Sunday, December 30, 2007


I forgot to write about our first Christmas without Jim. Not much to tell. It was Lindsay and Kyle, Paige and Gabe and me. I went to Dragon House and picked up some Chinese food. It's become a bit of a tradition to have Chinese food on Christmas Eve. It started when we first moved back down here. Jim and I were always selling Christmas trees up until about 5:00 on Christmas Eve and there was no time and no energy for fixing a big meal so we always picked up Chinese food. This time I got the good stuff. Dragon House is the best Chinese restaurant in Riverside. Press Enterprise says so.

We didn't have many gifts to open. There just wasn't any time to shop this year and I certainly wasn't in the mood to join the crowds in the stores. I gave the boys gift cards and the girls got some trinkets plus a share of the family Christmas bonus. They were very happy to get a pile of cash. We opened the almond champagne that Ken and Sherri gave us. We laughed a lot and had a really good time, just like Jim was here. We drank a toast to the end of 2007 and toasted our hopes for a better 2008. Then I left to take Lindsay and Kyle to the airport.

I've been thinking about Jim a lot lately. Dreaming about him, too. In my dreams he never speaks to me. He's always just there hanging around.

Yesterday I had a grief moment. I hadn't had a computer since the day we moved out and I really wanted to get it set up. But all our equipment is scattered and packed away and I don't know what plugs into where so I probably wouldn't have been able to set it up anyway. The DSL had been activated but I was stuck. I was sitting in the family room when I noticed a package from AT&T sitting on the table. It was my new wireless modem and all the cords and filters I needed to set things up PLUS instructions. I just lost it. I sat there and sobbed and sobbed. Getting the computer set up would have been nothing for Jim. For me it's all a big mystery. Finding that package was almost like a message from Jim saying, "It's ok, you can do this." I plugged it all in and bang, I had internet. I still had to sit on the phone for almost two hours to get everything connected and to change everything to my name. I still don't have everything hooked up that I need but at least I can blog and get e-mail.

AT&T might be a big, evil corporation but they sure train their people well. They never once told me I'd need to send them a copy of the death certificate to remove Jim's name from my account. I sure ran into that roadblock a lot this year.

So, I have two more milestones to get through. January 14th, the day Jim had the stroke and January 18, the day he died. I think I'll ask for the 18th off. I don't think I'll be much use that day. And after this year I won't talk about January 14th on this blog. Stacey needs that day to be hers. Our mom died on January 14, 1987, which was Stacey's 21st birthday. When Jim had his stroke I didn't tell her until the next day. It's not fair to her to have so much sadness attached to that date.

It's still hard to believe he's gone. It still feels like it's impossible. I don't feel certain that my decisions are correct because I don't have Jim to knock it around with. Last night I was home alone and I kept having these long conversations with the cat. At one point I said, "Whoa there, girl. Grab the reins. You're not THAT old!" And then suddenly I felt very vulnerable. I was here alone. Sure, I've got three dogs here but they're useless idiots. I just got a glimpse into my possible future and it made me uncomfortable. I think when I reach a certain age I'm going to want to share a house with someone.

Looking forward to warm, sunny days. Too much dreary gloom right now.

Where to start?

The sun's in my eyes but I'm not too blinded to see the gunk on this keyboard. Another cleaning project.

Boxes are everywhere. I need to do a blitz on this house. Either unpack it or move it someplace where I won't trip over it. It's a little hard to get much done because my back is hurting right now. But once I'm up and moving it settles down. Boz has found the low spot on the back yard fence. I saw him wandering the neighborhood when I came home last night. That'll be my morning project after I finish up here. I brought fence boards from the farm for just that purpose.

Last Saturday the sibs and spouses helped me move in. We worked very hard all day but when we were finished they all went crazy on the wallpaper. It was so funny. Everyone was dead dog tired but they just HAD to attack the walls. It was great! The kitchen went from Grandma to project-in-progress in a matter of minutes. Suddenly the cabinets were the main focus.

Ah, I just unstuck the painted-open shutters in here. Got the sun out of my face.

I was here only a few days before going up to Dede's in SLO so nothing much got done. My new bed got delivered. Yay! Man, I knew that my old mattress was bad but after sleeping on this new mattress from Heaven (Sears) I know it must have been really messing with my back. This new one is reeeeally comfortable.

More later.

I had to go to the store to get comfort food and meds for Paige. She's got a nasty sore throat.

SLO was nice and relaxing. Well, as relaxing as it could be with a couple of rambunctious boys running around shooting nerf darts. Do NOT shoot at Aunt Donita. You'll be sorry. Anyway, it was fun. Thursday night the adults went to dinner at a very nice restaurant. That was after an afternoon of wine tasting, which was way fun. Dede was the designated driver so the rest of us were free to indulge and get goofy. Dinner was marvelous. I had the pork chop. It was the best pork chop in the world and probably the biggest. Everyone had a taste of it and all agreed that it was a pork chop that would be remembered for all ages.

Dad's behavior continues to get more and more out there. He's not as nasty but he's doing weird things. If he can't handle eating with a fork he'll pick up the food and eat it with his hands. His toileting is becomming problematic. I really don't know how long he'll be able to stay in his apartment. Not much longer is my guess.

I had to come home early because I had to be here to meet the phone guy. He was going to run some new wiring and add some jacks but when he got a good look at the job he decided he needed more time and some help. He's coming back on Monday. But at least he got my DSL going!!!!

Friday night Jeff and I saw Sweeney Todd. First we went to dinner at Ooka (mmmm, sushi) and then had tea at The Coffee Depot. We had a lot of time to kill before the show. I had never seen Sweeney Todd on stage so I didn't know much about it. I really enjoyed the movie and now I'd love to see a stage production. Next time one comes around I'm there. I loved the cast in this movie. Sacha Baron Cohen was a total crack up. Johnny Depp is always great to watch. Dude gets cuter every year. And hey, Snape and Wormtail get a lot of scenes together. It was a fun evening with a good friend.

And now I'm off to Home Depot to buy screws so I can keep my rotten dog from jumping the fence. I did a lot of work in the back yard yesterday. Most of the yard furniture, tools and decorative elements had been plopped down randomly during the move. I relocated them to the strip behind the garage. It looks much better out there now. It also was the first time I spent much time out there. The first time I really got a good look at the yard. Hoo boy, there's a LOT of work to do. There's Bermuda grass everywhere. I'm going to have to practically kill the whole yard, except for the trees. Actually, some of them are going to go as well. I won't be able to re-assemble the rabbit cage as it was. Gotta start over with that one. I'll need to cap off a sprinkler head or two. Can't have soggy bunnies.

But first the fence.

Saturday, December 29, 2007


We gots internets! I can read e-mail! I can send e-mail! I'm connected, baby!

This will be a short post because I've already been sitting here for two hours on the phone getting my DSL hooked up, authorized, effed up and fixed. We're mostly moved in but nowhere near set up and settled. We're tripping over ourselves. But it feels good to be here and every day it feels more like home. Most of the offending wall paper has been ripped down.

Yeah, I'll have to write more later. Lots of catching up to do. But right now the butt needs a break.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

If we close today... might not be hearing from me for a while.

I'll grab the computer out of storage right away but I don't know when it will be set up. This morning Lindsay and I are taking the rabbits over there. Cats, too. Damn house better close!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

One more day

Wait, wasn't that last post titled "One more day"? Yes it was. And we still have to wait ONE MORE DAY!!! We should have moved in a week ago. I'm so sick of this.

I was going to take tomorrow off work but I might as well go in. Maybe I'll take Friday off instead so I'll have three solid days to work on the move. I'm going to throw away my Christmas tree. It must be dry as a bone by now.

Boy, how's that for pouting? Christmas is RUINED!

Yesterday was a good day at work. I worked on finding lost people. Well, they weren't lost, just some of their paperwork. I felt like I was doing something productive and useful. Time just flew by. I'll continue that project today.

Maybe I'll move the rabbits to the new house this afternoon. They're just going into the back yard anyway. It would save us some time and it will feel good to have more over there than just my plants.

Monday, December 17, 2007

One more day

That's what I've been told. Tomorrow I should get the keys to the new place. I'm going to ask for Wednesday off so I can move some things. We'll get the U-Haul unloaded so Drew can return it. Then this weekend we'll do a big move.

My first big project will be the kitchen. Since I'm going to take my time moving in I want to do things right from the very beginning. We'll pull down wall paper, line the shelves and drawers, get the systems set up and paint. I don't have a grip on what color yet. Something happy!

My car is going to be about $380 to fix. Not too bad.

Yesterday I had Paige drive around in the new neighborhood. It's an ideal place to practice because there's almost no traffic. She did really well.

Thank you, Stacey and Scotty for letting us stay for so long. Three nights turned into ten days.

Ok, gotta go get ready for work.

Saturday, December 15, 2007


The day started out nice enough. I took Paige to Gabe's and stopped by the new house to check the mail. When I came back to Stacey's I helped them decorate their tree. Good holiday fun. Drew brought Dad over and he and Scotty settled in to watch a game on tv. I needed to get a gift for the office party on Thursday so I headed for Costco in MoVal.

I took a wrong turn and went a bit out of the way. No biggie, I was enjoying the drive. Then the car started making noises like gravel hitting the wheel well. Then that noise stopped and was replaced by an odd whiny whirring. I'm pretty sure a belt broke somewhere. I pulled into a shopping center where they were having a low rider car event. The place was packed and I had trouble getting through the people and cars to get to a place where I could park and call for help. First I called Scotty. He pretty much left the house right away to come get me. A few months ago I signed us up for Allstate's emergency road service. I didn't have my card with me so I called Lindsay to get the number. I called Allstate and had them send out a tow truck.

Scotty showed up a little later. Dad had come along for the ride. So, ok, it gets him out of the house. We waited for a while and then the tow truck came. I had parked in front of a furniture store, one space away from the store's big truck. It had a big sign on the side and a string of red and white balloons attached at the top. Scotty had parked right next to me on the other side. When the tow truck guy got there he tried to pull in between me and the furniture store truck. Oops. Not enough room. He scraped the side of the truck. Two guys from the store came running out. Dad, of course, considered it his duty to get out of the car and tell the tow truck guy what an idiot he was for scraping the furniture truck. Fortunately, I was able to head him off. I was stressed, cold and hungry. I was NOT going to put up with any bs from Dad.

