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Task completed

We signed a lease for a cool apartment in Annapolis this morning!  Yay for us!  That’s one thing I no longer have to worry about.  Now that the housing situation is taken care of, I can move on to the next couple of things, like moving.  We’re moving in THREE WEEKS, so I’ll just switch over to thinking/planning/worrying about that full time.

We took today off work and spent three hours in the storage unit going through the rest of the books.  There are twelve boxes in my car now, so I’ll ask my coworkers to go through them this week and then donate the rest.  The storage unit has officially been purged (except for the bookshelves, which are going to Brian (if he still wants some) and Sean and Emily (who will take as many as we’ll give them).  So this weekend, we’re going to turn a sharp eye on everything in the apartment.  What can go?  What’s being stored?  What’s traveling with us?  The biggest thing for me is trying to get all of my clothes into one dresser.  The smaller dresser.  I can do it.

But I want everything I want when I want it!

Application has been delivered.  No response yet.  But I can be patient.  (Right?  Sure I can.)  I would just like to have a signed lease.  I don’t think I’m asking too much.

Am I too impatient?

Scenario: You have an apartment for rent.

You showed it to prospective tenants (very nice people, the PERFECT tenants) at 9:30 Saturday morning.  You needed to meet them early because you were hosting a party that afternoon and evening, and you needed time to prepare.  Your perfect prospective tenants were happy to meet you that early (they’re very understanding).  They were enthusiastic about the apartment, promised to get back to you within a couple of days, and wished you well with your party.  They only took up 15 minutes of your time.

After a productive day of apartment-hunting, your perfect prospective tenants sent an email at 9:30 Sunday morning (a civilized hour) requesting an application because they would like to rent your lovely apartment that suits their needs perfectly.

Question: How long do you wait to email them back?

It is now Monday morning, and your perfect prospective tenants have not heard a peep from you.  They really want your apartment, but they also found a very nice one on the other side of the bay that would do the trick (although without the total lifestyle change they’re looking for).  They can’t leave THOSE possible landlords hanging too long, but they don’t want to shut that opportunity down because what if this apartment falls through?  They won’t know if you don’t respond.

Do your perfect prospective tenants become less perfect if they call you or send you a follow-up email?  They’re aware you had a party Saturday night and houseguests that might not have left until late Sunday.  They don’t want to be inconsiderate or pushy.  How soon is too soon?

Update: I called her, and she was very nice.  She lost track of yesterday, never checked her email, and she was just reading my message to her now.  She said she’d send over the application within the half-hour.  So once I have that, I can let our other possible place go.  Yay!

Roller coaster

Apartment hunting is a roller coaster ride, and while I do love roller coasters, I’m ready to get off this one for a few months.  We’ve still got a month to go before we’re homeless, but I am not one to leave things to the last minute (I’ve changed a lot since college), so I’ve been keeping an eye out for apartments for a few weeks now, and we’ve been to Annapolis two Saturdays in a row.

Oh, did I not say?  We’ve decided our first stop is Annapolis or somewhere in that end of Maryland (either side of the bay).  Last Saturday, we went with not much of a plan, and we were completely discouraged.  We couldn’t anything short-term (3-4 months), and we left (after a very pleasant dinner with Jess and Chuck) pretty unhappy about it.  On the ride back, we decided we’d have to stay at least 6 months, and since there are some pretty big upsides to that decision, we’re happy with it.  The biggest upside is that staying somewhere for 6 months means we won’t be looking for the next place the whole time we’re living in one place.  And for this particular move, it means John won’t feel rushed through getting his pilot’s license.  AND, since most of the places we’re thinking about going are near friends we don’t see often, we’ll be able to spend more time with them before we move on.  Definitely the right decision.

After that, I spent all day Sunday on a couple new sites (Hotpads is great), sending out a TON of inquiries about apartments and saying up front that we’re looking for 6-months leases.  I got some pretty good responses, and we headed to Annapolis again yesterday with 4 appointments and the promise of a couple more.

