sienamystic: (cactus pot)
Haven't been talking about this with anyone but my sister (and the occasional venting to the husband), but we'll be back in DC really, really soon, because it seems that my mom's on-again, off-again romance with Dude I Have No Nickname For is permanently tripped to "on" and they plan to make the whole thing legal real soon now. In other words, I'm shopping for a Best Woman dress. And by "real soon now," I mean, "I'm buying plane tickets for a trip in about ten days."

My sister and I have probably done most of the :facepalm: that we have scheduled. From here on out, I think it's going to be a mix of Dignified Silence, Mordant Humor, and Stiff Upper Lips.

Frankly, my mom is nutty, and the guy isn't a horrible specimen of humanity but is kind of a pushy jerk, and comes complete with a family of more pushy jerks. And of course, mom refuses to do anything sensible like get her legal stuff in order before taking the plunge.

The plan is to snowbird, which is good, because apparently mom has just been diagnosed with a cold allergy (she gets hives if an air-conditioning vent is blowing on her, or if she touches or drinks anything too cold. It may be a sign of the family's tendency towards thyroid disease.) Winters in Florida are probably the better plan.

Anyway. The whole thing will likely affect my life very little, on the whole. But I wish she were marrying somebody we liked a little bit more.
sienamystic: (Annie from Community)
Driving back from the gym, I needed to get into the right lane to make a turn. Usually a few cars peel off into the Target parking lot, but none did and I figured I wouldn't be able to make the turn. But I was able to speed up and pull into a gap left by a battered pickup truck which had fallen back, and did it without anybody having to slam on brakes. I'd say it was a typical aggressive east-coast driver move, except I don't think it would rate on that scale because I wasn't legitimately cutting anybody off. There was a big gap, I could take it, so I took it. While we're sitting to make the right turn, behind a car that's ahead of me, I hear a commotion...male voices yelling behind me. I'm confused - is this directed at me? Somebody in an adjacent car?

We make the turn, the pickup is behind us and pulls out and around to pass us. And then, again from behind us, comes a white sedan and a young feral manchild is leaning out of the window, calling me a bitch, screaming incoherently, pulling up past me to pull level with the pickup but still making sure that he's facing me to call me things.

I ended up pulling out onto a side street so we wouldn't be caught next to them at the next stoplight. And I am still completely baffled by the whole thing. Am I a bitch because I dared to pass the dude in the pickup truck, causing his buddies in the white car to defend his honor? Is it a Nebraska thing to be outraged at my little display of ever-so-mild assertive driving? Was he just drunk and looking for a target?

I hate ugliness and feeling threatened like that. I also hate that I don't even understand why it happened.
sienamystic: (Default)
I am tired of being the Calamity Jim and Calamity Jane Traveling Circus of Bad News, thanks. No, really. Even the small roadbumpy type stuff is really starting to wear.

gnnrgh

Mar. 5th, 2011 06:34 pm
sienamystic: (jello horror)
The computer repair is going to cost us $349 bucks. That includes a new hard drive, and the data transfer, etc. Theoretically we could buy the equipment and Bemo could do it, but it would be a big project and, as Bemo ruefully put it, full of opportunities to do something wrong and erase everything, since he's never done it before.

I think we can do it, but once again, we'll be just barely scraping through the month.

Oh, and last night I lost one of my earrings in a parking garage and couldn't for the life of me find it on the ground. It's a pair I've had since I was about six - tiny circles of gold with a Chinese character inside. They're lovely and I am not allowing myself to feel as upset about the loss as I should be.

Are we due for a string of awesome things happening yet?
sienamystic: (TAR Colin)
I would really like to be able to change my LJ's playlist away from Woebegone: Greatest Hits of Woe and Tragedy and Yet More Woe, but damn. When I started to do our taxes on Saturday afternoon, I came across a W-2 from last year that I did not remember seeing. And I knew immediately that it meant trouble, I just didn't know how or when or in what form the trouble would come. Cue my opening our mailbox this morning to discover a perfectly polite notice from the IRS going, "You screwed up, you owe us money, have a nice day!" From Saturday to Monday - not a long time to have to wait for the shoe to drop.

If I hadn't had the warning on Saturday that something was in the wind, I would really been upset. Had kittens. Hit the ceiling. Had a cow, totally, dude. As it was, I saw the envelope, sighed heavily, and went to sit in the car to read it over and when I was done, I sighed again, put it in my purse, and drove back to work.

