Category Archives: Pups

  • My Rover Record

    Man, my sleep continues to be all kinds of fucked up. I dunno what my deal is: I just can’t stop thinking about shit. Need to get back on that Calms Forte stuff for sure.

    I was up early this morning, bc I heard Bubble Boy moving about in the living room. Yeah, for someone who is deaf, I can always hear the doggies. Marty just has to shuffle in his bed, and I’m up. So I took Sparky out to pee. Yeah, Sparky is kinda a lot of work, bc if you just let him out back on his own, he gets all into the far corners of the yard and starts digging in the mulch. And that damn schnoodle (schauzer-poodle) fur is like felt– it picks up everything. SMH. After he peed, we came back inside. I went back to bed. Thirty minutes later, he came into the bedroom and jumped on the bed. Weird. He hardly ever comes into the bedroom. We shooed him off and then he proceeded into my bathroom and started barfing. WTF? Then he walked down the hallway and puked again. Huh? We never even deviated from his special diet!! He went outside again and then seemed mostly fine. I entered into the kitchen and holy fuck, there was urine by the kitchen door. Seriously? The day before his last day and all at once?

    I started getting worried, like maybe he’s sick? Thankfully, he was back prancing around on our walk to the park. I texted his mom to report the odd behavior. I was a little worried she’d pepper me with a ton of questions, but she just said sometimes he gets an upset tummy, pukes, and returns to normal. Ok then! The rest of the morning, he’s appeared fine. Whew! I can’t be marring my Rover record, you know? :)

    In other news, my Big Brother system is working out great with the parentals. I check in periodically to see if they are out and about. The renovations are done at the townhouse, so the house listed today. Goddamn, housing in Maryland is cheap! I’m a little concerned bc a lot of properties in that range and area seem to be bank owned or foreclosed, which kinda brings the values down. But we’ll see. We’re pretty happy with the reno work: not too expensive and more importantly, on time! Woohoo!

    I’ve been meaning to report back on the SmileDirect Club stuff. I was almost ready to do it. I still need to video the animated treatment plan, bc that shit is what nearly sold me. In the end though, I talked with my friend/esthetician G and she seriously thought I was mad. She kept asking to see my smile and my teeth… she was like, “you know, we all have our hangups, but to me, it’s completely unnecessary and like borderline ridiculous/crazy.” The thing is, I hate my smile. Not just bc my teeth are crooked, but bc my nose is too big and my lower lips expose the entire mouth full of teeth. If you study beautiful smiles (which I have), you’ll notice that only the upper teeth show and the smile doesn’t compete with other overpowering facial features. Anyway, long story short, I decided to pass for now on the aligners bc even if my teeth were straighter, I’d still be unhappy with my smile. Pretty much, I would need a face job to fix that shit.

    Of course, to compensate for the inaction with repairing my smile, I moved forward on my tatted brows. I had gotten microblading done years ago when I was in Shanghai and I loved it. My brows are super sparse (bc I’m practically hairless) so the added color and definition works wonders. For the last several months, I’d been hand drawing/enhancing that shit and honestly, I’m getting sick of the day-to-day inconsistencies with the arch and thickness and whatever. So I had done some research on local vendors months ago, and then I found a Groupon deal and, I moved on it! Last week I was all set to do it, but then as I talked to Bubbey and some friends, they all sounded really apprehensive. Like, are you sure you want to go to a Groupon lady? Even her regular price of $300 seems way cheaper than other places that typically charge $500 and up. Why is she so cheap, they asked with suspicion? So I booked the appointment and figured I would just talk to her first and assess on site.

    Well, on my way over to the appointment, I started getting all stressed in the car. What if the tattoo is fucked? What will I do for the next 1-2 years? Maybe I can cover it up with concealer, blah, blah. I was freaking myself out. Then, when I arrived at the salon, it was essentially a coworking salon space, so there were a ton of stylists and all the customers were old white women. Like grandmas!!! Oh shit!!! She emerged from her room 30 minutes late for the appointment (the previous appointment ran over), but when I saw her, she was this cute and pretty little Cambodian lady. Hey man, first impressions are legit. Her brows were kinda sharp/angled and they were filled brows not microbladed, but dang, she had a beautiful face and very pretty eyes! She was all frazzled about running behind schedule… In the end though, it all turned out fine. She said I had done an excellent job penciling my brows (!!!), so she was going to basically follow the same shape. She penciled in the area first. It looked fine. I was trying not to be too perfectionist and overly obsessive. I lied back, she spread on the numbing gel, and she got to work. It wasn’t really painful, but the pressure on the brows is intense and the scraping noise is a little unnerving. Scrape, scrape, scrape and then she does heavy wiping of the area with a damp napkin. Repeat. Not very gentle for the tender eye area but I think it’s necessary for her to distinguish where there is hair and not. Then she started explaining how there’s a lot of variability with people’s face muscles, like depending on your dominant eye and how you make expressions. I was thinking: man, beauty is already so subjective and then to throw in all these other factors: shit, this is a high stress job!!! Should she spend more time studying my face muscles? I started to worry again. Then voila, my right eye was done. She moved onto the left eye… the pressure felt stronger and the lower part of the brow felt super sensitive. And that damn scraping… fuck man, the things we do for vanity!! She said my left muscles are weaker so I was bleeding more. She applied more numbing cream.

    She paused and gave me the mirror. I brought it up to my face. OMG, that right arch is high!! Shit. Is that arch a little high, I asked? She said she followed my pencil. Uh…. Then I sat up. Thank fucking god. Much better. Since I was lying down, my face was pulled back a little. After I sat up, much better. I mean, the arch is still quite distinct, but mostly bc she cleaned up the under brow area big time. We continued. After about 40 minutes under, all done. And then my brows started stinging like a mother fucker. Burning. The new brows are def dramatic and dark (the color will fade 20-30% in the coming weeks as the brows scab over) but I’m pleased. For freehand work, that lady’s got skillz. I go back next month to touch up the color and do any minor tweaks. What a relief it all turned out!

