Legal Quandary

Saturday, July 30, 2005


We're here.

The house is awesome! (With the possible exception of the kitchen, which is very, very blue...but it may be growing on me.) See Exhibit A...

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There's a Farmer's Market every Saturday morning about 3 blocks from the house.

And a library with free wireless access.

And a great Community Center.

I even hear there's a Starbucks within walking distance...

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

I Can See Clearly Now, The Rain is Gone

This ad for an optometrist seen in the Chicagoland area...
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Wish us luck as we head to DC tomorrow. Finally!

The house in Fort Wayne is still full of stuff to do, but I'm looking forward to seeing my new home and getting my stuff put away. That's right - I haven't even seen my new house yet - other than in pictures. Mr. Q picked it out on his own. A brave man, my Kirby.

Don't expect much posting until after the weekend. No phone til Monday. High Speed internet to come at a date TBD.


Is there anything worse than lying awake at 2, 3, and 4 A.M. knowing that everyone else in the house is dreaming blissfully?

Probably not, unless it’s the song The Candy Man from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. The DVD was on sale at Target the other day - packaged together with The Wizard of Oz! Watching it with Lil Q the other morning, I was reminded of how much I hated that song from the very first time I heard it.

I was in kindergarten. It was our Christmas concert. We all had to sit on stage holding these lame construction paper candy canes while some redheaded and out-of-key 6th grader sang that stupid song. I hated it so much that I started covering my ears during the rehearsals. When I covered my ears during the actual performance, my teacher was horrified.

I like to think my parents were amused though.

Monday, July 25, 2005


Not in the spirit of my last PSA, but an honest-to-God, information you might be able to use PSA.

If you've called in a fraud alert with any of the credit reporting agencies, you may want to consider lifting it if you have a move coming up in the near future.

Otherwise, the utility companies can't see your credit report and will charge you hojillions of dollars in deposits.


Oh, but "Baby Fish Mouth" is Sweeping the Nation?

My grandfather was a sportswriter who worked crazy hours. According to my aunt, he would stop by Azar’s Big Boy after working late and bring home hamburgers for the family. I even remember going there with him once or twice, although I think we ate in the restaurant. On my last trip to Fort Wayne, my aunt and I discovered there was still an Azar’s in existence, out by the airport.

Today we went there for lunch. The shakes were pretty good, but sadly, the hamburgers weren’t as good as I remembered. The restaurant itself was kind of a cross between a Denny’s, Perkins, and IHOP. One that had seen better days. Sort of like the waitresses.

The visit was more or less unremarkable up until the point where we were leaving. As we were walking out, Lil Q lifted up her dress and started adjusting her diaper. Maybe she was scratching a bit too. It’s been oppressively hot here, and I can imagine that a diaper sticks in all the wrong places sometimes. Of course, I told her something along the lines of “young ladies don’t do that.” And then the hostess piped up (mimicking a little girl’s voice.)

“But mommy, my coochie itches real bad! I gotta scratch it!”

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Why?! Why Do I Do This To Myself????

Way back here, I wrote about my troubles in finding a decent hairstylist in TVPNM. I finally found one - right before we found out where we were moving.

Instead of waiting to get to DC, where I'm certain they have plenty of qualified - albeit overpriced - stylists, I elected to get my hair cut in Fort Wayne, Indiana.


We took Lil Q in the other night to get her hair cut because it's been so hot and I wanted to get her bangs trimmed. I never have a problem going someplace inexpensive with the kids because, well, they don't care. And the lady turned out to be AWESOME. So I thought I would schedule an appointment for myself. (Only $25! What a bargain. So cheap that I figured I'd get a facial and have my eyebrows waxed at the same time.)

For some reason, when I made the appointment with "Angela," after specifically asking for her, I thought *SHE* would actually be the one cutting my hair. I walked in, and someone else greeted me. I figured she was just going to do the facial/waxing part. But no...she started washing my hair and I knew I was doomed.

I'm hoping she didn't do any permanent damage, but I know she did not cut it correctly. And the "style" can only be described as "Midwest Crunchy." This more or less means that smearing some truly nasty smelling gel into my hair and halfway blowdrying it was the extent of styling that was done.

A note to stylists in the Midwest - hair should not look simultaneously curly and like it will break if you touch it. This a terrible look - knock it off. Seriously, just stop.


Friday Spies - Just in Under the Wire

According to the folks over at BTQ, this is the navel-gazing edition.

