Friday, June 29, 2007

That darn cat, again

I weeded my gardens last night, finally. The grass was trying to re-take the large garden. The two flower gardens were not too bad. But there are many gaps in the lines of corn, beans, peas, etc. The neighbor cat is in the garden several times a day digging potty holes and digging out my little vegetable plants. He always picks a different spot to dig, too! Any suggestions about how to scare him off permanently? (without antagonizing the neighbors--they are nice, otherwise).

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

extended weekend

What a great weekend I had! It got extended for these past two days, Monday and Tuesday, because then I got sick. But let's get back to the great weekend.

I drove to my son and his girlfriend's apartment in a distant city. I hadn't seen him since April Fool's Day, and for the two months before that time he had spent most of his non-working time in that city with his girlfriend. After a long day of work on Friday, I loaded up my vehicle with the things he'd asked for, things of his that he couldn't take down there in his little car when he moved. So I fit in a computer desk chair, a bedside table, a floor lamp, the large old, heavy microwave that I used when he was 6 years old. He and his roommates had used it in his apartment here in town. I also brought some of his clothes, towels, dishes and other things. At first I wondered why I was riding a bit low but then realized the vehicle was packed full!

I followed the MapQuest map that I printed off and stopped at what I thought was about 20 miles away, in a parking lot and called my son, as he had asked me to do, to make sure he was home. It only took me a few more minutes before I was there! I had been driving in what looked like the middle of nowhere (but a very pretty, rural nowhere) and suddenly there were houses and there was his street! Girlfriend was working but son got me settled in the spare room and we unloaded all his stuff from my jeep. He was happy to see me and also pleased to get some more of his things. We spent some happy time catching up and then had to go and pick up girlfriend from her work at 9:00.

In fact during the weekend, we ended up at their work several times. It's kind of their home away from home. Both work long hours there, plus they buy just about anything that they need from that store. Having an employee discount helps, and it's a superstore with groceries, clothing, furniture, hardware and just about everything! They had a karaoke contest there on Saturday while girlfriend had to work again. Son had purposefully taken the weekend off to visit with me. That was one of the reasons he was so disappointed when I first told him that I had decided not to go (but changed my mind, of course)

I found out that sleeping on an airbed is really really comfortable. Much more so than my regular bed here at home. Well, actually the first night wasn't as comfortable. My son pumped up the airbed but told me that it had a leak. He offered to take it back and exchange it during the night (the store is open all night) if it wasn't working for me. The bed steadily was losing air so when I laid on it, the air came out with a persistant hissssssss. But the air didn't come out evenly so the bed tossed me around a bit, even into the wall once before it totally deflated. I thought it was hilariously funny--until it totally went flat and I was on the floor. I don't know what I was thinking but I can't sleep on the floor, can't even sleep on a sleeping bag because of my injured back.

I had brought down a bank of various sized pillows to serve as a backrest. I got up and moved some of the larger, flatter ones underneath me and laid back down. That didn't work well. It was 2:00 AM and girlfriend had to work at 7:00, so I really didn't want to wake up the kids saying, "Can you go and exchange the airbed now?" They don't even have a couch or recliner or even a large chair to use. I thought longingly of the back of my jeep, and even considered going out there to sleep! But that would wake up the dog and everybody else. I looked around the room and there was a pile of clean clothes lying by the door. I took them and spread them out, put the sheets on top and actually went to sleep! I think it was mostly because I was so tired, not really because it was comfortable--at all.

On Saturday girlfriend had to work early so she took their car and son could sleep in (normally he would have had to get up and take her--but then normally he probably would have been working too). I got up very early and sat in the living room. They just have 2 plastic lawn chairs in there but it was comfortable. The apartment has such a good vibe to it. A bit later I took the (my former little) dog for a walk. The neighborhood is beautiful. There are large trees on each side of the street, the canopy nearly touches in the middle. So even though it was already hot, I could walk mostly in the shade. The neighbors all had gorgeous flowers and landscaping. Even though it's not so far away, it's a totally different climate then I live in!

When son got up we sat around and talked a bit, read the papers (for I had gotten one of each from a nearby kiosk) and then went to the Leinie Lodge. I have always wanted to visit and tour Leinenkugel's Brewery. The kids didn't have a phone book and the newpapers didn't have any information, so we were lucky to be able to join a tour forming (they recommend reservations). I've heard about Leinenkugels my entire life. Both of my brothers came down to this area to go to school. In fact the one and only time we took a vacation when I was a kid was with a beloved Aunt who took us camping in the large park right next to where my son lives now! So even though I've never explored the area, I've always had a fondness for it.

After we toured and had samples at the Leinie Lodge, we went to listen to the karaoke contest at the kids' work. They work with lots of fun people and I got introduced to many of them. That night (Saturday) some of their work friends came over to the apartment to watch movies. Son had also exchanged the airbed for the world's most comfortable (also an airbed) bed! So I went to bed fairly early and slept well all night.

It was hard to leave, I wanted to stay there, not to come back home to work and house troubles. The real estate agent called me when I returned and told me nobody had come to the open house. I can't say it was great to be back home! Now I'm thinking about possibly moving to that city if I ever sell the house. The paychecks are better and rentals are cheaper. But then there is my poor Mom who lives here, so maybe not.

Labels: , , ,

Friday, June 22, 2007


Yep, that's me at work. An outcast. It's surprisingly painful too, even though I don't even like those people. Even the former temp whom I mentored and was good to -- she's turned against me. It sounds so melodramatic and IS so stressful. I came home from work feeling like someone had popped my balloon. I was too depressed and angry to even want to pull weeds from my garden.

