26 February 2015

Page By Page

I've been diligently working on the massive bookshelf over the past few days.  Diligently defined as shelf by shelf, book by book, and in between other chores, television shows, and anything else that distracts.

I'm surprised and horrified to find that there are three full shelves of books that I still need to read.  Three shelves.  It's safe to say: I have issues.  No more book buying for me for a while. (<-- lie="" total--="" total="">

I try to not keep a book that I know I'm not going to read again but that hasn't always been the case.  It used to be that I kept them willy-nilly until the house threatened to cave under the weight.

When we first moved into this house, I didn't have the big bookcase yet.  I lined up the books below the big window in my office.  I loved how it looked but it drove Kevin mental.  Now I try to keep them in the bookcase as best as possible.  And I'll admit, once I had them picked up and put away, I did feel a little better too.

Fun fact: when we packed the old house and moved into this one I didn't mark the unread books.  They became all mixed up and I'm still finding a book that I bought years ago and never read.  A fun surprise sometimes.

It's difficult to cull through books because I have a wide range of "Why did I buy this?" to "I can't believe I still HAVE this!" to "I don't know that I ever read this." For one thing, there is something pleasing and comforting about looking at stacks or shelves of books.  All the potential.  The "Oh, I loved that book!". The pleasing esthetic look of them.

I will admit that I have an entire shelf of old-school paperback Danielle Steel novels dating back to my high-school days.  Imagine my horror when I realized these books were thirty years old. 
In my defense, back-in-the-day Danielle Steel used to write these epic novels. Well written, complicated storylines, multi-character stories. Stories about the Romanovs, the Titanic survivors, behind the scenes of a television show.  Now it seems like she churns out novels as if she just copy and pastes character names and descriptions into different settings.  It's disappointing, really.

But I've kept these older novels because of the rainbow color bookcovers.  They sat on a lower shelf and were just lovely to look at.  But now that shelf space is at a premium, I'm going to have to let go.

As I took them off the shelf, the dust was thick, the bindings stiff and brittle, and the pages yellowed.  I feel badly now that they've been left to deteriorate on a shelf.  I'm still keeping a few of them, age be damned.  The rest of them will go to Goodwill.  

I have a big stack of books by two different authors that I'm now wondering why I have them.  I read the jackets or just a few paragraphs and I'm over it.  I don't know what happened there. Perhaps I liked one or two books so I did the "BUY ALL THE THINGS!" and that's why I have them. I blame second hand shops and Amazon. Tastes change, I realize.  Maybe if I made an effort to really sit down with them then my interest would be rekindled, but that defeats the purpose of this whole exercise.

Book snobbery has come into play a bit as well.  Oh, the jacket cover is gone: can't keep you. The binding is cracked: nope, off you go! Cover is out-of-date and unattractive, thanks for playing but no.

So, I have the categories of "Haven't Read" "Can't Bear to Part With" "Read but Look Forward to Reading Again" and "Not Sure but Feel Compelled to Keep."

 It's daunting but I know that I will probably cull again when packing the remaining books into boxes and unpacking said boxes back onto the shelves.  I'm also going to play the surgery card and have Kevin load them into the 4Runner so I don't get all wistful and sentimental.

Stacks of books whose fate has yet to be determined

24 February 2015

Disassembly Required

Kevin and I have clearly gone mutually insane.  We have decided to change the carpet and flooring in the house.  The whole house. Every room.

It's not the money, I'm not so much worried about that.  It's the disassembling of the entire house.
Everything has to be moved out in order for the carpet to be laid.  Everything.  All my books.  I'm supposed to be working on those right now, don't tell Kevin I'm here. All of the CLOSETS.  OMG, Monica's Closet!!  Two big china cupboards full of antique dishes and toys.  My 200 lb. war-era, oak desk. 

Sweet baby jesus.  I need a drink, stat.

I'm trying to tell myself that it will be an adventure.  Think of how nice it will be to cull stuff.  Everything can be returned better, cleaner, more organized.

And then I look at this:

two layers of books on some shelves. Mostly hardbacks.

200 lbs.  I have to clean out the drawers.  I have to file.

I'm steadfastly ignoring the case on the left, which is FULL of Hot Wheels.  One, two, three, NOT IT, Kevin!  Or the fact that it's sitting on a bookcase full of Kevin's books.

Also, I feel compelled to state that I'm not a pillow fetish person, they are a lame attempt to keep the puppy from jumping up on the desk.  It failed. 

And the above is only an example of the office.  Again, I repeat: two china cupboards.  One more bookcase. Our entire bedroom. The closets.  The kitchen.  Did I mention that they're taking out the kitchen island to lay the flooring?  I didn't? Oh yeah.  And all the appliances.