The scrape wasn't a bad one and the store guys weren't upset so we got busy getting my car loaded up to take to Porter's in Riverside. We followed the guy most of the way to Riverside. Scotty got in front of him for the last part of the drive just to make sure he knew where to go. Everything went pretty smoothly but it took a lot of time and we had to listen to Dad's opinions the whole way. I left the key and a note in Porter's lock box. I'll deal with it on Monday. I hope it will be ok sitting there for a couple days.

After it was all handled we met Stacey and the kids at the Hawaiian barbeque place at Mission Grove. Drew and Mindy showed up a little later. Dinner was good. Just what I needed. As we were leaving we were working out who was going to ride with who and where and how I was going to go to Drew's to get Dad's car so I'd have something to get around in for the rest of the weekend. Dad had to get in one more nasty comment about me using his car. Hell, it's almost MY car since I'm buying it from him soon. Of course, he doesn't know that.

This is what I didn't need. I don't think it will cost much to fix and it probably won't take very long but jeez, cut me a break, will ya? I'd like to not have to be rescued for a while. I don't like being a load.

Tomorrow I'm going to Costco.

In Corona!

Friday, December 14, 2007

We're off this weekend

Don't know for sure but it looks like the farm sale was funded today. That means it'll be recorded on Monday and I'll get to move into my house on Tuesday or Wednesday. We won't have the gas turned on until Thursday. No heat, no showers. Sponge bath city. We have electric space heaters. Somewhere. Buried in storage.

hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii its brendan. donita's nephew

Brendan is guest blogging. Hey, Bill, B says he doesn't care about using punctuation or capitals. Evil Aunt Donita is enjoying watching him squirm.

Anyway... Work was mellow today. Half the people weren't there. I stuffed envelopes.

Ok, B is being a pain in the ass. I'm going to publish and go. If anyone has something fun to to this weekend give me a call.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Nothing new

Yesterday I actually did some stuff at work. Stuff. I stuffed envelopes. Actually, I was happy to do it. At last I was doing something that was somewhat useful.

No new news of the land sale fiasco. Everyone on this side is working hard to try to get the dickheads to release the funds so we can close tomorrow. But it still might not happen until Monday. My animals are going bananas. Bozzie and Gracie's behavior is just plain bad and the kitties are as sad as they can be. The bunnies look stressed. They're stuck in cages surrounded by five noisy dogs.

That's about it. We're just hoping for some good news.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


I can't write much now because I have to take Paige to school soon, The buyer is being a total DICK!!!! We might not close until Monday!!! He's being nit-picky about stuff that was left on the farm. We've done everything that he asked for and now he's finding new things to be unhappy about. Drew and the grader guy offered him some very reasonable solutions but he refused. I went there yesterday morning to take care of the cats and everything was fine. Then Drew showed up there at 1:00 and Dad's house was wide open. Someone had broken in. Fortunately, they didn't let Marty out. So, last night after dinner Drew met us there and we got all the cats out. They're in big cages and carriers at Drew's now.

This jerk is making things stupid hard for a lot of people. And I really don't know why. Everything is going to be bulldozed so why is he complaining about a few rocks and a sack of plaster? Some metal shelves were left in one of the barns. The grader guy told him that it would be an extra $3 in dumping fees. He even offered to do an extra dump load for free. No dice. Buyer bitch wants to be pissy.

So, this morning a lot of phone calls will be made. We're going to try to get it settled so we can close on Friday.

Ok, gotta go.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Things are up in the air

Boy, I'll be glad when this is over.

Let's see. We're all staying at Stacey and Scotty's. The dogs are in the side yard with the bunnies. Sunday night was awful. Stacey's dogs aren't used to having doggy guests so they were a bit jacked up. My dogs were HORRIBLE! I was worried they would traumatize the rabbits with all their barking. When I went to bed all I could hear was Bozzie barking. After a while I got up (oh yeah, I'm also in pain from the move), went downstairs and grabbed the little monster and put him in my car. Then I came back in and climbed the stairs and went back to bed. Then Gracie started up. I went back downstairs, out to the yard and got Gracie and put her in the car. Then I went back upstairs and back to bed. My body hurt all over and my brain was buzzing like mad. I lay there for a while trying to decide if I wanted to go downstairs again to grab some of Stacey's prescription ibuprofen. Fortunately I remembered I had a Vicodin in my purse. I took it and finally got to sleep. I hate my dogs. Ok, not really but I was pretty mad at them.

We had to get up early because it takes a while to get down the hill. I took Paige to school and then went to the farm. I took Bozzie with me because I was afraid he'd get bored and start messing with the rabbits. When I got to the farm I put him in with Marty to keep him company for a while. Marty doesn't have much use for us but he likes his doggy friends. I worked on gathering up the last of my things for a little while but I didn't have much time because I had to get back up the hill and get ready for work. The buyer was supposed to do the final walk-through. Ahem... Debbie, Bob and Dede took my plants over to the new house and dropped them off. Thanks, guys!

I came back up the hill to get ready for my first day of work. As I was doing hair and make-up I kept glancing at the clock in Audra's room. I was doing just fine, right on schedule. Then I wondered, hmm, is her clock right? It said 11:38. I went to Stacey and Scotty's room and looked at their clocks. They said 12:13!!!! I had to be at work at 12:30! I zoomed back to the bathroom and started RIPPING the curlers out of my hair! Curlers and pins were flying! My heart was pounding. I finished getting ready and came downstairs. The clock on the mantle said 12:15. The kitchen clock said 11:40. AAIIEEEE!!!!

Audra's clock was right. The kitchen clock was right. Stacey and Scotty keep their clocks set a half an hour ahead and the mantle clock is BROKEN. It ALWAYS says 12:15. I had oodles of time and a pounding heart. And my hair turned out pretty good!

When I got to the office almost everyone was still at lunch. A very nice young man was sitting at the front desk. He took me around to meet some of the people who were there. After a while two of the women I had met on my first visit came back from lunch. My first task was to reformat the schedule and add myself to the list. That was the biggest job I did the whole time I was there. They just didn't have anything for me to do. I sat at the front desk and studied the staff directory. I perused the RCC website and answered the phone ONCE (and screwed up). I poked around the office a bit and found the supplies closet. The most important thing I learned yesterday was where the pens are kept. And I get to do it all again today!

After work I went to the farm to see if I could find Zoey. Earlier, Paige had crawled under the house and scared her out. She sealed up the holes so Zoey couldn't get back under there. But then she was spooked and wouldn't come to anyone. I couldn't find her so I left and had dinner at Coco's. After that I went back to the farm. Zoey came out and greeted me like she always does and I nabbed her. This is not a cat that likes to be held. I had a hard time finding my house key in the dark while holding a squirming cat. I managed to get in and stash her in the room with Katie. Hooray! All the cats were captured and contained. I waited around a bit longer because I was supposed to meet Hector at 7:30 so I could pay him for the work he did the other day and so he could pick up his Christmas tree. He didn't show so I left. I was so tired. I just wanted to get back to Stacey's and end my day.

I found out later that the buyer never showed up for the walk-through. Sherri called me earlier and told me that he's being squirrely and might not want to close escrow on Wednesday. Dude! We HAVE to close! We've done everything he wanted us to do! The farm is cleaned up, the trees are gone and I moved out early! Gammer and Gaffer are waiting for their money so they can close on their new place in Oregon! I have people scheduled to come to the new house and install and deliver stuff! My plants are already there! GRRRR!!!!

I slept better last night. The dogs didn't bark at all. I guess they didn't want to sleep in the car again. I took a Vicodin right before I went to bed. But I still woke up way too early. S'ok. It gave me time to blog. I'll take Paige to school, go to the farm and take care of the pets and then come back here and get ready for work.

This time I'll know what time it is.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Beyond tired

We worked like, well, like we usually do. It's hard to tell if we got most of our stuff out because there are so many particles left to pull together. The nervous buyer threw a monkey wrench into my plans. Now I'm not sure what I'm going to do with our cats. I'll have to think about that when my brain isn't so tired.

Tomorrow Drew is going to pick up a big truck from U-Haul. We'll hang onto it for a few days so we can store the last of the big stuff in it.

I'm at Stacey's right now. No internet at home anymore. We'll sleep there tonight but tomorrow we'll be conmpletely moved out so we'll either be at Drew's or Stacey's. I'm here right now because I'm going to use their jaccuzzi. I'm just waiting for it to warm up.

I'm amazed that I still have space in my storage units. I'm sure we'll finish 'em off tomorrow.

Ok, that's it. I'm too loopy to blog.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Oh fer cryin' out loud.

The buyer is nervous. He wants to do his final walk-through on Monday and he wants me out by then. He's afraid escrow will close, the sale will have funded and I'll refuse to move and he'll have to have me evicted. Dude, if I don't get out on time then I'm screwing myself and my whole family. Don't worry about it.

So! We're outta here this weekend. We're refugees! I'll pack some clothes for work and some grubbies for the move. I'll use my travel toiletries bag and... uh-oh. I already packed the other two air mattresses. Well, I'm sure we'll have someplace to sleep for a couple nights.

Dede came down to have a look at the place and to help me pack. Thank you, Dede! She and I worked on the studio and got it ready to go. Now that I think of it, this will probably be my last post until after the move. Maybe I'll blog from Stacey's. I'm sure there will be stories to share.

The farm is telling us it's time to go. Things have been falling apart for a few months now. Trees have been dying. And tonight when Dede was leaving I noticed that the slow drip in the kitchen sink has turned into a steady stream. Just one more thing.

Gonna go get some dinner. Maybe Killarney's. Mmmmm, Smithwick's. No, wait, it's Friday. It'll be a madhouse. Aw, what the hell, it's still early and I really want that beer.

Thursday, December 06, 2007


The weather is going to be icky this weekend. That is so NOT what we need. We'll be moving in the rain. Grumble, grumble.

CONGRATULATIONS to Sherri and Ken (and of course to Robin and Paul) on their new grandbaby! Little dude arrived early this morning. I forgot his name (sorry). A happy day for all.

