Getting My ‘Net On

I’m back online, finally! Here’s the Reader’s Digest version of the past two weeks of my life…

Wednesday, 13 September

Receive word that I’ve been approved to rent a house in Montgomery. Simultaneously rejoice and panic over the fact that I pick up the keys and move in on 15 September. Wean myself off the computer and begin stuffing what’s left to be packed into boxes. Unknowingly check the internet at home for the last time until 30 September. Have a visit from Tressy that leaves me bawling uncontrollably over the loss of friends that I just realized comes along with a 2-state move.

Thursday, 14 September

Continue packing. Have help from Katy in the form of lunch and more tape for boxes. Have help from Mom and Daddy in the form of a whirlwind that blows through my tiny house and deposits everything in sight into a box. Pick up the moving truck after driving circles in the parking lot at the rental place trying to find the rental place. Who knew that a truck rental would be housed in an insurance company? One stop shopping there, to be sure…

Start packing the truck with help from Kurt, Scott, and Mom and Daddy until they have to leave to take my stove and their lawnmower back to Georgia. Continue to load truck until 11:30 when, with much gratitude, I release my indentured servants and go to pick up Susan at the Amtrak station. Arrive back at the house and continue to work until we both decide it’s time for bed.

Friday, 15 September

Get up bright and early, feed the dogs, and go grab breakfast at Publix for me and Sooz. Begin again with the packing. Realize to our horror that the beds won’t fit in the truck. Unload, reload, rinse and repeat. Call rental company and advise that I won’t make 2pm pick up time for keys, reschedule for 4pm. Finally take off toward Montgomery, leaving Susan at the house with the truck to wait for parental reinforcements at 11am EST.

Fly down the highway like my rear bumper is on fire. Make it to rental company early, get keys, introduce dogs to office staff, sufficiently enlarge greyhoundy-egos and head for the house. Schedule water to be turned on today.

Arrive at house and spend a few minutes just looking around and getting teary. Find house to be huge, spacious, clean (mostly) and mine. Animals spend a bit of time inspecting the house and then join me in a short nap on the floor. Get up around 6pm CST and head out to find a grocery store for dinner for all of us.

Head down Eastern Blvd after fueling up. Make the mistake of looking too far down the road and miss the fact that the beautiful little black Mazda in front of me has stopped. Turn Element into Urban Assault Vehicle a la Stripes and collide with said Mazda. Spend an hour on the overpass where Eastern Blvd crosses I-85 waiting on the police and frantically worrying about my animals at the house. Am taken to Cracker Barrel by my “Montgomery Family” to eat something but find myself unable to do so. Am taken to Walmart to purchase food and supplies and returned to my new house.

Susan, Mom, and Daddy arrive very late. Mom and Daddy are escorted to their hotel by Bryan and Christy as Susan, Ben, and I take a break on the “loveseat” which is really a window seat. Begin unloading truck upon their return, finish at approximately 3am CST. Dispatch Susan to hotel and go to bed.

Saturday, 16 September

Wake up early because house temperature is mimicking the surface of the sun. A/C continues to refuse to cool the house. Am picked up around 11am by Mom and Daddy and head out to collect Susan. Have lunch and return to house, Susan wisely stays outside and reads to avoid further allergy attack.

Cable guys arrive around 1pm as Mom, Daddy, and Susan head to Georgia. By 3pm they still have not gotten the internet working, and explain that the person that assigns IP addresses is not in the office on Saturday. A/C guy arrives and by midnight house is cooler.

Sunday, 17 September

Continue unpacking. House is now livable, temperature wise. Call and make follow up appointment for Wednesday with cable company. Make online appointment for gas to be turned on so I can take hot showers. Dinner with Montgomery family at Carrabas followed by panic over first day at work.

Monday, 18 September

First day at work. Still taking cold showers. Gas company confirms hook up appointment on Tuesday.

Tuesday, 19 September

Gas company doesn’t show up. Still taking cold showers. Mood rapidly going south.

