Monday, April 26, 2010

Field Trip Revisited

I'm not sure why I take random days off with no discernible plan. I suppose I just like the idea of not having to get up at 4:45 and sleeping in until 5:30, and then taking my time before showering. That's got to be it because the rest of the day off generally just drags on.

Today I decided to take a field trip. At first I thought I'd go to the beach, but then I looked at a couple of webcams and the weather looked sketchy. I don't mind the wind and stormy rain at the beach if I'm actually in a hotel room watching it, but it kind of sucks when you are in your car and can't get out and walk without facing a wet and uncomfortable drive back to civilization. So the next idea was to find the Walmarts in St. Helens. Some of you may recall another field trip to the Walmarts in McMinnville a while back. Apparently the shock of that one had worn off and I was curious yet again to explore. I honestly wonder who I am sometimes.

So St. Helens. It's out in Columbia County off Highway 30 and roughly 66 miles from Astoria. I thought that if the weather looked at all promising or the Walmarts wasn't exciting enough that maybe I'd keep going west to Astoria, where I haven't been in maybe 20 years. Plans always seem to be so easy in my head. And then I get behind the wheel and realize they never go like they should.

I left the house at around 10 and took the back way toward Hillsboro. You can take that majorly fucked up Cornelius Pass Road to get to Highway 30, and there's a tanning salon over that way, so I went and tanned first and then hit Cornelius Pass. My good God I hate that road. I can't even imagine what it would be like in any kind of remotely inclement weather. The pavement was bone dry and I seriously feared for my life on several occasions. Would it kill somebody to put up a guard rail or two? And like make it illegal for big gigantic trucks to travel on it? Every time you hear about something horrific having happened on Cornelius Pass Road it's the result of either a big gigantic truck doing something stupid or somebody careening off the side of a cliff because there was no guard rail to break their fall. Good Lord. It's like five miles of near death. I just hate it.

So okay. Get to Highway 30 and take a left. My friend Marshy lives just past Scappoose now so I am somewhat familiar, and St. Helens is roughly seven miles past that. Or fifteen. I wasn't paying attention. I figured once I got to St. Helens it would be obvious where the Walmarts is, so I just kept driving west. And see, just like in McMinnville, and that time I went to the Target in Wilsonville, big signs advertising the store are completely lost on me. By the time I realized that I had gone too far I was already going into the mountain passes that would take me to the beach. I wasn't really ready for that, so I flipped a bitch in the middle of the road, pulled over and pulled out my trusty iPhone. Which failed me completely.

What I failed to realize is that St. Helens, the main part of it, I guess, isn't right on the highway. Apparently you have to turn toward the river to get to the bulk of it. Who knew? So I went back to St. Helens and turned left into something that looked like a main road, and proceeded to do a tour of the town at roughly 9 miles per hour. Which began to irritate me. And then it began to irritate me that I couldn't find the flipping Walmarts, when how big could this town be? And how about some signage? I finally found an address and a map, and realized that I'd driven past it miles ago. So as is the norm for me on a field trip, I back tracked a few miles and finally found it.

It was horrible.

Even the outside of it was a mess. Seriously. What is with stores like Walmarts that can't keep their place clean? I honestly considered giving up on my now ridiculous sounding quest just based on what it looked like from outside, but I really had to use the restroom. So I parked and limped in (I limped because I had been driving around for so long that my ankle stiffened up, but nobody noticed because pretty much the place was filled with people limping around with various degrees of state subsidized disabilities. Obviously.). Inside was just as dirty. I just honestly do not get a supermarket or department store or ANYplace where they sell shit that doesn't run a mop across the floor once in a while. Just filthy. Really all I wanted was a needle and thread and I figured if I was going to go on a field trip to Walmarts I might as well get them there, I didn't really need anything else, and it was just supposed to be a mini adventure and not some ridiculous challenge of finding a filthy store in some podunk town in Columbia County.

So I took a lap, found the thread ($1.57 for ten spools and three bonus needles) (plus $25 worth of gas. Never mind.), bought some diet A&W root beer, and checked out. Got the hell out of dodge and did NOT take Cornelius Pass Road back because it had started to rain. It was like 2:30 by the time I hit home, so you can imagine how lost I was, and how far away, and I've decided that the next time I want to do a field trip to a Walmarts it's not going to be in some stupid little town heading toward the beach.

