Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Pillow Thief

My bed has already moved to Arizona, minus my mattress. Pheonix likes that I'm sleeping on the "floor", and shares my bed nightly. Isn't he so cuuuuuuute? I just love when he snuggles up under my chin. Wait, he's not snuggling. He's putting his feet in my face! So I scoot away. And then you know what he does? He stretches out a little more. Next thing I know I have a tiny little corner of pillow. Then, not even that!

I was just waking up this morning and I heard CL chuckling. My feet were off the end of the bed and I had completely surrendered my pillow to Pheonix. Good thing I have a back up. Isn't it great how I'm so well trained that it doesn't even cross my mind to boot him?
You know, he does this to his sister all the time. Say she finds herself a nice cozy box. I have seen him just lay down right on top of her! Then she mews and climbs out from under him, and now he has the cozy box. We must really love that furry punk. Man, and my back up pillow isn't nearly as nice as my main one. Maybe I should start out on the back up so that when he steals it I can switch to my good one. Muahahahaha. Yes, that's what I need, a PLOT to get my pillow back... from a cat....

Friday, March 21, 2008

Frugal Frannie's Friday Fun!

Wait. It IS friday, right? Who can tell anymore? I was all excited to share my frugal learnings, with my clever catchy title, and then I found out there already is frugal friday. I guess just because I didn't make it up, though, doesn't mean I can't join in the fun! Except I don't have anything for today. Oh! Here's my frugal motto:

Make do, do without.
Use it up, wear it out.

Shpiffy, eh? I live by it. Of course, that's mostly because I'm a hermit who dislikes going out into the world and shopping. The whole "make do" part is my middle name. Like breakfast this morning. I had half a green bell peeper and half of an orange one, leftovers from a previous meal. I pan seared 'em with a touch of oil- ok, fine, I fried them in butter. Not too much butter though. Then I threw in an egg and some cheddar cheese, scrambled it all up, and not only had breakfast but also was able to cancel my run to the grocery store. See, I'm real big on bread type things for breakfast. Bagels and cream cheese, or english muffins, or at least a tortilla to wrap around my experiments. But alas, there was none of the above in my cupboard. I survived though. Because there was coffee. I don't think "doing without" is allowed to apply to coffee.

Can you tell if Lilly likes catnip? This is the "use it up" part. It would be silly to pack a bag of catnip and move it to AZ with the dishes and furniture and clothes and stuff, don't you think? Especially if there's a state border inspection. Which there isn't, but can you imagine?
"Do you have any fruits or vegetables to declare? Animals? Contraband?"
"No, just my cats, and no."
"Do you mind if we have a look?"
"Not at all."
"What's this?" Holds up plastic bag of dried green plant matter. "Where'd you say you were from?"
"Ummm... Santa Cruz...."

I'm not packing any food, either, like the half bag of flour or the can of enchilada sauce in the back of the cupboard. That's not very frugal of me, is it. I AM taking my spices, though. Those suckers are expensive! Those, at least, are also clearly labeled: Oregano, for example. I suppose I could put the catnip in a spice jar, but then what if I accidentally added it to my spaghetti sauce. Anyway, it's hilarious watching Lilly and the others roll around in bliss. You really can't put a price on entertainment.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Spring Growth Trumps Fiber-optics

The daylight here in the armpit of hermit mountain is increasing as the spring season waxes. I can find a patch of sun somewhere in or near my yard for over a three hour block each day now. It doesn't stay in each spot long, and it's never bigger than 12 feet or so, but still, quite an improvement! When it hits the translucent flesh of newborn clematis leaves, the beauty is almost painful.

Just sitting quietly and admiring the vibrant green is like prayer. Maggie, on the other hand, prefers the plastic fiber optic Christmas tree. I woke up to her rustling around in it this morning. Not only was she making a cozy nest for herself, she was trying to eat the fake needles! She definitely needs to get out more.

Oh! I had a home invasion last night! Well, CL being out of town, I have been locking AND dead bolting the door at night. At 2 am I woke up. I'm not sure what exactly woke me. It was pitch black, and I could hear a cat eating.

