Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Tweety Bird Has Gone Gangsta

At approximately 4:30am every morning, I awake to the sound of a bird outside my bedroom window. Now, other than the early hour, normally I would find this very refreshing. The idea of little birds fluttering in the tree tops, going about their morning business singing their sweet little songs a la some Disney story (Snow White or similar) is very refreshing and a great way to start the day.

But in this case, not so much.

This birdie is not your typical Walt Disney style birdie. Where the Disney birdies sing sweetly – tweet tweet tweetie-tweet tweet – and flitter to and fro from branch to branch, my birdie is more like, “TWEET BITCH!” and is probably more the size of a penguin, bowing the pine branch it sits on to the point of snapping.

I picture it holding a loaded .44 in its wing, turned sideways gangsta style; it is eyeballing me through the bedroom window and aiming at me, screeching, “TWEET BITCH! YO, GET YOUR LAZY MOFO ASS OUT OF BED BEFORE I POP A CAP OFF IN IT!”

By 5:30am – 15 minutes before my alarm goes off – it tires of harassing me and flies off to accomplish whatever business gangsta birdies have; visiting baby mamas, dropping ostrich egg sized poops on freshly washed cars and laughing hysterically when the car alarm goes off, roughing up pit pulls and such I imagine. I lie there in my bed fantasizing about throwing something at it when it starts up tomorrow morning, but I am afraid it will manage to shoot me and how will I explain the gunshot wound to the ER nurse? No one will believe it was Gangsta Tweety Bird.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Sword of Damocles Is Incredibly Annoying

The time for my impending move is drawing nigh, and I am so not ready. I hope to give my notice in June and have my last day at work be July 2nd; but so much depends on my bankruptcy (which I am this close to getting filed). I really hoped to be in the attorney’s office with all my stuff by the end of last week, but of course I didn’t read all the paperwork thoroughly and I still have some stuff to round up. I hate myself for sabotaging myself at every turn; I really do want this move, and I really do want to be out of financial hot water (I have one credit card company that calls my house no less than eight times a day – no exaggeration, I have caller ID and it logs each and every call; they call me a minimum of four times between 8-9pm!!). So, all I can ask myself is WHY???

I look around the house and I just feel so incredibly overwhelmed by the prospect of having to do everything all by myself (although I feel like I NEED to accomplish this on my own to prove that I am a for sure really and truly adult). My sister will be a big help when she gets here, but the plan is to have everything pretty much ready to go (packed up, etc.) by the time she arrives. I am terrified that when she gets here, expecting to be able to load up the U-Haul the next day, absolutely nothing will be packed or clean and we will have to kill ourselves by staying up for four days straight to get it all done, and then she will be ginormously angry and disappointed with me. I have tried all kinds of tricks on my brain but so far none of them have worked. I am a compulsive and obsessive list maker, and I make “to do” lists by the thousands. So far, all that has resulted from that is another acre of forests cut down to make more paper for me to make more lists on. I have tried pretending that this is not my house, but rather the home of someone else that has hired me to clean and pack up their things for them. All that has resulted from that is the knowledge that I would never make any money at all in that line of work because I suck at it.

I feel at my most productive with I-can-do-thisness and go-forth-and-conquerousness between 9:30am-2pm. Unfortunately, I am at work when this kicks in, where there is nothing for me to do or conquer, other than keeping my chair on the floor and occasionally picking up the telephone to make sure it is still working. Even on my way home from work my head is swimming with “OK, here’s the plan. You are going to get home and do this, this, this, this, and this; and then when you are done with that you will do this, and then you will eat a healthy dinner and go to bed and get a good night’s sleep.” What actually happens is: I walk in the house, put my purse down, go pee (sometimes not in that actual order), take a good look around, sit on the couch, turn on the TV, and watch and eat crap until my contacts dry out around 10pm. Obviously, the simple solution here is to NOT TURN ON THE TV. You know it, I know it, the Efe pygmy tribe of the African rain forest knows it, and yet… It’s such a hard habit to break. I think it’s because it’s comforting, in a way. I don’t feel so alone in the house when the TV is on. Sometimes I can have it on and completely ignore it; sometimes I can put some CDs on instead and I really enjoy that. I don’t know; it’s an addiction I suppose. I wish I had friends here that would come over and help, or at least keep me company while I got some stuff done. That just kind of adds to the loneliness and helplessness feelings. Poor me; boo hoo. Whatever.

