Making it up as I go along . . .

Tonight I'm making something different for dinner; a sweet cornbread casserole with saffron yellow rice and cheese enchiladas. I've never tried enchiladas before, but I got some corn tortillas and a ton of different kinds of cheese, cilantro, lime, peppers, lean, ground, organic beef (for the boys who'll probably complain if there's no meat in theirs), sour cream, a big red tomato, and lots of other goodies. I also just finished a “homestyle” (I don't know what that means, it was the name of the recipe) cheesecake. I made a chocolate crust for it and got fresh strawberries that I'm soaking in a bit of water and some sugar.

The whole dinner will be incredibly high in calories but the way to the boys' hearts is truly through their stomachs. Cavan has been especially testy lately, which I don't understand, and Charlie's starting to think about giving up on school for the fall semester and waiting until the spring. Which is amusing if only because I'm usually the pessimistic one. We've been fighting over who gets to work and who gets to go to school, but not the way you might think. I've been suggesting for a while that I go ahead and apply for this job with the state as an abuse investigator for a couple of years and he thinks he should stay in sales till January.
It'll only take him a year and a half, two years max, to get his teaching degree, while I'm somewhere between two and a half and three years away from actually graduating. Which totally blows because, despite my better judgment, I've been secretly wishing I could just graduate in four years like “normal.” It would only be a possibility if I'd kept taking five or six classes a semester and worked 10 hours or so a week. But this isn't a possibility. I couldn't keep up my GPA when I took five courses and mentored the sixth in psychology. I actually got a “C” in a pretty basic political science course because I couldn't keep up with the assignments on top of my extra lectures, doing lesson plans for the psych class, and working office hours for students who needed help. All of this on top of one job 25+ hours per week and 20 at the other. It was insane. I respect and admire people who can keep up with that, though.

So I dropped back to 12 credits a semester and 25-30 hours at one job. It's a happy medium for me and brings home some bacon, plus I have my tips for fun money or saving for next semester. Or moving. But we don't really know what's happening with that right now. Other than the fact that we all want to move.

The Purpose

I finally sat down and wrote my first short story for my creative writing class. It was based on something I saw when I was writing for the newspaper and had to take some photos of a woman's house in a sketchy part of town. I was leaving her house and ended up on a really busy street in rush-hour traffic traveling at high speeds. I got stuck in the wrong lane and was trying to get over when I noticed people in the south-bound lane were swerving and a couple of cars almost hit one another.
There was an older homeless man with a shopping cart trying to get un-stuck from a corner of the sidewalk and his cart was hanging over into the street. People were honking and swearing and flipping him off as he struggled to get back onto the sidewalk. Suddenly the cart went sailing and everything spilled out into the street. The man sat down and put his face in his hands as the cars kept whizzing past.

This all happened in a matter of moments but I'll never forget how helpless that guy looked and how helpless I felt, four lanes over, getting pushed away by impatient drivers. All I could think was that I needed to stop and help him as his only possessions were getting run over by thoughtless drivers. The fact that I didn't find a place to pull over makes me feel guilty to this day.

So Charlie suggested I write my story about that man. What I ended up writing was from the perspective of the shopping cart. It sounds a little weird, but I think it's probably better than it sounds. Now I just have to wait for feedback from other students and start on the poetry section.

Last One

I wonder if my friends really think this about me?

Slow and Steady

Your friends see you as painstaking and fussy.

They see you as very cautious, extremely careful, a slow and steady plodder.

It'd really surprise them if you ever did something impulsively or on the spur of the moment.

They expect you to examine everything carefully from every angle and then usually decide against it.

No Real Update

I'm sitting on the couch half-watching “Survivorman” and then “Boondocks” (which isn't as good as I'd thought it would be) with Cavan, my stomach aching and my head feeling like it's going to explode. We're nowhere nearer to moving, getting a lower car payment, finding someone to rent, or giving our notice to the landlady. It's frustrating. Charlie doesn't want me to show the house because he's afraid we'll get in between the landlady and the probable fact that she'll try to raise the rent on the next people. Which would be insane because no one's going to pay as much to live here as we do.

I worked this morning with a new girl from Brazil who speaks so-so English and understands less. She's an interpretor that our owners met when they needed someone to translate for a family selling coffee. I guess she's staying at their house, which makes the rest of us a little uncomfortable because we're not sure if we're being “watched” or not. She seemed nice, though. Whatever that means.

I just don't feel well. I can't think straight. I feel like my sinuses are going to fall out of my head. Or whatever sinuses do.

Yipes.

I just got an email from my friend living in Florida that she may be moving back to Indy within the next couple of months. This is happy news for me, but bad news for her. She just bought her mom's house that's somewhere between $180-$200,000 and has outrageous property taxes and insurance ('cause it's in Florida and all).
Her mom pulled what I'm calling a “Kate Move” which is meeting a guy after years of singledom (or, in Kate's case, failed relationships), and moving in with him within the first 3 to 4 weeks of having met.
Mom is also a recovering alcoholic, sober for 27 years, and has started drinking again.

This is one of those situations where you feel totally helpless and have no idea what to say to your friend, except “please let me know what I can do.” I should probably call her, but she's not at home and I don't have her work number. She does taxes so she's really weighed down with work right now. Could not have happened at a worse time.

