vanillafluffy: (Cake or death)
There must be something triggering it, because it happens about 7:45 every time it happens: I wake up hallucinating that I just heard my doorbell. But at least today, I managed to get back to sleep and got another couple hours of rest.

Opened packages: A book about pirates from [livejournal.com profile] kukkurkurat (along with two cards, one sentimental, one humorous). From [livejournal.com profile] pwcorgigirl, a fun card with dogs and cats, a CD of Dio's "Sacred Heart", and a pound of Australian licorice...I sampled it as an appetizer to breakkfast.

Inbox has been well-populated with good wishes, and my f'list has blossomed with shout-outs. I know [livejournal.com profile] daily_goggins doesn't know it's my b-day, but they posted a lovely pic of Walt in western regalia. Yay! I feel all warm and fuzzy...if well wishes have any influence at all, my fifties are going to rock.

I stepped out to check the mail and found GK's box on my doorstep. Another card, got me all misty-eyed, it did. The box contained multiple things---she's big on finding things while she's running around and doing a grab-bag, or box, in this case. The stars of the show are a little Tiffany-style lamp and a talking photo frame. Acoording to its packaging, it's "The Perfect Guy" --- press the button, and a husky male voice says phrases like, "Don't worry about it, honey---that's why we have credit cards." and "You shouldn't be cleaning that---let's hire a maid." or "That diamond is just not big enough for you." (But darling, if we get something scaled to ME, I'll be weating the Koh-i-Noor for a cocktail ring.) This would be amusing enough, but she installed a picture of Adam Baldwin in it, which is too funny. She knows me SO well.

I'm dressed, except for my shirt and shoes, because it's too hot. Ready to throw those on and bolt out the door for whatever Mb hsa planned. Which I devoutly hope involves air-conditioning.

So far, fifty is fun.

.
vanillafluffy: (Cake or death)
There must be something triggering it, because it happens about 7:45 every time it happens: I wake up hallucinating that I just heard my doorbell. But at least today, I managed to get back to sleep and got another couple hours of rest.

Opened packages: A book about pirates from [livejournal.com profile] kukkurkurat (along with two cards, one sentimental, one humorous). From [livejournal.com profile] pwcorgigirl, a fun card with dogs and cats, a CD of Dio's "Sacred Heart", and a pound of Australian licorice...I sampled it as an appetizer to breakkfast.

Inbox has been well-populated with good wishes, and my f'list has blossomed with shout-outs. I know [livejournal.com profile] daily_goggins doesn't know it's my b-day, but they posted a lovely pic of Walt in western regalia. Yay! I feel all warm and fuzzy...if well wishes have any influence at all, my fifties are going to rock.

I stepped out to check the mail and found GK's box on my doorstep. Another card, got me all misty-eyed, it did. The box contained multiple things---she's big on finding things while she's running around and doing a grab-bag, or box, in this case. The stars of the show are a little Tiffany-style lamp and a talking photo frame. Acoording to its packaging, it's "The Perfect Guy" --- press the button, and a husky male voice says phrases like, "Don't worry about it, honey---that's why we have credit cards." and "You shouldn't be cleaning that---let's hire a maid." or "That diamond is just not big enough for you." (But darling, if we get something scaled to ME, I'll be weating the Koh-i-Noor for a cocktail ring.) This would be amusing enough, but she installed a picture of Adam Baldwin in it, which is too funny. She knows me SO well.

I'm dressed, except for my shirt and shoes, because it's too hot. Ready to throw those on and bolt out the door for whatever Mb hsa planned. Which I devoutly hope involves air-conditioning.

So far, fifty is fun.

.
vanillafluffy: (Interrobang)
This year...most of you have been around for it. I've been out of work the whole time. Kat passed away in February. S is a mess; prescription drug abuse isn't pretty. (However, I have been enticed into schnauzer-sitting for her when she and T go to their Key West time-share in a matter of weeks.)

In general, life goes on, and starting tomorrow, it's going to go on with me beyond my 40s. Big Red said in an email this morning that she's never seen anyone so excited about turning 50. I replied that I was hoping I'd finally feel like a grown-up. She LOL'ed, but I was kinda serious.

This countdown was something I embraced without thinking it through, and nearly succumbed to summer malaise a few times. I may have left things out; it's not easy to remeber exactly when things happened, or they may have not made it into an otherwise busy entry, as with BC and NJ's wedding, which was in the spring of the year my dad died. (1985)

If there's something you think I've skipped over, I WILL take questions---can be about life, fic, cast of peripheral characters, whatever. If you think I've left something essential out, let me know. I'll allow commenters ONE question, and I reserve the right to remain silent if I think something is TMI that you'd be better off not knowing.

It's been real, folks!
vanillafluffy: (Interrobang)
This year...most of you have been around for it. I've been out of work the whole time. Kat passed away in February. S is a mess; prescription drug abuse isn't pretty. (However, I have been enticed into schnauzer-sitting for her when she and T go to their Key West time-share in a matter of weeks.)

In general, life goes on, and starting tomorrow, it's going to go on with me beyond my 40s. Big Red said in an email this morning that she's never seen anyone so excited about turning 50. I replied that I was hoping I'd finally feel like a grown-up. She LOL'ed, but I was kinda serious.

This countdown was something I embraced without thinking it through, and nearly succumbed to summer malaise a few times. I may have left things out; it's not easy to remeber exactly when things happened, or they may have not made it into an otherwise busy entry, as with BC and NJ's wedding, which was in the spring of the year my dad died. (1985)

If there's something you think I've skipped over, I WILL take questions---can be about life, fic, cast of peripheral characters, whatever. If you think I've left something essential out, let me know. I'll allow commenters ONE question, and I reserve the right to remain silent if I think something is TMI that you'd be better off not knowing.

It's been real, folks!
vanillafluffy: (One call too many)
One of the beneficial side-effects of the call center job (aside from the upgrading of my wardrobe) was getting over my Fear. When I started, I got physically nauseous when I thought about the commute. I'd start getting queasy about noon when I had to go in, and I'd go out into the parking lot at 11:40 (after a quick use of the restroom) and hyperventilate. Gradually, that wore off. There were occasional close calls, but after going back and forth for months on end, in all kinds of weather, the terror eventually left me. Churchill was right; now, from a distance, I remember how paralyzing the fear was, how every car that whooshed past me made me catch my breath, how sure I was that every car I saw was being driven by some reckless idiot who was going to try to kill me. I remember it---distantly. I don't feel it anymore.

All good things must come to an end. I didn't particularly want my job to come to an end---it was the best phone job I've had---but they decided to persecute me for my handle time, saying I needed to have a shorter call time. Never mind that my sales numbers were excellent, or that I regularly got customer compliments. Nope, handle time was too high, bye-bye.

The timing was good, I have to say that, because within a matter of weeks, GK and I were informed that Kat's cancer had gotten more aggressive. I was needed to liase with the doctor's office, as she was also showing signs of dementia...she had been exhibiting aphasia for a while, but chalked it up to side effects from her chemo. It was heart-breaking, watching her decline. Her younger son got married in October, and we didn't think to oversee her packing, so she ended up with the clothes she was wearing and the suit for the wedding and nothing else. The night before she left for Texas to visit her 96-year old mother in december, I went over and packed for her...only to find out from GK, who flew in and met her plane and drove her to G'ma's, that Kat had repacked my packing. *sigh*

Not the greatest year I've ever had, that's for sure.


.
vanillafluffy: (One call too many)
One of the beneficial side-effects of the call center job (aside from the upgrading of my wardrobe) was getting over my Fear. When I started, I got physically nauseous when I thought about the commute. I'd start getting queasy about noon when I had to go in, and I'd go out into the parking lot at 11:40 (after a quick use of the restroom) and hyperventilate. Gradually, that wore off. There were occasional close calls, but after going back and forth for months on end, in all kinds of weather, the terror eventually left me. Churchill was right; now, from a distance, I remember how paralyzing the fear was, how every car that whooshed past me made me catch my breath, how sure I was that every car I saw was being driven by some reckless idiot who was going to try to kill me. I remember it---distantly. I don't feel it anymore.

All good things must come to an end. I didn't particularly want my job to come to an end---it was the best phone job I've had---but they decided to persecute me for my handle time, saying I needed to have a shorter call time. Never mind that my sales numbers were excellent, or that I regularly got customer compliments. Nope, handle time was too high, bye-bye.

The timing was good, I have to say that, because within a matter of weeks, GK and I were informed that Kat's cancer had gotten more aggressive. I was needed to liase with the doctor's office, as she was also showing signs of dementia...she had been exhibiting aphasia for a while, but chalked it up to side effects from her chemo. It was heart-breaking, watching her decline. Her younger son got married in October, and we didn't think to oversee her packing, so she ended up with the clothes she was wearing and the suit for the wedding and nothing else. The night before she left for Texas to visit her 96-year old mother in december, I went over and packed for her...only to find out from GK, who flew in and met her plane and drove her to G'ma's, that Kat had repacked my packing. *sigh*

Not the greatest year I've ever had, that's for sure.


.
vanillafluffy: (Default)
I am usually a very mild-mannered person, but don't get in my face, because there's no guarantee I'll stay that way. Witness the LeSnobbi affair.

My job was telephone sales and support for a variety of online merchants, one of which was a (primarily) upscale handbag company which I designated as "LeSnobbi". (I read enough articles about people getting fired for blogging about their employers by name that it seemed a sensible precaution.) LeSnobbi was bought from its founder by Tasteful Lady, who we also sold for, and who gave us a 40% discount. Which I never took "advantage" of, because they didn't go up to my size, but hey, handbags, one size fits all, right?

The LeSnobbi partners came in to show us their forthcoming spring line, and I innocently raised my hand and asked if they were going to extend the same discount as their parent company. Good Lord, you'd've thought I hawked a loogie into one of their bags. The supervisors announced a break, and I got dog-piled on by three of them out in the hall telling me that we NEVER ask our partners for anything, ever, was that clear?

