20 October 2014

A Little Happy

In the past month or so I've heard two stories from our friends that just give you faith in humanity again.  With the news being so MUCH lately, I figured it was important to share something that makes us all warm and fuzzy inside.

Our friend is Vietnamese and returns home regularly.  Each year she takes truckloads of coats, clothing, and blankets to leper colonies.  Literal leper colonies.  Any of her extra income goes back to charity not only in Vietnam but here as well.

Her mother is in her late eighties and her health is failing.  They don't have care facilities where she lives so she is being cared for by family.  On one of her trips, our friend showed her mother photos on her tablet.  Her mom was fascinated with being able to see her successful American daughter and her life in the photographs. 

So, my friend made a plan to post photos daily on the facebook and then her cousin shows her mother the pictures and updates.  The cousin reports that this makes her mother very happy and gives her something to look forward  each day.   It makes her so happy, in fact, that she asked our friend to:
"Please write a thank you note to the company for letting her see photos of her daughter and family every day."

I know, right?  How sweet is that?

(Oh, unrelated side note: The Nephew took one of the bigs to Hooters for his birthday. (I wasn't pleased)  He posted a photo on the facebook, showing the big smiling with the waitresses.  In the perfect example of "OMG my mom is on facebook", his great grandma posted a comment saying "Happy Birthday honey. Have fun!" )

Next story.

I keep bumping into our friend and her toddler daughter on Friday mornings at the grocery store.  Julie made the joke that we would see each other next Friday too. Then she corrected herself and said that they were going on a trip.

Julie is originally from Mississippi.  She makes regular trips home but it's difficult for her family to travel this way.  Her grandmother is in her nineties and is about to begin living in an assisted living facility.  She hasn't met some of her other grandchildren or any of the great grandchildren that live on this coast.  Julie's mom had a great idea of renting a motorhome and bringing her to see everyone before she goes into the facility.  She realized that the monthly cost of a facility would be equal to the rental so why not. Julie and her little one are flying out to travel here with them.  (Julie's a CNA)

Isn't that a great idea? I mean, sure, there are plenty of opportunities for things to go wrong but seriously, what a kind thing to do.

So, there you go.  A little happy to lighten the mood.

16 October 2014


I have been home now for much longer than I had planned and it is depressing and demoralizing.  To combat bad things from happening that naturally occur when you've had a sudden and unplanned major life change, I've crept back into old habits that I cultivated when I was home with broken bones. (like writing really, really long sentences)

I still keep a schedule, as if I were working.  As Kevin leaves at 5:30 am, this leaves a lot, lot, lot of  times on my hands.  I have twelve hours to entertain myself. 

To keep track of the days so I don't lose time, I assign specific tasks to specific days.  Things like laundry, shopping, and cleaning.  I am literally telling myself at 5:30 in the morning that today is Wednesday so there is laundry and vacuuming to do.  Yes, I'm all up in the glamour here.

My new best friends Gilmore Girls and old best friends Greys Anatomy help pass the time well enough but one can't spend that much time with anyone without getting a little stabby.  The internet actually becomes boring after awhile, go figure.

One of the recommendations for people battling depression is to have a pet.  I've had dogs for the past 23 years and they do provide for a distraction.  They need feeding and to go outside and come back in and to go outside and come back in (x infinity).   They make a person get up in the morning and be somewhat active during the day.

Lucy is different than our other dogs.  She requires one-on-one attention too. Our other dogs were hunters and security kinds of dogs that just wanted to monitor the goings-on outside. Lucy wants to play and have scritches.  She wants to lay on your lap and sleep. 

This is good, I love this about her.  This is also bad because how in the world of sweet baby jesus are you supposed to get anything done when you've got a snuggly, warm puppy on your lap?  In this case, she is a demotivator.  There are simply few reasons to get up when a puppy is sleeping on you.

I know, you're thinking that a person can still read or use the laptop.  Well, the trouble is that she resents both of those forms of entertainment.  She requires the use of your lap and at least one of your arms and those items impinge on her use.

Yes, she is a dog. I can make her get down and I do.  But, really, why would one do that?  What kind of cold-hearted human would make a snuggly puppy move just so you can go to the bathroom or eat or write? 

Yeah, I need to get over this.  But, seriously:

14 October 2014

They Pay Cash

I had another job interview today.  If nothing else, I am getting plenty of knowledge on different businesses.  This is one that I knew I wouldn't take while sitting in the parking lot waiting for the interview.

One of the many things I do not enjoy about job search is the mystery of applying for jobs online.  Many listings don't include the company name.  I get why, they don't want a bunch of people crashing their gates, but it sure would be a little more helpful to know where you're applying.  I mean, is it like this morning at a place that I wouldn't want to work? Or worse, at a place I've already worked?

On the flip side, the mystery could open up possibilities that a person wouldn't consider otherwise. This is what I tell myself anyway.

Just not today.

It was a job in a medical office when I applied.  When they called, it was for a dermatologist office.  When I pulled up, it was clearly a plastic surgery office.  Shiny new office, discretely placed off the beaten path, smooth jazz playing in the background.

I already knew that I was So Not Interested.  Then during the interview, the person listed a task of "Often accepting $1,000 payments, usually in cash."

Wait, what?

"Oh yes, they usually pay in cash."

"In cash because?"

"They don't want their husbands to know they've had...treatments."

This is where I imagined this:

I believe the person doing the interviewing knew I wouldn't be a good fit.  At least I hope so.

11 October 2014

Picture Wall

Our hallway goes down the middle of our house.  I made it a picture wall, one half that is visible above our couch and one down by my office.  There are single frames and collage frames.  There isn't a theme and four different colors of frames. (gold, black, rosewood, and brown)

I've many, many pictures saved on the cloud.  Every once in a while, I will be uploading more or looking for something and I'll invariably say "I need to print this out."

