Monday, December 31, 2007

merry new year!

if you get that quote, then i love you a little extra.

new year's eve is a time to reflect on the past year. well, that and get drunk. you will have to BYOB, but in the interests of efficiency, i am going to reflect on a very narrow window, a.k.a. November's Adventures, albeit in a slightly truncated fashion. i wrote most of these bits out weeks ago now, and frankly i'm a little bored with them. they do have a lot to live up to, though, what with the excitement of actually getting *to* oregon.

and now, the short, short version (at least parts of it):

sat nov 10 - moved to la quinta inn, wilsonville. saw some reeeeally crappy houses off of hwy 26.

sun nov 11- under clouds whose bark was worse than their bite, unloaded the monstrosity into a storage unit, with the help of 3 wonderful fellows from craigsliszt (CL, i love you!). turned in the monstrosity with gigantic sighs of relief.

sidebar: there just started being some POPping outside. it took me about 5 minute to figure out those were fireworks. am i tired? you be the judge.

mon nov 12 – hopped up, got some stellar (not kidding) free breakfast at the hotel, then set to house hunting! I was very annoyed because we didn’t leave til 2pm, and it starts getting dark around 430. hello northerners!

Our first stop was in Portland, near Tigard off 217. we’re driving along and oops – missed our turn. Make a left into the next street, to turn around, when hello! There’s a house for rent right at the corner. Actually a duplex, a nice looking, cream-colored townhouse, and the half not facing busyish oleson road.

Naturally we go to check it out. The first thing we noticed was an adorably landscaped garden. It was filled with a dozen or so bird houses, creeping ivy, berried shrubs, moss (I love you), and a winding path leading to a (Japanese elm? Maple?) tree, framed around a deck with aridondack chairs and hundreds of minature gold, orange and red leaves blanketing the entire scene. From the deck we could see the kitchen, dining/living room, bedroom plus staircase leading to at least one more bedroom (2, turned out). It was light, airy, vaulted ceilings, a fireplace and as a package, entirely cozy.

So, charmed, m called the # listed outside. 3br, 1.5ba AND affordable. No pets? How about you think up the most you might need to repair pet damage, and we’ll pay that as a deposit? Ok then! We’ll leave our rental resume for you under the locked breezeway.

Oh now it looks like there are a couple of tweaks needed to said resume. Specifically, a cover letter and a few minor changes. Plus, we needed more copies for other folks. So, down to kinko’s (saw one en route, woo!) to finish our paperwork.

Which was all a necessary evil but by the time we were all done and that dropped back off, it was after 5 – too dark to see any more. Did we go to the hotel? Visit my parents? God knows.

tues/weds nov 13/14 - more house- and job-hunting, which included:
- crappy houses
- beautiful houses
- getting lost
- signing away our life on credit releases, etc
- finally seeing the loser cabin we'd been headed to on monday. tip: it is not good when you can smell mildew from the outside.
- got turned down for the job i'd interviewed for the previous thursday, however, would i mind interviewing tomorrow at 9am for a junior version of that job? sigh. ok.
- called back a guy who'd called me 3 weeks prior (an interview i'd had to reschedule due to our bank snafus), and got a new interview - 1pm - for the same position.

and with that, i will wish you all the best for 2008, during which i promise to wrap up this saga.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

another year of a-muse-ment

somehow fitting to have a pun in there. anyway, i finally found a meme i could get behind, from rpp. i don't have to think (which is great, since it's late), i only have to collect data in a bizarrely meaningful fashion. so without further adieu, here are the first lines from the first post of each month this year:

January: thanks to rashenbo:
February: lately i have been completely overwhelmed with a desire to return home. and by home, i mean oregon.
March: i'm sure it's all those answers about reading books that did me in...
April: this just in!
May: in my last post i mentioned someday writing a book based on my particular brand of crazy.
June: i got this from wen the other day.
July: although i am, in fact, working on my boston post.
August: it can happen, folks. at least in your head.
September: that was the title of the skype chat we had going all night during last week's live code push at work, and yes i came up with the title, and yes i purposely mispelled kegger.
October: i am tired.
November: i'll post a more comprehensive update in the future, of course, but suffice to say:
December: as evidenced by this shot:

from this i surmise i need to work on my use of colons, and also stop doing memes or quizzes at the beginning of the month. anyway, if anyone is interested in doing this, consider yourself tagged!

and now you'll have to excuse me, i'm off to finish watching the lovely dana scully and fall asleep. night!

