30 December, 2005

Uberlist 2005 Wrap-up

Category: Motivation — Moose @ 12:26 am

So, looked over this past year’s Uberlist 2005, and listed below is what I accomplished off the list (not bad, at 63 items done out of 105). Some of these were rather nebulous goals, but I felt like I met the ones listed below (there were some others that, while partially successful, did not make this list). Overall, I think I did okay at it. Working on the upcoming year’s list, and will post that after the new year begins. Some of the unfinished goals will carry over, some will be modified. In any case, this is as close to a year-end wrap-up as you’re going to get out of me.

Uberlist 2005

  1. Drink more wine.
  2. Vacuum the apartment once a week.
  3. Donate more things to charity.
  4. Clean out more storage space.
  5. Add a regular weight workout to my fitness routine.
  6. Get a triathlon bike.
  7. Get a new platform for the bed.
  8. Get my Palm to successfully interface with my iBook
  9. Pay off another credit card in its entirety.
  10. Clean my bathroom more often.
  11. Lower the threshold at which I reach “critical mass” for cleaning or decluttering a space.
  12. Consolidate down to one bag to carry back and forth to work (versus the three current ones).
  13. Get some Nasty Pig gear to wear to the Eagle
  14. Manage my GI system better.
  15. Get back down to a 30” waist.
  16. Get a filing storage system.
  17. Trash old, unneeded financial records, safely.
  18. Cull the book collection.
  19. Put more money into my TSP retirement account
  20. Squirrel away more money in savings.
  21. Get a real trashcan for my room
  22. Replace the trashcan and recycling can in the kitchen.
  23. Bug the building to do more about the pest issue in the kitchen. (called 2/14/05, caulking done 2/16/05)
  24. Eat fewer cookies.
  25. Eat more fruit.
  26. Cull my clothing collection.
  27. Buy more dress shirts and ties.
  28. Go shopping more often.
  29. Get to the grocery store more often.
  30. Solve the sagging problem on my large bookcase.
  31. Practice more Yoga.
  32. Buy Dreamweaver.
  33. Redo the countfour.org website.
  34. Redo the diary section of the site.
  35. Clean out the linen closet.
  36. Dump all the old products I have around the house that are never used.
  37. Throw out old, unusable shoes.
  38. Get rid of the extra kitchen door.
  39. Watch more porn.
  40. Get an iSight camera.
  41. Take more pictures.
  42. Get out of DC for the inauguration
  43. Reduce the amount of “stuff” in the apartment.
  44. Dust more often.
  45. Get more exercise clothing.
  46. Get a wireless mouse for the iBook.
  47. Play Diablo II with friends.
  48. Look into the value of my comic collection.
  49. Attend CBE in May.
  50. Eat less, more frequently.
  51. Take the cats to the vet for a checkup and shots.
  52. Write more on countfour.org.
  53. Write more on the diary site.
  54. Chill on the constant use of emoticons while writing.
  55. Call my parents more often.
  56. Text my friends more often.
  57. Do lunch with the other young attorneys in my office.
  58. Expand my collection of sex toys.
  59. Continue to ignore my crazy grandparents.
  60. Do my best to not involve myself in the commission now that I’m not on it.
  61. Go up a gauge on the PA.
  62. Get the tools to exchange body jewelry.
  63. Find more healthy snacks to eat at work.
25 December, 2005

If I never hear another accordion…

Category: Neighbors,Sleep — Moose @ 5:15 am

Its four in the morning and I just had to call security to come break up the party next door. There’s loud Tejano music (or is it Norteño? I can’t tell, and frankly I don’t know that I really care) coming through the wall, loud enough for me to understand the lyrics (if I spoke Spanish, that is), as well as drunken Spanish being spoken, over the music, loud enough for me to understand (again, if I spoke Spanish). Oh, and some of them are singing along now, too. Badly.

I may have to kill someone soon if they don’t stop. Four in the morning on a Sunday. And they wonder why I want to move?!?!

23 December, 2005

Shipping Fun

Category: Stuff — Moose @ 5:00 pm

Okay, so the stuff I ordered from Amazon three days ago, and that supposedly shipped out on Wednesday hasn’t arrived yet, but the AppleCare™ agreement for my iBook that I ordered at 5:57 pm last night is here. Riddle me that one, kiddies.

22 December, 2005

Consolidation & Reduction

Category: Credit,Finance,Motivation — Moose @ 5:24 pm

Closed one card in its entirety today, lowered the interest rate on one of the remaining ones, and removed a third one from my wallet.