I don't know what my fixation for the Walmarts is. I mean, I have Target. Target's clean, and close by, and just as inexpensive. I don't know why I feel the need to stray, but sometimes I do. I guess I'm only human. And the only way to learn your lesson is to wallow in that filth once in a while.

Tomorrow I'm considering not even leaving the house.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Checking in

Wow. Has it really been a week? Have I been so busy that I just haven't had a free minute to sit down at the cracktop and fill you all in on my crazy life?


It wasn't a bad week. I mean, it wasn't the week before (work-wise) where I thought seriously that finally this job would kill me. I was busy, absolutely, and being an assistant again was fraught with its own internal trauma (there are SO MANY things about being an assistant that I don't miss/am not good at, and when you actually have to BE an assistant again you realize how much you don't miss/are not good at them). Many things irritated the crap out of me - frozen computers, faulty printers, majorly annoying passive/aggressive coworkers (okay, coworker), rain, other drivers, the fact that they are NEVER GOING TO SETTLE ON MY AUTO CLAIM, the hard-sell at the tanning salon, being broke, the bag I've been carrying for a year (that never used to happen)... I could go on and on. But for the most part the week flew by and I'm guessing I did an okay job because I am going back there on Wednesday.

I have Monday and Tuesday off because I can and for no other reason, unless you call wanting two extra afternoon naps a reason to take some time off, and I'm not really sure what I am going to do. I am cleaning right now (pretty productive, aren't I? I hate cleaning so much that I will clean a room, then take a break, clean a room, take a break, take out some trash, take a break... you get the idea), so that I don't have to feel bad about not doing it tomorrow or Tuesday. I kind of want to go to the beach. I think I need the ocean's energy since Mexico is out of the question for now (I WILL make that December trip work, believe me).

Marita and Dave are in Mexico right now. Apparently living in the Midwest and having a dual income allows these things much more frequently than living in the Pacific Northwest and being single and wallowing in debt does. Here's a picture she sent me yesterday while she was settling in.
Nice, huh? It's inspiring to me, I guess, to start the December plan or at least to gas up the Liz and drive to Cannon Beach tomorrow, just to get near that water. It's a plan.

Thursday night I met that Marshy for dinner at DeCarli's in Beaverton. I thought I'd give it a plug because usually the only thing you find in downtown Beaverton are Italian joints that have been around forever, sketchy Thai places that change names as often as (I'm hoping) they change their fryer grease, and skateboard shops. And the Broadway Saloon, I guess. DeCarli's has been around for about two years (though I drive by it seriously no less than five times in any given week and have never noticed it) (which isn't that surprising, really) and when we went it had a pretty good crowd. I always notice the bar area and it looked nice. I like a good bar. The food was good, mildly pricey, good wine list (if you like wine) (I'm not a huge fan), service was okay. It has been compared to places in The Pearl District (don't get me started. I hate pretentious Portland neighborhoods because it's PORTLAND, not San Francisco, not Seattle, not Austin... it's PORTLAND. It might as well be Boise.), and I get that. Portion, service, prices, atmosphere. But it's downtown Beaverton and I think it shares a wall with a head shop and I KNOW the apartments above the storefronts in the adjacent buildings are horrific little hovels with peeling paint, bugs, and crackheads (I KNOW this). But it was a good dining experience and I would definitely recommend it, because maybe what downtown Beaverton needs is more places like DeCarli's. If life ever finds you in the area, you should check it out. Really.

Other than that, whiling away my life and waiting for the next big thing. Isn't that what life really is all about?

Monday, April 19, 2010

Not calling.

So the other day I was running errands, the usual Saturday stuff, including a stop at the Target for essentials that only Target can give me (including really good plastic bags that I use to line my garbage cans in both my and the kitties' bathrooms. No other plastic bag comes close. I actually started using my own bags for shopping everywhere else BUT the Target, because my bathroom garbage cans are so flipping wide nothing else works, leaving the standard grocery store plastic bags completely useless to me. Oh, and because anything else is wasteful. That's right.), when I get to the checkout counter. I don't notice things in general, so I certainly didn't pay much attention to the clerk, but as I was hovering around the POS (the ATM thingie. Did you know those are called Point of Sale systems? I was a banker once, you know, back when these things were invented), the checker says to me, "You look familiar. What's your name?" Since I was not wearing a name tag and he was, being a checker and all that, I checked his out before looking at his actual face. Stunned.

