Archive for October, 2009

Oct 30 2009

Trip to Town

Published by under Cats,Country Life,Henry


Yesterday, I ventured to the big town (aka Fort Bragg, not to be confused with the military installation of the same name on the opposite coast). Fort Bragg is where they keep the non-scenic things which must not be permitted to mar the quaintness of Mendocino, but which are necessities of life, such as the Safeway and the DMV.

I was surprised to discover that the Safeway is bigger than the one in Oakland, though of course it’s lacking in Ray. Once I got Suzy chow, I headed to the Feed and Pet to get feed for the pets.

It’s been kind of a conundrum for me. The girls used to get fancy expensive food, and Henry got cheapo Safeway food. But now they’re all being fed together, and presumably eating out of each other’s bowls (you know how cats always suspect the other cat has something better and must inspect to make sure), I had to find some middle ground. Like wine for a party. You can’t afford to provide the best for all those people, but you have to drink it yourself, and of course you have your wine connoisseur reputation to consider. The middle ground can be a challenge.

I ended up getting a 16 pound bag of Max Cat for the same price as a 5 pound bag of the fancy food. It was well-received by all. I have to say that feeding time is much harder now, with three cats milling around underfoot and complaining about how hungry they are and how slow I am. I keep stepping on Henry, who is both the skinniest and the most insistent. He was much more blasé about the whole thing when he was outside, for some reason.

After that, it was time for a successful foray to the library, which was closed* when I went to renew my car registration and when I pointlessly interviewed. I got a shiny new library card:

librarycardThe coast; the wine country; the redwoods

and used it both immediately and later – when I got home, I requested 28 books from my waiting list. Something – well, a lot of things – to look forward to!
*These cutbacks are saving about half of what was originally projected. So librarians and other government workers took a pay cut for nearly no reason.

3 responses so far

Oct 29 2009

Exciting News of the Day

Published by under Uncategorized

Feeding time at the zoo

The kitty detente continues. Honestly, a week ago, I would never have thought this was possible.

Exciting news of the day, part one: Rob is getting a continuous glucometer! This should prevent the scary ups and downs as experienced on Moving Day and keep his sugars on a more or less even keel. Better for him, and better for my sister, who won’t have to worry as much on her long overnight shifts. Yay!

Exciting news of the day, part two: My brother is getting a muzzle of bees! A swarm of bees, plus all bee-keeping equipment. By Fed Ex. Who knew that Fed Ex delivers bees? The bees are coming from someone in San Francisco whose neighbors complained about the bees and were going to call the police unless the beekeeper relinquished the bees. What kind of charge you can get for urban beekeeping is beyond my limited knowledge, but there you have it: free bees! Free Fed Exed bees.

Exciting news of the day, part three: The Amerigas guy showed up while I was on the phone with the internet support guys in far off India. Newsflash: You may call yourself Jack or Sam, but the accent gives you away, my friend. Does it make me a Limbaugh that I would totally pay extra to talk to an American in America? I spent half the call asking the guy to repeat himself. Later I realized that I still posted yesterday despite technical difficulties and now I wonder if I have a problem.

Anyway, I now have a full propane tank to make my heater and dryer run. Did you know that they never fill propane tanks all the way full, so the gas has room to breathe and move? Or something? Also I’m supposed to make sure there’s still 20% left in the tank before I call them for a refill, and if possible, I should try and combine it with Mark and Citlali having their tank filled, too. I can’t say I blame the guy. Driving a propane truck down the narrow, rutted driveway with its potholes and other hazards must be quite a hazardous undertaking. Especially while transporting hazardous materials.

3 responses so far

Oct 28 2009

Good & Bad Day

Published by under Cats,Country Life,Henry

Early morning in my garden

Today was one of those frustrating days.

The internet was crawling at a pace which would have made a snail laugh as it zipped by (and still is, even as I write), and it was impossible for me to access my work database and get anything done, even though I had a deadline. The phone mostly works, depending on where I’m standing or sitting, so I could call our IT person back in civilization and my boss in Detroit and alert them of the problem.

