Thursday, December 27, 2007


The conclusion I have reached is that if I am in Vermont on a Thursday, it will snow. Probably because I am the designated driver on Thursdays, and my buddy has an open mike gig down in Massachusetts. I missed last week's, so I best show up for this week's, even though I am absolutely exhausted. Maybe I'll go home and sleep for an hour.

I know I won't though. I'll head up to the 99 for some chow, then I'll hang out at JBo and Brown Sugar's until we head down to Mass. Then we'll probably be there until 11:30 or so, before we head back to Brat.

Okay, I'm being a real whineass today which means this blog sucks, but I feel like I had to do at least a little bit. I owe my one reader that much (Happy Holidays Shane! Woo woo!).
Ooh, I did get a decent Christmas haul...a stand mixer from Mom & Dad, a toaster oven, a shelf, and a pair of puppy slippers from my nephews. My grandmother also gave me a great sweatshirt for when I have those Silent/Snappy Strout days's bright yellow with a smily face and "Happy Camper - Cape Cod, Mass" printed on it. How can I be grumpy when I'm wearing that?

And when I get rested up, I will be posting stories from home, starting with this awesome rest stop I found off 295 in Bowdoinham.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Toga, toga, toGA, tOGA TOGA....

I must have my party hat on or something, because all I keep thinking about is partying! It might be because I have a Yankee gift swap tomorrow morning, then a departmental potluck for lunch. Tomorrow evening will probably involve food somewhere, then driving to a bar in Mass. to listen to my buddy at open mike.

I think I'm looking forward to New Year's, although no matter what ends up happening, it's still Plan B. Plan A, of course, is fire + drunk farmies in Maine= DFT (damn fine time). Plan B means New Year's in southern Vermont/New Hampshire/Massachusetts...though Conn. is not out of the realm of possibilities at this point. Ending up in Maine is a remote possibility, and even then, we're talking Portland or south. But it will be the first New Year's I'd actually celebrate here. Usually I'm in Maine. And even if it's low key and not without fire (or a noteworthy one) I think it's got potential as being blogworthy.

I'll try to blog at least once while I'm in Maine, but I'm not promising anything. Mom and the nephews kinda take precedence over just about everything else.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

$*^(%%(!!@! Mondays!!

$*^(%%(!!@! Mondays!!
No, I'm not censoring myself in the subject line. I really have no idea what the most appropriate word is to describe those Mondays that are just...screwed up.

So yesterday morning I knew I was going to need extra time to get my car out of my parking spot. Plow Guy had plowed me in pretty good Sunday morning, so I knew what to expect on Monday morning. I didn't anticipate it being too bad, though, because it had only snowed a couple inches after his first plow-through. I was so wrong...

Lacey LeSabre is pretty awesome in the snow (her other name is The Tank), but even she was having issues getting out of the snowbank that was driven into her. It did not help that it was basically ice under the tires. The front tires spun several times before I finally decided to do something about the traction. There was no sand or salt anywhere near my apartment so I went up to my kitchen and grabbed what I felt most closely resembled sand: bread crumbs and cornmeal.

All the good fixin's for frying chicken did not help enough. She was still stuck (and oddly enough, the crap under my tires went from ice to mud pretty darn quick). I shoveled out a path in front of my car and dug snow out from under the front in order to pull forward, out of the ruts, and then slammed that bitch into reverse and gunned it out of there. Success!

I arrived at work 15 minutes late, and was a bit out of sorts all day. It also did not help that various projects popped up that had to be completed like, last week, so just chaos all around. But hey, it's Tuesday now, and time to move on!

Monday, December 17, 2007

RIP Tiger Marie, 1993 - 2007

So, sorta sad news from home this old cat Tiger became sick and had to be put to sleep. I did not expect her to survive the winter anyway because she had lost a lot of weight this fall. The last time I was home, she seemed to look a bit better but Mom said they had been finding hair all over the place, and she just kinda took a turn for the worse. Plus, she was 14 so we knew the end was near.

I'm not overly emotional at her passing but I think that's because I wasn't with her when she went to the vet's, and also that cat had a hell of a run. She got her name because, well, she's a tiger cat. "Marie" was your typical middle name - just something else to yell at her when she got in trouble. She and her brother, Bandit, were foster cats from the barn. Their grandmother was my first cat, Fluffy. She brought them a mouse one day when they were kittens, as they were outside playing, which was kinda cool. Gross, but cool.

