Thursday, September 22, 2005

Taken September 22, 2005. 10pm.

Don't Let the Bed Bugs Bite

Not much to say. The cats are at the boarding house. I'm all packed and showered. We're meeting the airport shuttle at 4am and that's that. I don't expect I'll be able to update for awhile, probably two weeks, unless I do and then I will.

I submitted a ten-minute play today. And the moon is beautiful outside our living room window. I am happy here.

Hello Hawaii.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

And the Red Tape Falls Away

I have a Washington driver's license! And a license plate!

There are separate offices for licensing and registration. The licensing office was painted all white inside, with white chairs. The chairs were in neat rows and faced the counter like an audience. Inside the door was a big sign, "Start Here." Under the sign was a machine that dispensed numbers. We selected our reason for visiting, then pressed a button and took numbers. Finally, Jer and I sat in the white chairs and waited a half hour for our number to be called. They don't take appointments.

After studying the driver's guide for several weeks we discovered that it wasn't necessary. We didn't have to take a written test, just pay the fee and get a photo taken. I was a little disappointed after worrying about it so much. I guess they just changed the rules last July.

Next, at the registration office, we paid a lot of money and walked away with our license plates. I had no idea it cost that much to pay the monorail tax. Over $200 in Jer's case. Seems excessive.

I'm waiting for FedEx to deliver my Packet8 phone adapter. Although I don't know how they can actually deliver it, since the doors to the building require a key and the buzzer is labelled incorrectly. The management people haven't added our name to the roster, so we don't exist yet. I am a hallucination. Nothing to see here. I hope they at least leave a note and I can pick it up in person. That'd be okay too.

Tomorrow we drop off the cats at the boarding place. W00T.

Monday, September 19, 2005

All that Matters

Hello world. I was productive today. I made garlic meatloaf and mashed potatoes. I wrote a ten-minute play and it makes me laugh. I went grocery shopping and studied more of the driver's guide. Maybe tomorrow I will take my knowlege test for a new license. Then I took night photos from the balcony, because I could. The end. And sweet dreams to you. Oh and I am going to submit my play to the annual contest that has a November 1 deadline. Now the end for real. I am tired and reek of garlic so I should just go to bed. G'night. Sweet dreams again. Don't let anything bite you on the ass. Can I please have a glass of water? I can't wait for tomorrow to reread my play and see if it's as good as I think it is. But then right away I always get excited and think my work is brilliant until I sleep on it, and then I see it's always broken. Maybe tomorrow will be different. Okay. The end again.

Night photo from my balcony.

Night photo from my balcony of the stadium and shipping area.

The Particulars

I sold the last of the job stock options. My last official day is September 23, so after that I'll get my final paycheck. Worst case and no unanticipated expenses (knock on wood), we can be safely out of work until the new year. Of course that's not ideal because it wipes out the savings, but it's nice to have a little net.

I guess it's all right if I go ahead and enjoy my vacation after all.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Life of the Party

I went for a walk along the water and then I called home. There's not much else. We've been eating microwaveable foods and slowly unpacking. Productivity greatly decreased once the television was hooked up.

Tonight Jer set up the coffee maker and I rummaged through cookbooks, looking for easy, tasty recipes. I've been craving meatloaf and mashed potatoes. Okay I've been craving lots of things because we've been living off Lean Cuisine compartment meals and Costco's finest teriyaki bowls. But now I'm about ready to go grocery shopping with an actual list.

I should be writing but I'm not. Instead I'm fluffing up the nest.

I've also got to keep reminding myself that next week, we'll be in Hawaii. It's not real yet. I put in a stop order for mail, but I need to do all the other boring organizational stuff: laundry, pack, check in with the cat boarding place... Man, I'm looking forward to this trip but I also want it to be over. Once it's over I can look for a job and not feel guilty about being unemployed. Sure, when I'm there I'll get over myself, but for now I've got the mean reds swirling above my head and making me all kinds of crabby. Yeah, I know. Poor me. It'll be different when I'm there.

I finished "Geek Love" yesterday and that made me sad. It always brings me down to finish a great book and sever ties with the characters that've latched on to the inside of my skull.

I wish I wrote like that.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Yo quiero Taco Bell.

Damn. I just had the worst Mexican food I've ever had in my life. On our way home Jer said, "I want to vomit so I can say I never ate there."

They have these things called Mexi-Fries, which are actually just your standard issue tater tots. The tater tots were the best part. I got the Mexi-Meal, which had a crappy taco, a flauta (called a crisp burrito), a pile of shredded lettuce with ranch on top, and a scoop of refried beans. Also, I think I found chicken in the beans. It was all bland and nasty, and I didn't even eat it all, despite knowing it cost $15. And the place was popular too! The drive through line was long and there were several other people inside. Jer said, "Is it possible all these people never ate here before?"

