Thursday, March 30, 2006

Moving Day

I move out of the house tomorrow.

Hunky's putting me up at the local Marriott Residence Inn. He says my room is actually a suite, with a kitchenette, a living room, and a separate bedroom. There's also a daily hot breakfast buffet, and an evening reception (not sure if that's available on the weekend, though). Plus, it's right by Starbucks. Oh and PetSmart, in case I want to adopt yet another dog.

I feel very strange about the whole thing. On the one hand, I'm looking forward to some quality time with myself. Hunky is already calling it my "vacation." On the other, it seems like the end of something, and thinking about what it could be the end of scares me.

And saddens me.

I am sure I'll still be at the house now and again. It's where I'll do laundry, pick up changes of clothes, and occasionally catch up on my taped shows. But mostly, I'll be at the suite.

Hunky thinks I should take one of the cats with me. I'm still contemplating that. It would be nice to have the company, but I'd worry about the cat when I wasn't there. I don't want the maid letting it out!

So, we're just playing it by ear... we'll be checking in with each other, and going on dates. I'm not banned from the house, and if I end up needing some company, we'll just pay the pet deposit and grab one of the kitties. Still...

It's not the same as living at home, and I guess that's the point. Still... I'm sad about the whole thing.

Monday, March 27, 2006


I'm a tattletale. I finally talked to Chris about Michelle's absences, and how they all seem to occur only on Tuesdays.

As I drove in today, I thought about whether or not it was wise to talk to Chris about Michelle's continued absences on Tuesdays. I couldn't decide if "tattling" was the right thing to do, and told myself I'd just play it by ear. Imagine my surprise when Chris and I ended up being the only ones in the office today, and to celebrate, just sat down and had a nice, long chat.

The conversation just naturally flowed into the subject of Michelle. Chris asked me if there were any problems regarding Michelle's workload, etc, while she was gone. I was able to smoothly interject that yes, there was a little something going on, and I had been hesitant to bring it up, but.... I was able to tell Chris that Michelle called in sick last Tuesday, and before I could say anything more, Chris said "Again?"

Yes. Again.

Chris said that she had sort of noticed this trend, and thought it odd, since in the 8 years Michelle worked at her other job, she never called in sick once. And, then she was working 5 days a week, not 4 like she is here.

I told Chris that I noticed these absences almost always took place after a holiday weekend, or after a particularly stressful week and/or Friday (Friday is the day Michelle has to deal with Dennis all by her lonesome).

Chris said that she noticed Michelle had called in a few times, but wasn't sure of the amount. It was then that I admitted to keeping track... I told Chris that, initially, I wasn't, but after the third occurance I started writing it on my calendar. I added that I believe she's been gone six Tuesdays, but again, wasn't positive because the first couple of times I did not write it down. Chris said she was going to look at the records.

She then said that the last time Michelle was out, Chris asked her what was wrong and Michelle said it was acid reflux. I refrained from rolling my eyes (and believe me, it was difficult to do) and said that acid reflux can be activated by stressful situations. I noted that that particular incident happened after Michelle had a very difficult Friday with Dennis.

Chris said "You know, PJ, I'm not surprised you brought this up. Michelle actually brought it up to me not too long ago." She went on to say that Michelle told Chris that "PJ is cold to me after I call in sick," and went on to say that she is afraid that I believe her absences reflect badly on me, being as I referred her for the job and all.

I didn't really comment on it one way or the other, and Chris (thank God) didn't press me to.

I was pleasantly surprised at how well the conversation went. I wasn't accusatory or mean. I just simply stated that I thought there might be a problem, and Chris seemed to agree. She further stated that she had checked Michelle's "temperature" a few times after particularly stressful Fridays, but Michelle insisted all was well. However, that might not be the case, being as she seems to call in sick after each stressful incident.

Chris said she's not against people taking a mental health day if they need it, and for sure she's not against calling in sick when one is really sick. She said she'd much rather have the person rest at home than spread their germs in the office, and I agree. However, she did indicate that it was interesting that all these sicknesses were on Tuesdays (giving Michelle an even longer weekend than she normally gets), and added that she'd be checking the records to see if there was, indeed, a pattern.

Most surprisingly, though, Chris thanked me for bringing it to her attention.

