Archive for January, 2006

Jan 27 2006

Give Me Some Credit

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Sure, there are great things about working freelance and/or part-time. You can sleep in, work strange hours, wear pajamas (or nothing!) all day, and are blissfully free of office politics and soul-destroying commutes. On the other hand, you can’t steal office supplies or gossip by the water cooler or rely on a steady paycheck.

The lack of the steady paycheck led to my missing two months’ payments on my one and only credit card (other than Victoria’s Secret, but it’s hard to buy groceries, gas or plane tickets with it, for some reason). When the apartment sold, I paid off the balance, and a few days later, foolishly tried to use it. It was declined. I was confused. I called the friendly folks at Customer Service, and guess what they told me?

If the bill isn’t paid for two months running, “in 85% of cases, the card holder has passed on.”

They weren’t kidding. Either Visa card owners have an exceptionally high mortality rate, or this is their party line to the folks whose finances have declined to the point that their card is, too. Oh, and the past due amount in my case was a whopping $200.

The Customer Service mortician said that you cannot have your account reopened, even if you have paid off the balance and are not in fact dead. You have to reapply, and let’s guess that the rejection rate for live people who have had their account summarily slammed shut after more than a decade of dedicated use, no longer own a home, and are partially employed is even greater than the assumed mortality rate of those who haven’t paid their bill for 60 whole days.

So where does that leave our heroine? She will have to {gasp!} live within her means;and/or pay cash for everything (except lingerie); and/or get herself a sugar daddy. All suggestions and introductions welcome.

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Jan 23 2006

The Truth About Truancy

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Since you can’t ask me for a note from my mother, you will just have to accept my excuse for my recent and rampant absenteeism:

Work. And lots of it.

I feel as if I were buried in work, only now digging out from underneath it like Punxsutawney Phil, making a hesitant appearance in the outside world, and blinking at the unaccustomed sunshine while looking around. Look at those horseless carriages! Women in pants! My goodness, how things have changed since the Work Avalanche of Ought-Six!

Every quarter, I research mutual funds for a client, notifying them if there are changes in management, fees, etc. Every quarter there are more, and for the quarter ended 12/31/05, there were 1,000. Count ’em (and I did), 1,000. It’s a positively Sisyphean task, though since it actually did have an end, let’s just call it Suzy-phean and be done with it. I’m already afraid of next quarter.

So after spending hours on the internet and phone researching this stuff, I couldn’t bear to even look at the computer, hence the lack of blogging and emailing. To quote the great Mark Twain, the reports of my death have been much exaggerated.

But Real Life (not Work Life) was seriously curtailed the past couple of weeks, though as previously mentioned, I did retreat to a friend’s house for a couple of days, where I did not touch a computer or even think about it for two whole days. Freedom, I’m telling you. It’s great.

Other Real Life events: Went to the dr., and she reduced my dosage of the Evil Effexor. So far, so good. While waiting to see her, enjoyed the following exchange between a mother and her young son in the waiting room:

Kid: Where are the crayons?

Mom: They don’t have crayons here.

Kid (reasonably, but perplexed): Why not?

Made me wonder why there aren’t crayons everywhere.

When taking out the trash, I went through the labyrinthine hallways of the main building (I missed the regular pick-up and had to rely on the Dumpster out back). On the way, I encountered:

The sound of Wilco’s I Am Trying to Break Your Heart (possibly my fave song ever);

The smell of weed;

An exhausted-looking hairnet, as favored by food service workers and certain tough guys in the Mission; and

What seemed to be part of an exploded set of dentures. I hope.

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Jan 20 2006

Weekend Retreat

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I spent the weekend with my fabulous friend K. She recently bought a 150 year old house in a quaint town, and I couldn’t wait to see her and the house (which has the cardinal virtue of being older than Me, unlike the lovely K, who is way behind me, at least in age).

I went by train, which I really think is the only civilized way to travel, though not as wonderful as in the halcyon days of observation cars, bar cars, and actual furniture. Still, there’s no traffic, you don’t have to drive (a big plus for Me and the unsuspecting world, since my driving is rarely, if ever, uneventful), you can get food and drink at your seat, get up and stretch your legs, and you don’t have to fight the laws of gravity by leaving the ground. Not to mention not having to get to the station half a day before your trip, or being searched (all you paranoid types: maybe trains will be the next terrorist targets! Call Amtrak now!).

After my delightfully uneventful trip, I met K at the station and repaired to her house. It is a charming jewel box of a house, and her hard work since acquiring it really shows. She has a real flair for decoration, too. The highlight for Me, of course, was the bathroom, with a to-die-for soaking clawfoot tub, (looking much like this),which I wasted no time in appreciating, up close and personal.

