Sunday, September 23, 2007
Driven to Poetry

This morning there was evidence of another nocturnal visitor, in the form of trash pulled out of the trash can, a piece of stale bread in the dirty clothes basket, and the loaf of bread moved several feet from where it was. All this fun has inspired me to poetry.

There's a possum in my panties
And a raccoon in the hall.
The air's so thick with sheetrock dust
We cannot breathe at all.

With saws and hammers screeching
And workmen everywhere,
They ask every two minutes
"Should this be here or there?"

You'd better not be modest
When you heed nature's call,
Doors? Oh, what a quaint idea!
They are not there at all.

Make coffee in the bathroom,
(Keeps down the restaurant bill).
And sometimes when the workers leave
We fire up the grill.

They say it will be worth it
When all the work has ceased.
Meanwhile this little possum
Lives out his fantasies.
Or as Shane might have phrased it:
The possum snuggles,
Pretending to be human
In silky fabric.

posted at 6:24 AM
Comments (2)

Friday, September 21, 2007
Well, At Least My Life Is Interesting
Early yesterday morning, like 4:00 AM early, I got up to get some work done before the day got into full swing. I flipped on the bathroom light and heard a scurrying noise, then a bump. A big bump. So I took a look at the bookcase where I'm keeping my clothes and saw this

Although they've been making progress on the house, there was still a gap between the porch rafters and the walls of the house. A possum-sized gap. I think this little fella -- and I know he's male, he's in my panties, for heaven's sake! -- has been coming in quietly for quite some time and finishing off the cat's food, munching on the bread, picking things out of the trash. My schedule just hasn't coincided with his before this. I'm either getting calmer in my old age, or there are no more surprises, because I barely jumped. I did, however, wake the Professor and told him to deal with it. You see the size of his claws. I had no intention of messing with that. The Professor took the time to put on jeans, shoes and a shirt, just in case Mr. Possum decided to fight for his territory. But he went peacefully.

I came home from a business trip just a little while ago to find the house full of workmen. They are putting the ceiling on the front porch, which should eliminate the access for wild critters. Others are hanging sheetrock in the den and halls. The other day the carpenter and I had a meeting about the kitchen cabinets, and I was told he would start building them yesterday. I was so excited driving home, thinking about my cabinets. But all I have is a couple of boards laid out for the penisula, and stacks and stacks of wood in the den that I assume will magically turn into cabinets.

The cabinet meeting was tougher than I expected. First of all, he just knocked on my office door and said he needed to talk to me. I didn't even know he was there. Heck, I didn't even know he was coming. He drew the outlines on the floor, then started bombarding me with "doors or drawers?" (Sounds like a quiz show title, doesn't it?) Then he did that man-thing that drives me crazy. If I said drawers, he frowned. I had to drag out of him that I would be losing about six inches of space with drawers instead of cabinets. We first talked about the cabinets several weeks ago. He knew way back then about the differences. But would he tell me? Oh no, then I would have had lots of time to organize it in my head, instead of having to design my storage on the spot. But however it comes out, it will be lots more storage than I've had -- even back when I had an actual kitchen with actual storage.

Last weekend I had to go get some nice clothes out of the storage unit. I can barely remember what possessions I have, but I was simply stunned when I opened the clothing boxes and saw all those clothes. It was a little like getting out the Christmas ornaments -- you kow, "Oh, I remember that! Look at this, it's so pretty! I forgot how much I like this." I suspect that when I have a real closet again, I will take these few clothes that I have worn day after day after day after day and burn them.

Last weekend we picked out our front door and the brick for the fireplace chimney and hearth. I have been bringing carpet samples home to show the Professor. Most of the house will be (fake) wood floors, but the bedrooms and the loft will be carpeted, partly for quiet and partly because carpet is a lot cheaper than wood, even the fake stuff. The Professor has said several times that he doesn't care about colors, but every time I bring something home, he doesn't like it. Shag carpet is back, but now it's called frieze. We saw some in a model home and both liked it. So I brought some home and the Professor asked why I wanted to buy a carpet that already looked dirty! Back to the drawing board ... In case you're wondering why I even bother getting his opinion when he's told me to do what I want, it's because we've been down this road before. Even though he agreed last time to the carpet and the window treatments, he has griped about them ever since. This time, once he agrees, he has to sign a piece of paper saying so. I figure there's only room for one bitchy person in a household, and that's my job.

posted at 2:24 PM
Comments (4)

Friday, September 14, 2007
Some Expensive Evening
Seven - course dinner for twelve at the kitchen table at Brennan's, with wines to complement each dish and autographed cookbooks as a souvenir ........... $2,976.60

Stretch Hummer to take us about six miles each way and wait for us in between ..... $905.45

Spending the company's money instead of my own .... priceless!