It totally gives me new understanding of kids who get bullied in school. I don't know how they bear it. I'm having trouble handling it and I'm an adult. You know, the group of people laughing who when I approach hiss, "Here she comes!" and stare at me, or disband and walk away. Oh there are people who have smart answers for a situation like that, "What are you looking at?" or something else direct, but there's isn't anything that couldn't be easily and maliciously shot down by a group of ill-wishers. "We're not looking at YOU, that's for sure!" or, "How can we help looking at you when you take up the entire hallway?" (they are all mini-people, remember, and I'm much taller and larger than they are).

I know that the groups of people are not ALL talking and laughing about me, but it feels like it. And they want me to think that they are, even when they're not. I've already talked to HR about the situation, twice. Nothing is going to be done. Just like I've been hearing for years about bullies in school. They talk to and "counsel" the victim and do nothing to stop the bullies.

The lesson here is, you just don't mess with Favorite Co-worker because she's BZ's favorite. I knew that but stood up for myself anyway because I was right. And this is what it's gotten me. There are many projects that entail working with the other people at work. It's very difficult to do my work when nobody talks to me. They want me to quit, and I'm with them on this one! I want to quit too. I've had enough at their hands.

On the bright side (after all of that!) I AM driving down to see my son and his girlfriend. I had decided not to go, but he called me last night and sounded so disappointed that I changed my mind about it. So now I'm going. And might even check out some jobs and apartments just in case I get an offer on the house! Have a good day and a great weekend!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Bad Company

I just took a Company Abbreviation Quiz on AOL. (No, AOL was not in one of the questions!) And got one wrong, it was BMW--I thought I knew what that stood for! It's probably not a good thing that I knew all of those other abbreviations! Wanna try it? Here's the link:

No news about the potential buyers. No news is NOT good news, in this case. The realtor is having another open house on Sunday, so that's good. Maybe more people will come this time. I have more hope now, even though those potential buyers haven't even made an offer. Just because they are interested, and for some strange reason that fact makes me more confident that someone will be interested now, too.

Interesting day at work yesterday. I had my one-on-one with BZ. We all were given a bunch of questions to think about and answer, about work, work conditions, BZ, and our co-workers. There were four people scheduled ahead of me last week, so I should have been right in the middle, a good postion for something like this. But BZ's kids were sick a couple of days last week and the other appointments were re-scheduled so my one-on-one was first!

I had had barely any time to think about the answers and type them up with two looming deadlines coming up on Wednesday. One project I will call my miracle baby, as it's totally a miracle that I got it done by then! This was a project that Favorite Co-worker interfered and screwed up everything. Basically she told the contractor I was working with that they did not have to supply me with certain information--information that I needed to do the project! I had worked it out with them before she got involved with it. She totally admitted that she knows nothing about databases or lists, yet she stepped in and let them off the hook for the information I needed!

It's written right into our contract with them that they are to supply that information, and I needed it to complete my project. So I had to look it all up by hand, which took huge amounts of my time that I didn't really have as spare! So now Favorite Co-worker is mad at me and not speaking to me. Why is it that when certain people wrong you, instead of being contrite they get huffy and angry with you? Anyway, I told BZ all of this when we had the "co-worker" part of our one-on-one. Favorite Co-worker had already gone running to her to complain about me early that morning. I fully expect BZ to totally back Favorite Co-worker, she always does. FC is her current little pet at the office. FC probably told BZ that I was mismanaging the project and that she needed to step in.

Even though I didn't have any spare time to prepare my answers, I did run the draft copy by our HR department before bringing them to BZ. I know I probably will catch flak for my daring to mention certain things, and I wanted to be covered on it! Yikes, I am so tired of all the stupid, unnecessary drama at work. Not to mention all the unnecessary extra work, at work! When I sell my house, I plan to scale down enough so I can afford to look for and take a different job.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

It's a nibble! But not on the lasagne

My feeling on Sunday was correct, if premature. The people who spontaneously toured my house liked it! The husband is very picky and has seen lots of houses but really liked this one. The wife, although she wants to live in town, liked the house but wasn't as enthusiastic about it as her mate. It's right up at the top of their pre-approved amount and they're afraid that they can't afford it. Well, if they can't afford it with two incomes, try doing it on one income and also doing all the cleaning, maintenance and yard work myself with no help.

The realtor called me last night and talked about these potential buyers. He was feeling me out, of course, on two issues: how low would I go in price, and how soon could we do the closing (the people need to buy/move right away). I told him that I would go as low as the break-even point, which he said depends on some negociable items like whether or not I would pay the closing costs, etc. But I wouldn't be selling my dream house if I didn't have to do it. And the two (huge) mortgage payments for the month of July are looming now. I got in trouble at the bank last month, so you bet I'll negociate! I didn't tell him all of THAT, of course, just the first part of dropping to the break-even point, if necessary.

As for taking possession of the house, I would be out of here by this coming weekend if I had to do it. I would hope that it wouldn't be quite that fast. The quickest turn-around time I ever had with all of my house buying and selling was three weeks--and it went very quickly! It's hard to pack and move and totally clean the house in that time. Not to mention, find a new place to live.

The realtor told me that they all sat on my couch and chair and got the feel of the place while they talked. Remember that I had lasagne in the oven when they came? So they wondered if I would miss a couple of pieces--if they helped themselves to my delicious-smelling dinner! (They didn't, of course. The lasagne was intact when I got back home from the birthday party.) I had accidently left the police radio turned on, which was right next to the couch. The potential buyers loved how light the house is (me too--one of the many things I fell in love with) because of all the windows and the skylights. Anyway, I kind of like these people even though I've never met them! Because they liked my house, my dream baby.

