What I’ve Learned About Myself from Women’s Conferences

Saturday, July 27th, 2013

eeeeeI think the one 100% true thing I’ve confirmed about myself at (my third) BlogHer is that I’m not much of a “vagina joiner”.

That sounds like some kind of an infomercial product, but it’s the most succinct way can describe how events like this make me feel. Look, I love women. Believe me, I love women. Poetically, philosophically, physically, some other “p” word… broads are good stuff.

But I’m just not one of those “touchy-feely, kumbaya, sign my yearbook, let’s braid each other’s hair, soft focus sisters of the woodlands” types. I never have been. The very idea of sitting in a room and discussing how to “be authentic” makes me want to drink. So you’ll probably find me in the hotel bar.

I think women are amazing people. But when you put a lot of them together in a hotel lobby, it’s not unlike what I’d imagine dolphins on a casino floor sound like — shrill shrieks of superlative excitement over a slot machine-like din of chatter and air kisses.

I respect women. I appreciate that this is the jam of thousands of women here at BlogHer. That’s why so many people are here — to “network”, to meet people, to socialize, be inspired, empowered and potentially sync up the cycle of every woman on the internet. And I totally, totally get that.

It’s just not for me.

Does that mean I don’t want to talk to you, meet you, hang out with you? Do I not want to be inspired, empowered? AM I NOT ENTERTAINED?

No, it mostly just means I don’t want to drop my business card in a fishbowl and listen to your schpiel on heavy flows and wide-set vaginas. Different strokes.

Memories of a Piano Bar Baby

Monday, June 24th, 2013

There was a restaurant I used to go to as a kid called The Cotton Patch. It was in Point Loma on Midway, cattycorner to the main Post Office, for those in the know — next door to the Aaron Brothers that has been there since I can remember.

As a family, we must have visited The Cotton Patch at least once or twice a week from 1979 to somewhere in the mid-eighties. The restaurant was essentially a steak house, known for their prime rib, but also their frog legs (for some reason). It was nice, though I wouldn’t say fancy. While they had cloth napkins and (I think) tablecloths, they also had complimentary cornbread shaped like actual corn and plastic bears filled with honey on every table, to my chubby 7 or 8-year-old delight.

I spent a lot of time hanging out at the hostess stand. Much like I am now, I made friends pretty easily. I have always been able to talk to anyone and been wise beyond my years (some might have said precocious), and spent a great deal of my childhood as an only child surrounded by adults. So, it was pretty easy to make friends with the middle-aged, but very, very nice blonde hostess we saw there often. I can’t remember her name anymore — I want to say Sheila, maybe? —  though I seem to recall something going sour between her and my father sometime after my mom died. I’d rather not speculate too much on that.

I spent most of my time at The Cotton Patch, when I wasn’t stuffing corn-shaped cornbread in my face, playing the tabletop Miss Pac-Man machine they had in the lobby. I got pretty good at it and it kept me occupied and out of my parents’ hair.  My dad would get me a roll over quarters and I’d play for hours while they sat in the lounge, sipping Benedictine and listening to the jazz pianist by the stone fireplace.

Sometimes my dad would get up and sing “I Left My Heart in San Francisco”.  If I ran out of quarters, he would let me give the piano player a generous tip in the giant tip snifter set at the end of the piano.  Often, Dad would ask me to request “My Funny Valentine”… my mom and dad’s song. The pianist would even sometimes let me sit next to him while he played standards I strangely knew the words to and I would sing along quietly, so as not to bother the adults. Adults, I might add, who thought it was charming and not at all that odd for an eight-year-old to be in a bar, let alone know all the words to “Autumn Leaves”.

We stopped going to The Cotton Patch in the mid-to-late-eighties, if I recall correctly, after my mom died. My last memory of being in there was when the piano bar guy played “My Funny Valentine” and my dad gave me some money, asking me to tell him to never play that again.

I’m not totally sure what happened to The Cotton Patch. I heard it caught on fire, but I can’t find any information about that. It’s a De ja Vu Showgirls strip club now, which kind of makes me laugh, a little sadly, whenever I drive past the now-hot pink stucco building. Though whenever I do, I still can’t help but think of my parents and of corn-shaped cornbread, frog legs and “My Funny Valentine”.

Categories: Life, thoughts

“I Want My Two Dollars!”

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

When a client stiffs you, especially one you liked and have had forever, unless it’s for a lot of money, there’s not much you can do.  But it sure feels bad. It makes you feel like all the effort you put into cultivating a relationship with that client was pointless, worthless. It makes you (even a little) nervous that future efforts to go above and beyond with other clients could be met with the same result. The rapport you thought you had was really just meaningless. You might as well be the plumber. Hell, I bet they pay the plumber.

Having tried to collect this meager balance since January 25, I inquired with several strong-arm collection agencies and anything under $500 doesn’t seem to be worth their time. It’s not really worth my time either, but I was hoping it would quell my desire to light shit on fire whenever I log into my accounting software or see that client prancing about online, smiling on social media, excited about their new business ventures.

