Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Tooth-watch

Just a very quick post, too busy to post a lot and too tired. Will try to catch up tomorrow.

Charlotte cut her 12th tooth! Her lower left first pre-molar. So she has all 4 first pre-molars and all eight incisors!! No wonder she can eat whole pieces of meat and raw broccoli and apples right off the core. I need to get out her baby book and look these teeth and milestones up and write them in there.

Also she LOVES to grab things to "share" with anyone whose hands she can put things in, and she is a big fan of giving kisses. I love when she gives e a hug, then plants a baby kiss on my lips. She'll pull away, smile, and clap, she's so proud of herself. Anything that results in Mommy and Daddy smiling and saying, "Thank you, Charlotte!", she loves to do and claps when she does.

For Christmas one of her gifts was a counting book with beads. I've been showing her the numbers, saying them, and moving that number of beads. She now recognizes 1 and 2. Not too shabby for a baby just over a year old!

Bedtime now. I'm so freaking tired.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Almost Christmas!

Well, in the wedding rush Cody thought he paid the Internet bill, but didn't. When you've got FIOS, a day past gets it shut off. They're right, it wasn't paid as thought, so we're waiting until payday on Friday and iPhoning it until then.

Today has been semi-productive. I got a dress in the mail, actually made headway in housework thanks to Charlotte playing with the packaging for Cody's birthday present (I got him United Cutlery's Anduril, Aragon's sword as king), and now I'm relaxing for the first time in months. I've got smocking to do tonight, and not much else until after Christmas.

Back in ballet in January (also taking oceanography through the local college), then a couple more dresses for little miss Margaret, a Don Juan outfit, rainbow wedding gown, regency flannel gown, and some other stuff.

Also the post office told me that the overseas office has record of delivery on that order, signed by the client. So now she's basically threatening to drag me through mud if I don't pay her. I'll take a rep hit before caving to blackmail. So now I'm actually going to ignore a now-ex client. I hate doing it, but the other option is caving to blackmail, and I know I shouldn't.

I think we're among the only people who didn't pack under the tree with packages. It's been hard. I love shopping for people. But, until Charlotte is old enough to understand the fun in doing for others, we don't want to set her up for thinking the world is about her and buying her things. So far she does thing sharing us fun. We've turned it into a game, and she'll grab anything to give someone, and she will also share if asked, "Charlotte share?" Then she claps and smiles all proud of herself.

A few days ago we were watching the Michael Jackson documentary "This Is It," and she bounced up and down a couple times, turned in a couple circles, stuck her arms out to her sides, and gave a little yell. We were so proud. :-)

And one set of wedding pics is in the mail on the way to us! Can't wait to get them!

And we got a new cat. A grey Balinese, a large boy named Loki. More on him later with pics.

I'm tired of thumb-typing, so more later.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Tooth #11

Tooth #11 has come in, her lower right, is, whatever's fourth from center, the front-most molar-type tooth.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Birthdays~

Today is Cody's 28th, and tomorrow is my 30th!! Oh no! I'm about to be OLD!! Actually in a way, it feels like the start of a new book in life. The 20's saw many very hard times in my life, from loss of a parent to homelessness to near-death. Then it got very good at the end - Cody, baby, got my family and brother back, married... and those good things I am taking with me into a new decade. I can cut the rest loose and breathe.

Getting married!

It is also Cody's birthday today! Happy 28th to my fia- I mean, husband! Sounds so weird still to say that!!



Monday, December 6, 2010

Fairy Tale



Click HERE for the full write-up

Me and Charlotte



Her dress was a miniature version of mine, but all in one piece and with no boning or train. Otherwise the exact same design and fabrics!!

My brother and Charlotte

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Five days

I mostly finished my bodice last night, complete with the beads. Just need to attach the sleeves and closure. Oh, and get out two damned ink marks each about 6" long. Ugh. So today's agenda was to get the ink out and then more beading on my skirt. Maybe another 1,000 beads to go. Thousands of aurora borealis Swarovski crystals is stunning. I'll probably add some to my veil, which I made last night. I was also going to make the top tier of my wedding cake today. It's fruitcake because fruitcake gets better after a year, unlike other cakes that get nasty after a year, no matter how they're saved.

I didn't finish the fruitcake, but I've made some good progress on beading. With some persistence and a late night, I may be able to get most of it finished tonight, and the rest tomorrow night.

Tonight: Bead bead bead, iron hem

Monday: Finish beading, finish hem, button on waistband, sleeves, bodice closure, hooks to support skirt. Fruitcake!

Tuesday: Anything that didn't get done between Friday and Monday, eyes on Charlotte's dress, finish one of the flower girl sashes, tack Shell's sash to her dress, make a dress for Charlotte's birthday, corsages.

Wednesday: Charlotte has a dr's appt.,
then finishing centerpieces, get menus and programs printed and menus cut

Thursday: Make my wedding cake (yes!!), get vanilla bottles labeled, fruitcakes ribboned, clean the house!!

Friday: Get mails done, make dinner for Charlotte's birthday, any residual work for the wedding

Saturday: Breakfast with Santa, BS around until 11:30, get my hair done, get my makeup done, head to Santa Barbara and get dressed, try not to panic!!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Six days left to prepare

Well, tonight I'm making my veil, as soon as I post this. Struck off the list anyway.

Wednesday: Bead until I'm out of beads
Thursday: Beading as much as I can while at mother-in-law-to-be's house if I have any beads left (probably won't), design the menus for reception dinner and the ceremony program
Friday: Getting my hair done, marking the hem for my skirt,
starting/fittingmostly making my bodice, starting skirt hem
Saturday:
Trip to LA for more beads, bead bead bead my skirt, finishing skirt hem
Sunday: Bead bead bead my bodice
Monday:
Hem Charlotte's dress, buttons, make my veil
Tuesday: Anything that didn't get done between Friday and Monday, finish one of the flower girl sashes, tack Shell's sash to her dress, make a dress for Charlotte's birthday
Wednesday: Charlotte has a dr's appt.,
then finishing centerpieces, get menus and programs printed and menus cut
Thursday: Make my wedding cake (yes!!)
Friday: Get mails done, make dinner for Charlotte's birthday, any residual work for the wedding
Saturday: Breakfast with Santa, BS around until 11:30, get my hair done, get my makeup done, head to Santa Barbara and get dressed, try not to panic!!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Agenda for days remaining until the wedding

It's 10 days out from the wedding. Let's just say eight. Today's almost finished, and I'm not doing prep the day of. There are eight days BETWEEN now and then, eight days left to get a lot done. I'll be getting more beads on Saturday and still have a TON of work to do in that regard. I haven't even cut out the bodice of my dress.

