Thursday, May 31, 2007
and now you know.... the rest of the story
Okay, so now to tell you about my root canal. *cheers again* Wait, the blog is Everyday Stupidities so I feel obliged to tell this story about work first. This week I will not have worked one weekday. None of this was really by my choice and there's nothing wrong here, it's just how the schedule has been reshuffled. Over last weekend the scheduling guy asked me if I'd be willing to take paid time off on Monday, Memorial Day, because he didn't figure there would be much volume of work and because I've agreed to cover a coworker's shift on Thursday, June 14. So I had Monday off. And the funny kismet of it was, the Russian Mafia figured out that it was a holiday here so rather than creating their daily 5-20 domains with one or two dozen phishing sites, they created 41 of them... and added one of our clients to the list of brands 'represented', so my coworkers had to do ten times as much work as usual contacting hosts to have those sites taken down. Ha ha. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday are off-days for me, but on Tuesday the scheduling guy calls me at home:
Did you get my email?
Uh, no, I haven't been at the office since Sunday, you know that.
I sent you an email asking if you were willing to swap this Friday's shift with [coworker] who needs Thursday the 7th off.
Yes, that is good by me... okay, this Friday I'm off, next Thursday I'm on.
Could you reply to that email so I'll have documentation that the offer was accepted? Anytime is fine but preferably soon.
Okay, I'll send you a reply when next I'm downtown.
I had no plans of going downtown anytime soon, everywhere I was planning to go either was within six miles or was in another direction. But I got bored around 9pm Tuesday so I drove downtown, went to the building, let myself in (scaring the night person), turned on the computer, immediately set Thunderbird to "retrieve headers only" because it'd take an hour for it to pick up the 945 emails I had no need to read, restarted the program, waited a few minutes for it to finish compiling the list, found two emails from the scheduler -- the mail he was referring to, and a followup saying "you have verbally accepted the shift swap but please reply to this email to confirm", meh -- and replied as requested with "yes, okay, accepted". Deleted 945 emails, filed the two he sent in the Useless folder, set Thunderbird back to automatic message retrieval, and shut down the computer. A one hour or so round trip for five minutes of work and three written words. So on Friday I plan to maybe do a little tiling of the fireplace -- but that's pretty much all, since my wife is leaving town around 10am and I have not plotted anything fun in her absence (try as I feebly might).
Now I can tell the root canal story? *swelling cheers* Alrightie then! There isn't much to tell. Since all the stuff people stereotypically fear or hate about root canals had already been done, there wasn't any drilling or poking with voodoo skewers in the plan. I got there 20 minutes early, sat around reading some vapid celeb worship magazine (I don't recall the title but it was competition to In Touch - or as I call it accurately, "Out Of Touch"). Right around the time my brain felt like it was going to slide out of my head, which any story about Katie and Tom will invoke (though the article about which of the Top 8 on American Idol would win was amusing, Sanjaya was rated fourth and Melinda was rated first -- I didn't say this was the most current issue!), I was called back and seated, and told that the delay is because they have misplaced my file. So there was a bunch of refresher work and re-examining stuff, and after they opened up the temporary filling and took measurements a hygienist was dispatched to look through all the folders pulled one week ago to see if they could find mine. They did find my folder... on the receptionist's desk. (She said she doesn't make mistakes like that and I could ask her husband as a character witness. First, he's in Iraq so that's not an option. Second, husbands know better than to tell the truth about their wives' stupid mistakes to other people, if they like continuing to receive things such as homecooked meals, clean laundry, and sex.) So after about an hour's work of doing whatever it is that endodontists do in their orifices, the hole was patched again and I was sent on my way. And then I bought tile, see the photo at right.