The last time I saw this kid he was like in grade school. I think. What grade are you in when you're 14? Middle school? High school? I don't know. And it's not like I saw him all the time - he's the grandson of a gal that used to be one of my best friends. I haven't talked to her in probably four years, and I hadn't been around the two years prior to that, which would mean that was the last time I saw him. And now look at him: working at Target. Almost 21. Grown up.

I stammered a little bit, still shocked at how much HE had aged when I so OBVIOUSLY have not. Asked about his family, his parents, his grandmother... which was sort of awkward. He gave me a pretty good run-down while he helped the shoppers behind me (who were nice enough to let me cut in front of them to begin with, so it would have been rude of me to not move out of the way while we chatted. I'm nothing if I don't have manners), and at the end of it, I told him I was proud of him, all grown up (like some kind of 44 year old woman or something) (oh yeah..) and he said, You should call my Nanna. I lied and said I would. Because what else was I going to say?

That we had been best friends for quite a few years, even roommates at one point? That we used to travel together with another friend (one, you might recall, that I have vented about countless times over the almost-five-years this blog has been in existence) and even bought timeshare together? That, when I moved to Mexico, for some reason in the middle of my first run she just STOPPED being my friend, along with the other one (but probably BECAUSE of the other one) with no explanation and no further ado? That when I got back from Mexico and she brought over some kitchen stuff she'd been using while I was gone, the conversation was stilted and awkward, and I don't know why but I felt like she was really not happy to be around me? And that I haven't talked to her since, but at the same time, SHE hasn't talked to ME since?

Yeah. I'm sure I won't call. I've spent a pretty good part of my life wondering what I did to make people suddenly not be my friend (it's not like it happens all the time, which is almost worse). Sooner or later I have to just realize that the odds are pretty good it's not me, it's them. And I've got some great friends who DO want to stick around. It's just that for someone like me, you always want the one that got away. To like you. To not have gone away. And that way you may never learn WHY they went away, so you don't have to face the possibility that it could be you, after all.

But really, in this case, I know it's not me. And so, again, I won't call. Because what's the point? Where is this going to go? I'm living this long without her, and I'm a reasonably happy person, so I don't think I need to open up a dialogue with someone who didn't care enough to keep the friendship alive in the first place. Instead, I'll just respect the me, the one who is stunned and then wildly amused when she finds out someone doesn't like her.

I mean, honestly. How do you not like ME?


Saturday, April 17, 2010

Butter revisited

So a while back, well, two years I guess, I had a butter situation that spun my world around and has left a tiny part of what I consider a normal existence incomplete (Feel free to read the link before you continue. I'm actually sort of impressed with the post. I think I'm losing my ability to write a captivating paragraph). To be truthful, it really wasn't THAT much of an impact, but never the less, butter buying hasn't really been the same since. Canola Harvest has been un-findable in my world ever since that fateful day in March 2008. I guess I've adapted since then, I mean, we all adapt to change ultimately, in our own way, at our own pace, but I'm not going to lie to you. Since then it just hasn't been the same in the dairy case at my local supermarkets.

I'm kind of shocked, too, that I actually did "big shopping" (as opposed to "pick up a few things" shopping) at the Fred Meyer back then. I must have thought I was some kind of a Rockefeller. I might have to go back and read the entire 7900 posts since then (of useless drivel, I might add) to see at what point my tightwad self began to emerge. But that's just a sidebar, and by now you should be used to those.

So last night, after OH MY HELL THE WORST TWO WEEKS OF MY WORKING CAREER (in escrow, anyway. While you're browsing the archives you might consider looking at how the months of March 2007 through June 2007 progressed. It's actually pretty funny. Now.), I decided to throw even more caution to the wind and do my grocery (big) shopping. I had like half a box of noodles in my cupboard and a bag of frozen peas and carrots in the freezer and not much else, so I figured why not get it out of the way? I hadn't eaten in 28 hours, most of my hair had fallen out already and my feet felt like someone was driving concrete nails into them, so why not fling my battered psyche into the bedlam that is the Winco at any given hour of any given day? How much worse could it get? (and no, that isn't foreshadowing.)