The house was what VMan and I had the fight over when I broke up with him because he had walked around only finding fault with it. It's like criticizing someone's baby! You just don't do that. He called me on Sunday, too, so it was a busy day. He invited me to the farm to see his new little ducks on the pond he dug a few years ago. But I couldn't go, it's too far and I'm low on gas in the car and trying to stretch it to this weekend. (Although I may go to see my son--but I didn't tell VMan that.)

Please say a prayer for me that these nice people will want and can afford my house! Thanks.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


There's an old saying, "Be careful what you wish for." And I think, maybe I shouldn't have wished for rain! The seeds not yet up in the garden are being washed around, plants that are up flattened and the grass in the yard is growing taller and taller. It's too wet to mow and I have nightmares of the weeds reclaiming the yard again! When I moved in here the yard was like a vacant lot, with tall chest-high grass and weeds. The kind neighbors helped me get it down to lawn-sized and first my son, and now I, have been mowing it ever since to keep it looking normal.

I've been getting rid of things on Freecycle. So far someone has come to get the kerosene heater, the large dog kennel/carrier and just last night, the chain-link fence. Yes, I suppose I could have sold those things and received some much-needed money. But that would take an ad, of some sort, many phone calls, people not showing up for the appointment, and people looking at the item and saying, "No, that's not what I had in mind." I like this way better, I don't need to give out my name or address, just the general area (alleyway) and they can pick it up. And even that information is given to only one of the people who email my Freecycle mail account. If he/she doesn't come to get the item within a day or two, I go on to give the info to the second in line person. I had 20 or 30 people email me for the fence, probably 20 each for the dog kennel/carrier and the heater. It's a great way to clear the storage shed of things that have been sitting around. And I didn't even need to fix or clean up the things I was getting rid of.

Although it's Tuesday already, I had an exciting weekend and will recap, briefly (I hope, but don't hold your breath!) Saturday, as I already mentioned in the previous post, I was going to go to a grad party but ended up not going. Mom and I had lunch then hit some rummage sales and flea markets where she found lots of books. It was humid and hot that day so when we came back to her house, I set up her fan in the living room.

On Sunday I went to the first church and instead to booting out right away to drive across the bridge to the second church, I sat and had coffee with my high school best friend and caught up on her news, and had many good laughs at that table, as they were singing old funny camp songs. After that it was too late to go to the second church so I did a mini-grocery trip and went home.

I was really hungry and started to make lasagne when SLA called me about her grandson's birthday and gave me the address of her son's apartment. I told her that I'd be there shortly after 2:00. Right after that my son called and invited me to come and visit them next weekend. They've moved into a new apartment so I'll be bringing a few of his things with me when I come down there. I put the lasagne in the oven and was doing the dishes, wrapping the gift and cleaning up when there was a knock on the door. It was the realtor wanting to show the house!

He apologized for the lack of warning, but I said, "No, that's fine. I want to sell the house. Just give me a minute and I'll go out the back way." So I shut off the oven, dumped the dishwater, grabbed the rhubarb for SLA and the gift and rushed out the back door. Then I was all excited thinking, "Maybe this it is! Maybe they will make an offer on the house."

The birthday party was outside and it was cold and windy. I hadn't grabbed a sweater or jacket but SLA lent me a spare sweater from her car. The party was fun. We watched a little boy, "Little Jimmy" while Big Jimmy, his Dad went into the basement with the other guys. I have no idea how old Little Jimmy is, somewhere between one and two years old, I guess. Funny how the ability to tell kid's ages leaves after a while, as does the ability to entertain and keep little kids happy. Big Jimmy told us to make sure Little Jimmy didn't run out into the alleyway, and he certainly wanted to! But they had one of those huge ballpit thingys with a small ladder and slide, so Little Jimmy was happy doing that. Turns out that Big Jimmy was helping to put together one of those cars that run on the sidewalk. It was a mini SUV and the cutest thing, but so dangerous to give to a two-year-old!

We had excellent BBQ (I was SO hungry by this time!) and birthday cake. Grandbaby received lots of other gifts. Finally I went back home fully expecting to have a message on an offer for the house. Nothing. And as of today, still nothing. Oh well.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Cat-tastrophe, or what did they think was going to happen?

It's overcast this morning and maybe it will rain. I hope so, the garden could use it. My rose bushes and lilac trees are doing well and leafing and branching out. Radishes and beans have come up in the garden and one of the tomato plants (a transplant) actually has little green tomatoes on it! Growing a garden is exciting because it's always changing. The iris are all blooming and the front flower/herb garden is beautiful with them and the annuals I had planted in there.

But looking out the window just now, I saw the neighbor's cat. Several times a day that cat will come into my garden and use it as a giant catbox! I suppose the neighbors think it's no big deal but the cat has dug up and ruined my watermelon planting and that area smells like a catbox. I have some strong opinions on cats being let outside, and I hope I won't alienate any of you, but here they are:

I have a friend who used to constantly let her cats outside. When I asked her why, she replied, "Because they meow and want to go out!" Now if many pet owners and parents, for that matter, let their children or pets do something just because they wanted to do it---well, that wouldn't work out so well! Who's smarter, an adult or a child? A pet or its owner?

This same friend, and other people I know, then lament because their female cat is pregnant--again! Well, duh, I say. If you let a female cat out that hasn't been neutered, what do you think is going to happen?

