Procrastination (But I Digress)

Friday, July 29, 2005

The intrepid traveler

Yesterday I had to go to San Francisco to cover a hearing. I looked at a map and got a schedule for the bart system (subway) and figured out that I could walk from the bart station to the courthouse. My flight into San Francisco International would get in at about 8 a.m. and bart had trains every 8 minutes, no problem.

Norm said why didn't I save money and take a cheaper flight into Oakland, because bart goes to that airport too, but I was not going to chance it--that flight didn't arrive until 8:20 and Oakland is a lot farther from court. (the hearing was at 9:30).

So my flight on United was cancelled and I went on the much cheaper flight on Southwest into Oakland. I found bart ok, but all the guy in the information booth would tell me about which train to take was San Francisco for $3.15. I put a $10 into the machine and my only choices were to subtract or add money. When I got down to $6, it wouldn't let me subtract anymore (it had a minimum of $5.05 and didn't let me change except in increments of $1's. So I put my $6.00 ticket in the booth and when I got off at the civic center the ticket I got back had $2.85 left on it.

After wondering around and asking several people where the street for the courthouse was, I finally found it. I was magically only 10 minutes late, but they didn't call my case for over two hours. Now my flight back was at 1:25 and I left court at noon, so I was racing.

I asked the guard where the bart station was and he pointed up the street and said you can't miss it. Ha. I'm walking and walking and I stop at a bus stop which has a map and I'm trying to get my bearings when someone stops me to ask directions and I said don't follow me, I'm lost. Well by some miracle, I turned a corner and there was the entrance to bart that I had come out earlier.

This time there was no one at the information booth. I read the list of destinations and none of them said Oakland airport. My choices were Daly and East Bay. Give me a break. So I asked the guy in a flower booth--which side train do I take and he said the one on the right. So I did and it was right. I had put an additional $1.50 on the ticket just in case and found the bus back to the airport with no problem and got into the airport with 30 minutes until my plane left.

I couldn't believe that I was going to make it and then I saw the line at the counter and at security. So after 15 minutes without the line at the counter moving hardly at all, I called Southwest's 800 number and they re-booked me to the 3:05 flight. Southwest I must say, was just a pleasure to deal with. They were so terrific about everything.

When you fly on Southwest, the seating is first come, first serve--so people line up. They used to give out numbers, but now you get an A, B or C when you check in and there's an A line, a B line and a C line. So about 1/2 hour ahead of time while I was drafting my "You guys are so Great" letter to Southwest in my head, I stood in the B line--well actually there were a lot of C's in the B line, because the line was a little too long to be that organized, but I was feeling pretty magnamous at this point. At 3:05, the line hadn't moved and my feet hurt. At 3:30 I decided to leave the line and go to the restroom. When I got back I just barely made the end of the B line as it was filing onto the plane (they were putting all the C's in a more defined line to the side now) and I got the last window seat on the plane. Needless to say, they are not getting a "you guys are so great" letter after all.

I got to the Burbank airport too early in the morning to valet park and I couldn't find a shuttle bus to the short term parking, so I walked the six blocks in the heat back to my car. I went home, ate dinner and went to bed at 7 p.m., but for some reason I still have dark circles under my eyes today.

Then this morning I got a call to go to Manhattan Beach at noon. I figured it would take about 2 hours to drive there, but there was so much stuff to get ready for the hearing that I couldn't leave until 11. So of course I was running late and I called opposing counsel to tell him I'd be late and he gave me directions that had me drive by the ocean. That was so nice. When I got there the hearing was canceled, but at least I got to drive by the ocean again on the way back.

Jim has a trial in Ventura later this month--I see more travel in my future.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

It's not a sure thing

This morning I met with the PTSA president to go over the programs for this next year and after I asked her about the hundreth question, I said, I don't know how I'll be able to answer all the questions as president next year (I have let it be known that I was willing to volunteer and I've been trying to get to know a lot more about PTA to get ready--I almost volunteered for this year, because Susan was backing off and no one was willing to step up). Susan said kind of quietly, well it's not a sure thing that you'll be president next year. Hallalujah went off in my brain like a storm, woo hoo, someone else is willing to step up I said incredibly. And she said, no, but you haven't been elected yet. So let me get this straight, I'm volunteering and no one else wants the job, but people are still holding out hope that someone other than myself will step forward. Yeah, I am so jazzed about this job.