I am, however, very proud of the progress I made in the garage last weekend. I cleaned out all the garbage and moved some half-completed shelves over near the door that goes into the house; I finished putting them together and am currently using them to house items that I am gathering for the Garage Sale. I opened boxes of stuff that haven’t seen the light of day since I moved to Billings five years ago, and put them over on the Garage Sale side; I even swept up (which nearly caused my back to snap in half, but I did it!). I still have a few boxes to move around but I will work on that some more this weekend, and will hopefully have the GS over the holiday weekend. I know most experts agree that holiday weekends aren’t the best times to have sales, but I live three blocks from the lake so my street will get lots of traffic, and I have a feeling that more people will be sticking closer to home this Memorial Day weekend due to economics, gas prices, etc. And if not, that’s OK. I’ll just have another one right before I move anyway to get rid of the lawn mower, leaf blower, etc. I’m not doing it for the money – I just want to get rid of the stuff!

Having written about all of this, I feel better. I think I may actually be able to go home and accomplish something tonight (yes, I write my blog while I’m at work. You thought I was kidding about checking the phone to see if it worked, huh?). I have actually been waking up earlier in the mornings lately – probably due to sunlight hitting my unaccustomed eyelids and those damn birds being so damn happy and loud outside my bedroom window – and today was no exception. I actually managed to get up and take a shower, get dressed, round up my healthy lunch, AND hit McD’s for breakfast (get off me; it fits in with my eating plan so LAY OFF). I even had extra time to slap on some eyeliner and mascara this morning. I am sure the guys here at work are all wondering why I’m all dolled up since normally they are lucky that my hair is combed and I have all my clothes on. Hopefully the energetic feeling I have now will last for a while after I get home. Because at 7pm, the TV goes on for sure; gotta watch Community and The Office! Gotta get a life!! Get off me. Pfft.


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Bird of Prey vs. Cocktail Weenie

My sister called me the other day and told me that there are four bald eagles nesting in the trees by the pond behind her house. When she takes Bruiser, the mini doxie, out to go potty they circle in the sky above them. Recently, one of them did a low swoop over their heads. Bruiser is now terrified to be outside. The eagles must be royally pissed of that my sister is brazenly parading this...this...appetizer before them and not allowing them to taste it. She says that if they manage to somehow carry him off, she will either be in the looney bin for having witnessed such horror, or in federal prison for shooting a symbol of the US of A.

Hopefully it will be neither. Bruiser has never been allowed outside by himself because he is so small, and in addition to birds of prey there are coyotes, bears, and stupid clumsey cows to worry about as well. Now Sissy is having to carry Bruiser out underneath the big pine tree in the front yard to do his business so that he doesn't get spirited away for baby eagle breakfast. I told her she should train him to use a litter box! That poor dog is already uber-neurotic; this is all his nerves need now. Poor little cocktail weenie.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Learn A Little Sumpin' 'bout me

Do you ever get these (or ones similar to them) in your email? I get them from time to time, and I love them. So, without further ado, here is the latest one I received and the answers I gave.

Please to enjoy.

2010 Getting to Know Your Friends

Welcome to the 2010 edition of getting to know your Friends. Please 'press FORWARD' then change all the answers so they apply to you, and then send this to your friends including me. The theory is that you will learn a lot of little things about your friends that you might not have known! Have fun! Look forward to hearing from you shortly.