Monday, December 24, 2007

The Great Escape '07 (part 3)

before i dive into this, i hope you all are having a wonderful holiday season! i am having a wonderful one so far, replete with homemade sugar cookies (a bout at mom's, with much silliness), a couple of santa drivebys and (today) cleaning+tree trimming. pretty good set there.

ok, back to the misadventures. heads up, the previous two days were more exciting, but still, it's good to write this out. =)

Wed nov 7 – I slept so hard, I don’t remember sleeping. But as usual, I was the first one up, so I checked on the kitties – cozy in a very large bathroom – and took pearl out.

Her goal: place the Pearl Stamp of Approval on the grass
My goal: See if I was still the jam in someone’s Unwieldy Truck Jelly Roll.

My 18-inch neighbor was vamanos – yay! However the horse buggy was still right next to me, which left me hoping they would checkout today before 11am. Which they did, thank the Jesus. Oh and before we left, I got a call moving my Thursday interview in Portland (yes, the next day, yes I didn’t mention this interview before) from 4pm to 3pm. Ok fine.

When we finally hit the road around 11, I notice my arms are still so damn sore from moving/packing that I feel like I can barely hold onto the wheel. And oh, do I have to hold on! That thing was so damn sensitive, I had to correct constantly. And yes, except for a minor blip (tune in later), I did all the driving. Min was sansa-driving license, remember?

We stopped in Redding (?) for some warmer clothes for m, and interview clothes+shoes for me (all packed, of course), at a fabulously fashionable walmart. Considering my aversion to polyester and rayon, I think I fared pretty well. Oh, and got a better cat litter box. M had got a ‘travel’ one – hey, we’re traveling – but did not take into account dolce’s penchant for Vigorous Self Expression. I’d cleaned the Vigorous Aftermath that morning, so when we pulled into wallyworld I nicely commanded her to get a litter box with a lid.

By the time we finished it was about 630 and I was stressed. We *had* to get to Salem tonight – interview tomorrow! Bleh. We tooled over to mcd’s for some grub and then with min at the wheel (me: just a wee bit tired), we headed north once again.

Somewhere between Medford and Roseburg we began to get low on gas. Being as a) you can’t pull in just anywhere with a beast like this, b) there’s very few gas stations along that route, c) especially when it’s after 10pm, let’s just say there were severall unsuccessful rounds, resulting in numerous prayers.

OH and right around then, pearl started panting like crazy, shaking and periodically tapping on arms. The last bit means she wants something, like to go outside. Ok fine. We stop. No puppy action. After a bit I theorize it’s the truck, the movement. She wants us to stop, period.

Which isn’t happening so all we can do is try to soothe her, and that sort of worked. When we finally rolled into Roseburg on fumes, and it took 15 minutes alone – and about $150 – to fill up the tank, plus bathroom/food breaks for everyone, we ended up with a half hour break and a completely mellowed pearl. Thank god.

I got back at the wheel and was perfectly alert, and pearl perfectly mellow, until about 20 minutes before salem. We made it though, and couldn’t figure out where to park the truck at first, but Crosslands Hotel Lobby Man said the semis usually fit out back. Back? After we finished I looked and though I had to navigate a narrow entrance, out back was plenty big.

And thus, by about 2am, we were all packed away into the hotel room, on our way to snoozville.

Thu nov 8 – Interview’s at 3, but I got up at 9. Why? Because before then I had to:

- Find out if I could return the car tow dolly in salem. If yes, yay! If not, have to figure out where in Portland, and do THAT today, because I could NOT drive and park the whole caboodle downtown.
- Turn in the dolly in salem – yay!
- Repark the de-dollied truck
- Get some SBC goodness (hello!)
- Go to a kinko’s to 1) print copies of my resume, which thank god I’d thought to send to my gmail acct before I left, and 2) map how to get to my interview
- Get lunch
- Drive the 45 min/hour to the interview, making sure to get there about 20 minutes early (just in case)

I actually got there 30 minutes early, which was fine since I like having time to go over the job description and resume just beforehand. It also gave me time to come up with a brilliant idea on how to deal with the credit card I’D JUST LOST. Yes, the same one that was our ONLY one. Those friggin mediocre pants from wallyworld – very shallow pockets. Which is why I put only the card in there, not my whole wallet. Which is why it still fell out, though.