Since the house is still a work in progress, and the guest room is mostly used for storing tools, K and I slept in the same bed. Well, I slept. It turns out to my horror (a la Mary Tyler Moore) that I snore. Eeek!! I asked her if it was like the gentle buzzing of a distant bee, and she hesitated before telling me that it was “girlie.” Prospective bedmates, you have been warned.

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Jan 05 2006

Not a Rave Review

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I can’t say I was sorry to see the end of 2005. Here’s what happened:

January: In which Suzy gets to fly, and packs up for a winter in Florida.

February: In which Suzy thinks it’s a good idea to drive to Florida. Discovers her getting lost, being preached at by billboards, and eating scary food. Learns that the South is like a whole ‘nother country. Arrive in Florida with a sigh of relief and thinking nostalgically of the joys of air travel.

March: In which Suzy learns that Florida is like a whole ‘nother country, too. At the State Fair, learns that E.B. White was a big, fat liar, that pretty much everything can be deep fried, and what the hecks “funnel cake” is (hint: it’s deep fried).

April: In which Suzy attends leaves Florida (by plane).

May: In which the fashion show. Mystery remains unsolved.

Unfit for blogging: the sudden death of Sophie, the sweet, shy orange cat who was my beloved Buddy’s companion up until the end of his life. She was 12. She died in her sleep of a heart attack. Now she’s with Buddy again, curled up together and purring happily.

June: In which Suzy spends most of the month in the country, visiting Mom in the hospital. Her puppies!

July: In which Suzy goes home, leaving Mom still in the hospital. Never sees her again.

August In which Mom dies, four years and eight days after Dad died. The four orphans spend the month together. We’re all we have now.

September: In which…well, you can probably guess.

October: In which things are sale.

November: In which Suzy doesn’t have all that much to blog about (or brag about).

Unfit for blogging: The death of a beloved friend of more than 20 years, the beautiful and kind Genevieve. She was like a second mother to me, and losing her so soon after my mother’s death was especially painful. However, I’m grateful that she died at home in her sleep after attending Mass and didn’t suffer pain or indignity. I will always treasure her friendship.

December: In which Suzy is surprisingly Resolutions are made (to be broken).

Despite last year’s theme of death and despair, I am feeling hopeful about the new year. I’m definitely on the road to recovery from the breakdown and depression which occupied most of 2004 and 2005, and feel as if I’m ready to rise from the ashes, like a phoenix. Look out!

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Jan 02 2006

Beautiful World

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It is a truth universally acknowledged, that an exceptionally adorable two year old with an exceptionally wonderful mother, must be in want of a kitten.

Off they went to the local Humane Society, where the girl headed straight for the ugliest kitten there – scrawny, tiny, messy fur, “salvaged from somewhere”, as the shelter worker put it. It was love at first sight. And what did she want to name her kitten? What any two year old would: “Mine”.

When my niece was small, my sister Beth made the mistake of telling her that if she did something, she’d get a kitten. Of course, the task was completed immediately, and Beth was faced with traumatizing the kid with a lyin’ mama, or getting the promised kitten.

Off they went to their local humane society. On the way, my niece explained that her cat, Jimmy, was waiting for her there. On arrival, they roamed past the cages, with my niece calling “Jimmy, Jimmy! Here, Jimmy!” Guess who answered the call? Yes, the ugliest kitten there – to adult eyes. My niece thought he was beautiful. As she lifted him out of the cage, she told her mother, “I told you Jimmy was here.”

When my younger sis Megan was a kid, she went to camp, where she discovered a starved, stray dog, a mongrel mix beaten within an inch of his life (he actually had a broken bone over his eye, and both his back legs had been broken). She hid him in her tent and fed him until the inevitable discovery. Mutt was shipped off to the pound. Megan went crying to Dad, and told him she had found the most beautiful dog in the world and wanted to bring him home.

When they arrived at the pound (with Dad’s friend Ted in tow, who happened to be a veterinarian), the dog was tethered outside. Megan ran up to him and hugged him, saying to Dad with shining eyes, “Isn’t he beautiful?” Dad asked if she was sure this was the dog. An enthusiastic yes. He asked if she was sure that it was in fact a dog. Yes again. Ted checked him over and said other than fleas and malnutrition, he was healthy, so they took him home.

Little did Dad suspect that this funny-looking dog, Jesse, would become his beloved companion for the next 13 years, until Jesse died, an old and happy dog. Their ashes are scattered together beneath a tree, per Dad’s request. As for the kittens, they lived happily ever after, though “Mine’s” name was changed to Mia. I think children can see beauty in people, places, and things that we grown-ups can’t. If we’re lucky, they share it with us.

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