Monday, October 30, 2006

Not quite as festive but here's a suggestion.

So the party was a lot of fun. The bunny ears stayed on and nobody gave me any grief, but there were a ton of really good costumes. Lots of people in scrubs. I guess that's easy. The cab ride was long and pretty expensive but it beats the flip side of taking the chance on driving, and this way there was no worry about how drunk you got. Jenn napped on the way home but that's okay, she woke when appropriate. Laurie's house was incredible, right on the Columbia River and it was just an absolutely beautiful place. Jenn's house as well (I had not been there yet and I think she has lived there for like 3 years) was great, I was sort of jealous. Huge backyard. I did not houdini, but I couldn't have if I tried - no cabs go out that way (none that I know of anyway) and I was lucky to get the one I did. Got home at a very reasonable hour thanks to the time change and spent pretty much the whole day Sunday on the sofa.

So tomorrow we are supposed to dress up like cowboys. Okay, a) I used to have cowboy boots but Lord knows where they are, I imagine I got rid of them when I moved out of the house of cards but I never wore them so it could have been any time. And b) I have jeans and a jean shirt but that is it, and I have to sit in on a class with John John tomorrow and that wouldn't be appropriate. Then c) I have no cowboy hat nor any intention of going to buy one so there you go, no cowboy for me. We are also having a food day and I am sort of bummed because I like cooking for those things and I have been so flipping buried that I have not had the time nor motivation. I guess I could have made somehting on Sunday but nah. I stopped at the Fred Meyer and picked up some cold deli salads and some cookies. Bah humbug.

Work has been IN-SANE and if I get through tomorrow unscathed I am running straight into Nicky's office and TELLING her I am off in December for a Cancun trip. The numbers are good and all that but the files I have been trying to close have been horrendous. It always works out in the end, so let's all cross our fingers (I have 8 going tomorrow, possibly 9). I am looking forward to finishing up this condo gig because I am sick to death of it.

I have no festive-ness to contribute but I do suggest that you read Mexico Way's blog today, very fun and festive and Halloween-y, I laughed, and I think it might be good for you to laugh too.

Over and out.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Me, Mel, and the bunny ears.

I am a dream-land star-fucker, I swear to God. Last night I dreamt about Mel Gibson. Not current Mel Gibson, but Mel Gibson from like "The Year of Living Dangerously" or even "Galipoli". Good stuff. Hanging out in some small town in middle America, during 4th of July festivities. Not as truly realistic as my fabulous vacation with Gael, but I got to see him naked. Hmmm. You think something is missing in my life?

So I was awoken this morning at 7am by Joe calling from Cancun with some news - hopefully favorable, I am not going into detail of course. It was pitch dark in my room and I thought it was like 5am or something. Normally I would have woken up on my own before that time, but it was so DARK! I know, I know, we change the clocks tonight so that's the last day for that.

I chatted with Elizabeth for a little bit and then went into work about 10, worked until 11:45 (barely accomplished anything, and I am seriously wondering just how I am going to pull off closing the 12 files I have between Monday and Tuesday BY MYSELF) and then foolishly went over to Party City (I love stores with names like that) to get something, ANYTHING, that I could wear to tonight's gig without actually committing to a costume. Me and 4000 other SW Portlanders. There were slim pickings, let me tell you, but plenty of completely unruley, unsupervised toddlers wandering around under foot while their parents busied themselves with various items so engrossing they must have reverted back to their pre-parenting days. Because they certainly ACTED like they didn't have kids. I am surprised there weren't a couple of abductions. Just little innocent parentless children wandering aimlessly around in aisles that had nothing in them that would interest a child. I thought people were being more careful these days. Perhaps a place like Party City seems safe to them.

But I digress. I am just not a costume person. I am going to a party tonight in Camas (WA) (like REALLY far away from my comfort zone) (and I am not driving so it should prove to be an extremely expensive taxi ride) and though it said "costumes optional" the girl I am going with is getting all done up so I figured I would at least make an effort. I just can't see myself sitting in a taxi from here to SE Portland dressed like, say, Frankenstein. And then Frankenstein and a deranged Prom Queen (my friend) in the back of a cab from SE Portland to Camas (east of Vancouver, good lord). And then, even worse, how does Frankenstein houdini? Not hard to spot Frankenstein lurching out the front door and down the steps waving for the taxi...

I bought bunny ears. They easily slip off the head and into the purse in a single fluid motion should the need arise.

But don't you love Halloween when it's a work day and people are encouraged to dress up? My favorite part is driving to and from work and sitting at a stop light next to, say, Bozo the Clown. He's drumming his fingers on the steering wheel, smoking a cigarette, lip-syncing to the Backstreet Boys. It just cracks me up - when you are face to face with the costumed at work, they are smiley and festive and all "look-at-me"-y and then they are back on the road, trying to act like their face isn't painted and they aren't wearing a gigantic rainbow afro wig. It's like watching nuns drive. I love that.

