Sunday, February 27, 2011

Things I can be assured of on a Sunday

(It's not what you think - it's February, for Pete's sake. If it was October I'd of course mention that I can be assured that I will never be able to watch a Browns game on TV.)

- I'll wake up early and not feel like showering.
- I'll dick around on the computer for something like four hours before finding the motivation to do the things I didn't do on Saturday.
- While making the bed, the minute I fluff the hell out of the feather bed, one or two kitties will jump up on the fluffiest part and tramp it down just as I am putting on the fitted sheet.
- I change the litter box on Sundays, and when I do, I take the big lid off it and put it in the only available spot - the hallway. Then I go about the task of putting the old Wonderbox in a trash bag, cleaning out the bottom of the main box, refilling a new Wonderbox and putting it back together. Invariably, when it's time to take the lid out of the hall and put it back on the main box, there is a kitten hiding under it, which, when I lift it, scares the shit of her, causing her back feet to get tangled up in it, me to shriek, the other kitty to run for cover, and the aftermath of reassuring the kittens that their WHOLE LIVES this has been happening and I don't see a change coming in the foreseeable future.
- I'll put on clothes, rearrange my non-showered hair into something reasonably acceptable for a Target run, then sit back down to the computer for another half an hour.
- After a brief expedition to the outside world, where church-traffic is completely unmanageable and people are out Sunday-driving, if you can remember THAT term, I'll come home, unpack the crap I for some reason HAD to have, put my houseclothes on and lounge around for the next few hours. Naps are not uncommon.
- I'll feel major guilt for having only cleaned ONE bathroom and for not having vacuumed. Which means I'll haul out the vacuum cleaner and stare at it from the sofa for about an hour.
- I cannot be assured that I will actually turn the vacuum on.
- I will, at every turn, have kittens laced in and out of my feet as I walk or sit. If we are together too long in the house they try to annoy me into leaving.
- I thank the stars that I haven't pulled the plug on my HBO subscription when one of their Sunday night dramas come on. I am glad I still think I have money.
- I start to stress over what I have on the agenda for the work week.

Never been a huge fan of Sundays, but I suppose that as soon as I come to terms with the fact, finally, that I have never been a big fan of cleaning or being productive on No Shower Sunday either, this will get easier to bear. Maybe.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Let it (not) snow

They've been forecasting all week for Snowmaggedon here in the Portland area, and, you know how it is here. They are rarely right. But this one looks like it's supposed to be pretty big (for here), and if that's the case, then in theory we'll wake up tomorrow to 6-8 inches of pure hell.

Oh wait. That was what they thought on Tuesday.

Now it's possibly up to 1 inch. And slush. But it's supposed to be really cold tonight, so my bet is on ice. Because that's so much better.

All week, then, I've been planning my back up. I have a bag full of active files that are supposed to go for month end sitting in my living room just in case I have to call that Amanda and have her pick me up and take me to Lincoln Tower. I have my tennis shoes at the ready (since I don't own boots). I have gloves. I plan to wear socks tomorrow. I have a clip for my hair. I have the telephone number of my 8:30am courtesy signing Hollywood is supposed to do for me just in case it's so bad that the whole city is locked down. I have various and sundry supplies - food, water, kibble, kitty litter. I have 75 books I have never read in case the power goes out. I'm so dialed it's insane.

Which means that tomorrow I'll get up, take a shower, haul all these files back to the car, and drive in to the Beaverton office as if it was just another Thursday.

Please God. Because that's what I do. I make contingency plans to the nth degree and then it doesn't happen. I'm banking on this one. I'm too busy at work for this crap. I don't have to tell you that I live on a hill, that they never clear my parking lot, and that I am currently working at a branch on another hill, or that I'm a big wuss when it comes to snow here in Portland because we don't plow and/or use salt and it's just a big clusterfuck. You already know this.

Here's the good news - one of my heaters in the living room died on Friday night and today was the first day I could get the property manager to come in for a look. They did. They replaced it. It could be warm here again soon. That's a big fat Yay because these days I am cold ALL THE TIME and tonight, whether they are right about the snow or not, it's going to get cold.

Always a silver lining. Let's hope those weather guys are wrong again.

Saturday, February 19, 2011


(It seems to be a big part of my life these days, though that's probably not the best of ideas. Here are some observations.)

I was napping this afternoon and when I woke up I decided to run to the Macy's and see if I could find something fun and cheap. They're having a sale, you know. They are ALWAYS having a sale. But I also have one of those 20% off coupon thingies that will expire next week and so I figured I'd get some mileage out of it.

Racks and racks of sale items. Hoards of people. A DJ. Playing Brittany Spears. I think. It was loud.

