“When anybody asks, 'What are you writing about now?' if I try to reply, the book-in-the-works sounds so idiotic to me that I think, 'Why am I trying to write that puerile junk?' So now I give up; if I could talk about it, I wouldn't have to write it."
- Madeleine L'Engle, A Circle of Quiet


Happy Birthday Blond Girl!

Friday, September 30, 2005

It's Blond Girl's 40th birthday today, so I am wishing her the happiest of all happy birthdays! Since one of her very favorite things is blog comments, I'm sure she would be delighted if you visited her and passed on bountiful birthday wishes too.



I would be remiss in my blogging duties if I didn't mention how absolutely ecstatic I am about this movie and it opens today!!! It's Friday, it's date night, and we're going to see Serenity, baby!

You have no idea how psyched I am about this movie. If you never saw the TV series, you simply don't know what a gem you missed. I'll see if I can't report on the movie here sometime tomorrow.

And now I am officially done posting for today. No more posts! But keep reading if you just got here. There are 3 more to follow from today! I'm very bad. But that's ok because I'm going to see Serenity!!!


Friday Family Photo

Fridays are Friday Family Photo day at the Geekwif.

Last week I promised a photo of my Grandma as I remember her, so here it is. Sixty years or so later - years full of work and fun, good times and hard times, joys and sorrows, kids and grandkids, but still the same sweet smile.


My Window Friends

In 1999, after having worked in the same office for almost eleven years at a job I hated, I finally made the decision to quit and go to school for web design. I graduated from tech school in May 2001 with a web design diploma that was essentially useless for a career. In the year and a half I was in school the market changed drastically. No one wanted web designers anymore. They wanted web programmers who had some design sense. Why hire two people when one can do the job, right? I can't really say that I blame them.

So there I was with skills that were fun to use for helping my friends out when they wanted a website and were useful for a freelance job here and there designing a simple brochure-ware site, but nothing more. I went to a temp agency and worked in offices doing data entry that bored me to the point where I spent as much time fighting to keep my eyes open as I did keying in those piles and piles of garish yellow invoices.

After a couple years of that, my Geek suggested that I quit and stay at home as a full time homemaker. I was thrilled. I know that this is not every woman's dream, but I've never felt I was cut out for a career. I'm a homey person and always have been. The drab gray walls and sounds of shuffling papers and politely (or not so politely) arguing co-workers and bosses seemed to suck the life out of me. I came home exhausted and crabby every evening, and as much as I tried to leave my woes at the office, the Geek took the brunt of my crabbiness much too often.

A year later we decided we needed some more cash flow so I got a part time job at a new children's boutique. It was a fun, creative environment and I truly think I enjoyed that job more than any other I've had, despite the fact that I stink at sales, I know zippo about children's clothes, and the pay was not great compared to what I can make at an office. After six months there I was layed off. The owners couldn't afford as much help as they had hired, and since I worked the most hours and therefore was the biggest drain on their limited finances, I was the first to go. (I suppose the lack of sales skills and knowledge about children's clothing didn't help either, but that wasn't the reason they gave and I'm pretty sure they didn't replace me.)

That was March of this year. For six months I managed to not go back to work, using as my excuse the fact that I needed to spend my days getting our house ready to sell and preparing to build our next home which we are general contracting ourselves. I'm not saying that those were poor excuses either. They were valid. But now the house is ready to sell and the building project is on hold until the spring, so here I am with no more excuses.

About two weeks ago I started looking for work again. Since we're moving to a place about an hour and a half away from here, I decided temp work would be ideal. That way I wouldn't have to leave my employer high and dry and having to hire again after 6 months. I can work temp jobs for 6 months or so and then find a permanent job in the area where we will live.

I am fine with all of this for the most part. I don't mind working, even though I'd rather be a full-time homemaker. I still hope to be able to go back to that some day, or at the very least to end up working only part time away from home. For now, I must work full time and that's fine. The problem I'm having is that I have to work in an office again. Retail simply doesn't pay enough. I hate offices. Like I said before, it's like they suck the life out of me.

I know that I'm not the only one, and I'm certainly not asking for sympathy. I know that there are very few people who take joy in sitting in a tiny cubical with gray walls for 8 hours every day under nasty, unflattering flourescent lights; yet there are millions of us who do so year after year after year. I understand that we have to do whatever it takes to make enough money to put food on the table and a roof over our heads. I understand that there are people who can't find a job and would be incredibly grateful to have a job in an office so they could feed their children. I get all that, and I am grateful that I have the skills needed to get a halfway decent job. I am just not inclined to liking offices.

This week I worked my first week as a temp again. It was a one week job starting last Friday and ending yesterday. So I donned my business casual clothing, armed myself with steely resolve to be happy no matter what, and went to work. I was making calls all day to agents of the large company I was working for, training them on a new product they would be selling. Talking all day does keep a person awake better than typing all day, which helped, but the lights were still icy, the walls drab, and the quarters close.