Anyway – brilliant idea? Get my mom’s card. Because a couple of years ago I opened an account for my mom, with my name on it. I forget why she doesn’t have her name on it – odd. But since the account’s mine, my name everywhere, presto! Problem solved until my replacement card can arrive.

The interview went fine. The recruiters met me there ahead of time – nice guys, if mildly tense. Sort of like salesmen, hoping the deal goes through. Makes sense, I guess, I just never had recruiters meet me at an interview site. And the people in the office – also mildly tense. Cordial, rather than friendly. I could tell some of my answers weren’t thrilling my interviewer (it is pointless to lie in an interview, in my opinion) but other answers were quite bewitching. Who knew localization was such a hot topic?

So, a mixed bag. Afterwards I headed to Salem, where we planned to meet my parents at mcgrath’s. Turned out it was just my mom – dad was too sick. It was so good to see her, to know we were here for good, that this was the first of many meals. M and my mom commiserated a lot about their state of being – both sick, in completely different ways, but the result is the same. They both struggle a great deal with who they used to be – ‘power women’ – and how they barely have the energy (physical or otherwise) to do much anymore.

I felt really glad for the both of them, that they’d just had an informal group therapy session. It’s hard to talk to other people about these things – even for me, as a spectator, it’s sometimes draining on an awfully personal, pervasive level. And I’m not even the incapacitated one. Anyway, we talked til I was falling asleep, then drove back to the hotel. Zzzzzzzzzz

Fri nov 9 – Honest to god I don’t remember the first half of this day. The first thing I recall is arranging to meet my parents at marie calendar’s for a late lunch, about 230. At 245 my mom calls to say dad has fallen and he can’t get up. Seriously. Ambulance en route. She says not to follow yet – she’ll call after he gets seen in the ER.

So, we ate, then went to the thrift store I’d noticed earlier, because if we thought it was cold in redding, holy shit it was freezing in salem. It was just in the 40’s but hello! Came from where it was in the 70’s. and sunny instead of freezing, windy rain. So, time to get m a bigger coat – a great one actually, for just $15. While there, my mom called to say that dad had broken his hip. They’d operate tonight but didn’t know when yet, so she’d call again after he (likely) got moved to a room and we could visit.

Bout an hour later – round 7 – we were back at the hotel when my mom’s call came in. M was getting sleepy, so I went by myself and got there a little after 8. Why so long? Because en route, I stopped at kinko’s. On Sunday we needed to unload the behemoth into a storage unit, and no way I was doing that by myself. I posted on CL, then called my mom to see if she needed dinner. Yep. So I popped over to wendy’s and got us some grub, then headed over to the hospital.

My poor dad. He hadn’t been given any pain relief for about about 5 hours, which doesn’t sound like a lot unless you’ve, I don’t know, broken a hip and normally have a shitload of pain on a daily basis already. Apparently they kept waiting for the pharmacy to actually fill the order. Great, thanks.

Meantime they put his leg in traction (woo, more pain!) and kept waiting to hear when surgery would happen. Lots of buzzing about, who knows what’s happening, but my dad was suuuper chatty, which is not like him. Adrenaline/distraction, I guess. He went on and on about what a great day he and min had one time, down in santa cruz, probably 2 years ago. You be sure to tell her I said that, ok? Ok! And that was the last thing he said before they wheeled him out, because hello! Aaround 930 a tech suddenly came to whisk him away for surgery. Alright, guess we’re on!

I walked downstairs with my mom, hugged her goodbye and then drove back to kinko’s again. Why? Because in those 2 hours or so, I must’ve gotten 20 calls about loading help on Sunday, and I had to stop my phone from incessantly ringing, so I deleted the CL post. On the way back to the hotel, I felt like I could hardly think, I was so exhausted. So guess what happened? Zzzzzzz

Sunday, December 16, 2007

ah, bibliophilia

i love the library.
books upon books
any and all for me
and ALL for free, provided i return (or renew!) them accordingly.

i was let loose for 20 minutes and gleefully came home with 8 books in a variety of genres. pure bliss, i tell you.

p.s. yes, i know i'm a geek. the trick is being enough of a book whore that i don't mind being called a geek.
p.p.s. yes, i've mastered that trick.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

the difference between $9/hr and...

well let's just say "significantly more than $9/hr", which for now represents my "normal going rate". anyway, i am at that point where, as long as a temporary job is close by (less than 10 miles, let's say) and parking is free, i'm willing to take a drastic, temporary pay cut so that we have money for things like, i don't know, food.

