Monday, May 29, 2006

My Sad Little List

OK. I make lists. It is the way I navigate through my various responsibilities. It is how I remember what needs to be done and how I track my way through accomplishing everything.

Here was my list for this holiday weekend:

1. Trash out shed and take yard sale stuff to porch
2. pressure wash house and concrete
3. Clean/Wash truck
4. Filing project
5. get IRS stuff together
6. checking account reconciliation
7. scrape mudroom ceiling
8. try paint sample on bedroom ceiling

Out of these 8 things I was able to cross two off my list - I have now pressure washed the whole house and patio/driveway. It about killed me, really it did. I was so sore and exhausted last night that I could not sleep and woke up this morning with only about 4 hours rest.

I did accomplish enough on the filing project that I felt I could cross it off. The box of papers is gone now and only a small manageable pile left. I did good on this one.

But nothing else happened. Wid would say that I did more in 3 days than she could do in 12 months and I am happy with the fact that I got the outside done and also managed to clean the house today.

Overall a good holiday weekend. Y'all all need to drop by. I'll throw a few steaks on the Weber.

Now it is time to go get in the shower - only 2 more days until I have AC again. Was 92 here today. I am not a happy camper.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Lord God Have Mercy

May 15 it was so chilly here in Atlanta that I wore a cardigan sweater to work. Today, less than two weeks later, it is now HOT!

All week I have made it my goal to come home and work for a couple or few hours in the yard cutting back overgrowth and hauling brush and trash to the street. Starting Monday it became a 2 shower per day time of the year for me. It's hot out there folks, and I love it.

I am not an AC kind of gal. It takes some pretty drastic temps to force me to close up the house and turn on the AC. I don't like feeling shut in. Shut in is for the winter. So my windows are open until I am tremendously uncomfortable. Last night I became tremendously uncomfortable as the temp in my house was 85 at 8 pm. I turned on the AC for the first time since I was here last August, closed all the windows, and sat back to enjoy. An hour later I had sweat running down my face and thought I was going to suffocate. In an hour the temp in the house went down .2%! I turned it off and opened the windows and tried to sleep.

This morning I got up at 7 and called an AC service place. They can come out Wednesday afternoon. So I have 4 days of sweltering heat to deal with before I write a humongous check so I can be cool this summer. I WILL crawl under the house tomorrow and press a few button to see if this is a "reset" thing but I fear my compressor is gone (cha-ching cha-ching). Call the next four days 4 shower days, just to cool off.

In the meantime I am pressure washing my house and patio and driveway. It amazes me how filthy it all gets and despite the fact that I am now only halfway done and already crippled I am excited to wake up tomorrow and get it finished off! By God when I return to Japan I want to leave this place looking GREAT and return to it still looking GREAT! I know I will sleep well tonight.

Happy Memorial day to my US friends and happy weekend to all others!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006


I don't know what's happened to me this week. All of a sudden I feel more energy than I can remember feeling for years. Maybe it's because I have (hopefully) this brief Japan trip to look forward to. Maybe because after two years of health problems including anemia for the past year I am finally getting back to myself. I'm really just kind of amazing myself so far this week.

It started Monday. I came home and worked in the backyard, beginning the process of clearing overgrown ivy and hauling trash and brush to the street for pick up. Then I did it again yesterday and by the time I stopped I could actually see progress! Today I did even more and I'm beginning to get excited about it.

And I've even had a breakthrough on the house. I went yesterday and got some paint chips trying to decide on how I will paint my bedroom. I have decided to start with the bedroom because it will be the easiest (she says). It's going to be very simple - I want white walls and trim and a s-l-i-g-h-t-l-y blue ceiling. Today I went and got a sample of the ceiling color and over the weekend I will test a patch. Forward motion.