So I went. And was making pretty good time weaving my way through the parade of white trash (I wonder how many we'll lose when the new Walmarts opens in Cornelius? Hm, just thought about that) and non-English-speakers, trying to remember what I DIDN'T have in terms of staples. Milk? Eggs? Creamer? Don't need 'em. Butter? Oh I should get some. Feeling an all-too-familiar-but-barely-discernible-anymore pang of sadness, I stood in front of the case, comparing the cost of my two (now) go-to brands - I Can't Believe It's Not Butter Light and Country Crock Light (it's ridiculous - a $2 price difference for the same size tub, and that's even at the Winco), when out of the corner of my eye I see a price tag of $1.78. Hoping it's not a Winco brand (good God) or something like Promise that is supposed to be spreadable margarine but is, in fact, a big yellow brick whose only real promise is to tear the shit out of your toast, I peer closely at the unfamiliar label. Canola Harvest? Really? THE Canola Harvest? It doesn't LOOK like the label of my past. But sure enough.. I mean, they can't just recycle the names of butter, can they? I took a tub from the shelf and examined it. The script was the same as I remember, and ... I'm not really sure what I was looking for since it's not like I remember the butter THAT well. I did notice a little Canadian flag on the back (? it's a tub. Everywhere is the back. Everywhere is the front) and the tiny words "Product of Canada" below it. Hm. I bet this is my butter. Old faithful. Canola Harvest. Who knew all this time it was Canadian?

I threw it in the cart. And proceeded to have the following thoughts filter through my head while I completed the rest of my shopping: Did we just lift some sort of embargo on Canadian dairy products that I never knew existed because I don't pay attention to current events? Did I hear somewhere that Canada had a rash of mad-cow-disease-milk-producing cows? Is THAT why they stopped selling it here? Is it gone now? Was I eating tainted butter before? I mean, I could explain a lot if I could blame it on mad cow disease.. Is margarine even MADE of milk? Should I be concerned about an import that costs less than the domestic products? Am I somehow a little bit better than other people because my butter is imported?

So yeah. The mystery isn't exactly solved, and maybe I'm not completely satisfied that I have Canola Harvest in my fridge right now on account of all these questions on the table, but perhaps it's a sign that the world is getting back to normal again. My world. Which brings on a whole slew of other questions. I just know I don't have to go back to this desk on Monday, so maybe it was a sign that all things are settling back in to normal for ME, and for WORK, and that's it.

Or maybe this butter has been sitting in the back of the warehouse at the Winco for the last few years and somebody finally stumbled upon it. I guess it doesn't matter. I'm feeling much calmer now.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


I don't have to keep telling you how difficult this desk is. Yesterday the person I'm covering decided to come in and work, and to be honest, it wasn't a bad thing. Seriously this desk is so busy that it takes two escrow officers to even make a dent in it. It's insane. I am not complaining about the numbers, or the work, or anything like that, but only a rare few could possibly understand the enormous amount of crap we have to wade through every day. Believe me when I tell you that when I complain about a desk it's mostly because I like my social time and when I get interrupted by anything work-related it irritates me. But not seriously. Mostly it's just for show.

I take my job very seriously, believe it or not. I know I'm good at it. I am a customer service rock star and get a lot of compliments. So when I am involved in something like this it sucks the life clean out of me, and it really isn't that common for me to not want to go back and continue to make miracles happen. I can't believe it's only Tuesday. I feel so badly for this escrow officer because at least, at the end of my two weeks, I get to move on. She doesn't. I don't think it's doing her health much good.

So. Today was a day. I'll admit having her around has taken the stress level down a couple of notches, but there are always little things (and moderate to big things) that just make you take a step back and think, Wow, people really do suck.

I'm not going to go in to detail about what happened because I got over it like four times throughout the course of the day. I'll just say that someone took advantage of the game we in the service industry play for a living and basically reaffirmed my belief that there are too many people out there who don't care about anyone but themselves. Say what you will about what is wrong with our society - greed is the bottom line. It ruins everything. It breaks people down. It disheartens. It takes away all the good and leaves nothing but the bad.

We are all working hard to make something out of this industry - the deals come but they are harder and more involved and because only the best are still around, stepping up to the plate and over delivering are pretty much standard fare. With this kind of volume, however, mistakes can and will be made, through no fault of anyone, unless you want to call being human a fault. Under every circumstance that I can think of off the top of my worn out head, when a mistake is made the problem is discovered and handled with little or no impact on anyone. Apologies are made, shoes scuff the dirt, a few extra hoops might be required, but all in all, it's not a big deal. Every circumstance but this one. Apparently when WE make a mistake, someone else gets to keep the money.

