boomsday

Boomsday : Christopher Buckley

Wowee, I’ve been gone for a while, and longer from reviewing a book. I’ve read a few since the last one I reviewed, but I’ve been crazy busy with life matters. Since my last review, I sold my house, moved to another state, and started a new job, oh and bought another house, which we will be moving into in about 12 days, meaning I’m sure I’ll stumble again with a regular blog post.

So let’s get this ball rolling in the right direction again. I just finished reading Boomsday by Christopher Buckley, who is the author probably best known for Thank You For Smoking, the 2005 movie with Aaron Eckhart. Although I didn’t read that book, I assume it would have the same tone as Boomsday, because as I read the book, I recalled parts of the movie, mainly from the dialogue and the overall tone of the book.

This story follows Cassandra Devine, a 29-year old, who finds her world quickly changing directions when her dad decides to use her college tuition money plus the family mortgage as startup money for a business. This creates a permanent rupture in her and her father’s relationship and she takes his actions out on all baby boomers. She comes to the conclusion that the baby boomers are causing, and will cause, her generation enormous amounts of financial pain, and possible ruin, because they now live longer than they used to.

She enlists in the military with the idea of getting college paid for through public service. She goes into the Public Affairs career field, which leads her to a deployment to the Middle East, escorting distinguished visitors from the U.S. around the base. Her world again takes a turn when she meets Randy Jepperson, a young and defiant senator who disregards all protocols. She and Randy end up getting blown up and an IED. Both her and Jepperson survive, but she is booted out of the military and is left jobless in the hospital back in the U.S. She is approached soon after by Jepperson, who offers her a job in his office.

The shenanigans persue and her desire to push her agenda is let loose.

Overall I thought the book was entertaining. I wasn’t sure what to expect from a political satire fiction book, as I usually steer away from books with any hint of politics, but I enjoyed this. A lot of times I found myself chuckling thinking, ‘It’s funny because it’s true’. But sadly a lot of it is true. I could see the makers of House of Cards reading these books before writing the series.

Rating: 8/10

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Almost, almost

My life is going through a ton of changes right now. Changes that involve Yeses, Nos, and Almosts. We sold our house in 72 hours which was a big Yes! We are now reflecting on the inspection. They either want little piddly things to be done (nail the fence post that’s loose, change the AC filter) to big things (re-do duct work, change out electrical).

Let me clarify, our house is in great shape. None of the things they are asking for are necessary for the safety of the house. Inspections are a weird thing. Some guy whose never been in your house comes in and tells you everything he thinks is wrong with it. Some things are legit, some are squabbling. At first I got really angry. I just wanted to yell, “Here’s a hammer. Fix the damn fence yourself!”, but that’s not quite advisable so we are working on compromises now. We’ll have someone out to fix some of these small things, with a few bucks for them on the table to do their own electrical if they so feel the need to rewire the house.

So with the house…we are at an Almost. Hopefully by tonight, we will have a Yes.

During the craziness of selling our house, I also was interviewing for jobs. I had three interviews in one day, so I was really hoping one would work out. One was certainly a No, I think mutually. One was a Maybe, but nothing on their side was solid, which made me nervous, but the last one felt like a Yes and ended up being so. I ended up getting a second interview with a company and they called the next day asking if I’d accept a position with them. A definite YES.

With all of the craziness, and change happening, I definitely needed to get a run in. Between sitting in a car for hours, waiting for people to be done strolling through the house, then stress eating to calm myself through all of this (breakfast tacos and chocolate shakes…mmm), I needed some exercise to make myself feel better again, and clear my mind. I remembered that WordPress was running a 5K challenge, asking people to run/walk/stroll/bike a 5K and post about it. I was hoping to get one in last night, but I didn’t quite get there. I knew time was a crunch because we had plans to meet friends for dinner, and I needed to bathe the dogs as well. I decided on one of our shorter routes in hopes that it was still a 5K. No luck. An almost.

Even though this wasn’t a full 5K, between all my walking around, I’d  hit over 10,000 steps which was around 5 miles. I felt good about that.

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My Almost 5K

 

To be honest, I’m not a fan of Almost. Almost doesn’t cut it. But Almost is what I have and I am hoping that tonight Almost becomes a Yes. Almost is better than No. I almost ran a 5K today among the worry of inspections, dogs needing to get bathed, meeting with friends, figuring out when to pack, what house to buy next, I still got a run in. I still did something for my health. That’s what matters. Getting into the habit of this is what matters.

We will be road tripping it to Omaha this weekend to house shop and hopefully buy, our next home. I’m excited and nervous and what we’ll find. All I hope is that whatever we decide on, I hope it’s a Yes.