yes, next month's rent is covered. so are a few other things for the next several weeks, so we're ok, and i'm working very hard, as you might guess, to get a "regular" job. have an interview scheduled next week with someone very Technologically Prominent, so think lots of good thoughts for me. but in the meantime, in order to have a merry - instead of somewhat begruding - christmas, i've procured a temporary gig for a whopping $9/hr.

are you loving the run-on sentence fetish i apparently have tonight? i know i am.

anyway, i'm two days into this (supposed) four day gig and as you might guess, it involves some manual labor so suffice to say, i am tired. why'm i writing then? well apparently i feel a need to write, but also take a break from The Great Moving Escapades of 2007. although in another way, this is part of all that, too.

so. first temporary gig was supposed to be gift wrapping. i really liked the idea of that, because a) it was from 330-midnight, allowing me to interview during the day if i chose, b) i ADORE gift wrapping and c) i am good at it. however, that job was cancelled the next day (way to plan ahead). that same next day (confused?), there was a post for letter stuffing.

amazingly, this is something i have experience with, and no i am not talking about cramming a day's junk mail into one envelope en route to the garbage. a billion (ok, 9) years ago, in november, after we moved to california from montana and were struggling to find regular employment, our temp agency called with a great-sounding opportunity -- good scrilla for letter stuffing.

the job was in santa cruz, in a dark, drafty old barn (right around here, for those of you familiar with the area), and btw drafty is a euphemism for "bone-chillingly cold and persistent gusts of wind".

to add to its charm, this job was accompanied by
- surly employees
- overbearing, nitpicking and even surlier managers
- a dearth of chairs

this last item in particular, plus the poor ergonomic planning overall, was the real killer. i worked my ass -- well, arms, fingers and back -- off for 4 hours and finally had to call it quits. the repetitive motion with the arms, sure that sucks. reaching all the time, yeah that's difficult, too, if you're doing the same thing over and over. but also while standing in a 3 foot space? with no seat or break? and managers hovering constantly in the darkness behind you?

so you can see why i might've approached this job with some trepidation. but i am very happy to say that the only thing these two jobs seem to have in common is that there is letter stuffing-related activities going on. the boss man here, very mellow. there's a plethora of chairs, room -- and time -- to work, we got the tunes going, and for the most part, my cohorts (3 others were hired at the same time) are delightful to work with. i think it's the 'most part' bit that probably has me writing tonight, really, and here's why:

yesterday (day 1), when we came back from lunch, the very nice woman (VNW) i'd been working with asked, 'did i eat?' i was a little startled - i'd told her earlier that i brought my lunch - but replied, 'yep!'

VNW then went and asked the lone male cohort (LMC) if he had eaten over the break.

no, LMC said, shaking his head.

VNW proceeds to offer half her sandwich to LMC. he accepts, and as he munches, i swear his face was sheer gratitude. i then immediately thought of the furniture we still need help moving upstairs (feel free to laugh), and of possibly offering him $20 - when this job ends - to come and serve as moving muscle for a (maximum) hour's worth of work. tried to get someone before but they flaked so - hey, i'll give it to someone who's more desperate, yeah? i mean, he doesn't even have enough food to eat.

this (observing) was my sole interaction with LMC until today, day 2. well, other than observing him being verrry chatty with the other female cohort, all day yesterday. okay, today -- more of the same chattiness until it happens that he and i end up being seated near each other, when he lapses into almost complete silence.

naturally LMC can't match for my capacity for being mute, and ultimately begins talking to me, but even then it's still quite mundane. this results in amiable silence for a couple hours.

now it's 10 minutes before 5 -- quitting time. LMC has finished his activity and goes over to in-charge guy to ask for a quick task, since it's almost time to go. in-charge guy goes, 'well there's this bin that got sorted in reverse, you could switch it around like so (demonstrates) so that this is in descending order.'

i catch the last end of this and, realizing he's talking about a bin that *i* had done (twas the first one i'd done by myself -- i'd been responsible for other parts of the process, previously), walk over to say, 'oh, did i do that one in the wrong order?'

in-charge guy says, 'yeah, it's no big deal, it'll just take a few minutes to fix.' he nods and pushes the bin towards LMC.

