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HAPPY BIRFDAY [profile] spiziks!!



This weekend, I have spent much time in contemplation and doing research with regards to restoring Cammie, and unfortunately, I have come to the unfortunate conclusion that rebuilding the Grand Prix is beyond my means. Not impossible, mind you, but I had to evaluate several things and make some hard decisions. Fact is, the degradation and damage to the body itself is extensive. I blame the long-gone Rockhill Pontiac for that and the absolutely shitty job they did repairing the car after the accident it had when it was just four years old. The cheap metal they welded on there, unprimed, improperly painted, and so on is why there's a hole in the back passenger-side quarter panel. And though they replaced the front passenger-side quarter panel/fender, they didn't prime or pain it correctly, either, and that's why it's cracked and faded.

The scrapes, dings, and other rust areas only contribute to the overall problems. It comes down to the fact that the shitty job that was done... I did what I could with waxing and such, but all I did was prolong the inevitable. And when it became clear five years ago or so that, despite my best efforts, the shitty repairs were failing and holes started forming and such... Well, if I could have afforded to get the body work done then, then things would be different. But the rust is out of control. And since most of the mid-1980s cars were crushed and recycled, I can't just go hunt a salvage yard for new fenders and panels and such. New panels and such would have to be custom manufactured, which would triple the cost of restoring the body.

Then there's the engine. The reason why Gary put in a new crate engine is because factory manufactured engines have been phased out in favor of crate engines. Factory remanufactured are somewhat limited in how universal their applications, whereas crate engines can pretty much go in anything, but at the expense of having the same computer control that stock or remanufactured engines would have. The performance engine in Cammie had no computer feedback, other than an oxygen sensor and a sensor or two in the exhaust line. This may have contributed to her demise, as there was nothing to signal the loss of oil in the engine. Just knocking, and then seizure.

Looking around, Jasper has pretty much dominated the market on street-legal crate engines. And given how they screwed me on the current engine, I refuse to do business with them pretty much ever. When I was looking at Jegs and Edelbrock, they have nice, powerful engines that would fit the Grand Prix, but there's no way they'd pass street-legal emissions. As is, with the performance engine and having to trade the digital Rochester carb for the Edelbrock carb, it barely passed the fast-idle test. Now, I could have switched out the metering rods in the Edelbrock carb with a set that would lean out the mixture and give me better emission results for the inspection test, but, the Rochester could be set to have less emissions all the time. Alas, Rochesters have gone the way of the dinosaur. So, my options, even with trying to build one myself, for a decent engine for Cammie are more limited than I had thought.

Then there's the interior work, which would still be somewhat significant. Even skipping swapping the bench seat for bucket seats, getting rid of the idea of putting in a center console, and new digital instrumentation, the headliner would still cost a pretty penny, not to mention the vinyl part of the roof on the exterior. I could only find used/salvaged motors for the power windows and the door locks. The alarm system slowly died and became just a glorified keyless entry system.

Long-term storage would also present the problems of needing new tires which, this time around, had to be special ordered. I would need a new battery. Assuming nothing else rusts in major components, the radiator would still need to be flushed and replenished. The transmission would still need a fluid change. The brakes, though just done a few weeks before the engine seized, would need the fluid changed.

If I made about twice as much as I make now, then I could probably afford to restore the Grand Prix in a timely manner. Right now? Twenty years would be a best-case scenario, and that's assuming I can get the G6 to last that long without any major problems, like needing a new engine or transmission or whatever. Or without having to replace the G6 with a new(er) car or somesuch.

There's only so much work I can do myself with the tools and expertise I have. And without being able to keep it at home, where I could work on it for a half hour a night or something... Yeah, I wouldn't be able to do much and save money. Yeah, I can keep it at Henry's indefinitely, but, it's outside, and subject to further deterioration from exposure to the elements.

The final cincher is this: I'm trying to get back into dance and I need to start writing regularly. I can manage writing and dancing. Tossing in a car project that would also suck away money is just...too much. I can already see where I would have to make a choice among dance, writing, and car building. I can only do two of the three. Ultimately, it came down to the fact that I want to dance more than I want a truly unique car that I would only drive on weekends and such.