So, that is off my chest and I feel much better. At least about that...

The Dirty Truth

Hunky is a packrat. He also has a shopping addiction (mostly books). Add that to the fact that he doesn't know how to manage paperwork, other than to stack it all up in various piles around the house, and you have a mess.

For months now, I've been feeling like something is off. I knew it was me, but I wasn't sure what was causing it. Finally it dawned on me: I could have a perfectly fine day, but the minute I came home, I would be cranky and angry. What caused this shift in mood? The state of the house.

The house is a pigsty. And I take some responsibility for that. After all, I still have boxes I haven't unpacked from the initial move. That, though, is mostly because I am not sure where to put the stuff.

And where to put things is part of the problem with hunky as well. What he really needs are some built in bookshelves, a couple of sheds, and a file cabinet (or two). But he doesn't have this stuff, so he piles up his books and paperwork on every spare surface in the house. Even the side of his bed is piled about two feet high with magazines and books... honestly? I don't know how he gets in and out of bed every night and morning without breaking his neck.

I knew hunky wasn't a neatnik before I moved in with him. And believe me, I had no illusions that I could change his slovenly ways. But I did think that I could keep on top of the mess, and in the beginning I did. Of course, I wasn't working at the time, which made it much easier, since I actually had the time to clean.

Once I started working full time, I no longer had oodles of time to clean. Using the Flylady system, I still managed to keep on top of it for awhile... but I was away for ten hours a day, and he had ten hours a day to make a mess. And make a mess he did.

At some point, I gave up. I pretty much just attend to my bathroom, the kitchen and the family room now. And even those areas are hard to keep up with. Every morning I make sure the counters are clean; I put away the food items hunky left out the night before, I clean the counter, stack the mail. Every night I come home, it's like I never even touched the counters.

In other words, it's a losing battle.

And it's a battle I'm tired of fighting.

As I said, it's not all hunky. I have boxes of stuff, too. But that's the point: my stuff is in boxes. His is in piles all around the house. But I digress...

Once I figured out what the problem with me was, I sat down and talked to hunky about it. He was very understanding. He knows he has cleaning issues; what he didn't know was how much it was getting to me.

He told me that he is willing to throw some money at the problem. He will buy some sheds or rent a storage unit. He will pay for a California Closets-like outfit to build us some shelves and built-ins to house things. He will even spring for a few hours of consultation from a professional organizer.

However, before he spends all this money, he wants to be sure that the problem I have is really just living in mess, and not him. So, he thinks that I should move out for 30 days and live in a hotel/motel. (He's paying.)

He thinks that if I'm given a month away from him and the house, I'll be much better able to assess what the real problem is. If I'm fine once I'm not around the clutter, great. If I find that I don't miss him at all, then that's a totally different (and much more serious) problem.

Which brings me to my next item of interest, but really? That deserves a post of its own.

Break In

For over a week, I've had an uneasy feeling about the cottage. I just felt that some harm had come to it. Unfortunately, these feelings of unease would hit me late at night, when I was in bed.

Friday I went to the cottage to meet with a bunch of different contractors I had scheduled to come through for estimates on fixing the damage. Well, when I went to unlock the door, it was already unlocked. My heart started beating fast, and I opened the door cautiously. There was no one in the house, but there had definitely been someone in the house.

The two garbage bags I had there were emptied onto the floor. All my tools were gone: my wooden toolbox, my 12 screwdrivers, my new paintbrushes, my wallpaper adhesive, my studfinder, my nails, my boxcutters, my nail puller... everything. Even the notepad and pen I kept there to take notes was gone.

Interestingly enough, the one piece of furniture I had there was still there: my new La-Z-Boy couch. However, the burgaler(s) had lifted the cushions to make sure nothing was underneath. They also opened up the broiler pan of the stove, thinking something might be in there. All the drawers in the kitchen were open, and so were the drawers in the built in shelf unit.

Anything worth taking (except for the couch) was gone.

The place was also tagged.

I have no idea what to do now. My parents think I should just sell the place. They are afraid that once I move my stuff in, there might be another break in. After all, this isn't a place in which I'll be living (well, maybe... more on that in another post). And, sure, I could rent it out, but that's not the purpose of having the place.

