Saturday, December 31, 2005

In with the new.

Seattle was wet and warm and wonderful. Eric and my parents have met, and Eric didn't run screaming for the nearest airport and my parents didn't take me aside and whisper, "Are you sure you love this guy?" so all is well on that front. Christmas Eve was the family get-together, full of cookies and ribs (my step-uncle had three helpings, one at dinner, one at dessert, and one at game time) and talking and games and watching Gabe's antics. Andy got me a sudoku book. Eric and I had formerly scorned the sudoku craze, but then I opened the book and we worked on progressively harder puzzles the entire rest of the trip. Christmas day I got a red cashmere sweater from Mom, identical except in color to the two cashmere sweaters she's gotten me the previous two Christmases, and a movie and some books and an art print from my brother, which surprised me, and World of Warcraft from Eric. We'll see how that goes. Mom and Dad and James got Eric presents from the list I had sent, which I appreciated and which I think he did too.

The next day we drove to Portland, to watch Gabe some more, and the next day went to Mt. Rainier. Eric felt at home once we got up to the snow line. And we went to Jamba Juice twice over the trip--we were tabulating points for living in Toledo versus the Pacific Northwest over the entire visit, and Jamba Juice was a point for the Pacific Northwest. Possibly two. I was a little homesick the last couple of days, but I'm over it now. I still want to go back, but it's nice here, too. We had another Christmas last night, with Eric's family. They handle present opening differently from my family, but it worked out and I got nice stuff (notably knitting gadgets and Tupperware). Eric's sister got a new wool coat I coveted, but I had also gotten a new wool coat from Mom which I knew I was getting since she had been telling me for years that my old wool coat needed replacing and this year she had stopped trying to persuade me and said, "What color do you want?" I left the old coat at her house. I hope she at least donates it to Goodwill, as it's a perfectly good coat--though my new one is admittedly much better.

So I'm warm and current on family hugs and laden with material things, and now I'm helping with a New Year's party. In the new year I will be: getting an interim job, getting a real job, getting a house or at least a permanent living space, working on writing and knitting and quilting (oh, hey, I have to write a new Annual Report, don't I? Geez, already?) and generally getting my life in order. Business as usual. Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

It's beginning to look at lot like Christmas.

So I originally intended to make a pair of mittens for Pat. However, this was merely silliness, plus I'm running out of time here, so I decided to make a mini-mitten ornament instead. I used this pattern, with minor modifications, and my own handspun yarn. I liked it enough that I decided to make two more, one for me and one for Mom. Observe these mittens:

Same pattern, same needles, same knitter, same yarn, wildly different sizes. Clearly I need to work on the evenness of my spinning. Still, I'm entirely proud of these things.

Also, I have finally finished Cozy.

Seven balls of Knitpicks Elegance made it about my height (66 inches) when I finished knitting and about a foot longer once I got it wet and stretched it. You wouldn't think something this lacy would take so darned long, but it's finished and I'm pleased--I'm just waiting for it to dry completely so I can wrap it and put it under the tree, assuming Brenda ever puts it up. It turns out that the bare frame of a Papasan chair is great for drying such things.

So, with these things complete, I am now completely done with Christmas crafting except for (a) Marie's quilt, which I gave up on until after I get back, and (b) Gabe's second pair of mittens, which I will make on the plane. Now, to copy down cookie recipes (since Mom's expected several batches of cookies out of me on the 23rd) and finish packing and print out the flight itinerary. We leave in one day! Posted by Picasa

Friday, December 16, 2005

On being gone.

It's strange to come home to this apartment after having been gone two or three days. Wednesday I went to Toledo Jen's, for a craft night--she worked on her hand quilting, I knit--and it snowed, wet thick snow that piled up quickly. I decided to stay the night rather than brave the roads to get to Eric's as originally planned. In the morning I woke up to the kids moving upstairs, rejoicing that they had no school, and in the afternoon Jen and I went to the Sonflower Quilt Shop and a fine-art store and Kroger. Then I went to Eric's, a day late, and finished a sock for Gabe (from this pattern, only with a few changes to make it look better and fit better considering I don't have Gabe's foot to look at) and ate not-bad Chinese food and did some talking about a house and a future and things of that sort. Today I'm here, and tonight we're going back to Jen's for a dinner-and-games night (I have to make dessert...I think I want to make apple pie) and tomorrow we're doing my laundry and the last of Christmas shopping and Sunday is our one-year anniversary and we're going to lounge around and do more talking about a house and a future.

And in less than a week I go back to Washington! We go, I mean. I'm glad Eric's coming and I do want him to meet my family, but I'm afraid that mostly I'm thinking about being back in the Pacific Northwest, back in the land of topography (or anyway a land of topography) and the Cascades and coffeeshops and Mom and Dad and James and Bev. And Ben Franklin Crafts. And the neighborhood up on the Plateau where they have the huge nutcrackers and the carousel. I played "Just Another Wet Seattle Christmas" for Eric the other day. I really love this song. "Christmas is here, spread happy cheer/No sunny sky 'til next July/When will it clear, can't see Rainier/Nothing but rain, drives me insane." And the end: "All I want for Christmas is another double latte." All I want for Christmas is to feel okay doing what I'm doing. And to do better things, I guess. But going home is a great second choice.

Monday, December 12, 2005


I woke up at 8:29, a minute before the alarm would go off for me to turn the furnace off at 68 degrees. (The connection from the furnace to the thermostat is broken here. So we have to manually cycle it between 60 and 68. I keep telling Eric, at my apartment I have heat. Then he points out that World of Warcraft inexplicably will not work on my computer, even though everything else does, and as this is his main extracurricular activity--other than me--it's enough reason not to be at my apartment all the time.) I turned off the alarm, prodded the lump of beagle on the bed, and went back to sleep.

I dreamed I was back at EEP, sort of, talking to a young EEPer I was familiar with (in the dream) about the EEP Drama Society. They were having difficulty deciding whether to do a play this year, and if so what to do that wouldn't deplete the money they had. "If Mike and I want to make an investment with this money all we have to do is talk to Dr. Frost," this EEPer told me. "But to do a play we've got to talk to everyone and they have to discuss everything, and I made a list, here, of the plays we could do and estimated revenue, and..." All a mess. I wanted to offer to help, but then I remembered I was an alumnus and not eligible, plus I lived in Toledo now and probably wouldn't even come to the play. So I went to the back rooms and started taking down my things. I had a rapier on a wall from two quarters ago, and a big camera that seemed to work with a box of sand and water in place of the lens, and Mom's yobo bed from Korea, and a decorated ironing board, and a half-finished quilt on the wall. When I was finished the rooms and halls were blank and I thought bleakly of having to trek fifteen minutes across campus twice to get everything into my car.

Then I woke up, twenty minutes later, and the thermostat fortunately only showed 70 degrees so I turned off the furnace and got dressed before it got too cold. This weekend we went Christmas shopping and I got everything I need--now I just need to finish projects. That and pursue some sort of worthwhile occupation while I wait for an employer to say, "Come work for us." Or for after the holidays when I'll apply at either Borders or Books-A-Million and get this life on the road, ready or not. Also, apparently, I need to find a local community theater to volunteer at.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Look what I made!

First, this is what happens when you read Doomsday Book and buy a spinning kit:

My very own yarn. Spinning is fun. Oddly soothing. I've bought a bag of white wool roving (what yarn is before it's yarn) from a farm online and I'm going to try dyeing it with Easter egg dye--also practicing spinning lots more to try to get an even yarn. And then the next step in learning to spin: plying.

And then there's this:

TST (Trees, Santa, Trees). It's finally finished, after a year and a half and a recipient switch, just in time for Christmas. It's meant to be a lap quilt, not a bed quilt (I'm putting this picture up because the full-front one turned out blurry). The binding was torture, though I learned that you can't make a binding bigger than the seam allowance, at least not the way everyone says to do it (folding to mitre the corners). But it's finished and I'm happy. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, December 01, 2005

The Christmas spirit.

It's snowing and I am once again gloating about being home. Later I'm making banana gingerbread (as I have three overripe bananas that need doing something with) and practicing Christmas songs on my guitar. And gloating. I'm getting coal in my stocking for sure.

Three weeks until we go back for Christmas! I just finished sending out the Christmas gift exchange names. We started this last year, to ease up everyone's burden of buying everyone a gift, especially as the family was getting bigger, and this year Dad had me arrange it because I wanted to get my cousin Cody on purpose because I already bought him a gift. Next year somebody else will work the system. I hope. Because sending haranguing e-mails to my relatives ("You never sent any suggestions for presents; do it now or I'll put you down for coal, Vaseline, and #2 pencils") is not a good way to remain loved.

I've actually got a decent amount of Christmas shopping/making done. I've also got leaves strewn across my floor--fabric leaves--because I wanted to test the colors of Marie's quilt, which I'm thinking of as "The Sacrifice," which is probably a silly name. It needs fabric and I should go out and et some, but it's snowy and I won't be able to use fabric until tomorrow afternoon at the earliest anyway because it needs washing and I left my detergent at Brenda's and we're staying here tonight, so I'm going to be lazy and make my gingerbread instead. And work on Cozy and finishing TST and maybe starting Pat's mittens. And, as I said, gloat.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Wrong turns.

I've been thinking lately that the nice thing about being someplace new, especially if you've got plenty of time, is that you never take a wrong turn. Either you're getting where you're trying to go or you're learning more about your new city.

That was not the case this afternoon. I was definitely taking wrong turns. It took me two hours to get to the bank. It was supposed to be about forty-five minutes, which is what it took to get back. It took so long primarily because 53 is a screwed-up road and I didn't read all the signs carefully enough the first time. I had to get directions from the bank and then from Mapquest to get there. Once I did everything was straightforward, though.

When I got back I called Asia and she suggested starting to look for houses just after the holidays. I need to apply for a job today. There was nothing in Sunday's classifieds. I'm feeling a little guilty for not getting a holiday job, but I really don't want to and I can afford it and I wouldn't be able to work on the busiest days of the season anyhow. I was thinking last night, while Eric's sister talked about how much money she was making in her new job and what she was spending it on besides her student loans, I used to make that much money, and I've been financially responsible my entire life, why am I having to be so careful with it? and then I realized that it's because I've been financially responsibly my entire life--which admittedly has not been that long, but still--that I can afford to be unemployed for the next several months if it becomes necessary. I really am doing okay. And I still don't regret quitting my job and don't expect to.


