Tuesday, May 30, 2006

One Hot Weekend

Just Finished Reading: Ghost in the Shell 2: After the Long Goodbye by Masaki Yamada

Well, I managed to survive the very long work stretch. Nothing really important happened, nothing worth blogging about. Just more gossip, most of which can't even be proven. Nothing that would show up in the newspapers.

What DID happen, happened smack in the middle of what was supposed to be my nice, slow, relaxing long weekend. Monday, on what turned out to be the hottest day of the year so far, our AC died. Oh yes, it died completely. Never let it be said that our AC does a half-assed job when it dies.

Even worse, this happened on a holiday. Monday was Memorial Day so there weren't any repair people working the complex. We had to pretty much just sit here and take it and wait until Tuesday.

Officially I think they said the high was 91 or 92, something like that but we had such AWFUL humidity it felt much worse. It's the kind of weather where you walk out the front door and your shirt just STICKS to you right there. Doesn't come un-stuck until you get into some serious AC. For those of you in Manila, that's pretty much a normal day for you so you know what I'm talking about. :-)

The guy was over this morning and got the thing working again. I hope it STAYS fixed this time. Given how ugly it was Monday, the last week in May, we've got the potential to be even hotter later in the summer. So keep your fingers crossed for us. I don't want to have to be going in to work just to cool off :-)


Let's talk about fleas for a minute :-) You know what they look like. You know what they do. Well, it's that time of year again. They're back and they're breeding. If you've got pets, make sure you give them a good flea bath and then use the drops on them to keep the fleas from inviting themselves into your home. Already at work I've seen some pretty bad flea infestations. And, like I said with the AC, this is just the last week in May. Still plenty of time for things to get MUCH worse.


Sunday dance class is over . . . sort of. It's over for the current styles of dancing so we won't be doing tango and foxtrot. It also means we'll have a different instructor coming in. That part kinda sucks or at least has the potential to suck. We like the guy who taught the tango and foxtrot. Who knows what the new teacher will be like. Maybe the new teacher will be all grumpy all the time or prissy or arrogant or who knows, just not nearly as friendly as the other guy. It'll be fun to learn a different dance step I suppose but I was really starting to enjoy the other class. Hell CC was actually letting me LEAD on Sunday. True story, at one point during the lesson she says to me, "Wow, you're really getting good at leading!" And I said to her, "No, actually I've been doing this all along. You've just finally started LETTING me lead." :-) Let's hope she continues to let me lead with the new dance steps :-)


Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Long Week: Day 3

Currently Reading: Ghost in the Shell 2: After the Long Goodbye by Masaki Yamada

Yes, I know, there are no postings for days 1 and 2 of the long week. The reason for that? I was too busy to post anything.

Right now I'm on day 3 of a 6 day week. This comes after just one day off from LAST week so it stands to reason that right about now I'm starting to get a little tired of that drive to the salon. Don't get me wrong, I like the job and I like the people there but DAMN I've been spending a lot of time there lately.

Day 1 wasn't all that exciting from a work standpoint. It was more of a gossip-oriented day. We didn't have that much to do so for the first hour or so Rogers, Amanda and I were talking about what's been going on in the store. We got a new General Manager recently and she's brought over one of her assistants from her previous store. And we also managed to squeeze in some stories about former employees. Just pretty much the usual BS session that happens on slow days in any office.

After a while the shifts changed, people went home, dogs got picked up and it was time for the daily cleaning. Pretty boring stuff which is why I'm not going to go into detail here. I mean, do you REALLY want to know about the size of the hairballs I pulled from the sink? :-)

Day 2 was a little more interesting. Rogers and Amanda both had the day off. It's their one day off this week. They were both a little grumpy that they have to work 7 days without a day off (actually Amanda didn't mind, she wants as many hours as we can give her). Me, I only work 6 days in a row but unlike those two, I only get the one day off. So where they've gotten 2 days off then work 7, I worked 3, got one day off, then work 6. But I digress :-)

Day 2 was the day for the substitute groomer. Someone had to cover for Rogers. The girl we originally had scheduled to fill in couldn't make it for some reason so we had to find someone else. Rogers, who was in charge of all this, got the deaf groomer from the Cordova store. Yes, you read that right, the woman is stone deaf. We made quite a pair yesterday.