But now I need to eat, and I’m going offline for the rest of the evening.  I want to tell you about how Saturday went (and the crazy real estate agent we met), but I will do my best to do that tomorrow or Tuesday.

I want to ride a bike, too!

There’s this local radio commercial out right now that I cannot stand.  It’s for LASIK (or some variation of laser eye surgery), so I get what they’re trying to do, but it puts my back up.  It goes something like this:

It’s summer!  Time to go to the beach, go to the pool, go golfing, etc.!  Unless you’re one of the unfortunates who wear glasses or contacts, of course.  (Cue muted trumpet wah-wah-wah.)

I wish I were kidding about the muted trumpet.  I don’t get offended easily, and maybe “offended” isn’t the right word, but my immediate reaction to this commercial (knee-jerk and both times I’ve heard it) is to yell not-nice things at the radio (with accompanying rude gestures).  It’s like they can only imagine three options:

  1. People who wear glasses or contacts can’t go (aren’t allowed?) to the beach, pool, golfing, etc.
  2. People who wear glasses or contacts can go to those places, but they won’t (can’t?) enjoy themselves.
  3. People who wear glasses or contacts can go to those places, but they have to leave their prescription eyewear at home, so they won’t be able to see anything and thus won’t be able to enjoy themselves.

This commercial does NOT inspire me to run out and fix my eyes.  And if I were considering it, I wouldn’t choose them.  It reminds me a little bit of those tampon commercials that assume women wearing pads can’t do normal, everyday activities, except I think those were kind of funny.

Totally above board

So I’ve had all these books in my car (like 7 boxes) for 5 days, and whenever I mention it to someone (with the intention of offering them the books), I feel like a traveling salesman or something.  A shady one.  Like I’m dealing books out of the back of my car (which is EXACTLY what I’m doing).  Except I’m giving them away for free.  I won’t go so far as paying people to take the books (I have other ways to get rid of them – that sounds shady as hell, too), but you can have any or all of them!  Please!  Take!  And keep in mind there will be more soon.

The purge continues

We’re still going through everything we own and trying to get rid of as much as possible.  We want to lighten the load, both for moving and for living.  “As much as possible” = as much as we’re comfortable getting rid of, and we don’t always agree on that, but we’ll keep adjusting as we move along.

We spent about 4 hours on Friday in the storage unit choosing which of our children to give away and which ones to keep.  It was painful, and we only got halfway through, so we’re going to have to do it again soon.  On the plus side, I don’t regret our decisions, and I get to drive around with a carload of books until I get rid of them (the car smells good).  It was the right thing to do!

Then we got home and I started going through my dresser drawers again.  I’ve got a stack of t-shirts that are going away, and Molly has claimed much of my work wardrobe (such as it is), which is helpful to a point – I don’t dress up for work much (mostly jeans), so there’s not that much to give away.  I think I can get rid of more shoes…  Winter clothes are harder to make decisions about now.  I’ve already done the easy stuff (I didn’t wear at all last winter?  It’s gone.), but in summer I’m inclined to toss everything.  That won’t be all that helpful when it starts to get cold again, and I have to buy new things.  I wonder how much of a pain it would be if we used the storage unit to store seasonal clothes.  Too many trips?  With boxes?  Maybe.  I didn’t even go to the trouble of storing seasonal clothes in the house (which is why I needed two dressers and a closet).  But it would mean we’d be traveling with less.  Except when we go somewhere for longer than one or two seasons…yeah, I think that’s a bad idea.  Fewer clothes!  I need to get rid of more stuff.


There are so many places we could live!  Also, real estate agents are assholes.  I think that’s part of the certification.  And that is all I have for today.  Carry on!

Sleep update

This won’t turn into a health blog, I promise, but when bug bites and lack of sleep are the only things on my mind, well, I’m sorry.