So tonight, I get to review our paperwork, and see if I did really botch things the way it looks like I did, and then figure out where we go from here. It's five hundred bucks. We didn't actually see a penny of our refund last year, since Bemo's student loans were still in default and they took it, but maybe we can work something out where if we're due a refund this year, they can take the money that way. Not sure. Am already tired just thinking about it.

Meanwhile, I feel like I have once again failed completely at this "adult" shit. And yet, I'm the one who continues to have to handle it. I'm feeling a bit resentful about that, and about the fact that if Bemo is too depressed/unmotivated/purely physically tired to go to the gym, I feel like I should stay home as well, since I'm already away a great deal what with working on the weekends. But it's gotten to the point where I need to either start insisting, or going without him, or something, because my activity at home when I'm not at the gym is cooking and baking, which is not the best thing to replace a trip to the gym with. In some ways, Bemo is doing better. But he's in a much deeper hole this time than I've ever experienced, so, you know, better is still pretty deep in that hole.

Anyway. The IRS and I continue to dance our dance of incompetence and finance. Feh to all of it.

Meep!

Feb. 23rd, 2011 05:00 pm
sienamystic: (jello horror)
Have just had the potential opportunity to teach a class at a small nearby college come my way. They need somebody to teach a pre-Renaissance Art History class next fall, and remembered that when they came to visit my museum, one of us had an MA in Art History. (My boss has a masters in Museum Studies, although she could probably teach the class as well, although she would prefer a class covering modern-to-contemporary Art History.)

The class is supposed to cover European (got it), Islamic (shakier but I could get the highlights covered) aaaaand two areas I know very little about, Native American and Oceanic. Plus, I haven't taught in front of a class in ages, and even that was not all that often, although I do sort-of teach when students and professors visit.

Basically, I'm tremendously excited by the possibility, and also reeaaaally nervous. Will let you all know if it happens, because I'll be on here metaphorically wetting my pants if it happens.

Only she

Jan. 31st, 2011 04:36 pm
sienamystic: (jello horror)
I know I've been a little mom-heavy here in the ol' journal recently, but seriously, she is driving me and my sister up a collective tree. Last night I had a conversation with her that was less fraught than most (that is, she wasn't yelling incoherently) but in the same conversation she asserted that:

- She has no money and therefore no estate, and therefore no need to see an estate lawyer of financial planner before she marries
- She has plenty of money and therefore can spend gobs of it on a wedding if she wants to
- Spending money on a bus to ferry relatives from Virginia to Pennsylvania so they can come to the ceremony doesn't count as spending a lot of money, because it's a good idea!
- Her husband-to-be's plan of limiting the budget for the wedding to $3,000 is an excellent one.
- She doesn't intend to stick to that budget because it's far too small.
- She doesn't want to sell her house and move to Pennsylvania because it's colder there, and anyway she loves her house.
- Her husband-to-be wants to sell the house so they can live in the Pennsylvania countryside. How they will reconcile these two opposing desires, we have no idea. Cage match?
- My sister and I are "money-faced." (Apparently it sounds better in Tagalog.)
- Husband-to-be's family are mostly composed of immoral money-grubbers, but they won't be able to touch her money even if they get married. This despite having no actual idea what happens once they are married and he becomes...her heir? Closest next-of-kin? Automatically entitled to half the house and so could pass it on to his kids if mom dies first and then they force us to sell it so they can get their half? Which would go against mom's desire that we keep the house? We don't know. She doesn't know either, and doesn't want to ask.
- There is no difference between a wedding in Pennsylvania and a wedding in Virginia, because that's just silly.
- Getting married is about love, not money, therefore seeing an estate planner or financial adviser is a waste of money. (This from the woman who matter-of-factly calls herself a high-maintenance woman with ABSOLUTELY NO IRONY.)
- All of this makes her tired. Why do we want to make her tired?

My sister and I have no real expectation of an inheritance from mom. Our assumption all this time has been that the house would finance her retirement once she was older, and anything we inherited would be stuff like pieces of furniture and the Le Creuset pots we intend to fight over. We're not exactly money-grubbers, either of us. However, the last thing either of us want is some sort of protracted legal brangle where suddenly Husband-to-Be's six kids sue us over some part of mom's estate and end up forcing us to do things we don't want to do. And frankly, the only reason we have a bit of a dubious view of this guy's kids is because HE HAS TOLD US THEY ARE HORRIBLE PEOPLE. Seriously. He's the one telling us they're leeches, while at the same time feeding his martyr complex by bankrupting himself to give them money (apparently he put 26K on his credit cards to put an son-in-law through rehab, and then the guy went to jail as soon as he got out for doing...something, and now he's out of jail and babysitting the kids and OH MY GOD DO WE WANT TO BE INVOLVED IN THIS FAMILY'S DRAMA? DO WE?)

