Gormp geh-blerp

Apparently, I can only keep certain portions of my shit together at any given time.

Being more productive at day job = falling behind with friends

Clean laundry room = dirty kitchen

Publishy things = less writing

So the contract for the book sale is supposed to arrive any day. You know what that means. People coming out of the woodwork to give me advice. Like I haven’t been ass deep in the publishing industry learning everything I can for the last 20 years? Yes, please, tell me about what the latest studies on book marketing show. If you’ve never sold any of your writing, give me unsolicited advice about basic revision techniques. Also, I would love it if you could lecture me about how to act like a professional adult. Cuz me no have no practice at adulting. I expect this kind of condescension from middle-aged white guys, but I’ve been getting it from some surprising corners lately. It’s times like this I wish my official policy weren’t to keep my mouth shut and nod politely.

Of course, publishing is glacial, so after I sign the contract, I may see some money by year’s end. Or not. In the interim, I had to borrow money from my mother to get a new water heater. It was 19 degrees outside this morning. I just couldn’t face a cold shower, not even for the sake of pride or my self-proclaimed adulthood.

My life feels very scattery and boring right now, but I guess that’s not bad. I get up, I walk doggies, I give doggies breakfast, I do kitty things, I go to work. There’s some working in there. And some fucking around on the internets. Then I go home and repeat the walking and the feeding and the kittying, after which I sit around like a lump. Meh. Perhaps it’s just the onset of winter blahs.

Josey is on another round of pills. Antibiotics. Antifungals. A new antihistamine. It all seems to be working, so perhaps we’ve found a solution to her sad, chewed up paws. Biggie is still her grand old self. She got into it with the plumber, but finally agreed to let him into the house. I’d warned him not to knock, but he did.

Uh, see what I mean, scattered and boring? Well, this is what I come home to every night:

Why aren't we cuddling yet?

Why aren’t we cuddling yet?

And so inevitably, this is what the same scenario looks like an hour later:

Maximum cuddling!

Maximum cuddling!

Me in pajamas with dogs piled on top. Oh well, there are certainly worse ways to live my life.

Posted in Dawgs, Random Redscylla | Tagged , , , , , | 13 Comments

A surprising number of good things *ducks*

So I set out to write a weekly update post and I realized that most of the things that I was going to write about are really good things. This, of course, makes me paranoid. How can so many good things be going on in my life? And what are the odds the universe won’t soon seek to counterbalance them?

I dunno, but in the interim, here is my update. If you’re on Facepuke, you’ve seen all my news, so sorry for the duplication.

1. I officially got my new title at work. If you’ll remember, 15 months ago, I got a new job with more responsibilities, but that was all I got: more work. Then 8 months later, I got the raise to go with the new job. It was a very respectable raise, enough to put me firmly in the Adult category with my salary. Now, after 15 months of doing the job, and 7 months of being paid for it, I finally got the title to go with it. I don’t think of myself as an ambitious person professionally, but it’s kinda cool to have a fancy title to identify myself with. When I call people, there’s a lot more authority in being able to see I’m the office manager of a whole school, rather than the secretary of a department.

2. I sold a book. I mean, really, seriously, sold a book. It’s not that I have anything but respect for small presses, the people who run them, and the people published by them. I totally respect the process and the people. I was thrilled to have my first two novels published by a small press. But this is a whole other ballgame, my people. We’re talking mid five figures. We’re talking an imprint of one of the Big 5 Publishers. An imprint you’ve probably heard of. An imprint you possibly own books from. We’re talking a professional, successful editor, a marketing department, and national exposure. So wow. I’m still trying to process it. I’ll be signing the contract some time this month, and perhaps I’ll see the first part of the money by the end of the year, but who knows?