Last night was just as bad as the night before, even though I didn’t take any Benadryl.  My feet were on fire, so I couldn’t sleep.  Simple as that.  I tried putting hydro-cortisone cream on one foot and after-sunburn aloe on the other, just to if either remedy would help – neither did.  I also tried putting my socks in the freezer and then wearing them.  Back to the tub, at least four times.

I still haven’t collapsed.  Maybe this is a sign that I don’t need as much sleep as I think I do.  Or maybe the collapse is imminent.

Today, however, has been MUCH better, and I have high hopes for sleeping tonight.  I went to the doctor this morning, somewhat embarrassed to be complaining so much about bug bites, and she gave me a prescription topical steroid that has worked for me all afternoon.  I don’t know if that’s because my feet don’t bother me as much during the day or if it’s really working, but I’m going to be positive about it.

This will work!

Update: It didn’t work.  Only super-hot water worked.  Feels awful while my feet are in it, but there’s temporary relief afterward (enough to get to sleep).

Time is relative

Yesterday flew by.  Then last night was the longest night in recorded history, followed by today, which seems like it will never end.  Benadryl  has turned on me.  It is now the enemy, not to be trusted.  Those $#&$%# mosquitoes from the other night left bites that are torturing me.  I couldn’t sleep last night at all.  I bought topical Benadryl – no relief.  Before I went to bed, I let my feet soak in cool water in the tub.  That felt GREAT, but I can’t exactly sleep there.  I took one Benadryl pill around 7 or so, and then the second one around 9:30.  I don’t know if this would have happened on just one, but two was a mistake.  Rather than relieving some of the itching and knocking me unconscious, the itching felt worse than ever and I was WIRED.  Wide awake, heart not exactly racing, but certainly not calm.  I was restless, and my feet were burning.  Within half an hour, I had my feet back in the tub, and not more than another half-hour after that, I moved to the couch so I wouldn’t keep John up all night with my constant tossing and turning.  I tossed and turned on the couch all night instead, watching the clock, unable to sleep or relax.  It was not fun.

I must have slept a little bit – I remember dreams about packing and getting rid of things.  But I also know I looked at the clock some part of each hour at least twice.  I bailed on running with Susan (which I regret now. I was awake – why not go?) and managed to nap some between 6 and 7.  I got up and went to work anyway.  I wasn’t sleepy.  I’m still not nearly as tired as I ought to be, and I’m not looking forward to the collapse.  I’m also not looking forward to trying to sleep tonight.  It’s so much worse at night.

I’m seeing a doctor tomorrow (for something else), so if this isn’t better, I’ll be bringing it up.  I just want the itching to stop.  Amputation seems reasonable.

$%(^&$ Mosquitoes!

I cannot express my hatred of mosquitoes in words.  Only primal screams will do.  We were out on the deck of a restaurant Friday night.  I was wearing jeans and sandals.  During the day on Saturday, I noticed my feet itching a little.  Then a lot.  Then I finally looked.  SEVEN bites on one foot, two more on the other.  And NOW, three days later (and every night – it’s always worse at night), my feet feel like they’re on fire.  My BARE FEET look like clown shoes (the ones with the pink polka dots).  It’s awful.

So I googled “places without mosquitoes” to see if maybe that’s where we should move and found a very helpful article.  I guessed two of them (Antarctica and Iceland), but the other three are tropical islands.  Surprising.  It might be worth it.  It’s probably better than the alternative, which is to chop off both feet at the ankles.


I saw an email from DSW about their GREAT BIG SALE (!) this morning. I get one of those emails at least once a week (from DSW – I get plenty of others from other places), and I’m not usually moved to shop. I guess the timing was perfectly right on this one. I know that I don’t need more shoes, but I really want more shoes! RESIST!

I can beat this. I don’t need shoes. But a cute pair of little white mesh sneakers, or a pair of sandals that’s nicer than flip-flops, but still casual enough for shorts (and comfortable), or a pair of slip-on sneakers good for walking…

This is why I need to unsubscribe from all store distribution lists.

Vive la résistance!