This morning Sherri and Brandon met Drew, Debbie, Bob and me at the new house for the final walk-through. It looks like the electrical repairs were done properly so plus points on that one. We found a few more problems but nothing too big. It's an old house so of course it will have issues. But one thing I didn't know. When we were in the sun room we were wondering what the windows were made of. I said, "Is this glass or plexi?" and poked at the window. My finger went right through it!!!! It's just some kind of THIN plastic! Ok, so it's just the sun room which is really an enclosed patio. We found out it's really a screened in patio with plastic sheeting over the windows. Ahem!

Oh well, it's still going to be a great house. This will be my best kitchen ever. I can't wait!

Today they're clearing out the last of the Christmas trees.

Keep moving, girl. Lotta packing left to do.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Go away!

The wolves are circling.

All of the trees in the front field are gone and we've had big machines pushing dirt and debris around. It's obvious that we're leaving. Signs are posted that say We're Closed and No Tresspassing. So, of course that means anyone can come up here, right? This morning there were a few cut trees left in the front field. These people were out there just helping themselves, dragging trees up to their car, which was parked in front of our house. The whole damn day was a big moron parade with people coming up here, asking about trees and blocking the driveways. I HATE PEOPLE!!!!! I want to make another sign that says, "The only people who belong up here are the construction crew and the family that STILL LIVES HERE. If that's not you then don't come up here."

I told one guy that there are no more trees and as he was driving away he slowed down and got all snoopy looking at the stuff I had piled in the driveway to take to storage. Asshole! I'm sick of it.

Tomorrow morning we're doing the final walk-through at the new house. Drew and Bob are going to inspect everything to make sure the electrical repairs were done properly and just check the general condition of the place. Gammer and Gaffer are gone! Hooray!

This afternoon I took the Excel class at the library. It was completely useless. I'll just take the Excel/Word class at RCC and learn it for real.

Today was pretty productive considering I was on constant moron patrol. I got a lot of packing done and the truck is almost ready to take another load to storage. But since I'm worried about rip-offs I had to take some stuff out and lock it up in the garage. The furniture guys came and picked up Dad's leftovers. They're coming again on Saturday to get the rest. They were nice. I enjoyed talking to them.

I'm having the dogs sleep outside tonight. It's not very cold and Boz can chase off the critters (animal and human).

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Dad's new place

I saw it for the first time tonight. Man, this place is NICE. Like a good hotel. A really good hotel. And Dad is as happy as can be. I'm stunned. He fought like crazy against going to an "old folks home" but you never know it to see him now. He's living like a king.

Drew and Mindy took a small Christmas tree to his apartment and set it up. Debbie and I bought some decorations at Big Lots and took them over. Bob was already there. We had coffee and cookies in their snack area and then went to Dad's apartment. Debbie, Bob and I decorated the tree while Dad sat and listened to Christmas music on the tv. He was amazed that he could have nice music in his room any time he wanted. We had a very nice visit. All of his resentment towards me is gone. After seeing him there I really don't think there will be any trouble, at least until his Alzheimer's gets worse. You just never know.

This is just great.

A quick one

Didn't get a whole lot done today. I'm going to take a load to storage pretty soon and while I'm there I'll rent another unit. We'll probably fill both to the max this weekend.

We're doing the final walk-throughfor my house early Thursday morning. Drew and Bob will see of the electrical repairs are acceptable. Gammer and Gaffer will be out by then. Thank GAWD!

Today was more crazy stuff. So many people were up here walking around and blocking the driveways with their cars. Somebody parked in my driveway. I'm tired of having these people here. The grader guys are fine but the rest of them are people who heard from their sister's friend's mother's waitress's boss that they could come up here and get a tree. Some of them have an actual connection to our family and we do let them have trees. But everyone wants to chat for way too long and it pulls the focus away from the job at hand. I don't CARE that they've been coming up here for years and I don't CARE that they know Dad and want to know everything about what he's doing. Go AWAY! Yesterday we had some people from some other church actually giving trees away outside our fence. Caused a huge traffic jam. Drew had explained to them that no one could be on the property so they were waving people down as they drove by. IDIOTS!!!!!!! We put a stop to that pretty quick.

Ok, back to work.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Blogging on hold

I'm changing all my sevices this morning..llllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll That was Katie sitting on the keyboard. I'm sitting here, typing one-handed, on hold with AT&T, holding an insistant kitty who's in the mood to be cuddled. The AT&T gal just told me that Gammer and Gaffer haven't put in their change order yet. Virginia, you're right. They're not leaving! Get the Granny Scram!

Ok, she just called them and got it handled. So far this morning I've called the thrift store to schedule a furniture pick up, the plumber, the sheriff's department, an antique store, Dish Network and now AT&T. Dang, we have to change our phone number. Ok, new life, new phone number.

Yesterday was a bit more mellow but still a lot of hard work. I left in the afternoon to go to the uke group meeting. It was great! A good friend of the Odiens was there and he brought his whole family. A sad occasion for them. They were all together because of a death in the family. They all really enjoyed it and it was probably a nice break for them. The quality of music was bumped up a couple notches. A fun afternoon.

We're almost finished clearing out Dad's house. The grader guys are back today. Back up beeps galore!

Today I have to go to RCC to get my TB test read. Later on I'll go to the sheriff's dept. for finger printing and a background check. The rest of the time I'll be working, working, working. Just as soon as I finish up with these phone calls.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

It couldn't have gone any better.

I hope it lasts.

This morning they delivered the dumpster. Dad was here for a little while but there was so much activity and it was so easy to redirect him that he didn't get much chance to see what we were throwing away. Mindy took him... I forgot where she took him. She managed to keep him away for a long time. While they were gone the movers from Raincross showed up. Boy, what a frenzy! There wasn't that much to move so it went pretty quickly. When Dad came back Dede, Debbie and Mindy took him to the new apartment and got him settled in. He loved how it looked. He commented on how much he liked how simplified it was. No visual clutter. Dad really likes his new place!

We worked all day getting things moved out. It's amazing seeing the place look so empty. We're almost done. It's kind of unbelieveable.

We had dinner at Stacey's. I was kind of out of it. Reality is smacking me around a little bit. Leaving here feels like leaving Jim. I had a couple good cries and then felt a little better. Debbie showed us some videos of her grandkids. Soooo adorable! Dad watched a ball game, had some dinner and was just as happy as could be. It's really something. He could switch attitudes in a second but for today at least he was with the program and loving it. Dede took him back to Raincross. She's spending the night there tonight. Dad won't be coming back to the farm. As far as he's concerned I'm moving this weekend, too. We'll have to stall him as best we can until they tear this place down. We just can't let him come back here.

Tomorrow we'll pretty much be finished at Dad's. I'm getting started on my move. Gonna put more things into storage. One of Paige's friends is coming over to help move some of the heavy stuff. Next weekend is the big push.

Donita, go to bed.

Friday, November 30, 2007

So much is happening now.

I really should post every day from now on. Things have really revved up. The clean-up pros with their big machines have been through here. It's looking pretty amazing and they've only just begun. They couldn't work today because of the rain. The front field is looking really sparse. So many trees have been taken out.

The dumpster didn't get delivered, because of the rain I guess. We've filled up several trash cans. Dad keeps walking around pointing out different things that he wants to take with him. We're all just saying ok, ok, and then he moves on. The packing has been going pretty smoothly for the most part. We have had a couple of Dad incidents but those were about the grader guys knocking down structures. He really got mad when they took out half of the big tree that's next to the driveway. They needed to get the overhanging branches off so they could get through. It doesn't matter what they destroy because it's all going to be scraped away anyway. But Dad doesn't have the capacity to understand so it's pretty traumatic for him.

This morning I went to the RCC HR office to fill out some paperwork. It was a big ol' packet of papers. I had to sign an oath of allegiance! I am now sworn to protect the Constitution!

I never considered that I would ever be someone who would be called upon to protect the Constitution. The president is supposed to do that. Freakin' Nancy Pelosi is supposed to do that. So, what if that was something every American was proud to do, instead of reciting the stupid Pledge of Allegiance? I was so surprised to see that page in the packet that I really slowed down and read the thing. I thought it was a pretty powerful statement.

I have to make an appointment to get fingerprinted. This afternoon I went to Health Services and got a TB test. Everything's on track but I can't help feeling that the whole thing could come to a screeching halt.

Tomorrow Dad is moving to assisted living. That day that always seemed so far off into the future is finally here. This evening Dede found Dad's scrap book from high school. This is something that none of us had ever seen. It was really fun looking through it. His whole courtship with Mom was in there. Lots of little cards and love notes. There was a letter from one of his buddies that was just hilarious! I'll post it here one of these days. That was the find of the day. Y'know, while he was looking through that book he seemed almost normal. He remembered a lot of details easily and discussed them without much fishing for words. He thoroughly enjoyed himself.

I'm so glad Debbie and Bob could be here for this. It wouldn't have been the same without them. I think it's also making it easier on Dad to have them here.

What a time this is.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Shop at Sears

I read the other day that Sears is doing nice stuff for the troops so I decided I'd shop there more often. I've been wanting to get new beds and an electric lawn mower so I stopped in to see what they had. They were having a half price sale on their mattress sets. I didn't want the box springs so they were even cheaper. I bought two queen mattresses. One of them was the floor model. Got a great deal on that one.

Then I went to the gardening department. They had a discontinued, floor model, electric mower. Saved about a hundred bucks there. Boy, today was the day to go to Sears.

I went by Ramona and picked up Paige. When we got home I saw Dad out by the trees that are between our houses. He looked like he was trying to yank a branch down. When I went into the house Lindsay said, "Grandpa wants to talk to you." I went back out just as he was walking back to his house. He was holding his pant legs up and he had leaves and crap all over his back. I caught up with him. He turned and said, "I fell down. I rolled down the hill. I'm all bloody." Both of his ankles were bleeding. I followed him back to his house and had him sit down in the kitchen. I went and got a damp towel and cleaned up his ankles. One of them had a bad scrape, the other one was slightly scraped. He had bled into his new SAS shoes. He wasn't wearing socks.

Of course his attitude towards me was completely different. Everything was just peachy. I gave him his evening pills while I was there. After that I went out to talk to Drew. He was out in the field helping some friends get some trees. While we were talking the guy who's going to do the big clean up came by. They're starting that tomorrow. I was glad he showed up because I wanted to ask him about where we should have the next dumpster placed.