The computer is fixed--it was the RAM; I'm borrowing a stick of Eric's for now and will be getting the replacement sticks in about a week--and it's sixty degrees out. I have to drive out to Oak Harbor still, but it's sunny and warm and I think I know where my missing Billy Joel CD went. Change is good.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

I love technology.

My new computer will not work. First, it was shutting down randomly; that turned out to be because the fan wasn't mounted properly and it kept overheating. Now, it's randomly having fatal errors. It doesn't seem to be the hard drive. It doesn't seem to be the CD drive unless it's both. It could be the motherboard or the processor chip or the RAM. I'm learning all sorts of things about how computers work that I didn't know when my computer was working fine. We can't take it back easily because we ordered it online and it's a Frankenputer. I am not pleased. Eric is beyond displeased, probably mostly because this was supposed to be something fairly straightforward in his area of expertise that he was going to do for me and it's turned into this pain.

Otherwise, things are going well. Except for the snow and the ice and the cold, but that's going away now and it's not so bad when I don't have anywhere I'm required to drive except four miles to where I can get food and company and a bed whenever I'm tired of being alone.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The new start

It's a gray, cold, rainy sort of day. It's exactly the sort of day for staying at home with cocoa and a book and enjoying the fact that I don't have to go to work, and that's exactly what I've been doing. This is the first day that everything's been put away (except for one half-full box of office supplies and one half-full box of...stuff...that I think I'm just going to put away as is) and my cable's been installed and I've been at home to relax and start to do the things I said I would do once I got settled. I guess that means I'm settled. I have files and final bills to send out and a new computer to anticipate and the quilt to make for Marie.

At my going-away party everyone talked and laughed and I felt a little left out, which is only right I suppose, but not much; and the pizza was excellent and I got a gift certificate to Hobby Lobby, which will be nice for quilt backing and batting, and Margaret Atwood's Negotiating With the Dead from Jeri (whose book I helped with). And I saw Kathleen and KB. Kathleen had agreed to help me move. Ivy asked me if I had enough help and when I said no, volunteered herself and Ron. But the only one who showed up was Marie.

She gave me a scarf she had crocheted herself. It's blue and wonderfully soft and I was touched. Apparently I wasn't so bad an officemate after all--either that or she was just so glad to be rid of me. It was a long day--why do I have so much stuff?--but we got everything packed, including my car on the trailer, by dark. Then we went to J. R. Scotese's for dinner and then Marie went home and Eric and I went to start for Toledo and the U-Haul truck dashboard lights didn't work. We hadn't noticed--or rather, Eric hadn't noticed, because I had been chicken and asked him to drive the truck from the rental place, which was a convenience store, by the by; we only knew to stop there because we saw the trucks--in the daytime, but now it was dark and driving with no idea of how fast he was going or how much gas he had left sounded neither appealing nor safe.

So we called the U-Haul emergency number, and also Eric's mom Brenda. U-Haul kept us on hold and then asked the problem and then said they'd call back with an ETA on a technician to help us and didn't. Brenda asked Eric to find the fuse box and switch out the bad fuse with a nonessential one to get us going. But the batteries in my flashlight were dead--I've replaced them--and when he finally did it with my tiny red pocketknife light and the light from my cell phone it didn't help. We called U-Haul back and I talked to a nice young lady who said that it was now so late no vendors were open to help us. I said, You'll reimburse us for our hotel costs tonight, yes? and she said yes. So we went to the Hampton on Colonel Glenn, which I believe was the hotel I stayed in my first night in Dayton when I interviewed, and in the morning the dashboard was of course visible so we just drove.

We unpacked everything very quickly and then went off for dinner. The apartment isn't bad. I'm really glad I have brand-new carpet, though, because it isn't very good either and the new carpet makes it feel much nicer. Still, it's cheap, and it's only six months. Over the next few days--last week--I got things organized and cleaned the kitchen floor twice, once because it was visibly filthy and once because my socks kept sticking to it even afterward. I've spent some time getting lost while driving. I've responded to a few job ads and ordered a couple of Christmas presents (Christmas in six weeks! Isn't that wild?) and gone apple-picking and endured a minor cold. Toledo's not bad so far.

This week I start up my usual employments--sewing and knitting and, once again, writing--and try not to worry about my jobless state. I'm actually not worried about it, but that worries me itself because I know I'm lazy and would be happy doing nothing as long as possible, and technically speaking if I'm frugal it will be possible for quite a while. Having no income isn't the same as having no money, but I'm trying to treat it that way so that it doesn't become the same. Fortunately my pursuits are pretty cheap (and I have my Hobby Lobby gift certificate to help out) and so are my living expenses for the moment. I'd forgotten how carefree apartment living is. Maybe this is just what I need.

Monday, November 07, 2005


Hi. I live in Toledo now. It's weird--that thought, not the city. The move went reasonably well except for a lack of dashboard light that ended up with Eric and me staying in a hotel Saturday night instead of driving up 75. I'm making Marie a quilt because she was the only one who showed up to help and we would still be moving if not for her. Most of my furniture is in place now and the boxes are being unpacked. I'm over at Eric's now, waiting for people to get home for dinner, and this is all the Internet I get because I didn't call the cable company. Or rather, I didn't get through. I need to hunt up a phone book. Because I really want an Internet connection. Then I can write about my apartment and how it feels to be out of work and how very filthy my kitchen floor was and how I was too chicken to drive a U-Haul with a car trailer. But it all depends on the cable company.

Friday, November 04, 2005

19 change-of-addresses down, 2 to go.

Tip: whenever you know you'll be planning to cancel a dial-up service, always, without fail, call two months early and use the two free months they offer you. I daresay you could call three or four months early and negotiate.

Just insurance and cable left.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

The big day

Today is my last day of work. Today I finish up any little tasks I've been given (one). Today I use the postage meter for the last time. (Yes, I pay for it.) Today I take the last personal items from my third of the office--my talking bug and my African violet. Today I wipe my computer clean of all bookmarks and personal files (resumes and job listings mostly). Today I say good-bye to a regular paycheck, albeit for a short time (I hope).

Last night I taught Peggy and Marie to knit, and they both caught on pretty quickly--probably partly because they both crochet and partly because I taught them the easier (if slower) way. Marie knitted a little loose, which surprised me, since I understand 97% of all knitters start out way too tight. Peggy was almost exactly perfect in her tension, which surprised me even more. They both seemed to enjoy it, though, and Peggy has promised to finish a scarf and send me a picture of it. The other group members, who are avid Harry Potter fans, have told me to come down next time--first Wednesday in December--so that we can discuss the movie.

It was a nice night. Didn't leave me enough packing time, of course, but oh well. I'm being very lethargic about the packing. I've done the living room, the basement, the bathroom, and both bedrooms except for some hanging clothes and my hats. That leaves the kitchen, the breezeway (shoes and coats), and the garage. Tonight I'll be working on the ktichen and the clothes and washing my sheets, bathmats, and any other remaining laundry. Oh, my washer and dryer, how I'll miss you.

Tonight is my going-away party. Marie had to leave early last night to get to a store whose name she refused to divulge, saying she was being sneaky because she had to go and get something secret. (I'm very dense about these sorts of things. I wouldn't have realized her odd behavior meant anything if she hadn't outright said so.) We're all meeting at LaRosa's at 5:30 for pizza and talking and some sort of secret. It should be fun. And a good way to end my last day.

(I brought in four packs of lunchmeat to leave in the kitchen. It's not as nice as when Carrie brought in three tubs of local ice cream, but maybe somebody here will want them and it's too late for them at the house.)

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Yay for justice and Liberty Mutual.

I got a check from my insurance company yesterday. $500. My deductible. They got Idiot Green Truck Driver to pay up. Justice prevails! I don't hate moving quite so much anymore.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

In which Jennifer Homeowner laments the loss of her identity, only considerably less elegant.

The apartment leasing agent and I are on "Jen" terms now. As in, she's started calling me Jen. Since she's trying to be helpful, I'm trying not to be annoyed. She has verified for me twice that my new address is what she wrote it down to be, verification I needed since the electric company couldn't find it in their database. Apparently they have one number off, as we verified by checking meter numbers. Anyway, that's set, and if the check I sent today gets there Friday I'll be fine. If not, I'm going to have to drive up there Friday and give her another check, an act I'm not looking forward to at all--though it might let me pick up Eric and thus cancel the car dolly. But no, I'm going to need my car to carry all the fragile stuff anyway--telescope, computer, DVD player, VCR, two stereos, electronic keyboard. And I need that five hours I'd lose because I'm not nearly as motivated to get everything packed as I ought to be.

I hate moving. I knew I was going to reach a time when I no longer liked moving and this is it. I want to be there, I don't want to be here, but I don't like this process of doing it. From the time I went to Baltimore for grad school in 1999 up until this move to Toledo, I have moved seven times. That's an average of more than a move a year. And only to three places, really--Baltimore, Seattle, Ohio. Why do I keep changing homes? It's not to prevent me from accumulating stuff, because I've accumulated (books mostly, but also, you know, a sewing machine and a fabric stash and a Papasan chair and a KitchenAid food processor). If I kept going different places, as I'd originally wanted to, that would be fine, but no, it's only been three, and I'm now at the point where I don't want to be a stranger in a new city anymore; I want to be where my friends and my family are. And I'm still going to have to keep moving, in six months to a house (why do I need a house?) and in a couple of years to the West Coast and possibly a couple of years after that back if Eric can't stand it. I have to keep all my boxes. (My new apartment has the water heater in the walk-in closet. I'm thinking of taking the second bedroom to sleep in and making that room the office/craft room so that it doesn't bother me every morning when I get dressed.)

Oh, and the buyers don't want the washer and dryer, which is reasonable but disappointing. "If she leaves them, we'll take them," they said, via The Agent. Ha ha ha. Now I'm definitely not leaving them. Only not leaving them involves unhooking them and hauling them up the basement stairs (which probably means taking the railing off) and putting them in storage for six months. I don't wanna. I hate moving.