Oh, sorry, I have to digress for a second here. I went to bed at one, so I hadn't been asleep long. The night before, I went to bed at 12:30, and I slept until 12:30 the next day! Twelve hours of sleep!! At first I kept telling myself I needed it. Eight years of getting up at 6 am, averaging six hours of sleep, a little catching up made sense. I was at the point where if I got 7 hours a night I felt like I was ahead of the game. But I'm on my second week of freedom now. How much catching up do I need? What if I just sleep 12 hours a day for the rest of my life??? There won't be a whole lot of time for living. Well, I only slept 9 and a half last night, so maybe my body will balance out the swinging between six and twelve hours. Okay, that's all.

My first thought as I sat up in bed was that there was a raccoon or skunk in the house. It wouldn't be the first time they came in through the cat window. Usually, though, I can tell by the loud scarfings and crunchings that it's not a cat. Wild critters are very sloppy, hurried eaters. What I was hearing was polite, quiet. By now my eyes had adjusted to the faint light of the (sad, forgotten, unused) alarm clock. I climbed to the foot of my mattress and leaned forward to peer around the corner. The bed has already made the trip to Arizona, so my mattress is on the floor. Well, I didn't see a thing, but BAM! CRASH KABLAM RATTLE SCRAMBLE BANG!!! Something large bolted from the kitchen, a mere six feet from where I crouched wide eyed and blind.

I was bummed my eyes hadn't adjusted enough to see more than a very big shape. I ran to the door, where the light switch is, and turned on the kitchen and porch light. I scoped the porch, but it was already gone. It couldn't have been a skunk or anything smaller- the shape I saw was huge! But to fit through the cat window, it couldn't have been bigger than a raccoon. Plus the agility needed to climb over the fish tank and armchair, well musta been a raccoon. the most polite one I ever heard eating, though. That's important, you know.

When I turned back towards my bed, I saw Maggie and Sebastian crouched side by side, huge eyes staring. It was pretty cute. I'm glad the raccoons haven't ever hurt my kitties. Pheonix came in then, tail floofed, and inspected the food dish. After a bit of sniffing, he decided it was safe to eat. I grabbed a flashlight, turned of the lights, and went back to bed. If the intruder came back, I wanted a good look at 'em.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Face of a Killer

Is this the face of a serial killer? Of course not! It's Maggie! She doesn't even go outside unless I'm there to hold her paw. In fact, the other day when we went for a walk, after several aborted hole digging attempts, she finally decided it was much safer to just pee next to me. Literally, about 5 inches from my shoe. Glad I could be of service. Or at least offer comfort in her time of need. Ahem. Where was I. Ah yes, the true face of a killer: her sister, Sebastian.

Last night sebastian had caught yet another mouse. And, as usual, I had to go rescue it. Not that I'm against her eating them- I read that wild game (giggle) is the most nutritious food a cat can get. And eating their catches is much better than killing purely for sport. I will refrain from any references to certain human practices here. Other than that. So if I catch any of my lil furballs in the act of eating what they catch I certainly don't try to stop them- besides, their dry food is thirty bucks a bag! Like I'm gonna be against a little wild grocery shopping on the side!

Okay, but if I see the tiny critter running for it's life, or worse, hear it squeak in terror, my own form of instinct takes over. It's really a terrible affliction. I've had it since I can remember. During all the mad packing I've been doing, I found my old journal from my teen years, and one entry from when I was sixteen was about seeing a dead baby possum on the side of the road. The fact that it upset me and I cried didn't surprise me. What DID was my account of wrapping the small body in some discarded newspaper and placing it far from the road under some bushes. I don't think I would do that today. I'd be sad, sure, but not like that. Maybe my affliction, technically known as BHS (bleeding heart syndrome) is mellowing with age.

I got some gloves and a flashlight ( it was about ten o'clock at night and we were still packing up the trailer) and went to intervene. The mouse was still quite lively, far from the point of no return. All four cats were involved in the corralling. I stepped in the midst, and the mouse sought shelter between my feet. Which then freaked me out. It wouldn't be the first time a wild mouse RAN UP MY PANT LEG ( on the inside, no less). I stepped back, and the mouse ran up a maple tree! Better than my pants I guess.

