Monday, March 31, 2008

Monday night musings

Huge, enormous, and eternal thanks to Becky, Ali and Janie for a Saturday of labor at the Mansion du Pu Pu. How nice of it to snow, so that we didn't have to find a place to store our coats. ( No heat remember?)

Ali is awesome, give her a task and she gets it done. In addition to boxing up the rest of the kitchen she cleaned the fridge, and I have to say that I would put my food in there now.

(Here's Becky and me in the snow, aren't we so cute? I am a hodge podge of purple and pink - colors that unless you're an Easter Bunny don't go together. Becky has that adorable painter pants thing going on. It might be a hold over from the 80's, but I love overalls as a day of labor outfit. Maybe someday after I stop dropping sizes every three weeks.)

Janie cleaned that bathroom like it has never been cleaned before. The toilet looks usable again... but even now, I won't be putting my naked bottom on that seat.

Becky tackled the "craft room" and managed to get every last damn thing packed up. She's a trooper!

Me, I sat in the car and listened to the radio. Kidding... I don't think I did anything other than walk from room to room to declare "toss" or "keep." I did box journals, diaries and more journals. Most of which have been "mined for the memoir." Notes like that are a little disturbing because it makes me wonder if Auntie E expects someone to go through all the journals and publish the account of her life?

I mean, it has been an interesting life, she was an almost Opera singer, played piano in the late 60's with one Barry Manalow, produced a feature length movie 'Dracula's Disciple' - I have possession of the master, married, divorced, she was tortured as a child by being forced to be educated by the "bad piano teacher in town." Mostly though, the journals are a constant inner dialog with lines from movies, schedules of the tv movies to watch, movies that have been watched and corrections of grammatical errors heard or read.

Heard on TV:
"He went through the windshield and impaled himself onto the tree."

No. No. No.
He didn't do this to himself. He wasn't even driving. And you can't impale yourself, or be impaled onto anything.
Since we are in past tense in that sentence, we can only say that he was impaled on the tree - or on a branch of the tree; or that the force of his expulsion caused him to be impaled on [a branch of] the tree.

Oh golly, she must have hated to get my letters. I'm surprised that she was able to hold back the red marker and return my letters with corrections. Who knows, if I go through the journals I might find the letters with the edits. I did find letters from my grandparents - odd to see their handwriting and have it be familiar all these years later.

The letters alone may be reason enough to sort through the journals once she 'passes.' We'll cross that bridge upon when we gets there (that's to give her something to do in case she "reads" me.)

Finally, this evening I am toying with the idea of answering a Craig's List personal ad. Oh, TPgal is thinking about joining the world of people who date and (some day) get IT on. Yikes. Also thinking about dropping my blog address as a way to share the virtual me. What do you think, good idea or bad idea?

What would someone get by reading "me"?
I use !! to much
I've got a problem with comma's
I can't get to the point
I'm mildly funny (so you say)
I'm going to hell for mocking my sick aunt
I may be forgiven for mocking her considering I've picked up and cleaned mountains of "pooh"
I have awesome friends
I have a job - that is mostly ok
I own my own home
I am a pet person - dog friendly, but live with a cat. I'm bi-animal.
I like to travel - Greece is only 7 months away
I'm on a weight loss journey (86 lbs gone as of this morning)
I'm a consumer! Love that sport shopping.
I'm a reader ( I can reads, I are smart)
I'm not a fan of our current "prez" (W not smart. W piss TPgal off. W bad)
I'm either VERY discrete about my dating life, or I haven't dated in ages. (oh you decide... but remember, I blog about pooh, so I'm not sure discretion is the way to go on this one.)
I'm terrible at analogies. "Disanalogic" or "Analogyphobe" - nope that would be fear of analogies - which you might be when you read some of mine.

So, that leads me to another question (clearly, there is NOTHING on TV tonight as I ramble on and on) as I re-enter the dating pool to Blog or Not to Blog? I think you, the current readers who have nothing but my exciting life to carry you through you dark, bleak days would say "Blog." Don't get me wrong, I'm sure your days filled with your husbands, wives and "children" are wonderful, but I know you secretly envy me. I am alone every night choosing what to watch on tv or hanging out in blissful silence while you listen to your family drone on and on about how much they love you. Wait... I'm sad. Ok seriously, if you were a perspective date of TPgal, you would be in the "Not Blog" category - right?