That was another thing... I couldn't see doing all this work for a car I wouldn't drive much and would pay through the nose for insurance unless I found a garage to keep it in. At the new house, I don't think I'll be parking in the garage often at all, and with two vehicles? Yeah, no.

So, the plan instead is to keep the G6 in really good condition, pay it off in 5 years, then save up for a year or two, then go to CarMax and trade in the G6 and have money down, hopefully a couple thousand, for a Camaro. It has to be a V8, black, and with a sunroof. And some way for me to plug in the Sansa clip, either by USB or patch cord. I'm also thinking manual transmission, just to help deter theft, but, I worry about my knees sometimes and having to deal with a clutch, so, the jury's out on that. I've found that CarMax has three and four-year-old Camaros with 20k miles or less on them, practically new, for about $10k less than brand new. I'm thinking these were cars given to salespeople at a dealership or demo cars for test drives or somesuch, then sold to CarMax. Plugging in my criteria, I found a 2011 Camaro with a manual transmission for $24k with just 20k miles on it. Factor in the transfer fee (it was in Fairfax, Va), title, tax, and so on, figure $25k, which is still a little less than half what the G6 cost. Now, if I have a good G6 to trade in and a couple thousand down thanks to saving, I could come up with a decent enough replacement for the car I loved so much.

This is still a bit of a kick in the gut, though. I enjoyed having a classic that I had worked on, that at one point was one of the five cleanest cars in the state emissions-wise, that was truly unique, that had saved my life so many times. I feel bad that I just...can't return the courtesy. I suppose I did save her life a few times, what with transmission replacements, replacing that first engine with the 350 which lasted me 13 years. That engine served me well that summer I went down to Delmar every few weeks to practice with Holly, or going to Yardley every few weeks to practice with Kristin, or to visit Robin every other week in Milton for over a year... It got me through a LOT. And there was still that time the battery died on the way back from Milton, yet the car kept running until I got to Henry's. Inexplicably so. Whatever spirit inhabited the Grand Prix, I hope it found a new home in the G6 and will follow me into the Camaro in six or seven years or so. I hope Cammie is nestled somewhere in the G6 and may live again as a Camaro.

And I'll enjoy taking the cats to the vet for their annual check-ups in the Camaro, and going to TTL for dancing or lessons in the Camaro, and so on. For now, I'll enjoy doing all that in the G6. But I will miss the Grand Prix, and will treasure the memories I have of driving that car, of hearing the secondaries in the carburetor kick in and the free-flow thrumming as the throttle opened up and the car reared like a horse and took off like a shot. I am mourning its loss, and will probably do so for awhile.

I hate Jasper and I'm glad Rockhill went under.

On the plus side, I had fun dancing at TTL earlier tonight. I even managed to dance a full Viennese Waltz with Josie, and though a little winded at the end, I didn't need my asthma inhaler. Again, dancing with someone who knows what they're doing makes V. Waltz so much easier and effortless. Well, less effort, anyway. And I'm glad that some of the newbies I've been dancing with have shown some improvement as well.

For right now, I'm okay with social dancing, what with being busy with the move and all. But after we're in the new house and somewhat settled, I plan to get more involved with dancing.

Anyway, more later...
wookiemonster: (Default)
It's not guaranteed yet, but Cammie may be dead.

Remember yesterday how I mentioned the choke light and such? And the annoying clicking noise? And how Jack said they'd take a look at it, but check the oil, just in case?

Yeah, well, things happened too fast. I was going to check the oil when I got home from work. Mind you, I topped it off two weekends ago. And before that, Gary had replaced spark plugs and an oil pressure sensor. So, I had no reason to think that the oil in the engine would just...be gone. Even with the problems I had with the old stock 305 engine, which burned oil pretty regularly, I've never had consumption where I lost a full pan in two weeks or just under.

Apparently, that's what happened. On the way home, I started hearing a screeching noise, which I thought was a bad belt from the car next to me. Then it started stalling out on me, but restarting easily enough. The last time I got it started, though, it made an ugly screeching noise, got me across the street and into my development, and stalled again. I was able to coast to the house.

Got a flash light and checked the oil, and saw that it was bone dry. I put the half-quart of syntec I had left in it, with smoke coming from the fill port, and tried to start it to get it in the driveway. No joy. I mean, not even cranking. Like what you get when the starter's dead.