 

 

 

 

 

Real Estate "sold" sign with red brick building and trees blurry in the background

72 hours

Our house sold in 72 hours at more than we were asking for. I couldn’t be happier for that. I’m still sad to be leaving our house after nearly three years, which doesn’t seem long enough, but I’m grateful for the time I spent there and the lessons I learned while overseeing projects, as well as seeing to my own projects.

I can feel myself slowly disconnecting from my house, like a love relationship ending.

I just hope they treat you as well as I treated you….

While all of this was happening over the weekend, I actually had three phone interviews for jobs! While I’m ever so grateful for this, it definitely was a challenge to do this, while getting the house ready for multiple showings. I had to clean up the house, get it looking as perfect as possible, turn on all the lights, light candles, etc., get two dogs and a kitten in the car, and keep them happy for hours, all while trying to prep for potential jobs. Luckily two of the interviews I was able to complete before the first showing, but the third was in my running car with two dogs in the back, one cat in my lap, in a library parking lot. The dogs did a fantastic job staying quiet, and little miss Edith slept most of the time.

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Neurotic Stan to my right, beady eyed Arthur behind me, and Edith on my shoulder – right before my interview.

Two of the jobs interviews went well, and the third….I didn’t feel into the company so I think I’ll refrain from that one. I have a follow-up today on my favorite of the three (yay!) so here’s to hoping!!

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Nobody puts baby Edith in a carrier

Now that the house selling is over, we can rest a little more, and just enjoy the house while we have it for one more month. I want to relax in my house, spend time enjoying it, adding any last fun memories I can before I have to fully let go.

This weekend we will be exploring Omaha for houses. I have a list of potential homes we’d like to see, and hopefully we can see all of them, barring that they’re still available by the time we get up there.

Anyone know a great realtor in the Omaha area?? Anyone?

 

 

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A home is more than a home

We are looking at listing our house next week. Typing that, plus packing up boxes into a storage unit, makes this feel very real.

I know I’ll miss friends. We’ve made just a few here, but they will be missed. I’ve found a new love of food, especially the smoked meat varietals. Texas knows meat, especially brisket. I’ve found a new love for beer. Austin can brew. I’ve learned to appreciate the hill country and it’s arid, green-dappled landscapes. I’ve learned what it’s like to be a proud Texan and love Texas. There’s a pride going on here that people make fun of sometimes, but only because they don’t understand it. I’ll always remember that.  Continue reading

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Working on patience

We would like to move. We’ve been working on moving for a while now. On many occasions I’ve gotten impatient with the progress. I’ve started to focus so much on waiting for news, looking for a place to live, cleaning the house, getting it ready to list….that I’ve forgotten about everything else in life.

As important as it is to have the house looking nice for pictures, I don’t want to look back after we’ve moved (and I know it’ll eventually happen), thinking only about how much time I spent cleaning, not on any of the things we loved about Austin.

We recently made a list of a handful of restaurants we want to hit up one more time before we leave. So far we’ve hit none of them. This week and going forward, we’ll be refocusing our efforts on enjoying our time where we are before it’s gone. I’ve been in those moments of regret, looking back, thinking about how focused I was on the future, forgetting about my present. There will be plenty of time to wrap myself in those moments later.

Less dreaming and focusing on the future, and what may be, and more focusing on the here and now, while I’m still right here.

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Getting closer….

The bathroom is pretty much finished…Master bath that is. We finally had a break in weather so I was able to finish painting the doors, and we trimmed up the mirror. It’s one of the easiest and quickest ways to freshen up a space without tearing anything down or spending lots of money. Continue reading

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An accidental addition

Thursdays are my volunteer days. I go to work, then drive to the library to shelve books and help people out for a couple of hours. It’s a routine. I like it.

This past Thursday rocked my routine. We’d just finished an inspection at work, so I was outside, getting some fresh air in between rain storms. A co-worker had been walking outside as well so we started talking and he said he heard a cat. I waved him off, thinking it was a bird. But the sound persisted and I started the search for this cat, or bird,  or catbird.

Nestled under a small bush, I spotted small flecks of white and brown. Then the eyes found me. “Jeff, it is a cat!” I said to him. He went in to grab a box and towel and I kept an eye on her. Rain started to come down, and soon enough, Jeff came with a box. I’m not sure what happen to mom, or any of her siblings, (another co-worker said she saw this cat alone in the early morning hours as well), but mom taught her some good survival skills before they were separated. She darted around me when I tried to pick her up and bolted towards the parking garage. Luckily, she’s so young she ended up cornering herself. Jeff tried to grab her but she hissed, which made him recoil, leaving her to run past him. I quickly darted in front of her before she could head out into the main road, and Jeff was able to pick her up. At this point, she was tired and scared. She smooshed herself into the corner of the box as much as she could and gave a couple more hisses.