Bandit was always a lot friendlier than Tiger . In fact, she was downright snotty until he disappeared when they were four or five. Then she decided she could be affectionate, until Mom and I brought home That Dog - Athena the German Shepherd. My brother's Aussie dog, Red, also came along at the same time, and spent quite a bit of time at the farm. These household changes prompted Tiger to stay inside all the time and, most of the time, on my parents' bed. I can remember watching TV one evening, when I heard my Dad hollering and swearing upstairs. Mom and I looked at each other, puzzled. Usually the reason Dad swore like that had something to do with the dogs (or the cows) but they were outside. We later found out that Dad had just laid down on the bed, shirtless, when Tiger decided to pretend she was a Ferocious Tiger stalking the large, white Beast (also known as Dad's gut) on the bed. She launched herself onto my father's stomach, claws extended.

When my parents moved into their new house, the first six months were probably the best six months of Tiger's life. The house was decent size, but all on one floor. Her food was no longer on top of the dryer, so she didn't have to climb up the stepladder. Shortly after the move, Scooby was declawed so now he was completely and utterly her bitch. Life was great...until Mom had the audacity to bring home an Aussie-Sheltie cross, Lilly. But Tiger had decided she was taking a more offensive approach with this pup. She ran down the hallway and launched herself onto the unsuspecting canine and held on, riding the puppy and hissing in its ear the entire time. My mother managed to separate the two and clean up Lilly's "piddle" (that would be piss...she peed all over the floor after that, and really, who wouldn't?). After that, Lilly would not go within three feet of Tiger. Mission accomplished.

So Tiger was a cat that did not get in your face, but occasionally could be affectionate. She hated dogs, hated being picked up, and loved ruining woodwork, especially door jambs. Her favorite toys were my hair elastics, and catnip was really the only treat she ever wanted. She was a cool pet, and I'm glad we had her as long as we did.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

I can't get no....traction

I soooo need some salt or sand or some other non-slippery substance for my driveway. I went down to my car, realized the fancy little professional work shoes I was wearing had no grip whatsoever, went back upstairs and put on my all-terrain shoes. These things are clunky and heavy, but have a two inch thick serrated sole that would be perfect for mountain climbing. I was still sliding a bit, but at least I felt confident I would not land tits up four or five times before I got in my car. Is there anything worse than rain on ice?? At least the roads weren't too bad.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Things That Go Thump In The Night

Talked to Momma Strout yesterday and heard a very interesting story. She threw a load of wet clothes into the dryer, shut the door and started it. She stepped out of the bathroom for a minute to check on the commotion that involved my father, my nephews, and the dog.
When she stepped back in the bathroom a minute later, she heard a mysterious "thump...thump....thump...thump..." coming from the dryer. She opened the door and began to pull out clothes to see what exactly was creating the noise.

She found it when she pulled out my cat, Scooby (well, he's really more her cat now that she's been taking care of him for four years). He was not moving at all and Momma Strout was convinced she was a cat killer.

Then he came to, and was very disoriented so she held him for a few minutes. He got down and hid behind the TV for a bit, before hiding under the Christmas tree. Last night, he did not seem to have any residual effects from his dryer ride. I fear Momma Strout will feel the effects for a long time, however; though I reassured her that he still had at least a few lives left (he lost one when his mother abandoned him and his siblings, another when he ran away for a week, a third from all the car rides between college and Cornville, and should lose a life just for karma's sake after chewing up my roommate's W-2s and almost killing her beta).

Also, my office holiday party went well. As did the pre- and post-parties. I could have used another day to getting old!

Friday, December 7, 2007


Stayed up too late last night, but had a good time with great friends. Watched Jackass Number Two, and I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys watching boys do stupid things just for the heck of it. Reminds me of college, and almost every good guy friend I've ever had.

Tomorrow night is the big office holiday party so I'm gonna get all whored up for it. Also I think I'm over my bout of diarrhea of the keyboard. It's been a while since I've written on a regular basis, so there was a bunch of stuff I had to get out of my system. Maybe now my blog will be like a normal blog. HA! Right....

Well, hope everyone has a great weekend, and stay safe! If you don't, make sure you live to tell the story.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Just Call Me Lockout Strout

Locks are my new nemesis. I'm not talking locks of hair, I'm talking about locks that involve keys. Picture this: a nice early fall evening in southern Vermont. I drive over to my usual Thursday night hotspot to hang out with my Operation Tanked crew. I pull in, careful not to pull too far forward and hit the guard rail again, hop out, and realize...I have no keys. Hmm. I check my purse. Not in there. A pocket check also yields no results. Then the freight train of dread pulls into the station as I reaalize the keys are in my car. Locked in the car. So a call is put into AAA, the patron saint of dumbass motorists everywhere. A nice man arrives in his personal vehicle and spends a whole three minutes unlocking my doors. I now feel like an idiot because locking your keys in your car is, well, idiotic. But life goes on.

