Tails & Typos is once again a three tail household! Meet Katy. Yes, I know, we tried this once before and it was the most stressful periods of our relationship. And, I really liked that coffee table.
When we met, Truman's mission in life was to get a german shorthaired pointer. He seemed so knowledgeable about the breed that I agreed to getting a dog without doing any research. The thing is, I am a city girl. Truman and I have no business owning a GSP. They have too much energy for a smaller house and we really can't have a dog that needs 10 miles a day worth or exercise.
So, about six months ago Truman got puppy bigger dog fever again. We sort of checked out the animal shelters but none of the dogs seemed perfect. And parts of our fence are only 4 feet high. And it turns out we actually sort of leave town on the regular (you know, this and this and this). So we decided to hold off at least until we could build (read: pay someone to build) a taller fence. Plus, let's be honest, I had some PTSD from the Emmy experience.
That was the plan until I started trolling the pets section on Craig's list. A family posted that they had to give their dog away because their mobile home park changed the rules. Truman skipped a networking meeting and we headed up to meet the dog.
Truman was immediately smitten kitten. And I was pleasantly surprised that she was sweet and smaller than expected. She heads to the vet for a checkup tomorrow but we think she's about two years old and maybe 35 pounds. Our best guess is that she's a flat-coated retriever mix (maybe a spaniel cross?). Hopefully everything checks out ok at the vet tomorrow because (so far) things are going swimmingly. She's a sweet, well behaved, silly dog.
Isn't she pretty?
Look at those eyes!
See what I mean about being silly? She makes faces.
When we brought Emmy home I immediately panicked and began to cry. I worried about the "little pets" and what a change having a GSP would be for our lives. I didn't have the same anxiety with Katy. Sure, we both questioned our decision to (somewhat impulsively) adopt a dog we didn't know a ton about. But it wasn't panic...and so far things have gone well. The little pets aren't panicked either...but I'm not going to lie and say they are super excited about a younger dog joining the pack. I have a theory that everyone will settle into a nice rhythm soon.
My grandmother passed away on Valentine's day. She had been deteriorating for quite sometime so it wasn't a total shock. The complicated thing is that my grandmother was, well...complicated. There were times when we got along swimmingly (mostly because I was 10 and she bought me every beanie baby one could find) but there were also times when, put simply, she wasn't a kind person. My mom boar the brunt of this more than anyone, so in later years, I decided to simply follow my mom's lead in deciding what kind of relationship we would all have.
My grandma was a well groomed lady who never left the house without her nails and her hair done, she was a mother of nine, and a lover of Elvis. I often wondered what it would have been like to meet her as a child or teenager. Did she always want a big family? Did she come out of the womb with those red nails?
Humans are complicated. And families are complicated. And death is complicated.
My grandmother grew up in Oregon so the whole family headed up to Portland and then Salem to have her service at her family's plot. The service was not a traditional one for us so parts seemed a bit odd (says the girl who had her Catholic(ish) family come to her Unitarian Universalist wedding) but it was nice to see everyone and neither Truman nor I had been to Oregon. The day before the service we spent some time sightseeing with my parents.
I didn't take a single picture of Liz and I but we got to stay a night with my good friend Liz and her husband at their house in Salem. We also got to see Jeremy on our last day in town. He took us to a fabulous brunch and gave us a tour of downtown. I was having a rough time at work and it was wonderful to see some of the people who get me and love me unconditionally (you know, other than Truman, who you know...I get to be married to). For years, when I lived in LA, Liz and Jeremy felt more like members of family than friends so it was a nice twist of fate that we ended up getting to see them when my heart kind of needed that kind of friendship.
It's a tradition. Jeremy and I were taking selfies before selfies were cool.
Have I told you that Truman has a thing for hot springs? He's kind of obsessed. Coloradans think that hot tubs and hot springs are winter activities which seems a little odd to me (how do you avoid cold ears!?) but when in Rome... Anyhow, Mt. Princeton hot springs had an awesome February special so we decided to have ourselves a little mini-getaway. I have to say, our Colorado road trips are becoming one of my favorite things. It's nice to get away for a bit, the drive was nice, the hot springs were great, and the company couldn't have been beat.
The view from our room
Pictures that make us look like we're naked are becoming a bit of a theme (probably because we got a water proof camera this year and now take more pictures of us doing water-related things).
The room had a microwave (and lava cakes are microwavable!)...and also plastic cups.
I also got Truman this shirt as a gift. Not sure if I should be offended that he hasn't worn it yet.
I had some work meetings in Austin last Thursday and Friday so I talked Truman into coming to Texas with me. Since my ticket and hotel were covered (and we had a Southwest credit for Truman), Truman and I decided we should both head to the Lone Star state and make a weekend out of it. Turns out it was also super bowl weekend so we made a somewhat short weekend out of it.
One of my save-money-while-traveling trips is that I always troll the daily deal sites for whatever city we're going to be visiting in hopes of finding discount activities and dining (since we'll be eating out anyway). This is how we ended up on a sailing boat in San Francisco and riding bikes in New Orleans. It's hard to top the epically cold, way more legit than expected sailing trip but we found a pretty sweet discount activity for our Saturday morning in Austin.... a Segway tour!
