Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Tales of a Road Warrior
Nothing new or exciting in my life. I left Sunday afternoon to drive halfway to New Orleans, rather than spend my entire Sunday driving, or leaving in the small hours Monday morning and being totally frazzled when I did my presentation at noon. I am actually staying in a little town just outside New Orleans, called La Place. I feel safer in small towns than in big cities.

It happens to be Mardi Gras, and I was seriously thinking about going downtown one night to catch a parade (at my age, you only need to show a little collarbone to get beads.) But then I heard the story about the female cop trying to arrest someone. The police are still traveling alone in their patrol cars. She wrestled with the man for seven minutes, and no backup ever arrived. He finally got her gun and shot her 10 times. I decided that if the cops aren't safe in New Orleans, I'm not going to risk it. So I'm cleaning out my (always over limit) mailbox, working on my presentation for tomorrow, watching tv and re-reading a book I grabbed on my way out of the house. I don't know if I can stand much more of this excitement!

After I made my calls today I stopped at my favorite outlet center in Gonzales LA. They are re-doing it, making it more attractive and adding more stores. Sadly, the little bookstore I always frequented is gone, but on the plus side they have added an Ann Taylor and a Naturalizer outlet. Ann Taylor had a petite section and Naturalizer had some size 5 shoes, so I am a happy shopper. Apparently Houston is the home of big-footed people, because the only shoe store left that carries size 5 is Payless -- great on the budget, but unfortunately full of plastic shoes and not much variety. Other than being able to stand up in an airplane without hitting my head on the overhead compartments, there are NO advantages to being short. However, if Prince Charming ever comes looking for the woman with the small feet ... well, here I am.

I took a customer to dinner last night. I had called him last week to ask him to lunch, which I really felt I owed him because our factory did terrible things with two of his orders. (Not just late, they literally threw some of his stuff away, then had to make new ones to replace them.) Anyway, he said he couldn't make lunch because he was going to be in classes all week and as I started to tell him I'd catch him next trip, he said "But how about dinner?" So we agreed on where and when to meet. Tuesday night he called me, sounding slightly inebriated, and confirmed our plans, ending with "I'm really looking forward to it!" This had me a little on edge, but I didn't need to worry. He is such a nice guy that when he was telling me about taking his daughter to college 600 miles away, and how hard it was to drive away and leave her there, he teared up. So I had a very enjoyable evening and I think I smoothed over the factory's incredible stupidity and kept the customer. And, yes, I get paid to have fancy meals -- but I'd sure rather be eating at home right now.

posted at 6:03 PM
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Thursday, January 24, 2008
It's Really Not Their Fault
Eight months ago when the construction started, we moved the cats' litter box from the back door hall to the other end of the house. We did this because the back hall was housing an air compressor and what seemed like several hundred workmen. The cats had no trouble adjusting to that move, as they were avoiding the noise and confusion and were huddling in terror, wishing everyone would go away.

As time went on and things moved around, we moved the litter box into the bathrooom, then into the bedroom hall. This was a very good arrangement, since it is currently a concrete floor and studs instead of walls. But on Tuesday, workers showed up to tear out one short wall and frame a couple of doors in the bedroom end of the house. They were coming through the back door, so that hall was not a viable location for the litter box. My only choice was the breakfast area of the kitchen, clear at the other end of the house.

Today I came home, briefcase in one hand, mail in the other, and sauntered down the bedroom hall to my office. I guess I should mention that when I'm walking I never look down (which is probably why I stumble a lot.) Okay, you know what's coming, don't you? Suddenly I slipped. I smeared. I smelled it at the same instant. And do you know what I did? I left my shoes in the hall, went into my office and shut the door. There are some things you just can't deal with until you've had time to prepare yourself.

I just had a wild thought. The Professor is on a trip and I will be out of town on a business trip all next week. I wonder if the cats will leave a little present for the workers, too?

posted at 5:02 PM
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Tuesday, January 22, 2008
This and That
I am still here, just busier than a one-legged man in a butt-kicking contest.

The first full week of January I had to go to the most boring week of every year, a sales meeting of the larger group I work for, which does not touch on anything I sell. I wasn't even notified that I had to be in a little town just outside Cincinnati until 11/30 -- not exactly the best time for me, with all the construction and Christmas going on. So by the time I found that email again and tried to make plane reservations, I discovered that it would cost over $1200 to fly to Cincy, but only $400 to fly to Louisville KY and drive the rest of the way. So that's what I did -- no problem, a rather pleasant drive and one more car to haul people around during the week. But driving back to the airport, having allowed 2-1/2 hours to make a 1-1/4 hour drive, I found myself first in a downpour, then in two massive traffic jams (at 2:30 in the afternoon!) due to wrecks. For the first time ever, I turned the car in without filling the gas tank -- in fact, I called my boss as I was inching through the traffic to the airport and told him I know it's against company policy but it was going to be cheaper to pay for half a tank of gas than for a hotel room when I missed my plane. As it turned out, if the plane hadn't been delayed, I would have missed it, anyway. But I don't check luggage, I had already printed my boarding pass, so I pretty much walked to the gate and got in line to board. It used to be so much fun to fly, but now it is just one big hassle.

Nothing has been done on my house since December 22nd, when they were putting the quarter-round down and the second coat of paint in the dining room as the table was being delivered. After giving them a couple of weeks to remember that the job isn't done, we contacted the builder -- Prof politely asked them to come by, I nagged -- and got the builder and his son-in-law out here to discuss what is left. I noticed that neither one of them wrote a single thing down. So I am making copies of the floor plan and noting work to be done, as well as repairs to work they did incorrectly the first time (for example, they apparently used the wrong kind of screws in the bookcases, because they will not screw all the way in and we cannot get the shelves past them). I have a list for each craft -- framers, carpenters, painters, HVAC -- and am numbering the floor plan to match the lists. I do not understand why the builder can't get himself at least this organized. People laugh when I tell them that we are in the 8th month of our 3-month remodeling project, though I fail to see the humor. Mainly, I just want a good night's sleep on a real mattress, which isn't going to happen until they finish the back end of the house (the end they haven't started on yet). 8 months is a very long time to spend sleeping on couches and in an occasional hotel room.

And now my extremely annoying conscience is reminding me that most of the world would be thrilled to sleep on couches, and is totally ruining my rant. My mother always told me I had a Presbyterian conscience -- it doesn't stop you from doing anything, it just keeps you from enjoying it.

posted at 3:48 AM
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Saturday, January 05, 2008
At Last!


I love, love, love my walk-in pantry! I've had to watch my pennies carefully most of my life, but I've never actually been hungry, so I'm not sure why a full pantry has always been such a comfort to me -- but it is.

We aren't completely moved in to the kitchen. My table, hutch, and baker's rack are still in storage, and they are the barrier between me and my boxes labeled "Kitchen". So I still don't have a toaster or a pot big enough to cook spaghetti in or my everyday silverware, but we're managing. I suspect a whole lot of what's boxed up will go directly to charity. If I haven't missed it in seven months, I don't think I really need it.

I know I've been dreadful about posting, but December was ... well, beyond description. I think I can actually start posting again. I promise more pictures of the progress, maybe even a little news here and there.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and I wish you all the happiest of New Year's.

posted at 7:23 AM
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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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