It wasn't as bad as I thought. She's REALLY good at reading lips and clearly she lost her hearing after learning how to speak because she talks quite clearly. No problems communicating, which is good, and she was very nice, which is even better.

The only real problem with day 2 was that the rest of the store knew it was just us back there. Why is that a problem? Because some people seem to think that if you're deaf, or hard of hearing, you're automatically STUPID. Prime example, they were answering all our calls for us. Why? I have NO idea. I can hear the pages just fine and there's no problem talking on the phone. But tell some people you can't hear very well and they decide you need their expert assistance. After a while that sort of thing gets annoying. Finally the assistant manager on duty that day reminded everyone that I'm hard of hearing, not a complete moron. I answer the phones all the time.

It was also a pretty busy day for us back there. We've got the long weekend coming up for Memorial Day so you've got a LOT of people going out of town on trips or having parties of some sort. That usually means they want the dogs cleaned up RIGHT NOW! Honestly, I had to turn away SO many people who wanted to come in because they were leaving town on Wednesday and for some reason didn't think they needed to call in advance. Imagine it, 3 pm on Tuesday they're calling wanting to get their dog shaved down so they can go on vacation Wednesday morning. Some people just don't think things through.

Not sure how many dogs I washed yesterday but I do know that my commission total was around 80 bucks. That means, roughly, 160 bucks worth of sales so that's quite a bit of washing. Don't think I'll actually GET my commission this week though. I'm scheduled for 43 hours this week so unless I keep having days like that, my hourly will be higher.

So now we're at day 3. I'm not going in until later. It's my short day so I've got a few hours to kill. Spent one of them sleeping, which felt pretty good :-)


Wednesday, May 17, 2006

A New Look and a Long Week

Currently Reading: A Wild Sheep Chase by Haruki Murakami

I finally got my 3-day weekend and it was mostly unproductive, which is good because I've got a long week ahead of me. Before this 3-day weekend came along I actually worked 2 weeks with only one day off in the middle. Things are in a state of flux at work you see. First, I got called in to cover for the other bather who decided to quit (without telling anyone) and then on Sunday our second groomer did the same thing. We managed to replace the bather pretty quickly and with someone who, so far, is doing a great job. Replacing the groomer will take a bit longer though.

What makes all this really stressful is that the grooming manager, our ONLY groomer right now, is going on vacation next week. Can't fault her for that. She's had her vacation plans on the calendar for months and she's definitely due some time off. Plus, her vacation involves travel which means hotel and transportation and reservations and so forth so she just can't cancel everything on such short notice. So what are we to do? Next week, starting Monday, it'll be me and the new bather and that's it. I'll probably be a little tired when it's all over :-)

There were some positives this past week. CC got me a new aquarium. Initially it was going to be for the guppies but then she saw the goldfish at the store and wanted a pair. We put them in the little hex where the guppies were but it was just too small. So rather than raise unhealthy goldfish, I told CC we could move them to the big tank and then move a couple of guppies into the hex. So that's what we did. We now have guppies, which mostly stay at the top of the tank,

and goldfish, which mostly stay at the bottom of the tank. So far there haven't been any incidents between guppy and goldfish though at one point this morning one of the goldfish smacked the other one while they were eating. He was defending his territory.

CC and I also went to our first Tuesday night dance class and that was great! There weren't nearly as many people there which meant that, for a change, we could actually practice the steps over and over again without having to dodge other people. During the Sunday classes the dance floor can be a little crowded and we're always turning at the last moment or taking a sudden side-step to avoid getting run over by someone :-)

It's nice going to the dance class though. For one solid hour, sometimes longer, I don't have to worry about work problems or family issues or ANYTHING other than dancing the foxtrot or tango. It's sort of like a mini vacation.