I don't like big huge sales racks (which is why I cannot shop at places like Marshall's and Ross) - all that crap crammed in all over the place and you can't really see what's there. It seems the second I touch something it falls off the hanger. I can't stand that. Plus it always drives me nuts when someone takes something or somethings off their hanger, and then when they decide they don't like it they just throw it on top of the rack. So here's these long drapey things covering up the stuff that's hanging. It's sloppy and irresponsible. Being all about texture I generally keep an eye out for that - color and texture. I don't like to go through the racks item by item, I just look to see what jumps out at me, and then take a look. When there is long drapey crap on top of the rack you can't see what's under and you could be missing something. That's my point. Just hang it back up. Come on.

I saw a sweater in a brand I wouldn't normally wear and the color was good and the texture was good but when I pulled it out it had one of those sewn in inserts - you know, like, it LOOKED like it already had a tank top in there. But you know it didn't because it was just sewn in around the v-neck. That's a huge pet peeve of mine. First of all, when I wear a v-neck sweater, I'll wear a tank or camisole under it not necessarily for the fashion of it, but also for the fact that it's a sweater and I feel like it shouldn't be right up against my skin. There should be some kind of buffer. So you don't scratch. Or heaven forbid sweat all over the wool. Which in my sweater-wearing-weather will never happen. But still. You also see those sewn in inserts on cotton v-necks, but this time the insert is like a blouse. That one drives me bananas. You should probably have a blouse or a tank top in your wardrobe already that you can wear under the sweater you choose. It's no fair cheating with fake stuff. I'm just really not a fan. Worse are the ones that are cardigans with the entire front of a looking-like-a-blouse insert sewn in. Like nobody's going to be fooled by THAT one? What happens when the wind blows or you find yourself having to walk really fast? Everyone will know you were either too lazy or too cheap to buy the cardigan and the blouse separately. And you look like an idiot.

I drove over some glass, and behind a 1984 Camaro with a brand new Oregon State sticker on the back of it (so that seemed about right), and sale shopping stresses me out because people bug me. But I finally did find a sweater I liked ($128 down to $38, so you really can't beat Macy's) and the DJ finally started playing Earth Wind and Fire, and the sales counter I found was open when I walked up. So these are all good things. I'll let the positives outweigh the negatives today. It's sunny.

Friday, February 11, 2011

"Strategic Default"

I'm cruising channels tonight, because I've watched all my shows on DVR, and it's just a little bit too early to go to bed on a Friday night, and I stumble upon "60 Minutes on CNBC". I click on the info bar on my remote and see that it has to do with the mortgage debacle. Intrigued, but knowing it's probably going to piss me off, I hit enter just in time for the opening of the segment.

The first couple lives in Arizona, in a newer subdivision with the requisite cherry-cabinet-stainless-steel-appliances-granite-counter tops kitchen and three bedroom/two bath wonderfulness. They bought it a couple of years ago for $250,000 and their financial situation has not changed since then. They recently tried to sell it but apparently they determined its current value at around $145,000.

The second couple bought a bungalow, also in Arizona, about three years ago for over $400,000. Again, financially they are just as sound as ever, but they discovered the current value of THEIR home is now about $85,000.

The common denominator? They both are "walking away" from their homes. They feel that, what with being so upside down in their properties, the most reasonable thing for them to do is walk away and let the banks foreclose.

Um. Hang on a minute here. Didn't you sign a promissory note to borrow the money for those houses? A contract, if you will? Sure you did. So tell me the thought process here again?

One day you've decided to house shop and you find the perfect house and it's fabulous and you simply must have it because it's just a great thing and turns out the price is right and you qualify for a mortgage loan and you've got the down payment and you have a great job and your kid grows up with a back yard and this is just fantastic all around. Then suddenly the bottom drops out of the market and everywhere you read and everything you hear on TV is all about how everyone is upside down and property values are spiraling into nothingness and oh my hell you owe $250,000 on a house worth $100,000 less than that. But you still have your job, and you probably have had a couple of raises since you bought it, and here's hoping you paid a little toward the principle just in the normal course of amortization. So, what, again? No real reason, you just decided you don't WANT it anymore? What the fuck kind of plan is that?

Here's the thing, kids. If I see a sweater at Macy's and I really like it and it makes me look tan and the price is reasonable enough so I buy it, but then two weeks later I'm cruising past the Goodwill and I see one just like it in a window for $45 less than I paid for it originally, guess what? I don't get my money back. I have to live with the fact that the price I paid for it when I paid for it was my decision, and I am responsible for the consequences. This is what happens - values increase, values decrease. Just because everyone in your neighborhood lost their homes which resulted in really bad comps for your home doesn't mean that you should get any kind of special treatment. You bought the house, you can still afford it, you either need to sell it and pay the difference in what is owed to the bank, or keep flipping living in it. Why do you have to move anyway? You just told Morley Safer you were still financially sound!