Debbie and Bob will be here soon. I'm really glad they made it out here. I think it will help make Dad's move easier to have us all here together. And I'm glad they'll get to see the farm one last time.

Time to get out of these clothes and relax. I bought new jammies at Sears today!


I was supposed to go to an Excel class at the library. I didn't get out of here on time. Oh well, they have another one next week.

I was getting ready to go when I looked out the kitchen window and saw a van parked in my driveway. We've had a lot of people coming up here looking for trees, even though we've got signs posted saying CLOSED and NO TRESSPASSING. I went out front and found a woman and her kids talking to Dad. He's telling them where they can find a tree. I didn't say anything until the woman walked away. I told Dad we're not giving away any more trees. Of course he immediately got nasty. I told him that Bud is taking the rest of the trees and we're not insured to have the general public up here. He said, "I know that! You've told me a thousand times! Now you've said what you want to say so GO!" I said, "Well, if you already know that then don't keep telling people they can get trees." He said, "Get the shit out of here. Just go fuck yourself! You've always been a piece of shit."

Yep. That's what he said. I said, "Yes, and you've always been an abusive father." I know I shouldn't have said that but hey, I was provoked. Besides, he won't remember it anyway. He laughed and kept telling me to get lost. I came back to the house. The woman's two little girls were looking at the rabbits. Their mother was right there. I told her that we weren't supposed to be giving trees away but she could still have one. Just don't tell anyone else. She was very nice. Dad saw me talking to her and came over to make sure I didn't tell her, like, I dunno, the TRUTH or something. Since the little girls were right there he kept it together. The woman's husband came driving up and they went out to the field to get a tree.

I came in the house and made another sign to put up next to the others. It said "We are closed. The trees belong to another farmer and they're not for sale. There is NO free giveaway. Do not disturb house occupants."


That'll be the next sign I put up.

Anyway, I was late getting out of here so I missed the class. Man, this morning when I went over to do meds Dad was talking about all the people that were here getting trees last night. People we don't know! He was disgusted and amazed that so many people would come up here uninvited. HE'S the one that made the announcement to a whole restaurant full of people! I've been asking people where they heard about the trees and they all say Mr.T's restaurant.

Three more days and Dad is outta here. Our moving day is two weeks from today. I am soooooooo ready.

Monday, November 26, 2007

An omen? A sign from God?

What does it mean?

Just now I was out front looking at the view. I turned and something caught my eye. I looked up at my porch roof. What IS that thing?

It was a duck. There's a duck on my roof. I hurried to the studio and grabbed Lindsay. I told her, "You HAVE to come see this!" She and I both stood there and talked to the duck. It was bobbing its head around, looking at us. But it never moved more than that. I think since it's a bird and it's dark outside it just doesn't have the brain power available to think about being scared. Damn, it's funny.

I'm going to keep Boz inside in case it deicides to try to fly. We'll see if it's there in the morning. If it's injured I'll try to catch it. What is it about this place? Maybe it wants to sell me insurance.

Not much happened today at work

I went to the district office and met with Debbie (my boss) and her assistants. It was very casual, friendly and short. One of the assistants took down some of my info and that was about it. They're going to have the HR people call me later this week. I need to go in for a TB test and they need to do a background check. After that I should start right away. Monday, Wednesday and Friday I work 8 to 12, Tuesdays and Thursdays will be 12:30 to 4:30. I'll be answering phones mostly plus doing some general office stuff. They do want me to know Excel, Outlook and Word so I've got some work to do. The computer stuff does make me nervous. I know it's not too difficult but it's a lot to learn all at once. I already have Excel and Word on this computer. I don't have Outlook. I'll see what I can pick up from the tutorials that Dean sent me.

So there you go. Nothing exciting. They told me that most of the time the office is pretty mellow. It gets crazier during registration but that's about it. I'm glad about that. I'll need some time to get myself up to speed.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Whoa, different day

This morning Dede took Dad to church. He announced to the whole congregation that they could all come get a free tree. So, ok. We decided we'd keep the front gate locked and they could all come up the Central driveway. We also decided to provide saws but they would have to get the trees themselves. We would not be putting on stands.

For those of you who don't know, our stands aren't the criss-cross wood slats they bang onto the end. These are made out of rebar with a dish and a big spike in the center. We lift the tree up onto a special drill, make sure it's perfectly upright and then drill the hole into the center of the tree. Then you stick the stand-dish-spike into the hole and bang it on with a sledge hammer. It's a quick process but if you're doing a lot of trees it eats up a lot of time and manpower. Namely, Drew. I think he put stands on for five hours straight yesterday. We all worked on stands but I don't think Drew did much of anything else. Except for tying the trees onto cars and SUVs. Man, it was a lot of work. Anyway...

Stacey, Scotty and I worked on boxing up the rest of the records. Drew is still recovering from surgery and shouldn't lift anything heavy. We all decided he should hang out down front and help the church people with trees and we'd deal with packing the records and getting them to storage. My truck was already loaded up with my stuff so I took it to storage and then waited for Stacey and Scotty.

When they got there they told me that Dad was on the rampage. He didn't get his chill pill this morning because all his extra meds have already been taken to the new place. He was down front yelling at Drew to open the gate. He was behaving this way in front of the people from church. That was kind of surprising, He can usually fake it with non family members. I didn't get the whole story and it was pretty much over by the time I got home. I guess he was quite sorry and embarrassed. Tomorrow Dede is going to Raincross and get enough meds for the week.

So, we had a lot of people from Hope but then we started getting people from some Baptist church. One guy said he was the son of a waitress who worked where Dad had lunch today. He had announced it to the whole restaurant! These people were not anyone we knew. These people were kinda creepy and not all that nice. I didn't spend much time down front today but what I saw just didn't feel good. Not like yesterday at all.

Today was a lot of hard work. I took three loads to storage and I have a fourth all ready to go. It's really something. Everyone is working so hard. Even the kids (well, not MY kids) have been working.

It's time to make the big butcher paper to-do list. We need Information Central.

Tomorrow is my first day at RCC. Hee! I think I just might take half a Xanax before I go. It's funny, I made this elaborate wardrobe box so I could hang up my nicer garments for the move. I have all my silk stuff nicely packed away. Now I have to unpack it so I can have something to wear to work. And on my very first day I'm going to ask for a day off. Moving day is on a Wednesday. Man, I don't think I have ever felt so nervous starting a new job. Like I'm being thrown into the deep end. But it's also pretty exciting. Life changing.

So, this is how we'll end 2007. Dad goes into assisted living. The girls and I move into our own house and I get a job (a job with exciting potential). The farm will be no more. Man, I feel like we're coming to the end of a book. Ah, there it is. Just take all the blog entries from 2007, hire an editor and BAM! Best seller! Ok, maybe there a few more steps than that.

Anyway, it's been a mind-blowing year.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

What a day!

Whew! It was such a whirlwind! Once we got the gates open people were coming in non-stop. Some people took five or six trees. It was really pretty fun, almost like a party.

Bill and Virginia came with Zoey and two of her friends. Brendan thought it was just wonderful that his teacher showed up at the farm. He really enjoyed goofing around with Bill. Seeing those guys was the high point of my day. Bill and Virginia told me that Zoey's friends' family doesn't have much money and asked if they could get a tree too. No problemo. It felt good to be able to do that. Bill and I delivered their tree. The father seemed very happy to get it.

But the day didn't start out too well. When I called Dad this morning he wanted to know what was going on today. I told him that today was the day when everyone was coming to get their tree. He flipped. He wanted to know who's idea it was. Who made the decision to do that? I told him we all decided. He wanted to know who was invited up here. I told him we all invited our friends and family. It didn't matter what I said to him, he was majorly pissed. He said no one ever tells him what's going on. I told him that we do tell him, he just forgets. He yelled, "I haven't forgotten a blessed thing!!!" And then there was a long pause. "This sounds like something Donita cooked up." Yep. He had forgotten who he was talking to.

After some more yelling I hung up and went over there to do morning meds. He was spittin' mad. I got to hear it all, mostly about what a huge liar I am. I just gave him his pills and left. Then Stacey called me to warn me about Dad being on the rampage. I said, "I know, it's my fault." He called Drew too. Everybody got an earful this morning. When Dede got here she calmed him down and took him to his new place to measure it. He's been wanting to do that to see how his furniture will fit. She kept him away for most of the day. They came back when we had a big crowd of people here. Since everyone was having a good time he just went along with it.

After we closed the gates we went to Olivia's for dinner. I'd had almost nothing to eat all day so I was ready for a good meal. And it was really good.

Some good news. I don't think I want to give the details here, but due to my having a connection at RCC I've been handed a job at the district office. I start on Monday. It's just part time for now, which is ideal. Gonna be a receptionist. I am so thankful for this opportunity. Really, it blows my mind. Getting a decent job was a huge worry for me and this could really lead to bigger and better things. Once I'm able to go full time I'll be eligible for some kickin' benefits. Hoo boy. I just hope I don't fall flat on my face. I really want to do a good job. I want them to keep me! Thank you, SB!

For tonight, a hot shower, jammies and a glass of wine. Tomorrow we do it all again. Well, fewer people getting trees but we still have to pack.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving, friends!

I hope you all eat too much and laugh just enough.

We're going to Ken and Sherri's today. Tomorrow we'll be at Stacey's. The Lang's always do Thanksgiving the day after so we can have the whole day together and not worry about scheduling conflicts. We'll be grilling steaks (so traditional). Saturday we're opening the farm for a few hours so our friends can come pick up a free tree. We're not selling them this year. After everyone gets their tree the rest will be cut down and mulched. How totally weird will it be to see the hill denuded? No trees after thirty-something years! People are gonna freak!

Ok, ok, gotta go cook something.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

No sleep

Ugh. I'm wide awake. My eyes popped open at 2:45 and now here I am. Any sleep I got was fitful and dreamless. I'll probably get used to it but for tonight sleeping on the air mattress isn't a happening thing. Add to that a big ol' brain buzz swirling up the usual worries and you just have to give up and get up. I might have to resort to a sleep aid.