    It’s now been a few days and the aftercare just involves dabbing dry after washing and then applying Vaseline. I am digging the permanent makeup thing. Not that my brows took that much time in my routine, but it’s cool to just have them consistently low maintenance. Of course, the next day, what did I do? J and I took the convertible up to San Rafael, and we hung out with his sister S and her buds, eating oysters along Tomales Bay. I fucking sunburned my forehead really bad. Fucking blazing red. Been icing and putting on lotion but that shit is still red. Hope the skin calms down real soon.

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  • Cody the Cuddlebunny

    I’m such an extrovert/introvert split personality. Sometimes I get into homebody mode, where I can stay on the Houseboat for days on end without leaving the premises. I can’t quite explain it, but I do this odd dance, bouncing from one extreme to the other: on one hand, there’s the comfort and complacency of being home. Like yeah, I’m just doing my thang: internet research, listening to my real estate podcasts, cooking my meals, blogging, Pinteresting, OnStarring, and chilling with the dogs. It’s kinda nice and peaceful and quiet. When I get out of unabomber mode though, I like to catch up with everybody– host parties and email/call/visit with all my friends.

    Last week was one of my more extroverted weeks. I met up with two of my former university interns (separately). Sometimes, if you can believe it, I actually like young people. Haha. No, it’s kinda cool getting the scoop on their summer internships and learning what they’re hoping and planning for the future. It was always really important to me to be a good boss. After all that shit I’d read about leadership and influence, plus having my own fair share of jobs with shitty bosses, I really wanted their internship with me to be organized, interesting, and positive. It’s been about six months since I left, so I was pleasantly surprised when they reached out and wanted to meet up. One intern is working a 9-5 summer job for the first time ever. She’s struggling (like so many) with the rigidity of that arrangement. That said, she’s gaining more clarity on what she wants to do in the future– hello, social media!! The other intern just graduated with a masters in computer science, so he’s been on an aggressive job hunt. We talked about networking events and job strategies… I’m planning to reach out to some of my tech contacts to see if they have any advice for a new grad seeking opps in UX/UI. Overall, I had a good visit with both students.

    In other happenings, my retired buddy T recently invited J and me to scope out his new digs in Sunnyvale. He’s going through a divorce so for the first time since forever, he is living solo (well, with his dog) and LOVING it. T is one of the chillest dudes I know. We worked together at the gov agency, and he was such a great yin to my yang: no matter what I was fretting about, he was consistently positive, level-headed, and just plain relaxed. In his retirement, he’s continued to stay super active: playing racquetball, biking, kayaking, going on poker cruises. He’s a real role model for J and me, who have always struggled with balance. Anyway, his apartment community is a great spot in Sunnyvale that’s totally his style– a little old school in that the structures are probably from the 70s/80s, but his one BR apartment was recently renovated and the property is tucked away under a big canopy of old redwoods. It’s a beautiful, quiet setting that’s also walking distance to the Caltrain (he hates to drive). It makes me so happy when my friends are living comfortably and doing well.

    Back on the Houseboat, things were getting a little crowded with Bubs being home again and with Sparky the Bubble Boy schnoodle joining the crew of Martin and Cody. Sparky is 14 y/o and well, he’s a good dog but clearly he’s quite coddled. I’m so fascinated by the broad spectrum of pet parents: they really run the gamut just like with human parents! When Cody arrived, his parents gave me like three lines of instructions. By contrast, when Sparky arrived, he came with pages and pages of detailed info, ranging from directions on hand feeding him to limiting his sun exposure to frequently refreshing his water bowl. In the owner’s defense, Sparky is older and more fragile, but still… When I supervised him in the backyard, it was a bit like witnessing a kid going to college for the first time: he really enjoyed the new surroundings, but he didn’t seem to know to stay out of the flower beds and to not dig and make a total mess. Which might explain why his parents was so adamant about him being restricted and limited so much outdoors… Kind of a vicious cycle, right?

    It makes me a little sad, bc my brother comes to mind. He was so over-coddled and over-protected that as an adult, he never really developed responsibilities and common sense for basic survival (like doing laundry, washing the dishes, taking out the trash). It’s too bad, bc you can see that Sparky has personality and some zest, but it’s all rather muted bc he isn’t allowed to be free.

    On the other hand, Cody is a total rambunctious bundle of energy and joy. Admittedly, there are differences in age and breed but with Cody, he also engages regularly with other dogs. He’s been in people’s yards. Like, he has the experience to know adult dog etiquette, you know? Man, in ten short days, I got so damn attached to Cody. Yup, I fell for him even harder than I did for Ramona. When his family came, I held it together just long enough for them to load up and get into the car. Then, it was meltdown central. Full on tears and wailing. I know, I am ridiculous. Thankfully, 1) I made Bubbey do a photo shoot to add to my Cody album and 2) I’d already experienced the heartbreak from Ramona, so the sadness didn’t linger forever like it did before. I do miss his spunk and playfulness though. A few days after he went home, I followed up (of course) with a text to see how he was settling back in. I was super stoked bc the owner says she’ll call on me again the next time they travel. Yay!

    Btw, did you know all the area animal shelters are doing their #cleartheshelters campaign this weekend where adoption fees are waived? Sometimes I daydream about getting a second pooch, but you know Bubs: he doesn’t want to be tied down. For now I suppose Rover is satisfying all my needs. And Marty is loving it also: his appetite has come back full force. J is placing bets that Martin will make it to 17!! We’ll see.