The engine was guaranteed for three years, 30k miles. It's barely three and a half year old, but less than 20k miles. So, if it's toast...there's no definite coverage. However, Gary/Henry's has worked with Jasper for decades, and with it barely being six months past with much lower mileage and the engine being taken care of, they might go ahead and honor it. They might also pro-rate something, and, say, for $1k, replace the engine. That I could swing.

It's also possible that, with it being a performance engine and using syntec, the engine is only mostly seized, and getting some oil in it and manually cranking it through, it may be okay after all. Maybe a little thermal damage which may be repairable or negligible, but, you never know.

I am, however, anticipating the worst, since my overall luck totally sucks ass. I'm anticipating no warranty, and that I'd have to replace the engine...again. Which I just...do not have the finds to do. So, unless I get a free or even mostly free engine, Cammie...is at the end of her life.

In that case, I'll sell her for salvage and hope to get enough to at least pay off the bill with Henry's for the latest work, and maybe reduce further what I owe the bank for the engine loan. Then I'll probably get a decent bike, helmet, and some bus passes and save what I can on gas and insurance, pay down debts further, save some money, and eventually get another vehicle.

What kind of vehicle? Well, I insist on a V8 engine. And at this point, I'd really want a manual tranny. I'll probably go with a Camaro. Or, if I'm looking at older, a Firebird. It won't be anything brand new. But I'm looking at maybe finding another classic to restore, maybe one with a body in much better shape or somesuch. Or maybe a three or four year old car that's been well-kept. Maybe something from Carmax, since Mom's really happy with everything they did for her with the Hyundai. Much depends on how much I reduce my debt, what I can afford in monthly payments, and so on. It's quite possible I may be car-less for a couple of years.

So, yeah, I'm a bit upset at several things... The fact that my project is dead, that I can no longer easily get from point-a to point-b, which affects work, my health, Rocky's health, and so on.

Even though I have a plan of some sort, which includes just trying to cope, I'm still feeling rather devastated. And poor. And so on. And stressed.

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HAPPY BIRFDAY [profile] daytonward!!!



Granted, he won't see this here, since he moved over to WordPress, and I don't have a way to cross-post from LJ reliably, so, oh well. And I tried leaving birfday wishes on his wall, except he, like a good number of others on FB, have disabled the ability of others to post on his wall. I sent him a private message instead. There are very few people I would go to such lengths to wish congratulations for surviving another trip round the sun, but, Dayton has always been friendly and free with advice to people like me who toil in the hopes of one day joining the ranks of published authors, so, yeah.

Anyway...

When I got home tonigh, er, last night, Rocky had the little bathroom rug half out of the bathroom, and I could see where he'd thrown up on one corner of it. Mom says he was trying to hide it somewhere. I say he was trying to bring it down to the laundry room. See, the difference between me and Mom is that I don't yell at them for having hairballs or throwing up or whatever. Consequently, I think Rocky was being helpful instead of sneaky. In any event, it's all good.

I think some of my esophagitis and general stomach upset this week is because of stress. Waiting on the car and such. Tomorrow, that should come to an end. And on the eve of getting Cammie back, I've been contemplative on a few things. They say you don't know what you have until it's gone, and I never quite fully understood how much a car is needed for an independent, active lifestyle. Public transportation sucks in Delaware. And if I was as active with dance as I was a few years ago, all of this would have probably ground dance to a halt.

I am very grateful to Mom for sharing her car with me over the last few months so I could run errands, do grocery shopping, pick up my meds, and take care of Rocky when he got sick and his diabetes came back. I am grateful to Rich for bringing me in to work for the last three months and picking me up on certain days so I could go to the chiropractor.

For most of the past three months, I adapted to my circumstances, living around the bus schedule, accepting limitations in being social or disappearing from the house for a little bit. Alas, the living frugally will continue for awhile yet; part of me is crying over the lost progress I've made on my credit card debt, since I'll be not-quite-maxing them out again, but, eh. On the bright side, I'm just looking at another month or so of really tight finances and not at an added bill. I should still be able to pay off Henry's by the end of the year, and probably sooner. I should still be able to replace the windshield by the end of the summer. As is, I've budgeted for meds, food, and gas until the next payday in addition to paying for the transmission. And since I've socked away spare cash, going dancing on Saturday is in the budget.

