Day from Hell #1,247,80: Attempt to get through what looks like a pretty benign list of things to do.
Well. It would be benign if it weren’t for the five stacks of paper to plow through, residing on the office floor.
November 15, 2013. To Do:
√ 7:00 a.m.: leave for estate sale with La Maya
Read 4 more chapters of client’s copy; return edits to him
Write blog post
√ Cook batch of chicken for dog
Chop chicken in food processor
√ Clean up dog-chicken mess in kitchen
Go for exercise walk
√ Pick up office floor
√ Do bookkeeping
…√Reconcile credit union accounts
…√Enter debits in budget spreadsheet
…√Enter debits & credits in Quickbooks
MAKE PHONE CALLS!
…√Bosch/Sears: why won’t cycles operate?
Repair broken nail
√ Fill new wallet
√ Remember to put opera tickets into purse for tonight
√ Make tomato soup
√ Make cucumber soup
Pick up house
Notice how a) I haven’t gotten to the paying work and b) I haven’t gotten to the pigpen clearance.
6:15 a.m. Phone rings. La Maya: if we leave a little early, we can hit another sale before the one we’d planned. I’m in the middle of fixing breakfast but say OK. Hurry. Produce dishwater-weak coffee, something I abominate. Should’ve known: it was an omen.
6:40 a.m. On the road to Scottsdale.
7:00 a.m. Hit the first sale. It’s in an old house on McCormick Ranch, once Scottsdale’s crown jewel of “planned communities.” Stick-built stuccoed houses do not age well. Original owners must have aged in place, never updating much: cocaine-white 12-inch tiles, dark wood parquet floors…meh. Apparently the residents petrified along about 1986. Neither of us sees anything we want. We leave, feeling smug about how much better-built and nicer our center-city homes are. We revel in our reverse snobbery.
Shortly before 9:00 a.m. Reach second sale, slated to open at nine. Line of bargain-hunters goes down the street. This one is organized by a company that treats customers poorly; normally we would not grace this outfit with our presence. But on their web page, La Maya has seen a few small tables that interest her.
9:00 a.m.: Sale opens. The bastards let people in two, three, four at a time. We stand and stand and stand and stand and stand and…
9:30 a.m. Recycling pick-up truck arrives. Driver flies into rage at all the cars parked up and down the street, blocking the recycling barrels (it’s illegal to block a recycling barrel here in lovely uptown Arizona). In frustration, he sits there and LEANS ON HIS HORN. Ever here a garbage truck horn? It’s amazingly loud.
Finally he has to get out of the truck and move trash cans out onto the street so his machinery can pick them up. House is on a cul-de-sac. To maneuver with every square inch of curb parked up by shoppers’ cars, he has to back and fill with his gigantic rig. Vast HONKING horn blasts intermittently, an automatic thing when the vehicle is in reverse. That notwithstanding, he very nearly runs down several line-standers who refuse to give up their place so as to get out of his way.
About a quarter to ten: After a good 45 minutes, during which the idiot at the door lets in one or two people at a time, we finally get in the door. Of course, the tables in question are already marked sold. They weren’t much, anyway — images on the website were deceptive. This is another old, tired tract house. But tireder, much tireder than the last one. It’s dirty, and there’s absolutely nothing of any interest.
About 10:30, we arrive back at La Maya’s house. La Bethulia is conferring with a financial planner in the living room. La Maya makes coffee and then she and I slink out to the front courtyard, so as not to disturb them and so as to take the morning air. We gossip for quite a while. She describes current antics at GDU…what a place! I am soooo glad not to be working there. She would be very glad not to be working there, too, but needs an income. I think she could do handsomely by marketing her increasingly professional-looking artwork, if only she knew how to market it.
Around 11:30: Return home. Call Bosch customer service. Learn, after about ten or fifteen minutes of experimentation carried on over the phone, how to make the machine’s various cycles operate and why the “reset” function hasn’t been working and how to make it work.
Make a fairly amazing tomato soup (recipe pending). Eat lunch. Put dog meat on to cook.
Call the cardiologist. After long slog through punch-a-button maze, reach a receptionist who says I don’t need to make an appointment until December. I say it’s already almost December. She says all their December appointments are filling up fast — would I like an appointment in December? Thanking god she can’t see me roll my eyes over the phone, I say “sure.” She proposes to schedule me smack in the middle of the comparative mythology section’s final exam.