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  • Don’t Boss the Boss

    I’ve been back on the Houseboat now for a week, and well, the reassimilation has been challenging to say the least. Immediately, I had a Rover client scheduled for the day after getting in. Cody is a corgi, so with that breed comes some strong characteristics: he was very sad to be separated from his family (for two days, he slept by the door, hoping that they would come back), and he’s super sensitive to noise. I guess J and I kinda got used to being with deaf oldies who NEVER ever bark, so having someone alert us to every little sound was initially, quite disruptive. But there are also endearing qualities that make Cody quite loveable. He’s super attentive: he always keeps an eye on me, and he loves to play. He chases balls and even entertains himself chewing on that thing long after fetch is over. It’s Day 9 and I have to say, he’s even got Bubbey wrapped around his little midget paws. I came down with a cold on Saturday night (I ALWAYS get sick near/around my visits with family!!), and after that, Cody was pretty routinely making himself comfortable in the bed. Yes, the human bed where dogs have been prohibited for YEARS. Goddamn, he is super soft though. And those wet puppy kisses are irresistible. I mean, I still have a soft spot for my first Rover Ramona, but the big advantage of Cody is that he doesn’t have an ounce of odor. For reals. Even his breath is fresh. Seriously, you have to see to believe.


    After two days of being mostly bedridden and sweating my brains out, I am finally bouncing back from my sickness. Just in time for another Rover client who is coming tomorrow. The poodle mix Sparky is much older and I expect him to be more high maintenance, esp given the detailed instructions I received from his parent. Seven days. We’ll see how things go!

    As predicted, Marty is doing so great with these other dogs. What a testament to the power of social connections in promoting health! He likes having a buddy.

    What else. Oh, on Friday, I met with a power player German woman who is seeking M-F daycare for her senior whippet. She was very happy with our meet and greet (hee, hee), and I was ready to proceed, but as soon as she left, Bubbey started getting on my case about booking all my time and no longer being flexible for our summer travels.

    That’s the thing about Bubbey and me. We are always off in our timing. When I’m not working, he’s starting a new gig. When he’s not working, I’m starting a new job. For the first time ever, we are both not working. But he has all these grand ideas about hitting the open road and traveling… All while my plan these last few months has been to get my license and start practicing real estate in the fall. And as a chronic travel commitment-phobe, he’s super frustrating to pin down when making plans. When I ask for specific dates, he never gives them. So I just started booking plans for Rover, and he got all annoyed about my lack of consultation and how my work plans are eating into his “unplanned” plans. WTF, dude?

    Yes, we had just talked the other day about trying to rent an RV to try out the nomadic lifestyle. But before, he told me all the RVs were booked for the summer. And we can still RV for three days on the weekends. Frankly, until you can put concrete dates in place, I’m going to keep working and booking Rover! I dunno: maybe there was a miscommunication. I was thinking summer was out except for the weekend quickie trips. Argh, fine! I went back to the German and told her I’m not as available as I had initially stated. I mean, it’s ok: I agree it’s rather silly to be housebound for just a $30/day gig, but I’m just saying, don’t make me turn down work and then we end up doing nothing at all.

    Speaking of Bubbey, this last week being home together was somewhat frustrating. Since I’ve been back, he’s gotten on my case every damn day about studying for real estate. How much studying did you get done today? When are you going to take the class test? How many pages did you read? WTF, dude? I do not need to be herded. You know the deal. Yeah, I fell off the wagon while I was back in MD, but um, can you blame me? Did you see all the bullshit I had to deal with? And now I’m just getting back into the swing of things, and you’re harping on me about my study schedule? Not cool. Go put yourself on a schedule first, and then we can talk. SMH. Marriage. It’s a lot of work, man.

    In other news, the reno work on the townhouse back east is progressing swimmingly. The realtor just sent me pics today: new kitchen flooring, new lighting throughout, paint touch ups, new appliances, granite countertops, etc. The construction work is right on schedule, and we’re expecting to go live with listing this weekend. Woohoo. Goddamn, I love it when people know how to manage projects! I could see myself getting into construction project management…

    What else. Oh, my parents booked their trip to Taiwan for the fall, so that means I’ll be booking our trip there soon. My dad suggested that we visit for 10-14 days, but I think I’ll keep it short and sweet given my last great experience. Also, I’m super stoked that my childhood friend N is coming to visit in mid September. It’s been many years since she’s come to California, so it’ll be great to have her out again. She’s getting antsy in NC, so I think a big change is on the horizon for her.

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  • The Artist (Formerly Known as…)

    My sleep is all jacked up again. Every time I’m about to visit with family, my anxiety level goes up. And on top of my family woes, there are also a number of other factors that are weighing on me: Bubbey is unhappy at work again, his back is NOT getting better, I’m stressed thinking about all the oldies (my grandparents and Marty) and their increased health problems, and I am still trying to learn my real estate stuff as fast as possible… My brain just can’t seem to ramp up fast enough though. On top of that, I’m out of shape. So yeah, overall, I’m feeling overwhelmed.

    But given my experiences from last week, between visiting with S and her Camp Wonder girls and having Buddy pass away, I am trying really hard to maintain perspective and to just focus on the smaller steps.