I spent quite a lot of time traversing the halls since I did a lot of faxing to agents who hadn't received (or claimed they hadn't received) a UPS package that contained information vital to their training. It was in these hallways that I found my saving grace for the week. My window friends.

It seems to be a pretty consistent fact that the only people who get windows in an office building are the people who get paid the most - managers, directors, presidents and such. Those of us who are underlings live without a glimpse of tree or sky until we leave the office at the end of the day. This is probably good in my case. If I could see outside from my little cubical I would probably end up daydreaming as I gazed at green trees and blue sky.

To counteract this lack of scenery, or perhaps to impress their customers, most offices have a painting or two scattered about the building. It has been my experience that most of these paintings are modern, abstract, often in mauves and taupes and grays. (There it is again - gray.) But this office was different.

The halls of this building were lined with windows, each of which allowed me to peer into a picture in the imagination of an artist. These weren't abstract, dull or dreary. The colors ranged from soft pastels to radiant hues. The subjects ranged from a middle-aged woman in her garden to a refreshing mountain lake. There was even a range of styles, from realism to impressionism and more. I picked my favorite ones and made sure not to miss them each time I made my way to the fax machine. These windows provided me with a source of inspiration and joy each time I passed them by. They were like happy friendly faces scattered among a crowd of weary, busy faces.

Yesterday I completed the assignment, so now I'm back to waiting again for another temp job. I kind of hope I might get another assignment at that office. As silly as it might sound, I think I might miss those little windows if I went elsewhere.


Happy 100th To Me!!!

I'm celebrating my 100th post! Shouldn't Willard Scott be making an announcement? I mean really - 100 years, 100 posts - what's the difference?

I should have something brilliant to say. I should have an inspiring, hilarious, or poignant list of 100...somethings. I should be dazzling you all with the talent for profundity which I have developed over the past 99 posts.

But I don't and I won't, and I'm sure I haven't.

Plus I simply don't have the time to think up 100 of anything today! My house is in a dismal state of disarray and I won't be home tomorrow to fix it. Today is laundry day, grocery day, cleaning every room of the house day, making sense of the disaster that is my desk day.... The list goes on.

But wait! Before you leave in disgust that I have yet disappointed you by neglecting my blogly duties once again, I do have two - yes, count them 1...2 - posts planned for today! One is the Friday Family Photo and the other a story about a small inspiration that captured me this week.

So be sure to stop by later and feel free to congratulate me on my 100th post! I hope I deserve it.


What Cute Animal Are You?

Thursday, September 29, 2005

My apologies. There will be no profoundly inspirational post from the Geekwif today. I'm tired and feel crummy after having eaten poorly all week. This is the first week I've worked 8 hour days in a very long time and my eating habits suffered for it. Poor excuse, I know, but I'm using it anyway.

So, today I leave you with a filler post with not one, but 2 lovely character quizzes from me. Once again, I'm sorry. Tomorrow I should be back to normal.

I borrowed this one from Peaches at The Peach Pit.

You Are A: Turtle!

turtleThese reptiles, famous for their hard outer shells, spent their days roaming for food and relaxing in the water. As a turtle you are not very speedy, nor are you soft and cuddly. You tend to hide in your shell and you aren't much of a sprinter, however you are as cute as you are fascinating.

You were almost a: Duckling or a Bunny
You are least like a: Puppy or a SquirrelCute Animal Quiz!

Cheese Pizza

Traditional and comforting.

You focus on living a quality life.

You're not easily impressed with novelty.

Yet, you easily impress others.


The Wednesday Weblink

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Each Wednesday I will be sharing one of my favorite links with you. Today's link is a brand new favorite. I only just found this one last week, but already I love it.

Indigo's Question of the Day is just plain fun. She has some of the most creative questions I've seen and I love seeing how people will answer. Go check it out! And be sure to answer her question. I'd like to see how you will answer.

And speaking of Question's of the Day, be sure to come back next Wednesday when I'll be linking to another favorite blog featuring the all important QOTD!


All About Me Monday - Part 2

Monday, September 26, 2005

Mondays are "All About Me" here at Chez Geekwif. That means I pull an item from my "100 Things" and post about it. Today, we move on to #2 on my list.

2. We got married the day after Christmas in 1992.

The Geek and I share a common delusion of uniqueness. He wouldn't call it a delusion, but the way I see it, I want to be unique, and in a few ways I am, but no one would ever pick me out as unique when walking down the street. I don't have, nor have I ever had, nor will I ever have blue or pink or purple hair. I have no tattoos (yet). The closest thing I have to uniqueness in the way I look is that I wear two earrings in my left ear and one in my right. (Every time I get my hair cut, my hair dresser asks if I've lost an earring in my right ear.)

So, in an attempt to live up to our delusions of uniqueness, we decided that we wanted to have our wedding on Christmas Day which happened to be a Friday in 1992. We thought it would be romantic, unusual, and would provide us with a great table topic for years to come. Fortunately (though at the time we thought it was unfortunate) our pastor had the good sense to say "no". He did however marry us on the following day - Saturday, December 26, 1992.