But those of you who upload pictures of the cloud may know: they can get disorganized really quickly.  I've many duplicates and poorly named pictures/albums.  I feel like I should just bite the bullet, download all of them again, rename them, delete all the ones on the cloud and reload them.
I need a nap and a drink just thinking about it.

So, I indulged in a task avoidance chore.  I drug out the tote that has all the picture frames that I've bought, collected, or discarded over the past years.  The logic being that I needed to know what frames I wanted before I could consider photos.  (I know.)

I have plenty of frames so now I'm back to square one.  Sigh...

Maybe I will just make a list of each family member to ensure that everyone is represented.  I'm not going to worry that each side of the family is equally represented because that would be crazy making and unfair. 

The kids can go into collage frames.  The parents can be in individuals because there are significantly less of them.  I should also sprinkle in a few of our friends photos as well.  I took a candid one that has Kevin, his brother, the boy littles and two of our best friends that I adore.  It's a candid shot and no one is looking at the camera.  It's one of my absolute favorites.  If only I had more of those!


What is too cluttered? Disorganized?  Should I use uniformly colored frames?  The internet says that I should and I think the internet might consider shutting up because that's a much bigger project that I'm interested in.  But, it will look nicer that way.

Should I use a pattern or place them randomly?  They are randomly placed right now but only because Kevin has a weird habit of hanging things too high. (he's six foot tall, I'm five foot three so there's a little wiggle room there)  Also, he wants to make sure that the nails are into the studs.  I planned ahead in consideration of this and bought Command strips. 

I'm trying to channel Swistle's Drop in the Bucket theory.  I've figured out the frames, I have a few photos in mind so that's two drops.  Now I just need to print a handful to get started.

Did I mention that I'm nearly out of color ink?  Yeah, that's another small problem.  Easily resolved but it takes any spontaneity out of the project.

So, that's what I'm thinking about.

See? No rhyme or reason

08 October 2014

Stuff and Things

 I finally took Swistle's advice and tried watching Gilmore Girls.  It's been two days and I'm nearly done with the first season.  I will be sending invoices for my detox/rehab to Swistle.  Lol.  Kind of like Veronica Mars, I am unsure what happened in my life that I'm just now watching these shows.
Also, see you in about a week.

I upgraded our DVR and now I have two DVR's.  I do believe that I've made a mistake.  Now I'm all "Record all the things!!"

While shopping at Target last week I might have bought a cute plastic jack o'lantern.  I also might have wandered down the Christmas aisle.  I did resist buying three little sewn birds because OCTOBER.  Also, don't need them.  Just want them.  Probably will go get them this weekend.

Swistle was talking about planting seeds and bulbs and it occurred to me that every year I intend to do this and every year I forget to do so.  Well, this Fall I have no excuse not to do it.  Other than where to plant them where Kevin won't weed-eat them and where the puppy won't dig them up and eat them.  This is not insurmountable but definitely the kind of thing that slows down the process. I will not be thwarted by the likes of a weed-eater wielding husband or puppy whose nose is her superpower.

I tried Starbucks Iced Coffee from the grocery store and didn't enjoy it so much.  I tried the store brand and hated it.  Finally, I tried International Delight (what a stupid name) and it's not awful.  I doctor it with milk and vanilla and it's the best out of the three.  Now you can sleep at night. 

It's time to switch out my spring/summer clothes to fall/winter clothes.  We're supposed to be going to Vegas next month so I tend to drag my feet about this.  However, I'm not sure I'm going this year (unemployment and other issues) so I'm thinking I'll throw caution to the wind and just do it.  This is the kind of excitement I enjoy these days.

The big project today is to take the five sets of leftover shampoo and conditioner that have been languishing in the second bathroom and combined them.  I have issues. Exhibit A;


Ladies Home Journal has stopped publishing, sadly. What am I going to do without "Will This Marriage Survive?".  In the company's wisdom, they decided that replacing it with Shape magazine as a substitute a reasonable idea.  Gosh, I wonder why they went out of print with such clever management.

I rediscovered how fun the Dollar Store can be.  I needed office supplies, that I would normally just bring home from work, and it was the perfect solution.  I liked being able to buy a few files/envelopes/whatever instead a case of 100.  I know I probably didn't make a good fiscal choice and shut up, I don't care.

With all the time I have on my hands, I've been trying to find things to do to fill my time.  Oh, I know: writing but not so much.  It's the kind of dangerous situation that gets me to thinking "Oh, cactus and ferns would be fun to have in the house."   This is not good and innocent plants may die.

The pantry door has decided that it doesn't want to shut completely.  I asked Kevin about it and he said "Remind me about it" which is his way of procrastinating because he knows I won't remember when it's timely.  I could ask my father-in-law but I have a suspicion that it will turn into a much bigger project than I want it to be.  He has great ideas and is a woodworker, no worries there.  I just know that once started, a remodel will be forthcoming.  Although it would be nice to have a different door.  Meanwhile...ADD is a joy...I think I'm going to look it up on WikiHow or YouTube and see if I can do it myself.  I'll let you know what disaster ensues.

So, that's what is happening here.  Lots of glamour and stuff.

04 October 2014

Unconventional Opinions

Here are a few unconventional opinions that I have:

I don't understand why George Clooney's wedding was treated as if it was a royal event.  I mean, I understand that it's like, and I quote Kevin here: "It's like when that one guy married that woman years ago."

Guesses?  Maybe not.  We've been married one hundred years and speak that old married couple shorthand.  Warren Beatty and Annette Benning.