Finally, you may have noticed that I changed the look of the blog. It's been due for a while. I've been using the same template since the middle of last year, same colors, same pictures. Last night I was doing some surfing looking for new templates, then I was over at the Marvel site just for the hell of it and at some point I put the two ideas together and came up with a Captain America template. Why Cap? Well, it's how I've been feeling a bit lately. Always coming to the rescue when someone else drops the ball. That's probably how I'll be feeling next week while I try to keep the customers happy even though we'll be seriously limited in what services we can offer.

Besides, Cap is a guy from the 40's. Betcha HE knew how to foxtrot and tango without stepping on anyone :-)


Monday, May 08, 2006

The Aviary; Dance, Dance, Dance; The Glamorous World of Dog Grooming; Sick Sister 2.0

Currently Reading: A Wild Sheep Chase by Haruki Murakami

A quick note here. You may have noticed that I'm reading Sheep Chase again. This would be the third time I've read it since discovering Murakami's books. There are very few authors that I'll read this often let alone re-read their works so many times. Most of the stories deal with a search of some sort. In many cases the search is real, characters go off on a quest, and along the way at least one character experiences a parallel quest for their own identity. I guess you'd say that someone is always trying to "find themself." I find Murakami's work very comforting. Apart from the obvious plot threads (characters seeking identity) I also like the WAY the books are written. Most are written in the first person so you're being told the story by the main character and you come to learn everything he's thinking but not always what everyone ELSE is thinking (let's face it, that's how life really works). I also like the tone he uses and the constant injections of pop culture and jazz. I've read everything he's written that's been translated into English and I have loved every story. I'm going back to the Dolphin Hotel for a while; starting the summer reading off early with a wild sheep chase.

That said, on with the blog :-)


This is our first spring in this part of the Memphis area and I have noticed there's a HUGE difference in the number and type of birds you see. Over where my parents live, there are a few little ponds and creeks around so they tend to see birds associated with swampy water. Throw in some sparrows, a few blackbirds and that's about it for them. Nothing really unusual about that of course. They live in a typical, suburban housing area.

Over here in Germantown, things work a little different. The city has very strict rules about which trees you can cut down. As a result, we've got some REALLY tall ones around. We've also got a river across the street and a "natural area" just up the road a little bit. They've gone out of their way to provide little pockets of green mixed in with the city.

You already know about the sparrow that's made a nest in one of our hanging baskets on the patio. CC has posted pictures. But there are SO many birds around here, and so many DIFFERENT kinds of birds, that this weekend I actually bought a book on identifying them. I picked up the National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America. And so far, here's what I've found:

We have both field sparrows and chipping sparrows in abundance here. They're simply all over the place. Flying around, with dramatic streaks across the sky are scarlet tangers. These I just identified today. Really pretty red birds with black wings. There were some cardinals out there in the park but they've moved on. Probably found this area over-crowded. Oh yes, we've got quite a few robins but what really throws you off is that there's an orchard oriole mixed in there. They have similar colors but are shaped a bit different. Over by the entrance to the complex we've got some REALLY lovely red-winged blackbirds. Picture a small raven but with a bright patch of red at each shoulder. The rest of our blackbirds are brown-headed cowbirds. We've also got a very large population of northern mocking birds. You see them zipping from building to building all the time. And finally, very cool, the house finch and possibly purple finch. The house finch has a read head and chest, very cool, and the purple finch, I THINK that's what it was, is a wash of rose. That's what was checking out our OTHER hanging pot for a possible nest.

And, of course, since it's breeding season, we get to see all the fancy colors the males put on so it's all a LOT more dramatic.

Oh, almost forgot, we've got a few doves around here too. Mourning doves, which kinda funny seeing that we actually SELL those at the shop. There are other birds out there too but they're hard for me to pin down. Their colors aren't so bold, their shape more basic. I'll have to keep an eye on them or maybe get some pictures to compare with the book.


