hard to believe I ever considered becoming a professional organizer…


…really hard…


Dear Diary,

Sorry it’s been so long since I’ve written but have had much going on. Have started drafts on many things (all those drafts, so little time) but in a nutshell,

–new temp. gig (I guess technically they’re all temporary really); Today was my 5th day and I finally have almost all (software) tools and accesses to do my job (if I knew what that was). This will be a test of how quickly I can learn many new things all at once.

<side note: Historically, this has not been my modus operandi. I’m usually slow to learn.  Just when you wonder if I could possibly have any more questions, I amaze you with my brilliance.>

–Finally, after successfully avoiding it for 16+ years, I pulled the old caulk out of my tub. It was just as ugly a job as I thought it would be (no backer rods! 1st layer of caulk still present). But I was “saved” from actually doing the deed (re-caulking) because…

–Was on the losing end of a (literal) cat fight:  My days as a hand model are over. They don’t stitch animal wounds because of the infection risk.

Having had infections as results of the previous 2 times I tried saving Li’l Effer from the evil neighbor cat, you’d think I’d have learned by now, but $250 later, I can finally say I have learned. I had to leave the Bubster to fend for himself and run in to call for help. He’s an a-hole but he’s really a wimp at heart so I felt guilty (later actually, not at the time), but tough sh**.

He was traumatized but I was injured. The swelling is down, the wound is almost closed, and the scarring has begun. Couldn’t get my hand wet for many days but since I couldn’t really move it, it didn’t matter much.


No, my hands are not normally this fat…I couldn’t even wear my bling, so that should tell you something!


–Learning new electronics: This must be how a dieter feels when they go off their diet. So much for less consumption and all that crap. More to come but it is time-consuming to play with learn new stuff.

‘K diary, gotta go figure out my antenna so I can set the DVR.



What I’ve learned in the last couple months of under-employment:

1. I forgot how much I love staying up late at night reading 500 page thrillers/mysteries/what have yous.

2. Here’s how my trash company does its pickup: The people (2 guys) take turns driving. One person drives, the other rides. They stop every few houses, look in each can and if possible just remove bags from the can.

If there’s a lot of loose / messy stuff: they give house dirty look and wheel plastic “trash can” to truck and dump it manually.

If too heavy they use the lift to dump it  (in which case they appear to curse the house because this decreases productivity).

3. A lot of people in my ‘hood come home for lunch. Some because they have dogs but others, I guess, live close enough and just eat at home. That’s what I’d do when gas was cheap and I worked close enough.

4. I get so cold sitting most of the day, even though I’m wearing thick socks, long underwear, putting space heater next to me (safe, oil-filled so don’t have to worry unless there’s an electrical problem in which case I’m screwed), I still am cold.

Once I take the dog for a walk, which is never always appealing, but never more so than when it’s effing freezing out there. Once I get up and move around for awhile though, I’m warm for the rest of the night. Just thought you’d like to know.

5. I don’t have a solid routine yet, but I have taken advantage of my sitcheattion to revert to my old (preferred) habit of going to sleep by midnight and waking at 8 or so. Would love to sleep wayyyy later but I’m afraid to get into that habit.   <–That’s an old note. Have gotten to sleep no earlier than midnight (at least) for weeks now. And getting 9-10 hours of sleep/night (most nights). It might is going to be difficult to re-acclimate to job-time.

6. I need more human contact that I realized.  I always knew working from home 1 day/week was beneficial from a productivity perspective, but every day? Couldn’t do it. This is the longest I’ve not worked since I started working – gulp – 30 years ago.

I miss Roberto’s infectious laugh (and his candy jar), catching up on the scoop with Rhett, having Pat walk by and say “Nerdmen” (a variation of my last name that I’ve heard all my life but since he called everyone by their last name this was not an insult), and having Rob to complain to or bounce something off of  (or him doing the same to me).

