18 Jan

I think I must be the biggest procrastinator in the world. I just created a account (like I’m ever going to use that) to keep from doing my writing assignment for 10 minutes. I’m having a really hard time with this one for some reason. I’m supposed to write a 750-1000 word short story. Piece of cake, right? Wrong. I think I’ve started over completely at least 4 times already. Sigh. So far I’m 675 words into my latest draft and my story hasn’t gone anywhere. Double sigh. Why is story-writing so easy when it’s NOT for an assignment? Grrrrrr…

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Posted in Confessions, Hobbies


Good Thing, Bad Thing

18 Jan

Good thing: Mocha Coconut Frappuccino

Bad Thing: Said Mocha Coconut Frappuccino has been discontinued by Starbucks. Must settle for plain Mocha Frappuccino.

Good Thing: Opting for healthy smoothie instead of traditional Mocha Frappuccino

Bad Thing: Finding out (after finishing it) that smoothie has more calories than Mocha Frappuccino

Good Thing: Remembering to bring book for slow periods at work

Bad Thing: Forgetting to bring reading glasses

Good Thing: Going home during lunch to get reading glasses and accidentally being there when the pest control guy shows up and needs access to the locked gate

Bad Thing: Being late in returning from work because pest control guy showed up

Good Thing: Finally having reading glasses at work

Bad Thing: Never having a chance to read because suddenly things are busy

Good Thing: Being really busy at work

Bad Thing: Being really busy at work because of crappy project

Good Thing: Going home after crappy project.

Bad Thing: Getting stuck in rush hour traffic because of crappy project

Good Thing: Arriving home to find that long-awaited scrapbooking supplies have arrived. Can finally continue scrapping pages that have been put on hold waiting for supplies.

Bad Thing: Still haven’t finished writing lesson (aaaggghhh) so scrapbooking gets put on hold again


Back on Track

16 Jan

I’m taking a writing class to improve my creative and copy writing skills and by all accounts, I really should be doing my current assignment right now (since it’s already a week late). However, I had to take a break from my 3,000 word story that I’m frustrated with right now because I no longer care about the plot or characters I have thus far created. This indicates a major problem and probably means that I should start over with something new, but since I’m short on time, the prospect of starting over makes me groan. I therefore feel obligated to continue muddling through the structure I have already set up.

Anyway, I wanted to take a break to express how happy I am that J has this marketing job. It’s fun to be watching TV with him and when a commercial comes on hear him say “Hey, we did that.” For the first time in two years, he’s not hating his job and for the first time in three and a half years, seems to really be enjoying his job. That’s priceless.

Until May 2003, we were trekking through life at a relatively amiable pace. We were financially and otherwise independent, both working, and had bought a house. Suddenly, our lives were run off the road and brought to a screeching halt when Jens’ boss took a dive off the deep end of sanity. Added to that major problem was also the issue that our mortgage company had originally mis-estimated our mortgage payment and sent us a letter in May stating that the monthly payment would go up by 20%. That was 20% we didn’t have.

Before we knew it, J was out of work in a dead economy, and we had to sell our little house and move to Texas seeking shelter from my parents. We lost everything we had put into the house that we had only lived in for ten months, were unemployed, and J was still recovering from the emotional hell that boss-man had put him through. The situation wasn’t helped by the fact that our beloved puppy, Japp, escaped from the yard the day we arrived in Texas and was killed by a speeding driver.

Since that point, try as we might to get back on the track of life and progress over the last year and a half, we seemed to be doing little more than spinning doughnuts on the side of the road. J bounced from junk job to junk job, each time getting further from his intended field (we soon discovered that the job market in Dallas was not much better than the job market in Seattle) and while I was generally steadily employed, it was never enough to pay the bills. For the first six months of our stay in Texas, I was working for my Dad, and although I enjoyed the job and took it very seriously, I couldn’t help but feel that it was something of a handout. A handout I was extremely grateful for, but I still had the need to earn my own way.

There were times when we were able to save a little money, but something always came along to instantly eat away the savings that we had painstakingly accrued.

And now, J and I both have jobs that we love and obtained “on our own.” Even better, we don’t have to choose each month between paying the bills or paying rent (gasp!). Though it may have suffered some dents along the way, it appears that our little car has made its way back onto the highway and is once again heading in the right direction. Hope is a powerful thing. And God is good.

And now I’d better get back on track with my writing assignment.

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Posted in Jens, Makes Me Happy, Marriage, Memories, Work


Neurotic Boxes

14 Jan

So I’m at work getting some shipments ready when I come across a stack of boxes (that weren’t packed by me) to ship. Rather than dragging them to my desk to prepare the shipments, I find myself staring at them.

Edges that aren’t aligned. Pieces of tape too long for the side of the box, dangling off the end. Flaps that aren’t closed completely and corners that aren’t the sturdy 90-degree angles the box-makers intended when they created the design. Items thrown in haphazardly without any padding so they rattle and bump around inside a box three times too big for its contents.