I'm so sick of this. I am so sick of the selfish, simple minded people who feel like just because somebody else "gets" to walk away from their mortgage, from their LEGALLY BINDING CONTRACT, from the CREDIT OBLIGATION, that they should be able to, too. Yes the unemployment rate is a nightmare anymore, I know, half my friends are facing just that dilemma. Why? Because the housing market is in the toilet because there is too much bank-owned inventory pouring in daily and banks are terrified to lend money to NEW buyers. Why shouldn't they be? I just saw on fucking "60 Minutes" that half of America doesn't NEED to go into foreclosure but they are doing it ANYway because they WANT to. Not because they NEED to, but because they WANT to. Sickening.

They called this phenomenon "strategic default" and it makes me sick. These two couples know that their credit will be shot, but on TV they say to the camera, that's okay, I'm making more money now that I don't have to pay that horrid house payment (that horrid payment you have NO PROBLEM paying, by the way), so I'll just pay cash for everything. Which will be great for you when you need credit in some way and can't put electricity in your new rental with out a deposit, for instance, or can't buy that new Wii at the Best Buy you have to have, you fucking sheep, because your buddy has it and that means you have to have it, too.

We give the banks a lot of shit for getting us in this mess we're in, and I'll give you that. I'll agree greed is a terrible thing when it comes to corporate America. But what about personal responsibility? What about being aware enough of the risks of owning a home? What about signing a contract and actually abiding by it? That's not the fault of the banks - that's the fault of our society saying we DESERVE granite counter tops, and we DESERVE a new car every two years, and we DESERVE a 55" flat screen TV. Entitlement. It makes me sick. These idiots do not realize they are not a part of the solution.

Talk about the fall of an empire. Strategic, indeed.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Work with me, people...

Can we talk just a minute about communication? It's really important. It lets other people know that you got their message, or that you understand what they want or need, or that you're alive. Most people are pretty good with it, now that in today's world you don't really need to pick up a phone. You can write on their wall or tag them on Facebook, you can send an email or a text. You can answer them via instant messenger, and if they aren't online, well, they'll get the message when they log back in.

I have friends I haven't spoken to in a while - they're friends, and I think they understand that sometimes it's just too busy to sit and chat. Sometimes there are just too many things to do in your free time that a good old fashioned telephone conversation is difficult to do. I hope they understand that, anyway. I understand it when I don't hear from them. Because I know they are there. They "like" my status or they send a text or an email. We know each other are out there and it's fine.

But work? No. With work it's pretty important to communicate. When it's business related you can pretty much bet I'm not asking for a check in just because I'm bored and want you to come play with me. If I send an email, or an attachment that needs your review, anything that is beyond "fyi", let me know you're out there. Let me know that, although you are not in a position to drop everything right now for MY needs, you will get to it when you can. Don't make me think that you have just glossed over my request and have back-burnered it. Because seriously I hate being ignored.

And that's what I'm thinking. If it's been five business hours since I sent a reasonable request (meaning something that doesn't require you to do five hours or more of research on it), then all I can assume is that you don't have any intention of responding to me. And when you ignore me, I lose my head. A lot of people can attest to what happens when I lose my head. It's not pretty. Feelings get hurt, names are called, it's awkward when we finally see each other face-to-face.

I do my dangedest to be the very best that I can be at my job, but it's not easy. Because it's not the kind of job you can do alone. I am nothing without all of the people that make my job exist. So if I ask for something, your approval of a document or a status update, it's not because I'm sitting around trying to make work for myself. It's because I can't get the answer myself, and I need your help. We all look good when we communicate. It's been the cornerstone of our existence as human beings since the cavemen and I think something that's stuck around that long is probably worth something.

Sunday, February 06, 2011


Blog blog blog. I'm really trying. Sitting here this morning, killing time, knowing I should write something but not really having anything to say.

So... What's up? Work has been painfully slow (comparatively speaking, when I'm on this desk) and it's a frightening, frightening time out here in escrow-land. I am so wanting to book Cancun for April but am holding off. Too scary. People tell me I don't have much to worry about but look what happens when you start getting all comfortable..

So, really, in times like these, why NOT go jack up the balance on your Nordstrom card by buying all manner of clothes? Right? But I think I'm taking back the jeans I bought because, let's face it, I'm not really a "boot-cut" kind of girl. It's the kind of boot-cut that looks smashing with a pair of pointy-toe heels. Like the pair of pointy-toe heels Marcia the Sales Gal had my try on with said jeans. They looked great, but it was quite a little trip down the hall to the big mirrors in those babies. "Practice!" says Marcia the Sales Gal, to which I say, "I'm 45 years old; I do not need to practice walking in this kind of shoe."

So back to Nordstrom they go, and then I might just replace them with something more "me" - Calvin Klein or Ralph Lauren. Something straight. That you can wear with shoes that are not an ankle waiting to snap.

Fascinating, isn't it?

It's relatively dry out so there is no denying it: I need to get out and do some shit. Because honestly, you cannot waste this kind of weather. Time to try to coax a mini-adventure out of this Sunday. Things need to pick up a little bit, kids. I know I say it every year (Month. Week.), but I'm in need of a story.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

That's all I have to say