31 July 2009

First Impression

I caught a glimpse of deep red and silver high up in a Doug fir tree. My first thought was that it was a robe; a magical person had swooped into the tree and hung their robe on a branch! The breeze turned it back and forth and I realized; it was a deflated mylar balloon.

23 July 2009


I woke up in a cranky mood today. I suppose it’s a combination of causes. We slept in the guest room last night, for one thing, and I just didn’t sleep all that well. The kittens kept alternating between snuggling and attacking. I’m not keen about the alarm clock in that room and it’s on the other side of the bed. Add to that the fact that I was irritated with T when we went to bed, and she with me. And that, I suppose, is at the heart of it all.

She was irritated because I was out later than I said I would be. I went over to a teammate’s house so that we could practice a couple of things. We are teaching a class together on Saturday and wanted to iron out who was doing which section. That took a little while. We also went over two forms that she is showing at her upcoming 2nd degree black belt test, for which I am attacking. That took a while too. And, my friend is kind of the chatty type so we wasted some time just… chatting.

Now, I asked T if she wanted to come with me. She didn’t, even though she knows this couple and likes both of them. She was tired and wanted to stay home and watch tv. She also wanted to get in the hot tub for a bit and ease her achy muscles. That’s fine. I’m not insisting that she come when she really would rather not. For crying out loud woman, do what you want to do!

BUT, don’t be petty when I want to do my thing!

Yes, it took longer than I thought it would. So what?! We are not joined at the hip. I refuse to have the kind of relationship where we are in each other’s pocket. I have my outside activities that I was doing before we met and there is no way in the world I’m going to give them up. If she doesn’t have enough stuff going on, too bad. Get something going on. I’ve invited her to train my martial art ~ she is not interested. And, that’s ok. I would love it if she did, but it’s certainly not a deal breaker if she doesn’t.

Partly it’s because T is a real homebody. And, when it comes down to it, so am I. But, I do have an active social life, a wide circle of friends, many interests and some passions. T has a smaller circle of friends and she doesn’t get together with them as often as I do with mine. I think she is used to the kind of relationship where you just revolve around each other. I find that claustrophobic. And boring. Her last girlfriend didn’t live with her but stopped by her house every day after work and spent an hour or two before going home to her three kids. My impression is that T made sure she was home in time for the gf to stop by, always had a cocktail ready, often made her dinner, and never just said something like, “Hey, I’m going out with X and Y after work. I’ll see you tomorrow.” That seems so sad to me.

Also, I’ve been out of a relationship more than in one for many years. I’ve had a few unimportant ones in the last ten or fifteen years, but long stretches of time where I was single. When you are perpetually single, you find things to do. T has been in one relationship after another. Probably should have spent a little time in self-reflection…

I think that I need to educate this woman of mine. I know that she understands intellectually that we can and should have outside interests; she has said as much to me. She has to believe it, though. She has to be happy for me that I have stuff going on that I enjoy. If she is bitter or grudging, or pissy that I have stuff to do, then that is a deal breaker.

15 July 2009

Attitude adjustment

2/7 vs 5/7. How much of your life do you enjoy? How much of your time is spent waiting or wishing for a different time?

I’ve been thinking lately about the work week vs the weekend and how sad it is to spend five sevenths of one’s time in anticipation of the remaining two sevenths. Those are not good numbers!

The work week is necessary. Work gives structure and purpose to our days and keeps us from becoming sloths. Those are good things. If you are lucky, your work is something you enjoy; something that brings you satisfaction as well as the income needed to sustain life.

I don’t love my job but I do appreciate it. I make a decent wage, not a great wage by any stretch, but enough to live on and carefully thrive (I would like to be able to save more but that hasn’t been happening lately, ahem, hot tub). I have adequate benefits. My coworkers are mostly tolerable and some even more than that. I have an office with a window. Sometimes I even feel like the work we do makes a positive difference in the world.

I work in a teaching hospital. I’m a low level administrator on the school of medicine side. We educate doctors and that has a certain value.

I have been working at my job for a little more than 10 years. Before that I had a different job at the same place. Altogether I’ve been with this employer for 15 years. That’s a long damned time! Considering that when I took the original job I thought I would be there for about two years. Ha! Life sneaks up on you that way, I guess.