And I feel my right eye start to twitch. I have taken the box to the shipping table, cut the tape, repackaged the contents and am meticulously securing the new smaller box with tape before I realize, “What the heck am I doing?” I’ve just wasted the last five minutes on some utterly meaningless task so that a box will look pretty. What is wrong with me?

I have come to the realization recently that I am my father’s child. Perhaps not literally, as both my brother and I are adopted. But in a manner of speaking, I have to admit that I do share characteristics that I see in my father.

Characteristics that I have spent the better part of 24 years teasing him about.

One of my father’s more endearing traits is his obsessive compulsive tendencies. I think I actually cleaned my room twice during my entire 18 years at home. Not for lack of intention, but simply for the fact that my father couldn’t wait for me to get home from school before cleaning the room. At least four times a week, I would come home to an organized room – bed made, floor spotless, and bathroom counter impeccable.

It was never a guessing game whether or not Dad had been home from work yet. One had only to look at the message pads by the kitchen phone, perfectly aligned to the corner of the counter and pens placed precisely on top, parallel to each other and equidistant from the edges of the notepad. Each kitchen appliance was aligned and spaced just so, and the counters were always immaculately cleared. His closet was (and still is) organized by color and sleeve length and each pair of shoes has its proper place. Socks are never rolled together, but folded neatly and placed in the drawer by color.

Did you ever see that Full House episode where DJ puts the bottle of cleaner on the kitchen table (and even – gasp – off-centered on the table) just to see how long her dad could stand it before he had to put it away? Yeah. Played that game a few times.

Unfortunately for my dear husband, I did not (repeat NOT) inherit any of my dad’s cleanliness. I’m a dreadful housekeeper. However, I have noticed over the past several months, that I do seem to have some odd obsessive-compulsive traits, most of which I wasn’t even aware of until I recently when I overheard a conversation in which two OCDers discussed their vices. And I painfully realized, “…hey, I do that. And that. I thought everybody did that.”

It appears that I haven’t inherrited any of the USEFUL OCD quirks. Only the ones that are utterly stupid, meaningless, and don’t enrich my life or the lives of those around me in the least. So here’s my confessional:

  • I sort my MM’s by color and eat them accordingly. I didn’t actually know that was weird until recently. But it bothers me when there are more of one color than of others.
    I don’t step on cracks.
  • As previously mentioned, I’m very particular about boxes and packing. J and my mom had a few laughs unpacking our stuff after we moved to Texas, when they discovered that everything I had packed was…”gift-wrapped” as they termed it. Ha freakin’ ha ha.
  • I have been known to spend hours inventing and reinventing a company form so that it looks “just so” and meets a certain standard for aesthetic perfection. We’re talking about redoing border lines 4 times because they’re too thick or too thin.
  • I generally have to turn on every light in a room when I enter it. At least when it’s my own house. I have managed thusfar to keep my psychosis contained to my own domain. Of course my husband would mention that he wishes I would develop a neurosis for turning the lights off when I leave the room too.

Yes, I think I have the disease. And unlike the other OCD’s I know, I haven’t even contracted the useful strain. My desk remains cluttered, my house remains dusty, and there are large piles of laundry spewing out of the bathtub. But dammit, those boxes look fantastic.

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Posted in Confessions, Family, Work


Friggin US Mail

13 Jan

I have found a new pet peeve. Computers that try to be human. Auto-response systems that try to act like a real person. The following conversation occurred when I tried to talk to a real person about an international shipment that was lost. Let’s just say I lost more than my shipment…

USPS: Thank you for calling the US Postal Service. To continue in English, say or press 1. To continue in Spanish…
ME: (pressing 1)
USPS: Ok, “Track & Confirm.” Does the label number begin with a letter?
ME: Wait, I didn’t want “Track & Confirm.” Go back. (pressing buttons to return to main menu)
USPS: I’m sorry, I didn’t understand you. Does the label number begin with a letter?
ME: Customer Service, please.
USPS: I’m sorry, your response could not be understood.
ME: I need to talk to a live person.
USPS: I’m sorry, I still didn’t understand you.
ME: (Still pressing buttons to return to main menu.)
USPS: I’m sorry, I’m having difficulty – That’s not a valid – I’m sorry – Your response – I’m still having – Ok, let’s try a different question. Does the label number begin with a letter?
ME: (hanging up and dialing again.)
USPS: Thank you for calling the US postal service. To continue in English say or press 1.
ME: (pressing 1)
USPS: To check the delivery status, please say “Track & Confirm.” Otherwise please say “Schedule a Pickup,” “Order Supplies,” or “Other.”
ME: Other.
USPS: Did you say “Track & Confirm?”
ME: No.
USPS: Ok, “Track & Confirm.” Does the label number begin with a letter?
ME: (Click. Dialing again.)
USPS: Thank you for calling the US postal service. To continue in English say or press 1.
ME: (pressing 1)
USPS: To check the delivery status, please say “Track & Confirm.” Otherwise please say “Schedule a Pickup,” “Order Supplies,” or “Other.”
ME: Other.
USPS: Did you say “Track & Confirm?”
ME: No.
USPS: To check the delivery status, please say “Track & Confirm.” Otherwise please say “Schedule a Pickup,” “Order Supplies,” or “Other.”
ME: Other.
USPS: You said “Other Information,” is that correct?
ME: Close enough.
USPS: I’m sorry, I didn’t understand your response. Was that a yes or a no?
ME: Yes.
USPS: Does your question concern a domestic or international shipment?
ME: International.
USPS: Ok, “Track & Confirm.” Does the label number begin with a letter?
USPS: Ok please say each digit your label number slowly and carefully.
ME: (Sigh. Repeating label number.)
USPS: I’m sorry, but I didn’t understand your response. Let’s try a different question. Was the package sent to an address within the continental United States?
ME: No.
USPS: Was the package sent to Guam, Puerto Rico or an APO box?
ME: No.
USPS: Ok. Please say each digit of your label number slowly and carefully. Or if your label begins with a letter say “Go Back” to return to the previous menu.
ME: Go Back.
USPS: Ok, “Track & Confirm.”