Sebastian tried to follow it up, but the first branches were a good 12 feet up and she stopped before then. The mouse hurried out to the weakest twig tip and perched there, about 15 feet off the ground. I figured it would stay there, perhaps all night, but no, it ran back to the trunk and out to another branch tip. Then, giving up on any escape from up there, or waiting out the danger, it ran back down the trunk right into the waiting claws. Well, it tried to jump when there was about 5 feet left, away from Sebastian and Co, but Lilly snagged it with a leap and outstretched paw like she was trying out for baseball.

I managed to jump in and grab it, though. I always hesitate just for a second before I pick up the prey. I know they're going to bite me, that's what the gloves are for. But what if this time they bite through the gloves? Hasn't happened yet, and it didn't this time either. I get adrenaline, though, feeling how strong the pinch of the tiny jaws are. I'm surprised it isn't a better deterrent, actually. Then I went marching off into the forrest with the bail now posted and the prisoner to be released on his own recognizance.

Of course Pheonix followed me. Duh, when does he not? So that was a brilliant move on my part. I tossed the mouse (gently, of course!) and traded for a scooped up and complaining P. When I brought him back to the house he didn't go try to find it, so I was successful. I went in and opened a hard earned beer. Did I mention it was ten at night and I was still moving boxes and furniture? Seriously, I need to hire a bounty hunter for all the mice I post bail on that never pay me back. I'd make more of a killing than Sebastian! I suppose there would be some ethical problems with demanding money from freed prisoners who were taken into custody in the first place without cause, by my own cat.

Also, kind of hard to claim heroism when you walk outside ten minutes later and said cat now has crunched mouse skull sticking out of the side of her mouth, head angled for better grinding. Mmmmm, brains. I sense impending guilt over mentioning getting a deal on my grocery bill... but on the other hand, it's good to know Sebastian could make her own way in the world. Just as long as she's not getting her own place. If I can move in with my parents at 29, she can just skip living on her own and stay with me till she's old and gray. She better be reading this. Oh, and she can also wash her own dishes! Or at least scrape the left overs into the garbage, not leave them on the doormat!

Ah yes. Some people are born hermits. And some are born crazy eccentric cat lady hermits who expect their furry children to "listen to me when I'm talking to you!" I'm going to bed now.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Little Big Leaf Maple Leaves

Wow how wrong is that title? Haha but that's the common name for this tree and well... When they're all grown up their leaves are huge, anywhere from six to ten inches across. They look almost exactly like the canadian flag. Except more organic and less rigid. Hmmm also not bright red. Gosh, ya think? ANYway, there are several sprouting up in my yard and they are SO DANG cute!! Man, I just love new spring growth! That color of green is mind blowingly beautiful. Hey look, some are red!

Not canadian red though. (Is that an actual red? brick, crimson, ruby, canadian?) They turn green when they get bigger, like roses' baby leaves. In fact, my roses are indeed putting out new growth, too! AND my clematis, yay! I have these baby trees, well they're almost three years old now and maybe four feet tall, but they haven't done anything yet. We've had some 70 degree weather though so maybe the plants that are sprouting have been fooled and the trees that haven't know a last bite from old man winter is coming. Being three years old, they're a lot wiser then silly young seedlings. Or maybe they just like to sleep in. I certainly know a little something about that.
Heehee, on my last day at work everyone threw a potluck for me- actually no food went airborne- and I told Betty that I turned off my alarm clock that morning. For the last time EVER. Probably not ever, but she's a fellow night owl and I couldn't help teasing her. Okay, rubbing it in. I am so mean! "Yes," I told her, with tearful eyes and woeful voice, "I'll never see the sunrise again." Boy, I'm surprised she DIDN"T chuck some food at me.
Oh yeah, and you know how my cats have to inspect everything I'M inspecting? I was taking that first picture and Maggie tried to eat the little tree! See that tear in the left leaf? Maggie!
Oh and you know what else? My little brother is like ten feet tall and I call him my big little brother. So I guess sometimes these silly titles just fit.

