Saturday, July 28, 2007
Friday, July 27, 2007
The one good thing about this being my last week at work is that I did not have to bring lunch even once. I got barbecue (thanks, Thin Coworker), French food (thanks "Virgo" and Ellen, um, Meower) and all sorts of bad-for-me things.
The bad part about this being my last week at work is that it was my last week at work. I liked-ed that job. I am not saying that the commute didn't suck. I am not saying there weren't ridiculous deadlines and last-minute demands and drama and gnashing of teeth and wailing in the hallways.
But it suited me. The people were funny. And creative. And interesting. They loaned me their Anne of Green Gables DVDs that Marvin Gardens packed and now I have to mail back to LA when we get to NC and unpack, they wore great Halloween costumes (at Halloween, I mean. Not all the time) and they all seemed to have inexplicably large collections of Simpsons figurines.
Besides, proofreading advertising is fun. Way more interesting than, say, proofreading depositions or textbooks or indexes or any of the other boring crap I've proofed.
So, today was the end. Someone asked me, "Are you going to give up the not-spending thing since you're moving?"
I said "No. Of course we have to pay to move, but we are still trying to not spend any more than is necessary."
"Really?" they said. "I would totally have used this as an excuse to trash the whole idea."
You know it hadn't occurred to me to do that? By now this whole thing is sort of habit. I haven't been perfect at it, and lately we've been taken on so many goodbye meals it seems hard to remember we aren't going to restaurants, but we are still committed to going the year without spending. And I know this will particularly kill me when we get there and I can't buy doo-dads for the new house. Or haus, as they would say in Michigan. Because everything has to be German all the time there.
Anyway. So this afternoon, my boss got Haagen-Dazs ice cream and Ellen Meower made cookies (I am loving myself for making up the name Ellen Meower, which is only funny if you know her actual last name), and another coworker made little cupcakes that spelled out "Goodbye, June. We will miss you." without the punctuation. I took one before I noticed it spelled a message, so the rest of the party, my cupcakes said, "Goo bye, June."
My Virgo pal at work, who I will miss more than rice, wrote me a limerick about my red pens and my frizzy hair, and I hugged everyone and said so long, managing to steal a few more moving boxes as I left.
I drove my 16-mile, one-hour commute for the last time. And I cried the whole way.
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Tonight I am going to join a bunch of my friends, and this is going to be hard. It was hard enough saying goodbye to Dan and Renee the other day. And by the way, tonight I turned on the news and there was a big story about some volcano in Hawaii erupting. Please tell me Dan and Renee did not move there Monday only to be swept away in a volcano on Wednesday. Does anyone know more about this?
Actually, before she moved, Renee and I discussed the whole volcano thing. I said maybe she'd be frozen in lava forever, kind of like those poor people in Pompeii.
Always one to enjoy that spotlight, Renee immediately began practicing "I was caught in a volcano" poses, so that the media would prefer her image to anyone else's. She did a sexy pose, a terrified pose. Whatever with her. If she was frozen forever in volcano ash, it will be my one goal in life to get her on the cover of Life Magazine.
Do they even make Life Magazine anymore?
Okay. I have to go say goodbye now. AGAIN. And don't worry, I am not spending any money. Soon we will have to spend $3,500 on the whole moving van. But I think it can't be helped.
Monday, July 23, 2007
For those of you who do not keep up with Barry Gibb -- those of you who are, say, able to move past the man you had posters of in 8th grade -- Barry Gibb lives in Miami, Florida. This is a mere 12 hours from my new home.
Do you think Barry Gibb might have some sort of security team that checks blogs to see if anyone writes that they are planning to stalk their Bee Gee employer? Or could it be I am the first person since 1979 who has such plans? At any rate, look for my Florida mug shot soon!