Planned agenda:
Tonight: Bead until I'm out of beads
Tomorrow: Beading as much as I can while at mother-in-law-to-be's house if I have any beads left (probably won't), design the menus for reception dinner and the ceremony program
Friday: Getting my hair done, making the hem for my skirt, starting/fitting/mostly making my bodice, starting skirt hem
Saturday: Trip to LA for more beads, bead bead bead my skirt, finishing skirt hem
Sunday: Bead bead bead my bodice
Monday: Hem Charlotte's dress, buttons, make my veil
Tuesday: Anything that didn't get done between Friday and Monday, finish one of the flower girl sashes, tack Shell's sash to her dress, make a dress for Charlotte's birthday
Wednesday: Charlotte has a dr's appt., then finishing centerpieces, get menus and programs printed and menus cut
Thursday: Make my wedding cake (yes!!)
Friday: Get mails done, make dinner for Charlotte's birthday, any residual work for the wedding
Saturday: Breakfast with Santa, BS around until 11:30, get my hair done, get my makeup done, head to Santa Barbara and get dressed, try not to panic!!

Cody will be helping with the non-dress stuff, so he's not off the hook!! He is off for 10 days starting Wednesday.

Decided

I decided that I'm going to forge ahead with remaking the order, as the client originally agreed to (to top it off, I agreed she could keep both orders when/if the first shows up). She hasn't agreed to returning the first package if she receives a refund and then it shows up. I think I'm being fair with this. The post office hasn't yet declared the package a loss. If anyone wants to give me grief about this, I'll scan the customs receipt and tracking slip dated and stamped by the post office and direct any grief-givers to the usps.com site to see for themselves that it shipped.

Exhausted!

Well, I started beading Charlotte's dress again after taking off everything I already did. I had the bodice finished, but hated it, so off with them. Well, one Lord of the Rings trilogy later, I've finished the beading on her entire dress, with a bit of time in the trilogy to spare. Very pretty and sparkly. Just need to hem it, add some sort of buttons, and maybe sew in a light petticoat.

I'm almost out of the beads I need to finish my gown. Crud. At least the bank is straightened out now, so we've got our money back.

Now for the headaches.

The power steering in the car went out. Could be the serpentine belt, could be the pump needs to be replaced. At least, of all the things that can go wrong with the car, it's this. The car is still drivable.

Bigger headache is I made an order for someone in Europe, mailed it last month, got tracking on it, but it was only scanned once - when it was accepted. The post office on my end is supposed to try tracking it down. So far I've heard no news. Since I know she didn't get it (tracking would show she did), I was going to remake after my wedding if she didn't receive it before then, and she was fine with that. But she decided that since she didn't get it yet, that it means she was ripped off and wants a refund. Despite me having proof of shipping, which the post office doesn't give for thin air. She is the first client I've ever had who didn't receive what she ordered. It's not her fault, but it's not mine either. Still, even though it's not my fault and I have proof, I offered to remake everything as a rush by pushing back a dress I was going to be making as a gift. My contract states that lost orders will be remade, with a rush if possible. I think I should hold to my contract, forge ahead and remake the order, shipping via FedEx this time.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Macy's resolved!

Customer service tol me today, regarding not getting my gift cards credited back, that "that's just the risk you take when using gift cards online." This wasn't acceptable, so I went to Macy's in person, spoke with the homewares department manager, showed him the printouts from my account on macys.com and the UPS tracking showing Macy's received everything back to their warehouse in Arizona without it ever being delivered, and so he was determined to resolve this and said I'd been more than patient enough.

He called macys.com and spoke with a manager there, and was given the run-around. They agreed to issue a credit, but not until they process the return items, though they know the boxes were unopened, and that should be by the end of the week, and then they'd issue the credit, which would take 7-10 more days to process, and then a new order could be placed. The other manager told him I was welcome to place a new order, pay, and then wait to be credited. When the other manager said that, he went 110% to bat for me and straight up said I should not have to pay twice and wait around weeks more for them to fix their error when they had it in their notes that it was supposed to be redirected to me and instead was redirected back to them. But oh no, macys.com wouldn't budge.

So he spoke with the store manager to see what could be done since they don't carry the exact items I ordered in that store. The solution was definitely acceptable to me. Since it would be, in all likelihood, another month to get what I ordered online, and they didn't have the items, they offered comparable items, regardless of cost. Lee, the manager helping me, found the nicest comparable items they had. The best of the regular aluminum cookie sheets (non-stick makes sucky cookies unless you line it with parchment every time), the best roasting pan, etc.. In the end, what I got was about 3x what I originally paid, and better quality.

Lee at the Oaks Macy's, you rock, and you saved Macy's from losing a customer.

Once our bank account is credited from the second round of unauthorized Paypal transactions (this time on my debit card, which was on the account, and both are not cut and we're waiting for new cards), everything from last week that went wrong will be righted, and we're actually better off now than we would have been.

Yay, beads!

Well, I decided on another bead patter, and it looks AMAZING. After an all-nighter, I'd be finished if Charlotte hadn't woken up wanting to play.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Fiasco!

So the crystal beads I ordered for my gown back in October hadn't arrived. So I placed an order for some glass ones through a store in Washington, but before they could process, whoever's been in our Paypal account did it again, using my debit card that was on the account. So both our cards were cancelled and new ones ordered. Cue meltdown because first beads didn't arrive, second beads couldn't ship. Two weeks out and no beads. I went online to the garment district in LA to see what I could find, and found a place with Swarovski crystals for only about 3X what I paid for the first ones, so Theola (Cody's mom) and I went yesterday. We got back home, I checked the mail...and the crystals from October were there.

*wall, meet head*

So I stayed up late last night crystaling Charlotte's dress first, and finished the entire bodice, and...I don't like it. I'm actually pretty sure I hate it.

I'm also going to regret it if my mom's not at my wedding.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Oh geez

Well. What do you know. Today our serving staff for the lodge backed out. Well, it's a good thing we found the other place. AND! And our bank account was credited today for those Paypal charges.

So now we have a new venue with better food overlooking the ocean like I originally wanted and can have alcohol without additional permits and security fees (cash and carry, we are NOT paying for a night of drinking) and all staff and everything built in. We are saving money that can go toward helping our attendants if they need is. We're actually in a better spot right now than we were. Only difference is there's no dancing at the restaurant, but that's okay because we weren't planning it to be a dancing event.

So now tomorrow we go put don a deposit on the new venue and get things started on replanning the reception.

Also our new TV arrived yesterday. It's this sucker. It's replacing our Toshiba DLP. Back in its day, in the Long Long Ago of 2005, this sucker was considered a really nice HDTV. Now? Well 780i just isn't what it used to be. Or it is, but it's now old tech. We were watching Iron Man on it and, like a dork, I kept going, "Oh my god, did you see that? It's like he's not even on the screen!" Heh. And then Toy Story 3 in HD. Technically the TV is a combination wedding/birthday gift for Cody, but, to be fair, we both benefit equally. I think I'll get a Blu Ray player. :) Well, we. :)

All right, I still need to finish my gown and Charlotte's. Still. I'm about to place another crystal order since the one I placed a month ago hasn't arrived. My veil. A few centerpieces. Not much, just not much time left. :)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Okie-dokie!