So when the training resumed. I sat there. Didn't say a thing, even when I knew the answer and no one else did, namely, details about a feature on the website that introduced company employees and designers and inspiration for the merchandise. Yes, I'd studied it, and could have commented, but I had a good sulk going, so why botther?

None of my coworkers had anything to contribute, and the partners were concerned. They put their heads together and announced that there was going to be a contest. A writing contest. We'd have to write essays about the feature, and the reward would be a LeSnobbi bag.

Oh, bitches, I thought. You do not know. What you have done. I am going to win that contest, and you can all go fuck yourselves.

This was not so much egotism on my part---well, maybe a little. But I write A LOT, and I have been writing for 20 years longer than most of them have been alive. Of the forty-something people in our department, I hadn't seen anything to indicate that any of them were geniuses in disguise, so I wasn't really worried about competition.

Mind you, I am a world-class procrastinator. I realized at the last minute that while the entries had to be in by a certain date, I was going to be off until that date, so I had to get it in TONIGHT. Fortunately, I knew what I wanted to say, and it was a slow night. I dashed my essay off in a couple hours between calls, turned it in and waited.

Yes, I won. It was a great, big orange bag, weighed about 8 pounds empty---I sold it to one of my favorite co-workers who was in love with it. I didn't get anywhere near the retail value, but that wasn't the point. The point was, don't fuck with the Fluffy.

I was in the Apparel division of the call center, and we regularly got training on new merchandise by various partners. It had an effect on me. The billing service had had what I consider to be a fairly lax dress code: Jeans were a Friday-only thing, and you couldn't wear shorts, capris or scrubs, but otherwise, you could practically come in in your pajamas. My wardrobe reflected nearly five years of that, but once I was hired on in Melbourne, I started to make more of an effort.

It helped that Goodwill was right there. If I got to work early, I could drop in for a bit, or if the phones weren't too busy, I could get "undertime" for a long lunch and go browse and try things on. At first, I was just happy to get stuff that fit and was in better shape than the stuff I had, but I began to be more discriminating as far as fit and condition went. That, and it was around this time that I found What Not to Wear, which was/is on at noon here during the week. I won't go so far as to say I'm fashionable, but I do think I've developed a certain style.

I got into a routine that would last for most of my time there: Get up, check my email, have brunch while watching WNTW, get dressed and depart for work. Because it was a 20+ mile drive, I had to allow ample travel time; my rule of thumb was, as long as I was ON US1 by 2 PM, I knew I'd be there on time, even allowing for catastrophes.

The drive home became somewhat easier---it was late (I got off at 11:30), there wasn't usually much traffic, and the only crisis was having a flat on the 4th of July in the rain. (I was rescued by a white knight in a street-sweeping truck, who put on my donut and sent me on my way.)

As with most jobs, the first year was the hardest. The n00bs get the crappy schedules, have to work holidays and the like. After year one, things get easier.

.
vanillafluffy: (Default)
I am usually a very mild-mannered person, but don't get in my face, because there's no guarantee I'll stay that way. Witness the LeSnobbi affair.

My job was telephone sales and support for a variety of online merchants, one of which was a (primarily) upscale handbag company which I designated as "LeSnobbi". (I read enough articles about people getting fired for blogging about their employers by name that it seemed a sensible precaution.) LeSnobbi was bought from its founder by Tasteful Lady, who we also sold for, and who gave us a 40% discount. Which I never took "advantage" of, because they didn't go up to my size, but hey, handbags, one size fits all, right?

The LeSnobbi partners came in to show us their forthcoming spring line, and I innocently raised my hand and asked if they were going to extend the same discount as their parent company. Good Lord, you'd've thought I hawked a loogie into one of their bags. The supervisors announced a break, and I got dog-piled on by three of them out in the hall telling me that we NEVER ask our partners for anything, ever, was that clear?

So when the training resumed. I sat there. Didn't say a thing, even when I knew the answer and no one else did, namely, details about a feature on the website that introduced company employees and designers and inspiration for the merchandise. Yes, I'd studied it, and could have commented, but I had a good sulk going, so why botther?

None of my coworkers had anything to contribute, and the partners were concerned. They put their heads together and announced that there was going to be a contest. A writing contest. We'd have to write essays about the feature, and the reward would be a LeSnobbi bag.

Oh, bitches, I thought. You do not know. What you have done. I am going to win that contest, and you can all go fuck yourselves.

This was not so much egotism on my part---well, maybe a little. But I write A LOT, and I have been writing for 20 years longer than most of them have been alive. Of the forty-something people in our department, I hadn't seen anything to indicate that any of them were geniuses in disguise, so I wasn't really worried about competition.

Mind you, I am a world-class procrastinator. I realized at the last minute that while the entries had to be in by a certain date, I was going to be off until that date, so I had to get it in TONIGHT. Fortunately, I knew what I wanted to say, and it was a slow night. I dashed my essay off in a couple hours between calls, turned it in and waited.

Yes, I won. It was a great, big orange bag, weighed about 8 pounds empty---I sold it to one of my favorite co-workers who was in love with it. I didn't get anywhere near the retail value, but that wasn't the point. The point was, don't fuck with the Fluffy.

I was in the Apparel division of the call center, and we regularly got training on new merchandise by various partners. It had an effect on me. The billing service had had what I consider to be a fairly lax dress code: Jeans were a Friday-only thing, and you couldn't wear shorts, capris or scrubs, but otherwise, you could practically come in in your pajamas. My wardrobe reflected nearly five years of that, but once I was hired on in Melbourne, I started to make more of an effort.

It helped that Goodwill was right there. If I got to work early, I could drop in for a bit, or if the phones weren't too busy, I could get "undertime" for a long lunch and go browse and try things on. At first, I was just happy to get stuff that fit and was in better shape than the stuff I had, but I began to be more discriminating as far as fit and condition went. That, and it was around this time that I found What Not to Wear, which was/is on at noon here during the week. I won't go so far as to say I'm fashionable, but I do think I've developed a certain style.

I got into a routine that would last for most of my time there: Get up, check my email, have brunch while watching WNTW, get dressed and depart for work. Because it was a 20+ mile drive, I had to allow ample travel time; my rule of thumb was, as long as I was ON US1 by 2 PM, I knew I'd be there on time, even allowing for catastrophes.

The drive home became somewhat easier---it was late (I got off at 11:30), there wasn't usually much traffic, and the only crisis was having a flat on the 4th of July in the rain. (I was rescued by a white knight in a street-sweeping truck, who put on my donut and sent me on my way.)

As with most jobs, the first year was the hardest. The n00bs get the crappy schedules, have to work holidays and the like. After year one, things get easier.

.
vanillafluffy: (Phone ringing)
Meanwhile, back at the medical billing office, they'd taken me out of my happy little cubical and put me back on the phones. (Insert rant here.) I was stressed, but I was still writing. And I tried for every other job in the office that came up, and believe me, I was NOT pleased when I got passed over in favor of someone who'd barely been there six months.

And then---! One afternoon, during lunch---did I mention the daily lunch run? There was a rotation, where we took turns going out to pick up lunch---"I'm going to Woody's barbecue, get your orders to me in fifteen minutes."---and that day, as I well recall, the lunch run was to Tropical Smoothies, where I'd ordered my usual, an Asian chicken wrap and a chocolate smoothie.

While I was awaiting lunch, I got called into the manager's office and told I was being let go (for various spurious reasons), pack up my stuff and hit the road. Fortunately, my lunch arrived before I was through, although by the time I got home, the smoothie was kinda soupy.

Well...piss on 'em. The problem being, they'd pissed on me on the way out---their spurious reasons were enough to deny my unemployment benefits. I'd had a retirement account that I cashed in, which gave me enough money to live on for a while, but I still feel stabbed in the back and hope they get what's coming to them, kharmically speaking.

I was out of work for exactly six months to the day. That was the summer I discovered House MD, and got really active on LJ. I got a couple really close friends out of fandom---[livejournal.com profile] karaokegal and [livejournal.com profile] pwcorgigirl, and another---[livejournal.com profile] foreverhermit---by way of...? [livejournal.com profile] grammar_whores? [livejournal.com profile] little_details? Something like that.

Because I kept seeing references to it on my f'list, I tuned in the season opener of Supernatural, and boom! I had a new fandom. I'd lusted after Jeffrey Dean Morgan back in his Burning Zone days, and he'd only improved with age. The younger two weren't exactly gargoyles, either. I did one ficlet, then let it all hang out with a 10K word, three-way crossover for [livejournal.com profile] karaokegal's first annual "Come As You're Not" fiction party. (That would be "Bad Fairy", which was preseries for SPN, House MD and The Burning Zone.) I've spent the last four seasons writing SPN, and I'm finally getting to the point where I'm over it. (Let me tell you about Justified!)

In September, the money was running out, and I went to a job fair in Melbourne, which was traumatic---I was still freaked out in traffic---where I gave my resume to everyone with a pulse. (Anyway, that's how it felt.) I got ONE callback, from the call center that ended up being my next job.

I didn't want to drive to Melbourne every day, it scared me stiff---literally. I had a white-knuckled deathgrip on the steering wheel both ways for a very long time. One thing that made it a little nicer, though, was the presence of a Goodwill store in the same plaza. My first trip down, when I was turning in an application and doing the obligatory "at least 20 WPM" typing test, I wandered in there and got a great denim jumper, a patchwork shirt and a Wild Woman jacket. Score-o-rama!

I was hired as "seasonal", and I desperately wanted to be permenant, despite the daily trauma of the commute. There was an incentive running during the holiday season that year, where they had a pot, I think it was something like $2500, and if you missed any time between Thanksgiving and New Year's, you were knocked out of the running. I don't remember exactly how much I got, it was something like $150, but after New Year's, I noticed fewer and fewer people sitting in our section. I kept my head down and worked hard while they thinned the herd, and got hired.

And once I got over my asphalt anxiety, I liked it a lot. For one thing, very seldom was I called "you people".


.
vanillafluffy: (Phone ringing)
Meanwhile, back at the medical billing office, they'd taken me out of my happy little cubical and put me back on the phones. (Insert rant here.) I was stressed, but I was still writing. And I tried for every other job in the office that came up, and believe me, I was NOT pleased when I got passed over in favor of someone who'd barely been there six months.