I have a bonus stupidity to mention. It's been really hot in the Puget Sound lately, surprisingly so and it reminds me of growing up in the Lower Yakima Valley (difference being it's ten degrees warmer there and such weather there lasts for months, not days). So I'm driving along to my appointment and there are two young men sitting at a bus stop. One is attempting to use two elements of style that the kind of folks who wear their pants halfway down their asses consider hip: 1) he's hot so he's wearing his shirt like a poncho (head through the neck hole but the shirt is only covering his shoulders, draped over his chest and back); 2) he's got a little black wool cap on with the name of some aggro band glued to it. Okay waitaminnit, he's sweating across his chest and ventilating it, yet has his brain insulated. Kid, you deserve the heatstroke you're gonna give yourself... carry on.
Friday, May 25, 2007
more thoughts from the dentist's chair
So today I went to this specialist to have my root canal done. As I have explained before, I am not put into a state of panic or dread about the concept of a root canal. The price is not a happy thing, even with insurance, but the procedure itself isn't a source of dread for me. I've had two to date. Bad was the one wisdom tooth I've had extracted because it took two hours and screwed up my lower lip for weeks. (I still have the other three wisdom teeth. Two never descended but they show up in x-rays -- see the left part of the previous entry's image for one of them; one has been just sitting there halfway through the gum, not moving or getting a cavity for the last 20 years.) Anyhow. I found the doctor's office, which was across the street from a Target [which DOES sell two-packs of AAA's and offers Energizer e² pairs for a dollar less than K-mart], and got there about half an hour early in case of paperwork or insurance nonsense. I was seated rather quickly. My hygienist told me that in a short time this office will be moving into the same building as my regular dentist, and "if you would have waited 3 months you wouldn't have had to travel." I replied that if I'd waited 3 months, there wouldn't have been an issue to see her about because the tooth would be gone.
It's about 1pm and I'm getting shot up with Novacaine. Out comes the temporary filling. In goes the clamp and dental dam that my own dentist couldn't seem to install. The chair is tipped back so far that my head is lower than my heart, and for that matter lower than my salivary glands... I know I'm going to be gargling in my own spit and anything else that comes that way. Work begins with those little voodoo doll pins to dig out my roots and work whatever magic they do in the far recesses of one's dentine. I'm hanging in there just fine.
Then at some point, whatever substance that she is using on my tooth gets under the dental dam and to the back of my throat, into my nasal passages (though not down my throat, gravity is not allowing this). My mind slipped back to the time I came home from kindergarten when I was about six to be told that my eighteen month old sister had drank some bleach and needed her stomach pumped. (Becky was born with a gastrointestinal problems, requiring surgery when she was 6 weeks old, so this didn't help matters any.) It felt and tasted like she had douched that tooth, and thus my septum, with Clorox. This didn't please me. It didn't please me much more the next two times it happened, though those seemed less severe. This part of the procedure was finally complete, and we could continue on with the scraping and filling portion of the program.
The doctor asked me where I'm originally from. I looked at her through the tinted glasses (with my "lady, you're crazy" look) and went "uh-uh-uh-uh" to remind her I have a dental dam across 4/5 of my mouth preventing proper pronunciation. She said it'd be okay if I tried to tell her, so I thought "okay, you were warned" and attempted once to say 'Toppenish', which as you can guess came out as "tah-uh-nah." Ten seconds of silence on her part as the attempted to process this. And she developed, "California?" My reply of "no" was unmistakeable. The rest of the conversation, I wasn't a part of. I was spacing off looking at the ceiling/blinding lamp while thinking about Jordin Sparks, a series of dreams I've been having about being a private eye, whether I can still breathe, and whatever put me in my 'happy place'. The dentist and the hygienist were conversing about gifts, their sons, and speaking in code about my mouth -- those numbers and acronyms dental miracle workers use, most of which described those voodoo doll pins as far as I could tell. White rods are being inserted into my roots, and I'm told a couple times that we're only a short distance away from closing up and being done.
