Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Implosion of My Head

My brain has that feeling that's only comparable to the week before classes end during spring semester of my senior year of college!

I told mom today that even if I worked for 24 hours a day for the next six days, I probably still would not accomplish everything I want to get done. So. My perfectionism will have to chill out and prioritize.

I leave for the first of the four Youth Specialties Conventions a week from tomorrow. All of the following pieces have to be finished between now and then:

* Get pens
* Format sign up sheets for interviews
* Format interview guide sheets
* Put together 250 application packets
* Write cover letter for application packets
* Organize information for exhibit booth staff
* Design and order follow up postcards
* Test slide show on projector
* Find screen for projector
* Clear billing issue with rental equipment place in Austin
* Complete biographies for Areas/Bases
* Finalize job descriptions for available positions
* Get laptop fixed
* Finalize graphics
* Send final graphics to printer
* Get breath mints for staff
* Organize which staff is taking which stuff in their luggage
* Confirm flight
* Finish editing Corporate newsletter to send to publication prior to leaving for Austin
* Write and/or edit a Reciept Letter for October
* Lead 2-hour training session for staff on manning the YS booth
* Lead 30-minute training for new staff on Communications Standards and Corporate Identity Guidelines

And now, I go to Bible Study. BLAAAAAAAH. I will rest this evening. Otherwise, I will not make it through tomorrow.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Red Tape Stinks.

Recently I got the great idea to serve fresh Northwest coffee out of our booth at the Youth Specialties Convention. I was pumped about it, especially in talking to Fidalgo Bay Coffee, my favorite local roaster. They offered me a great deal on providing iced coffee drinks in YD logo cups! How cool! And how Northwest...

Today, I called Youth Specialties to ensure there were no food restrictions. They were like, "Great idea!" but said I should check with the convention center.

So I call the convention center and the catering director says, "You are not allowed to serve any food unless it's the nature of our business." What do I say, "Ummm....yes....we sell 'Youth Dynamics blend.'" Raaaaargh.

"But we can cater your booth for you!" she says.

I said, "That would defeat the point--which is to give the attendees a taste of something distinctly Northwest." I don't think she understood how we feel about good coffee. I couldn't even consider replacing the amazing Fidalgo Bay Coffee with $40/gallon catered convention coffee.

So, a grand idea has just panned out into nothing, and I'm back to the world of bumper stickers and stupid plastic breakables for promotional items.

We're going to the convention to recruit staff, and we're in the business of relationships. Coffee is a means to developing relationships. Seriously. And I can't believe the capitalism of convention centers can deny us that.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Oh, to no longer be transient...

If you wonder if moving a bazillion times and living out of boxes is fun, the answer is, "no it's not." Don't you remember the Israelites and how whiny they got in the desert? And they certainly didn't carry as many books around as I do...so...I'd be like, premiere numero uno whiney Israelite. Even with all that great manna and quail.

Because truth be told--packing up all of your worldly belongings, moving them across the country, unpacking them, settling in, repacking them, moving them across town, unpacking them, settling in, repacking them, moving them up the highway, and unpacking them is not fun. At all. Well, I mean, it's fine for about 7.5 minutes, and then it's annoying.

Yet--if the end result is that you get to live in the promised land doing a job that you love and sharing a house with one of your favorite friends...well...then unpacking and repacking is just a side effect of that perceived happy life.

But just so you're prepared--these are a list of things you should know in case you try to move several times in a year--so that you're not caught off guard during your 40 years--err--several months in the desert: (I will not include the previously mentioned issues that took place during "night one in new house.")

1. When you get out of bed, you will step on stacks of books that have made it out of the box but not onto the bookshelf.

2. You will not dry your hair for two weeks, because you have yet to unpack the box with extension cords and surge bars.

3. You will have a hard time hearing movies through your stereo, because you will accidentally reverse the wiring for the small center speaker and the subwoofer. It's hard to hear dialogue that's resonating through a subwoofer and hard to hear bass that's resonating through a tiny center speaker.

4. You will get reeeeally tired of manna and quail and refuse to eat until the refrigerator is delivered on Thursday, because you will discover your easy-fix staples of macaroni and cheese or broccoli/chicken/rice or cereal do, in fact, require a refrigerator even in their simplicity.