P.S. I seem to leave things hanging sometimes and on my birthday my Dad asked me what was that "good news" my landlord had, so in case any one has been left sleepless by that unanswered question: the guy is coming over to work on the place to get it ready for a reappraisal. Yeah, how that is good news is beyond me. He's not doing any thing necessary, just cosmetic. Who wants the landlord hangin' around? Even if I wasn't a recluse (not to be confused with spider, I don't know, I just thought brown recluse when I typed that word) I still wouldn't want him here. Can't he wait 2 piddly weeks till we leave? And at nine in the morning tomorrow! Guess I won't be sleeping in either. Shhh. Nine is NOT sleeping in.
OMG and he's going to need an outlet for his power tools. Hey buddy! The electricity isn't included in the rent! We pay for it separately! You gonna reimburse me for what you use?? I don't care how minimal his usage is, the fact that every other comparable rental in the area INCLUDES utilities makes me a little grumpy. Also reminds me how glad I am that I won't have a "lord" much longer.
Digression! In a post script even!! A guy on my route and I were commiserating over being renters one time, and he said he felt like a serf on some noble's land. "They're called landLORDs for cryin' out loud," he said. "How wrong is that?"
"Yeah, I love some one else having power over how many cats, cars, or even how many PEOPLE I can have in my family. " I have had to assure many a future lord that I wasn't planning on having a family, and to me, that just seems kinda sick and wrong. What, only people who can afford a three quarter million dollar house in this area get to have kids?? And I have to agree to give up my reproductive rights to give you money for shelter? EEEEEK there's some of that pent up disgruntlement I mentioned. But it's almost over!!!!!! Two more weeks, two more weeks, la dee dah my finger's are in my ears and I'm humming so I can't heeeear you tra la la. Wait, who am I talking to now? Oh, yeah, Mr. Disgruntlement. Man, that guy always springs stuff on me when I'm not expecting it. Guess what Mr. D, I'm leaving you in California!!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Purty Flower

Went strolling about the forest yesterday, how spoiled is that? That was my third day unemployed. Only it doesn't FEEL like I'm unemployed, because to me that word implies that I'm not where I want to be. UN isn't what I feel. I feel FREE and positive and so dang HAPPY that I wonder why I didn't do this sooner. I guess I didn't have all the right circumstances before, but I also didn't have the courage to reach out before either.
It's funny how dead set every one is on the 40 hour work week being the only answer to life. All my EXco-workers had plenty of advice on how to pursue my next full time career asap. Even funnier, this one lady had been working a few extra hours the last couple weeks, and said she was feeling really tired. I asked her if she was working over 40 hours a week, because I can certainly sympathize with that! Except, she said, "oh, no, I haven't worked full time since the early nineties." Um, sounds SWEET. So wait, why are you suggesting that I can't do that? (Granted, I don't have a spouse who works full time, like her.)
Not to be all bitter. I just don't want to be a full timer at a job I dislike. Now, if I spent 40 hours a week gardening, or taking pictures, that would be great. And guess what? I'M GOING TO! HAHAHAHAHAHA! Yesterday I went grocery shopping (ooo, must remember I have no more income, frugal time) and I passed TWO of my ex coworkers driving. I waved and smiled, and they waved back, and man I about split my face I was grinning so hard. Wow, I sound so stuck up and bratty and spoiled. But I also feel like I earned this break. In fact, I think EVERYONE deserves a break. I think it's time for America to follow Europe's example and make 32 hours the official "full time". Or even less!
Part of it is cutting down on consumerism. The less stuff you buy, the less money you need to make to buy stuff. I am going to have to really put that in action, because my savings WILL run out. Until they do, though, I get to live happy. Free. The fact that I have savings to live on makes me feel a little more like I earned this. I spent those eight years in hell for a year in heaven. You know how anticipation is always worse than the thing you're dreading? Well, quitting my job turned out to be a hundred times better than I ever imagined. I never knew this degree of inner joy existed. And I'm only on day four. Now that I've got the insane delirious happiness down, I'm working on inner peace. Obviously I still have some pent up disgruntledness, which I'm sure is to be expected. And I want to allow myself to vent it without being too self critical (haha) because I think I have a right to those feelings. But I want the venting to be just that- something that, once aired out, will be gone, leaving fresh clean space behind.
I have a year, give or take, (and frugalness willing) to start a new life, a new outlook. YAY.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Playing Human part 2

