no, not guilty (not about everything, but definitely about some things).  Responsible.  And that’s tiring.  Weighs me down.  So I let this go.  Not writing doesn’t hurt anybody.  I let other things go, like book club.  We were reading good books (most of the time), but fitting in the time to go to the meetings turned into another responsibility, another obligation.  I have other obligations, ones that are more important to me, so I let that one go.  I’m tired of ignoring my friends (hi, friends!).  What other things can I let go of?  Selling the house ought to open up some time (no more open houses every single weekend), but then moving will take over with all the packing that entails.  But then we move.  Will free time appear the way we hope it will?  Emily’s wedding will be past us soon – that should free up some weekends.

So am I back?  I’ll try.  But it might be at the expense of other things.  I don’t like having to choose.

Wanna feel better?  Visit the Bloggess’s Pinterest page.  Some highlights:

 

 

 

 

And…you’re welcome.

 

The update

Our house is still on the market.  Riley is still with us (he’s doing okay – still excited about going upstairs, eating (he’s eating pretty well – better than ever, actually), and walks).  We still have the same jobs (although I have finally updated my resume – progress!).  I get to puppy-sit for Emily this weekend, and John has to go to a bachelor party.  Emily is getting married in less than three weeks, and I haven’t taken my bridesmaid dress to get hemmed yet.  But I will tomorrow!  I ordered flats (I decided my sparkly peep-toe heels need to go back for the following reasons: 1) I’d take them off for dancing, anyway.  2) I don’t NEED to be the tallest bridesmaid (but I really really want to be the tallest bridesmaid).  3) No one needs to be peeping at my poor toe.), and they finally arrived today, so tomorrow I can take my dress and get it hemmed to the right length (to go with the shoes I’ll be wearing).  And not a moment too soon.

I can wear shoes!

I never thought I’d be so excited about wearing shoes.  And socks!  Turns out a whole week of not being able to wear anything other than flip-flops is nearly more than I can take.  Mostly it was going a week without being able to run (or go to the gym for any reason, including zumba, because working out in flip-flops is not recommended) that was bothering me.  I was doing so well and working out so consistently!  Didn’t want to lose my momentum.

Why couldn’t I wear shoes?  That’s what happens when you have a violent encounter with a cabinet.  You lose (painfully) the toenail off your left big toe, and since it hurts so goddamn much, you can’t wear shoes.  That’s what happened to me last Saturday night.  I was in an unfamiliar hotel room, it was pitch black, I was trying to find my way to the bathroom, and boom: cabinet, toe, toenail askew, lots of profanity.  It was the middle of the night, though, so I continued on my way to the bathroom and back to bed and sleep (despite the throbbing).  It wasn’t until I got up the next morning that I actually looked at my toe (and the barely attached nail) and grossed myself out.  (And you just now, I’m sure.  Sorry.)  I’ll spare you the pictures (because I did take pictures).  Emily and Molly, my angels, went to a nearby drugstore and bought me some bandages and a pair of flip-flops (I didn’t have a single pair of completely open-toe shoes with me), and I patched myself up (mostly rinsing and covering) enough to get home.  Or to get to Urgent Care.  I went there first after 5 hours on the road (it was supposed to be a three-hour trip – this was not a good day).  The Urgent Care people, thankfully, were really nice.  They numbed my toe and removed my nail the rest of the way and sent it home with me.  I almost didn’t take it, but I figured I’d have to show John (who was appropriately creeped out that I thought he’d want to see my detached toenail.  But he totally did.).  Don’t worry, people – I threw it away the next day.  No one who comes to visit has to worry about mutant red-painted toenails crawling towards their feet.

My toe didn’t really hurt anymore by Friday, so that morning I tried to go for a run.  I didn’t get past putting on socks.  Socks are tight!  Did you ever think about that?  Too much pressure.  So I didn’t run on Friday.  Saturday was yard-work day, so I had the brilliant idea of borrowing John’s very large socks.  No pressure, I was able to put on shoes, and (lucky me) I was able to help with the weeding and mulching.  With that success behind me, I put on my own socks today, waited out the uncomfortable pressure for a few minutes, added my shoes, and out for a run I went.  I am back.  Thank goodness.  I was getting tired of flip-flops at work every day.  Everyone could hear me coming.