I suggested reporting them to the BBB for false advertising. I mean, come on. The taco consisted of a layer of boiled chicken, a layer of shredded yellow cheese, shredded lettuce, and a fat tomato slice. No beans, rice, sour cream, olives, fanfare. Ugh. And the salsa? It tasted faintly of iced tea and came shooting out of a ketchup dispenser.

In other news, we returned the U-Haul, the plastic carpet protectors are safely stored away, and all of our belongings are in the apartment. Now we just have to unpack, which is easier said than done. But I think we can finally relax. The worst part of the move is over.

I'm going to have to learn how to cook so I can eat proper Mexican food. Double damn. I tell you what though, this place today made Taco Bell's menu look authentic.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

A Herculean Labor

There is pain. There is hair sticking out wild and smelly clothing. There were many hours of dollies and lifting and stacking. One more load and we'll have all our crap in the new apartment. The load is sitting on the street. In a U-Haul. Secured by a six dollar lock. And my pinky finger hurts when it touches the keys.

I could tell you how we got reprimanded for using the carpet rolls instead of the plastic protectors, which didn't exist where they were supposed to exist and we figured they meant carpet rolls anyway because they were in the same place. Plus our landlady pointed to the carpet rolls and said, "Use those." And it's really very simple and we should have known to go through three locked doors into the neighboring building to find the plastic protectors in a cardboard box. I don't know why it didn't occur to us sooner.

In the end we met many nice neighbors and some that were only sorta nice. We were told by the mailman that we were awfully young to be living here, "You'll see what I mean..." And last night, a neighbor brought us chocolate chip cookies. She is very nice.

But it's true. We are much younger than everybody else. Much much younger. And so far my strategy is to be super polite and hope they don't try to evict us for living in sin. Cuz we cohabitate, yo. And some of them have been eyeing our ring fingers with a special kind of fascination. One neighbor said, "And you're, uh, you two are, uh..." and the other neighbor turned to her and said loudly, "They're a couple."

I need to lie down now. I totally deserve it.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

This shot was taken an hour ago from our new balcony. When I look out my living room window, this is what I see. It distracts me from the fact that we've got no furniture.

From the old apartment, Vash and Chiana sleep in camp chairs while I pack and clean.

Internet Alert

We have internet access officially now, but our landlady misinformed us about the cable. I wish we could get straight answers and not have to keep guessing, but then this experience wouldn't be nearly as much fun. It's incredibly frustrating to not know how to proceed except to fumble forwards and hope you're doing things right. Again, fun.

Today we found the Costco and Target. I bought a shower liner and then went and got my rear tail light replaced. Now I can legally turn left.

I'm supposed to be studying the drivers' guide, but instead I'm reading "Geek Love" by Katherine Dunn. It's fantastic -- a shockingly good read.

A side note: we've met a lot of nice people who inevitably ask us about our jobs. I have a hard time answering the question. I feel myself becoming defensive and have to stop before I say something stupid like, "It's none of your damn business." Or, "Got contacts?" Instead I make a joke about going to Hawaii first and sorting it out later.

I reserved the U-Haul truck for Thursday. It looks like we can pick up our stuff from the moving company then. And last night I wrote a short story which I think is called "Black Lake." The end.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Hold Music

Met with the landlady today and received our list of rules. They're mostly reasonable and common sense type stuff. No swimming naked or intoxicated. Move your stuff in through the side doors. Don't smell up the hallways with your nasty cooking...

The lights are just coming on in the city. I wish you could see it.

After many hours I think we've placed an order for internet service. It required a lot of patience on Jer's part and a lot of unhelpful customer service people on their part, but I think we're on the right track. When we tried calling, the automated recording kept hanging up on us. So we tried getting to their website through the neighbors' unsecured wireless and that sort of worked, but then should you really have to sign up for internet via the internet? That seems inefficient. Anyway, I'm boring myself.

My other accomplishment is getting a local cell phone number. It required forty minutes of hold time with a major carrier service provider, but I did it, so IN YOUR FACE!

My arms are tired because I have to type high in the air to keep connected to the internet. Trust me it sucks donkey wang. Speaking of donkey wang, I'm famished.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Seal of Approval

We set up the air mattress in the living room so we can see the skyline at night. I didn't fill it all the way because the electric blower was so noisy and I've probably broken enough rules tonight already. It seems like there's a rule for everything, which would be fine, if only someonewould give us a comprehensive list.