I took an extra long nap and am amusing myself reading about some chick wanting to move to Cancun on one of the message boards but can't understand why people are being negative or trying to deter her (negativity being her impression of people telling her generally speaking it is NOT like living in paradise, the bugs are huge, the beaucracy is crazy if you have to deal with it, and the hours are long if you have to work. She doesn't believe them. It's comedy.). Then sooner or later I will hose off, pop on the bunny ears and start the long journey across Portland to get to this party. I need a little adventure.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Busier than crap

I am the definitive "be careful what you wish for" girl. I have to remember how it felt when I missed this. Being in escrow means you have to be told what to do all the time and that doesn't work so much for me. Yesterday, though, I signed a couple, first time home buyers, and they were just wide-eyed throughout the whole signing - amazed that they didn't have to put anything down and that they even were getting their earnest money back. Loan programs are nuts these days, but it works, I guess. Anyway, it was nice to sign somebody who was so appreciative.

(Keep looking for the positive)...

Monday, October 23, 2006

A word from our sponser

I have said it before, and I will say it again, I am sure, over and over and over again. Blogging is all about what the BLOGGER wants to say. I blog because I feel like it; if people are bored or don't like what I have to say, then oh well. And if people are amused, informed, entertained, then that makes me happy. But the world is full of choices, and any of us can choose not to read someone's blog. It's a much easier choice than, say, red meat over chicken, or even what you're going to wear to work tomorrow.

I don't blog because everyone else is doing it. I've never been accused of doing what everyone else is doing. I blog because I like to say what's on my mind.

Maybe you've noticed.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

A year ago

I have been mulling over some way to commemorate that Wilma all week long. I have spent some time reading things that I wrote in my blog, things I wrote when I didn't have access to my blog, and things that I wrote when I didn't have access to my computer. I have also been reading the emails that arrived just before and then after the storm. I have watched my Wilma video, and I have watched the Wilma video on YouTube that Elizabeth showed me but I am not using because she is linking it to her blog (she found it). I have felt some emotions that while not the same as last year are nevertheless related to those.

But it's hard to feel the same, since everything for me is so different since last year. I am back to the mind-numbing stress of my pre-Cancun job, I am back to living a life with a car, and money, and higher end cable TV all in my language, and no language barriers. I can get tuna in spring water (but Lord knows I don't!) in any supermarket I go to, and I always flush the paper in the toilet.

It is hard to describe the sense of suspension, the feeling of not knowing what to expect, unless you were there feeling it. Things like going to sleep in the middle of the day because there was nothing else to do, nothing was stopping the water from coming in anyway. Like wanting to just LEAVE the apartment but knowing you couldn't because the winds were still howling like a freight train and breaking windows all around you. Like not knowing whether or not you would have an apartment when this finally ended, let alone a job. Like feeling so disconnected from everything - we had heard things like the Hyatt Caribe had crashed to the ground, as had the Ritz Carlton and Plaza Kukulkan (they hadn't - the rumor mill was out of control).

I remember, too, that the tourist friends from NY, the 2 couples staying with the Ceruttis instead of a shelter, looked to me for answers. Like Saturday, when the winds were starting to die down a little (and we knew this only because it wasn't quite as LOUD), they asked me if it was over. I had been sitting in the same room with them, bailing the same rain water, since Friday, so how again would I know? But I told them simply, we haven't had an eye yet, so it isn't over. I remember thinking how once that eye caught us that Joe would be eager to go outside, and I remembered reading that you should never do that, because the other side of the storm would come out of no where and then where would you be? But the difference was that the eye had finally arrived after at least 24 hours of storm (by my guess, I am no statistician and am going from what I can recall) so the eye would probably hang a little bit. Besides, I needed a cigarette and I knew the neighbor would loan me one.

I remember eating some food, and I remember trying to dry the sodden towels and rugs over the railing like everyone else. I remember someone squeegeeing off the landing above me and getting nailed with storm water while I leaned over the railing just at that same time. I remember running sodas and scrambled eggs with toast and maybe some bacon down to the guards who were staying in the little closet down in the parking garage, away from their families, and how happy they were to see us and get something to eat and drink. I remember connecting with people other than the 6 that were with me in that apartment, knowing it would be brief, and knowing that the next phase of the storm might be the one that finally broke some windows in our apartment, since the wind would be coming from a different direction. I remember thinking, Good God, why do we have to go through all this AGAIN? I remember knowing I couldn't see how Liz or Laura were doing, or the boys, or Martha, or Kim or Kelly or anyone else I knew besides Janet and Joe. I remember a complete lack of animation and enthusiasm because it wasn't over yet.

And I remember it starting up again, and just being sick of it, and doing pretty much the same thing as the day before. I remember all of us sleeping in the living room, Tourist George sleeping in a chair and then quietly getting up in the middle of the night to bail water from the master bedroom with one of those red plastic cups we used to buy for keg parties, trying not to wake anyone, and though I was a little bit awake, pretending I wasn't because I felt useless in the midst of all their industriousness. I remember just wanting to not hear the wind anymore.

Then I remember Sunday morning, and it dying down again, and the tourists again asking me if it was over, and me shrugging. I remember that it WAS over, and that all I could think of now was getting back to my apartment.