Lena Dunham irritates the hell out of me.  I think she's pretentious.  She reminds me of  that loud, "artistic" girl in high school that was so Outspoken about how she Didn't Care At All about being popular but, in fact, did Very Much Care.  Also, she used the words "craft" and "art" while being interviewed about her book and show which makes me want to kick bunnies.  She uses more words than necessary and most of those feel like they were culled from the Word of the Day calendar. 
Clearly, she just annoys me.

I don't think Jennifer Aniston was a victim.  I love that Brad and Angelina got married.

I think Beyonce and JayZ are way over-rated.  I don't understand the hype. There are many better singers and rappers out there.

We watched three Oscar Nominated Movies and didn't like any of them.  We turned one of them off about 35 minutes into it.  I'm disappointed and suspicious.

All of this makes me feel old.  As if I've reached the age when I just don't get pop culture anymore.  But I also think that qualifications for being a star and/or a celebrity  are just way, way, way too low.

02 October 2014

Pretty Pictures

I'm trying to take some of Swistle's advice of finding new things to interest me.  I actually sat down and thought about it.  What do I like to do with my time?

Read...well, that's easy enough.  So I made a deal with myself to buy a new author every other week or so.  That's how I read The Art of Arranging Flowers (Lynne Branard) and how I have A Single Breath (Lucy Clarke) waiting for me.

I like to write so I'm going to keep working on that.  I've been sporadic at this so far but every day is a new day. 

I like to take photos.  I'm horrible at taking photos of people, I just don't like intruding and I think that affects the photography.  Often I will try to surreptitiously take them with my phone then crop them to hopefully make a decent photo. 

I am pretty good at landscapes.  I kind of have the perfect canvas here in the Pacific Northwest so it's not all talent.  So, on my phone I have photos of sunsets, cloud formations, pretty flowers.  And many, many of the puppy. Seriously.  Even she is sick of my camera.

So, in this day and age, what could one do with photography?  Hmm, it's a puzzle.  Except it's NOT.  It's called Instagram.  I'm probably one of the few that don't have an account at this point. 

Selfies won't be featured there.  There will probably not be many puppy or racecar pictures even.  I'm going to concentrate on pretty pictures only, for now.

If you're bored, you can find me as Kellwynn93. 

01 October 2014

Life Options

Pinterest has become an interest of mine since I've been off work.  It's a fun little time waster that I can do for a few minutes off and on.  My only struggle is the categories.  Sometimes I find something that I just can't categorize.  I suppose I should just make that a category: unable to categorize.  Instead I have witty titles like Purple. 

Somehow, on my private Pinterest, I ended up following a teenaged girl. She might be a friend of my nieces, I'm just not sure.  (sidebar: I've found Pinterest is an easy way to communicate with my nieces so hallelujah for that)

This girl started pinning photos for a bucket list.  Simple photographs with simple text stating an item.  But they were kind of cool ones, like, "Buy a cart full of groceries for a stranger" and "Try all the items on the McDonalds menu."  I liked how clever they were.

Even though I'm not a fan of bucket lists, or any sort of goal setting actually, I started a Life Hopes board.  Like this:

The fun thing, to me, about this is culling through the bucket list items available.  Probably in denial, I'm surprised at how many of them I've done.  At first I wondered if I had led that interesting kind of a life.  Then I realized that I'm 45 years old and many of the items can be done just by growing up.

But I am considering making another board titled "Been there, Done that".  I think it would be fun to look and have a visual representation of things that one has done or experienced.

There are, of course, things that I won't ever do.  Having a child is an example but that's not by choice.  But on the just Can't Want To level, there are things that are posted that I just wouldn't consider.  Like sky-diving or traveling to the far reaches of the world.  It's fun to think about but most likely never going to happen.

So, again, if you're bored and you need just one more thing to check on social media, find me as Surely on the pinterest. 

I've Got the Time

Usually I am a pretty patient person (don't laugh) when I'm in a store.  I wait for the elderly and people with children.  I use my words and manners in crowded situations.  I'm not usually in a hurry for anything. Probably a window into why I'm late often, but that's another topic.

The other day we had rain after not having it for most of the summer.  While leaving the store, a mom and little boy with brand new rainboots were walking toward me.  So, there were puddles on the ground and a curb to balance on.  Lots of distractions for the young man, indeed.

So, I slowed my pace to let the little guy enjoy his new boots and the fun curb discovery.  I admit, I will often stomp in a puddle if given a chance.  How can you resist?

The mom noticed that I was waiting and encouraged him to hurry because the nice lady is waiting.  I smiled and said "Oh no, I've got time. Let him go. Who can resist puddles and curbs?"   She laughed and agreed and eventually they passed me.

I thought about how nice it is, right now, not to have to hurry back to a job or to be rushed to do much of anything.  I've got the time.

30 September 2014

I'm a total liar

I had errands to do and he was still there. So he had to come home with me.  Had to. 

More than a Boxful

I need to stop buying decorations, seriously.  These are all Halloween decorations.  Some of them can/will be held over through Thanksgiving but still.

This started because I worked at a school and could decorate my office & front desk.  Then I did it at my old work, just on a smaller scale.  This year I only have my house to decorate.  I fear that some of these decorations simply won't make the cut.

And we're ignoring the urge to go buy that ghost bobblehead that's been on sale the past few times I've been at the store.  I don't need it.  Except I do because I have a Frankenstein, a Witch, a Dracula, and a Scarecrow.

29 September 2014

Faith in Humanity

Just in case you're feeling that the world and everything in it sucks, click through to watch this. 
Sometimes people are amazing.  Watch to the end, it's worth it.


Updated Search

Most recent adventures in the job search thing;

This morning I received an email that my ex-husband's dad's company is hiring.  Thanks, Universe, for the laugh.

I had an interview in a coffee shop.  That felt very Seattle.  It was for a tiny non-profit and would be working at home.  I don't know what I think.

I didn't get the job, as predicted, for the job that had all the hoops.  It was a good experience to go through, I guess.  Kevin questioned my sanity for doing it when I really didn't want it. The person who was being replaced was a part of the screening and I don't think she enjoyed me at all. That's okay though, I'm an acquired taste.  She didn't get a Doctor Who joke so I knew I wasn't interested after that.  ("It's bigger on the inside")

The company that required a Tony Robbins screening is, unsurprisingly, still looking for someone.  And still requiring that screening.  Perhaps they should consider taking that screening as well.

Otherwise, my days are still filled with Greys Anatomy, the puppy, a book, and whatever catches my interest.  

27 September 2014

The Light is Changing

I've watched as the mornings return to darkness when Kevin leave at oh-gawd-thirty. He leaves so early and it stays dark for a while afterward that it's a little creepy if you have an over-active imagination.  I don't usually shower early during the winter months.

 I've watch the light change as it shines through the back door windows throughout the day.  Even here in my office, the sun stays behind the trees instead of pouring in the window most of the day. A month ago it was too hot to sit back here and write and now, it's nearly perfect.

The light is different when I walk to get the mail in the evening.  Now the road is in the shade and I can see the beginning of the sunset reflected on the neighboring hills.  It won't be too long and it will be too dark to walk down after Kevin gets home from work.

The sound is different as well.  Now there is a constant chorus of falling leaves.  The birds have quieted, with the exception of the bluejays, who are suddenly obnoxiously loud. And then there is the rain.  After a long, beautiful summer, the rain has returned.  It was gone for so long, it almost seems foreign.

It was a lovely summer and I'm a little sad to see it go.  I'm grateful to be able to watch the change of the seasons.

Good Thing/Bad Thing

Let's play Good Thing/Bad Thing.  We went racing, finally.

It rained all day on Friday
I was able to be snuggly in the truck and read all day (The Art of Arranging Flowers)

We didn't run well.
We figured out the problem.

We wore our new race team shirts
There was a little bit of envy from someone who will remain nameless

Our friend wrecked his car
Because of safety rules, he's totally fine.

Hotel for two nights...there are no bad parts of this.

Watched our friend race his brother's car for the first time since his suicide...this was good and bad.

I jogged a few steps, for the first time in 2 1/2 years.
It wasn't pretty.

Saw all of our friends for three whole days.
Now race season is over.

Vegas is in 52 days.

26 September 2014

Who Locked the Door?

I just returned from doing errands to find my door deadbolted.  The only time the deadbolt is used is if I'm home alone and it's dark outside.  As my in-laws live right next door, our door is sometimes not even locked.  (Welcome, burglars reading this, come right in)

I can't figure out how this happened.  Kevin is at work and his parents were home when I left.  The deadbolt has to be locked from the outside by a key unless you're leaving via the window. 

Unfortunately, the first thing I did was look for damage or items missing but there was nothing.  Lucy wasn't even a little bit concerned as well.  As her super power is her nose, she would totally know if someone strange was in the house.

That being said, yesterday Lucy kept randomly barking.  Usually she'll bark if she hears Lucky outside or sees the bunny in the yard.  She usually barks with a purpose.  If she doesn't seem to have a purpose, I will usually say aloud "Stop making the puppy bark, Dad.  You're getting her in trouble."

So, of course, that's who I'm assuming locked my door.  We're being haunted, obviously.

24 September 2014

Fall is here

Taken after a day of rain.

17 September 2014

Social Media Woes

Kevin gets up at 5:00 am on workdays.  The other morning he mentions he got a facebook message overnight that he didn't understand.  He mentioned the sender and I cringed a little. Somehow a childhood friend of mine somehow managed to message Kevin.  A boy, nonetheless.  It took me a second to realize what was happening because: 5:00 am.

As one would guess, it was the drunk dial of personal messages.  Luckily and with great relief, it wasn't a "You up?" kind of message. Instead it used a horrifying childhood nickname that I loathe (based on wearing glasses) and was wanderingly about the racecar.

So, that was cozy.

Two days later, I received a call from a long-distance number I didn't recognize.  I don't answer any strange numbers so I let it go to voicemail.  It turns out it was a former employee who wanted to stage a practical joke for my old boss at the school.  Yeah, no, not happening.

Firstly, it's a girl that I went to high school with and I was friends with her brother back then.  When meeting her at the school, she totally denied knowing me.  This was a bad call as I was her boss but it turned out she was kind of a hot mess so it made sense in the end.

Secondly, I have no interest in a) playing a practical joke on anyone. I hate them and please take note of that people I know IRL.   2) clearly she didn't know that the relationship did not end well between the former boss and myself.  So I didn't call her back.  My voicemail message is generic so it wasn't obvious that I was purposefully ignoring her.

Thirty minutes later, I get a text stating that the prank is off because another employee that I also didn't enjoy couldn't make it so we would do it another time. But that we should get a drink sometime.  So, we're besties now.

This new social media world is messing with me.

16 September 2014

Thanks for Habits

I misplaced my debit card today, well actually, a few days ago. The scary thing was the last time I remembered having it was on Friday at lunchtime. 

The not scary thing is that I'm a person of habits and systems.  Because I know and recognize that I have a short attention span, I have safety precautions in place.  When I get gas in the 4Runner, I put the cap on the tire so I don't forget and if it's the truck, on the toolbox so it's in my face.

The same with my debit card.  Nine times out of ten I will have left it in my pocket.  Usually my jeans but sometimes my hoodie.  Always the left pocket, more because I'm mostly left-handed than by design.  Once I left it on the toolbox and began to drive home.  By the grace of all things holy and sweet baby jesus, it was still there when I stopped.

