Sunday, January 21, 2007

Can We Talk?

Last night, I saw Joan Rivers - legend and eternal blond. She was everything I had hoped she'd be, and more.

I know the woman has had work...she admitted to two face lifts last night. But still, work or no work, the woman is spry for 73 years old. She worked that stage like a woman 40 years younger. And once she hit the stage, she was non-stop. No pauses. No dead air. Just comedy, comedy, comedy.

Todd and I both agreed that hers was the best comedy show we've seen together in ages.

I have to say, it was good to sit and laugh last night. It was a trying day for me. I finally got an offer on the cottage, and sat through a two-hour meeting with my realtor and the potential buyer's realtor yesterday. The deal isn't excellent, but it's the best deal I've gotten yet. I'll still lose money, approximately $11,000. But, it could be a lot worse.

See, Thursday night, Todd and I met a contractor at my cottage. Finally one came through...and we could tell he was honest. Almost too honest...turns out that just to get the entryway, kitchen and bathroom even halfway livable, will cost $65,000. And that was the low-ball cost.

The thing is, the buyer could still back out. He is paying for an inspection, and we all know (at least I'm pretty sure even he knows) the cottage isn't in very good condition. If the inspector is worth anything, he'll advise the guy to run.

The potential buyer's realtor says she believes the bones are good, but honestly, she'd advise him to run, too. However, since her agency represented me when I bought the place, she said she feels ties to me as well, so instead of telling the guy to run, she's giving him outs in the contract and just letting him make up his own mind after the inspection.

So, if the guy backs out, I'm back to square one...and it's not even a good square one. I'm worse off now than I was a year ago, as I was out of work for several months, meaning my bank account has been depleted quite a bit. I definitely don't have $65,000 to fix the place up, that's for sure.

So I'm hoping that this guy is just crazy enough to think he can actually fix the place up. He seems determined that he can...I hope he's still that determined after the inspector visits.

If he's not, I hope Joan comes through town again, because I have a feeling I'll need something to laugh about.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Pay Day

I just got my first real check from Vancome. I had to look at it seemed like such a large amount. Seeing the number brought to me the realization that this year, I just might get out of the hole I've dug for myself with the money pit I call a cottage.

I was so happy for myself that I hopped on over to Amazon and bought myself the Llewellyn Tarot Kit. Not that I need a divination tool to tell me that I think I'm going to like it there.

Every other Monday has just become my favorite days of the year!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Instinct Says...

I think I just lost a friend.

I feel bummed about it, and yet, in my honest moments with myself, I knew this would happen long ago. Granted, I didn't know exactly how or when it would happen, but I knew it all the same.

Last year, my Risting instructor decided to start teaching Runes. He's an expert, and people in the community had been after him for some time to teach a class. He finally did it, and I decided to enroll.

I enrolled mostly to learn about Rune magic (which would be part of the course instruction), but also to meet some more people in the community. Unfortunately, I only lasted for three classes...that third class was a dilly and kicked my butt. I realized then and there that I had taken on too much (my Risting classes PLUS rune work), so I dropped out.

However, I was part of an email mailing list that many of the class members were on. One of my class members (I shall call her Nelly) emailed me saying things like "I really missed you in class," and "I'd like to meet you sometime for blankity-blank-blank" (no, not dirty stuff!).

Things kind of got weird...I'm not sure of the details, but my instructor had to stop teaching the class at the store, and I believe he and Nelly had some sort of falling out. Nelly, though, kept after me. Against my better judgment, I decided to go ahead and meet her one afternoon at Borders. "What the hell," I thought. "It's just coffee."

Well, what I didn't know was that Nelly is a talker. And I just don't mean any kind of talker...but A TALKER. With most people who tend to talk too much and listen too little, I can find some sort of break in which to say "Oh, excuse me, I need to go to the bathroom, " or "Hey, that reminds me of a similar incident..." With Nelly, there are no breaks. And her body language is difficult to read. The meeting went on for almost five hours, and just when I thought I couldn't take anymore, without any warning, Nelly just gathered her things and said "It was good to see you again. We'll have to do this again."

When I got home, Todd asked me how it went. I told him that it seemed that all Nelly wanted to talk about was my Risting instructor, the new metaphysical store, the women who worked there, and the drama that went on at the last store. "I think she thought I knew something, and was hoping to gain inside knowledge...I just didn't have any to share with her." I further thought that since I was of no help, I wouldn't be hearing from her any more.

I was wrong.

Nelly continued to email me, asking me to meet for coffee. All in all, I probably ended up meeting with her about 5 or 6 different times. We seemed to be friends, so I invited her to go to the ABBACADABRA concert. However, no matter the venue, she always brought up my Risting instructor, and also gossiped about the girls who ran the new metaphysical shop.

I almost always had the impression she wanted something from me. Information, I guess...but I didn't really have it.

As she came to the realization that I had no inside knowledge about the store drama and stuff like that, I noticed she didn't meet me as much. If we had plans for coffee, she would often back out. She'd reschedule, but oftentimes for a time slot I wasn't free for. And every time I was about to write her off, she'd come through, as if sensing she was going to lose me.