I tried to do some of my laundry while I was waiting for the internet to be restored (a girl can dream). Among the lovely items needing to be cleaned are the poo carrier and the cloths I used to acquire the housemaid’s knee (which is bothering me today). I washed the regular laundry first, and put it in the dryer. Though the dryer went, it didn’t dry anything, so I spent an hour’s worth of propane for nothing.

I found the clothesline and fastened it to a couple of handy trees, then hung the laundry on hangers on the line, since I couldn’t find the clothespins. Hopefully that will work. I’ll have to alert the landlord about the non-dryingness of the dryer before I attack the rest of that chore.

Add in some wrangling with the credit card people and you have a really excellent day.

On the bright side, Henry purred for the first time today. He was sitting next to me on the couch and I was petting him when I heard a strange sound. It was a rusty and rumbling purr. I petted him until he got overwhelmed and bit me gently. He really just catches my hand in his mouth to tell me to knock it off. Much better than The Claw.

The girls ventured outside today and explored the garden. It was fun to see them looking around. They are definitely cautious – my sister says they know they are both predator and prey – but I think they had a good time. They came to the “front” door and waited until I let them in this afternoon, and they’re safely in now, so this may work out just fine. I’ll be thrilled to get rid of the litter box, let me tell you!

4 responses so far

Oct 27 2009


Published by under Cats,Henry

It’s one of life’s enduring mysteries: why do cats always do something cute when the house is a mess? Forgive the untidiness, and note that Henry and June are both on the bed at the same time. Amazing for cats who have only been roommates for a few days, especially considering that June has been dying to get her claws on Henry for months now. Maybe he’s lost his mystique now that she’s seen him up close. I think most girls have experienced that at one time or another.

5 responses so far

Oct 26 2009


  • Housemaid’s knee is receding, but still making its presence known. It has been joined by an unpleasant tingling sensation in my right leg, running pretty much the length of it. I have not yet regained my usual graceful gait, but I promise to be thankful for being able to actually walk once I can. For at least five minutes. And if this is a preview of being an old lady, I’m really not looking forward to that now.
  • Besides wishing I could walk, I wish I could unpack. Actually, I’m wishing for Samantha Stephens or Jeannie to twitch or blink the house in order, no manual labor required. Besides being dreary and manicure-destroying, manual labor is what led to the limp in the first place.
  • The cats have been getting along surprisingly well. There’s been the odd hiss or two, but no fights that I’ve seen or heard. Yesterday, I found them all asleep on the bed. Henry’s still skittish, but the girls are clearly happy and notably less naughty. They haven’t been racing through the house or breaking things at all. I think they’re enjoying going up and down the stairs and exploring their new house.
  • I have no fewer than five doors in my house, but no locks. Today, one of the doors wasn’t latched properly and drifted open while I was out. June and Audrey were outside, but came in pretty easily when I called them. Henry was still inside – I suspect that years of being a stray have made the great outdoors a lot less appealing to him. My original plan was to keep them all in for a week, so they know it’s their house, and then let them out on the balcony from the bedroom, so they get used to the whole outside thing. After a few days, I’ll let them out the door downstairs. I’ll be curious to see what they do, how far they go, and whether I can get them in at night.

4 responses so far

Oct 25 2009

Thanks, But No Thanks

Published by under Uncategorized

Not only am I a semi-invalid with housemaid’s knee* (or housework’s revenge), I’m semi-invalid as a person, too.

I didn’t get that job. They called me early on Friday morning, when my sibs and brother-in-law had gone to return the truck. it took a convoy again because my heroic brother was going to work, so he drove the truck, Megan drove his car (so he could get home from work later) and Rob drove Megan’s car (so they could get home).

So I was alone when the call came. I was so taken aback that I didn’t ask why, which is what everyone else asked me first when I told them about it. I asked them to keep me in mind if anything else came up, and that was it. I just sat there stunned.