Here's my brain buzz list:

Do I have what it takes?
Can I make it on my own?
Can I keep a household going?
Am I spending too much money?
Will I get it all done in time?
Will my health hold up?
Should I not get satellite tv?
One mattress or two?
Now or later?
Is this it?

Just get through this. It'll all be what it's going to be after the move... after Christmas... after the first of the year... after I find a job... after I lose some weight... after Paige graduates... after Lindsay graduates...

One day I'll be looking back at all of these afters. Did it turn out the way I thought it would?

Just get through it.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Where will we sit? Where will I sleep?

Hoo ha! Today I tore my sofa to pieces. Well, three big pieces. Stacey helped me get it out the door and into the truck and then into the dumpster. It was a sofa bed that weighed a ton, was impossible to open and had been clawed by the cats. It had to go. Stacey and I also carried my mattress out to the truck and then to the dumpster. It was 10 years old and pretty much done. I don't need a king size bed anymore. I'm going to get a queen sized mattress and cut my bed to fit. Jim and I made this bed. Three cuts with a skill saw, a little routing and staining and BAM. Queen bed. I took it apart and carried it out to the back porch. I am woman, hear me roar.

So, tonight I'm sleeping on an inflatable mattress. Just like camping! Wheee! We might move in one of the wicker sofas from the front porch just so we have a place to sit until the move.

Stacey and I made some progress packing up the records. Had to stop because we ran out of boxes. I'll get some more tomorrow. Jeez, moving is one of those things where you work and work but it doesn't look like you've done anything. It just looks like a big mess.

Man, I'm ready for a shower and a snooze.

Monday, November 19, 2007


A good, productive day today. I got the back porch area cleaned. Now I can stack boxes out there and free up some space in the house. The garage is almost done. I cleaned out the broom closet. Boxed up some kitchen stuff. Packed up the truck and took a load to storage.

Paige baked some pumpkin pies yesterday. She actually improved on the Libby's recipe. They were really very good. She was going to take one over to Gabe's this evening but Gracie dragged it off the table and ate the whole thing. Dopey dog. Paige was pissed! I can't imagine eating a whole pie. Guess who's sleeping outside tonight?

Ten days until we move Dad. Ten more days of doing morning and evening meds. It's hard to believe my stint as caregiver is finally coming to an end. I still might have to do stuff like take him to the doctor and get his meds but that's easy and we'll be getting him a doctor here in town. No more driving to Loma Linda. No more sitting for hours surrounded by grumpy old men.

I'm so looking forward to getting into the new neighborhood. Victoria avenue is right there and it's a great place to walk. I'll walk the Vic when I'm not walking the Rube with Jeff. I'll take Bozzie with me. He'll need it now that he won't have 12 acres to roam.

I think I'll go pack some more.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Fortune cookie sez...


Damn cookie. Pushing me into doing that which I'm too chicken to do.

Today Virginia and I went to the Felt Club show in LA. Lots of cool stuff but too much of it was the same and too much of it was too expensive. Go to the comments on the previous blog entry and click on the link to her blog. She pretty much says it all. I found a few things to give as Christmas gifts and I bought a necklace for myself. The best part of the day was just hanging out with Virginia and talking almost non-stop.

This evening Jeff and I went to see Beowulf. I would recommend seeing it in 3D if you can. I think the jokes would work better. It's not a great movie but we both enjoyed it. Afterward we went to dinner and had a good, long talk. I haven't seen him much lately because we haven't walked together (my bad back). Now I feel like I need to walk the Rube by myself to get back up to speed. I'm a real weakling right now. After the big move I want to start working on getting my fitness level back up. I'm tired of not feeling good.

The pets are all doing well. The "spend money" light went on in my car today. And so it goes.

Tomorrow I resume packing. I want to get some of this chaos under control. I'm going to work on one area at a time so I can get some things completed and actually see the progress.

Good stuff is happening.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Another nutso day

Ye gollys. It just doesn't stop.

I was planning to get up at 5 this morning so I could be at Ramona by 6. My eyes popped open at 4 so that was it. I was up. So, I paid some bills. That was productive. I went to Ramona and worked for three hours setting up the snack bars and generally doing a bunch of running around. I probably walked the equivalent of Mt. Rubidoux. Then I came home.

Almost right away I went over to Dad's and started helping with the cleaning and packing. We really got a lot done. Another productive activity. Getting pretty tired now. I got a phone message from the vet at around 3. He thought Gracie was ready to come home. I immediately ran over there to get her. The final bill was $360. Not bad considering it could have been much more. She had a vestibular inner ear problem. So there ya go. I brought her home with some antibiotics. She's acting completely normal (barking too much).

I went back to Dad's and resumed the cleaning and packing. Dad was at Drew's all day so we were free to toss stuff like we just didn't care. Wheee! We actually got the dumpster halfway filled with just stuff from Dad's house.

Kyle is here this weekend and he brought the cats. When we finished working at Dad's I unlocked the apartment for Dede and David so they could get some stuff. While I was out there I heard Lindsay yelling for me. Ink had thrown up a few times and the last one looked bloody. So off we went to the emergency vet again. After a couple of hours and some more $ we left there with a round of antibiotics for Ink. The vet thinks she either inhaled something (bad huffing kitty!) or she has pneumonia. Kyle will need to keep her quiet for the next few days. Pretty hard to do since Inky and Spiral play pretty hard together.

So, now I have just enough time to grab a shower and head back over to the school to watch the band's last performance of the marching season. I also have to deliver a mallet to Paige.

And then I shall collapse in a heap of tiredness. But at least I'm not an emotional basket case.

Friday, November 16, 2007


Got 'em bad. Right now. Big ol' air-sucking hiccups. And why not? Might as well pile something else onto this generally shitty day.

This morning I went to the vet to check on Gracie. The vet had come in an hour late so the office was piled up with people. People with boxers. The only empty seat was next to an obnoxious woman with a loud voice and a jumpy dog. The dog (a boxer) actually ended up in my lap several times. She was too busy loudly yapping on her cell phone to be bothered with controlling her saliva-spraying dog. Since she's a breeder she has no problem using the word "bitch" as often as she can in one conversation. "That bitch is one beautiful bitch. That bitch has a wonderful bite. I've never seen a bitch with such a big front. That bitch is one bitchin' bitch of a bitch."

At one point the receptionist had to tell the bitch to keep her voice down. After almost 2 hours (they hadn't pulled Gracie's chart) I finally got to talk to the vet. Gracie has improved a little. She's even showed a little interest in some food. But she's not out of the woods yet. So, she'll stay the weekend. Ka-ching.

Then I went to Mickey's to pick up my paycheck. Actually, two paychecks. Both of them together totaled $40. They stiffed me some hours! So, I had to go back in and talk to the managers, both of whom always look at me like I'm some kind of alien, and tell them my paychecks were short. I left them my pay stubs so they can investigate.

The hiccups have stopped. Now I feel a little sick. So, today was just one of those days. I was ignored by the hostess at the restaurant, I was ignored by the waitress, almost got creamed by a speeding truck, had to go to two Target stores to find the trash cans I wanted.

Yeah, I know. Boo hoo.

Thursday, November 15, 2007


I just got back from taking Gracie to the vet. This morning I found her in the kitchen, laying in a puddle of her own saliva. One side of her was completely wet. She was shaking, her eyes were kind of glazed and her muscles were tight. I took her to the emergency vet. They were just closing but they took her anyway. The vet there said he didn't think it was a stroke. He thinks she ingested something. I had to think hard about what it possibly could be. She was fine after our walk last night. I gave her a Rimadyl because she was limping. While I was at the vet I called home and asked Lindsay to look around and see if there was anything laying around that she could have gotten into. Lindsay didn't find anything.

They sedated her and put a catheter in her leg. Then I took her to our regular vet. He thinks it's either a stroke or an inner ear thing. He said we can keep an eye on her for a couple of days and see how she does. After that I could take her to a place in Orange County for some expensive tests or I can have her put down. Shit.

She's 12 years old and already not doing all that well. I don't think I'd be willing to spend a huge wad of money trying to save a dog that's probably on the way out anyway. Well, I don't have to decide anything right now. Good thing, too. I'm not thinking all that clearly.

We got Gracie as a 6-week-old puppy after we lost our dear Sally dog to kidney failure. Losing Sally was pretty hard on us and it took a while before we felt ready to get another dog. One of the first things I said to Gracie, that little ball of black fluff was, "You're going to put me through it someday, aren't you." That's how it is with pets. We don't get to have them for as long as we'd like. They get old so fast. Our cat, Katie (best friggin' cat ever), is 9 1/2 and is not as robust as she used to be. Anyway...

We just don't know about Gracie yet. Maybe it'll clear up in a day or two. But I'm preparing myself. And right now I'm going to lay down and zone out for a while. What a morning.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Still counting

Today they picked up the latest batch of dumpsters. We got another one for all the trash that's going to come out of both houses, mostly Dad's. When the guy was hooking up the second dumpster Dad came out and asked (in a snide voice), "Did Drew say they could take this?" I said no, I'm the one who's been handling the dumpsters. He said, "Then you haven't got a brain in your head." I said, "Thank you. What a kind thing to say". He again asked if Drew said it was ok to take it. I told him it's full. He sort of yelled, "That's not full! Any idiot can see it's not full!" Um, really, any idiot could see there was a bunch of stuff sticking out of the top. Was it floating up there?

At first I said, "Well, you climb up there and tell me if it's full or not." But then I thought he might actually do that. I told him that the driver actually had to re-arrange things because it was a little too full (which was the truth). Dad started to walk away but then he saw where the empty dumpster had been placed. I had the guy put it in a different spot because he had delivered the empty one and then went to get the full one. Normally I would have had him put it in the alley but then he wouldn't have been able to get out. So, yeah, it's in a funky place but it'll be fine for what we're going to do. So, of course Dad had to bitch about it. I didn't tell him that the reason it's sitting there is because we're going to fill it with crap from his house.

It's sitting on a slope. Dad told me to tell the guy he needs to level it. I asked why. Dad said that dumpsters don't work if they're not level. I told him that if the driver thought there'd be a problem then he wouldn't have put it there. I turned around to walk away and Dad followed me halfway home telling me how stupid I am.