It could be entertaining though, I'm like an alien dropped into the pool of dating after years of self-imposed exile. (A terrible analogy.) My only education is hundreds of hours of pay per view porn. Har, that would be so funny in an online profile. It's NOT true, but it would be funny. I could get a bunch of one night only dates. As soon as the real me showed up and didn't strip naked the illusion would be busted. But I might meet some "interesting" men.

Workin' for free

A quick stop at my retirement summary today has killed my will to live:

Personal Rate of Return from 01/01/2008 to 03/28/2008 is -12.4%

SWEET!  Dog food and Cardboard box in a tornado ravaged mobile home park here I come!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Oh, that's not good

On the Aunt Messy front things are getting much worse. Finding the humor in the situation is a challenge.

She was taken back to the hospital last weekend with low blood sugar 35 where normal is 100 to 150 then released back to the Nursing Home. Yesterday they shipped her back to the hospital and I was finally abe to speak with a nurse who has her history and current condition.

Its bad, we're not just dealing with controlling blood sugars and blood pressure we have not one, not two, but three serious infections in the sinus that have migrated to her brain. The nurse rattled the names off so fast and my medical definitions seminar was so long ago that I had to do some research last night to catch up to what she told me. (What do people without the Internet do when a term like "hydrocephalus" is mentioned? Hydro - water. That's not bad right? Uh, yeah it is when you team it up with methicillin resistant staph aurelia. (That's .MRSA folks)

I'll be speaking to the ICU doctor today and am armed with the secret decoder ring questions to open an honest dialog that isn't clouded by calming words and softened diagnosis'. It helps that we've got some exposure to the inner workings of the medical profession. (And I'm not talking about the 18 years that I've been watching ER.)

I'm in an odd emotional place about this. I want her to be confortable and pain free. I also don't want her to linger with diminished brain activity. I'm feeling guilty that I'm not rushing to her bed side. I honestly wonder if that's more about my need to not appear cold and disinterested to the hospital staff than anything else.

My dad is content to go with my direction about the Do Not Recussitation order. Its nice that he trusts me, not that I ever doubted it, but these are some pretty adult decisions.

In reviewing her tax records for the last few years (in order to work out a return for 2007) I see that in 2005 she took the Hurricane Katrina deduction intended for those displaced, or for those who took in people. I suppose in her mind, watching it on tv counted? Audit away IRS man...she's got nothing! She'll have even less when I sell her car.

What a fun spring I'm having!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Does this qualify as focusing on work?

A slightly modified IM transcript from this morning about a co-worker who has been out all week:

P, T says:  has "Bob" retired?  (yes, I AM evil)
X  says:  lol
X  says: he's so terribly ill…  I really feel bad for him.
P, T says:  oh, that's not good
X  says:  he just can't stay well for long periods of time
X  says: I tease, but I really do care.  This might be a side effect of the horrid gallbladder explosion that almost killed him.

P, T says: But, maybe he's just weak and we should eat him first if our plane goes down in the Andes
X  says:  not sure I'd pick the sickly one to
P, T says:  It is a toss up, because if you eat the muscular ones (aka Meaty) you loose the heavy lifters that you may need to build a shelter for your cold cold ass

P, T says:  Disturbing...
X  says: you're so funny!!
P, T says: I'm laughing right now... I think we need to create a 9-12 page strategy around who we should eat first in this scenario.  I'm sure the boss would expend some consulting $$$ to make sure we have a RACI.  (RACI is "corporate" for a document that describes who does what.)

P, T says:  Must focus on work.  Drat; the strategy will have to wait

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


There's a scene in the movie The Last King of Scotland where the Idi Amin (who had a small habit of killing those who disagreed or displeased him) has a fit over the fact that an issue that he was warned about became an actual problem.

Amin: "Why didn't you tell me to do something about this!?"
Doctor: "But, sir, I told you it was going to be a huge problem."
Amin: "But you did not convince me!"

