Sunday, December 17, 2006

The Long Week Ahead

Currently Reading: Blind Willow Sleeping Woman by Haruki Murakami and Hannibal Rising by Thomas Harris

And so here we are again, last week before Christmas. It's certainly going to be a long one. This is the week people go nuts looking for the last gifts on their shopping lists. It's when they have the most parties too. It's also one of our busiest weeks at the salon. I've got two 11 hour days to get through then things will be a little easier on me for a few days, then one final push before I can finally enjoy the holidays. I'm fairly certain I'll be worn out by Sunday.

This past week was a bit rough too in fact. I didn't get much time off to rest. Oh, I still had my usual 3 days but I spent a lot of that time working on things around the apartment. What really wore me out though was Monday's trip to Goodwill . . . more or less. You may remember that from the last blog entry. I took the old mattress over. And Tuesday, catching up on the housework. Cleaned up the apartment. Naturally it's dirty again but cleaning up tomorrow won't be nearly as exhausting.

Mostly it was work that wore me out. For the last few weeks we've had a rather odd pattern going in our business. Wednesdays have been super busy then nothing on Thursday or Friday. Then busy again on Saturday. It's a bit frustrating when that happens because I end up having too many hours on the schedule with no commission so all that work on Wednesday tends to be swallowed by my hourly pay. THIS week though I think I was destined for a little extra.

Wednesday was busy, make no doubt about that. I washed 13 dogs on Wednesday and made a really nice bit of money there. Thursday was very slow. So slow that I ended up catching up on all my cleaning THERE too. Guess that was the theme for the week, catch up on cleaning. Anyway, Friday things picked up again and they REALLY went into overdrive on Saturday. Saturday the smallest dog I washed was a golden retriever. Yes, that's right, a golden retriever. Actually I washed three of them, but you get the point. The biggest one was a samoyed. Picture a small polar bear only it's a dog :-)

What I should have done today was goof off but I just couldn't bring myself to do that. I slept in a bit, which helped a lot but we still had a few people to get Christmas presents for and I did NOT want to wait until later in the week or next weekend. That just wasn't an option. So CC and I spent most of the afternoon out shopping. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't as bad as work and we had fun doing it but I spend most of my normal day on my feet, walking around. It probably would have been better if I had done less walking today. Ah well, there's always tomorrow :-)

We also watched the Japanese version of Shall We Dance. Oh that one is a LOT better than the US version. It's just so much more charming without all those famous faces. Case in point, it's REALLY hard to see Richard Gere as anyone other than himself. Just LOOK at the guy! He spends the movie wearing the same drab, gray suit as the guy in the Japanese version does but there's just no hiding the fact that it's Richard Gere. And don't get me started about Jennifer Lopez's ever expanding butt.

I did make one noteworthy purchase this week. I got a new bird. I think I mentioned before that one of our parakeets passed away. He was a green one. Not the friendliest bird on the planet by far and he didn't always get along with the blue one. We were his fourth owner too so he got moved around quite a bit. If you've got a dark side, you're no doubt wondering if he really fell off his perch or if he was pushed ;-)

The new bird, no name, just arrived at the store a week ago or so. VERY pretty parakeet and on sale so I just couldn't pass it up. Isn't it cute? And rare too, at least as far as I've seen. We get lots of very nicely colored parakeets in the store but this is the first time I've ever seen one this white. You can't tell by the pictures but there are little bits of yellow on its back. And no, I don't intend to name it. I find that my fish and birds tend to last MUCH longer if they don't have names. I don't know why that is but that's just how things work in my little universe :-)