    Yesterday, I didn’t study as much as I had wanted, but I did reach out to various contacts. Yeah, the Unabomber had a lot of people interaction yesterday. I called Virgin America again and got the remaining points redeposited. Then I called SmileDirect Club and peppered them with a gabillion questions. Wow, that customer service rep Randall is GOOD! What a relief to find someone knowledgeable, helpful, AND attentive. A goddamn unicorn these days! Yeah, I got my treatment plan last week along with an animation and Im pretty darn inpressed! They expect treatment to be only six months!! I’m so tempted but am still sitting on the decision. More on SmileDirect Club later. After that, I contacted a few computer repair/tech support vendors to inquire about home visits. Found a responsive shop, but they mostly do businesses only. Then upgraded my account and researched personal assistants for my parents. I swear to god, the sharing and/or gig economy has not made it to Frederick. Slim pickings, I tell you. I should have known, considering that even Yelp doesn’t have enough critical mass there. I found ONE dude who had “computer help” in his profile. And most other general personal assistant profiles aren’t even active, with 5-7 day response times and log ins from 3 months ago. WTF? Regardless, I reached out to that one dude, and we’ll see when he gets back to me.

    Meanwhile, I’m still hustling through my eBay store, Craigslist, NextDoor, and OfferUp sites. Trying to sell my stuff and all. Somehow the physical decluttering makes me feel better. So I got a bite for my old mattress yesterday, and the dude showed up with his friend– some chick with green hair. We were talking and then, he asked if I was an artist or musician? Say what? Haha, I could not stop smiling. I mean, I was wearing my crazy floral jeans but shiit, his comment made my fucking day. And they bought the mattress to boot (didn’t even haggle)! As soon as I got back inside, I sent a giddy text to Bubs. The simplest things crack me up. That’s the thing about first impressions though. I’m always curious about the clues we use to make our split second judgements… It’s such an interesting part of human interactions.

    Anyway, in the evening, I had someone respond to my NextDoor posting for Bubbey’s old Mac tower. I had received a few bites last week, with people making outrageous lowball offers, but this dude came by, checked everything out, and bam, sold! Maybe I’m just not as trusting, but this guy was all surprised that I had set the tower up with an old monitor and keyboard and mouse, so he could drive around in the OS. I mean, were you just going to visually inspect, buy, test it out at home, and risk having to find me again if it didn’t work as described?? And it was $375, not just chump change! Oh well, regardless, it worked out great and he even had me keep the change. Yay! The guy himself is a CAD designer, and he was getting it for his friend who’s starting grad school in video/cinematography editing. So cool to be amongst the creatives! Haha. You know me: always wishing I were cooler than I am.

    What else. My third Schoola shipment arrived yesterday. I know, it seems like I have been doing a lot of clothes shopping, and I guess that’s true, but I’m telling you, these second-hand joints are so fucking cheap! My latest lot was all wins: two button down shirts, two blouses, and a blazer for $42!! And all the goods except the blazer are Banana Republic and in excellent condition! Not that you care, but hell, you know I like to crunch the numbers: in total, I have spent $105 with Schoola for 11 items that panned out for me and 2 that panned out for my friend M! Yeah, the free shipping takes 2-3 weeks but it’s worth the wait. And I guess I could always fork over a few extra bucks to upgrade shipping. :)

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  • Scammers are Everywhere!

    I swear to god the older I get, the more I uncover incompetence all around. For reals, how are these people holding jobs??? Sure, maybe I’m misdirecting the blame: after all, line staff are at the bottom of the totem pole. Maybe it’s the executives and company leadership who are the real culprits. Either way, where is the fucking accountability?

    There have been so many examples these last several months, from the scammers at Verizon who charged me for a data plan after I canceled my phone service, to the crooks at T-Mobile who charged me for a piece of equipment they claim I didn’t return (until I provided the tracking number) to Upromise dilly-dallying on my cashback rewards to this. Last month, I booked my trip home using reward points on John’s Virgin America account. Within 24 hrs, I called to cancel the itinerary (free to cancel/change within 24 hrs.). Since forever, the VA website has been buggy as hell. Seriously, how many times has the damn site gone down when there’s a fare sale? Anyway, when I cancelled the trip online, I got a generic error. So I called, was on hold for fucking ever, and then the agent assured me the itinerary was cancelled and said John’s reward points would redeposit in a few days. In the end, I booked a new reservation on Southwest, but today, when I checked his VA points balance, 26000 points were STILL missing. That’s about $600 worth of airfare.

    Meanwhile, when I log into his account and my account, clicking on the itinerary code in either case gives another site error. Fine, so I email customer service: once at the start of last week and another time at the end of last week. No reply. Today, I call customer service. The agent says the points will redeposit by end of day. This evening I log in, and only HALF of the points were redeposited. When I click on the “view receipt,” another goddamn error. Hel-lo people, wake the fuck up! I mean seriously, does every damn transaction require this much check in??? The reservation was roundtrip (under ONE itinerary code, which I provided), and it was cancelled. So this evening I fucking call again!! I was on hold forever and then they gave me the callback option. Basically, up until now, still no call back. After waiting 90 minutes for the callback, I call again and now the agent says the points department is closed. To date, I have wasted time online clicking to a gazillion error messages, emailed customer service twice, and called the Elevate Silver line multiple times, each time waiting on hold for 25+ minutes. Is this a game of attrition, bc I will fucking school your ass! I’m calling first thing tomorrow morning. Assholes.

    In other news, after a couple of weeks of inactivity, I finally got another Rover bite: an older lady with a 14 y/o Schnoodle. In typical fashion, I moved fast and we scheduled a meet/greet this evening. Booked for a week in July (after the corgi!). Yay, old doggies make me so happy!