The drive today stretched from 7:30am to 5:30pm, with a few stops to answer nature's call. I faced my fear in Oregon and stopped for gas. I'm just not comfortable with someone else pumping gas for me, when my two hands are perfectly fine. Especially when the person overfills my tank by quite a lot and I know that's not a good thing. I'm sure there are reasons that you can't pump your own gas in Oregon, but I don't know what they are and it seems silly when I just did it myself the previous 5,462 times (give or take).

So, we're here. We've got the bare minimum and the cats' eyes are all puffy from the sedatives which should come with the warning: Does not make your cat sleepy so don't even try. Poor Jer listened to them cry all day. I listened to Bill Bryson audio books and ate caviar. Or chocolate frosted donettes.

I'm a little slap happy from the not sleeping. And the ten hours of driving. And all the crap road food I ate. But I'm happy to be here and possess keys and the most fantastic view ever. When we're not borrowing the neighbor's unsecured wireless, I'll post a few photos to prove that I'm not lying. But now it is time for all good men to sleep.

PS I can hear a seal barking. Make that two seals.

Saturday, September 10, 2005


We made it to Redding. The La Quinta Inn has free wireless access, so here I am. It took us nine hours to get here and now we're watching something vaguely anime related on Cartoon Network. We tried to leave and buy dinner, but Vash mewed too loudly so Jer had to stay. Luckily, Subway is across the street and -- although a delicate flower -- it seems I'm able to carry two large sodas and subs all by myself.

I listened to almost all of Bill Bryson's "A Walk in the Woods." It made the drive seem faster and made me miss hiking. Tomorrow I'm in unknown territory. I've never driven farther north than Redding, and I expect some fantastic scenery based on our previous train trip. Unfortunately my left blinker quit working, so now I look like the asshole who changes lanes without warning. I hope it's not indicative of a bigger problem. Cross your wood or knock your fingers or whatever.

So yeah. We're enjoying not sleeping on the floor and watching television and checking email, like real civilized employed members of society. The cats did not like the drive at all, and the sedative wasn't effective. Tomorrow we double the dose.

We've been up since five. It took three hours to get ready and pack the car. I can't believe it all fit. -- Okay, the cartoon just used the words "sexy jitsu." I'm guessing on the spelling. And then the boy character who said it turned into an ugly, chunky woman. Uhh... -- I'm pretty excited, but I can't wait to sit in my new living room with my old stuff, put my feet up and have a beer. A beer sounds nice.

In other news, Vash is attacking the mirror after falling off the television. This could be a long night.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Nightmare on my Street

I'm sitting on the floor of the office with a keyboard in my lap. The rooms all have a strange echo-y quality now that the furniture is gone and most of the cat hair is in a vacuum bag.

I ran little errands yesterday -- donated five pairs of eyeglasses, recycled batteries and plastic bags, closed a Santa Saver account, called the new landlady to check in, returned the cable box, traded in a stack of CDs and DVDs, and dropped off the giveaways to Jer's work, where his co-workers swarmed the pile and picked it clean to its bones.

I'm doing a walk-through with the landlord before the day is out, so it's my last chance to make the place presentable. It's mostly done. There's only the shower and refrigerator left. Both things I hate to clean. You'd think the toilet would fall into the same category, but no. It's the mean acts of contortionism my body must perform when cleaning the shower and refrigerator that make me loathe them so. I can say with the confidence of experience that I will clean the messiest, grimiest grit as long as I don't have to go all yoga in the process. For proof, I refer you to my years as a janitor.

Tomorrow is the big day. I plan to be on the road by 7am. We'll end the night at a hotel in Redding, CA, after a day of Bill Bryson audio books. We don't have internet for the new place yet, so I'm not sure how long I'll be off-line. Until then I'll make updates locally and upload whenever I've got a chance. Stay tuned for more fabulous photos of the Seattle skyline!

Vash is clawing at the outlets. I guess that's Cat for "Feed me or die."

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Loose Ends

Sportmart sells a $35 Coleman air mattress. For those of us who like raw numbers, it is precisely 1 billion times better than sleeping on the floor.

Without TV or comfortable chairs, I fall asleep at 8pm because there's nothing else to do. Although I am a big fan of reading, I've never mastered the art of reading on my back. My arms get tired and it makes me irritated.

Jer borrowed a steam cleaner/vacuum, and it is my happy task to figure it out. That's what I get for taking vacation...

