Tuesday, January 20, 2015

We Own A House... Now What?

Twenty days in and this is only my first post for the new year. Good thing I didn't go and make a resolution about blogging more consistently for 2015... heh... heh... (*scratches "blog more consistently" off New Year's resolution list*). In my defense, it's mostly because we don't have internet set up at the new place yet. That and we're now so far away from civilization even our data coverage is close to non-existent most of the day.

So, yes, as you may have picked up, we have moved and have now officially joined the ranks of "homeowners". Now we just have to clear off that mortgage over the next thirty years or so and it's all ours. Just in time for the kids to kick us out into a retirement home and start fighting over it.

Can't wait.

As cool as it is to finally become a homeowner, in the end you still have to go through the whole process of moving and that's always fun. Isn't it? (NOTE: By "fun" I actually mean a huge barrel of suck... You probably already knew that.) You have your packing, heavy lifting, unpacking, exhaustion, aches, pains and stuff that gets broken. Yeah... fuuuuunn! (See earlier note.) We did that over the Christmas weekend which means we were too busy doing all that stuff I mentioned earlier and too broke to really celebrate Christmas (alcohol was consumed, though).

When the dust settled and we finally got some sleep (about a week after we moved in), we then had time to sit and take it all in.

Homeowners...

Us!

The novelty wares off soon enough though. Right around the time when you realize the last ounce of dependency you had on others is gone. Before, if you lived with your parents or, as in our case, you were a renter, you knew there would be certain things beyond your control. Leaky roof? call the landlord! Faulty plumbing? Get that landlord on the phone! Pest infestation? Better get the landlord to call in an exterminator.

Now we're on our own, when it comes to taking care of our house and all of its needs. If you stop to think about it too long it can be a little daunting. Needless to say, I'm trying not to think about it too much (seems like a viable strategy...)

Speaking of which, that leaking (READ AS: "gushing") shower faucet issue I mentioned the last time, yeah, we're trying to sort that out. Surprisingly, the agency responsible for the houses is actually saying they'll arrange to have the contractors come in and sort it out. Now we just have to see how long that takes to happen.

In other news: Kawaii's adjusting well after the move. She did get really sick the first night and we were more than a little worried but she eventually pulled through and, a few days later, she was back to her old self (cue the obligatory cute puppy pic). 
"I know you trimmed around my eyes like half an hour ago but... it grew back."
Unlike at the old place, where she spent all her time indoors due to our former neighbors', not-so-friendly (or clean) dogs that already occupied the yard, here she gets to go out every day (on a leash until we put a fence up). I've even started taking her for walks around the block (I feel so suburban now you would not believe), which she loves.

She's also taken an interest in the of local wildlife (READ AS: "bugs") which our new area has in copious amounts. And, since they often find their way inside the house, she has plenty of opportunities to examine them... after she chases them down, swats them to death with her paws and - of they're big enough - tears to shreds with her teeth.
Wait! Is that a cricket?
She's a curious girl.

Speaking of wildlife, we also have birds in the area. Lots of birds. Birds that are mostly quiet in the day but then there are these others that let out loud, eerie "squawks" throughout the night. We don't go outside much at night. As luck would have it, among the various species we also have my arch nemeses, Grackles.
Look at 'em! Just strutting around my backyard like they own the place... Send help.
At some point I really started to wonder if someone was just f*cking with me.

Anyway, their mating season is still a few months away so they don't have a reason to start attacking people yet. So there's that.

On the plus side, at the outer end the street leading into the community there are horses.
Those are cool.

One of the biggest adjustments, though, is that this an entirely new community. We were among the first two hundred plus people to get keys and everyone's new here and only moved in weeks apart from each other. That means none of us got treated to one of those scenes you see in the movies where the local community group forms welcoming committee to bring you baked goods to mask their real objective of scoping out your stuff.

I want a blueberry muffin, dammit!

Instead, we all just get to watch silently as we observe another moving truck roll up the street and hope the whoever-it-is isn't planning on starting a meth lab in his/her kitchen or blasting Jamaican Dancehall music every night until 3AM (it's popular here).




The adventure begins.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Vinny's Step-By-Step Introduction To Home Ownership.