I called the large servicer of my two main cards to dump the low-limit ($700) bank-I’m-not-with-any-more visa I had with them. Since I no longer have an account at said bank, it’s not needed for overdraft protection, and I don’t have particularly fond memories of the bank anyway, so Die, Die, Die. It was my oldest credit card, which is supposedly worth keeping on the report, but screw it, I was simply ready (emotionally) to get rid of the thing. It had been the little credit card I started with, waaaay back under a previous bank, and it had been one of the most reasonable ones for making payments and interest rates and what not, but as soon as previous and not-with-any-more merged, not-with-any-more farmed out their card serving to the large servicer instead of handling it in-house, and the servicer promptly jacked up the interest rate on the card. Jerks.

They did get rid of the card, but in a sneaky way. The servicer merged the credit limit into the other visa I have with them (upping it by the aforementioned $700), and somehow merged the accounts so that the remaining visa now looks like it’s the old one, to keep the “cardholder since” longevity. Whatever. So long as a card died today, I’m happy. The old one is now tacked to my bulletin board, along with the other ones I’ve paid off.

Oh, and the servicer was so happy with me for completely paying off the cards that they lowered the interest rate on the remaining card to their lowest available one. One that is less than half what I had on the card a year ago, and is actually lower than the original rate I’d had waaay back when under the previous bank. Wunderbar.

DiscoverCard™, on the other hand, did not want to play when I called about an interest rate deduction. Instead of processing a rate reduction over the phone, as they’ve done the past 3-4 times I’ve talked to them., they’re sending me paperwork to fill out (!!!!!) to request a rate decrease from the current one, which is also now somehow a floating prime+ rate instead of the fixed rate I’ve always had with them. So that got the card removed from the wallet so it won’t be used. Don’t want to play nice, I don’t have to give you any business – no transaction fees for you! Meh. Not like their “cash back” rates are any good anyway, unless you’re participating in one of their specials. AmEx has better return rates (on paper, at least).

And at this point, it’s “who can give me the most for giving them the business” when it comes to cards. I’m going to try AmEx once their new card arrives and see how I like them. I’ve heard very good things about them, and I like the options available on their web site (payments can be made every 2-3 days, not every 8 [!!!], nor do you have to “schedule” payments several days in advance before they credit to the account), so we’ll see how that works. No more carry-over balances for this man, that’s for sure.

Is much happier to be in this position than the one I was in a year ago, owing out the whazoo and begging for rate reductions to get rid of balances faster, and not seeing any end in site to the debt. I still have a good chunk of debt (student loans – oy!), but there’s an end in sight, and I’m in a much better position to actually be able to plan for things like, say, buying a place of my own now, rather than simply spending all my money and psychic energy dealing with existing debt. Definitely a happier place to be.

21 December, 2005

Happily Floating Through The Solitice

Category: Credit,Health — Moose @ 4:38 pm

Equifax seems to have finally realized that I am, in fact, Moose II and not Moose, Sr., nor Moose III. I can’t get to the actual file yet – they’ve not yet combined the two – but I did go over the credit accounts in the duplicate account in my name and they were all mine. So now I wait another week and call back to try to weasel them out of get an updated, corrected credit report from them. Finally all three bureas should be up to date and happy now, which makes for a very happy Moose.

Speaking of happy Moose, it’s the solstice, meaning days can get longer once more and I can get more sunlight. More sunlight = happy Moose. I don’t do well in all-dark, and would probably be a total mess if I had to live somewhere near or above the artic circle. Give me warmth and sunlight (and yes, even humidity) any day of the week over this cold, dark crap we lovingly refer to as “winter.”

And on yet another happy Moose note, I have been happily floating through the day on a dose of prescription sudephedrine. Whee! I’m guessing I picked up the cold on the train, as none of my relatives were sick this past weekend (normally there’s one family “assassin” who brings the rest of us the annual holiday cold, but none were in evidence this time). No biggie, it’ll be gone soon enough, but in the meantime I’m nice and mellow (and on legal substances, much to the chagrin of one of the older attorneys here at work who, it seems from his comments, would have preferred me mellow on something more… organic).

18 December, 2005

11 Bottles of Booze on the Wall, 11 Bottles of Booze…

Category: Relationships — Moose @ 11:20 pm

Of all the Christmas traditions my family has, I think the one I love the most is that Mom always makes stockings for us. When we were growing up it was usually candy, an orange, a toothbrush, maybe a little toy. As we got older there were variations on the theme – small umbrellas, different candies, other useful things. Eventually, it dwindled down to just candy, until one year when I was in graduate school, Mom decided since my brother and I were both now over 21, we were too old for candy and she was going to get us more adult stuff.

Miniature bottles of booze.

This year, knowing that I like bourbon and/or whiskey, I got 11 mini bottles in a variety of those two liquors. Including, I might add, some Knob Creek, which I’d been meaning to try as a variation on my favorite, Maker’s Mark.