The church was still just as lovely with it's Christmas decorations (our church is particularly beautiful at Christmas), and our wedding was still just as romantic. We even still have a great table topic. (How many people do you know who were married on the day after Christmas?)

All in all, I think it was a great day to get married. A little cold, and a little icy, but that didn't keep us from enjoying the beauty of it one bit.


Grandma's Smile

Sunday, September 25, 2005

In yesterday's "Friday Family Photo" (on Saturday), I posted a picture of my Grandma. Afterwards, I started wondering why it is that I like that photo so much. I've always loved it, but I've never spent much time thinking about it, so I know that it wasn't for any particularly deep reason. Here are a few reasons why I think I like it:

1) I love my Grandma dearly, so pictures of her make me happy.
2) There aren't many photos of her at this time of her life. I've seen a few baby pictures and many pictures of her as Grandma, but there are hardly any photos of her (that I've seen anyway) in the time from her pre-teen years through her motherhood years.
3) I've always been fascinated by what older people looked like when they were young.
4) Family members say I look like her in this photo.

After looking more closely than before, I decided that there is another reason - a bit deeper than I had considered before - that I love this photo.

It's true to her character.

This photo truly expresses who my Grandma was. She had a terrifying childhood which tainted the rest of her life, yet in the midst of her life-long battle against depression she exhibited pure childlike joy. When I look at her eyes in this photo, I can see peace shining through the weight of the worries and troubles of her first 18 years. When I look at her smile in this photo, I see that childlike innocence that she kept all her life.

This was a woman who could have let grief and terror overtake her life. There was a time when she lost her grip and slipped into depression, but she eventually overcame it. That childlike joy and the peace of knowing she was the daughter of a loving God carried her through.

Because of this joy and peace, she was able to delight in her grandchildren, of which I count myself privileged to be one. Some of my most cherished memories of Grandma include laying next to her on the back porch laughing at the cloud formations as we watched puffy, white bunny rabbits and puppy dogs pass above us; waking up on Easter morning to Grandma's voice giggling above me, giddy with childish glee over the funny Easter bunny whiskers she had affixed to her face and the home-made bunny ears she had attached to her head; spending long summer nights playing Dominoes, Sorry, Uno, or any other of the multitude of games in her closet until we simply couldn't stay awake anymore. Times with Grandma may have been peppered with tears, but they were overflowing with pure, jubilant laughter.

This is the Grandma that I remember and always will; and this photo, though it was taken long before I ever knew her, embodies that childlike joy that I always loved about her and always will.


Friday Family Photo

Saturday, September 24, 2005

From now on, Fridays will be Friday Family Photo day at the Geekwif. (Except this week when it is Saturday Family Photo day.) Of course, if I run out of old family photos, I'll just have to change that theme, but for now it seems like a good idea.

For our first ever Friday Family Photo, I'd like to share with you the face of my Grandma. She passed away in May of 2004, but she is still one of the most beloved people in my life. This is her graduation picture, taken in 1930, when she was 18 years old. Family members looking at this photo have told me that I look a lot like her, but I don't see it. Nonetheless, I've always loved this photo.

Of course, this was long before I ever knew her. Next week's Friday Photo will be a picture of Grandma, the way I remember her.


A Day in the Dark

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Wow. What a day. A pretty severe storm took out our power last night at 7:30 pm and we just got it back about a half hour ago. 24 hours with no power. Thankfully there was not too much damage done in the area, though there were several trees down and many branches littering the yards and roads today. I'd blog about it but I'm just beat. We slept on the couches last night since it was too hot and stuffy upstairs in the bedroom. (No a/c, no fan, windows don't have screens.) So I didn't sleep well and have been achey all day. I know, whine whine whine. I really don't have anything to complain about, but I won't be blogging today.

Tomorrow I have a temp job so I may not get the first Friday Family Photo up either. The photos are not web optimized and are on another computer so it's not just a matter of a quick post. I promise to try to get the photo up on Saturday. Not a great way to start off my new theme, I know, but sometimes stuff happens.

Hopefully things will be back to normal after tomorrow. Sorry for the hiccup.


The Wednesday Weblink

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Today marks the inauguration of the Wednesday Weblink, here at my blog home. Each Wednesday I will be sharing one of my favorite links with you. Today, I thought it would be appropriate to start with my Mozilla homepage - the webpage that comes up every morning when I log in to my computer.

gmail by google logo Gmail is webmail on steroids. It's a Google test project, which the Geek introduced me to. I've quit using my old ISP email and gone completely with Gmail now. I love it. It stays open on my desktop all day so I know whenever I get email or when someone comments to my blog.

I can check my mail from anywhere at any time.
I can sort my mail by labels and star important ones.
The search capabilities are amazing.
I can filter mail to a particular label or to the trash, and I rarely ever get spam. In fact I've never had spam in the inbox because the filter has sent the few things that made it through to the spam bin.
I get 2.5 gigs of space so I never have to delete anything if I don't want to.
It's free and there are no pop-up ads. (There are google ads along the right sidebar, but I don't even notice them.)
It arranges conversations in such a way as to keep all related emails together, but I can close any I don't choose to see at the moment.