I remember then the whole group piling into the van and driving over to SM 31, and having to take the long way, the really long way, up past Kabah, past one ruined building after another, through flooded streets with people walking around in water up to their waists, downed power lines (CFE had turned off the power Thursday late I think, so they were dead, no danger of electrocution), and finally reaching my neighborhood about an hour later (it used to be a 7 min drive). I remember fearfully walking to my apartment and being thankful that no windows that I could see were broken. I remember seeing Ernesto, and Marina, and their worry for me. And Laura and her exhaustion, and the worst damage being water and a defrosted refrigerator. I remember thinking that I didn't know what was next, but it was certainly less bleak than it was yesterday. I remember wanting to cry for the next 5 days but not being able to.

I wrote some notes in a journal my sister Barbie had given me as a going away present, and just now reading those for the first time in a year, I laughed at the inscription she wrote on the inside cover - "To Joycie - Here's to an Excellent Adventure! Love, Barbie". Mission accomplished.

I have said it before so I won't go too deeply into detail - to witness the dedication to home and family, the industriousness, the never-say-die attitude of the people of Cancun is something that I will cherish forever. I was enjoying my sabbatical just fine up until then, but something about Wilma changed me, and the respect I have for the people who live there is as indescribable as the feelings that I have had in the last few days. The speed with which they recovered the city is nothing short of miraculous, a lesson to be learned, an example the United States doesn't want us to see. I think there is nothing that we can't do, if we really want it. For some, it takes determination and will; for others, it is just second nature.

It was definitely a weekend to remember, and the weeks after that, watching TV news with Laura, that tuna casserole she cooked, the first shower over at Liz's, I won't forget them. And even though nobody understands it unless they were there, and nobody wants to hear about it anymore, I will always carry it with me, because it is an inspiration, it is hope, and what are we without inspiration and hope?

Wilma happened in October 2005, if you are so inclined, feel free to check the archives of this blog for additional reading.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

"Oh yeah, you guys had a storm..."

Yeah, we had a storm.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Remembering when

From 10/20/05
Last post pre-Wilma
Things do not look so great. It's been raining since middle of the night and pretty windy. They have evacuated the ZH and I am clearing my tables and my floors and putting things on my bed, will move the tv into the bathroom when I am ready to clear out. The computer is the last thing to go. Heading over to the Ceruttis to wait it out. I feel the same way I did pre-Emily but Emily barely got us. I am extremely worried about my friends here, not the expats so much but the guys I work with. Not sure if I can move into VCI as scheduled but will soon enough, I guess. I have the tv news on channel 5 and though it's in Spanish I can understand a little bit. Most of the computer models show it hitting us dead on, though a Cat 4 right now they expect it to return to a Cat 5 later today. Yay!
News flash from the tv - they are expecting it to hit us in roughly 25 hours, but the bands of the thing will hit us before that, it is all pretty unclear to me, even though we went through this before to some degree. Everyone pray that the ZH is still standing at the end of all this, it keeps these families in jobs.
posted by JJ @
7:31 AM

It's really hard to describe how I feel right now. I know it's been a year and all that, but there is just something kind of ... wierd... inside me. I mean, I've been productive at work (well, as productive as I feel like being) and have been in a good mood (today, not yesterday, totally unrelated to this phenomenon I am trying to describe) and all that, but, I don't know. When I start reading things on some of the message boards, or in Mexico Way's blog, stuff like that, I just kind of feel... wierd.

I have to say, this time last year (this DAY, Friday, as opposed to this DATE, which was Thursday) was sort of a blur. I was at the Ceruttis with 6 other people, smoking cigarettes with their neighbors and just hanging out. I think they pulled the electricity down in the late evening on Friday night. I have to check that, I may have written it down. I do know I had my laptop out and was piggybacking on Joe's wireless signal, trying to communicate with Victoria who was debating flying to Dallas the next morning to take her chances. I remember reading emails from people, and forwarding emails from Weatherdood to some family and friends, which was odd in itself, because Weatherdood is in Illinois for Pete's sake and we were getting our best news from him. I really just remember trying to kill time.

I don't remember the huge gaps of time. Like what we did. I remember watching this big antenna out Janet and Joe's bedroom window, the wind picking up like crazy and us keeping an eye on this antenna, knowing that once it was gone, it was a sign of something, like the loss of hope or something, but it wasn't as despairing as that sounds as I typed that. See what I mean by not knowing how to describe how I feel? By the way, if you haven't been able to tell, I am just sort of shooting from the hip here, not a lot of rhyme or reason, so if you don't follow me, sorry. It feels better when I write it out.

I remember pulling mattresses in the living room. I remember taking a nap in one of the spare bedrooms but being worried because the window could break out any time. How we slowly moved the chairs and the sofa closer and closer into the middle of the living room to where pretty soon we are all kind of huddled. I remember feeling anticipation, concern, excitement, and boredom (this was before the rain started coming in the doors and windows, mind you) all at once.

I remember the neighbor asking me, while sitting at a big table they put out on the landing between the apartments with some other guys (I think they had 16 people staying in the same sized apartment as Janet's), "Are you worried yet?" and me responding, "Tell you what: I'll start worrying when YOU start worrying!"