Too quiet

I’m probably going to regret even thinking this, but this week has been quiet at work.  A little too quiet.  Like trouble is brewing somewhere, and it’s going to hit us hard soon.  Now that I’ve thought it, it’s probably going to come true.

That’s both pessimistic (in this particular case) and incredibly arrogant of me to believe that things will happen because I think them into being.  But you know, as far as I can tell, nothing is real if I don’t think of it.  You’re all constructs of my imagination, believed into being to keep me company.  The sandwich I had for lunch today (which was really good, by the way – hummus, cucumbers, artichoke hearts, and roasted red peppers) was imaginary, made for me by imaginary Potbelly employees.  I just had a conversation about my imaginary job with my imaginary coworker in my imaginary office.  Where am I, really?  What am I?  Who am I?

I just watched a YouTube video of a rabbit defending her babies from a very large snake (and winning).  That is not something I would have thought to imagine.  Existential crisis averted!  You may all consider yourselves real.

Use your words

Is it possible to live in a world without acronyms? I’m a government contractor; my whole workday is filled with alphabet soup. The business world in general uses them all the time, and it’s everywhere in software, so even if I weren’t in the government contracting business, I don’t think I could escape acronyms. Maybe I can avoid them when I’m not talking about work.  Would I sound like the biggest weirdo if I pronounced whole words instead of acronyms?*

[Big pause: I fell down the Google rabbit hole and learned some things.]

Things I didn’t know before this morning’s googling:

  • Acronyms are only acronyms if you can pronounce them as a word (like NATO). If you’re just saying the letters in order (like FBI), it’s an initialism.
  • Initialism is a word (and its plural is initialisms). Who knew?  Microsoft’s spellcheck does not agree that it’s a word, but the internet says otherwise, and I know that the internet is always right.
  • When you say the whole word (or phrase or proper name or whatever), all spelled out (like I’m considering doing), you’re saying the expansion of the acronym. I didn’t know that was a thing! I mean, obviously it’s a thing. I just didn’t know it had a word (expansion).

And all of this started because I was wondering if I would have to say television instead of TV, so I googled to see if TV was an acronym. Answer: No, it’s an abbreviation.  (I suppose it could be an initialism, but it’s short for one word, not two….it’s debatable, I guess, but now I am equipped for the debate.)

Back to my original point: I am tired of acronyms (and initialisms), and I’m going to try to avoid them in all non-work situations.  I have no idea if this is going to be difficult.  How many do I run into on a daily basis?  What’s much more likely (than success) is that I’ll have forgotten about this plan by morning.

*Will I sound like a weirdo?  It depends (and probably, yes).  If I spell out – I mean, if I use the expansion of sonar or laser, then I will be very much the weirdo.  Zip code is a sneaky one.  And PIN.  This probably won’t last.

Good start

I heard “Shut Up and Dance” during this morning’s class.  Makes me happy.  There are worse ways to start the day.  And I get to spend this week telling the people I work with that in less than two months, I will be telecommuting 100%, so let’s discuss concerns now.  I will be having the same conversation over and over again.  It’s a good conversation, and so far all reactions have been positive.  And I’m happy to do it – it means we’re moving forward.

The biggest step forward right now involves finding a place to live next.  We should really get on that.

Obsolete media

I spent most of my Saturday using a USB video capture device to transfer old VHS tapes to mpeg files.  I had to borrow a VCR from a coworker because I haven’t seen one in person in…lots of years.  There’s no way to do it other than in real time, so it really took most of the day to transfer about 9 tapes.  There was also some time spent in trial and error, including trying to find a way to save to mp4, which I was unable to figure out.  And since I can’t figure it out just yet (I have to return the VCR on Monday, so I had limited time to troubleshoot), we won’t be getting rid of the originals.  We’ll just store them.  They don’t take up that much room.

Among the videos I transferred are three years’ worth of marching band videos, my high school best friend’s senior project, and our wedding video (because even though digital cameras existed when we got married, they weren’t used that often – all of our wedding pictures are analog, too).  I don’t know that I’ll ever watch all that stuff, but it’s nice to have it handy.