And then---! One afternoon, during lunch---did I mention the daily lunch run? There was a rotation, where we took turns going out to pick up lunch---"I'm going to Woody's barbecue, get your orders to me in fifteen minutes."---and that day, as I well recall, the lunch run was to Tropical Smoothies, where I'd ordered my usual, an Asian chicken wrap and a chocolate smoothie.

While I was awaiting lunch, I got called into the manager's office and told I was being let go (for various spurious reasons), pack up my stuff and hit the road. Fortunately, my lunch arrived before I was through, although by the time I got home, the smoothie was kinda soupy.

Well...piss on 'em. The problem being, they'd pissed on me on the way out---their spurious reasons were enough to deny my unemployment benefits. I'd had a retirement account that I cashed in, which gave me enough money to live on for a while, but I still feel stabbed in the back and hope they get what's coming to them, kharmically speaking.

I was out of work for exactly six months to the day. That was the summer I discovered House MD, and got really active on LJ. I got a couple really close friends out of fandom---[livejournal.com profile] karaokegal and [livejournal.com profile] pwcorgigirl, and another---[livejournal.com profile] foreverhermit---by way of...? [livejournal.com profile] grammar_whores? [livejournal.com profile] little_details? Something like that.

Because I kept seeing references to it on my f'list, I tuned in the season opener of Supernatural, and boom! I had a new fandom. I'd lusted after Jeffrey Dean Morgan back in his Burning Zone days, and he'd only improved with age. The younger two weren't exactly gargoyles, either. I did one ficlet, then let it all hang out with a 10K word, three-way crossover for [livejournal.com profile] karaokegal's first annual "Come As You're Not" fiction party. (That would be "Bad Fairy", which was preseries for SPN, House MD and The Burning Zone.) I've spent the last four seasons writing SPN, and I'm finally getting to the point where I'm over it. (Let me tell you about Justified!)

In September, the money was running out, and I went to a job fair in Melbourne, which was traumatic---I was still freaked out in traffic---where I gave my resume to everyone with a pulse. (Anyway, that's how it felt.) I got ONE callback, from the call center that ended up being my next job.

I didn't want to drive to Melbourne every day, it scared me stiff---literally. I had a white-knuckled deathgrip on the steering wheel both ways for a very long time. One thing that made it a little nicer, though, was the presence of a Goodwill store in the same plaza. My first trip down, when I was turning in an application and doing the obligatory "at least 20 WPM" typing test, I wandered in there and got a great denim jumper, a patchwork shirt and a Wild Woman jacket. Score-o-rama!

I was hired as "seasonal", and I desperately wanted to be permenant, despite the daily trauma of the commute. There was an incentive running during the holiday season that year, where they had a pot, I think it was something like $2500, and if you missed any time between Thanksgiving and New Year's, you were knocked out of the running. I don't remember exactly how much I got, it was something like $150, but after New Year's, I noticed fewer and fewer people sitting in our section. I kept my head down and worked hard while they thinned the herd, and got hired.

And once I got over my asphalt anxiety, I liked it a lot. For one thing, very seldom was I called "you people".


.
vanillafluffy: (Tarzipan)
Still doing medical billing...working there had its moments. Every Friday morning, there was an office meeting. And if you came in for it, you could take an hour lunch instead of a half-hour, so I missed very few office meetings. It was especially nice on alternate Fridays---payday!---because we were a short drive from a WalMart, where I could do some speed spending, as I called it.

There was an office Christmas party every year...I was on the planning committee one time, and it was trickier than you'd think. For starters, the place would have to be big enough for 30-35 people, AND it had to serve alcohol AND not be too far off the beaten track. I personally would've been fine without the booze, but a bunch of those gals, the way they whined at the thought, you'd think they were being deprived of air.

There was the usual Secret Santa nonsense, and decorating the office---although not to the extent that they did for Halloween. (One of the supervisors, upon viewing the cobwebs, jack o'lanterns and skeletons one year pronounced that "It looks like Hallowween threw up in here.")

I mentioned the costume contest---there was also a decorating contest, in which the building was divided into sections, and each section did their own mini "haunted house" schtick. There were dungeons, insane asylums, weird zoos, and my own personal favorite---the Mothership. One of the gals got an alien mask and voice synthesizer, there were star charts and alien lifeform specimens---doll parts in mason jars covers with green shampoo (thriftily reused by the gal who brought it in). I was the trailer park abductee, and I had a little set piece about how "I thought I heard raccoons out by the garbage pails, and I ran out, and there it was! Just a-hoverin' and a-spinnin'! And then they beamed me up, and they probed me!* And I had lunch with Elvis---fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches!" I was in a nightgown and fuzzy leopard print slippers and had my hair up---I had the part down to a tee, it was a blast.

While the social part was fun, not everyone was suited for the rest of it. We had people who'd start, leave for lunch and not come back. Or not come back for Day Two. I wish I had a dollar for every broad that didn't last out the first 90 days, I'd have enough money to fill my gas tank and then some.

The location was good: It was near enough that on more than one occasion, I woke up with less than a half-hour before I had to be to work, slithered into my clothes and had time to hit S'leven on the way in. (It helped that you weren't officially late unless it was more than 15 minutes past your start time. I wish everywhere was that civilized.) It was also a short block from a nice used bookstore (since closed), several cafes, and a full-service gas station---THAT was awesome, but the guy who ran it retired some months before my termination.

Personal life...church, basically. A little visiting with friends on weekends. I was still phobic about driving in bad weather, after dark, too far from home---it helped when I got new glasses---my old prescription was "off" enough that between that and my less than stellar night vision (no pun intended), it added to my anxieties.

Big shockeroo---one morning, Mb informed me that HWSNBN had gotten married. Small, private affair, a few close friends...what bugged the crap out of me (aside from the fact that of course he wasn't supposed to bounce back, he was supposed to pine for me and realize what a shithead he'd been), was the fact that I ended up hearing about this marriage from like, six or eight mutual friends before he deigned to tell me. And in fact, he and she showed up on my doorstep one Saturday morning, no warning at all, and I gave him shit about that. (She was all, "You didn't tell her? What do you mean, you didn't tell her?", which shows that she's got some class, regardless of who she's married to.) What the hell, better her than me.

Stay tuned.

==============================

* Which was why I about doubled up and peed myself at the frat boy's tale in "Tall Tales". (SPN, Season 2.)

.
vanillafluffy: (Tarzipan)
Still doing medical billing...working there had its moments. Every Friday morning, there was an office meeting. And if you came in for it, you could take an hour lunch instead of a half-hour, so I missed very few office meetings. It was especially nice on alternate Fridays---payday!---because we were a short drive from a WalMart, where I could do some speed spending, as I called it.

There was an office Christmas party every year...I was on the planning committee one time, and it was trickier than you'd think. For starters, the place would have to be big enough for 30-35 people, AND it had to serve alcohol AND not be too far off the beaten track. I personally would've been fine without the booze, but a bunch of those gals, the way they whined at the thought, you'd think they were being deprived of air.

There was the usual Secret Santa nonsense, and decorating the office---although not to the extent that they did for Halloween. (One of the supervisors, upon viewing the cobwebs, jack o'lanterns and skeletons one year pronounced that "It looks like Hallowween threw up in here.")

I mentioned the costume contest---there was also a decorating contest, in which the building was divided into sections, and each section did their own mini "haunted house" schtick. There were dungeons, insane asylums, weird zoos, and my own personal favorite---the Mothership. One of the gals got an alien mask and voice synthesizer, there were star charts and alien lifeform specimens---doll parts in mason jars covers with green shampoo (thriftily reused by the gal who brought it in). I was the trailer park abductee, and I had a little set piece about how "I thought I heard raccoons out by the garbage pails, and I ran out, and there it was! Just a-hoverin' and a-spinnin'! And then they beamed me up, and they probed me!* And I had lunch with Elvis---fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches!" I was in a nightgown and fuzzy leopard print slippers and had my hair up---I had the part down to a tee, it was a blast.

While the social part was fun, not everyone was suited for the rest of it. We had people who'd start, leave for lunch and not come back. Or not come back for Day Two. I wish I had a dollar for every broad that didn't last out the first 90 days, I'd have enough money to fill my gas tank and then some.

The location was good: It was near enough that on more than one occasion, I woke up with less than a half-hour before I had to be to work, slithered into my clothes and had time to hit S'leven on the way in. (It helped that you weren't officially late unless it was more than 15 minutes past your start time. I wish everywhere was that civilized.) It was also a short block from a nice used bookstore (since closed), several cafes, and a full-service gas station---THAT was awesome, but the guy who ran it retired some months before my termination.

Personal life...church, basically. A little visiting with friends on weekends. I was still phobic about driving in bad weather, after dark, too far from home---it helped when I got new glasses---my old prescription was "off" enough that between that and my less than stellar night vision (no pun intended), it added to my anxieties.

Big shockeroo---one morning, Mb informed me that HWSNBN had gotten married. Small, private affair, a few close friends...what bugged the crap out of me (aside from the fact that of course he wasn't supposed to bounce back, he was supposed to pine for me and realize what a shithead he'd been), was the fact that I ended up hearing about this marriage from like, six or eight mutual friends before he deigned to tell me. And in fact, he and she showed up on my doorstep one Saturday morning, no warning at all, and I gave him shit about that. (She was all, "You didn't tell her? What do you mean, you didn't tell her?", which shows that she's got some class, regardless of who she's married to.) What the hell, better her than me.

Stay tuned.

==============================

* Which was why I about doubled up and peed myself at the frat boy's tale in "Tall Tales". (SPN, Season 2.)

.
vanillafluffy: (Depp kiss)
As 2004 began, my life was dire. I was still doing medical billing, still on the shitty phone bank having no-win conversations---the SAME no-win conversation---40 hours a week. I'd leave work and pace the parking lot ranting with frustration---that and fear of having to drive home. I'd get home, eat everything in sight and spend the evening in front of the TV.