Lately, my interactions with the big boss have felt like this.

BB: "Why didn't I know about this?"
TPgal: "Sir, I told you on several occasions the facts"
BB: "But I wasn't listening to you"
TPgal: "ok..."
BB: "Sounds like an excuse to me."

The other thing I "love" is the pep talks to stay "Laser focused on A, B and C. Just A, B and C - nothing else! If we don't achieve A, B and C we're all doomed. Oh and D-Z are also important so don't forget those. Failure to achieve A, B and C is not an option, but neither can D-Z. And in the meantime, don't forget to be interesting so that when you tell me something will be an issue that I'll actually pay attention. "

oh golly... BITTER.

I am trying to keep my head down and get my work done but when the senior leaders spend their days trying to kill your spirit it is hard to stay focused. I know this BS happens at every company and as soon as the things that are pissing me off right now are resolved something new will pop up.

I'm pretty confident that I'll be back to happy TPgal tomorrow. Right now, I'm just going to go to bed!

Not like that

In the Senior Staff meeting this week I said something that was taken the wrong way. In attempting to explain that we need to be coordinated about our communications to our business partners I said:

"My team is banging these people six ways from Sunday so we need to be careful..."

I heard a whisper in my ear from the cute techy guy... "banging them?"

Yes people, it's a service we provide!

Monday, March 24, 2008


I bought a new top to wear to Easter Dinner at Becky's and thought it was super cute. It was black and pink with a criss cross front that results in a daring but not obscene v-neck. I should have sat in the shirt before I bought it. After dinner as we were sitting on the couches drinking wine and discussing the wonderful dinner I looked down and I was clearly flashing my (also new) black bra to the entire room.

We had a laugh about the ladies and how they didn't want to stay in the shirt. No amount of tucking and pulling seemed to work. Finally, Becky asked, where did you get this shirt?

The RACK, I answered

Tee Hee.

Dinner was awesome by the way. Becky's balsamic vinegar asparagus was to die for and then three days later rise up and eat some more!

Saturday, March 22, 2008


I'm taking a whole weekend off and am not popping up to Bellingham. I slept in this morning, put on (too big) jeans and have been scanning old family photos for a project I've been mulling over for ages.
In going through E's photo albums I was delighted to find some gems:

This is my dad (the baby) and Aunt E (aka Messy) in the doorway of their home in Seaview, Wa where my dad was born and I ended up going to grade and high school.

This is my dad, my big brother and I in front of our house in Sunnyside. The aurora is too bad, but I think the hand on my little head is cute!

This is my grandfather Eldon aka "Parkey" and the desk he made in his freshman year of high school. I have the desk, it needs a little love, but it's on my list for a summer project.

My goofy brother playing in the back yard at my grandparents house. I just want to squeeze him, I think he was so adorable as a kid.

Last, but not least here's a pix of my dad at the age of 5 or 6. WWII was just winding down, but as you can see he was dressed to serve. Every family in 1945 needed a Sailor / Aviator!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Too much wine = Talky TPgal

My favorite salesperson came to town today but I seriously don't think of her as a salesperson. I'm not influential in purchasing decisions so we're just connecting on a real level. Having had multiple opportunities to hang out at work things and at security stuff I would say its transended to casual friendship.

Over dinner tonight at the Purple Cafe (I had some cheese and the Chop Chop Salad with Flank Steak - or rather the flank steak with a few bites of salad) we and 4 other folks drank four bottles of wine and a "flight" of whites.

My new plumbing means that the limited amount of alcohol that I do drink goes straight to my head - so my three glasses are swirling around leaving me stranded in the office. I can NOT get in my car right now, but in an hour I should be good to go.

Over dinner we talked wines for ages and then transitioned to books (yeah!) There was a small stop over in the "oh my god you look so great, can I ask you a question about your surgery?" land. I'm ok with that, I don't mind answering questions but didn't want dinner to break down into a TPgal Centric evening. We were there for a bit and then off in a flash.

The excellent news is that this gal mentioned that her company (that she and her husband own) have a corporate apartment in New York and there was a casual offer of use for the proposed gal trip next summer. Believe you me, I won't be shy about following up to see if it was a real offer.

