Procrastination (But I Digress)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A Plan Comes Together

Every once in a while there is a blank day on my calender.  It doesn't happen often, but when it does, I want to savor it.  So yesterday, the day after Easter was such a day.  No appointments, no deadlines--just a blank day on the calender.  I couldn't just take the day off, because the next day was very full (today) and well, I'm a girl scout--be prepared is my motto.

So I took stock at the beginning of the day to see what I needed to do to be prepared.  The list got longer and longer as the morning progressed and suddenly I had a lot to do.  Then I got a frantic phone call and had lots more to do.  Then I got another phone call and something from two weeks ago reared up and now I had even more to do.  So I juggled and thought--this is ok.  Then I got another frantic message--emergency project due now.  As I took a deep breath trying to keep everything in my head, I realized that this was the busiest I had been in a really long time--the perfect storm if you will.  Something was going to have to give--I hurriedly finished the first preparation needed and then focused on one emergency after another.  At five p.m. the phone stopped ringing and there was nothing more to do for that day.  Now I had to wait for today.  It was a long night.  Waiting.  Would my preparation be enough.  Would I win.

So I was in court this morning and after waiting a very long time for my case to be heard, I won.  Another matter that I had to hand off to another attorney was also this morning and we won that one too.  I'd really like to rest on my laurels--I'm not fond of being so desparately busy--so I'm going to take a nice long lunch break and then get back to work.  Oh but I do love when a plan comes together.  I won, I won, I won.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Down Under

Dear Diary (Leon made me say it--it's true, but I digress)

So when Life hands you lemons, make lemonade.  My Hawaii trip was cancelled (although no return of my deposit yet--good thing I'm a lawyer).  So here I was with a budget burning a hole in my pocket.  Adam had been in Australia for 81 days, so I tooled around on the travel sites and sure enough for the same budget that was going to take me to Kona, I could go to Brisbane.  That button I clicked.  I sent in my passport that is about to expire and it will take three weeks to get it back.  The trip is planned in five weeks--what could go wrong..

Really--make me a list.  I want to be prepared.

So in planning a trip, I started to look around to see what I would wear.  I only have work clothes.  My weight over the last several years has changed a lot both ways.  The tip in lose weight forever was to get rid of all your big clothes--a kind of do or die mentality to scare me into keeping the weight off--like that would actually scare me--Ha.  Apparently I would rather have cake then worry about going out in public wearing sweat pants, because none of my jeans fit anymore, but I digress.  I had some nice clothes, but I got rid of everything over a size 12--everything.  I am way over size 12 now.  I have stocked up on clothes for work in my new much bigger size, but have been pretty slow to stock up on regular clothes. 

So one of the fellows at toastmasters gave a speech about Walmart.  Here's what I've always liked about Walmart--they carry my favorite plastic canvas yarn.  Every Walmart I ever been in has a great plastic canvas section.  I'm weird.  So I passed a Walmart and thought, what the heck, let's see what they have in vacation apparel.  Wow.  I had to search pretty hard to find my size (I'm wide and long, but not too wide and not too long), but after trying on about 600 things, I found 20 that were just right.  I have a favorite blouse that I've purchased for over $50 each at Nordstroms for years.  Lately it costs over $65 and they don't have my size anymore.  Walmart had the same blouse for $16 in my size and in lots of colors.  I would only allow myself to buy one of each color, but I'm already salivating to go back for more.  I know, more work clothes, but if I have so many extra, I'll wear them over a tee shirt.  Speaking of tees, they had a very comfortable polo shirt, just my style, $8 each in lots of colors.  I stocked up.  Jeans--that was tough to find in my size, but I scored a few.  So I have my air, my hotel, some clothes, my passport should be back in time, now all I need is a visa. 

The plane ride is going to be 14 hours long.  14 hours.  I'm picturing the air travel from the movie where Cameran Diaz travels to London and the girl from Titanic travels to Los Angeles.  Cameran Diaz had a sleeper bunk.  I want that.  The other girl had a middle seat and cried the whole way.  I'm very worried that I'll have that.  My airfare was really really cheap.  I'm surprised that they can afford the gas, so I'm not expecting anything fancy, but 14 hours is a very long time.  And then I have to do it again at the end.  I'm hoping that I'll be so happy to see Adam, I'll forget all about it.

Did I mention that my house is for sale.  I don't have a new place to move to.  Adrienne might.  We'll see.  We had a big garage sale--lots and lots of stuff and after it was over, most everything left was hauled away to the Salvation Army in a truck--just like on "Clean House" except that when I looked back in the house, it looks just as full and cluttered as ever--not "clean" at all.  This is not going to be pretty.   So a vacation in the middle of all this is either really stupid or genius.  I'll take genius for $200, Alex.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Hawaii Trilogy Tragedy, Triumph or Travesty

So I've been a little curious as to why my travel agent has not bothered me for another installment on my Hawaian vacation.  It is in less than two months, but I've only put a small deposit down.  I've never had a travel agent before, though, so I dismissed it.  She has my credit card number.  Their office is next door to mine.  I even gave her free legal advice.  She's a professional.  No worries.