My parents took us to dinner at Harry's Bar and Restaurant. I had the Cajun Meatloaf and their version of a Bloody Mary, followed by a Hot Fudge Sundae and coffee. I'm still full. We're supposed to meet for breakfast in a couple hours, but I'm afraid there won't be enough room for the good stuff. But then I'm also afraid of encountering a Komodo Dragon or other prehistoric death lizard in a dark alley, island, or miscellaneous untamed wilderness. So take that with a grain of salt.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005


I blew my nose and dust came out.

The trailer is almost packed, which is good, since they're picking it up today. Apparently it's a shitload of work to stack items nine feet in the air. Now that I've slept on the structural integrity problems, I have high hopes for magically filling in the gaps.

And then we slept on the floor. I was out when my head hit the sleeping bag.

So it's happening, and we both hurt, and we've got more to do. But there you go.


It's noon, about four hours after I started this entry. The trailer is packed and waiting to be picked up. I've got a final doctor's appointment at 2pm that I have to stay awake for, and my parents are coming to town to get their computer. Also, the permit worked perfectly. I didn't have any trouble with parking enforcement on street sweeping day. So now I'm sore and tired and thinking of places where I can buy a decent, cheap air mattress because goddamn. I mean, goddamn. Sleeping on the floor is uncomfortable. Like, no fun whatsoever.

My muscles are mad at me..

P.S. The washer and dryer are gone. This time it was a white pickup truck that hauled our appliances away. And that's the last of the big items.

Monday, September 05, 2005

The Last Stand

There are still so many things to pack, and the cats aren't any help at all. I thought they'd at least be good for a box or two, but no. It's all, "Feed me this," and "Pet me that," and "Aren't I so cute snuggled next to the bird cage?"

Which reminds me... Anybody want a bird?

The washer and dryer are being picked up tomorrow. A parking space is blocked off for the van, still. And the toaster oven defies all of our boxes and must be carried delicately in the trunk of my car. It is a pretty pretty princess.

Today we bought a ladder and bolt cutters. After having my bike unusable for the last two years, it was very satisfactory to snap the chain. Now there is no guilt when we hand it over to the neighbor. It could have easily gone another way:

Neighbor: About the bike...
Me: Yes?
N: It's very nice, only --
Me: Only what?
N: Do you notice anything, odd about the front tire?
Me: Hmm. It looks all right to me. Maybe it's low. Shall I pump it up for you?
N: There's plenty of air. It's just that, well. Do you see how the spokes are shackled to the frame there?
Me: Ah, yes. The theft deterrent device.
N: Can I have the combination?
Me: I'm afraid that's quite impossible.
N: Um, can you undo it for me then?
Me: Didn't I tell you the bike was "as is?"
N: Well, yes.
Me: And didn't I give it to you free?
N: I suppose so.
Me: Then it's settled.
N: But I can't ride it.
Me: Yes, but you touched it last. It's yours.
And then ME runs away, giggling maniacally.

The End.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

The Mobile Menace

I stayed longer at the party than I thought I would. The spinach dip wasn't a big success, but it did get nibbled.

Jer offered our bikes to the neighbors and they accepted. What he didn't mention is that I've forgotten my lock combination and someone has to either smash or cut the chain to free it from its bonds. I once saw a video of a bike thief using a hacksaw, but I don't have that kind of patience or skill. I don't even know if we have a hacksaw. This is why for two years my bike lived on the side yard and I lived the pretense that bikes make better spiders' nests than a means for transportation.

I also gave away my roller blades, because hey, I'm not fooling anybody. I never figured out how to stop. Sure, I can go really fast and sometimes I can even go in the direction I intended, but my usual means of stopping is to sit down and tear a hole in the butt of my pants. Although a successful and creative solution, it requires an infinite supply of fresh pants (and buns of steel). I've got neither.

Roller blading reminds me of my attempts to ski. It turns out that I am not very good at either sport, because to be good you have to have control. Mostly I just scream and flail my arms and have little heart attacks each time I slam into bigger, less flexible objects. This is not the way to earn respect from your peers, or even nine-year olds who skid next to your fallen, mangled body, lean close and say, "It's not safe for you to lie here." As if it were my choice and not gravity that forced my legs behind my head.

In the interests and safety of mobile athletes everywhere, I relinquish the bike, the roller blades, and add ski goggles and bib pants to the donation pile. You may now breathe a collective sigh of relief. There is one less mobile menace in your way.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

2 1/2 Days Until the Moving Van

I'm supposed to go to a party tonight, but I don't plan to do more than make an appearance and provide spinach dip. As I am surrounded by boxes, dust, and cat hair, it's not the best time to make myself pretty and forget all my troubles. Maybe I'll go like I am now, in black sweats, a ten-year old t-shirt, and sleep lines on my face. Glamour thy name is me.