Monday, October 31, 2005

How to make truffles.

The interview didn't go too badly. They didn't ask me any questions that required knowing how to do statistics, just wanted to know what sort of tests I'd done. I think I came off as a little too research-oriented, since the position's more focused on analysis and service, but I answered all the questions and they were nice to me. There were five of them, so it was a good thing they were nice to me. I couldn't remember any of their names and only a few of their affiliations, though.

Also? After my performance review I felt much less guilty about using sick time to cover the interview.

I made truffles Thursday to bring to a couple we were visiting Friday night. This is M's reconstituted recipe, as tested by me over three days:

1 bar (500 g) Trader Joe's Pound Plus chocolate (I used dark instead of bittersweet or's good.)
½ pint whipping cream
Mint flavoring (and then a little vanilla because I used peppermint oil, not extract, and I thought it tasted funny)

Day 1. Slowly warm the whipping cream and flavoring on the stove to just boiling. Remove from heat, add chocolate in chunks, and stir until melted. Put back on the stove over very low heat if it just won't melt any farther and stir continuously. Place in the fridge to cool.

Day 2. Realize the chocolate is far too hard to do anything with. Let bowl sit on counter until it reaches room temperature. Chip chunks of truffle out of the bowl and attempt to roll with clean hands. After the first perfectly-rolled truffle, realize truffle does not really roll. Decide that irregular chunks look better anyhow. Drop in cocoa powder to coat. Place in lovely box cleverly lined with aluminum foil and put in back seat of car in cool garage so as not to forget it the next day.

Day 3. Drive to Toledo. Leave truffles in boyfriend's kitchen while interviewing for a job. Afterwards, present test piece to boyfriend. When boyfriend says cocoa powder is too bitter, argue briefly, then consent to add powdered sugar. Remove truffles from box and place in plastic container with powdered sugar. Place lid on container and shake gently. Replace truffles in box while contemplating the interesting pattern of white powder on brown powder. Consider things one could do with chocolate-flavored powdered sugar. Throw out chocolate-flavored powdered sugar anyway. Decide to coat with evenly mixed cocoa powder and powdered sugar next time. Present test piece to boyfriend. When boyfriend says it's perfect, present test piece to boyfriend's mother. When boyfriend's mother says it's too bitter, ignore her.

They seemed to be a success.

Friday, October 28, 2005

My performance review

TB caught me in the hall today and asked me to step into his office. (Actually he said "Do you have a minute?" and when I said yes he turned around and strode down the hall toward his office. But anyway.) There, he said that Bob and Allen were the ones who had decided not to do my performance review. "You weren't looking at much of a raise anyway," he said. "And it would have been over a period of six weeks. So Bob said to give you these instead." He handed me two laminated tickets, each reading "Dinner for Two - This certificate is good for dinner at a fine restaurant of choice - Not to exceed $50."

"You get a receipt from the restaurant," TB said, "and turn it into our admin person for reimbursal."

"Oh," I said. "And how am I supposed to do that when I'm moving three hours away?"

"Well, you don't. I think you're supposed to use them before you go."

Then he asked if I still wanted to do the performance review, and when I said no told me that I haven't come out of my shell, that when he goes into my office he gets the impression he's interrupting my work, and that I should have been looking actively for work from, you know, the people who didn't want me on their projects.

It's six days until my last day. It so happens we were planning to go to a fine restaurant of choice this Saturday, so I guess I'll get to use one. The other I'll just hang onto, I guess, or maybe mail to Leisha or Marie when I'm gone. How often do you get your raise in a lump sump like this?

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Panic: the prospect of wearing the slacks and business jackets your mother keeps sending you.

So I'm still wanting to go buy an advanced statistics book and memorize it, but of course I can't do that and it would be foolish. I have to remember: I can always walk out of this interview if it gets too embarrassing. They're the ones who read my cover letter and resume in which I did not say I had taken advanced statistics (basic, yes, but I don't even mention that except for "analyzing data using SPSS and Excel"). The position isn't even mostly statistics, it's more about the whole survey process, but I'm focused on it because they said graduate study was a requirement and also it's a failing of mine--one I wish I didn't have, as I actually rather like statistics when I'm not being told "Run every test you can think of and we'll use whatever makes us look best."

I think they're just interviewing me so they'll look good to whoever is monitoring their candidate-seeking activity. Also it really is a they, according to the lady who scheduled this with me; she said, "The Committee." Also I'm convinced that I'll be late and disgruntled and they'll start right off with questions I can't answer and I'll look terrible and nobody will ever hire me, ever. What's my worst quality? (I don't emote. Or, alternately, I SUCK.) How would you find out how many students only came here as a second choice? (Ask them.) What's the Mann-Whitney value for these two sets of data? Yeah. I need to remember that this isn't my ideal job anyway, just one I think I could do and maybe even enjoy. And if I turn out to look like a total idiot, they won't hire me anyway so I'll never see them again so what's the big deal? Borders is always hiring.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Scene from This Transitional Phase, part nine.

Cross that one off the list. The apartment office person called me. "Hi there! I just got your check, and I'm looking at your application. Do you have a job yet?"

"Not yet," I said.

"Then how are you going to pay the rent?"

So this really fucking irritates me. People keep asking me some variant of this. Do they think I plan never to work again because, I don't know, I think I can get away with it even though nobody else can? Do they think I don't understand that in order to pay rent X I must bring in at least X dollars? Do they--meaning the apartment people now--think I don't understand what a contract is? Yeah, I know they probably get that sort of thing all the time. It still annoyed me. "I'm going to get a job," I said, trying to be polite. "And I have savings."

"Oh. Because of course we have to check your finances, and you gave me the information from your current job, and if you don't have one up here...well, I just wanted to check with you before I talked to Corporate."

I gritted my teeth. It was probably uncalled for. "I can pay the entire six months now, if you need me to."

"Oh. So you can pay the entire sum up front? Okay, they'll be happy to hear that, I think. Well, I'll give them a call and get back to you. Thanks!"

So that's nice. The lesson here: never go anywhere without a job. I have a job interview this Friday. Did I mention I have a job interview? It's a position that would run surveys and statistics and I'm convinced they're going to get me into the interview room and ask me to calculate all sorts of complicated statistics by hand with trick questions and boundary violations, but I'm anxious to get this job just so people will quit asking me--not that they are, but it feels this way--

--No, forget it, I'm just making myself upset. Back to work. I'm actually busier now than I was before I handed in notice. Figures.

Calls. Conferences. Vegetarianism. Snow. Coworkers. And more calls.

I just got a phone call on my cell phone from (937) 000-0000. I didn't pick up. I've also gotten a couple of missed calls from Mississippi. I have this terrible feeling that the latter is going to be a scammer pretending to have been devastated from the hurricanes and won't I send money? Anyway, if it's important they'll leave a message. They haven't.

The CASW New Horizons briefing was very interesting. It was, as I should have realized, primarily a networking thing, not so much an educational briefing--though they had some great scientific presentations and I did learn a lot. And talked to some friendly people, one of whom was a gray-haired gentleman who said if I figured out how to freelance I should let him know, because he was thinking of trying it once the time was right. And ate some good food. And realized that I'm completely unused to city driving anymore, because the 361(?)/279 interchange in downtown Pittsburgh rattled me into cursing even though I was only going to the hotel for the evening. I think I was also on edge because I'm just not a networking sort of person. And I've decided that I'm not going to pretend I think that's a bad thing. It's just not me. So I'm not going to make myself do it.

Also on Monday evening there was a reception at the History Museum, very swanky, with black-vested attendants circulating with trays of hors d'oeuvres and fake ice decorating the tables while the river (what river is it?) gleamed blackly through the floor-to-ceiling windows. Lawrence Krauss gave a talk on his new book, Hiding in the Mirror. Think Billy Crystal with a physics Ph.D. and a crusade against stupid people. I was horribly disappointed he didn't have the book for sale right there, but I suppose it wouldn't have been classy. I was also horribly disappointed when the talk ended, even though I'd been sitting sideways in a chair for an hour and was feeling slightly not-goodish due to my unbalanced meal.

(Upon entering the museum I got in one of two lines, and the lady taking care of this line asked, "Did anyone order a vegetarian meal?" I said I'd like one, and she said, "Did you ask for one?" I said no, I hadn't seen that as an option anywhere, and she said doubtfully, "You'll have to check upstairs." Upstairs were only the swanky hors d'oeuvres bearers, though, and it turned out that the other line had had vegetarian meal tickets. I ended up with a couple of onion tartlets and a tiny cup of butternut squash soup from the trays, plus salad, three rolls--my seat partner insisted on giving me one of hers when I told her why I was just staring at my plate of chicken and crab cake--and an apple-filled phyllo pastry for dessert.)

I drove back Tuesday morning; I'd originally planned to stay for that morning's sessions but they were all at CMU and I wasn't sure I'd be able to get back, plus I was tired and a bit discouraged, so I left. Driving through the snow. It was so pleasant to be back in a land of topography, though. (Eight more weeks until we fly to Seattle. Eight more weeks of Christmas shopping. Oh Lord.)

When I got to work in the afternoon, I found that TB had canceled my performance review. "It's not necessary now," he wrote. Wuss. I've requested that we do it anyway. Not only do I not want to let him off the hook (though this will surely come back to bite me when he enthuses for an hour on the theme of "Nobody likes you and it's a good thing you're leaving"), but the performance review is hooked to a retroactive-to-October-1 salary increase and while it's not much, it's still supposed to be mine. I had lunch with Marcia today and she recommended I do that. She was also satisfyingly aghast when I told her the things he had said to me.

I also found a message from The Agent. The appraisal came back $2000 under the selling price. He had told the buyers, "That's easy, we'll just reduce the price $2000 and give you $2000 less in closing costs," but the buyers said, "No...we don't think so" so we're reducing the price $2000 and only giving $1000 less in closing costs. I think this is okay. It still doesn't cut into the money I myself put into the house (unless you count the money for new carpet and disposal and sump pump that may have increased its value) and I really need to sell it now.

So there I am. For the rest of the week, I need to:
  • Call the apartment office to see if they're going to give me an address. Unfortunately I don't have their number here, so I'll be doing it tomorrow. An address would be a very good thing.