It doesn’t really matter why they didn’t hire me. The fact is they didn’t. I could (and have) imagined countless reasons: thought I was over qualified; didn’t like me; concerned about my current job; hired their cousin, etc. Even if they had told me why, it might not have been the real reason anyway.

It does annoy me that I risked life and limb to interview with them and then they rejected me. I thought I had done well, and clearly I hadn’t. It all comes of interviewing once every twenty years. I can’t say that this experience has really improved my self-confidence, and it definitely won’t help if/when I get another interview.

It’s also humiliating because I told all of you about it, and they called all of my references and spoke with them exhaustively and exhaustingly. Two of the references are current colleagues, which makes it even worse.

I have to wonder how how open and honest I should be when I blog, especially when you hear about people being fired for what they say on their blogs, or prospective employers demanding access to Facebook profiles, etc. I think one’s blog should be a personal place to write thoughts and feelings, and blogs and Facebook are none of your employer’s, or prospective employer’s, business.

But it’s hard for me to know that you all know I’m a failure. I guess that’s the flip side of the love and support you always give me. Although I’m a Gemini, sometimes I wish things were one sided: the good side.

*I wonder how real housemaids managed when afflicted with the Knee. I can’t imagine Victorian employers allowing their maids to stay in bed for days. Maybe they just fired them and got new ones back then.

7 responses so far

Oct 23 2009

The Adventure

Published by under Calamity Suzy,Cats,Family,Moving

roadThe road home

Operation Escape Oakland hit a few snags, as many elaborate maneuvers are wont to do.

Rob is an insulin-dependent diabetic, and had some issues with his sugar count early on Wednesday morning. We applied soda and waited for him to feel better. At times like this, it’s great to have your EMS trained brother at hand.

While Rob was recovering, Audrey decided she’d get a head start and escaped from her carrier. The girls’ carriers are cloth and close with zippers that meet in the middle. Audrey must have poked her nose or paw through the place where the zippers met until she made a big enough hole to slip out.

Unfortunately, I had left the car window open to give the girls some air while we completed the packing process.

Fortunately, Audrey ran into B’s garden, which is enclosed, so trapping her was (relatively) easy.

Unfortunately, I had learned nothing from this experience since Audrey repeated the escape, though this time remaining inside the car (with its windows closed).

Fortunately, my brother had a bit of string in his pocket, as boys often do, and tied the zippers together tightly.

It seems that Audrey does not enjoy driving any more than I do, since she did an encore of the carrier poo. When I finally decanted her, she was literally covered in it. Megan immediately put her in the sink and washed her, which Audrey took remarkably well, after meowing for pretty much the entire four hour drive. June had thrown up in her carrier, undoubtedly due to the proximity of the carrier poo. Henry didn’t utter a peep and all his bodily fluids stayed in his body.

I expected a series of boos, hisses, and claw to claw combat when all three cats met, but so far, so good. They have walked past each other without remark, though fights may still ensue. They do seem happy to be here, and are enjoying the view from the glass doors and exploring a new place. This is definitely a much more interesting house from a cat’s point of view.

As for me, I now have proof positive that housework is very, very bad for you.

After we finished most of the packing on Wednesday, we cleaned the house, which entailed grovelling around on hands and knees. Not for the first time, I reflected that cleaning is a job best left to the professionals. I’m pretty sure that this unnatural activity resulted in my knees going on strike. By the time I caught Audrey the second time, I noticed that the inside side of my knees (if you follow me) hurt. By the time we stopped for gas, I could hardly bend them. By the time we got home, Megan took one look at me and put me on her couch with ice packs and painkillers.

So while my family was unpacking all my things and stuff, I was lying on Megan’s couch watching “Gilmore Girls” and whimpering. The guilt was definitely worse than the pain. I feel better today, but have been ordered to take it easy so that hopefully tomorrow I’ll be able to get a few things done around my new house.

