Getting organizized in 2013

You know that feeling like you left something behind? Or there was something you were supposed to do? Or you walk into a room and forget what you walked in there for?

Yeah. That.

My first day back at work after the holiday, I overslept egregiously. Mind you, I like to sleep in, but rarely do I actually OVERsleep to the point that I open my eyes, see that it’s 9:30 and think, OMG WTF how did it get that late?

See, since Rob started his new job, I’ve been driving him to work every morning. While I was in Los Angeles over Christmas, he drove himself, and we never discussed whether he’d drive himself or if I’d drive him this week. So I expected him to wake me at 7:10 yesterday. He did not.

I unhurriedly got myself together. (What? It was the first day back after a holiday. Besides, my office just moved. All I had to do this week was unpack.) As it turned out, I needn’t have gotten to work any earlier than 10:30 anyway, because the furniture had not been delivered and the Internet not hooked up. So I went home to work the rest of the day there.

Today, I set an alarm, got out the door closer to my usual time, and was halfway to the office when I realized that I left my cell phone at home. Normally, I wouldn’t go back for it, but since the phone hasn’t been hooked up yet at the new office either, it was my only means of communication. After turning around and going back, I beat yesterday’s arrival time by a half hour.

Still no Internet, but I spent the morning decorating my wall. My new office has very high ceilings, and I have even more Salmon Homecoming and Festival of the River posters, so I’ll need to get a ladder in there to finish the job.

wall (13)

I love that bulletin board. I mean, I really love it. Love it so much I’ve even blogged about it before. There’s a open space in the center for a picture of Isis, which I brought home with me, because it wasn’t secured very well and I didn’t want it to get lost when the bulletin board got moved. (I love it so much, I wanted to move it intact.)

I almost didn’t hang the bulletin board today, because as you can see, it requires two nails. I started to mark the space on the wall when I realized that I didn’t have a level. Leaning the board against the wall, I thought, “I’ll bring a level next week and hang it then.” I went ahead and hung the framed print on the left. Rob got that for me at a garage sale, and it shows a tribal canoe paddling past the Seattle skyline, Space Needle and all. Then I hung the framed Seattle Times article below  it. The front page article from summer 2010 used photos I took of the epic Fraser River sockeye fishery.

By then, I thought, what the hell and went ahead and hung the bulletin board. I may have had to hammer in one of the nails twice. It may or may not actually be hung straight.

If you know anything about me and Rob, you know that I’m the self-described uptight one, and he’s the easygoing one. So it struck me as funny today, the yin and yang of our frame-hanging personalities. I get so eager to see stuff on the walls, I’ll stick pushpins in without a thought to layout or angle. I’ll hammer a nail, step back and see that it’s not straight, pull out the nail and hammer it in again.

Rob takes measurements. He uses a level. He puts thought into the matter. He is precise.

Before I met him, it wouldn’t have occurred to me to use a level to hang a bulletin board. I didn’t even own a level. I made do without one today, and I think my wall looks spectacular.

You don’t know what you have until it’s gone

Unless you don’t know it’s missing in the first place.

The most recent episode of Brothers and Sisters featured U2’s “Running to Stand Still.” I sang along a little bit and thought, “I love this song, I should listen to The Joshua Tree.

But when I checked my iPod, I did not have The Joshua Tree on there, just The Unforgettable Fire and Achtung Baby (plus the song “Stuck in the Moment,” which I illegally downloaded on BearShare while living in Prague).

How strange that I would have uploaded two of my U2 CDs, but not The Joshua Tree. At work yesterday, I became so completely obsessed with listening to “Running to Stand Still,” that I played videos of it live on YouTube until my coworker told me I could listen to it for free on Rhapsody.

I went home and looked for the CD, and couldn’t find it. Honestly, I haven’t listened to it in years. It could have been stolen when my car was broken into in 2005, or it could have been stolen with my entire car in 1998. (Although I have a vague memory of listening to it while driving from Chicago to Washington, D.C. Or maybe that was Achtung Baby…)

Here’s the really disturbing thing. I asked Rob if he had the CD and he does not!! He said it was possible he had it on his iPod, as inherited by his 17-year-old nephew. Really? Your 17-year-old nephew (let’s do the math, born in 1992) is more likely than you to have a 1987 album, which is on many people’s Desert Island Disc lists, and which I think I first owned on cassette tape?

Some people might consider that a relationship deal breaker. But hey, if I’m willing to be with someone who refuses to watch Lost, I can let this go.

When I was your age

These kids today, I tell ya.

When I was 16 and I fought with my boyfriend – which was, like, a lot – I’d go out with my girlfriends, and hope that maybe we’d meet up at some point with the guys and he could see how much fun I was having without him, or apologize or whatever. The second best outcome would be that I’d come home to find a message from him on my machine. (Kids? Do you even know what a “machine” is?)

Usually, neither would happen, and I’d have to call him. Punk.

So I’m having lunch last week (on a school day) and there’s a group of girls at a nearby table. A cell phone rings (as if cell phones ever actually “ring” anymore) and one of the girls steps outside to answer it. Distraught, she returns to her friends.