I remember that I was lying to him.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Remembering last year

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Here we go again...
Went to the new Walmarts today and it wasn’t that busy, busier than normal but there was no bread left. It’s getting windy but that’s just wind, and the latest prediction is that it will hit around 11am on Friday. I’m bummed as Victoria comes in on Saturday, airport permitting.
This is supposed to be a gigantic one and right now it’s heading for us, let’s keep our fingers crossed and hope it takes a turn to some other direction other than ours. Let’s also hope that there isn’t a lot of major devastation in the hotel zone (or elsewhere). This just sucks.My windows are still taped from Emily and I am going to stay at Janet and Joe’s, who haven’t yet signed the contract on the new condo just in case their (our) place of employment blows down. That would surely put a damper on things.Gonna go take a nap, working again tonight – I am now working Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday nights, and last night I went to bed at 3am again, same as Monday. Too freaking old for any of this shit.Hang on tight!
posted by JJ @
1:38 PM 0 comments links to this post

Elizabeth reminded me today that a year ago today Wilma became a hurricane. I read her blog and her thoughts about that time. It gave me an eery feeling. I went back to my archives and read the above, so I thought I would do a little cutting and pasting for you.

I guess the official date is October 22, right? I mean it really lasted three full days, so when do you commemorate the anniversary? All I really know is it sucked, and you may see some devotion to that wicked woman (Wilma, not Elizabeth) in the next few days.

Also today marks my 8th month back on US soil. I was cold all day, I lost one of my rings going for lunch with Keith at the Red Robin, and found out that I am $61K in the hole to close this subdivision. I wish it was sunny.

I will make a plan, I have to.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Happy Birthday to Becky T! And a belated one to Kim R!

I meant to post last night but was too drained, so Happy Belated By One Day Birthday to Kim R ~ at least you aren't 40! I know it was a good one because I chatted with you.


Happy Birthday to Becky T (!) - now known as Rebecca H but it's more fun when there are a bunch of Becky's to pick from here.

It isn't 40 either, but this is one of those birthdays that are sort of non-descript. Sort of a mid-(not middle, never THAT) age. I hope your day is fabulous and that you get some well deserved "me" time as well as happy family time. Hope it's a great day and I will do my dangedest to reach you today by some sort of media ~

Happy Birthdays to all!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

When stupid things happen to smart people

So how long do eggs last? I have two cartons with varying numbers of eggs in them, the most recent dated sometime in July. I don't think I ever noticed a date on eggs. I remember taking them out of the carton and putting them in those little egg holder thingies in the refridgerator door. Once you've done that how do you keep track of the date? Eggs aren't like milk - I mean, what would happen if I cracked one open right now? Would a chicken come out? Would it be moldy (how could it be, it's in a shell)? I am quite sure that in my 41 years I have eaten some eggs past their date, without ever knowing it, and I'm not dead or you wouldn't be reading this. But suddenly, it matters.

Well, not really, I don't eat a lot of eggs.

Yesterday I went to work in the morning (which itself is kind of funny since I ran into my boss and that Tim guy that works for Security Title upstairs) and took care of some things and left at 11, then popped by a bank to deposit some money for a client, then saw the "For Sale By Owner" store that I knew existed but didn't know where but since I spotted it I figured I would drop in, gave them some business cards, and then off to the mall where I spent some cash. Still need some shoes, can't find any, and really need to get some today. Really I do. Then I came home, watched the Duck game (well, most of it, because I CANNOT watch the full game as I am a jinx), took a little nipper nap, then watched "Good Will Hunting" on On Demand (my good God almighty I LOVE THAT MOVIE) and then a Netflix DVD. I did so much that when I woke up this morning I was convinced it was mid-work-week. Freaked myself out since it was 7:30. I find it is just a whole lot better for me to do nothing on Saturday and feel guilty about it. At least then I know it's Sunday.

My boys won yesterday, though, so it beats last weekend. Brownies have a bye, and frankly it is as close to a win as we might get this year (besides that Raiders win, that was a good thing, and much needed for my morale).

So a couple of weeks ago I would find in the middle of the day that I was getting a missed call on my cell from the same number. I didn't recognize it, and they always seemed to call while I was outside or going to the restroom or generally away from my office. I never bothered to phone the number back and they never left a message. So one evening, I was just finishing up for the day and decided to see who it was since they had called three times that day alone and it was starting to intrigue me/piss me off. I phoned it just after 6 and it was the FUCKING OREGONIAN (our local paper here in Portland, or the biggest one anyway).

I used to get the Oregonian when I first moved in. I got the Sunday only and then I caved in and got the daily too because they offered it to me for free. Next thing I know I have an entry hall full of unread newspapers in plastic bags. They were like bunnies for God sake, just multiplying and never being read. I couldn't take them to the recycling bin fast enough - I probably take trash to the bin once a week, and by that time with the papers the load was like 85 lbs. Talk about no motivation. So procrastinator that I am I would let them stack up.

Pretty soon I wasn't even reading the Sunday paper, so irritated I was with the waste in my entry hall. I finally called the paper and said ENOUGH. They stopped it, but they sent me a bill (or maybe it got crossed in the mail) for like the week beginning when I would have no delivery at all. I ignored it - the dates on the bill were for a paper-free week.

So now I am hearing this message as I am returning this number that is being called no lie twice a day at LEAST for a week, you've reached the Oregonian, our hours are from 8am to 6pm... I was allowed to leave a message. So I did - a very, very STERN message indicating that I am NOT a customer, QUIT calling me, I do not CHOOSE to be a customer in the future, and if I DID, I have the ability to decide for MYSELF and make that call. SLAM (well, as much as you can slam a cell phone... OFF!?). I was pretty proud of myself when I started thinking maybe I owed them money (oh no, $16 a month!) but I let that slide.