Nothing is ever as simple as that. She makes it through three of the roots and all is going swimmingly, but the fourth has an artery that needs to be tamed before we can procede. She digs at it and goes away for five minutes. Hmm, still there. She does a few other things in the tooth to kill time. No change. She digs at it some more and goes away for ten minutes. My dental dam breaks because frankly I have to cough up some Clorox. She comes back, sets back into the mouth-mining, and is hammering away with the voodoo picks. It's been two hours so the Novacaine is wearing off. Primordal concern comes to my brain and I'm trying to maintain my place on the food pyramid. I alert her to this increasingly painful fact, and she hits me with more anaesthetic... ahh. Back to the digging. I'm still bleeding, so she says that she can't finish the job until that's taken care of. She packs the tooth with cotton and lays a patch, cajoles me out of the chair (remember, my head has been below my heart for hours so I'm not quite in balance -- and I've got a remarkably deep groove from the tail of my shirt in the small of my back), and has me go to the window to schedule another appointment for the same bat-time and same bat-channel next week, plus hang tight while she writes a prescription for Vicodin because she doesn't take me at my word that I'll be fine with Tylenol. (And I am doing fine with Tylenol. I refuse to get that prescription filled because I have an in-law who "collects" Vicodin, and I have no intention of doing her any favors.) I regain enough of my bearings that I think I can drive, and cross the street to Target to browse and finish the restoration of my senses, plus more importantly get a $20 for gasoline with whatever I purchase.
Does Target have Series 3 of the Cube World toys yet? Nope, dammit. But right nearby are deep-scarlet-purple (officially listed as "pink") Tiger Electronics Massively Mini Media MP3/radio/video players for $22, which I know still retail for $30-$70 in most places so I bought one for myself as a survival reward. 128mb which will hold an hour's worth of AMV-format video or two hours of 128kbps MP3s, 1.1" (96x64) display, Li-ion battery charged via the computer's USB which has a comparatively short life but it's still twice as long as the memory's contents (2 hours for video or 4 hours for music), decent quality earbuds and plausible video (if you don't mind staring at your thumbnail), rediculously small, good FM reception, and the price is right. It's been marketted to 'tweeners so all the free video the manufacturer offers on its site came from Nickelodeon. I was hungry as hell. I've never claimed to be very bright (just quite intelligent) so I didn't eat anything before my appointment; it's now 4pm which means I haven't had solid food in at least eighteen hours. Say what you will about going from a root canal to this sort of fare, but what I hankered for and proceded to consume was a half-pound bag of peanut M&M's and a bottle of Ruby Red Squirt. Then I went home and figured out how to rip that Paragon of Comedy DVD I bought online last week into AMV format so I could watch it on the little player. There were a bunch of stupidities I saw between the doctor's office and home but they slip my mind now. I assure you they were stupid.
So the dental saga is not done and won't be for two to four weeks, since my appointment is on the last day of my 'weekend' so I can't get a crown until my next day off and/or my next non-mortgage-dedicated paycheck. I am looking forward to season six of "Last Comic Standing" to begin in mid-June, now that "American Idol" has ended another season. I predict Blake will sell more albums than Clay Aiken and Taylor Hicks combined. Do not attempt the mental image of Clay and Taylor "combining", please. I also predict that Kelly Clarkson's new song will be really popular after someone else sings it -- some chick with balls, like Joan Jett, Pat Benetar, fellow winner Carrie Underwood, fellow contestant Gina Glocksen... or Meatloaf. Bill Bellamy should be a lot more fun of a LCS host than Anthony Clark since he actually is funny. And speaking of potentially funny, the June update to Laughter is the Spackle of the Soul has been posted.
"Don't squat on the ding-a-ling! Don't squat on the ding-a-ling!" -- CB Trucker as The Incomprehensible Mortgage, Washington Mutual radio advertisement
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
mental geocaching - here are directions to find my mind
Welcome back to Saturn. At mile 620 and a paycheck later I made it back for that 200-300 mile dye diagnostic. Louanne has assured me they't take care of the issuees I brought the car in for weeks ago. I have an impending sense I will need Vaseline. I've come prepared for the hour or three wait -- snack, beverage, music, reading materials, zen -- but I didn't check the battery in my MP3 player before I left home. I have one bar, which should last me between five minutes and thirty minutes. Looks like I am taking a hike over to the K-mart across the street to buy something I already have 20 of. (IKEA's 10 for $4 rebranded Varta AAA cells do me no good when they're 12 miles away.) Song of the moment: "Forever Live & Die" (extended version) -- Orchestral Manoeuvers in the Dark. And I just noticed as Louanne wanders around the place that she's "going commando" today... yep, pretty sure there's not even a thong back there.