I can tell you that I am already sick to death of saying goodbye to everything. This weekend we said goodbye to our friends Dan and Renee. I also bid adieu to my old coworker Jerry; my dentist Dr. Bieber; Lucy, the orange cat at a book store I like; Wampus and Daisy, my dachshund friends; and Romeo, the parrot who lives at the pet store I go to.
Yes, I am aware that I just mentioned more animals than people. I am sort of the Dr. Doolittle of Los Angeles. I have the "do little" part down, anyway.
We have driven through our old neighborhood in Silverlake and said goodbye to our old duplex and we have eaten one last time at Antonio's, this great Italian place in the Valley. (Oh, get your knickers out of their twist. We were taken there by my stepsister and her spouse. We didn't PAY to eat out.)
Everything I do now, I think, "This is the last time I will [insert inane thing here]." I actually thought today, "This is the last Monday I will go to lunch at this job."
The exciting thing is that I only have to do that STUPID commute four more times. Well, eight, if you count the fact that I have to go there and then back again. Tonight it took an hour and a half. May I remind you that I live 16 miles from work. An HOUR and a HALF. There is not enough Sirius Radio in the world to keep me uncrabby after an hour.
So, Friday is my last day, and we leave August 1. My workplace is going to keep me on as a part-timer, and I got my old statistics textbook client back, so I will be proofreading for them, too. You know you envy me, getting to read statistics textbooks all day. Laugh if you will, but I will be doing it FROM HOME. At L.A. PRICES. In NORTH CAROLINA. Or Florida, if it is stalk Barry day.
It's allllways funny until somebody gets hit in the eye with a restraining order.
Friday, July 20, 2007
...I would have hired cleaning people. A nice group of professionals would clean our windows, the bathroom, the carpet, the fridge, and I would stand around haughtily, making sure they missed nothing. Then I'd hire another crew in NC. And I'd do the same to them.
...I would have purchased a big slew of boxes instead of haunting R (the convenience store on our corner that only has the letter "R" left on its sign) every half hour for more FIJI Water and Tide boxes.
...I would have flown the cats to our new home. I would have one of those cute pet carriers that you take on a plane, and they would have ridden with me. First class. "Oh, stewardess, another Iams cocktail for Ruby, here."
...I would buy buy buy new things for our new home. New things that as of yet I do not know that I need, but as soon as I get there I will think that I desperately need.
...I would be taking myself out to lunch every day. This house is a mess, who wants to eat something here? Besides, all our cooking utensils are packed. Hello, Boston Market!
...I would treat myself to a day at the spa. Moving is stressful. Where is my masseuse?
If we were spending money and I did all of the above, I would seem like a real ass.
Of course, if we were spending money, we wouldn't have had the cash to purchase any of the above. Also, we probably wouldn't have had the nerve to get rid of Marvin's horrid job, thinking we couldn't live on my income alone for even a month. So therefore we wouldn't even be MOVING to North Carolina.
So. There it is. We have packed most of the house, I have taken down the curtains and washed them, washed the curtains that came with the house, ironed them and put them back up (navy blue and peach curtains. That's what this house came with. Does that depress you as much as it does me?). I have taken a big mop and gotten the cobwebs off the outside of the house. Soon I will scrub and clean every surface, knowing I will never get it as perfect as my tidy landlord gave it to us. All of it for free, all of it done by yours truly.
I keep reminding myself that this was all much harder for Ma Ingalls, although she didn't have to worry about security deposits.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
We're back! We are done with the relaxing! And thanks, everyone, who sent emails and voice mails asking me to contact you from my vacation, cause that was gonna happen!
Seriously. Do you really check email and voice mail from your vacation? I did, once, from my Aunt Kathy's, but that was it. Are real vacations no longer allowed? Are we supposed to be plugged in at all times now? Cause, no!
Anyway, I will briefly synopsize for you our vacation and times we spent money.
First and foremost, I bought shoes in Boston. Now, we were only there a short time, and what I really wanted to do was run into Ally McBeal and see where they filmed Zoom. I knew what zip code to find it in. Remember, they'd tell you the address of where to write, then sing the zip code? (Oooo two one three fourrrrr.)