So, when I was in town today I had a twinge of panic but not a full blown freak out.  Because I've met me.  And I've been, like, three places in seven days.  It really was a narrow field to search. 

But I still nearly dumped the 4Runner on its side to make sure I didn't throw it on the passenger seat or absentmindedly put it in the console.  Nope.  I did discover that a certain puppy sheds more than I realized and I need to vacuum.

The last place I could remember using my card was...sing along with me now, if you don't get this, we might not be able to be friends anymore...at the coffee stand.  (I had a half-day interview that was 11-4 and didn't allow time for lunch so I grabbed a smoothie instead. Who does that?)  It wasn't there though. I might have muttered.

I returned home and put everything away before starting to search because I can't focus in clutter.  Then I went to change clothes because this wearing pants thing is really starting to bum me out.  (Yes, I remember glorifying the wearing of pants after three months of not. I'm so over that.)  I looked in the pockets of the khakis I wore and it wasn't there.  I looked in the hoodie that I wore at the same time and nope.  Now, I am a little panicky.  I haven't been anywhere. 

I tried to remember what I wore over the last four days.  A purple fleece that I wore somewhere...totally can't remember where...and viola!  there it was, in the left pocket.

Let's hear it for habits that keep the absent-minded people like me in check.  

14 September 2014

This is the Nonsense I Live With

One of the many fun things about living with Kevin, and there are many, are little surprises like these:

No, this isn't an official NFL candle.

Nor is this an extra-large coffee pot, quite the opposite actually

11 September 2014


Okay, this job search thing: OMG

One of the posts for an office administrator requested a PHOTO.  Yep, a photo of the applicant.  Yeah, so not doing that.  So, so, so illegal.  I really don't want to work for a company that has those kind of expectations so thank you, universe, for allowing that to happen.

Another posting requested a resume, a handwritten cover letter (I get that), and... a wait for it... a TONY ROBBINS PERSONALITY SCREENING.  I know, RIGHT!?!?!
I totally did  the screening, just out of curiosity, but I didn't apply for the job because: seriously.

Now, I'm on the second interview for a job that I'm not interested in, really.  The hoops for this one is many:
A human resources situation questionnaire.
An online skills tests for typing, alpha-numeric inputting, and 3 apps of the MS Office Suite.
Two 1-hour job shadows
1 and 1/2 hour sit-down interview

So, these are added to the list of interviews that begun with the 30-minute longhand essay. Sweet baby jesus.

I guess these tasks offset the ease of searching for employment via the comfort of recliner, on your own laptop, while watching Greys Anatomy, with a sleeping puppy on you.

07 September 2014

All Together Now

Small vacation from the bloggity.  Apologies.  We have family staying here for a week or two.  Not "here" as in our house but in the neighborhood.  Time consuming all the same.  Poor Kevin is feeling conflicted because he feels obligated to go hang out next door but he's not a hang-out kind of guy.

The visitors are my father-in-law's brother and sister.  Uncle Jonny is one of those fellows that when he begins to tell a joke in public, you immediately begin to cringe and look for an exit.  Did I mention that he's nearly deaf?  Yeah, good times.

I actually adore him.  He has no filter at all and those are always my kind of people. He constantly has a glimmer of mischief in his eye.  How do you not love a guy like that?  Watching him with my father-in-law is like watching two little boys play together, both giggling and telling stories.  They wear the same shoes for eff sakes.  (Uncle Jonny lives in Northern California so we can't blame togetherness on the matchy-matchy.)

His wife is soft-spoken, I don't know if that's a result of their relationship or just how she is.  She has an interesting accent that I can't place exactly.  Might be New England?  There's a tinge of British in there but she's not at all.  They have three dogs and they all seem to be stinkers.  Luckily, they're all small dogs. (a pomeranian, a chihuahua, and a shih tzu)

Kevin's aunt is also one of my favorite people.  She has the best laugh.  She's gorgeous too; tall, thin, big blue eyes, snowy white hair.  Even though she is in her seventies, you feel like a wallflower standing next to her. But she's the nicest person with a sweet little dog named Trixie. Because we needed more dogs around here.  (right now there are nine dogs here)

Now we're waiting for another set of uncle/aunt and cousins.  It's about to get loud up in here.  Voice modulation is not a skill that this family has ever acquired.  It makes me realize that Kevin is genetically wired to be the gregarious guy that he is.

I'm hoping that his cousin Ronnie is stopping by.  Kevin is not like most of his cousins, I can sometimes spot a similarity or mannerism but mostly he's different from them in a way that makes me wonder about adoption. (haha...I think the time he spent with his childhood best friend more molded who he became)  But when Ronnie arrives, I immediately feel like "Oh, there it is.  There's the connection."  They are physically and personally familiar.  They even do similar work and have similar hobbies. 

Today is the official family reunion so I'll be called next door soon.  The cousin that no one enjoys has, of course, arrived early with extra (not invited) people in tow.  Oh, family reunions: you are the stuff that sitcoms and dramedies are made of.

04 September 2014

Sometimes you get what you ask for

the view from the deck right this minute

 I remember a few months ago...actually Kevin reminded me during a particular whine session...that I just wanted to not have a crazy job with crazy people and I wished, WISHED, for a stay-at-home opportunity.  I would be writing, writing, writing.  I would submit the book to all the agents.  I would relax.


It's been a month and a half of being at home and I've done none of those things.  Well, I've written a bit but nothing to, hahahaha, write home about. I am bored however.  Bored out my mind, wandering the house, bored out of my mind. I guess that could qualify for relaxing so I can put a check next to that. 