...K-mart was a freakshow, complete with JoJo The Lobster Boy and a family of pinheads. The only two-pack of AAA batteries in the whole store is Energizer e² lithiums, which I'm wary of due to losing my first digital camera to a corroded pair of those. I bought them anyway and pledged not to loan my Rio S35 to anyone who plans to store it in a garage. Continuity of music is restored, though the player decided to reset itself between songs while I was browsing the electronics department. There has to be a message in there somewhere.
I brought along a section of yesterday's newspaper which had a big article about alternative fuel vehicles and a conflab at Microsoft to discuss them. I was not there but the coverage made it seem... tepid. Exciting but depid. As though the auto industry likes to give lip service about change but is hesitant to create it. Like they seek a petroleum stinger, not a petroleum killer. Did get a grin out of the photo of a Chevy Volt, created by General Motors, which gets 40 miles per charge -- considering that GM created a car twelve years ago that could get 120 miles to the charge with a potential of 300 with a battery upgrade then destroyed it, you have to wonder whether any existing science they had was in use. Baby-steps. The article also had photos of a plug-in Toyota Prius and a hydrogen/plug-in Ford Edge, but the text didn't actually name names about what we can expect in the future... well, beside college engineering classes making prototypes of vehicles the auto industry refuses to produce, like Western Washington University's 'Viking32' parallel hybrid -- electricity and biomethane. (Cow optional. You'd think it'd be Central Washington University that would pioneer biomethane. *snicker*) Song of the moment: "Data Inadequate" - Banco de Gaia.
Somewhere between "The Highs Are Too High" by Pretty & Twisted and the Mattrix Traxx remix of Queen's "Fat Bottom Girls" (which is a fitting song around here considering some customers and, oh, did I mention Louanne is going commando under tight white slacks?) I realized it is now several minutes until noon. I arrived here at 10 a.m. and haven't had an update. I have read half of the Funny Times. [seconds later after I write that] Louanne has slipped into the chair next to me, the one where the right armrest seems to have been deboned, and informed me that the rare occurance of a cracked head gasket is indeed the case, which would take two days and fifteen hundred dollars to fix. I decide I'm going to
So while I wait for my chariot, a few words on the state of my dental health per yesterday's visit to the reclining chair: The doctor filled me up with Novacaine and clove oil, bored into that molar, realized it was out of his league (hey, I could have told him I had square roots! see, at left?), and referred me to a different person whom I have an appointment with tomorrow. One dentist visit now devolves into three, since I will go back to him after the root canal to get a crown. But at least now he speaks of that missing portion of the molar, at last! The song of the moment: "How Strong Is Love?" - A House. In theory I should be out of here by 1pm, and I am debating eating my granola bar. With the temporary filling, I can't determine what back there is supposed to be there and what part is just a wayward oat.
There's a person in the seat across from me: chubby white guy, mid-to-late 50's, white hair and bushy mustache, peggy teeth, reading Golf Digest. Significant is that his cell phone has rang twice, and his ringtone is some horrible likely-popular rap song. I presume this makes him answer his phone faster than "Für Elise". I have finished the Funny Times now and it's quarter-past 1 p.m., and my car is nowhere in sight. The song of the moment is Men Without Hats' cover of "I Am The Walrus". It's a good thing I bought batteries! Chubby Cracker is asleep sitting up, which isn't tough since he's built like a Weeble. I'm wondering why not fixing my car takes longer than replacing working parts. I go off in search of Louanne's velvet-upholstered figure, hoping she didn't take lunch without giving me an update. Or perhaps the car-washer isn't back from his 5th period high school English class three blocks away. [away, return] Nope, she's at the desk and says the car is ready but she hasn't been handed the key yet. She passes me the billing documentation and there's no charge for today's amusements... that's one little victory. She give me her card and writes some stuff on the back -- "great, a girl gives me her number and I have to pay for the time with her" I joke, but I don't think she got it -- and I wrap this up while she fetches the key from the washer-kid. I'm goin' home and see if I can regain some sleep... and am totally not surprised when I hear the brakes go rr-rrr-rrrr as I brake at the parking lot entrance to wait for a gap in street traffic.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
quiescent like fudgebars
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me and just forget the world?