Marvin Gardens, however, had a different plan. He went to school there, and he wanted to show me all his things from school. Where he took classes, the depressing boiler room apartment he lived in, that sort of thing. Between you, me and the lamppost, I was a little worried it would be the "Women I've Banged" tour, but either Marvin was gentlemanly or he got no action in college, cause I only had to look at one place where he made out with someone.
At any rate, we were doing a lot of the walking, and folks, I have no shoes. Remember at the beginning of the year where I said I had plenty of shoes to last all year? Turns out you replace them more than you may think. So for this trip, I packed my Converse and some flip flops. Cause seriously? I didn't have anything else.
After about hour three of walking in flip flops, I was not happy. So I am afraid I went to the Newberry Street and got me some Steve Madden flats for $29.99. It was actually necessary, I promise. As soon as I purchased the shoes, I tossed those flip flops to the wind.
After that, we were in Cape Cod, and the only thing I bought there other than food was some SPF 50 sunblock, which was later confiscated at the Boston Airport, along with my hand sanitizer and lip gloss. But while I had it, it worked beautifully. It was something like Panama Joe's SPF 50 or something. I highly recommend it, as I burn. I am a redhead, you know. BAH!
The wedding in Cape Cod was lovely, by the way, and oh! I promised I'd tell you how we each humiliated ourselves. Okay.
So, it was an outdoor wedding and when we sat down we were right in the sun. Many people picked up their chairs and put them in the shade, but I thought, oh, that is controlling. I will not participate.
I do not know why I began talking to myself as if I were I Dream of Jeannie, with the not using contractions.
Anyway, Marvin gets sick in the sun, so he said, "I'm gonna sit in the shade till the wedding starts."
And I thought, "I think I will put the chairs in the shade, Master, with the other mortals." Okay, I will stop with the Jeannie talk.
So, I put our chairs in the shade and started looking around for Marvin, to tell him. But I could not find him. I could not find Master.
I need to stop with this at once.
Anyway, as I'm looking, the music starts playing and the wedding is beginning! The groom is up there, so is the best man, the minister is coming down the aisle. And guess who is also there, looking lost cause his seat is gone, standing IN THE MIDDLE OF THE AISLE AS THE WEDDING IS BEGINNING? Is it Marvin? And am I helpless because the MUSIC HAS STARTED and the WEDDING has BEGUN and Marvin is suddenly IN the wedding?
And here's the other thing. When Marvin is looking for something (in this case, me) he assumes a Tyrannosaurus Rex posture, with his hands curled in front of him. Why does he do this? I do not know. Could it be some ancient thing? Was he once a dinosaur? At least he was the big, important one.
So there he is in the middle of the wedding ceremony, T. rex-ing obliviously, and I am over there like Holly in Land of the Lost thinking, "Daddy, do something! Aaahhhh!" because I can't just stand up and go, "Over here, Dino!" (Was Dino a T. rex? Wasn't he on all fours? Was the dinosaur Fred slides down at the end of his workday a T. rex? Why do I care? Should I go back to being Jeannie?)
Anyway, he finally finds me and then we spend the rest of the ceremony bickering in whispered tones, which I'm sure thrilled everyone around us.
And if that weren't bad enough, later I am standing in the receiving line, and my heels keep digging into the ground because, again, outdoor wedding. And who's sporting her inappropriate pumps? Old Tina Turner, over here. Pushing her Nutbush City Limits.
So, I look behind me, and this woman is carrying the cutest baby in this front pack thing, and you guys, why do I do things like this? I said to her, "Hey. Will you do me a favor? Take that baby out and carry me in there for awhile? These heels are driving me nuts."
Well. You know how some people might think that is sort of funny, and some people are simply horrified by things like that? Yeah. I got the horrified type. You could tell she thought I was berserk. And then I had to stand there for like half an hour in awkward silence, resentful that she wouldn't carry me.