In ABWA, our recording secretary has just informed me that she's moving. I can't even get enough people to fill the chairships and now I have another officer position open. oy vey.

Never a dull moment. Now is Stephanie turning 21 this year--is my math correct? Are we having a girls weekend in Vegas--wouldn't that be cool? Whose in?

Monday, July 25, 2005

Size 6

Apparently the difference between size 6 and 8 is much less than the difference between size 16 and 18. I know it doesn't make logical sense, but wouldn't you pay a lot more money to fit into a 6 when you wear an 8, but not so much difference between a 16 and an 18?

The blouses that I love (and had just purchased about 8 of in the past three years in size 18) did not come in white in size 10. In fact, as I now recall from my early 20's, all the clothes I like are sold out immediately in my size. So I got a pink--I can always use a pink blouse. What I really need is a navy blue suit. I have three pairs of navy blue shoes and no navy blue suits or even slacks. So I ventured out into Nordstroms, nothing; Macy's, nothing; Robinson's May, nothing; JC Penny, I'm getting desprarate--now I'm trying on size 8's--too big--nothing in navy blue and then I did it, I tried on a size 6--unbelievably it fit really nice. But it had really funny stripes--there were no pockets--it wasn't that great of a sale--uggh. Very depressing. How, how to salvage this day. "Size 8 is too big" is rolling inconceivably around in my brain and I finally get it. Nordstrom has my favorite blouse in many colors in size 8. Hallelujah. White, a really pretty red, a very nice blue and of course I can always use another pink. What a wonderful day.

P.S. In case you are wondering why I didn't buy size 6--I can't possibly fit into a size 6--it's inconcievable, all evidence to the contrary. I'm sure it is a fluke that can't be repeated in a controlled environment.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

So I was at the bank

and I noticed a really, really ugly woman in the monitor. You know how you just have to look at a car wreck, so I looked again, only this time in a split second I realized that the really ugly woman was me. OMG. I had dark circles under my eyes and I looked all gaunt and mean and uggggllly. I swear, I'd have frightened little children. I blame Harry Potter. I mean John Stewart is also partly to blame, but I never looked that ugly from just staying up to see John--It's all Harry's fault. So I'm standing there in line and without looking obvious I was trying to soften my face with a little smile and trying not to look at myself in the monitor, but pay attention to the ridiculously bored tellers to catch when they will actually look up and invite you to their cage. For a person who hates banks, I am treasurer for too many organizations.

Someone at the gym asked me what I had planned for today--I should have said, I'm practicing my smile to get just the right size that will alleviate the shadows under my eyes so that I won't scare little children.

Oh but there was a good line in Harry Potter. Dumbledoor was explaining to Harry that yes, as a man, he (Dumbledoor) does make mistakes, but being rather cleaverer than most, his mistakes are huger. HCIT.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Another Day

Well, I'm making progress on moving out of the sitting room. I have a little desk that just fits next to the door as you walk in the bedroom and I've arranged it very pretty. I'm taking the closet doors off on one side to give me a few inches more for my chair and the solution feels right out of this small space on HGTV. Mentally everything is finding a place and it's going to be great. Nagging in the back of my mind however is the funny feeling that I'm forgetting something. Everything is clean and in it's place right now, but that is not the normal state of the union. Normally there is clutter everywhere. I forgot to leave any space for clutter. This could be bad.

Mary is doing good. We had a very nice weekend and she seems to be settling into a good routine with her new care giver. Bailey was so tired after spending the week with Dad--kind of the way anyone is who goes on a whirlwind vacation--you need a vacation from your vacation.

The Toastmaster magazine has an article about people who go on free cruises by offering a lecture series as entertainment on the cruise. It's not totally free, you have to pay your air fare to the starting point and you have to pay a fee to the booker, but it sounds so intriguing. I'm the jokemaster tonight--the topic is summer sports, but the newsletter said the topic was summer school. Does anyone know a good "summer" joke?