Mrs C and I will be moving into our new home during the Christmas weekend. We collected the keys two Fridays ago. As with most things nowadays, the entire process was highly publicized as the government wanted to make sure we and the greater public knew of their generosity (especially with next year being an election year). Step-by-step, we're being introduced to the subtle intricacies involved with becoming homeowners. Here's the process so far:

********

- Attend “key giving ceremony” held at the new community site. Endure speeches, singing entertainers and shameless political plugs.

- Four and a half hours later, finally collect keys.

- Wait for obligatory photo op (which we thankfully managed to avoid).

- Receive instructions about having up to one month to be fully moved in and, in the meantime, you can basically come and go as you please.

- Go check out the new digs and wonder how the place went from clean and completely undamaged during the walkthrough to:
  1. having a portion of the wall which needs to be repainted after a window was replaced (the old window frame was left lying the front yard for an added touch)
  2. having a broken hinge on the window in the back bedroom
  3. having a moss-caked kitchen sink

At this point make a note of issues to add to the form you received with your package to list any defects you may find within the first three months.

(It should be noted that, based on feedback from other owners of government-provided housing, following the submitting of said defects report, one should proceed to initiate repairs one’s self since the providers of your new home may never actually send someone to repair whatever is broken.)

- Return some days later to move some of your stuff in and put curtains up to realize half the house has been flooded after the shower faucet came partially out of the wall.

- Turn off water main to house, spend several hours mopping up. 

- Finally hang curtains and move stuff in as initially planned.

- Add broken shower to the defects form for the sake of formality.

- Start looking up plumbers since you’ll have to fix this problem yourself.

- Almost faint from shock as you receive a call informing the work crew will be in the area to assess what repairs need to be done.

- Take time off from work, go back to house and meet with contractors, show them everything that’s broken, exchange numbers and agree to be back again the following day to see what can be done.


- Take a second day off, go back to house again, wait, wait, call contractor, find out they are not going to show because it’s two days before Christmas and the boss can’t convince the workmen to show up.

- Be told they'll they will come back to get started after New Year's... Sometime after New Year's.

********

This is where the list ends for now. Until the shower issue is sorted out, we will have to keep the water main turned off when we're not using the water. So far, owning a home is turning out to be more of an "adventure" than I anticipated.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

A Little 'O This & A Little 'O That.

It would seem, for all intents and purposes, I'm back. I passed on my sport assignment to my lecturer and, until he provides me with feedback, I'm a free man again.

During my time away, there have been a few things that have been going on. Nothing too major. Just the usual crazy stuff to which I normally end up baring witness. Two, in particular, stood out and, instead of trying to figure out how to stretch each of them into individual posts, I decided smush them all together and hopefully come up with something worth our time together.

Ahem! I shall begin...

********

The newest addition to the C Household, our puppy, Kawaii, is a growing girl. She recently got the hang of jumping onto and off of the living room furniture all on her own (“yaaaay” he said with no real excitement whatsoever). I was there for her first successful jump. She was so excited, she had to jump off and on again four or five times to make sure it wasn't a fluke.

Now she’s got her sights trained on our bed. Of course, she’s not allowed on the bed and, added to that, it’s a bit higher than the living room couch. But she’s determined. The other day she figured she’d have better luck if she took a running start (EDITOR'S NOTE: she’s a little too smart for her own good). She had the right idea but because of the limited space in the bedroom, she had to run in from another room at a parallel angle to the bed.

As you can see, essentially she was trying to pull off one of those high jumps you often see done in track and field events.
source
Unfortunately, despite her planning and effort, it was obvious that she lacked natural grace and skill necessary to perform such a feat and she completely fell short of her goal. Both height and direction were a bit off.

I was there for that one too, just lying in bed, minding my own business when I heard feet thumping on the wooden floors as she came running up. Then, I saw the brown blur that was the top of her head. Our gaze met for a moment as she passed by and then... she was gone. Soon after came the sound of her sliding on said floor and crashing into the wardrobe.

It was as a result of that one act that I knew she was indeed a worthy member of this family.

********

You know those moments when you question whether mankind is really worth saving? I had another one of those recently.

It was morning. An average day, like any other. I was walking through the city, on my way to work. My headphones were on, the music just loud enough to drown out the world around me. That was normal. I was late but this was also normal. Indeed, it was just an average day, just like any other day.

That's when I happened to notice the guy in front of me had his boxers sticking out of his sagging jeans. Not that this is anything new. You know how I feel about trends but this one in particular has been going strong for decades. Personally, I think it's stupid but my complaining about it won’t change it. Instead, I try not to pay attention to it.