1. What time did you get up this morning? Alarm went off at 5:45; physically got out of bed at 7:05.
2. Diamonds or pearls? Diamonds
3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema? 2012
4. What is your favorite TV show? The Big Bang Theory
5. What do you usually have for breakfast? Quaker Instant Grits – butter flavor
6. What is your middle name? Leann
7. What food do you dislike? Vegetables – all of them; liver
8. What is your favourite CD at moment? Lady Gaga
9. What kind of car do you drive? 1994 Isuzu Rodeo with front windows that won’t roll down and a driver’s side door that won’t lock. Well, actually it will lock, but it won’t UN-lock. And having it UN-lock is actually more important than having it lock. Trust me on this.
10. Favorite sandwich? Egg Salad
11. What characteristic do you despise? Intolerance
12. Favorite item of clothing? Stilettos
13. If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation? Paris
14. Favorite brand of clothing? Anything that fits me
15. Where would you like to retire to? The Oregon Coast
16. What was your most recent memorable birthday? Do you mean, “What is the last birthday you remember?” Because that is really a different question and this little square isn’t big enough for that answer. Next?
17. Favorite sport to watch? FOOTBALL!!!
18. Furthest place you are sending this? Jacksonville, FL
19. Person you expect to send it back first? Brad Pitt – he’s considerate that way and loves these questionnaires!
20. When is your birthday? Every year. Oh, sorry, April 15th.
21. Are you a morning person or a night person? More of a 10am-3:30pm kind of person.
22. What is your shoe size? 6.5
23. Pets? Not right now. Thanks for rubbing salt in that wound.
24. Any new and exciting news you'd like to share with us? I will be moving back to where my family is this summer! But that might just be exciting to me, and it probably isn’t new to a lot of people, so I guess…no.
25. What did you want to be when you grew up? An actress or a stewardess. And for a short period when I was young, I wanted to be a horse.
26. How are you today? I have a headache.
27. What are your favorite sweets? Dark chocolate covered seafoam, salt water taffy
28. What is your favorite flower? Tulips
29. What is a day on the calendar you are looking forward to? July 1st.
30. What is your full name? Heather Leann Hotchkiss
31. What are you listening to right now? A sales rep making a phone call.
32. What was the last thing you ate? See question #5.
33. Do you wish on stars? Not any more.
34. If you were a crayon, what color would you be? Violet.
35. How is the weather right now? Sunny, 59, winds from WSW at 16mph (at 9:15am)
36. The first person you spoke to on the phone today? A customer.
37. Favorite soft drink? Huckleberry cream soda
38. Favorite restaurant? The Rex in Billings, MT
39. Real hair color? Dark ash blonde (looks just like brown!) Wait, what do you mean by “real” hair color? What exactly are you insinuating?
40. What was your favorite toy as a child? Lincoln Logs, Matchbox cars, miniature horses
41. Summer or winter? I love the snow in winter, but I love the sunshine in summer.
42. Hugs or kisses? Hugs are great because you can get them from lots of people, but it depends on who exactly is doing the kissing.
43. Chocolate or Vanilla? Chocolate (dark, not milk)
44. Coffee or tea? Neither. Yuck.
45. Do you want your friends to email you back? I would prefer that they sent me money.
46. When was the last time you cried? This morning on my way to work.
47. What is under your bed? Carpet, probably some CD’s that I can’t find, more than likely some socks that are also missing.
48. What did you do last night? Watched TV, ate a sandwich, watched some more TV, went to bed and watched a little more TV, fell asleep while listening to an episode of South Park.
49. What are you afraid of? Bats, bees, wasps, dying alone and unloved, my mother finding out the deep, dark secrets I have been hiding from her all these years.
50. Salty or sweet? Preferably both together, like chocolate covered pretzels or similar.
51. How many keys on your key ring? Six, but I don’t know what three of them go to and I am afraid to throw them away.
52. How many years at your current job? 50 million (but HR seems to be under the impression that it’s only been about 15)
53. Favorite day of the week? Usually Saturday, but I will have to say that any day that I am not at work is a great day.
54. How many towns have you lived in? Twelve
55. Do you make friends easily? Yes but none really seem to last.
56. How many people will you send this to? Why? Is there a limit? Will I be penalized if I go over the limit? I want to speak to an attorney. I plead the fifth. Bite me.
57. How many will respond? If I knew the answer to this question, I would be playing the lottery in every state of the US.

Feel free to tell me your answers to these questions in the comments if you want to.


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Poor Little Echo

About two weeks ago my neighbor’s car met with a disaster. Poor little Echo; it never saw it coming.