So then, Thursday, I am just living my life, working away, when the cell rings. It's that GOD DAMNED NUMBER. So I answer it, mean-like. And what happens? I AGREE TO GET THE SUNDAY PAPER AGAIN. WHAT is the matter with me?? After hanging up, I tried to make myself feel better by saying that he did a good job selling it to me - personable, friendly, not aggressive - but let's face it. I caved. I put myself into a situation I did not want or need. Sure I got it for $8 every 2 months, but I DON'T NEED THE SUNDAY PAPER.

This morning I got up, went to the stoop, and there it was. And now it is laying in my entry hall.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Response to Brad's comment (it's just easier this way)

I just don't know how you people do it over there in the midwest. For God's sake look at a calendar, it is only OCTOBER. Snow?! How can you not be just collectively pissed off right now? Summer hasn't even been officially over for a month yet. I would be just sobbing right now if that were my forecast.

Brad is referring to a caricature of a boss some of us had. One day SS and Alice F and I were at Macaroni Grill having some grub - I don't know if they do it at the ones here or still do it at the ones there, but they have butcher paper on the tables and give you crayons. I just started doodling, and it turned out to be pretty darn good. We ended up tearing the picture off the rest of the paper and taking it back to work with us. The year was 1995.

I imagine it sat in someone's drawer for a long while before resurfacing. A while ago, maybe 3 years ago or even more, someone, either SS or Brad himself, emailed me a scanned copy of it, but I don't think I have it anymore. I had pretty much forgotten all about it, but I was impressed that it was still out there somewhere. I wonder if SHE ever saw it, or worse yet, heard about it. I think if someone drew a caricature of me I would almost be flattered. But then again, I don't mind it when people call me "monster".

Since it has been floating around for 11 years, maybe you should consider laminating it. Just to preserve it for future NCB employees.

Thanks for the comment, Brad, I'm glad I left SOME kind of mark over there!

Blogger down...

I couldn't access Blogger this morning from home - not the home page, not TtheD, not SS's, not MexicoWay. Nada. Sometimes they do maintenance but I am too lazy to find out when. So that was a bummer.

Not much to report around here except that for some reason I ALWAYS BUY SHOES THAT ARE TOO SMALL. I realized that this morning when I opted for a pair other than my Dansko's that have been in my closet since re-entry and rarely (if ever?) worn. You know why? Because they are too small. I am trying to recall if they even fit when I bought them. I remember buying them because they were the least ugly of the shoes I could find, and I remember I had to have tried them on or why would I have paid... yeah who knows, maybe my feet are growing. Whatever.

Becky shared a locust story and as much as I wanted to laugh (well, okay, I did), I realize that her pain is just like my spider pain. I told her the odds were good that if I was still living there the locusts would have driven me out of my apartment by now. It's not just spiders, it's most bugs. It is a miracle I lasted down there that long (but of course, the bug man is fast, reliable and cheap).

Like I said, nothing much to say, though I was thinking of something yesterday mid-day that seemed blog-worthy. I lost it though, if it comes back to me I'll post.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Just when I thought it was safe...

So I had mentioned to my brother Tom recently how I have to check every corner of every room as I am entering it to make sure there are no spiders. Going into my closet in the morning can be sort of nerve-wracking as I really do pysche myself out about it. And with reason - there have been 2 in there that I have spotted since I moved in. Ick.

I know my fear is irrational but there is really nothing I can do about it, and I am not going on Maury, Elizabeth, so shut up.

Anyway, Tom suggested this: "Why don't you just go about your business as if there WERE no spiders?" Seems sort of simple, right? But really, it worked. I walked into dark rooms with no issue, sashayed into the bathroom like I owned the place, worked the closet like it was no big deal. It was great - I didn't look for anything so I didn't see anything.

Well all that changed this morning.

When I get up in the morning I turn on the lamp (and lately that hurts a lot), make my bed, turn on the bathroom light, and then the kitchen light. Then I go to the bathroom, brush my teeth, wash my face and put in my contacts. Then I turn to the bathtub, shake the shower curtain (just in case - old habit), and start the shower. I am telling you all this because it is the same EVERY DAY OF MY LIFE. Anyway, same same same today, then when I got out of the shower, whipping the curtain open like normal and standing there towelling off, etc, I went to the counter to get the lotion. And I spotted it.

In the mirror it looked enormous. It was on the curtain itself, on the outside curtain, so when I was in the shower I wouldn't have seen it. But how close had my hand come to it? Eegads. I raced (nekkid) into the kitchen and stood there, to regroup, figure out my plan (could I go to work with wet hair and no mascara?), and then decided I should probably do something since there are a lot of windows in my apartment (dark outside, lights on inside, you get the idea). I grabbed the Raid (always handy on the bar), grabbed my tshirt and put it on, then hosed down the entire curtain with it. The spider fell and pretty much died within a second or two, but still. I was shaking and sick and then I had to go get a paper towel and flush the carcus and I don't even like THAT part of it.

I managed to calm myself down enough to get ready and go to work, but when I left the house, as I walked out the front door of COURSE I walked through a web. Lord. I had to fight the urge to freak out and just went to the car.