My social life was reduced to church, that was about it. I'd quit LARPing and left "custody" of the Camarilla to HWSNBN. Thankfully, I had peeps at work: in addition to getting me a job, she'd gotten ThunderBunny a spot, and 'Bunny had brought Vermonster on board. While we were all working there, we hung out during and sometimes after work/on weekends.

Finally, somewhere around March, I went into the big boss's office and cried and begged to get off the damn phones. I couldn't take it any more, I was coming unglued on a regular basis---I kept a box of tissues at my desk because I was prone to weeping jags---and I needed a change.

It didn't come immediately, but they put me in a cube doing paperwork, and best of all there was no phone in there with me. It wasn't involved work; I was looking at printouts and copies of insurance letters and connecting the dots. This required no more than 15% of my brain; I was able to focus on more than a screen and a phone, and the only way I can describe it is, my brain rebooted.

For the first couple of weeks, I was afraid it was too late. I was kind of spacey, and I kept forgetting things. I'd try to remember who was in a particular movie or TV show, and though I knew I knew it, it wasn't there. I'd try to place a quotation; that wasn't working too well either. I thought I was losing my mind...but gradually it cleared up.

And then...fan fiction to the rescue. I hadn't been writing in years. Little bits of things---character backstories for LARPing, not much more.

It was like looking into a pond, all covered with waterlilies and seeing little flashes of goldfish in the water...little ideas fluttering their fins and trying to get my attention.

A few years before HWSNBN came along, I'd rented Desperado and liked it. HWSNBN rented the sequel, Once Upon a Time in Mexico, and I'd enjoyed it a lot. Mind you, I was NOT a Johnny Depp fan until the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie came out---I thought of him as "that 80s pretty boy with the hair and the attitude"---but something about twisted, tragic CIA agent Sheldon Sands seized my imagination.

I wrote a coda. Then I realized that that wasn't the whole story, and wrote ANOTHER coda---a different 'verse, which term I didn't know in those days. Quite possibly the longest thing I'd ever written up to that time, and I rightly decided that anything that was such a landmark ought to be shared. I looked around, and that's when I found the Pit of Voles.

In short order, I started writing constantly. It was the most productive era of my life. I wasn't distracted as much by email---this was well before I had a following or a f'list---up early to write before work, write during my lunch break*---come home from work and write some more. Not surprisingly, I also lost weight without particularly trying. The scale went back to my pre-HWSNBN weight---about 345---and my mood became bullet-proof perky.

I even managed to say perky during hurricane season---and 2004 was a record year for us. Within six weeks, we had Frances, Jeannie and Ivan. I evacuated to 'Bunny's, and keep busy with my magnum opus, Wisdom's Gate a crossover between Gaiman's American Gods and The Ninth Gate. The added benefit to the hurricane activity was, the office was closed for a solid week, including my 44th birthday.

During this era, I made my first online friend---[livejournal.com profile] mojavedragonfly who was also my first beta. I was all over "Johnny Depp" as a fandom---OUaTiM was just the beginning---although I eventually branched out. In a lot of ways.


=======================================

* For the rest of my tenure at the billing service, I went across the street to a church and sat on their steps to write. Even when it was cold and raining. I had nothing in common with the co-workers I was on lunch rotation with---they were all married with kids, and I was definitely the odd woman out.

.
vanillafluffy: (Depp kiss)
As 2004 began, my life was dire. I was still doing medical billing, still on the shitty phone bank having no-win conversations---the SAME no-win conversation---40 hours a week. I'd leave work and pace the parking lot ranting with frustration---that and fear of having to drive home. I'd get home, eat everything in sight and spend the evening in front of the TV.

My social life was reduced to church, that was about it. I'd quit LARPing and left "custody" of the Camarilla to HWSNBN. Thankfully, I had peeps at work: in addition to getting me a job, she'd gotten ThunderBunny a spot, and 'Bunny had brought Vermonster on board. While we were all working there, we hung out during and sometimes after work/on weekends.

Finally, somewhere around March, I went into the big boss's office and cried and begged to get off the damn phones. I couldn't take it any more, I was coming unglued on a regular basis---I kept a box of tissues at my desk because I was prone to weeping jags---and I needed a change.

It didn't come immediately, but they put me in a cube doing paperwork, and best of all there was no phone in there with me. It wasn't involved work; I was looking at printouts and copies of insurance letters and connecting the dots. This required no more than 15% of my brain; I was able to focus on more than a screen and a phone, and the only way I can describe it is, my brain rebooted.

For the first couple of weeks, I was afraid it was too late. I was kind of spacey, and I kept forgetting things. I'd try to remember who was in a particular movie or TV show, and though I knew I knew it, it wasn't there. I'd try to place a quotation; that wasn't working too well either. I thought I was losing my mind...but gradually it cleared up.

And then...fan fiction to the rescue. I hadn't been writing in years. Little bits of things---character backstories for LARPing, not much more.

It was like looking into a pond, all covered with waterlilies and seeing little flashes of goldfish in the water...little ideas fluttering their fins and trying to get my attention.

A few years before HWSNBN came along, I'd rented Desperado and liked it. HWSNBN rented the sequel, Once Upon a Time in Mexico, and I'd enjoyed it a lot. Mind you, I was NOT a Johnny Depp fan until the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie came out---I thought of him as "that 80s pretty boy with the hair and the attitude"---but something about twisted, tragic CIA agent Sheldon Sands seized my imagination.

I wrote a coda. Then I realized that that wasn't the whole story, and wrote ANOTHER coda---a different 'verse, which term I didn't know in those days. Quite possibly the longest thing I'd ever written up to that time, and I rightly decided that anything that was such a landmark ought to be shared. I looked around, and that's when I found the Pit of Voles.

In short order, I started writing constantly. It was the most productive era of my life. I wasn't distracted as much by email---this was well before I had a following or a f'list---up early to write before work, write during my lunch break*---come home from work and write some more. Not surprisingly, I also lost weight without particularly trying. The scale went back to my HWSNBN weight---about 345---and my mood became bullet-proof perky.

I even managed to say perky during hurricane season---and 2004 was a record year for us. Within six weeks, we had Frances, Jeannie and Ivan. I evacuated to 'Bunny's, and keep busy with my magnum opus, Wisdom's Gate a crossover between Gaiman's American Gods and The Ninth Gate. The added benefit to the hurricane activity was, the office was closed for a solid week, including my 44th birthday.

During this era, I made my first online friend---[livejournal.com profile] mojavedragonfly who was also my first beta. I was all over "Johnny Depp" as a fandom---OUaTiM was just the beginning---although I eventually branched out. In a lot of ways.


=======================================

* For the rest of my tenure at the billing service, I went across the street to a church and sat on their steps to write. Even when it was cold and raining. I had nothing in common with the co-workers I was on lunch rotation with---they were all married with kids, and I was definitely the odd woman out.

.
vanillafluffy: (Jeff Big Bird)
HWSNBN had a cyber-sex habit. He renewed acquaintences with some dame he used to know who'd lived in Melbourne and now lived in Ocala. He wanted to visit her and asked me to go with him. Nothing to hide, right? We met her at a local restaurant---so far, so good. After lunch, she wanted to show us where she lived, so we followed her out to the middle of nowhere. Looked around, okay, ready to go?

No. One of her pitbulls had bitten a hole in one of the tires. Good luck trying to find a tire in Ocala after 5 on a Sunday afternoon. We had to stay the night. That's when he started fooling around with her. Oh, but it was my own fault---*I* hadn't negotiated monogamy when we started our relationship! He couldn't understand WHY I was upset.

We got another tire in the morning, went back to the place and put it on, only to discover that another tire was flat. And HWSNBN was out of money, according to him, so the slut's daughter's boyfriend produced a tire from somewhere. This time, we got out of there.

There was a lot of fallout from that visit. For one thing, he kept making solo trips up there for carnal purposes. It upset me, and he knew it upset me, but he did it anyway.

There was also a Near Death Experience, namely, when the mystery tire blew on I-95 while I was doing 70 on the way to Vero Beach to visit his dad for Father's Day. (His dad is/was a very nice guy---much nicer than HWSNBN)---and I liked going down there. Anyway, it was like going over a grenade---my overriding thought was, Don't cross the center line!. Pull over onto the shoulder.

The only trouble was, I was turbo-charged with adrenelin---my hands were shaking for the next two hours---and I didn't slow down enough before I hit the grass.

The car spun out. I had a moment of "We're going to flip, I'm going to die!" as the car kept spinning around.

We wound up on the shoulder, all right, having done a complete 180 and now facing oncoming traffic.

There was the blown tire, another tire had popped off the rim, and it turned out several weeks later that the belts in it had snapped, but it wasn't immediately apparent. The next couple of hours were stressful, and of course, it was Kat I called from a convenience store to come and rescue us.

We did eventually make it to Vero, but the damage was done. Not only had HWSNBN violated my trust by fucking around, that liason had damn near gotten me killed. I developed a dandy little case of post-traumatic stress---to this day, I'm not comfortable driving on I-95---to the point where I wouldn't drive after dark, drive in the rain, and I had a comfort zone that had shrunk to a few square miles.

That summer, GK en famile moved to Massechusetts, because her hub wasn't feeling fulfilled at his local job. That killed me a little. 20+ years and separated because Mr Sensative New Age Guy wasn't happy. Grrr.

When, a few months later, HWSNBN broke one promise too many, I asked him to leave. I was a wreck; I was 393 pounds, everything made me cry, not a day went by that I didn't think of suicide. I would miss being half of a couple, of having access to backrubs and cuddles, of being part of a two-paycheck household. But I realized the truth of the saying, it's better to be alone and wish you had someone than to be with someone and wish to be alone.


.
vanillafluffy: (Jeff Big Bird)
HWSNBN had a cyber-sex habit. He renewed acquaintences with some dame he used to know who'd lived in Melbourne and now lived in Ocala. He wanted to visit her and asked me to go with him. Nothing to hide, right? We met her at a local restaurant---so far, so good. After lunch, she wanted to show us where she lived, so we followed her out to the middle of nowhere. Looked around, okay, ready to go?

