Dogmatic Robot

That’s what I’ve become. I roll around in my car visiting the canines of Edwardsville thrice daily, cursorily feeding/walking/coercing the poop out of dogs. It’s draining, and I could use some oil.

Fortunately, this weekend marks the end of the dog-sitting bonanza. Normally I wouldn’t agree to be stretched so thin, but Ape & I were planning on using the money to refurbish the bathroom from the black lagoon. Not that the compensation for maintaining someone’s house/pets is enough to cover such an expense, but every little bit helps.

Then, the weather decided to turn against me. Anyone familiar with dogs has had the misfortune of inhaling the putrid scent of a wet canine (or two). Combine this with the natural sequitur of rain + dirt, and you have a stinky, muddy animal that needs to be vigorously cleaned before being allowed to enter the house. Thus, 3x a day for the last 5 days, I’ve been swimming in the scent of dirty wet dogs. This is not all that bad, and I remind myself that I’m doing it for a new bathroom.

Not having stayed in my own house more than few hours this last week, I failed to consider the implications of the ceaseless rain for my basement. I came home one night to feed the cats, took three steps in the basement, and saw torrents of clear, refreshing water rolling across the basement floor. I went back upstairs straightaway, and elected to have a beer to strenthen my resolve. In hindsight, the basement didn’t really end up too badly. We drug nearly all the furniture upstairs (which leaves my humble abode feeling even more cramped) and employed twin de-humidifiers, a shop vac, and whatever else seemed like it would move water.

Suddenly, the money earned from taking care of dogs was earmarked for basement improvement. While certainly not the end of the world, it was a blow to morale (and the bathroom). Then, Ape contrives to convince me that we can’t afford to stay a few extra days in Minneapolis, in light of the unforeseen house-expenses. While I don’t agree, I can’t force her to stay any longer than the conference lasts. We were planning to take the train, but there are no trains going back to Chicago the day the conference ends. So we have to cancel our tickets and try to get a refund from Amtrak.

At first, Amtrak couldn’t even confirm that we had a reservation. After giving them our reservation number, name, credit card number, etc., it took the CSR a while to locate our reservation. We were then informed that we’d have to return the tickets they mailed us to obtain a refund. The hitch is that we were never mailed any tickets; I’d selected the “pickup at station” option when I booked the reservation. The CSR was quite insistent that the tickets had been mailed on Jan. 12, and that we should wait a few more days to see if they came. I don’t need to point out the many fallacies of her statement; we’ll let them stand on their own.

Amtrak woudln’t budge, and then things got ugly.

We called MasterCard to dispute the charge. They indicated that we needed to fill out a form and they would deal with Amtrak (rough em’ up a bit, perhaps), but only the Library Director could fill out the dispute form. Having involved my boss in this embrolio (who seemed slightly annoyed), I then had to explain to her that Ape wanted to come home early (for reasons I disagree with) and the we were now planning on driving (which I sorely wanted to avoid).

Now, instead of a relaxing train ride and 3 days of much-needed vacation after the conference, we’re driving straight there and driving straight back immediately after the conference ends.

Plus, Hrothgar is now passing in and out of the realm of the living. After it seemed to be working normally, the next day Hrothgar wouldn’t boot. I unplugged it, cleared the BIOS, and it booted normally. This struck me as odd, and some heavy googling revealed that San-Diego core processors don’t work properly with the Shuttle SN95G5 BIOS. Now I have to find a task for Hrothgar that will require infrequent restarts (webserver, perhaps), and I have to pony up the dough for a new system after all.

They say that some days, you’re the pigeon, and other days, you’re the statue, but I’ve been getting shit on all week.

The worst part of all strikes me as I write this. At it’s inception, I meant for my blog to host my ideas; that committing my thoughts (and not my emotions) to writing would help me think more clearly. Now, as I read my posts, it’s mostly bitching and not much thinking.

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