LMC immediately turns to me and says, 'well actually, since you screwed this one up, why don't you fix it, and i'll go take over your pasting job.'

i may have smirked, sneered, or even smiled, i don't know. what i said was, 'sure, no problem.' because it was my mistake, and plus, i could care less what letter-related task i'm actually doing -- it's all tedium.

but what i thought was, you ass. you just screwed yourself out of $20. because seriously, if you think that by somehow trying to malign my 'worthiness' as a temporary $9/hr employee, by speaking in a condescending manner to me in front of our junior supervisor, is going to somehow ... affect my employment? make me do better? be extra nice (instead of merely courteous) to you?

i don't think so.

i get sunday off. woo! hopefully there will be a mix of chores and some christmas-related activities. maybe even - dare i say it - books. *swoon*

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

for the love of beef

in more recent news, today
on the way
to safeway:

i "steered" through a juicy part of town, aka beef bend road.

incidentally, bull mountain road is also nearby, lest
you think i jest.

and on a deli sign:

until the next meaty installment,

imitation of life

Min got back yesterday. Back, you say? Yes, back from a 15-day jaunt to Tucson, because her niece Wendy was finally released from prison! For those of you just joining, she did a 7 year stint for vehicular manslaughter as a result of DUI, and in Arizona, normally the minimum – even for first timers like Wendy – is 25 years. She had to bargain to get 7. Anyway, because of M’s lack of current photo ID, her options dwindled down to Greyhound. Technically they require it too, but I said, ‘Let’s just go down, buy a ticket and see if it’s really required.’ Turned out no. I even asked, just to be sure. Company line – nyah nyah!

I'm glad she's here for many reasons, the least of which is calming Pearl (so anxious, that one) and apparently instigating movement on my job prospects. 4 pings in the last day, after weeks of nothing. Hello, and thank you!

And now, back to recapping. We start at Tuesday, November 6th, a day of being proven by fire if ever there was one.

11.6 – Set wakeup call for 7am because we have to 1) get up 2) eat (thank you, room service!) 3) get pearl to the groomer and 4) get to the house by 830am and wrap up/grab our last few things because 5) at 9am the cleaners arrive.

So, we ate, zoomed and made it to the house by 845. Thankfully (sort of), the cleaners didn’t arrive til 930 because we really did need that time to pack up the cats (who spent the first of many semi-quiet nights in a bathroom), our remaining crap and head out. M talked to the cleaners while I wrapped up, then we were off on our day of fiscal adventures.

First, though, it was back to the hotel to shower, pack that shit up and park it with the valet until we were ready to depart for the day – theoretically, around 2pm. Planned to go the bank after we checked out but hey! It’s time to meet the landlords now AND we don’t have the truck moved yet.

Yeah hi. 24 foot truck aqui en el stupido drivewayo. However, we (I can’t remember whose idea this was) had brilliantly thought ahead and called Adrian, man who made sure our shit fit in that beast, could come and back that beast up. You have no idea how freaked I was about fucking up the stone entrance to the driveway (or damaging the truck), not to mention how god-awful long it’d take. So we called, asked, do you drive trucks too? Would you drive ours out and down the street for $20 (better than $10/hr day before)? Why sure!

However, Adrian was running late and wouldn’t be there til a little after 12, and our walkthrough with the landlords was at 12. Sigh. Ok. Oh, and the cleaners, who said the house would just take 2 hours tops, they still hadn’t called to give us our 30 minute ‘almost finished!’ call and yes, it was 1145am now.

Sigh. I feel so tired, just remembering all this. We get to the house right before 12. I’m doing something – god knows what – while m checks with the cleaners to see how it’s going. Maybe I called Adrian. Anyway, cleaning guy says all is well, almost done, maybe by 1230? But also btw, did you know the kitchen sink doesn’t drain?


The sink is full of about 4 inches of dirty water. M says, when you were cleaning, did you put everything in there? Where’s your mop bucket?

Bucket? No no no, look at the disposal, it doesn’t work, see, it’s not my fault. Cleaning guy flicks the disposal switch for emphasis.

Well I could’ve told you that was broken, but the sink's always drained fine as long as you don’t, say, fill it with crap. And having a bucket, if you’re a cleaner, is that rocket science? As is calling to say, hi, the sink doesn’t work and by the way we’re running late? What do I know though?

M runs to the hardware store to get a bucket and something to clear the drain. I wait with much joy for Adrian, and the landlords, to arrive at our still slightly dirty house. Landlords arrive about 12, and I ask them to come back about 1230 when the house should be done for reals. I say nothing about the drain.

A few minutes later, cleaning guy comes out – presto! Drain has cleared. Huh? How? Apparently he pushed on it (demonstrates with both hands for emphasis) a few times and boom! Down it goes.