So when you see these mini bottles show up on my liquor table at a party, now you know why.

But this is still definitely my favorite tradition.

Visit Home

Category: Exercise,Law,Relationships,Sleep,Stuff — Moose @ 1:14 pm

Been down at my parents’ place this weekend. Thus far the visit has gone well, and it’s been pleasant to see them, my brother and his family, and my aunt and her family. Folks have liked the stuff I brought down for them, and it’s just been a good time. I almost felt guilty in terms of my haul versus my brother’s (he didn’t make out well from the parentals in terms of “stuff”), and then I remembered that they’re paying his rent while he works on his MBA. At that, any guilt flew right out the window.

My brother did finally give a return on the gift I got him two years ago, as well as this year’s gift. Two years ago I got him a vegan dessert cookbook and a nice cheesecake springform pan. He loves the faux cheesecakes at Sticky Fingers, so I figured I’d give him a way to make his own. He hadn’t really tried it until he started grad school this fall, but along with the new food processor I gave him (yeah, he made out well from me), he’s been baking up a storm. The cheesecake was very good, and the fudge not bad (he used carob instead of chocolate, and while carob is okay, there’s no substitute for good chocolate). It’s a good thing he cooks, too, since his wife is (admittedly, on her part) not terribly handy in the kitchen.

I’ve also managed to keep up my exercise schedule, swimming yesterday for an hour, and I’ll go back to the local Y to run today. I’d not normally been so good about sticking with exercise when down here.

I will say that I’m very glad that my parents have WiFi, though.

Added more links off the Glen’s main page, catching up on the sites I read, either daily or less frequently. Will have to work on the coding later to sort them on the page, but for now they’re up and running at least.

Originally we thought my parents would have me sleeping in the motor home, but when it was revealed that there was no water in there, so if I wnted to use the loo it’s meant either going and then using a gallon of water to flush the thing manually, or coming inside, I said forget it and volunteered for the blow up mattress. It’s been okay so far, though some off dreams have resulted, mainly involving train travel and somehow or another wandering around San Francisco. Very odd, but not too bad, I’ve still managed to get enough sleep here.

Went grocery and wine shopping with Dad just now. Strangely (for them), it took me prompting them before we had anything to drink last night. The normal routine the past few years has been them practically popping the cork before we walked in the door, so to have almost gone two nights here without any wine was shocking, to say the least.

Oh, and while out with him I was reminded of something I forgot to mention here. Being an employee at a Big Government Agency, I have to go through mandatory training each year on the prevention of sexual harassment in the workplace. Our training happened at the beginning of this month and was the usual exhortations not to pick on other people in the workplace, etc. Well, as I’m heading out of the training, one of our political appointees (one I’ve seen before in the halls) decides this is the proper time to start chatting me up. Literally, right in the hallway outside the training room, and down the hall as we walked back to the elevators, he chatted with me, subtly came out (as if I couldn’t tell), and then not-quite-overtly flirted with me. After he left it was all I could do not to laugh out loud at his ironic choice of timing.

Well, it’s almost time to haul out the Tofurkey™ (the real turkey and ham are already done), welcome my brother and his family back in, and open another bottle of wine, so it’s time for me to zip.

13 December, 2005

Only Tuesday?

Category: Exercise,Habits,Motivation,Sleep — Moose @ 11:14 pm

Dear heavens, is it really only Tuesday?

I head down to the Tidewater area this weekend to visit the parental units in their new semi-permanent digs in Great Bridge. Am headed down early because a) it’s easier to get leave, and b) they want to head off to Florida in the RV right after the 26th. Will be a relatively quick visit (Friday-Monday), but that’s enough I think.

Life otherwise is relatively full. I have way too many events to attend at the moment, it being December, and my performance is showing it. Slept in a tad too much this morning, was still too tired from Sunday, and so cut the swim short. As dedicated as I am training and doing this half-Ironman™, I did finally learn that it’s perfectly okay to cut a workout short if my heart and/or body is just not in it. Better to rest, knowing I went out and tried, than to go for broke, injure myself and force an even greater (and more damaging) rest upon myself. Didn’t run this evening, either, but I’m not terribly worried about that. Did laundry instead, in prep to head out to the ‘rents’ place.