I probably would have dismissed him too except I happened to notice he wasn't just letting his boxers stick out of his jeans. His boxers were actually sticking out of another pair of boxers that were sticking out of his jeans. I could tell! They were different colors!
Is this the new "thing"? Is this what all the kids are doing now? I can't keep up anymore.

The icing on this double-boxer cake was that this guy was actually making an effort to show it off – as evident by him having tucked the back of his t-shirt into the upper boxer. Also, he was strutting. He was actually proud!

I briefly considered turning around and going home because, at that point, I had had enough of outside for the day.

********

To end things off, here are some blog posts I considered writing but decided against it when I realized the titles were only mildly more interesting than the actual posts themselves:

Of Mouse & Man - One man’s harrowing battle to blog and surf the internet while being hampered by a defective peripheral device.

My Application Letter to The X-Men - After getting caught in the rain four times in five days with not so much as a sniffle, I become convinced that I possess some sort of superhuman power.

My Application Letter to The Avengers - In case the X-Men aren’t hiring right now.

The Great Flood of 2014 - The time when Mrs C broke a pipe in the bathroom and all the hardware stores were closed for the evening.

A Little 'O This & A Little 'O That - Where I regale you with- Oh, wait, I wrote that one...

Thursday, November 6, 2014

In Case You Were Wondering...

I'm not dead. I haven't been abducted by aliens, kidnapped by ninjas, or sucked into a parallel universe, or anything like that. I'm not suffering from a case of writer's block either (most surprising of all). Nope. This blog is still alive and well. Well... as alive and well as blogs that don’t get posted to regularly go, I guess.

Some of you will have noticed a sudden lack of commenting from me as well. Okay, most of you probably wouldn’t have noticed but either way. I’ve been MIA. Sure I took a day and looked some of you up but that was basically a fluke. Not that I don’t want to come hang out with you all. I do. I’ve just had stuff going on.

...And things...
"ENOUGH WITH THE "STUFF 'N THANGS" ALREADY!!!"
The reason I've been away from the old blog here - and basically the internet in general - is because I’m stuck trying to figure out a tough assignment for my current class and I’m devoting  all of my focus towards it.

Simple as that. Actually, sort of anticlimactic, to be honest.

I have to write an interview piece which involves getting perspectives from various experts in the field of... sports... Soccer (or football, as we know it here), to be specific.

I know next to nothing about sports. If I've never mentioned it before, I’m not a “sports” kind of guy. I don’t have to a favorite team. I don’t have a favorite event. Well... maybe I'll watch a women's beach volleyball game or two but I have... reasons.
I know barely enough to fake my way through a conversation about any type of sport so I usually just try to avoid interaction with sporting aficionados altogether. This means I have to do a lot of research on the game just to figure out what I’m supposed to ask.

Then again I generally try to avoid interaction with most types of people so I guess no one would really notice anyway.

So, basically, until I get this assignment over and done with, I expect I’m going to be AWOL for a bit longer. Until then, you guys just keep doing what you’re doing and I’ll catch up as soon as I’m done.

Friday, October 17, 2014

If We Were Friends.






Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Word Vomit.

I've been trying to figure out why I've been avoiding writing lately. It isn't that I don't have anything to say, or that I've lost interest, or anything like that. I still want to write and I have tons of stuff going on. There’s the new house, the new puppy, stuff at work, etc. Tons of stuff! It’s just, every time I think about dropping a few lines (HOLLA!!!) I just... can't. I've started composing posts in my head more than a few times and, as soon as I sit down to write... nothing.

Like I said, I got stuff going on.. and thangs... s-stuff 'n thangs.
Why is it that, as bloggers who basically chronicle even the smallest and most inane (okay, maybe I'm just referring to myself with that one) aspects of our lives, the things that should provide us with excellent material for our posts end up actually keeping us from posting. I'm talking about all the really big things. We always talk about life getting in the way.

At the end of the day, though, these big things aren't as blog-worthy as you'd think. Take my stuff... and things... for example:

NEW HOME:  You'd think becoming a homeowner for the first time would be a big enough of a deal that you'd get tons of blog fodder from the experience. Right? But, after you say, “Hey, guys, I'm buying a house,” there really isn't much more you can add to the story and still keep it interesting:

- got approved for house.
- went and saw the house.
- signed all the legal documents.
- frantically trying to scrape up the down payment because they called us earlier than expected to do the closing.