It wasn't even $100, but that's not the point. The point is it isn't yours to keep. The point is, how do you live with yourself? How do you justify capitalizing on a keystroke error made by over-worked escrow staff? What gives you the right to take what isn't yours, what you didn't work for, what somebody else will ultimately have to pay for? Isn't that stealing? It's stealing, plain and simple. And we may not be anyone important to you, but we know a LOT of people, and we have some influence.

I am disgusted with greed and entitlement. I think we have cultivated a society where it is the common belief that we should have whatever we want, whether we deserve it or not. There appears to be no such thing as working hard for something (as evidenced by the ridiculous number of bank owned properties we're closing - properties these people shouldn't have bought in the first place). It's all take - take what isn't yours, take advantage of the system, take from someone else who is working too hard to notice. I don't know where it came from, and I don't see it going away any time soon, and the whole thing just gives me a headache.

Just flipping follow one rule, people, please. Do unto others as you'd have them do unto you, or how ever it goes. Is that so hard to follow? Is that asking so much? Apparently, for some, it is.


Sunday, April 11, 2010

Too late to ruin a Sunday thinking about it

I woke up this morning thinking this: Oh my hell one more day off and then I have to go back there.

It's pretty sad when your Sunday begins with thoughts of your Monday. This desk is sick busy, I mean seriously, it's a flipping wreck. I got a shitload of docs in on Friday afternoon (Friday afternoon is huge for incoming docs - in many cases the doc drawer is also the funder, so once they get their funding done in the morning, they start working on their docs, and by around 3pm they start coming in like a house afire. It sucks because you're thinking, hmm, Friday afternoon, how bad could it be? And then four sets of docs come in, which means IMMEDIATELY the phone starts ringing, and it's the borrowers, saying, My loan officer said loan docs are in escrow, can I sign right now/how much do I need to bring in/I have a moving van coming tomorrow morning, can I have my keys? You think I'm kidding. Who are the real estate professionals telling these people that once they sign they can have keys? And why do these people not realize it takes time to work up the documents once escrow gets them? And then more time for the doc drawer to review the HUD once it's been worked up? The doc drawer that thought her work for the day was over now that she has docs out? Because good luck getting a HUD approved on Friday afternoon at 4:30.), and scheduled fucking everybody, without necessarily working the files up. So now tomorrow I have four signings and two more sets to work up and God knows what else because this job has absolutely nothing to do with pre-planning your day.

Can you see the stress level here? Add to that the person I am covering is so wrapped up in this shit she can't even take two weeks off. I totally get that. Back when I had my own desk I always checked my email while I was on vacation. That's just the way this job is. But I'm stressed out because I think she's going to be in tomorrow morning when I get there, which I plan to do at 7am, since I don't have a card key to get me in the building. It stresses me out because she likes her files pre-worked and I only got through half of the 172 she opened this week. I don't like unfinished business. It would be one thing if I knew she wasn't coming in on her VACATION, because I can knock out the other half tomorrow (seriously, you just make things work) but I had to come in at 6am on Friday and pre-work then ones I DID get done while the phone wasn't ringing. Fuck. It's not even 9am on Sunday and I'm already all stressed out about it. And it doesn't help that the branch is haunted.

Seriously. Ten keys just start going off on their own, USBs plug themselves in and out when nobody is even touching the desk, things go missing and then wind up somewhere else. The building is by no means old, but I think it might be an old burial ground for illegals that worked for a company that shall remain nameless, then died, and since they were illegal, they just buried them. It's an urban legend but after all the crap that goes on around there I am inclined to believe it.

So I contend with the shadow of the person I am covering and the ghosts of the dead Mexicans while docs go flying out of the printer and the hair falls out in chunks on my desk. It's really something to look forward to. I get up every morning and check the mirror to make sure my teeth haven't been ground down to nubs. It's fantastic.