I asked myself the other day what I would panic most about if I suddenly returned to work the very next day.  There really wasn't anything that immediately jumped to my attention. I mean, of course, I would be disappointed that I haven't written more but that seems to just be my general existence.

So, what have I done?  I've organized the house within an inch of its life.  I've read numerous books.  I've endlessly surfed the interwebs.  I've relaxed in the sun.  I've watched many hours of Doctor Who and Greys Anatomy. I've finished errands that kept getting ignored while I was working.  I've diligently searched for work.

I've also worried, falling down the wormhole of What if I never go back to work (unlikely), what am I going to do about our Vegas trip (out of my control), and losing all the progress that I built on being able to retire with few worries when the time arrives.  (Kevin is seven years older than I so this is going to take some planning)  This is pointless and stupid but there I am.

Anyone who consoles me with a "This happened for a reason" or "Better things are coming your way" is going to get poked in the eye.  I know the statements are true.  The rational, reasonable part of me knows this.  But the toddler in me is stomping my feet and flailing my hands in frustration.

Instead, I took the picture above and tried to just breathe.  And I sat down to write.

27 August 2014

The Mail Saga Continues

So, my mom called again.

First, she apologized for "calling every day", which it hasn't been.  It's been more like every three-ish days, which is enough really.  I find myself not wanting to answer the telephone when she calls but I've actually had the thought of "She's getting older, you need to answer."  We don't talk often, it's just not how I'm wired.  She will talk for hours, actual hours but I'm not much a phone person.

She started the conversation like we had just talked an hour ago.  It turns out that it is a continuation of the Package Story.  She ended up going to the post office with the slip to pick up the package.  They let her sign for it and she brought it home.  What she neglected to share at first was that she signed for an envelope, not a package.  I learned this about halfway though the story.

For some reason, she thought that this couch replacement part would arrive in a business envelope.  We are still wondering why she didn't notice the return address or the addressee.  It turns out that it wasn't for the new neighbors but for the former neighbors who haven't lived there in over a year. Again, how we didn't notice this at the post office is beyond me. (almost 80 years old is now, really but really?)

Once she got home, she called the furniture place to schedule a repair person but didn't have all the information still; no last name or telephone number.  The kind person at the furniture place was patient with her and asked her to open the package to try to figure this out.

Yeah, it was legal papers.  This is when she discovered that it was for the old neighbors.

Now her kerfuffle is how to figure this out.  I told her to seal it back up, take to the post office, and return it to sender. I told her that worse case she would have to put it into a new envelope and pay a little postage.  Maybe include a little note that it was mistakenly delivered.

Like before, she immediately swirled the drain.  "But if this doesn't work, I will have to go to my lawyer and that will cost me money!"

Wait, what? Why are we going to the lawyer?

"Because it's legal papers."

*Deep breath*

We finally decided that just taking it back to her little, rural post office and asking for help would be her best bet.  She ended the conversation relieved and a little heart-breakingly grateful for the guidance. 

I'll let you know when she calls back because all y'all know she's going to and now you're dying to know what happens next.

Oh, and the furniture part?  It has never arrived. 

26 August 2014

Long Form Essay in Pencil

I had another job interview today for a job that I wasn't super excited about.  It's part-time (yea!) but it's in the Human Resources department of a school district so: paperwork. (ugh)

The person that scheduled the interview mentioned on the telephone that it would be a two-part interview but didn't go any further with information.  I'd forgotten this part until I pulled into the parking lot.  This is good, I guess, because I couldn't obsess about it.

The district office is a maze of what appears to be what was intended to be a temporary office. I don't think I could find my way through it again to save my life.  The reason that I know this maze exists is that the first part of the interview was an ESSAY.  Yes, an essay. 

The best part is that I had to sit in what was clearly once a closet.  It had a little workstation but there were storage shelves behind me and the random effluvia that storage closets hold. I was in a room the size of a guest bathroom and they shut the door when they left. Good thing I'm not claustrophobic.
It did make me wonder if that was the best they could offer, after seeing the maze of workstations and empty desks on my way through the labyrinth of rooms.

Anyway.  Essay, yes.

I was given a set of instruction with a space to write below and an attached sheet.  I was also offered a legal pad in case I wanted to use that instead.  And a pencil.  And I had to write my name on the top.  I swear to you this is true.

Well, obviously, writing is not an issue for me.  I wasn't the least bit concerned when I sat down.  She told me that I had thirty-minutes to complete it then she would return to get me.  I nearly asked if I should come out when I was done but I didn't want to appear cocky.

I started at 10:29 and finished at 10:40.  Twenty minutes to sit and wait and contemplate the wonders of the storage closet. As it was a job interview, I didn't bring my phone with me. So regret that choice!  Instead I fidgeted in my chair, I reread my work (three times), and fidgeted some more. 

Oh, I had the choice of two questions:  "What are your professional goals in your career?" and "What communication attributes will you bring to the district when it comes to interacting with the students, parents, staff, and co-workers?"

I hate the Goals question because I never have a good answer.  If I'm being honest, I want an easy job that pays decently and that I can quit in a few years.  This is not a good answer for a potential employer.

So, I answered in proper essay form and in long-hand, with a pencil, question number two.  I had some serious flashbacks to high school. Stuck in a room, writing an essay, just like when I had in-school suspension.

After the requisite twenty minutes passed, I was shuttled back through the maze to the reception area.  I waited just a few minutes then was taken into a conference room and interviewed by FOUR people.  The superintendent, his assistant, the receptionist, and the schools supervisor. Two had a sense of humor and two did not.

I never know how to sit at these things.  I'm not so much tall so most chairs and tables are too tall.  I just leaned forward on the table and did the best that I could.  At least it wasn't a spinny chair, those are impossible to look grown-up in for me.