That's it. Sure, it's mostly good news but  BOR-ING!

MARRIAGE: All good! Mrs C and I had our eleventh wedding anniversary on Sunday. We didn't make a big deal about it (we had pizza and wine as our celebratory meal - 'cause that's how we roll) so there isn't really much to tell there.

WORK: I started my new contract three weeks ago and will be gainfully employed for another two years (YAY!)...

They left me at the same desk they put me on while I was on loan to help with the - now stalled -White Paper project. Essentially, no one bothered to think about moving be back to my old desk or to anywhere else where I could be more productive so I'm just sitting around most days trying to keep myself busy (BOO!) It seems like a big deal on the surface but what else is there for me to say about that situation that would be worth mentioning (and not just end up becoming a swear-laden rant)?

SCHOOL: At the end of this semester, I'll have my Associate's degree and be at the halfway point to earning my Bachelor's degree. Sure it's more like two-thirds the way since it took me twice as long as it should have to get this far when I changed majors. But I made it. It's great... huge, actually, but I'm particularly inclined to do a practice valedictorian speech (I'm not giving any at school either, thankfully) about it.

PUPPY: Still there, still cute, eats her poop, thinks shoes are chew toys. Nothing new to report.
"I think my cuteness deserves a little more mentioning than that."
The more I think about it, the more I realize it really is the little things that matter. I think I've been stressing so much about writing about each of these big things and giving them their proper place of importance with grand, well worded posts, filled with humor and excitement that I forgot that inane is what I do best. Maybe now that I've listed all these and got them out of the way I'll be able to get back to business as usual.


We'll see.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Conversations With Mrs C - Right In The Eye!

Me (getting home from the store): I'm back.

Kawaii, our new puppy. runs up, all excited and making this whimpering sound that could only be translated as, "Where were you?! I thought you were gone forever! I MISSED YOU!!! I might have peed a little." She then proceeds to run circles around and between my feet, making it almost impossible for me to walk.

Me: Jeez, Kawaii! I wasn't even gone for an hour. Last thing I need is another needy, clingy-

Mrs. C (who was studying at the dinner table at the time): I will stab you right in the eye!

She holds up her pen to show me she already has a weapon at hand.

Me: Yeah, yeah. So you keep saying.

Mrs. C: Oh, by the way, did I tell you one of my coworkers said they'd stab me the eye the other day?

Me: No. I'm not surprised, though. You say that to enough people so it makes sense that, eventually, someone'll say it back on you. What exactly did you do to cause that?

Mrs. C: Nothing serious. It was more banter than anything else. But it was my supervisor who said it... In front of the customer I was dealing with.

Me: Huh... So, just to recap, not only did you did you drive your supervisor to threaten you with bodily harm, but you got her to do it in front of customers. Congratulations! You've leveled up. Proceed to the next dungeon.
I can only imagine what was going through your customer's mind at the time.

Mrs. C: It's no problem. The customer at the time just happened to be Psycho (one of Mrs. C's close friends).

Me: Oh. Well I guess Psycho's known you long enough to have heard you use your catch phrase. You've probably said it to her more than enough times too.

Mrs. C: Probably...

Me: Wait... Did your supervisor know your customer was one of your friends at the time?

Mrs. C: I... guess...

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The "C"s Just Got Kawaii.

Not too long ago I posted on this ye olde book of faces:
Thankfully, I was talked down and able go back to my usual state of childishness. The news of the house shouldn't come as a surprise since I posted about that not too long ago. By the way, we went & did the walkthrough of the soon-to-be new House of C. Here's how it looks on the outside:
Our house... In the middle of abunchofhousesthatlookjustlikeit! Sing it with me!
Moving right along.

As for the car thing, I also mentioned how bad Mrs C wants one of those. Let's just say she isn't too disappointed by the fact that this may speed-up our plans to get one.

As such, I'm not talking about either of those today. Those are still a ways off. See that third thing? The one about the dog. Yeah, that happened. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the newest member of the C family:

Kawaii!
She refused to let me type this post unless I let her sit next to me. Needy much?
Kawaii is a two-month-old Lhasa Apso. For those who aren't aware, "kawaii" is Japanese for "cute", "adorable", etc and as you can tell by looking at her, it fits. And, yes, I did pick the name. Considering my fascination with Japan that should come as a surprise to no one.