7. My neighbors had their kids/spouses/grandkids/animals in town for about 2 weeks. TWO of the daughter’s family dogs (they brought 3 and left some at home) escaped twice that I saw.

I even saw one in the act of escaping. Did best to reassure neighbors that I really DO NOT sit and look at their house all day to see what’s going on. I think they believe me.

8. Think the people up the street are having baby because today one of ’em drove home a Mom Mobile-type of car, pulled into garage for about a minute.

Couple hours later, guy followed the woman home in his car, and she put the (already-tested) Mom Mobile in the garage. The pregnancy thing is just a theory so far, but if past performance is a predictor of future behavior…

Since they don’t talk to their neighbors will find out if / when she pops.

9. What the hell has happened to all my mechanical pencils? I have had some of the same ones for years and now they’re gone…? Having no other idea I’ll have to blame this one on the cats.

10. This house is so damn small in the winter. I only allow myself in each room for part of the day. So once job hunting is over for day I don’t use that room for rest of day. Same with other 3 rooms. It averages to 6 hours per room per day (with less in kitchen and more in bath and bedroom).

11. If I ever mention having watched daytime tv during the day, call me right away and invite me over because this is an indicator something is terribly wrong…

12. I started taking part of one day a week to do something fun that I couldn’t do if I were working. Went to the zoo one day and saw the baby tigers and a leopard with a hair ball. Spent another watching taped shows at inappropriate times of the day, another with my cousin and her suweeet baby.

I’ve also stripped and painted some windows, painted chest of drawers, vacuumed excessively, and gotten rid of some clutter, but that’s just catch up stuff I really needed to do.

Next dreaded – task – that – will – seem – appealing – compared – with – job – hunting: recaulking bathroom tub. Have been evading that one for 15+ years.

13. To get to their houses, the 3 newest couples in the ‘hood keep driving wrong way down our one way street . Not saying I’ve never done it mind you, but only when I’m in a big hurry and I don’t think I’ll get caught.

Almost every new person does it a lot the first few months they live here and then they stop. Not sure why they stop. Are they getting threatened “talked to”? Or do they simply feel the neighborhood’s eyes burning into their souls? Or could it be the rocks being tossed through their windows? Not sure…

14. I’m SO glad this is happening in the winter and not summer or spring. Every semi-nice day has been a test of my ability to concentrate. If it were spring I’d be outside doing anything other than job-hunting.

A couple of weeks ago I even dragged my office-type chair out to the front porch to sit in the sunshine and warmth and pretend I was here:


and not here.

15. My next door neighbor is retired and that woman is the busiest person I know. Let that be a lesson…

You’re welcome.


**Gladys is a reference to Gladys Kravitz, the nosy neighbor in the old tv show, Bewitched. who knew everything that was going on in the neighborhood. Formerly a synonym for “nosy neighbor,” but now highly regarded as a one person “neighborhood watch group.”



Obviously, I would’ve preferred what you were thinking but unfortunately no.

My last day was supposed to be a week from tomorrow and honestly, I dreaded going back to “the ‘we’re combining’ to make the Everywhere Place into the Holy Crap It’s a Huge Mega Company.” Been there, done that, and it sucks.

So I guess it’s “better this way” despite not knowing a lot yet and I’m sure “it’ll all be for the best in the end” and blah blah blah. But as I’ve said before – many times – “it’s the middle part that sucks.”

So stay with me kids. When I get under-employed is when I get the funniest because I have to look for something to make me smile see things in a skewed way am already twisted it just comes out am delusional guess we’ll find out…

I won’t become a “victim of the economy anything”  but if I call you crying just bear with me. If I run out of food, feed me a meal.

If I tie my animals’ paws together and put them on the curb because they’re driving me nuts because I’ve been home with them all day untape them and tell them to run away. If I call and ask how to make cat food taste better, give me some spice ideas. If I call to see if you have extra furniture, give it to me so I can burn it for heat.

