Saturday, March 17, 2018

The Gentle Rocking of the Sea

I've had two Pain Killer (pina colada on the rocks with grated nutmeg - rum, a little OJ, pineapple juice and coconut cream - super delicious) and am feeling ready for sleep.  It's approaching 8PM so that seems reasonable.

We had a good trip to Miami, nice night in a decent hotel, good sleep and got to the port terminal no problem.  Boarding was organized and easy.  We boarded and J. headed straight to making reservations for some restaurants we want to eat at this week and next to excursions - we scored two tickets to one that was sold out (online) so we're happy.  Then a nice dinner, some casino time for me and now it's time to unpack and get settled.  Then sleep.

I met a couple from North Carolina (formerly Long Island) and this is their 4th trip on the Escape.  They've become family to the crew and are super nice and fun.  I hope I run into them again.  I met them when they both ordered Pain Killers and that led to great conversation...and drinks. 

We have dinner reservations at Le Bistro tomorrow night and tomorrow is an at sea day which are my favorite.  Nowhere to go and just a nice 'veg' day. 

I'm ready to turning in for the night.  If I fell asleep right this minute, I think I'd sleep like a log through the night.  The ship will rock me to sleep for sure. 

Pain Killer's might be the cure for insomnia. 

Friday, March 16, 2018

As We Leave for the Airport

It's been a month, I know.  Time just zooms by and the day to day stuff happens and the next thing you know, it's another month well in progress. 

We are up at 2:30AM to leave for SFO - flying to Miami today then boarding the Norwegian Escape tomorrow.  Now that we know the drill a little more, we'll sleep in a bit tomorrow morning, have a nice breakfast and then head to the port.  Our cabin won't be ready until 1PM (at the earliest) and while it's fun to sit on the deck with a beverage, it's also crowded and more than a little nuts on ship upon embarkation.  But that first umbrella drink?  I've been waiting for that for a long time.

I've been doing the Arbonne 28 Day Detox and as of today, I'm down 7.5 pounds - in 25 days.  Cutting it a bit short since today commences airplane food, etc. - but I am planning to be pretty (very) careful about what I eat.  I'm going to measure my 'middle' soon and I'm hoping for some 'down' there, too.  I'm pretty sure there is 'cuz some of my pants feel like they're falling off.  The Detox is mainly two smoothies a day and then a 'clean' dinner - no refined grains, no sugar.  J. has been preparing delicious meals from the weekly recipes and I've enjoyed chocolate or vanilla 'shakes' that taste like a treat and are amazingly filling.  I've never felt hungry.  Well....maybe a couple times. 

All our Girl Scout cookies arrived the very first day of my detox - and THAT was super hard.  But I haven't had a single one!

OK - I've got to get going - we want to be on the road within an hour and even though we (FINALLY) bought a Fast Pass for our car, we still want to give ourselves plenty of time.  (I say FINALLY because it's been suggested a zillion times - only we don't drive to the Bay Area all that much these days - but there's no cost unless we cross a bridge or use a toll lane - and the toll lanes are free with two people in the car so....why the heck not??)

I have a lot to update on - and I'll try to do that in the comfort/peace of our ship cabin or DisneyWorld hotel room.  We're off for a two week break from home - which is still my favorite place only it's filled with a lot more 'stuff', pets and people than we're used to at the moment.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Magic Tragic

Where to begin.  It's always so hard to jump in.  I do my usual 'ghost writing' in the middle of the night but when there's actually a lull in life and I can put my fingers to the keyboard and write, I get all tongue tied.  Or finger tied.  Anyway.

We are living in a constant state of mess and stress.  And I'm sure the 'boarders' feel the same.

Last night, they didn't want to eat with us - well, H. did.  She didn't.  Said she wasn't ready to eat.  So we ate at the table.  Then he went upstairs.  And the often rescheduled 'budget' talk that has been supposed to happen for weeks didn't happen.