I don’t generally torture myself over things like wage disparity but it did come to my attention the other day when I was filling out a reimbursement request for one of my doctors. She gave me a copy of her bank statement to show that she had paid for some books. Her biweekly direct deposit was over $10,000. Yeah. Ten grand twice a month… and she needs reimbursed for books? Fuck.

About ten years ago, one of the previous doctors I worked for was complaining about having his three kids in private school and how expensive it was. I told him that what he earned in a month took me almost all year to earn. I also told him that he better not ever again complain to me about not making enough money, that the disparity between us was so great that the only way he could make up for it was to pay for my daughter’s education as well as his own kids…

OK, this isn’t really about the fact that doctors make more money than I do. It’s not really about money at all. It’s about spending the majority of one’s life doing something that feeds the belly but not the soul. It’s about spending Monday through Friday wishing for Saturday and Sunday.

So, my goal is to appreciate the work that I do. To be present in the moment ~ even though that sounds like hippy dippy mumbo jumbo. To make today as worthwhile as tomorrow. I don’t want to wish away that much of the time I have. And look, I’m at work and managing to find time to ponder these kinds of questions, write about them, and post to my blog!

14 July 2009

Tub Time

The hot tub works! T finished the last of the cross-bracing and we filled it when we got home last night. Turned it on around 6:30pm. Had just a few moments of not-quite-panic when the jets wouldn’t kick in. We called the spa guy and asked what to do. First he said to turn the jets to high then low a few times and see if that fixed it. Nope. Called him back and he explained to T how to let the air out of the lines at the pump. Did that. Turned it back on and Hallelujah! Frothy water!

It took several hours to get warm. We kept going outside to check it and saying, “another hour.” Finally got in around 10pm, when we should have been getting ready for bed. But, how could we not get in the damned thing?! It was grand! T wanted to just sit and be pummeled by the jets but I couldn’t sit still. I tried floating, sat on the shallower seat (it’s a 3-person, triangular tub), turned all the knobs, turned the light on and off, played footsie with her, ran my hand up her leg, you know ~ immature new toy behavior. What can I say? It was exciting! I’ve never had a hot tub before. We kept looking at each other and grinning and chuckling.

Really, one of the best things about it won’t last long, and that is the fact that it is outside. The wind in the cherry tree was beautiful both visually and aurally. A cool breeze while soaking in hot water is a delicious contrast. But, while being outside has wonderful qualities, it is also too exposed. Not too exposed to the elements, although come fall and winter it would be, but too exposed to the neighbors. Two sets of neighbors can look right into our hot tub. No naked tubbing for us, at least not until we build the sunroom around it.

Note to the Crow: I will not be drowning the brother-in-law in the hot tub ~ no boys allowed!

13 July 2009

Good Things

Good thing number one: the dishwasher is in and working! Yay, Yay, Yay!!! My quality time with the dishes will shrink back down to a reasonable level.

I spent the extra money for a dishwasher that can take stemware in the upper or lower racks. Very much worth the price, in my view. We drink a lot of mimosas ~ or, in my case, just plain champagne. Well, right now it’s champagne with either raspberries, blackberries, or strawberries since they are all in season. We don’t generally drink out of flutes unless we have company. We have some glasses that are more like pilsner glasses than flutes ~ very tall and thin. They don’t hold much more than say, a short tumbler, but they are just the right shape for mimosas. But, they didn’t fit well in the old dishwasher so I am pretty happy about that upgrade.

Good thing number two: the hot tub is in! Ok, it’s in place and wired. T’s uncle is an electrician and came over yesterday to put in a new circuit, new GFI box, and wire it up. T finished the deck that it sits on and only has a little bit of cross-bracing to do before we fill it up and turn it on. We’re doing that after work today! I don’t know how long it will take to heat up; I’m guessing several hours. So, we may or may not be able to sit in it tonight. I sure hope so!!! The weather has been cool and either cloudy or rainy for the last few days. So, if the tub doesn’t warm up enough before bedtime it’ll have to be tomorrow.

The sunroom isn’t built yet, so it looks like a deck with a hot tub sitting right outside our living room. It does actually look a little odd. And, I suppose it will look odd to our neighbors for awhile. We live in one of those close in neighborhoods where we can generally see into each other’s yards but are mostly too polite to do so. We will, however, have to wear bathing suits until the room is built and there are blinds on the windows. But, one thing at a time, and right now it’s the tub being hooked up. Yay!