The bummer news, and clearly this is TMI - but I made myself some tea to drink while I sober up and I didn't put the lid on correctly and I poured tea down my shirt so here I sit with a wet bra in my office at 8:05pm. Thankfully it's not a white shirt or there would be a stain.

Silly silly me!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Martha Update

Mom came up, we headed to Bellingham early Friday and were at the house at 9:30. Barbara the type A friend came at 11 and we hussled all day.

Mom worked in the "dining room" aka the "office" and broke everything down - packed 2 computers, a sewing machine, lots of quilting materials, hundreds of floppy disks (like those can be used anymore) and took down the tables.

Barbara started boxing books and records while I collected cable equipment, stacked boxes, moved furniture, and sorted treasures.

In a day and a half we took a truckload and a half to the dump, a truckload to goodwill and boxed the bedroom, living room, dining room and 80% of the kitchen. The art room is still in need of some time, and the bathroom hasn't been touched - although I threw out the toothbrushes and some unidentifiable things.

We did visit E in the nursing home. She is distinctively better than when I saw her last, she still is content to sleep and let the staff take care of her. She had no inclination to sit up and visit with us, and when I mentioned that I picked up her mail she asked where it was, but was happy with the answer that I have it. She doesn't care about her bills or anything else.

She said she wants to go home, and I didn't see the need at this point to tell her we're moving her out of that house. I reminded her we had talked about assisted living and she said she remembered that. If she "lucids up" and asks directly, mom suggests telling her she got evicted. I don't think a lie is necessary. If she gets well enough to go live alone we'll get her a new place - this one sucks.

I think one or two more trips will do the trick. I'm happy to pay movers to haul the stuff to storage, but I want the house boxed before I get a quote. I don't want to pay more because they can't see through the mess in the "art room."

I rescued the jewelry and the family photos. Mom is storing the crystal and some of the really old family heirlooms. It is a bit strange to have E in such a state of perpetual transition. I have to remember that she might return to a semi-functional state and if she does she will want her jewelry back so its not mine. I am interested if any of the clear white items are actual diamonds. I know my grandmothers ring is, (not that I can wear it, she had the smallest fingers) but some of the earrings are questionable.

The next obvious question is, if any of the items are actually valuable what is my obligation to turn them into cash to cover her bills? The car I will have no problem selling especially if she goes to a nursing home, but family jewelry, that is a harder decision.

In the sorting I did find an old coin collection. Woo Hoo, we're rich! The coins have increased in value a 100 fold - but five Indian Head pennies are not enough for anyone to retire on. Yes, the family coin collection is worth five whole dollars. I'll hang on to them and maybe the next generation will be able to buy a latte AND a scone with the collection.

I think a couple more trips and I'm done! I may be making the post Easter call for friends - but we'll see.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

And then there's our governor...

Who signed in to law today a bill that extended domestic parters many of the same legal protections (community property, powers of attorney and other legal mumbo jumbo that MWR will explain over our next lunch and learn) afforded to married couples in the state of Washington.

These aren't special rights, just the same rights which gives these families a more realistic and legal togetherness; rights that our our Man/Woman married couples have enjoyed for years.


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

From Vice President to this?

Don't Miss Al Gore and John Chambers! VoiceCon Orlando 2008 Starts This Week: Register Today!
Dear Colleague,
We're getting close - VoiceCon Orlando starts this week, and with the addition to the keynote lineup of Nobel Laureate and former Vice President Al Gore along with Cisco Chairman and CEO John Chambers, space is filling up quickly.

Act Now to reserve your seat at the premier event in enterprise IP Telephony, Unified Communications and Converged Networks. VoiceCon Orlando runs March 17-20 at the Gaylord Palms Hotel.

There are a few things that are disturbing to me about this:

1) Al Gore is headlining at a conference focused on TELEPHONES
2) They are referring to this as VoiceCon "Orlando" which implies they hold this "exciting" event in other locations too

3) They sent this to me as if it is something I would be interested in. That's not quite as disturbing as the first two - considering I'm often offered tools and herbs to enlarge my male genitalia.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Naps are bullshit!TM

Get your angel a t-shirt or a onesie that they can believe in.