No. One of her pitbulls had bitten a hole in one of the tires. Good luck trying to find a tire in Ocala after 5 on a Sunday afternoon. We had to stay the night. That's when he started fooling around with her. Oh, but it was my own fault---*I* hadn't negotiated monogamy when we started our relationship! He couldn't understand WHY I was upset.

We got another tire in the morning, went back to the place and put it on, only to discover that another tire was flat. And HWSNBN was out of money, according to him, so the slut's daughter's boyfriend produced a tire from somewhere. This time, we got out of there.

There was a lot of fallout from that visit. For one thing, he kept making solo trips up there for carnal purposes. It upset me, and he knew it upset me, but he did it anyway.

There was also a Near Death Experience, namely, when the mystery tire blew on I-95 while I was doing 70 on the way to Vero Beach to visit his dad for Father's Day. (His dad is/was a very nice guy---much nicer than HWSNBN)---and I liked going down there. Anyway, it was like going over a grenade---my overriding thought was, Don't cross the center line!. Pull over onto the shoulder.

The only trouble was, I was turbo-charged with adrenelin---my hands were shaking for the next two hours---and I didn't slow down enough before I hit the grass.

The car spun out. I had a moment of "We're going to flip, I'm going to die!" as the car kept spinning around.

We wound up on the shoulder, all right, having done a complete 180 and now facing oncoming traffic.

There was the blown tire, another tire had popped off the rim, and it turned out several weeks later that the belts in it had snapped, but it wasn't immediately apparent. The next couple of hours were stressful, and of course, it was Kat I called from a convenience store to come and rescue us.

We did eventually make it to Vero, but the damage was done. Not only had HWSNBN violated my trust by fucking around, that liason had damn near gotten me killed. I developed a dandy little case of post-traumatic stress---to this day, I'm not comfortable driving on I-95---to the point where I wouldn't drive after dark, drive in the rain, and I had a comfort zone that had shrunk to a few square miles.

That summer, GK en famile moved to Massechusetts, because her hub wasn't feeling fulfilled at his local job. That killed me a little. 20+ years and separated because Mr Sensative New Age Guy wasn't happy. Grrr.

When, a few months later, HWSNBN broke one promise too many, I asked him to leave. I was a wreck; I was 393 pounds, everything made me cry, not a day went by that I didn't think of suicide. I would miss being half of a couple, of having access to backrubs and cuddles, of being part of a two-paycheck household. But I realized the truth of the saying, it's better to be alone and wish you had someone than to be with someone and wish to be alone.


.
vanillafluffy: (Naked cellist)
By now, I was starting to get more than a little disenchanted with the Camarilla, or at least our local chapter. For one thing, we kept getting out of town visitors who tended to monopolize the game. The one away game I ever went to, five of us drove up to Jacksonville (2+ hours each way), and before we could start LARPing, we had to get our characters vetted by the GM there...except he was busy moderating some fucking thing, which took an hour, at which time, he declared game over. On learning he had visitors, he graciously went "Game on!" for all of a half-hour. I didn't get a chance to do anything at all, and I gave up on the kindred venue completely. I doggedly hung in with garou play, no pun intended, but that had its pitfalls, too. Meh, it's not like it matters NOW.

HWSNBN was working loading truck for a local bakery. It was more or less third shift---he left around 10 PM and got in, depending on the workload, any time between 4 AM and 6:30. And he's fucking lucky I didn't KILL him, because in the winter, I'd be all warm and sleeping and he'd come in and shove his hands against my back to warm them up.

Seriously, I mentioned passive-aggressive? If I had a button, that fucker would press it just to stir things up. Wake me up like that, tickle me, which I made it clear that I hated, and worst yet, pull my hair. He wanted me to grow it out, and disapproved mightily of the fact that it kept getting shorter and shorter. Well, duh. I damn near had a crewcut by the end.

That Christmas, since we were both working and had ample money coming in to cover the bills, we got annual passes to Univeral Studios in Orlando. Christmas fell on a Wednesday that year. The 24th was my company's Christmas party, so it was only a half-day. He worked his usual schedule, getting home a little before 5:30. We went over to Orlando and got a motel room on I-Drive, so we could go right over to the park first thing in the morning.

There were hardly any crowds at all; at times, we were the only guests in sight. We visited Islands of Adventure---my first time---and had a lovely time. Somewhere, I have the best picture I ever took of HWSNBN, sitting on a polka-dotted egg in Seussville.

When I got back to work the next day, I was invigorated; Islands of Adventure had been a grand day out, and HWSNBN had been good company. Most of my co-workers were snarly about having to come in: They'd had crappy Christmases, or they were missing the after Christmas sales, and it was one chick's birthday, and they hadn't let her take it off. I felt like I'd dodged a bullet.

After that, romping over to the park for a day became fairly commonplace. There's a big multiplex there in addition to the theme parks, so we'd go jaunt around the park until I/we got tired, go take in a movie, then continue a while longer. My endurance wasn't great; I'm a stress eater, and I was under stress. I was edging cloer and closer to my all-time high.


.
vanillafluffy: (Naked cellist)
By now, I was starting to get more than a little disenchanted with the Camarilla, or at least our local chapter. For one thing, we kept getting out of town visitors who tended to monopolize the game. The one away game I ever went to, five of us drove up to Jacksonville (2+ hours each way), and before we could start LARPing, we had to get our characters vetted by the GM there...except he was busy moderating some fucking thing, which took an hour, at which time, he declared game over. On learning he had visitors, he graciously went "Game on!" for all of a half-hour. I didn't get a chance to do anything at all, and I gave up on the kindred venue completely. I doggedly hung in with garou play, no pun intended, but that had its pitfalls, too. Meh, it's not like it matters NOW.

HWSNBN was working loading truck for a local bakery. It was more or less third shift---he left around 10 PM and got in, depending on the workload, any time between 4 AM and 6:30. And he's fucking lucky I didn't KILL him, because in the winter, I'd be all warm and sleeping and he'd come in and shove his hands against my back to warm them up.

Seriously, I mentioned passive-aggressive? If I had a button, that fucker would press it just to stir things up. Wake me up like that, tickle me, which I made it clear that I hated, and worst yet, pull my hair. He wanted me to grow it out, and disapproved mightily of the fact that it kept getting shorter and shorter. Well, duh. I damn near had a crewcut by the end.

That Christmas, since we were both working and had ample money coming in to cover the bills, we got annual passes to Univeral Studios in Orlando. Christmas fell on a Wednesday that year. The 24th was my company's Christmas party, so it was only a half-day. He worked his usual schedule, getting home a little before 5:30. We went over to Orlando and got a motel room on I-Drive, so we could go right over to the park first thing in the morning.

There were hardly any crowds at all; at times, we were the only guests in sight. We visited Islands of Adventure---my first time---and had a lovely time. Somewhere, I have the best picture I ever took of HWSNBN, sitting on a polka-dotted egg in Seussville.

When I got back to work the next day, I was invigorated; Islands of Adventure had been a grand day out, and HWSNBN had been good company. Most of my co-workers were snarly about having to come in: They'd had crappy Christmases, or they were missing the after Christmas sales, and it was one chick's birthday, and they hadn't let her take it off. I felt like I'd dodged a bullet.

After that, romping over to the park for a day became fairly commonplace. There's a big multiplex there in addition to the theme parks, so we'd go jaunt around the park until I/we got tired, go take in a movie, then continue a while longer. My endurance wasn't great; I'm a stress eater, and I was under stress. I was edging cloer and closer to my all-time high.


.
vanillafluffy: (Liberty Mod)
There was a guy I'd met through the LARP---come to think of it, he was running the tabletop game where HWSNBN and I met---who first told me about a weekly discussion group that met at the local UU church. They were pagan-friendly, he said, and I'd given them a try. That was in early '99---I remember, because that year they had a Beltane event that I went to, and HWSNBN went with me, although he's not pagan. He claims to be Catholic, but although he may have gone there as a kid, honestly, if he's anything, I'd say agnostic---but that's neither here nor there.

What matters is, I'd started going to services there, and had gotten a key and permission for the Camarilla to use the main building on Saturday evenings. And one Saturday evening, who should show up but Mb and her hub. I hadn't seen her since their departure from my spare room, which we didn't mention. Instead, she told me about the medical billing service she was working for, and that they were hiring. I went down there, and so began the chapter of my life entitiled, "You people!" (As in, "You people sent me this bill in the mail. Why didn't you people send this to my insurance? You people don't know what you're doing, my insurance said you people coded it wrong or they would have paid it, they pay everything!"---and so on.)

I'd been there less than a month when 9/11 happened. One of the girls had a radio on in her cubicle, and she said, "A plane hit the World Trade Center!" Well, I know that the Empire State Building was once struck by a plane, so I wasn't completely freaked out. Then a little while later, she said another plane had crashed into the other tower, and I was sure that it was some morning DJ's warped take on "The War of the World" broadcast. It didn't really sink in, especially when the next plane hit the Pentagon and another one went down---it seemed so over the top, like a big budget James Cameron thriller. I kept waiting for a punchline.

I realized the phones had gone silent. No one was calling to bitch about their bill, which suggested that maybe it was because everyone was huddled around their TV watching the breaking news. Someone who lived nearby ran out and brought in her portable TV, and there was the undeniable footage of tragedy.

Being a native New Yorker, albeit transplanted to Southern soil and thriving, I was more than a little in shock. Peter had worked in the Towers before his early retirement. I'd called him there often, talked to his coworkers while they paged him to the phone, knew that he shared my letters with them---and I wonder what happened to those good people. And I'll never know.

For weeks, I felt guilty about enjoying myself. HWSNBN and I went to see "The Musketeer", which would have been an exciting movie, if I hadn't had the feeling that I was doing something wrong for enjoying myself. We went and saw---I don't recall the title, but it was the current Schwarzenegger flick---and for once, car chases and explosions made me cringe instead of cheer.

When Halloween rolled around, I didn't play fair when it came to the company costume contest. With all the flag-waving that was going on at the time, how could I *not* win as Lady Liberty? Green shift, crown, torch, book...I got a WalMart gift card out of it, and invested the proceeds in an opulent velvet vest. (Pun not resistable.) And as proof of my pack-rattery, I still have the crown lurking around somewhere....