But back to the spending. I am happy to report that other than the sun block and the shoes, the part of the trip where we visited Aunt Kathy was spendless, basically. We all went to the Vermont Country Store, and both my aunt and my mother gave me money to spend there for my birthday. You know I like me the Vermont Country Store. I got many doo-dads that I had admired from the catalog.
Plus, that night on my birthday, there was pink cake.
Anyway, the only other bad spendy thing I did was on our last night in Boston, which was only last night but feels like 72 years ago, was I bought a Harvard Book Store T-shirt when we were visiting Harvard Square. Sue me.
And the best thing of all was today, when I realized that this is the LAST TIME that I will have to fly into stupid LAX. We got in at 1:50, and by the time we waited for a gate, waited for our luggage, waited for the shuttle, and waited in our car on the 405, we got home at nearly 5:00. Nice.
Now I have to go read all your blogs and see what you all did while I was gone. I hope Fully Operational Battle Station got rid of her earwigs.
Sunday, July 15, 2007
That line is only funny if you saw the first Star Trek movie. But it is true; as you read this I will be officially 42. I have jumped the shark. And in that vein, I announced to Marvin Gardens that as a 42-year-old, I have officially decided that I will no longer wear shorts. Ain't no one needing to see that mess any more. So it is Capri pants and filmy skirts from here on out.
So we are on our vacation. I am typing you from the confines of my Aunt Kathy's home in Vermont. She and my uncle live up in the mountains, and we were just in the back with a bonfire, eating s'mores till they came out our nose holes. The house is really lovely, and right up the road is this old monastery made of stone that we hiked all around today. There was a wishing well that I threw a (borrowed) quarter into. Do I have a button nose yet?
I am happy to report to you that once you get used to not spending, you don't really do it so much when you are vacationing, either. We were in Boston (which I had never been to and may I add is the COOLEST city ever) and then of course Cape Cod (which we love love love love love love loved)and yes, we have had to go out to eat, but our souvenirs so far? I got some lavender sea glass off the beach. We have gone to a lot of antique stores and flea markets and such, and... nothing. Oh. We did buy an old sort of rare Beatles CD at the flea market, to bring to my Aunt Kathy. But that's really it!
I told Marvin not to get me a birthday gift, and I will report back to tell you if he stuck to it.
When I get back to LA and am not trying to type on my aunt's RIDICULOUS ergonomic keyboard, remind me to tell you about how Marvin walked right into the middle of the wedding ceremony on Saturday, and also how I humiliated myself asking a woman to carry me in her baby's front pack.
Bye! Hope you are all having good weeks out there in spendland! Cape Cod rocks! Did I mention that?
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Okay, let's start with the gout. Remember a few posts ago where I said I was getting a bunion? Well, I went to the doctor yesterday and he thinks it might be gout.
For those of you who are not overweight old men, gout is a disease that happens to overweight old men. (With all apologies to my father, who is currently quite svelte, but who has gout and had it worse when he weighed more.) What I am SAYING is, gout is this very painful thing where your body can't break down uric acid, whatever that is, and as a result you form these crystals in your body that hang around in your joints.
Now, that sounds like it'd be kind of pretty, doesn't it? Shiny little crystals decorating my joints here and there. How festive!
Yeah, not so much. The doctor asked me if I drank a lot or ate a lot of shellfish. I don't do EITHER! EVER! But those of you who know and love me know I eat like Jethro Bodine on The Beverly Hillbillies. I eat big slabs of red meat, and all sorts of processed fatty fat-fat foods, and so on.
Because it comes from drinking and eating fatty foods, gout is called "The Rich Man's Disease." So you know why I might have this, right? Because I've SAVED ALL THIS MONEY! Now I am rich, so I get rich man's disease.