I sent a text to H. in which I let him know that these delay tactics were super frustrating.  They finally came down.  And guess what?  They have no documentation.  The 'notebook' they've been referring to wherein they've been (supposedly) keeping track of their expenses?  Doesn't exist.  There's a notebook but they haven't been tracking anything remotely resembling all the outflow.

As the 'meeting' progressed, their emotions came to the surface and both ended up in tears.  H. said his check on Friday was 'around $1,000'.  But when I press him - and implore him to get the pay stub (which he never did), it turns out it was only $800.  I ask 'why are you (already) misrepresenting what you're bringing home, H.?  'cuz we just used $1,000 twice a month as your 'take home' and it turns out, it's not $1,000 - it's $800.  So the 'net amount' you have left after paying your bills?  Is basically non-existent.  Because $800 IS NOT $1,000 and wishing will never make that so.'

Segue way -

R. is tearing up.  I see him move over closer to her and put his hand on her leg, giving her a pat.  Leans in to her and leans his head against hers.  Comforting her.  I feel so proud of him - how he loves - how he cares for her and wants her to be OK more than anything.  How he knows she's been through a lot - with her divorce, her kids, her asshole of an ex, her asshole of a father.  He's so loving towards her - so caring of her.  It's so sweet and I'm so proud of him.

It would be magical if it weren't feeling so tragic.

He says he will get another job and she's driving for Lyft more and they know they can do it.  And the accountant in me has to point out the obvious:  I have no idea how they ever thought they could handle $1500 rent again.  Heck, we've lowered our 'expense sharing' monthly amount to one third of that and they can't afford it - at least not yet.  'Getting caught up' is a theme even though what they list as monthly outflow are not any credit cards, etc. -

They spoiled themselves living on one time money and a lot of what they bought is in our garage (or our living room or every single bedroom upstairs but the two we occupy) - and now they have nothing to show for it but memories and a lot of stuff.

On a good note, I remind them that H.'s pay is covering their monthly expenses - including the expense sharing, storage unit, Mariner payment, insurance, cell phone, etc. - and with R. driving for Lyft most nights, fingers crossed they will be OK.

Anyway.  That's where we're at.  I try hard to be encouraging while simultaneously feeling constantly sick to my stomach about all of it.  I flash angry in a heartbeat and then have to throttle back - because they're so earnest in their 'trying' .  Or mostly.  H. is determined to 'get another job.  I just want to work.  I'm ready to work.  I can do this.  I want to do this'.  The 'this' is supporting her.

I think the tears came when they realized (as did we) that this isn't a 'couple of months' we're talking about.  This is a long term 'solution' to a very big problem.  My only comfort at this point is knowing that in four years, we are buying a house in another state and in five years, we are moving to that state.  This time five years from now, I'll be within six weeks of my last day of work FOREVER - and when that is officially 'here', they won't be moving with us -

And I don't think it will be years.  Many months, for sure.  But hopefully not that many years.

Monday, February 12, 2018

It was Snowing! Really!

What a great time in Reno!  I played 10 hours of slots on Saturday - 2 hours at Thunder Valley in Sacramento and then 8 hours straight (minus a 20 minute dinner break) and was even at the end of that marathon day.  So much FUN!  Nice people, a couple Blue Moons, lots of wins that kept me going. 

Sunday was more of the same though not as lucrative - I was down at the end of the day but still had gambling money left. 

My car is a beast!  I love, love, LOVE it.  The drive up was so 'easy' - it has plenty of get up and go and it never had any issues.  Prepping for the trip, J. helped me by reading up on my car.  The car has two engines - the hybrid and a gas engine.  AND come to find out, it has a third engine in the back that kicks in when needed for more power.  I felt so much more secure on hills with the RAV vs. the Mariner -

I woke up this morning to a city blanketed in snow - I realized late yesterday that snow was a possibility and was sort of worried about the drive home - but I had cables in the back if needed.  The car was pulled into the hotel entrance driveway from the valet lot and it was covered in snow.  Snow on the car was a new thing - it really felt like the visibility was weird with white caked around the window.

