Need a tree hugger

Austin is a very environment-conscious city but damn, where can you find a tree hugger when you need one? I have a young, perfectly straight, neatly pruned oak tree in my front yard that needs to be removed because it was planted too close to my house. I called six places (nurseries and tree service companies) and all but one didn’t seem to have the time of day. If I had to guess, I’d say this tree would sell for $200 + at a nursery. I want someone to come to my house, dig up the tree, fill the hole with topsoil and haul the tree away. Seems pretty logical, right? A few scoops of top soil for a perfect oak tree?!

I was finally able to get Brent’s Tree Service on the phone and was told that they will come out and dig the tree up for me. This was, of course, after I was told that a job like that would run me around $200. I told him that was too much. I laughed when Will asked me how much I’d be willing to pay. I told him I wasn’t going to pay anything – I went on to tell him that I have an axe in my garage and would take care of the tree myself but that that wasn’t what I wanted to do.

So Will is supposed to come out this week to dig up my tree. We’ll see what happens.

We suffer from…

Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject(s) financially impotent for an indefinite period.

TKD tournament, weekend with my parents

This past Friday Elise and I trucked southeast in the early evening to make it in time to have catfish at the Cross Roads Tavern in Cat Spring. Definitely something you shouldn’t miss in this lifetime. Elise has yet to eat catfish at Cross Roads. Having said that, it goes without saying that we didn’t make it in time. We didn’t get to my parents’ house until 8:30 p.m. So we drove back to my parents’ house and ate left over El Arroyo chicken fajita sandwiches and clam chowder.

I’ve been indescribably stressed the past few weeks and haven’t been sleeping well. Friday night was no exception. I stared at the ceiling in my old bedroom while laying in bed. I got up and laid on the couch in the living room until I finally fell to sleep. I woke up at six-something on Saturday morning. I showered, ate, etc., woke up Elise and we drove to Brenham for Master Park’s 20th Annual Unified Tae Kwon Do Invitational Tournament. This was supposed to be my comeback tournament. Unfortunately your humble narrator’s ankle collided with his instructor’s knee last week while both were traveling at full speed.

Being at the tournament was exciting. I was able to size up who I would have fought. I could have taken first place. Anyway – we were at the tournament for a few hours and my parents came picked us up and took us to lunch at Billy Bob Jo Jimbob’s Kountry Kitchen Steak & Slaughter Haus (I can’t remember the name of it but it’s that restaurant that serves the best chicken fried steaks and hamburgers and the sort – you know, country comfort food). I have catfish nuggets since we couldn’t have them on Friday night. My parents had burgers, Elise had a CFS smothered in cream gravy. I only mention that because Elise used to never eat anything with gravy on it. I’ve yet to tell her this, but I’ve been playing those subliminal message CDs at night while she’s sleeping. I’m hoping by the end of the year she’ll be fluent in conversational Texan:

Elise: “Hey y’all – I’m fixin’ to go get a Coke… inny y’all want one?”
The y’alls: “Yeah, we’ll take a Coke”
Elise: “What kind do ya want?”

We went back to the tournament to watch the fights in my division. We left around 5 p.m., went back to my parents’ house and chatted for a while before Elise and I came back to Austin. We had a short trip with my parents because Elise had to work on Sunday.

I spent most of Sunday in the backyard while Elise was at work. I pulled weeds, ripped up a ‘sitting area’ where our garden is going to be planted and mowed. That evening we went to John and Christine’s to watch the Sopranos. John cooked some awesome mashed potatoes and pork chops smothered in cream of mushroom soup.

My friend Travis came over last night. I made .6563 lb. hamburgers and we watched American Chopper and chatted. Travis is moving to Belize for a few months to work at a botanical garden and continue writing.

Josh needs a new bicycle

I really miss riding my bicycle to work. It’s been almost a year since I started riding my bike to work on a daily basis. Earlier this month, someone stole our bicycles from out of our garage. What really sucks is that I was
going to start riding my bike to work again that following Monday.