So to make a dramatic story not so dramatic, the tests came back today and I might just have an inflamed nerve or something. The doctor will tell me more tomorrow. So yelling at my father yesterday for the bad genes was probably unnecessary. Sorry, dad. But I am still mad about when you put Shadow to sleep.
And speaking of being rich, we have distributed our savings and I have laid it out for you on the busy panel to the right of this blog. Since we have been not spending, we have paid our taxes, paid off our credit cards, paid off my car (which I just sold, by the way, to my mother! go, mom!) (we are shipping the dang thing to Michigan. I guess there aren't a lot of cars in Michigan. It's not, like, where they make them or anything. Perhaps mom was just helping us out a bit. Ya think?) and we still have $5,100 in savings.
When the check gets here from sale of the auto, we'll have $5,000 more in savings. Which is pretty exciting, even if it did give me gout.
Finally, I do have to tell you that we're, well, we're going on a vacation starting tomorrow. Now DON'T YELL. A very dear friend is getting married in Cape Cod. I paid for our room there last year already, cause I figured rooms in Cape Cod in July should probably be booked early. When this not-spending thing came around, I thought about not going to this wedding, but you know what? Weddings are once-in-a-lifetime events, and every time I HAVEN'T gone to one, I have regretted it. So I am happily going.
Besides, I have never seen cod wearing capes before.
After the wedding, we are going to Vermont to stay with my Aunt Kathy, and it will be my birthday and our wedding anniversary. Not my wedding anniversary with my Aunt Kathy. With my spouse. Geez.
So, maybe I will blob from Aunt Kathy's, but if I don't, here's Gouty, signing off for now!
Sunday, July 8, 2007
The only good thing I can tell you is that there are a lot of stores around here with moving boxes at the ready, including Baskin-Robbins. Sadly, those boxes just make me hungry. They are maraschino cherry boxes, waffle cone boxes, nut boxes...Mmmm mmmm mmmm mmmm MMM!
At one of my old jobs, there was this old lady who was in love with me. I am not making this up. She was obsessed with my wardrobe; every day she'd compliment something.
"Only you could wear that color" "Oh! I love those pants!" and she would punctuate each compliment with "Mmmm!"
"Mmmm! That bra fits you nicely! MMM!" (No, seriously, she really said that. She was this 75-year-old grandmother. I have no idea why she loved me. Some mornings Marvin Gardens and I would guess what thing she would compliment that day.)
(Am I mean-spirited? Perhaps she just really liked my clothes. But no, I have to go there and make it all lusty.)
Anyway, I wanted to tell you that we found a free thing to do yesterday. We went to the cemetery! I love me the cemetery, I always have. My Aunt Mary used to take me to the mausoleum for fun, an activity that baffled and repulsed my grandmother. But I loved it! There was one guy who had died on Valentine's Day. This fascinated me. I had no idea you could die on a holiday.
Also, I recently found out that my great-grandmother liked her the cemetery, too. So it's genetic.
And here, the cemeteries are full of movie stars, which is oftentimes a surprise. I have gone to cemeteries asking, for example, "Can you tell me where to find Andy Gibb's grave?" and they get all huffy and tell me this is not a tourist attraction, but rather a place of rest. Oh, calm down. So often you have to find the tombstones by accident.
Here is Marilyn Monroe's grave. Every time I have gone to MM's grave, someone has kissed it with their lipstick, which really can't be sanitary. There are also always fresh flowers there, which I know used to come from Joe DiMaggio, but not anymore. Next to her place in the wall is an empty place, which I have heard Hugh Hefner is going when he dies.
This is not a movie star, I was just fascinated by the fact that she still gave palm readings. And so cheap! This is a photo taken with my cell phone, so I apologize that it is the size of a postage stamp
I was thrilled to find Rodney Dangerfield's marker, which reads, "There goes the neighborhood." Oh, he is a funny one.
And finally, my favorite of all the celebrity stones I saw yesterday, Jack Lemmon's, where he just has "Jack Lemmon... in..." Whoo! Get it? He's not in anything! Just the ground! Oh, I thought that was hilarious.