The drive home was uneventful - and I drove in falling snow!  It was even 'heavy' for a little bit but the RAV just kept doing her thing.  I really felt way more 'secure' in her vs. the Mariner - felt like the tires just 'gripped the road' better.  I wasn't nervous once I got moving and the drive was fine.  Not a long time in falling snow and really didn't have any issues. 

Stopped at Thunder Valley again on the way back and got home a little after 4. 

We were supposed to have a 'talk' with the people living here with us but as usual, that didn't happen.  They had to dash out to help a friend by watching her (the friend's) daughter for a bit - but they're still not home and I'm fading fast.

My boss had the flu the latter part of last week - and his assistant has pneumonia and a collapsed lung.  The flu bug is super nasty -

A busy week ahead.  Tons of stuff to take care of and days full of meetings.  A typical week. 

Already planning a return trip to Reno in early April.  I have one of those training sessions in Sacramento and I think I could head up from there on Friday night and spend three nights.  (I like to be there for a full day Sunday 'cuz they do cash drawings at 1, 3 & 5PM every Sunday).

Sunday, February 04, 2018

Something Funny to Lighten the Mood

I spent the night in Sacramento on Thursday - something I will do 4 more times between now and the end of May.  Myself, my boss and the HR Director are attending a training and the Thursday session is 5PM - 9PM.  Since I start my days around 5AM, that's a super long day - and the only way I would agree to attend was to spend the night.  No way was I going to drive an hour and a half-ish home and then back again by 8:30AM.  (The morning commute to Sacramento is horrible - it's easily a 2 hour morning drive with all the traffic going North). the time the day is 'over', we are exhausted.

My boss didn't attend the first session a couple weeks ago - but he was able to make it this past week.  He drove from work and planned to drive home to Ripon (South of Tracy) and then return Friday morning.  We suggested (encouraged, really) that he just plan to stay over like we were - yes, it's added expense but wear and tear on our bodies is important - we need to be thinking and participating in this training which is hard to do when you are super tired.  But he's got a one year old at home along with three other kids and his wife hasn't been feeling great so he planned to go home.  We said our goodbyes and the HR director and I walked to our hotel.

In my room, I was chatting with J. on my cell phone when it beeped 'call waiting'...and it was my boss.  I hurriedly said 'bye' to J. and answered his call.  He said 'I'm at the parking garage and it closed at 7PM'.  I said ' you can't get your car'?  He said 'no, I can't'.  I said 'hurry and call N. (HR Director) so she can try to book you a room here'.  N. booked our rooms 'cuz she has membership via a hotel rewards program.  They succeeded in getting him a room.  A little bit later, I realized 'geez, I should have offered for him to drive my car home and come back in the morning' I texted him that offer. 

He wrote back and joked 'so I'm realizing the importance of critical reading skills in a new way.  I'm treating it as a great adventure so I'm OK.  My brother (who lives near Sacto) is going to bring me a shirt in the morning.  I'll be OK but thanks for offering.  I'm heading to the bar for a drink'.

We all had breakfast together the next morning which was a nice way to start the full day session and we're hoping he may decide to plan to stay for the future sessions.  I'm sure he will definitely bring a change of clothes. 

He did trek to a Rite Aid near the hotel for his two critical grooming needs:  hair gel and deodorant.  His hair is always perfect and he never doesn't use hair gel to make it so. 

Our next training is the first weekend in March.  Other than the 16 hour day on the Thursday of these sessions, I'm looking forward to it. 


Welcome to Majah's Zoo.  Partly an adjective and mostly a noun.

It is what it is.  New mantra.  Possibly matching tattoos for me and J. .  I'm wish I was kidding.

We've been joined by Nala and Mufasa, two cats (sisters).  Nala is white and gray with a heart pattern on her back - super shy and nervous.  Mufasa matches her name (in demeanor vs. gender) - she is brave and bold.  She and Chloe have already come nose to nose and I think Fasa (I'm already nicknaming them) is surprised to meet a canine who is so chill.  Fasa has been all over the house including coming into the study once already.  Nala is terrified under the bed and I'm heading up in a moment.