It was warm inside, and she searched for the source. Tables and shelves of test tubes, syringes, GPS devices, jars of pills, ah, a little electric heater. That would explain the solar panels. Propane would be too dangerous in a lab setting. Besides all the mad scientist junk, there was a man peering into a microscope. Jeez, what a stereotype, she thought. He turned, though not right away, a priority she wouldn't have held. If someone walked into a room she made immediate note of it, regardless of current preoccupation. The scientist smiled, bursting his stereotyped bubble with a completely open grin shining out of his red beard. Scientists could smile, but weren't they supposed to be clean shaven with glasses?
"Ms. Johnson, this is Brian Quinn, Brian, Sarah Johnson, the spy the government sent us." For a moment she was shocked. How did he know? Then she realized he was just being catty. Most people thought that was reserved for women but apparently, despite their truce, he still felt like his toes were being stepped on.
"Just here to protect our investment," Vivian clarified, shaking Brian's hand, who'd stood. He was shorter than her, but his blue eyes seemed to meet her brown ones perfectly. She dropped his hand.
"Nice to meetcha. I'll be happy to answer any Q's yah got," he said, smiling the whole time.
It was hard not to smile back, and she did. "Thanks."
"Are you going to poke around in here for awhile?" Cohelan asked. "no touching," He amended.
"Yes." She was betting she could get more out of Brian with less work.
Cohelan must have thought otherwise. "Fine. When you're done, Brian will show you the rest." He left, and she set her bags down.
"Care for a drink?" Brian asked, holding out a flask.
"No thanks. I don't drink on the job."
"Hey, no problem," Mr. Never-ending smile said. "I don't drink enough to get sloppy, it's just the only way I seem to be able to stay warm. Well, there is another way," he teased, wiggling his eyebrows.
She shook her head, changed the subject. "So, the serum's working?"
"Yeah, check it out", he motioned to the microscope, and she leaned over to peer in. "That's a sample white cell, from the Alpha male. We call him Edward." She nodded. She wasn't a biologist, but she knew the basics. A pipette pulled into her circle of vision. "I'm adding some bacteria," some nasty wiggly things oozed onto the slide from the thin glass tube. "Now watch."
The white cell, as was it's job, attacked the nearest nasty. It enveloped the whole thing, and then instead of breaking it down, it seemed to spit it out. The bacteria looked different, wounded maybe, but it still moved. It fled from it's captor back to it's gang. And then, quit obviously, it started attacking it's fellows, ripping cilia off left and right.
"What-" Vivian said. The white cell didn't even need to help the rogue, it just hovered in the background until, against the odds, the traitor bacteria annihilated it's fellows. "Now what?" Vivian unbent from the microscope.
"Now it'll hang out to defend until it dies." Brian grinned proudly.
"But I thought the project goal was intelligence enhancement. This is far more, and incredible at that. Even with the required years of testing, this could be a miracle drug." It was an amazing developemnt, one that hadn't been in any of the reports.
"That was, and is, the goal. This is some kind of accidental mutational side effect. You should see the progress we've made on purpose."
Well, penicillin had been an accident. "Got another sample?"

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Cats Use Umbrellas, Too

I don't know why this umbrella is just sitting open in our yard, though I'm pretty sure it's NOT to make a cool fort for kitties. Honey has been cleaning like mad, getting us ready to move, and I guess maybe he felt the umbrella needed to dry out?

I'm thinking this is some pretty solid proof that cats don't like to get wet. Pretty darn cute, and silly. I may have taken the cake on silly though. Or a waaaay too overactive imagination....

I went for a short hike yesterday. CL wasn't home, and I thought about locking the door, but decided not to. I was already a bit up the hill, and I figured I would stay in sight of home. Besides, I live on a one lane boondock mountain road, right? I only hiked around for maybe 20 minutes, dragging sticks through the leaves and tossing acorns for Pheonix, Sebastian, and Maggie. Lilly was quite content in bed, thank you very much.

After I got my bit of fresh air I was hungry, and so were the kitties because they went straight for the food bowl. I washed my hands, always the first thing I do after a hike, whether or not I'm about to eat. You just never know when a twig of poison oak is going to leap out from behind you and wipe it's rash inducing oils on your skin. Then I looked down at the hungry scarfers, smiling, about to say something like, "fun walk, huh guys?". I always talk to them like I would anyone else. Any one else who's super cute and likes to hear my voice get all high pitched and googly. Ok, not all the time, but I just can't help it.