We're going to be keeping this dumpster for a while. We'll have to keep the doors closed or Dad will go in there and pull stuff out. We might even have to lock it. He's being such a jerk about throwing things away that I could even see him grabbing a ladder and climbing in over the side to retrieve his precious garbage. Heh! We could keep him in there so he can tell us when it's full.

Yes, Donita is still counting down the days.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


Dede was here for a little while yesterday. We took some of the records to Dad's storage. Damn, them boxes were heavy. Records weigh a lot. After that I met Virginia at Panera for lunch. I don't get to see her as often as I'd like. I showed her the photos of the house. We had a lovely chat about the crazy old people in our lives. We've both decided that we won't be able to avoid turning into crazy old people ourselves. Better apologize to the kids early. We're doomed.

More packing today. At some point I need to take Dad to the VA for a TB test. I'd like to try going for a walk. I think my back can handle it now.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

David Lindley

Jeff and I went to McCabe's Guitar Shop to see David Lindley last night. It's the first time in five or six years that I've seen him. He's always been one of my favorite artists to see in concert. It was Jeff's first time seeing him. Last night's show was the most mellow I'd ever seen. It was just Dave and his guitar-like objects. No percussion. Everything he played was new except for Cat Food Sandwich. He told some great stories. Fun show. I'm glad Jeff enjoyed it. Afterward we bought some cd's and chatted with Dave. I asked him if he's ever going to play at the Claremont folk center and he said they're talking about it. It is, after all, just down the street from where he lives. Man, it would be so fun to see him there.

Hey, Michele. Right after the show when we were filing out they put on some music and it was Grey Funnel Line! It was the Silly Sisters recording! Cool, eh?

It's after 3:00 and I've done almost nothing. I guess I could go to the grocery store. I could at least accomplish getting some food in the house.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

House inspection

There are some issues. Nothing major. Still, it'll add up.

We met Pat, the inspector dude, at the house at 9:30 this morning. We liked Pat. He was very thorough. Gammer and Gaffer were there AGAIN. The realtor niece and her husband showed up just after we got there. She's ok, he's a know-it-all. It was kind of hard to stay away from him.

The whole thing took three and a half hours. I was glad to be able to spend so much time in the house. We were so rushed the first two times we were there I felt like I really didn't get a good look at the place. Ken and I measured the rooms for carpet but after some consideration I think I'll keep the old carpet for a while. It's dated but still mostly in good shape. Sherri suggested it might be a good idea to keep it because my animals are getting older. She's right. Gracie has lost control a couple times.

Some of the issues are:

Electrical- Funky DIY wiring to the garage and to the outside lights. A "double tapped" wire in one of the electrical boxes (unsafe). The whole house uses the old two-prong system which, I am told, might be a problem for all the electronics.

Plumbing- Funky DIY plumbing in one of the bathrooms. The shower in the main bathroom doesn't work and the sink faucet is loose. There's a leaky faucet outside. The water heater needs replacing. One of the toilets is loose.

Grade and gutters- In the side yard the grade slopes towards the house. Most of the gutters are kind of shot. Missing downspouts.

Walls and ceiling- Some water damage here and there. There's an iffy panel in the main bathroom. Pat told us that the walls are made of button board. It's kind of a cross between sheetrock and lath and plaster. The walls are plastered. He told me if I want to hang a picture I need to drill a small pilot hole first or else I'll get a big hole if I try to bang a nail in. I appreciated that information. I have a lot of art to hang.

There's a little dry rot in the outside wood but not much.

Many of the windows are painted shut. Some of the doors don't latch. Old house stuff.

The AC and heater are good. The roof is almost new but Pat pointed out that the old roof was gravel and they put the new one right on top of it. If we walk around on the roof the gravel could puncture the tar paper and we could get leaks. So stay off the roof!

Sherri and I sat and chatted about decor and stuff. There are lots of family photos around the house. I noticed one in particular. It was a picture of one of their family members shaking hands with Dick Cheney! EEEK! I'm going to have to do a spiritual cleansing on this house. Burn some sage or something.

Overall I'm very happy. There's so much room. The family room will be perfect for the girl's parties. I'll have a nice-sized art studio with tons of light. The house has lots of storage. All this place needs is a covered patio. Then it'll be perfect. Mostly.

Afterward we went to Ken and Sherri's to talk. We all feel pretty good about the house. I do like the fact that it's the same floorplan as their house, just mirror image. Jim would have liked that.

I went to Michael's and picked up the paintings I had framed. They turned out really well. I'm glad to finally get them framed. Two of them have been sitting in the flat file for 18 years. The other one is the original for Kindalikeamola. They'll all look great in the new house.

Hey! Since we're not getting new carpet we can just move in on moving day! Schweet!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Packing records and eating dust.

Today I have to hang around and wait for dumpster guys. So, while I'm doing that I'm packing up the Ned records. Good golly, it's a lot of records. And they're covered with dust. Puh! I ran out of boxes so I came up here to goof off. I'll grab another pack and get back out there.

I've been through the whole collection and picked out what I want to keep. We've decided to store the rest of them. Once I'm good and settled I'm going to start doing some eBay sales. I'm sure someone out there will want Mantovani, 101 Strings and Longine's Symphonette by the truckload. There's also a LOT of Dean Martin, Nat King Cole, Andre Kostelanetz, Bert Kaemfert, Guy Lombardo, Johnny Mathis, ETC! But there's a lot of less schlocky stuff too. Lot's of jazz. TONS of Hawaiian. I'm not sure if it's good Hawaiian, tho. There was a time back in the 60's where everyone and his brother were making Hawaiian albums. Lots of polka records. Lots of country. Some of these albums have great covers.

I can't wait to get the stereo set up so I can start playing the records I chose to keep. That'll be fun. I'd like to add a music feature to my blog and start streaming some of this music. Or start a podcast and call it The Best Of Ned. We'll see. In addition to the records there are five boxes of files that Ned put together. Thet're are all about the music. It'll be fun to go through those, too.

Gotta pack up my outdoor stuff, gotta dig up some plants. I keep waiting for the weather to get cooler so there'll be less transplant shock. This weekend we're going to hack up the sofa and put it in a dumpster. Wheee!!! Packing, packing, packing. Pulling the particles together. So much to do.

Tomorrow is the house inspection. Gonna measure for carpet.


Monday, November 05, 2007

Today is Jim's birthday

Emotions are close to the surface. Doing ok, though.

Heh! The caps lock was on so at first I typed DOING OK, THOUGH. It completely changes the meaning.

I just want to talk to him, y' know? We talked together a lot. For, like, 34 years. I'd like to hear what he'd have to say about all this. Of course, if he were still around all this would be 50% different. I miss the conversations we'd have when he'd get excited about something. Those were fun. Enthusiastic Jim was fun to be with.

I told Kyle a funny Jim story the other day. This happened when we were first going together. I was at his house one afternoon, hanging out in the living room. The Smiths always drank bottled water that came in those big, glass Sparklet's bottles. I was sitting on the couch and he came in holding one of the bottles. He said, "Hey, Doni, CATCH!" and HEAVED the bottle right at me! I screamed and leapt off the couch. The bottle hit the floor and bounced. It was one of the first plastic water bottles!

Funny Jim.

Did some work today with Dede and Stacey. We're going to do one more dumpster weekend and then that's it. You can actually see progress now. The whole place is much cleaner. Still, lots to do.

Dede got my glasses back! Thank you, Dede! Yes, they are scratched and the frame is bent. Oh, well. Still, they're better than the drugstore cheaters.

Drugstore Cheaters would be a good name for a band. A band made up of fifty year olds.

I picked out upholstery fabric today! Eek! I'm getting this really cool, 1960's chair and sofa set reupholstered. It's a retro-looking black and gold fabric. (Did she say black and gold?) Yes, black and gold. It's not what I had envisioned but I think it'll look really cool on the sofa and chair. And when I think about how it will look with my lamps and art it's like, yeah, that's it. I'm getting excited about decorating my new house.

No pets on the furniture!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Big workday

I've noticed that these workdays are slow getting off the ground but once everyone get's their stuff together (tools, hats, music, iced tea, gloves, going to the store, whatever) a LOT of work gets done pretty darn fast. This morning we started in the barnyard. I had called Hector and asked him if he wanted to help us. I also asked him to bring 5 guys to help. We thought they'd be here first thing this morning but they weren't showing up. Turns out he was working his regular job. Duh! Of course.

We worked on the barnyard for a while. David took Dad to breakfast and then to see the assisted living place. Dad loved it! He complained that he didn't like the whole idea but he went along with it and even got a little enthusiastic. He likes the fact that there a lot of women there. I never would have dreamed that he'd like it right off the bat. I really expected a big dramatic scene. I still think one of us should stay with him at first. We can take turns. But man, I never thought he'd take it this well.

Stacey, Drew and I are kinda gimpy from back injuries and recent surgery so we weren't able toget as much done. Still, one dumpster was half-loaded and all of the old tires had been removed. Good progress.

Stacey and Scotty had to leave go to Audra's singing debut (go, Audra!). Dad went with them! Mindy, Dede and I went up to Dad's house and started working on cleaning out closets. Yegawdamighty! Mindy and I worked on the hall closet. Half of it was Mary Alice's old stuff and half of it was tools. Really crazy tools, too. Big, gnarly tools. Then we started on the kitchen drawers. We didn't even get to the drawers with actual kitchen stuff in them. We cleaned out the kitchen office drawers. These were full of smaller tools, hardware and general garbage.

Hector and the guys showed up around 3:00. They jumped in and kicked ASS! They were really fun to work with. There was a bit of a language barrier but we managed to joke around quite a bit. And two of the dumpsters got filled. They're coming back tomorrow.

Stacey came back to work while Scotty kept Dad at their house. We were able to work the entire day without dealing with Dad. What an amazing difference that makes! When we were done we all went to Stacey and Scotty's for dinner. College Man Mike joined us. Fun night. And tomorrow we get to do it all again.

The only snag of the day was when the bees got a bit miffed at David. While he was trying to bat them away he knocked his glasses off and got stung. Now he can't find his glasses and had to wear his prescription shades to watch tv at Stacey's. Maybe we'll find them tomorrow.

