Wednesday, October 26, 2005

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.

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