I also got a vcr today. That's right, you read the letters right, VCR not DVD or DVR. See, back in the old days, we used video tapes right? Well I managed to collect a large number of video tapes and over the years I've replaced some of them with dvds. That's all fine and good if the movie is available on dvd format for a reasonable price but lately the movies I've been looking for are either no longer in circulation or worse, they're "special editions" that have an extra disk filled with stuff I'll never watch and they're double the price. So for the price of one or two of these special editions, I bought a vcr. It's actually harder than you think. We were over at Best Buy and they didn't have any. You could get a dvd/vcr combo, sure but I didn't want to spend that kind of money and I didn't NEED a combo. Found one at Target though. They had ONLY one model in fact. I just hope those tapes last long enough for me to have the money to replace them :-)

Finally, you'll notice I'm reading TWO books at the moment. I don't normally do that. In fact, I try to AVOID doing that usually. But, the Murakami book is actually a collection of short stories and so I can pick it up and put it down as needed. I'll probably need a break from the Harris novel somewhere along the way. I just finished Dearly Devoted Dexter, another serial killer novel so I'll want to avoid burning out on the genre.

Time to go get some rest. Lots to do before I return to work. Lots of packages due to arrive too. I hope they get here soon. I HATE waiting :-)

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Last Long Weekend

Currently Reading: Dearly Devoted Dexter by Jeff Lindsay

So here we are, just a few weeks away from Christmas, and I've finished my last long weekend of 2006. From here on into 2007 I only have normal weekends at best. I'm pretty sure there's a week in there where I have to split my days off.

And how did I spend my last long weekend? Working. Can you belive it? I worked on things all weekend. Must be something wrong with me. Clearly when one has a nice bit of free time on ones hands, one does NOT spend it working right? Well, you'd think so anyway :-)

Sunday, well I didn't really work on Sunday. Sunday CC and I went out. No wait, actually we didn't really go OUT all day, but we did go out to dinner. She was feeling a bit run down and tired so we stayed in most of the day.

Things really kicked up on Monday though. I had a very long "to do" list and I managed to do just about everything on it. Spent a LOT of time out of the house though. Monday morning I put together a bag for Goodwill. I've been meaning to do this for a while now. Too many old pairs of shoes and things like that. For one reason or another I just didn't have the time or something kept came up. Anyway, I had a bag of stuff, took that over. Hit the mall after that to pick up a few presents and check out some ideas for presents. Came back to the apartment, lugged the old queen size mattress down from our third floor apartment, managed to shove it into the back of the Ranger and took THAT over to Goodwill too (I checked with them when I dropped off the first bag, they said they'd take it). Then it was over to the bank to deposit my check, then back home again for a small break and to do a shopping list. I also managed to squeeze in a shower, which I needed because lugging that mattress was work. After the break it was back out again to pick up CC then grocery shopping. Crossed off quite a few items on my list but not nearly enough I'm afraid.

Which brings us to today's reluctant productivity :-) I had a LOT of things left on my list from Monday. Ok, to be honest, I put too many things on Monday's list. There was no way I could have done everything. So I finished up today. Had to change the bedding in Keiko's cage (for some reason she bites CC when CC tries to do it) and the bird cage. I had vacuuming to do and the bathroom needed cleaning. Well, let's just say cleaning was the general theme for today and leave it at that :-)

One somewhat funny thing did happen though. We had this HUGE box leftover from the delivery of our Select Comfort bed. It was roughly the size of a small desk but not quite as high. Anyway, a box that big, not too many things you can use it for. You can't really use it for packing because if you filled it up, it'd be too heavy to carry. And as for storage, well it'd be great for that but we didn't have anything that NEEDED a box that big for storage. Shame to get rid of it but we just didn't have a use for it. I told CC I wasn't going to throw it out though. I'd set it by the trash compactor because surely SOMEONE would want that box, even if it was just the kids in the apartment complex looking for a new fort.

WELL, I carry this big thing down the stairs and as I'm crossing the parking lot I notice this little old Chinese lady over by the compactor. At first I was thinking she was going to throw stuff away but then I saw that she didn't have anything with her. So, maybe she's waiting for a ride or something. Nope. I get up to the compactor, set down the box and sure enough she comes over and gives me the universal hand signals for "I want that, don't throw it away please." So I tell her she can have the box and I start to empty out the few things I'd put in there for easier carrying. She helped as well and then I left it to her. Not sure what she was going to do with it. Maybe she has lots of things she needs to store or who knows, maybe she intends to use it for shipping something HUGE. Then again, maybe she wants to slice it up and use the large panels of cardboard for something.

