Monday, August 29, 2005

Elenora's Birthday

My friend Ela had a birthday this Saturday. But we started celebrating on Friday. You see, originally we (Chris, I and Ela's husband, David) were planning a great big surprise for her. Namely, we were working on getting Ela's mom, Olga, to travel from Ukraine to Florida just in time for Ela's birthday. Due to the stupidity of the staff at the American Embassy in Kiev, she was refused a visa. So much for this plan...

Well, last Friday we all decided to go to a baseball game, but there was none (imagine that!). So we had to re-group and choose some other sporting venue. And so we ended up at an ice-rink. Now, I should note here that none of us can skate. The only difference is that some of us can't skate more than others. Unfortunately, these "some of us" included Ela. At first she refused to even get on the ice. We had to resort to the carrot and stick method, alternately shaming her for wasting our time and money and telling her that she'll do great in no time and that it's very good for toning butt and thighs. After about 2 hours she made much progress and was able to peel herself away from the railings and skate more or less on her own.

At this point we decided to stop. Our feet were hurting from the improperly sized rental skates anyway. Plus we had to celebrate Ela's success, right?! So we went to Stock Exchange, an 80-ies themed bar in the Halifax Marina. Yes, the place is a bit cheesy in its attempt at catering to young professionals. And yes, they even have a tiny dance floor and a disco ball. And yes, they play 80-ies music, but only for the first hour or so. After that the whole thing degenerates into a more "normal" rap party. Which is hilarious considering that most clients are well past their prime. Oh, and DON'T drink beer there - it'll kill you with its sour taste! Apperently, other drinks aren't all that great either, since we all woke up with headaches next morning.

On Saturday, Ela and I went shopping for her gift. We decided that she needed some awesome club outfit for two reasons. One is that she and David are going on a cruise later this year. The more important reason is that we decided to have a total "party" year - eat, drink, do crazy things, travel, and be merry so that we can have a sense of accomplishement in the partying department before having children. Ok, so the outfit thing... Here in Daytona, clothes shopping (or any shopping at all for that matter) is an excruciating experience. We only have one mall and it's tiny. To make matters worse, it doesn't have ANY good stores. The only reason to go there at all is to eat at Mr. Dunderdack's. It's a German-themed deli with walls covered floor to ceiling with hundreds of jars, bottles, cans, bags, and boxes full of delicious or just plain weird food stuff from Europe and with a scattering of tiny tables that only accentuate the generouse portion sizes of the delicious sandwiches served there... A mere recollection makes my mouth water!

We did buy a little hoochy outfit for Ela, after hours and hours of combing through the racks mostly filled with crap destined to become dish rags in some Third World country. Then it was time to go grocery shop for a barbeque on Sunday.

Now, yesterday we had this epic barbeque. Those in attendance (Ela, David, I, Chris, Albina with Bianca, Tanya, and Mike) had plenty to eat and even more to drink. The general atmosphere was that of merriment. Unfortunately, the designated photographer (me) got too involved in eating, drinking, and generally having fun to care about her primary duties. Sorry, no pix this time.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Unexptected day off

It's Friday morning here and my weekend has just started. How come? Well, it's because of the hurricane Katrina. But don't worry, we're perfectly safe and doing fine. But down in Miami/Ft. Lauderdale area many people have no electricity. Of course, our server is down and it's unlikely that FPL will re-prioritize its missions to fix it first thing today. Consequently, I can't work even though we have no problems with electricity here, in Daytona. Such are the drawbacks of technological progress.

Of course, I can't do much in terms of entertainment either. Chris is at work until about 5:30 and he's got the car. So I'm stuck at home. Such are the drawbacks of living in suburbs.

But I do have time to update my blog with news. Our biggest success this week is that we moved into our newly renovated office. It's actually much nicer than I thought it'd be. The floors look fabulous, no less! And we bought some bookshelves, which are slowly filling up. We also got a new desk for me and office chairs for both of us. So now we can work in comfort. The biggest winner is, of course, Xander. He quickly found a couple of places to hang out at, as you can see.

Funny enough, most my news revolve around Xander. That's probably because I spend so much time in the house with him and get to observe him a lot. He got over his cold completely and gained a pound and a quarter in the past 3 weeks. But more importantly, he's super-curious. And he has some kind of fixation on two areas in the house - the bathroom and the kitchen. He's still too little to jump up on the kitchen counter. But he figured that he can climb up our legs and backs to get there. In the bathroom he's mostly interested in everything that has water in it - the shower, the toilet, and the sink. Sometimes I let the water run just a little bit in the sink and he tries to break the stream with his paws. If I slow the flow of water down to a dribble, he attempts to bite every drip and it looks absolutely hilarious.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Chris' News

I really don't have much to say about the last week. Chris, however, has tons of news. So, I'm just going to quote him:

"I started a new job last Thursday working as a clerk in a Accounts Payable office for a company called Delco Oil. Delco Oil is a 20 year old company that buys and sells and transports petroleum products to gas stations here in Florida, but have aspirations to go nation-wide. For right now my job consist of paying invoices using a program that looks like an old DOS program that has had a few upgrades. There is nothing hard about the job, just a lot of program commands to memorize. After I get comfortable with this I'll start coding invoices. There are codes for different vendors, product/service purchased, and location that the product/service was sent to. Those codes are how the invoices are entered into the system. This job fits right in with what I am going to college for, Accounting. Oh, that is the next piece of news - I start my courses this Tuesday. In almost 2 years, assuming no deployments, I'll finally have my B.S. in Accounting. After my first 3 courses I'll have an Associates."

In other news, we're continuing to renovate our place. Our big project now is creating a workable home office for both of us. We already replaced an old, stained, crappy dirty-blue carpet with pretty laminate flooring. And we got some large bookshelves and a new desk. So we really hope to finish setting it up by the end of the week. For now both computers are in the living room. So it's very crowded and uncomfortable. More updates are to follow.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Weekend is here - nothing to do

Xander is recovering from his cold. Now he spends most of his time chasing everything that moves and biting it. His specialty is cursors (the little thing on a computer screen that you control with a mouse). When he gets tired of chasing and biting, he comes over to me or Chris (or both), flops on our laps belly up, and requests to be scratched.

He also finds ever-more creative ways of waking me up in the morning. Today he started off with laying on my face. After he realized that suffocating me is not in his best interest, he started tugging my hair, then moved on to sniffing and ultimately sneezing into my ear. Let me tell you, it really worked!

Chris wants to find a part-time job to supplement our income. Of course, a job must have some fringe benefits (since most jobs here are uber-low pay). He pointed one out to me today - a candy-maker at a local chocolate factory. Sure, the pay sucks ($7/hour), but think of all the free chocolate!

Gas is $2.42/gallon for regular. Now more than ever I am thankful that I work from home. Other than that, ain't nothing going on now. Daytona is increadibly hot and boring this time of the year (it's boring any time of the year, actually).

Sunday, August 07, 2005 Daytona

Ok, the title of this post is not very original. But I'm running on very little sleep and am completely worn out, largely thanks to Xander. Yeh, not much sleep last night. First, Xander jumped on the bed and tried to hunt our toes under the blanket. He was surprised at our general lack of enthusiasm and shocked at our rudeness in returning him back to the floor. After several attempt at conquering my side of the bed, he decided that Chris looked like a big softy and tried to approach him. Big mistake that ended in Xander getting kicked out of the room. After which, Xander had nothing left but to try to negotiate his way in. He started off with outrageously demanding "I'm a part of this family now", quickly escalated to "But I'm so soft and cuddly and nicely behaved", and piqued with "Please, let a poor little kitten in so he can spend the last few moment of his young life laying humbly on the floor by your bed". On this last meow, I gave up and went to open the door to the bedroom. A millisecond later the kitten was making himself comfortable on the blanket. This battle continued, with small breaks, for several hours. I would kick Xander out of bed and he would retreat, just to return a few minutes later, when I was fast asleep. Finally, I gave up. The sound of the alarm clock scared Xander and he left. I pretended that I never noticed him sleeping in our bed. And he pretended that he slept all night long on the floor under the bed. As if!

Saturday, August 06, 2005


Chris picked up Xander today and completely surprised me. For the first hour or so the kitten was exploring our place. He was so curious, but so scared, even got scared by his own reflection in the mirror. But little by little he became more adventurous, found out a couple of hiding places in case he poops in Chris's shoe, ate a little (probably in preparation to said pooping activity), and played with one of the toys we got him. We decided to leave him alone and not to fuzz around him. Big mistake - he quickly got in Chris's lap and demanded all the scratching and petting that a little kitten can possibly get.

Then came an unpleasant surprise - our kitty brought his own pets with him. Yes, he's got flees. But we should've expected that from a cat picked up at a shelter. So we bought some anti-flee medicine which seems to bother Xander more than flees ever themselves.

I would write more, but I'm dead tired - woke up at 3:00 AM today. So I better be going to bed now. Until later...

Thursday, August 04, 2005

My Birthday

Happy Birthday to ME! Happy Birthday to ME! Happy Birthday, DEAR YELENA! Happy Birthday to ME!!!!

The picture is self-explanatory: me looking pretty, a nice cake that Chris baked for me, some red roses...

Other birthday activities included going to Bucca de Beppo with David and Elenora and getting a cat. He shall remain nameless for another couple of days until we get him back from Humane Society mostly because we have't come up with some really great name for him. Any suggestions? E-mail me or post as a reply. Or call me (if you know my number).