So. These are a few of the things my sister and I have been dealing with.
sienamystic: (Betty)
I haven't mentioned it, because it hasn't been as interesting a story as when she was dating the Wee Irish Man, but mom has been dating a new guy for about 8-9 months now. My sister and I don't like him as much, although he's not a horrible person or anything - his personality is just a little bit off-putting. However, between the two of us, we see only bad things to come in their relationship, both from his side and hers. Firstly, they don't seem to be communicating very well. Secondly, he's stubborn and pushy. Thirdly, they both want different things out of life. He's a "life is an adventure and we don't know what will come next and whee!" type, and my mom is a bit of a hypochondriac(ok, she's really and truly one) and likes her quiet routine and sometimes wants to just stay in bed all day and thinks adventure is a dirty word. Also mom loves considering herself a frail flower - she is the oldest 61-year-old in the world - and hates bustling while this guy is very much a bustle-around type. And also also, he seems to think he's St. Francis incarnate, and is full of good works and simple living, which is laudable but not when you're trying to impose that lifestyle on a woman who doesn't want it, at all.

Mostly, we wish my mom would just put the brakes on things. Instead, they're talking marriage, despite the huge red flags already mentioned. Sadly, she is apparently now on the path to marrying the guy (despite calling it quits on the relationship about five times now) and seems to be waiting for some external force - God, the Church, her kids - to be the ones to prevent her from going down this path if it's not the right choice. I phoned her up just now, and talked about it with her in a way that didn't make her defensive, and hopefully we'll be able to slow down the matrimony train.

And in other news, my father has just announced, in an aside in an email to my sister, that he's moving to Korea for good. This Wednesday. My brain is trying to make me feel that now is the time for regret - that I should have been more aggressive about trying to reconcile with him while he was in the US. But I'm not feeling that way. I'm feeling something, and I will poke at that feeling more later, but I think it's mostly just a vague regret that it's all turned out this way, and not guilt that I didn't fix it somehow. Which I suppose is improvement, because I will assume guilt for a wide range of things at the drop of a hat, most days.

So, uh...there's that, that's been happening. I will look at it this way - it's all fodder for the novel, right?
sienamystic: (TAR Colin)
I am trying to figure out how to consolidate Bemo's student loans. Just figuring out how many of them he has was a right bitch of a task, and although I think I have it mostly right, some of my figures don't match up so I can't tell if this loan is the same as that loan on the two different websites I was on, and the phone system, and arrgh. At this moment in time, I have gotten most of the paperwork typed up. But I was told that the Income Contingent plan (which looks at your tax filings to determine your payment) was the better choice, but when I put in our income stuff into the estimator (with Bemo at zero, and me at my income) the estimator spit out a slightly higher monthly payment for the income contingent thingy than on their standard fixed payment plan. And I don't know if I stick with the advice I was first given (casually by a phone person who was not looking at the figures) or go with what seems to be the obvious choice - the lower payment. I feel like this is a dumb thing to be indecisive about, and yet.

And later, we get to look for a lawyer to help file the appeal for his disability claim.
sienamystic: (TAR Colin)


Not the whole bike, just the back wheel. $65-85 to replace. All because I was careless and didn't secure the back wheel like I do with the front wheel. Nobody to blame but myself - and the MOTHERFUCKERS WHO STOLE MY WHEEL.

My poor bike looked like a wounded gazelle this morning, lying limply against the porch, the chain dangling in the dirt.
sienamystic: (DADA)
Have spent the weekend making more of my pendants and magnets (more on that a little later), going to the gym, biking around, and, as is usual for me, worrying. Bemo's benefits have once again run out, and we have another two months before the big student loan payments to get his loans out of default are over with. After those two months are up, we'll still have to make payments (on his loans and mine) but they should be lower and, one hopes, within our ability to manage.

At least this time we have some savings, so we're not faced with, say, immediately selling the car, or something like that. I think we can manage, even if things are tight (no more trips to the coffee shop for an iced mocha and a cupcake. But I'm worried about not being able to pay for aikido, which is pretty important to me right now, so I'm going to be stocking my Etsy store and perhaps asking people to spread the word about it. There's no way I can stand out on my own in a sea of other stores selling similar pendants, but perhaps I can convince some of you that if you perhaps happen to need yourself a pretty little pendant, you might pick one of mine! I'll put something up here when I've put up photos of a few more things. Heck, I might even bypass Etsy and just put up pics here.