5. You will discover that kitchen tables cannot be carried into storage rooms by one person unless you intended for there to be large gashes in the plaster walls (don't tell Heidi!)

6. You will keep half of your furniture in the carport because it's easier to move it inside once there's a place for it--only to discover that the neighbor's cat has peed on it.

7. You will move your beautiful cedar chest into your bedroom and place it directly on top of the heating register saying, "I'll move it when we turn the heater on." Two days later, when you move it back out into the living room when you turn the heater on, you will rip a gash in your bedroom door.

8. You will curse the day you decided to drag so many books everywhere, and then of course, trip over them as you get back into bed.

9. You will receive no more mail on time ever because your mail is being forwarded through two addresses already, and no one that sends you mail actually knows where you live.

10. You will realize that your driver's license and checks claim you live at an address you haven't lived at for six months and wonder if anyone cares.

11. You will keep getting refused the opportunity to buy gasoline, because you keep messing up the zip code on the auto-pay machine. You get annoyed with yourself, only to ease up when you discover the striking similarity between the three zip codes: 98223, 98233, and 98273. Right.

But--on the nicer side of things, you may end up, for the first time in recent memory, with five friends on a saturday afternoon, gathered around your kitchen table and eating cereal (which were prepared thanks to the refrigerating skills of a fine Coleman cooler.) Your roommate may call you back into her room, where she will exclaim with glee, "Isn't this exactly what you've wanted!" You will hold back tears and look around the room at stray curtain rods, unplugged appliances, and linens, and say, "Mmhmm!"

Friday, September 15, 2006


If life's a juggling act, I'm not sure how I'm succeeding. It feels like I'm behind on everything: personal support raising, preparations for the Youth Specialties conventions, moving, thank you notes, the Corporate newsletter, website updates, communication with new staff who are raising support, keeping in contact with friends and family.

And in the midst of it, I still have this desire to finish reading the whole Bible. I'm almost done with Deuteronomy...and I figure if I can get in a regular habit, I can pound the rest of it out in about six weeks...(Joshua through Malachi.)

Yet it's Friday, and there are meetings, unpacking, and a trip to Portland to see Carrie Underwood all on the agenda. And next week Red Suz is coming to visit....

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Night #1 in my new digs...

So last night was night #1 of sleeping in the new house. I was alone! It was eventful...in between all of these activities, imagine climbing up and over lots of boxes, tripping over table legs, and spending twenty minutes trying to find every item mentioned...

Night #1 Recap:

  1. Came home after work to paint the last coat on the "red wall" in the bedroom. Discovered that "last coat" was actually "next to last coat." Groaned.
  2. Helped Heidi move dryer into place. Consoled her over the huge holes that got torn in the linoleum by the angsty dryer.
  3. Decide to do laundry. Discover washer is leaking.
  4. Replace rubber washers in hoses.
  5. Discover I'm out of detergent.
  6. Drive to store for laundry detergent and dinner.
  7. Return home. Begin laundry. Plug in microwave after digging it off of the bottom of a big pile of boxes. Return to painting.
  8. Ten minutes later discover dinner is still frozen and washer has stopped. Realize microwave/washer have tripped breaker.
  9. Throw the switch and first cook dinner, THEN re-start laundry.
  10. Discover floor in laundry room is covered with water. Washer is still leaking. Ignore this.
  11. Put load in dryer. Return 20 minutes later to realize laundry room is roasting. Open a few windows, and then say, "Why is it SO HOT!?"
  12. Discover that dryer silver caterpillar thingy has fallen off. Hot dryer air is going right into room.
  13. Wait ten minutes for dryer to cool, then spend 20 minutes reattaching silver caterpillar thingy.
  14. Organize empty boxes in living room. Listen to country music stars recount stories of where they were on 9/11/01 on KMPS.
  15. Organize boxes in storage room weeding out, "Anything I want right now." This includes 30 pairs of shoes, a box full of unsorted toiletries, linens, and jeans.
  16. Move box springs and mattress into bedroom from living room.
  17. Straighten living room enough for there to be a "clear walkway."
  18. Begin Coat #3 of red paint around 10pm.
  19. Complete painting and rejoice! Throw the pile of "Anything I want right now" into the bedroom in the middle of the floor.
  20. Talk to "Pam Shaffer is eating a vanilla wafer" and recount exciting moving tales.
  21. Put bed together.
  22. Put not-really-dried linens on bed.
  23. Fall asleep for night #1.
Morning #1--the exciting addendum
  1. Wake up. Try to take a shower. Realize have no idea where shower stuff is.
  2. Find big box of shower stuff in storage room. No shampoo.
  3. Freak out.
  4. Open shower curtain to discover Heidi has already put shampoo in shower. Along with an entire case of toilet paper and a rubbermaid bin.
  5. Move toilet paper and rubbermaid to bathroom floor.
  6. Commence shower.
  7. Smoke alarm triggered. Incessant ear-piercing beeping.
  8. Bolt out of shower, dripping wet in hallway, worried that hot water heater is triggering a fire because it's sitting in a pool of water from leaky washer.
  9. Confirm the smoke alarm is dumb. Was triggered by shower steam. Rip it from wall, remove battery.
  10. Finish shower. Finish getting ready for work.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Things to be thankful for on a Monday morning:

1. Coffee.
2. An easy move on Saturday (despite some issues with the U-Haul dealer.)
3. The paint in my bedroom: "Toffee Crunch" and "Cinnamon Cherry."
4. PUD turning on the water at the house this morning.
5. The #1 Buckeyes defeating the #2 Long Horns IN Texas. Amazing!
6. The Seahawks eeking out an away victory over the Lions.
7. More Coffee.
8. A partially organized kitchen. (Just try organizing two full kitchens worth of stuff into one small kitchen. It is not easy. Partially organized is a feat!)
9. A brand new used office chair. (The leather kind with rolling wheels. The President got an upgrade, so, I in turn, did also.)
10. Having a five-minute commute to work this morning.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Tomorrow is Moving Day!

At 10am tomorrow, I have three friends arriving to help me pack up a U-Haul truck and drive it the 25 miles from Arlington to Mt. Vernon.

I will certainly miss living in the loft of Jenny's beautiful mountain house, waking up every morning and seeing the sunrise over the mountains...

...but I'm very excited to live in a house with Heidi. I get to paint my bedroom!!! And starting Monday, I have a 5-minute commute to work! Yeah!

So far in the move, my friends think that I have a ridiculous amount of books. When we packed them up last night, there were ten medium-sized boxes just full of books. I think it's good that I wasn't a polar explorer...because they would have probably found me trapped in ice with no food and a big suitcase full of old National Geographic magazines.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Hallooo Pacific Ocean!

For the first time in recorded history, I have seen and touched the Pacific Ocean!

If you're wondering how on earth I've lived on the West Coast for two whole years without seeing the Pacific Ocean, there's a logical answer: the Ocean is far away. Now, don't be misled--I live close to the water. In fact, from where I'm sitting right now, I could be to saltwater in about fifteen minutes...but it's the Puget Sound...it's not the Ocean. While the Sound is calm, the Ocean is raging...and while the Sound is full of islands, the Ocean is vast...while the Sound is fifteen minutes away, the Ocean is a long drive through Seattle, Tacoma, Olympia, and down a lot of backroads towards the coast.

One of my best Washington friends (and fellow YD Adventures Rafting Guide) Heidi and I took the long weekend and drove to her family's beach home near Long Beach, WA, which is a five-hour drive from Arlington. The three days away were very welcome for both of us. We're in the process of moving into a house that Heidi just bought (which is about ten minutes from my office, chopping my commute down substantially.) We don't have possession of the house yet, so we had three days of waiting with nothing to do except worry about details.

On Sunday, the Pacific Ocean and I became good friends. We hung out together for about six hours while Heidi went fishing at the Columbia River jetty. While she caught 14 sea bass, I read and drew and listened to music. It was excellent! And--for dinner, we had fresh sea bass. Nice!

So, the Pacific Ocean was big and tumultuous and scary. It's not a spot where you think, "Let's go swimming." It's a spot where you think, "If I end up in that surf, I will die." So, be careful!

Hello Pacific Ocean! I'm glad we've now been formally introduced, and I hope that we can hang out again in the near future!