It's kind of weird. Everything has to go. Almost everything in Dad's house has to go. So, as we're doing the clean-up today I kept coming home with stuff. I mean, everybody's taking something home. Drew and I have gotten most of it, mainly because Dede and Stacey are interested in just a few things. We're setting some things aside for Debbie. But it just feels weird. I have to remind myself that it has to go.

Strange thing, this shifting of stuff. I've been doing the same thing with Jim's stuff. Everything he owned now belongs to me, right? But so much of it is stuff I can't use. So, out it goes. And that feels wrong. But it's my stuff. What IS this stuff?

Today was a good day.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

No decorations, no costume. First time in 20 years. And it's ok.

I'm going to drive around and look at other people's decorations. Jim and I were always so invloved in our own displays that we never got to go around and see what other people do. I'm going to check out the new neighborhood and see if there's any action and then I'll go to Kevin and Mary's and hang with them and their friends. And when it's over I'll get in the car and come home. Simple.

When we decorated we'd have to tear everything down and pack up before we came home. At that time of night after spending the whole day setting everything up we'd be so dog dead tired we could barely move. How nice it will be to just get in the car and go.

The girls put some very cool costumes together. I'll post photos tomorrow. Lindsay went as a German beer maid, complete with beer mugs. She used Paige's black bodice with a green skirt and red, poofy petticoat. She's majorly boobilicious. I found eight plastic beer mugs at the dollar store. I painted the inside with clear acrylic that was tinted yellow to look like beer. Then I sprayed in some foam insulation and painted it white to look like beer foam. I used zip ties to clamp them together, two bunches of four glasses. The whole thing put together looks pretty cool.

Paige's costume is hard to name. It all started with the shoes. She found these awesomely bitchy, black and white spectator pumps. One black stocking, one white. White miniskirt, red lace bustier, black blazer. She put a white ribbon around the crown of Jim's enormous stovepipe hat. Gabe was dressed to match.

Yep. For me, this year just was not a happenin' thing. I'll have a nice display next year at the new house. Not the big, ka-blammo displays we used to do but something special and small. And I'm pretty sure the weekend before we'll have a party.

See you next year.

Monday, October 29, 2007

There's no way to make it ok

Dede and David are going to get an angry phone call from Dad.

He called a while ago. He wanted to cook something but he couldn't figure out how. I went over there to see what he was trying to do. He had some sausages in a bowl. He had turned the oven on but thankfully he'd turned the temperature knobs all the way down. I turned them off. His microwave is pretty messed up. The latch that opens it is broken. I didn't want him trying to cook it on the stove top so I told him I'd take them home and cook them at my house. He said he wanted to know how so he followed me home.

As soon as we got here he started asking me all kinds of questions about the farm sale and the move. It always happens this way. He starts asking questions, I try to answer them as best I can and he gets angry because he says nobody has told him anything. I'm sure all of this has been explained to him and he's gotten copies of all the papers (well, most of them) but he forgets and he loses any piece of paper you give him. No matter how many times I explained everything he wouldn't accept it. He wants to stop the sale. I told him it's too late. He wants to meet with the buyer and tell him what he wants done with the land. I told him that when the time comes the buyer will take possession and it's up to him to decide what he's going to do with the land, just like when Dad bought the property from the previous owner. We went round and round. He wants to fire his doctors so he can have some other doctor tell him he's perfectly fine. He said he can't believe the way his own family is treating him.

While he was sitting there ranting I just felt so sad for him. Throughout his whole life he was pretty successful. He owned several businesses. He bought this place when he was in his mid-forties. He really was a very smart man and he knew it. So I can see how it's impossible for him to believe his mind doesn't work the way it used to. He thinks he's doing really well and he can't understand why it's all been taken out of his hands. And when you explain it to him he either doesn't accept it or he forgets what you just said to him two minutes ago.

He was angry but it wasn't directed at me. He took his sausages and went home. He'll either call Dede and David or he'll forget about it and eat his dinner. I'll go over later for evening meds.

Alzheimer's is some nasty shit.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Packing, packing, packing!

Whee! Filling boxes with wreckless abandon! Wheeeee!

My back still hurts like a hurting thing but I can putter around and pack without bothering it too much. Yesterday I bought a big computer desk at Goodwill for $30. It'll be good to get rid of the door table we've been using. I took it straight to storage. Paige and Gabe met me there and helped me move it in. Man, it's heavy!

Today I'm going to work on the records. I finally got the right kind of boxes for them so I can box them up as I go along. I think I'll be able to finish that project today.

Boy, I wish I could get into the new house early so I could do stuff like measure the rooms for carpet and figure out paint colors. I'm getting more excited about the move. That little glow of happiness is getting brighter. But to really make it fly I'll need to get that perfect job that's waiting for me out there somewhere. I'll tackle that project after the first of the year.

Ok, enough goofing off. Go pack.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

It ain't the ribs.

Dad has a compression fracture on one of his vertebra. It's not serious and will heal with time. So, there ya go.

We stopped at the box store on the way back. I should be set for a while. I gots lots.

Dean's right. Moving around does help my back feel better.

Ow, ow, ow! Damn, damn damn!

I pulled my back yesterday. I did the classic no-no. I picked up a heavy box and then twisted my torso. I felt it go "ping". Ten minutes later it hurt like hell. Oh well, at least I got one truckload off to Goodwill.

But now I'm out of commission. I can barely walk, let alone pack anything. Last night was interesting. I had to plan ahead for any bathroom visits. I dreamed I sprained my ankles. I started calling out for ice and tried to get up. When I couldn't I called out for Jim. That woke me up. I struggled up and sat there for a while. That was kind of a stunner. Jim wasn't there to help me.

Today I'm taking Dad to the doctor. His ribs still hurt from his big fall. He said the pain is better but it seems to be more in the front now. I can drive and walk ok, just a little slow. I can handle taking him to the doctor. Maybe I'll swing by the packaging store and get some big boxes.

Man, things are just falling apart around here. We have one functioning toilet, the back fence blew down and the septic blew up the other day. C'mon, house, hold it together. Just a few more weeks.

Sunday, October 21, 2007


For the last few weeks I haven't been able to find my good glasses. You know, the prescription glasses I got at Costco? The ones that cost me a hundred bucks? DAD HAS THEM!!!!

I went over there just now to do evening meds. Laurie was there. She's one of the church ladies. She and Dad were watching a ball game. She had taken him to the grocery store. We all brought the groceries in from her car. Hoo boy. I appreciate her taking him but she doesn't know that there are certain things he can't handle cooking. Like eggs. Oh well.

After I gave him his pills we went back into the tv room and chatted a little. I saw my glasses sitting on his table. I picked them up and said, "Dad, I think these are my glasses." He immediately jumped into evil mode and raised his voice. "Those are MINE! I've had them for years!" I quickly put them down and said ok. I really didn't want to get into a fight in front of Laurie. Hopefully they'll still be there in the morning. Crap. They were filthy and the frame was a little bent. I didn't have hold of them long enough to see if they were scratched. I'm guessing yes.

So, I guess I'll need to get new glasses. I think I'll wait until after the move.


Today my job at Mickeys was demonstrating how to make Halloween party favors. Not party favors in general, just these little tins with clear lids that you can decorate for whichever holiday or party theme you want and fill with candy. It took me about 15 minutes to make five of them. So, what am I going to do, decorate the whole flipping box of tins for 2 3/4 hours?

I helped customers a lot. At one point I was called away from my table for a long time. When I got back this woman was sitting there just happily using the glue gun decorating a tin for her little boy. WTF??? Oh sure, if you see an unmanned demo table with supplies and a hot glue gun then of COURSE it's an open invitation to just have a seat and start crafting! When I explained to her that this was just a demo and not a class she was very apologetic. I was nice about it and even let her kid keep the tin and candy (probably got his snotty hands all over it anyway). But jeez! That was pretty stupid.

Yesterday I was supposed to demo the Versatool, which is kind of like a wood burning tool but with many more uses. I was supposed to carve one of the fake pumpkins with it. But the pumpkins are all coated with this orange paint that doesn't work at all well with the Versatool. The paint just gums up the hot point and creates toxic fumes. That demo sucked.

While I was doing that a woman came in and asked about my skeleton class. I said, "Sure!" and immediately put the burnt pumpkin away. I gathered up some supplies and set up class. Only we didn't have the right diameter of wire and NO paper twist, which is the main component of the Paper Twist Skeleton. I had to give her my supply of wire and paper twist. It was kind of embarrassing trying to pull it all together. She was very nice about it.

Hey, Odiens. She knows you guys. She's a Bojo (sp?)

We had a nice time and she went home with a good looking little skeleton. Then today the girl who is supposed to keep the paper twist stocked told me that they're discontinuing it! So much for my class. I cancelled what was left on the schedule and took down all the little skeletons that I had scattered around the store. It's actually a relief.

So, that does it for my Mickey's schedule. I'll still do demos here and there but I'm not going to commit to any classes until after the first of the year.

Kyle's here this weekend. He brought the kitties. It's nice to see them.


Friday, October 19, 2007

It's a house!

They accepted the offer! If things go as planned I'm moving to Laredo road on December 12th! Yeeee haw!

Three bedrooms, two baths, living room with fireplace, family room, office, sun room (art studio), remodeled kitchen, garage and great yards in a very good older neighborhood.

I can hardly believe it!

Go see it.

No, it is not actually inside the cemetery. It's up against a hill and the cemetery is on the other side.

I'll post more photos when I can get them. Probably not until moving day.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Making the offer

Today Dede and I went to Sherri's so Dede could sign the papers for the offer on the house. Sherri's been in contact with the owner's niece, who is also their realtor. She said they're anxious to get the deal done. Sherri thinks they'll accept the offer. Jeez, if they do we'll be getting a great deal on that house.

Escrow is supposed to close on December 12th. A wednesday! We'll have one day to move! Plus I want to get new carpet before we move in! Oh, dear.

I've been putting boxes into the storage unit. Now I'm thinking I need to get the furniture in there as well. Then if all goes according to plan I can move anything else into the garage while work is being done on the house. Man! Only one day to get everything out of here!

My emotions are all over the place. I'm happy that my job as main caregiver will soon be over. I'm happy I'm getting a house. But the reason all this is happening is my father is losing his mind. And if Jim was still alive I never would have asked for the house. I can't let go and be completely happy about this move. I'm working on it.

