Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Because we've had a couple phone calls....

No, we were not anywhere near the fire that ripped through the SE Boise suburbs on Monday night. It was pretty awful, though. Nine houses were destroyed, and another one was damaged. A very popular linguistics and English professor at Boise State University was killed.

Remember just a few posts ago, where I was saying how I'm not used to living in a place where people's houses catch on fire and burn to the ground? Yeah. THAT. It was interesting watching the news--it's so much like the California fires. People saying: I left my home to go and see how close the fire was, and by the time I turned around to go back in and gather belongings, the house was already burning. People were caught without their SHOES, even. Gosh.

Fortunately, for all you worriers, Charlie and I are living near the heart of the city--very close to downtown and to the capitol building. There are blocks and blocks of houses between us and any sage brush or cheat grass.

In other news, I found out today that I type 77 words per minute! Wow! I'm impressed with myself. Goooooo TEAM! (To any potential employers reading: think of what this will do to your bottom line! Think how fast I can send out those memos!)

Other, other news. Charlie and I are getting ready for an awesome feast of a dinner tonight. My new favorite cooking blog, Smitten Kitchen, has recently posted a few recipes that I'm going to lump together into an awesome feast.

On tonight's menu:

Crisp Rosemary Flatbread
Kefta and Zucchini Kebabs
Lime Meltaways

I know you're supposed to serve mint and lamb together, and the recipe has instructions for making a yogurt-garlic-mint sauce... but I'm just not a huge mint fan. I'm wondering if it would be good with a garlic-dill-yogurt sauce instead? Perhaps I'll make both and see which we like better.

Anyhow, who's coming over? When can I expect you? Got your plane tickets? :)

I'll let you know how they all turn out.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Spider update:

Total count so far: 5

4 nasty Hobo spiders
1 funny little crab-like spider (he was cute and non-GUUUH!!!!! inspiring, with his little legs up in the air like a warning)

Locations of Hobo spiders: Kitchen sink (2), living room wall (1), spare room (1)
Location of funny little crab-like spider: IN MY BED ON MY ARM (1)

Body count: 4 Hobo spiders (shoe [2], flush [1], garbage disposal [1])

8/20/08 update:

Total count so far: 7
6 nasty Hobo spiders
1 little crab spider

Locations of 2 most recent Hobo spiders: Kitchen floor (1), living room floor(1).
Body count: 6 Hobo spiders (Boise Weekly Newspaper [1], shoe [3], flush [1], garbage disposal [1]).

8/27/08 update:

Total count so far: 8
7 nasty Hobo spiders
1 little crab spider

Locations of most recent Hobo spider: Entry way wall(1).
Body count: 7 Hobo spiders (Boise Weekly Newspaper [1], shoe [3], flush [2], garbage disposal [1]).

Friday, August 8, 2008

More things I'm getting used to.

We're heading camping this weekend up in the mountains near Stanley, ID. Charlie's parents are in town, and we've planned this with some of their family friends for several months now. Yet, there are certain perils that I'm coming to terms with as far as things like camping in Idaho are concerned. Example: thunderstorms and flash floods! Of course it's just a warning, but some thunderstorms are predicted to move through the area this evening, and there are flash flood watch warnings for the area to which we're headed this evening. Holy moley!

Also new: living in a place where brush fires and forest fires can happen almost within city limits. Yesterday, some oily rags on a guy's back porch spontaneously combusted (!!!!) and set the foothills just outside of town on fire. It ballooned into a 30-acre wildfire before the BLM and the fire department got it under control. No houses were compromised, but it came very close. Maybe I was just fortunate, but I can't really recall that ever happening near Seattle or Portland. You were lucky if you could get your firewood to cure enough over the summer so that it would light come fall--forget "spontaneous combustion."

Finally, spiiiiiiders. I like to think I'm a pretty tough nut. I get dirty, I hang out in the woods, and I can deal with stinky things, gross things, and dead things. I was the "Brunhilda" of a house of post-college roomates because I was the only one not too completely grossed-out to clean the dead mice out of the mousetraps. Come to think of it, I've cleaned up a lot of dead things that the people around me were too afraid to get near.* But I don't like spiders. I heard recently somewhere (from some news source) that phobias can be hereditary. If that's the case, that I know precisely where mine came from. My mom and I have identical reactions to a spider on the wall (KILL KILL KILL), or on our clothes/body ("Huuuuruahaaddhdahsjshjdkahdlkajsdhak!!!!"). Anyhow, I've discovered that in Idaho (and in my HOUSE) there are such nasty things as HOBO SPIDERS. I've disposed of two of them already. One, normal spider-size, the other GIANT LIKE THE TOP OF A POP CAN. Guuuuuuhhhhhhhhh.... I did a little spider research on-line, and came across this GEM of a quote telling you how horrid these spiders are: "A male Hobo Spider is identified by it's genitalia, which look like boxing gloves and are often confused as fangs." That's right. Boxing glove FANG balls. The big one I squished definitely had these. Their bites also cause to flesh to turn black, necrotic and DIE. So charming.