Now in case you think I'm being paid by Google, please know that I will never promote any product on this blog for money. I don't want this to be "that" kind of blog, and I certainly don't want anyone to be afraid they're going to get suckered into something when they come here. That's not what I'm about. I just happen to love my Gmail.

That said, there is one thing that they do not offer yet that I find is sorely missing, and that is email groups. There is no capability yet to create groups to send a mass email to your friends or family. I suspect this is to prevent spammers from using their product, but it would be a nice feature to have when inviting friends to a party or updating family on your life.

I suppose nothing can be 100% perfect in our imperfect little world, but in my humble opinion, Gmail comes pretty darn close.


The Dryer Mystery

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

dryerOne of the things we had to do before our Truth-In-Housing inspection was to replace the gas tube behind the dryer. The morning before the inspection, the Geek and I made our way to the hardware store and purchased the proper tubing, then returned home where the Geek replaced it. (Actually, it turned out that we could have kept what we had, but that's a long ugly story that just needs to be forgotten. Forget I said anything.)

After replacing the tubing, we checked all the connections with soap and water. There were no leaks, so we agreed that the Geek rocks and went merrily on our way. Later that day we passed the inspection with flying colors. No problem, right?


The following weekend I was doing laundry. After opening the dryer to pull out a load of clothes, I thought I smelled a faint smell of natural gas. I smelled behind the dryer where the Geek had replaced the tubing and there was no smell, so I pulled my clothes out and continued doing laundry.

That night I asked the Geek to check the connections again, just to be sure. They were all tight. I threw a blanket in the dryer just before bed that night. The next morning when I opened the dryer, it reeked horribly of natural gas. Obviously something was still wrong.

In an attempt to balance paranoia (we all know gas smells are not something to be trifled with) and common sense I decided not to do anymore laundry and to try to figure out what could be wrong. I went to my two favorite sources for home maintenance dilemmas. The "red book" as we call it (Better Homes and Gardens "Complete Guide to Home Repair, Maintenance & Improvement), and the internet. The only information could find, said that if you have painted recently the smell might get into your dryer and into your clothes. Well, we hadn't painted recently, and it smelled like gas, not paint, so I moved to the next step.

I called Sears and made and appointment for a dryer repairman to come take a look at it. He couldn't make it until Monday (this was Wednesday and we were quickly running out of clothes!), so I spent Thursday at my mothers house doing laundry.

Yesterday the repairman came with his assistant. They tightened and soap tested all the connections inside and out. They tried running the dryer (empty), but as Murphy's Law always dictates, the problem would not reproduce itself. Finally he told me that whenever the smell is in the clothes and not around the dryer it's some smell from the house that is getting into the dryer and making them smell like gas. He named paint and varnish from recently painted or refinished rooms or furniture as common offenders.


This was similar to what my other sources had told me, but he was saying that no matter what the smell is outside the dryer, it smells like gas inside. He even talked about a woman who had potpourri in her house that made the clothes smell like gas in the dryer. Before he left he saw a big bottle of Ortho Home Defense that I use to get rid of spiders in my basement. He decided this was the offending chemical and that as long as I use that my clothes will continue to smell like gas.

Excuse me?? I don't get this! How in the world can paint or varnish or bug spray or potpourri for goodness sake, magically turn into a gas smell when they get into the clothes in a dryer? If that is the case then no one could ever allow anything with a scent in their house because it would make their clothes smell like gas.

"Oh no, honey, did you spray room freshener again? The clothes smell like gas." Or...

"No, I'm sorry dear, but all you can have for dinner is dry bread. Why? Because if I cook, the clothes will smell like gas."

Is it just me or does this sound ridiculous?

So $65 later I still have no answer. I'm going to do some laundry today and see if it comes out smelling like gas. If it does, I don't know what to do other than get a new dryer and hope for the best. Or maybe I should get rid of all my candles, air fresheners, scented soaps, bug sprays, and any food that smells. Perhaps that is the solution to my problem.

Please, if anyone has any experience in this area, tell me. Am I crazy or is this guy a total quack? Because right now I'm just so confused!


All About Me Monday

Monday, September 19, 2005

(Thanks to Mama at Millenium Hippies for this idea.)

Starting today, Mondays are "All About Me" here at Chez Geekwif. That means I pull an item from my "100 Things" and post about it. Today, we start with #1 on my list.

1. I am married to a professional computer geek.

He wasn't a computer geek when we got married, though he's always been a geek. The guy is a genius - literally. He doesn't like to talk about it because he feels like he's bragging; but as his adoring wife, I claim bragging rights for him.

When we met, he was a waiter at Perkins which meant weird hours sometimes, but it also meant flexible hours which was good since he started Bible College about a week after our wedding day. After having worked a total of 10 years at Perkins, he decided it was time for a change.