After relaying my story to anyone bothering to listen, at around 10am Annette was standing at the copy machine outside my office, while I was on the phone. She motioned to me and started pointing at something, but I couldn't see what, and finally she held up a teal blue file behind a white spider dangling from its web. Right there in the middle of everything! I mean, what's to stop any spider from just dangling down and landing in my hair as I am walking around the office? And what the hell was Office Boy John doing?

The rest of the day was sucky but not because of spiders, and when I finally made it home and climbed the stairs to sanctuary and my houseclothes, what is on my front door? One of those dang mosquito hawks. A huge one. I managed to get in around and it and slammed the door so I think it flew away, but I have GOT to get these things out of mind or they will NEVER go away.

Fall: good sometimes, bad others.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Stay tuned (unless I lose interest in the project)

This morning I spent my time re-reading the emails from last year's storm. Good reading. It gives me an idea for my one-year anniversary blog entry, so I may be working on compiling and editing that content today. It's good stuff. Funny because I seemed so calm before it happened. Anyway it was nice because my genuine friends seemed to care. Others clearly didn't but whatever. One moves on, doesn't one?

Also today I am going to the Greek Festival with that Kim S and some friends of hers. Never been. It's Sunday so we are just going to go check it out, instead of festivals of yore when I would go on Friday night or Saturday so I could get hammered. Not really that into that so much anymore. It's gotta be the age thing. It should be fun, and it's just another excuse to go shower and maybe hit the mall before I go over there. Or not. I don't know.

I got DVR yesterday and I don't mind telling you it is going to take A LOT of getting used to the new remote. I am so far not that happy that I cannot control the TV power or volume with the cable remote. Pisses me off, actually. Two remotes? What is this, 1992? Surely I need to program something but the installer guys yesterday didn't have the guide book in his truck so he said he could drop it off for me today but you know, I don't feel like being charming a second day in a row to this guy (it was Saturday and he asked me how his Broncos were doing. WTF? Not to mention I was standing there in a Browns sweatshirt. So like, why would I CARE how your Broncos are doing? Plus, if you are such a Broncos fan, wouldn't you know that you were like 24 hours too early to even be asking the question?).

The good news is that because of the DVR and the DVR installation guy, I cleaned the bathroom, the kitchen AND vacuumed. Can you believe it? Though I miss some of the familiar lint patterns that had been with me for so long (I get separation anxiety), it's nice to see the carpet again.

Not much else to report except that my Ducks played poorly yesterday and I blame myself since I am a jinx. I don't know what else to say. Except Go Ducks! As a life-long Duck fan I am always going to support them. Plus the Beavers lost yesterday too so it just makes it that much better for me.

Signing off and hosing off...

Saturday, October 07, 2006

I couldn't have made this up if I tried.

I was debating whether or not this was Blog-worthy, but what the heck, Miss Thing Mexico Way is calling me out for blogging more than me, so here you go. It's about my dream last night.

You know how you have some dreams that are SO REAL that it's almost like you are watching them on TV but living them at the same time, and when you wake up they don't quickly dissipate in the time it takes for you to get from your bed to the bathroom no matter how much you try to replay it in your mind so you won't forget it? Can you believe that was just one sentence? Last night I had one of those. And the funny thing was, it was starring my boyfriend, Gael!

Seriously. Like, I somehow knew him. And I was hanging out with him, but like he had stuff to do and so did I and I guess I was in Mexico for like a weeekend because I knew I had to go back to work on Monday, but we kept talking on the phone and trying to meet up again, and, then we did, and took a spur of the moment trip to some like beach town that had these vacation bungalows that were like a cluster of four units with a shared bathroom... do you see what I mean by so real it was like you were watching it on TV? So like, his sisters came with us (we took a van to get there) and his mom, (though I know nothing about his real family, these were just components in the story) and each of them had their own backstory, that I knew, and they were hanging out with us for the day and were supposed to leave that evening. Since Gael had surprised me with this trip to begin with (remember, I had to be to work on Monday) I was not sure how long we were staying, but I got the idea that the family was leaving and it would be just me and quite possibly THE BEST LOOKING MAN IN MEXICO. So yeah, you know, who wants to wake up at this point?

I mean, we were like making out (no sex, get your mind out of the gutter, I woke up before any of that took place, and besides, what kind of girl do you think I am?) (don't answer that) and stuff, and he was saying all kinds of great I-want-to-be-your-boyfriend lines and shit, I was totally digging it, while all at the same time, in the back of my dream-mind I am thinking, Shit, Nicky is going to kill me, I don't think I called in sick today and if I stay Tuesday and then don't get back til Wednesday, I am so fired. So I was pretty worried during a lot of it.