More Stupid Pissy Work Stuff

In an effort to be helpful this morning I went in to work to get a couple of drinks for me and Charlie. I noticed he wasn't getting up right when his alarm went off so I thought he could use a motivator.
When I got there, one of our employees was staring at me every couple of minutes until I finally said hey, what's going on?
“I guess you didn't get my message,” he said in a really nasty tone.
“Uh . . . message? No, I didn't get one. What's up?”
“Well, yeah, of course you didn't get it 'cause you're here now and that would be kinda rude.”
Rude? What the hell? I couldn't figure out what he was talking about. I didn't have my phone on me and it was seven in the morning, anyway, so I was kind of out of it.
“I'm sick,” he told me. “I called you this morning to see if you could work for me.”
My first reaction was to ask if he needed me to come in (but I probably should have said “Who did you get to cover my shift tonight?” which I didn't because I'm a pushover when it comes to work and I always say yes). I could go home and change and come right back, I said. My manager shook her head and kind of rolled her eyes, but didn't say anything.
So we went back and forth for a bit while I kept trying to figure out if I was actually expected to show up.
Of course, no one got anyone to cover for me this afternoon. I was just expected to magically answer my cell phone at 5:30 in the morning when someone's sick and magically come in for a few hours and then, I guess, go home, enjoy an hour or two on my own, and come back to work again until 8.

When I got home I checked my cell and, sure enough, there was a message at quarter-till six from him, coughing and saying he felt like shit and it was “f-ing 5:45” and could I come in to work for him at 8am.

While I appreciate being thought of as the Reliable One, I don't appreciate getting calls at 10 at night or 6 in the morning whenever someone doesn't feel well (or thinks they won't feel well tomorrow) and then these same people get pissy with me if I don't get their message. The fact that this guy had the balls to insinuate that I was waltzing in to the store for coffee when I should have been dressed and ready to cover for him was . . . well, just rude.


In other news, the guy who reponded to my rental ad would like to come look at this house. This means I'll have to clean thoroughly but the only time I can really do it is this morning (which is pointless because I'd have to do it all again in two or three days) or Friday afternoon when I get off work. I think I'll wait. I guess I don't really care that much because it's a couple of bachelors who'd be moving in (he said he has a “potential roommate) and I doubt they care if I have fresh-cut flowers and candles burning when they arrive to a spotless house, but I would still like to pick up in the basement and try to get some of the Dog Smell out of the house.

I never thought I'd be One of Those People who has stinky dogs, but dogs are stinky. Especially really big ones that get dirty a lot.

I should be doing dishes, or math homework but I just don't feel the motivation.

Rentals, Schmentals

I spent entirely too much time this past weekend doing things other than relaxing. Each day was filled with appointments, or making appointments, meeting people to look at houses, going to speak with landlords or calling them, looking at cars, taking care of the puppy, taking the puppy here and there for various checks and evaluations and tests, going to this or that person's party or get-together, and trying to find time to eat thrown in there somewhere.

It was really odd. Normally when we take a few days off together we have absolutely Nothing To Do. This time we hadn't made any plans but things just kept popping up. By 9pm every night I was so tired I thought about going to bed. But I ended up staying awake most nights until after midnight and then waking up around 7am. Not too bad considering I used to operate on 4-5 hours of sleep, if that, when I was suffering from insomnia.

Basically we've all determined that we want to move, we just haven't found the “right place” yet. Everything we've looked at has been surprisingly open to all our pets, but either someone else got in a deposit before us, we hated it, or, in the case of the double a block from my work, the landlord never bothered returning our calls. After looking at it twice and showing it to Cavan, we determined we really wanted it. The landlady said she was desperate to get someone in, but after a few days of working out the application, move-in date, and deposit, she just stopped calling us back. In fact, we haven't actually heard from her since Saturday morning. Either she found someone else and isn't professional enough to tell us, or something terrible has happened and she's dead in a ditch. I hope it's the former, which would be good to know since it would give some insight as to her level of management when it comes to properties.

We made a huge laundry-list of “cons” in terms of the house in which we currently live. It was literally a page, covered in notes, with everything from “crackheads come on to your porch and ask for money, cigarettes, and booze at all hours of the night” to “mold on the side of the house and in the basement.” Parking is shitty, the neighborhood isn't particularly safe or clean, and our landlady has been jerking us around for a while about the backyard. You've heard all this before, so stop me now.

We looked at a place yesterday that's, coincidentally, two doors down from my manager's house. We saw it because we went to her 2 year-old's birthday party (you know you're getting old when . . . ). The landlady (what's up with all the women renting places now? Not to be sexist, it's just kind of weird). The double was adorable, with all the cute built-in features of older bungalows that I love, although the kitchen was really lacking in size. In fact, it's even smaller than the one we have now, which cannot comfortable fit two people without knocking elbows. But it has three separate, good-sized bedrooms, a fully finished basement with a washer and dryer and clean laundryroom, as well as a shared backyard that's actually fenced in between both sides of the double. It creates a smaller yard, but I thought it was great that she'd taken the time, energy, and money to separate the yards. She said it wouldn't be fair if someone on one side had a pet and the people on the other didn't, so it just made more sense.
Amen!

Unfortunately, the girls who looked at it before us got their deposit in a few hours after we left to talk it over. We'd decided to take it when we got the call. On the other hand, the other side of the same double “might” be available in May if the tenants don't renew their lease. We should know by the first of March.

I also got a couple of responses to the ad I posted online, so there may be someone ready to move in the week after we leave. This would make things easier on the current landlady and, perhaps, ease tensions since she thinks we were planning on staying longer.
The fact of the matter is, we just don't have enough space to spread out comfortably here. Three people in a small, two-bedroom, one-bath double ain't cuttin' it. Even Cavan said his vote was in favor of moving.

When it all comes right down to it, I'm ready to get into someplace bigger and nicer, with personality and a safer neighborhood that's within walking distance to someone's work, whether it's mine, Charlie's, or Cavan's. I just don't know where or when we'll end up there, or how long we'll stay. If nothing else, we'll end up moving once again in a year when Cavan graduates and goes somewhere else. Which kinda sucks. We just can't afford the kind of place we like in the area we like. Which makes me re-consider taking that job and taking some time off from school all that much more . . .