    On the family front, I texted dad today to check his email, and he called saying the wifi at home wasn’t working again. He went to Comcast, they gave him a serial number, that number didn’t match anything, so they issued a new cable modem, but it still doesn’t work. Blah, blah, blah, same old story. He thinks he can just wait until I get home (Saturday) to handle it. Yeah, along with selling grandpa’s car, meeting with the agent to discuss the townhouse reno plus sale of the family home, meeting with an estate sale lady, cleaning out junk, dealing with iPhone issues, cable tv issues, and now this. Then he started verbally beating himself up about being such a Luddite and being so useless and having to always bother me… The negative self talk, while extremely familiar, is exhausting. I was like, look, the CEO doesn’t have to clean the toilets or order the office supplies. I don’t expect you to know or even do that low level shit. And you’re not bothering me: I can help you, but you have to be able to hire help. I will research what I can ahead of time so I can schedule meetings with vendors while I’m back, but I can’t troubleshoot your tech issues if you no longer have wifi! You have to get Comcast to come out and fix the issue instead of you trying to randomly connect cables on the phone with tech support! Ugh!

    Earlier this week, he had called to report that the grandparents are not doing well in Taiwan. Then my father, being the retired doc that he is, proceeded to explain in excruciating detail my paternal grandfather’s bowel movement issues. Apparently, gramps will go for days unable to pass stool. So I’m thinking, whatever, if he can’t shit, just keep going. NBD. Turns out, it IS a big deal bc all kinds of things get backed up. Needless to say, it is a fucking MANUAL process (literally!) breaking up the blockage. And it’s not even a sickness or anything: the colon muscles are just old as fuck, and they can’t push things down like they used to. To my own surprise, even my background in solid waste couldn’t prevent me from getting really fricking grossed out. Mind you, my dad was doing this procedure, and then he had to train the caretaker to do this… Who has the stomach for this? WHO???

    As for my mother’s parents, who are currently living in the same residence as my dad’s dad, they are also starting to require more care. Grandma is sleeping more and more and grandpa broke the chair and fell while in the shower. Dad says the next time he goes back, he’ll need to ask them to move into a senior care facility… of course, the nearest one that meets decent standards is in Taipei, 5 hours north (where my brother lives). So yet again, my 90+ y/o grandparents are gonna be on the move, led by my 72 y/o father. OMFG, who has the stamina for this?

    Oddly, these days I hear less and less about my mom. Today I asked Dad if I could have her (instead of him) help me with the online troubleshooting, and he said she is getting more and more forgetful. WTF? I mean, granted my maternal grandmother has Alzheimer’s but shit, is this all really happening now? I’m feeling pretty stressed out about everything there is to do, and I can hear the weariness in my father’s voice. I don’t know if he’s an ESTJ, but he’s definitely a doer and this is the doer’s curse for sure: you take on responsibilities bc you want to help and you want to get shit done. But after doing so much for so many years, other people just come to rely on you more and more for every. little. thing. Ultimately, you’re the last one standing, completely exhausted and yet there is no fucking way out. So many times, I think about how to offload his burdens. Surely, something can be delegated. Yet when I sit down with all of this, realistically, you still need someone to research and identify the right person to delegate shit to. For example, I still had to research a bunch of estate sale people or real estate agents or even like tech support people… I know Frederick is the second largest city in Maryland and all, but I can’t even find an onsite tech support service other than bullshit, crappy GeekSquad!! For real!

    And then on the Taiwan side, let’s give Johnny something to handle. What? He can’t even pay his bills on time. Can we possibly ask him to scout out senior care facilities in Taipei, his home city? Nope. I can’t trust that shit to him. So fine, book airline tickets for my parents? Nope, he messed that up before too. Tech help? Totally useless. I asked him once about using a printer/scanner to get documents to my parents. NO ACCESS TO A SCANNER. For fucking real, people. He teaches at a university but says they don’t use scanners. How do you people live under these conditions?

    Same problem with my mother. What can she do? I think about hiring my parents a personal assistant. A few months ago, I researched profiles on But my family has trust issues. Do I try and hire my nephews? Fuck. See? Even delegation has its roadblocks. I’m trying to just take it one step at a time. You know, go out this next week, hire people wherever possible, but thinking ahead, I have a feeling I’m going to have to get to Taiwan sooner than later to help my dad shuttle the grandparents. And when I go back, I’m taking a goddamn multi-function machine. Yes, I could buy it there, but then I’d have to decipher the Chinese software and buttons.

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  • Deluge of Tears

    Last week, on the same day that I had gone to visit the kids at Camp Wonder, I learned of Buddy’s passing on Facebook. He was the hyperspaz yellow lab whom we dogsat last year while his family welcomed their third child. The FB posting was frantic, something like “Please pray for Buddy. The vet is doing CPR on him right now,” followed later by a post saying that he was gone. WTF???

    I so wanted to contact D to ask what the hell happened? I mean, he’s only four years old, hardly the age for death! I wanted to know and I was annoyed by the “info but no info” kind of social media post that seems all too prevalent these days. But after pausing and letting the truth sink in, I realized that the details didn’t even matter. I was just dumbfounded (he was such a strong boy) and sad. He had only stayed with us for ten days but he’d grown on me. I suddenly felt so regretful that the day they came to take him back home was the last day we saw him. I thought there would be later opportunities, but I suppose bc of the human relationships (and our personal aversion to hanging out with a gaggle of kids), that never happened. And now he’s gone. The one with ears even more velvety than Martin’s. He’s gone.

    A few days later, after a bunch of people on FB kept asking what happened, D finally shared the details. Buddy had just finished an ordinary play session, and then he suffered from heat stroke. My mind just kept imagining that happening… And escalating so quickly. It’s amazing they even got him to the vet. Ugh.

    Years ago, when I worked at the environmental agency, every summer, the rangers would ask us to put out warnings and signs reminding people about heat stroke, esp for dogs. People would go up a steep trail with their dog on a hot day, and come back down carrying their dying dogs in their arms.