1. Why did you start blogging?
I think my very first post talks about this. (Note that I am too lazy to link to it - but this is my first Friday Spies in 5 weeks, so that's just gonna have to do). Essentially it boils down to the fact that I'd been reading E.Spat's blog for several months, and thought it would be a good way for me to do some venting. Not to mention procrastinating.

2. Are the reasons you blog now the same as when you started? If
not, what's changed?

While I certainly do use LQ as a forum for my minor personal rants, I find that I refrain from sharing everything. Largely because in the early days I wrote one post expressing my real opinion on something controversial. One or two of my friends commented, but what I wasn't prepared for was the fact that anyone could comment and some stranger did. That's when my conflict avoidant side surfaced and I more or less stopped voicing my true opinion. Mostly.

3. What would make blogging better for you?
If I hadn't told anyone I *actually* know about it and could feel free to really vent without worrying about hurting people's feelings.

4. Do you have comments on your blog? Why or why not? Do you
comment on other blogs? What motivates you to post a comment?

I do have comments (not that many people really use them.) I guess initially, I thought it would be a cool way to exchange thought provoking and potentially world-changing ideas. But, as I mentioned, I'm too chicken-shit to actually post something like that. Now I more or less see it as a way for the dozen or so regulars to email me without having to actually email me.
I comment occasionally on other blogs, but usually have to find something especially funny or moving to do so. This is mainly because I read most of my blogs on bloglines, and it actually takes some effort to go to the original post and comment.

5. What is your philosophy of the blogroll?
I don't know if I would go so far as to say I have a philosophy, other than I try to reciprocate when I'm added to someone else's blogroll. I know there's a couple of people who have added me onto their blogrolls, and I haven't updated mine yet because of my current lack of high speed internet.
That said, I also have some blogs I read that don't make my "public" blogroll.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Happy Birthday,

Grandma Quandary.

Before the Alzheimer’s came and stole her brain, my grandmother was an amazing woman.

Her family couldn’t afford for her to go to college, although she was a National Merit Scholar. So she went straight to work for Lincoln Life Insurance, where she met my grandfather. After they were married and had children, she managed my grandfather’s on-the-side photography business, and colored portraits by hand.

After Grandpa died, Grandma took trips to Egypt, Europe, and South America. She went back to school at 67, and earned her Associates Degree before having to admit that she really couldn’t hear the professors well enough to enjoy school anymore. Even so, she never earned anything less than an “A”. She was particularly fond of History and Political Science.

Grandma is 91 today. I wish my daughters had known and could remember her before the Alzheimer’s and the nursing home, so that they too could be inspired by this lovely lady.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Dear Internal Revenue Service,

You suck.

An automated phone tree that asks me a dozen questions before dumping me on one person who has no clue what I’m talking about and who transfers me to another person who knows what I’m talking about but doesn’t know the answer and who transfers me to someone who gives me a patently wrong answer does me NO. EFFING. GOOD.

I’ve talked to several of your representatives in the past couple of days. In person and over the phone. Much of the information I’ve been given has been flat out wrong, and results – I think – from your employees not being motivated enough to actually look up the CORRECT answer. Furthermore, it is less than helpful to be told that I should “just have my father sign” the document appointing me POA for the estate. He is DEAD. That is why I am the POA for the ESTATE.

When I point out that I’ve been given wrong information and read your employees verbatim why what they’ve just told me is wrong, your employees have a rather irritating tendency to transfer me YET AGAIN! This time to someone who was snotty and told me to just follow the instructions. (FYI – calling them the “Tax Law” department in no way puts me in awe of them – just so you know.)

Here’s the deal. I’m a smart girl. I will be a lawyer in less than a year (not that this statement in any way proves the preceding one). BUT I took and passed Administrative Law. I know how to find and read regs, and yet, found yours to be NONSENSE. Sadly, I haven’t taken Tax Law yet, but you can be damned sure it’s moved up on my list of priorities now. If for no other purpose than to be able to put your minions in their place during future altercations dealings. If your own employees cannot decipher your freaking instructions, I would suggest the problem lies with YOU, not me.

In summary, you suck.

Love and Kisses,


Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Happy Birthday,

Dear EC, Happy Birthday to You.

I can't believe I am the mother of an 11 year old.


Saturday, July 16, 2005

This is Dedicated... Legally Intoxicated.

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In case you can't read it clearly, it's a sign for the "Bourbon Bible Church." If anyone considered Bourbon his Bible, I figured it was probably Legally Intoxicated.

A PSA On Behalf Of My Hometown

I was talking with one of my Omaha friends, the ever-fabulous Mrs. Gorilla, and she mentioned that she’d recently visited San Antonio for a conference. She had the following conversation (or one similar to it). I truly believe every Omaha native has had a version of the following:

Other Conference Attendee: So, where are you from?