I'm also going to be looking around for a weekend job. The local organic co-op grocery needs a weekend cashier. I could deal with that.

I hate feeling like I'm constantly on the edge of developing a full-fledged anxiety disorder. And I wish Bemo could find work.

Didn't sleep much last night due to busy brain. Will be going to bed right after Mad Men, if I can hold on till then.
sienamystic: (poop deck)
You know, over the past many years, I've lived in a lot of apartments. I've finally come to the conclusion that it's really damn difficult to predict whether or not your experience with a rental agency or apartment complex will be a positive one, a neutral one, or a wildly negative one. Our apartment complex in Alexandria was, for us, great. A friend of mine moved in two floors above us and had a less-than-stellar experience. On the advice of a co-worker, we moved into the Chantilly apartment - same complex she lived in at the time. She had no problems with them - we had a carnival of bad experiences and still refer to the place as Amityville. We had, more or less, a good relationship with our current leasing company here in Lincoln (rec'd to us by a person who had also had a good experience with them) - to the point that, when we were booted out of our first place, we sought out another building managed by them. But I've just recently been told a couple of horror stories by people who had profoundly negative experiences with the same company.

This musing brought to you by the fact that we just had our walk-through for our old apartment, and we could tell already that the guy was going to be a genuine, class-A dick about some things that truly were there when we moved in. The ledge of the window is very worn and gouged in long parallel rows along the grain, and he clearly intimated that our cats were somehow responsible. Perhaps if we were keeping a lynx, or several small cougars, that might happen. We're crossing our fingers that we wrote down the wear on our initial walk-through form, but we might have made a $300 mistake by not noting it down, since we might have mentally written it off as wear and tear on an apartment that's forty or fifty years old that we didn't need to specifically write down, just like we didn't write down that the cabinets were kinda janky - usable, but janky.

We have to find our copy of the walk-through form from when we moved in, It's around somewhere, I just have to unearth it. But we can just tell this guy is going to do his best to not have to return our deposit, and I don't know if I have the wherewithal right now to take him to small claims court, or whatever would have to happen.

I hate this sort of petty bullshit. I know homeownership brings its own unique sets of problems and issues, but right now, I'd trade.
sienamystic: (etc etc etc)
All that remains at the old apartment are cleaning supplies, which I'll pick up tonight after doing a little more cleaning and taking photos to prove how we left the place. It'll be good to be done with this. While we've managed it all on schedule, making endless trips with endless boxes has been its special little form of torture.

So very tired. And in the grips of the "now what" that always happens once you complete a big project. Lots of sore muscles.

And god, poor Bemo. He had something Very Not Good happen today and called me at about ten this morning, gutted.

traumatic animal story that does not end well )

Sigh.
sienamystic: (Harriet Vane quote)
In the clutches of the insomnia fairy, sitting here at two in the morning tired but somehow unwilling to just go to bed. Packing has resulted in me trawling through my stash of keepsakes and mementos, which have been winnowed down every time we move but still take up a substantial space. The old class essays, which I cringe to read - apparently the idea of a spell-check and a final sweep to edit my work was foreign to me, even if I got a good grade. Oh, for an editor with a strong whip-hand to wrench my rambling prose into shape! My multiple journals, my scribblings, some full of pain, some full of happiness, so many of them incredibly gauche and trying so hard, I can hardly stand rereading them but I can't throw them away. Old photos, things cut out of magazines, a tidal wave of nostalgia in bits of paper. No wonder I collect old magazines. A note from a professor on my neatly typed travel journal from the second Italy trip, saying that my world-weariness at such a young age made him sad. Was I world-weary? I thought I was just being honest.

I'm living in a sea of boxes. Being sick meant that I spent too much time sitting on the sofa with my little netbook, and my right wrist is now aching because of it and I've dug up my old wrist brace. I spent too much money on more medications today. The new owner of the building has leaped into building improvements, so the parking lot was dug up and new concrete laid, and the upstairs apartment is being torn apart and redone so all we hear are drills and hammering most of the day.

I'm not happy, really, but I'm not unhappy. I'm just overloaded and out of balance. And going to go to bed, because that's probably what I need the most.

hawaii 1983
sienamystic: (Guster quote Gabriel)
Went into work late, and left early. Am now reclined on the sofa, headachey and not fit for much except being a place for a cat to sleep on, which Gracie the Senior Feline has opted to do. It's cool and rainy out for the first time in forever, so the windows are open.