    I thought about how much we anthropomorphize our animals. They are so much a part of us, that we forget they are completely different animals with different DNA. To be honest, until this news about Buddy, I had forgotten that dogs don’t sweat. I mean, I knew this fact, but somehow it was buried deep inside and it had left my consciousness. And I thought about how much Buddy panted and breathed so loudly when we had him… The vet did say that he thought Buddy had a condition that compromised his ability to self-cool… Anyway, whenever we took him to the park, he ALWAYS went after the ball. He would appear physically exhausted but his face and body was always ready for more. Back then, I stopped playing with him bc I didn’t want him to over exert or bc I wanted to get going, but it was never about heat stroke. This could very well have happened on our watch, and that scared me even more. This was a devastating but powerful reminder.

    Of course, that evening I started scrolling through our pictures of Buddy. So heartbreaking. And then I saw my old pics of Remy and Ramona… People always say you have to tell the people you love that you love them. Do dogs know? I was petting Marty today, wondering does he know I love him? I tell him but we speak different languages. Does he know from my actions? Is loyalty a kind of love? Clearly, I’ve got insomnia tonight, and the brain is just all over the damn place.

    Needless to say, I’ve been crying a lot lately. That said, I am still trying to make the most of my life, so that means I kicked my studying into high gear. Today, I even tried something new: I got my butt to Starbucks, downed a chai latte, and then hunkered down from 11-4:30p. Government-backed loans, the law of agency, and real estate appraising. I was doing pretty well until I got into Fannie Mae and Ginne Mae and Freddie Mac. WTF. Thoroughly confusing. And then the fucking mortgage-backed securities and insurance and guarantees and… Argh!!! Why is his shit so goddamn complicated? I got really frustrated bc isn’t that what the movie The Big Short is all about? This intentionally complex system that then screws people over?!?! Thankfully, Bubs explained it to me after he got home. It’s still confusing but less so. I’m gonna sleep on it.IMG_0176 IMG_0177IMG_0198(2)

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  • Budding Business

    Surprise, surprise, I’m feeling pretty good today. Marty is on the upswing again (See? Despite my earlier reservations, he made it past my bday! Who can ever know when the real end is near?), and I’m getting some decent bites on Rover. Yesterday, I met a 7-y/o corgi named Cody. I had received an inquiry from the owner last Friday night while I was at the HOPR, and of course, like a true internet junkie, I had to reply right then and there. I scored a meetup yesterday, and bam! The client booked ten days in July. Yup, first time ever getting an inquiry for a month in advance. And the lady showed up with her son. Their fam just moved from Singapore a few months ago, so we had the Asian connection going. She was super nice, and honestly, I haven’t met a cleaner dog. Cody’s coat was super luxe. The owner said she wipes him down twice a day with some lemongrass spray.

    I am so excited about picking up business on Rover. I mean, Cody’s going to be with us for another ten days, so you know what that means: I’m gonna be an emotional wreck again when it’s time for him to go home. But seriously, this side hustle is working out great! Partly, I feel like my fast response time serves me well. Often when people are already looking for care last minute, they’re blasting a ton of sitters and I’m sure getting back to them faster moves me up in the queue. Also, I think the meetups at my house are a great selling point. For one thing, they meet Marty. Old but super sweet and chill. And as soon as I tell them he’s 16, it’s all over. I mean, pretty much EVERYONE is impressed. Why? Bc I MUST take amazing care of him for him to make it this far, right? Yes, I know. I can’t take all the credit (genetics, blah, blah), but I’m just saying, these factors influence dog owner decisions… Then, they see his homemade food (set on top of a mini table even), and now they know that I’m not afraid of high maintenance. Finally, my frickin yard sells itself, man. The doggies that come over immediately hit up the backyard, and their owners also love that we aren’t apartment dwellers. Oh and being two houses down from the park is totally money. It’s a pretty sweet deal for the pooches!

    In other entrerpenuerial news, I sold the iPad. It didn’t sell for as much as I had wanted, but eBay is doing this interesting thing where if you set the initial price based on their recommendation, they will guarantee that your item sells for a certain minimum amount. If the item doesn’t sell for the guaranteed price, they’ll issue an eBay credit. Cool idea, so I tried it out. Maybe bc WWDC was yesterday but my item sold way low, and I got a $90 credit which I promptly used to score a new with tags Tacori cuff bracelet I’ve been eyeing for years. Yup. Not that you care, but shit, I gotta share the deets: Bracelet retails for $990. I saw it posted for $400 OBO, and after seeing all the other stuff for sale by that seller, I figured I would negotiate the price. Frankly, would a busy high-volume seller really care about one lowball sale if he had a gabillion other items to offload? So I went in at $300. He countered with $350. I countered with $315. Offer accepted this morning. Woot, woot! Score, baby!! Kinda a “non-delicate” style, as Bubbey said. He’s not a fan. But whatever. I’m gonna try and rock it!

    In other deal news, I’m continuing to tear it up on my Upromise account. Sometimes they’re a bit flaky with issuing the cash back, but thanks to my detailed tracking and record keeping, I will call them out on that shit. Back in January, when my dad was visiting, he asked me to research a new laptop for my brother. I recommended he buy the SurfacePro. Months later, Upromise kept giving me the runaround about my missing cash back. Little do they know, I am a tenacious mother fucker. Today, they finally emailed that I will get $65 cash back. I mean, sure, it takes multiple emails and phone calls. Some people say it’s just $65, but fuck man, that shit adds up (I have earned $800 to date), and I’m not above hustling for it.

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  • V is for Vanity

    Despite months of “I’m 40” self-proclamations, I officially turned 4-0 this week. So far, birthday week has been pretty good. I’ve gotten a few more bites on Rover (those lil’ doggies are my youth/energy elixir!!), and I was super stoked to receive my Schoola and Thredup shipments. I still can’t believe how fucking affordable used clothing (in great condition) is! I’m gonna be hard-pressed to ever pay for new clothing again. For realz.

