Saturday, February 26, 2011

Who Knew?

Well apparently I did. I feel healthier. I can sleep at night without any artificial agents. I have an interview/job test in the town that seems to have a great studio for pottery on Monday. I am shaking off most annoyances like they are just that, instead of major disasters.

Everything seems like a major disaster when your plate is full of them. The old house gets flooring today - them cleaning - which marks then end of the staging (painting and new and neutral fixtures) and then it goes on the market at a very aggresive, if not ridiculous, price point. I hope it's so low that it spurs a bidding war but probably wishful thinking in this economy.

I only hope my most excellent neighbors get the same out of the process. I would hate for anyone not absolutely wonderful to live there and get the benefit of all that love. Not to mention the white peaches, cherries, blueberries, muscadines, figs, lilies, roses, mums, butterfly bushes, peonies, eucalyptus, iris, gladiolas, columbine, clematis, crape myrtles...

I hope they send pictures. And part of me hopes they don't.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

They Left Most of the Trees

That's what my former neighbor told me. I am not sure I want to see pictures of what's been done to my soon-to-be former house.

I am also convinced I've left things so I sent an email checking with the stagers. First UnE check hit the account but no sign of the retroactive benefits.

I had a bad night of dreams and wakefulness and one of the cats is throwing up.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Add a Queen Bed...

...A chair, ottoman, two side tables, 6 plastic lidded containers of cleaning/ bath supplies/bedding, a dresser, a nightstand, a wicker trunk, an Aerobed, four smaller suitcases/totes (2 aren't all that small) and the remainder of the foodstuffs and this is what I have.

And I wish it were less.

The auction people have been delayed until Thursday morning. This is going to be tight. I still hope to be on the road by early Friday so the house can be on the market and looking brand new by the end of the month.

Accepting any and all prayers and positive thoughts.

Thank You David

At The UCoNC. The unemployment payment situation has finally been fixed. Supposedly. We'll see.

Don't ever take advice from your HR person about what you need to report.

David was a little bit more than cranky. Dealing with that took patience. 

"Dude, YOU have a job." No matter how aggravating it may be David. YOU have a job.

Monday, February 14, 2011

I May Sleep for a Week

NEXT week.

Today? More packing. Is there no end to the stuff one can accumulate in better than half of a century? I cannot believe the things I've thrown away or sold. Even a magpie like myself realizes that things don't really even have a lot of sentimental value. The people never leave you. Things break, tarnish, wear out, fall apart, and in this day and age are obsolete by next week.

People we carry with us forever. They live in our hearts.

I dropped a rubber duckie (plastic actually) off for E-Rock (one of the people I will miss most from work) and he promised to send pictures of the new baby girl and the kids as they grow. I love Eric and would have hated to not ever see him again. But we all know that the best intentions we have about keeping in touch with coworkers once we've moved are just that, intentions. Absence doesn't really make the heart grow fonder, it really is more like "out of sight, out of mind."

The tires are rotated and the oil is changed.

I am waiting for bisque - a mug, a platter, a teapot, my last coil, and for four finished and glazed bowls yet to be fired. Lori will pack and mail them but I have to get the last pieces glazed. I should have stopped sooner. Pottery takes a month.

My birthday is Saturday. My best birthday ever.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

For the 3rd Week In-a-Row

NC Unemployment Commission to me again this week:

"Your claim for the week of 2/12/2011 has been accepted. Please note that you will not receive a payment for this week in order to satisfy the one week waiting period required by North Carolina Law. If you need further information, please call the Remote Service Center at 1-888-737-0259."

REALLY? YOU DON'T SAY!? Swear swear swear. Three weeks in a row. AFTER filling out and sending back "No, my circumstances have STILL not changed. I am still unemployed and entitled to the money I've paid into the system FOR MORE THAN 30 FREAKING YEARS."