We posted the No Parking signs out front and cleared it with the neighbors. The moving trailer should have enough space when it arrives Tuesday. Or rather, it better have enough space because it's too damned late to do anything about it now.

My stomach is in constant flip flop mode.

I got all my prescriptions filled for the road. Still have to make it to U-Haul for some last minute specialty items. And we found a cheap, but durable corkscrew at Costco for $13. On Tuesday night, once the trailer is loaded and our limbs are wet with sweat and limp as noodles, we'll drink what's left of the wine. 'Course the glasses will be packed, so if anyone looks through our living room windows they'll see two feral, dirty creatures, propped against a wall, and drinking straight from the bottle.

I'm being guilted into packing again. There's nowhere to hide in this stupid apartment.

P.S. The green bookshelf is gone. All that's left is the washer and dryer.

Friday, September 02, 2005

And that's what you get when you surf the web after drinking three pints of beer on your last day of work...
I think that if one-tenth of the horrors that make us human could penetrate our smug bubbles, we'd never be able to leave the house again.

Thank God for self-delusion.

I dropped off a load of donations at the thrift shop. There's at least one more visit in my future.

The person who claimed the washer/dryer for her son is on vacation all week. Our fingers are crossed that her son has our number as her return coincides with our departure.

Renters/Auto insurance is nearly worked out. There was a snag when I found out that Jer's insurance is set to triple, but now I think we're just sucking it up. Single male under thirty driving a sportscar... who knew?

I know this is endlessly fascinating for you.

I packed up my cubicle yesterday and it was sad. Today I return my equipment and walk out the door for the last time. My only regret is that I wish I had more time, but I shouldn't regret what's not in my power to change. I hope I can get another job soon, and that it pays enough for us to be comfortable, and that it's work I enjoy.

In the middle of all these big leaps, I'm trying not to be aware of what I'm doing. Two months from now I can lament all my rash decisions, but right now I just have to get through this. I have to get past the constant uncertainty and just enjoy it. I hope I can find the capacity to enjoy it, because it is an awfully big adventure.

Thursday, September 01, 2005


Moving Update: The futon is gone. I helped the buyer load it in his SUV after waiting two hours for him to show up.

The guy who bought the big screen reports that it's not turning on now. It worked after he loaded it screen side down in his pickup, but stopped working after he moved it to a different room. Looks like we'll be refunding his money.

Still no home for Louie, the blue parakeet.

Today I have to call the moving place and schedule delivery for the trailer. I also have to buy the no parking signs to block off the area in front of our place.

And I've got to back up my work email. And pack. We're experiencing increased anxiety due to the rapid approach of our move date.

We're waiting on the person who expressed interest to pick up the washer/dryer, and we still have a lovely green bookshelf to give away. Oh and that pesky renters/auto insurance policy still needs to be worked out.

We've added to our arsenal: a cheap dolly, work gloves, plastic drop cloths, heavy-duty tarps, bungee cords, and a few furniture blankets. We also created a Frankenbox for the Ikea glass cabinet that I can't bear to part with. The Frankenbox is composed of three smaller U-Haul boxes, taped together, and stuffed with linens. When the cabinet breaks in transit, all of our linens will be covered in glass. But I had to take the chance. I am attached.

This calls for more caffeine.

The Idiot Box

Flipping through the channels, I saw a firefighter dance montage to Buster Poindexter's "Hot Hot Hot," and on the next station, explicit coverage of the hurricane aftermath.

I flipped back and forth for a few minutes.

The firefighters were all in uniform, dancing. The camera cut spastically between small groups: two guys jumped awkwardly around a pole, cut to two women who grinned wide and pumped their arms in circles, cut to another two guys doing synchronized sit-ups. -- Flip -- A newscaster points to the space where a house used to be. All that's left is the foundation. Cut to an aerial shot, a city sinks. Cut to a woman chasing down a National Guard transport, so her and her son can escape. -- Flip -- "Feelin' hot hot hot" Overhead shot of the firefighters, kicking out alternate legs, smiling, jumping up and down. -- Flip -- Makeshift pool in the ninety plus heat. A naked baby wails as he's hosed down in cold water. A man leads the camera crew through his warehouse and explains all the perishables he's donated to the effort.

For good measure I flip in another direction, and see the President waving and holding his dog.

It's the perfect triptych. If only we weren't five hundred years too late for Bosch to do it justice. I mean, we've already got the bird-headed monster. All we need now are a few walking eggshells and we're set.