He tried carpentry, but that didn't agree with him. His toes didn't like it too much either. After having dropped a 2x6 on end on his big toe twice (we both have issues with toes), he figured this wasn't the job for him.

At this point he started thinking about computers. A friend of ours had recently achieved a computer programming certificate at a local tech school and immediately landed a great job. The Geek had always been interested in computers, so he decided to give it a try. He enrolled in school and visited a temp agency for computer techies to get a part-time job.

He took their test without having studied at all and failed it, but the guy must have seen potential in him. He sent the Geek home with a list of books to read and told him to come back when he'd gotten through them and he could take the test again. He spent the next week poring over 4" thick technical books about Windows and when he returned, he passed the test - not with flying colors, but he passed nonetheless and landed a temp job as a phone tech at a large computer company.

After school he got a job at a friend's consulting company and worked there for several years, but the company wasn't doing great and when they had to ask him to take a pay cut from an already low salary, he decided it was time to leave. That week he was chatting with a friend about this dilemma and his friend exclaimed that his company was just about to list a job for a Systems Administrator at He took the Geek's resume to the people hiring and got him an immediate interview. They held off on the Monster ad and ended up hiring him the following week.

Now my Geek spends all day keeping the computer network and phone systems running smoothly, creating computer programs for the company's various needs, answering tech calls, etc. They have since hired a second to help him, and they keep very busy, but he loves his job. At home he keeps up-to-date on the latest computer technologies, both for business and for his own enjoyment.

He's turned me into a little bit of a geek myself. I can find my way around a computer better than your average joe, but my skills don't even begin to compare to his. I can ask him a question about just about anything computer related and he could easily give a 10 minute detailed answer. I must admit, it's nice having a techie at home to keep our computers running smoothly.

Once upon a time, my "ideal man" was a long-haired rock musician. Instead I have a short-haired computer geek. I like it better that way. In fact, I think I'll keep him.


The Calm in the Midst of a Storm

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Yesterday was good. This week has been nothing but craziness, disappointments, and stress; but yesterday was a moment's peace in the midst of chaos.

Last weekend we drove out to the area where we will be building, under the pretense of inspecting a storage facility for storing nearly everything we own while we build our home next year. Of course, the true motivation for our trip was to stop at the lot, because we simply can't get enough of it, even if we can only spend a few minutes there at a time. When we ran out of excuses to stay any longer, the Geek came up with a brilliant plan, which we executed yesterday.

We packed up our screen tent, comfy lawn chairs, some favorite books, and a picnic lunch and headed out to our new favorite place in the world. The wind tried to blow the tent away as we pitched it for the first time, but we eventually prevailed. Our chairs and a card table fit quite comfortably in the little outdoor room.

We settled in, he with his Lord of the Rings trilogy in one volume, and I with my half-finished Emma, and simply relaxed and read with the above view before us all day. Eventually we got hungry so we chatted a bit while we had our simple lunch of crackers, cheese, meat (beef salami for him and turkey salami for me), and grapes. After cleaning up lunch to keep the insects from invading the leftovers, we settled back in to our books, happy just to be breathing fresh air - air that belongs to us as does the land we sat on.

As Jane Austen's characters played out their story in the words before me, I heard a quiet voice carrying over the field of grass. "Hello. Hello?" When I realized what I was hearing, I turned to see a woman standing on the border of our lot with her dog, smiling and waving. "Someone's here to visit!" I exclaimed to the Geek. We went out to meet her, as if the border of our lot were our front door and her "Hello, " the doorbell on our new alfresco home.

The first visitor to our new "home" was a potential neighbor. She is considering purchasing the lot next to ours, and after speaking with us and finding out that we truly are building a dome home (her realtor had filled her in on this fact), she is even more interested. In fact she will probably build a dome home there herself, giving us a little neighborhood of domes. (We told this to a friend today and he laughed and said something about a "big field of bubbles". Oh well. I guess if we're going to live in an unconventional home I'll have to get used to such comments.) We're pretty excited about the possibility.

After a pleasant visit with our guest and her pretty dog, we said our "good bye's" and "pleasure to meet you's," and we headed back to our screened shelter as she took a walk around the lot she hopes to buy.

The remaining few hours of the day consisted of propping up the camper on blocks, helping the Geek's grandparents with their computer and enjoying a nice home-cooked supper in typical loving grandma style, the long drive home, and the last hour of The Two Towers on DVD, before falling into bed exhausted from a beautiful, exhilarating, pleasant, and peaceful day.


Dreams Delayed and the Job Search Begins

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Our dream home is being put on hold. It's just a temporary thing - maybe 6 months or so - but we won't be selling our house and building a new one until next spring. Many factors contributed to this decision, but it boils down to this:

Winter is coming soon. Realistically, the earliest we could start building is December. We'd like to avoid living in the camper or renting an apartment over the winter. If we stay here in our current house, we'll still be paying down the mortgage for a while. Not by much, but it will make a small dent. The market typically starts to pick up in January/February. If we put it on the market then, we can sell and hopefully start building in the spring.