*deep breathing*

I am going to implement Swistle's technique of "Does it bless or oppress?" and be ruthless about my babies, I mean, my books.

I should say that I feel a little like a spoiled brat complaining because "Wah, you're getting new carpet and wood flooring."  But the mere contemplation of disassembling this house after living in it ten years is daunting, at best.

So, I think the best first step is to take the puppy to get coffee.

Warning Signs

Well, that was quick.

I went to work earlier this week, the first time since they took out all my bionic parts.  I was so frustrated to have to return to work because I was beginning to hate and resent the job.  It was starting to make me anxious and grumpy. Also, like no other job I'd ever had, there was no contact last week regarding my health or anything.  I know I'd only worked there like five minutes but I was still surprised and disappointed.

On paper it's a very good job. On. Paper.   In reality, it is almost an episode of The Office.

The first three days I was there, I didn't have a desk.  So I hovered at others desks and felt awkward the whole time.  Then the person that was supposed to be training me was either not there, too busy, and just didn't participate.  I spent the first two weeks feeling like an outsider, even when I had a desk. One of the ladies helped train me and so did the assistant manager when he had time but really, three different people training someone is setting that person up for certain failure. (warning sign!)

To add insult to injury, the person that was supposed to be training me (who wasn't my supervisor, but yet kind of was) is socially awkward and often takes...no exaggeration...to the count of ten to respond to you in any way.  With eye contact, verbally, or even a hand gesture.  This is not fun to learn to cope with while you're still trying to learn the job.  The assistant manager is quiet and non-confrontational.  He spent time slumped behind his monitor, working. I would ask if there was something I could be doing and often there wasn't. In theory, it sounds fun to be paid to do nothing but that is not how I'm wired.  Also, the non-profit manager in me was silently screaming that I should be sent home if there wasn't work.  On some level, I think they intended this to also be part of the orientation; to just absorb the environment and learn by osmosis.

Now, the business is just one really large room.  There aren't any offices or even cubicles.  It's just a huge open space with desks arranged in kind of an organized fashion.  There are 18 people in this room so a person hears 18 conversations, 18 phones, 18 ringtones, etc.  This is fantastic with those of us that are wired like me.  Also, so not productive for anyone. I don't know how anyone thought this was a good idea.

I should also mention that nearly everyone there was ill and out of the office at least a day a week.  I was only there two months.  The room  design and absence connect seems obvious to me but not to anyone else, apparently.

Now, this is where I also say that the owner/manager has a standing desk in the middle of everything.  He literally stands at his desk all day, no chair even exists.  He's in the middle of everything so you hear his calls, etc.  This means you also get to hear when he has disagreements with his employees or does any kind of interaction really.  I listened to him chastise two different employees in front of everyone.  I tell you what, if that had happened to me directly I would walk out so fast.

The owner/manager is also one of those people that reads self-help and motivation books.  You can tell that by talking to him and by looking at how he manages people. In some ways, he was very much Michael Scott.

He is also conservative Christian.  I found this out on my first day, by his own admission. That was one of my first warnings and I should have listened.  He takes lunch every day at 11:30 and he sits in his car and listens to the radio. (I know, right? He owns the company)  One day I overheard that he was listening to Rush Limbaugh (to which I thought "OF COURSE!")  Imagine my surprise when later that afternoon he mentioned that he was listening to his bible study tapes in the car during lunch.  I so badly wanted to shout "Your pants are so on fire!" LIAR!"  This was one of my other warnings.

He also had the tendency to make blanket proclamations like "I don't like the Big Bang Theory, it's stupid." As if others opinions or tastes doesn't matter. Remember, it's a big room with 18 people so everyone hears. Another warning sign that I should have heeded.

Now, it's a security company so their products are used throughout the building.  This means that there are security cameras all through the office. AND every work station has software so that you can tune in to see all the cameras.  Essentially a person could spend all day watching their co-workers on the security footage.  This is just weird to me. I can understand that you can tell where someone is if they are needed and that can be handy.  But, it seems overly invasive and controlling.

I spent a good portion of my day surfing the internet (the cameras missed me. You could kind of only tell if I was at my desk)  because there just wasn't anything for me to do.  There would be little pockets of busyness that would last, at most, 30 minutes.  They kept saying that it was going to get busy but it just never did.  I don't know if they didn't plan well or over-estimated the need for that position or what.

All this being said, the one thing that wasn't made clear and I underestimated myself was the inventory part of the job.  Most inventory has bar codes which are alpha-numeric. Guess what dyslexics struggle with?  Alpha-numerics!  On this portion of the job, I was not a good fit for this position.  At ALL.