Phoebe is a guinea pig who is urgently attempting to exit the 40 gallon home she has.  It's a palace for a hamster but she's chewing on the edges of the frame and when she exposes the glass edge?  I'm not sure what happens next.

There's also two lizards - one is named Sunshine - but I don't know the other one's name.

It's a zoo, I tell you.  A complete zoo.

The kids are heading back to the apartment to load up the truck with furniture.  Storage is already pretty full so our garage will be jam-packed for awhile.  J. is going to get us on the list for a (much) larger storage unit.  Then supposedly the kids will head back to the apartment again and continue cleaning out.  I offered to go help - but J. said 'no, you will freak out'.  Barely anything packed.  Dirty dishes in the sink.  All these weeks, they've done nothing.

I think R. is very depressed.  It sounds like the actions of someone just completely overwhelmed and sad.  She's had weeks to get things organized and packed.  But she's done virtually nothing - and H. has apparently come home from his days of working and done what he can whilst trying to help his girlfriend keep herself together.

We found out yesterday - had zero knowledge of any of this - that she really only has custody one day a week now.  She was asked to meet her ex and his lawyer in the lawyers office and was 'forced' to sign away custody, basically?  I'm unclear how/why that happened and why she didn't just get up and walk out vs. signing?  And now I'm worried that things really aren't that 'great' for her (as a parent?) and perhaps the kids shouldn't be with her?  I don't know what to think - I really don't.  Her lawyer had quit (moved from private practice to a new law firm - so didn't 'quit' R.'s case, just made a career move) and she had no lawyer so she just didn't fight and didn't know to just get up and walk out.  Or she realized it was best?  I don't know.

So she has the kids every Friday night.  Which explains why she's been telling us that Friday night family dinners are the best night - 'cuz it's the only night she has them.

It's been a super stressful day - blow ups first thing in the morning that we smoothed over - but the drama is just unbelievable.  And I've told H. (in a phone call) that he needs to just be aware that all the drama that occurred today can't be our 'new norm'.  No way.  I realize it's a hard transition but when it's the adult woman (and mom of the kids who are moving in) losing it?  Not good.

If I had a high blood pressure issue, I'd be needing support right about now.  And J. deserves to be Father of the Year 'cuz he's holding it together and is at the apartment doing what he can to help.

Saturday, February 03, 2018

Opening Day

It's 10:43AM on Saturday.  The 'kids' have until end of day today to be out of the apartment.  The truck we rented has to be returned in 2 hours and 50 minutes or we pay for an additional day.  There is still a bunch of furniture to move here and/or to storage - and items from here (their things) that need to be moved to storage.  The hutch in our garage and H.'s king size bed, for example. 

They are in bed, not moving and have zero urgency to get up, apparently.

We're paying for another day almost certainly and I'm fine with that 'cuz I'm adding those expenses to the long list of expenses they owe us for. 

It's fucking ridiculous - and excuse the f-bomb but let's just say pretending it isn't as 'strongly felt' as that would be a lie.

Day 1 of their residency and we are definitely not leaving our dog with them during the two weeks we are away in March.  I feel certain she would be terribly neglected most of the time and that's not happening. 

Oh....and we're going to bring the cats here because the person who said they'd take them isn't going to.  I know....I know.  I feel the same - it would be a hard life lesson to have them take them to a no-kill shelter today - but there's no time for that, honestly.  We'll have to make that decision another day and for now, we've agreed to give having them here a try. 

On a 'good' (but sad, really) note one of the hamsters died less pet to deal with.  And one of the lizards is not doing well either.

We'll see how it goes.

That's our mantra for seemingly forever - we'll see how it goes. 

The Gentle Rocking of the Sea

I've had two Pain Killer (pina colada on the rocks with grated nutmeg - rum, a little OJ, pineapple juice and coconut cream - super deli...