-- Snow Patrol, "Chasing Cars"
Before I get into the description of yesterday, which was by no means stupid at all, I have a stupidity in advertising to point out. First one: There's an ad for a fast food restaurant where the guy gets on a plane, gets a middle seat, pulls out his bag of burger, and his day gets better when women sit at either side of him. How the hell did he get outside food on the airplane?! I had a second commercial stupidity to mention but it's slipping my mind right now. [24 hours later] Okay, I remembered it. There's a radio ad locally for an Indian casino where the wife asks, "Do you remember what fun is?" and the husband says "Sure, going to the Tamucktulaquilwash Casino." Never mind where the ad goes after that, what the woman should have replied is "oh my gawd, you really *don't* remember what fun is, do you?"
Yesterday I drove to Cle Elum, which is not the end of the world but the gas prices there will make one want to take up bicycling, to meet up with my old friend Karen for a second round of Who The Hell Are We? I came prepared this time; days prior I sat down and tried to figure out how to approach this meeting. Always trying to learn from getting my hand burned by putting it on the stove, I decided that I would do more listening than talking, keep my inner dialog at a minimum, bring very little in the way of conversational gambits beside one question and two anecdotes which I had said "we'll discuss that in person" about to avoid trying to write them (they were innocuous but lengthy), and do my best to gather more information about this adult. I distilled that meeting number one was the Dispelling Old Myths About Karen phase, so meeting two would have to be the Learning Who She Really Is phase. To that end, I met my goal -- I stuck to my plan, I kept my head silent, I took things in as she was putting them out (which admittedly put her on the spot, she had to initiate most of the conversations and I was suspiciously silent otherwise). We started out in downtown Cle Elum, walking into antique stores and photographing old advertising art on the sides of buildings. Then we drove into the next town, Roslyn, to visit the cemetary.
Roslyn, as the dedicated fans of the TV show Northern Exposure may know, is an old coal mining town which in some ways resembles the fictional Alaskan village of Cicely. It's an oasis, as the world-famous mural says. The cemetary is an amazing place because it's divided up into over a dozen sections based on ethnicity and lodge associations... just strolling through you may find that you're no longer in the Knights of Pythias and have entered the Redmen (black miners) area, or have crossed out of the Italian section through the Croatian section into the Druids. We spent a lot of time wandering around the graveyard, remembering the forgotten and forgetting what we remembered. There was also a bunch of driving around the neighborhoods looking for houses with icicle lights (and I got a buttload of 'em). Her joke was that a foundation under a Roslyn house is a selling point, since not all of them have one, and no matter how decrepit a house looks someone is probably living in it. My joke has long been that there's a city ordinance against housepaint. For lunch we went to the Old Station #3 in Ronald, another short hike up the road. The place at one time was famous for its hat collection; as an old firehouse turned tavern, people would come in and hang their hats up and leave them there, and eventually people would just bring hats as their "I was here" thing. About a year ago there was a fire (how ironic, a fire station burning down) and they rebuilt but in a more modern, lodge-like floor plan. I can't say that the original charm remains, and there are only a dozen hats stapled to the ceiling. What people leave now with their names are dollar bills, taped to the wall or light fixtures, similar to the theme that The Soup Cellar in Leavenworth uses to the hilt. Neither one of us are the appetite of a horse variety people anymore, sigh, and we commented on how at one time we could have finished everything on our plates but now, no. We went back to Cle Elum and went to this mansion turned museum, which is only open on weekends so we sat on the front porch for an hour or two just talking away.