While we're on the subject of urban legends and things that I believe even though there might not be any real basis for it, Friday night I was in here, on the cracktop, minding my own business, when four or five explosions (?) went off somewhere really, really close. I jumped. The cats jumped. I immediately thought "gun shots" and checked my body to make sure I wasn't dead. I didn't hear much of anything else for about five minutes (and I was kind of too afraid to look out the window for fear of the gunman standing at my window, of all windows, holding the shot gun) (okay, not kind of) and then suddenly one last explosion went off, causing me to jump AGAIN, and the cats to run around all low to the ground like they do, looking at me, looking toward the living room, wondering what to do.. Flipping scared the crap out of me. Shortly thereafter I heard sirens, but kind of far off, and not knowing exactly what to do, I just sort of sat here, then did a perimeter check of the casita (from inside of course), and started thinking of what it could be, and then dreamt up a million different scenarios - drug deal gone bad, gang fight, murder-suicide. I ultimately went to bed without watching the news, and when I woke up the Oregonian on line said it was fireworks. But it also said that the Beaverton Police and a SWAT team cleared out several upstairs apartments in a complex that sounded like mine. Nice. So what I DON'T believe is that it was fireworks and what I DO believe is that it was gun fire but you know I won't ever hear anything more about it and that's that.

Excitement? Yes. Something to take my mind off tomorrow? Briefly. Because it's there, looming, just waiting for me to get up, take a shower, and face it. Fuck.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Because I get up too early when I work in this branch

Last night's dinner of the month was at a place called the Gilt Club in Chinatown (ish). Easy drive there, stupid drive home, because apparently it takes longer than 44 years to figure out how to get around downtown. The food was good, though it's trying it's best to process right now, a bit pricey but well done, and the company of course was fabulous. I go with a group whose common denominator is my colorist Taunja, and it's interesting to note that I am one of three escrow officers. The other two work for my long-standing arch-nemesis, so there's a lot of underlying my-company-is-better-than-yours going on in the recaps of our how-was-your-days. It's true the two companies run neck and neck monthly for first place, but the truth of the matter remains that my company is, in fact, better than theirs.

Since I don't drink unless I'm out of the country (or if there's a cute boy in my apartment) (or, you know, given the right circumstances that only I can choose), it's really easy to figure my bill at the end of the night. I don't miss the nights of not realizing that four $8 drinks add up to more than $20 with tip, but there are some in our group that haven't yet come to that realization. They're usually the ones who cut out early so as not to completely ruin their buzz before they get home to continue the dream. I don't want to be one of the girls everyone else bitches about. You know how it goes.

What's fun about this group is the diversity of it, and the fact that I actually have a blip in my normal routine. Last night we were regaled of tales of one woman (never did catch her name, but oh well, I'm kind of new to the group) who traveled rather extensively in the middle east. I think that's fascinating. We have a realtor in there whose business I did not vie for (because really, it's not me she'd be doing business with in the end) but who ultimately begged me for my card. Because (and I think I've mentioned this) I'm flipping awesome at what I do. And then there was the cop, which makes me laugh because it wasn't too long ago when that would have made me extremely uncomfortable. Funny thing about her was the three glasses of red she had and you know she wasn't cabbing it home. Even they know it's ridiculous.

So now I'm up, tired for no reason, and back to the trenches. They are trenches, people. This desk is flipping insane. I don't know how I'm doing it. Seriously. Sometimes I look up and go, Wait, is this ME doing this? Nuts.

And back to it.

Oh, and Becky, I'll tell you the haunted branch story when I have more time, like Saturday or something.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Unanswerable questions

Is it just me or is work seriously getting harder? I don't remember being this all-over-the-map scatter brained even when we were at our busiest. Nothing is easy, every file is riddled with special circumstance, people that are supposed to close in May suddenly want to close by Friday. My head is about to pop off and I'm only two days in to this two week stint. It's a good thing I'm fucking fantastic at this job.

Not much has been going on, it may surprise you all to know. After the fun (!) time last Thursday I pretty much kicked back for the weekend. I ran my errands, I did some laundry, I threatened to mop the back bathroom, sure. But I took my time and relaxed a lot too. Sunday was Easter, and since my Easter commitment was fulfilled on Saturday afternoon, for the most part, I thought I would finish up my errands (namely Target) Sunday. Easter, after all, isn't that big of a commercial holiday (as far as HOLY holidays, it's right up there, but nobody outside of Ohio decorates the house for it or sings Easter carols and nobody decks their halls with boughs of ... bunny fur...), right? So despite Marita thinking it might be closed, and without checking the website, I went off to tan (the tanning salon was open, for crying out loud) and then swung by the Target. Closed. Closed? I was stunned. Not everyone believes in the resurrection of Christ, right? I mean, what about atheists and Jews? It's Tuesday and I'm still stunned. I had to go to the Walgreens instead, and let me tell you, the Walgreens is no Target. It was really kind of a let down. I was so exhausted after that I had to nap, which resulted in a really lazy afternoon and a crock pot disaster of epic proportions. I hate to say it, but I kind of blame Target for everything disastrous that's happened since then.