Most of all, if you want my resume to pass along to someone who works at a cool company I’d like to work at (preferably near a beach) then call me. <Sprout:  copy is coming.>

Other than that I promise I’ll try to keep the Elizabeth Kübler-Ross stages of grief off these pages.

Welcome along for the journey…


Oh god it’s electronics season. Of course it’s always electronics season for some of us, but now it’s electronics season for everyone.  I’m in physical pain.

Any gadget geek knows you don’t buy electronics gadgets for others at Christmas time; you buy them for yourself as a “treat.”

Since I will be under-employed as of either Monday or the 23rd (you’d think I should know wouldn’t you?!) I can merely lust this year. It’s a test of strength too, let me tell you.

I was lusting for the Verizon Blackberry Storm because I want the touchscreen, the camera for its focal mechanism (auto focus not fixed focus), its bigger display, the GPS on demand, and (of course) for the phone. I didn’t like the mandatory data plan though. I really wouldn’t use it.

Now I hear that the phone sucks under-performs anyway so I’m glad I didn’t run out and get it, but there’s still the (Samsung?) Dare taunting me from Craigslist.

Then there’s the mp3 player. I just can’t make myself become a Pod-person, no matter how many raves it gets. It’s just so proprietary and expensive and blah blah blah. The only plusses it has are that it can play songs gap-lessly (like 2 concert songs without a pause in between).

And don’t get me going on the DTV – DVR saga. I was finally ready to sell myself to the devil (again) and buy a new tv (god it’s a freakin’ great picture) so I kept looking online, learning, comparing features, etc.

Or I did before the reality of  “no job in a sucky economy” really hit. Now I don’t even bother looking. It hurts, I tell you; it just physically hurts.

All those RSS gadget feeds unread, all that money unspent, all the efficiency un-gained, all the convenience un-had. Like I said, it physically hurts.

Call me shallow, materialistic and not satisfied with what I have, but it’s in my genes I tell you. I come by it rightly – just ask anyone on my father’s side of the family. They’re almost all afflicted this way too.

Ah well. What’re you gonna do? Everyone knows you can change your jeans but you can’t change your genes.

…Without the aid of pharmaceuticals, illicit drugs or alcohol I went to bed at 9:30 Fri. night and slept until 11:30 Saturday morning, with just a little time “in the conscious world” to feed, medicate, and let my dog and neighbor dog out. I was tie-tie.

…My fiber intake has decreased over last couple of weeks. Since I’ve previously discussed my increases (example here) I thought you should know the current state of affairs. Don’t worry, it hasn’t caused any – uh – problems yet and I promise I’m not going to provide daily poop updates.

…I’m breaking a big rule that you don’t talk about looking for a job, but “marie/y hungry” is not a pretty picture, and I’m getting a little frantic. You may know that I work (thru a contracting co.) at the Everywhere Company, which recently “combined with” the Many Other Places Company to become the Holy Crap It’s a Huge Mega Company.

Long story short, they’re in cost-cutting mode, and my job is one of the costs they’re cutting (performance, results, team builder, “plays well with others,” customer satisfaction all aside). I saw the writing on the wall this summer (here) and have been looking since July. Have gotten some great interviews and 2nd interviews but no offer yet.

I have a new so-far-so-good pimp staffing firm now (another drama I’ll skip), and want to stay with them as long as I’m in <The City I Don’t Hate But Don’t Love>. I’m loyal to a fault (and I mean literally to a fault, as this loyalty has bitten me several times) but I have 5 weeks before I go on unemployment for the 1st time in my 30 year working life.

I don’t want to hurt anyone, burn any bridges, hack anyone off or be rude, butcha know I gotta eat. I really want my new staffing co. to come through for me, but I’d be stupid to put my whole stomach in one party’s hands. (Can you tell I’m talking myself into this as much as explaining it to you?) Again: “marie/y hungry” is not pretty. Plus it’s such a great time of year to be looking for a job…

So: if you point me in the direction that leads me to a new job in the same field and it pays close to or more than what I earn now, besides knowing you’ll get big time karma points, the prize I can offer for this contest (Omar: this IS a contest. Let me know and I’ll send you my LinkedIn URL) is that whoever helps me get some more interviews will be eliminated from the “I will house Marie/y and her 3 animals if necessary” list.

