Thursday, September 28, 2006

Customer Service: the good, the bad, the ugly

I closed my bank accounts today, accounts I've had open for 7 and 9 years, respectively. The guy at the bank was like a robot: no small talk, no how are you, nothing. He did not ask *why* I wanted to close my accounts after 9 years of being with this bank-- something I would want to know if I were him! The reason being, of course, that there are no branches outside of Texas, and because I get lots of free accounts at the bank I work at. It was like being in the land of the personality-free.

But then I went to Sears, to get my oil changed, tires rotated and etc for the trip. I mean, for my car. And the guys there were so nice. They fixed the trunk of my car-- which has been broken for minths-- for free. It took all 3 of them maybe half an hour, and they didn't charge me a dime. I just had to drive down to the dealership to buy the part. I think they were bored because they didn't have a lot of other cars to work on at the time.

I told Don about it and he says that from now on, any time he needs work done on the truck he's going to send me, instead.


Don and I officially have a place to live in Charlottesville, so we can cross that one off the list. The movers are coming on October 9th to pick up all the stuff. Dad and I leave on the 13th. And that's that for Texas.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Bit by bit

Things are starting to fall into place. Don and I *almost* have a place rented. This is harder than it seems because he has terrible credit and no recent apartment history. I have a little of both, but awful income. I'd think that together, we'd equal a safe bet, but . . . *almost*. I'll find out tonight I think. It'll be such a relief-- we never thought it would take this long to get this sorted out-- we want a move-in date of October 1st and it's already the 27th of September.

Once I know for sure that we have an address and a move-in date, I can call the movers and get that set up. I can arrange my trip out there with my Dad (looks like we're leaving Friday the 13th-- yay) and order checks and God knows what else.

I may have a job possibility. Nothing fancy, just a part-time teller position with the same company. I think I'm a shoo-in: they need a teller, I'm *already* a teller, with lots of experience and a proven track record. I'm scared though because this branch seems too tiny to exist: three employees and only open 9-2 M-F. So that 25 hour position is all there is, there: not much opportunity to move back to full time. But this company pays full benefits at 20 hours so that's all ok. I'll have to try to get another part-time job to fill the money hole, but since I don't know anyone there I'd basically rather work 50 hours a week at 2 jobs, than sit and home and mope around. I just don't want my income to go down, because it would counteract our main reason for moving which is Don's promotion (and raise). If his income goes up, but our cost of living also goes up and my income drops, we're no better off than before. If we can keep the COL the same and my income the same or better, then we're doing better. We have some major financial goals looming in the near future and are trying to save money towards those ends, so any decrease in income right now would be bad.

So if I can work 9-2 every weekday at the bank, and pick up another job working maybe 3-11 three times during week, I could maintain my benefits, increase my income, and still have my weekends to be with my sweetie. Would I have the energy? Only one way to find out, really.

I feel ok and cautiously happy, but if I could just get definite confirmation on either the house or the job (and especially the house) I'd just be so relieved. Is moving always this hard?

Sunday, September 24, 2006


Some people have long-distance relationships. This is not something I can understand, because it is the worst of both worlds: being single and being coupled. When you are in a relationship you have sex on a regular basis. Good sex (because why would you stay with someone if it wasn't good?) with someone you love-- what could be better? And when you're single it might not be that regular but every day there is the chance that you will meet someone, or that a previously unexplored relationship will turn into sex right before your eyes. The possibility for sex is always there-- new, exiting, unexplored sex. To be single is to not know what the evening holds for you when you get up in the morning.

But being in a long-distance means that you're not getting any from the man you love, and that there are no other possibilities either. Which sucks more than words can describe. I was at a party on friday night (or very early Saturday morning) talking with --among other people-- three very attractive guys when I suddenly realized that I haven't had sex in forever and won't again for some time. It was a depressing realization, to say the least, and a signal that it was time to head on home, to my sad empty aparment and needy pets. Because drinking and talking about sex with attractive guys is really just frustrating.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


One of my co-workers is preparing to take the LSATs, the test to get into law school. Part of the test encompasses these intricate logic problems, like this:

Six paintings hang next to each other as shown. Each of the paintings is either an oil or a watercolor. Each oil is directly beside, above, or below another oil. Each watercolor is directly beside, above, or below another watercolor. Each painting is either a 19th- or a 20th-century painting. Each painting is directly above, beside, or below another from the same century. Painting 2 is from the 19th-c. Painting 3 is an oil. Painting 5 is a 20th-c.