So there was another attempt to withdraw money from our bank account via Paypal. Well, four of them. For over $1,000 total. I've regularly used Paypal with my bank, both to receiving and withdrawing payments, as well as for making payments, rarely for more than $500 at a time, and never for about a dozen transactions for over $2,000, and never for that much and then some past our bank account balance. So the manager at the bank is going to keep Paypal transactions frozen (fine with us!), and credit back the charges and fees today. This is a major relief!! After re-planning the reception last night, I feel like money's just been thrown at us!! We weren't planning to get it back.

And we're waiting to hear back from the events coordinator at one of our favorite ocean-viewing restaurants for the reception. If we can do that, amazing.

Now we're just dealing with Macy's still. They're still refunding to credit anything more than the $19.34 I paid by debit that was over the cost of the gift cards, and still saying I'm "welcome" to re-place the order and pay via debit at the current prices. Uh, no. I'm pissed off. That bakeware was supposed to be here yesterday. I planned tonight's dinner using one of the pans. Since it's one we don't have, I either have to refreeze a massive bird or go buy a pan locally.

Also Charlotte has poured some soy milk on the floor and is splashing around in it. She's happy, so I'm letting her. Thank goodness the floor is wood.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Well then!

We have figured out that it may be more cost-efficient to move the reception entirely, basically plan the whole thing from scratch 18 days out than to keep on track with what we were doing. Few enough people can make it that keeping it where it is right now would cost us about $120 per person, and the meal would be Italian. Moving it to a restaurant we love that has a private banquet room would cost us less than a third of that, and the meal choices would include prime rib and salmon, AND we'd overlook the ocean. We're waiting for a call back tomorrow to see if there is any minimum purchase for the room, if we can designate certain meal choices (the filet mignon/lobster combo, if everyone were to order it, would break the bank, and we can't pick and choose who can), and if we can nix alcohol from our tab. If so, then we'd be looking at spending less than just the remaining outstanding balance on the lodge. And we'd have enough left over to help the bridesmaid with the two flower girls and Cody's groomsman so they could all still be there with us!

Everything is falling apart

This has been a very bad day. The mildest of that Macy's screwed up an order I placed, sent it to the wrong address, promised eight times (I kept track) that it would be rerouted to me, but today it went back to the warehouse, and how they'll replace the order if I pay via debit for the full current amount. They said they're refunding what was paid via debit on the last order ($19 and change), but can't credit gift cards (another $100). Also I got everything on a Veteran's Day sale, and the price now is about $60 more.

Our Paypal account was hacked and our bank account charged down into the negative for it. If the credit union determines we couldn't have been more diligent in preventing being hacked, then we'll get some of it refunded, but if they think we could have been, we're on the hook for all of it. Worse, we do NOT have "courtesy pay" on the account, yet they allowed a couple transactions through AFTER it had gone negative. They bounces a third when in the negative, and the bounce fee is more than the "courtesy pay" fee! In the meantime, they will not do a courtesy credit and want us to deposit money to bring the account to 0 or higher. Um, no. Fuck you.

Also the wedding is falling apart. People are dropping left and right. Of the 3 bridesmaids, 1 bridesman, 2 groomsmen, 1 groomswoman, and 3 flower girls, at this point only the bridesman, groomswoman, and 1 flower girl (Charlotte!) can be there for sure. 2 bridesmaids are definitely out, the other doesn't know yet and the 2 other flower girls are hers, and both groomsmen are out (one was in a car accident today, but, thankfully, he's physically fine, though I don't think his car is). Various family members can't make it for various reasons, including very close ones. Right now we're at 36 yeses, including some of the people who've dropped out, taking our total to 30. Our venue is now way too large.

I'm so disappointed in everything right now.

And it doesn't help that the post office lost an order. A Titanic corset, the tea gown, flying gloves, boarding hat, and flying shawl. Order to France. The tracking shows it received by the post office, but from there, it's disappeared and they have no idea what happened to it. It was scanned only once, when it was received. So that's an order I'm remaking (obviously no charge to the customer), and it's not a cheap one either. Thankfully she's understanding and is still planning to place another order. It's just angering that this is the second package the post office lost this year. The first one was a loaner gown I was sending to someone, so it was my own gown.

I need a drink. I made one that my brother named Misty Mountainside. It's 1/3c vodka (I use Smirnov for this), 1/3c Kahlua, 1/3c Bailey's Irish Cream, 3 heaping tablespoons chocolate milk mix (Nesquik), and 1c milk. Yes, it's half alcohol. No, it doesn't taste like it. It tastes like a slightly warm chocolate milk. When Cody gets home, I'm having one. Maybe two. I need it. With today, I deserve it.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Ow

Not even 8am, and already Charlotte has knee-dropped onto my abdomen (VERY painful for me), pulled out a handful of my hair, bit a nipple hard enough to draw blood, poked me in the eye, and jabbed a finger into my nose hard enough to make me bleed. This is going to be a long day.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Seven years

Seven years ago today my dad died. It was a day that shattered many lives.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Of course the rain went away and left us with "nice" weather. Ugh.

It hit me about an hour ago that we have 25 days left. Oh my god. OH MY GOD. It doesn't feel like this is really happening, yet also doesn't feel like a lot of time. I'm in a state of near shock.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Rain rain stay here now!

We're finally getting a little more rain. I hope we get a ton, and that we get another thunder storm like the one we had a few weeks ago that went in non-stop for so long.

Today I got no sewing done. Instead we rearranged the laundry room, consolidated boxed and separated several for donation. Then I started organizing my sewing room at last, and moved several totes to the laundry room. It'll be nice to actually be able to sew in there. As a result of the cleaning, which I use loosely due to the disaster we made, we've got a pile 3' high of laundry in the family room. To be fair, it includes towels and blankets too. So much has been moved around today that I dread cleaning tomorrow. But at least the kitchen's done.

Charlotte is getting so big with 18mo-size clothing fitting her snuggly. She's beautiful, she's incredibly tall, and I think we may have a future-model on our hands, though this isn't what we desire. We hope to raise her to be a good, kind-hearted person rather than a model. Right now her favorite game is Share. If she's holding something, "Charlotte share?" and either take it from her or wait for her to give it. "Yay, Charlotte shared!! Mommy/Daddy share?" and give it to her. "Yay, Mommy/Daddy shared!! Charlotte share?" etc.. Usually now as soon as you start, she hands it over. She gets so excited when we go, "Yay, X shared!" and clap. Even her snacks she'll share if asked.