Which started me thinking as I began to wake up (slowly, because I really REALLY didn't want to wake up), would you like, get in trouble, I mean really get FIRED for spending a weekend with Gael Garcia Bernal? Or okay, for the mainstreamers, with Brad Pitt? Or Denzel? I mean, what if you just blew off work - it's Monday, you no-show, don't call in, just aren't there - no one can reach you on your phone, and then Tuesday comes and it's the same story - they are starting to call your emergency contact person, but even THEY haven't heard from you, people are getting worried, the hospitals are called... (this is all assuming your boss likes you or you are the only idiot in the office that can work on the stuff on your desk) and suddenly, it's Wednesday, and you waltz in like nothing happened. Except, you know, with some sand still in your toes, a bit of tan, perma-grin, maybe a little bit of Gael-stank still on you (or Brad, or Denzel, work with me here)... Your boss comes flying out of her office screaming "This better be good!" So... when you tell her, "You won't believe it, but Gael Garcia Bernal (Brad Pitt, Denzel Washington) just whisked me away to a beach house and we made out like at 55 minute intervals for the last two days. I couldn't call because his tongue was down my throat most of the time." Would you get fired? I mean, if you could prove that it really was with Gael and not some "regular person"? Like, you showed her the digital camera with all the "self-portraits" of you and Gael on the beach, you and Gael walking through the little town, you and Gael on the sofa...What about that, though? Surely no-showing for your job because you spent the last two days with the neighbor's gardener or some random guy you met in a bar is a bad bad thing, and frankly, you SHOULD be fired. But no-showing because of a celebrity? Does that change things in our celebrity-obsessed society? I wonder. I think I'll ask Nicky on Monday.

For now, though, I am starting to wonder why during my dream I didn't just say Screw it, let me get fired, Gael is my new boyfriend and HE can support me. It would at least have had a little less worry in it.

But seriously, he is SO my boyfriend now...

Thursday, October 05, 2006

I had something to say when I sat down, but it's gone now

Work is getting better. It's gotten more quiet anyway and I am able to actually get through the stuff on my desk as the day progresses. Big change from the beginning of the week, which SUCKED. My coworkers have mellowed out a little bit too, or they are just watching what they say around me. Today someone who never worked with me before (wasn't employed by the company when I lived here before) told me people are afraid of me. It makes me laugh because if they think I am scarey now good Lord they never would have made it back before I took my little break. I told her I was pleased with that bit of information because it's best not to let people see the co-dependency*. Those of you who met me in Cancun - is it wierd to you to know that I scare people?

Tonight after work Barbie and I went to St. Vincent's hospital and visited our brother in law Jim. He had surgery to correct his diverticulitis. It has been horrible for him, so they took out 8 inches or so of his colon (and believe me, I know all about colons now). Barbie was telling everyone he had 8 FEET of colon removed, but then again, how long is all that stuff in there anyway? Isn't it like a mile or some insane number? So you could see how it could be confusing. On the ride home she was saying that sometimes she wished she wasn't so dramatic (but the funny thing is she realized herself that the way she said it was .... pretty dramatic). I find myself to be a bit on the dramatic side, and frankly, I think it's a nice trait. I like it. I use it. I find it gets me what I want. Isn't that really all that's important? Yes, I think it is.

Tomorrow is casual day and John and I are committed to wearing Duck colors. I have roughly 98 Duck sweatshirts, but I am unsure of the dress code on casual day, and what with my boss being a (gasp) Beaver, I am afraid I might get reprimanded**. I have a sales call so I may just stick with a green sweater and yellow tshirt. Hm. I'll sleep on it.

Not much going on really, now, so in my boredom I check flights. I am just not sure when to go back and I am kinda leery about approaching my boss about it, but still it's nice to have something to look forward to.

Saturday I am getting DVR so it will be good on Thursdays to be able to watch "Betty La Fea" and not miss "The Office". God you know what, I am just out of it today so I am giving up and going to bed. I really started out thinking I had something to say. I guess not.
* I have a long held theory that the more co-dependent you are, the better escrow officer you are. You know, constantly pleasing people and pretty much taking it up the ass all day.

** Plus I have hosed down 2 spiders with Raid in the general vicinity of the sweatshirts and the thought of spider corpses raining down on me at 5:45 am is not pleasant. Yeesh. I hope I can sleep now.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

What happened to kindness?

What happened to manners? What happened to consideration? What happened to just being kind?

There is a lot of crap going on at work right now due to recent staffing activity. It happens any time someone leaves the company - we are all mid- about 50 files in varying degrees at some point, and if you leave the company, you are going to be leaving files unfinished. There is no way around it. So I have been doing some work on some of these files, as has another very new escrow officer. The ones I have been doing have had a few issues here and there, nothing that can't be corrected, nothing major. The ones the other girl has been doing seem to be disasters. Or at least she would like you to think that.

My theory in pretty much every part of life is that there is no problem that cannot be solved. Obviously this applies to work in the same way that it applies to every day life. So if you are working on an inherited file, and you find an issue, why not just fix it and shut the fuck up? Why announce it to everyone? What, you never made a mistake? Considering the original owners of these files had about 4 days to clean up there desks and get out, I think they did pretty well.

So I found myself having a bit of a meltdown today at work because of this. I had one file that I inherited where the file had been worked up and signed by the original closer. All I did was balance on the buyer side - barely even glanced at the seller side, since I didn't actually own the file. Upon payout, a particularly bitchy assistant (to whom I gave the file because that is what assistants do - pay out files) found that an error had been made on the seller side. Not only did she flip out about it, but she told me she was going to call the seller and rank on the original closer.