Mrs. Gorilla: Omaha.

OCA: Oh! So you live on a farm?

MG: (Snort!) No, Omaha is a city. (And if you knew Mrs. G, you’d know this was an inherently silly question.)

OCA: Right, but you raise livestock, don’t you?

MG: No…it’s a city. Unless cats or children count, our family is pretty much livestock-free.

So…notice to the rest of the United States: your ignorance is showing. Now granted, Omaha is not a *big* city, but it is a city nonetheless. A few notes to straighten out any misconceptions you might have:

1. People in Omaha do not (typically) live on farms. While there is farmland on the outskirts of town, when someone tells you they are from Omaha, they probably live in a suburban house, with just your standard backyard. Maybe a hot tub or a trampoline. Possibly a couple of pets. We also always had a garden when I was growing up with at least 2 kinds of tomatoes, 3 kinds of peppers, beans, snow peas, zucchini, kohlrabi, beets, corn and green onions. The whole thing was maybe 12x20, which hardly constitutes "living off the land."

2. No one (or almost no one) raises cattle or chickens within the city limits, though I did go to school with a guy who had a pet duck. Although Omaha has strong historical ties to the livestock industry, it has mostly died out, and the stockyards have been bulldozed to make way for buildings…with actual indoor plumbing and air conditioning, y’all!

3. Despite the lack of livestock, Omaha boasts the world-class Henry Doorly Zoo. It is usually ranked about third in the country after San Diego and maybe one other. They take on a major project nearly every year, so HD Zoo could be ranked higher than the last time I checked. In addition to all the usual zoo stuff, it has an IMAX, an aviary, and a rain forest. There’s also a drive-through wildlife park affiliated with it. Because Omaha IS a city, and there wasn’t enough land available (the zoo is right next to both Rosenblatt stadium and I-80,) the wildlife park is near Gretna, Nebraska, very close to the Strategic Air Command (SAC) museum.

4. The SAC museum is also well worth seeing. It’s a beautiful, huge space with lots of airplanes, including an SR-71 suspended in the entryway. (AMAZING - and not in a Corn Palace kind of way.) Curtis Lemay is featured prominently throughout the museum, as you would expect.

5. Omaha boasts a symphony, Opera and ballet companies, as well as a vibrant Community theater.

6. The Western Heritage Museum, located in the beautiful old Burlington train station, is affiliated with the Smithsonian, and currently has a portion of the First Ladies exhibit on display. It also has an old fashioned soda counter, which makes my kids very happy. My dad would take EC to visit almost every time she was in town – it’s probably her best memory of him.

7. Rosenblatt Stadium has hosted the College World Series for over 50 years. See…

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8. There are several large shopping malls. Clearly, Omaha is no New York, Chicago, or Los Angeles, but it’s perfectly possible to drive 10-15 minutes (and you can’t say that in any of the above cities) and be able to buy designer clothing and shoes.

9. The guy who does battle with Bill Gates for the title of richest American (or at least used to), Warren Buffett, calls Omaha home. If you don’t know who he is, think Berkshire Hathaway. If you don’t know what that is, it is the holding company which owns Geico insurance, large amounts of Coca Cola, See’s Candies, Nebraska Furniture Mart, and several other brands you probably recognize (as well as some you don’t). BH stock is unique in that it has never split, and is worth over $10K per share.

10. Prior to Ken Lay and his cohorts (may they burn in hell) robbing their investors and employees blind, Omaha was home to a company known as Northern Natural Gas. It bought out a struggling little company named Enron in the mid-1980s, took on a new name, and moved the headquarters to Houston. The rest is history.

11. Omaha is home to two medical schools (Creighton and Nebraska), and one law school (Creighton).

12. There are at least 3 actual Starbucks (not including those inside grocery stores or Barnes and Noble.) That’s more than you can say for just about anywhere in Wyoming, Montana, or South Dakota. Not that this is any true measure of civilization, but it makes me happier, and generally more sane.

13. Union Pacific, ConAgra, and several large insurance companies – all headquartered in Omaha.

14. Omaha is the birthplace of the only US president not to be elected either as president or vice-president. (A dubious distinction, I know. And no, I’m not talking about George W. Bush.)

Though I no longer call Omaha “home,” I still get a little defensive when people make fun of it. It will never be a Chicago, Seattle, LA, or DC, but I’m not entirely sure that’s a bad thing.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

2 Cars, 2 Cats, 2 Kids, Volume 3

From Sheridan, we continued on and on and on through Wyoming. Did you know that too much breathtaking scenery will eventually rob your brain of oxygen and start to destroy brain cells? Well it will.