Well ok then. I try to call m, tell her nevermind but reception’s always been shitty around that house so I don’t get thru. I go and check on the kitties in the car, a shady spot down the way. They’re fine. I come back and the landlords are back, too. We talk a minute until min arrives, and now the cleaners really are done. I write a check while min goes and does a quick check of their work.

Now the landlords. Turns out the wife used to be a professional housecleaner. Oops. So she notices every bloody thing that these cleaners missed (which turns out was quite a bit). It’s kind of amazing a) how many places dirt can hide and b) how you don’t notice that when you’re exhausted beyond belief and c) this is still probably the cleanest the house has been in years. But we trudge along through Nitpick City, me figuring we’ll get nothing back in our deposit. Meantime Adrian arrives, so I go out to greet him, show him where to park his car, the truck, and then he heads out to repark his car.

I head back inside to find m almost (and moments later, truly) crying. I can tell there’s been more tsking and m has taken it personally (sort of hard not to) plus hi, we’re a little stressed. Wife pipes up – I’m not upset with you, it’s these cleaners!
I think, yeah but if that fucks our deposit (can you say ‘foreshadowing’?) then that’s still bad for us, so same difference in the end. But what I say, while holding a sobbing m, is, I know, but this is just the straw. There’s the trouble with the bank, she lost her wallet, plus regular moving stress – this is just the straw. M quiets, and the landlords become super sweet, and then I go back out to help guide Adrian with the truck.

Landlord Husband comes a minute later, helping to stop traffic/guide on the other side of the street, but seriously – that $20 I spent to have Adrian back that truck out? Best $20 ever. And I said as much to Husband the TWO MINUTES LATER that Adrian had taken, start to finish, in getting that truck out and driving down the street. Sure, it was a 3 point turn. It was a narrow-ass driveway. But a 3 point turn compared to my, oh, 20 point turn? Oh god. So good.

By about 130 we about wrapped up the walkthrough. Apparently there were only minor gripes, so not much impact to our deposit. fine. At this point I almost could care less, I was so tired. As we’re about to leave, I get a call from wamu. Huh? You know this is fucked up, what you’re doing? You’re going to look into it and get back to me asap? Well thank you! Since my account’s due to be closed tomorrow, thanks!

Meantime m got the check from Husband for the extra $180 in rent that we’d paid, and off we went to cash that, plus hopefully get more scrilla, at the bank. Once at said bank, it turned out that without some photo id, there was no way for m to withdraw funds. However, the manager took a little pity on her and agreed to cash the $180 check.

Then I said fine, time for plan b – writing a check on m’s account, to me, and cash it at the Cash Checking Miracle Station. Drove over, walked in, checked for a $ limit on 2 party checks (none) and then went out and had m write a $1500 check. Went back inside, flashed my id, waited, waited…and about 3pm, was denied my miracle. Why? ‘the bank just said no – no specific reason given’. Super.

Well, maybe the bank will cash it for me. It’s her account there, we just talked to them, so if we go back, maybe they’ll give it to me (like this) even though I can’t use my bank card as a form of id since my account’s all flagged and shit.

Turns out that is true. However you also need a secondary id – only from the approved list – and I had none on me. In the truck, sure. Probably right over the cab.

Fuck. Meanwhile, m had wandered off, it seems, and was talking to a banker at a Real Desk. Not knowing what was going on and figuring it’s best to stay out of it, I sat down for about 30 seconds before m called me over. She explained a bit, but very briefly and cryptically. The banker was just as forthcoming, and apparently on intermittent hold with someone in the scrilla industry.

Which is why I spent the next 30 minutes in relative silence and confusion. Periodically I’d say something little to m, or the banker would, but I could tell we were all in some sort of fiduciary trance. Meantime I kept trying to come up with other ideas to get us out of town safely, then rejected each idea a few minutes later. Panic pretty much coursed through my veins though because at this point we were homeless, with 3 animals, a car, a gigantic truck, and no way to access funds in EITHER of our bank accounts. Sure, when a replacement bank card came for m in 7-10 days we’d be able to get to her $, but meantime??

Thankfully I never had to figure out how to deal with that because about 440pm, beautiful banker lady (BBL) (hee) finally got fucking wells fargo to confirm, thru wamu’s internal process, payment of the final payroll checks n my account. Which meant wahooo!! I had a working bank account and credit card again. Which meant we had scrilla to spare and could go get pearl before the groomery closed at 5, finally pick up the car tow dolly, and get the hell out of dodge.