My new line of baby gear Naps are bullshit!TM is selling like crazy. Don't miss out because once your child is empowered to tell you what is and isn't bullshit the whole family will sleep easier at night.

Order yours today, for the low low price of $22.00 - includes shipping.

Possibly the best advertisement -- EVER

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Spa Day (AKA - OUCH!)

I decided that after a day in Bellingham sorting through things that only a haz-mat team should have to touch I deserved a little pampering. After lunch I motored over to Formosa Nail, the corner pedicure and acrylic nail salon for a pedicure.

For $15 you get a fabulous foot cleaning, toe nail shaping, painting and a lower leg massage while resting comfortably in a Sharper Image worthy chair that massages your back. It is a complete waste of money and I LOVE it! I usually save the pedicures for summer when people actually see my feet but a late winter clean up can't hurt.

While I was there I decided to get the old eye brows shaped. The Wax Girl and I had a long conversation about how I wanted more than a bizarre line above my eyes. You can take off too much in the eye brow area and look scary. She did a great job and it didn't hurt as badly as I had feared.

While my toes were being painted (blue!) the elder lady at the salon came over to check out my fingernails. I think her role is to talk up the sales, and she's very effective. I agreed to a manicure on my nubby little nails after she said she had some product designed for nails that are soft and split. As she was soaking my fingers she ran her hands over my forearms and looked me in the eye and said... "We wax this for you." It wasn't really a question but more of a statement.

Here's where the TMI part comes in (too much information) I like to pretend that I am not abnormally hairy in the forearm area. The reality is that I am sporting a hair shirt on the lower ends of my arms. "Am" isn't the right word, "Was" is the new term. I caved and in 15 short minutes that were a lot LESS like the scene from The 40 Year Old Virgin than I feared the closer was comparing her arms to mine. "See, you have arms like me now." This I believe is a compliment.

I am liking the hairlessness, but it does feel a little strange. I hope I don't regret it in a week. I did a search on the web for "hairy arms female" and there does seem to be a small group of dudes who like the hairy armed women but the sites are a little creepy. I think I made the right decision. (No photo's of my forearms though...I'm not contributing to the on-line naked arm porn.)

I should run, I'm doing piles and piles of laundry for Aunt Smelly. She claims that she has an allergy to fragrances so I'm being forced to wash these items in detergent with no additives to mask the old lady smell. I am (for the first time ever) washing the clothes in HOT water. I'm only bringing one bag into my house at a time; my tolerance for huge bags of stinky clothes and bedding is actually pretty low. I'm hopeful that once I get through the bedding that I'll be able to do larger loads.

I'm also going through all the bills I collected at her house. I think she hasn't paid bills in months. What fun for me!

Thursday, March 06, 2008


Tomorrow is my 3 month follow up appointment - but for those of who you can count or are keeping track (tally: 0) it's actually one week shy of 4 months.

I'm a little nervous about the appointment. I'm worried that I'm going to get a lecture about not working out. I have incorporated some stuff into my day - for example I do 20 standing push ups ("push outs" if you will) in the shower each morning and when the weather is good I get off the bus at the first downtown stop and walk the rest of the way in. I still need to do the treadmill more often than I do but I'm hopeful that those small things count too.

The appointment is only an hour and I'm sure it is more about the clinics statistical reporting than it is about me. I do have a full day. I'm doing lunch with a 4 year old and his mom and then popping over to the hospital to see a friend.

This gal is going through hell (baby bed rest) I hope my bag of treats and games I just packed are a fun distraction. I'm really hopeful and eager to have this work out for them. So, let's all send a good word to the man above shall we:

"Mr. Gates,

My friends would be great parents....."

Oops, wrong guy above. Sorry God! Good thing you're very forgiving.

So one last thing and then I've to to finish some laundry. Metro irks me! The bus driver on the way in this morning is extremely tentative about merging back on to the roads after pickups (and we're not talking about 40+ mile an hour roads either...) and then on the freeway - SHE MISSED THE EXIT TO I-90!!!! It's a pretty major intersection on the freeway. So irritating.