Friday, February 11, 2011

Here Comes Another Old Radio Tale

In the decades that I've been in the business, I've interviewed countless celebrities and rock stars, minor and major governmental figures, both local and national, and a wide variety of business owners who managed to "have something" (nudge, nudge, wink, wink, saynomore!) on various members of the sales staff -- usually it had to do with some humungous annual contract rather than some other nefarious and sleazy motive. But the freaking baker I interviewed last week, literally took the cake.
So our well-meaning time pig ushers this massive former CPA into the studio just before 7:30 in the morning. He'd apparently just finished the morning baking. This man, at first glance an admirable artisan who took two years off from his actual life to travel to France and study with the massively snobbish froggish cuisine fiends, is passionate about bread. Now, I am of the opinion that folks passionate about anything usually make for a good interview. "Usually" being the key word. Mind you, we're giving this dude an interview in MORNING DRIVE at about the best possible time -- for what is actually a very small ad contract. We were hoping that he would develop into a great business partner. He does make some damn fine sourdough.
The interview started with me introducing this individual and pointing out that he has recently reopened and returned to town. I explained where folks could find his shop and asked what types of bread were available (seeded, raisins, baguettes -- you get the picture). I then explained that good sourdough wasn't easy to find and asked him to explain why his was so flavorful without the overly sour taste that you can find in cheaper varieties. After he droned on for a full minute (a lifetime in our business, especially in morning drive!) about the differences and the superiority of his product, I redirected the interview back to the fact that the store had reopened in a new location and that folks shouldn't get his bread confused with less finely-crafted loaves. He told us about studying with those Jerry Lewis-loving food nazis (again droning on far too long, requiring redirection several times) and pontificated at length about how people in town shouldn't be gullible enough to buy inferior product made from (gasp!) packaged yeast.
Now I know a little tiny bit about baking sourdough. My mother had her own starter and made lovely crusty loaves for years while I was a small child -- and then thanks to her immense skill in the culinary arts, a not-so-small child, and then a strapping adolescent. So it was fairly easy for me to ask him the right questions and make remarks that hopefully would make the interview less than mind-numbingly boring to listeners who just didn't give two shits about bread unless it was anchoring the cheese to the turkey en route to the mouth. I mostly find it a vehicle for butter, myself. [2011 note: And now eat only multi-grain and not much of it.]
Needless to say, after six minutes I really thought the listeners had probably just about had it -- I know that he was told to expect no more than 90 seconds to two minutes, max. I'm thinking: "this guy's going to be thrilled!" So after naming him and the store again (and making sure I pounded home the reopening and the new location once again for good measure), and presenting him with a novel based on the premise of a young woman becoming a baker after a tragic life-altering divorce, I wrapped it up and got back into music. I haven't mentioned we were a music-intensive morning show? Well, we were. No long raps here about Christina Aguilera's nasty piercings or her lack of taste and style -- although the other morning I couldn't help but comment that J Lo and Ben had moved one step closer to divorce by announcing their engagement. [2011 me again: wow, this is old.]
Music safely playing again and the computer switched back to AUTO mode, I shook his hand and ushered him out of the studio and to the door. He seemed happy -- smiling and handing baguettes to all and sundry (or all and sundry in at that hour). But his pleasant mood was illusory.
The next morning when I got off the air and checked my voicemail, I heard his voice -- brusque and brief, name and number in a clipped recitation. When I called him back, immediately, he wasted no time in ripping into me.
"That was the worst excuse for an interview I have ever been subjected to. I've been interviewed by some lousy interviewers before, especially those idiot television reporters, but at least they didn't interrupt me constantly! I counted you interrupt me NINE times when I listened to the recording when I got back to the shop! There's just no excuse for that level of rudeness! And how dare you affiliate me with that stupid novel! Novels are mostly escapist drivel anyway and I can't believe you would connect me with something as useless as this trashy book!"
I must insert here that this was in no way some bodice-ripping romance. It was a very affecting story that explained bread making in some detail with a lovely story about a woman reclaiming her life after a surprising and bitter divorce. Hmmm. Maybe I hit a nerve?
Neil Young and Elvis Costello hung-over and with colds in a 8' by 8' room with a rabid wolverine will be interviewed on my morning show before Cad Rafferty, Baker from Hell, ever sets foot in the studio again. Have I mentioned that I interviewed a hung-over and cold-virus infected Pete Townshend? I was damn good. It was one of the first series of reunion tours. I do not suck at this.
This painful one-sided phone conversation continued for sometime. Quite some time. My face burning and my blood pressure dangerously close to meltdown level, I managed to choke out a dozen, or more appropriately a baker's dozen worth of "I'm sorry you feel that way,"s and an equal number of "that certainly wasn't my intention,"s, until he wrapped with the totally unexpected comment, "I could die tomorrow and just had to get this off my chest. I like you (!) and thought it would be helpful for you to know how I feel."
It wasn't. I hope he does.