Is it disappointing? Yes.

Is it the right thing to do? Unfortunately, yes.

Will I survive? Yes.

So I am now actively searching for a job. I was going to wait until we got out there, but since that's going to be 6 months and I won't be as busy with general contracting our house in the meantime, I must look now.

I hate this with a passion. I know everyone hates looking for a job, so maybe I'm over-reacting, but it has always been this horrifying thing for me. For instance, today I received a call back from a temp agency I sent my resume to yesterday. The conversation went well and I have an interview and assessment with them tomorrow.

I realize that this is a good thing. It's why I applied, right? Yet, I went into panic mode. I couldn't force myself to concentrate on anything for about an hour after the call and every time I think about tomorrow I can feel that nasty panicky feeling in my chest. I'm not prone to panic attacks or anything. Job hunting and interviews are the only things that do this to me.

I can't wait until this is over. I really can't wait.


Cell Phones - Convenience or Nuisance?

Warning: Rant ahead. If you don't want to hear my opinion about cell phone usage - and there's a good chance it may vary from yours - then don't read this post. It will do nothing but annoy you and I don't want to be responsible for ruining your day.

I've been thinking about this post for a while now, so the other day, when Michele's "Daily Advice" was about cell phones, I thought it was time to pull it out of the drafts, dust it off, and turn it into a real post.

What is it they say? "Different strokes for different folks?" The subject of cell phone use certainly seems to be a prime example of that observation. Some would ban cell phones altogether if they could. Some think they're the greatest thing since sliced bread. Others (and this is where I tend to settle) see them as a very convenient tool when they are used properly.

I have heard more than once the opinion that cell phones should not be used in public because they are a nuisance to those who have to hear your conversation - that no one wants to hear about your great aunt Lucy's birthday party. Being the pushover that I am, when I first heard this it caused me concern. I don't want to be the cause of offense to anyone if possible and I use my cell phone in public often.

However, after some amount of consideration, I came to the conclusion that this is ridiculous unless you are of the opinion that cell phones should be banned outright...which is another line of thought altogether and one that I don't care to get into right now.

It seems obvious to me. If you don't use your cell phone in public, where else would you use it? This is what cell phones are for, right? Most people still have land lines at home, so their cell phones are for the times when they need (or want) to make or receive a call - for whatever reason - when they are not at home.

I will not argue against the fact that there are examples of inappropriate cell phone usage happening all around us. The person carrying on a loud conversation in a quiet restaurant, the driver obliviously swerving all over the road because he's paying more attention to his phone conversation than the road, the shopper slowing up the line at the grocery store checkout because she refuses to hang up the phone - these are all examples of rude, inconsiderate, sometimes dangerous, and irresponsible cell phone behaviour. But these are not the kinds of conversations I am speaking of.

If I am carrying on a cell phone conversation with my husband at the grocery store about what kind of ice cream he'd like me to buy for him, what does it matter to you? We would be having the same conversation if he was there shopping with me and you would be forced to hear it just the same. If I was shopping with my best friend, we'd be having the same conversation about our husbands as we'd have over the cell phone, but you'd have to hear both sides rather than just mine.

Maybe that's it. Maybe the real issue getting people all riled up over public cell phone usage is that they can't hear the whole story - only half of it - and half a story isn't nearly as interesting.

So if anyone is reading this who is of the opinion that you don't want to hear me talking to my husband about how his day was, please help me on this one. I don't understand the logic behind it. Maybe you can enlighten me and maybe I'll change my mind and go find some dark private corner to use my cell phone where no one can see or hear me.

Maybe...but it doesn't seem very likely.


Walmart Supercenter - A Love Story

Friday, September 09, 2005

The first Walmart I ever encountered was quite a few years ago in the small town where my Grandma lived at the time. I don't even remember if I ever went in. I only remember that it was there.

In more recent years, Walmart has quickly populated the metropolis where I live, and you really can't visit a small town without happening upon one. The closest Walmart to my house is a few miles away. It's actually in a pretty decent part of town, but you wouldn't know it by shopping there. The entire store, from the parking lot to the aisles to the floors, is scuzzy. It smells funky. It's looks and feels dirty. The people that hang out in front of the store (and I'm not talking about the elderly greeters inside) look you up and down in a way that makes you want to run home and take a scathing hot shower.

So, I've avoided Walmart like the plague. If I have a choice of Wally World or Target Boutique I'll pick Target any day. For better or for worse, that's about to change.

No, my Walmart doesn't have palm trees. That would be nice though, don't you think?

I'm moving soon (though perhaps not as soon as I'd hoped - more on that another day) to a small rural town where the big excitement of late is the new Walmart Supercenter (or Super Walmart, as my friend Little B calls it) that opened this year. I haven't even moved yet and I've shopped there twice already. Despite my treasured prejudices toward the chain, I have fallen in love I tell you.