Then they ask all these multiple choice questions about the above. Anyways. My friend asked me to help her work out these problems and work out the ways in which to solve them quickly... she said that 'of all the people she knew', she thought I'd be the most able to figure them out. Which I found immensely flattering! Considering that I've never taken any grad-school-level exams or anything like that. Flattering enough for me to work through them all, anyways. I'm meeting up with her in a bit to go over them.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Pondering the Nature of Friendship...

What a beautiful day... it actually feels autumnal outside. I left the windows open in the apartment this morning and it smells nice in here now. I was in a rather self-pitying or self-serving mood earlier and so I went to the newly renovated Northpark Mall to Lush, which has these wonderful fizzy bath ball things. I felt like I deserved a fizzy bath. (Don's gone! My period's coming. I deserve a FIZZY BATH!)

The store is wonderful, an exposion of smell and color as you walk in. Bins and barrels and shelves overflowing with soaps, cosmetics, scrubs, bubble thingies, with explanatory signage everywhere. And the lady there made me little free samples of all kinds of things that I couldn't afford, so now I have these facial things to try after my fizzy bath. And I went to Eddie Bauer and bought Don a shirt because I miss him. Which is illogical, I know. But I saw the shirts in the window and thought how good he would look in one. And that he likes Eddie Bauer. And so. Debt, anyone? And I went to Central Market to buy things for dinner because even though I'm alone there's no reason not to make good food for myself. (I deserve trout and broccoli as well as baths! Not just a can of soup!) So now I have the fixings for a really nice evening.

I got an email back from my best friend (who I never hear from anymore) which confirms that she is not dead and doesn't hate me. Even though it looks as though our friendship is slowly dissolving-- I think this move to VA will kill it mostly-- it's a relief to know that there's nothing seriously wrong with her. Since she got married in May 2005 I've seen her about 4 times. She lives just a couple of miles away, but can't get together, can't answer phone calls, or even emails usually. I think we communicated more often when I was living in Vermont than in the 2 1/2 years that I've been back. Actually thinking about it maybe moving to Virginia will revive the friendship.

Although I've been wondering, at what point does a common history become not enough to sustain a relationship? Can "we've been best friends since junior high" if there's little common ground elsewhere? After 13 years there's always subject for conversation-- you know each other's families, spouses, and histories like your own. 'Remembering when' is important sometimes; it provides a link to your past and focus to your present. But is that enough? I would have thought so. But now, I'm almost relieved that this move will change the flavor of friendship once again, and perhaps fade it somewhat. I feel as though I am always reaching out and always being rejected, or ignored. It's irritating, confusing, and worrisome. I always think the worst-- someone's been hit by a car, or is in a deep depression, or is having marital problems, or wants to end the friendship. To find that it's simply a callous busy-ness is both a relief and an insult. Sending off an email or a voicemail takes maybe a minute, after all. So perhaps I'll move, and let her take the first moves from now on. Not in a game-playing, manipulative sense, but because I feel hurt and cast-off, and perhaps she feels pressured. That way if I don't get a return phone-call I won't entertain myself by thinking of the myriad awful possibilities, or wonder about the lack of common courtesy in someone who's such a nice person usually.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

It's Ennui time, boys and girls!

I've been a negligent blogger lately. This is mainly because I've been waiting for this blue feeling to lift, so that I could write a cheerful, upbeat entry about the good things in life blah blah blah. I don't know why I always feel like doing that though because it would make my blog very one-sided and unrepresentative of the way I really am. The truth of the matter is that I miss Don. It sounds so simple and almost trite, but there it is. I could never exist in a long-distance relationship, I need the day-to-day interactions, the shared experiences that build and maintain any relationship but especially a romantic one. And it's worse for Don, because he feels the same way but has put years and years into being strong, independent, and stoic. Missing me makes him feel needy and emotional, apparently.

Don: I've just realized that I need you! You're the love of my life! We need to stay together always. I can't stand living without you.

Me: I thought you realized that 2 years ago when you proposed marriage and we got engaged.

Don: Well yeah, I guess so. I just realize it more now.

Men. They're always so in touch with their feelings. It's still nice to hear, though. A whole lot better than, "You know, this living on my own makes me miss being single! Maybe we should try a trial separation!" or something like that. We talk on the phone for a long time every night. And we have a new thing in which I put the phone on speaker and he howls at the dog. She gets this confused but very *interested* look on her face, as though trying to figure out how Don got trapped inside that tiny metal box. Quite a bit like those "His Master's Voice" ads for the original phonographs or Victrolas or what have you, in which the little white dog is staring into the phonograph's horn. It definitely gets her attention and she sniffs the phone very thoroughly. She hasn't started howling along yet though, the way she would if he were here.