I have a co-worker who is very sad because she lost her male cat. She would just let him out every night and one morning he wasn't there to come back in and she hasn't seen him since. I'm sympathetic over the loss of a beloved pet--but what did she think was going to happen when she lives in town on a busy street?

Another person said she liked to let her cats outside because their catboxes stay so much cleaner. But then, those loose cats turn the neighbor's gardens into catboxes! And little kids' sandboxes, too. Yuck, that's very gross and irresponsible of the cat owner. Would you like to kneel in a catbox to weed your garden? Would you like your little kids playing in a catbox?

But of all the reasons to keep your cat inside one of the most important is because cats are predators to song birds. I have read many articles that say the decline of songbirds is directly caused by domestic cats being let out to roam loose. I think one article said 80% of songbird deaths are caused by domestic cats. Most cities have ordinances against loose pets but it's rarely enforced against cat owners unless their cat bites or scratches somebody.

Oh, and I almost forgot another reason not to let your cat loose outside: there are cruel people who like to torment and torture cats. The very thought makes me ill and if I had a cat, I would not let the poor thing outside to possibly run into one of those sickos.

So, this has turned into a plea, please DON'T let your cats roam loose outside! The little songbirds will thank you and your neighbors will too! And your cat will be safer and more healthy too.

Saturday, June 16, 2007


A co-worker gave me a huge bag of rhubarb last week. It was so heavy that I said, "I wonder how much it weighs?" So we weighed it on the large postage scale and it weighed 16 pounds. I have used up half of it, so must have used 8 pounds of rhubarb to make rhubarb crisp and rhubarb cake. The crisp is OK, it would have been better had I not run out of cinnamon, but the cake was so easy and is Sooooooo good! Why is it that rhubarb cooks and tastes like a fruit but is a stem, like a vegetable? Just one of those mysteries of life, I guess.

Even though I normally don't care for cooking or baking, it cheered me up on Friday to mess with the rhubarb. My banking account is screwed up and there went my OT and travel reimbursement-- the "extra" money. I really do need to sell this house or I will lose it like my friend SLA did with her house in 2005.

But on the bright side, my son called today. He has found a apartment. It's inexpensive and very large. Soon he will be coming up to get his furniture and things. I could give him some of the household stuff too but I don't know yet what I'll be needing, since I don't know where I will end up. He can also pay his own car insurance, which eased my mind because the stupid insurance company insists on putting both of our cars together so I HAVE to pay them both even if my son doesn't have the money for his share (which is more than half of the payment due). But this time he will send me the money, or bring it if he comes up to get his things.

Today I was scheduled to go to a grad party in a northern city quite a ways from here. But I'd left a message for SLA last night and she called me back today, already in the city--when we were all going to drive up in one car together. I can't afford to put gas in the car right now, so told her that I couldn't go, as she was just going to give me directions on how to drive up there on my own. I have a card and a small sum of cash for the grad that I had set aside when first getting the invitation a few weeks ago, so I will just give it to her when I next see her, probably tomorrow because SLA's grandbaby is having a birthday party tomorrow. Good thing I had picked up a small gift at the airport while I was coming home from the convention. I might try making a card with the Stamping Up stuff that I bought a long time ago from two of Amanda's parties. I'd only used it once so far, so I quit going to the parties quite a while ago and was glad to have an excuse as the stuff is very expensive.

While on the phone with SLA I confessed the dire financial situation that I am in, haven't told anybody else. Well, now I've told you! I hinted at it with my son, once he had told me how well he is doing (I didn't want him to feel guilty) and said that I'm switching Real Estate listing companies as soon as my listing expires, which is in a month, July 15th. The agent himself is a great guy but his company has not been advertising my house at all! So that's not helping it to sell. My son just told me cheerfully that his new place has two bedrooms! He's a good kid. It will all turn out somehow, the stress is just that I don't know how right now. It's a good thing I started going to church, reading the Bible and got my faith back.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

A bit of money to it

Yet another mini-dilemma, I guess life is full of them. Ex-Boss was called away from our convention last month because his mother suddenly died. Having a parent die is devastating, I can't imagine going through that with my Mom, but will someday. He is a sweet man, of good character and everyone at work loves him--I thought.

Clients kept asking me and others from our firm, "What can we do for him? Does his family have a favorite charity?" And I had to keep telling them, "I'll find out." BZ as the current head of the firm said she would take care of it. She hasn't despite several promptings. Now it's weeks later and he is back to work. I, and other co-workers have expressed our verbal condolences but it's awkward because in the past we have always passed around a card to sign and (for a death in the family) added a bit of money to it.

Late last week I couldn't stand it anymore and went and got a card and sent it around the office on a voluntary basis. People all signed the card; in fact BZ signed it prominently, as if she had gotten the card! I had put $10 in it, and favorite co-worker put another $10, changing my bill for a $20 bill. Yesterday I got the card back and the $20 is the only money in the card and a dozen people have signed it. That's less than $2 apiece! So, do I take out the $20 and refund Favorite Co-worker her $10? Or do I make up the difference myself?

I wish I could just make up the difference myself but I'm so short on money because of the raised mortgage (and car insurance is due again) and really can't and shouldn't. Ex-boss deserves far better and I feel bad for him doubly at the casual treatment from office staff. As I said, the card was a voluntary thing--but even BZ and the other highly-paid staff contributed nothing! We can't really give Ex-Boss a card with $20 in it! What would you do, just take out the money and refund Favorite Co-worker?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


There was another house showing yesterday morning while I was at work. And again, no word, not a peep about what went on during the showing. I'm dying to know, did they not like the house? Did they like it but it was too expensive? Too big? Too small? Did they not like the bathrooms, the kitchen, the bedrooms? I'd really like to know but there's only this great silence about it--just like all of the other showings and the two open houses. Maybe the people didn't show up for it, I don't know what happened.