I went out onto the back patio this morning and took a deep breath. I thought: “Man, it sure would be nice to hop on a bike and ride to work
today.” To add salt to the wound, I found this article at

Elise and I have talked and we’re going to buy me a new bike in the (hopefully) not-to-distant future. I’ve pretty much decided that I want
another Specialized Hardrock.

I miss my old bike.

Home Depot is killing me

House Elise and I have been scratching our heads the past couple of weeks, wondering where our money has been going… $923.36 to Home Depot this month alone.

The ol’ HoPot will not be seeing the Janiceks in April.

Too young to enjoy things yet

When it comes to getting things done, I like to, well, get things done. I don’t like to do jobs half-assed. My wife, friends and family have told me that the house won’t be as I want it overnight. I have blisters and back spasms to prove that I’ve been trying. Though cussing, kicking and screaming, I’m coming to the realization that by the time I get my house and lawn the way that I want it, I’ll be able to sit down in my porch swing just long enough to enjoy it before I have to deal with my sporadic incontenence. This will be because I will be as old as dirt by that time.

Though owning a house is great and all, it’s really stressing me out. My life hasn’t sucked that much up until this point. I really can’t put into words how stressed I am on a daily basis. We didn’t buy a money pit – our house is in excellent condition, it’s just the things that I want to do to it and the every day maintenance. There’s just not enough time in the evening after work and on the weekends. I reiterate, I like to have things done. This whole house thing has been just one big punch to the ol’ yarbles.

As I was outside this afternoon, digging a flower bed/garden, I started thinking about how much work I’ve already done and how much more there is to do. I thought about how much money we spend on our mortgage payment, how much extra I pay on the principal, how much we’ve spent on home improvements – the list goes on. That’s when I figured out the whole yarble punching thing. Shovel in hand, fist full of St. Augustine grass in the other, I thought: wouldn’t it be cheaper to have a dominatrix come over once a week and for $100, hit me upside the head with hedgeclippers and kick me in man land?

I don’t know why I actually thought that. Perhaps it was the sun and because an unidentified bug flew up my nose a few minutes prior. I guess my point is that you have to be really old to have a nice house and lawn.

iPod mini sucks and stress fractured ankle

I want to love my iPod mini, but I can’t. I wanted to more songs on the mini for Elise last night and my computer won’t let me. I plug in the iPod via my USB 2 wire and the iPod immediately says “Okay to disconnect”. Then my computer tries to install a new USB device. My computer then tells me that there were “errors”. Then the process starts over again. It’s an endless cycle. As of right now, the mini is stuck with the songs that it has.

In other news… I was supposed to compete in the Unified Tae Kwon Do tournament this weekend but can’t because I royally screwed up my ankle. My instructor and I were point sparring Tuesday night and I came around with a reverse crescent kick which hit his knee going full speed. It didn’t really hurt at the time, but I was rendered a limping invalid yesterday. My ankle hurt so badly that I had to go to the doctor. I generally won’t go to a doctor unless I’m on the verge of death.

My ankle feels better today, but still not well enough to bear full weight or any sort of impact. I’m pretty bummed. I was really excited about fighting on Saturday. Oh well, maybe next time.

Owe the IRS, lawn moving and Drop Dead Sexy

This past weekend was relatively uneventful up until the very end. Philip came over on Friday night and helped me hang blinds in the master bedroom. After that, we stayed up and talked about selling things on eBay. Philip is going to go to the public auctions in Sealy every month or so and we’re going to see if we can make some extra cash by selling the items on eBay.

Elise catered the Vernal Equinox Benefit at the Enchanted Forest on Friday night/Saturday morning so she didn’t get home until 6 a.m. I woke up and had our taxes prepared at Jackson Hewitt. That wasn’t fun. We owe the Gubmit $1,000. I’m not happy about that.

After starting my day off at the tax office, I went to Discount Tire to have two nail holes patched in one of the Jeep’s tires. I went home, picked up Elise and she came up to work with me for a little while, we stopped at Hollywood Video where I picked up a few movies for my evening entertainment and then I took Elise back home so she could go back to work.