It was an adventure, all right. Would you expect anything less from Calamity Suzy?

2 responses so far

Oct 22 2009

Hi, Honey!

Published by under Uncategorized

My brother the truck driver

I’m home!

Details to follow. Let’s just say it was an adventure.

Everyone’s OK, and we’re settling in. Thanks for all the love and support!

3 responses so far

Oct 21 2009

Convoy, Convoy

Published by under Cats,Henry,Moving

Well, this will be my last post from Oakhampton.

I’m ending as I began, camping in my house with weirded out cats. Though now there are three instead of two. Henry is in the pantry, a marked improvement over being stuck in the cat carrier all day (the landlords insisted that I remove the screening, so we did that first). He was so patient, and never made a peep.

The girls are wandering around the nearly-empty house, wondering where The Boxes have gone. Presumably they’re all wondering what the hell is going on around here.

The giant moving truck is occupying the entire driveway. I hope that no-one decides to snip off the padlock and help themselves.

We’re hoping to get out of here at 7:00 tomorrow morning. We’ll be a convoy: Jonathan in the truck; Rob in Jonathan’s car (they drove down together this morning); then Self and cat cargo. Jonathan brought little radios, sort of like walkie-talkies, in case we lose sight of each other on the way or someone wants to stop. Much easier than cell phones, and not illegal.

Wish us luck!

5 responses so far

Oct 21 2009

Henry Update

Published by under Henry,Moving

ReadytoGOAre we there yet?

Yesterday, I trapped Henry on the screened-in porch by the simple expedient of removing the concrete block propping the screen door open. I closed it carefully and locked it. I poured some litter into the top of a banker’s box and placed it as far away from his food and bed as I could, but in a sheltered area so a gentleman has some privacy.

He got up from his cozy bed and started looking around and sniffing. I have no idea what his former life was like, and whether it included litter boxes or not, but he seemed a lot less concerned about having no way out than I thought he would be. I briefly imagined him clawing his way to freedom through the thin screening, but instead, he just went back to bed.

A wise friend suggested that I try putting his food in the carrier, which is lined with a soft, fleecy blanket and awaiting him with the door open on the porch, in case he felt like exploring. I fed the girls, and while they were distracted, brought a packet of treats out to the porch.

Henry sniffed the open packet, and then I sprinkled them liberally in the carrier. He jumped in and ate them, and after he was done, he hung out in there for a while. So that problem may be solved: Maybe all I’ll have to do is put a few treats in there on Thursday and close the door!!

I really think he knows something is up, and he wants to make sure I don’t forget him. As if I ever would.

Further update: Guess where he was when I looked out the window this morning?

3 responses so far

Oct 19 2009


Published by under Uncategorized

In case you have to move sometime in the future – and I dearly hope you don’t, since I love you dearly – here’s how to do it the nouveau pauvre way.

Craigslist is key. Since you all know that much of my life is brought to me courtesy of Craigslist, you won’t be surprised to learn that it’s where I turned to first. I got all the boxes and bubble wrap (which is surprisingly expensive when you buy it new) for free from people who were unwise enough to move to Oakland. One guy moved here from Boston, and it was really hard not to tell him what a huge error in judgment he’d made. He’ll find out for himself. He’ll probably be looking for moving boxes on Craigslist himself within the year.

Save up your newspapers to pad the valuables and to cushion the items that don’t rate bubble wrap, even free bubble wrap. There’s a definite caste system to my packing. Two hundred year old Wedgwood gets bubble wrap. Dishes from Target get newspaper. Don’t forget to cancel the paper before you move!

Reserve your truck ahead to get the best rate, and don’t be afraid to negotiate. Think of it as an unpaid internship at an embassy. If you can, get your brother to drive it and help you pack it, or a boy who’s trying to impress you. It’s free that way, though reasonably priced Rent-A-Boys are available in select locations.