They have everything! I mean E V E R Y T H I N G! The grocery section is absolutely worth writing home about! I wouldn't say it rivals my current giant supermarket, but it certainly holds a candle to it. I did a quick check for some of my favorite grocery items and found every one of them in stock.

And they have a craft section! And it's not puny! It's got beading supplies! It's got scrapbooking supplies! It's even got fabric in yardage! I was absolutely floored. It was like true love on the first date.

If they keep it clean and not stinky and wash the floors so that your feet don't stick to them like a movie-theater floor, I will give this store so much business in the coming years that they could stay in business if I was their only customer. Of course, I think they can expect that response from the entire community since it's the only general or decent size grocery store in the area.

Yes, I am a changed woman. I am in love. But I do have my limits. If you ever spot me on the highway with an "I [heart] Walmart" bumper-sticker on my car, please shoot my tires out...please.


On The Loss Of A Word From My Vocabulary

Thursday, September 08, 2005

This morning, as the Geek was getting ready to leave for work, we were joking around about the word "putz". He claimed not to know what it meant, but he uses it all the time. If he gets stuck on the road behind a slow driver, he calls them a putz. We both call ourselves (never each other) putzes if we feel we have done something stupid. I think one or the other (or perhaps both) of us has even been known to sing it in a song. (To the tune of "I'm a lumberjack and I'm ok.")

Oh I'm a putzy putz and I'm ok
Because you like me anyway....
So this morning when he claimed not to know the meaning, I laughed at him. He insisted that he didn't know what it meant. Knowing that he was just being silly, I decided to extend the joke by looking up the word at after he left and sending him the definition by email. As I told him in the email, I found out more than I really wanted to know.

I won't ever be able to use that word in innocence again. (sigh)


Oh Where, Oh Where Have My Kitty Cats Gone?

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

On Friday afternoon we had our truth-in-housing inspection done. It was a beautiful day so we had all the windows and the front door open. The front screen door takes a firm tug to latch properly, so I usually will discreetly close it myself behind anyone who enters.

When the inspector came, I forgot to latch the door. Maybe it was due to my nervousness over whether we would pass the inspection. Maybe I was just exhibiting my habit of forgetfulness. I don't know.

Shortly after the inspector's arrival, he, the Geek, and I headed down to the basement. The bulk of the items on the checklist are in the basement, so we spent a good 1/2 hour down there. When we were finally done, I was the first to leave the basement.

As I entered the living room, I saw Yoyo, one of our cats, coming back into the house through the front door which was open just a crack. This was not a good thing. Our cats are not outdoor cats. They remain safely indoors at all times. We live near a busy street and there are a lot of mean old stray tomcats around who would be more than willing to pick a fight with one of my whimpy little kitties. Yoyo is the most skittish of all of them, so the others would probably have made it out before he would have.

I got Yoyo safely inside, latched the door to prevent any more potential escapees, and started counting cats while the Geek and the inspector continued on without me. There were only 3 cats in the house. Maestro and Mozart were missing. I went to their typical hiding places with a open can of stinky food in my hand waving it around and calling, "kitty kitty kitty," but they didn't come out. I knew that meant they were outside. My cats are very predictable.

I went outside, stinky food still in hand, calling and waving the smelly stuff around hoping the scent would entice them back from wherever they are. I searched behind bushes, peered into neighbors yards, gazed down the street, but they weren't anywhere to be seen.

I returned to the house, trying to remain calm, but feeling pretty agitated at this point. The Geek asked if I found them and I fought the catch in my throat as I told him I had not. I could feel myself fighting the urge to panic. I went back to the front door and looked out - just in case.

Maestro was there. I opened the door and grabbed him. He was filthy, dirt embedded in his long sleek fur. The little stinker loves to roll around in the dirt like a pig.

I was relieved to have him back, but Mozart was still missing. The inspector was upstairs by this time and checking out our under-eaves closet. He saw a cat hiding back there and proclaimed that he had found Mozart. (Having just met us, he didn't know which cat was which.) I looked but didn't see a cat. I called but he didn't come. I knew the cat he saw was Beethoven, not Mozart. I know my cats. Mozart craves attention above all other things. If he was in the house he would have been following us around begging for love.

I was beginning to lose the battle against panic. What would I do if he was lost? I couldn't bear it. My Geek would be at least as devastated as I was, if not more. Mozart is his little buddy. He follows the Geek around like a puppy. When the Geek comes home each evening, Mozart watches him come up the walk, meowing at the top of his lungs in excitement. We would both be devastated if we lost that sweet little guy.

I was just about to open the door to go out and search some more when I heard a familiar low-pitched mrow. I looked down, and sure enough, there he was. My MoMo had returned. I scooped him up, fighting Maestro to keep him from getting out again (that bit of fresh air apparently left him wanting more), and breathed a giant sigh of relief. All my kitties were safe at home.

It's now Wednesday - almost a week later - and the three of them are still occasionally hanging out at the door pawing and meowing. They've been doing this for 5 days now and Yoyo, usually the coward, is the worst of the lot. I don't know what they encountered out there but it must have been good, because they definitely want more. Yeesh. Just wait until we get out to the country. I can't imagine how squirrelly they'll be then.


