“Seasons will pass you by; I get up, I get down”

Good things:

  • GG and I finished doing our taxes.
  • I went out with friends to a fun Mexican restaurant in Philly – delicious guacamole and enchiladas, and a fun time with good conversation.
  • Besides one tiny drop, there have been no drips or leaks in our house for the past six days.
  • The snow has melted enough that I can see the edges of our grass.
  • I’m cooking dinner this week for my honorary nephew and his parents.
  • I made a delicious salsa in my Ninja.
  • Oh yeah, I got a Ninja, it’s pretty cool so far, and 1/10 the price of the Vitamix.

Less good things:

  • Band board.
  • I’m not sure how that leaky wall is going to turn out. (At least it’s not drywall!)
  • I have a couple really busy weeks coming up.
  • Our good friend is on his way to Afghanistan.

“The Drips,” Day 3

Well, I don’t know if we’re on Day 3 yet because I have my fingers crossed that maybe my house has stopped dripping. Anyway, I found out what happened, and I’ve learned a whole lot about roofs and gutters in the process.

When it snows a lot, you get a lot of snow on the roof – duh. Then the inside of your house is warm, so the bottom layer of snow starts melting and runs down to the gutter. The metal gutter is cold, and it’s cold outside, so the water freezes in there. This is called an ice dam. As more snow melts from the roof, it hits the gutter full of ice and has no place to go. So it makes its way under the roof and down the walls of your house!

The best thing to do is to prevent this from happening. There are different types of heated tapes and things you can install on the edge of your roof and turn on when it snows to melt the snow. There’s also membrane things you can put under the roof that will keep water out. Since this has never happened before, it’s probably due to the massive amount of snow we had, so I don’t think installing electric roof tape is really the way to go for us. But I might call the roofer when it gets a little warmer to see about putting in that membrane, because I think we also get some leakage upstairs when it rains, and I’m sure that would help.

So what can you do if you already have an ice dam situation? You can use a long-handled tool called a roof rake or snow rake to scrape the snow off the first 2-3 feet of your roof. That will give the rest of the snow enough room to melt without clogging up the gutter. The best thing to do is chip away at the ice in the gutter so the built up water can get out. There are apparently companies that will use steam to melt the ice in your gutters. If you can’t reach the gutter, you can fill a stocking with ice melt and throw it up there.

What did we do? Yesterday I called my roof and gutter guy. He said he didn’t really do anything with snow or ice removal, but referred me to a much bigger roofing company in my area. They do do snow removal, and when I called yesterday they were planning their route for today! So I got on their list. I thought they were just going to remove a few feet of snow from the edge of the roof, roof rake style, but GG was home when they came and he said they were up on ladders, banging at the gutters, so this leads me to believe that they were removing ice! (I was happy to hear that, because I thought their price was a little steep just to pull snow off the roof – but I was willing to pay because I just want the dripping to end.) Also, when I found out about the steaming last night, I thought, “I could do that.” I got my steam cleaner and reached out the top of the window, and steamed the bottom of the gutter. I don’t know if that helped any, but hey, it couldn’t have hurt.

So, when I get home this afternoon, I’ll be checking to see if the dripping has stopped, thanks to the clear gutters.

The Longest Weekend Ever

I feel like I’m coming to the end of a super long weekend. So many things have happened, so I’ll just do a little run-down…

  • Snowpocalypse II: It did snow again. And snowed, and snowed, and snowed… It started Tuesday night, and didn’t end until Wednesday afternoon. GG and I went out early on Wednesday to shovel, so we wouldn’t have to do two feet at once when it finished snowing. It was pretty futile, though. Both our workplaces closed for the day, so we camped out on the sofa and watched movies. It was a nice day inside together. By Thursday morning a lot of highways were closed, so my office was once again shut down, but I still worked from home. (I don’t think my office has ever been closed before – let alone two days in a row! This was historic!) We went out that morning and shoveled for real. It was the worst shoveling experience of my life. We absolutely have nowhere to put any more snow. I had to dig my car out of a snow drift. We can barely get in and out of the driveway between the snow piles on either side. Yeah, climate change sucks.