Back to what I was starting to say about adapting to the bus schedule... The past week or so has found me increasingly frustrated with this particular lifestyle. Nothing has changed, really; I was perfectly okay with things, for the most part, for most of the time I was without Cammie. But ever since I dropped her off at Deltrans, I think having it be so close to when I'd get her back, and I started thinking of all the benefits that would entail, that I realized how much I need a car and how much I adapted my life over the last three months. Not that it happens very often at all, but if someone calls me late at night needing to talk or whatever, I like being able to just hop in the car and go and be helpful. It's important for me to be able to have that ability. Not having to wait on a bus, not having to take extra time off at work for a doctor's appointment, and so on... Little things add up. Even with walking to the bus hub, and from the bus to the house... I realized I've been holding back on my walking at night, keeping enough in reserve to get me home. Normally, after reading time, I'd go for a good walk on campus and get to the car feeling like I'd had a good workout, and it was okay, since I didn't have all that much walking left to do. Also? The shitty suspension on the bus took something out of me in the way of motion sickness and I swear it's why my back has been so bad lately.

At least the timing works out okay. Rich has an infection in his toe/foot, so, with me being able to take myself to work and all, he's free to take care of himself without having to worry about me.

Anyway, here's to new beginnings...

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Some moderate family drama going on that has me a bit...stressed. Mom's a bit upset at my rant against the "relatives" who are mad at her for not being invited to my sister's wedding. As for me, I stand by what I said. Fact is, I stand by the statement that we did nothing wrong, and have nothing to apologize or atone for. Mom's still going to invite them to her wedding, and that's her choice. I have no more right to tell her whom to invite and to not invite than they do to tell us they should have been invited to my sister's wedding. It still bothers me that Mom's kinda sorta inviting them because other people are telling her whom to invite to her wedding, and 2 or more spots are being given to people who aren't worth it, perhaps at the expense of people who are more deserving to be there.

If I ever get married, those people most certainly will not be invited. And that's my choice.

Actually, if I ever get married, and that's a pretty big "if" right now, I might just elope and avoid all this bullshit.

Other than that... Today was busy and productive. I gave myself a haircut this morning. Then I cleaned the bathroom, took care of cat boxes and bird cages, and vacuumed the house. That wipes out most of the rest of the nasty chores and such for the rest of the break. I'll have cat boxes and laundry to do this weekend, but, that's about it. Tomorrow will be another errand day, what with the blood bank, the chiropractor, and the drug store. And maybe getting my new watch resized. But for the most part, the chore part of things is done. What's left isn't too terribly time or labor-intensive, so, time for some R&R. Reading, writing, and gaming. Maybe socializing, if anyone's around.

Actually, the Return to Dance kind of invaded my thoughts last night and today in that I found myself wishing I could go dancing this weekend and get away from everything for a bit. When I was talking to Lydia on Saturday, and she was telling me about having to care for her husband as well as herself and so on, she said that dance was like medicine to her. I'm realizing it's kind of like that for me, too. Cue jokes about being off my meds. Though at the same time, when I left the team, I had to change something, because at that time, the medicine wasn't helping and was in fact creating additional problems.

You know, as I reflect on this past year and life in general, on the bit with family and dance and so on... I don't think people realize how cyclical things are. To quote BSG, "All of this has happened before, and all of it will happen again." And we all play roles. Sometimes we switch roles. Sometimes we play the same roles over and over again. And...it takes courage to break the cycle. To break out of the patterns and either form new, positive patterns or start moving linearly or something. Some people never apologize, and the people around them are forever apologizing for being human, apologizing for the sake of friendships or family, forever giving up what they want for the sake of someone else, and until they break the cycle, they will never get ahead. It's hard to break out of these cycles because we're afraid that we'll lose our role and end up lonely. But in that case, perhaps it's most important to break the cycle, risk being alone, end up learning independence, and be stronger for it and more in charge of one's destiny.