I want

Would someone please find me an opportunity to wear this dress?  And then buy it for me because I almost certainly cannot afford it?

 

Follow this link to see some child movie star wearing it.  I’m very jealous.  Although I might opt for a different color.

Open House #2

Lots happened last week, everyone.  We had our open house last Sunday (from noon to 5), and we had a whopping TWO people come by the whole time.  We were a little disappointed, but the second person stayed for a while, asked a ton of questions, and seemed fairly serious about it.  (Also, I kind of know her through the gym.)  That night we got a call from her realtor – boom.  An offer.  Her realtor was god-awful and terribly rude to us (we’re doing a FSBO for a reason – we’re willing to give 1% to the buyer’s agent, not 3), but the offer came in anyway.  It was a little low, but dude!  An offer!  So we panicked.  Kind of.  We were SO not prepared for that.  We had planned on using a real estate attorney to help us with closing, but we hadn’t even begun to find one.  Also, the buyer only gave us 18 hours to respond (the offer came in at 9pm Sunday – she gave us until 3pm Monday), so we spent Monday morning frantically trying to a) find a lawyer and/or b) figure out how we should counter.  Because we wanted to counter.  It was a reasonable, very fair counter.  Anyway, I found a real estate lawyer (through my gym again) who gave us great advice, and then at 2:45 (because that’s when I heard back from our new lawyer) I printed out the offer, made our changes, initialled and signed everything, scanned in the signed copy, emailed it to John, who printed, initialled and signed, scanned it in, and emailed the whole thing back to the agent.  At 2:50, I emailed her to let her know it was coming.  She got it by 3:15.  We gave them until 5pm Tuesday (a whole 26 hours) to get back to us.

Silence.  Just nothing.  No response.  Wednesday morning, I emailed the agent to confirm that their lack of response meant they weren’t interested in countering or accepting.  She replied quickly to tell me that was correct, and that was the end of that.  Except that we plan to email the buyer directly (because we have her information and I kind of know her) just to check in and be friendly.  There’s really no reason we haven’t done it yet.  Anyway, even though it didn’t pan out, it was exciting, and we feel good about it.  We do NOT regret not taking her initial offer.

Tuesday night we showed the house to a guy who seemed positive but is in no hurry whatsoever.  We made a deal with an agent we really like (he’s given us all kinds of advice on how to sell on our own, how to deal with buyer’s agents and the whole commission thing, and lots of other things) to have him list our house on the MLS for a flat fee, so we’re out there for agents to find us.  We’re having an open house right now (and clearly so overrun with people that I don’t have any time to write….oh, wait a minute), from noon to 3, with a showing between 3 and 3:30 and a guy who’s going to come by around 1.

It’s been busy.  We’re still homeowners, Riley is in a slow decline (his x-rays Monday morning were not positive), work sucks and is about to get suckier, and it’s the one-year anniversary of Roxy’s death, but hey – I had a milkshake for dinner last night and the weather is beautiful.  It’s not all bad.

I expect buyers to magically appear

Our ad is now on Zillow and ForSaleByOwner.com, too.  The craigslist ad has generated two emails, one from a property management company asking if we’d rent it and one from a buyer’s agent.  The open house started 90 minutes ago, and we’ve had one person stop by.  She lives in a townhouse in the area (she walked here) and is looking for something bigger.  Which is not us.  She was nice enough, but it’s still depressing.  And yet!  It’s silly to feel this way.  Our ad has been on craigslist for barely over 24 hours.  We didn’t advertise our open house anywhere else.  We have signs at the top and bottom of our street and a sign in the yard.  Why would I expect anyone to know about it?  So.  I’ll get over this right now and enjoy a quiet afternoon.

House for sale – take 2

It’s official (again).  Our house is on the market (again).  The difference this time?