Friday, July 15, 2005

The Saga Continues

The bank sent me a letter to tell me that the investigation about payment of my $50 fee was underway. Then I got my statement. The fee is no longer showing as outstanding. As a matter of fact there are three credits for $50 on my account. Wait, wait, let this sink in. Yes, three.--I paid twice, but there's three credits. I have a bank error of $50 in my favor at this time. If they'd come out and say we are waiving the fee because we've caused you so much trouble, that would be very cool, but errors make me nervous. I'll keep my eyes pealed.

I don't remember if I've shared that Melody is moving to my sitting room. She likes to leave her tv on to go to sleep, so that will be a challenge (yes, I can hear it through the wall--I'm eery wierd that way). I was mentally going through everything in the room and where it would all fit and I remembered my panel of pictures. I think that Melody gets the panel of pictures. Not that I'd let her change any of them. Downsizing is hard work.

They haven't let Mary out of the hospital yet. She thinks later today or tomorrow. I'm going to spend most of the weekend there, but I'm no Florence Nightengale so I'm not sure how much use I'll be. But it is going to be record breaking heat and Mary's got air conditioning so it won't be that tough to hang out at her house. I'm missing a seminar on Saturday, but I'll see that speaker again in a few weeks, so no harm.

Finally, the saga of my new teaching job--I haven't been officially hired yet, but they want to know if I have a list yet of all the law offices where the kids will be interning. HUH. I had no idea--this is growing by gigantic proportions day by day.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

The biggest loser

That's me with 119 combined pounds and inches, I am the biggest loser at Curves since they opened in Kenneth Villiage. I tied for losing the most weight, but I was almost double the next person in lost inches. HCIT.

In other awards, I gave my speech at Toastmasters yesterday. I totally lost the audience in the last paragraph of the body of the speech--too much content, not enough laughs, but they gave me an award for the best speech of the night anyway. I was up against Dean who makes his living consulting with people to improve their business (his speech was about what makes a successful team using "The Incredibles," the movie, as an example) and Beth who has won awards for her speeches in toastmasters (but who can't make eye contact to save her life). I also won an award for best table topic. It wasn't that memorable to me, because I couldn't even remember what I had said. We had two speaking opportunities in the meeting, one was about our favorite elementary school teacher and the other about the vacation we most wanted to take. I thought I got the award for Sister Elizabeth and it was actually for how I used to want to go to China, but no more.

Mary is fine. She's getting a bunch of tests, but they also make her do breathing exercises and take her pills on time. She was in terrific spirits when I left yesterday and maybe the doctor will tell her she can go home today. We'll see.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

The Green Grass

Mary is in the hospital mainly so that the doctor can watch her oxygen and figure out how to stabalize it. She hired a nurse that worked for them to take care of Ursula, Rebecca. Rebecca came at 8:30 in the morning and has pretty much worked 24 hours, gladly. Mary thinks that she needs the work. I'm very happy that she was available and willing. I tried to get her to take some time off yesterday afternoon, but she pretty much refused.

Bailey is visiting Dad for the few days that Mary's in the hospital. I told him that he has to keep the back door closed--I have visions of Dad (hooked up to his oxygen) running out the door after Bailey. I'm sure they are fine. Of course they are.

Stephanie called this weekend to say that she's having surgery on her knee next week. She lost her job and recovery is going to be a long haul. Ah to be five again.

I'm giving my Ben Franklin speech tonight, unless Mary gets released from the hospital. Tomorrow is Kiwanis, and ABWA Orientation for our new members, unless Mary gets released from the hospital. Thursday is the Forum VII meeting--I have to get writing those questions for the candidates and get the placque for Woman of the Year--unless Mary gets released from the hospital on Thursday.