Segways are kind of awesome. Basically we fulfilled all of our fantasies of being mall cops. I'm a little sad segways never took off as a real mode of transportation for urban dwellers. The first 5 minutes is pretty scary and the "training" I got from our guide (who happened to have Pee Wee Herman laugh) was less than comprehensive but once we got out "Seg-legs" (her term) it was a pretty sweet, if totally dorky, experience. Also, you feel like a baby duckling following the line of your fellow segway tourist all over a the city. So that's pretty cool.
As I've mentioned before, I am totally down with embracing my role as a tourist. I think it's fun to visit a city and do the silly and fun things the city offer to visitor (see: segway ride above). This trip was no exception. We stayed at the conference-provided hotel for the first two nights in town and then rented a condo from a lovely host on Air BnB, a website similar to Vacation Rental By Owner (VRBO) which lets individuals rent out rooms or whole houses, for the second two nights. If you've never used the site before you should check it out (and also use this link because I'll get a referral credit). We had a friend in town who very generously offered to let us crash at his place that was in the next city over but we decided to stay in downtown Austin because we like walking around cities so much (you know, unless there's an option to ride a segway) and we didn't really want to rent a car.
The condo was great. It was within a mile and a half of pretty much everything and less than a block from a bus that will take you to the airport for a dollar. It might not have gotten much any natural light and it was a wee bit shady that our hostess told us to say we were "friends of hers" is any neighbors asked but for half the price of a the hotel across the street it was the best deal in town.
On our second night in town Ted took us to the Salt Lick, a BYOB barbecue place. We kept it classy though. We used an aerator before poring wine into solo cups. Sadly, I caught a cold Friday night and ended up falling asleep on the couch in the condo at 9p. So much for our wild night on the town. I tried to rally and make up for my early night by cramming Saturday full of activities (which, I am pretty sure, is what doctors tell you to do when you catch a cold).
Everyone looks sexy in helmets...
...and on segways.
After the tour we walked down to South Congress which is the "weird" part of Austin. Honestly, I expected the city to be a lot more eclectic. It didn't really feel that much different from Boulder (tiny downtown, lots of white people, giant whole foods, lots of people running) but South Congress was still pretty cool and we really enjoyed walking around. I bought myself some jewelry and got my little brother an awesome birthday present from this shop. We also grabbed a cupcake from Hey Cupcake. Mostly we stopped just because the cupcake on top of this airstream was so f'ing legit.
Isn't he handsome?
Before the end of the night we checked out a lounge singer at the Brass House which gets many points for find a way to make builder grade chandeliers look good. Before heading to bed we got lava cake at Flemmings, walked down 6th street (but decided we were too old for that mess), caught a couple songs from the end of a Spazmatics show (felt like I was in college again) and ended the night at Oilcan Harry's.
Sadly, I didn't get a single picture of me rockin' my awesome cowgirl boots. When in Rome Texas...
So I am constantly on the hunt for Olivia shaped things. Because, well, I am obsessed. And also, when you have such a...um...uniquely shaped dog it feels like a huge accomplishment to find something that looks like her. So imagine my glee when I found this dog ornament over at potterybarn.com. Pretty sweet.
When I took a new job in September my job and my pay improved but my benefits got worse. Not only that, but I was now the one hunting for health plans for my employees.
I always needed to find insurance through an employer or other group plan because most insurance covers deems my scoliosis (which will probably never need surgery) to be a pre-existing condition.. I've been outright denied coverage twice and told by another insurance company that they would cover me but exclude any coverage relating to my back and charge me an extra 40%. What the extra 40% was for I will never know. Further, pre-Affordable Care Act (aka "Obamacare") I also got charged, on average, about 10% more than Truman...just because I have a vagina. Good times.
So when I moved to my new company Truman and I suddenly had $1200 deductibles (each) and I paid about $300 a month for his health insurance. Thanks to the ACA I changed my work's group plan and Truman is now enrolled as an individual (something we couldn't do before January 1st because I was worried his allergies would be deemed a pre-existing condition). Me and my employees have $500 deductibles and our co-pays are half of what they were before and the company is saving more than $100 a month in premiums and we qualify for tax credits. Yes, I gave my employees better insurance and it's costing our company less each month. As forTruman, even though we don't qualify for any tax credits (we're luck to have really great jobs) we now pay about $250 a month for him and he has no deductible at all. $50 less each month for our family and way better coverage. Pretty exciting stuff.
There's no shortage of totally bogus claims roaming the internet about how Obamacare has ruined someone's life. Frankly, most those claims are totally fabricated. Ones like this one that has run through my facebook feed like wildfire, can't be verified or re-created at all. The facts provided just don't jive with how the health exchanges work. When President Obama said that you can keep your plan if you like it I don't think he realized how many people were on really terrible plans that really weren't insurance (they didn't cover hospital stays or had low coverage limits) and that those people didn't realize how useless those plans were (for a really wonderful overview of this problem you should check out this article about the junk insurance plans the ACA is protecting us from). As Mother Jones points out, what President Obama should have said was, "Those of you who obtain insurance on the individual market can keep your plans unless it's the sort of rip-off plan the ACA will forbid. Otherwise, you will be offered new option that actually give you decent coverage at a decent price."
I represent one family and one business that is incredibly thankful to the much needed updates to our health insurance system...now if only if we could continue heading in the right direction.