  • Scrounge moving help.

  • Pack. We got the books packed last weekend and that honestly seems to be the biggest single thing, but I've still got a mantel full of knickknacks and a room full of craft and office supplies and way too many Christmas decorations and a garage I haven't even thought about yet, plus bookcases and tables to dismantle. I used to like moving, you know.

  • Make Phoebe's voodoo doll. I must remember. I promised it would be in her office by the time she gets back Friday.

  • Make John brownies for giving me boxes and moving blankets.
It's definitely time for me to be out of here.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005


This? This is awesome. Yay for Google ads.

HR Guy said all I had to do was submit an "I hereby quit this company on this day" letter to TB. So I did that. He was quite cheerful about it, and made hopeful noises about "Maybe now I don't have to do your performance review!" Then I went around telling some people, and now I've just sent a company-wide e-mail--so that the people I don't particularly care about can also know. (That's not quite true. There are people I like just fine but am not close enough to to justify a private conference.) Some people are glad I'm going, some are sorry, and some are just looking forward to the party that they'll inevitably throw for me. I bet they get me a gift certificate to Joann or Michael's. Now that it's done and irreversible, I'm scared but relieved. I'm still glad to be going.

No severance pay for me.

TB postponed my performance review by a week. That's okay. It takes the pressure off him to try to be tactful (not that he ever felt much pressure to be so, I'm sure) and gives me a little more dignity going out--saying "I'd rather move to a different city without a job than work here" rather than "Nobody likes me, everybody hates me, guess I'll go eat worms." I sent an e-mail to HR Guy, who is now really ex-HR Guy but is still the best person I can think of for this purpose, to ask about the exact procedure for giving notice. The employee handbook says something about a Termination Checklist but doesn't actuallly provide it. So we'll see if he gets back to me.

Friday, October 14, 2005

To ponder.

Hmm. TB has just scheduled my performance review for next Wednesday at 10:30. I feel sure this will be an unfavorable review. That's also the day I was planning to give notice (so that I could take a day to get official documents in or whatever and still be two weeks out). I don't want it to look like I'm quitting because TB told me I was subpar. But that's a little silly. When people ask my plans and learn that I sold my house weeks ago they'll realize this wasn't a decision made in a moment of pique. If I give notice earlier will there be any point to the review? Or what if I give it during the review? As in:

TB: You haven't been giving as much of yourself as you need to in order to succeed here, Jenny. I'm disappointed you haven't taken my advice, blah superior blah. If you really want to stay in this job you're going to need to apply yourself--talk more, ask questions, get involved in projects, find something you can be an early adopter of. Blah blah, pedantic blah.

Me: Actually, I don't want to stay in this job. I'm leaving in two weeks. Thanks though. Have you seen Ken? I need to ask him what the exact procedure is for giving notice. Are we done here?

Not only that, he's just sent out a "work projection" table to fill out for October, November, and December. I cannot in good conscience fill it out past the first week of November. Perhaps my conscience will have to take a quick nap for me then. Hmm...


We saw seven houses yesterday. The one I liked best was the one we saw a couple of Sundays ago at an open house. I would have made an offer on it last night, except: the second story of the house slopes. Noticeably. As in, the closet doors had been cut to accommodate the parallelogram frames. That suggests it's not a recent structural problem, just an extreme demonstration of the house settling, and of course the inspector would determine that (or send somebody who could). But I'm not sure I could live with it anyway. This annoys me greatly since I love the rest of the house and none of the others I saw really struck me as something I wanted to buy.

China says interest rates are climbing and sooner would be better if I can. The Wells-Fargo person says my credit is excellent and I shouldn't have a problem closing because they won't need to check my employment. I think that's what she said. Anyway she was enthusiastic about getting me both in a house (well, a loan) and out of my job. So I could buy the house, and not have to stay down here an extra couple of weeks, if I wanted to. Do I want to? I shouldn't do it just to have a house or an interest rate. I could get an apartment. I don't really want to, but if I don't buy this house I'd better since I do in fact need someplace to live, and I already warned China that I might give up until the spring if I get a lease. (Or not. I started househunting in April last time and found something in July and moved in August.)

And I have to reply to the guy who sent me info on that education-relevant job I applied to and then asked me to let him know if I was still interested. The schedule doesn't thrill me--the prospect of sometimes getting up at 5 AM in particular--but it won't hurt to learn more.

Oh, and the lawn guy mowed my lawn. I gave him a tip. Of my list for this week, I didn't get a hotel in Pittsburgh (the one the conference is at is $180 per night, and I'm thinking of staying at the Ramada two blocks away and just walking over), make the voodoo doll, finish the binding, do anything with Petra, or set up the IRA. If I get some time today I'll do some when I go home, but I'm probably going to take a nap instead, as I drove down from Toledo this morning in time to get to work at nine. I give notice in a week. Despite having no house and no income, this still thrills me.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Rant. Oh, and grass.

My heart hurts. I can't decide if it's silly to let myself be affected by all this or if it would be wrong not to. I can't get a loan without a job unless I have a cosigner who qualifies. Or I could just not quit the job until after closing. I'm thinking about this latter option. I hate to, but I'm thinking about it. I could stay with a coworker or two (or possibly Kathleen), or in a hotel--they give cheaper rates if you rent by the week, yes? Heck, if I were desperate I could sleep in my car and shower in the office shower. I don't think I'm that desperate. I just don't like these options. It would be so much better if I had a job. I applied for a couple today, some from Adecco and one from that my education actually--get this--qualifies me for but that I feel I won't have the energy to do well in. Or maybe it's just that I don't have the energy now.

I'm starting to feel like I'm never going to get a worthwhile job again, maybe never a decently-paying job again, and certainly I'll never be able do anything with writing. I know that's not true, of course, and I haven't been so eager to find a job for that terribly long and it took me a year the last time I did it. I'm paying too much attention to my mother. And then my parents think I'm giving up everything because I'm a silly girl with a crush. I think that's the part that's really getting me. If they were supportive, or at least quiet, I'd be mostly okay. But I haven't been able to convince them that I'm not quitting my job and selling my house because of Eric, and because I told Mom about the possibility of school in the first place now that I've told her I'm not going immediately she thinks I'm giving up everything forever. And they're important to me. It's very stupid, even to me writing this out, that this should bother me so. I guess I'm still used to being the good daughter, and if I hadn't done everything exactly right up until about a year ago at least I wasn't doing anything particularly wrong.

This shouldn't bug me so much as it does, it really shouldn't. But I don't want to be contentious and contrary and bad. I don't want to keep having conversations with the phrases "I can't shield you from your mistakes" and "You never do what I say anyway" and "I don't want you to give up all your dreams" in them. For Christ's sake, it's an improvement that I actually have dreams at this point. But they don't know that because I didn't tell them quite what a rough time I was having last year because their worrying would only have made me feel worse, as it's making me feel worse this year. I'm just trying to do something I want to do that I don't think is hurting anyone else. Neither of us should be making this big a deal out of it.

(Incidentally, I'm really sick of having my parents in two separate locations. I know they must be even more sick of it, but I get twice the worried, reproachful conversations this way. And then I tell Mom something and she calls Dad and then Dad e-mails me to tell me that he told Mom to call me and say this and if I don't understand why he suggested that I can call him and we can discuss it.)

It would be easier to just do what they say. At least up to the point where I was so dead from doing what they said that I couldn't do even the easy thing anymore. I wonder if that's why the Asian and Mideastern models of family and community are so successful.

Anyway. Rant over and I'll be talking to the Wells-Fargo person tonight (she was much more helpful than the US Bank person, but I noticed a sign at my bank that said something about rate discounts; maybe I'll stop by on my way up tomorrow) and looking at houses tomorrow. At this rate I'm feeling like tomorrow is the decisive point: either I get a house tomorrow, putting the closing date as soon after November 4 as I can (within a week if possible; the Wells-Fargo person said something about a seven-day guarantee and I don't want to trespass on anybody's hospitality longer than I have to), or I give up until spring and apply for an apartment with the employment history I have now.

Oh, and here's what I hope is the end of the grass saga: The Agent recommended a guy, the guy said he would charge $35-40 for a half-acre, I said it was pretty tall, and he said he'd go look at it. He just called back and said he'd have to go over it two or three times so the price would be $100, and I said fine, do it. Because with the money I've saved by not paying Shawnscape in the last several weeks it's well within my budget. So when I get home the lawn should be cut and I will put the $100 check in the mail with thanks and then I will make sure that the next house I buy has a very tiny yard.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


Look what I got!

Marcia at work said to me when I came in the door, "I left you a present." I gave an unenthusiastic "okay" and, when I got to my desk, looked for the stack of papers she had undoubtedly left me to proof. Instead, I found this box of needles. She had gone to an estate sale a couple of weeks ago with her boyfriend. Nobody had bid on this box and they were going to throw it away, so she said "Can I take it?" and brought it to me. It made my day. Look! I got needles in every size from 1 to 13 except 4 and 12, and I got sock dpns (double-pointed needles) and tiny straight needles and ancient plastic needles with wooden ends. I also had two pairs of size 8 needles, but I gave a pair each to Marie and Peggy, both of whom crochet and were interested in learning to knit when I offered a free pair. I have to admit I was hoping to keep one of the pairs, as they're metal and more slippery than my pair of oak ones at home, but 8 is a good size for a beginner and they both picked that size when I offered a choice (with recommendations) and after all I had gotten them for free.

This is what I'm giving Marcia tomorrow as a thank-you:

It's from here, and took me maybe an hour. The yarn is Zara, which is pure wool and so soft and wonderful I want more, more, more. The scarf is chenille, a single chain of crochet, about the most I can do as far as crochet is concerned. I hope she likes it. Posted by Picasa

Monday, October 10, 2005

By the numbers

This week, I need to:
  1. Look at houses
  2. Call US Bank about rates
  3. Call this other guy to mow my lawn
  4. Send a check for the New Horizons dinner
  5. Get a hotel for New Horizons
  6. Apply to jobs from the Sunday classifieds
  7. Do laundry
  8. Make Phoebe (and possibly other people) a voodoo doll
  9. Make the TST binding
  10. Create the Petra outline
  11. Set up a personal IRA
I looked at an apartment in Toledo on Friday. It looked a bit iffy on the outside, but the inside was perfectly nice, clean and structurally sound, and cheap. Cheap is good. I also met with my Toledo realtor, whom I believe I shall call China for reasons best known to my convoluted brain, who listened to my criteria and gave me 43 listings to consider and drove me around Toledo. As a result, I now have the spindly beginnings of a mental map of Toledo. As a mental map is essential to my psychological well-being--I discovered in Baltimore that I'm not comfortable without an idea of where I am in the city and how roads connect--it was worth the time. I will still probably invest in a Toledo roadmap. Over the weekend Eric and I narrowed the list to nine "can't find anything wrong with them" choices and several "not very much wrong with them" choices. We're going to see the nine on Thursday.

