July 14, 2013: Arachnophobia!

If you’re reading this, I see that you’ve found our new blog—welcome!! Our old blog host was very glitchy, and when they had a lot of problems last weekend, I finally just threw in the towel and did something I’ve been meaning to do for a couple of years: transferred the blog to a new host and built a new site on WordPress. I’m definitely not done tweaking it yet, but at least it’s up and running. And I downloaded a fun new plug-in for image galleries that I think is going to work out nicely!

In case you didn’t see it last week, be sure to check out the inaugural post on the new site: Gluten-Fest 2013! If you’re at all curious about my hideous work situation (and you know you are!), you don’t want to miss it. Plus, there’s always fun stuff about the boys and such….

You’re actually lucky that I survived to write this week’s blog post. On Saturday morning, I nearly had heart failure when I went out into the garage to get some baby food for Sam…and found what appeared to be a baby tarantula sitting on the floor, just hanging out there, waiting to eat me alive!! Seriously, I know tarantulas are gentle, shy creatures, but they’re gross and creepy, and it was a huge spider! Not full-grown tarantula size, but huge anyway! And hairy. And icky. And I just heard about a week ago that tarantulas are fairly common in Clayton. Evidently, I’ve been lucky not to run into one before now. So, I think the giant, hairy, freaky spider sitting in our garage was likely a baby tarantula. It was far bigger than any spider I’ve ever seen. GAH! I get shivers just thinking about it….

Worse yet, I emailed our landlord to report that Chris had to kill a woolly mammoth in our garage (because of course I woke him up to kill the beast), and our landlord replied, “Wow! That is so cool and NOT cool at the same time! Tarantulas usually only come down this far to mate. They are usually closer up toward Mt. Diablo and in the hills. Sounds like the mating was successful.”

So GAHHHHHH again! I don’t want to think about big, hairy tarantulas mating in our garage and having babies!! That is the stuff of nightmares!!! And, suspiciously, the water heater wasn’t working on Sunday morning. I’m pretty sure Spidey McGiant’s angry relatives are out for vengeance and have taken up residence in our water heater. EEEK!

So anyway, I won’t be going in the garage again. Ever. Well, okay—I have to go in there to get in the car, but that’s it. Yikes. I really, really hate spiders….

Aside from spider encounters, what’s new? Well, I kept Theo out of school one day this week to go visit Grandma Diane, which was fun! We also got to see Auntie Lynnie, who came over for a bit. Unfortunately, we did not get to see Auntie Lynnie’s new bird or cousin Noelle’s chameleon, much to Theo’s chagrin. But we had fun visiting anyway.

And no week would be complete without a visit to Kaiser, so we had one of those on Friday. Sam had been tugging at his ear for a few days and was somewhat grumpy, so I took him in to have his ears checked, just in case. As it turns out, they are clear this time, so I guess he’s just grumpy for some other reason…and with an itchy ear or something. But at least it’s not another infection…at this point, anyway.

On Saturday we had soccer and then e-soccer, so it was quite the soccer morning! E-soccer has nothing to do with electronics, so don’t ask me why it’s called e-soccer, which makes me think of e-mail, e-commerce, etc. Rather, it’s a special-needs soccer league made up of volunteers. Theo’s friend Gavin plays, and Gavin’s mom invited us to come join them. And we had a good time, though Theo claims to like his “regular soccer” better. Still, I think we’ll probably try e-soccer again. It’s a neat little league—they have one adult per child, so each kid gets a lot of one-on-one time while they go through their drills and games. And the class was small—only about eight kids in Theo’s age group—so there wasn’t a lot of waiting around. It seems like a really neat little league, and it’s free, which is the name of the game for us right now! Plus, it’s held at a lovely, shady park that we hadn’t been to before, so that was a nice change. Unfortunately, I didn’t get any pictures at e-soccer—maybe next time!

After the game was over, we had a picnic with Gavin and a couple of his other friends, and then the kids played on the playground. Meanwhile, my friend Amber, who was photographing a wedding up north of Sacramento, sent me a text message asking if I wanted to be a second shooter at the wedding. Now that Sam is old enough that I can leave him for extended periods of time, I jumped at the chance—plus, Chris and I could certainly use the cut of the profits Amber offered me.

So, after we wrapped up our play date, I headed up to Sacramento while Chris kept the boys for the afternoon/evening. I’m told the boys had a good time puttering around the house, taking a quick trip to Kmart, and having an elegant dinner at Taco Bell. 🙂 Meanwhile, I had a good time shooting the wedding with Amber. I love doing things like that, even though it’s exhausting—I have new respect for photographers every time I do one of these! And it was hot up in Sacramento…and an outdoor wedding. Frankly, I was sweating like a pig! But so was everyone else, so I was in good company.

I haven’t yet processed the pictures I took, but next week I’ll put a couple of my favorites in the album, just in case you’re curious. I didn’t have a fancy lens or an external flash, so my shots aren’t overly exciting, but I think I got some decent ones given that I was doing it on the spur of the moment, with just my everyday equipment.

I got back home around midnight and filled Chris in on the eventful day. Let’s just say it was a whole other world than I’m used to. Educational, to say the least…. 😉

On Sunday, we took the boys to Children’s Fairyland in Oakland, since we have a membership there and were looking for a free outdoor activity. Theo spent hours playing in the little Old West town—I wish I could’ve taken some pictures, but my camera was at home with a dead battery, so I have none. Theo ended up playing for so long that we never made it back home before our date Sunday night! We headed straight to Dublin to drop the boys off after our day at Fairyland. Our friends Mike and Roxann had offered to watch the boys so we could go on a date for our anniversary (belated), and we happily took them up on it. We haven’t had a date in a few months, and I barely even saw Chris the week of our anniversary (thanks to insane work schedules for both of us), so it was nice to have an evening just the two of us—even if it was a month after the actual event! We went out for Italian food (I love that gluten blocker—I can eat again!!) and then briefly window-shopped at a bookstore. ‘Twas lovely!

Speaking of insane work schedules, before I sign off and take my tired self to bed, I’ll share the latest on my job. The big news was in last week’s post, but in case you didn’t read it, the abbreviated version of the story is that my biggest client declared Chapter 11, and I am likely out $3,600 that they owe me—which is a huge amount to Chris and me. As of last week, I was still pondering what to do about this, but this week I came to a decision. I sent my managers at the client a letter saying that until I get paid in full for my work, I will not be doing any further projects for them—unless they pay in advance. The client says they can’t pay in advance (won’t is probably a more apt word, but whatever…), so that means I’m finished with this client…for the moment. If they do end up paying the $3,600 they owe me, I left it on good terms and can theoretically rejoin their freelancer pool. But we’ll see what happens. The client insists that they intend to pay what they owe, but my tax accountant says it’s not up to the client, it’s up to the courts—and usually in these situations, vendors see very little of what they’re owed. So…we wait. For a long time…

And in the meantime, what will Chris and I do to survive? Well, we cut off Theo’s OT services, which will save us $300/month. We hated to do it, but there wasn’t much choice. We drained our house down-payment fund, which was really disappointing…but again, not much choice. It was only $1,000, which is a drop in the bucket toward a house down payment, but we were proud of having saved some money toward a down payment. And now it’s gone. Ah well. And we took money out of Sam’s special-needs trust, which made us both feel awful. We’ll pay it back, of course, but still…it is not something we wanted to do. And finally, a generous benefactor gave us a loan, which we will pay back.

So, honestly, this work situation stinks. I feel awful about it, and I spent much of the week feeling like a nervous wreck about the situation. But there’s not much we can do other than keep moving forward, and so that’s what we’ll do. Ever onward…

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