As for hunky, he first said that I should think about getting rid of the place. However, then he said that maybe all I need is to get a good security system installed. As for me, I'm not sure what to do.

It's almost like seeing my dream die. I had wanted this cottage to be a place where Todd and I could entertain friends, a place that I could do magic in, a place that I could escape to when I needed time away. But it's clear to the neighbors and passerbys that the place is empty, and that just invites trouble.

The cottage has also become a burden. I had XX,XXX amount of dollars to fix up what needed to be fixed when I bought the place. But then the water pipe burst, and caused a hell of a lot more damage. I just don't have the funds needed to fix every little thing that now needs to be fixed.

Everyone's answer is "borrow." But, that's a heck of a lot of moolah to borrow, and I don't have the money to make payments.

Todd and my parents both suggested that maybe I fix what I can (like some of the major things), then make sure that the inside is cosmetically pretty, and dump it.

At this point, I'm still unsure as to what I will do. I am leaning towards selling it, though, and that saddens me more than I can express with mere words.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Cursing For Jesus

Overheard at lunch: "Just keep praying, dude. That shit works!"

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

What? Another repeat?

Yes. It is another repeat. And I'm not talking last week's episode of Lost. Nope. Today's repeat is... yes that's right: Michelle calling in sick. After a rough week. So she could get a four-day weekend.

I feel guilty complaining about it, as she is a hard worker. But it never fails: when she has a particularly busy week or a rough Friday, she calls in sick the following Tuesday (she's off on Mondays). This is it... this time I'm going to talk to Chris about it.

I'm not even sure how to broach the subject, and I'm also not quite sure what it is I want to accomplish. All I know is that it is unfair to me every time she pulls this crap. Today I am, once again, the only person in the office handling all the phone calls, emails, plus my own job responsibilities.

I suppose there is never a good time to call in sick, yet I'm not convinced she is sick. It's interesting to me that she is NEVER sick on a Wednesday or a Thursday. It's always a Tuesday, to lengthen her three-day weekend.

And it just has to stop.

Monday, March 20, 2006

I'm Dreaming Of A White...Spring?

If I hadn't heard it on the news, I wouldn't believe that today is the first day of Spring.

As the song says, the weather outside is frightful. Inside isn't so delightful... it's cold, frigid in fact. And the snow? It's coming down harder and faster than it did all winter long (at least here in Sparks). And it's sticking.

I'm guessing this is yet another year we won't have a Spring. And that makes me a little sad...

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Heat Seeking Homeless Man

Yesterday, I had an entry that was almost ready to post, until I did a bonehead thing and deleted it by a mistake. Autosave didn't help; it only had the first three words of the first sentence (either Autosave doesn't autosave that frequently, or I'm a damn fast typist!). Anyhoo... didn't feel like typing it all up again, because I'm lazy that way.

However, today is a new day and all, and since I'm running on Starbucks decaf, I have the energy to attempt it again. So here is my yesterday story today:

The office I work in is very small and basically deserted in the mornings. There are only a few companies represented in this building, most of which are very small operations like ours. However, the bigger company - a telemarketing business - doesn't start work until later.

Why is this even important? It's important because until the telemarketers come to work, we are basically the only people in the building. Michelle and I start at 7 am. Whoever comes in first locks the front door. If I was the second person in, I would also lock the front door, but got out of the habit when Chris went on a month-long keyless existance. Since she often came in about 15 minutes after me, I would just keep the front door unlocked so she could get in without having to call us to let us know she was outside.

After yesterday, I am no longer going to keep the front door unlocked.

About 7:15 am yesterday, a homeless looking man came into my office. He asked me where was the office that was taking job applications. I asked him if he was looking for Infomarketers. He said yes. I gave him directions to their main office, and then he told me that he had gone there, but the doors were locked. I told him I was sorry, I didn't know what to say; obviously they weren't into work yet, but I had no idea when they would be in. He thanked me and went on his way.

Or so I thought.

A few minutes later, I saw a shadow in Chris' office. I looked up, and there was the homeless looking fella heading for our refrigerator. I said "Excuse me. What are you doing in there?" He mumbled something about hoping there was coffee, and scurried away.