Also that fall, some friends of ours got married. I needed something to wear to the wedding, and because I was somewhere in the neighborhood of 375, off-the-rack formalwear wasn't a viable option. GK to the rescue! She found some material on eBay, I bought a pattern (which she modified), and we collaborated on a full-length, 3/4 sleeve red dress...maybe not the best shade of red for me, but it fit well.

Mb and I went hunting for something for her to wear, which we found at a plus-size consignment store down around Indian Harbor Beach. It was a snazzy black and silver number that needed a few stickes to mend...a seam or strap or something, I forget. But she took my word for it that it was an easy fix and got it, and it was an easy fix---I may not be quite up there with GK as far as tailoring goes, but basic things like seams and buttons, yeah, no problem.

As usual, I got completely fraught about the wedding. Maybe it's because the first wedding I encounted was Peter's and since it was a family event and my mother stressed about it, I thought that was what everybody did, but anyway---I'd like a wedding of my own someday. I don't necessarily want to get married, I just want a wedding.

But NOT to HWSNBN.


.
vanillafluffy: (Liberty Mod)
There was a guy I'd met through the LARP---come to think of it, he was running the tabletop game where HWSNBN and I met---who first told me about a weekly discussion group that met at the local UU church. They were pagan-friendly, he said, and I'd given them a try. That was in early '99---I remember, because that year they had a Beltane event that I went to, and HWSNBN went with me, although he's not pagan. He claims to be Catholic, but although he may have gone there as a kid, honestly, if he's anything, I'd say agnostic---but that's neither here nor there.

What matters is, I'd started going to services there, and had gotten a key and permission for the Camarilla to use the main building on Saturday evenings. And one Saturday evening, who should show up but Mb and her hub. I hadn't seen her since their departure from my spare room, which we didn't mention. Instead, she told me about the medical billing service she was working for, and that they were hiring. I went down there, and so began the chapter of my life entitiled, "You people!" (As in, "You people sent me this bill in the mail. Why didn't you people send this to my insurance? You people don't know what you're doing, my insurance said you people coded it wrong or they would have paid it, they pay everything!"---and so on.)

I'd been there less than a month when 9/11 happened. One of the girls had a radio on in her cubicle, and she said, "A plane hit the World Trade Center!" Well, I know that the Empire State Building was once struck by a plane, so I wasn't completely freaked out. Then a little while later, she said another plane had crashed into the other tower, and I was sure that it was some morning DJ's warped take on "The War of the World" broadcast. It didn't really sink in, especially when the next plane hit the Pentagon and another one went down---it seemed so over the top, like a big budget James Cameron thriller. I kept waiting for a punchline.

I realized the phones had gone silent. No one was calling to bitch about their bill, which suggested that maybe it was because everyone was huddled around their TV watching the breaking news. Someone who lived nearby ran out and brought in her portable TV, and there was the undeniable footage of tragedy.

Being a native New Yorker, albeit transplanted to Southern soil and thriving, I was more than a little in shock. Peter had worked in the Towers before his early retirement. I'd called him there often, talked to his coworkers while they paged him to the phone, knew that he shared my letters with them---and I wonder what happened to those good people. And I'll never know.

For weeks, I felt guilty about enjoying myself. HWSNBN and I went to see "The Musketeer", which would have been an exciting movie, if I hadn't had the feeling that I was doing something wrong for enjoying myself. We went and saw---I don't recall the title, but it was the current Schwarzenegger flick---and for once, car chases and explosions made me cringe instead of cheer.

When Halloween rolled around, I didn't play fair when it came to the company costume contest. With all the flag-waving that was going on at the time, how could I *not* win as Lady Liberty? Green shift, crown, torch, book...I got a WalMart gift card out of it, and invested the proceeds in an opulent velvet vest. (Pun not resistable.) And as proof of my pack-rattery, I still have the crown lurking around somewhere....

Also that fall, some friends of ours got married. I needed something to wear to the wedding, and because I was somewhere in the neighborhood of 375, off-the-rack formalwear wasn't a viable option. GK to the rescue! She found some material on eBay, I bought a pattern (which she modified), and we collaborated on a full-length, 3/4 sleeve red dress...maybe not the best shade of red for me, but it fit well.

Mb and I went hunting for something for her to wear, which we found at a plus-size consignment store down around Indian Harbor Beach. It was a snazzy black and silver number that needed a few stickes to mend...a seam or strap or something, I forget. But she took my word for it that it was an easy fix and got it, and it was an easy fix---I may not be quite up there with GK as far as tailoring goes, but basic things like seams and buttons, yeah, no problem.

As usual, I got completely fraught about the wedding. Maybe it's because the first wedding I encounted was Peter's and since it was a family event and my mother stressed about it, I thought that was what everybody did, but anyway---I'd like a wedding of my own someday. I don't necessarily want to get married, I just want a wedding.

But NOT to HWSNBN.


.
vanillafluffy: (Fan)
I was in and out of temp jobs: taking floral orders around Valentine's Day and doing a few arrangements, working at Dysfunction Junction (Family owned, and the family in question, an older couple and their adult sons, could not speak three sentences to each other without it turning into a screaming row. Insanity.) I was there for five months, and I've never been so happy to be fired, despite the fact that Mrs Dysfunction called me up at 9 AM on a Sunday morning to let me go.

That summer, HWSNBN moved in with me---his parents kind of asked him to leave because they wanted to move his grandmother in and needed the room. This wasn't a completely terrible thing; for one thing, HWSNBN is VERY responsible about money, and we divided things equitably. The phone and cable were in his name---he paid those, while I took care of electric, water and insurance.

He also got me a new hot water heater as an early Christmas present---I'd been either taking cold showers during the summer, visiting his folks a couple times a week, or going up to the ladies locker room at the college and using the facilities there. Honestly, the first time I took a nice hot shower in my own snug little bathroom, I was in there for twenty minutes or so, singing like Julie Andrews. Romantic, no, much appreciated, yes!

When I finally did get a full-time job, we both set aside $100 from each check and saved until we could replace my drainfield. That was huge, and without him to poke, prod and nag me, it wouldn't have gotten done.

So there were advantages to having him around. He wasn't always easy to live with---the bastard could sulk for a week, which was rather wearing to be around---but it wasn't all bad. His family was nice to me---his mom was a yard sale queen on a scale I couldn't hope to aspire to, and she presented me with things like a matched set of bedding, a whole closetful of clothes, and her cash Christmas present was enough for me to get a sorely needed new pair of glasses.

If nothing else, my standard of living improved while we were together.


.
vanillafluffy: (Fan)
I was in and out of temp jobs: taking floral orders around Valentine's Day and doing a few arrangements, working at Dysfunction Junction (Family owned, and the family in question, an older couple and their adult sons, could not speak three sentences to each other without it turning into a screaming row. Insanity.) I was there for five months, and I've never been so happy to be fired, despite the fact that Mrs Dysfunction called me up at 9 AM on a Sunday morning to let me go.

That summer, HWSNBN moved in with me---his parents kind of asked him to leave because they wanted to move his grandmother in and needed the room. This wasn't a completely terrible thing; for one thing, HWSNBN is VERY responsible about money, and we divided things equitably. The phone and cable were in his name---he paid those, while I took care of electric, water and insurance.

He also got me a new hot water heater as an early Christmas present---I'd been either taking cold showers during the summer, visiting his folks a couple times a week, or going up to the ladies locker room at the college and using the facilities there. Honestly, the first time I took a nice hot shower in my own snug little bathroom, I was in there for twenty minutes or so, singing like Julie Andrews. Romantic, no, much appreciated, yes!

When I finally did get a full-time job, we both set aside $100 from each check and saved until we could replace my drainfield. That was huge, and without him to poke, prod and nag me, it wouldn't have gotten done.

So there were advantages to having him around. He wasn't always easy to live with---the bastard could sulk for a week, which was rather wearing to be around---but it wasn't all bad. His family was nice to me---his mom was a yard sale queen on a scale I couldn't hope to aspire to, and she presented me with things like a matched set of bedding, a whole closetful of clothes, and her cash Christmas present was enough for me to get a sorely needed new pair of glasses.

If nothing else, my standard of living improved while we were together.


.
vanillafluffy: (Fortune cookie)
You may have noticed the lack of...shall we say, relationships? That's because, aside from my unrequited Thing for Dr Bizarre, there weren't any. There were a few incidents of being groped at various concerts, but nothing that lasted after the lights came up.

Virgo was NOT just my astrological sign. And here I was, coming up fast on 40, and I was convinced it had all passed me by. I completely gave up on the possibility of even a one-night stand after Mb's attempt to set me up with one of her housemates fell through. I figured I might as well be a nun.

And then, one afternoon at a tabletop game, this guy showed up. I'd been turned down enough times that I didn't credit it; "Are you making a pass at me?" I asked him straight out after something he said.

"Do you want me to make a pass at you?" was his response, and I should have realized that passive-aggressive was going to be the tenor of our relationship.

Mb assured me that He Who Shall Not Be Named was safe enough---at least in the sense of not being a drunk, a druggie, an ex-con or a psycho. Yes, HWSNBN had a few kinks, but that was okay---after thirty years of intense curiousity about Lots of Things, I was pleased to know I might actually get a chance to find out more than the basics.

And find out I did; there is a reason my online persona is VANILLAfluffy.

1999 was a really intense year: VC, Kat's husband, passed away in February, which wasn't unexpected since he had a heart condition and cirrosis of the liver. Mb and her guy got married, also in March, and ended up moving out unexpectedly in...I think it was August. I *do* remember it was after I was fired from directory assistance.

Directory assistance had a policy where they gave you a certain amount of vacation time per year, but you had to take five days of it in a solid block. I scheduled mine for the last week in June. On the first day of my week, there was a knock on the door at 9AM. Because I didn't have a phone at the time, it was a sheriff's deputy coming to notify me that Peter was dead.