A hard-to-get apartment that I had applied for in May has come open. But I can't take it now, without even an offer on the house yet. Waiting, waiting. My ex co-worker friend had her house on the market FOR A YEAR and didn't sell it! That was during the real estate boom, too. So I might have a long wait to sell mine.

Houses over here don't sell as well as they do across the bridge in the state that I work in. That the taxes here are so high is part of the reason. People also are reluctant to change their personal things, like driver's license, car title, income tax withholding and all to another state. They'd rather just stay put within the same state. Can't see that I blame them but this area is nice for living, too, not as crowded as over there in the bigger city. As an artist at a coffee house in THIS city said to attract people to the coffee house, "It's just a bridge, get over it!"

Monday, June 11, 2007

A good weekend

It feels like a long time since I've been to work, but it's only been since last Thursday. What a nice, long weekend! Hope yours was too. I went to the 101 Class at church at 9:30 and then to the regular service at 11:00. They had a picnic after, too, but I had forgotten about that and not packed or brought a lunch. Well, actually I hadn't really forgotten about the picnic--I just thought it was next week. Hard to believe that yesterday was June 10th already! I came home and didn't have a lunch but had an early dinner of half a turkey sandwich at 4:00. (It was half of a sandwich--not half of a turkey!)

Good thing I'd had a smallish dinner, as Anton and Amanda called to go out for dinner! First, I was going to go over there to see their new apartment, but then we decided that they ought to see my house before I sold it. So they came over and exclaimed over the house, which was kind of hard to hear. Yes, it was and still is my dream house. My overly expensive dream house. Then we all piled in A&A's car and we went to A and Dubs. It's a drive in, where in the summertime you can still pull up to a place in the parking lot, read a menu and have food brought out to you. But we decided to go in. So I ate again around 7:30 or so and later after 10:00 p.m. paid for it by feeling sick. I think it was just because I hadn't had that greasy type of food for awhile (but it was delicious, and cheap!) But all is OK this morning.

My Mom and I are going to a book launch and signing tonight at a very cool independent bookstore, J.W. Beecroft Books & Coffee. The book is "Storm Codes" and I know the author as a sort of friend of a friend thing. It should be fun and my Mom will enjoy getting out an extra time this week!

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Garden mania

I am so proud of my vegetable garden! Last year when I bought the house, all three of the raised bed gardens were overgrown with weeds and grass, some head high. Now all three have been tamed: dug, raked, hoed and planted. I have an iris blooming this morning in the front flower and herb garden. The iris joins the snapdragons, impatiens and other flowers blooming in that garden. But the vegetable garden is my special pride, because it was the largest, hardest and worst garden to cultivate and get under control.

Even if the vegetables don't do well, I will still be pleased that it's actually a garden and not an eyesore. And the vegetable plants may NOT do well there. This house has no outside water spigot nor hose to water the three gardens. All of them, including the fairly large vegetable garden, must be watered with a watering can! So it will be impossible, really to get enough water on them, especially the vegetables. When I lived in the country I used to water the gardens twice a day. Using a hose, I would soak the ground with water early in the morning and at dusk in the night. That won't be possible using a water can no matter how many trips I make in and out of the house.

It was in my plans to have an outside water tap and hose put in. But it's costly because it would take both plumbing and construction. Since I'm selling the house I decided not to spend all of that extra money even though I'd dearly like to do it! Instead I will hope for lots of gentle rain this summer--but during the evenings so as not to spoil the happy plans of people going on vacations, picnics or outtings.

Yesterday I planted as seeds: two types of radishes, two types of lettuce, spinach, two types of beans, peas, corn, carrots, gourds, watermelon.

As transplanted plants, I planted: tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, cauliflower, broccoli, and four little herb plants in the front herb/flower garden to add to the herbs I already put in there.

It was a good day yesterday! And now I have to get out there with the water can. I wonder how many trips it will take to water the three gardens? I think I'll carry a full bucket of water at the same time, too, to speed things along. Have a great weekend!

Friday, June 08, 2007

Gardening day!

I took the day off from work for Gardening Day. So far I've spent it in front of the computer reading blogs. But I do need to wait for the grass and garden dirt to dry off before I can work outside easily.

I'm SO glad to not have to go to work today. Yesterday the former temp was supposed to show up at her regular time 8:00 (my required start time is 7:30) after two days of being out sick but she had a dental appointment. So she missed the cleaning meeting. Well, actually she came at the end of it and didn't join us. She also just sat at her desk while BZ had me cleaning out the hallway shelves. It was a lot of work and took me most of the morning. I had a lot of other things to do.

But during the cleaning meeting BZ actually assigned two other staff members chores to clean out the storage room. You should have seen the pouting and frowning! But they are favored workers and will get out of it, somehow. Still, it warmed my heart that other staff members were even temporarily classified with us, the cleaning crew!

The former temp left piles of work lying around again yesterday. I even tactfully mentioned, that Gee, it looked like ____ might take a long time to do, but she remained sitting at her desk, playing with MySpace. Later in the day she was of course, frantic to get all of her work done. I might have normally volunteered to help but didn't. I finished up piles of my own work, having spent the morning sorting binders into recycling and garbage. Then she had to leave work early and some of her work still was sitting there. This time I didn't care. I won't be in today so won't get assigned to do any of her work.