Wednesday, 20 September

Gas company shows, hot shower incoming. Cable company doesn’t show up. Call to find out what happened, am told that my appointment was rescheduled for Thursday. No explanation as to why.

Thursday, 21 September

Cable guy comes out to look at the problem with my internet. Decides that it is a line problem from the pole to the house. Informs me that line tech will come out on Friday and that I do not have to be here for that to happen. Assures me that I should have internet service by the time I get home Friday evening.

Have minor meltdown over the continued lack of internet service and the fact that I can’t get my dishwasher to work. Cry, yell, and finally decide to go to sleep. Wish that I’d never left Greenville.

Friday, 22 September

Finish first week of new job in high spirits. Am enjoying new co-workers and setting. Arrive home, whistling a happy tune, to find that I still have no internet access. Am pressed for time, having agreed to help Montgomery family move to their respective new homes tonight through Sunday. Call the cable company and talk to yet another tech who, after being a little too snide about the superiority of Apple computers to PC’s, decides that I have a signal problem and need another tech to come out. Order is put in for a tech to come out the following day from 3-5. Help Montogomery family move. Hilarity ensues. Round out the evening with dinner at the Waffle House at 1:30am.

Saturday, 23 September

Unpack a bit and generally be lazy. Wait for cable tech to come out. At 5pm call to find out what happened when no one shows up. Am told that this office doesn’t have anyone that can cover service calls on Saturdays. Am told that there is an outage in my area that started the night before while I was talking to the Macintosh Man. Am told that he would not have known about the outage that was occuring as he was helping me with my still non-existant internet service. Am told to call back at 10pm EST to see if outage has been resolved because that is probably why I don’t have service. Return to help with more moving and cleaning with Montgomery family. Round out the evening with dinner at the same Waffle House, this time at 2am.

Sunday, 24 September

Call cable company to set up appointment. Set appointment for Tuesday afternoon. Am informed by Montgomery family that dinner will be postponed until Monday night. Continue to help pack/move/clean.

Monday, 25 September

Begin second week at new job. After work, join Montgomery family for dinner. Make plans to see “An Inconvenient Truth” on Wednesday evening. Adjourn home.

Tuesday, 26 September

Arrive home after work and wait for cable company. At 7pm, make call to find out why no one showed up. Am told that appointment was rescheduled for Wednesday. Again, no explanation. Begin showing signs of a bad attitude a la last Thursday.

Wednesday, 27 September

Am contacted by cable company at 2:45 to confirm 3-5 appointment. Explain for the millionth time that I don’t get off work until 4:30. Am told that cable company is not allowed to call me when they are on their way to my house (nevermind that they have done that every time prior) but that an exception will be made. Am assured that tech will call when on the way to my house. Continue to work.

Leave work at 4:30 and call cable company to find out why I didn’t get a call. Am told that tech had already been to my house, found no one home, and left. Nearly have an accident due to the sudden rush of blood to my head. Nearly chew out cable employee on phone. Reschedule appointment for Saturday morning at 8am and arrive home. Find note on door that tech arrived at 3:25 but found no one home. Rinse/repeat bad attitude, this time accompanied by mass throwing of things.

Meet Montgomery family at movies at 7:30. Round out the evening with dinner at the same Waffle House, this time at 10pm.

Thursday-Friday, 28-29 September

Work. Watch lots of television. Finally find Target after looking for two weeks. Generally get nothing done due to bad attitude.

Saturday, 30 September

Get considerable amount of unpacking done while cable tech is here. Finally am told that I’m online at 11:30am, two weeks after initial appointment. Stop all that I am doing and become reacquainted with my old addiction, the internet, until about 6:30pm.

Join Christy and Bryan for dog walking and good conversation at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival park at 6:30. Return home around 8:30 and resume internet addiction. Fall into bed at 2am.