She also loves to take her little snacks and feed others. I can sit here with her and a few baby cheesy poofs, and she'll feed me one, so I'll feed her one. She looks so proud of herself putting food in our mouths. We think it's a good sign that she does to us the things we do to take care of her. We think it's good that she's learning to take care of others and that she is so happy for doing it. Lately she's also taken to grabbing one of our faces with her little hands and pulling it toward her, looking at us, smiling, then forehead-butting us and getting so excited she squeals. She's imitating us, only the squeal is her own. She's such a good, smart, sweet girl.

I've decided to make her flower girl dress out of the same fabric as my gown, pure silk duchesse satin and pintucked silk dupioni that I'll bead with Swarovski crystals. I'll start her gown probably Wednesday. As for mine, the corset is almost finished. Waiting for the boning, then I'll bind the bottom and add grommets, voila. After this, just hemming and beading the skirt, and the main outer bodice. I can't wait for it to be done.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Apple pi

The Facebook caption:

"Oh, Mom and Dad, you're lame, using an Apple phone to take a picture of an Apple pumpkin with an Apple TV in the background that you'll upload to the internet with an Apple computer."

Wedding stuff

Let's see. Two flower girl dresses are completely finished except for one sash. I still need to start Charlotte's.

One bridesmaid gown just needs to be hemmed and have the buttons put on. The other needs those but also the skirt to be cut and attached, and the sleeve bands put on.

I need to make the corset and bodice for my gown, not to mention hem and do the beading. The veil will be quick and easy. I got the pattern for the corset drafted tonight and will make it, minus the boning I need to order, tomorrow. I need to measure the channels to know the lengths to order, and then I'll make the bodice. That's lightly boned, so I may just order several lengths so I don't have to wait.

I need to start and finish one bridesmaid bouquet, the other and mine are both finished and even crystaled. I need to make a special outfit for my childhood stuffed bunny. More on that later.

I need to make three corsages, one for Cody's mom, one for my mom in case she actually shows, and an extra. The boutonnieres are finished.

These are the things I need to finish in the next 30 days. I'd say three weeks just so there's enough of a buffer for me to not go nuts. RSVPs are rolling in. It all feels surreal.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween and it's history

I actually wrote this post on January 23 and set it to post today. Chances are good that I've forgotten about it. It was written in response to this post and this post, both claiming Halloween is an evil Pagan holiday. I encourage you to read, or at least skim, them before continuing here.

It annoys the everloving hell out of me to see time and again people claiming that Halloween is evil, that it's a night of spells and witches flying around on broomsticks and trying to do magic with black cats. It involves none of these things, and in fact, Halloween as we currently know it...was started by a Christian society in very modern times, and even today it marks a holiday dearly held by Mexican Catholics, and the original Pagan holiday was nothing like it's been made out to be.

It annoys me how those claiming this is an evil holiday clearly have never bothered to look into the history of Halloween, why it came about, nor about the real Pagan holiday that's supposedly so evil, and these same people ignore that the celebrations of Christmas and Easter were both dated to fall over other Pagan holidays in an attempt to usurp them. The decorated tree at Christmas is a direct reappropration of the Yule tree. The halo, held so sacred, is a rip-off of the sun over the head of the sun god Helios.

Anyway here is the comment I posted, though I highly doubt it will be approved (when I see this post again when it posts, I'll go check).


Christmas trees are also Pagan in roots, part of the winter celebration of Yule, which is observed on the solstice. Jesus wasn't born in winter (there are no lambs in winter in the northern hemisphere, only in late spring and early summer), yet his birth is celebrated to overlap Yule? The time and the tradition of decorating trees were both taken from Pagans. But yet you celebrate his birth in the winter with a tree, correct?

The Pagan autumn holiday is Samhain, which has nothing to do with witches and sorcery. It's simply a day celebrating the dead as animals were traditionally slaughtered for meat through the winter. It is also a day for reflection and accepting that there are things over which we have no control, such as death. There are no black cats or people flying on broomsticks. That is purely an invention only going back to the Victorian times.

Those godly Victorians were obsessed with death for a while (notice how death-lockets and rings were immensely popular and that dark, gothic architecture was on the rise?). Samhain, or Hallow's Eve, or Day of the Dead (which is widely celebrated by Mexican Catholics as a day to remember the dead) were never macabre holidays with ghosts and goblins. Thank CHRISTIAN Victorians for this idea, and it wasn't meant to be demonic among them.

Even though death isn't supposed to be seen as a bad thing (getting to go to the heavenly father and be in his arms, right?), somehow a celebration of the lives of those who have gone is seen as wrong. What kind of a message is this? That death (and subsequently going to god) is something that should be avoided?

Even Easter overlaps Ostara, which is celebrated as the beginning of spring. It is the celebration of the return of color to the world. According to history, including the bible, Jesus died in what is now called June. So why is his death celebrated in spring if not to usurp a Pagan holiday? The holiday in June, Litha, isn't celebrated among all sects, nor even most, so nothing to usurp there. The nearest holiday otherwise, Beltane, in May, is widely avoided by Christians due to its strong free-love nature. Yes, the May Pole is indeed intended to be phallic, and the streamers and dancers represent fertility. Somehow this has never stopped the great Kings and Queens of England, defenders of the faith, from celebrating spring with a May Day complete with May Pole.

If you're going to disrespect the Pagans, please do it in a way that uses facts about their holidays and correct history rather than myths. If you want to avoid any holidays connected in any way with Paganism, then you should petition for Christmas to be moved to spring (and no more decorated trees either!) and Easter to June. Otherwise there is no way around these holidays being connected with Pagan holidays. Since the connection with Paganism seems to be your biggest gripe with Halloween (while ignoring the religious aspect of the day and celebration by Mexican Catholics), I don't see how you don't find fault with Christmas and Easter.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Teeth-watch!!

Yesterday Charlotte got her upper fight first molar and today she got her upper left first molar. She's not even 11 months and has 10 teeth.

Also last night I got the skirt to my wedding gown started, and aside from the hem and crystals, it's finished, and I'm so excited!! I also got the bodices for the bridesmaids halfway finished. The flowergirls' dresses are finished, and the flower-princess's dress I still need to start. Can't share pics because family reads this blog, and only a few people get to see before the big day! 35 days away. Holy cow.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

L...O...L

Got a humorous text. Still obsessing, are you, sf_d? Why I'm flattered that you STILL have nothing better to do with your lives than watch mine. At this point, I think the evidence is clear that the ones who are mentally messed are you guys. You're hanging on to my every word, and I'm actually living a life independent of watching the details of others' lives.

Yup...my baby's fake...so, so fake...that we've even been in the newspaper and on televised news together. :) I posted about that earlier this year, complete with links.

Because I know you're dying to know, things are, for the most part, going very well. The exact opposite of how things were a year ago today. I have a pretty enviable life, and I love it. I promise pictures of my wedding, and hell, I might even make a sock-puppet account to post to make sure you didn't miss it, since you're so obsessed and all. Have a good night!