The last time we met was right after Samhain. She managed to blow me off the whole month of October, saying that she was in the processing of blessing her house and couldn't meet. When she found out I was soon going to have a birthday, she wrote it down and promised me a birthday reading. That was two months ago, and I haven't received my reading yet.

She still would periodically email me and say "I still owe you that reading, when can we meet?" However, every time and date I suggested to her was no good. Finally, we came to an agreement to meet last Sunday afternoon at Borders. She warned me that she wouldn't do the reading, as she felt uncomfortable doing so in a public place, but still wanted to spend some time with me.

On Friday, I contacted her to set up a time. She said "You know, I think I'll be busy on Sunday. How about tomorrow instead?" Well, I was busy "tomorrow" so I had to say no. She then asked if I wouldn't mind waiting until Saturday for confirmation...I told her that was okay, but honestly? It left a bad taste in my mouth. It reeked of "I think I might have something better to do, but I won't find out until tomorrow."

Saturday morning, I received an email with the subject "Have a nice weekend." I knew what it said...and of course, I was right. She still didn't know if she had plans for Sunday or not, so decided not to meet with me at all. "But we can meet next Monday, because I'm off."

Whoop-de-do. Not everyone in the world gets MLK day off. I was so mad, I didn't even respond. I thought if she was serious about making time for me, she'd contact me again. If she wasn't, I wouldn't hear from her.

It's been a week, and I haven't heard from her.

The weird thing is that, for the most part, I don't care. I saw this coming months ago...only in my hopes of making more friends in the community, I had ignored it.

Lesson? Listen to my instincts. Seriously. Sometimes I think I will never learn.

As for being Nellyless, the only thing I'm really bummed about is that I'll never get that birthday reading. The rest of the drama, I can do without.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

The Thinker

Whenever I'm taking a shower, driving my car, or sitting on my toilet, I think of all kinds of things I want to write about here. I compose the sentences in my heads...sentences that join others and make wonderful, descriptive paragraphs that tell a wonderful story. Oh, the story itself might not be wonderous - no it might be about an incident that happened at work, or home, or at the store. Yet I have such a wonderful idea of how it will come out here, on the "page."

And then it happens. I live my workaday life, rushing to work in the morning, making phone call after phone call at work, and driving home again at night. Little snippets of more journal entries make their way into my head, and then I get home.

"Hi honey. What's for dinner?" So my night begins, with more running around to get dinner on the table, and then the tedious task of cleaning it all up afterward.

After watching a TV show, or maybe just catching up on email, I end up yawning as I realize it's time to go to bed. "I'll write those journal entries tomorrow," I tell myself as I brush my teeth.

Then I lay me down to sleep, and just as I am about to drift off, I think of yet one more thing I want to write about. What seems like five minutes later, I wake up, only do to it all again.

And those journal entries? They just never seem to get written.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Chubby Is As Chubby Does

The other day, I received an email response to my personal ad. The guy didn't seem awful, so I checked out his profile. Not bad looking, and stated that he learned a lot from his dad, especially the art of gentlemanship.

I sat down to compose a response to his email, which basically asked me what sort of guy I was looking for. I basically told him that I believed the answer was covered in my profile, however he should feel free to ask me for more specifics if he'd like.

A day later, I received the following response: "Hmmmmmmchubby."

So, besides the glaring run-on word and the inability to use an ellipses, this "gentleman" obviously believes that because he didn't read my profile, and didn't get the type of response he was looking for, I must be chubby.



This juvenile response reminded me of the similar types of responses I'd get when I was in the Army and declined dates. However, instead of calling me "chubby," the guys simply called me "lesbian." Or "lesbo" for short. After all, weren't they quite the catch? Any woman should feel lucky to go out with them, so if one would decline, she of course must be a lesbian.

Well, I've got news for these guys. I am neither chubby nor a lesbian, although my affinity for big girl panties and plaid shirts might say otherwise...

On Quitting

"Are you sorry you left that place," my mom asked me during dinner out last weekend.

"Um, what place? The OfficeTeam job?"

"No. Acme."

I sighed. I realized that my mom would probably never totally understand why I left. After all, I had three-day weekends every single week. But I tried to explain it to her one more time. "No, Mom. I'm not sorry I left. Not at all."

My dad chimed in "Why would she have wanted to work for one boss who was intimidated by her, another who was anxiety-ridden, and that co-worker who was always crying? I'm glad she left."

My dad is not the only one who understands why I left. Apparently even a new study shows that a large percentage of people who quit aren't quitting their job...they are quitting their boss. In my case, I quit two bosses and a sniveling coworker.

It was a hard decision to make, and a long time coming. It was something I wanted to do for over a year. But, as with many employees who were surveyed recently, I was promised things. More opportunity. A chance to grow. To travel. And those promises didn't come through.

I was told that VP would slowly turn over some of her responsibilities to me. She didn't...instead, it turned out she expected me to come to her. When I didn't get more responsibility, she blamed me. "PJ, I am just too damn intimidated of you - scared even - to approach you."