[Enjoy - I did, now. Bastard]

Trailer Life in Northern Wisconsin

I once worked at a small northern Wisconsin radio station in a resort area that had very little rental property that was available for less than $800-$5000 per week. I was making what can only be called really shitty money. Consequently, I had to lease a very modest mobile home.

My mother's from the south. SO: tattoos and trailer parks just smack of white trash in my family... renting a mobile home was something I did with a great deal of social trepidation. I know better now.
The fear I should have been experiencing was of a much "earthier" nature. My two cats, umbrella cockatoo and I were settling down for an evening in front of the tube in my long, narrow abode -- which had a tendency to rock slightly in a good, stiff breeze -- when I realized that the vibrations I was experiencing were not from any significant air currents. But they were connected to the additional sounds being generated at the front door. Now, mind you, the front door of a trailer is little more than two pieces of rectangular aluminum with a inch and a half (if you're lucky) Styrofoam core and some hinges and a door handle.
My first thought was that one of my neighbors had tied one on and had decided to visit the new girl in town -- whether she liked it or not. I am not proud to admit that my mother's opinions of trailer park residents had rubbed off on me. That and previous experiences based on single woman living in small towns alone. Really not kidding about this one. Sigh.
Turning off the television so I could better gauge the quality of the noises emanating from the entrance, I tip-toed to the window beside the door and twitched the curtain aside and peeked out of the gap to see a black bear the size of a riding lawnmower trying to peel the outer layer of aluminum off of my door. Needless to say, my neighbors could hear my furious frightened shrieks and porch lights went on all over the park. The bear -- thank goodness -- hightailed it into the woods from whence he or she had come.
Later, my next door neighbor, Shelly -- a lovely (had to be) bottle-blonde woman with four children and more pets than I have ever had, cumulatively -- told me to keep my bird's cage really clean and to refrain from giving the cats anything but dry food. Only when canoeing in the boundary waters of Minnesota and Canada have I ever had to be as careful with food. Then we strung it ten feet off of the ground between two trees.
"The bears can smell the animals and their food right through them cheap doors," she said. "Better to be safe than sorry."
I immediately began looking for a new job in a bigger city. While nature nourishes my soul, I want a big strong door between it and me when relaxing after work.

(Inspired to post from my old blahgh - by the Lovely and Talented Noisy Plume)


When I have a huge task this is something that never stops for me - the list spools out in my head and in conversations with my mother and anyone else that will listen. My mail has been forwarded. My 401k has been rolled over and an amount to cover the flooring, paint, landscaping, and cleaning should arrive Tuesday, with one business day to show up in my account. Since I will be on the road when the work starts the stagers have to have individual contractors checks in hand.

This morning I snuck around and topped off my neighbors trash barrels - pickup is today and I have an overfilled can for the fourth week in a row and could fill it three more times. I skip the families with more than one child in diapers. Obviously.

 Next week I'll ask Shannon to place it back by the house. Kenny and I should be gone before pickup. She's going to be taking on the items left in the fridge then and her lovely men and I will form a bucket line to clean out the attic today - after 2p. That will get me a few more boxes and someone in need will pick the rest up for free when I post them on Craig's. It will also save me a couple hundred dollars in contractors/cleaning. They will have enough to do! Shannon had called on Tuesday when the auction people were here to ask me to have them do it after dark because I was making her cry.

The realtor (Mandy not Mike) arrives with the lockbox today at 11:30 and then I'll run to Sertoma to glaze and pickup. The back bedroom has a cat carrier, the long rifle, the airbed and the art chest (wrap it in duct tape, keep it upright and it's good to move on its own). The 2nd contains another carrier and 2 plastic crates - one full and one ready for the guest bath contents/toiletries.