The hard thing is that I like the former temp. She has a winning personality, but still many of the negative characteristics of some younger workers (a few older ones too, to be fair about it) in that she will leave work sitting around to try to get done at the last possible moment. She didn't even mention all of her work that I had to do while she was out, just took it for granted. I think I'm kind of a "momma" figure for her because I'm so much older. Now that she receives sick pay, she's been gone an awfully lot and the burden of her work falls on me. This is very shortsighted of her, because we only hired her until August. And that's only a couple more months. But everyone likes her so maybe she is hoping to get by on the power of personality. And that could very well happen. But I can never predict what BZ will do. We are on a new austerity program and BZ might want to cut the extra staff cost. That would be bad for me, actually, as then I will be doing both jobs again.

Anyway, last night I had a house showing and SLA had called again to go out to eat. So as I had a plate of food served to me by the waitress, I thought of the people at the mission, sitting crowded at the tables waiting for their plastic trays of food. And then going back outside into the weather. It was cold, rainy and windy last night.

I haven't heard a thing about the house showing. How could they not like my darling house? All of my friends and neighbors who have seen it think it the coolest house ever, especially for the price. I looked in the paper and while there were scores of houses for sale, most cost twice as much as mine. Why has there not been even an offer on it yet?

I brought SLA the remainder of the roses and lilacs. Very early this spring, before I had decided to sell my house, I had ordered a bunch of lilac trees and rose bushes. They only came in groups of 25, so I bought 25 of each. I planted a few in my yard but gave some away to former temp, former boss, and another co-worker. There were around a dozen rose bushes left and maybe 6 or 7 lilac trees, so I brought them to SLA. She and Houseguest will split them. SLA's landlord will allow her to plant two rose bushes, but no lilac trees, but Houseguest's boyfriend has a house that he just bought last year (about the same time I bought my house) and a yard. So they have room to plant trees and bushes. They may also take the chain-link fence I bought last year and never put up. SLA gave me a bag of wonderful clothes that I had fun trying on when I got back home.

Well, Happy Friday to you and have a great weekend!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Feeding the Hungry

And no, despite the recent post about food addiction I'm not talking about filling my own face. Yesterday after work I hurried home to change clothes to join some people from my church who were going to the Union Gospel Mission to serve dinner. There were three messages on my home phone and one was from SLA wanting to go out to eat! I wanted to call her back but didn't have time, plus I knew I would be really tempted to just forgo the dinner-serving thing and go out to get dinner served to me! SLA is such a persuasive talker and it wouldn't have taken much to change my mind. Especially since I had not committed or told anyone, because I'm seldom sure whether or not I will have to stay at work late.

Eating an apple, I drove back across the bridge to the church, where I was told by the woman I sat next to in church last Sunday, the Outreach group meets on a particular side of the huge auditorium. I waved at the office woman who was talking on the phone as I passed by. Turns out it was a good thing that I did. I sat and waited and nobody showed up! Then a troop of college-aged people went across the auditorium on the other side, up to the stage. The office woman, who knew I was there came over to tell me that the Outreach group probably just met right at the Mission, but that some of these college people would be going there, too. She said she would be back in 5 minutes.

It seemed like a long wait but was only about 10 minutes or so. I had not brought my purse or notebook or anything to do while sitting there, figuring that there might not be a place to store those things while I was serving. I found out that the college people had received instructions, so I wondered what I had missed and if there was anything I should know about this task. Just because I was much older than them didn't mean that I knew what to do and what to watch out for, I had never done anything like this before. I was getting a bit nervous about it and more than once thought of just leaving, going back home and calling SLA and going out to eat!

But at last we all trooped down to the Mission. We had to squeeze through crowds of people waiting behind a roped-off entrance. We were welcomed in the kitchen and told we would be serving trays. I asked if the plates to be put on the trays were all served up and the head kitchen person affirmed that. But I quickly found out that the trays she was talking about were segmented so that the tray served as a plate for each person, like a picnic plate with hollowed out places for the food, utinsels, etc. We servers would line up and take the trays out to each person. The people crowded in and sat down, and they kept coming. We kept lining up and bringing up trays to anyone who didn't have a tray in front of them. The tables were close together and the chairs sprawled out so it was tricky getting some of those trays in to the intended person!

We were asked to mingle with the crowd after the serving was done. Many of the college people hung back, and I don't blame them. They were young, cute girls and the crowd was mostly men, rough and scary-looking! I found a friendly-faced older woman and sat with her. She was talking to a guy whose wife had dropped him off downtown after a fight. He had been in town for 3 days with no money or transportaton. But after he left the older woman said he had been wandering down by the lake drinking for those past 3 days. One of the younger woman came and sat with us and the older woman told us about the "regulars" of which she said she'd been one for too long. She said that they try lots of tricks to fool the naive "church ladies" to get more food, supplies and things they need. She meant us two as the "church ladies" and it was sad, but informative to hear some of the ways people try to survive.

All in all the depth of poverty was shocking to me--and I've been poor. But never to the extent that these people were poor, many were homeless had nowhere to clean up or change clothes. The older woman had a basket-type thing on wheels with clothes and all sorts of things in it. She carefully wrapped up the donut that was for dessert, "for later" she told us and tucked it into an elaborate sytem of bags and tarps in the basket. She pulled out a hat and a wrinkled coat before leaving (it was raining outside) and told us goodbye and left.

We cleaned up the room and tables and then went home. I had hoped we could eat after serving but apparently they meet early and eat before serving. When back home, I called SLA but she had already eaten. The whole experience made me think a lot about poverty, hunger and homelessness.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Spic and Span

Big surprise, I'm grumpy about work. The temp that we hired (I call her that, only so you will know who I'm talking about) called in sick for yesterday and in advance for today. Her child is sick, which is difficult and upsetting and I know that she's not exactly having a great time at home. I would be totally sympathetic except for one thing, she left a whole lot of work undone. I left her work sit yesterday because I had enough of my own.