Without Don here, my days have a different cadence, a different rhythm to them. When we're together it basically goes, work-come home- dinner- conversation/tv-bed. Dinner is of paramount importance, and we call "So what are we eating tonight" the Question of the Day. We spend all of our evening time other than eating, talking catching up and watching the tv. But when Don's not here, I don't worry much about dinner-- just heat something up, or not. Cheese sandwhich, scrambled eggs, Lean Cuisine, whatever. I'm just not that fussed about it. I don't watch tv on my own either, unless there's something specific I want to see. Like my cooking show. So I tend to do more constructive things in the evenings, to fill the time between work and bed. I've been going out with friends a lot more, partly because it's more fun than staying home (which isn't as true when Don's here) and partly because I'm moving soon and may NEVER SEE THEM AGAIN or at least only sporadically. I see my family more for the same reasons, and because they feed me very well. I mean of course I'll see them again after the move, but in the last almost three years that we've been in Dallas I've seen my folks and little brother about every week. It's a rough adjustment, to think about only seeing them on vacations again.

So, Things I've Been Working On Lately:

1. My quilt. I'm actually making a little progress but these blocks are so hard for me, a beginner. I have 9 blocks half done. Out of 63 total blocks. My next quilt will have SQUARES or RECTANGLES only. Triangles are evil and stretchy.

2. A new essay for the Scribbulus site. On Snape and Petunia. Do you really want to know? I didn't think so. Also I'm a mod now on the Leaky Lounge site, which sucks up hours of time.

3. Reading other random stranger's blogs, and realizing that they're so much more interesting and readable than my own, which makes me not want to post.

4. Re-reading all of the short stories of Dorothy Parker, which somehow will make you laugh, and hate all of humanity at the same time. It's like, "These people are awful! But that's exactly how people are! argh! " She sort of nails on the head the different languages that men and women use to talk to each other, and the myriad misunderstandings and heartbreaks that arise from that.

Things I've Done Towards Moving Across Country:



I seem to be passive-aggressively declaring my ambivilance about the move by refusing to do any work towards making it happen. Or, I've just been lazy, distracted, and my usual procrastinating last-minute-is-the-best-minute self. Take your pick, really. My goal for the weekend (which I guess means tomorrow since it's already Saturday night) is to fill three huge cardboard boxes with stuff to take to Goodwill. Or not fill them but come to the point where there's nothing else I want to get rid of. It was my goal for Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday as well but hasn't happened yet.

My sister has announced some plans for the coming year that would make her taking the fishtank off our hands rather difficult, so now I'm trying to figure out what to do with that. Of course she may still *want* the aquarium and probably will, but if she can only keep it until May then what's the point? If it weren't for the fishies, I could just drain the tank, wrap the plants, and send it to VA. Hmm. If only I knew a nice couple that also kept fish. Maybe they would have room for 6 well-behaved fresh-water community fish: 2 Cory Cats, 2 Bloodfin Tetras, and 2 red wagtail platys. We've lost several fish lately but I'm not sure why. I tested the tank for all of the chemicals-- ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, and pH-- but everything came up fine except that the pH was a little high. But it's always been high because the pH of our tapwater is that way. It never bothered them before. I'm thinking that some of them were just old.

Well, time for the long chat with the sweetie.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Quick Update

Not too much to say right now really. Don was in town ever-so-briefly, i got all of 28 hours with him before he went back to Virginia. Now I won't see him until I move out there as well. And I had kept telling myself before that it was no big deal, I'd see him in September.... well that's over and now it's like 5 weeks at least. Ah well. Can't be changed. At least we had fun when he was here.

We saw Little Miss Sunshine, which is really, really, gut-bustingly funny. Highly reccommended for anyone that likes dark comedies.

Insert: the cat just knocked an empty cardboard box down the stairs and scared the crap out of me. It's just the three of us here in the apartment and it's all quiet and calm when whoosh-thump-thump-thump.

I'm afraid that my sister and I will be having confrontations tonight, or soon anyways, which scares me. I'm bad with confrontation in my personal life. so yeah.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


I just spent the last hour and a half in bumper-to-bumper traffic coming home from a dinner. One hour to go 2 miles! I can walk faster than that! I don't get aggravated usually when driving, but this was awful. I drank lots of iced tea at the restaurant and had to pee really bad, and my shifting leg hurt, and my car was running hot. And I used maybe 3 days' worth of gas in the stop-and-go idling traffic. I don't even know what happened to snarl everything up, but it must have been really bad. But. I'm home now... let it go...