I’d like another weekend, though.  Can someone make that happen?

SO interesting, but where’s the rest?

I don’t remember how I stumbled onto this article in the Washington Post, but it’s about why most people don’t like the sound of their own voices AND why we don’t like pictures of ourselves.  It starts an explanation, but the article is too short!  I want more of this.  And why wouldn’t this article have more in it?  Are people really satisfied with that little?  I have questions!  I may have to actually google it myself (gasps of horror, please).  You know, later.

What’s to be nervous about now?

I got the go-ahead yesterday to tell my team about our plans.  FINALLY.  My boss, HR, the CEO, and the CFO are all being supportive.  (I haven’t spoken to the CEO and CFO, so I don’t know HOW supportive they are, but that’s irrelevant now.)  Yay!  So I wrote some notes yesterday, was nervous all morning, and met with Ben (my senior guy) just before lunch, where I blurted it all out with no regard for my notes.  Luckily, he understood what I was saying and doesn’t have any immediate concerns.  He’s the linchpin – where his mood goes, the team’s mood follows, so I need him to be positive about it, and he was!  Not over the moon, but why would he be?  I just need him to NOT think it’s a disaster.

So then I went to Wegmans to buy cupcakes so I can bribe the rest of the team into contentment when I tell them at our weekly meeting in….less than 90 minutes.   Updates to come.  Hopefully very boring updates.

Update: They’re fine!  They were outwardly supportive, at least, after they made sure I was NOT leaving them and they were NOT getting a new boss.  Which is sweet of them.

SO relieved.


John and I spent most of the drive to and from Awesome Con discussing who we would dress up as if we were ever to join the cosplay world.  I’m not saying we’re close to that or anything – if I had a favorite character in the whole wide world, I could see it happening, but I don’t feel that strongly about any of them.  (It’s the same kind of feeling I have about tattoos, only less permanent.)

But it is fun to think about it.  If I were going to stick with current Marvel characters, Peggy Carter would be a contender.  Not too hard – ’40s hair, blue suit, red hat.



Black Widow cosplay pretty much means a black spandex jumpsuit, and I just don’t see that happening.



Dr. Horrible, Amy Pond, Zoe from Firefly – I could do it, but I don’t feel like I have the devotion a lot of cosplayers have.  I’d be buying stuff, not making it…. For the time being, I’ll just keep appreciating everyone else.  Oh, like this little girl and her dad from Awesome Con.

Doctor and Dalek, like nature intended

Doctor and Dalek, like nature intended

A big welcome

Molly moved to DC a few days ago.  How happy was DC to have her?  So happy they threw a parade in her honor!  Or, coincidentally, the day we headed downtown to hang out with her also happened to be the day of the DC Gay Pride Parade!  Which was totally awesome.  We had to park 8 or so blocks away from her apartment (street closures), but that meant we could follow the parade route to her block, cheering and dancing the whole way.  (Well, I was.  John is not the dancing-at-parades type.)  And then, to our surprise, we followed the parade route ONTO her block, right past her front door.  But where was Molly?  Not on the stoop with her neighbors, whooping it up like any self-respecting young woman in her 20s.  No, she was napping and had NO idea any of this was going on right outside her front door.  In her defense, her apartment is on the back side of the building, and she swears that when she came back after a run to the store at 3:30, there was no sign that a parade was about to come through.

We gathered her up and followed the parade all the way to the circle (more dancing and cheering from us, of course, and I will admit to choking up a few times from the outpouring of love and support – it was great), and then veered off to find dinner, assuming (correctly) that we wouldn’t have too much trouble getting in someplace while the parade was still going on.

Dinner (French) was delicious.  All three of us had mussels – LOVE mussels.  We had another drink at a bar with a game theme (we played Scattergories), and then we headed home (after making sure Molly could find her back to her apartment – she’s a bit directionally-challenged).  Bed finally at 2am, and we slept until 10:30 Sunday morning.  I am not a young woman in my 20s.