I stayed up and watched Matchstick Men, Party Monster (don’t ask me why – it looked interesting), and The Eye (which I haven’t finished yet). Elise came home for a little while to take a nap and then go back to work at 2 a.m.

On Sunday I got up when Elise got home at 10 a.m. She took a nap, I went to Wal Mart and bought a lawn mower. I came home and Elise went back to work. What was supposed to be a simple mowing of the backyard turned into the removal of two huge bushes and a tree that were too close to the house and otherwise not looking very nice. That took me a good four hours. Our back yard looks twice as large now!

Elise came home at 6 p.m. on Sunday, fajitas in hand for Josh’s dinner and told me about her weekend at work. I showed her the new backyard.

We went to El Arroyo to get ready for that night’s event. Elise, Clay (owner of El Arroyo) and yours truly cooked steaks, chicken and veggie burgers for the cast and crew of Drop Dead Sexy. I saw Crispin
and Jason Lee. Unlike my better half, I am prone to starstruckedness. I went on the set a couple times, met one of the producers and saw part of a scene being filmed. It was a very cool experience.

Hitting snooze

I’m not going to name names, but Elise is a full-blown snooze hitter. I’m definitely in one of those opposites attract marriages – my wife snoozes, I don’t. When the alarm sounds, I’m up. If I know that I’m going to want to sleep a little extra in the morning, I’ll reset my alarm the night before to allow myself just enough time to get up, shower, get dressed and make it to work [almost] on time. Due to my loving wife’s snooze abuse, I’ve had to wake up ten extra times this week. Shouldn’t I get some kind of reward for that? I mean, where’s my Spring Break? I’ve already woken up early for two weeks of work. Where’s my ticket to Cabo?

I cannot grasp the concept of snoozing. You’re granted 9 extra minutes of “sleep” by the digital demon. I don’t see how my wife can fall back to sleep in less than 9 minutes. If I were a snooze hitter, I would sit in bed, waiting for the alarm to sound again.

I’m not condemning my wife or her sleep patterns. Only once has she mentioned my subtle Angela Lansbury utterances while in deep sleep.

Painting the guest bathroom

Elise’s and my project this weekend is the guest bathroom. We had to prime the walls twice to cover up the bloody wine colored paint that the previous owners chose. Elise is finishing up the paint job as I write this. She chose a color called tranquility or serendipity or something of that nature. It’s a really calming green. When she’s done I get to install a new sink faucet.

Before going to the HoPot this morning we had lunch at the Satellite Cafe in Oak Hill. Our objective: have a quick breakfast, buy paint, go home and paint the bathroom. We were at Satellite Cafe for an hour. Our food took nearly 45 minutes. I was about ready to walk out because 1) breakfast is my least favorite meal, 2) we were behind schedule (I’m the Home Improvement Nazi). “It [explitive] needs [explitive] to get [explitive] done right [explitive] NOW!!!” and 3) it was almost noon and I don’t like eating breakfast that close to lunchtime.

Anyway, the wait was worth it. I had a wild berry smoothy and Elise had coffee. For our meals Elise had gingerbread pancakes with two eggs over easy. I had the Mississippi Sun – two veggie cakes topped with roasted potatoes, two poached eggs, chipotle citrus hollandaise with black bean pico and a serrano herb sauce. Muy bueno!

Well, I’m procrastinating. I should be helping Elise in the bathroom. Painting, that is.

Life still sucks

So my father-in-law e-mailed me last night and said “Josh, you sure sound bummed recently.”

Yeah, I’ve been bummed. I’ve been stressed. So today I thought to myself: “It’s Friday, you setup two forced contribution Roth IRA accounts at the credit union this week, you’re doing okay for you and your wife. Life is good.”

I left work on the trusty Shadow to go to the dentist this morning and it rained. Not only did it rain, it got cold. So life sucks again.