On the bright side today was one of those really good days off, when lots of stuff gets done but there's goofing off too, so that either way it's not a wasted day. A guy from the moving company came over at 8:30 to inspect the apartment for an estimate on the move. 8:30 wouldn't be too bad if I hadn't had to get up extra early to finish cleaning up-- not so much to look good as to make it easier to see what we had to move. He left about 9 so I went to the laundromat, washed and vaccuumed the car, and bought groceries. All before noon!

I've been contemplating a career change lately, but I'll talk about that in some future blog. No point getting ahead of myself.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Autumn, corporate-style

The first sign of fall has come to north Texas. Not the weather, although the drizzly rain has been nice. Not the foliage; those yellow leaves aren't changing colors so much as dying from this summer's drought. Not the back-to-school sales or the labor-day sales or the reemergence of school zones just when I'd gotten used to zipping through them.

No, what I'm talkin' about is the Pumpkin Spice Latte, Starbucks' answer to the changing seasons. They whip that baby out every year about this time and it is surprisingly tasty. Much more 'cinamon' than 'pumpkin', because who wants a pumpkin-scented latte? In a place where "fall" doesn't seem to start until mid-October it's nice to have a gentle reminder that summer won't last forever. If you stand under an air-conditioner vent while you drink it, you can almost pretend that there's a nippy breeze.

Monday, September 04, 2006

May There be "Interestin' Creatures" in the Afterlife

So I don't usually talk about Outside Events in my blog, or actually anything wider than my own little life, but I'm so blown away by the death of Steve Irwin that I'm breaking my own habit. I kind of thought old Steve was immortal, or close to it... never thought one of his beloved critters would do him in. He was such a unique character, with so much interest in, and affection for, the animals that most of us fear and avoid. He makes me think of Hagrid in that way-- convinced that dangerous animals were merely misunderstood, and that with enough education we'd all love them. Just not as big and hairy. I only wonder whether he thought that he'd never be seriously hurt by his animals, or whether he knew that his lifestyle would one day be the death of him, for better or worse, and was at peace with that? Either way, 44 years is much too young for someone like Irwin, so full of youth and curiosity. He worked hard to make the world a nicer place for all those crocs and spiders and things.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Fabric orgy

Last night I went out to dinner with Ben, Amanda and Jordan which was great, but I went to the wrong restaurant first and waited; a bit embarrassing. There are too many clone-restaurants in that part of town! Chili's, Bennigans, Friday's, Applebee's: this intersection has them all! It's redundant! Afterwards we all went to Barnes and Noble to brainstorm baby names with them. Baby names are fun. Such an opportunity to mess with somebody's identity. Even with all the fun I still woke at 4 in the morning, which has been my pattern of late. I wake up every morning between four and five with nightmares. Some I can remember, some I can't. Sometimes the pillow is wet with tears. I don't understand it because while I miss Don it's more of a frustrating, oh-well-it'll-be-over-soon, we've-been-through-this-before kind of missing him; a dull ache and not a crying-into-the-pillow kind of grief. And while I'm a little stressed out I feel like it's all coming together now, and last night was sandwiched between dinner out with friends and breakfast out with the family, and two days off. Why the nightmares? I don't understand them, and the timing is almost spooky. Anyways.

Mom and I did a massive fabric-shopping venture today; buying up for our various quilting projects, using up gift certificates, hitting all the sales. It was so much fun. And we bought so much. I love the fabric that I'm working with at the moment--the blues and greens for the kaleidoscope quilt--but now I'm inspired by all these autumnal colors and prints; golds and oranges, rusts, leaves. I'll always be a season behind at this rate! We found this wonderful fabric store that had so many batiks! Shelves and shelves of them. They're my favorites, and most places only have a few bolts.

Funny: Last night at B&N the alarms went off as I entered the store and again as we left. I shrugged it off, thinking maybe my bank alarm or something... but the same thing happened several times when Mom and I were shopping. It embarrassed the heck out of her. Just now, when I was getting undressed, I found a security tag in my jeans that says, "remove before washing or wearing". I've washed them twice already... I can't believe I didn't notice it earlier! I thought they were just scratchy on the inside...

Tomorrow is going to be a work-day, I've got tons of stuff to do in prep for the move. Things to Goodwill, a trip to the Laundromat, vaccuuming. The fishtank. Is that thing ever really clean? No, it's not. But for now I'm going to cut more cloth into triangles, and take a hot bath. Here's hoping that the hour between 4 and 5 will quietly pass me by, and break this holding pattern of nightmares.