Boy that grass must be green somewhere.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Fixing all the Misunderstandings and Hurt Feelings

What on earth is up today. Last week the executive director from Girl Scouts council called me and left a message to call her back. I thought, wow, I'm actually going to be invited to be on the board of directors. So I called her back and left a message. And she called me back and tersely left a message that she heard that I was going to National Convention and that I had to be invited to go and I should call her right away to clear this up, because they were putting in the reservations and I should have given her the courtesy of a call. Ok, it wasn't quite that terse, but it felt like it. So I called her back and left her a sugary sweet message, No I'm not planning to go to convention and of course I would have called council if I has wished to go. I was very proud of myself for sounding so professional and gracious. Privately I thought and told a few people, woo hoo, a get out of girl scouts free card. Today I get a call from the executive director who apoligized for misunderstanding that I had not requested to be a visitor at the national convention--council is willing to pay the registration and was really hoping that I could go. Huh? She made it sound like her message was trying to invite me to go rather than berating me for not telling her I was going. She thanked me for my dedication to girl scouts and hopes that I'll be able to make the next convention--there's a lot of changes coming--a dynamic time in girl scouts that she knows I want to be a part of. Ok, I'm sucked back in.

Then I just got an e-mail from the PTA president. At our last meeting, she asked for a volunteer to be in charge of Baccalaureate. I've never been to one and should get familiar with it, so I volunteered. Five minutes later the past president came in and she volunteered. Susan announced that the past president had graciously agreed to be in charge of Baccalaureate later at the meeting and made no mention of me. Someone else said aside to me, didn't you volunteer for that and I said, who cares, I don't know anything about it anyway. So today Susan sends me an e-mail, she feels horrible that she forgot that I had volunteered in the course of the meeting, she can't believe that she did that, how can she make it up to me.

Oh my goodness gracious, what's with the new moon today.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Venus Rules

Each morning as I register that it is daytime and I start to think about my day, my mind goes to tennis--will Lindsey beat Mauresmo (spelled sort of phonetically). Then I remember, it's been on since 4 am, so I roll over and turn on the tv and Federrer is at Match point against Hewitt. How cool is that. And yes, Lindsey won. Yesterday I finally went on line to find out what was happening because there were rain delays in the morning. There was the big headline about Venus beating Maria, but I really had to search to find out what was going on with Lindsey. Then when I got home, they were re-playing Lindsey's match. I already knew the outcome (that they had to stop in the third set for rain), but it was still very exciting. What a close match. Then, they replayed Venus' match. Wow, Venus rules. She was so dominate. It seemed like the only points she lost were her own errors. Lindsey will have her work cut out for her. I really like the match up in Womens and Mens this year, although I was very sad that Nadel left so early.

In other news, I'm using my ipod and it's like singing in the shower--if no one is around on the street, I do start singing but I keep my eyes pealed for people coming out of their house so that I can quickly stop. I've noticed that I walk faster with music playing and I smile. It's kind of fun to carry around your own sound track. Right now I have Simon and Garfunkle in Central Park which is always like being there, so it's really cool. Next I'm going to pick and choose all my "get up and go" songs--Manic Monday, anything Shania Twain, Soak up the Sun and I'll have to have Adam show me how to buy single songs on the internet--I need a Pink song and I think it's Enya or something like that. I guess I might have to turn on VH1 top twenty sometime this weekend to catch up. Oh boy, I can just see me now belting out Pink, "you're just like a pill, stead of making me better, keep makin me ill" And I'll have to do the head throws--it's just not the same without the head throws. Maybe I better rethink my musical choices for going out in public.

And now, because I haven't blogged all week, for your pleasure I have two compositions this week to share. One, I wrote a speech that Ben Franklin is the greatest american. To order that speech (or any other speech in the Toastmaster KV special) press one and e-mail me to ask me to send you a copy (Erika). Next I had a problem with the bank. The letter that I wrote them was simply too nice to share, because I failed to exude the sarcasm and contempt that I truly felt--the bank after all has loaned me an awful lot of money and it's never a good idea to bit the hand that feeds you.

So I will share with you, my blogging audience, who by tacit agreement promises not to tell the bank in what bottom dwelling low esteem that I hold them in, the story. I have an equity line of credit. My good credit is about the only valuable asset I have anymore and I'm practically living on it. If you miss a payment or your payment is late on credit cards, they can increase your interest astronomically, so I am extremely careful with my credit in all cases. On my equity line, they charge $50 a year for the pleasure of borrowing money. Last year when I got the loan, I had to write a separate check for the $50 and thought that was kind of odd, but again, no arguing with the hand that feeds you.