And as I write this, I realize I need to take my own advice. With so many things. With sleep... The past few nights, I've been up too late and slowly eroding my progress for a stable sleep cycle. Yeah, there's stress and life stuff and business and excitement at not having to get up early and go to work. But, I need to maintain the sleep habits that work best for me and use the time for writing and such. For eating? I work hard, lose weight, look good, then slowly start gaining weight until I'm fat again. Except for the past decade, where I've just been pretty consistently overweight by 40-60 pounds. Broke the cycle, but not in the way I wanted. Time to change that. Actually, a new cycle was formed. I feel bad, vow to lose weight, manage to stress myself out over it, then give up. The feel bad after a few weeks, vow to lose weight, stress myself out again, and so on. The stress doesn't help, and neither does the resultant sleep loss, and added stress from sleep loss, etc.

So, for 2013, I plan to start breaking bad cycles.

In other news... Rich gave me a rather nice gift card to Amazon for Christmas. I used it to order a new printer. A decent Canon printer/scanner/copier that also does duplex printing. Oh, and can print on CDs and DVDs. Plus, better photo quality printing. And wireless. I'll still connect it via USB to the desktop, but I'll set up the wireless to print from my laptop.

If it gets here before the end of the break, then great! If not, well, 'll be busy after work for a few days. Once it gets here, I plan to clean out and reorganize my desk area, getting rid of old tech (meaning printer cartridges and such that I don't even have the printers for anymore), refiguring everything for the new equipment or even better configurations for old equipment. The goal is to make it all a lot more streamlined and conducive to writing. It's still all kind of in a "student" configuration. Anyway, yeah.

Comics )
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HAPPY BIRFDAY [personal profile] annastesia AND [personal profile] az_starshine!!



Rocky and I are slowly recovering. We've both been napping a LOT this weekend. I think we're both just plain burnt out from the past few weeks.

Other than that...not much else going on. Slowly plugging through the weekend chores. Slowly regaining the ability to breathe through my nose. Oh, and Yoda, in addition to asking, "You okay there?" now also asks, "What'cha doin'?" Again, the fact that he gets a response, and thus interaction, makes him ask these questions often. Eventually, he'll have enough question phrases to conduct interviews.

Anyway, I'm going to try to take it easy for the rest of the day. Unfortunately, this goes through my mind...



Comics )
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First, apologies to anyone whose birfday I may have missed over the past few days. Things have been a little crazy around here...

Mom went back to the hospital by way of ambulance early Sunday morning. She'd been having abdominal pains that got worse throughout Saturday, and her breathing became labored. Anyway, the ER was crowded with drunk UD kids... You know, I used to think of these kids who drank themselves to a danger point to just be stupid. Now I see them as stupid and selfish, as they take emergency resources away from those who didn't choose to do something stupid. ANYway, they diagnosed her with an illius, which is basically nerd-speak for her intestines not starting back up after her surgery. She's also got a mild pneumonia.

Fourteen hours later, they finally moved her to a room. Fortunately, she's in the unit where she was for her gastric bypass.

Currently, her intestines seem to be functional, and there's improvement in her pneumonia. She should be able to come home tomorrow or Wednesday. As I understand it, she's basically back to herself.

Mandie, Rich, and I had taken shifts while she was in the ER until she was all set up in a room. I'll try to stop in tonight for a few, but my priority is to get this place cleaned up a little. I've been taking care of all the pets, and thank gods medications means just putting drops on Rocky's face once a day. The stepgoggies are pretty compliant with going outside for potties and such. But still... The downstairs, at least, needs a bit of vacuuming, I need to cut up some fruit for Yoda, I need to do some laundry, need to make my lunch for tomorrow... I had planned for this to be a nice, relaxing weekend. But then, we all know how my plans turn out...

The important thing is that everyone's okay or will be okay soon. I'll..burn out later from everything over the past two or three weeks. But for now, Mom's okay and will be home in a day or so; and Rocky should be coneless and stitch-less tomorrow morning.

Thanks for all the well-wishes and such. Hopefully, birfday wishes and comics and some semblance of normalcy to this blog will return in a few days...

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Semi-quick, worn-out post before bed, in an attempt to alleviate some insomnia...