Around here, it’s Moving (or at least Packing) Eve. I got a kind of fireworks send off by the house across the street being on fire last night (when my camera battery was exhausted and taking a nap, so no visual aids for you, my friends. The camera battery gets exhausted faster than I do.). And this morning, I was awoken by a call from my close personal friends at U-Haul telling me that the truck has to be picked up in Hayward, which is at least a half hour drive from here. Neither the waking up nor the news made me very happy.

I have to remember my sister’s wise advice: “Don’t worry about all this. You just pay it for it twice that way.” She also pointed out that our brother will be with me every step of the way, so how bad can it be? He is, after all, an incredible Number One Groover on Life.

I love my family.

4 responses so far

Oct 19 2009

Full Circle

Published by under Cats,Henry,Moving

It’s simply tipping it down outside, as my late, great stepmother used to say, in her rich, plummy voice. It’s giving me flashbacks of the Highway to Hell last week. Just looking at the car is making me nervous.

The girls are trapped in the house, and Henry is the King of the Porch again. It warms my Grinchy little heart whenever I peek out of my bedroom window and see him all curled up on his cozy bed, fast asleep as the rain beats at the windows. I wonder if he’ll like living in a house?

I hope it doesn’t rain on Wednesday, when we’re packing the truck, or Thursday, when we’re unpacking it. Operation Escape Oakland has been slightly modified. Rob and Jonathan are going to leave Albion before sunrise, and we’ll all troop over to the U-Haul place sometime around 9:00 or 10:00 on Wednesday morning. I’m planning to pick up a couple of rental boys, since Rob is forbidden to lift anything heavier than 20 pounds, and that’s about all I can lift, anyway. Also, there’s my new manicure to consider.

When I went to the U-Haul place on popular murder destination International Boulevard to get a price list a couple of weeks ago, I was swarmed by men before I even got out of the car. You’d have thought I was Megan Fox in a teeny bikini. They were disappointed, because not only did I fail to be a gorgeous starlet, I wasn’t hiring. For a low, low price, they’ll help you pack your truck, mow your lawn, and pretty much any other odd job that isn’t too odd. So I think we’ll pick up a couple when we pick up the truck. Cash for them, help for us. What’s not to love?

Note to self: do not make jokes about what could be in the grandfather clock’s coffiny box, or how heavy it is.

So we’ll pack up on Wednesday, grab dinner at the taqueria, and the boys who are related to me will sleep on an inflatable bed in the living room, and I’ll sleep on my mattress in the empty bedroom, both the pull-out couch and the bed being safely packed in the truck. Then we’ll take off on Thursday morning.

So I’ll come full circle in this house. I started out camping here, waiting for my furniture to be delivered, and I’ll end up camping here, with my furniture in the truck. There’s something poetic about that.

4 responses so far

Oct 18 2009

Are You Passionate?

Published by under Uncategorized

MegProtestMegan (center) at the protest today.

My sister is.

Her week started with the usual twelve-hour night shifts from Monday through Wednesday. On Thursday, she took her husband to Ukiah for a medical appointment, a four hour trip. On Friday, they went to Willits (home of Seabiscuit!), another long drive, to see the neurosurgeon and determine if Rob’s spine has fused properly (thank goodness, it has) after his surgery earlier this year. On Saturday, she gave CPR classes all day and then went to the shelter to help in getting the last two available puppies adopted*.

On Sunday, she and several friends drove to Oakland to protest Michael Vick, who was playing his first road game with the Philadelphia Eagles. I planned to join them, but my plans got derailed by work-related matters, so I wasn’t free to go until the protest was over. Imagine my surprise when I checked for coverage and saw my sister extensively quoted!

I immediately called her and was able to read it to her before her cell phone cut out on the long drive back to Albion. She was astonished.

I am incredibly proud of her. She had such a long week, but nothing would stop her from spending eight hours in the car to spend two hours protesting. Pit Bulls of the world, you have a pit bull of your own on your side. And she will never stop fighting until every single one of you is in a safe, loving home.
UPDATE: The story has been picked up by the Associated Press, including the LA Times!