    On Monday, I met up with K for lunch at a new Italian place (new to us, anyhow). I consumed an incredibly filling meal. I got eggplant parm but the meal also came with salad plus we had cheesy bread plus pasta. Clearly, I’m going full hog this week. Oh well. I hadn’t seen K since last month’s Best Life getaway. I’d kinda gone into unabomber mode since, so I was bummed to hear that K’s been dealing with fam health issues the last several weeks. That health shit always crops up so unexpectedly and it’s fucking scary as hell, esp when lab results never turn up anything definitive. So frustrating, but at the same time, I’m comforted to see that in such emergencies, her people are thankfully well supported and well loved. It’s not always that way, which is a sad reality for many. More on caretaking later.

    On my actual bday, I indulged in the world of free. Yup, just my style, right? I started off the day driving into San Mateo with Bubbey. We met M at her neighborhood Starbies, where I got a free chai latte. Then Bubs caught the train and M and I drove on up to Sonoma Mission Inn and Spa. As part of their Good Neighbor Program, I got free admission AND a free dessert. $60 Bubbey bucks, baby. Throughout the day, M hooked me up with food, drinks, and gifts while we gabbed and chilled by the pool. When I got home, Bubs prepped a whole fondue meal. Yeah, it’s pretty damn luxurious being the queen for the day. I lived it up while I could.

    What else. Oh, the day before my bday, Bubbey decided to sit me down to go over parental talking points for my trip out to MD next month. Are you for realz with this buzzkill topic? All this heavy and serious shit, like what’s their real plan for Taiwan? Are they really never coming back to the US for any extended period? If so, how do they want to handle offloading all their stuff here? Next, I’m supposed to express gratitude for all that they’ve done for me and offer to take care of them when the time comes. Third, I need to reassure dad that I’ll care of mom should something happen to him. I was like, wtf? I am NOT ready to have those conversations. I mean, hello, remember that massive blowup (ok, just one of many) I had with my mother??? That was just a few months ago! I’m certainly not proposing that they come live near me much less with me. Not. right. now. Then, Bubbey proceeded to comment about how they’ve done so much for me and it’s my turn to return the help. I just started bawling. I know how much they’ve done for me, but at the same time, I never asked to be born. Yes, this sounds super immature and selfish but shit, I still don’t have my crap figured out. How am I supposed to take this on? And I know I have a blessed and privileged life, but to be honest, some days, I really wish I were never born. Like, I wish my mom had aborted me. That’s not to say any ONE thing in my insular world is that horrible, but like I have shared, sometimes I just feel so out of place in this world. Like I’m saddened and overwhelmed and paralyzed by things I see and learn and know.

    I know the right answer. And in my mind, it has always been my intention to step up when my parents need me. It has never ever been a question in my mind or in my heart. But in recent months, I’ve just grown so frustrated, not just with my parents but also with seeing parent-child relationships elsewhere, like with my grandparents and my parents, with John’s family, and with other families… It can be a major royal fucking mess– bringing out the worst and/or the best in people. So to have that conversation now, like next month… I’m just not ready today. And maybe that’s the thing about Rover and Pinterest and whatever else is occupying my attention… no matter how complicated or difficult care is for elder dogs, they always accept your choices/decisions free of judgement and with gratitude. When I see the growing suspicion or distrust in parents towards their children, no matter how rarely it surfaces, it bugs the shit out of me. Like with my maternal grandmother towards my dad when he was selling her townhouse or like with my in-laws towards their kids who are trying to get instructions on what to do… I’ve heard and read that when people get old, the paranoia and distrust elevate bc that’s part of the cognitive decline. But it still just makes me feel badly (and angrily), bc I mean, do they think this is easy for the kids? To try and honor the parents’ wishes and to do right by them while also trying to keep their own lives and shit together??? It all just feels like a cruel joke. But ultimately, I know this is life. And fuck, I have it a gabillion times easier than most. So just buck up and get ‘er done.

    Back to more light-hearted matters… My next Pinterest experiment is this floral jeans + t-shirt combo. I finally found floral jeans on ThredUp. Guess jeans for only $13!!! I’m wearing them now and somehow this combo doesn’t quite look as good. Hmph! Oh well, good enough!

    Btw, I had a funny exchange the other day. My friend asked me if I’d gotten a boob job. Yup, lil’ ol me. What can I say? The power of clothes that fit and swimsuit tops with oomph! Who knew Lands End offered such magic! Regardless, a well-timed compliment just as I enter the 40s Club. Sure enough, I’m becoming vainer and vainer while the face and body get saggier and crinklier. Good times ahead, man.

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  • Falling Fast and Hard

    Last Saturday, after 11 days together, Ramona went home. No, this certainly wasn’t my first rodeo. That said, I haven’t cried about a pooch leaving in a very long while. The last time this happened, we dog sat Buddy, also for about ten or 11 days. Comparatively, Buddy was way more high maintenance due to his youth and boundless energy but still, I felt an overwhelming emptiness and sadness that took me several days to shake. And now it’s happened again with Ramona. Maybe ten days is the dangerous threshold. After that, I fall hard and fast. I dunno. I hope I’ll see Ramona again, but I’ll never really know. She was so damn soft and cute. :(

    Thankfully, on Saturday afternoon I was scheduled to meet with a new Rover client, Lily. Her human had contacted me about a month ago, seeking care for his Border terrier. Last time our plans fell through bc I had appointments mid-day, and he said she really couldn’t be left alone. Like even for a couple hours? No. Like ever. Wow.