The interview went well, I think. One never knows with these things.  I tend not to reflect too much on it because it's so utterly out of my control. We'll see.  I never get my hopes up for these things, although it would be nice to go back to work doing something.

So, here I am, it took less than an hour out of my day to momentarily time-travel to high school again. Now I'm back home reading a book and looking forward to the last four episodes of Doctor Who.
*shrug* Life is weird.

25 August 2014

With Just a Click of a Button

The method of which I have been applying for jobs has been scatter-shot. I've applied to jobs randomly and wantonly. It's so easy to apply now-a-days, just a few clicks and you've applied.  So, it's a little too easy to just ask for a job that, perhaps, you have absolutely no interest in doing. 

Earlier today I applied for a part-time office manager job that is not far from my house.  This seemed a little too good to be true but on the premise of Why Not? I applied.

About an hour later, I received an email in response.  It had three questions, two of which were the standard "What is your wage requirements and when can you start if hired?" but the first question was the kicker:

"What are your feelings about providing services and communicating with individuals involved in the I-502 Initiative?"

Firstly, I had to look up which initiative 502 was.  It's the legalization of marijuana; which some of you may be aware that passed wholeheartedly.

Secondly, perhaps a sign of the weekend being spent watching Doctor Who, I responded with "A pop quiz then..." followed by my responses.

This is a tough thing for me because I'm not necessarily pro-pot.  I'm kind of annoyed about it actually.  I have a very low tolerance for people under the influence, especially high people. I also worry about the long-term ramifications that perhaps people haven't considered in their excitement over legalization.  i.e. brain development, increase in lung cancer, increase in mental illness diagnosis.

When I voted, I equated it with Washington State's privatization of liquor sales.  I'm so very glad that this happened after my dad passed.  A nearly life-long alcoholic, I can only imagine the negative effect this might have had on him.  (clarification: WA State used to have liquor sold only in state-owned stores, with business hours, and no liquor sales on Sundays in some areas versus sold everywhere/all the time)


This is one of those For the Greater Good situations.  These laws benefit more people than are harmed.  These laws have safeguards in place and the ability to adapt to the changes these new laws create.  So, I voted in favor of both.

This doesn't mean, however, that I'm interested in working for a dispensary or store front.  But it does have the possibility of being an interesting job, if not lucrative in the long run.  And this is a call-back to the statement in a previous post that "an application or interview doesn't mean you have the job."

So, yeah.  That's how my day went.

23 August 2014

The Doctor

When I was a child, Doctor Who was routinely mocked. It was the utmost in cheesiness, science fiction on a really low-budget scale.  Also, it was British so the humor would sometimes be over our heads. It was also played late at night on the Canadian channels so access for me was limited. 

Not that I didn't get to occasionally "enjoy" the Christmas lighted cardboard boxes, tinfoil covered, Halloween costumed cheesiness.

So, my perception of the show was always 100% cheese.  Also, I've never been a big science fiction fan.  It's odd really because it would seem like I would be all over science fiction but I just don't enjoy it. I'm not sure why, maybe it's the unpredictability of it.

I was up late the other night and I noticed that there was a Doctor Who marathon on BBC.  Because late at night is always the best time to get involved in a marathon, I turned it on.  It was oddly mesmerizing.  I find David Tennant attractive and I'm always interested in really smart guys.  It was the perfect mixture of funny and drama with a little bit of crazy mixed in.

Next thing I knew, I had watched two episodes and set all the episodes to record. 

The next morning, it was the first thing I turned on.  Kevin is incredulous and not a little bit surprised that I'm watching it.  I told him that it's kind of fascinating and soon enough, he found himself watching it too.  But, he's not one to sit still and we were leaving for the racetrack so the show didn't implant in his brain like it did mine.  (see? science fiction! haha)

Now it's Saturday, this began on Thursday night, and I'm doing chores and meals based around episodes.  I saw the last four of David Tennant's Doctor and now I'm not quite half through Matt Smith's Doctor.  Tonight is the new season with the new Doctor and like every other nerd in the world, I'm just not sure I'll be able to let go of the previous Doctors.

I blame the internet for a lot of this.  You can't go onto Pinterest without seeing a ton of Doctor Who stuff.  Well, wait, that might only be me because I like to look at the books, television, nerd/geek pins.  Then there's all the coverage of ComicCon, Wil Wheaton on the twitter, and one of my favorite nerds Chris Hardwick.  If all of these people think it's cool, then it must be cool.

And it is.  Now, I'm going to go finish watching the marathon and pin all the things on Pinterest.  See you in a few days.

Radio Hell

Every once in a while we get trapped in what I refer to Radio Hell.  I'm not sure how this is even possible when one has Sirius/XM and access to nearly a hundred channels.   But it happens. 

Kevin refers to Radio Hell for when he's stuck in a truck with terrestrial radio.  He rarely loses his cool but give him standard FM radio and get out of the way because: incoming tantrum.

We went to the racetrack yesterday, without the racecar and alone.  This never happens but the planets aligned.  We so rarely get time like that alone that I don't even care if we're going to the grocery store. Anyway, our class was bumped off the schedule, Kevin was going to crew chief on our friend's car and I tagged along.

It was a challenging day from the start.  The race time was bumped, so we left a little later, traffic was bad because Friday afternoon, then we stopped for lunch a little cafe in small bordertown USA that we love. It was busy and took forever.

Then we got into the wrong lane at the border.  Not wrong as in the wrong lane but in the We Haven't Moved for Fifteen Minutes Lane.  So we swapped lanes and then, as happens every time, the lane began to move again. (few things worse than snarky border guards)

Finally, we reached the racetrack.  We hung out a little bit and then the round run time was bumped AHEAD so the boys had to hustle.  It went great in the end as our friend qualified first in a beautiful pass. 