Call radiologist. After long slog through punch-a-button maze, reach a receptionist who says I’m not in their records. Spell my name (interminable and unpronouceable) and repeat my birth date again. Eventually they allow as how they kind know who I am. Make appointment for 7 o’clock in the damn morning next weeek.
Noonish: Enter office and begin wading through deep piles of paper.
Grow increasingly frustrated while trudging through endless series of profoundly disliked chores. Enter numbers, enter numbers, enter numbers, enter numbers, enter numbers…can’t find entries I know I made; can’t find entries I never made, can’t figure out where they went. Reconcile four accounts. Can’t find file folders in reorganized file drawers whose arrangement I imagined would be so crystalline clear. Enter numbers, enter numbers, enter numbers, enter numbers, enter numbers…
Realize the $44 I paid for two Bach concert tickets could not POSSIBLY cover four tickets, two for me and two for my friend. Call. Get shunted to the director’s day job. Get past the gatekeeper. Reach the director, who also happens to be our choir director. He says no problem, I should just pay him on Sunday. This means a) I can’t charge them to AMEX and collect a kickback, and b) I’ll have to bring a checkbook, and c) therefore I’ll have to drag my goddamn purse to choir on Sunday, something I never do because I do not want that extra hassle.
Purse….purse… Need to put tonight’s Lyric Opera ticket in purse so I won’t leave it behind when I race out the door. Where’s my purse?
Yes. WHERE’S MY PURSE?????!!!???????
Think I’ve left it in La Maya’s car. Call her. Of course, she’s not answering the effing cell phone. NO ONE answers cell phone calls. Send high-priority e-mail. Totally FREAK OUT!!!! Every credit card to my name is in that PURSE! As are the checkbooks for my personal bank account AND my business account!!!!!!!!!
Realize I’ve left the chicken sitting on the counter all afternoon. Cover it with tinfoil, lift up the plate and…slop GREASY CHICKEN LIQUID ALL OVER THE COUNTERTOP AND DOWN THE CABINETRY AND ALL OVER THE FRONT OF THE DISHWASHER AND ALL OVER THE FLOOR!
Scrub the counter, scrub the cabinetry, scrub the dishwasher, scrub the floor.
La Maya calls. She’s on the way to the school to pick up the grandchild, of whom she and La Bethulia have custody. She says she’ll bring the purse by.
That is, assuming it’s still in the car and hasn’t been stolen.
Time passes. Continue trying to track down phantom and unexplained bank account entries; continue entering data in spreadsheets.
Around 4:00 p.m. La Maya shows up. She’s found the purse, but not until after a brief scare. When she went out to the car, it wasn’t in there.
OMG, thinks she: someone has already taken it out of the car!
Then she realizes the car is still locked and none of the windows are broken, so it’s not likely the purse was stolen out of her vehicle. This means she has to trudge back into the house, dodging two dogs (one of which wishes for nothing more than to slip out the door and head for Yuma at a dead run) and search for the purse. She finds it on the kitchen counter. Neither one of us can remember my having carried it in there. Relieved, she delivers the satchel to my house.
By now my hair, not surprisingly, is sticking out all over like a witch’s. In mere minutes, I have to be ready to head out to dinner with a friend, thence to a lyric opera musical play.
Plug in hot rollers, throw on a few clothes while they’re heating. Roll hair. Brush teeth. Paint face. Unroll hair, comb hair — not bad, for an old hag!
Exhausted, sit down in front of computer and start writing this post.
5:00 p.m. Phone rings: my friend is outside in the front driveway.
We had a very fine dinner at La Grande Orange, one of the stylish Phoenix-based Portofino restaurants. We decided to try their alleged gluten-free pizza, just for the helluvit, and were delighted to find that it was very delicious. In fact, the thin, crisp crust was actually better, in both of our opinions, than a regular soggy pizza crust. Toppings were outstanding.
So was the wine. But then it should have been: one glass of the house wine cost more than a whole bottle of the plonk I buy at Costco.
11:30 p.m. The musical was fun, long, exhausting. The dog was not fed before I raced out; tossed down some food for her and now will have to wring her out before climbing into the sack, lest she decide the servant should get up at two in the morning to let her out.
And so, to bed, there to hope for a little less craziness tomorrow…