BZ was supposed to go on a trip and didn't and is crabby as can be. She went on a rampage and threw away my perfectly good yogurt, the soy milk I use for my coffee, the buns and cream cheese I brought for former-temp's lunch from the refrigerator. None of that stuff was spoiled or bad. She is having a "cleaning" meeting this week. Basically even though we are up to our necks in work, she wants the office totally in order and spic and span. All of that because she couldn't find the Kleenex! Putting away supplies is totally the former-temp's job, so I don't know why I'm being drawn into the cleaning crew. Only certain people are, the former-temp, me and the IT guy who asked for a raise. Other staff members have been invited to the meeting, though, so they can tell us targeted people how and what to clean! Oh joy! There has always been a class/caste system at work, even though there's all this talk about being "a team".

Yesterday BZ was demanding this and that, I had to make a difficult call to a vendor, then stop what I was doing and compile an extensive list, and then another list for her. She took a privilege away from me and made me give it to an obnoxious, trouble-making co-worker. I was busy all day yesterday and even worked late. I can't work late tonight because I have a church outreach thing after work. Yesterday I started work at 7:00 and worked late with no breaks or lunch break. Today I'm going not get to work that early! With so much to look forward to, ha ha.

Today, since the former-temp is still out, I will have to do her undone work. I'm a bit resentful. Nobody does any of my work when I'm gone, yet I'm always expected to step in and do her work. She has piles of it from Monday, when she took many breaks and left early, and generally spent a lot of time talking to people and doing personal stuff on the computer. Her work just sat there and now I have to do it.

Yes, I'm really grumpy about work today. At least I came home last night and mowed the lawn again. They are showing the house again on Thursday so I want it all to be spic and span (oh how I hate those words!) Have a great day!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Sharing the Internet

You probably know that I use dial up to connect to the internet from all of my past whining about it: the slowness in pulling up pictures, and the inability to view video clips! When son moved away, one of the things he really missed was internet access. He had brought his computer with him (of course!) but his girlfriend's place didn't have internet and they both were too poor to get it. Well, a few weeks ago he realized that he could tap into MY internet service, even though he lives in a city almost three hours away from here.

He moved away on April Fool's Day and had called me twice. It was on the second call that he told me about the internet use. Good thing he did that, as I would have been puzzled and upset to have been blocked with a message, "Another user is currently using the service" or something like that. And sure enough, shortly after that second call, I started seeing the message often in the morning when I like to read blogs. And I saw it often at night, too, when I wanted to look something up on the internet. Suddenly my access to the internet was severly limited!

The first few times I just let it go, but as it continued, I would try calling him on his cell phone number. I even tried calling his girlfriend's cell phone! The cell phone reception is terrible in the new city. With all the calling, I had reached him only once and that was when I complained about it during his second call to me. We hung up from the conversation so I could try it, and it worked--for the very first time. His (and girlfriend's too) phone will not even allow me to leave a message for him but says to "call back later". Well, I have called back later and later with no success except that once and now last night.

I called him last night and after the third or fourth time I tried, the phone actually rang through instead of telling me to call again later, and he picked it up! I had been on the internet reading blogs and had gotten booted off. When I tried to reconnect, there was the message that someone else was using it! He had booted me off, which I find very disturbing and annoying as my connection is supposted to be the "master" one. So that's why I was calling and calling him.

Well, anyway we had a nice conversation despite the poor phone connection (he had to go outside to talk) and I urged him to read his email. Because in desperation at not being able to call him, I had sent a newsy email that also mentioned his internet usage. I found out that he has found an apartment and they may be moving. He again invited me to come to see them and even to move to that city (which has much cheaper rent and more available jobs) a tempting thought except for my Mom who lives here and depends on me.

Well, I got on the internet this morning and look what happened (long post, above)! How is the internet usage at your home, do you have to share?

Later: Actually I can't change his password! The service I use allows something like 5 separate user names, each with their own private password. He's using one of those, not the main one that I use. I often don't read my email when I go online either! There's just so much junk to sort through to get to the good stuff.

Sunday, June 03, 2007


I went to my best friend SLA's surprise birthday party yesterday. She had called me a couple of days ago and to throw her off the scent I asked "So, are we still going out for your birthday?" And she said sadly, "No, I have to work both Saturday and Sunday nights." I knew that her older sister had called her work and found a sub for her. She told me that her daughter had come up from the Cities to take her out for dinner but then she'd have to go to work. I knew the hidden plan: that daughter would bring her to the bar/restaurant back room where we'd all spring upon her with "Happy Birthday!" So I parked in the back (so she wouldn't see my car) and came a half hour early. Her son and his wife and her daughter had decorated the back room beautifully and the only task left was to blow up lots of black balloons! Being the only non-smoker of the crowd, I was drafted to blow up those balloons.

I actually love smoking but am so lucky to be able to take or leave it and not get addicted. My Mom is the same. When she quit smoking she would only smoke when she visited her family once a year or so. For those couple of days she would smoke non-stop with all of them, then return home to (Dad, who smoked) not smoke again until next year. I love the smell of tobacco so much that my favorite perfume, "Wicked" has a tobacco-y scent to it.