So yeah, not much going on. I'm wondering what happens when you're claims representative calls the chick who hit you's insurance company (don't get on me, I know that's not grammatically correct) and they go, Yeah, no, we don't think it was her fault either, and you KNOW it wasn't YOUR fault, and they go back and forth saying was not, was too, was not, was too... how long before the claims chick makes contact with me and tells me what to do next? I emailed her last week and she said the other company was trying to decide whether or not it was their party's fault. Um. What part of her getting out of the car and saying "Oh my gosh I shouldn't be driving today anyway!" are you not getting? Granted, I'm sure she didn't say this to the insurance company, but come on. I was in drive! Isn't that an automatic? And look at the flipping pictures! How can I have hit her when the pictures clearly show she hit me? Will this ever get resolved? Will I ever have three minutes in a day to send another email to the claims chick? When you read this, does my voice sound as shrill as it is in my head while I'm thinking it? Because it should. It's really shrill right now.

Tomorrow I have dinner out at a place that has rabbit and a lot of things made of beets on the menu, so we'll see how that works out. Not much else on the old agenda, but it's early in the week and we'll see if this desk doesn't kick my ass so bad I turn down any really good offers. Two days and I'm beat. I'm kind of afraid.

Is it a bad omen that it pours down rain every morning that I go in to this branch? And, you know, that the place is haunted? Should I be concerned?

Saturday, April 03, 2010


So last year, and I'm not even really sure when last year, because I was just looking for the post where I blogged about it, and I must not have blogged about it, because I can't find it, but I KNOW I blogged about it because why WOULDN'T I have blogged about it, which means I'm just not looking in the right place, because, you know, I'm not really sure when last year it was, I met up with my old friend Brenda from the neighborhood I grew up in. It had been 30 years pretty much, because we weren't really friends once high school hit, and it was fabulous fun. I also saw her little brother Darby briefly that evening, and then the two of us went to dinner and caught up, as much as you can catch up 30 years in one sitting. She holds a very interesting position in a governmental agency that shall remain nameless, and so she lives on the east coast. Darby still lives here, and he's pretty much all the family they have left, so every year he goes out there and she comes out here.

This week she is here. So (through the magic of social networking sites with which I am sure you are all familiar) over this past year we both also virtually reunited with another person from the block, and this time around we decided to meet up with her too. Thursday night the plan was for me, Brenda, Darb and Claudia to meet at a restaurant and catch up and have some fun. I decided to add Tom to the mix because after all he grew up on the same street, and since he isn't on any social networking sites this would be a complete and total trip for him. And plus I didn't tell anyone he was coming and everyone likes a surprise. Right?

So anyway there we all were and it was great fun and surprising and stupid and some people got drunk-ish and some didn't and we took a bunch of pictures and Claudia actually brought one picture from WAY back in the day and it was just stupid fun and loud and raucous.

But it just sort of gets you thinking (or me) about how when you're 8, or 10, or 14, how you don't have any idea of what you're going to be like when you're 44, you just ARE, you just play games like Guy in the Middle, or Sidewalk Tag, or wiffle ball in the back yard or whatever, and you get in fights and then they go away and then you get older and older and the fights last longer and you start developing personality traits and opinions and pretty soon you are this adult, and a whole bunch of time passes, and you've done all this stuff, and accomplished all these goals (or not) and you are this person that has formed as a result of your life experiences and then one night, for like four hours, you all sit down at a table and kind of look at each other and try to see that 8 year old in that face and talk about stuff that happened and maybe briefly try to paint a picture of why you are what and who you are and then, in the end, you're back to being that group of kids riding bikes and playing in the orchard and throwing dirt clods at each other and water balloons from the deck over the Johnstons' house at the berry picking bus when it drops kids off on Lombard.

And then the check comes and you are kind of thankful that you're not that kid anymore because that kid only got a dime on Saturdays and there's no way you could have afforded that bar bill.