So very busy

Wedding's in just over a month, and we're busy buys BUSY like crazy. The list of what we're (I'm) DIYing is longer than what I'm not. We got the invitations off today, and Cody did some of the layout and I cut the damned things and assembled them and got the crystals on them. Took three days.

I got the flower girl dresses made except for Charlotte's. Got the jewelry made. The rest of the fabric for my gown got here yesterday. Got most of the "flowers" done. Quotes because we're using something other than flowers. Half the centerpieces are done. For the obvious reason that I don't want my family and friends to see everything before the day, I'm not posting pictures until afterward.

When I have time for a better update, I'm going to share pics of the Dolley Madison gown I made...entirely...by...hand. Yeah, hand-sewn. Even took that sucker to Missouri with me. As soon as the wedding is over, it's back to working on orders, starting with some circle-skirt dresses for a little cherub, then some more gowns for a lady in France. I am booked solid for several months. I can fit in a few basic dresses, but nothing major. Gotta admit, I like it. Repeat-clients get priority space, but I'm having to turn down orders at this point.

For now, have some pics of Charlotte.

A couple weeks ago at the mall, I tried getting a picture of her in a dress I got her from a seller on etsy (yeah, I do sometimes buy he things made my other sellers - I like to support other artisans the way I like to be supported by others). Well, this was the best of the lot. :)


Weekend before last, her uncle, my brother, came out for a visit. First time we'd seen each other in nearly seven years. He looks exactly the same! We smack-talked like we were kids again, I whooped his ass in Street Fighter II (don't let him make you believe otherwise =D), went to DIsneyland only to find out they closed too soon after we got there for a stupid special event for it to make sense to drop the dough for a ticket, and just caught up. I hope so much he can come out for the wedding.

Charlotte took to him. She was smitten. She doesn't usually fall asleep on people who aren't me. But when we went to Apple to pick up Cody:


A couple nights after her uncle left, she fell asleep in his picture. :)


Last Sunday Cody, Charlotte, Cody's mom, and I, went to a pumpkin patch. Family pic! She was squirming to get down.


"Now look here, Mom and Dad, it's going to me MY way. First I'm going to go over there." (Oh, SHE CAN WALK!!)


"Pumpkin. Pumpkin? Pumpkin."


"Yay, pumpkin!"


Thinking to herself. Such a sweet baby.


Pretty girl!!


A couple weeks ago, I tried to get some good pics of her in a tulle tutu I made and a necklace I made. She wasn't interested.


She is such a pretty girl. I love her eyes. She literally looks like a doll sometimes.


Since her night terrors have started, we've had many long nights. This was 2:30 in the morning I think five days ago.


And now that she's asleep for tonight (maybe, hopefully) I'm going to finish my bouquet, the remaining bridemaid bouquet, some corsages, and at least get the bridesmaids' gowns cut out.

Monday, October 11, 2010

My mom moved in a week ago from this past Saturday. Things went well. She was like the mom I had and loved as a kid. Helpful, funny, sane, creative, fun! She was designing the wedding centerpieces and doing a damned good job. I have ordered a deep red silk to make her a gorgeous mother-of-the-bride outfit, easy to fit in since one of my bridesmaids can't make it and so I was going to make my mom's dress in place of that one.

The this morning I woke up, she had made trail mix, was fine, then suddenly she went apeshit over the AppleTV remote being lost (we don't have cable, so that remote is the only think to control Netflix on the TV) and me eating a handful of trail mix (as she told me to) before looking for it. Tomorrow morning she is leaving back to Winton. Supposedly those people who don't even buy shampoo and won't take her to her medical appointments if I don't wire money every few days take better care of her than I do. My brother is coming out Thursday. To see her. She's not going to be here. She won't even wait a few days to see her son who she hasn't seen in seven years. She's off her Zoloft and won't get it filled (I'm willing and able to pay out of pocket for it) because she's unbalanced enough to irrationally say no. So without it, she won't get balanced. She won't get balanced because she won't get it filled. Lovely catch-22.

I was told not to. Everyone told me not to. But she's physically sick with something she couldn't have caused. And I didn't want to leave her to fend for herself physically ill to the point of disabled. So I tried, and was willing to let her stay here as long as she needed and asked nothing at all in return. And it's not enough. She's focused on what she perceives to be my shortcomings and where she thinks she's not getting enough help rather than focusing on what we have done and were going to continue doing.

The worst part for me is Charlotte adores her. She's going to walk out on the baby who prefers to go to her over me pretty often. It's going to hurt Charlotte that the grandma she is now used to seeing every day suddenly won't be around because a cockroach-infested house with people who I have to bribe to take her where she needs to go are more important. You walk out on Charlotte once, you don't get a second time. My daughter comes first.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Isn't she so sweet?

Let me share this really quick. So earlier I was trying to take pictures of a necklace I made, and had Charlotte outside with me. She kept reaching for it, so I put it on her. This is how happy she was!!




And yesterday I stepped out of the living room for a moment. I'd just cleaned it. I came back two minutes later to...this. Look at her! LOL!

Overwhelmed

I'm never going to have time to recap Missouri, am I?

Tomorrow my mom will get here. Hopefully we can her her disability figured out so she can get the care she needs as well as her own little apartment. Being here isn't intended as a long-term solution unless necessary. None of us want long-term. But none of us want her dead.

Busy as hell with sewing and wedding stuff.

And the IRS has decided, again, that we owe more taxes. We can't keep doing this. I'm about to scream.

Of to sew more on the Dolly Madison dress.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Here is a article from this morning about Mykle.

Not good

A friend of a friend of mine went missing in the mountains today. Very bad day. Unseasonably hot and miserable, even my my central-valley-girl standards. He was found, and it's not as hoped. Best thoughts tonight for the family and friends of Mykel Sargent.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Home!

Long week, but a great one. I'm too tired today to type much. I got home so late on Thursday. The plane was on time, almost. 9:45 versus 9:30. But the airport was a clusterfuck. All the luggage came out the wrong baggage claim, it was so much more crowded and nuts than my aunt has ever seen it, the shuttle to the long-term lot never came by. We had to wait for one of those taxi-vans instead to get us back to the car. I think we got to the car around midnight. Got home even later.

So I'm home now, just trying to catch up on rest and school. Will type everything up later.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

So there's the good.

On Thursday I'll be leaving, with Charlotte, to see my dad's side of the family I haven't seen in years, since the day of his memorial seven years ago. My aunt Sandy, Dad's oldest, though still younger, sister, is also going out. I see Sandy every couple months now. This'll be little Charlotte's first plane ride! I'm planning to not feed her for three or four hours before the flight (yes, she'll be mad), then to give her some Benadryl and feed her once on the plane to help her sleep and pop her ears with the pressure change.

I'm not quite sure what to expect out there. One of my cousins has sent me some rather nasty messages via Facebook, and her mom has always terrified me. Let's just leave it at that. But I've always adored my grandma (we've got a lot in common), and one of my cousins has a baby six weeks younger than Charlotte. Speaking of Charlotte, lookie at how big she's getting!! Lookit that smile!