I hurried around the corner to Kat's so I could call Sirocco and find out what was going on. (Although they'd divorced after less than 10 years, they'd lived together on and off ever since.) He'd had congestive heart failure, and he'd simply gone to sleep and not wakened.

My friends rallied round---they got me up to New York to see to arrangements for him---that put me in contact with cousins I hadn't talked to since Dad was alive---and because of the holiday weekend, I ended up staying for a solid week.

My job paid me for bereavement leave, but they weren't too happy when I took additional time off for medical reasons. They let me go. (Of course, they could come up with creative reasons for it.)

I did some temping, spent most of my time with HWSNBN, including most of a week at his folks during Hurricane Hugo, which for a while looked like it was going to hit us. It didn't, and we spent our interlude frolic in the a/c.

December---Christo, this year, does it ever end?! First, there was the incident at the movie theater. He took me to see "Bicentennial Man", which I thought was safe enough---Robin Williams, funny guy, right? Oh hell no. Two hours of having everyone his character loved die reduced me to a sobbing, sniveling mess by the end. To make matters more fraught, S, T and J happened to be at the same show, saw me, and were convinced he was responsible. (Well, yes, but only because the damn movie was his idea.)

And then...oh hell, I'm not going to go into the whole thing, but about a week later, he and S got into a huge screaming fight. She didn't care for him to begin with, and---never mind. Let's just say that, although I've had plenty of times when certain of my friends didn't get along with other friends, this was by far the most dramatic. The breach was never repaired; he was no longer welcome there, and I didn't get over there much myself for the next few years.

And two days before Christmas, GK produced Thing Two. My hair was long enough to French braid at the time, and I remember visiting her in the hospital with jingle bells on bobby pins tucked into my braid.

Party like it was 1999? Not much. Although I had purchased a long black velvet dress with New Year's Eve in mind, we stayed home. In bed. Happy fucking New Year....


.
vanillafluffy: (Fortune cookie)
You may have noticed the lack of...shall we say, relationships? That's because, aside from my unrequited Thing for Dr Bizarre, there weren't any. There were a few incidents of being groped at various concerts, but nothing that lasted after the lights came up.

Virgo was NOT just my astrological sign. And here I was, coming up fast on 40, and I was convinced it had all passed me by. I completely gave up on the possibility of even a one-night stand after Mb's attempt to set me up with one of her housemates fell through. I figured I might as well be a nun.

And then, one afternoon at a tabletop game, this guy showed up. I'd been turned down enough times that I didn't credit it; "Are you making a pass at me?" I asked him straight out after something he said.

"Do you want me to make a pass at you?" was his response, and I should have realized that passive-aggressive was going to be the tenor of our relationship.

Mb assured me that He Who Shall Not Be Named was safe enough---at least in the sense of not being a drunk, a druggie, an ex-con or a psycho. Yes, HWSNBN had a few kinks, but that was okay---after thirty years of intense curiousity about Lots of Things, I was pleased to know I might actually get a chance to find out more than the basics.

And find out I did; there is a reason my online persona is VANILLAfluffy.

1999 was a really intense year: VC, Kat's husband, passed away in February, which wasn't unexpected since he had a heart condition and cirrosis of the liver. Mb and her guy got married, also in March, and ended up moving out unexpectedly in...I think it was August. I *do* remember it was after I was fired from directory assistance.

Directory assistance had a policy where they gave you a certain amount of vacation time per year, but you had to take five days of it in a solid block. I scheduled mine for the last week in June. On the first day of my week, there was a knock on the door at 9AM. Because I didn't have a phone at the time, it was a sheriff's deputy coming to notify me that Peter was dead.

I hurried around the corner to Kat's so I could call Sirocco and find out what was going on. (Although they'd divorced after less than 10 years, they'd lived together on and off ever since.) He'd had congestive heart failure, and he'd simply gone to sleep and not wakened.

My friends rallied round---they got me up to New York to see to arrangements for him---that put me in contact with cousins I hadn't talked to since Dad was alive---and because of the holiday weekend, I ended up staying for a solid week.

My job paid me for bereavement leave, but they weren't too happy when I took additional time off for medical reasons. They let me go. (Of course, they could come up with creative reasons for it.)

I did some temping, spent most of my time with HWSNBN, including most of a week at his folks during Hurricane Hugo, which for a while looked like it was going to hit us. It didn't, and we spent our interlude frolic in the a/c.

December---Christo, this year, does it ever end?! First, there was the incident at the movie theater. He took me to see "Bicentennial Man", which I thought was safe enough---Robin Williams, funny guy, right? Oh hell no. Two hours of having everyone his character loved die reduced me to a sobbing, sniveling mess by the end. To make matters more fraught, S, T and J happened to be at the same show, saw me, and were convinced he was responsible. (Well, yes, but only because the damn movie was his idea.)

And then...oh hell, I'm not going to go into the whole thing, but about a week later, he and S got into a huge screaming fight. She didn't care for him to begin with, and---never mind. Let's just say that, although I've had plenty of times when certain of my friends didn't get along with other friends, this was by far the most dramatic. The breach was never repaired; he was no longer welcome there, and I didn't get over there much myself for the next few years.

And two days before Christmas, GK produced Thing Two. My hair was long enough to French braid at the time, and I remember visiting her in the hospital with jingle bells on bobby pins tucked into my braid.

Party like it was 1999? Not much. Although I had purchased a long black velvet dress with New Year's Eve in mind, we stayed home. In bed. Happy fucking New Year....


.
vanillafluffy: (Carnivale masque)
While I was working at the directory assistance job, I noticed a couple who also worked there. They were hard to miss---he was about 6'7" and she was maybe 5'2"---a real study in contrasts. I never approached them, just noticed them---then I ran into them at a LARP. And that's how I met Mb.

By this point, I was in...two or three tabletop groups and was getting used to LARPing with the Camarilla bunch, since the comic store twerps I'd started out with were high schoolers and...enough said.

That December, Mb, her guy and I went to a Depeche Mode concert in Orlando. We got along well, and when it turned out that they were going to have to find a new place to live, I invited them to move in with me. This ended up being less than successful, but as has so often happened, it led to other things.


.
vanillafluffy: (Carnivale masque)
While I was working at the directory assistance job, I noticed a couple who also worked there. They were hard to miss---he was about 6'7" and she was maybe 5'2"---a real study in contrasts. I never approached them, just noticed them---then I ran into them at a LARP. And that's how I met Mb.

By this point, I was in...two or three tabletop groups and was getting used to LARPing with the Camarilla bunch, since the comic store twerps I'd started out with were high schoolers and...enough said.

That December, Mb, her guy and I went to a Depeche Mode concert in Orlando. We got along well, and when it turned out that they were going to have to find a new place to live, I invited them to move in with me. This ended up being less than successful, but as has so often happened, it led to other things.


.
vanillafluffy: (Phone ringing)
I've gotten to the point where I need to check my resume---when did I start at the directory assistance job? February of this year. Easy entrance exam---they only wanted 20 wpm and a spelling test. And it wasn't without advantages---we were able to set our schedules ahead 3 months at a time. I happily worked...10-6 or 11-7, depending. None of this "Leap out of bed and dash to work" nonsense.

It was especially great on Fridays---I had a yard sale habit for a few years, and there were quite a few happy hunting grounds between my house and work. GK's oldest was still a baby; he was still portable enough that she could pack him into the car and we'd go yard sailing together. She and GKHub were living in a great house on the Island, and there were some tasty sales over there, too.

I was in a phase of sociability---I was a member of the local Kennel Club with S, who'd joined when she'd gotten Macs, her first schnauzer. One meeting a month for that, and the occasional event. I was into the SCA for a while---partly because I was hoping to connect with the GM previously mentioned, partly because it tied it with my earlier RenFest experiences. Another monthly meeting, a few more events. And, of course, LARPing and some tabletop play, which was usually good for at least one evening a week.

Again, it wasn't incredible, but it was pretty good compared to other years.


.
vanillafluffy: (Phone ringing)
I've gotten to the point where I need to check my resume---when did I start at the directory assistance job? February of this year. Easy entrance exam---they only wanted 20 wpm and a spelling test. And it wasn't without advantages---we were able to set our schedules ahead 3 months at a time. I happily worked...10-6 or 11-7, depending. None of this "Leap out of bed and dash to work" nonsense.

It was especially great on Fridays---I had a yard sale habit for a few years, and there were quite a few happy hunting grounds between my house and work. GK's oldest was still a baby; he was still portable enough that she could pack him into the car and we'd go yard sailing together. She and GKHub were living in a great house on the Island, and there were some tasty sales over there, too.

I was in a phase of sociability---I was a member of the local Kennel Club with S, who'd joined when she'd gotten Macs, her first schnauzer. One meeting a month for that, and the occasional event. I was into the SCA for a while---partly because I was hoping to connect with the GM previously mentioned, partly because it tied it with my earlier RenFest experiences. Another monthly meeting, a few more events. And, of course, LARPing and some tabletop play, which was usually good for at least one evening a week.

Again, it wasn't incredible, but it was pretty good compared to other years.


.
vanillafluffy: (Arcane)
We're back to Warren Beatty again...because if I hadn't been baby-sitting for BC's offspring, which entailed watching some Saturday morning cartoons...a lot of things would've been different.

The 'toon in question was X-Men. I knew almost nothing about the Marvelverse aside from Spiderman and Fantastic Four, which had been Saturday morning cartoons when *I* was a kid. I got hooked. Started looking into the actual comic books, and started hanging out at a comic book store over on the Island. And yes, I wrote fan-fic for it.

Being a regular there, I knew they had a lot of space dedicated to D&D and gaming. So when Kindred: the Embraced came on FOX, and I fell for it hard, and I found out it had started as a RPG, I got sucked into gaming.

I had a thing for vampires (I say had, because the next few years would cure me), and although I'd never gotten into role-playing games before, I soon became passionate. One of the guys in the group talked me into joining a werewolf game, which I ended up even more passionate about. The vampires were more political, whereas the werewolves were more action-oriented.