“What did he say?” they all ask.

As she begins to recount, the phone sings again. Disquieted, she takes the phone outside again. She’s like, having a girls’ lunch out and fighting with her boyfriend at the same time.

Dunno, I think maybe my generation had it better. At least when I was out with my girlfriends, I could entertain the fantasy that he’d called. Nowadays, I’d be checking my phone non-stop to see if he’d texted or called. (Actually, I did exactly that as far back as seven years ago.)

Good thing Rob and I don’t fight much (or rather, he rarely gets mad, and if he does, it doesn’t last very long), because he doesn’t have a cell phone and is therefore incapable of texting me his apologies.

The way to a man’s heart

To attend my mother’s wedding, Rob had to work an 12-hour overnight shift the previous Sunday, followed by his regular 8-hour shift Monday. Then he traveled with me on Thursday, listened to his iPod during the brief rehearsal and regaled my mother’s friends with fart and ass jokes during the rehearsal dinner.

Friday, he wandered the streets of Studio City from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m., while the final floral arrangements were made and my mother’s and my nails manicured. (I have buyer’s remorse about the color of mine, but I don’t think it ruined the wedding.)

Then there was the wedding and the morning-after brunch, and then I told him we could do whatever he wanted to do with our remaining 24 hours in L.A. He chose Halloween shops and three separate visits to Amoeba Music. And an hour-and-a-half Thai massage, which was a splendid choice from my P.O.V., because mine was heavenly.

I was exhausted and cranky on the drive home from the airport, but I let him stop at Half-Price Books in Seattle.

He called twice this morning from work. The first time to see how Isis was when I picked her up from the kennel. (After racing around me in circles, she embodied the expression “hangdog.” I hope she’s just tired, and not a changed dog.)

The second time, he asked how I was doing at work after the eventful weekend. “Are you missing anyone?” he asked. “Like me?”

I think that means he was missing me!

It hadn’t occurred to me to miss him before then. I was busily uploading photos of him from the wedding. But I miss him now. And I really miss Isis.

Why Rob’s not so crazy about me

I have an iguana named Stew. Rob is not as fond of Stew as he is Isis. No kisses, no rubs to the belly. He insists Stew is a boy, but I’ve decided she’s definitely a girl.

Rob doesn’t even like to touch Stew, who lives in his computer room because it was the best place to give her some southern exposure.

Last night, Rob was at his desk, on the phone with his sister, who’s going to feed Stew while we are out of town this weekend. I walked in and noticed that Stew’s habitat door was open. Apparently I didn’t close it after cleaning the poopy paper three hours or so earlier. I’ve done that before, but usually find that Stew has not left her post by the window.

Not this time.

“Where is he?” Rob asked in a panic. But before he got to the question mark, I spotted little Stew perched on a shelf next to the habitat.

“She’s right here, she’s fine,” I said, picking her up.

“So that’s how all my stuff got messed up,” he said. Not like the room was spotless to begin with, but yeah, I could tell at that point that Stew had not taken a direct route to the shelf, but had knocked over stacks of papers and climbed across the printer and Rob’s video camera.

“Oops,” I said.

“I feel so violated,” he said.

I mean, I can see how it’s pretty distressing to think of a four-foot iguana crawling all over your stuff. But sheesh, we’ve had the iguana more than a year and this is the first time she’s gotten out. That’s pretty good! And we found her within a second of realizing she was out. Imagine if I hadn’t found her…she could have been anywhere in the entire house. She could have crawled over Rob’s stuff for several more hours. She could have crawled across his face while he slept…

Another reason I love Rob

He took me to see Weird Al for my birthday, even though he’s not a huge fan. (Neither of those is the reason. The first was a boyfriendly obligation as far as I was concerned, and I knew that he would enjoy the show more than he thought he would.)

Al closed with a little ditty called Albuquerque, which was a great treat for me because it is a very unusual song and he didn’t perform it during his last tour, except in Albuquerque.

I was standing at this point, bouncing and singing along. Rob was still sitting, which I forgave him for, because he’d never heard the song before. On the way back to the car, he asked what the deal was with Al and Albuquerque. “It’s just one of his songs,” I said.

Four hours or so later, when we were back home (the concert was in Yakima, more on this in a moment), Rob said, “That was a pretty crazy story. He was living in a basement and then he won that trip to Albuquerque, and his plane crashed, but he just went to the hotel, instead of getting treated for his injuries, and that guy came to his door…”

I thought maybe Rob had been sitting in his seat, wondering when this song was going to finally end, bewildered as to what his girlfriend sees in the artistry of Weird Al. But no. He was listening to the lyrics. I mean, what else could a girl ask for?

Actually, I asked if he could grow his hair out like Weird Al’s. When Rob was in high school, he had a really scary long frizzy mohawk. Since his hair was curly, I thought if he grew it out, he could put some product in it and it would be like Weird Al’s.

Rob said, “You’re not really into that, are you?”