A few days ago this child dropped a dolly in favor of an ethernet cable that was on the floor. Yeah, she's ours, all right. :) She's even an apple fan. Proof!





LOL! See? I was putting groceries away and heard a rustle and looked down and she had pulled out an apple and was eating it. Yeah, she's a naked-butt-baby there. She gets nakie-time every day. It's good for the skin, and what can I say, she's never had a single case if diaper rash.

I've been working on sewing a lot, right now hand-sewing a reproduction of an original Dollie Madison gown for the woman commissioned to portray Dollie at the Dollie Madison house. 100% silk velvet (as opposed to the typical 18% silk/82% rayon usually found and passed as silk velvet), very high quality cotton muslin, the lining will even be dual-colored like the original. Last night I was sewing a sleeve to its lining and was too tired. I sewed the cap of the lining to the bottom of the silk. I realized I should stop for the night. So I did. :)

School's going well. Huh? What's that? School? Oh yeah, that. I decided to get a dance degree, an A.A.. I don't think I can justify the expense of transferring to a 4-year for a B.A. when I don't have any clear goals. I might teach ballet at some point, maybe not. I've really just getting the A.A. for me. RIght now I'm in ballet and am taking dance history. That damned dance history class takes about 12 hours a week and is just three credits. On the plus side, a lot of the work is the same as for the dance appreciation class, another required class also worth three credits, so I can just turn in the same assignments, but with the benefit of already having instructor-input. :) Yes, that's allowed. It's my work both times. I'm not really looking forward to the general ed classes, so will try to test out of those.

The instructor I've got for the ballet class now danced professionally many years, and she runs the studio more like it's a pro-class, which is awesome. Many instructors of adults don't. But she does. Nancy's a fantastic instructor. More here about her, though you have to scroll down.

I'll remain in ballet for the foreseeable future, and will add jazz, tap, and a few others.

The wedding is in fewer than three months and we've done almost nothing. Oops! No worries. As long as the invitations get out, nothing else is a big deal.

Oh, and on Wednesday, Cody, Charlotte, and I, are going to Disneyland. may as well get some use out of our season passes. :) It'll be Charlotte's first time, and I need a day of unwinding. Right now I'm doing little more than school, sewing the Dollie dress, and working on that French lady's big order. Well, I not know the country code for France is 33. :) I'll probably be sewing on the plane as long as Charlotte doesn't throw a fit and will sit with Sandy. I need to find a baby "sewing kit." She's fascinated with sewing stuff, and is riveted watching me sew.

The good, the bad, and the ugly. Well, the good is the next post.

Wow, it's been a while since I've updated.

Let's see. Let's get the bad out of the way, starting with the most minor.

I sold a couple bracelets via a charity auction. The winners sent payment directly to the charity, as was supposed to happen, so I see no money at all and pay shipping and everything. This was expected. Well the winner of one of them is dragging me through the mud because her bracelet hasn't arrived yet. She's in Australia, and the post office here said the bracelets probably got caught up in customs. The addresses were formatted right, but they were declared as jewelry (the proper declaration for a business expense) rather than gifts. Gifts apparently sail right through as long as the value is declared as a small amount, and the post master said a lot of people do this, and the US postal service doesn't really care. The US postal service doesn't get any of the customs money other countries charge. But is I mis-declare as a gift, then I can't write it off a business expense. Since the pearls for the bracelets are bought with my business ID, they need to remain as part of business. Sending them as gifts makes them a personal use of business supplies.

Anyway I told the lady I'd go ahead and buy more pearls and make her a new bracelet. I ordered them as a personal expense (they're natural pearls, this wasn't cheap), and am waiting for them to arrive. They come from Japan, which takes a couple weeks. They should be here this week. Anyway she's dragging the through the mud on Facebook, which has me pissed off. Customs are beyond my control, and so is the shipping time from Japan to California.


Our ex-landlords want more than $4,000 from us. They want us, among other things, to pay for carpet replacement (remember that carpet that's over 30 years old and threadbare in a few spots?) as well as for a new driveway. Not gonna happen. Yeah, the driveway has cracks and some oil spots. It's the original driveway from when the house was built in the 50's. They are literally trying to redo the house at our expense. They said they'll sue us if we don't pay up. Time for hardball. We were considering just letting it all go until that letter. So we've filed in court first. Now they'll be the counter-filing defendants.


My mom's also doing very bad. She had a heart-attack and it's irreversibly damaged a part of her heart. This is very bad news. While she may finally get disability now*, it might be to late. The surgery to remove the tumors would require stopping her heart. This may now be too risky. They'll have to restart a damaged heart, so we don't know if it can be done yet. Her pancreas, where the tumor started, has pretty much shut down. And there's the possibility of cancer. Cancer is a cell mutation, and with what she has with that tumor, cancer can happen because of that. Well, there's the possibility of cancer. She's supposed to get a mammogram and biopsy done, which can be done in the country where she currently is on her county coverage. The tumor can't be removed there. The doctors at that two-bit hospital don't have the skills, but would be happy to try. The doctors who staff the ER have already do NOT let the surgeons on that hospital do it.

*Here's a perfect argument for universal health coverage. When this tumor was first diagnosed, the estimated cost of removal was about $20,000. Since my mom wasn't working, the hospital wouldn't do the surgery and allow payments. No income = where will payment money come from? I'm not the patient, so they wouldn't talk to me about it. It also would have been pretty easy. Now it's going to be closer to $200K, and her chance of living has gone down significantly. The judge is also considering retroactive disability payments going back to March 2008. So 31 months. At even $1,000/mo, that's still $31,000. It's based partially on how much was paid in, and my mom payed in an incredible amount. So to get out of a $20,000-surgery, the government/taxpayers may now be shelling out close to a quarter million, not including the money she'd get from this point on since she'll be out of work for a long time still.

So is not having universal really saving any money?

When I get back next week, we're going to bring my mom down here. Where she is right now isn't really any place to stay long-term. She's with a mother and her adult son right now, and the son is an asshole, but she puts up with it to not be sleeping on the street. To control her, this jerk threw away all of her possessions and clothing. She has nothing of her own anymore.

Okay, the good gets its own post.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Moved!

Whew! It has been a busy couple weeks. Holy cow, we got the house just 16 days ago, and already we've moved and are half unpacked! Unfortunately this whole rotten string of events has pushed my schedule back and will force me to run right up against deadlines. I've got the Dollie Madison repro gown in 100% silk velvet, three Alice in Wonderland dresses (thankfully these will be extremely easy), and some Titanic repros, the boarding hat, corset, tea gown, and flying gloves and shawl (in varying stages of doneness), in the next several weeks. Dollie is needed in-hand in Vermont by October 2nd for a major event, the Titanic things ship by October 22nd (pending final payment for two of them, but the other three can go), and there's no set date for the Alice dresses. I had hoped to have them finished by the end of this month, but, well, all the time for sewing went to finding a new house and moving.