I found out later that m had just walked up to BBL, told her our story (top to bottom), BBL said sorry, can’t help. so m pleaded with her, please, couldn’t she just try to look into it? At which point BBL agreed and at the end of that marvelous fiasco, as we were extracting fundage from my account, m told me she’d seen it work in a movie on tv. Best testimonial for life imitating art, ever.

And so it was that after getting pearl, the dolly, and a good, semi-quick dinner at panera bread, we finally and literally hit the road about 730pm. Our first night’s goal was redding and as you might guess, that didn’t happen. Turns out the car dolly has a top speed of 45mph, officially. Unofficially, I’ve seen them go up to 60mph for very limited periods with no problem. But we started at night, and mostly on very bumpy roads, and the noise from it was so loud I thought the car was going to fly right off. Being nighttime, though, I couldn’t tell how much the car was really moving, but since we’d had to keep the cats in the car (in a nicely wedged, oversized kennel), I was freaked out on their behalf.

Couple my anxiety with the Bumpiest Show On Earth and a very exhausted me, and you will get an impromptu stop at a best western in dunnigan around 130am. Luckily the BW had a) wonderfully large but cheap, clean rooms and b) had plentious truck parking, because in my attempt to give myself enough room to swing the truck around (reverse+tow = verboten) in the morning, all the while looking to the right, apparently I needed to look left, too. I discovered this after I parked, exited and found the back of our truck was a mere 12-18 inches from a semi.

I thought about trying to do something about it after we’d gotten checked in, the cats inside, but in the meantime, a truck+horse trailer parked right beside me, leaving NO room to turn, even in the morning. I was pretty freaked, but there was also nothing I could do about it, so I went to bed, hoping for the best tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

happy holidays!

i haven't decorated - and who knows how much i will, considering the state of this house - but that doesn't squelch my holiday spirit at all, as proven by this quiz, and this pic i couldn't resist taking last night.

What The Holidays Mean to You
For you, the holidays are about celebration. You enjoy all the fun and fellowship that the holidays bring.

You celebrate the holidays in an over the top style. If something is cute, you'll buy it. People end up with a lot of gifts from you - and your house is like a holiday wonderland, full of decorations.

During the holidays, you feel magical. You love all of the decorations and how happy people are. You like to sit back and take it all in.

You think the holidays should be nostalgic and sweet. The holidays bring out your inner child.

Your best holiday memories are of childhood foods and traditions. You secretly still wish you believed in Santa Claus.

i also took the What Holiday Are You? quiz. guess which one i was? i'll give you a hint: it's in late december.

Monday, December 03, 2007

green makes me happy

as evidenced by this shot:
which was taken oh, 100 feet from where i'm typing. while there are plenty more pictures coming eventually, suffice to say that to my right is the 2nd half of this duplex, to my left is our amazingly verdant garden, a fence, and then a good mile or so of park, including the moss, leaves and trees seen above.

and while it may not be easy for kermit to be green, it's very easy for oregon because hello rain! it snowed a bit saturday morning and has been raining ever since. good thing i like rain.

what i also love is the internet, finally coming to my house. as well as the phone and cable. all three of those (well, mostly the first two) make it so much easier to look for and get a job. yes, i don't have one yet, yes i'm a little stressed about it but also this last month and a half has been full of so many miracles, i also have plenty of faith. for now, that plus the work of searching means i feel alright.

and so yes, it's been a little over a month since i had substansive updates. which means yes, YOI (ye olde internet) will soon be the recipient of substansive updates! and by soon i mean:

fri oct 19 – Last day of work

thu oct 25 – Realize bank account is fucked

sat oct 27-mon oct 29 – Rescheduling the earth because bank account is still f'd. Also order 401k disbursement on saturday since I realize the bank account may not be unf'd by the 7th, as wamu is currently predicting, and without that there's no way we can make our trip. Stay #1 in Beverly Heritage Hotel (BevHo!) on the 29th, because we prepaid. Oops.

Mon oct 29-thu nov 1 – Surprise, lots of packing. Additional lunch with liz, additional doc visits.

Fri nov 2 – 401k check arrives. Find check cashing place since I don’t trust screwU to not fuck up m’s account with it (either via depositing or cashing it directly). Wait forever at check cashing place, get freaked when at first they can’t authenticate with charles schwab. Notice insta-credit card option while waiting, as well as 1 and 2 party check cashing. Check clears – call landlord, truck, etc and set new exit date of nov 6. Put scrilla in m’s account – the only unfrozen one between us.