3. I set out on September 1st with a challenge to myself to consume NO added sugar for 30 days. Certainly, any naturally occurring sugar in fruits or vegetables were allowed, but I vowed to consume no food that was processed with added sugar. Having sworn that, I thought, “Why not go ahead and do the 30 days low carb, too?” And then on September 2nd I had a terrible day and succumbed to Mexican food and pop. So, I set out on September 3rd with a challenge to myself to consume NO added sugar for 30 days. That challenge stuck. Today is Day 30 and, having survived the last 29, I’m pretty sure I’ll make it through the day. I knew I would see some weight loss as a result of cutting out sugar and dropping my carbohydrate consumption under 50 g per day. In my fantasy, I was going to lose 20 lbs in 30 days. I came pretty damn close. When I got on the scale this morning, the magic number was 191. That’s 19 lbs less than I weighed on September 3rd. So 10% of my body weight in 30 days. I’m sure the next 19 lbs won’t be that easy to get off, but at least I’ve got a jump start on the process. Top two side effects of the weight loss: I have more pants to wear to work than the one pair of emergency fat pants I wore all summer AND my uterus is a lot less angry.

4. Having typed out these wonderful, exciting things, I just realized I am probably never going to get laid again. Because that seems like the only likely retribution the universe will exact for my current happiness. Day job is going okay, writing job is fantastic, losing weight, oh, and book money will help me finish the last big projects on my house. So personal life? Sex life? Nah. Prolly not gonna happen. Oh well. It was nothing but a headache when I had a sex life, so I suppose I’ll be fine.

5. Speaking of, in fairly neutral news, I have not heard from Blurter in a while. I think this is a good sign. After all, he chooses to be absent from my life, so why should I have to put up with his importunate texting? Farewell, I say. The dogs and I have settled in nicely to our blurtless life. He would be more complication and might get ideas about things. Nothing good comes of that.

Posted in Good things, My wacky personal life, Work is work, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Rediscovering my dryer in the laundry room jungle

I decided that it was time to unfuck my laundry room habitat. Like pretty much every laundry on earth, it’s a catch-all for crap. Need something in the house, but don’t know where it goes? Put it in the laundry room. Need to take something out of the house, but too tired to deal with it right now? Put it in the laundry room. Can’t decided whether something is staying or going? Just put it in the laundry room.

Also: Laundry.

Jeezus Pete, why is it so hard to do laundry and put it away in a timely manner? It just piles up and up and up. The washed, the unwashed, the somewhere in betweenshed.

Anyway, I hit it hard this morning. I didn’t take before pics, but let this completely random photo I took when I was trying to find this little dog’s family serve as a fair example. On any given day for the last five years, every square inch of my laundry room has been as crapped up as the portion of it visible behind this little guy.

Little dog in danger of being lost again in  my laundry room

Little dog in danger of being lost again in my laundry room

There’s still some stuff that needs to find a better home, but nearly everything else is put away. It helps that I bought some snazzy new 1970s shelves at ReStore this week. They allow me to store all the miscellaneous dog blankets someplace other than the top of the dryer.

A clear path to the garage door. What will they think of next?

A clear path to the garage door. What will they think of next?

The top of my dryer is white!!!

The top of my dryer is white!!!

New shelves solve the problem

New shelves solve the problem

Posted in Good things, Puckett House | Tagged , , , , , | 20 Comments

Jack of ALL the motherfucking trades

So I got that promotion earlier this year, turning me into the office manager for several more departments than I used to oversee. About every time I turn around, this job entails an extra level of fuckery. This summer, as part of the process to turning these departments into a cohesive administrative unit, I was supposed to take 4 mail rooms, 4 copy rooms, 3 storage rooms, and a junk office, and turn them into 2 copy rooms, 1 mail room, and 1 storage room.

We threw out a whole lot of junk, including 4 old microwaves, 7 mini fridges, and a mountain of old office supplies, including typewriter ribbons for typewriters we no longer have, mimeograph materials, slide projectors, and obsolete equipment of all stripes. Basically 40 years worth of crap that nobody would take responsibility for getting rid of. It might be needed at some point. Of course, I had to be the one to say, “No. We are not going to need a fucking slide projector again. I have a portable goddamn digital LED projector.” That was actually what I had to say to my former boss when he got upset at finding the slide projector in the discard pile.

So there I was, in early June, steadily whittling down all this crap, and waiting for an important delivery: my brand new modular mail room. 5 tables and 5 mailbox risers to fill one room and handle all the mail for 150+ people that until now was being handled in 4 separate mail rooms all over the building. This was going to produce an enormous economy of staff time.