I have to call US Bank about mortgage rates and terms. Also China's company (which, she told me, is the largest independent company in Toledo, or some such statistic--400 agents alone) is affiliated with Wells Fargo and she suggested it wouldn't hurt for me to talk with their local finance person while I'm up there, so I should give them a call too.

I have given up harassing Shawnscape, mostly because it's too much effort when I know it will get me nothing but lost time, but The Agent called today and said, "Your buyers are really anxious to get into your house. They keep driving by. But they're concerned about how long the grass is getting." I told him about the problem with Shawnscape and said that I'd be calling someone else this week--I intended to anyway, but now I've got an obligation. After all, my buyers didn't ask for anything else to be done. The Agent suggested a name, so I'll try them and if that doesn't work I'll pick someone from the phone book.

I brought the Sunday Blade classifieds home with me, though I didn't look at them until very late last night because after leaving Toledo I went to Jen's Pampered Chef party. I had no idea what to expect, but it turned out that the PC consultant (consultant?) made a (very, very yummy) dish using various PC implements, distributed door prizes (I got one for coming from Toledo and one for having my name pulled out of a family-sized professional pot that the consultant had placed ice in to show us how quickly it melted), and took orders. I contemplated getting things but eventually tamed my inner spendthrift. I wouldn't want to spend money so much if I hadn't told myself I wouldn't.

Phoebe (and possibly other people) gets a voodoo doll because before I left Thursday night, I sent an e-mail to some project leaders asking for information for a project I'm on. And, since I knew that only one or two would actually answer me, I offered a prize: homemade cookies or a handmade voodoo doll to everyone who replied before the end of Tuesday. So far Phoebe's been the only one.

I finally finished the quilting and signing and re-bordering of TST. Now it needs binding made and sewn in, and I will--after more than a year--be finished with it. Good grief. I also want to make a baby quilt for my cousin's baby (expected in May) by Christmas so that I can bring it when I fly there for the holidays, but at this rate I may not get to it. Next year I'm making one for my Korean grandma to take with me in April and WUALF (if I don't for Jaime's baby) and a Penrose tile and maybe one other, depending.

The Petra outline is still in card form, but they've been cut and strewn across my living room rug and arranged some, but they need more arranging and then transcribing onto the computer before I back up my files before the move. I suppose I also need to reserve a U-Haul van, but I think this is probably enough for one week.

And since I'm moving, I shall need a place to put my 401k money. I was pleased to find that I have a decent amount--I mean, not a lot for retirement generally, but I'm twenty-five and I've only been on the 401k plan for a little over two years, so considering that it's not bad, I think. My company's new 401k matching program is less generous than the old--1% matching rather than 3% regardless--and I asked for my old money to wait to be designated, so I need a personal IRA for that anyway. I just have no idea how to do it. Vanguard has an online sign-up, but I'm a little afraid of it, so I think I'd better go the phone route, even though I hate talking to people I don't know on the phone.

All in all, a busy week. The next four weeks will be. Not that I'm counting or anything.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Work, of the non-work variety.

I'm signed up for the CASW New Horizons briefing--at least, I think I am. I sent the registration in, anyway. It'll be fun. I'll use up my floating holiday for that Monday and use sick time for Tuesday, and skip Wednesday. Tomorrow, I'll also be sick, as I must be in Toledo to look at an apartment at 1 and meet with a realtor at 2. Then the opera sometime in the evening, for which I will at last wear the little black dress Mom bought me in 1999 because she thought when I went to grad school interviews they might have parties I'd have to dress up for. Saturday, I'll be either helping the rest of the household at the Toledo Zoo for National Chemistry Week (they're making bouncy balls with borax, cornstarch, and glue, I believe) (oh, and hand lotion) or looking at houses, depending on whether the realtor can stand me and whether she can get anything together that quickly. I want to go back to one we saw at an open house last week. I've been fantasizing about what I could do with it all week, even though I was unsure when I saw it (though that might have been the nervous, pestiferous agent there--do real estate companies make all the newbies staff the open houses?). Possibly it's just I Don't Want To Live In An Apartment With No Architecture Again syndrome, but maybe it really does have potential. Then Sunday I go to Jen's Pampered Chef party, at which I will be looking at rice cookers. It'll be a full weekend.

Yesterday was very productive. Work-wise, not so much, but I'm well used to that now. I registered for New Horizons and I called the apartment and I called the realtor and I called two moving places. Continental was out to lunch, but Two Men and a Truck charges $80 an hour, $99 on Fridays and Saturdays, plus a flat fee based on mileage. A 17' U-Haul van (2-3 bedrooms, they say--do they mean to also include the living room and dining room and kitchen?) costs $169, which includes 207 miles and two days in which to use it. And I called Bev and (between her son's play-screams) she told me that I should just do what I want to do and everything will be fine. Everyone should have a Bev. And I'm pleased to be getting things done. Today I respond to any job ads I can find, do the laundry, pack for the weekend (hello, garment bag--oh, and box of yarn), and make apple bread and maybe cookies. Or maybe I'll wait and see if Pampered Chef carries cooling racks first. (Whatever happened to my no-buying-anything-until-I've-moved idea?)

Tuesday, October 04, 2005


Aw, man. We just got a memo. Our three floating holidays? Only one is actually floating. Management decided the others will be the day after Thanksgiving and the day before Independence Day. I won't be around for those times. I wanted the free time off, damn it.

Monday, October 03, 2005

My kind of crazy

We went househunting on Sunday, a spur-of-the-moment thing after going to the Cracker Barrel for brunch. I'd never eaten at a Cracker Barrel. I remember visiting one on my way from Baltimore to Seattle in 2001, though. We got Mom some old-fashioned candy for her Christmas stocking. (I think we're finally stopping the Christmas stocking tradition this year. Mom and Dad are trying--Mom sort of half-heartedly--to move towards a "Each person give only one present to each other person" model of gift giving. This throws me into a bit of a conundrum with Dad's present, but we'll see how it goes.) It was a good time. Househunting was fun, too; we went to a couple of open houses and saw some truly dreadful wallpaper and collected a lot of fliers. One, for a perfectly innocuous (if unappealing) house in a back street, had the realtor's name and picture on the bottom. Ravi Ramachandran, let's say, though that wasn't his name. It was Indian, and the picture was of an Indian man wearing a turban. "Ravi Ramachandran," Eric said, pronouncing it in mocking fake-Indian accents, and complained about the layout of the flier. "He probably hardly speaks English."

Edith said, "He'd have to, to get his realtor's license," and I said, looking at him like he was crazy, "Why, because he has a foreign name?" so he subsided. Later he did the name-accent thing again and I took the paper away from him and said, "I can't buy the house if you're going to make fun of the realtor all the time." Probably at this point he remembered that my mother has a foreign name and he's going to be dependent on her hospitality for a week during the holidays. (I talked to her on Friday and she got an A- on her latest ESL test, even though she got into the class late and is struggling with all the grammar rules. I think that's fantastic.) Or maybe he just likes speaking with an Indian accent and I'm overly sensitive.

When we got home we saw the neighbors just coming out to look at their van, which had had its rear window broken with a rock. The neighbors are Russian, I think--no certainty there because the only way to tell was the mother's accent and I'm bad at placing accents. We walked over and commiserated and recommended they call the police, and on the way inside Eric said, "I'm just hoping it wasn't race-related." I looked at him like he was crazy. His mother said later that she was sure it was. I guess I'm the crazy one, because I just don't think of these things.

I like my kind of crazy, but it does seem to get me in trouble, or at least in the minority. Like another thing that came up on Sunday, which is my tendency not to be effusive about things. I think I discussed this about last year's Cedar Point trip. (Cedar Point was a lot of fun, but I should remember to pack some fruit to eat next year. We decided to get breakfast on the way and then didn't stop until the fast food places had stopped serving breakfast, so my total consumption for Saturday was: 1 veggie burger, 1 medium fry, 1 dish nachos, a few other fries, about 20 oz. soda, and 2.5 oz. Dippin' Dots. Dippin' Dots are tasty, but I don't think the novelty was worth the cost, especially since all the little dots froze on my tongue and burned it.) I thought about it on the way home. The reason people thought I wouldn't do well as a grad student, and the reason people don't like me here, is that I don't show enthusiasm over things. I don't get gushy and chipper and smile and talk all the time. I don't do it because it's not my nature; I'm not comfortable with it and I'd be acting a part if I started. That's why I'm leaving my job. It's not that I can't do the work; it's that I can't be what they want me to be.

But I decided, also on the way home, that I don't believe I'm a failure because of what I am. I just need to find jobs and people who want me the way I am, who think I can do good work even if I don't grin at their every little joke, don't say, "Sounds great!" when told to do something tiresome and pointless, don't laugh when they belittle other people in front of me. Admittedly I suspect this means finding a job where I'm mostly alone, but at least I'm doing okay on finding the people.


From here: "We do not aspire to infringe copyrights, and we embolden you to purchase the artist's album and official song book."

(I'm looking for the Ballad of Serenity. We saw Serenity on Friday. It's good but not happy. I'm inclined to agree with this assessment of it, at least on first reading. Anyway, bold or not, there is no song book to be purchased.)

Friday, September 30, 2005

Hooray for quick house-ownership-turnaround.

The buyer is requesting nothing be repaired as a result of the inspection. She does want to come look at the old termite spot (fixed long before I bought the house; The Agent is giving her my old termite inspection report, too) tonight, but otherwise I'm free and clear. I didn't really expect anything to need fixing (except possibly the pipe in the laundry room), but still, hooray!

Book meme

This, as I got it from poking around LiveJournals of people I only know by proxy, is the American Library Association's 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 1990–2000 list. This is a meme. (Late, but hey, it's still Banned Books week.) But it's about books. So the shame-o-meter is kind of balanced on this one. Bolded are the ones I've read.

1. Scary Stories (Series) by Alvin Schwartz
2. Daddy’s Roommate by Michael Willhoite
3. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
4. The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier (I think)
5. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
6. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
7. Harry Potter (Series) by J.K. Rowling
8. Forever by Judy Blume
9. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
10. Alice (Series) by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
11. Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman
12. My Brother Sam is Dead by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier
13. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
14. The Giver by Lois Lowry
15. It’s Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris
16. Goosebumps (Series) by R.L. Stine (well, some of them--they were slightly after my time; I read a lot of his Fear Street stuff, though)
17. A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Newton Peck
18. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
19. Sex by Madonna
20. Earth’s Children (Series) by Jean M. Auel (first one only)
21. The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson
22. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle (and the three after it)
23. Go Ask Alice by Anonymous (sort of. I've read bits of it several times in bookstores. Does this count?)
24. Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers
25. In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak
26. The Stupids (Series) by Harry Allard
27. The Witches by Roald Dahl
28. The New Joy of Gay Sex by Charles Silverstein
29. Anastasia Krupnik (Series) by Lois Lowry
30. The Goats by Brock Cole
31. Kaffir Boy by Mark Mathabane
32. Blubber by Judy Blume
33. Killing Mr. Griffin by Lois Duncan (always wanted to, though. I read several others of hers.)
34. Halloween ABC by Eve Merriam
35. We All Fall Down by Robert Cormier
36. Final Exit by Derek Humphry
37. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
38. Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George (loved this. I still have it. It's signed.)
39. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
40. What’s Happening to my Body? Book for Girls: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Daughters by Lynda Madaras
41. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
42. Beloved by Toni Morrison
43. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
44. The Pigman by Paul Zindel
45. Bumps in the Night by Harry Allard
46. Deenie by Judy Blume
47. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
48. Annie on my Mind by Nancy Garden
49. The Boy Who Lost His Face by Louis Sachar
50. Cross Your Fingers, Spit in Your Hat by Alvin Schwartz
51. A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein
52. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
53. Sleeping Beauty Trilogy by A.N. Roquelaure (Anne Rice)
54. Asking About Sex and Growing Up by Joanna Cole
55. Cujo by Stephen King
56. James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
57. The Anarchist Cookbook by William Powell
58. Boys and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy
59. Ordinary People by Judith Guest
60. American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
61. What’s Happening to my Body? Book for Boys: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Sons by Lynda Madaras
62. Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
63. Crazy Lady by Jane Conly
64. Athletic Shorts by Chris Crutcher
65. Fade by Robert Cormier
66. Guess What? by Mem Fox
67. The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende
68. The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline Cooney
69. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
70. Lord of the Flies by William Golding (I've been told never to because I wouldn't enjoy it)
71. Native Son by Richard Wright
72. Women on Top: How Real Life Has Changed Women’s Fantasies by Nancy Friday
73. Curses, Hexes and Spells by Daniel Cohen
74. Jack by A.M. Homes
75. Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo A. Anaya
76. Where Did I Come From? by Peter Mayle
77. Carrie by Stephen King
78. Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume
79. On My Honor by Marion Dane Bauer (inextricably linked to Bridge to Terabithia in my mind, because we read them back-to-back in school)
80. Arizona Kid by Ron Koertge
81. Family Secrets by Norma Klein
82. Mommy Laid An Egg by Babette Cole
83. The Dead Zone by Stephen King
84. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
85. Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
86. Always Running by Luis Rodriguez
87. Private Parts by Howard Stern
88. Where’s Waldo? by Martin Hanford
89. Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene
90. Little Black Sambo by Helen Bannerman
91. Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
92. Running Loose by Chris Crutcher
93. Sex Education by Jenny Davis
94. The Drowning of Stephen Jones by Bette Greene
95. Girls and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy
96. How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell
97. View from the Cherry Tree by Willo Davis Roberts
98. The Headless Cupid by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
99. The Terrorist by Caroline Cooney
100. Jump Ship to Freedom by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier

Y'know, there are a lot of classic kid's books I haven't read. I'll just have to wait until I've got kids, I guess.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

There was a storm last night.

Waking up two hours late may be the worst thing that can happen on a workday. Not because of being late to work (at least, not in my case) so much as because when that happens, you wake up refreshed and relaxed from a lovely, uninterrupted sleep. And then you look at your watch and it's nine-thirty and you squint at your alarm and realize the numbers are flashing and you look at your watch again to make sure you read it right the first time. And your good waking-up feeling is instantly replaced by annoyed stress and thoughts of "Is it even going to be light out tonight when I get home after making this time up?"

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Words and seasons

Our new Boss of Bosses has been working with Marie on a problem. He came in this afternoon and said something about "Are you getting tired of this, young lady?" I don't believe he calls Cary or Joe "young man," but I could be wrong. Anyway, they discussed this problem, and Bob said, "We're going to my office to take care of this right now. Bring your poop."

I turned around. One of Bob's favorite phrases is "dork it up," which is funny once and irritating in the aggregate, but I can pass it by. This I couldn't pass. "What?"

He turned to me quizzically. "Her poop."

"Meaning what?" I knew what he meant, I was just aghast.

"You know, her stuff." He swept Marie out while I twitched.

I suppose I could hail it as simply another euphemism. But I can't. "Your shit" is vulgar and "your crap" isn't much better, but at least they're used commonly enough that they actually mean, you know, stuff, in addition than their original meaning. "Poop" does not qualify. Christ.

(I never used "Christ" as an expostulation before I wrote Naomi, who used it. I should do something with her someday.)

In other news, I don't get that job I asked for but I may have made a contact, which pleases me; and it feels very much like fall. I missed fall last year, you know. I didn't realize it at the time, mostly because I wasn't in a state of mind to notice such things, but fall pretty much passed me by (except for one manic afternoon unnecessarily raking leaves, and not really even then). This year I'm in a much better frame of mind, and I love that it's rapidly cooling, I love the sky again in a way I don't in the heat of summer, and I enjoy sitting in my front room doing cozy things rather than feeling guilty about them. It's this last one that really got my attention. I haven't done anything different, it's not really any cooler inside (of course, now the thermostat's off rather than set on cool at 76), but suddenly my same activities feel different. I suppose my incipient move (five and a half weeks!) has something to do with it; fall is my time for new beginnings and I'm embarking on another one. I start to pack as soon as it turns October.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Going begging

I have "Superfreak" stuck in my head. Why are they playing it so often now? Is it because it's Halloween season? And what makes it a Halloween song? Is it that weird not-quite-screeching riff that M. C. Hammer stole?

Ahem. I am trying to write a letter to beg for a job from somebody who isn't advertising they want to hire. It's harder than I'd thought it would be. I can't seem to help sounding like a sixth-grader. Considering it's writing-related, this is not promising.

In other news, I was ousted from bed this morning by the house inspector--I mean, I got out of bed because he knocked on my door. I hope he didn't find anything wrong, except maybe the batteries in the smoke detectors. It only occurred to me last week that I've lived in the house for a year and haven't once checked the batteries.

It also occurred to me, last night, that I still had mint M&Ms from last Christmas in my freezer, and if I waited much longer to eat them the stores would have fresh ones, so I took out the bag. I only ate maybe a quarter of it last night. I'm not sure how long it'll last, though.

Oh, I hope he wasn't grossed out by the piles of dirty laundry in the laundry room, too.

I had a fun meeting Friday with Huxley--now to be known as TB (ask M)--and The Other Jenny At Work playing video games. Well, it was fun except for Huxley being immature and earning his new moniker. This week we've been told no more video games, which is sad. I also told a couple of people at work--Peggy and Marie--that I'm leaving, under strict orders not to tell anyone. Peggy has her own reasons to be unhappy with work and with TB in particular lately, so she'll probably obey, and I know Marie will. Still, I'm feeling this was a risk. But I'd rather trust people than not.

I looked at a house in Toledo over the weekend. The idea of buying a house without a job continues to make me very uneasy. Right now what I want to do is get a six-month lease and house-hunt in the spring. If I go to school fall after next--I'm not going next fall--that'll be only a year and a half in which to live in the house, but it seemed to work okay for this one, so why not? We'll see. I also looked at the classifieds and didn't see anything exciting. Thus this letter that I need to improve to at least an eighth-grade level before I go home and see whether the house inspector stole any of my mint M&Ms.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Recent knitting progress

Here are my latest knitting projects, minus Christmas presents. The shirt is the Tivoli shirt, which looks very nice on me except for the mile-wide neckline; it needs fixing with, I'm told, crochet. The dark object on the upper right (actually dark green chenille) is a scarf in mistake rib (knit 2, purl 2 on an odd number of stitches). The slippers below are the finished Fuzzy Feet, which I love to death. I recommend them for everybody. The sad crippled yellow object is the Bubby bear. I got that far and then realized it was ugly and overstuffed and I hated it, so why finish? I threw it in the waste basket after the picture. And the mass of yarn on the left is some yarn I just dyed with Kool-Aid and Easter Egg dye. The white fuzz on the far left is the batting for TST, not quite denuded of its border because I'm slow and also working on other things. Posted by Picasa

Dear Author of This Proposal,

I thought I knew what the project was about based on the kickoff slides and the discussions we've had of it. However, this understanding is not anything like what the proposal said. This is partly because you refuse to say what you mean and partly because you refuse to say the same thing twice. A hint, Author of This Proposal: when it comes to clarity, synonyms, particularly made-up ones, are not your friend.

On work.