The other morbid thing we did for free yesterday was go to Benedict Canyon, down the street where the Manson murders were. Neither one of us knew the address of the house, only the street, so we THINK we saw the house, but I was getting carsick from the twisty, windy roads up there so we left without being sure.
"Mmmm! Only you could turn green that way! Your carsickness looks great! MMMMM!"
Friday, July 6, 2007
Also, does anyone else read the comic strip For Better or for Worse? If so, do you desperately wish Elizabeth wouldn't end up with the mustache guy? Am I alone on this as well?
The weekend is here and again we have...NO PLANS because we...DON'T SPEND!
I am into the ellipses today.
Actually, I have to change our "amount saved" section on the right-hand side of this blog. We are down from our all-time high of $17,500. Marvin Gardens decided to pay off his credit card, which had like $2500 on it. We are officially debt-free! Well, other than his car. Doesn't Suze Orman say things like cars don't count as debt? Could I seem more obsessed with Suze Orman? I don't even like her that much. Her teeth are unnaturally white, for one thing.
Anyway, I got home early from work (again! They did the "leave at 2:00" thing again! Exciting.) and Marvin is not here. So I cannot ask him how much he has in savings. I think it is now officially not much. Nevertheless, our not spending has resulted in us being able to pay the $4200 in taxes that we owed this year, the $4200 we owed on my car (what's with us and the figure "4200"? Ooo! It's like that creepy show! Or is that The 4400?) and Marvin's $2500 in credit card debt. So we really can't complain.
And yet we will.
We are going to spend a lot of the weekend packing. We are pretty ahead of ourselves, actually. All the bookshelves are empty and most of the knickknacks are gone. Marvin also packed my friend Kathy's Anne of Green Gables DVD, which I am making him find, so I can return it. Oh, was I annoyed when I figured out he'd packed it.
I guess I will blog at you later. Can you use "blog" as a verb?
Tuesday, July 3, 2007
They let us out of work early today. I have never really understood that, offices letting you out early because you get the next day off. I mean, why? Don't get me wrong, I was off like a shot at 2 p.m. There was an outline of my body crashing through the wall, getting out of there. But I do not get what we are supposed to do with this extra time.
And by the way, it is 3:18 p.m. Got out of work at 2:00, got home at THREE EIGHTEEN P.M. Nice traffic.
So, I have to tell you the truth. I bought a dress on Sunday. Remember in elementary school when boys would say, "Dress up for Sunday!" and then flip your dress up? What a bunch of jerks young boys are.
I am going to yet another wedding soon, and I went to the mall on Sunday to purchase new underthings. But did I? No. I am still wearing Marvin Garden's boxers, my mom's girdle and my bathing suit because I need new chones.
For whatever reason, I convinced myself that my marry 'em and bury 'em all-purpose dress would not suffice for my next wedding. So I went to the Ann Taylor. Now, sue me. I know Ann Taylor is not cutting edge, and that I am not cool, but I like me the Ann Taylor. It is classic, pretty, and I do not look like I am trying to be 21. There is a store here called Forever 21, which just makes me sad. Do we really want to be forever 21? At this point, I would have to go in twice, to match my age.
To make a long story really boring, I bought this dress. And no, I didn't turn into a really attractive African-American model when I put it on. That is not a picture of ME, per se. Just a picture of the dress.
They were having a sale at Ann Taylor, but of course I bought the one item in the store that was full price.
I would say this is my biggest cheat so far, and right at the halfway point. Nice.
I guess that's all I have to say about that. Happy 4th of July, everybody! We're independent! Every year I make Marvin Gardens listen while I read the 4th of July chapter from Little Town on the Prairie. This year the book is already packed. So if anyone has that chapter, please type it word-for-word into the comments for me, just up to the part about the despots. Marvin will be SO happy.