*It’s official: Lu is adopting Harlow! So we can watch her grow up!

4 responses so far

Oct 17 2009

Cats, Books & Boxes

Published by under Cats,Jessica,Moving

Henry was nowhere to be seen when I went out to feed him this morning. I called him and called him, but he didn’t appear. I could have alerted the TV networks, but decided to go and pack some more and then look for him again. While I packed, I worried about not being able to find him on Wednesday. My plan was to lure him onto the screened-in porch with food in the morning, so he can stay there while we’re packing up the truck, but what if he isn’t there to be lured?

Henry was lying on his bed as if nothing had happened when I went to look for him again. He gave me a hushed meow of acknowledgement, but didn’t bother to get up. Cats need their beauty sleep, after all. I think I’ll try and get him onto the porch on Tuesday and just keep him there with his food and a litter box until my brother can wrestle him into his carrying case on Wednesday.

He’ll have to get used to the litter box in the short term anyway, since all three cats will have to stay inside for the first few days after we move so they know it’s their house. After that, I’ll let them all out and hope for the best. I’m planning to bring them in at night, but they may have ideas of their own.

At night I lie in bed and fret about things like whether the cats will fight all the time and hate each other, or how on earth I’ll get rid of all the boxes after I unpack, or whether I should buy a bunch of bottled water for my moving crew instead of having glasses to wash up and pack after we’re all done. These minor details which are probably making you laugh are making me sleepless.

I haven’t heard back from the people I risked life and limb to interview with, and since they said they’d decide by the end of the week, I’m thinking that no answer is a no. Looking for a job in the midst of moving really does add to a girl’s stress.

When the day’s packing is through and I’ve washed my ink-stained hands, I settle back with a glass or two of wine and an episode of Columbo. They are intriguing enough to keep my mind – or at least the surface of it – off my worries, but are delightfully lacking in the graphic grossness of the CSI franchise or the sadness of the Law & Orders, which make me despair of humanity much of the time. Also, they were shot in sunny LA in the early 1970s, and I have never much enjoyed the present. And then there’s the considerable charm of Peter Falk. I smile every time he introduces himself as “from the police”.

I’ve had to cancel all my Oakland library holds and return all the books I had checked out. So I’ve been digging in The Boxes for escapism. I can only read children’s books (Edward Eager*, E.L. Konigsburg, and Zilpha Keatley Snyder) and light fiction (Barbara Pym, Peter Mayle, and Miss Read). I can’t wait to get a library card when I move, and I have a list of books to request when I do. That’s a happy thought for sleepless nights. Or any time of day.

*Megan just bought Jessica her first Edward Eager! Also some of the delightful Great Brain series. She’s reading at a fourth grade level at the age of six.

3 responses so far

Oct 16 2009

News for Papers

Published by under Uncategorized

If you look carefully through the plum tree, you can see the remains of Oxycotin Girl’s former abode. The destruction started a few days ago, when I thought they were merely replacing the roof. But after peeling off the roof, they started to tear down the supports, and are now slowly tearing down the walls. Surely there must be a faster way of razing a house? I can’t tell you how hard it is on a girl’s few remaining nerves to hear nails being wrenched out of boards (squeeakkk!) for hours on end, then hammering and sawing on walls. It’s a discordant symphony.

With the Destructo Symphony in the background, I packed up a few more boxes. I never thought I’d say this, but I’m running out of newspapers. I’ve been saving them up for this very purpose, but like all people who move, I discovered that I underestimated the amount of things I have – despite the fact that I packed and unpacked them less than two years ago.

Slow learner, I guess.

One thing I did learn was the reason for the demise of the American newspaper. It’s simple: the newsprint comes off on your hands. By the time I had packed up my champagne glasses, decanters, and the heirloom Wedgwood salad bowl and biscuit jar, my hands were black. Even my Sweet Heart nails were smudged. I had made the mistake of scratching my nose and pushing my hair back, so I looked like a pre-Prince Cinderella. How do these folks expect people to read the paper on the way to work and arrive in a presentable state?