So there you have it. I finally feel like I’m moved in now that I’m again connected to the rest of the world through my computer. And now that I’ve spend a good hour composing this post, I’m going to detach from my desk chair and do a bit more work on my den…maybe…

Checklist for Procrastination

1. Sew the patch on Kim’s shirt.
2. Mail the shirt with the patch and the shirt from Mountain Hounds to Kim.
3. Mail a copy of Blind Faith to Suzie.
4. Pick up leg quarters at Publix for the dogs.
5. Pick up toys off the guest room floor left by the dogs.
6. Pack for my mad overnight crazy trip to Montgomery tomorrow.
7. Pack for my awesome wonderful trip to the UK coming up in a week and a half.

Holy Smack, a week and a half.

8. Pack my house up to move to Montgomery.
9. Take lots of naps.
10. Return the Frontline plus for dogs up to 22lbs to the vet in exchange for the 50-100lbs variety…or for 11 more tubes because one of those might cover one of my dogs’ legs.
11. Pick up the third interceptor tablet from the vet that they didn’t put in the bag yesterday.
12. Take Franny and Hunky to the vet on Saturday after the mad overnight crazy trip to Montgomery is over.
13. Pray really hard that Franny will come back home with me from the vet on Saturday.
14. Breathe, and then take more naps.


A Most Convenient Truth

Shamelessly stolen from the sig line of a friend’s email…

Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket–safe, dark, motionless, airless–it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.
– C.S. Lewis

I thought of this today as I caught myself again doing something I’ve blogged about before…compartmentalizing. Today was different though, I was actually verbalizing, opening up another virtual drawer in the file cabinet of my psyche and ordering the ugliness in…only to slam the drawer shut behind it.

I left work this afternoon and the reality of the next few months of my life slapped me about the head and shoulders as I drove out of the parking lot. When my eyes teared and driving became a slight hazard, I started the compartmentalizing that is so a part of me now…but today I paid attention.

Step one: find a peppy song on the CD that you’re listening to currently. Since I had my RENT soundtrack in the player, I found “Living in America” which is one of my favorites.
Step two: Start the self talk audiotape in my head to distract me from the pain.(this is the point at which I caught myself verbalizing…) “It’s not so bad. You don’t really know that many people here. You need to get out of South Carolina. They are just co-workers. You’ll make new friends. You’ll have a new life. It will be better there…etc etc etc etc.”
Step three: convince yourself that whatever it is that hurts doesn’t. Repeat as necessary until the offensive thing/person/event/memory/etc that is the source of the trauma is as insignificant in your mind as next week’s grocery list.

I was actually riding along saying out loud “It doesn’t hurt.” Literally. But it does. Just like every other bad experience in my life that I’ve tried to compartmentalize to avoid a backdraft of emotion, it hurts. I do have friends here. I have a routine. I have a life here.

LORDY I just did it again. Teared up and then forced myself to pay attention to my typing (“dang, I need a new keyboard, this one is loud”) so that I wouldn’t cry…wouldn’t hurt. I think I’ve been doing this all my life. I did it when we moved every four years when I was a child. I did this when my last grandparent died right around the time of my 13th birthday. I did this when I had to leave the people that had become important to me at Young Harris or Maryville or Camp Glisson or even Commerce High School. I did this when my childhood dog Buffy died and again when my Lizzard died last summer.

The concern now is what happens when this process fails? Will the dam break and drown me in left over crap that I really should have dealt with years ago? Or, more likely…will it have changed, “in that casket–safe, dark, motionless, airless,” into nothing but dust?

I think maybe it’s time to open the file cabinet and see.

“That drip of hurt…that pint of shame…goes away, just play the game…” -J. Larson, RENT

Counting Down…

In 19 days I will leave my precious hounds with my friends, then kiss my kitties on their furry noggins and beg them not to make craft projects out of my carpet and drapes.

In 19 days I leave Greenville to go to Austell, GA, to my sister and BIL’s house.

In 21 days I will board a plane for London (overnight flight).

In 22 days I will land in London and board another plane for Edinburgh.

In 23 days I will fly back to London from Edinburgh and spend the next 6 days there.

In one month I will be spending my last day working for the SC Department of Mental Health.

In one month and two weeks, I will be starting my first day with the Alabama Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation.