I felt uneasy after that, so closed the main door to Chris' office and also the door to Becky's office. I sat back down at my desk, and felt the need to go to the bathroom. Since I didn't hear him leave the building, and the woman's bathroom is in a secluded area of the building, I decided to stay put.

About 15 minutes later, one of the guy's from Infomarketing came down to my office. He asked me if we were okay. I said yes. He said he found a strange man lurking around the hallways, and became concerned for our welfare. I related to him the story of my own encounter with the "strange man," and he shook his head. He then said he was glad we were okay, and went on his merry way.

That episode creeped me out in a way I am having trouble relating. Maybe it's because I was attacked once. I don't know... but I didn't feel safe for at least an hour or so after the incident. When I finally heard people walking the halls, laughing and talking, I felt more at ease. By the afternoon, the incident was (almost) forgotten.

I'm sure the guy meant no harm. It was snowing, and he probably hoped he could snag a cup of coffee and a warm place to hang out for a while. Still, there are many people in the downtown area who DO mean people harm. Just two weeks ago, a man was shot in the face at an intersection I'm at at least twice a day. It could've just as well as been that guy who stumbled in our office, instead of the coffee-seeking toothless man.

Yeah, from now on I'm locking that front door after me. No matter what.

Have I No Shame?

"I've got a question for you... don't either of you ever feel any shame about where you shop?"

That question was posed to Becky and I yesterday by Dennis, my boss and Becky's husband. We were talking about a goofy find at Goodwill (one of those vintage hip/thigh/buttocks slenderizing machines) when he interrupted our conversation to pose this question. Becky said "No, why should we have any shame? Do you have shame about where you shop?" Dennis said no, why should he?

He went on to say that he was no fashion plate, but would never - and then he cut himself off to think of a better way to say it. Problem is, there really is no better way to say it. He won't shop at thrift stores, and that's that.

But Becky and I do, and we love it.

As for shame, I have never felt shame for doing so. I've been shopping at thrift stores since I was a young girl. I've always thought it to be fun... a sort of adventure. I never know what I'm going to find - a book I've been coveting for ages, a designer label sweater, or a vintage hip/thigh/buttucks slenderizing machine. The fun of thrift store shopping is in the hunt.

As I mentioned earlier, a new "lifestyle center" opens today in Reno. It's housing all sorts of tony and trendy shops. I have no desire to go check it out. Shopping at those sorts of stores just isn't my thing. There's absolutely no surprise at stores like that... all that brand new stuff glittering on the shelves in perfect little rows. Sure, it may be new, but in actuality it's the same old same old.

I prefer vintage stuff... and treasures. The brand new Yankee candle that I get for a dollar at WARC. Or maybe that SARK book I wanted that I found for $2 at Goodwill. Or how about the great pair of Lucky jeans I got for $5... with no rips, tears or other signs of wear? Yeah... that's what I like about shopping at thrift stores. Sure, it's a crap shoot, but it's one crap shoot I tend to win more often than not.

And let me tell you, this girl likes winning... and there's absolutely no shame in that!

Pammy The Percolator

"Hey, PJ. Today is free coffee day at Starbucks."

"Wha--?" I had been sleeping at my desk when Michelle told me this. Needless to say, her information perked me right up. "Details, baby. I need details!"

Michelle then informed me that from 10-12, the local Starbucks would be giving out free Talls to customers. "Wanna go with me at 10?" "Nah, I don't drink coffee."

So, at 10:15 am, I left the office and trotted down to my local Starbucks. I expected a huge line (Dennis held me up on my way out, hence my lateness), but nope... no real line to speak of. I was third, and there were only two people behind me. I saw some people paying, though, so I wondered if Michelle had told me the truth. I began to worry, because I had absolutely no moolah rouge on me.

"Hi! What can I get for you today?" The barista interrupted my mindless wanderings.

"I heard a rumor that you guys are giving away free Talls... tell me it's true."

"It's true. What would you like?"

"A Tall decaf please!"

Toot sweet, I had a Tall decaf in my aged hands.

"Thank you," I gushed (and yes, I did gush. It wasn't pretty!).

I went back to my office, a much happier (and more awake) employee than I was when I got in this morning.