I really think this is going to be a fun house to play with. It's 1700 square feet, the biggest house I've lived in since leaving home. Man, for 31 years I've been living in houses that were too small. I think this one will work just fine. There are some things I want to do right away like replace the carpet and get the wallpaper down, but most of it I can live with for a while.

The yards are really nice. Lots of Kohl/Dudley potential there. Our friends, Michael and Teri, have the most adorable yard in the world. The last time I was there I took lots of pictures. Loads of inspiration there. I probably wouldn't do much in the front yard because it's established and it looks pretty good. The back yard is already pretty nice but it will be fun to rip out some of the old, spent landscaping and freshen the whole thing up with plants and art. I'm excited about that. And a patio. Gotta make a patio.

Drew brought Dad home this evening. We talked a little while about the trip. Drew looked pretty beat. I expected Dad to call and yell at me for cleaning out his closets. Dede did most of that work but I helped some. We got rid of a lot of stuff today. He never called. Maybe he was just too tired. I'm sure I'll hear about it tomorrow.

Wow. This is a pretty weird time. I think by February things should settle down.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Wednesday already!

I'm waiting around for the dumpster guy to get here. One got picked up already, I'm just waiting for the other one to go. Then I'll go to Ramona to paint the big fake tree they made. The tree that looks like an alien. Or a dolphin. Or a giant dildo with tyrannosaurus rex arms sticking out around the top. Giant French tickler? So, I gotta paint it to look like a dead tree. By tonight. It's going to be used for the Band Extravaganza performance.

I also have to go by Mickey's to see if anyone has signed up for tonight's class. I hope no one did. I have too much to do. This week got away from me.

October is half over and I haven't put up a single Halloween decoration.

I need coffee.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

So far, a pretty interesting weekend.

Last night I went to Ken and Sherri's for an evening of good cheer. Did some drinking. Played some music. Laughed a lot. Man, I so appreciate my relationship with them. I feel so loved when I'm with them. Ken and I have a whole new bond. We understand each other's pain. Our musical relationship has changed. (Heh! Musical Relationship would be a good name for a band.) I always used to sing with Ken while he and Jim played. Well, now Jim's gone and I've learned to play the ukulele. Ken and I now play and sing together and it's reeeeally fun.

(I just went away for about 20 minutes)

Hoo boy. Just now I got blasted by a pretty big wave of grief. It was a very intense feeling of loss that just kind of snuck up on me. Needed to happen, I guess.

This morning we started filling up a dumpster. Dede and David, Stacey and Scotty, Hector and one of his guys and me. Muddy work! Boy, I sure do appreciate and admire my sibs. We were working hard and getting dirty and having just a jolly old time. Ever since this whole Alzheimer's thing began we've worked together as a team. Everyone always seemed to be on the same page. I think this experience has brought out the best in all of us.

(Ok, more crying)

At around noon I went to Mickey's. No one signed up for the class so I demoed (demo-ed?) for a couple of hours. Not much happened there. Another bad customer service incident happened. One of the floor associates watched me make a skeleton. She was on her break. A customer came up and said she'd been looking for her because she needed help with something. The sales associate looked at her and sneeringly said, "I'm on my lunch." After I picked my jaw up off the floor I asked the customer what she needed. She asked me some questions about paint and I told her what she should use and where she could find it. The sales trog stood there and interjected inane bullshit while the customer and I chatted and just plain ignored her. Puh!

After that I came home and hung out for a while. Then Dede, David and I met Sherri at the (hopefully) new house. Sherri had arranged for a showing. Grandma and Grandpa were there again and as soon as we walked through the door they treated the whole thing like it was a friendly visit. No, I don't want to visit, I want to see the house. Dede and Sherri were just brilliant. They sat in the kitchen and talked with the owners while I showed David around the house. Then on the way out to the yard I snagged Dede and gave her the tour. We were all able to get a good look at the house and keep Grandma and Grandpa occupied.

David and Dede both really like the house. Afterward we went back to Sherri's and went over the paperwork. There are a couple bits of information that we need before we can make an offer but that should all come together next week. Everyone's trying not to get emotionally nvolved but dang, we all want this house!

Then I came home to get ready to go to the Thrilling Adventure & Supernatural Suspense Hour show. I drove to Hollywood and met Lindsay and Kyle at the M Bar. Arica and Chris also came. Had a good dinner and saw a fun show. Not as good as last time but still pretty funny. And there were some brilliant moments.

And now I'm home. Tomorrow we fill another dumpster.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Hoo ha!

I rented a storage unit. It actually gave me a nice little jolt to do that. Makin' it real. The move is a-happenin'. I've already moved in the first truckload. Gonna do another one this afternoon.

Today Sherri is writing up an offer for the second house I'm trying for. It's quite a bit lower than what they're asking but we figure it's worth a try. They can always counter. This house is the mirror image of the other one. They've enclosed the patio to make a big family room and a small whatever room. The office has been turned into a dining room and the kitchen has been opened up. I really like the kitchen. I don't like the countertops but I could live with them for a while. The whole house has lots of Grandma wallpaper to deal with. It's 1700 sf. Just about the perfect size. Nice back yard, HUGE orange tree.

This would be a fun house to play with. The basics are all good. Lots of 1950's style, which I love. It's got great windows. I'd turn the dining room back into an office/music studio. The whatever room would be perfect as an art studio. Loads of light. The tv would be in the family room which would leave the living room tv free. I'd like that. The tile in the main bathroom is pink with burgundy trim. I can't decorate around that! Rip it out!

Ok. Stop doing this and go pack.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Oops, I did it again

Yesterday we were supposed to have a pumpkin class for adults but it turned into another free-for-all for little kids. The Martha Stewart kit got put on the high shelf in the classroom and we brought out the paint, chenille stems, puff balls and CRAP for kid's pumpkins. I was a little smarter this time. When I saw that people were looking at the more elaborate pumpkins I told them they'd have to purchase more supplies. They all meekly said, "Ok" and followed me around the store while I loaded them up. I'd say this time the kids were better behaved and some of the parents were more pushy. We were supposed to do pumpkins from 1 to 3 but the last person was there until 4:30. The manager was getting all pissy about how much time it was taking. I guess he somehow missed the twenty kids sitting around the table with wet pumpkins and wet glue and only two instructors to handle everything. I guess he just didn't see all that SHIT happening right before his eyes.

When I'm doing demos I don't wear the red Mickey's apron. So when I walk around the store I look like any other customer. If I see someone with a lost look I ask them if they need help and we go from there. Well! When I was doing the pumpkin thing was was wearing the red apron. It's like a big, shining beacon that says DEMAND THINGS OF ME. Actually, the customers were very nice, just needy and there were a lot of them. If I ever strayed from the pumpkin table to help someone get their supplies or to unlock the bathroom I'd end up helping four or five people at once. I LIKED that. I'd love to just hang out on the sales floor and be that person who zooms around helping many people at once. Really, they should just let me do that. They NEED me to do that. But they don't have the budget for that. That's why the manager was getting pissy about the time. They budget this much payroll for associates and this much for instructors and that's it, no matter what is actually happening IN the store.

And that's that wonderful corporate bullshit I love so much. Is it any surprise that they're based in Texas?

Last night I walked the Rube with Jeff. Good walk, good talk. This morning my ankles HURT. Being on my feet all day and then going for a long walk has made them grouchy. Suck it up, ankles!

Today, packing!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

What I did today...

...I hope I never do again. It was three hours of hell. HELL, I tell you!

First I need to set a new policy for talking about work here. I'm not going to mention the store by name because they're touchy about employees saying bad things about the store in public and this is a public forum. On her blog Virginia talked about an auto parts store where she got some lousy service. Some guy contacted her on her blog and said his job is to scan the internet for any mention of this store's name. Since my store has a policy forbidding employees to publicly dis the chain I think it's possible that they too have an internet scanner dude. So, from now on I'm calling this place "Mickey's"

Today at Mickey's it was our job to help a shitload of whiny children paint fake pumpkins. It was freakin' nuts! At first we had everyone sit at tables out on the sales floor but that scene was quickly overwhelmed. So, we moved half of them into the classroom. Deborah, the woman who usually handles the kid stuff, took the group on the sales floor and I took the classroom group. We were running back and forth with paints, brushes, chenille stems, glitter, fun foam, wiggly eyes and whatever ELSE the little darlings wanted to slap on their pumpkins. I'd say about half of the kids were very good. Half of them were merely bratty and three of them were champion whiners (with volume). Those three were in the classroom. Oh my god.

Deborah had brought her two kids. The boy is about 14 and the girl is maybe 10. The boy was a huge, sulking, reeking complainer. The girl just complained. Almost every time I needed to move somewhere in the room it seemed I had to squeeze my way past B.O. boy who acted like it was a major inconvenience that I even existed.

Out in front was a display of some elaborately decorated pumpkins which were, I guess, supposed to serve as inspiration. Well, these kids wanted to do their pumpkins EXACTLY like the display pumpkins. That would have involved their parents purchasing a lot of extra materials and several hours of gluing and painting. I don't know how many times we had to tell them no, you can't do that one. Kind of unfair, really.

I spent a lot of time manning the glue gun. It's a cordless glue gun that sits on a base to heat up. I was running around with it so much that it kept cooling off and I'd have to set it back on the base and wait for it to heat up again. But people kept wanting to use it so they'd just grab it and take off. It was really hard to keep it heated.

Some of the kids applied so much paint to their pumpkins that it took forever to dry. So they had to stop working on them. So they got bored. And started whining. Parents were sitting around the tables fanning their kid's pumpkins.

When Lindsay and Paige were in elementary school I'd go to their classes and do arts and crafts with the kids. I enjoyed it. I enjoyed it because I could say to a surly kid, "I don't have to let you do this. If you don't pay attention or if you complain you can go back to your desk." That always had the desired affect. But there's no way I could have told any of these children that today. I'm always kind of shocked when I see parents putting up with that kind of behavior from their kids. They try to appease them which only makes it worse. There were times today when I wanted to get into a kid's face and yell SHUT UP!!!

For this I missed uke group.

I'm doing the same thing tomorrow, only with adults. But you KNOW some of them are going to bring their kids.