The payment on the loan is taken automatically from my checking account--I get a notice, but no statement or anything. A few months ago the $50 charge showed up. There was no notice that I had to pay it separately. The next month, the $50 charge was still showing outstanding--it hadn't been taken from my checking, so I called the only phone number on the statement. There was never an option to speak to a real person, so finally, I just held down zero until a recording said "we will connect you with a representative." A handy trick I learned there. The real live person said, oh we don't take that fee automatically--you have to pay it directly at your branch. Oh no. They are idiots at my branch--sanctimonious, bored to death having to talk to customers (the lowest lifeform on the planet in their obvious opinion), idiots. So I try to pay this $50 fee on line. I go to Payments and Transfers, but my blogging audience already knows that all it did was transfer $$ from my checking to my equity line. There was simply no way to make it pay the $50 to the fee.

So yesterday with visions of my interest being increased, my credit record being blemished, the end of civilization as we know it looming in my head, I went to the bank to pay the fee. The customer service people are so awful that I started with the teller (one of only two with a line of 16 people waiting). As I stood in line, I watched mesmorized a guy stand at customer service waiting for the representative to look up and help him. The other rep behind the counter was on the phone and when she got off, the guy said should I go to the other rep and the rep who wouldn't look at him to help him, said, no, no I'll help you and continued to do something on her computer without looking at him. I am never, ever allowed to possess firearms.

The teller said she didn't know how I could pay my fee and that she'd have to get someone else to help me. That's exactly what she said "I'll have to get someone else to help you." So I waited expectantly for a manager or more experienced person to come to her station, but she started to motion for the next customer and so I said, are you getting a manager to help me and she brusquely said, no you have to go to customer service (moron). She didn't actually say moron, but it was so implied. I was slightly, ok extremely mad and grabbed my receipt off the counter and stalked over to customer service where there were now there was a person in front of each rep. and I waited a reasonable distance from the counter "in line."

I had my first piece of luck in that it was a manager in front of the rep who was not the non-responsive rep I had already vowed to kill if I ever met her in a dark alley. The bank manager (who had no name tag, no jacket and a very casual demeanor--I thought he was a slug customer), asked hadn't the teller been able to help me and I tersely said no, so he immediately set about to help me. Along with the very solicitous customer service rep, they very nicely listened to my story and commiserated with me appropriately, sucking me in, making me feel that they really understood and wanted to help, if only, only they had a single brain cell between them. After looking at the computer screen and telling me exactly what I had told them for twenty minutes, and after checking with three other people at desks and calling the customer service line (I had to tell them the trick of simply holding down the zero to talk to a real person, but hey, we're a team at this point), they couldn't help me. There was no solution to the problem. An investigation is underway. WHERE DO I SEND THE CHECK? That's all I want to know. It is not to my branch and they don't know the address, maybe it's on my statement (which I have ridiculously and inexcusably not brought with me to the bank where they have it on the computer.)

The end of civilization (and visions of the War of the World) playing in my head compelled me to once more try the phone. [At this point it is necessary to acknowledge and send out a big round of applause to Adam--if you have never seen my desk, suffice it to say there's about three million pieces of paper strewn all over it--piles upon piles of paper. I called Adam and asked him to find the statement and find the phone number and account number. He climbed the paper mountains diligently and came up with the needed information. Really, lets give it up for Adam--I never could have gotten through this ordeal.] I only had to press zero once--I guess they gave up making it more difficult, since I was on to them anyway. I told my entire story to the real live person (with the Indian accent--why bother hiding the fact that their customer service is in India--we all know it now). It took me about a minute, thirty seconds to get through the whole story--I left nothing out. Her response: you have the wrong number. I thought--I'm being punked. Reality tv is at an all time low, they have nothing better to do than punk me.

"If you'll hold one minute, I'll transfer you to the correct number." Manna--the correct number. The person at the correct number was duly commiserating and jollily told me, yes that is a problem, oh I see you have an investigation going on the account. WHAT IS THE ADDRESS THAT I SEND THE PAYMENT? That's all I want to know, I tell her--I'm going to write a letter. She gets it and gives me the address and I verify that this address is not the address where they won't take correspondence, but a real address with a real person opening the envelope. She truthfully shares that it's the only address offered and makes no further guarantees. She does encourage me to write that letter and of course, to have a nice day.