There was one moment, and only one, that my resolve to try to learn how to be her friend -- something I've never done, I've always seen her as more even when she wasn't and was annoyed at that fact -- nearly buckled. It wasn't at our goodbye hug, which would seem to be a most perfect time to say or do something off the script. No, it was half a minute later. We were talking about what she was off to do, since the original thought from the last meeting was that I'd come to her house to have dinner and meet her 16 year old son (I met her 14 year old daughter last time) plus see her parents for the first time in twenty-one years but this was not to be, and she got into her pickup and had not yet closed her door. My body took a step forward like I was setting up for a goodbye kiss, but then as though I had reins in my hands I pulled back and took a step backward. She's oblivious to this detail, so don't think she had done anything to encourage this. This 'catching myself' was significant to me, which is why I write it here when the average person would say "you shouldn't tell about that, someone might see it." I came away from this second adventure with a clear head and a clear conscience, no niggling questions or bothersome concepts, and I had a very good time with someone I'm getting to know in ways that are more genuine and solid than the previous iteration.
The tiling of the hearth is nearly done; they're in place and glued down, and I'll be posting pictures after it gets grouted. Didn't quite come out as hoped due to the cement I put in not being level and the tiles not being either straight on the sheets or the same thickness as the corner pieces, but conceptually it was nice.
You know that you don't really fall in love
Unless you're seventeen
The break of day will make your spirits fly
But you can't know what it means
Unless you're seventeen...
-- David Gilmour, "All Lovers Are Deranged"
Thursday, May 10, 2007
Is this the way of the world? Take a boy and a girl, show them lying is real...
The project du jour is working on the hearth. I spent the first two days of my three day break digging the old mortar/cement/oatmeal/grey hard stuff out of the 66" x 18" hole in the floor using a hammer and chisel, or enough that the level dropped half an inch. The books say that this should be filled in with self-levelling cement, which comes in 50 pound bags at all fine tile and home improvement places. I don't need 50 pounds, isn't there anything smaller? I asked at my favorite tile store, and the guy suggested either thinset mortar (not a good option due to the unevenness of what I'd chipped out of the cement) or patching cement, which comes in 25 pound bags. I bought a bag of the patching stuff and mixed it per instruction (one bag to 1 gallon of water), but by the time I pulled it into the house to use it it was nearly solid. The package says not to make more than can be used in 5-8 minutes, and I must have spent that quantity of time mixing it then cleaning the mortar stirrer. (See, with grout you mix it then let it sit there for five minutes before you use it. Not the case with this stuff, oops.) I brought it into the house but it was too thick to spread well. So I added water, mixed again, and got 1/3 of the area done before I needed to add more water. But it was too late, the bottom 3" of the bucket was solid. The mixer on the drill, a large spoon, a garden shovel and an edger... nothing was getting this back into a more liquid state. I did what I could with what I had, and it looks to me like there was too much water (d'oh!) because the last part I laid in the middle is cracking as it dries. And it's not level or as high as it needs to be; I bought the right amount of cement but didn't get the whole quantity as useable... and I used about 2 gallons of water trying to work with 1 gallon of material. The package says it would be dry enough to apply mortar after 1 hours -- uh, no, predictably that's far from true, solid doesn't mean dry and "dry" can hardly describe 2/3 of my hearth (muddy is closer). I'm just going to pretend this is a sidewalk and let it cure for at least 24 hours, which is fine since I'm working tomorrow and am free all weekend due to swapping shifts with a coworker who has a family gathering the middle of next week, and I'll assess whether this is even useable on Saturday. If so, there will be tiling over the weekend... with plenty of thinset, per earlier instruction. And if not, lather rinse repeat.