It’s not about the money. If they had been honest with me, if they’d said, “I just can’t, I’m so sorry, times are tough.” I’d probably have waived it. I do that kind of thing all the time, to my detriment sometimes. But I take care of my clients and am usually pretty understanding and flexible.  Yet, this client ignored me for months, totally flat-out ignored my emails. Their services were completed in January, but it took until I sent a somewhat shame-laden email in late April for them to give me some cockamamie story about how they would pay me at the end of May, which of course, despite my kind reminder emails, they never intended to do.

They could afford to open a new bakery in another country, but couldn’t afford to pay me a few hundred bucks? It costs multiple thousands of dollars to open a brick and mortar business, especially one in food service. In a last ditch effort, I even offered them the chance to pay me the principle, saying I’d waive the couple hundred dollars in late fees they’d racked up if they just would pay me the initial balance. Crickets, of course.

I just wanted to win, honestly. For me, for all of us who have ever been stiffed. It would’ ve been a small victory, but a matter of principle.

If your toilet stops up, you call the plumber and you pay him. If your spleen falls out, you pay the doctor. If you need a haircut, you pay your stylist. What makes people think that they don’t have to pay someone who does work for them? I’m not in the business of working for free. I bet the client expects $5 for that eclair they painstakingly crafted.

And while it happens so rarely, it disappointments me most that I was shafted by someone I thought was a trustworthy person, a long-standing, kind, honest client with whom I’d done a lot of work for almost a decade. If they’d decided to hire someone else, I’d be less offended.

So, consider our bridge burned, dear client. I’m sad to see our long-standing relationship pissed away over $280. I hope your flan gives everyone the runs.

Categories: Work

Mine Reads “Mrs. Roper”

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

So, our property has this online social network that allows management to alert us to new events on property, announcements, if we have a package in the office and we can submit maintenance requests through it, as well. But each unit has their own profile, and you can add a photo, your birthday, your interests, etc and display your profile in the “My Neighbors” listing, like a phone book.

UH, NO THANKS. It’s apartment living, I’d like some semblance of privacy. I love where we live and I’ll happily smile and nod at a neighbor or wave or coo at their dog, but I don’t need to know that Kenneth and Oliver in Building 5 are wine enthusiasts in matching shirts who indulge in weekend thrifting when they’re not handcrafting leather jewelry (though I’ve probably seen them at Mo’s). I’m glad to see most of my fellow neighbors eschewed profile photos or even listing their profile altogether.

Unless you’re UPS, no one who sees me in my towel turban watering the plants on my patio needs to know my full name.

Categories: Life, neighbors

Generally, You Don’t See That Kind of Behavior From a Major Appliance.

Monday, May 13th, 2013

I’m beginning to think that the appliances in our new place are possessed. What’s funny is that here, I find it kind of quirky and charming (and fixable), yet in our last apartment, the same sounds would have sent me into a rant about how much that building sucks and should be condemned. Funny what a change in venue can do to your perspective.

Anyway, it started with the refrigerator — about a week ago, it started making a loud whirring sound when it ran, much louder than it had previously. It wasn’t every time, but I made a mental note of it. We also have some issue where our ice machine ice all smells like onions, regardless of the presence of an onion in the fridge or freezer, but I think that can be fixed by replacing the water line, not a root vegetable exorcism.

So the fridge started making the sound more frequently, until the heat over the weekend really kicked into overdrive. When it kicks on, it sounds like one of those riding lawnmowers is idling outside the kitchen window. Nothing so loud it’s unbearable, but definitely not a good sound. I assume maintenance will replace the fridge or fix what’s wrong with it. At least it’s not putting off onion-scented exhaust.

We usually keep our windows open. After two years in Las Vegas, where we lived like mole rats with the blinds and windows shut, A/C almost year-round, and after 6 months in dank mausoleum that was our last apartment, we were ready for some fresh air and sunshine. But when the sun went down last night and it was still 82 in our apartment, with every window open, every fan at top speed, we caved in and battened down the hatches for some glorious air conditioning.

I noticed it last night and dismissed it, but today, as I’m alone in the apartment, I really notice that the A/C sounds like people talking. It stops when it goes off, of course, so I assume it’s the sound of the air ducts vibrating or bowing in and out as the air is forced through it. Or perhaps it’s the sound of condensation dripping against the ductwork… or both. But it still is kind of creepy. Amusing, but creepy. It’s like people are talking behind a closed bathroom door, having a conversation, as if it someone is talking about you behind your back.

It also makes a high pitched squeal as it starts up, which reminds me of the timing belt on Judy,  my old ’95 Chevy Cavalier, so I’m guessing it’s a motor thing. I’ll report that noise, along with the fridge mower noise and hopefully both can be resolved without having to get that Dead Files chick in here.

If I start tweeting about the end of days, though, you might want to look into it…

Categories: domestica, Life