THEN, his chutes didn't deploy correctly and he went into the marbles, which is nearly off the end of the track.  But he got it stopped safely and was fine.

We hung out a little while longer after we found everything was okay.  We had lemonade and doughnut holes (they're like crack cocaine, I swear) for dinner, like you do.  Lunch was so late that we skipped dinner, by the way.

Finally, we went up to make the final qualifying pass.  And the car wouldn't start, because of course it wouldn't.  We watched the other cars make their passes then returned to the trailer where I sat for a few hours and listened to a bunch of really smart and smart-assed racers work on the car.  While this sounds boring as all hell to most, it's actually one of my favorite things to do. 
(when he, literally, bounced to a stop it shook something loose)

At 11:00 pm, we headed home.  We weren't on the road five minutes and Radio Hell started up again.  The country station had interviews and live guests, which we both hate, the other stations were all playing songs we hated.  Finally Kevin said "Turn on the 70's channel, it's always good music."  To which I replied, as he knew I would, "No, because it's the 70's CHANNEL."  But I tried it anyway.

ROBERTA FLACK.  Singing a B-side song. For the love of sweet baby jesus.

Because I'm a brat, I left it.  Even might have hummed a little. Until finally Kevin said "Okay, okay, you can slit my throat now."  So I switched the channel again.  Yep, still songs we hated.

So, it was a particularly challenging day with the accompanying sound track. 

21 August 2014

Don't Help the Neighbors

My mom has new neighbors and they are only there during the summer.  They asked my mom to sign for a package, a replacement part for their couch, and my mom agreed.  This seems a little forward to me as they're new neighbors but my parents have always been over-involved in the neighbors since they've retired.

Well, my mom didn't catch the mailman so there was a slip left to sign for the package.  I tried to walk through what the slip said to attempt to determine if they're going to redeliver or what. This is after trying to figure out if it was USPS, FedEx, or UPS.  Or the stork.

This was such an exercise in frustration.  This is where I say that she's almost eighty and living on her own. And also where I'm going to hell for the gestures and eye-rolls that I made during this conversation.

It's a repair part for a couch they were having issues with and we're assuming it's a warranty thing. They are living in Yemen over the winter so this seems it was a time sensitive thing and why they asked her to sign for it.  My mom is unsure when they are returning so we don't know if they're gone until next summer or what.  So, we also don't know what the timing is for this to be resolved.

To up the difficulty level: my mom doesn't know their last name nor have a telephone number for them.  I KNOW.  But this tells me that someone must be returning  sooner rather than later.

I suggested to just sign the thing, leave it in the mailbox, and see what happens.  This is where my mom broke out the martyr hat that I get to "enjoy" every once in a while.  "SURELY, this is a LEGAL DOCUMENT" she says.  (imagine me with an imaginary gun in my mouth at this moment)

I suggested that she could go to the post office and explain what happened.  She then worried that she would get accused for mail fraud/theft.  (again: imaginary gun to my head)  I reassured her that it seemed unlikely.

We decided to just wait and see what happens.  They really didn't leave her any choice or enough information to do this favor.  She was worried that she will have failed their request; when in fact they failed her.

This just confirms the "no good deed shall go unpunished" theory.

19 August 2014

The List

I try not to go into town more than once a week now that I'm unemployed.  It's to save money and to keep me from mischief.  So today I had a pretty good list of To-Do's plus two job interviews.  Don't get excited. One went well, the other not and I'm not one to get excited because I hate disappointment.

The errands were wide-ranging and took me all over town. I didn't go to the dollar store because it was too hot outside and I was over it.  Also see: mischief.

Taking a sandal to get repaired.  The first place wasn't open even though it was past ten so, well done shop-owner.  The second place was out of the way but they are repairing it for $7 so it's all good there. This is where I mention the sandal has been broken for three years.  Also, summer is nearly over and I can only wear them a little bit, if at all but they are my favorite.  This is the kind of fools errand that I too often find myself doing. And: $7.

I had to drop off a package at the UPS store.  I love being overly polite and kind to cashiers, it throws them off in a good way.  I'm guessing because people are often thoughtless, if not downright rude so it must be surprising. Hopefully in a good way.  I also love the amazon returns process is so easy.

We have Lucy on a specific dog food that is available at a small pet store downtown.  I kind of love going there because downtown is never boring.  It's a mix of big city with a dash of crazy kitsch. And parking meters.

I *had* to return to the bookstore to get the book that I thought I already had.  I might have bought another book as well.  I didn't want it to get lonely on the ride home.

I dropped a bunch of stuff off at Goodwill. Now I have time for stuff like that. It was stuff that kept getting thrown to the back of the coat closet that I meant to take while I was working. I also had stuff from culling the clutter from the living room.  Now that I've done this, I have to keep the ball rolling with this whole decluttering and taking it to the Goodwill thing.

I had to get my glasses readjusted again.  I'm really tough on glasses.  Along that same theme, I've already bumped them and undid the adjustment. 

Finally, I had to stop for groceries.  I had to pick up stuff that I forgot on the speed shopping that I did last week because Kevin was waiting for me.  I don't like going to this store so this wasn't so much a treat.

In celebration of two job interviews and nearly completing my list I stopped for an iced mocha.  When I pulled up to the window, my radio was kind of loud.  While I was turning it down, the guy came to the window to take my order.  I apologized and said that I had to turn down Howard Stern, not safe for public listening.  To my pleasant surprise, the guy smiled and exclaimed "Bababoey!"
Which means nothing to non-Howard listeners but is everything to listeners.  It made my whole day.

The only task left is the dollar store, which is one of those errands that cause trouble so I skipped it. (the paper is a gift from a client, it is made from paper grocery bag.)