Think of me~ mimosa in hand, warm bubbly water, playing footsie with my girl… oh, yeah!

07 July 2009

Families, sheesh!

So, I survived the baby shower/family reunion. It went pretty smoothly, in fact. There was enough food to feed the county and everybody who arrived brought another 12 pack. I kept myself busy cutting strawberries for the mimosas that T and I drank… I think one other person asked for a mimosa and we were happy to share. Somehow the three of us got through 4 bottles of champagne. I’m hoping that someone else was having mimosas!

I met the eldest member of the family and she and I got along great. Great Aunt Yvonne is the last member of her generation ~ T’s grandparents are all gone. The fact that she and her husband flew out from Houston was pretty astounding. There’s a bunch of history between her and the rest of the family but it was too ancient and complicated for me to get worked up over.

The only real awkwardness for me came when T’s brother-in-law, who is a jerk, grabbed her by the neck while she was barbecuing. He was trying to put her in a choke hold for some reason. She yelled for me to come out and pull him off. Well, shoot. That puts me in a fairly awkward position. I will not let anyone rough up my girlfriend, of course. And even though I am smaller than him, I am a black belt martial artist. So, restraint was called for but no tolerance of unwanted physical contact. I pulled him off her and walked him a few feet away before letting him go. Told him, “No means no. Hands off the girl.” Boy, was he mad! I knew he would be. I knew perfectly well that being shown up by a small, middle-aged woman does not sit well with most men. Tess should have just stabbed him in the leg with the barbeque fork and left me out of it. Oh well, I’m not too worried about his opinion of me. My opinion of him is pretty darned low.

We were there for what felt like forever! Got there about 11:30 in the morning and didn’t get home until nearly 9pm. Way too long for me. And, we had been home about 20 minutes when T’s cousin and her daughter stopped by on their way wherever. Holy crapola, people! They stayed for about two hours. I was falling asleep on my feet by that time. And, irritatingly, her cousin kept calling me by the short form of my name ~ which only my own family calls me and only occasionally. That bugged me.

Now, last week I was thinking, ok, we’ve had our obligatory family get-together and it’s out of the way. We’re good until the holidays roll around. Ha!

So here’s the thing: we are building a sun room and have bought a small hot tub for it (yay!). The hot tub was supposed to be delivered on Saturday afternoon. Really? Saturday, July 4th? Yep, says the guy, it’s just another work day. OK, fine. So, we get T’s brother lined up to be here to help us lift it off the trailer and onto the deck. The delivery was supposed to be at around 4pm. Unbeknownst to us, T’s mom decides that since Mark is going to come over at 4, the whole family will come with him and we’ll have a barbeque. She lets us know of this plan on Thursday. There is no way that T can tell her mom no. She just can’t. So, ok, I’ll suck it up and be the nice girlfriend even though we just saw all these people one week ago.

Well, the hot tub guy calls and says he can be there around noon instead. Quick call to Mark, can you come over at noon? Sure, should I bring Mom and the kids? NO! We are not eating until 6pm. Do NOT bring your mom over until 4 or 4:30! Got the tub delivered, all looks good, sent Mark home, thinking a little nosh and a little rest before the family arrives, a quick shower, we’ll feel fine.

Then her Mom calls again. Oh, your cousin Roberta, her husband and their teenage daughter are on their way over. They want to see you before they go back to Arizona. So, yeah, the cousin, the husband, the daughter are there for an hour before T’s mom, brother, niece and nephew arrive. Sigh.

We’re all sitting at the table on the deck. Drinking a beer, chatting. The rest of the family arrives. I go inside to get something and when I come back, T’s mom has taken my chair and is holding forth to the table. There was nowhere left to sit on the deck so I went down into the yard and sat in the shade. If these had been my relatives, I would have made one of the teenagers get up and give an adult a chair. But apparently that doesn’t happen in this family. It actually worked out better for me because it was much cooler in the shade and I could get a few yards distance from all of them. I put the sprinkler on and the smart ones and the kids walked through it occasionally to cool off.

It was another exhausting, loud, trying day. And, since it was the 4th it wasn’t over by a long shot. Shot… ha! Get it? Doh. But, that’s enough for now. Don’t get me wrong, I really like T’s mom and most of her family. They are just fatiguing. And two weekends in a row is too much. Suffice it to say, I was glad to get back to work this week.