It was a very nice evening, I have to admit. One of the invitees cancelled at 5:00 -- and we were leaving at 6:00. I really hated to waste the seat at the table, so I invited a couple of others from his company who showed up at our booth. Of course, everyone had other plans, but one of the already-busy invitees brought a co-worker over to take his place. The man was a stranger to me, but not for long. It is very difficult to stay strangers when you drink that much wine together!

A word about stretch Hummers -- don't. They look so cool from the outside, but the ceiling is very low and there is only one door. At 5', I was okay making my way from the door to the front, but the tall guys had a problem. Everyone agreed that the idea was terrific, but the reality did not match up.

Our table was literally in the kitchen, and set with so many wine glasses we didn't know where they would put our plates. We had our own -- I'm not sure what to call him, somewhere between a tour guide and a waiter. He would describe each wine, the grapes that were used, the process, etc., and each course. Let's see how much I can remember: we began with champagne, went through a few whites, then rose, and finished with reds. The courses were turtle soup, some sort of crab on a fried green tomato, a chacuterie plate (hope I spelled that right), salmon, veal, cheese plate, and dessert. In between courses we were encouraged to walk around the kitchen. At the beginning of the evening we had to be alert for waiters laden with heavy trays and moving fast. Come to think of it, as the evening wore on and the traffic slowed in the kitchen, we all seemed less inclined to get out of our chairs. Surely it wasn't all that wine we were drinking! The big boss took me aside and told me he had asked for cookbooks to be given to each person -- warning me, I guess, that the bill was going to be even bigger than I expected. Trust me, once the dinner bill goes over $1000, I really don't notice another $300. Some of the guys (cause, yeah, as usual I was the only female) asked the chef to put their wife's name on the flyleaf. We had a lot of fun coaching them on the line to use when they got home, something on the lines of Honey, this boring business dinner turned out to be in a nice place, and I missed your company so much, so I brought you this cookbook so you can cook all this good stuff for me. That should work, don't you think?

Oil at $70 a barrel is very good for the business I'm in, and this year's big trade show was packed like I haven't seen in years. The parking garage was already full when I got there Thursday morning, and I ended up parking in the basketball stadium garage. When I got back there that night about 11:00, I discovered it was an automatic pay gate to get out. No problem, I have a credit card. Oh wait, it doesn't take credit cards, and it says I only owe $2.00. Oh dear, I only have one $1 bill. I'll give it a $20. Ching, ching, ching, ching, ching, ching -- am I in Las Vegas? I seem to have hit a jackpot. You have no idea how heavy $18 worth of quarters is. I was scooping them out of the coin return and literally throwing them at my purse. The next morning, after only five hours of sleep and running out the door to keep an appointment, I picked up my purse and almost fell over from the weight. I had no idea what was in there -- did I steal a coffee cup? a bottle of wine? what in the hell is in this purse? I am going now to write on my whiteboard:

I will NOT drink champagne and seven different wines in a single evening.

I will not.

Well ..... maybe if I just sip next time ....

posted at 2:24 AM
Comments (5)

Monday, September 10, 2007
Notes From the Front Lines
My trip to Portland last week was a total waste of time, as I expected. We rehearsed our end of year territory reviews, even though our fiscal year doesn't actually end until September 30, so every slide is currently incorrect. My reservations about my boss increased when he had a long phone conversation, liberally sprinkled with sentences like "I'm a soldier; if they tell me to march up the hill, I'll do it, even if I think they're wrong", and "I've kept my job all these years by doing exactly what they tell me to do". This was in reference to what I consider to be an incredibly stupid idea to take a young woman who they are thinking of hiring into a customer's plant. Aside from being very patronizing -- they want to see if she can deal with the noise, dirt and heat -- the liability of having a non-employee there on the company's behalf just boggles my mind. What if she gets hurt? What if she damages something? If I were in my boss's shoes, I would have put all my concerns in writing and made damn sure nothing could come back to me. I would not have clicked my heels, saluted, said "Yes, Sir!" and then tried to make a virtue of it. I think this is known as Differing World Views.

I bought a bed and dresser over the weekend. Fortunately, it's out of stock; if worst comes to worst and the furniture arrives before the house is done, I have the option of putting it in layaway. I wanted a canopy bed my whole life; I bought them for both my daughters and three of my four granddaughters. But you know what? -- giving it to someone else is not the same as actually having it for yourself. So now I will finally have my canopy bed. I was investigating the hand-tied canopies over the weekend and then it hit me that there are no rails across the top and a canopy will probably sag in the middle. Not to worry, though, I was already thinking that I would use velcro to attach it to the canopy frame, and avoid using anything over the top that could interfere with air flow. At my age, it is very important to have cool air circulating at night!

Speaking of age, I actually read the thing Social Secuity sends me every year and discovered that I have to work until I'm 66 if I want to get full benefits. Wahhhhh! Until I got this new boss, I couldn't imagine retiring. Now it's sounding wonderful.

At the end of August, I blinked one morning and felt something scratch my eye. It turned bright red and has not healed completely despite four trips to the eye doctor. I've been through a couple of different steroid eye drops; now she wants me to take 100 mg of ibuprofen 3 times a day. Just one little problem: ibuprofen only comes in 200 mg capsules.

I have to finalize my decision on the brick(?) stone(?) for the fireplace and hearth, pick a front door and choose tile for the guest bath -- today! Our biggest trade show of the year starts officially tomorrow morning but unofficially tonight with hospitality suites. I won't come up for air until Thursday afternoon. Wednesday night I'm taking some customers to a fancy schmancy wine and food pairing dinner, and I've hired a stretch Hummer to get them there and back. It's probably my only chance to ever ride in one.

And I have discovered that I apparently have a heart of stone. My 90 year old uncle died last week and I can't work up any emotion at all. He had so much talent and potential, but he was the model for the Peter Pan Syndrome. He had kids by two different wives, never paid child support, never contacted his children at all, but would periodically give my children wildly inappropriate gifts to soothe his conscience. (I may be giving him too much credit by thinking he had a conscience.) The kids thought he was great because he would pull quarters out of their ears and draw faces on the soles of their feet. My mother spent most of her life bouncing back and forth between seeing him as he really was and worshipping her big brother. I am trying to be supportive because she is grieving, but in my mind I am only thinking that he was 90, for heaven's sake; that was a long full life. And I am disgusted with the hurt he caused and the total selfishness he exhibited his whole life. So I am biting my tongue a lot, and occasionally I wonder if there's something wrong with me that I have no tears to shed for him.

Oh dear, it's Monday morning and I don't seem to have a nice word to say about anything. Think I'll go take a hot shower and see if I can wash some of this meanness out of me.

posted at 6:08 AM
Comments (4)

Monday, September 03, 2007
Coasters and Bathrooms and Meetings, Oh My!
In the seventies, there was a book called I'm Okay, You're Okay, which explained all interactions between people by dividing personalities into Child, Adult and Parent. The Adult part did the work but was also aware and empowered; the Parent could be nurturing or critical; and the Child could be bratty at times, but was also the part that had fun. I remember the description of a Child-Child transaction: two people riding a roller coaster.

Behold Guppy and I having a Child-Child transaction!
When Astroworld shut down a couple of years ago, I was bummed out. I never dreamed that I would have a roller coaster, a real one, a wooden one, right in my back yard. It is probably two miles from me as the crow flies (as the seagull flies?), and four or five miles by land. Between the rainy summer we've had and some problems actually getting the coaster to coast, it didn't open until this past Friday. I think Guppy spent most of the weekend riding it, and I would have liked to, but there was too much to do at home.

Friday afternoon the builders said we need to have our bathroom tiles, the fireplace stone, and the front door picked out muy pronto. They do this a lot -- no information, no answers to our questions, then, wham! something is needed NOW. The Professor and I originally had planned to go visit his son & family over the weekend, until we got our list from the builder. The first thing I had to do was go look at model homes to see what in the world they're doing about bathroom tiles these days. I know everyone is fixated on bathrooms now, but to me they're just a place where you do necessary, but somewhat unmentionable, things. I will make it look nice, but I am not pouring a bunch of money into it. No marble, no gold-plated faucets, not even a heated towel rack -- although if I lived in a cold climate, that would be on my list.

And have you priced a door lately? The builder gave us a catalog and told us that showroom was so reasonable, he got his front door for less than $2000. We did NOT think that sounded like a bargain, so I ran down to Home Depot, figuring I could get a front door with two sidelights, in wood, with leaded glass, for aboout $600. Try $3800! I'm still shopping.

I am also back and forth between brick and limestone for the fireplace. It is so much easier to see something and criticize it than it is to make all the choices in the first place.

I am leaving for Portland tomorrow for a regional meeting to rehearse our year-end presentations before our sales meeting in November. I do not understand this rehearsal thing at all! We do our sales presentations all year all by ourselves. The dollar amount of our annual sales is what it is. We all have the same slide template to fill in with our particular information. Just what is there to rehearse? But since I have only worked up the energy to fill in one slide so far, I guess I'd better get to work on it. God, I am such a stereotypical salesman: give me people, don't give me paperwork. So off I go to labor on Labor Day.

posted at 5:26 AM
Comments (2)

Mitey Mite

Texas, United States

I am older than dirt, but I still feel pretty young & some call me the Energizer Bunny. I share a house with the Professor & 3 cats. Between us we have 5 grown children, all of whom are productive members of society (!), and 10 grandchildren. I have a job I love, a little money for the 1st time in my life, and so many more things I want to do than I will ever have time for.

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