I just got handed a copy of NeverWinter Nights and told to learn it for a project I'm on. This may be the single coolest assignment I've been given while I've been here (though reading the Koran was close--it would have been better if the Koran were easier to read). Figures they're pulling out the fun stuff now.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Yesterday and today

The Renaissance Festival was a lot of fun. I did a little shopping (not for me) and had a surprisingly good lunch and enjoyed the shows and the vendors. In particular there was a place with clothing made from hand-woven fabric (cotton--wasn't the cotton gin invented after the Renaissance? Oh well) that was soft and lovely and I wanted it, but there were no price tags and I figured that meant Too Much For You, Lowly Mortal, so I didn't inquire. I also enjoyed the swords but the only ones I really wanted to own were a couple of rapiers, and they were too expensive. There was a girl in a clothing shop who said, "Would you like me to tie you up? Please may I tie you up," but she was probably talking to Eric and not me. Jen left a little early to avoid the rush, which was a smart move. Everyone in the car going home was in favor of creating costumes and maybe setting up a booth next year, so I'd say the trip was a success.

I had a discussion with my supervisor yesterday. In it, he said, "I don't want you to be the go-to person for proofreading anymore. That does nothing for our group." I protested (mildly) that we hardly have any proofreaders, and he said, "That's not our problem." He was also quite disappointed in me for failing to notify him that I was working on the tasks he asked me to work on and asked me about whether I'd be interested in a particular area he wants our group to get into. I'm uncertain but he pushed me into saying no, then said he was going to have me try it anyway and if I hated it too much he'd find someone else. "We'd probably have to hire somebody," he said, not quite accusingly. In fact he'll probably enjoy hiring someone to replace me. Or maybe he'll just buy a potted plant.

Today, he sent me a paper of his I did a tech read for and said, "Proof this." Shortly afterward, Bess begged me to pick up a proofreading job she'd been needing a proofreader on for days. I sent a message to my supervisor asking if I could, then (when he said yes) told Bess he was why I hadn't said yes earlier. She promised to smack him around. Just now she came to me and said, "I punched him. He came in and I asked him what was the big idea? It's not like we have enough proofreaders as it is. I railed on him. Then I said, 'I hope you're not coming for something from me.' He said, 'Not anymore.'"

This week is the company workshop, the one I managed the past two years. I'm not missing it. I'm sorry for Marie, but she's bearing up under the strain much better than I ever did.

Six weeks and a day until I leave. Not that I'm counting or anything.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Analyst abuse.

Only we're not analysts anymore. But we're the lowest-ranking people in the company, Marie and Peggy and New Coworker and me. I haven't heard anything bad of NC fact, I haven't heard anything of her at all, but that's probably because nobody would tell me such things.

Marie has taken over the workshop that I organized the past two years, and these days is, I think, feeling a bit comforted by an officemate who knows exactly what she's going through. There but for the grace of Huxley's rabid lack of interest in the workshop go I. The workshop is next week. Yesterday Allen, spying Marie in the hall, remarked to someone with him, "Marie doesn't look all that frazzled yet. Do you think she's got it under control, or that she's just stupid?"

Today in a meeting Huxley described each person's role in the project the meeting was for. "Peggy is the wild card," he said last. "I don't know what she brings to the project."

"She'll keep us smiling," suggested CS. "When things get ugly we'll turn to her."

"Except she may introduce more trouble than she's worth," Huxley said, laughing. Incidentally, I now see exactly why Middle Easterners are offended by being shown the sole of someone's shoe. Mud-encrusted shoes do not belong on the table and, like excessive chest and back hair, are not things I or anyone should be exposed to in a business setting.

I've been mildly annoyed and hermitlike at work today. Actually, that's my normal state at work now. Seven weeks. I'll fix whatever my buyer wants me to.

elucidate question

I was trying to reconstruct a Magnetic Poetry poem I wrote (arranged?) earlier this year. I needed the words 'elucidate' and 'question' and I could not find them. They weren't on the floor or on the sides of the refrigerator or its door. (The bottom rim of the door was greasy. Where did that come from?) I've lost Magnetic Words! I thought. Then I wondered if they hadn't been single magnets, if I'd constructed them out of other words, which is, I suspect, the real reason I like playing with Magnetic Poetry. For example, I once constructed 'absolve' by layering 'about,' 'so,' 'will,' and 'love.' It was probably more effort than it was worth, but then so are jigsaw puzzles. Anyway, I knew I hadn't constructed 'elucidate' and when I looked I couldn't even find a word that began with Q so I knew I hadn't constructed 'question' either. I went away to work on Bubby's arm--there's an error in the instructions, but it's an obvious and therefore not serious one--and when I came back there was 'elucidate,' buried in the middle of the crowd of magnets that I'd already examined four times. And glancing to the left there was 'question,' off in a little clearing by itself where I had also already looked four times. I huffed. Then I finished the poem. Mom suggested that I get all my checkups before I lose medical coverage (because again, she thinks I'm never going to get another job, ever) and I had my vision checkup fairly recently, but maybe I should go again.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Or not.

I've also seen a hummingbird and some gorgeous butterflies. They almost make up for the kamikaze insects flying into my window with alarming thumps. Can you tell I don't work in the inner city?

How's that for omens?

I just saw two turkey buzzards fly past my window. (Are turkey buzzards the same thing as turkey vultures?) They're quite striking birds. Still.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Do I still have to pester the lawn guy about not mowing my backyard?

(I bought two CDs from, "G. Lee and Jet Blond" and Diana Lorden. Because I needed new music and they were offering all profits to the Red Cross. The former is light and pop-rocky, the music much better than the lyrics, and I really like the latter. I'm listening to it now, while I rip out the border of TST in order to replace it with something that will, I hope, make the sashing look a little less wonky.)

They accepted the offer! My house is sold. Assuming things go okay with the inspections, anyway. I think they will. (In case they don't, how much would it cost to replace a huge cast iron pipe in one's basement that appears to be a drainage pipe?) So, again assuming things go okay, I close on November 4 (Friday) and move the 5th and cede occupancy the 7th. It's a week later than I'd originally planned, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. I'm anticipating moving on the 5th and coming back down to clean (and pick up my car, maybe, depending on how the moving truck thing works) on the 6th. I'll be giving notice two weeks previously. Also, I learned today that we have three floating holidays starting next month, and I'm going to have to use at least one before I go. Right now I just wait for the inspectors to ask permission to enter and start making lists of what I have to do.

Jennifer Homeowner frets.

I made a counteroffer on the house. The Agent recommended I take the original offer but said they would probably accept my counteroffer. Now I'm feeling kind of bad. Partly apprehensive that they won't accept it and partly guilty for asking for more, especially when the terms of the offer make it pretty clear they probably don't have anything to spare. The way it went was I asked for amount X, they offered amount X but that I pay $3000 in closing costs/mortgage points/whatever they wanted to use it for, and I countered with raising X by $1000 and moving back the closing date a week (but still a week later than I was hoping). This way they don't have to come up with the extra thousand up front, but I get it when it's all over. We'll see what happens. Mostly I'm annoyed about feeling guilty for wanting to get what I can for the house--and also for driving up its price. Is that illogical or what?

Regardless, I've still got to get rid of those weeds in the parking space and the sticks in the driveway and the last dried paint from the basement floor. And I've got to call Shawnscape every day until he gives up and sends his guys to mow my back lawn just to get me to stop calling. They did not come yesterday, obviously.

Also I talked to Idiot Green Truck Driver's insurance company yesterday. They'd sent me a letter saying "We have been trying to contact you regarding an accident you had September 3, 2005. Please contact us immediately." I called and the woman I spoke to asked what had happened. "How far out where you? Where was he parked? Which side was damaged? Which way was he turning? How far out was he?" I asked her if she wanted to talk to my insurance company and she said, "No, we have to talk to you. We haven't yet spoken with the insured but we'll do that and then make a final liability decision." I called my insurance agent and left a message describing the call, since she might like to know and at worst it'll only waste a few seconds of her time listening to the message. So not at fault. The rental car I'm driving while Jane is in the shop is reasonably nice, though. And red, which is fun. Still. So not paying for it.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Sour notes

(1) "You'll have to run all the statistical tests you can think of and pick the results that make us look the best."

(2) I cannot handle homemade spinach-and-cheese-stuffed pasta shells. I don't know why, but I've made them two different ways now and they make me sick both ways.

Monday, September 12, 2005

House and home

I have an offer on my house. Since the house has only been on the market a few days, I'm a bit unwilling to bend to these people's wishes. The Agent says it's a good offer, but I've got the vague, unsubstantiated feeling that he's not concerned about me, just about pulling in his commission as quickly as possible. (Though the offer asks for closing in November, so it wouldn't be that quick.) I'll be asking him more about it tomorrow--he called at 9 PM tonight to tell me. I also had two other sets of people look at the house today--the offer is from the ones who saw it Sunday, and incidentally their realtor forgot to lock my front door behind her--so I'm kind of hoping one of them calls tomorrow with a better offer. I liked the last group of people best, but I suppose all I really ought to care about is their money.

The gem show was fun. There were displays on unusual rocks and how to cut gems and a real-life garden with various specimens in it; and then in the ballroom beyond there were the vendors. The vendors had fossils, mineral specimens, balls of pyrite, crystal wands, loose gemstones, artist demonstrations, everything. It was wonderful. We had an especially good time talking to one vendor who really loved her stones and was overjoyed to be talking to people who knew enough to properly appreciate them--specifically, Eric and Edith. I admitted I knew hardly anything about them and she was still quite nice to me, but it was clear that I was no longer an object of interest. I didn't mind. In another few years I'll be able to talk with her.

I'm currently trying to apply to three different job ads from Sunday's (Toledo) newspaper. I should be going to bed, but I don't want to put this off. I don't know why it's taking so long. It's kind of amusing to have to print a resume out again, though; I haven't done that in a long time. I've also just ordered some yarn from Knitpicks, some for a present and a ball of sock yarn to mess around with glove designs, because I can't let the idea of custom-made four-fingered gloves alone even though Gabe is not going to need them for another four years at least.

The lawn mowers didn't come Friday. I got home Sunday and the lawn was still ragged and tall. The message on the phone said, "We're running late, but we'll get to you by Saturday, or Sunday at the latest." Tonight when I got home the front was cut except for the long weeds in the extra parking space but the back wasn't. I called and he said, "Well, your grass was pretty long, and one of the mowers broke." He said they would be out again tomorrow. Oh, and Brandon (really Guy, I imagine) left another note in my mailbox. Not a chance. I'll be selling the house soon and I won't need to worry about it. I mean to finish cleaning the basement floor (at this point the paint is coming off better with a putty knife than with the Goo-Be-Gone) and get rid of the branches in my driveway and cut down those weeds in the extra parking space this week, but maybe if I take that offer I won't have to. I'm much too lazy to own a home.