Well, Lilly had apparently gotten up from her nap, because she was standing next to the others. But she wasn't eating. She was staring at the curtain that gives us the illusion of having a seperate room. Plus it's nice when people standing at the front door CAN"T see you sleeping; I always shut the curtain before bed and open it in the morning. Yet it was closed mid day and Lilly was staring at it. And not just staring, she was poised for fight or flight, the hint of raised hackles showing and her tail starting to bush out.

Pheonix glanced that way, but resumed eating, so I wasn't sure what to think. Lilly was unwavering. I remembered that I had pulled the curtain closed while I sat at my computer by the front door. The heater was by me and there was no reason to waste electricity heating the other "room". But I thought I opened it before I went outside, because hiking always warms me up and then when I come back the house seems too warm. I thought I would disperse the heat at the front a bit. But here was Lilly, pupils dilated, starting to growl and never taking her ears from the closed curtain.

At first I thought, silly girl, she see a dust bunny catch a breeze or something? Mmm hmmm. Yeah, that would be a LOGICAL assumption. But I'm the girl who sees trees with aliens ala Sigourney Weaver bursting out of them, rotting corpses shambling through the dusk intent on brain paté, and ambassadors from other planets in all their cream puff glory. My stomach went sour and my blood started to pump a little faster. What if someone had entered my house when I wasn't looking?

There have been homeless people staying in that abandoned house down the street, and sometimes under the bridge to our road. And homeless pretty much usually means broke, and not always but sometimes leads to getting what you can however you can, regardless of legal concerns. I mean, what have you got to lose? I hope this isn't totally prejudice of me. I mean, I know having no permanent residence doesn't make you a criminal.

It's just that when you're standing in your home, and your cat is eyeballing a closed curtain like it's hiding the boogeyman ( boogeycat?) a lot of things cross your mind. Like, should I leave? Investigate? If I walk through the curtain am I gonna be like the dumb girl in every scary movie who you roll your eyes at and say, "dumbass, don't go in there!" And theives sound more realistic than the other things I mentioned... obviously. So what did I do? I grabbed the biggest butcher knife we have (not just for cooking, also handy in home invasions and horror movies!) and went for the curtain.

The scariest part was pushing the curtain aside. My knife wielding was compromised and and the element of suprise was up for grabs. I just about choked on my heart when it jumped into my throat, except I think I was holding my breath so I couldn't actually choke. It was all dark in there, because we keep heavy curtains on the single pane windows for heat retaining purposes. Nothing jumped out and grabbed me, but I still had to go around the bookshelf on the right.

There was nothing, or nobody, there. I checked every nook big enough to hold a person or zombie or cream puff assassin. Then I looked back at Lilly, who was peering into the room with such big eyes it was like she was seeing THROUGH the room.
"Lilly, you dork," I said. I gave a shaky laugh. "There's nothing here". She didn't believe me, so I turned on all the lights, just in case there was an invisible ghost or something. Light dispells spooks, as any kid knows. Lilly cocked her head, and examined a cobweb. (Crap, I just admitted there's cobwebs in my house. In fact, "Pretty darn big Cobs, too" my Honey remarked just this morning.

Anyway, once again my kitty-cat alarm system failed me. Mountain Lion alert= actually bug in some dry leaves. Invasion of horror movie humans or Other= cobwebs. I returned the knife to it's drawer. And, despite the protests of my inner Green voter, left all the lights on the rest of the day.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

These are the flowers I got for Valentine's Day. Gorgeous, eh? I took them out to the four feet of sun we get for an hour here in the armpit of Hermit Mountain so I could get a decent picture. Everytime I do anything outside, ESPECIALLY if I'm trying to take a photo, the cats have to inspect my subject first. Always makes me laugh, and I always get their stamp of approval. Though sometimes they have to paw, claw, and/ or chew on whatever it is first.

These last few days of work have been the slooooowest eeevvvveeeerrrrrr. Also surreal. I feel kind of like I'm dreaming, and like I'm standing back, invisible, watching these days of change. It's really weird. I don't know if I've ever felt this way. Pretty huge changes though so I guess it makes sense. I'm leaving the area I've known for 17 years, that I grew up in, AND my job of eight years, that was pretty much my entire adult life. Yup, definitely don't feel quite awake.