So that was pretty much the story of the day. Tomorrow it's back to work. Not likely to be slow this week that's for sure. As I said earlier, just a few more weeks until Christmas which means people will be bringing their dogs in for a bath or trim. I probably should have tried to rest a little more but you know, things around the house needed doing too. Can't just shrug those off.

At least we got all of our mall stuff done. I don't want to go anywhere NEAR that place until after New Year's :-)

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Curse of the Golden Flower

Currently Reading: Casino Royale by Ian Fleming

If you enjoy Chinese movies and liked Hero and House of Flying Daggers, here's one you don't want to miss. It's due out at the end of the month but it'll probably only show in New York and L.A. at first. Then it'll get wide release. I only hope it'll be showing here so I can see it BEFORE it comes out on video.

Catching Up

Currently Reading: Casino Royale by Ian Fleming

So, what's been going on over here for the past week? Nothing really earth-shattering or even major for that matter. We've pretty much been doing the usual and continuing down that December march towards Christmas.

I got CC's presents Monday. They're hidden in the apartment, hopefully well enough that she won't find them before I get them wrapped. So far so good. She doesn't know where to look or what size boxes to look for which gives me the advantage at the moment. I've got to get them wrapped soon though, just in case :-)

My mother's birthday is tomorrow (December 6) so we stopped by there tonight and dropped off her present. She's now a foster mother for dogs. Right now she's got a white Jack Russel terrier mix. Cute little guy. Of course she's still got the other three and they seem to be dealing with it ok for now.

Had two killer weeks in a row at work. Wore me out that's for sure. On the plus side though, it means I'll also have a killer paycheck. That's great because I spent quite a bit on CC's Christmas presents so I'll need that money ;-)

We were out at the mall on Sunday and already the traffic is heavier. There are a lot of people out there looking for early deals. We managed to find a few ourselves in fact. I picked up a puffy, down vest and CC got 4 sweaters. It gets cold this time of year, even in the south, so we need that warmer clothing.

We also got our Select Comfort bed finally. Last week they sent us the wrong bed guts. See, we were supposed to have the one where it's got two chambers in the mattress so CC can set her side to one level and I can set mine at a different one. Well, somewhere along the way there was some confusion because the one that arrived was just one big mattress with one control. She called them and they sent us replacement guts for the bed. I set it up this afternoon and it works great! We've been wanting a bed like that for a while and now we have it :-)

Should be hitting a slow point at work for the next week or so. This week should be pretty calm but it will pick up next week. Around the second week of December is when all the Christmas parties start and that means people want clean dogs. Then we'll have another really super busy week between Christmas and New Years and then things will die down again. As I understand it, after I reach a year with the company, I'll have about a month worth of time off. Can you believe it? A whole month? I can't take it all at once but still, that's a long time. Just one of the perks I get. Not going to complain about it that's for sure :-)

Finally saw The Da Vinci code last night. We picked it up while we were out shopping. I'm not sure why anyone called it controvercial. Seems to me they went well out of their way to make sure no one specific group was blamed for anything. True, they did make the Opus Dei folks look a bit nuts but it's not like they made any of that stuff up. Those folks really ARE hardcore Catholics.

Oh yeah, we got our Christmas decorations up too. I've got to get CC to take some pictures of them with her camera. I did a few with my PDA so I could show folks at work but the colors didn't come out very well. The light was a bit low so it looks sort of washed out.

Well, that's about all that comes to mind. Tomorrow it's back to the salon for me for another 4 days. Just enough time for us to regroup, get everything cleaned up and ready for the big push. That's just how it is in the fast-paced world of dog grooming ;-)