Somehow – and I can’t for the life of me recall how – I finally got in touch with a real live person.

USPS: Thank you for calling the US Postal Service, this is *****, how may I help you?
ME: I need to file a claim on a package sent to Mexico two months ago that was never delivered. USPS: Ok, what’s the tracking number?
ME: There are three tracking numbers on my receipt, which one do you want?
USPS: Is there one that starts with two letters?
ME: There are two. One starts with EC and one starts with CP.
USPS: The one that starts with CP.
ME: (relaying the number)
USPS: Ok, I’m showing that the investigation on this package was only started a month ago and Mexico has 60 days to respond, so you have to wait another month to file a claim.
ME: But the last time I called, the person told me I could file a claim on today’s date.
USPS: I’m sorry, you have to wait 60 days.
ME: So there’s absolutely nothing I can do right now to find out what happened to this package or get my money back.
USPS: You can track the package through our automated tracking system. Let me put you through to “Track & Confirm.”
ME: (Click.)

The above conversation resulted in an amendment to our international shipping policy. We no longer ship internationally.


Squirrelly Dog

13 Jan

My puppy is so cute. He somehow managed to piss off both a bird and a squirrel this morning and when I looked out the window, the squirrel was sitting on the fence yelling at him (have you ever heard a squirrel in a yelling fit? It’s quite entertaining) and the bird was swooping around him trying to…attack? him without getting eaten. And Hastings was racing around the yard (shibas are good at that), enjoying the game and having the time of his life.

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Posted in Pets


Ad Nauseum

12 Jan

AAAAGGGGHHHH. Scan scan scan scan stitch stitch stitch crop shrink sharpen save open upload save. Scan scan scan scan stitch stitch stitch crop shrink sharpen save open upload save. Somebody has to invent a better way to get 12×12” scrapbook pages on the internet. I’m done for now. My eyes are crossing and my back feels like it’s made out of Legos.

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Posted in Hobbies, Peaves


It's Raining, It's Pouring

12 Jan

It’s totally raining outside the window at work. Hopefully it will let up before I have to walk out the door in thirty minutes. Oh crap, did I shut my sky roof? Yes, apparently I did. Well that was my panic attack for the day.

I found blogs for some people I knew in high school today and it sent me back. I suddenly found myself reminiscing about how messed up things were in high school. And I would wager that I had a pretty good high school experience, as they go. I can’t seem to remember anything particularly warm and fuzzy about it, but I mainly chalk that up to bad memory. There must have been something good about high school.

I think I experienced some sort of selective amnesia after hs graduation. I had to ask friends today to send me pictures of people I knew I should remember, but can’t. I don’t remember very many events, and the ones I do remember seem to always be those that involved my utter mortification…such as – well, we won’t go into that one. This isn’t a diary after all. But the list does include my best friend having seizures, a bomb threat at Prom (though that wasn’t so bad, I was ready to leave), a myriad of speech and theatre tournaments that I hated, one very messed-up relationship, and a never-ending battle with eyebrows that refused to cooperate.

I think most teenagers go through a “finding self” phase sometime around sophomore year of high school. I didn’t hit that phase until my freshman year of college, so I spent the majority of high school with a sense that everybody else knew something I didn’t. I guess that pretty much sums up my high school experience: a (quite possibly accurate) sense of cluelessness.

Perhaps that’s why I can’t bring myself to scrapbook high school. It seems that for me, life began in college.

It’s finished raining now. I love Texas rain. It’s one of the things I missed in the five years I was in the Northwest. It rains, it pours, and it’s done. Bam bam bam. Likewise, I’m done reminiscing about highschool. Soooo many better things to do with my day. Like play video games while I wait to go home.

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Posted in High School, Memories, Such is Life, Weather

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