My mudroom and kitchen are another matter altogether. Funny how one little thing can stall any progress at all. The contractor who owned this house before me did this "texture" onthe ceilings of both these rooms. It's that texture like he dabbed drywall mud on with a sponge and the result was this spikey texture that does nothing but collect dust, dirt, cobwebs and kitchen grease. And there's no cleaning it. So I want to get rid of it. I started my experimentation a couple of years ago in the mudroom. First I tried wiping it with a wet cloth. Bad idea - didn't do the job and took forever to do a tiny patch. Then I closed myself in the room and sealed the doors and tried my random orbital sander. 4 hours later I had accomplished hardly anything except covering the entire house in a thin layer of fine white dust. Then back in January of this year I tried using a scraper. OK, so it kind of took the worst of the texture off, but it was messy and very difficult. Monday I was talking to a coworker about this and she mentioned she saw something on TV where they were taking off a popcorn ceiling texture and they sprayed it well with water and used a putty knife to scrape it off. Tonight I tried a test patch using this method and it was like scraping butter. So easy.
Of course I will have to be very careful not to gouge the sheetrock but after all these years I know I can easily do both the mudroom and the kitchen, and this si positively going to jump start both of those projects! WOOOHOOO!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Time to post again although there is not much to say. Perhaps I will spend a few minutes catching you up on the job situation.

If you followed me here from Random you know a bit about the situation when I left Japan. While I was there my company moved from Atlanta to Reston Virginia to share headquarters with (and be absorbed by) our parent company. Many Atlanta employees received relocation packages and made the move. Most who did are unhappy and in shock due to the huge difference in cost of living. When I left Japan I was asked if I would consider a relo and I said I would. I flew back thinking I had maybe a few months to get my house on the market, pack, and move. As time went on and I had no further word I began to realize this was not going to happen, at least not as fast as I returned thinking.

God. When I talk about my job and the airline industry and what my company does I always see eyes glaze over so I will keep this short and sweet. Basically, parent company decided to sell the division of my company that I work in. My boss (Gerard, the best boss inthe world) banded together with our former CEO, found investors, and put in a bid. The parent company coyly decided not to sell after all. Gerard decided in this case he would resign effective May 25 and take the summer off and in the fall begin a new company. One more week and Gerard will no longer be my boss. Also, parent company has decided to take a new approach to the business. By default due to my year in Japan I am now a member of the "International Start Up Team." Due to the new approach this team is now defunct. So I will be taking on new responsibilities (totally a lateral move) and reporting to a wonderful Danish man I had the great fortune to work with for a few months in Tokyo. At this point there is no reason for me to relocate. Supposedly I will be traveling quite a bit to shore up current operations around the world so the company can better sell its services. Beyond that I have no idea, I only know it sounds like a huge challenge and will draw on skills that I have not used in many years, as well as force me to develop new ones. Of course in another week this could all fall to the wayside and I will be doing data entry. I have learned in this company you never know until you are doing it and I have to admit that while this is tremendously frustrating at times it at least is not predictable.

If you have read this much I am sure your eyes are glazed over now, if not rolling back in your head and so I will stop.

Still waiting to find out when (IF?) I will journey back to Tokyo for a couple of weeks. I do know I will put one suitcase inside another so that when I come back I can bring about 3000 Yen worth of KING OF SPONGE!!!!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Short Hair

I got my hair cut yesterday. When I went to Japan in January 2005 I had been wearing it very short and was overdue for a cut but I went figuring it could wait a month. By the time I returned in December it was long - past my shoulders - but also dry and dead. I went to this new guy at my salon and told him I kind of liked the length but wanted a clean up. He did exactly what I wanted - trimmed the ends and shaped it up a bit. But in the 5 months since then I have realized that with every centimeter it grows I only look older and my hair looks worse. Yesterday, after thinking about it for at least 2 months, I went in armed with photos. I told Kyle that the photos were only a "feeling" about what I wanted - that I did not want him to copy them but to get that feeling and then apply it to my hair. He did an awesome job - I think I feel almost cute! The greatest thing was that at the end he told me it would be $25! I could not believe this. This was a great cut and I was prepared to spend at least $60 or $70 for it. Needless to say I overtipped and even considering that it was a bargain. If you live in the Atlanta area and want a great hair guy please contact me and I will give you his number.

I would show you a photo but I don't do photos of me. Ever.

Friday, May 12, 2006

AAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!! I'M GOING BACK!!!!!!! (maybe)

Long story short for now, but it looks like I will be returning to Tokyo to do a week or two of staff training sometime in the fairly near future!!!!