Why? I just don't get it. The error made was easily handled - the seller KNEW, above all else, that he owed this particular fee - no question about it. So just make the adjustment and finish the file. But no. This particular crab-ass decided to make sure the entire office new and had no problem letting others know too. I find that to be the heighth of unprofessionalism. First of all, it is a poor reflection on First American (remember, the people who pay you, you bitch?) and henceforth anyone who works there (namely, me), and secondly, what exactly did this now ex-employee ever do to you? I told her very firmly, "Make the correction and close the file. There is no reason for you to take any of this personally. You do not need to make it a big deal because it isn't, and handling it any other way is absolutely unprofessional." Then I stormed back into my signing.

There have been slurs and comments and all manner of snide remarks being thrown around the office since the departure of this unit, and it sickens me. I am disgusted by the blatant racism displayed by my coworkers toward the customers who call in only to find there is no longer any one here that speaks Spanish. Back before I moved to Mexico I was about the closest thing to a Spanish speaking employee that we had - and that is saying something. Something bad. So then in 2005 we hire three bilingual Spanish people, and draw the business in, and customers are more comfortable about phoning in after a while. Then one day, there is no one there to help.

I had a discussion with another closer this evening - she said, "I'm sorry but if you are going to live here you have to speak the language." I told her I agreed with her. I do. But Friday when someone called in with no English, there was someone here to help, and now today there is no one. Is that any reason for us to be outwardly RUDE? I told her, under no circumstances should bad manners be tolerated. I'm sorry that we cannot help the non-English speaking folks, but you can't give them shit just because we set a precedent and now that help is gone. The customers will go back to having their kids call or the brokers call soon enough, but for now, why are we being so rude?

Which brings me back to the initial question: What happened to being nice? I just don't get it. The media and politicians have blown this thing so far out of whack (smoke and mirrors, baby, smoke and mirrors) that suddenly we are ALLOWED to be inconsiderate to others? How is THAT okay?

When I was in Mexico I managed fine with my limited Spanish, but there were plenty of times I needed more - PLENTY of times. I didn't have the luxury of calling Cablemas or CFE and speaking English to someone. I had to either find someone else to call, become fluent quick, or sit in the dark. So I completely concur with the whole If-you're-going-to-live-here-learn-the-language thing. But for those out there that haven't yet, or even who have a little bit of English, yet we can't (won't) listen for it, why suddenly is it okay to be impolite? We (the US) set the precedent - don't blame the non-English speakers for growing comfortable.

I guess I am just exhausted and amazed that it is 2006 and suddenly it is okay to be rude, impolite, downright mean and hateful. It sickens me that suddenly it is okay to slam our ex-coworkers. I don't know what to do with any of this. I am trying to let it slide off and let the dust settle, but it is one of the hardest things I have ever tried to do.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Getting over it

I have been wanting to post a list of stuff the last few days but I am having difficulty deciding what it should be about. Right now I am thinking it should be "Things to Get Over". Problem is I run out of ideas after 1) old grudges, 2) other people's stuff and 3) yourself. Then I was thinking of things that I have learned after having lived here for seven months and through two whole seasons, but my life is so boring these days there isn't much to learn.

So instead I will just comment on my day.

It was a rough one (I was going to say "It sucked" but I was thinking I should get over it). Because of the departing chicas (Emerging Markets, I told you this already), I have inherited in the neighborhood of 35 files. Four of them which actually had to be paid out today. By me. And two sendbacks. Luckily I am over the whole control-freak thing (got over that pretty quick when I saw my desk this morning covered in files I knew nothing about) so I delegated. But I still worked from 7am to 6pm and am no where near through anything. Oh yeah, and that condo gig? Yeah, um, he has settled the huge lien and that means that all those flipping files will be closing in the next couple of weeks. Did I mention I don't have an assistant? So all the bitching and moaning I did about having little to do last month... I have said it before - I am the definitive "Be Careful What You Wish For" girl.

The sun I don't think even came out today, cloud cover, it's chilly, feels like Fall, I am tired and worked hard today, don't feel like I finished anything (because I didn't)... maybe my list should be about how to be thankful. Or how to learn to live with what you have (and that brings me back to Things to Get Over, doesn't it?).

Anyway, today aside, my weekend was pretty good - went to sushi with Becky from here (did I type that already? It feels like I typed that already) and her daughter Nikki who is now taller than me (and like 9th grade) (by the way, I don't know how to spell her version of Nikki so I am doing it this way. Sorry if it's wrong, Becky). That was fun. And then I hit the Latino Market with Kim , that was fun too (quick but fun). (God I SO feel like I typed this already. When did I blog last? Is my life THIS BORING?)... then Sunday (I guess I am just going to keep going, I'll find out soon enough) I hit Target and talked to Jan-Jan, it's funny because I knew she would call as soon as I was Target-bound, and sure as shit she did. Also chatted a lot with that Elizabeth and some others as well. And then... I took a nap. Baby steps. I did get some cleaning done so that was good. Lots of laundry and stuff.

Okay, you know what? I'm just gonna give up on this. I am having challenges typing and nothing is flowing and I am not feeling creative and I got in a pissing contest with a processor today so my energy is sapped (I won) and I am just going to go bail and hang out on the sofa the rest of the night.

Do yourself a favor and go read Note2Self - she had quite a day herself but at least hers is funny!