4 responses so far

Oct 15 2009


Published by under Uncategorized

My dear friend the Lipstick Gardener sent me a gift certificate to a day spa. It was an un-birthday present, which we all know is the best kind. I saved it for a couple of months, savoring the pleasure of knowing I could use it any time I wanted. I perused the web site, deciding how to get the most luxury for the money (and deciding what I’d get if money were no object – how I’d love to say that and mean it!).

But time was running out, so I figured I’d better use it before I move to Hooterville next week. I booked a mani/pedi, and set off this morning for my date with primping. It was a perfectly sunny day, and it was hard to believe that just two days ago there was a mini typhoon here. I enjoyed driving on dry pavements more than I ever thought possible.

I thoroughly enjoyed being buffed and polished. I had a heated buckwheat and lavender filled pillow on my shoulders to relax me as I was prettified, and Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday sang to me as I was sugar scrubbed and painted. My toes are now OPI Maliblue, a sort of iridescent blue that changes colors in the sun and has a subtle sparkliness, and my fingers are OPI Sweet Heart, a discreet, yet shiny neutral. I love it when cosmetics have names instead of numbers. It’s much more fun to be Maliblue than, say, number 42. Sometimes I think that Cosmetic Namer would be one of the most fun jobs ever. I bet I’d be good at it, too.

My mental state is as improved as my feet and hands. I wonder if it’s too late to add a proviso to the health care bill to entitle us girls to mani/pedis twice a year or so, and massages all around? We’d all be prettier and more relaxed, so we’d be happier. And isn’t happier always healthier?

One response so far

Oct 14 2009

The Gift

Published by under Uncategorized

My timing really is excellent – I was driving through the worst October storm in nearly 50 years. Oakland got four inches of rain yesterday, or 20% of what we usually get in an entire year.


I’m not going near the car today. I imagine it’s sighing with relief at being safe and sound in its own driveway again.

As I write, the sunny day is indeed chasing the clouds away, and yesterday seems like a bad dream. Tomorrow I will have to brave 580 again, but for the best of reasons: a free mani-pedi. Yes!! A friend sent me a surprise gift certificate for a surprisingly generous amount at a local day spa. I’d been saving it for a rainy day, but it doesn’t get much rainier than it did yesterday, and I should definitely use it before I move to Hooterville.

I have such great friends.

2 responses so far

Oct 13 2009

Wind & Whether

Published by under Jessica,Moving

Stormy weather

Wow! That was intense!

I must have aged ten years on the drive home today. Jessica will be even less complimentary the next time she compares the original to my decade-old driver’s license picture.

I was the most worried about Highway 128, whose curves make Marilyn look like Audrey Hepburn. It turns out that was the fun part. Both 101 and 580 were full of trucks whooshing by, or hanging out in front of me, so I was blinded by the mist in the their wake (is there a term for this?) half the time. Add in torrential rains, gale-force winds, a few flooded lanes, and people driving without their lights on, and you have a hell-a-palooza on your hands.

My Mouse must have been working overtime and wishing I brought its twin.

According to the radio, 280 was partly closed due to flooding, and 101 south of San Francisco was also flooded, backing up traffic for miles. About ten minutes after I passed Philo, I heard that a car had driven into a tree which had fallen across the road there.

I have never been so happy to see Oakland in my life.

As for the interview, also known as the stress-free part of the trip, I think it went well. One of the interviewers worked with Megan at the hospital for several years, so that was a point in my favor. She also remembered my mother’s long, painful illness and was really sweet about it. That’s a small town for you!

They are supposed to decide by the end of the week. If they make me an offer, I don’t know how I can fit it in with my current job, especially since they want someone 5 hours a day, 5 days a week. I’m not too happy at the the thought of driving all that way every day, but they do offer medical benefits and it seems like a great place to work. And if they don’t make me an offer, I’ll be all huffy because they don’t want me.

