Monday, December 17, 2007

Buy the stand first!

D and I talked about getting a tree this year when we thought my family would be be staying with us over the Solstice weekend. The visit is up in the air, but we decided to go ahead and get a tree. We've didn't get around to going tree shopping until yesterday. A friend of ours picked up their tree from Ikea for only $25. If you take the tree back after the new year, you get a $10 gift card (basically just renting a tree--the tree gets turned into wood chips and used in city parks--cool!). Then we find out that that Ikea only offered trees for a few days earlier in the month. Well, there are tree lots all over the place, no problem. Lowe's had trees for 50% off. The selection was very limited, but we found an 8 ft Douglas Fir which still had some needles. Pop into Lowe's to pick up a tree stand, none in stock, but are told the Rite-Aid or Walgreens across the street carry stands. None at Walgreens, Rite-Aid had a couple of cheap plastic stands. Eh, we had seen some at Fred Meyers which looked much more sturdy and would actually last longer than a season. Hmmm, Fred Meyers is out, as is the 2nd Lowe's we find. No go at Target either. Darren refused to check out Walmart (he's never set foot in one, good for him). Damn, damn, damn! So much for happy holidays, both of us are tired and annoyed at this point. We try to come up with alternative solutions but decide to go with a cheap stand from Rite-Aid since it seems to be the only thing available. A couple hours later, the trunk has been trimmed (so it actually fits in the house), and the tree has been trimmed with lights and ornaments. Yay! I love the smell and there's just something about a tree that makes me happy. Next year if we get a tree, I'll be better prepared and we'll head to a local tree farm to cut our own.

Do any dog owners out there have issues with their dogs using the tree as a urinal? At Otto's last obedience class the instructor was making small talk about the holidays. A guy in the class said he hasn't had a tree for a few years because it's like you're brining the yard indoors and the dogs pee on/around the tree! The instructor said the same thing. I had never heard of that and never had issues with our dogs while growing up. So far so good with Otto!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Flooding #2

I left work early on Monday--was told we shouldn't be walking around in hazardous hospital waste. Good plan. A bleach wash for our shoes (I'm so glad my shoes were waterproof that day!) and a long bus ride home. It was still raining pretty hard on the way home--I figured I'd be checking our basement for water when I got home. Hmm, our garage is open, the light is on, and I hear a vacuum. Darren had been wet/dry vacuuming for a good 3 or 4 hours already. Really, we're lucky. Most of the stuff in our basement is crap. We need to get serious about simplifying our lives and getting rid of more stuff. A look to the backyard and it's easy to see why we're having issues. There's a cascade of 4 mini waterfalls shooting out of the concrete wall from the neighbor's yard. The back yard had recently been re-graded which caused quite a bit of water to pool above the crack. Once in our yard the water flowed all river-like along the side of our yard, under our deck, down the old steps and towards our crawl-space and garage. Water pooling in the crawl-space then slowly seeps into the basement. 6-8 hours of vacuuming and countless trips to the street (10 gallon wet/dry vacuum with dying wheels) and we caught up to the now light rain outside. Whew, long day. We had flooding in our basement last December and this storm was considered a 100 year storm (hmm, 2 100 year storms in 11 years...ah, I was mistaken what a 100 year old stormactually meant) and according to researchers we'll likely have more big rains in the future. Joys of being a homeowner right?


On Monday morning, Seattle had almost 5 inches of rain in a very short amount of time. My day started with shit, literally. I was at my desk around 8:30 AM when I get a whiff of something nasty. We occasionally get weird smells through the ventilation system so I was just hoping my coworkers wouldn't walk in thinking it was me. The smell got worse so I got up and just around the corner I see brownish water streaming from the hall wall. Oh no...nastiness. I jump over the spreading water to get out of the room, wanting to warn others. Didn't need to, the hall had water, most of the other rooms had water and people were wandering around in it. I run in to grab my stuff and shut down my computer moving my stuff to a 'safe' spot. Don't really know what to do, calls have already been made. The bosses aren't in yet, other lab spaces in the basement also were hit. Turns out Pacific Avenue in front of Health Sciences was flooded across all 4 lanes of traffic. Apparently an individual 'cleared' a drain which helped the flooding over the street, but caused all that water to overwhelm the hospital sewer system causing a back-up. Hospital sewage, can't be good. Our lab will be shut down for a month of 2 (can't exactly make doses for patients in these conditions. Everything has to be moved out so walls and floors can be worked on. Finding space for 15 people is not an easy task and the last few days have been files, equipment, and desk moving fun. Ugh. I need to schedule a massage. Luckily (?) I have plenty of computer work to keep me busy through next year.

Otto update

* He's a love. :)

* Marley and him are not getting along but we're starting some forced together time. No, we don't throw them into a room together or anything, I hold her while Darren works with Otto in the same room. We've been following 'rules' we've found on-line, but those just weren't working.

* Otto still can't help barking his head off when he sees dogs while on walks. He's getting better and we'll continue to walk him around the 'hood--we're just always aware of who's coming down the street and take detours if necessary.

* We have 1 more obedience class with him. He usually has a few flare ups in class with barking and getting riled up when other dogs are vocal, but overall he's doing great. Sit, down, shake, heel, wait, come here, leave it (needs work), down stays, passing by other dogs (has issues at times). We're in a shepherds only class at Cascade Kennels (we are NOT the only one with issues) and the instructor is great. Wish we could take more classes here, but if so it won't be on a weeknight at 6 pm! Getting to Woodinville from South Seattle sucks in traffic.

* It's amazing how a dog forces you into a schedule. I get up at 6:30 now (not so nice) so the kids can be fed and Otto let out before I leave. I get into work earlier and get home earlier (this I like). Darren gives Otto a walk every morning and I give him a walk some evenings. Play time, doggie visits, family visits.

* I'm amazed at how much we can spend on just 1 new addition to the family. No matter what we're headed out for we have a bagful of doggie gear. Lucky guy.