What kind of hell boss is that? And what kind of Prez agrees? Instead of firmly putting VP in her place by saying "You know, VP, you have this position for a reason. You're not supposed to let the underlings intimidate you," meekly says "Yes, PJ, you are rather, um, quirky."

To make the work situation even more uncomfortable, there was Sniveling Co-worker crying about a blog entry I made, which didn't say anything other than she called in sick. Again. Giving herself yet another four-day weekend. With all those tears, you'd think I called her names. Or said bad things about her. Or otherwise humiliated her. But no, all I did was vent - which was my right - without mentioning the name of the company at all.

When I think about those last days, and then think further about the last year, I just shake my head. What in Apple's name took me so long to quit? What the hell was I afraid of?

My life has been SO good since I left. I have had not one, but two, great jobs. The first was working that long-term assignment through OfficeTeam. I worked with a fantastic boss and possible mentor. She was fair. Honest. Straightforward. It was an absolute joy to go to work each day. I loved working with her. She was ready to take me to Atlanta with her when she left the Reno office. She was that enamored with me, and I with her.

And now my new job with Vancome. My boss-boss is fabulous. She is loved by everyone in the building, and I can see why. She is also straightforward, fair and honest. Additionally, she exudes both confidence in herself and her team members. She meets with us as a team on a daily basis, for a quick down-and-dirty "what's on your plate, how can we help" kind of meeting. Then, she leads us in the team WOOOoooo, and we're on our way.

Because she's such a great boss, she has great people working for her. My team boss is also great; he's funny, and understanding, and patient. When he says he is going to do something, he does it.

My co-worker doesn't spend his time crying about blog entries. Instead, he pitches in to train, patiently showing me the ropes. He encourages and teaches. And the only sniffling I've seen him do is when he had a cold.

When I first took this job, I was excited about the benefits, that started with day one of employment. Medical, dental, and vision. 401K with a matching program. A yearly bonus program. A stock buying option. Tuition assistance. A nice PTO program. Etc. Etc. However, after the first week I quickly realized that the benefits were more than outlined in my offer letter. No, the benefits went far deeper as I realized these are bosses I wouldn't want to quit...these are bosses I can learn from. Grow from. Mature with. Plus, instead of having just a job, I have a real honest to goodness career. That's a benefit I can take to the bank.

The study didn't cover what happened to those people who quit their bosses. Did they move on to better ones? Did they pick better the second time around?

I can't speak for them, but I can say that for me, quitting my Acme bosses was one of the best things I've ever done. I just wish I had done it sooner!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Happy New Year To Me

It's the second of January in a brand SPANKING new year. And guess what? Hunky has not one, but two dates this week. Guess he's starting off the new year with a bang (no pun intended).

So maybe, just maybe, if the pirate asks me out, I might go.

Pirate you ask? Some guy emailed me, and his picture showed him all decked out in pirate gear. Turns out, he is one of those "reenactors." Now, I knew people reenacted wars. But I never heard of reenacting pirate...stuff. ARrrrr ARRRrrr, matey! Is that a parrot in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?

Monday, January 01, 2007

Where's Waldo?

In this case, Waldo is me, and I know a lot of you out there (mostly my fans, but even a few enemies) have wondered what the hell happened to me. Well, I'll tell you.


First, it was a trip to London. That's "good life." I had a blast. Saw "Wicked" and "Avenue Q," along with some other good plays that weren't musicals. Had the best pumpkin and chestnut pie ever at the National Theater. Went to Evensong at Westminster Abbey, and lit candles for Houdini, my friend Chris and my guy Todd. Talked to an elderly lady after the service, who was very nice and whom I was tempted to invite to tea. I got lost several times, and spent 40+ pounds on Splenda tablets. Bought a spunky English hat from Dizzy Lizzy and had tea at Harrod's. Oh, and of course I almost missed my plane, got separated from my luggage, and was the victim of a body search (because you know I look like a terrorist, what with my Dizzy Lizzy hat and Hogwart's neck scarf).

After my return, I started my new job, but not before my OfficeTeam job tried to fight to keep me. That was very flattering, and if they had been able to offer decent benefits, I might have taken them up on it. The stress level was low, my boss was great, and the hours were fantastic.But my wallet and my psyche said it was time for some security, so I turned down the offer and sashayed my way to my new position at Vancome.

Vancome is very corporate in nature. I knew that going in, but knowing and "doing" are two different things. It's been five years since I've been corporate, and Vancome is even more prison-like corporate than the last corporate office I worked at. So, basically this means no internet access whatsoever. None. Nada. Zip. And, I will shamefully and boldly state that,unfortunately for my fans, most of my postings were done from work.

That's right. On company time.

So, no more of that.

Cut to the fact that Todd was gone for two weeks and my internet connection at home was down, well, that just compounded the PJammyless Blogger. Poor you.

But Todd is back, my internet connection is back up, and it's a brand SPANKING new year. So, if you're lucky you'll see more of me. And if you're nice, I might even flash you. See how you like those cellulite-filled apples!