I've decided to slowly, as in over the rest of my life, work toward a dance degree. So right now I'm enrolled in dance history, and I'll find out tomorrow night if I can get off the waitlist for ballet fundamentals. The school required starting all dance classes with fundamentals, no matter what, and this one is required. Since I'm still recovering a bit from surgery, still can't bend back, a basic class would be beneficial anyway. The history one is a bit annoying since we're supposed to see stories in everything, but I firmly believe that sometimes dance choreography is simply about what looks pretty. A kaleidoscope doesn't tell a story, but the patterns look nice, and that's the point. So now I'm having to feign finding depth and basically talking out my ass. I feel like Harry Potter in Madame Trelawny's class, making stuff up that he knows she wants to hear.

And now. New house!! You might remember the old yard. Here is the new!

The front yard isn't huge, but it's pretty, and gardening is included. There are herbs growing in the center!



This cherub statue is what you see going to the back yard. Yay, pool!!


To the left is a small area that can be used for gardening. The white iron gate leads into the dog run from that side. It goes all the way around the pool.


The stairs there are removable so that Charlotte can't climb up them is she manages to escape from our line of sight. I just know some of you readers are sitting there hoping she falls in the pool and drowns, and you should be ashamed of yourselves.



Here is the family room.

The baby rug was a gift from one of Charlotte's great-grandma's. It's in the family room since this is where Charlotte plays more than anywhere else in the house, so it pads the tile floor in case she falls. That trunk under the window I got free up in Cupertino. Someone in the apartment complex was throwing it out. It's an authentic, century-old steamer trunk, but the hinges have rusted shut. Eventually I'm going to find some way to get it open. I think it's empty, but still I want to see.


That bookcase has a window cling I put on it when I was 15 years old. Cripes. That rocking horse was a free acquisition on Freecycle. It's a real solid oak rocking horse. I've got it sanded, and still need to stain it.


That bassinet has been used so much, and still gets used.


The view out the double-paned windows.



I also finished Charlotte's room, except for the painting of her walls.

Going into her room.


I love those curtains. A set in mauve hang in front of the window. This is much nicer and girlier than closet doors. I've never been much of a fan of doors. They always go off track. That rocking chair is another Freecycle find, and I dyed the cushions purple when that was going to be the color scheme. So now it doesn't match. Oh well.


This is a Japanese tea set from the 50's I got for her at Rose Story Farm when we went with my aunt and some of her friends.


The crib converts into a toddler- and full-size bed.


Instead of a drop-side, it's got a gate-top that requires two hands to open. There are latches on both sides, so a baby can't accidentally make it come down. She's never actually slept in this crib. She still sleeps with us.


I didn't make the bedding. This is the Daniella set by Cocalo. We've got a bunch of the other stuff too, like the lamp, though the light switch plate and a few other things we got were custom items.


That was Cody's dresser when he was younger. On top are my Titanic Rose doll and Cinderella Happily Ever After doll, both from Franklin Mint.


And the castle lamp my grandma made me when I was a little girl. The top comes off to let out more light.


Finally, this will hang on the outside of her door when I get sticky-backed hooks. This was an etsy-find.



Well, more pictures will come as we finish more rooms. Kitchen and bathroom are finished, just need pics. I should take one of my sewing room as it is now. Packed to the gills.

We're thrilled with this place. Get this - we're shelling out $300 less per month for it, AND we're so close to Cody's work that he can bike to work, and even driving every day saves us over $200/mo in gas. Hell yeah!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Housing update

Well, we didn't get the house. Oh well. We found out Wednesday of last week that we make it to the final round, us versus another couple, but they got it. The landlords were worried about our stability because - get this - we're not yet married but have a baby already. Okay, and since when does being married prevent splits? And we let them know that our baby was planned and why we had her before putting money toward a wedding. Oh well though. Their loss. We're tenants who except for this month, pay our rent.

So we had time to kill, what with Cathy making us be out all the time and all. So we whipped out our iPhones and checked Craigslist and decided to check a couple houses. One ended up sucking, didn't feel homey. One is a Cape Cod style house with a pool and tile and is gorgeous and includes gardening and pool-keeping. We talked to the lady who lives in the guest house for a long time. She's rented for eight years, and we take it as a good ting if someone wants to keep with the same people. (She's going to continue living there.) We applied. Sunday we found out we got it! WOOT! So five days ago we got the house, and now we move next Wednesday.

It's even got a proper dog run, so the girls will have a safe place to go run around and play without worrying about them running out the door or anything while moving stuff in. I'm excited that we're going to have both a living room AND a family room! It's also so close to Cody's work that he can bike it. This will save us about $250/mo in gas (not to mention wear and tear on the car - we've blown the head gasket, blown the radiator, and burned though a set of brakes, all since just May going over that damned grade all the time), plus we'll be shelling out $300 less in rent. So we'll save $550 right off the bat! Oh, and a massive Joann's is a mile away rather than the 25 I have to drive now! The landlady is also taking care of some safety things regarding the pool for us so that it'll be safe for Charlotte, as in inaccessible to Charlotte. The place isn't huge. our bedroom will just fit our California king bed and one of the nightstands, and it's got one bathroom versus the two (molding, rotting, holes in the walls, tub that doesn't drain properly) bathrooms we have now, but it's got the family room, is clean, and not only are there smoke alarms, but she even has a carbon monoxide detector, which isn't required by law, as an extra safety precaution due to having a gas range. Awesome or what?

What was that? Not paying rent this month? Oh hell no. If we have had to be out more days than we've been allowed, we're putting that money toward the deposit on the new house. The landlords have given us a 3-day notice to quit, which is improper. So once they file an unlawful detainer, I'm filing either a motion to quash or a demurrer. An unlawful detainer required proper 3-day service, and non-payment of rent is a curable condition, so a 3-day must give the option to cure. However, even if she had done it right, violating the implied warrant of habitability is a legal defense for not paying rent. Landlord retaliation is as well. We've sought legal counsel from a couple landlord-tenant attorneys, and we have legal defense to a proper 3-day, and the improper 3-day is invalid anyway. We also have five separate actions against Cathy in small claims, and we're going to pursue it. Without a doubt she's going to try suing us for rent for this month and she's already told me she's going to replace the carpet in here at our expense (it's from the 70s and was horrifyingly gross when we moved in, not clean as it should have been), so filing first and being proactive will work in our favor too as it will show that our actions aren't retaliatory. We'll file Monday and include our moving expenses, basically waste no time.