I am so freaking excited I can't stand it. Will fill you in more later because right now my adrenaline has been running far too high and I have temporary ADD.

NIHON!!! I'm coming home!!!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

A Package from Matsumoto-sensei!

Truly there is nothing better than finding a surprise in your mailbox after a day at the office. Yesterday this happened to me. I came home to find an attempted delivery notice in my mailbox, and in the box labeled "Sender" was the name MATSUMOTO!!

Chiyoko Matsumoto was my Japanese teacher and worked as a volunteer through the Urayasu-shi Community Center. For 1000 yen (less than $10) I signed up for a year of Japanese classes one on one with this wonderful lady.

Beginning in July, every Thursday evening I would get on my bicycle and ride the 4 or 5 miles to the center and have a 2 hour class. When I say this was a grueling 2 hours I mean it. It is said that your ability to learn a foreign languages begins to decline at age 14. In high school I had a real talent for languages and was close to fluent in French and had 3 years of German on top of that. Japanese? A piece of cake I thought. Not.

I purchased the Pimsleur Japanese I CD series when I returned last March and had learned what I thought was quite a bit by that method, enough that I could "pass the time of day" at a bus stop. Unfortunately the Japanese don't "pass the time of day" with strangers, especially not foreign strangers! In our first meeting Matsumoto-sensei made me begin to learn the first of 3 Japanese alphabets. By the time of our last class in late November I had learned 2 of the alphabets and could read from my text. SLOWLY. She had the patience of a saint and even took the time to make up a set of hiragana/katakana flashcards for me. I carry them with me every day and they have almost become a security blanket, a token from a wonderful lady who took the time to teach this big loud blonde American.

At any rate I picked up the package on my way to work this morning. We exchanged cards at the holidays and a couple of weeks ago I decided to write her. In return, in this package was a 4 page letter, written in Japanese but (thankfully) translated into English, several prints of landscapes painted by her husband, and a cellophane envelope containing a cutting from the lillies of the valley from her yard! She has promised to try to locate and send to me the audio tape that accompanies the textbook we used and has requested that I send photos of my cats and house.

I have no idea if Matsumoto-sensei has a computer and internet access and I don't want to. To be corresponding with my dear teacher this way is a joy. I don't believe she can ever know how much this meant to me and how it brightened my day.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Another cat photo. Camille (the caretaker) on the left, Dylan on the right. Dylan had a little dental surgery today and Camille, as always, is making sure everything is alright.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

My New Bike!

Totally different from my Japan bike. No baskets or anything. I got it FREE on A lady posted it Thursday and I replied immediately. It's a $175 bike, purchased about 3 years ago, and she wanted to get rid of it because she never rides it. So I am the proud new owner.

Of course today is extremely rainy and dreary so unless it clears up this afternoon I will have to wait to make my maiden voyage.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Oish! I'm tired!

On immigration . . . no, forget it, I'm too tired. In a nutshell let them in - that's what this country was built on. On the other hand GET A FREAKING PLAN IN PLACE PEOPLE!!! Do somthing like the Dutch have done - require language skills and knowledge of the culture prior to admittance as a citizen! Sheesh! Don't get to this point and then decide something has to be done! Too little too late once again. Have some foresight for chrissakes. Oh, sorry - only 250 years now - guess you need some time to formulate the freaking plan. I do love my country but how stupid. If I didn't see this all over the place at every level of government I might be softer but what a bunch of crap this is. Hey USA!?!?! Develop a plan based on history and intelligence, institute it and then stick with it. And when the terrorists attack take a little responsibility for what you knew and when you knew it.

I swear to Buddha I am going to move to someplace . . . someplace . . . someplace where this isn't an issue - is there no place for me?

Tonight I really hate the USA amd the bubbas and our monkey leader.

You hear that PATRIOT ACT PEOPLE?!?!?! Yeah, I'm gonna go to the farmer's market and buy FOREIGN PRODUCE!!!! Feel free to tap my phone - you will hear an earful about insurance and multi-level marketing and how my various almae maters need my money.

Shit. Guess I am in a bad mood.