Sunday night was our first dancing lesson. Foxtrot and tango. CC's already blogged about it but that's not going to stop me from giving MY version too :-)

Actually her version was just fine but she left out some of the little details that I liked. For example, I was rather shocked that we WEREN'T the only young couple in the group. In fact, there was one couple even younger than WE were, which is saying quite a bit. Ballroom dance tends to attract a MUCH older crowd.

And I'm very happy to report that I wasn't a complete clutz. A long time ago, in what seems another life really, I used to dance quite a bit. I knew the steps to most of the party dances and most of the formal ones too. In Texas you go to a lot of debuts and things like that so you've got to learn how to waltz.

CC wasn't the only filipina there either. We met another couple, the woman was a filipina, the guy was . . . I'm not sure really, some sort of mixed Asian though. They were both very nice and invited us to join in all the Philippine cultural things. We'll have to look into that.

We did have a few rough moments though. I stepped on CC's foot more than once but, as the instructor said, it wasn't my fault :-) In fact, he said it's not the guy's fault when that happens. The woman should be moving her feet at the same time and getting out of the way :-) Mostly though, the problem was that CC likes to lead. She does NOT want to give up control when she dances which made things a little awkward at first. She's trying to move and dodge other couples that she thinks she's going to run into when all she really needs to do is trust me not to hit them. That would lead to her stepping one way, me stepping another way and her toes would get squished. At one point they had us change partners and I danced with a rather nervous, somewhat sweaty Chinese woman. She had never really danced at ALL before so she just went wherever I led her. Never stepped on HER feet :-) That actualy worked out well because it gave us a chance to get the steps down and practice a little more without the power struggle. When CC and I teamed back up for tango, we were much better together.

And I would like it noted for the record that I was part of a pretty damn funny moment with the instructor. We were working on the promanade and I was singled out to go demonstrate with the instructor. He sort of picked people at random, girls actually, but in this case, he wanted to demonstrate how the woman was supposed to do her steps. SO, there I am, right in the middle of the dance floor being the man with the instructor (Judy, you can picture this better. The guy looks like David Bowen in Follies). So he's explaining what's going on and I'm doing my best to follow then he tells me to start. Well I was pretty sure I knew what to do so I turned and took my step. "Excellent!" he tells me :-) Then he jokes that now whenever we need to remember how to do that step, we're going to have that image of he and I in the middle of the dance floor :-)

The hour went by pretty quick and we learned a bit. It was fun, I've got to admit it. Now if I can just keep CC from trying to lead all the time, it'll go MUCH smoother ;-)


My mother said something that stuck with me the other day. We were talking about my work day and she'd remarked that my job seemed fun. Well, yeah, it is pretty fun sometimes. Sometimes it's just a royal pain in the ass though. For every moment we get to spend playing with or petting really nice dogs, there's also a moment when the little buggers won't stand still for the blow dryer or try to gnaw off your finger while you try to trim their nails. And then there's what happened with Gabby.

Gabby is a male, yellow lab. Very nice dog. Big, but nice. Gabby did pretty well in the bath. Did pretty well in the drying and brushing. But Gabby ate something he shouldn't have and, well, he let loose while he was in our care. I'll spare you the details but in the end I had to clean out TWO cages and clean up his fuzzy butt at least 3 times. And believe it or not, that's not even the WORST that's happened. A few weeks ago I had a dog actually walk up to me and pee on my foot. You have to laugh at that sort of thing though. You just wish they'd happen to OTHER people :-)


My sister was in the hospital again this weekend. Of course, most of the people reading this already KNEW that but for those of you NOT in the area, she was in for more tests. This thing she's got is pretty persistant and just doesn't want to go away. They had her on a liquid diet all weekend and ran the throat scope on her this morning. The good news is that there's no damage to her esophagus. They've changed her medication and she'll be going home again on Tuesday. I'm hoping she starts to get better soon. This thing has been dragging on for a while now and she hasn't been able to do much for almost a month. Bad enough you have to be sick with something weird like that, even worse that it decides to stick around for a while. So let's all hope she gets better real soon and doesn't need any more hospital stays.

Get better sis!