Then on the way home tonight I had to chase the bus. We both hit a red light at the same time. The light switched to green and the driver gunned the bus like someone was going to die if she didn't get to the next stop. I was at a full on run to the end of the block where the stop was and made it to the bus as the driver closed the doors and then zipped off. She was stopped for all of 10 seconds. I'm getting healthier but I didn't have it in me to chase the bus for another two blocks. Had she not been driving like a bat out of hell I could have made it or had she checked her mirrors to see if there were runners - which happens all the time I could have made it. I think (because I'm bitter) that she saw me running and left anyway.

I had to stand in the rain for 30 minutes, but at least I got a workout in before heading home.


Happy crisp Thursday to you all! I'm happy to have the week wrapping up. It's been nutty at work.

There are FOUR audits going on that affect my group. If you don't happen to work for a company that does regular audits they are supposed to be short engagements from unbiased folks who assess the controls and effectiveness of the work you do.

The Auditors who are assessing the process I manage keep getting off into tangent areas and it's very irritating. Instead of focusing on whether or not widgets I control are accurate they are intensely focused on the tool I use to track the widgets and can't get off the fact that some of the fields are (seriously) not marked as "required." Never mind that the person who submits the widget request can't know that information and the analyst that processes the request ALWAYS completes it they want the field marked "required." KILL ME NOW!

In addition the other three audits are touching my group too because as they go and assess the 3rd Party Network Hub they are coming to me to see if the non-standard connections have widgets on file (I'm a control point for policy violations.) This doesn't sound to terrible except that that particular auditor wants his information in real-time. He sends an e-mail, then pops up in Instant Messaging and then if I'm doing something else and ignore him the muther-f*cker calls me. Because I'm not listed on his Audit RFI apparently I don't get the standard 24-48 hour turn around window. I guess my entire life is supposed to be dedicated to getting this a-hole who doesn't read the e-mails I send so I have to answer questions twice.

The other audits have been minor annoyances - but I'm still fielding the same questions from different directions. It's good to be organized so you can just forward the same reply over and over again.

Mom is coming up next week and we're going to pop up to Bellingham to do a little boxing and tossing! It will be nice to see her.

On the vanity front, this week two different people have told me that when they first saw me they didn't recognize me. Seriously? I'm not sure what the appropriate response is, but I just kind of laugh and say "Thanks, I've been working on it." It seems like a better reply than "Yeah, I'm a rock star who is too good to talk to the likes of you!"

Finally, I broke down and bought a new desk for my home office. It's very pretty and I love it! It does make it apparent that I need a better chair because this one is too low and my back starts to hurt after a while. It's a good thing that that ATM machine I put in my dining room is stocked!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Messy Martha: A New Hope

There was a very encouraging meeting today with the social worker, nurse, an physical therapist regarding Aunt E today.

It was clear they had read my e-mail and have listened to the concerns about E's home. However, they were kind but firm when she tried to claim she was walking more than she actually is and called her out as fibbing when she said she was taking out her garbage at home. Um, not happening! Neither is the dog she thinks she's going to get, but let's tackle one disappointment at a time.

They proposed assisted living as the exit strategy from the rehab place and will help us work through the DSHS paperwork hell. I'm feeling like there is light at the end of the tunnel and for the first time not resenting the trip(s) I'm about to make to Bellingham.

I'm going this weekend to collect mail, bills and any paperwork I can find and to bring back the stinky laundry. It might be a VERY unpleasant trip home in my car, but my goal is to collect it all and bring it here to wash. With any luck at all the next few trips will be to box up stuff and get rid of massive amounts of CRAP.

The plan is a one day trip: drive up, collect stinky clothes and bills, a quick visit and drive back. It shouldn't be any more than 12 hours. Anyone wanna come?

Monday, March 03, 2008

Movie Review: Penelope

You probably haven't heard of this one unless you're a 13 year old girl. Penelope is a charming little story about a girl who was cursed and born with a snout (think porky pig.) Only true love will free her from the curse. Cue James McAvoy and *swoon*.

The girls in the audience (me included) seemed to enjoy the story even if it was a bit predictable. Pig faced girl frightens away all suitors, a man comes and pretends to like her, she figures it out just as he falls in love and then drama drama drama. Weave in a moped and Reese Witherspoon and you've got a cute date movie.

I was a tad perplexed by some of the scenery - for the most part the movie seems to take place in a magical ageless European local with cobblestone streets, street vendors and then whamo we're taken to a decidedly American city. Most disturbing thing of all was to make that that transition we are given a night time aerial view of SEATTLE…complete with a shot of the Ban Roll-On building and WaMu tower. It took me out of fantasy movie mode and into trying to figure out where the movie was actually filmed. (I hate that.)

James McAvoy pulls off a better than average American accent and is quickly forgiven for slipping into his Scottish tongue because he's dreamy. Where did this young man come from? Is he really attractive or am I just charmed by the stupid accent? I fear that one day you'll find me following around Scottish men like a child marching after the Pied Piper. (It's probably the main reason I've not been to the U.K.) Furthermore, am I reaching an age where I shouldn't be intrigued by movie stars who aren't even 30 yet? But, since he's realistically never coming over to have dinner and drink my wine *wink* does it matter?

Sunday, March 02, 2008

My big Bother

Big Bother... Sisty-Ugler these are the childhood nicknames my older brother and I are saddled with. My dad has a strange sense of humor, and now at almost 40 the name still sticks. Thanks dad!

The big bother called me today. He's home for a two week leave from Iraq. His family is clearly super excited to have him home. It was great talking with him and we had a big laugh about the crazy care packages from the family. Apparently an all candy care package isn't quite as comforting as you might think.

We talked for an hour and then I had to shoo him off the phone so he could call his mother.

Welcome home big guy!

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Countrywide SUCKS! Part 2

In November I got a letter from Countrywide saying that I owed them money from my former escrow account for an alleged overpayment in 2004. I repeatedly asked for a full accounting of all the monies collected and paid for my account. They didn't provide the information, but did mail a printout of some activity showing and escrow refund payment to me that I kind of remember.

I tried to push them to provide a full statement of all the funds collected but they didn't do it, instead I started to receive letters from a collection agency. Each letter included escalating threats and in the end I caved and sent them $842.00 with a NASTY letter that I'm sure had no effect other than it felt good to write.

Basically I said that they were incompetent accountants, malicious with their timing, and their failure to provide the simple information I asked for felt criminal. I told them I was sending the check not because I felt I owed it but so that I would never have to deal with them ever again.

It took almost four weeks for my check to clear and when it did I got a notice showing my account was "Paid In Full." I filed all the paperwork away including a copy of the canceled check and went about my business.

Today, when checking the mail there was a thin envelope from Countrywide. Inside was a check for $842.00 with the explanation of "Escrow Refund." I ask you... WHAT THE F*CK!?

My dad suggests not calling them and asking but to put the money in savings. I ask you... what would you do?

That's better

After talking with the social worker and the gas company Friday I opted not to drive up to Bellingham this weekend. I'll go next weekend, gather up all the bills, spend some more time with the mess and bring back some laundry (so far I've filled three of the 55 gallon bags with laundry) E's washing machine and dryer take about 3 hours do do one cycle which just isn't ok.

The social worker and I talked about the level of physical capability that E would need to achieve before going home would be an option. Of course, I haven't been shy about saying how I feel that she shouldn't go home, but we have to be delicate because E can check herself out if she wants to. There's a meeting Tuesday where we'll set some goals. I don't think being able to bend over and repeatedly pick up things from the floor is unreasonable.

I'm grateful that I'm not emotionally distraught about this process. I want her to be safe, but I also don't want to be up there every week picking up after her because she refuses to do it.

My other thought is that if she does go home, she has to move. The water situation at her current place is unacceptable and I don't want to push it until I know whats happening. When I suggested this to E she got excited and asked to move to a place where she could have a dog.

I couldn't help myself and I laughed out loud at that suggestion. That's exactly what she needs, a small animal to shit on her floor when she just doesn't have the energy to do it herself.

Moving her seems like a lot of work - but I could relocate her near my parents. (ha ha) That wouldn't be the worst thing to be honest. I would still be involved, but I could have support and visit my parents at the same time.

We'll cross that bridge when we get there.