Wednesday, January 30, 2008

I have owned my house for a year now. My houseiversary was a week ago. I am still very happy with my purchase, even though paying for it is an increasing source of stress. I just want a job, man. With a salary that can pay for my mortgage. And maybe some heat too.

Speaking of heat, my propane company called me at 7:55 this morning. I don't answer the phone before 8 a.m. as a rule, unless it's a family member (who had better be calling because something bad is happening, otherwise heads will roll) so I didn't listen to the message until 9:30 or so. Apparently, the propane delivery guy finds it difficult to fill my tanks, which are behind a wooden fence slightly taller than the tanks themselves. The tanks have lived behind this fence for many years without incident. But now that happy time is over. "You need to lower your fence," he says.

I called back, and the secretary tried to relay his anti-fence reasoning to me, which just made me get defensive. Seriously, the fence is not coming down. First of all, it's the middle of frickin' winter, you really expect me to be out there all day with a table saw? Second of all, the fence is tall in order to hide the propane tanks. If the fence is shorter, well, it kind of ruins the whole point of the fence, doesn't it. Third of all, why has this not been a problem before? Judging by the age of the fence and the matching paint job on the house, the fence has been up for at least 5 years. Why now? He also complained about nails that point through the fence, and I agree, they're ridiculous. Whoever built the thing used nails that were an inch and a half longer than they needed, and then didn't bother cutting off the extra or even bending them down. Those, I am happy to deal with.

So now I am waiting for mister cranky propane pants to call me back, and we're going to "talk about it." Things I should not say:

Were all of the previous propane filling guys taller than you?

I would get a carpenter in here to tear down and completely rebuild the fence, but all of my "spare" money is currently going towards my propane bill. Sorry.

Thing I am considering saying, but will try not to:

Most of my neighbors use a competing propane company. Perhaps it's time we said our goodbyes. If I'm going to destroy the fence anyway, I might as well take your tanks out of there and get new ones put in while I'm at it.

Thing I will say:

I can make the stone "step" higher so it's easier to get over the fence. I can also be better about keeping it clear from snow and other obstacles. I will also take care of the nail points.

I hope that'll be enough. I am trying to get into a cooperative mood.

Update: I talked to the guy who called originally -- he's the boss of the actual filling guys, it turns out. He seemed reasonable, but who knows. He explained the problem to me, and I get it -- the hose doesn't bend very easily, or whatever -- but I am hoping we can come up with a solution that doesn't entail me cutting the fence. I said as much to him. He's going to stop by later to take a look at it. Gulp.

Update to the update: The guy just left, he was fine. We came to a compromise: they are going to take about four or five inches off of the top of the fence, and THEY will do the work, for free. It will make my tanks more visible, but I will still be able to hide them in the summer with flowerboxes and such. So I feel ok about it. Whew.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

I went to the bird blind today. I fed the chickadees, and during the feeding frenzy one of them landed on my head. Cute. Also, for the first time ever I saw a mammal -- a mink! I thought at first it was an otter, but now I think it was a mink, just because its fur looked, well, minky, plus it had a tiny white patch on its chin. And through the magic of the internet, I now know that minks often have little white patches on their chins. It casually galumphed right past the blind, from right to left, just on its way somewhere.

In other news, I woke up at 4 a.m. last night with a splitting headache. I got up and took a couple of ibuprofren and eventually I fell back asleep. I've been having some weird ear congestion for the past few days, so naturally I now think I have a tumor (my headache couldn't have anything to do with the Jack & ginger ale I had with dinner last night, no).

Monday, January 21, 2008

Hey! Hello. Can we just pretend I didn't go almost two weeks without a post? Because the pressure has become too much. I have thought of things to blog over the past few days, but none of them are worth a long post, so instead I posted nothing.

The situation isn't helped by the fact that nothing terribly interesting has happened -- no interesting anecdotes or funny overheard conversations. I went to an excellent party, saw a couple of great movies (Juno and There Will Be Blood)... I did drive down to Brooklyn at the drop of a hat to help out my sister and brother-in-law, who had a sick baby in the hospital. All I really did was pick up the other kid from school, and entertained said kid while the two adults and baby, freshly back from an overnight stay in the hospital, took a nice nap. Baby is now totally fine.

As for the job thing, I handed in my edit test on Weds. Now I wait for the word. In the meantime, I'm now eligible for unemployment, so I need to take concrete steps towards finding a job -- 3 steps every week, to be exact, or I don't get my pittance from the government. Three is easy. Threasy, I call it. So I am not worried.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

So, how did it go?

It went OK.

It's very hard to say. Though I now have more interviewing practice, I still get deer-in-the-headlights brain when I'm actually in one. I ramble, I tend to end every answer by restating the question ("... and that's why I like working with magazines."), I just keep talking if I don't have a good answer... It's terrible to look back on.

I got some good things in there too, though. I described myself, and later when I asked them what they were looking for, one of them used the same words I used to describe myself. And I think I did just OK, not spectacularly, on the edit test (which took 1.5 hours, and was hampered by my hurting stomach). Luckily, there's also an extensive, four-part, take-home edit test that I can hopefully wow them with.

I'm feeling a little desperate about the whole thing, to tell the truth. Why can't they see I'm the perfect person for them? I know I can rock their worlds. "Come on baby, please!" I beg. "You don't have to love me, just let me love you! Why are you looking at those other people?? Only look at me! AT ME!!"

Meanwhile, I managed to drive through the FastPass lane by accident (I was stuck behind a semi) for the first time in my life. I called them, which is what the little yellow light at the toll booth says to do, and they were all, "Um... This JUST happened? Wait until you get a warning in the mail!" Apparently I get one free fuck-up, and the second time, I'd get a $50 fine. Now, this toll booth was for exiting the Pike, and my toll was for zero cents (Western Mass gets to use their section of the Pike for free because we were so thoroughly financially raped with the Big Dig. That's been my understanding, at any rate). So I gotta hang on to the ticket and mail it in so I don't get charged the max amount on it (something like $4). It's too bad I didn't use my "freebie" for a toll which would've actually cost me money.

This is terribly exciting reading, I know.

There's a cool sounding show tonight, but I am feeling too lazy and unwashed to go. I am going to veg out for one more night, I think. Good evening to you all.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

It's been a week since I posted, but it's going to have to be a little bit more. My Big Interview is tomorrow afternoon and I'm trying to prepare very, very well for it. I am not super confident. Yet.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy Birthday, 2008! Mine's been good so far. Me and the fella had lobsters at my house last night. The idea was that this would be cheaper than going out, but each lobster was about $20. Add almost $10 for salad fixin's and a $5 loaf of multi-grain bread, and that's some serious cash. It was all totally worth it. Then we went to the Sierra Grill to see the Steamtrain play, plus dance and drink some wine and kiss and hug our friends.

But that was all so totally last year. Today we made French toast out of the bread, then went snow-shoeing for the first time with our new snow shoes. It was snowing heavily with wet, thick globs that stuck to our clothing. We went on the pathway that goes up through the split rock (it's the area that's off-limits when it's tick season; it's like the tick projects up in there, with way too many ticks for the space, all desperate to mug you for some food) and through the pine forest. Snowshoeing kind of feels like marching. It's all about the big exaggerated steps and big strides. When we got back, we finished up the loaf of bread by making grilled cheese, ate leftover salad, and drank hot cocoa with many mini-marshmallows. And then we played
a nerdy game
for a few hours.

Tomorrow the party's over, as are the holidays. I plan on working much more seriously on the whole job search process. I figure all I'll have to do is look at my bank account online every morning, and that'll help me find the motivation I need.