    I was a little apprehensive, but the guy sounded like he was in a real bind. So I agreed to meet, and actually, Lily seemed fine– much better than expected. And now after spending the entire day with her, I feel like she’s not bad at all. Usually dogs with separation anxiety exhibit general neuroses, but Lily’s super mellow. He dropped her off this morning way early, like before 6am, and he came back for her at 11:30pm. She’s a smart little cookie, too. He didn’t think she’d know how to use the doggie door, and I dunno if maybe she learned in her earlier life (she’s a rescued show dog) or what, but today she watched Marty go in and out one time. The next thing I know, she’s jumping in and out of that thing all day to explore the backyard. These doggies… they are all so unique. I’m really enjoying hanging out with them during the day. I mean, it’s not all candy and roses: she did sneak a few bites of Martin’s food and then later proceeded to puke it all up on a towel, but other than that, pretty manageable. And in the future, I actually think she’ll be ok so long as Marty is home with her, bc in the afternoon I went to talk to the neighbors for ten minutes, and she didn’t freak out while I was out of sight! Lily’s dad also seems super nice. During the day, he texted to check in on her, he was clearly worried about her, and then he gave me a huge tip when he picked her up! You KNOW I’m loving my additional Bubbey bucks!

    Overall, I’m feeling re-energized by my side hustles. Earlier today, I posted Bubbey’s iPad Air 2 on Ebay. I also posted my friend K’s fancy dress. I still need to post Bubbey’s old Mac Pro and wireless earbuds. Stepping up the Ebay store!

    This afternoon, I was very excited to receive my second Schoola shipment. Almost every item worked out except for a striped blazer which felt a little too boxy/stuffy/conservative. Not gonna match my side shave, you know what I mean? Tomorrow I have a dental cleaning (one of only two annual ones– now that I’m on Bubbey’s cheapie dental coverage) and then lunch with K. I’m gonna wear my fancy Schoola shoes and aim to recreate this badass look. Yeah sadly, I’m no Charlize but heck, that doesn’t not gonna stop me from trying hard to be a wannabe. I did this combo the other day when M came over for the Warriors game. The Houseboat was hotter than hell that day, so I only showcased the outfit for like five sweaty minutes. Still, it turned out okay– an easy casual outfit for a cooler day. Note to self.

    I’m starting to feel better about things. The Rover business def gets me excited and lifts my mood. Also, my parents are back in Taiwan so for now, no more daily OnStar calls. I spoke to dad yesterday and everyone in Taiwan is doing well. I’m going to aim for another trip to Asia in November.

    Real estate wise, I (finally) took my class exam last week… the open book one. I didn’t do so hot– honestly, I ran out of time and had to skip a shit ton of questions– BUT I still passed, so the class certificate is mine! Muhahaha. Now, two more class certificates to go and then the license exam. It’s too bad none of my friends are transitioning to real estate; it sure would be fun to have a study buddy. Ok time to hit the sack. I’m tired!

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  • Kidney Bean

    Last week felt like a busy one. On Tuesday, I started my very first Rover stint. Yes, for a very long while, I was strongly prejudiced against little dogs (they can be so fucking yippy!), but after dog sitting Helix and Joey, I’ve been warming up to the idea of these compact and portable pups. So we’re about a week in now, and truth be told, Ramona has very quickly melted my heart. She’s so independent and sassy (like my Bembo), and despite being 13 y/o, she still likes to play. Even J was commenting that Ramona really has been quite the ideal Rover. She’ll well-behaved, doesn’t bark/yip, has excellent bladder control, and is just so darn cute without being overly demanding. Her pudgy body is so tiny too, I call her a little kidney bean, esp when she sleeps in fetal position (and snores like a mo fo!). I’m already feeling sad that she’ll have to go home next Saturday. As for Marty, he is doing better again: eating well, tracking me around the house, and he gets so happy about going to the park… The two pups don’t interact much, but I’ve noticed that for Marty, simply being in the presence of other dogs seems to lift his spirits.

    In work-related news, as you know, I started applying for jobs at real estate offices and property management firms. I heard back from the one commercial outfit regarding their entry-level position. We had a good phone interview, but last Tuesday they decided to proceed with others. I was ok with it: after all, I did feel like being a receptionist/front desk person was not exactly my speed, even if only for a short period. Interestingly, I also heard back from a local realtor’s membership organization for their education coordinator gig. I interviewed with the head of PR and Comm on Friday afternoon. She was a very impressive lady, super well-connected and active in the community; we had a great conversation, but by Saturday, I decided joining a realtor’s association would only delay my entry into practice after earning my license. She was very kind, and responded immediately with a very personable reply, saying she had arrived at the same conclusion. She also noted that she was really impressed by my level of research and prep for the interview. Hee, hee. If only she knew: research is practically my middle name. Ha! Regardless, it was cool to get these two interviews under my belt. I will say, I’ve been pleased with the response to my applications. Initially, I was attributing the interest to my re-vamped resume (chronological now instead of functional format), but Bubbey suggested that since real estate is oftentimes an industry for encore careers, the hiring people are much more curious and open to people with different backgrounds. Makes sense. I’ll take it!

    In other news, I am making progress with the townhouse in MD that I’m planning to get on the market in mid-late July. I had a call Friday with the selling agent, who’s proposing some minor renovations to get things ready. I’m going to move forward on those to see if they’ll get us a higher sales price. I’ll be checking in on the project in person in July. At the same time, I’ll be helping my parents with posting/selling their furniture/possessions/furnishings and cleaning out their primary residence. I’ve booked 7 days back home around the July 4 holiday, and frankly, I’m dreading the trip…  John will stay back on Marty duty so it’ll be yet another unbuffered session with the parentals… I know, apparently the Volcano likes to play with fucking fire.

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