Besides each work day taking forever, there's still the comraderie to enjoy. I won't miss the job, but I'll miss my coworkers for sure. PainterLady got me this beautiful handkerchief for Valentine's day, I think she said she got it in India. It's pink with blue trim and litle blue flowers, really beautiful, and it's so so soft. (My all black wearing, spiked collar, tripple wallet chain steel toe combat boot goth self from ten years ago would have a heart attack if she knew she would be wearing a pink handkerchief to work someday.) So yesterday at work Ted says, "A pink do-rag, huh? There's the Bloods, the Cryps..."
"And the Fluffy Bunnies!" I said. "See, you make a peace sign and curl your fingers down, and that's our gang sign."
"No, I think you should have to hop with your hands curled up, like this," Ted said, and then proceeded to demonstrate. This is a 6'5" sixty year old man here. I thnk everyone's stomach hurt after all that laughing. I will certainly miss laughing with them.

However, I will NOT miss Bosslady accusing me of cheating, which she did the other day. In these route evalutions, one thing we get timed on is vehicle loading. Well, my vehicle is in the shop so I have a loaner from Maintinence. There's an inner door between the drivers seat and rear cargo area, which we never close, but on the loaner it was closed and locked. And my key wouldn't work! I had to climb in the back and fiddle with the inner workings of the latch mechanism so I could get it open and load my vehicle. We have 15 minutes as our maximum allowable time, and because of that lock it took me 9 minutes. Yeah, still WAY within limits, but BossLady called me into the office. "Why where you messing around when you were supposed to be loading? You don't get time to mess around. There's no way it should have taken that long. It was a light day, none of the others took that long."

At this point my blood was boiling, pounding in my ears. I tried to explain about the lock, and ALSO the fact that the loaner has a big steel table bolted right where all my stuff usually goes. Neither my regular vehicle NOR the other carriers vehicles had that, so it was hard to try and get all my stuff to fit in. She just looked at me for aminute and then said, "Well you don't get paid to do that." At this point I was literally shaking with fury. "There was NO WAY I could have loaded faster with that vehicle," I told her. Then I got up and left the office, as this was in the afternoon and I had just finished for the day.

Having my integrity questioned like that, I started crying when I got home, from anger and at the unfairness of it. All I EVER do is try to do a good job, and it's never enough for her. I was so angry, in fact, that two seconds after I walked in the door I turned around and drove back to work. The whole way there I was trying to stop crying and think of what I was going to say to Bosslady. I wanted to walk into her office and tell her that I did NOT appreciate her suggestion that I was wrong, and that if she was going to change my time on the paperwork (which had been suggested) she better do it through formal channels because I in turn would file a formal complaint. Ah, the freedom of resigning! No more being cowed by this woman!

I have listened to my coworkers talk each other out of filing formal complaints before, saying that it's not worth it to go up against this woman. She will scrutinize your every move, make your life hell, and ultimately accomplish her goal of getting you to quit since the union makes it really hard to just fire us. Last week Joanne came in, trying to work, but she was so sick she couldn't do it. She was scared to cal in sick because she used up all her sick days having surgery. Well, when she told Bosslady she had to go home, Bosslady yelled at her until she cried. Every time I let my guard down and think, man Bosslady has been actually nice lately, boy do I regret relaxing.

So when I got back to work, I was still shaking and crying. I sat in the parking lot for a minute, rehearsing what I wanted to say. Then someone walked by and I turned my head. i didn't want anyone to see me like that, let alone Bosslady. I didn't want to walk in, voice breaking and hysterical, because I thought it would undermine my asserting I'd done nothing wrong. Or maybe I'm just still cowed. Anyway, I decided that I would wait until the next day, when I was calm. Also, every morning the previous day's paperwork is on our desk. if she didn't change the time then I would just let it go like always and thank the gods that it's almost over. I went back home, had myself an Irish Carbomb, and paced in anger for the next several hours.

Aaaaaand now I just wrote a fricken novel hahahaha. Wish it could have been all fluffy bunnies, but I really had to get that off my chest. Oh, and you know what fluffy bunny gang members deal in? Candy and easter eggs!!!!