When the boxes arrived, I notified our maintenance department to ask when they could begin assembling the mail boxes. A guy arrived later that day, and we looked over the piles of cartons. Within a few minutes I realized that they weren’t all there. We were missing 3 boxes, 3 of the ten pieces. I sent the maintenance guy away with my apologies, and called our official state vendor.

“Oh, it looks like we don’t carry those three pieces anymore,” they said.

I went back to purchasing and said, “I need to return these 7 items and find a non-contract vendor who CAN provide me with a full modular mail room.”

Of course, I’d need special permission for that, buying something off contract. So I got started on the paperwork, and each time, I was kicked back and asked why I didn’t get it from our vendor? Each time, more phone calls, until that day, my first day back to work after my pop’s funeral, when I just had enough.

“It’s a MODULAR mail room. It doesn’t work if 3 of the 10 pieces are missing. You can’t substitute other items from other manufacturers because IT IS A FUCKING MODULAR MAIL ROOM! DO YOU UNDERSTAND MODULAR? CAN YOU FUCKING UNDERSTAND WHY THAT WON’T WORK? BECAUSE MY DAD JUST DIED AND I AM CRYING MY EYES OUT EVERY DAY AND I CAN STILL FUCKING UNDERSTAND THAT FOR A MODULAR MAIL ROOM TO WORK, I NEED ALL THE FUCKING PIECES! SO STOP GIVING ME THE RUN AROUND AND EITHER RETURN THESE ITEMS OR FIND THE OTHER PIECES!!!”

Silence followed, so complete that I thought the person had hung up on me. After a minute or two, he said, “Let me do some more investigating about those missing pieces.”

Two hours later, he called me back and said, “So, it looks like one of our subsidiaries in Minnesota has those missing pieces. We can get those shipped out next week.”

“Thank you,” I said, meek as a mouse.

A mere two weeks later, the other three pieces arrived. I immediately called maintenance to inform them that at last, the mail room could be assembled. Then I waited with baited breath for the transformation to occur.

And I waited. And I waited. And the first week of August, the same maintenance guy from before showed up. Great! I left him to his work, and went on with mine. As we neared lunch time, he came by my office and said, “I got called out on an emergency, but I’ll be back later.”

After he left, I went to see how far he’d gotten and found this:

A morning's worth of work?

A morning’s worth of work?

In the course of that first morning, he’d managed to unbox one set of mail box risers. Now to me, that seemed foolish. After all, he’d need a table to put the riser on, so why unbox a riser first? I would have unboxed and assembled all the tables first, but I’m just a secretary. I don’t work for maintenance. So I didn’t say a word.

I just waited for him to come back and finish the job.

And I waited. And I waited. And by then it was the week before classes were to start. I still had 4 mail rooms, and now they all needed to be updated for the new semester. Plus I had an empty mail room, and a mountain of cartons scattered all over the main office. Monday, I called maintenance. Oh yes, they said, we’ll get back to that right away. Tuesday, I called maintenance. Oh yes, you’re next on our list. Wednesday, I called maintenance. Oh yes, don’t you worry. We’re going to work on that today.

Thursday morning, I packed a bag full of tools and toted them to work on my bicycle. I thought, if someone from maintenance shows up this morning, fine. If no one shows up, I will build this mail room myself. So I started unboxing and putting tables together. By the end of Thursday, I had heard nothing from maintenance, but I had all the tables assembled. Took me 6 hours.

Friday, I started in bright and early on the risers, while alternately fielding the ten thousand random things that people need the last day before classes start. I built risers, I made copies, I solved computer password problems. At about 2 pm, I had all but one riser constructed, and maintenance finally made an appearance.

“Oh, you found somebody else to do this project?” he said.

“Yeah, me.”

“So I guess I can close that work order?”

“No, you should cancel it.”

He nodded and went on his way, and I built the last riser. Voila! New mail room:

Or 12 hours' worth of work?

Or 12 hours’ worth of work?