In the 30 seconds required to post this, I’ve realized that if I make it to September 18th alive, it will be a bloody miracle.

Confessions and Phone Conversations

Several of you that read the Lettuce have emailed me to ask what I mean when I mention the “Alabama Job.” Being the superstitious sot I am, I was trying not to jinx it like I think I did the job in Decatur last year…not that I wasn’t offered the Decatur job but that when I was everything else sorta fell through. Well…I’m trying to convince myself that we make our own luck, so here’s the confession. I’ve applied for an interpreter job with the Alabama Dept. of Mental Health. SCDMH was great to raise my salary last year to keep me here, but they have raised it as far as they can without re-classifying me…and I just feel that I really NEED to get out of South Carolina.

Okay, all that aside, on to the phone conversation, which I’m afraid is a harbinger of things to come as far as my moving goes (if I get the job). Kinda reminds me of where I was this time LAST year…

Nice Lady at Apartment Complex in Montgomery: Good afternoon, X apartments, can I help you?
Me: Yes, I’m Nancy Lassiter and I’m calling about your X apartment that I saw advertised on
Nice Lady at Apartment Complex in Montgomery: Sure, what can I tell you about it?
Me: Well, it says that you allow pets and that you allow large dogs, and I was wondering if you have a weight, breed, or other…
Nice Lady at Apartment Complex in Montgomery: We have breed restrictions for large dogs, yes ma’am. What kind of dog do you have?
Me: A greyhound, I’m sure that’s not on the…
Nice Lady at Apartment Complex in Montgomery: Oh no ma’am, they aren’t on the list from our insurance company. Greyhounds are not aggressive dogs like the ones on the list.
Me: Well, no, they aren’t. So is there a fee for…
Nice Lady at Apartment Complex in Montgomery: Yes ma’am we allow two pets and the fee is $500/per pet. When would you be looking to move in?
Me: Well, I have more than two greyhounds.
Nice Lady at Apartment Complex in Montgomery: Oh, okay, well thank you for calling. (click)

Why don’t they just put that on their website and save all of us a lot of time and trouble? 2 pet limit, $500 fee per pet. Not difficult.

From a posting made by my friend Mary:

this is the kind of person I am…
and have always been. Loving dogs is easy, they are part of me.
Please accept me for who I am.
My dogs appreciate my presence in their lives…

Lordy, I didn’t even get to the cats…

What Dreams I Can Do Without

Slight insomnia again last night. I stayed up WAY too late on the computer, and when I got into bed I read a little bit to ease me out of the world of fighting computer monsters and into sleep. I was rewarded for my late bedtime with an awful anxiety dream.

I was back in college and apparently had learned to sing as I had taken the lead role in The Fantasticks. My former theatre professor was still the director at the theatre, but I believe the building we were in was the Classic Center in Athens, GA. I’m sure that it was in Athens. Anyway…in typical anxiety dream fashion I had not learned any of my lines and had been away at home for a week, presumably for spring break. My mother was with me coming back to school, and I remember saying to her that she needed to go into the theatre with me when I told the director I was back because if my mother was there the director couldn’t possibly get THAT mad at me.

Somehow Mom agreed and we walked toward the theatre. I saw others that I knew were in the cast going in dressed in costumes that, in my waking mind, were wrong for that play…not to mention the fact that there were too many of them…and I chatted with one guy as we were headed in the door. He wanted to know why I was there, because since I’d been skipping rehearsals I’d been demoted to understudy. I was shocked and said I’d been gone all week, had they had rehearsals? He just shook his head and went inside.

After that the dream was just flashes of being onstage, being REAMED for not knowing my lines, running about backstage, etc. The interesting and not-so-horrifying thing about the backstage part is that I could SEE the backstage area of the Maryville College theatre…I could smell it…that was, fortunately, the most realistic part of my dream. But at the same time, it would change to a backstage I didn’t recognize, and that would suddenly horrify me that not only was I unprepared for my role…I didn’t know where I was.

Wonder if I’m worried about Alabama?