My bedroom has a bed, dresser, trunk, bedside table, lamp, phone and crates - and still way too much clothing which is being separated into "pack for use" and "pack for storage." I will put the stored clothing into trash bags - heavy duty, picking them and more tape and maybe another wardbrobe box up today - and then boxes since the facility isn't AC-ed. Clothing will go on the truck first so that it loads into storage last for access. There is a wardrobe box without a hanger we will use for bagged bedding on the final morning.

The living room and dining room still have things for pickup by auction - as does the upstairs hallway and the front porch. I add to those stacks all the time. And subtract in my head the things I feel will make living easier in the two days I am in a virtually empty house. The DVR goes to FL in my vehicle since they require the disc back. Grandma's chair, ottoman and its pillows and sheepskin stay. I'll hook the DVR up to the 15" teevee in my bedroom (on the nightstand) when the folks take the Sharp Aquos LCD on Tuesday.

I am trying to decide if I should take time next Tuesday or Wednesday (2:30p last haircut by Erin - thank goodness she had a cancellation) to go clean out the storage facility and reload that stuff into the living room - I will if I have the time. It will save Kenny and I time on Thursday.

I've removed and trashed the window coverings that were beyond cleaning/repair, laundered keepable window sheers, piled 'not horrible' sheers in the living room for wrap and pad - left some up for privacy until next week (I like layered sheers for diffused light and privacy instead of heavier draperies) and made mental note of where the rodent poison is for storage in Florida. Hope I remember!

I have crated a good portion of my bath supplies. I am appalled at how much I still supposedly NEED. It's disgusting. Clothing, makeup, "beauty" products - eesh.

I will have a 5x10' space in Florida for $25. The woman who runs the place is from Butler, PA (!) and only takes cash but promised she'd hold me a place for next Friday (they are open from 10a-1p) but she's aware we have the truck until Monday (Heather, best birthday present ever) and I have her cell in case I need to leave her a message there.

There is so much done - and yet, so much more to do and I find myself overwhelmed with gratitude for all the people who've stood up and helped. And tired at 10am. Both the paid professionals and the loving volunteers. Stuff really doesn't matter or count at all. It's loving hearts and helping hands that are precious. Know that everyday. Know that we are surrounded by more love and care than we know and that it rises up to meet us when we falter. I am becoming gradually calmer and more serene. That whole money thing was huge. Thank you Uncle Mark.

Adding: Trash pickup northside of street done! SO I just ran out and filled the trash can again and dragged it across the street. Woot!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Last Snow New Beginnings

I woke to a bright white world. My last snow. But signs of change are in and all around me. I am hopeful and intend to soar. I can't imagine missing this cold world right now. Not a single part of it.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

More Accomplished

Television and phone cancelled. Vet notified of move and new contact info as well as the new homes. I think I'll go back to bed for a bit and nap. I was awake again at 3a despite meds.

I cannot wait until a week from Saturday. What a present that will be.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Unemployment Commish of NC


That helps a teeny bit. Teeeeeny tiny.

I applied at the end of December - not even the very end. I have jumped through every hoop, gone to their website every week, filled out and returned every form, emailed, answered the phone the TWO times they called to address my concern and confusion as to why I was constantly turned down when I was fired without cause (nothing like 19 billion dollars of debt to make a company downsize - but they really should start with the guys at the top - or the HR folks who couldn't be bothered to communicate with the Commission), and yet - I still got a form to fill out today asking me if my circumstances had changed.

A form they need in their bureaucratic paws by 2/18/2011 or I'm not getting a cent. I have news for you all - I haven't gotten a cent from them and they sure have spent a lot of taxpayer money making sure of that.

I need some liquid assets and I need to get out of this empty (nearly - the auction folks came a week early and are FAST) house that is no longer my home or I'm going to go nuts.

I can't even make any more pottery because it would have to be mailed to me. I gave Lori the rest of my phoenix and my alphabet stone stamps (forgive me Chris). She used them more than I did and I will miss her and Sertoma.

Randy said that I will find no shortage of studios in Florida. When I again have time to push mud around.

I also picked up my portrait. The eyes are a bit close, but it's otherwise lovely. What do you think?