UPDATE: All it took was the phrase "And then your flesh turns black and DIES" to convince Charlie to abandon his Siddhartha-like ways as far as Hobo spiders are concerned and join me in Arachni-cide.

Guess what Idaho ALSO has: Black Widow spiders and Rattlesnakes. GREAT. Haven't seen those yet. Don't want to.

In good news, one little culture shock thing keeps amazing me in a GOOD way: I can wash clothes, hang them on a hanger, and three hours later they're completely dry. UNBELIEVABLE. I can't quite get over it.

(*working at a strip-mall retail shoe store job while in college my co-worker found a dead sparrow outside and, with West Nile in the news, panicked and thought we should call animal control. She was sure that the customers would freak out, and that it would all spiral downhill from there. I told her not to worry, grabbed a tissue, picked up the poor little bird (it had obviously hit the big windows and died) and took it around back for an ignoble burial in the dumpster.)

Thursday, August 7, 2008

People Otto has licked.


Devon's friend Rhonda
Devon's friend Katherine

Our landlord
The electrician that RMS sent to fix the light in Portland
The Qwest phone guy

Charlie's mom
Ariel's mom
Devon's mom


If our cat has licked you and I've somehow missed mentioning it here, please e-mail me and I'll remedy it, or post it in the comments.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

My kind of activism.

Sorry, I try not to post videos on here, but this is awesome.
I've got to get more than just herbs going in my containers on the porch.

This is my kind of activism. GROW!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Funny story.

(If you're also reading Spudward on occasion, you'll notice this is a double- or cross-post. I thought it was appropriate to share it in both places. Sorry if this annoys anyone.)

So, this story is a little belated timeline-wise. But I wanted to wait until things were all wrapped up with our property management company back in Portland before exposing this story to the world (internet). For those of you that haven't heard it yet, it's a doozy.

About a month ago (actually, exactly a month ago yesterday) Devon and I were working hard to complete the final scrub-down of our house in Portland. Everything was packed up and crammed into cars and moving vans, and the house was looking good. As we sweated and scrubbed in the 90 degree heat, we ticked off rooms: bedrooms, bathrooms, closets, living room--DONE! We had the kitchen left to scrub, and a final zoom through with the vacuum. Devon was scrubbing the kitchen, and I was touching up a little paint damage we'd managed to do to the baseboards around the house.

Let me advise you right now, NEVER do baseboard touch-up work in a house that you are about an hour away from being DONE with. NEVER AGAIN.

I was in one of the bedrooms, scootching my way around the floor of the room on my butt, filling the little dark spots where the paint had been chipped off. Let me add, the baseboards in our house were white, so I had a can of white paint I was carrying around with me. Paint can in hand, I stood up to take a look at how things were going, and promptly stubbed my toe on the carpet and tripped. The paint can flew out of my hands, and paint exploded across the BROWN carpet and onto the tan walls. There was paint EVERYWHERE.

Based on the speed at which Devon made it into the room, the tone of my voice when I howled "OH NO, DEVON!!!!" must have been a pretty good indicator of my emotion: panic. We grabbed as many towels as we could find and started frantically sopping up paint. What in the HELL were we going to do? Not only was our deposit as good as gone, we were probably going to have to pay to have the whole damn room re-carpeted--maybe even the whole HOUSE.

We had been probably TWO hours from being done with the house, and still hadn't had dinner. The frantic brainstorming started. I encouraged Devon to start helping with the carpet rather than the walls (we had matching paint for the walls, we could touch that up later). Thinking back to what had worked best as far as getting the paint brushes clean, I told Devon we HAD to keep the paint wet. If we let it dry, there was no hope left. I grabbed a water bottle and then a bucket and started pouring water directly on the carpet. Then came the dish soap. It had worked for getting the paint out of the brushes, why not the carpet? So, with a sponge mop, a bucket of water, rags and a bottle of dishsoap, we went to work. And believe it or not, it started to come up.

We managed to get about 1/2 of the paint out that way, I think (or maybe it was just more spread out?). Devon started thinking, and remembered that she'd seen carpet cleaners for rent at Fred Meyer. At this point, it couldn't hurt. She jumped in the car, and drove out to the store to see about renting one. Sure enough, they had them. Unfortunately, they required photo ID to rent one. And hers was locked in her office at work (oh, the coincidence). She blasted home, tossed me her car keys (mine was packed with plants--no room for a steam cleaner), and I went and grabbed the machine.

I cannot BELIEVE how well it worked. It was outstanding. Emily, David, and their friend Allen came by to pick up Flymo (our hovercraft lawnmower) as I was sucking up the last of it and drying out the carpet. By that point, aside from my frazzled appearance, they swore you couldn't tell there'd been a bucket of paint spilled all over the carpet. The other awesome thing about the cleaner, is that it sucked up all the water we'd dumped on the carpet trying to prevent the paint from drying.

Devon stopped by the next day to check on things, and she said there was no sign of the disaster. Sure enough, we got our deposit back from the management company today, and it was the entire thing.

Good grief.

The moral of this story is: don't play with paint in rental houses.