Need I say that that is worth more than any superficial prize? Yes? Well okay if you live nearby or I’m coming to visit you I’ll take you to dinner at a nice restaurant too, okay?

…product I wish I’d thought of: the Stayball. It’s a ball (obvously) that you can (among other things) use as a chair. Get it? It STAYBALLizes you. It’s a bonus that the sand in it prevents it from rolling around when you’re not sitting on it. No more tripping over the “it’s coming after me” ball after I step away from it.


…”living the dream”: Here are photos from May (selecting just “the right” already-gnawed on bone)


and the other day when I decided to finally throw them out but then decided they’d make a good picture:


In the intervening time I’ve thrown away countless (really – countless) other bones and given a big bag of the long ones to my sister to stuff (for her dog) but I’ve also switched to the small bones (trying to save $$) and my dog has now lost 3 lbs!

People might think I’m weird but I prefer to think of myself as “different,” someone who “thinks outside the box” and isn’t constrained (too much) by societal norms. Okay, re-reading this I’ll just admit what the neighbors and my friends/fam already know: I am weird albeit in a fun, lovable way.

…Compliment of the week: My physical therapist said I have excellent body mechanics. That means I bend well and properly (although obviously not well enough or I wouldn’t be seeing her).

…Today’s Words of Wisdom: Don’t buy a bag of baked BBQ Baked Lays without just admitting right off that you will eat the whole thing in one sitting. You’re just kidding yourself otherwise.

If Dick Cheney George Bush can be president then I can totally do this job: Fracture Mechanics and Structural Analysis Engineer

This is an extract from the job posting:

*Direct others to perform the tasks. I’m the oldest child so if there’s one thing I know, it’s how to direct others.

*Develop creative solutions and reduce analysis complexity to create accurate and cost effective solutions to complex engineering problems. I totally think outside the box and come up with creative solutions. Reducing analysis complexity could be a challenge, since by its very nature analysis IS complex, but I can work on improving my personal metrics for that skill set.

*Interact with NRC, Utility, and other internal organizations during the approval and design phases; being able to present the results, ramifications, and recommendations regarding the analysis and or design modifications. I can talk to just about anyone, and am always willing to voice an opinion.

*Fracture Toughness and P-T curve evaluations of Reactor Pressure Vessel. I’ve broken bones so I know how tough fractures can be. I’ve also had a TON of P-T (physical therapy) over the years for various injuries. Since I’m my own Reactor Pressure Vessel I do curve evaluations daily.

*Perform Reactor Pressure Vessel and Nozzle Stress and Fatigue Evaluations as well as Flaw Evaluation of Shroud, Jet Pumps, Reactor Pressure Vessel and Nozzle, Core Spray Line and Spargers. Being somewhat analytical and critical, I’m really good at Flaw Evaluation. And this is my first time admitting this, but Spargers and Core Spray Lines are my secret passions.

*Work in a regulated environment (i.e.: Traceable documentation for 40 year retention and Verification of all work). Technically every environment is regulated to a certain degree except places experiencing total anarchy. I’ve got the retention thing down too, e.g. I have retained my body for 40+ years.

*Interface with design engineers, other analysts, project managers, licensing engineers and materials engineers. Those licensing engineers can be PITAs but I’m good with the others.

*Minimum of 4 years of experience in the industry in Structural Stress and ANSYS Finite Element Analysis. Dang it. Other than the Stress part (which I have down pat), this could be the deal-breaker (I’m not even sure what ANSYS is). But you know, they always put down their ideal person’s qualifications in these job listings, so maybe they’d be willing to compromise a little. And I can Google/Scroogle ANSYS; I think I could fake it for an interview.

So what the heck? I’m going for this job. Wish me luck!

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