We celebrated, ate dinner (paid for by SLA's daughter!) watched the gift opening, and drank. I have been so tired since returning from the convention that I needed caffeine, so had two colas instead of my usual two beers. SLA's little grandbaby was running about the entire time, being adorable. He's nearly two and can speak very clearly words like "french fry" and "Spongebob" and "Let's go!" Five hours of excitement and partying finally wore him down, though and he started screaming.

SLA, who is normally a sensitive, considerate person said (rather smugly) "He never does that when he's at my house!" She had had a few too many birthday drinks. Her daughter-in-law, pregnant, tired, and holding a kicking and screaming two-year-old was insulted, she turned pink and replied, "That's because you only have him for a few hours every other week!" There was an awkward silence, so I (being the only other stone-cold sober one in the room) said, "It's just because he's tired. He's all worn out from the party." The others started nodding and saying so each other, "He's all tired out." I hope daughter-in-law doesn't hold it against her and realizes that it was just the alcohol talking.

I grew up in a family where alcohol was a problem. My Mom worked (with resentment) a full time job because my Dad couldn't. All the other families around us had stay-at-home-moms in those days. In our house harsh words were spoken, screaming, tears, all sorts of mayhem, I couldn't have friends over to our house and never knew what to expect--just because of alcohol. I still do drink occasionally, but it's with a sense of danger and I try to stick to having only two--four at the very most in one evening. I can clearly see the slipperly slope my Dad took, in drinking to make the world seem better, kinder. Drinking to feel better about himself, for he was (I later realized) very very depressed. SLA and other friends have told me that I'm rather a party-pooper. And that's true. Last night, for example, I came home rather than go out with them after the (five hour long!) party.

But that doesn't mean that I have escaped addiction. In a conversation about addictions I once mentioned that I was addicted to food and one of the other people took offense at it, saying, "That's not a real addiction! I have to diet and watch what I eat, too. That's NOT a real addiction! Now my former drug problem was a REAL addiction." I beg to differ on that, and at the time counted off on my fingers all the conditions of addictions, and every one applied as much to a food addiction as to alcohol and drug addiction with the exception of doing illegal activities.

I don't remember all those conditions any more but I know that food can serve me the same purpose as alcohol served for my Dad. It can temporarily calm me down, make me feel better and be more able to cope with my feelings. I think they call it "stuffing your feelings" and it works, which is why it's so hard to overcome. Even when I'm sick, food will always make me (temporarily) feel better.

I think we often chose what is familiar. I fit so easily into SLA's family. When I met her 25 years ago, it was like we had known each other all of our lives. Her life was so parallel to mine, she went to the same college and had many of the same experiences, just four years later than I did. She had an older brother who was killed in a car accident as a teenager. His birthday is exactly the same day and year as mine--how creepy is that? Her high school best friend "Houseguest" was a quiet, shy girl who barely said a word, just like I was in school. Now they go out as often as they can and enjoy the bar scene. I just can't. The bar scene has always raised my red flags, even when I was younger, and I'm usually far too cautious to really have a good time. And that's OK.

So, what are your thoughts on addictions? Do you think, like some people (but not me), that everyone is addicted to something? How did you gravitate towards your best friends?

Friday, June 01, 2007

Oh such luxury!

Well, I'm back. I returned last Thursday by taxi cab at nearly midnight to a dark house that had been left unattended for eight days. Rather scary, actually. I checked everything out, top and bottom before dragging my two suitcases into the bedroom. Well, they had the open house on Sunday and the neighbor whom I asked to watch the house walks their dog up and down past the house several times a day. But still, the house felt and even smelled different. Lonely. I visited a few blogs one day after getting back home but didn't have time to write anything yet until now.

The convention was exhausting, fun for work when you consider I was getting paid for it, but work all the same. There were some days that I started (all showered and dressed up in a suit) at 6:00 a.m. and didn't quit work until 10:00 p.m. and this without any lunch breaks or breaks of any kind. Dealing with people asking questions most of all those hours. I swear that on the last day I couldn't have answered the simplest question, I was so burnt out and exhausted.

The questions were all over the map too, so I had to be alert, think fast and deal politely and kindly with them all. And keep an unflustered, smiling face even though I was hungry, thirsty, tired and had to go to the bathroom quite a bit of the time I was stranded at the information desk all those long days!

That ended last week, this week has been doing the aftermath of the convention, all the accounting stuff. There are reimbursements for certain people, sponsor payments, tickets sold and staff timesheets, OT sheets and travel reimbursements for me figure out. I've still been very busy but at least the hours aren't so long. And I can wear normal office clothing, not suits, heels and nylons. Also I can get up and leave my desk, to get coffee, ice water or go to the bathroom. I can zap my lunch from home in the microwave and eat it at my desk while working. Oh such luxury after the conditions at the convention!

The good part of all of this? Well, firstly that it's over, finally, but also that I will be paid some OT for my work at the convention. Good thing as my property taxes, which were already very high rose. The amount is escrowed and the mortgage company needs to collect the "shortfall" so my mortgage went up $200 more per month. Yikes! It was sort of borderline affordable anyway, and my son left (with his rent payment and grocery buying, lawn mowing, etc. help) and now this!

I was really disappointed to return and not have an offer on the house. I know the housing market has fallen and it's a poor time to be selling a house, but I was hoping.

I have been spoiled in selling houses, this is the longest it's ever taken for me to sell a house. The first house that I bought on my own (owned several houses and apartments when married) sold in two-and-a-half days! The second in one day, and the little country house sold in half a day! So you can see that I am accustomed to putting a house up for sale and selling it right away, almost before I'm ready to leave, really. Not this time. I signed the listing on May 14th and here it is June already. It surprises me. It shouldn't, but it does. And worries me a little, too.

Hope you have a great weekend!