Have consoled myself with a sandwich from the deli and some chocolate. Plus, there's a baby quiche Florentine in the freezer for dinner - something that just needs to go in the oven and doesn't need any prep but which is more interesting than another sandwich. Also have bought organic graham crackers, and I can't figure out why. I think in my weakened state (I love saying this, it makes me feel like I need a chaise to faint on and Mr. Darcy to catch me), the box was strangely appealing, or something. Usually I just stick with the big-brand stuff. Somebody needs to investigate whether walking pneumonia makes you more vulnerable to advertising, or to organic stuff. Or maybe it was just the first thing I saw on the shelf.

Have had too many people tell me all about the Dire Consequences I face if I don't rest and "take care of myself." Appreciate the sentiment, but I am resting and taking care of myself, and I don't particularly need to hear the horror stories right now.
sienamystic: (cactus pot)
Left-side walking pneumonia. Sixty bucks for a week of some hot-shot antibiotic and an inhaler that is already making me trembly and spazzy (as expected, albuterol does this to me whenever I have to use it). A week of no gym. Another week of no aikido. Recheck on Thursday.

I am so incredibly pissed off right now.
sienamystic: (cactus pot)
Packing packing packing. As mentioned previously, we've pretty much decided to go for the smaller, less expensive apartment (will go turn in the paperwork tomorrow) but I'm completely freaking out at the idea that our stuff won't fit, it's the wrong decision, etc etc ad infinitum. I have squirrel brain housed inside a deceptively calm exterior. I want all this to be over soonest, please.
sienamystic: (Pete whining)
Bemo is doing better. He has technically quit the job, but was told by the hiring and training people that "he was valuable enough to hire, he is valuable enough to keep on, even if they may need to put him in a different department." We will explore what that means when I get home.

The dude who works at the rental management company when we first got the apartment is being very helpful, assembling our papers for us so we have proof of our valid lease and valid pets. The one hesitation was that our newest cat hasn't been licensed by the county, so I am tending to that asap so that they can't point a finger at that. (That was mostly laziness on my part - they usually send you the forms after the first time your cat has been seen by a vet and Ratchet hasn't had to go yet. He's up to date on his rabies shots, and all.)

They have been sitting on our rent checks - last month's and this month's. I have the carbons to prove they were written. A friend suggested that they were holding them and then going to deposit them all at once, hoping they'll bounce and we can be cited for defaulting on the rent. If that is their plan, it will fail - the money is there in the account.

We are actively looking for a new place. I don't want to hang out and be passive-aggressived by a landlord even if we are in the right. What I hope to do is use the fact that we are in the right to make him give us another month, at least, to complete the move. I don't know about the back rent and the deposit - I am assuming they will try to weasel us out of the deposit.

My mom has said she'll help us with a deposit on a new place. I am very grateful for that. I'm very grateful for all of you internet friends, too, because the support has been very helpful.

Gods above and below, this is enough to make a saint smack his mother in the mouth.
sienamystic: (Italy signpost)
Have gotten into Chicago safely and blown off some time wandering around the streets near my hotel, which is situated in the big ol' shopping district known as the Magnificent Mile. It's nice to be out and about in a city that has such nice flavor to it - it's a good place to feel some different energies.

The hotel itself (The Inn of Chicago) is trying hard to be a boutique hotel (and I think bills itself as such) but while the lobby is appropriately trying too hard, with uncomfortable but stylish seating and a lobby bar that's busy blasting out really, really bad house music, the rooms are pretty pedestrian. Not bad, just nothing at all special, and just a trifle on the shabby side. I am on the 18th floor, and waiting for an elevator is a group sporting activity, I have discovered.

My bustling about was pretty much all window-shopping. I resisted buying everybody in the office a Hello Kitty pencil at the Sanrio store, buying myself a tub of Legos, buying a cute but pricey cardigan at the Gap, and buying a new pair of Croc flip flops. I may go back and get those flip flops, actually - they're more durable, contoured, and comfortable than the average one. I did hit up the Trader Joe's and now have a giant sack of stuff to bring home. Some of it was devoured for dinner (pretzel bread, yum) but most of it will be toted back.

I'm tired, and anxious about Bemo, who is anxious about his new job. Both of us are trying not to wallow in that anxiety, because it won't help anything, but he feels the pressure of Not Fucking Up And Getting Fired - just like that, with capital letters, and all the weight of his current lack of confidence on his shoulders. He's also under some stress with me being out of town, which thankfully is only for a couple of days. My bringing him back his favorite Trader Joe's meringues aren't going to magically solve all our problems.

Eee, this took a light speed left turn for the depressing. Probably proof that I should get upstairs, get a hot shower, and spend the rest of the evening lolling on the bed watching the crappiest television I can get my hands on.

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