I went to the dentist for the first time since 2002 today. I have one small cavity and I have a root canal scheduled in two weeks. I have no fear of root canals, it bears mentioning, because I always hear people use that procedure as an extreme of what can really wreck their day. Here is what I'm deeming as on the stupidity end, but hey, I'm not the one with the dental degree. I have a molar, #2 in dental parlance, which has been decaying at the gumline. What I feel when I put my finger back there on the cheek side of the tooth is jagged. I am afraid it will snap off sometime. However, my dentist didn't size up the situation like that; he's talking root canal, for some reason, not spackling up the tooth or pulling it. (The lack of talk about that latter thing, I'm happy about.) He told me all about the root canal work and I replied, "But can that molar be saved?" as though he were speaking of some other tooth, such as the one with the cavity, since it didn't seem to fit the issue that tooth has. But after dealing with Saturn a couple weeks ago -- and will deal with them again in a couple weeks, I need to get paid and get past those six days straight of work next week -- I'm getting used to the answers not seeming to address a question that seems pretty obvious to me. Which is good practice since I'll be visiting my old flame Karen again in three days, who is a master of not answering questions most of the time, no matter how innocuous.
Final note is of interest to only one shadowy person, so the blog entry has ended and for everyone else... class dismissed!
It's good that you've finally dropped the loser, for the second time, to get together with the prospect I was telling you not to be so negative toward. There is nothing to be mad about and nothing to forgive; I simply am keeping my New Years resolution of simplifying my life by leaving other people's drama out of it. Namely yours. It's so extremely rare that can I turn my back on people, I lack that chromosome, but I'm trying to be like the rest of the world and learn how. Don't take it personally. With that said, there's nothing more to say.
Friday, May 04, 2007
I'm fit to be tiled
And see mine turning upside down...
-- Genesis, "Throwing It All Away"
This has been one of those rare weeks where things have been so busy that the time off seemed much longer than the three days it really was. I tell people what I was doing on Tuesday and think, "that was THIS LAST Tuesday?! 3 days ago?!" I actually looked forward to going back to work on Friday so there'd be some form of regularity and demarcation to my days. Here's a tour of the salient points, and once again there were times I should have brought a notepad. First, a preliminary catchup: The work schedule changed, so now my days off are Tuesday through Thursday; Sunday and Monday went pretty much uneventfully at work.
Tuesday: When I was at the Saturn dealer last week, getting charged out the ass without getting anything fixed, I was told there's a nail in one of my tires. So I went to Les Schwab to have them take care of that. Now, much like with the Saturn dealer, I know that one should bring one's own entertainment because it's going to be awhile... even on a Tuesday morning. I packed the day's paper, my MP3 player, an orange juice (they serve popcorn at the tire place), and the hope that this would be done quickly. I finished the entire newspaper before they ever put my car up on the dolly, so I should have brought more to read. Now, I figured that if it came to that (since it always does) that there'd be some magazines in the lobby to read. Looking around, there was one in the entire place, and it was a special edition of People devoted to worshipping what celebrities wear. I tried to read it but after about ten pages I had to put it down, it was just too mindless for me. (I did find myself laughing at the photo of some famous person who went out looking like absolute caca but the point of the article it was in was admiring her large and stylish handbag. They found the one presentable thing in the entire scene and promoted it.) I often find myself in public looking around and thinking I'm witnessing a parade of lost souls, and this place was no exception; most noteable was the woman who looked mid-40's to mid-50's that sat a few seats away from me. She could have been my mother, minus a hundred pounds. I knew there was something odd about her form but it eventually came to me that she'd had her pelvis surgically removed. Seriously, there was nearly nothing between thigh and middle. And middle I did see. Along with the large tattoo of an ocean reef with cat pawprints amidst it in the small of her back, which had to have started at her missing pelvic girdle and gone up to the lumbar vertibrae. Anyhow, so I bided my time and watched some news television -- I think it's great that they have their television programmed on a timer, so every hour it changes between FOX News and CNN to make it truly 'fair and balanced' -- and eventually my car shows up in the lot again, I'm handed my keys and an estimate for new tires (starting at just $300), and watched gasoline go up another two cents.