    My car was in this

    Our canyon pass – AKA driveway
  • Toilet Trouble: I went back to work on Friday, which was one of the longest, craziest days I’ve had at work in a long time. GG left for work in the afternoon before I got home. That was the last time the toilet was known to have worked. Later that night, I heard the toilet run on its own for a few seconds, which it never does. And the next time it was flushed after that, the tank never refilled, it just made this hissing sound. In order to get the hissing to stop, we filled the tank with buckets of water from the bathtub. I was kind of nervous about flushing this way, not to mention that it was a total pain, so we tried to avoid using the toilet at home as much as possible. The plumber came this morning, replaced some hoses and parts, and everything is good now!
  • Fire and Ice: On Saturday we went out to Lititz to go to their 5th annual Fire and Ice Festival with some friends. I was under the impression that this was a combination chili cook-off and ice sculpture event, hence “fire” and “ice.” But actually I think the “fire” part happened the night before, because they had fire breathers on the streets of town! But anyway, we missed that part. So we went to the chili cook-off and ate a ton of chili (I actually didn’t try the last few samples, because I just couldn’t look at another cup of chili). Then we walked around and looked at the ice sculptures. Most of them were roped off or otherwise untouchable, but some of them you could sit on or interact with.

    GG rides his ice dolphincycle
  • The Drips: I’d been worrying about all the snow on our roof, because our roof isn’t flat but it isn’t really pitched, and there’s still quite a bit up there. As I feared, we’ve developed some leaks. One of the front windows upstairs has a leak under it, dripping down the wall and soaking the carpet. And the window directly below that, in the living room, also has a few drippy spots. This just started yesterday. When everything froze up again last night and the dripping stopped, I used some sealant on the cracks, which seemed to help a little, but the water just finds new ways in. I currently have a series of buckets and containers lined up across the living room window sill to catch the drips there. Upstairs is harder, because it’s just running down the wall, so you can’t really catch it in a bucket. And it seems like the more you touch it (like trying to dry off the wall), the worse it gets. So I just put some plastic over the carpet and I’m leaving it alone until it dries up again tonight and I can try some more sealant.
  • Valentine’s Day: Well, the day itself was kind of boring. GG went to work and I did some errands and visited people. Then we went out for dinner at Marly’s, which I ate at once before and GG had never been to. It was awesome. The food was so good, I had my leftovers for breakfast this morning because I couldn’t stop thinking about how good it was! The restaurant is BYOB, so we brought some Lindemans Framboise. I don’t usually drink, so I was really sleepy when we got home and I just conked out on the couch for a bit while GG watched TV. Super romantic.
  • President’s Day: I have the day off work for the holiday today, but some of our sites were still open and stuff had to get done, so I had to work a little bit this morning. Then the plumber came. Then I went out to get some things, but nobody has the stuff I want. Home Depot doesn’t have any tools for removing snow from your roof, and I couldn’t find any slippers I liked at the mall. So now I’m sitting at home, being slowly driven insane by the drip, drip, drip…

Freckles, Fringe S2 E15, Heroes S4 E18, More Snow

I went to the dermatologist today for my regular mole check-up. I have many weird and frightening moles all over me, they run in my family. But we have no history of skin cancer or anything, and though she’s pointed out a couple on me that she wants to keep an eye on, my dermatologist has never shown great concern over anything on me. So I was surprised today when she circled a tiny freckle on my back that was kind of an irregular shape. They took a little scrape of it to test, and I’ll get my results in two weeks. I’m sure it’s fine. But man, either the test site or the bandage over it is really itchy. And it’s right in the middle of my back where I can’t reach!

I also have to compliment my dermatologist. She is fantastic (as evidenced by the three-month wait to get an appointment)! She is just super fast and calm, like she doesn’t want to stress patients out by going, “Oh, that’s a weird one!” For a regular mole check, she just goes over your whole body while her assistant writes down the numbers she’s calling out as she comes across moles. And then she just came back after the fact and was like, “Okay, now this one we’re going to take a sample.” Boom, boom, done.

I had wanted to write a separate entry about the latest episodes of Fringe and Heroes, but I don’t think I am now. Suffice to say, I found last week’s episode of Fringe, Jacksonville, totally amazing. And I think I’m falling in love with Peter Bishop. (Yes, I know he is a fictional character.) Totally rooting for him and Olivia getting together (though what happened to him and her sister – they were pretty close last season). I cannot wait to see how they wrap up this season! And speaking of season wrap ups, the Heroes season finale, Brave New World, was great. I wasn’t really liking this volume, but it redeemed itself in the finale. Lots of nice callbacks to Season 1, such as Claire’s “attempts,” and all the heroes converging on NYC to avert a disaster. Also a nice wrap-up to the Hiro and Charlie story. I guess the show is coming back, but really I would have been happy with that as a series finale!

We’re getting snowed in again, fantastic. We could get another two feet, on top of the two feet we had from this weekend. Even with the melting that’s happened in the past couple days, that’s… a lot of snow. We don’t have anywhere to put it when we shovel, I don’t know what we’re going to do! At least I work from home tomorrow and band practice is canceled, so I don’t have to go anywhere. Neither will GG, probably. And I could stay home Thursday too, if I needed to (since they’re saying it might not stop until late tomorrow night). I would really like to be able to go to work on Thursday, though… Oh well, if it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen.

Snowpocalypse 2010!

As predicted, it started snowing on Friday night and continued until Saturday. The final total in Philadelphia was 28 inches. I estimate we got 20-22 inches at our house, because I measured 16 when we went out in the morning to shovel, and then there were probably 4-6 inches that fell after that. (We shoveled twice because I didn’t want to end up doing three feet at once.) We’re getting a little spoiled, because the last few times it’s snowed, the town has taken care of the sidewalk in front of our house. They own the property on either side of us now, so they just do our sidewalk, too. The main problem with our house is that we have a long driveway and a lot of sidewalk, but only a tiny square of grass! So everything got piled into one giant snow mountain. And the more you shovel, the higer you have to lift it to add to the pile. So it was tiring, and I am definitely still sore today.

After our 9 AM shoveling session, GG and I went to Wawa and got breakfast hoagies (“Start your day on a roll…”), then crashed at home for a few hours. I think we watched something on TV, or watched a movie? I don’t remember, because I was also drifting off to sleep. Eventually, GG and I both got phone calls from friends, which woke me up, and we got back into our snow gear and went out to shovel one last time, since it had finished snowing. That went much faster than the first round, and we were back inside within an hour, doing our little chores or whatever. Later I made dinner, and then we passed out within the first few minutes of Saturday Night Live.

On Sunday I did all the chores I was too tired for on Saturday, and then we went to Julie and Brad’s to watch the Superbowl. There was a lot of good food there, I ate way too much. GG behaved himself pretty well, considering he had a bunch of rum and a couple beers. I was worried about driving back home once things had iced over, but the roads were actually okay. Then when we got out of the car and were walking to our house, GG hit a giant patch of ice and did this really cool arms-flailing move out of the Matrix, and managed not to fall.

Today and tomorrow should be fine, weather-wise, but they’re predicting another big snowstorm Tuesday night into Wednesday. That’s actually fine with me, because 1) I work from home on Wednesdays anyway, and 2) if the schools close Wednesday we won’t have band practice, and we’re supposed to have sectionals this week (which I hate), so I’m happy for any excuse to avoid that.

Before shoveling Saturday / After shoveling Saturday

I wanted to find some awesome song lyrics to use for a title, but I couldn’t, so you get nothing.

Okay, I am ready to be snowed in overnight! We have food, plenty of toilet paper, shovels and salt… Hopefully it won’t be as bad as they’re predicting. Originally they were saying we’d get about a foot of snow, but now the storm is veering to the north, and we might get more like two feet! I went to the supermarket yesterday (unrelated to the blizzard) and it was crowded and they were out of a lot of things already. I can’t imagine how it would be today.

I watched a lot of TV this week, and of course I saw the Lost premiere! I think what I’ll have to do on Tuesdays is watch Lost and then catch the repeats of the Duggars. It’ll be a late night, but at least I generally work from home on Wednesdays, so I can sleep in a little bit. Of course I’m totally confused by Lost already, but I do have one theory that people seem to like, which is that the Man in Black can take the form of any dead person on the island. Obviously he’s Locke right now. I think he was probably also Christian. And all the other dead people who’ve reappeared in the past, maybe he was posing as them as well. It’s not a “posession” thing, because Locke’s actual body is still there (MIB/Locke walked right past it)! But I do think there is some sort of posession going on with Sayid (and apparently Damon Lindeloff and Carlton Cuse said on Jimmy Kimmel that something is “inhabiting” his body).

Things are picking up a bit at work, and I’ve been working on some things that will give me some exposure to the new people, so that’s good, hopefully I make a good impression on them. (Speaking of work, and TV shows, how about The Office last night? Once again, hitting a little too close to home, haha!) I have all these unresolved things going on, though. I really hate having open issues, but I’m waiting to hear back from various people about things, and it’s kind of stressing me out! Also, we’re moving to a totally different system for e-mail this month, with lots of limits and stuff, so everyone’s going to have to pretty much change the way they handle all e-mail. I can’t believe that in this modern age of super-cheap memory (i.e. it’s cheaper to buy more memory than to pay someone for the work time it will take to clean up and delete files) and cloud and network computing, we would move toward massive restrictions on file storage and storing everything locally. Oh well. We’ll roll with it, I guess.

Lots of fun stuff coming up! Superbowl with Julie and Brad, if we’re not all still snowed in on Sunday. Next weekend GG and I are going out for Valentine’s Dinner. The following weekend is a “girls’ night” with some ladies from work, we’re basically going to a super fancy Mexican restaurant – should be awesome. And in a month I’m taking an overnight trip with some friends that includes a spa day! I still have to use up a few more vacation days before the end of March, so if anyone has any ideas…


Last night, GG and his friend and I went to a concert at the Trocadero. (I’d never been to the Troc before.) I’m not sure what genre I’d put the whole event into… I guess “progressive metal.” I would say the audience was like 98% male metal fans. The nerdy kind who are into all that technical stuff, not the violent kind. Then the other 2% of the audience was made up of more heavy metal fans and girls. I didn’t really belong there at all.

There were four bands, two of which GG wanted to see, and one I wanted to see. First up was Scale the Summit. I guess they were okay, but they do instrumental music, and as GG pointed out, if you’re not going to have lyrics, you need some sort of “hook” or catchy melody. They did not have this. Each song was mostly just a couple chords. I mean, they did it well, but I would never remember or recognize their music.

Next was the Devin Townsend Project. GG was very excited about this guy, and he’s been trying to get me to watch his videos on YouTube and stuff, but I’m just not into it. Not surprisingly, I was not into it live, either. But I have to say, that freaky looking bald guy can sing! (He really looks just like the guy who plays Frex in Wicked, and I was thinking, if he ever wanted to give up his various bands for a while, he could definitely hold his own on Broadway!)

Finally, Cynic took the stage. You may remember that their album “Traced in Air” was on my Best of 2009 list (but only got an Honorable Mention, since you can’t really sing along with it). They were so good! They ended up playing pretty much everything on “Traced in Air,” as well as an older song and a new one (new album coming out?!). GG mentioned later that Paul Masvidal was so quiet and nerdy, and I was like, “Really? Um, he was performing with his death metal band in front of a sold-out audience! I don’t think he’s shy or nerdy.” (He also agreed with me that Masvidal is a handsome man, and said he’d understand if I left him for the Cynic frontman, but he should remember his real competition is my imaginary boyfriend John Mulaney.) Anyway, they were really great and they played “King of Those Who Know,” the prettiest death metal song ever, so that made my night.

Believe it or not, this is the better of two pictures I took of Cynic.

We walked out on the last band – the headliner! – Between the Buried and Me. I’d never even heard of them, and GG was offended that they were “bigger” than Cynic (Cynic is pretty much the granddaddy of technical death metal). I think the people behind us were glad to see us go, GG was really annoying. But there were other people annoying us (smoking in the non-smoking theater, etc.), so it all evens out. The three of us, plus two more friends we met up with at the show, went to a nearby Vietnamese restaurant for a late dinner. I am definitely a fan of their fried spring rolls, but so far I’ve never had better than at Little Saigon.

Oh, and I have to add, GG is such a music geek! Listening to him talk to his friends and everyone about equipment and bands and stuff, wow. He knows a lot of stuff about a lot of stuff. (I’ve always been impressed by how he can participate in any converstaion on anything: music; movies; politics; sports, even!)

The Story of Stuff

I finally saw The Story of Stuff tonight, after wanting to watch it for a while. Wow, so short and simple, and really I knew a lot of this already, but it was eye-opening. Even though I try to recycle or give away whatever I can, I can see that “need to replace” mentality acting on myself. And I’ve felt for a long time that I have too much “stuff.” (This is why I love Freecycle – I can get rid of things I don’t want or need in my life, without feeling like it’s going to waste or to a landfill.)

Anyway, I’m already taking reusable bags with me almost every time I go shopping (not just food shopping), including reusable produce bags. I recycle whatever I can, including things that can’t go in the regular recycling (I have stashes of batteries, CFL bulbs, and #5 plastics sitting around to be dropped off at certain locations). And even regular recycling is kind of an inconvenience for us, because our town doesn’t recycle, so we collect everything and take it to our families’ houses when we go over. I just feel like I could be doing so much more. Something to work on, I guess. Maybe I will make “use less stuff” a 2010 resolution.

Traffic Stop, Phone Case

I was stopped at a traffic light on my way to work this morning, when I heard a kind of whistle sound behind me. I turned around, and in the lane next to me there was a gross old car with a gross old man hanging out the window waving at me. I rolled down my window, and he yelled over, “Do you know where Greaterford Prison is?!” “No I don’t, sorry,” I said, trying to look apologetic. I mean, I’d heard of it and knew it was nearby, but I didn’t even know what town it’s in. I rolled my window back up and faced forward and wished for the light to turn green so I could get away from this creepy situation. (I hope he found his way there, turns out we were only about 10 miles away.)

I now have a black gel case for my new phone. It mitigates the pink pretty well – though as I’d suspected, a case on a slide phone is not really perfect. But I’ll deal with it. I have 7 more days to make up my mind, but I guess I’m going to stick with this phone. For all its minor faults, it’s still pretty good, and an improvement over my old phone in many ways. Also, I recently saw that this is T-Mobile’s most popular non-smartphone.

A Weekend of Naps

GG and I went out to Kohls early Saturday morning to get him some clothes. I have a couple friends who are absolutely obsessed with the place, but I don’t think I had ever been there. Actually, I usually forget that we have one so close to us, since it’s to the north and we almost never drive north unless we’re going up to New Hope. A lot of people recommended it as a good place to get men’s clothes, though, and it seems like they’re always having a sale, so off we went – early, so it wouldn’t be crowded.

He mostly needed pants and sweaters, but we did also find him a very cool black and gray striped button-down shirt. Then he got four pairs of pants (black, gray, brown, and khaki), and two zip-up sweaters. Besides the shirt, I think everything was on clearance or was buy one, get one 1/2 off. So we did well.

Coming home, we stopped at Chick-fil-A for an early lunch. Here’s a fun trick: their employees are required to respond to “thank you” with “my pleasure,” instead of “you’re welcome.” Try it sometime, by saying “thank you” as many times as you can. GG and I kept saying it, but our cashier was just like, “sure, sure,” until the very last time we said thank you as we were walking away and he said, “sure, my pleasure” and GG and I were both like, AH-HA!

I pretty much napped the afternoon away while GG went to work on his mural. It was lovely.

GG left early on Sunday morning to go paint, too. I hadn’t seen the mural in a while, so I made a surprise visit to see him working. I think he thought there was some emergency when I showed up, but I just wanted to see him and see the painting. It looks awesome! (Well it should, the slowpoke has taken nearly two months working on it by now, and he’s still not finished!)

When I got home, I made up for all my napping the day before by cleaning the kitchen, sweeping and vacuuming all the floors downstairs, and taking out the trash. Then I got all caught up with Fringe – I don’t even know when it comes on anymore, and I keep forgetting to watch it. Then I set myself up in the living room with my laptop, a big blanket, and a cat, to watch TLC’s Sunday Night Freakshow. That little Charlotte from “The Tiniest Girl in the World” might give Kenadie some competition in the “cutest primordial dwarf” category!

Oh, and I saw last week’s Project Runway and I have to say, I totally disagreed with the judges. In my opinion, Amy should have won, for doing something that was beautiful and flattering, while not hiding the burlap of the challenge. Ben and Anthony were my choices for runners-up. And Ping should have gone home. Sorry, I’m sure she’s nice and she does interesting work, but the dress was not remotely good looking and wasn’t even made well. What happened to the “carved” necklace she was going to do? That sounded interesting. And did they ever go to that “industry party?” Don’t tell me it happened in the Models of the Runway show, because I’m not watching that. But usually when they have to design dresses for the models to wear to an event, they then go to that event.

Last night I made stuffed smashed potatoes for dinner (and lunch today… and dinner tonight… and lunch tomorrow… it was a lot of potatoes). I just stayed up long enough to watch Heroes, and then went to bed a little after 10. But we didn’t go to sleep until closer to 11 because we were watching YouTube videos on my phone (!!!).