We're at the point in moving right now where we're scrounging for food in the house and eating out a lot because we don't want to have dished in use. I hate this point of moving. Oh well. I've dropped down to 119 pounds from the stress. Let me clarify - I was 119 after eating an entire German chocolate cake with and entire can of coconut pecan frosting and four cups of tea this afternoon. Not good, probably explains why I have no energy. But it's hard getting the right calories when we're not cooking. This means license to pork out next weekend! And then lounge by the pool! Well, not really, I have to get my sewing room unpacked since I DO have dresses that need to be made NOW, as in should have been finished by my timeline, but are actually not needed for a couple more weeks. 3 dresses in I think it's 18 days. But I can do it. I did SEVEN bridesmaids dresses in 29 days!

Off to bed, off to bed. After a salad.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

A well-meaning friend asked via Facebook why on earth we moved here. When the lease was signed a few weeks prior, Cathy (I was misspelling it with a K) promised the inside-stuff would be taken care of prior to move-in and the yard within weeks. We were supposed to move in February 1st and paid for the month in full. Staying at the other place was $175 per day after the vacate-day. Understandable. They start advertising right away, and not vacating puts them behind and they can't deliver to new renters.

Well, we didn't move in the 1st, didn't get a walk-through either. Her fucking chain-smoking-in-the-house brother-in-law hadn't moved out! But she kept calling Cody's mom asking why we weren't moved in. Um, because it wasn't vacant, Bitch. Finally, on the 6th, six days late being out of our other place, we waits outside and waited for David to pack up his shit and get the hell out. That was the first time we say the "finished" inside.

I've had idiots ask here why we didn't refuse to move in. Who was going to pay for us to move somewhere else? We had paid to move here. We didn't have money to move somewhere else. We were stuck.

That first night it ended up freezing, and we found out the wall heater works for shit. I wanted to cry. It was so cold I literally had to fight to keep myself from crying. It was too cold to really sleep, and Cody worked that next day, so Charlotte and I went with him because the car has a heater and I couldn't stand how cold it was in the house and was worried Charlotte would get sick. We decide to grin and bear it and maybe things would get better, though that night did make me wonder if I'd be able to put up with a full winter here next year.

Well, I called a few times to get things fixed, like the toilet in one of the bathrooms (the one with holes in the wall) being loose from the floor, and Cathy had the gall to chew me out and tell me WE needed to take care of these things ourself. That was fixed, but it took convincing to get it done. It took a couple months to get a fan put in above the indoor grill, and it ended up being one too inadequate for the grill to be safe to use. When we tried calling about getting a new door knob put in (Cody's mom and step-dad were going to pay a professional to do it, but because it would have required a structure-change to the door due to the type and age of the existing nob latch location [who knows why the hell all the internal components were removed]), despite multiple calls, they never called us back, so we didn't have it done. That would have risked them claiming damage. I suspect they were hoping we'd do it anyway so they could both claim damage as well as have a new, functioning latch.

The first time they touched the yard was a few days after I got out of the hospital, so May 7th, and that was only because someone complained to the city. Yes, the yard looks a lot better now than it did, and those pictures I posted are the "cleaner" yard. We didn't realize before moving in that, legally, a clean yard is required of the landlord before having tenants move in. After getting the yard "clean" enough to stop the complaints, they never came back, though they told us they would be back soon to get the stuff out of there. That obviously didn't happen.

By the end of May, we decided we'd give it until the end of the lease, with is December 31st, ask for a 2-year lease renewal, and THEN press for what we had found out were our rights. We had a feeling then that if we did before the lease was renewed, that Cathy would retaliate. We really didn't want to move again. We wanted to make it work. We had Charlotte's room repainted and the wood on the walls stained a nice, even color, were planning to put in an irrigation system for the avocado trees, were even going to talk to Cathy when we paid July's rent about replacing the carpet on our own dime (that bitch messed up but *telling* me on June 26th that they were going to replace the carpet out of our deposit because "it looks old now" - well, ya think? it''s 35-fucking-years-old, it IS old, and it looks its age!).

Well, Cathy's lies to me that nearly got us in criminal trouble regarding stray cats was the final straw. If that shit is fun and games to her, we're going to play hardball. It was then that we decided we'd break our lease if she didn't straighten up. And sure enough, she retaliated, and then was stupid enough to give us proof. In writing. And then to give us more ammo by writing a 24-hour notice (the first she's ever done, despite multiple requests) for us to be out every single day this week from 9am until 5pm to take some mesh over a hole in one of the walls where mice have been coming in, switch out a dryer vent, and replace a piece of glass. For that, she wants us out a full 40 hours. She she also gave us proof of her unreasonableness.

She wants to deprive us of at least a week of the house (I say "at least" because the notice said a new notice would be served "weekly"), and, combined with the notice of non-renewal, it's a clear case of malicious retaliation. She's trying to get us to move out, and even wrote in her notice that we can move early. So she's depriving us of use of our home for a full week so far, and will continue doing so, and gave us permission to move. Easy conclusion.

So, to re-cap, inside repairs were promised before move-in, and we didn't get to do a walk-through because Cathy's brother-in-law wasn't gone, and the yard was supposed to be done within weeks of us moving in, but wasn't.

Yet the only thing that stresses me is waiting to hear about this house we really want in another city. If we don't get it, we know we have more time, but there will likely be the added stress of her trying to evict because we're not going to pay August's rent. We will not pay for time we don't get to use the house. However the law explicitly protects renters who withhold rent for purposes of housing violations needing repair. Under the circumstances, any attempt at eviction would only be seen as more proof of retaliation. We'd have to go to court sooner than we plan, but we would win. Regardless, at this point we will be suing her. The law, as written, clearly gives each plaintiff (me, Cody, and Charlotte) the right to $2,000 per retaliation attempt, in addition to other damages, and a rent abatement for property we paid for and didn't get to use. There's also no way she'll willingly give our deposit back.

Despite a bit of obvious stress, I'm actually pretty happy. If we can get that other house, it'll be $400 a month less in rent for a beautiful, clean place with hardwood floors, a yard that is currently being landscaped, a landlord who's been a landlord for 25 years, and we wouldn't have the damned freeway going through our backyard. From the living room, at the front of the house, I can look through the windows and see big rigs and cars zooming by. It's about 20 yards from the kitchen/dining area windows. Yes, that close to the house. It's loud. I am actually pretty damned happy Cathy's pulling this crap. It would have been great if she had abided by her promises regarding the repairs and clean-up here, but oh well. I'll take the money we're, far more likely than not, going to be awarded, and a nice, beautiful house in a quiet area.

Random post of randomness

We saw a house yesterday and applied. I think we may get it. We found out today we're being "seriously considered," so fingers crossed!

Pictures of random stuff! And people. More people! I love what his iPhone does.

Just me in the car, fudged a bit with Camera+.


Cody at the Brewery.


Charlotte. Duh. Right before I dropped my last iPhone. Even her smiles weren't enough that day to keep me from shaking.


A Hipstamatic pic of Cody at the Brewery.


Mike.


Avery.


A Hipstamatic photo and a Camera+ photo of the flowers on the table.