Sunday, February 6, 2011

My Good Girl

Pretty girl. We will miss you more than you miss us!


I rented a storage space yesterday and sold the sewing machine and gave away the dress form, the good scratching post and a couple pieces of pottery. These went to a good friend and very sweet person who was afraid she was taking avantage since all I charged her for was the sewing machine.

I gave another couple who found themselves in my position over a year ago (before they moved here) all of my house plants. Maybe when I start my household up again in a new place I can find a kind soul giving away green living joy.

The stagers come tomorrow morning early, the woman who owns the auction house will follow and if the stagers think it's best I'll be selling everything to facilitate the new flooring and they'll stage with the furniture they use just for that purpose. If this is the case? I may be in Florida very soon, at the very latest by the end of the month. I'll have my mail forwarded and give the realtor power of attorney so I don't have to return for closing and once my address truly has changed I can apply for unemployment in Florida. IF I am still looking.

At this point I am only keeping my bed, grandma's chair (and the ottoman), dresser and bedside table, a wicker trunk, family pictures, a few pieces for the kitchen and I suppose anything the auction will not take. I am even going to bring the stereo equipment and speakers back from storage for auction.

This stupid exercise bike is killing me - I have the darn thing down to $50 and still no takers - and it's a recumbent magnetic thing than normally runs $400. Maybe I'm supposed to take it.

I have to remember to leave room for the wardrobe boxes. I always forget the space they take up. I am hoping I only have to ask Heather to drive a huge van - or the smallest truck.

My legs are covered in bruises. My hands are completely chapped from constant washing. I have no fingernails to speak of - breaking constantly probably due to the work AND nutrition. I have lost more than twenty pounds because when I do eat I feel sick. I don't recommend this diet plan.

I did sleep last night - but not well even though aided. But the more that leaves this house, the more I DO, the more I seem to be able to relax.

Buddy is still very weak. Max had spells yesterday (including what looked like a seizure)  that made me think the vet was going to be making the final visit (AUGH) and Lexi has her home visit today and I pray she doesn't come back. How anyone could not fall in love with my sweet, sweet girl, I don't know.

Thank you Mom for being there everyday. Thanks for understanding that some of these tough decisions have to be mine and thanks for your appreciation when I make them. Thanks to my friends who offer prayers, encouragement and good thoughts. Thanks for the backbone of hillbillies and steelworkers. No wussies in this bloodline.

Not one.   

Friday, February 4, 2011

This IS Uncluttered

I haz a problem with shtuff.

The kitchen? Is KILLING me.

Feathered Friends

Not shown? The chickadee giving me the stink-eye because the feeders are empty. The inside of the house has been taking all my time.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Staging for Selling

You'd think I'd be close to ready... I'm not. I need to rent storage space and pack everything away.

I cannot afford new flooring or new counters, or stainless steel appliances. I am hobbled by too many pets that will be nearly impossible to hide. I have overflowed the trash cans for four weeks running and I'm still not done.

I am exhausted and not even close to being ready for a realtor. And yet, thanks to my P.E.O. sister, Deb - I have called one. A man who sold their first house in 21 days and their second in seven. And he's got a rep as a wonderful human being too!

AND he knows I am willing and able to break even... after I pay him. If it comes to that.

I will be alright. I will go back to school and waitress and not get on my Mom's nerves by talking at her while (if) I have to live with her.

I will get a job in healthcare and have a job as long as I want to work!

I will. I will always. I am strong and no one can stop me.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Craig's List is Exhausting

Bless the people who show up when they say they will, don't haggle when the price is rock bottom and don't waste your time acting like they're over for tea.

The people who should stay off the service include those who want you to call them regarding free stuff on the curb (the next day - let me know if it's still available - yeah no), the ones that send "Is this still available" emails with no other communication, the ones that ask if they can walk through your house looking at everything (for sale or not), the ones that send insulting emails about what they think of your prices, the ones that want to send you a big check so you can cash it and give a portion to the mover who'll be showing up on their behalf (always respond, "cash only, local pickup - be ashamed." I added that last part).

It may be the best way to lighten the load and prep for the realtor but it doesn't make me like my fellow humans a whole lot more.