It happened in the midst of a raging windstorm. And when I say raging, I mean that I actually took the vacuum cleaner out of the tiny hall closet and put some pillows, a blanket, my tennis shoes and my cell phone in there – just in case. I even wore my best nightie lest rescue was required by some hunky firefighters after my roof collapsed…sorry, what was I saying? Oh yes. I had brought our large, black, wheeled, city issued trashcans up against the duplex for safekeeping; mine had already been blown over twice, so I just left it. This way it would not blow over again in the middle of the night and scare the bejezus out of me like it usually does. The winds were blowing at a sustained 60mph, gusting up to 95. I went to bed and had just started drifting off to sleep; it was 10:45pm. Suddenly a large crash woke me up; it sounded like my neighbor had run over one of the large trashcans. Bummer, I thought, not terribly concerned. But then as I stared to be more awake, I remembered that the trashcans were up against the duplex; there was no way the neighbor could have run over one of them. Their SUV was already in the driveway, but his wife usually parked their little Echo car in the driveway behind it. Then I had the odd feeling of remembering the sound of glass breaking. And I realized that there were headlights shining in my bedroom window (which faces the street). Things just seemed odd to me so I got out of bed and tiptoed into the living room and peeked through the vertical blinds looking into the front yard. I could see what appeared to be a vehicle blocking our driveway, still running with the offending headlights shining in my bedroom window. I didn’t have my contacts in so I was blind as a bat and without the benefit of sonar. It seemed like there were people, or at least a person, walking back and forth, in and out of the driveway. Eventually I heard voices but couldn’t make out what they were saying. I wasn’t sure what was going on, but when I heard my neighbor say, “Are you sure you’re OK?” I thought – something is seriously going on. I ran and got my jeans on, threw on a shirt and a pair of flip-flops and ran out the front door to get the scoop.

It turns out that my neighbor’s wife did not park the Echo in the driveway behind the SUV, she had parked it on the curb on their side of the duplex. A large, old pickup truck, sturdily built and with a monster grill guard on it had plowed into the back of it, sending it down the street about 35 feet, up onto the sidewalk wiping out the mailboxes. It was hard to see in the dark, but I got a pretty good idea of the carnage. It was a good thing that the neighbor’s wife and their young daughter were not actually in the car (everyone was in the house and turning in for the night when this happened), because as you can see from the pictures there ain’t a whole lot left of the little Echo. I took these pictures with my cell phone the next morning as I was going to work.

I got the impression that the driver of the pickup was not intoxicated, and seemed to be very cooperative with my neighbor and the police officers that showed up about five minutes later. I haven’t gotten to discuss the whole story with the neighbors as our schedules are quite out of sync and I rarely see them in person. Our mailboxes were finally replaced about a week later, but the old smashed ones were still in my yard this morning; but they were gone when I got home from work today.

Poor little Echo.

Monday, May 10, 2010

I Love You, Mom

I know that yesterday was Mother’s Day, but I grew up in a household that does not celebrate such holidays. Every day was Mother’s or Father’s day; we didn’t need Hallmark to tell us when it was the appropriate time to say so.

Having said that, I hope that dear old Mom won’t mind if I pay a small tribute to her today. After all, it isn’t Mother’s Day today, right? Right.

Mom – I just want to tell you that I love you. I appreciate you. I don’t know what I will do without you.

Me and Mom, 1967

Even though we have butted heads about things in the past, and will in the present and the future, I want you to know that I appreciate everything you have done for me. When Daddy died, I know that you wanted to pack up the house and move to Washington to be with your mother and your brothers. I was going to be a freshman in high school that year and didn’t want to start yet another new school. I wanted to stay in California with the people I had come to know as my friends and the ones that I finally felt at home and comfortable with. You made the sacrifice to stay where we were so that I could finish school where I felt comfortable. I didn’t realize then how hard that must have been for you, but I did understand later. Thank you so much for that.

I know that you think that I don’t read or appreciate all the little articles that you clip and mail to me; all the things about money and finances, migraine headaches, and identity theft; weight loss and the benefits of vitamins; depression; etc. I do read them; some of them get saved in my “important stuff” files that I have; some make me laugh, some make me mad, but I know that you were thinking of me and my well being when you read them.

I love the two volume cookbook that you made for me, full of recipes from my grandmother, my great-aunt, my aunts and uncles; recipes that were Daddy’s favorites. I love all of the little pictures that you painstakingly cut out of magazines and catalogs that are of things that you know I love, and things that make me smile and laugh. I remember that day when they arrived at work, without warning, and how I showed them to everyone and cried all day because I was so touched by them. I still haven’t made any of the recipes yet, but I love to take them down off the shelf and just look through them.

Me and Mom in my great aunt Ruth's pool, 1968

I know it isn’t enough to say, “Thanks for everything, Mom.” But, thanks for everything, Mom. I love you.