Two weeks later, I am enjoying a relaxing visit with the folks in Maine. I go out to my car to fetch my Gatorade. Car doors are locked. Keys are inside. Again. Not only have I locked my keys in the car for the second time in a few weeks, but I am also in my parent's driveway. I called AAA again. No nice discreet personal vehicle this time. They send out the huge flatbed truck. Fortunately my father was not there because, well, I can only imagine his reaction. Instead, Momma Strout enjoyed a nice giggle as she held back the Ferocious Dog. Ninety-two seconds later, the guy is back in his truck on his merry way. I now feel well versed in the art of breaking into my car, should the need arise again. Mom suggested I look into purchasing a nifty little lockout kit for myself, but I scoff at the thought of locking my keys in again.

Yet, the following week finds me standing outside my car at a friend's apartment, staring at the set of keys dangling in the ignition. But now I'm confident I can handle the situation myself. I wedge the door open with a small tube of Udderly Smooth udder cream, and wiggle a borrowed coat hanger into the car. Sadly, I failed in my attempt to break into my own car. Defeated, I called AAA again. A young man arrives - in a big truck - and employs a method I have not yet seen. It is definitely time to put the spare key on the outside of my car, which I would have done immediately following Lockout #2 had the spare key not been in another state. Yet, typical me, I did not take action. Still one would assume the sting of embarrassment from having locked the keys in the car three times in the last month would stay with me.

Less than 48 hours later I am standing outside the 99 Restaurant waiting for someone to break into my car again - and half tempted to let my buddy JBo employ his low-tech method of punching out a window. But I waited patiently and lo and behold, the same man who rescued me four weeks earlier saved me again. So it all came full circle and I placed a spare key on the outside of my car so no more lockouts, right?

Cleaning and organizing my desk at work, I stumbled upon a ring of keys that had been in the desk for at least two and a half years. I did not know what the keys went to so I began to test them. The lock on my desk did not seem to work quite right, so I threw the keys in the drawer and shut it. Someone must have said the magic word because then the lock worked and I was not able to budge the drawer when I needed a rubber band out of it. I busted out various devices in an attempt to to open the drawer and finally, with the aid of a baby flathead and a broken paper clip, I pick the lock...which then falls completely out of the desk. Guess that solves that future lockout issue. I hope.

Moral of the story: locks do not prevent crime. Instead, locks create criminals because I can now break into cars and pick locks. Not that I would ever do either, of course...crap, is this admissible in court??

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Recycled Material

So I wrote this a LONG time ago, and I don't know if I ever shared I'm putting it here. It's to the tune of Margaritaville, and if you don't know that, then clearly I don't know you. Seriously, how could someone not know even a little bit of the song? (yeah, I've been all Spicy Strout the last few days). I'm actually quite proud of the chorus part.

Munching on some cake, helping my mom bake
A whole bunch of chicken covered with oil
Then I hear a low mooing
By the window, cows are a-moving
Just as the potatoes are beginning to boil

Chasing my cows again here in Cornville,
Searching for my lost Simmentals.
My brother says that there's a Jersey to blame,
But I can't be her fault.

Don't know the reason, they've stayed in all season
Maybe they think they're getting tattoed
But this fence is a beauty
Enough juice to kill me
How they got out I haven't a clue

Chasing my cows again here in Cornville
Searching for my lost Simmentals
My brother says that there's a Jersey to blame
But I hope it's not her fault

[Music solo]

Tripped on a sharp rock
Hit the fence, what a big shock
I wish those cows would just cruise on back home
I hate to miss dinner, they refuse to surrender
So through the woods I have to march on

Chasing my cows again here in Cornville
Searching for my lost Simmentals
My brother says that there's a Jersey to blame
But I know....... it's not her fault

Yeah, and my brother says that there's a Jersey to blame,
But I know....


Happy Tuesday!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Holy Crappy Commute, Batman!

A lovely little storm unleashed its wrath on the area last night, and continues this morning. It wouldn't be quite so bad if it had been all snow, but there's a nice little layer of ice mixed in. The best part of my drive: all the damn hills and "Malfunction Junction" (I will have to post a picture sometime...words do not do it justice). Once you make it down the little side streets that look like they belong in places that refuse to plow until all of the snow has stopped falling *coughCORNVILLEcough*, then there is the mighty hill that leads to the parking lot entrance. That's usually where Lacey LeSabre likes to sway her booty a bit. What can I say? She's got junk in the trunk and knows how to use it! Getting up that hill without taking out any cars coming down is miraculous enough, but that's still not the end of the battle. The next and final step is getting into the lot, which has--surprise--another incline. But my morning was fairly uneventful - unlike my rookie coworker, who slid into a snowbank and then almost into another vehicle.

So pretty boring blog today, but I'll be cooped up in my apt. tonight so I might have some creative backlash tomorrow. I heard rumors this storm is going to slam Maine (condolences to Guimond and the County) so I hope all my friends and family to the east stay safe. As my father always told me, go'll do less damage when you go off the road.