Thank God for Starbucks and co-workers who spread the good word.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Just One More Reason...

... I hate my job.


"Acme Consulting Company. This is PJ. How can I help you today?"

"I'd like to speak to Steve Brownie, please."

"Who's speaking?"

"I am."

Heavy sigh.

"Who is this, please?"

"Um... it's Barry Mickeymouse."

"Who are you with?"

"Who am I with? Um... who am I with..... oh yeah, I'm with Victories Casino."

"Hold on please while I scream."

Seriously. Some people just think they're HEE-larious. They're not. They're just annoying.

Snubbed By Nordstrom's

Let's face it: I'm just not a Nordy's kind of gal. I shop at Savers and flea markets. I'm not at all trendy. And I'm cool with that.

But still, I am a tad excited by the new shopping center that is opening in Reno this week. Instead of an indoor mall, it will be an "outdoor lifestyle center," and house stores like Pottery Barn, Williams-Sonoma and Dillard's. While I don't normally ever shop at those stores, I have to admit... they're fun to look in occasionally to see how the other half lives.

However, when reading the article about the new "lifestyle center" in our local paper, I felt snubbed on Reno's behalf when I saw this statement: "Nordstroms executives have said Reno is years away from being considered as a location for the luxury department store." What? YEARS AWAY? Aren't they paying attention to Reno at all?

Reno is one of the fastest growing cities in the United States (much to our chagrin). The rich are leaving California and settling in here, where their retirement and dot com dollars go further. Home prices have escalated, and people are building mansions here, and if they're not building them, they're moving into them. Reno isn't really "The Biggest Little City" anymore.

But apparently we're not good enough for Nordstrom's. And if it weren't for the fact that I don't shop there as it is, I would totally boycott their snobby department store elitist asses.

Guess the only thing I can do is stop buying Nordstrom's wear at Savers. Yeah, that'll show 'em!

That 70's Hair

I washed and styled my hair yesterday. It's always a big production, this turning of curly hair into some semblance of a straight style. When I finally finished, I barely even looked at myself in the mirror. I just turned off the appliances, breathed a sigh of relief, and left the mirror.

A few hours later, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. My hair looked... familiar. I stared. And then it dawned on me. I had Keith Partridge hair.

Instead of heating up the appliances and starting over, I just hummed "I Think I Love You" and left the room. After all, I would much rather look like Keith Partridge than Danny Partridge any day.

Friday, March 10, 2006

What's Cookin'?

It's official. I have a new favorite show. "Top Chef" on Bravo.

I don't know what it is about me and restaurant shows, but I simply CANNOT get enough. When "The Restaurant" was cancelled, I was down for days. When "Hell's Kitchen" ended its first season run, I ached for its return. When the comedy "Kitchen Confidential" was cancelled, I was crushed.

But now "Top Chef" is here to fill my every voyeuristic culinary need. And just in time, too, because I thought I would actually have to resort to cooking to get my kitchen fix.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Cool Is As Cool Does

Five reasons I will never be cool:

1) I hate U2.

2) My idea of a great night out with friends consists of playing Hearts and drinking wine.

3) I have no desire to watch Grey's Anatomy.

4) My celebrity crush is on Carlos Faura, not Brad Pitt, Matthew McConaughey or Heath Ledger.

5) I am looking forward to the David Cassidy concert the first weekend of April.

I Spy

When I went on my lunchtime walk, I saw:

1) A business man in a conservative suit, walking down Liberty Street with a beer bottle in his hand.

2) Santa Claus having afternoon tea with the missus at High SocieTEA on California Avenue. Even though he was incognito, I know it was him because of his white beard, moustache, belly full of jelly, and beige sweater with brown reindeer stitched across the front.

3) The mailman, sitting in his US Postal Service jeep, reading someone else's magazine.

4) A sign announcing that the Chop House was closed, and a new restaurant would be moving in soon.

5) Three snowflakes falling from the sky.

Meet The Canines

Hunky sprang for some high-quality professional photos of the dawgs. We got them last night, and they are ready for posting:




Trust Me On The Sunscreen

I started crying in the car today.

I was afraid I wouldn't be able to stop.

The stupidest thing set it off... I was changing channels, and came across that "Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen)" song. As I listened to some of the words, I just started to cry.