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But Devils Tower (or Bear Lodge, depending on whom you ask) was pretty freaking cool anyway.

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We also stopped at Jewel Cave, which is the third longest cave in the world, with over 130 miles of underground paths discovered…so far. When the park’s resource director and other exploration minded staff members have a little spare time, they go down and explore. (They have to go in teams of 3 or more.) They expect that by the end of the summer, Jewel Cave will take over as the world’s second longest cave, because they discover more unexplored areas every few weeks. Unfortunately, we were about 30 minutes too late for the cooler “Lantern” tour, so we only got to go into the entrance of the cave. Damned radiator.

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We got into Rapid City, SD too late to actually visit Rushmore that night. Instead we took the “express tourism” route the following morning and paid our $8 for parking to spend approximately 25 minutes there.

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Immediately upon leaving Rapid City, you start to see signs for Wall Drug. The signs are posted about every half mile for 42 miles. We felt compelled to stop and see what all the fuss was about. The story goes that this family bought a drugstore in Wall, SD during the Great Depression, but business was so bad they almost gave it up until the wife came up with the idea of offering travelers to and from Rushmore free ice water and 5 cent coffee. And business has been booming ever since. We had buffalo burgers and ice water (after all, it was free) in the store restaurant for lunch.

But the piece de resistance in our trip to Omaha had to be…the Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD. If you thought there was a note of irony in that previous sentence, you’d be right. See the murals on this huge building. Made entirely of corn which has been oh-so-skillfully mounted on wood. And they change them every year. Legend has it that the murals used go all the way down the building, but the rats kept eating the lower portions.

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There are more murals inside, and when it isn’t being used for basketball games or other sporting events, the palace appears to be dedicated to…corn.

That's it for now. More later on the trip to Indiana...

Friday, July 08, 2005

2 Cars, 2 Cats, 2 Kids, Volume 2

Greetings from Sheridan, Wyoming. We've extended our stay here for a few extra hours because Mr. Q discovered late last night that his radiator had "issues." Meaning it had several pinhole-sized punctures. And I guess driving through the mountains will alert you to that condition every time.

At any rate, we should be headed to South Dakota in a couple of hours, albeit several hundred dollars poorer. The Quandary kids aren't terribly disappointed by the delay - they're down at the pool right now. The Quandary cats are just glad they're not stuck in that &*^%# car.

We spent most of yesterday and a part of the evening before at Yellowstone. A few select photos:
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One of the Geyser basins - it took me hours to get the taste of sulphur out of my mouth after breathing the air around here.

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The obligatory Old Faithful photo.

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The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone.

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Lower Falls.

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Random photography of rock formations in Wyoming. Still, pretty amazing, huh? We live in a beautiful country, folks.

Apparently there's a motorcycle rally in town this week, so the parking lot of the hotel is filled with...well, motorcycles. Harleys, Goldwings, and all those other big, noisy, bikes I'm not at all familiar with. Tube tops, ill-advised tank tops, cut-off shirts, large belt buckles, and leather accessories abound. That said, everyone here has been unfailingly nice - especially to the Quandary kids.

Hooray! The car is done! We're off to South Dakota. More from there or Omaha!

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

2 Cars, 2 Cats, 2 Kids, Volume 1

The house is packed and on its way east. They loaded *almost* everything we own onto a truck Friday, and I was happy to see it all go. I say almost, because we still managed to absolutely fill 2 cars with stuff, and even left a thing or two behind.

The weekend was spent cleaning up the house, which apparently was in worse shape than I thought because Mr. Q insisted on spending the ENTIRE weekend there, as well as part of the 4th. (I thought it would have been fine after about Saturday.) Gallon size ziplock bags and nail polish remover are a mover's best friends.

I have learned that my family sucks at rowing. We wanted to go canoeing on the 4th, but because there were four of us, they would only give us a rowboat. We ended up alternating between Mr. Q and I each operating one rowboat oar, using the oars as if they were canoe paddles, and just taking the canoe paddles they'd given the kids and using those. Stop laughing - it's not funny.

We watched fireworks from a cousin's house which overlooks the Puget Sound. It was amazing - we could see fireworks from all over.

Yesterday's drive was uneventful. We stopped at Coeur D'Alene (pronounced Cordelaine) and the kids splashed in the lake before continuing on to Missoula, Montana. I have to say I was surprised at how beautiful both Idaho and Montana were. At least the stretches along I-90. I'll try to post some photos tomorrow.

Time to hit the road...again.