Luckily, this happened to be right around quitting time, so I was able to take her home at that moment.

Fast forward to Friday – we luckily also already had an appointment with the vet for our dogs so we took the crew over and got her squeezed in for an appointment as well. The vet thought her to be around five weeks old, she weighed around 450 grams (less than a pound), and was slightly dehydrated but healthy otherwise. They were able to help her go to the bathroom and eat, and all the vet techs paraded her around the building.

She’s now back home and doing wonderfully. She’s already figured out how to jump out of a large box, so her home is now our office, until she gets a bit bigger (and is formally introduced to our other cat). Our dogs are smitten with her and I believe they already think of her as a little sister.

Things rarely turn out how you have them planned, and usually things come at the worst timing. We are working on putting our house up for sale, which means a few projects to finish and tons of packing and cleaning. This is not the easiest time to raise a kitten, but I wouldn’t ever give her up for convenience.

So without further ado, here is little Edith:

 

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And it wouldn’t be fair to post pics of only the new kitty. Frasier is our other cat. He’s mostly a backyard cat, no matter the conditions, as you can see. When we had more cats, he loved to be around them, so I’m hoping he’ll take to little Edith well. Here’s hoping.

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The longest DIY

I’m not even talking about the CISSP exam prep, but that is taking a seriously long time too. Either way, whether I finish the book or not, I’m taking the exam by the end of next month. While trying to schedule the exam, I spent over 30 minutes on the phone waiting for a human to answer, who told me I called the wrong number, but was nice enough to send me on the way to the right person. After that wait, I was told to email a generic email and wait/hold my breath/pray that someone will answer the email. You would think this company would have a better plan in place for people to take an exam (especially when they collect $600 when they do!).

But I digress…

I’ve been painfully slow on this DIY. Most of it is not my fault though. We are working on possibly selling the house (barring I can find a job – hire me please!). In the mean time, I’m working on some quick updates to make the house extra marketable. So far, I’ve painted a ceiling, cleaned up and repainted the fireplace, and have started the wonderful job of de-cluttering.

I’ve been wanting to paint the cabinets in the master bath white for some time, because I like white cabinets and then it would match our other bathroom renovation.IMG_3130

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I think it turned out pretty well so we wanted to go ahead and do the same to the Master: paint the cabinets, add hardware, change out the shower faucet, and frame the mirror.

We also decided to change out the medicine cabinet in the Master bath. It was too small and was too 80’s oak for me. This part of the project has definitely been the easiest so far. Thanks IKEA!

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The longest DIY part has been the main cabinets…and it’s mostly been because of weather. First it was too hot to paint. Temperatures during the day surpassed 100 and with the dew points, the heat index stretched into the 120 degree mark. I was able to sneak in a day or two in the morning or evening to spray a side or two, but it was going to take an excruciatingly long time. Then, although we got a much needed break from the heat, we got rain. And a lot of it. And it hasn’t stopped yet.

Next problem: I painted the main cabinet and towel storage cabinet with a wonderful high gloss cabinet paint in Ultra White by Behr. I spray painted the doors in a gloss by Rustoleum. I didn’t realize how much more white the Ultra White was  until I was ready to put the cabinet doors up. They almost looked gray. I felt like Clark W. Griswold when he found out instead of a bonus check, he got a one -year subscription to the Jelly of the Month Club.

So I went to the store and bought three more spray cans of paint in hopes that one would be more white than the other. I did find one, another Rustoleum actually, that was more white and will do as a redo for the small cabinet doors. The tall doors for the towel storage cabinet will have to be hand painted unfortunately as they’re directly in light and noticeable any other way. So once I can get a dry day, I’ll be able to finish this project.

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You gotta love Contact paper

 

 

I’ll post some finished pictures once that happens.

Until then, it’s washing trim, packing boxes, and studying for this damn exam.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading instead of reviewing

I’m going to be taking a small hiatus from reviewing books, because unfortunately, I have to read a dry, boring, but necessary book for work. I work in the IT security world, so I have to keep up with the terminology, technology and everything that goes on with it.

I’m slated to take a rather brutal test, the CISSP exam, within the next couple month so I need to hunker down. I like the world of IT security, but it doesn’t mean I enjoy reading 900+ pages of terminology, policy and information about legacy systems. BUT, it has to be done. So I’m doing it.

Which means fun books will be put to the side for now for this beast.

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Wish me luck!