Things are obviously still not good in Pamelonia.

Am I going through a mid-life crisis (again?). Am I depressed? Am I unhappy? Is it deeper than that? More superficial than that? Do I need to talk to someone? Do I need to talk to myself? Do I need to take medication? Do I need to meditate? Do I need to be locked up?

I have no answers.

Only questions.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Running Away Again (In My Mind)

I'm unhappy.

I usually don't recognize it when I feel unhappy. Years of "working through it" and "just ignoring it" have hampered my ability to recognize the feeling of unhappiness. Yet, today when I found myself looking for jobs in and around Portland, Oregon, and looking at houses online I realized I am indeed unhappy.

Everytime I want to escape, it's a sure sign that something's just not right in Pamelonia.

What, exactly, is wrong in Pamelonia? Oh hundreds of things, and at the same time, nothing. The hundreds of things include feeling trapped in a dead end job, being in a relationship that isn't really growing, getting older and older without any clear vision of my future (or what I'd like it to look like), a cottage that needs major rennovations (for which I have neither the time nor the money), and a general feeling of malaise.

The nothing? Well, in a lot of ways the "hundreds of things" are really just nothing. I mean, life is never perfect. There is always something to fix, to work on, to deal with. Why should I consider mere life be a reason to escape?

And yet here I am, dreaming of what it would be like to be living on the Oregon coast, in a relatively affordable house, surrounded by an ocean that spiritually feeds me and soothes me.

The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.

So what am I going to do about my own lawn?

Monday, March 06, 2006

Enough Is Enough

Somebody stop me.

On this morning's appearance by Reno Animal Services on KOLO's Daybreak, they brought along a little West Highland terrier to show him off. An animal control officer found him tied to the old (now abandoned) animal services' building this weekend. He's five years old, and CUTE, CUTE, CUTE.

I am toying with the idea of going to the new facility today to see the little guy.

I've always wanted a Westie or a Scottie. And here's one, for the taking. Well. Maybe. If he hasn't been adopted out already.

I can't help but want him.

But... yeah... we don't need another dog. We have PLENTY of dogs.

Maybe I can get this little guy as a present for my folks instead?

Pounding The Pavement

As I mentioned the other day in this post, I have applied for another job.

In all honesty, while I'm not quite sure I'm ready to shake up my routine to learn something new, I'm quite frankly puzzled that I haven't heard from KOLO about the job. My cover letter? Witty and sharp. My resume? Full of the qualifications they desire. My intuition? Tells me I'm right for the job. So... why no response?

I realize the only person who can really answer this question is the elusive HR manager at KOLO, and she's not talkin'. So, I'm giving her the benefit of the doubt; perhaps she didn't receive my emailed copy of my resume, so I snail mailed it to her today.

Is that a little too desperate? Too late if it is. Hopefully it just looks enterprising. And if not, I know I've still got a job here at Acme Rent-A-Consultant.

Like it or not.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Cancer Schmancer

Did you know that getting cancer is no big deal?

Well it's not, according to Washoe Medical Center. Every morning on the local channel, they air their breezy, whistle theme music ad that depicts a local doctor bragging about how good it feels every time he "gets all the cancer out." A "patient" then chimes in and says of course she was scared, but Washoe Medical Center made it all so easy... and infers that it might have even been fun to have the doctor cream the cancer right out of her.

Washoe Medical Center's ad touts their mad cancer-busting, kick ass medical skillz in such a way that indicates cancer is no big deal. "Why worry? Cancer won't hurt you while we're around. We can knock the those cancer cells right out of you!"

What if the cancer comes back? "Oh believe us, it wouldn't dare while we're around!"

Yeah, I'm so much less afraid of getting cancer now that I know the super heroes at Washoe Medical Center can annihilate it. What I'm wondering is, if the cancer pros at Washoe Medical Center can do it, why aren't more medical doctors getting rid of cancer these days? Why are researchers even bothering to find a cure? I mean, all anyone has to do is get their cancer-infested ass over to Washoe Medical Center and those docs will cure them, toot sweet.

It's a good thing I live in Washoe County, home of the cancer killers. I feel sorry for all the other suckers in the country who don't.

Maybe they all should move.