A Potential Buyer...hurray?

Yesterday morning I was sitting on the couch in my work-a-day clothes, folding laundry when my phone rang. It was a guy, sitting in his car outside my house who saw our "For Sale By Owner" sign and wanted to know more. His thick accent made him extremely difficult to understand. His rude manner made me not care to try to understand him.

I told him the house had 2 bedrooms and our asking price, which is well within the norm of similar houses selling in our area. He was shocked and was not afraid to express his dissatisfaction. Despite the accent, I understood his question clearly. "You want $xxx,xxx for a house with only 2 bedrooms!?"

I calmly answered, "Yes, that is what we are asking."

"Well, will you take any less than that?"

"We will take offers into consideration."

He wanted to come in and see it right away. I explained that we were showing the house by appointment only. Not only was I simply not going to let him in while I was sitting there doing laundry in my sweats, but I will not show the house unless the Geek is there with me.

I asked if any particular evening would work well for him. "You tell me," he replied, which makes him sound very accommodating, but somehow it was spoken in a way that could make a person feel small as a mouse. I quickly decided not to let him make me feel small, or at the very least not to let him know it. We agreed on Wednesday at 7 pm.

As we closed the conversation, he said something in a demanding tone about calling him at 5 pm. I couldn't understand what he said, so I kindly asked him to repeat himself (as I had already done numerous times throughout the conversation). He obliged, but I still could not understand any more than before, so I simply gave an affirmative, confirmed we would see him at 7 pm on Wednesday, and thanked him for calling.

I should have been rejoicing that I had scheduled the first showing of our house. Instead I hung up the phone and slumped into a chair exhausted after a simple 3 minute conversation.

I still don't know why he wants me to call at 5 pm. Perhaps to remind him of the appointment? I don't know. If I do call, I'm sure to sound like a fool since I don't know why I'm calling and I'm not even sure of his name. (He told me, but I could not understand that any more than anything else he said.) The Geek thinks I shouldn't call at all and we should just wait and see if he shows up at 7:00. I have to agree, though only because of my cowardice. Hot Rod Mama doesn't think he'll show at all.

We haven't spoken it aloud, but despite our need to sell the house quickly, I don't think either the Geek or I will be disappointed if he doesn't come tonight.


Busy, Busy, Busy

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

It's been a busy, busy weekend and the busy isn't about to stop anytime soon. Actually, Monday was not busy - by choice only. It could have been, but I chose to take a day off. Here's a quick run-down of what my weekend looked like.

Our weekend started Friday. The Geek took the day off to help me prepare for our Truth-In-Housing inspection that afternoon and to be there while a complete stranger roamed around our house checking out details that we didn't even know existed after living here for eight years.

For those who have never heard of a Truth-In-Housing inspection (I hadn't until last week), ours is apparently one of only 6 cities in the entire U.S. that requires sellers to have this inspection and requires that you repair the things that don't live up to it's standards - things like a tiny little plug in a side pipe off the floor drain in your basement, vacuum breakers on any faucet that could have a hose attached to it, and the proper kind of gas pipe on your dryer, among about a million other things. Fortunately, we passed. That part's over. Now we just need to get this house sold!

Saturday was sad. We attended the funeral of an eleven-year-old boy from our church who died of cancer on Wednesday after a long, painful battle. I didn't know him well, but after hearing what friends and family had to say about him, I wish I did.

Church in the morning, followed by a road trip out to our building site. The Geek hadn't seen the camper yet, so we trekked out there (any excuse to get out there is a good one!) so he could see the little 20' x 7' space we'll call home for a few months while we are building. If you'd like to see it, check out this post at our Dome Geeks blog.

Labor Day! Perhaps it should be called "Laborless Day". We sat around and did nothing...well almost nothing. I cleaned the litter boxes in the morning (blecchhh) did one sinkload of dishes, went to my parent's place to pick up a Red Pine sapling they had gotten free at the State Fair (They have no place for it on their city lot, and they knew that we want trees to plant on our new lot.), and stopped at the grocery store to pick up a lazy deli dinner. The rest of the day was spent watching a movie (Mona Lisa Smile) and playing games on our PS2 while my Geek played computer games on the PC. Ahhh sweet rest.

Today, it's back to work, finishing the laundry, cleaning this place up after a weekend of neglect, calling potential sub-contractors, filling out paperwork to apply for a building permit. Yeah it may be a "Tuesday-Monday" but I gotta admit, I love this job.


New Post at Dome Geeks!

Thursday, September 01, 2005

I must apologize for not posting for a few days here. Lots has been going on between trying to sell the house, hiring subs to build the next one, and other personal matters on the side. I was out at the lot on Tuesday, however, and I snapped some photos of our temporary dwelling which was delivered that day! You must go see them at the Dome Geeks.

Thanks for your patience. I hope to put up a real post here soon.