Thursday, January 17, 2008

Going dark...

Aghast, I said "A week without internet access?"
"Well, ten days or so," said the Verizon rep cheerfully. "We'll let you know in a couple of days exactly when we can re-schedule the installation."

I can stand that... can't I? I have my doubts. It's not that I'm addicted... exactly... sniff

No, no! Cheerful Mary time! I'm going to get so much done without any computer distractions. I'll compose haiku and compost vegetables and completely organize my new house. Maybe I'll solve Global Warming while I'm at it. Worth a try.

Okay, enough with the cheerfulness already.
Sniff I'm going out for awhile. I may be some time...

If you click on this photo to enlarge it, you can see a faint meteor in the lower central area of the sky. Or you can go to flickr, where there's a note pointing out the meteor.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Me vs. the Universe

Last night about 9 o’clock, when it was pitch dark outside, and I was about halfway through loading up the U-Haul, and it had just started to snow, it occurred to me that sometimes I tend to overemphasize the self-reliant bit.

I mean, people did offer to help me move. And there were more people who would have helped if I’d asked. But I was fixated on the idea of trying to have an Organized move. I had 10 days in which to move, and I wanted to move stuff over, organize it, then go back for more stuff. Every time I’ve moved it has been a rush to box stuff up and schlep it over in as short a time as possible. Then everyone drives off and I’m left with dishearteningly, overwhelmingly, discouragingly huge piles of boxes, boxes, and yet more boxes. There’s only a limited amount of amusement you can derive from trying to guess where the toothbrush is, or the toaster, or what’s behind box #3.

Of course, the reality is that I needed to rent a truck to move the box-springs over, and of course I ended up getting stuck with a much larger truck than I wanted. I ended up doing an everything-in-a-box move anyway, simply because I didn’t want things to rattle around when I moved. But it's not all the rental agency's fault. The truth is, I have way too much stuff. Moving would not be such a trauma if I traveled light as a way of life.

So I’m making a New Year’s resolution. (I can still do that, right?)

By the end of the year I’m going to get rid of half of the possessions that I now possess.

The good news about the move (besides the fact that once I get the fence fixed, I’ll get my dog back) is that I can go back to bicycling to work. It was getting so dark in the afternoon that I didn’t want to ride home. Now I can bike in and take the Max (lightrail) back. It’s nine miles to work from my new house, and it’s almost a straight run in – long stretches where I don’t have to slow down for cross streets. Once you get into a rhythm on the bicycle, it’s easy enough to continue; you can rack up some good mileage and get a good workout without too much hassle.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

I'm in! Backaches and feng shui

I now own a house.

I'd gotten quite cynical, didn't think it was really going to happen, but I've got the keys, they've taken the For Sale sign down, and I've started to move stuff over. Must really be happening.

Damn, but I've got a lot of stuff.

I've moved three times in the last five years, so I'd gotten to the point where I just left stuff in boxes until I needed it. Yes, I'm lazy, but I've also been a pack rat all my life, and damn but I got a lot of stuff. I'm hoping that leaving it in boxes this last move has helped me disentangle myself.

One of the books I have on my overflowing shelves is called Clear your clutter with Feng Shui. I thought it was a joke; somehow it's hard to take a title like that seriously. But reading a book on a subject is one way to get myself motivated, and one thing the author said got me thinking.

According to the author (Karen Kingston), people who collect lots of clutter also tend to be overweight. In both cases, the excess is used as a buffer between the self and the outside world. This could be true, at least in my case. It's a theory I can test, at any rate.

I'm giving myself this week off from regular exercise. I justify this on the grounds that carrying endless boxes of stuff down two flights of stairs constitutes enough damn exercise already. Thankfully I only have to carry things up two stairs. (Not two flights, two stairs. My back loves this.)

Next week, I'm planning to do two things:
1- sort through all this damn stuff
2- go back to my regularly scheduled exercise program

I'll have more time to sort and exercise, since Verizon is cutting me off from Internet and phone for a whole week. I'll see if getting rid of stuff helps shed pounds.

Once I find where I packed the scale, that is.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

The meek may inherit the earth, but it takes a bitch to get a house

So to continue the saga that is my life.

I called the bank again. This time, when the customer service rep started giving me the same spiel, I interrupted him and fiercely demanded his supervisor.

When she came on the line, the supervisor asked what she could do to help. I told her the story about the mythical husband, and she interrupted me. Now their record shows that I'm single, and she was puzzled why I would have gotten the impression that they ever thought otherwise. (So apparently they corrected the situation, they just couldn't be bothered to mention it to me.) And damned if she didn't go on to imply that I Must Have Misunderstood something that had been said. I pointed out, rather dryly, that I had a piece of paper from them SAYING that I was married. That at least shut her up on that topic.*

She proceed to go over the whole spiel again about how they couldn't change their process, things had to be done a certain way. (For example, they wouldn't wire the money to me; they would only mail it. Even the woman from the mortgage company said that this bank was a "real winner.")

So apparently the whole situation was not going to change. That's when I went into Drama Bitch mode. In a voice full of barely controlled emotion I pointed out that an error on the bank's part had resulted in several days' worth of delay on this loan, that I had already incurred several hundred dollars' worth of extra charges as the result of this delay, that if they kept delaying matters further I was going to miss my closing date and lose the house, were they trying to deny me the loan? If I hadn't been getting the runaround from these people for days, I wouldn't have done it, but damn it everything I was saying was true.

After about 10 minutes of "there's nothing we can do" the woman suddenly thought of another option. Apparently** I was already pre-approved for a five-year loan. If I went for that instead of the six-year loan that I was applying for, I wouldn't have to send in an application at all. Magically, all I had to do was speak to someone on the phone and voila! The check would be sent out to me that very same day.

So why the hell couldn't someone have mentioned that option A LONG TIME BEFORE THIS?

Thank you Bag Lady, Heather, Reb, and McB for recommending that I take the assertive route. I bow in homage to your wisdom.

Theresa, Crabby, Zandile, Katharine, thank you for your support. As Cary pointed out, this is a funny situation, and I do see the humor in it. (Most of the time.) All the same, it's nice to have someone who'll listen when you're having a bad day.

Maybe now everything will go smoothly and I can get back on track with exercising and eating them green leafy things and stop carrying on cranky. It's possible.

* It was the same situation when I spoke to the first customer service rep. He said that they had been told by my company that I was married; it wasn't the bank's fault if they had that in their records. The people in my HR department deny this, and frankly I'm with them.

** I use that word a lot when I speak of this bank, because I don't quite trust anything they say.