After receiving advice from several people that I trust that it would be better to just get the damn temporary pass from DMV than risk getting pulled over and having my car impounded, I've decided that tomorrow morning, I'll be making a trip to the DMV and going in to work late and staying late. This is teaching me that there is no such thing as "a little, minor fender-bender." I'm not mad at the person who caused the accident, because, accidents happen. Instead, I'm frustrated at all the bureaucratic bullshit that has accompanied it. The insurance companies have been okay this time around, but... The DMV, shops refusing to work on it because of its age (they don't see it as a classic), manufacturers not updating their inventory to show discontinued parts... All for a stupid lens! For a side marker light that actually works.

I'm also rapidly approaching burnout from all the stuff with the cats. Not that I begrudge them at all. But the multiple vet trips and rechecks on sutures and so on... For example, Rocky needs to go back Tuesday morning for suture removal. They didn't take them out today because his scabs keep getting into the area. So, I need to keep giving him drops and maybe cleaning his face daily. Thing is, he knows how to get the cone off. He uses his hind foot to move the bow knot to the front, then steps on it with his front paws and pulls to undo the knot. However, he hasn't removed or attempted to remove his cone for over a day now. Despite being frustrated with it. Tonight, the cone got caught on the edge of his dinner dish and he flipped the dish. We all take this in stride, get him cleaned up and such. He really is a good kitty, despite the rough patches we had when we first got him. No one can replace TomTom, but TomTom taught Rocky well, and Rocky is doing what he can to fill the role of "hoomin helper."

Riffy is doing okay, though, he's definitely lonely without YoYo. I'm hoping this will help him to decide to rejoin the World Beyond the Door.

Minerva managed to unbuckle her new collar, but was ever so happy when I put it back on her tonight.

The one positive thing about all these trips to the vet for checks and such is that I'm pretty much over associating the drive and the trip with TomTom's and YoYo's final trips. It reaffirms my focus on the living furkids which, I think, is what both TomTom and YoYo would want. TomTom didn't have many issues at all after we got him cleaned up after adopting him, and YoYo would probably remember everything we did for him when he started having urinary tract problems, and both would want the same care given to their siblings and successors.

Mom is still recovering. Moving around a little better today, but...yeah.

The stepgoggies came over early this weekend to make it easier for Rich to stay here with Mom. It's all good. According to Rich, they love coming over here. As he's driving them over, they recognize the way and get really excited the closer they get to here.

Rocky's all happy now. I just cleaned his cone a little from leftover food and such sticking to it.

Anyway, I'm finally feeling a little tired, finally, instead of all wound up. Time for some sleep...

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HAPPY BIRFDAY [personal profile] crysania4, [profile] mere_bystander, AND [personal profile] herlander_refugee!!!



So... I woke up at a decent time this morning and was productive. Put new patches on my jeans (I cut the old patches to small), made my sandwiches for the week, and got some other odds and ends done. All that's left is to finish my iced tea and pack my thermoses for work tomorrow, and check in new comics and run the computers through maintenance and back ups and such. And... I'm running out of gas. Out of steam. Out of energy.

Ultimately, though, I guess I can't complain too much. The past week or so has been extremely productive, what with closing the pool, getting housework done, taking care of and working on other little projects... I'm hoping to finish laminating my bookmarkers this weekend or, at least, getting half of what's left done. With any luck, in two weeks, I'll be as productive with getting the Christmas stuff brought up and started. Again, the main objective is to work slowly and steadily so that 1) there's not a last-minute rush/panic like there has been for the last several years and 2) to actually enjoy Christmas instead of it feeling like a chore or a source of stress.

As is, in general, I'm starting to feel a little less frazzled. It'll take some time, but I'm feeling more and more convinced I will eventually get back to a state of somewhat calm and focus on reading and writing. And giving scritches to the kitty overlords.

Anyway, back to work...

Short stack o' comics )
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Weight down pool cover
Disconnect and drain pump and filter, then store
Store other pool-related items and components
Cat boxes, etc.

Patch Jeans
Vacuum house
Grocery shopping (?)


It's been a busy day, obviously. Yet, I'm hoping to iron on the patches for my jeans before passing out from exhaustion going to bed.

For the rest of the week... I'm hoping for some serious "me" time. Well, me and the kitties. I'm glad I took a vacation/personal day today. It was worth it, for my sanity, if nothing else.

Of course, a month from now, I'll be worrying about decorating for Christmas. I figure a little bit at a time after Halloween, and maybe the Christmas season won't be nearly as hectic as it's been for the past several years or so.

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