Sat nov 3 – More packing, rescheduling.

Sun nov 4 – Pick up the truck at 11. What a monstrosity. Takes so long (2 main tries, with a 2nd round of 10-15 minutes of grueling, slightly-scraping tension) that the cops come by to say – get this off the street or we’ll be back. Do you think I planned to leave the ass of this thing hanging out?

Meantime there’s minor skirmishes among the troops, but in the end thankfully all calmed down and around 1215 or so, we went to work on a house that was not fully packed. We got a lot done, though – min, me, liz, and a guy from craigsliszt (CL) whose name I’ve forgotten already but he sorta looked like AJ from the backstreet boys. Never heard from my 2nd CL guy, lover of pizza, flaker of gigs.

Liz left about 3, AJ got sent home by 5 with an agreement to come back the next day. Yay! Lori and Aaron came over in the evening and helped a little. Really appreciated it, too, when Lori said she’d be over early (10am) to help with the monumental hordes of items still to be packed.

Mon nov 5 – We’re supposed to be gone – ptoo! - by 2pm today, because that’s when the cleaners come. Which as you might guess, means the house has to be empty by then. We’d arranged for AJ and a friend of his to be there by 11am, figuring what with getting up at 8am ourselves, and Lori there at 10, maybe we’ll be ok. Well, we got up at 8...

Min went out for bottled water and god knows what (but whats that we needed) about 1030. at 11, still not back and no sign of lori or AJ, I called M. Where are you? Has lori called? Holy shit there’s no way we’re getting this done. Should we call someone else?

A few minutes later AJ called – car trouble but he’s coming soon. I decide to call Adrian, moving guy (another one of my CL respondents). Says he can be there by 12. Min gets home a little after 11, says she talked to lori. Apparently lori needed a breathing treatment (self-distributed) and would be at our place in a while.

Back to packing. AJ shows up a few minutes later and after we talk, he starts repacking the truck so all can be squoze in. around 1215, with no Adrian or lori (who I’ve given up on), I call Adrian again. Coming? Yes.

Adrian arrives around 1230, and after a thorough assessment of the entire house and truck, helps AJ redistribute the truck even more. Lori arrives in a face mask (this house seriously collected dust; there was widespread sneezing) a few minutes later, much to my surprise.

Right about then I realize I need to eat, so we get everyone’s order. M goes for food, and I put lori to work I the bathroom because – thinking ahead – I made it very straightforward, what should be packed or not. At least so I thought. I’d have figured maybe an hour, 90 minutes to pack the bathroom? But clearly I underestimated that since lori ran about 3 hours, including vacuuming in a room with tile flooring. Later I figured out she was vacuuming dust off the window fan.

Meantime, M returns with food around 1pm, so we eat and I realize there is no way in hell we’re going to be done by 2. M calls the cleaners AND the landlords to push cleaning and walkthrough to later tomorrow. This gives us the rest of the day to pack/load, which we really did need. Aaron came over around 8pm, for an hour or so, to help and then take Lori (and donatables – yay, one less thing to worry about) home. We stayed till 10 or 11, then back again to the BevHo where we promptly collapsed.

Oh and shit! I can’t believe I forgot this! Around 2pm we realized that M had lost her wallet. We deduced she had it whilst going for lunch – wallet was attached to her keys – but then at some point after leaving the car upon arrival home (across the street, really, since the truck left no parking at home), the wallet vanished.

Needless to say, what was left of the house was upturned, the streets were searched, over and over because apart from any $ she had (about $500, mostly in traveler’s checks, so at least we were able to recoup that) and her license, medicare cards and keys, that wallet also held our only functioning credit card since – as you may recall – my bank accounts were still fucking frozen.

As you might imagine, the prospect of making this ginormous trip with no credit card was more than a little daunting. But wait! I remembered seeing the insta-credit card at El Casho Checko place, plus the fact that we could still get $ from her (unfrozen) account. Either the bank would let her get it directly (we hoped, using what limited info we had to prove her identity), or – again, thanks to my eagle eyes – she could write me a check, that I’d cash at El Casho Checko, and then we’d get the insta-card. Problem solved.

So off we went to our – thank god – prepaid hotel room (a deal which the falcon of priceline truth hath approved) and crashed. Well, not before going to walmart, because we accidentally packed my dresser before I had a chance to get half of my trip clothes out. Oops.