3 responses so far

Oct 12 2009

The Talisman

Published by under Uncategorized

My father traveled a lot for work*. When we were kids, we used to compete to see who could spot Dad first when we picked him up at the airport**. I can still see him, in his characteristic navy blue raincoat, his eyes lighting up when he saw us.

My sister is considerably younger than my brother (6 years) and me (9), and she took a less blasé view of these comings and goings. Being Megan, she decided to do something about her concerns.

I believe she was about five at the time she made her first Mouse. It had a fuzzy front with googly eyes and a pink felt nose (hmm, mine seems to be missing its nose), which matched its pink felt backing. There was a tail, and a bobby pin, so the Mouse could be secured inside a pocket. I think she figured that if Dad had something she made with him, he’d always find his way home safely.

The Mice never failed him.

Now, Dad was a fatalist when it came to flying. He figured there was no point in worrying about it. If it crashes, you’re dead. If not, you wasted hours of your (apparently precious, or you wouldn’t be worrying) life fretting over nothing. “Have a drink and hope for the best” was his motto.

Having said that, though, he always took a Mouse with him when he traveled. There were One Mouse and Two Mouse trips. Twos were long haul: London to San Francisco, for example. Ones were things like taking the train from London to Paris.

As I got older and started to travel more, my sister made me my own pair of Mice. I used to carry them in my pocket, but girls’ clothes are frequently pocket deprived, so I had to come up with an alternative. Let’s just say I keep my Mice close to my heart. They have never let me down, either, in spite of my dislike of flying.

I’m driving up north today instead of yesterday, and I hope I make it on time. It’s a One Mouse trip, I hope. I’ve never had a Mouse at a job interview, but I’m guessing that its power will be as effective there as it is on the road or in the air. I feel like I have a secret weapon.

*Although technically retired, he still did. He was scheduled to chair an OECD meeting just weeks after his death. He loved his work. He used to say he’d work for free!
**Back in the halcyon days when you could meet your friends and family at the gate.

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Oct 10 2009


Published by under Jessica,Moving

Being the Halloween Fairy takes practice.

Also blah.

So I have a job interview on Monday. It’s the first one I’ve had in nearly twenty years*. I suppose I should be glad that I haven’t had more interviewing experience, but on the other hand, I haven’t had more interviewing experience.

The interview is also 180 miles away.

I figured I’d go first thing on Sunday, so I could hang out with the sibs and play with the puppy, but no. The landlord** is showing the house again between 1:00 and 2:00 on Sunday, and she’s such a flake that I know she’ll let the kitties out and not be able to catch them. So I’ll have to stay here uncomfortably while strangers inspect my chaotic house and bad housekeeping and closet contents, and then spend four hours driving north. Hopefully I’ll get there before dark.

The interview is scheduled for 2:00 on Monday. I was thinking of driving back afterwards, but I realized that if I leave Fort Bragg around 3:00, I’d hit Santa Rosa at rush hour, and be immersed in rush hour the rest of the way home. So I think I’ll stay overnight, and have coffee with my sister when she comes home from work at 7:00 in the morning, and then head home. All this before moving next week.

To make it even more fun, there’s a storm advisory for Monday afternoon through Wednesday, so I’ll get to drive home in pouring rains and high winds.

Good times.

On the bright side, I’ll have an excellent Halloween weekend. Lu is giving a party on Friday, then I’l be part of Jessica’s Halloween entourage on Saturday (she might be a Halloween fairy), and Sunday we’ll be celebrating the Day of the Dead with Mark and Citlali and their family.

*In case you’re wondering how I performed this amazing feat, it’s because the two jobs I had before this one were temp to hire, and then my boss just called me and asked if I’d like to work with him again (we had worked together for years at my previous job). So no interview required. There’s a lot to be said for temp to hire, since you find out what the job actually is and who your coworkers really are before you commit.
**I told her about the water bill, and she just said “Oh.” That was it.

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