I saw her in the hallway Monday and she said, we have to talk.  Yes we do, I answered--I owe you some money, honey.  I'll come to your office this afternoon, she said.  Why would she need to come to my office?  I still wasn't worried and my curiosity was soon satisfied.  The tour company lost its contract with the airline and my trip has been cancelled.  Do I want to go at a different time?  Am I ok flying overnight?  How about a connecting flight situation?  She will make it work, but the trip I bought was cancelled.

While my mind was trying to process this, without pulling out my ozi, part of me was saying:  This is a good thing, you cannot afford to go to Hawaii.  Another part of me was saying:  This is a good thing, you can probably plan the trip cheaper yourself.  Another part of me was saying:  This is a good thing, you are moving--this is a bad time to take a trip.  But mostly I was screaming inside NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.

In order to remain calm, I told myself--don't worry, you are going.  I looked up some places on the internet.  Airfares are pretty high and the times are less than ideal.  I found a condo rental that is half price that week and the rooms look wonderful.  I called to see their availability and I asked the gal about driving to Hilo--she said we do it all the time.  Good to know.  Calm.  I am going.  This is doable.  Ok, it will cost a few hundred more and the flying is going to be awful, but it will be fine.

Except, I don't want to spend the money--I can't seem to make myself click the button to reserve the flight.  I have this whole budget worked out to the penny and there are no pennies left over for Hawaii vacation.  But I have to go on vacation--I have been promising myself for years and years.  Of course, I also promised myself a piano and now I can't give that darn thing away.  [I am having a garage sale this Saturday, so I was going to put the sewing machine that I never use in the sale.  Except that I realized that as soon as I sell it, I'm going to start shopping for a new sewing machine.  Sewing machine, bike (haven't riden since I was in my twenties, but when I don't have one I feel compelled to want one), piano and Hawaii vacation:  these are the defining quirks of my life, but I digress.]

The travel agent is supposed to get back to me, but its' been a week.  I don't know what happens next.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

House Hunter

I love that show. And I love Clean House and Sell This House. So I have a sign on my front lawn to sell my house. Have I taken any of the wonderful advise from all these shows to heart? No. My house is such a mess and the only hope is that I have signed a contract to sell, so I must move at some point. In looking for a new place, I have lots of ideas. I watch House Hunter--the people give their realtor a set of must haves and then the realtor interprets their wish list and shows them three houses that have pros and cons. Sometimes they can't reach their wish list on their budget and sometimes all three meet their wish list and they weigh other negatives, like street traffic or location. So I set about trying to come up with a wish list. At least two or three bedrooms (office and guest room in case Adam wants to move back someday), two baths, a garage, nice landscaping, dishwasher, central heat and air, low maintenance, quiet (that's a biggie), near my office--it is a very long list. My wish list is completely out of my budget range (there is a house in my current neighborhood that meets all of this, that is so far out of my price range that I'm sick with envy). So I scaled back. In order to get semi-luxury of nice, but low maintenance, that I can afford, I'm looking at mobile homes. Location is important (near the train and Dad would work). Air Conditioning is important (though I really don't know why--I'm never going to turn it on, but nevertheless not having it makes me feel poor and I'm so tired of feeling poor, but I digress). My roommates complicate my choices. One place that I looked at will take the dog, but not my sister and another place that I looked will take my sister, but not the dog. I have tried to think outside the box and go further up the train route, so I am looking at a place in Simi Valley (unfortunately the jury is out on whether they will take the dog too--but I'm more hopeful because the neighbor has a big dog, oh joy). Then there is a place a little closer that I really like, but they don't want the dog. We are trying to negotiate that the dog will hide until she dies, but that doesn't seem very realistic. Then the place next door to my Dad really wants me--they'll take the dog, but not my sister. I think the guy is going to try to find her a job, so she can get her own place--that's how badly he wants the sale. So I have three options (just like on House Hunters): Will it be the farthest location that has trees and a dog yard, but isn't as nice inside and might make me feel like I live in a tuna can; Will it be the place that makes me feel like I'd be living in a vacation home (gorgeous tree and view), but I'd have to hide the dog until she dies and the rent is the highest; or will it be the most affordable place that is really nice inside, but really depressing outside (no trees) that will make my sister homeless? I know what you are thinking--this is not television--I have other options: townhouse, condo, smaller house, crappier neighborhood--all are still on the table, but undesirerable (stairs--no can do; hate condo's; another house with repairs--no thanks; crappier neighborhood--gas prices, safety). I asked my realtor to look at duplexes for me in crappier neighborhoods. Number one--they all involve a longer commute in not safe neighborhoods; Number two--they are all fixers--not me; and Number three with a bullet--not a single one in my price range has central air conditioning. I know I'm not going to turn it on, but it is the principle of the matter. [The realtor is so cute--she said, why don't I just put in air conditioning. Yes that would solve all my problems--spend money I don't have for something I won't use--I need professional help, not a contractor, a psychiatrist, but I digress.] And my house has not sold. It is run down and full of clutter. I know all the things that will keep it from selling from my favorite shows, but I can't seem to do anything about them. I finally called someone who can work the miracle of Clean House, but she's really too busy (read she knows I won't want to pay enough to make it worth her while) to save me. Woe is me. I started packing last week. I packed the girl scout cookie jar that I will never use. I remember winning it at a raffle. I was so excited--I really wanted it, but I have absolutely no use for it and it takes up a lot of space. I am so screwed.