Wednesday: Last week I called this guy who came recommended by a fireplace store a couple miles up the street to get my woodstove removed. Today's his day to show up, and he did (an hour late due to being out of town but he called to let me know). He came armed with a cute female assistant with a neck tattoo that said "Aries" and an electric dolly that can lift 1200 pounds. Both of them are wearing their track warmup suits' pants at mid-pelvis, showing more boxer shorts and asscrack than I was really ready for, which at the least seemed impractical for their work, but they're the professionals and they know what they're doing. In swift measure they got the woodstove out of my home and into their truck, the slab that came with the woodstove was also taken away, and they vacuumed up most of the mess. $135 later and a check of the fireplace (needs the spaces between the bricks filled in and the chimney cleaned because it's pretty thick with soot/creosote), and the fireplace is ready to be renovated. The picture at right is a layout of what we're going to do for a floor inset; under the slab was green slate which presented almost no challenge to remove, we bought the tile pieces we wanted last weekend minus the corners. Paige got home from work at 6pm, took one look at the reclaimed space, and said, "Would you like to go to Lowe's right now to get a tile saw?" That's what we did, sorta; not impressed with the selection at Lowe's, we went to Home Depot across the highway and got a 7" tile saw with a metal top and body that can do any bevel/angle from 0° to 45°. I bet the neighbors loved that I was out in the shop after 10pm cutting tile, but that's when stuff gets accomplished here. And I watched gasoline go up another two cents.
Thursday: Get up late, go to our favorite tile place to figure out what to put in the corners and settled upon a dark black smooth marble, plus light black/dark grey grout. Today is also our 9th anniversary, and one week from the 20th anniversary of when we had our first long chat in the wee hours of the night (which we refer to as "that wonderful, horrible night"); she got a card, three bags of M&Ms, a DVD of candy commercials from the 50's through the 70's, and a green ceramic birdbath -- anniversary 9, according to the web, is celebrated with willow, leather, or pottery, and it's pretty easy to guess which two just don't work for her. After having a nice dinner at 4pm at Marie Callender, we came home and I cut the 12"x12" marble tile into four 3"x3" squares for the corners, and then we set into ripping out the existing hearthstone with a hammer and chisel. The stone came out quick, it's the mortar that's requiring the elbow grease but it's coming right along. Now, for the obvious question, "now what will you be covering the brick fireplace with?"... uh, we haven't gotten that far. We've agreed the pieces will be at least 6" wide, there will be accent pieces or medallions but not in metal, but that's all we know right now. It'll be a couple weeks before we will have the money to buy that stuff anyway, courtesy of automotive expenses and that gasoline went up another two cents. (I'm at mile 115 of my "come back in 200-300 miles" thing of last week. It'll probably be after mile 500, due to an upcoming trip to visit Karen in Roslyn WA [or Cicely AK, for the Northern Exposure fans] before my next paycheck arrives.)
So I'm back at work. I skipped the free Friday lunch today because I forgot and was doing stuff on the computer, but once I got to work the evening crew asked if I wanted to go out for phở with them after the cats were away, so I got stuffed silly anyway, just on my own dime. [A note to those who do not live in Puget Sound: the two kinds of Asian food restaurants found almost as frequently as our world-famous coffee places are Japanese teriyaki and Vietnamese noodle soup. That letter is a "lower case O with horn and hook above", if it wasn't rendered correctly on your screen, and the soup's name is pronounced "fuh".] Which brings us to the dual stupidities: a) my coworker Nick's autobahn-style driving (well, he is from Germany...), which almost met with bad results b) the assclown in front of the Sheridan as we were passing that took a left turn in front of us for no other reason than to see if we'd really drive across the sidewalk, which we had no choice but to do. I finally bought gas today on my way to work, and while I was fueling up I watched two minimart workers change the sign at the edge of the lot... up another two cents. (The former price was still on my pump, thank you.)