Which brings me to the point: I'm no longer working there.  We mutually agreed that it wasn't a good fit for me.  I very nearly skipped out of the building.  I called Kevin (almost from my desk) to tell him.  He said "You sound upset, are you upset?"  I was all "NO! I'm so relieved.  I'm actually pleased!"

In case you're wondering, yes I left the nerf gun behind.  It didn't feel right to take it.  Shoot it at people, yes. :)

Oh, and if you're wondering but what if? about the job...here's where I tell you that it is required that you bring a treat for everyone ON YOUR OWN BIRTHDAY.  I thought they were joking when I was told about it but not so much.  They also advertise everyone's birthdays and work anniversaries on the bulletin board so everyone knows it's your birthday.

16 February 2015

Just Checking In

The surgery is all done and it went well.  Now I'm in that weird space of trying to recover as quickly as possible even though I have no control over how long this will take.  I'm on the pain meds, which are different than the ones I had before.  They make me sleepy and I don't like it.  The meds I had before slowed me down but I could still function.  These pills knock me out the moment I stop moving.  Yes, I realize that's the point but it doesn't mean I have to like it.  I tried taking them only at night but they still make me stupid during the day.

As it stands, I can't wear shoes and can barely get a sock on my foot.  I'm able to walk around the house and have ventured outside twice.  I'm starting to get cabin fever, for sure.

So, as always, I set the bar way to high for myself.  This time was based on the surgeon's instructions of weight bearing from the get-go and it should only take a week of recovery.  I'm at one week tomorrow and I don't see myself returning to work very quickly.  Especially since work requires shoes.

05 February 2015

Special Shoes

The official countdown to surgery has started.  I'm actually excited, with only a little bit of nervousness.  I am just ready to have this whole thing over with.

I should be off my feet for only a few days.  There is a change that it will be longer but I won't know that for sure until I wake up from surgery.  That will be a fun little surprise. In the meanwhile, I have 34 Gilmore Girls episodes to watch while "relaxing".

If the bones are damaged from the loosening screws, then the recovery will be longer.  If they aren't then it should just be a few days.  I don't know if I will have physical therapy this time or not.  I'm hoping a little that I will.  A little added insurance, I think.

I will admit to having a little psychological trust issue with standing on my leg without the bionics.  I mean, I know that they won't let me do anything that isn't possible or safe. It's just reversing the thought processes that have developed over the last three years.

As an incentive to recover quickly and regain strength/mobility that I've lost, I have new sneakers to wear.  I received them from my brother for Christmas but I just can't wear them right now.  My ankle just isn't strong enough yet.  Also, it's weird to say but there is a learning curve when wearing a new pair of shoes.

With these, because they are light and low, I felt like I was high stepping when I wore them.  It's just a habit to develop is all. But in the meanwhile, they're a goal to reach for this summer.

If I can wear them without issue, come summer I will buy a pair to match the racecar.
Photo from Amazon

03 February 2015

Static Cling

My mom gave us sheets for Christmas.  This isn't an unusual gift, it's actually sometimes requested.  It can backfire: she gave us lime green colored sheets once.

This year she went Christmas shopping at Ross with her best friend.  She bought herself a set of these sheets and loved them so much, she returned to get them for us.

We use flannel sheets all year long.  I like how cozy they are, I hate the feel of cold sheets.  During the summer, I just take a blanket or two off the bed.

She bought us FLEECE sheets.  Fleece, like blankets or sweatshirts.  They are super cozy and warm.  It's like sleeping amongst kittens.

But it's winter.  The house is static-y.  I regularly shock Kevin accidentally, which is greatly entertaining to me but I always fear it will someday be paid back to me.

And it was.

I had noticed that the sheets sparked when you pulled the covers back or when you roll over. Like when you were a child and scooched your feet back and forth to create them.  I'd shocked myself a few times but no big deal really.

Eventually I shocked Kevin.  He sleeps soundly so he didn't really notice, at most rolling over.  I admit, I giggled.

Until, in the middle of the night Kevin rolled over and put his arm around me.  In doing so, he shocked me right at the base of my spine.  I swear to sweet baby jesus, the room lit up.  You could hear it crack like lightning.

I muttered to him and rolled over back to sleep. Not before hearing him stifle a giggle.  So, he had this story to tell at Friday night dinner and he was still laughing like it just happened.

His mom seemed interested in the sheets so I was considering giving them to her. (Kevin banned them from our house)  It occurred to me that she's on oxygen.  So I asked Kevin if that was a real concern or if I was over-thinking it.

"Well, it could be a small concern of lighting my mom up but do you really think it's a good idea to give these sheets to our 75 year old parents?"

Fair enough.