Friday, September 09, 2005

A mostly fiber- but somewhat yard- and weekend-related post.

I put the second lining in Unbiased last night. (Second time sewing, not second layer.) It's lovely and I might actually use the bag and if not I'm at least proud of myself. I also felted the Fuzzy Feet and they're a little loose around the ankles but otherwise adorable. You know what I should do? I should take pictures. Maybe Sunday if I come home and find muddy footprints all over my floor. I should hope I do; I want people to come look, right?

I've committed myself to making the teddy bear pattern from Knitty at the needlework group meeting next week. I think this means it's going to have to be bright yellow, as I refuse to buy yarn for it and I think that's all I have that will be anything near the right sort of yarn. There's nothing wrong with yellow teddy bears, right? Think Paddington. With jaundice.

My earphones are making my ears itch. Yes, I'm transcribing again. I was supposed to be proofreading a paper, but it didn't appear, and then Phoebe asked me to proof a different one, and now it looks like they'll both be coming to me very shortly at the same time, but only if Ivy is actually at work today and not home sick, so--I'm transcribing. It's easier when I'm not faced with a lifetime of it. Anyway, I have cotton-and-elastic sock yarn. I wonder if making some tiny covers would help? It would at least prevent the cover of the one from lodging itself in my ear and not coming away when the rest of the earphone does.

I chopped up and put away the weed pile in my driveway but not the stick pile. I just hope I've cleared away enough of the sticks on the side of the yard that the Lawn Guy will cut down that overgrown patch. How is it that the waist-high grass is brown while the short(er) grass just beside it is green? Oh well. Also the bush I cut all the branches from that caused that patch to be overgrown (because I didn't move the branches until now and so it couldn't be mown) has gotten twice as big. I knew I should have just cut the whole thing down. On the other hand, the branches now cover the window in my garage, and I rather like that. I also spent some time scraping at the paint in my basement--a putty knife works well, it turns out. So my list of improving the house stands as follows: (1) continue scraping the basement floor, (2) remove pile of sticks from driveway, (3) attempt to scrub off crushed pokeberries from driveway (they leak deep pink juice), (4) have the lawn mowed (today, possibly at this moment since I don't know when he's coming over), (5) cook something to get rid of the smell of green peppers in the kitchen. I don't normally cook with peppers so maybe that's why I'm sensitive to it, but it seemed very strong this morning and the dishes had all been cleaned.

This weekend I'm off to a gem show in Toledo and picking up apartment and house guides and the Sunday ads. And not going to the yarn shop down the street (because I'll be at the gem show...probably not for the full seven hours, but still, no yarn shop, because I'll be at the gem show). And firming up plans for the next several weeks. I do like plans.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Jennifer Homeowner's first potential buyer.

There's a church I pass on my way to work, and it has a sign with sayings--not funny ones, usually, but ones intended to be inspirational. I keep reading this week's message as "Fleas don't have to master you." I suppose that could be inspirational, if you were a dog. Don't let your bloodsucking parasites get you down! You're still the dominant life form! Without you they'd die. You are truly their master! Even if they do make you itch unbearably.

Actually, of course, it says "Fears don't have to master you."

Someone and his realtor is in my house right now, looking around. I'm glad I stayed up last night to do the dishes. The Agent came by yesterday and made me sign a billion papers (actually, though, not so many as when I became a new employee at work) and took pictures (I had to keep moving stuff out of the way; I don't think my house is that messy, but it's not display quality) and put a sign up in my yard and it's all official. It's crazy. I kept thinking it ought to be harder to make a move of this magnitude (or at least expense). It feels a little creepy to know that someone and his realtor is looking through every room of my home, opening the closets, checking the water pressure. Noticing that the closet doors are still off the closet. I left them off when I was painting, you know, and never put them back. The Agent attempted to do this for me before he left, but the carpet is too thick and the doors need to be sawn down. The person who's in my house didn't have an appointment, just saw the house and called The Agent because he (or she; I don't know) wanted to see inside. (This despite the overgrown grass and the piles of weeds and sticks. It is a pretty house.) Maybe if he likes it enough he won't ask me to put the closet doors up at all and it'll be his problem.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

More calls

(Why am I suddenly so chatty?)

I just called to close a credit card because I don't want to worry about having too many open, and the guy seemed most distressed that a customer was going to close her account without redeeming points for gift certificates--or you could earn only 10,000 more to get round-trip airfare--I feel really bad about this--wait! If you stay with us I'll give you 3,000 more!--

After several rounds of this I stopped saying, "No thank you," and started saying, "Please close my account." Finally, after that last bit about the extra points, I said, "This is as bad as talking to AOL." I think that offended him; he said, "The account is closed, you can cut up your card now, but there's no way to get those points back. I feel really bad about this." Christ. I suppose it wouldn't have been a bad idea to take some of his suggestions, but I was in no mood to be sold anything and I certainly didn't want to have to go through all this rigmarole again.


I called my insurance company. I told the woman I spoke to that I'd never filed a claim before and she kindly explained that they would pay for the damages to my car and then try to get the truck driver's insurance to reimburse them, including my deductible. This is just fine unless the other insurance company won't pay up, in which case I'll have a $500 deductible for mostly cosmetic (I think) damages and an increased insurance rate.

I called my parents, too, yesterday. They both implied that I was being rash and stupid and they were afraid I would end up destitute and alone because I would never get a good job again and my boyfriend would dump me. I tried to explain that I wasn't leaving the job or Dayton because of him, only the moving to Toledo part, but I think they're convinced that I'm finally acting like a stupid emotion-driven girl and dropping everything to be with my crush of the moment. They tried to say they only wanted me to be happy, but Mom at least also added a bunch about "I can't do things for you anymore," and "Children don't want what their parents want for them," and Dad said a couple of times, "I can't tell you what to do." As Eric pointed out, they're only trying to protect their little girl. And I am trying to protect myself from being too much their little girl.

Finally, I called Bev, and that was a much nicer call. She sent me an article from her local newspaper about her and Gabe (about asthma), and he's such a beautiful little boy now. He's come a long way from the little alien baby he was.

Also he's going to have a cousin in May. My other cousin Jaime is pregnant. This means I have to make another baby blanket--I'd give them WUALF, but I'm feeling somehow that it wouldn't be right for them--and maybe a little baby elf hat. I'm also going to look through my fabric stash tonight to see what I can put together quickly into a blanket to donate for the Katrina refugees. (TST still isn't done. I'll have to finish it before I pack.)

This is why pretty people scare me.

New Coworker walked in, looking for Marie. "I just heard something really funny and I had to tell someone," she said. "I just saw Bucky and he said that if women have babies they should stay home and take care of them. Isn't that hysterical?"

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Those days are gone.

I cut down the weeds. I didn't pull them because they would never have come up. I tried. Instead I took my hedge clippers and cut down the overgrown thistles and these huge bushes that were taller than me and sprouting beautiful sprays of leaves and black berries (blueberry-shaped; they must be poisonous or people would let them grow, like huckleberries). I almost didn't want to cut them down, but they do make the house look like nobody's done anything to the yard since spring. (Which is true, but irrelevant.) Also I picked up branches. Now the Lawn Guy can come and mow again. The weeds are in a huge pile in front of the side door. I'm planning to let them wilt, and when they're small enough to fit in a garbage bag, I'll put them in a garbage bag in the garbage can and nobody will know that I've never once gone to the yard waste recycling collection area like I'm supposed to.

The Lawn Guy will probably be making my house look presentable on Thursday, which is too bad as I'm meeting with The Agent tomorrow at the house. I'm selling it. I'm quitting my job and moving to Toledo. I'm hoping to have a job there before I go (since that'll make it easier to find a place to live), but if the house has sold by the end of October, I'm leaving regardless. As M pointed out--and as I knew--as everyone I've been talking to knew--I haven't been happy with my job or my city for quite a while, and I have nothing really to keep me here and several reasons to go elsewhere. I'm not a risk-taker, which is why I haven't done this before, but then again maybe the chance of moving without a job will spur me into getting something--anything. I'm not going to be too picky. I need a living wage (which is not very high in Toledo, apparently) and a job where they won't ask me to devote my entire life to it. That's all. (And actually I do have some money to rely on for a few months, assuming I don't lose very much with the house. At first I was thinking longingly of not working during November and December and getting a job in January. Two months of doing whatever I want? Bliss. But I need a job to get an apartment or a mortgage. And if I go back to school I'll need money saved up.)

So I'm going to be looking at the Sunday ads this weekend (we're going to the gem show) and doing whatever The Agent says I need to in order to get the house sold and house-hunting and giving whatever clutter I have to Goodwill and contemplating the lovely thought of walking into work on my very last day, and the even lovelier (if scary) thought of walking out of it.

Oh, and I'm going to be dealing with my insurance company. Eric and I were in the Office Depot parking lot. I started the car, looked in the rearview mirror--a green truck had just pulled into a space a slot or two down on the opposite side, but otherwise all was clear--and pulled out. I put my hand out to shift into gear and heard a crunch. The green truck had backed out into my left rear door. We all got out and the driver of the green truck said, "I don't think I'm at fault here." He said it several times. The first time I said, "I know, your insurance company tells you to say that," but afterwards I just ignored him. The police officer he insisted on summoning (Eric called and was told that the police can't file a report or make a citation on private property, only mediate the exchange of information) tactfully told him he was, indeed, at fault, while I muttered aside, "Yeah, I hit him good with the side of my car." We filed a claim on the insurance website that day. They say they'll get back to me within one business day, so tomorrow I start pestering them.

I finished the Tivoli shirt, but the shoulders are too big. It's knit from the top down, so this is problematic. I also finally painted the inside of my bathroom drawers--now that I've decided to leave; figures--and started some Fuzzy Feet, which is just another reason to leave the house, since I've got hardwood floors and slippers are just not the best things for me to wear on hardwood floors. I slipped in the basement again, trying to finally clean up the paint that caused me to slip the first time. I'll get it done though. Soon, too, looks like.