You know what I got this morning? An invoice from maintenance for assembling my mail room. I will not bother to transcribe the expletive laden phone call I had with the supervisor over there. He first tried to claim that they had done the work. When it became clear that I had 40+ witnesses to contradict that claim, he tried to claim that they’d done some of the work. So I sent him the photo showing the exact quantity of work his employee had done. Then he tried to claim that was four hours worth of work, at which point the words, “I’M A FUCKING SECRETARY AND IT TOOK ME LESS THAN AN HOUR TO UNBOX AND ASSEMBLE EACH OF THOSE RISERS!” came out of my mouth. Followed by, “YOU’RE TELLING ME A FUCKING SECRETARY COULD DO IN LESS THAN 12 HOURS WHAT WOULD HAVE TAKEN YOUR GUY TWO GODDAMN WEEKS?”

We will not be paying the invoice. The mail room is pretty spiffy if I do say so myself, but I wonder why I’m known on campus as The One Who Swears All The Time.

Posted in Bitch n Moan, Work is work, WTF? | Tagged , , , , , , | 14 Comments

By special request

So I’m still in the middle of beginning of the semester madness, but a former blog reader made a special request for a re-post of a blog entry from the Vox days. I had to go scrounging for it, but here it is, on the topic of life-changing works of art.

http://wp.me/p13tFV-bR

 

Posted in Good things | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Peace of mind is not cheap

But hey, it’s worth the money.Everybody went to the vet this week. Dr. Tom declares that the cats are in amazing good health for being damn near 14. Biggie Bigs is also a picture of health, even if her teeth are worn down to nubbins from her strenuous chewing regimen. Even Josey is doing well. She’s back to her healthy weight after a winter of inactivity. Her limp has mostly gone away–Dr. Tom suspects she strained a muscle or just tweaked the joint. X-rays and exam show that the knee itself is stable. So a new anti-inflammatory and a round of antifungals to see if we can’t solve the paw licking. She has a yeast infection, but it probably isn’t the original source. It’s an outgrowth of the paw licking, so we’ll deal with the yeast, then see if we can figure out why the paw liking started.

All said and done, exams and shots for all four critters: $640. Youch. I may be eating “lite” next week before payday, but all the money for that was in the bank. So yay! And it’s always nice to get that “all clear” that lets you know your little corner of the animal kingdom is doing well.

How Biggie deals with stress at the vet

How Biggie deals with stress at the vet

Like a goddamn clothing optional retirement resort

Like a goddamn clothing optional retirement resort

Soon, she'll go back to the dog park

Soon, she’ll go back to the dog park

TIIIIIIINY KITTEN!!!

TIIIIIIINY KITTEN!!!

The Queen of Naps

The Queen of Naps

I think I would not get such good news from my doctor, if I went. The months of May and June totally destroyed whatever good I’d done with my diet and exercise. I’ve regained every pound I lost. Back to ten pounds of crap in a five pound bag. Now I’m trying to find me … whatever, to get me back on course.

Posted in Dawgs, Good things, Nekkid Kittehs!!!! | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Cue the ugly cry

Yesterday was Biggie Bigs’ 7th birthday, and so we did a little celebrating. She got an extra extra long walk, a truck ride, and a bacon cheeseburger to celebrate. And she ended her day tired but pleased.

Birthday Girl

Birthday Girl

Then I took Josey out for her bedtime walk. Just around the block to take care of business, since she’s not a fan of death march walks like Biggie.

This morning, when we got up, Josey wouldn’t put any weight on her left rear leg. The same leg that had surgery back in October. Cue the ugly cry. She was officially cleared for regular activity on March 29. Less than 4 months ago.

Drinking on 3 legs

Drinking on 3 legs

It seemed toward the end of the morning walk that she was warming up, and was willing to walk on the leg, but at lunch, same deal. She wouldn’t put the foot down, and limped for the whole walk. No warming up.

She goes back to the vet on Wednesday, because they were already scheduled for their annual shots visit. I’m just going to rest her for the weekend and hope maybe it’s a temporary inflammation or sprain, but how did this happen over night? And why?

The saddest cutest puppy in the world

The saddest cutest puppy in the world

Posted in WTF? | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments