Thursday, April 29, 2010

Over in Tacoma

I just fielded a phone call from a calling service that originated somewhere else. It wasn't Asia or Africa -- the people I could hear in the background were speaking largely unaccented English. My caller had a faint Hispanic accent.

The agent she wanted to speak to does not work in my office -- she works on the Westside. So when I gave the caller her cell phone number, she asked if there were different hours which would be better to call in.

Me: "No -- she doesn't work in this office at all. She works over on the Westside. But call that number, that is her personal cell phone."

Caller: "Oh, then that would be -- the Burnside office?"

Me: "No, THIS is the Burnside office -- that one..."

Caller: (interrupting me) "Oh, that would be over in Tacoma!"

Somehow I knew this was going to happen

Well, I was stood up this morning!

Yes, I had a date with a man from my Internet dating site -- for a breakfast date, just to meet and say hello and chat for a little while before work. This is supposed to be good, since no one has to be at all concerned about getting killed, or having to come up with a good and inoffensive reason not to sleep with someone -- there is a very definite terminus pro tem -- the workday is starting soon! And if you are uncomfortable, you can speed it up a bit -- "Oh, my commute is going to take half an hour," or something like that.

And still, I was toying with the idea of leaving him a quick e-mail and bagging on the whole deal. Just because I'm a coward, as we all know.

But I did not! No, I showered and dressed and combed and drove over to Sully's, getting there about five minutes early -- and then I sipped that extra-good coffee, and waited. And waited. And chatted with the owner/chef (whom I always call "Sully" in my head) and ordered oatmeal with raisins and toast, and waited. And finally I got up and paid my bill and left.

And although it makes a good story, it didn't bother me a bit. In fact I was quite glad and relieved not to have had to make conversation with anyone at all. I got a hot breakfast that I didn't have to make myself, I got some of that great coffee, and I got a few sentences with Sully. A good time was had by all!

No one is getting called back

So tell me -- if you were feeling so panic stricken about getting a document signed by your supervisor, that you sent his secretary four e-mails in the space of five minutes, then wouldn't you want to allow him or her to get back in touch with you? Wouldn't you, for example, stay by your computer in case she "replied" to your e-mail? Or perhaps, if you absolutely had to leave the house, wouldn't you take your cell phone with you? And turn it on?

Yes, you would, you say? Ah, well, then you would NOT be Nameless Agent.

But then, I know Nameless Agent -- I know that she is scatty and dingy and nutty and always just on the verge of leaving her head behind somewhere. Which is why I left her a quick e-mail and then a voicemail, when I saw that Doug had also left her a voicemail, and neither of us were getting a call back.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Checking in

Mmmmmm...... now this is GOOD coffee. I just took the first cup of the pot I brewed for the Wednesday morning meeting. It is very nearly as good as the cup I made for myself at home this morning, before I got dressed and drove here. I drank it while looking down on the extreme, heart-swelling beauty of the back yard -- the lower part greening all over the ground, the fresh new green of the leaves on the three trees, the fresh cool air and the silver grey of the surface of the water. It was quiet this morning, too -- I mean, twitters and chirps, and the occasional splash landing, but no one was honking or quacking. Very peaceful and early morning-ish. The large green circle of tall sword-blade-leaves -- soon to be lilies, or possibly irises -- is vividly green. Green like it was creating the color right there. Man, I hope irises. That would be such a thing of beauty if it were true. The beds of riotous purple and lavendar and shading-to-pink of the hyacinths is starting to fade, but the intensity of the green leaves is still passionate and earnest. Lovely.

Well, quarter past nine, and still no one is here. Where are they all?

I'm meeting Paget for lunch today, at Newport Seafood Grill. That will be fun, and will break my day up nicely. And tomorrow morning is my blind-date-breakfast. Although I haven't heard anything from him for several days -- so perhaps not. But we will see. In either case, it means I will get a breakfast!

Oh, and by the way -- this is Day Three of the No Candy at Work program. I keep the candy bowls full, but do not eat any. That ought to be a significant lowering of my caloric intake. It's harder than you might think, too!

Well -- I talked to Joe last night -- he called for no other reason than to apologize for never calling me back that day. So that was nice. I wish I were able to just accept this kind of thing without looking for behind-the-scenes ulterior motives. Which of course I did at once.

Okay, well -- nothing really to say. This is just me, checking in.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Weather Vamping

Today is a weather day and no mistake! Right now it is pouring, pouring down rain -- very thick, fat streams of steady vertical water, pounding the ground. I actually sat and listened to the sound while at the computer, thinking , "What can be making that noise?" How's that for weird? I should know all the possible sounds made by falling water hitting things! I live in Portland!

And now it has stopped. Still wet and grey, however.

This morning, when I woke, I could hear the steady and raggedly rhythmic sound of drops of water in the leaves of the tree directly out my bedroom window. Light rain falling, after a night of pretty much constant light rain. Dancing and fluttering and sparkling leaves in the pale morning light. By the time I had realized that my electric tea kettle was no longer working (ARG!) the sun had popped out and the sky, although distinctly pale and watery, was brightly blue. No rain fell on my way in to work, and now it is just dripping here and there.

So yes, my tea kettle and my digital camera do not seem to be working this morning. One plugs into the wall, and one has batteries, so they are not related to one another. No operator error, I mean. I put fresh batteries in the camera this morning, too, so -- I don't know. And this is twelve hours after the microwave stopped working ( still keeps time! I just can't make the ON button work.) And the day after my car overheated for the very first time, and I found out that the coolant tank is apparently leaking like the veritable sieve.


In other news, the maintenance man came in this morning, and showed me where someone had turned the slider on the bottom of the thermostat from "Auto" to "Heat." Which, of course, keeps the cooling sysem from coming on, even when turned to its lowest possible setting. No wonder we have all been sweating in here. And not good for the computers, either! Good thing I wore my double layer sweater set this morning, as I would be freezing already, otherwise. This air conditioner is powerful. I am in charge of it, however, so I can bump it up just slightly, if I choose.

Oh, and by the way -- when the air first came on, it brought a powerful and fresh pungency of small animal poop -- some rats are nesting in the air ducts! It is starting to wear off now, though.

So any news? Or am I merely vamping in place while the brain turns?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Keeping my germs at home

Okay, I have pretty much decided that this bout of allergies is actually a cold. I caught Doug's cold. I think this because it has been coming and going in such large waves all day, and that is what a cold does, and not really what allergies do. Not so much, anyway. So this is good, since it means I will get over it fairly soon, and is also bad, since it means I can't just take an antihistamine. It also means that I can't go over to Jill's birthday party this evening, but must just go home and keep my germs away from her and the rest of my friends.

Spot of annoyance with Joe last night -- he called and asked me to pick him up at his girlfriend's house at eight-thirty. I was reading but I finished my book at 8:28, and then got shoes on and drove over there. And waited. And waited. And waited. At last I got out of the car (in my sweatpants) and rang the doorbell. Her mother and father both answered the door, and were amazed to see me. Parents don't do much door-to-door picking up in this age of cell phones. Joe came upstairs and left with me. And then when I asked him why on earth he wasn't waiting for me, he gave me this long high-pitched senseless flood of information to indicate that he had called me and when I did not answer the phone, somehow it never occurred to him that I might be on my way to get him. He thought I was "asleep" or "had gone shopping" or maybe was "out driving around" -- none of which I ever do when I have arranged to pick someone up!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Definitely, back to the Northwest

I am right at the perfect middle distance between sneezing and itching and sniffling like crazy, and dropping dead asleep. I took my antihistamines about an hour ago. And right now, with the exception of a very small headache -- or at least a feeling of pressure inside my head -- I feel fine. Long may it wave!

I went to see "Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" last night at Cinema 21 -- and it was GREAT. I really enjoyed it. It was filmed, if not on location, at least on some location that looked a great deal like where it was supposed to be. And since it had been filmed in Swedish, and then sub-titled, the translation problem was completely gone. None of that sort of separation from the action, that the first book had in its prose.

I'm a little over halfway through the second book, by the way, and enjoying the hell out of it.
(Query: should one not use abbreviations when not in need of brevity? Why abbreviate something, unless it is either difficult to say in long form, or there isn't enough room to write it out? Right? So no need to write BTW up there!)

I also enjoyed just leaving the office without calling home first and letting Joe know, I enjoyed the drive over to Northwest, and through the entirely new and foreign Pearl District, I enjoyed hanging out briefly at the Lovejoy Starbucks (hey! the Gypsy is closed on Monday! That should keep me from going to Cinema 21 on Monday ever again!) and I really enjoyed walking through my old neighborhood. I LOVE those houses. If I am ever moving again, which god forbid, I am definitely moving back to Northwest.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The leaves that are green

Standing at my kitchen window this morning at 6:15, I noticed that even at that early hour, it was plenty bright enough outside to see every detail of everything, and also that my view of the water is almost completely obscured by the leaves on the two trees directly between it and me. So although I was feeling that I was looking out at the water, I really wasn't -- there is only one small corner of it that is visible. They are lovely, however -- everything is just now. The huge rhododendrons are in full glorious bloom, the hyacinths all over the back garden are as purple as can be, and almost everwhere you look, a tree is pink or white or maroon or yellow in bloom.

And I am sitting here sniffing and snorting and blowing my nose. Allergies, sigh....

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Almost too cool

Well, I am returned from the previously mentioned Salvation Army, and I come bearing gifts! That is, at least, gifts to me! From me, as well, but definitely gifts. The best and largest (literally as well as figuratively) of these is a pair of patio chairs, made of very light hollow metal, painted grey-green and with a back and seat made of tightly stretched woven cloth-of-plastic. And also grey-green pattern. Yay hooray! I have been longing for a chair out there, but none of my household chairs suited at all. And there just never were any outdoor-type furniture at the SA, unless very VERY expensive (by my standards!) And these, the pair of them, were less than twenty dollars. WooHoo!

However, I have had to pick up my book and my drink and the phone and come back inside, since it is just a little bit too cool to sit in the shade outside today! Now if there were sun on me, or if it were two degrees warmer, I would probably be fine. Or if I were wearing a sweater, as I was yesterday, when it WAS several degrees warmer! And that day I was sweating freely.

So now I finish my drink (cranberry-raspberry-bourbon) and head off to the grocery store.

Birds, birds, birds

It is a gorgeous cool and grey Sunday morning! The sound of birdsong is new and delightful on the pale grey air. I am still wandering around in my pajamas, with my hair loose, having drunk my coffee and read the newspaper. I'm now taking a break from the re-assembly of the bed. So far, good. Frame is neatly back together, with some additional support for the headboard, and I have managed the wooden cross-rails and the box spring and mattress. (Those last two items are the things that need replacing!)

Now, it is merely a matter of making the bed with the neat square stack of blue flannel sheets that await. I also washed my antique quilt and dried it on the deck overnight, so all the tiny spills of tea are also gone -- or should be! Tea is a pretty powerful stain, come to think.

In a few minutes, when I get up and go resume this job, I will also make and eat some breakfast (scrambled eggs and toast and tea) and comb my hair (nub-bun) and dress. (jeans and light, cool shirt) Then I will head over to the Salvation Army, and spend some solid time browsing. Looking at everything and seeing if anything speaks to me. That is so satisfactory, I almost wonder if I have some sort of faint OCD as relates to it. No -- I know I don't. Or if I do, I am able to completely control it, so it can't actually be a disorder. So still no.

I will then do my weekly shopping (sugar and coffee filters and possibly some milk. Oh, and maybe some bird seed? Can I afford such indulgence?) and then see about playing Scrabble with Alan! Yay hooray!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Bedknobs and Brake pads

Thursday evening, I went into my bedroom when I got home from work, and sat on the edge of my bed to remove my shoes. CRRR-R-Rackkkk! The headboard separated itself violently from itself, all the little what? slats? no, they're square -- so not rods or spindles, either -- hmmm. All the little square posts that rise from the bottom of the headboard to the curved top came wrenching out and the side posts broke from the bottom slat as well. There must be a word for square posts, in a furniture sense. Anyone?
I have now taken the headboard from the side rails and removed it into the hallway, and fitted it all back together. The bottle of wood glue is poised and ready, too. But since Kevin just called and I am going to be taking him to the grocery store, I thought I would just have a quick cuppa and rest for a moment or two. This sort of hunched over, curled up labor is hard on a tall fat lady.

And, I am newly returned from Neibur Road, where old-friend-of-the-family Bob Chambers gave my car a thorough going over -- it sits, corrected and forgiven, in my parking space! He changed my oil, filled up the antifreeze, gave me new brake pads and a new tire and rotated my other three, all the while lecturing me mildly on optimum car upkeep. It drives so smoothly and silently now! I am very pleased with it. Thank you, Bob!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

I'm doing the Snoopy dance

Joe just left, yelling to me from the front door, "Bye, Mom! I love you!" He had come in about half an hour ago, and spent that time rummaging through the refrigerator and the cupboards and heating up some leftover ribs in the microwave. So his shouts to me from the kitchen (I am at the computer) were all though various mouthfuls of rib-sandwich. And they were all of the "Hey, Mom, can I have these hamburger patties?" and "How about these corn dogs?" and "Do you care if I eat these ribs?" variety. All of which I answered in the affirmative, giving him permission to eat me out of house and home, all with a big smile on my face! Because it is SO MUCH NICER to give him food to carry away to another house with him and eat there, than it is to get up in the morning and see the bits and pieces and leftovers and un-put-away evidences of him eating these things in the middle of the night. Yay, hooray! I live alone!

And at the same time, it makes me feel VERY SAD! But sort of in a good way! Like I'm doing the Snoopy dance, but with one small tear on my smiling face.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Gone Gone Gosling

So when I got up yesterday, seven of the eight goslings had somehow survived the jump froom the roof to the ground. One, sadly, lay dead on the ground below my window. Poor little guy!

I watched them, on and off all evening pecking and waddling around on the bank of the pond. When I got up this morning, however, the mom and dad were back up on the roof, craning their necks and honking over the edge. And no goslings. No sign of them. I don't know if they were eaten by cats (seems unlikely) or froze to death (even more unlikely) or drowned in the water (most unlikely of all). But no sign of them anywhere!

So no little family of geese. Sad.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

I Know You Had Chinese Today

So, the same Nameless Agent who asked me to put Oregon First in the subject line of our e-mails, just came over to thank me for doing a lot of extra work for him. He told me that he was going to buy me lunch, any day this week, but not today.

He said, "Not today, I know you had Chinese today."


I did not have Chinese today -- and he wasn't in the office when I ate my lunch. So how on earth does he think that he knows that?

By the way, the geese have hatched. Eight little greeny-yellow goslings are staggering around on that roof, while Mom and Dad honk long and plaintively at them to come and get in the water!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Psst! Hey, Kid! Ya Wanna Referral?

So, I am at work and the phone rings.


I answer promptly, of course.

Me: "Good Morning, Oregon First. This is Elisabeth."

Nameless Caller: "Is this Fannie Mae?"

Me: " ........uh -- no, this isn't. This is Oregon First, we are a real estate agancy."

Nameless Caller: "You aren't Fannie Mae? Is she there? Can I speak to Fannie Mae?"

Me: "No -- Fannie Mae isn't a person, you know? It's a government banking business. There isn't anyone named Fannie Mae."

Nameless Caller: "I'm interested in a house that she is selling. Can I leave a message for her? This is the number, isn't it?"

Me: "Okay -- wait a minute. Hold on! There is NO PERSON named Fannie Mae! It's the name of a banking company!"

And so on. I finally put her on hold and called over to Nameless Agent.

"Hey," I said, "Ya wanna referral?"

The sound of a migraine

This is the fist time in my migraine-riddled life that I have observed the start of one. That I was aware of the very beginning!

It was one thirty in the morning. I was sound asleep. Joe came home and came to my bedroom door and woke me, saying "Mom -- sorry to wake you, but it's an emergency."

Well, it wasn't an emergency -- he just wanted to beg to have two friends come in and sleep on the deck, even though he has done exactly that before and gotten nothing for his pains. I was refusing even before I swam to the surface. And, as I was saying, "No -- no -- they all have homes quite close by -- that isn't a reason, Joe," and so on, I was aware of a little sound or movement that occurred in my head. If it was a sound, it was like "ping!" or "click!" and if it was a movement, it was the sort of movement of a small stiff bit of plastic snapping. But it really was sort of both. And immediately, the pain began.

This is day two. And really, shouldn't I just say that unless it is ACTUALLY an emergency -- like blood and death and needing the ambulance -- he should stay away from my bedroom door after midnight? Why yes, I should. AND I HAVE!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

At least he's got their respect

Joe got beaten up last night -- by several guys, one of whom was much bigger than he was. I took Joe to the emergency room at four-thirty this morning. I'm really mad about it.

When I told Joe that, he responded, "Well, I had to! They were talking shit about me! Saying I wouldn't dare fight them! So at least I've got their respect!"

Friday, April 9, 2010

Lashes of Glory

On the bus this morning, I saw my first (well -- as far as I know) pair of false eyelashes. I don't believe I have ever seen a real person wearing them. If I have -- I didn't recognize them for what they were. This time, however, I did. They were on a girl who got onto the bus I was riding -- the 75 from Milwaukie to St. Johns. She got on around Hawthorne or Belmont, can't actually remember. And she wasn't very extreme, not in any direction -- she wasn't glam, she wasn't indie, she wasn't trampy. None of the sorts of "outfits" that might require the lashes. She was between seventeen and twenty-five, short, sort of pudgy with a round face and dark hair, ordinary clothes -- and these enormous lashes, that swept out from her cheeks about half an inch.

Interesting to think that at one time these were standard leave-the-house wear. Everybody wore them, just like everybody wore wigs and girdles, and young girls wore padded bras. Nowadays -- or at least during my young lifetime -- that would have seemed so false -- "plastic" it would have been called.


Another example of the moving face of time, and how fashions just go around in circles, over and over. So when will we be wearing hats and gloves? Or corsets! I mean, those came back in as sexy outerwear, for a few years, but never for the masses. Men should wear homburgs and neckties whenever they leave the house, and never be seen in their shirtsleeves.