Monday, April 19, 2010

I am officially out of the office

I'm out of the office until April 28. My mom's flying in tomorrow night to pack/store/move/sell the contents of her condo in Edmonds. She's here for three weeks, but I expect most of the organizational stress will be the first week. So that's the one I'm taking off to do whatever it is that she'll construe as assistance.

What does "out of the office" mean? I'm not sure. Except "busy."

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Gardening nirvana

Not that any day I spend gardening could ever be less than wonderful, but...the garden is particularly gorgeous right now. The sky is gray, there are occasional sprinkles, but the temperature is so mild I can keep the back door open and the cats can race in and out of the house while I work. Some black clouds are overhead, so I shucked my boots and came in for a few minutes; I'm pretty sure we'll end with a nice sunset, so I can go out and clear the rest of the front side garden and put in the North Sky "ground cover" blueberry bushes.

I'm still putting a few pavers and lots of ground cover in the back yard surrounded the new vegetable garden. The plan is to get the actual vegetables in on May 9, after the whole packing/storing/moving/selling/ my mom's condo is over. I've hired a local mover and rented a storage locker, detailed my car, booked the cleaners, and scheduled a week off from work. My mom arrives Tuesday night.

She is really keyed up. This morning she woke me out of a sound sleep to ask me if I'd gotten the letter she sent to her attorney yesterday. Huh?

It turned out she meant the email she'd sent me telling me that she'd sent a letter to her attorney.

Back to sleep. Five minutes later, she called and woke me up again.

"There's something wrong with you, isn't there? You sounded very strange," she said, using her mother-knows-best tone.

I took the bait.

"Yes," I said. "I'm very upset. Someone keeps calling me on the phone and waking me out of the first decent night's sleep I've had all week. It's 8:00 a.m. out here, you know."

Of course, it was 11 a.m in Florida and she just can't quite believe that I'm allowed to sleep in while everyone in Florida has been up for hours.

As my dad used to say, "Oh boy."

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Grand jete

Tonight my friend John Hedtke was complaining on Facebook about the women in his house glued to the TV watching "America's Next Top Model." Many comments ensued.

It reminded me of the time, 45 years ago, that my father was complaining because my mother and I were glued to the TV watching Rudolf Nureyev and Margot Fonteyn dancing Swan Lake on Ed Sullivan. (Sullivan was instrumental in using TV to bring fine arts to a vaudeville audience.)

We were rapt until we heard someone running through the kitchen. We turned just in time to see my father launch himself in a grand jete and come flying into the TV room.

Well, at least he wasn't wearing tights.

(You'll see Nureyev perform some grand jetes about 2/3 of way through this video.)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

And it's only Tuesday...

I got in touch with my prospective house guest who assures me she'll vouch for the extra person she's bringing along on her visit. I've tentatively upgraded her from freeloader to flake.

My Olympia website project is going into the lockdown phase, with the tasks getting increasing focused, smaller, and do-able. People are being forced to make decisions instead of ask for vague "improvements."

The timing is fortunate, because my mother arrives from Florida next Tuesday night to pack/sell/move/give away and otherwise deal with the contents of her Edmonds condo before the sale closes the first week of May. I'm taking April 21-27 off from work to be available for all of this. Many tasks she envisions taking days can be accomplished in a few minutes, so I think the first week will be the most important to work with her.

We've also scheduled a garage sale, at her condo garage, April 30 and May 1. Stay tuned.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Miffed manners

When someone asks me something I would never in a thousand years ask someone else, I just can't imagine where they're coming from. It puts me off balance, and I tend to stand there with a deer-in-the-headlights expression.

That's how I got run over today by a woman I don't know and now don't look forward to meeting.

Jennifer (we'll call her) is a friend of a good friend of mine. She lives in Olympia. She's coming to town to attend a conference in two weeks, and it was suggested that she stay at my house. I've heard a lot about her, and always wanted to meet her, so this seemed a great way to get acquainted.

It was only after we'd agreed on the dates of her visit that Jennifer mentioned she'd be bringing a woman colleague with her. Oh. Well, no problem I said. I have a fold-out sofa bed and a small futon.

Then this afternoon Jennifer called to ask if she and the other woman could bring along a fellow they'd met at an arts event who is also going to the conference.

Wait a second. This woman I've never met has just invited a man she barely knows to come live at my house for three days?

Unfortunately, she called with this request just as I was headed out the door to a meeting. It wasn't a good time to talk, and I stupidly tried to head her off with logistics. "Gee, I don't really have room..." I said.

She responded, "Oh, we'll tell him to bring a sleeping bag."

It took about three hours for me to I realize how completely pissed off I am about this. Sure, he could be a perfectly nice guy. He could also be someone who is going to steal my computer or molest my neighbors' kids. I have no idea, and neither does Jennifer.

I called our mutual friend, who was clearly unhappy to hear about this situation. She thinks Jennifer is a real sweet person, but I think Jennifer's one nervy freeloader. And I expressed that opinion. So much for wanting to meet her.

Tomorrow I'm calling Ms. Hospitality and asking her how well she knows this guy, and if she's willing to vouch for him. If she's not, he's uninvited.

And as for her...sheesh. Get some class.

Friday, April 02, 2010

A letter from the IRS

Thursday I opened up the Foolscap table at Norwescon. Be sure to stop by and visit!

I'd never been to Norwescon before. Just meeting people in the registration line was a kick. I was entertained by Dr. Oliver David Cross, who talked of opening a tea shop north of Seattle. It looks to be a fascinating weekend — but watch out for the spears. Unlike many large science fiction and fantasy conventions, Norwescon allows weaponry in the public spaces. It's part of costumes, of course, but still not something you want to run into.

I came home to find I had a letter from the IRS. Unlike their previous letters, which insisted I'd underpaid my quarterly estimated taxes, this one notified me that the issue had been resolved and they apologized for any concern this had caused. Whew!

It's not every day you get an apology from the IRS. I took a bath and went to bed early.