Uh, no. Of course not.

The first time I saw Weird Al in the state of Washington, it was at the Puyallup Fair and I’d lived in the state for 9 months. It surprised me that during the song, Smells Like Nirvana, the crowd erupted in cheers after the lyric, “A garage band from Seattle.” The same happened the following year, at the same venue.

This year, I saw Al in Yakima, because he happened to be playing there on my birthday. What’s a 4-hour drive both ways? I fully expected a similar reaction to the line about Seattle. But, nothing.

Evidently, the folks in Central Washington don’t identify with the birthplace of grunge rock like those of us west of the Cascades.

5th Bloggiversary

This is a big day. I’m taking the day off to celebrate. Not because I worked Monday-Saturday last week, but because my little blog is 5 years old!

Five years ago, plus a day or so, I returned to Prague from a trip home to learn that Chelsea had started a blog. I believe her exact words were, “So I have a blog.” I very technosavvily said, “A what?”

Then I started one a few days later.

Things were very uncertain then. I didn’t know whether I should try to stay in Prague longer or return to the U.S. and further my reporting career and find a husband and have babies.

Things are much clearer now, I am no longer a reporter, and have decided not to get married or have kids. I feel like a single mother already, raising the dog and the boyfriend. (Shoot! I forgot to feed the iguana again.) But with the dog, the boyfriend and our house, I feel very settled and very happy. I have a job that I hope to still have when this blog turns 10. A gamble, because I have had SIX jobs since it was born, including the one I had at the time.

So happy 5th birthday, Rhymes With Safari. Here’s to five more!

Motel living

I may be onto something here. I found it very easy, two days in a row, to wake up when the alarm went off at 7, get dressed and arrive early to an 8:30 training.

At home, it’s nearly impossible to get out of bed on the first try. Even after I’ve gotten up, taken Isis out and eaten a bowl of cereal, I still want to crawl back in bed. Because it’s a snuggly bed, with Isis and Rob in it.

But in a sleazy motel, there’s nothing to entice me to stay in bed. Or even in the room. So if we are to maximize productivity, we should mandate that everyone live alone, with no pets, in tiny, impersonal motel-like rooms, with no company except the TV.

Or, maybe there’s more to life than leaping out of bed and starting one’s day.

Cleaning house

As I have described, one of my recurring dreams is about packing to move, and not having enough time.

Last night, I had the dream, only this time Rob was behind schedule too. Not only were we running out of time, but we didn’t have enough room in our bags. “I need another bag or I’m leaving some of this behind,” I said, looking at shelves full of clothes that hadn’t even started to be packed.

Among the things that needed packing were Rob’s T-shirts, which all said “Muay Thai” or “Red Bull” on them in Thai letters. I know where that came from. For several weeks, Rob has had a broken dresser drawer on the bedroom floor. I normally have trouble putting all his clothes away anyway, and last weekend, I literally couldn’t fit them anywhere in our room. I carried them back to the laundry room and set them on a chair, and refused to put any more of his clothes away.

Eventually, I plan to turn our bedroom into a master suite, with a walk-in closet and a jacuzzi bathtub. Can’t do it yet, because I haven’t actually built any equity after just 10 months of mortgage paying. And even with my 1.9 % cost of living adjustment, my debt ratio is still too high. Rob wasn’t too excited about my moving forward with those plans anyway, because they have nothing to do with his plans to build a full-size boxing ring in our backyard.

I’ve come to terms with postponing my master suite dream, except it really infuriated me to watch Rob’s dirty clothes get piled up on the broken dresser drawer. I told him something must be done, and tonight, he came home and announced that he was cleaning everything.

“That looks like crap,” he said, pointing to the “clutter table” in the big room, “The kitchen looks like crap,” which actually offended me because I’d cleaned it 48 hours earlier, but yeah, dirty dishes had piled up again. “The computer room looks like crap…”

And while I lay on the couch watching “Reunited, The Real World: Las Vegas,” he really cleaned up some stuff! And fixed the dresser drawer.

Slow learner

Isis does not seem to be deterred by any of the training techniques we’ve tried to get her to mouth softly. She’s still teething, but the pup doesn’t know her own strength. She doesn’t bite out of aggression, but sometimes she gets very excited and wants to chew on our hands or feet. Mostly Rob’s.

We’ve tried ignoring it, leaving the room when she does it, yelping “Ouch,” shouting “Out!” (which is supposed to sound like a mama dog scolding her pups), “feeding her that which she bites” (I don’t have the constitution for this one — Rob forces his hand into her mouth until it is uncomfortable for her), and folding a bit of her lip in her mouth while holding it closed, so she sees how much it hurts (last night this made her cry because it aggravated a loose and bleeding tooth. Rob accused me of being abusive).

Perhaps the problem is that we don’t do any one thing consistently.

Last night, I marveled that for a smart dog, she sure hasn’t learned the consequences of biting.

Then there’s Rob, energetically rubbing her belly and back, sticking his face in hers and waving his hands all around near her face…clearly not having learned what the consequences are for that kind of play.