We’re doing it ourselves.  We did the bathroom remodel (floor, vanity, sink, paint), and we’ve gotten rid of more stuff (last weekend included a garage clean-out, more donations, and a trip to the landfill), we’ve rearranged the house (again – the dining room table is back in the dining room and the family room is back to being largely empty), and we’ve CLEANED.  Today, we put an ad on craigslist and bought the sign (and replaced the rear struts in the car, cleaned the house, and mowed the lawn).  Tomorrow, we have an open house.

I hope people come.

Nervous

I’m not afraid of my boss.  She and I see eye to eye on most things, we get along well, I know I’m a valued employee, blah blah blah.  But some days, when she sends me an email asking me if I have a few minutes, or if I can come by her office to talk, I get nervous.  Like I’m being called to the principal’s office.  Like I’m in trouble.  Have I done anything?  Not that I’m aware of, but I’ll start to get paranoid about something small, something that no one would get in trouble for, but maybe it’s something I thought twice about doing.  Not once have I ever gone to her office and found that I AM in trouble, that I HAVE done something wrong.  Will I ever grow out of that?

It was all action, and really good action at that

Why do some beautiful blossoming trees have to smell so bad?  I mean, I’m sure it has something to do with defending against destructive insects or something (and I could google it find out, sure), but the smell really ruins an otherwise lovely walk around the neighborhood.

John and I saw Captain America: The Winter Soldier Friday night, and IT WAS AWESOME.  I mean, really – it was good.  And if you’re watching Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, watch this movie before watching the “Turn, Turn, Turn” episode.  That episode will make SO much more sense.  You probably already knew that and have probably already done that, but I figured I’d pass that along.  So we got back from the movies, all excited because it was SO COOL, and sat right down and watched that episode of S.H.I.E.L.D.  Sure, it’s not the greatest TV show, but we can’t get enough of this stuff right now.  Hooray for Captain America!

P.S. I love Bucky.

My Saturday

Guys, I was so productive today.  Okay, sure, I slept in, but then I went to zumba and had breakfast with John before he headed off to an out-of-town Springsteen concert, took Riley for a walk, cleaned the whole house, and THEN I sat in front of open windows with a pleasant breeze and did our taxes.  Not particularly exciting for a Saturday afternoon, but it all needed to get done.  And I feel virtuous.  So much so that I will ruin the good of my morning workout and eat my weight in Indian food for dinner out with friends.  And then I will no longer feel virtuous.  But I will feel full of delicious food.

It never ends

We’re being all companionable today, sitting next to each other on the couch with our laptops on a rainy Sunday, and wait a second – does that rain look white?  Is that SNOW?  It doesn’t look like it’s entirely snow, and it’s not exactly sleet – what the hell?  Is it STICKING?  Is the ground white?  Okay, everybody, take a deep breath.  No, there’s nothing white on the ground, but that rain looks really odd and snow-like.  Ugh.

Sorry about the momentary panic. We can move on now.  To some headlines written but never published.

[A couple of hours later.]

We’re back from the gym, and while we were gone, my fears about the weather were realized.  There is now a white slushy ickiness all over the ground.  I repeat: there is white slush on the ground.  In my YARD.  On March 30th.  I give up.

I did it!

I stopped flip-flopping and dilly-dallying and beating around the bush and delaying and stalling and pussy-footing around and dragging my feet and hemming and hawing and lollygagging and finally cut my hair.

Before (this is last June again, but I can’t find any others that show the length):

After:

Partied in the middle (and on my way home from the salon)

Parted on the side. Please ignore the weird smirk. I fail at selfies, and I was getting tired of retaking because my eyes were crossed or I was looking down or making a weird face or whatever. Too hard.

It’s a delight to wash.  I just might do it again someday.

And now I feel old

I was helping a friend from work with her resume the other day, and she mentioned that she was just doing admin stuff for a couple of years after school, and I gestured to the end date of that section in 2007 and said, “so this is right around graduation?” with the intention of telling her that this probably doesn’t need to be included unless it’s directly relevant to the job she’s applying for, and she said, yes, for high school.  And then I stopped helping her.

Okay, I didn’t stop helping her, but I did pause to feel old.  She’s TEN YEARS younger than me.  What am I, her mentor?  Oh, god, what if I’m her mentor?  I thought we were friends…