Well, that, and I was hot for the GM. I found out that there was a LARP game in the area that he was active in, and I started going to that. It turned out that right about that time he found someone and started to pull away from the Camarilla (which was the name of the publisher's organization that kept track of it all), but the Cam...well, it's gonna make the next few years interesting.

Stay tuned.


.
vanillafluffy: (Arcane)
We're back to Warren Beatty again...because if I hadn't been baby-sitting for BC's offspring, which entailed watching some Saturday morning cartoons...a lot of things would've been different.

The 'toon in question was X-Men. I knew almost nothing about the Marvelverse aside from Spiderman and Fantastic Four, which had been Saturday morning cartoons when *I* was a kid. I got hooked. Started looking into the actual comic books, and started hanging out at a comic book store over on the Island. And yes, I wrote fan-fic for it.

Being a regular there, I knew they had a lot of space dedicated to D&D and gaming. So when Kindred: the Embraced came on FOX, and I fell for it hard, and I found out it had started as a RPG, I got sucked into gaming.

I had a thing for vampires (I say had, because the next few years would cure me), and although I'd never gotten into role-playing games before, I soon became passionate. One of the guys in the group talked me into joining a werewolf game, which I ended up even more passionate about. The vampires were more political, whereas the werewolves were more action-oriented.

Well, that, and I was hot for the GM. I found out that there was a LARP game in the area that he was active in, and I started going to that. It turned out that right about that time he found someone and started to pull away from the Camarilla (which was the name of the publisher's organization that kept track of it all), but the Cam...well, it's gonna make the next few years interesting.

Stay tuned.


.
vanillafluffy: (Theomany)
If I ever won the lottery, I'd probably take up attending college as a hobby. Humanities, History, Literature---any class I could write a term paper for was good; I made a small killing in Humanities, making and selling copies of my notes, and I wrote and sold a few term papers on the side.

Unfortunately, math wasn't so obliging. I flunked Intro to College Math---the PRE-Algebra class that didn't even count as a math credit. I ended up 4 credits short of a real degree---2 math and 2 science.

Hurricane Erin rolled through that summer. I was brushing my teeth when there was a violent crash outside. I fled, and spent the rest of the night huddled on some sofa cushions in the hallway---the closest thing I had to a windowless room.

Turned out we'd had a tiny tornado slide between my house and the house next door. It uprooted a tree---hence the crash---and tore up part of the roof. I got a check to replace the roof, but I got it patched and lived off the remainder for a while.

If I recall correctly, this was the year of the Halloween Short Story contest I wrote for AOL. S mentioned it to me, and then got mad at me because, not only did I have the temerity to enter it, I won the damn thing. The prize was something like 10 free hours---this was when AOL still charging by the hour. I wrote up the story of the Winchester Mystery House---what?! I DID. I first heard about it in a kid's magazine distributed by Gulf Oil Company back when I was about 8, it was the only so-called true ghost story I could think of.

She should have known better, it's not like she didn't know I could write. At the time, we were both into American Gothic, and she'd read the fanfic perpetually in progress that I produced for it.

I was also in a Film Appreciation class with J, who was one of my best customers for term papers, although she at least got the gist on paper, unlike some of them.

The diaspora hadn't started yet---all the C's were alive and well and in the same area, S and company were good, Peter and I were in constant contact by phone...I didn't know how good I had it.


.
vanillafluffy: (Theomany)
If I ever won the lottery, I'd probably take up attending college as a hobby. Humanities, History, Literature---any class I could write a term paper for was good; I made a small killing in Humanities, making and selling copies of my notes, and I wrote and sold a few term papers on the side.

Unfortunately, math wasn't so obliging. I flunked Intro to College Math---the PRE-Algebra class that didn't even count as a math credit. I ended up 4 credits short of a real degree---2 math and 2 science.

Hurricane Erin rolled through that summer. I was brushing my teeth when there was a violent crash outside. I fled, and spent the rest of the night huddled on some sofa cushions in the hallway---the closest thing I had to a windowless room.

Turned out we'd had a tiny tornado slide between my house and the house next door. It uprooted a tree---hence the crash---and tore up part of the roof. I got a check to replace the roof, but I got it patched and lived off the remainder for a while.

If I recall correctly, this was the year of the Halloween Short Story contest I wrote for AOL. S mentioned it to me, and then got mad at me because, not only did I have the temerity to enter it, I won the damn thing. The prize was something like 10 free hours---this was when AOL still charging by the hour. I wrote up the story of the Winchester Mystery House---what?! I DID. I first heard about it in a kid's magazine distributed by Gulf Oil Company back when I was about 8, it was the only so-called true ghost story I could think of.

She should have known better, it's not like she didn't know I could write. At the time, we were both into American Gothic, and she'd read the fanfic perpetually in progress that I produced for it.

I was also in a Film Appreciation class with J, who was one of my best customers for term papers, although she at least got the gist on paper, unlike some of them.

The diaspora hadn't started yet---all the C's were alive and well and in the same area, S and company were good, Peter and I were in constant contact by phone...I didn't know how good I had it.


.
vanillafluffy: (Success failure)
It was while I was working in the Allied Health office with Kat that I had an experience that I have since come to refer to as The Skinny Sandwich.

My working hours were mostly scheduled for the days I was on campus, which was sensible. I occasionally had early classes (for me, that meant anything before 10 AM), which meant no breakfast, because I'm not one of those people who can leap out of bed and face food.

So come 12:30-1:00, which was about the time my student assistanct job started, I was starving. If I had money, I'd raid the vending machines or see if there was anything appetizing at the cafeteria. Mostly I'd wait til I got home and devour everything in sight.

There was another student assistant in the office---I think her name was Rhoda or Rhonda, something like that. Anyway, she was a sweet girl, petite, brunette, soft-spoken---and one afternoon, she offered me her sandwich. She was getting ready to leave and go have lunch with her boyfriend, so it needed a good home.

Did I mention she was petite? Let me tell you why: This sandwich consisted of two naked slices of white bread, about six fronds of lettuce, and ONE thin shaving of ham. Seriously, you could read a newspaper through it.

I'm not mocking Rhoda/Rhonda's generousity; it was meant kindly. But it underscored to me the difference between me (somewhere in the 330 range at the time) and her (one-third that). If I had made that sandwich, it would've been glued together with mayonaise and mustard, there would have been a quarter-pound of pig on it, some cheese, and no lettuce whatsoever, because I am not in the habit of confusing a salad with a sandwich, and besides, I loathe iceburg lettuce.

I like food. I enjoy a good sandwich (again, one not trying to disguise itself as a salad, where meat and cheese are the primary ingredients), a good pizza, fried chicken and all the other pleasures of the table in plenty. Which is why I've been over 300 pounds for the last twenty years---moderation is not something that comes naturally to me. I regard a "skinny" sandwich like that as a travesty, and I feel a little sorry for someone who gets so little joy from the most basic human pleasure.

Although...she *did* have a boyfriend. She was probably getting a few basic human pleasures that way....


.
vanillafluffy: (Success failure)
It was while I was working in the Allied Health office with Kat that I had an experience that I have since come to refer to as The Skinny Sandwich.

My working hours were mostly scheduled for the days I was on campus, which was sensible. I occasionally had early classes (for me, that meant anything before 10 AM), which meant no breakfast, because I'm not one of those people who can leap out of bed and face food.

So come 12:30-1:00, which was about the time my student assistanct job started, I was starving. If I had money, I'd raid the vending machines or see if there was anything appetizing at the cafeteria. Mostly I'd wait til I got home and devour everything in sight.

There was another student assistant in the office---I think her name was Rhoda or Rhonda, something like that. Anyway, she was a sweet girl, petite, brunette, soft-spoken---and one afternoon, she offered me her sandwich. She was getting ready to leave and go have lunch with her boyfriend, so it needed a good home.

Did I mention she was petite? Let me tell you why: This sandwich consisted of two naked slices of white bread, about six fronds of lettuce, and ONE thin shaving of ham. Seriously, you could read a newspaper through it.

I'm not mocking Rhoda/Rhonda's generousity; it was meant kindly. But it underscored to me the difference between me (somewhere in the 330 range at the time) and her (one-third that). If I had made that sandwich, it would've been glued together with mayonaise and mustard, there would have been a quarter-pound of pig on it, some cheese, and no lettuce whatsoever, because I am not in the habit of confusing a salad with a sandwich, and besides, I loathe iceburg lettuce.

I like food. I enjoy a good sandwich (again, one not trying to disguise itself as a salad, where meat and cheese are the primary ingredients), a good pizza, fried chicken and all the other pleasures of the table in plenty. Which is why I've been over 300 pounds for the last twenty years---moderation is not something that comes naturally to me. I regard a "skinny" sandwich like that as a travesty, and I feel a little sorry for someone who gets so little joy from the most basic human pleasure.

Although...she *did* have a boyfriend. She was probably getting a few basic human pleasures that way....


.
vanillafluffy: (Rings and pearls)
I've been trying to remember what happened when, and I'm waiting for an email back from GK to clarify some dates.

They say the memory is the second thing to go.

I forget what the first thing is....

* * * * *


January of 1993 heralded the marriage of GK and Himself. (I am just as puzzled now as I was then, but it works for her---!) It was a fairly traditional church wedding, the only potentially startling note being the bride's gown. She made it herself: It had a white satin bodice and a royal blue skirt. Gorgeous, and she pragmatically created something she could repurpose for RenFest.

BlueRoses was her only attendant; I was nominated to take charge of the banquet. Namely, I snuck out of the ceremony early, trotted across the way to the church hall and set out platters of food. I didn't get anything to eat except for a slice of cake; I was too damn busy.

However, being the dogsbody did have its advantages: I was invited to the bridal luncheon for her nearest and dearest, as well as the rehersal dinner, which was held at a very swanky restaurant.

Since I was between jobs, swanky restaurants were fairly few and far between at that time...I ended up going back to school, because there were grants and student jobs and things like that. (I'd do it now, but the student loans hanging over me rule that out. Long story short, avoid loans, go for the grants.) That had the side benefit of working in the same office as Kat; the office she worked in needed someone, and she put in a good word for me.

That was educational, but we'll get to that soon enough.


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September 2017

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