The short-short version of the story is that one of Mrs C's regular customers at the bank owns a pet store and one of the things she always wanted to get was a dog. Preferably a small and cute one. Recently, he offered to sell Kawaii to us at a huge discount. We had dogs before, when we first got married and always said we'd get another when we had a suitable place to take care of it so she jumped at the offer.

Then, last Friday, I went and picked her up. When I got her home, I emailed a photo and a quick update to Mrs C.

Me: So you know, she likes to bite me & is a little clumsy (as evident by her running into a wall & my foot). You two are perfect for each other!
Mrs C: kk. She's photogenic.
Me: Maybe, but she has a bad habit of looking away at the exact moment the picture is taken.

I wasn't kidding there. It took me, on average, about eight tries just to get one good picture where some part of her body, mostly her head, wasn't a blur.

Kawaii's already fitting in. She keeps to herself until she's bored or hungry and, with the exception of trying to chew off our fingers and toes, she's pretty well behaved.
This, I can do without.
She does have a bad habit of following you too close, though (as in, just-under-your-next-step too close) but I think she's smart enough to figure out how this could work to her disadvantage.

Time will tell.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Subtle Differences.

Me + nighttime cold medication:
 
However, Mrs C + nighttime cold medication...

Thursday, August 14, 2014

And That's What I Did During My One-Month Vacation.

Yes, it has been a month since I last posted. No, I'm not going to explain myself. Actually, my plan was to just keep posting like nothing happened but, since I'm not a total douche I've decided to just give you guys some updates of what's been going on in my life in the past month.

See? So not a total douche.

First off, remember the special assignment I told you I was put on at work? And then I said that due to circumstances mentioned here they moved us back to the main office and the project was taking a while to get going again? Well... almost four months later... nothing has changed.

Not. a. damn. thing.

Actually, that's not totally true. What little work I had to finish up on the section of the paper I was working on when we moved was done and submitted back in May. Since then, nothing. I mean, literally no more work has been done on the white paper by any of the other team members. One of them even quit before even submitting anything.

That's not the best part, though. As I mentioned, I was loaned out to another division for the assignment. That means that everyone else on the team was free to go back to their original duties from before the project. I, on the other hand, have been basically abandoned in a new division with almost nothing to do for the last three months. For a lazy slacker this would be paradise. Unfortunately, I'm not a lazy slacker. This is almost like my old job at TinyCo. The only difference is, here, I'm surrounded by people who all have stuff to do and I can't just say, "screw it all!" and take a nap at my desk.

That's s all the sucky news I'm going to share today. On to happier things.

Second on the list: I go on vacation in less than two weeks. It'll be a month long and my first paid vacation in four years. My previous vacations during those years were without pay as they weren't so much "vacations" and were more "unemployment". So, yeah, I've actually been continuously employed long enough to qualify for vacation. I've already got my entire vacation itinerary planned too.
Of course, this also means my one year contract with the government is up but that brings me to update number three:

They gave me two more years! Remember all that stuff I wrote about them saying I was efficient? Well, it turns out they weren't just blowing smoke up my ass. They're so impressed with my performance they decided to approve a new two-year contract for me without me having to go through the usual process of reapplying for the position.

I'm not sure where exactly they plan to put me when I get back but this could be my chance to get out of this stalled project for good. Win-win, I say.

The fourth and final update it's the big one. Mrs C and I will soon become homeowners.

Yes, you read right. We're getting our own house. To properly tell the story, I'll take you back a bit...

About six years ago we applied to the government for a flat in one of their housing schemes. They build low-to-medium income homes all over the country and the terms are much easier to manage than going through real estate agencies and the bank. We went through the entire application process and were sure we qualified. Then I lost my job at the bank and we basically put the whole thing on the back burner. After that, an election came, the government changed and our application was apparently lost in the void.

I can't lie, Mrs C deserves a lot of credit for this. While I was trying to get back on my feet, my wife never gave up and she would check up on it every so often. Her last resort was to get our representative for the area to write them and that was when our old application finally turned up. Of course, we head to reapply after so much time had passed. Then, last week, I got the call that we were allocated a unit in a new development in the east.

SWEET!!!

We'll have to  leave the town we've called home for most of our married lives (which was conveniently close to the capital too), and move all the way to practically the other side of the island where we'll have to battle insane rush hour traffic to-and-from work. But we won't be renters anymore so it'll be worth it.

Right?

So that is basically what I've been up to in the past month. See? Nothing special really.