Checked my credit reports again, for the first time since I sent corrections to all the companies in May. Experian and TransUnion were both correct now, with no errors that I could find (and increased FICO scores since the last time I checked – sweet), but Equifax had done nothing to my file. It still listed me as Moose III (I’m Moose II), and had my Laurel, Maryland address, the one I moved out from in 1999, as my primary address. The woman I spoke with last night suspected I probably have multiple files there, so I’ve faxed off a letter with information and a copy of my driver’s license today to help them sort that out and get back to me. I’m ticked that they did nothing with the materials I mailed to them in May, so insisted on a fax number this time (“Well, we don’t really like to take things by fax…”), and after many hours of trying, the letter and photocopy finally got through (the number was consistently busy all day). Hopefully that’ll be sufficient to get the various files reconciled there and I can get a real file to go through instead of this crappy anemic one they keep trying to foist off on me.

It’s gotten into some nastily cold weather here in DC, I suppose prepping us for the shortest day of the year here in a week or so. I’m stilll contemplating which coat to get from dear old L.L. Bean™ this winter to replace the ‘heavy’ one I’ve had since, oh, high school. The coupons have been rolling in from Christmas and the purchase of the bicycle (none of it sitting on the card, mind you – it’s all been paid off, almost as soon as it goes on), so it’s just a matter of time, but man, this week has had me itching to get a new one like mad. I think it was in the 20s both going to and coming home from work, with not much of an increase in between. Send me back to the sub-tropics, please! I want my only-gets-down-to-40-at-the-coldest winter weather back. Shorts by March. Definitely much more my kind of weather than this crap.

7 December, 2005

Catching up

Category: Health,Law,Massage,Relationships,Sleep,Stuff,Triathlon — Moose @ 12:36 am

Much goings on since the last post, and yet it feels like I don’t have a ton to report, either.

I did indeed wipe out my credit card debt, and the installments have started on the small loan I took out to pay them all off. I’m waiting until the statements cycle in the next week or two to make the final interest payments, and then that part of the debt is retired. Yes, it’s just a restructuring of the debt, but one that will reduce the time and overall cost considerably, so I’m pleased.

I also took out enough to purchase the tri bike I wanted to get. Two pictures, one from the official web site, one from my camera phone:

Specialized Transition Elite - Official Web Photo

Specialized Transition Elite - My Baby

Am most pleased with the purchase thus far. I also picked up an indoor trainer the following day, a fluid trainer, so I can ride the beastie inside when I’m too lazy to take my ass outdoors it’s too nasty outside to ride there. The aero bars will definitely take some getting used to – the ride home from the shop, even using the Metro, was spent entirely on the outer bars where the brakes were, but then again, I was riding on city streets, not out on open road with no cars. Glad I got it now, though, so I have time to practice on it well before the race in June.

Training otherwise is going well. I’m making most of the planned training sessions, with the exception of the bike ones last week (for obvious reasons – no bike yet!). The double training days on Tu/Th are going pretty well, as is the planned day off on Wednesday. I’m glad to have that rest built into the middle of the week, it definitely helps break up the routine and give me time to remember that I used to have a life outside of training, as well as letting me do errands like, oh, getting my hair cut.

In not so happy news, I broke up with K. It’s a complicated story, and I don’t want to go into a lot of details here, but I’m not seeing him any more.

Work is getting busier by the day, and I’m not keeping up with it, much to my annoyance. I almost suspect we’re getting enough other stuff going on in my area to justify another 1/2 a body (with the other 1/2 to be other “general law” stuff), or even a full body to handle the loan stuff I’m learning now. What a mess that is. Sat through some training today on it and I have to say, I’m almost wishing I’d done the joint JD/MBA degree rather than the JD/MA – the financing stuff would be very useful right about now.

Tired a lot of late from the training. A good tired, but still tired. Oh, and I gave up caffeine the week of Thanksgiving again. Had a decaf that weekend, and some sips of tea one lunch, but otherwise have steered clear of it. Honestly, it’s been a lot easier to dump this time than the original trip back in 2000-2001. Haven’t really felt the need for the stuff, despite the tiredness from the training, and my continuing trips down to the cafeteria in the morning before work (a ritual I do with one of the other new attorneys – used to get coffee together, now she gets coffee and I occasionally get a bagel). Glad I did it, and I look forward to having it completely out of my system again in another couple of months.

No more bites to report, though I find myself increasingly irritated at the management of the building for their (to my mind) poor business decisions in who they’re renting to. They’ve done nothing about the guys next door, only spraying when I fuss about the bugs returning. I had to pound on the wall on Sunday when I got home to get them to turn their music down (like I want to hear their music loudly and clearly through a concrete wall), and while they had the good sense to turn it down (had they not, security would have been called), it was still an incredible annoyance on an otherwise okay day. I so look forward to getting away from them and their unwanted little guests (both the two- and multi-legged varieties).

I need to arrange for a good full body massage sometime soon. It’s funny, I have so many friends who are professional massage therapists now that my problem is deciding which therapist to use for any given issue. But some work on the back/shoulders and legs is needed and soon.